The Bootlegger's Daughter

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Surprises from John

Not much happened the next few days. The biggest things were me missing school the next morning because I was hungover, me constantly questioning David in vain about why he was going through Father’s room, and Father and me anxiously counting down the days until my suit would be ready. Me wearing a suit out in public felt odd to me. I knew it wasn’t right but there wasn’t anything that I wouldn’t do for my family. I just hope you don’t think me a bad person for not wearing my skirt because as I’ve hopefully shown, I do.

Once I got through the bulk of the week, Friday finally came. And just like any day I got dressed and Mary did my hair like normal. I like to be consistent with what I do. Even missing school that Wednesday felt off to me because it wasn’t what was normal. Yes, I missed a lot for Grandfather’s funeral but it’s normal to miss school because of a death in the family. I knew it was right. Missing school as a sixteen year old because you drank too much isn’t.

So just like any other day David, my cousins, and I went to the speakeasy. It was oddly warm that day meaning that I was treated to an argument between Robert and Aunt Emma about whether or not he should wear a jacket. In the end, like always, Aunt Emma won and Robert left the house with a jacket on and a mad face.

At the speakeasy Sam was working the door. I hadn’t seen him in a while so it was nice to hear his voice even if it was just through a door. He asked for a password and I didn’t mess around like I always do with the twins. Sam is not the twins.

When we got in he was actually surprised to see me. I don’t think he recognized my voice through the door. “Well, if it isn’t Lucy Sweet!” Sam said. I smiled at him as the boys walked past me.

“Well, if it isn’t Sam Fuller!” I said back at him.

“I haven’t seen you in a while. How are you?” He asked.

“I’ve been alright. Not much has been happening. Just been waiting for-”

“Lucille Amelia, get over here!” Father yelled. I gave a slight smile to Sam and walked over to my family. Sometimes when Father yells at me I feel bad but I didn’t that day. I was on top of the world that day because the suit was coming. Yes, I was nervous to wear it out in public but things were starting that day. I was going to start the war later that night. It was all resting on me and that made me very happy. If I was also Father’s son, regardless if I was the eldest, I have a strong feeling that I would be the next in line instead of David. Nothing against David but if I was still as into my family as much then I would a lot better than David would be in charge. I don’t mean to spoil things for you but Father hasn’t died yet so I could be completely wrong about David.

Father was sitting next to Uncle Henry at a table with the boys standing around them. “Lucy, come sit by me.” Father said and I did as I was told.

“Is something wrong?” I asked. Father didn’t normally ask me to sit down and his tone became very serious. It was almost worrying.

“When you come home from school today don’t go back to the house. You’ll meet Henry at this address and then he’ll drive you out of town. Then you’ll catch a train to go back into town because remember, you are not Lucy Sweet you are whoever you came up with.”

“James Wood.” I said.

“Fine you’re James Wood but not Lucy.”

“I know.” I said. Father slid me a little card that had an address written on it. I think Uncle Henry wrote it because the handwriting was a lot neater than Father’s. Sometimes I like to joke with myself by thinking that the reason Father’s handwriting is so terrible is because if it’s very bad then people can’t copy it.

“That’s all. Run along to school now.” Uncle Henry said. I got up out of my chair and took the card. As I turned around to leave and say a goodbye to Sam, John ran out of the building. David and Sam who were the closest to the door ran after him with Robert and me right behind them.

John didn’t go far. He was stopped right at the corner of the speakeasy where it met an alleyway. John was throwing up badly. I didn’t see John’s face, or him at all for that matter, when I was sitting down and talking with Father. But Robert and David both tell me that he was in a lot of pain which was how David knew to run after him. David walked away when he saw what John was doing. He never did do well with illness. Robert and Sam stood by John but neither knew what to do.

Father and Uncle Henry came out of the speakeasy as well and went up to John. I went off to find David to make sure that he was alright as well. A family doesn’t need two sick kids at once. As I was leaving I heard Father yell at Uncle Henry to find a phone and call home.

I found David at the other side of the block and he was fine. “Hey, we should go to school. Do you think you can manage to walk past John?” I asked. David nodded and mumbled something about how he was alright. Together we walked back to the others.

“You three go to school. Henry and I will wait for Emma to get John. Sam, go back to the speakeasy and man the door.” Father said, directing us. I nodded and waved an awkward goodbye to Father and John and we walked off to school.

School was very uneventful, or at least I think it was. I honestly don’t remember anything that happened that day because I was too busy thinking about John and later that night. I hoped my cousin would be okay because we didn’t need another death in the family. And I hoped that I wouldn’t get myself lost on the way to meet Uncle Henry.

Ada took notice of my uneasiness and wrote me notes during class. I remember only two: “Are you alright?” and “I’d offer you a penny for your thoughts but I don’t have one. Will you tell me anyways?”. But I never responded to her and just started off into nowhere all day.

Miss Hayes took notice of this and when the lunch bell rang she told me to stay after class. Apparently Robert was doing the same thing I was because once the bell rang he went up to her desk with me.

“Is something going on? It looked like neither of you heard a single thing I said. I know that isn’t that odd for you, Mr. Jenkins. But Miss Sweet, you usually pay some sort of attention.” Neither Robert or I said anything. “I’m not going to tell your father… or your uncle anything. You can trust me. Is something wrong?” Miss Hayes asked sincerely.

“No. Everything’s perfectly jake. ” Robert said. “May I be excused now?” Miss Hayes nodded and Robert left to go to lunch.

“Miss Sweet, please tell me if something is wrong. You know I’ve always been there for my students and you and your cousin are no different.” Miss Hayes said. She was a nice woman, even if a few days before she sent me home early for hitting a girl.

“Robert’s brother became ill right before we left for school. We’re all a bit shaken up from it.” I said. Miss Hayes nodded understandingly.

“Well if you need anything let me know.”

“I will.” I said. I don’t normally run because it’s not always polite to do and I’m not very good at it in the first place, but I ran out of the classroom and to the stairs to eat with Ada.

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