Chapter one. The begining of the end.

She messed with her dress as she heard the crowd of Medda's cheering for her. Her show was starting.

"Are you ready, darling?" she asked Sophia with a warm smile on her face.

Sophia looked up and gave her an awkward smile. "I think so..." She finally said.

Medda patted her on the shoulder and walked to the stairs, before walking up to the stage she turned around. "Sophia?" She looked up at Medda again from her hands, waiting for her to speak again.

"Are you sure this is the right thing to do?" Sophia nodded slowly. "It's been two years. Think of the impact it will have on him." she told her. Sophia knew in her heart that the moment she got back in New York she should have gone straight to Spot, but for some reason Sophia didn't. She just couldn't. Like she had to make some a grand entrance or something. As if showing up at his doorstep and scaring him shitless wasn't enough. As of right now, Spot thinks she's dead.

Medda gave her a nod and headed up on to the stage. The boy's went wild, whistling and cheering. It brought a smile to Sophia's face. She stood up from the chair and walked over to the curtains. She parted them a ways, trying to get a good look at the crowd. She spotted Jack with Sarah, David with his younger brother, Les. Boots, Racetrack and a few others. Then, from the corner of her eyes she saw Spot. His hair had grown out a little more and she could tell he had gotten taller because his knee's almost touched the bottom of the table he was sitting at in the back. He didn't look like he was having to much fun. Blink came over and tried to pull him up but failed in the process. Spot pushed him away slightly and rested his chin on his palm.

Sophia put the curtains back and went to sit back down, but before she got the chance, Medda was done with her song and dance...this was it! After the crowed settled down she heard her speak, "My friends, I have here tonight with me a very special friend. She is here to sing for all of us tonight. I'm sure you will find her to be quite a beauty." I pulled the red hooded cloak over her head, covering her eyes. As she stepped through the curtains and on to the stage her heart beated fast. What are you doing Sophia, she said to herself. She walked on to the stage more, the crowd was quite. Before she started to sing, Sophia looked up little but not all the way. She looked at Spot, he looked at her, though he didn't know it...and she started to sing.

Chapter one.

Two years earlier.

Sophia and her brother, Tommy, got off the train and took Their first steps on New York.

"Next, stop," started Tommy. "Brooklyn!" he said exaggerating a bit. Sophia laughed.

"Let's just hope we don't get killed while we're at it, huh Tommy?" she teased.

"Yeah, yeah." he said, picking up his things. Sophia did the same.

A year ago Sophia and Tommy's parents died of yellow fever, so did their baby brother. So her older brother and her thought it would be best to move to a big city and start somewhere new, so they did. And here they were, New York City. On their way to Brooklyn. The two hitched a ride with an old man and his wagon all the way to Brooklyn. The ride wasn't too bumpy and the little breeze felt nice with the warm weather. Summer was just starting. Tommy had told Sophia that he heard of this guy named Spot. Spot Conlon to be exact. He told me that every one pretty much feared him or respected him. She didn't think it was true. Not everyone can fear or respect just on guy in all of New York, but Sophia kept her mouth shut as he told the stories about the Newsies and how they were gonna become one ourselves. To be honest, Sophia was nervous. She had never worked outside of home a day in her life and she was going to sell papes to complete strangers!

Tommy pulled her into an alley and handed Sophia a bag. "What's this?" she asked him.

"My clothes. I don't want you selling papes looking' like a girl, ok?"

Sophia sighed. "Alright." she took the clothes and went behind a wall to dress as Tommy guarded the way.

"And pin your hair back too, will ya!" he hollered back. I nodded and got dressed. At times he could be so bossy but Sophia knew he meant well. As she finished dressing Sophia put her shirt and skirt in the bag where his clothes once were and walked back out."Ready." she told him.

He turned around and gave his little sister a big grin. "Hope this works," he started. "You look like a pretty boy now." he laughed.

Sophia rolled my eyes. "Yeah, yeah. C'mon." she told him, kicking him playfully in the leg.
When they got to this Spot's place a bunch of boys were swimming and telling jokes. When they saw us approach their precious leader's territory some of them stopped and looked at us. Sophia grew nervous. What if they could already tell she was a girl? One of the boys stepped in their way, not letting them pass. "And who are youse two? Whacha doin' here?"

Tommy took a breath and said, "We here to see Spot. Your leader!"

The boy smirked. "Awright. Foist...we need ta know ya names."

"Names Tommy and this here is my lil brother, Tony." Great, Sophia thought. Tommy and Tony. You're so original, Tommy.

The boy nodded and waved his hand to have them follow him. They stopped at some docks and the boy yelled up to what looked like a watching tower. "Eh! Spot! We gots some boys here! Theys wants to see ya!" Spot turned around, looking irritated but then climbed down from his post. "Whacha want, kid?" he questioned.

The boy cleared his throat and then pointed at the two newbies. "Theys wanna speak with ya." and then stepped aside. This Spot guy didn't look very dangerous to me, but that was my first mistake about him. "What do ya twose wants?" It sounded more like an order than a question.

"We want to be part of the Brooklyn gang." Tommy stated.

Spot gave a short laugh. "Oh really. Wells, ya both gots ta prove yo selvs foist." he crossed his arms, tilting his head to the side.

"Right," said Tommy. "What do we have to do?" he asked.

A smirk slipped across Spots face. "Ya gots ta sell papes, kid."

"Seems easy enough." Sophia blurted out. Tommy looked back at his sister giving me a silent shoosh.

Spot looked back at Sophia. "And who do we gots here? Some runt?" he said, walking up to her. "Sure are pretty short, kid. Whats ya name?" Sophia looked up at Tommy and then at Spot. "Tony." she answered, trying to sound as much like a boy as she possibly could. He gave her a small smile and then he looked at her serious again. "I think we'll call ya Smalls from now on. Dat a problem?" She shook my head. "Good," he said. "cuz every one heres got a nick name." he looked over at Tommy. "Tony and Tommy eh. " He laughed a little. "We'll call you Tom Tom." Tommy nodded. "Good, good. Now about the gota sell a thousand papes in one week. Youse both can stay here during that time, but...if youse can't make it...too bad for you. Ya outa here. Got that?" The two both nodded. "Good." he said. "Hey you!" he yelled to the boy standing off to the side. "Show these boys their rooms will ya." The boy nodded and Tommy and Sophia left Spot to follow him.

He showed them to their rooms. There were a few bunk beds...there was one bunk left in the far corner. Tommy and Sophia both eyed each other. "You take it Smalls." he nudged her, calling her by Sophia's new name.

Sophia took her suit case and placed it under the bunk bed. Tommy did the same. As Sophia looked around the room to see if they were left alone and they finally were. "Where will you sleep?" Sophia asked Tommy, not having to stress about sounding like a boy or not.

"Right besides ya. On the floor."

Sophia gave a small nod. She was worried about him. Always giving up things for her sake.

Night came and Sophia lay in bed, unable to sleep with all the snoring going on. She tried to sleep but couldn't so she slipped out of bed, while re-adjusting her hat and trying to be as quiet as she possibly could and tip-toed outside to get some fresh air. As soon as she reached the docks, she gave out a sigh and took in the smell of the sea.

"What youse still doin' up, Kid?"

Sophia turned around and saw Spot. "Uh!..."

He narrowed his eyes at her. "uh...?" he repeated.

"Just getting some fresh air." she told him, trying to sound like a boy again.

Spot stopped narrowing his eyes at her and then said, "Awright...just be ready to sell papes foist thing in the morning."

Sophia nodded. She only stayed out by the docks for a moment longer and then went back to get a decent night sleep.

For being the last to fall to sleep Sophia was surprisingly the first to wake up. This gave her a chance to get ready before the guys and avoid being noticed. Just as she was finishing up, Spot came down to wake all those boys. Some got up right away while others still refused to get up. This made Spot mad so he would hit them with the cane. Not hard I would expect, but enough to get them the hell up. Tommy was next to be ready. He pulled one of the suit cases up from under the bed, opened it up and handed me a quarter and himself one too. He placed the suit case back under and held on to the coin tightly. Tommy and Sophia's parents had some money saved up, but before they could use it for anything, everything changed and they took the last 3 dollars.

Before SOphia knew it she was waiting in line to get her papes. She saw kids younger than her. It was sad. She wanted to help them but Sophia knew that she wouldn't be able to. She had to look after herself and her brother as well. When she got to the front Sophia bought 150 papes and then walked off. She looked down at them. How would she sell all these...better yet, how would she sell 1000 papes in a week? She thought to herself. All of a sudden Sophia felt someone tap on her shoulder. She turned around and saw a black kid. "Hi! Youse look new 'round here. Whacha name, boy?"


"Ah, right, Smalls. Ya see...a good way ta sell papes is ta bend the truth a little."

"What you mean?" I asked.

He laughed a little. "Ya see here," pointed to a story in the paper. It read, 'Old man found shot to death in basement.' "Instead of sayin' that," he started. "try sayin' dis, 'Old man found shot to death in a basement full of other dead bodies'." Sophia grimaced at what he said, but then nodded, understanding the concept.

"By the way," he said. "The name is Boots. See youse around, Smalls."

By the end of the week Sophia could hardly believe it. She had truly amazed herself. She had sold a thousand papes in one week. She was able to stay in Brooklyn with Tommy and Spot's Gang.

Sophia practically skipped her way back to Spot's place, but then stopped herself. She didn't want to look too girly.

Sophia walked inside and saw Tommy sitting on the bunk, his head down.

"What's wrong, Tom Tom?" she asked, getting used to calling him by his nick name.

"I didn't sell all my papes..."

Sophia's heart went to her stomach. What would she do without Tommy? Shw asked myself.

Just then they heard footsteps come their way. It was Spot.

"So, sell all yer papes youse was suppose ta sell?" Sophia looked up as him and nodded. He smiled. "Good, Smalls. Now what about cha brotheh?"

Tommy slowly shook his head and stood up, ready to face Spot. "No...I didn't."

Spot rose an eyebrow and then said, "Looks like I gota let ya go then, Tom Tom. Don't worry, Smalls can stay."

Sophia looked up at Tommy who then looked down at her. "Don't worry, Smalls," he told her. "It's better if ya stay here. I'll be fine." he grabbed his things and walked out. Spot turned towards Sophia and gave her one of his smirks. "See ya 'rounds, Smalls." he then left the room, closing the door behind him. Sophia was then left alone. Completely alone. What was she going to do without Tommy here to protect her?

Chapter two: Making it through the day.

Sophia stayed up almost all night, tossing and turning, unable to sleep. It was her first night without Tommy. Ever. She kept pins hooked on to her hat as she laid in bed so it wouldn't fall off. She pulled the covers over her head. She sighed and closed her eyes again for the hundredth time and finally she was able to gain some rest.

Thankfully she was the first to wake up again. Sophia did her normal routine: grabbed her money and decided to get a head start to get her papes. She walked to the front of the lodging house and before she knew it, the door leading upstairs swung open, almost hitting her in the face.

"WHOA!" she yelled and jumped back. She saw a girl look back at her, her clothes were loose on her as she ran out the front door. For a moment she saw left there until she heard the footsteps of someone else coming down the steps. And who does she find, buttoning up his pants, pulling up his suspenders? Spot Conlon. His hair was unkempt so he ran his fingers through his hair to straighten it out. He turned his head, looked at Sophia and smirked. He walked up to her and patted her on the back and went to wake the boys. She stood there for a moment in awkward silence. Suddenly she shook her head and headed out the door.

During the afternoon, Sophia was still trying to sell her papes as two boys walked up to her.

"You sure doin' a nice job sellin' doughs papes, kid." said the older looking one. His hair was brown and wavy with brown eyes with a red bandana around his neck.

"Uh...Thanks." She told him.

"So, uh, I hear yas met one of our buddy's, Boots." said the other boy. His hair was jet black and he looked a little shorter than the other boy.

"Ya. I met em. Once." Sophia added.

"We hears dat you new here in New York." said the older boy.

She lifted up her arms and said, "Looks like it." Sophia told him. They laughed a little.

"The names Jack and this is Racetrack." said the older boy. "We's from Manhattan. Yous?" he asked.

"Brooklyn." She stated.

They looked at her wide-eyed. "Whaaaaat?" said Race track in disbelief. "Youse from Brooklyn?"

"How ya managin' dat?" asked Jack.

"Ok, I guess." She said plainly.

"We's gots some one new too," Jack started. "His names Tommy but we call em Tom Tom." My heart lifted. Tommy! Sophia's eyes grew wide. "That's my brother!" She said loudly.

"Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" said Race track. "Your smalls?"

Sophia smiled a little. "Sure am!" Jack and Racetrack looked at each other and whispered.

They then looked at Sophia and Jack said, "Listen, Smalls. Tom Tom is stayin' wit us. Yous wanna see em?"

She nodded excitedly, but then realized that she still had more papes to sell and her face fell to a frown.

"What's wrong, Smalls?" asked Jack.

"I still got my papes...I can't see him yet."

Jack walked up to placed a hand on my shoulder. Sophia looked up at him and met his eyes. He said, "Don't worry about seein' him. I'll tell em that I saw yous and maybe tomorrow you two's and can meet up."

"Where?" She asked. Jack extended his free hand out and said,

"Right here. Can ya find dis same place tomorrow, Smalls?" Sophia nodded. "Atta boy! Seeya 'round, Kid!" She watched Jack and Race track leave and the continued to sell her papes.

Sophia didn't get done selling them till it the sun started to set. She was surprised that some people around the area still hadn't read the paper or were even still interested. She placed her change in her pocket and head back to Brooklyn. When she got back to the lodging house the boys were smoking, playing poker and even drinking. "Hey Smalls!" yelled one of them from within the crowd. "You's wanna play some poker wit us?" Sophia shrugged her shoulders. She didn't want to seem too distant but then again she didn't know how to play poker.

"Come on over here!" said another. She inched closer, pulled up a chair and watched them play. "Ya know how ta play?" asked one of the boys. Sophia shook her head. "Hey ever body wes gots a first timmer here!" he slapped Sophia on the back, making her lose jer air for a second and then placed a hand on her chest. Shit! She forgot to press her chest down today! Sophia panicked quietly to herself and pulled her feet up on the chair and pressed her knees against her chest and watched them play the game.

Spot dealt with the cards first hand as they started to play. He was fast and good. He had a good poker face. After dealing them he took a big gulp of his beer. Sophia's eyes were locked on to him the whole time. He was...handsome! His piercing blue eyes, the way his hair shaped his perfect face, those lips that did that curve, his slightly exposed chest. He looked too good to be true and in a way...he was. Oh how Sophia wished right then and there that she was not dressed as a boy. When the second game started someone else dealt the cards and for a second Spot caught Sophia looking at him. Stunned by his look, Sophia turned away and looked down. A minute later someone tapped on her shoulder. As she looked up she gulped and her nervousness must have showed pretty well when he said, "Don't be nervous, Smalls." he laughed and handed me a beer and took a seat next her and watched the game. As the game went on Sophia took little sips of her beer, almost cringing at the taste. Spot told her the rules of the game and even some good hints to winning. She nodded her head every once in a while. With all this information he was giving her, Sophia was only getting half of it. She blamed the beer.

Bt the time the second game was done, most of the boys were drunk from all the beers they had had and stopped playing. Some went to bed while others started to wrestle a little and some just laid there, talking to one another. As for Sophia, she took the first chance she could to get to her bunk. She felt a little tipsy so she placed her hand on the side of the wall, trying to support herself. She certainly wasn't a drinker. The boys who were wrestling ran into her, pushing her around a bit. Because of her tipsiness, SOphia easily fell over. Silence instantly filled the room. She forced herself up, brushing the dust off and started to walk back to her bunk. For some reason the boys were giving her strange looks. She thought that maybe it was because she might have been a little drunk.

A hand stuck out and grabbed Sophia's arm, pulling her back and turning her around. There she saw Spot.

"Leave da poor kid alone will ya?" he yelled at the two who were wrestling. He then looked back at Sophia. "Ya alright, Smalls?"

"Good." he then walked away and I quickly went to my bunk. Shit! That was close. Sophia was almost caught!

The next day when she finished selling her papesm, Sophia stayed in the same place where she was yesterday. She sat down by the side of the road, waiting for Tommy. A man walked passed her and placed a nickel at her feet. She must have looked pretty beat up. Sophia looked at her hands. They were filthy. She felt some of the hair hanging loose from her hat. It was greasy. She waited for hours. Tommy wasn't showing up. Her excitement of meeting up with him dropped to a zero. She looked up and saw that was sun was setting. She knew she would have to be getting back soon, but she wanted to see Tommy so badly. SOphia missed him so much. Not much longer sje forced herself up and walked all the way back to Brooklyn without seeing Tommy. By the time she got back it was already dark. She could hear the boys from inside. They were probably playing poker again. This is her chance, she said to herself. Sophia ran to the docks and looked around. When she saw that no one was in sight she stripped from her clothes and dipped in the water. She covered her mouth, trying not to scream because of how cold the water was.SophiaI dipped her head in all the way, trying to get rid of all the grubbiness. Just as she was about to finish up She grabbed her hair and scrubbed it again, but then she heard the boys coming her way so she quickly jumped back into the water. A few seconds later the boys jumped in and Sophia quickly realized that they were all butt naked. They plashed around, not noticing Sophia under the dock. That was when she heard the footsteps of someone above her. The boys looked up and cheered.

"Heya boys. Spot Conlons here!" The boys then cleared the way as she heard Spot take a running start and drive into the water. Some water plashed her in the face. She ducked down even more. Sophia saw Spot come up a few seconds later. His head went back, whipping some of the water out of his hair. Suddenly SOphia heart started to thump hard. The realization hit her: Spot Conlon was naked.

Sophia stayed there under the dock while they swam. She tried numerous times not to look but she just couldn't help herself but look some of the time. When they were done, Sophia grabbed her things and put her clothes on so fast her head started to spin. She walked back to the lodging house and passed out on her bunk. Today was exhausting!

Chapter Three: A girl in need.

Sophia gazed down the Brooklyn bridge while eating her small serving of wheat bread that she bought for 3 cents. The water ran fast below. She wiped some of the sweat away from her forehead. It was getting hotter. If she could swim she would love to take a dip in that water, but even if Sophia was a good swimmer, that current would be too strong. She shoved the rest of her bread in her mouth. It wasn't much to fill her poor empty stomach but it was enough to get her by. The hot weather didn't help much though, Sophia quickly became thirsty, yearning for that water even more. Suddenly she heard someone call out her name...her nickname of course. Sophia looked to see where the voice had come from and it was Tommy.

"Tommy!" She yelled back at him. Sophia ran to him and gave him a big hug for only a moment until she pushed away. How awkward would that have been if one of the newsie boys from Brooklyn saw two 'brothers' hugging the way they did.

Tommy coughed and then cleared his throat. "Sorry about yesterday. Hows you holdin' up, Smalls?" he asked her.

Sophia smiled, excepting his apology. "I'm doin' fine. You?"

He smiled back. "Fine." He gave her a pat on the back. "So I hears ya met Jack and Race." Sophia nodded. "Manhattan is a real nice place. The lodge there is nice too. Hows brooklyn been treatin' ya?"

Sophia shrugged. "Fine I guess. Then again...ya have to consider the situation I'm in..."

Tommy then got real close to her face and said, "I was wonderin' if ya would like ta go ta Manhattan wit me."

Sophia agreed instantly. "Anything to be you Tom Tom!" She then heard someone clear their throat. SOphia turned around and saw Spot. He had his arms crossed, his head tilted to the side and he tapped his foot. Sophia gulped.

He walked closer to the siblings. "So, Smalls...yous think yous can just walk right outa here eh?" She had nothing to say. "I'm afraid that's just not possible. Once yous in the Brooklyn Gang, always in the Brooklyn Gang. Got that?"

Sophia turned back to Tommy. She didn't want to start anything. "Sorry, Tom Tom. Looks like I gota stay here for now." He nodded, understanding.

"Anyway...hows ya holdin' up, Tom Tom?" asked Spot.

"Just fine." he started. "I'm in Manhattan now."

"Oh yeah? Yous wit Jacky-boy then?" he asked. Tommy nodded. "Yeah...Jacky-boy's a good guy." he stated.

"Yous know em?" asked Tommy.

"Do I?" he started. He smiled and walked closer to them. "I helped Jacky-boy during the Newsie strike." Tommy and Sophia both looked at him with wide eyes. "Don't look at me wit doughs faces. Of course I did! Haven't ya heard?"

Tommy slowly nodded. "We's heard stories ya." he paused for a moment and then continued, "Jack and some of da boys are having a poker night at Medda's tonight. You's all more than welcomed to come."

Spot nodded with that smirk on his face. "Sure, Sure." he said, "I'll come play some poker witcha. What time ta night?"

"Seven." Tommy responded. He lifted up his hand and spat in it. Tommy did the same and they both shook hands. Sophia almost threw up in her mouth when she saw this but shuddered instead, pretending she was cold or something even though it was incredibly hot out.

Later that night at seven Sophia readied herslef to go to Manhattan. She looked around the room and saw that none of the other boys were getting ready. Didn't look like that had any idea about tonight. As she headed to the door, Spot came in front of me. He didn't seem to notice. That was uncalled for, Sophia thought to herself again, but then he looked back and saw her. "You's ready, Smalls?" She rolled her eyes.
"Thats why I'm at the front door." she said bluntly. All he did was laugh a little and they both walked out the door together.

It took a good hour to get to the theater where the rest of the boys were. They could hear singing and laughing as they made their way inside. The place was packed. Sophia suddenly became overwhelmed. She stopped, unable to move.

Spot stopped after a few steps and looked back at her. "You's ok, Smalls?" he asked.

She squinted her eyes and shook her head for a second. "I'm just fine." Sophia told him and walked on ahead of him.

SOphia saw Tommy a little while later and called out to him in the crowd. "Tom Tom!" He turned his head. When he saw her he shot right up and walked right to her to the table. There she saw Jack and Racetrack with another face there she didn't know. They all shook her hand as they sat down, greeting her the newsie way. The boy Sophia didn't know shook her hand last. "The name is Kid Blink, but you's can jus call me Blink if ya want."

They all sat down and talked for a while and played one game of poker. Spot came over with a big thing of whisky in his right hand and sat down to play. By the time the game was over Spot and a few of the other boys went to get another bottle of whisky. After they came back music started to play and a woman dressed in pink and long red hair started to sing. Oh how Sophia envied her. Being able to dress in those clothes, sing and dance in front of all these boys. She was jealous. After a few songs people got up to dance. It was so crowded. Sophia tried to stay in her chair, but she was forced to move after getting bumped into a couple of times. She made her way to the back, not wanting to risk anything.

After the dancing and singing the theater was ready to close. People stumbled out, laughing and mumbling words. Couldn't say the same for Sophia. She thought she was the only sober one there besides a few of the children. She turned around as she heard Spot's laugh. Sophia could hardly believe that it was him. He sounded so different when he laughed hard.

"Smalls!" he grabbed on to her back, trying to make her give him a piggy back ride, but she refused. "Get off of me!" she yelled. Spot backed away.
"Whoooa..." he said slowly, staggering a few feet away from her. "Be nice...stupid..." he fell to his bottom. Sophia rolled her eyes, walked over to him and helped him up. "You owe me for this, Spot Conlon!" She told him. But what good was she doing? Telling him that while he was wasted. She looked to jer right and saw Tommy and his new friends walking in the opposite direction she was going. Great, she thought. I'm stuck with a drunk. And not just any drunk. Spot Conlon the drunk.

Sophia made him put his arm over her and she helped him get back to Brooklyn. Getting over the bridge was the hardest. He kept on wanting to jump off the side. "Hey, Shmalls...I wants ta go swimman!" he laughed.

"Shut up!" She scolded him. "What you need is to sleep it off!"

Spot started to drag his feet even more now. "PSH!...You's need ta shleep it off...Shmalls..." Sophia rolled her eyes yet again. What she really wanted to do was to sock him the face with the heal of her shoe and leave him on the Brooklyn bridge, but the nicer side got the better of her.

When she got back to the lodge, Sophia walked him up to his room. Spot was the only one that had a room to himself, so she didn't have to worry about waking up the boys. She struggled to open the door to his room but manage to do just fine. She kicked the door closed behind her and flopped him on his bed. He moaned. All Sophia could do was look at him and pity him. Why on earth was she pitting this guy? As she was about to walk away Spot took a strong hold of her wrist and pulled her down next to him on the bed. She tried to pull away but he was way stronger than her. Their eyes locked on to each other. What was this feeling Sophia was had in her gut? Suddenly Spot pulled her hat right off and her hair went over her shoulders. Sophia's stomach tightened. She couldn't move. He ran his fingers through her hair a couple of times and touched her cheek. He didn't seem to realize what had happened or possibly who she even was. She guess that was a good thing. He pulled her even closer and kissed her. Sophia tried to pull back again back he wrapped his arms around her and forced his tongue into her mouth. Sophia could taste the whisky on his saliva. She was just about gag and throw up in his mouth but forced everything back. She couldn't complain much though. In a way she enjoyed it. Despite that this was her first kiss...Spot Conlon was good at and in a way she wanted more but she knew that wouldn't be a very smart idea so she pushed herself back. This time she was able to free herself from his grasp and fell to the floor with a thud. She wiped her mouth and looked up at Spot. He was already passed out. She pinned her hair up, grabbed her hat and placed it tightly on top of her head. She picked herself up and left his room without looking back.

The next day Sophia sat at the dock swayed her feet back and forth in the water. She had finished early selling her papes and headed back to Brooklyn. She was tired of being surrounded by so many people in the street. She touched my lips, remembering the night before. It was certainly a close call for her. Sophia's heart felt weird...What was it that she was feeling? Dimmit! It pissed her off! She looked to her side and saw Spot up on his tower. He was touching his lips too and then looked at her, realizing that she was eyeing him. Sophia quickly looked away but it was too late. Spot was climbing down from his tower and walked over to her. She kept her head down.

"Hey Smalls."

She slowly turned her head around and looked up at him. "...Yes?"

"Get up." he ordered. She did as she was told, but kept her head down. "Look at me, Smalls." Sophia reluctantly looked up and met his eyes. "...Yes?" She repeated.

He cleared his throat. "I've noticed some things about cha, Smalls." She gulped. He then pulled out a sling shot and handed it to her. "You's don't gota sling shot. Every one heres gota sling shot. Use it well, Smalls."

"...Thanks." she said quietly, looked down at her new gift.

Spot placed a hand on her shoulder and looked back up at him. "You's an ok kid, Smalls. I think I like ya." he gave her one of his little smirks and walked away.

Sophia let out a breath. She was able to breathe again! Spot was ok with her. She sat back down and examined her sling shot. She had never used one before. She hoped that she was good at it, because it seemed that all the Brooklyn Newsies were good with their sling shots.

Later that day Sophia walked about Brooklyn, picking up good sized rocks for her sling shot and stuffed them into her pocket. She tried out a few targets and missed most of the time but she knew that in time she would get better. She thought for being a girl she was doing a swell job at all of this.

A few days later Spot and her made otheir way to Medda's Theater again. She was not looking forward to another one of Spot's drunken nights. She hoped that it all would turn out differently this time. After a while Sophia found herself laughing and easing up a little. Spot wasn't drinking as much as he did the last time.

"Smalls!" Tommy called out to her.


"I want ya to meet some new friends of mine." She saw a boy with short curly hair and a smaller boy next to him. "This is David," he said pointing to the older one. "And this is Les." Sophia shook their hands.

"It's nice to finally be able to meet ya." said David. Sophia nodded.

"Same here!" said Les. Les was so cute. She wished she could give him a great big hug and have him sit on her lap while they listened to music but that would probably give herself away.

Later on that night everyone was singing right along with Medda. Sophia had to admit. She was good at what she did, She only wished that she could do it too. Just then she felt an awkward filling go through my stomach. She felt something warm and sticky. Sophia stopped breathing for a moment. She looked around, trying to find Tommy. She couldn't find David or Spot either. Then...she saw Les and called out to him. He looked up and gave her a concerned look when he saw how worried she looked.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

"I need to find a place to clean up." She told him.

He looked at her weird. "Clean up?" Sophia nodded. "Awright." he said, "Follow me." Sophia followed Les to the back. He showed her to a door and stood to the side.

"Here ya are, Smalls."

"Thanks." Just as she was about to open the door a man busted out and pushed her back. He was drunk and staggered back to the front not realizing that he ran into her. She looked up and saw Les. His eyes were wide.

"What?" Sophia asked.

He pointed at me and said, "'s a girl?"

Sophia felt the top of her head. Her hat had fallen off and her long brown wavy hair was exposed. She heard herself curse. The two of them couldn't say anything. Just then Medda stopped singing and bid her fans goodnight. Sophia picked up her hat, put it back on, grabbed Les by the hand and ran into the room that Les has just showed her.

The moment Sophia closed the door Les said to her, "Whys you's tryin' ta look like a boy, Smalls?" he asked.

"It's a long story. Look can't tell any of the boys." he nodded. "I have no idea what would happen if I was caught."

"You's can't hid it forever though." he then said.

He was right. "Les...please, go get Medda." He nodded and left Sophia to go get Medda. Spot was probably wondering where she was, but then again, maybe he was too drunk to realize that She was missing.

Sophia looked around the room and saw a sofa. A night stand was right next to it and a few mirrors on the walls. She took a seat on the sofa. This was the softest thing she had sat on since she had got to New York. Sophia sighed as she enjoyed herself for a few minutes. Les then came back with Medda. Sophia sat up straight.

"Who do we have here?" she asked, looking at me.

"That's Smalls." said Les.

Sophia stood up and took off her hat. Medda gasped a little as she saw my hair fall all over me.

"Dear me!" she said. "You're a girl!" Sophia nodded and placed her hands on her hips. "Why on earth are you dressed like a boy?"

Sophia sighed again. "I'm new here in New York. My brother, Tom Tom and I moved here about two months ago."
"Oh, Tom Tom. He's a nice kid, but that still doesn't answer why your dressed like a boy, my dear." she walked up to Sophia and gestured her to sit down with her. Les sat in front of them on the floor.

"The reason why I am dressed as a boy is because my brother, Tommy is worried that if I sell papes as a girl something bad might happen."
"Your brother is right...uh...may I know your real name, Smalls?"
"My name is Anna Sophia, but just call me Sophia."

she nodded. "What a pretty name for such a pretty girl. It's a shame you have to hide it. How old are you?"

"Sixteen." Sophia responded.

"You sure are brave sixteen year-old to be doing all of this. Where are you staying, if you don't mind me asking."
Sophia shook her head. "Nah. I don't mind...I'm stayin' in Brooklyn right now."
"Brooklyn? That's a dangerous place for a person in your situation to be staying at. How do you do it?"

Sophia shrugged. She didn't know how she did it...She just...did it. Another one of those feelings ran through her stomach again. She looked to Les. "Les...why don't ya go meet up with David. I'm sure he's wonderin' where you are." he nodded and walked to the door. "Oh! and Les..." he looked back. "Don't tell anyone about me, Ok?" he smiled and nodded and left.

Sophia turned back to Medda and finally said. "I need certain Items." she told her, hoping that she would get what she meant. Apparently she didn't. "I am on my monthly..." She stated.

"Oh!" she jumped right up, walked over to the closet and pulled out what was needed.

"Come and get me anytime you need me. Don't hesitate." she told Sophia and left the room. Sophia put everything on right then and there, not wasting any time at all. She pinned her hair back up and put on her hat and walked back to Brooklyn. At least now she didn't need to hid her identity with two less people.

Chapter Four: A Brooklyn Newsie girl.

Tommy sat around the table with his new found friends. They ate some muffins and drank some water in the cafe and joked around.

"So, Tom Tom." Started Racetrack. "Hows your lil brotheh holdin' up?" he took a bit of his muffin.

Tommy folded his hands and leaned on the table. "He's doin' ok."

Jack then cleared his throat after taking a drink of water. "If Ise remember right, Spot Conlon kicked you out." Tommy slowly nodded. "Ouch." ended Jack.

David and his little brother then came walking in, taking a seat with the boys. "Heya, David!" shouted Blink. David waved.

They all talked for a while, enjoying each other's company after selling all their papes. The time then came to an end. Too soon it seemed. Tommy gathered up his things, ready to head back to the lodge house.

"Hey Tom Tom!" Tommy turned around and saw David walking up to him. He looked a bit concerned.

"What's up David?"

"Can I talk you for a moment?" he led him over to a corner in the cafe. "Sure. What is it?"

David leaned in more. Tommy listened closely. "Les, my little brother told me last night after Medda's show about your little brother."

Tommy gave him a stern look. "What about em'?"

"I know that Smalls is a girl." he said, hardly making it to even a whisper.

Tommy looked at him wide eyes. "How did you find out? How did Les find out?"

David told him the event that took place the previous night. Tommy could hardly believe it. It was bound to happen sooner or later though. "That's why I'm kind of worried about her." said David. "There are no other girls in Spot's gang. God knows what will happen if her identity is discovered."

Tommy knew then what he had to do. He put his little sister in this situation and he had to get her out of it. "I have to go after her." he said then.

David nodded.

Sophia sat at the dock, her feet in the water again. She eyed her sling shot for the hundredth time and sighed. She wasn't getting anywhere staying here and selling papes. She had to come up with a way to raise money faster. But what could she do? Just then a voice called out to her. She looked to see who it was and her heart lifted. "Tom Tom!" she exclaimed. She ran up to but did not hug him this time. "What are you doing here?" she asked.

Before Tommy could answer, Spot asked the same thing, only his voice was colder.

"Yeah. Why are you here, Tom Tom. Youse belong in Manhattan, remember?" he climbed down from his watchful tower and walked over to the two siblings and crossed his arms.

"I needed to talk to, Smalls." he stated.

"Oh yeah?" he then cleared his throat. "Just to let youse know, Tom Tom, Smalls is my newsie. If youse wanna talk to talk to Smalls, do that when ya sellin' papes. Don't come striding along on my turf." he seemed really irritated. This worried Tommy even more. Spot's attitude made him worry about Sophia even more. How did she put up with him?

Sophia saw the tension between the two and spoke up. "Look, Spot. It's ok. Just let him say has to say."Spot sighed. It wasn't like him at all to let things slide.

Tommy took his little sister by the arm and led her away from Spot's ears. "I heard what happened last night ar Medda's."

Her eyes grew wide. "Who told you?"

"David."She gave him a confused look. "David? But Les and Medda were the only-" then it hit her. "Les told David!" she almost shouted it. They looked back at Spot. He eyed them suspiciously. The turned back to each other and continued to talk.

"It's a good things that he told me." Tommy explained. He moved in closer and whispered lower. "Spot is a dangerous person." he stood back up. "Sorry I got you in this mess. Daiv thought it be best if I came to get you."

Spot heard that part and strode on over, not caring how secretive the conversation was. He was the King of Brooklyn. No one kept secrets to him. Not big ones anyway and this one seemed big. "What do you mean, 'Came to get you'?" Tommy looked at him eye level. The two were both pretty tall. "You heard me, Spot. I came to take my little brotheh."

Spot scoffed. "Didn't I tells youse that no one takes my newsies from me?" he shoved Tommy a little.

"Don't touch me." Tommy warned.

Spot glared at him. "Whata ya gonna do 'bout it, Tom Tom?" he questioned. And with that Tommy pushed him back the same way Spot pushed him. This infuriated Spot. He lost his temper and pulled out his cane. "Get the hell outa my territory!" he shouted. Sophia was scared more than ever now. For her brothers life.

"RUN, SMALL'S!" Tommy Shouted. Like clockwork, Sophia ran. She was too busy making her way out of the docks to notice Tommy and Spot locking hands and shoving each other around.

"STOP HIM!" Sophia heard Spot call out and just like some of Spot's Newsie's stood in her way.

"Where ya goin', Smalls?" said one of them.

She took a few steps back, not sure what to do with herself. She did what she thought was best. The only thing she could do: Run right through them. The plan was faulty though. They were, no doubt, stronger than her. Sophia lost her balance and fell in the water. Everything seemed to move in slow motion for her. She saw her brother call out to her by her nick name, forgetting about Spot and running to her. Lastly she looked to Spot. His face was serious. He clutched his cane hard in his right hand, watching her fall.


Sophia gasped as she came up for air. She coughed when water reached her lungs. She flailed her arms wildly in the water. She was too far out to reach the side of the docks to support herself. She faintly heard her brother call out to her. He dove into the water and pulled her out, draging her out on to the docks. She finished coughing the rest of the water out of her lungs. Her heavy breathes softened. She laid there in her brothers lap, his face filled with concern. "Tommy?" she said.

"Hey, Smalls." he said back to her.

"What the hell is this!" They both heard Spot's voice and froze. He walked up to them. He looked pissed more than ever now. Sophia had lost her hat as she fell into the water. Her long hair was now plastered against her face. Tommy looked up at Spot, unable to find the right words to say. " a goil?" his face full of confusion and annoyance. Tommy gave him one nod in defeat. Spot crossed his arms. He looked to his Newsie's who waited for him to speak again. "Once a newsie of Brooklyn, always a newsie of Brooklyn. Am I right boys?" his newsie's cheered, agreeing with their leader. He then lifted up his cane to silence them and looked down at the two siblings. "Listen Tom Tom. I knows your worried 'bout ya sister...Don't. She's a Brooklyn Newsie now. She's MY newsie. Now...I suggest that youse get yourself on outa here...or else." he tightened his grip on his cane.

Later that night, Sophia sat in the corner of the lodge house, watching the boys play poker. She felt a little bit relived but worried at the same time. She no longer had to hide who she was, but now that all the boys new who she was, she was scared of what all girls feared: Taken advantage of.

"Hey, Smalls!" called one of the boys. They waved their hand for her to come join them for a game of poker. Sophia and walked towards them and sat on a stool, watching them deal the cards. This seemed like their usual routine at night. Drink, play poker and have a hearty time. Sophia found herself yawning and retreating to her bunk but someone put a hand on her shoulder and spun her around. It was Spot.

He gave her one of his little smirks. "Hey, Smalls." he started, moving in closer to her. She tensed up and he noticed. "Don't worry, Smalls. I wouldn't hurt one of my newsie's," he paused. "unless they really deserved it that is." he laughed a little.

"Spot...I'm tired and I need to sell papes in the mornin'." she began to move Spot's hand off of her but he quickly took a hold of her both his hands. "You no longer sell papes, Smalls." She looked up at him in confusion. "Youse gonna tidy this place up for me and me boys. Got it?" His Irish accent sent a shiver down her spine.

"...Ok..." it was all she could manage to say.

Spot smiled at her. "Don't be so tense, Smalls. Ease up a bit. I'm not gonna hurt ya." Spot then loosened his grip on her, his touch more soft now. "Youse no longer hafta stay in the bunk room with da boys. Youse be sleepin' in my room. Got it?" it was an order not a request. Spot led her up stairs to his room. It was a simple room with all the basic necessities. This was the second time that Sophia had seen his room. Spot closed the door behind him, pulling off his suspenders.

"So, Smalls. What's your real name?" he asked.

"Anna Sophia. You can call me Sophia though. Or Smalls. Doesn't matter."

Spot walked up to her and put an arm around her. "Hows 'bout I calls ya whatever I want." he smirked. He walked away from her and placed his cane against the wall and his sling shot down on the small dresser next to his bed. He sat down and the bed squeaked a little when he did. He motioned her to come over to him. She hesitated for a moment. When she was in arms length, Spot pulled her down and put one of his arms around her waist and played with her hair a little with his other. She sat there still and he did this, her hands on her lap, heart then stopped messing with her hair and turned her face to look at him. Her green eyes met his icy blue orbs. They stayed like that for a long moment until Spot finally let her go and laid down next to the wall on the bed. Sophia found this as an opportunity to finally relax. So she did. She rested her head down on the worn out pillow and held her arms close to her chest. Her heart was still beating. Throughout the night Spot turned and wrapped his arm around her, pressing his chest against her back. This stunned Sophia to the point of losing her breath for a moment. She felt the warmth of Spots breath on her ear. The warmth of his body that surrounded her completely. She could get use to this.

Chapter Five: Memories and more trouble.

A few days had passed since the first night she spent with Spot. Now Sophia stood inches away from the Brooklyn King.

"I am not spending another night with you in that bed." she said sternly. She herself could hardly believe the words that she was spitting out at Spot Conlon. Sophia grew tired of him putting his hands comfortably around her as they slept.

Spot tightened fists. "Look, goil, I'm not askin' fer much!"

Sophia scoffed. "What exactly are you asking for anyway?" Spot said nothing. Sophia sighed. "Look, Spot. I'm not one of your whores. You can't have your way with me. She crossed her arms over her chest.

Spot's eyes furrowed. "What? Would you're rather sleep out on that bunk with my Brooklyn boys?"

"I'm getting to that point." She told him. After Spot found out about her being a girl, she could hardly move around the lodge without him looking at her with those lustful eyes of his.

Spot finally threw his hands in the air. "Fine! Have it your way!" He walked over to his bed and plopped down. Sophia sighed again and walked over the bed, looking down at him.

"Change ya mind already, Tootsie?" he said with a wide grin on his face. Sophia glared at him, bent down, took a strong hold of the blanket Spot was laying on and slipped it out from underneath him, making him do a 360 and fall off on the other side of the bed. "Dimmit, goil!" he shouted, shooting up about just as fast as he fell. "Ya tryin' tah kill me?" Sophia grinned and took one of the pillows off the bed and made a neat place for her to lay down on the floor. Spot climbed back on to his bed and looked down at the girl who had just placed herself next to Spot's bed.

"Youse serious, goil?" but he didn't get a reply back from her so he forgot about it and went to sleep himself. "Me thinks I liked ya better as a boy."

The next day Spot woke up before Sophia, or Smalls as he preferred her to. She stilled laid there on the floor fast to sleep. Her hair was sprawled out to one side of her, one arm above her head and the other resting on her stomach. Spot shook his head and rubbed his eyes. It was time to get up and check on his Brooklyn boys.

When Sophia finally woke up that morning she noticed that Spot was gone. She placed a hand on the bed. It was cold. He had been gone for a while now. Sophia slowly got up and stretched. She put the blanket back on the bed and headed down stairs.

An unfamiliar sound hit her ears as she descended from the stairs. Nothing. She smiled to herself. All the newise boys were gone. She had the whole place to herself. She then made her way into the bunk room where the rest of the boys had to sleep and walked on over to the bunk where she used to sleep. She got down on her hands and knees and pulled out her suit case.

Sophia walked back up to Spots room, sat on the bed and opened the case. A few of her outfits laid neatly folded. She pulled those out and placed them all but one dress in an empty drawer in Spot's dresser. She sat back down on the bed and started going through all the pockets in the suit case. The last pocket she checked she pulled out a blue oval shaped sapphire necklace with diamonds surrounding it. A warm smile came to her face. It was her mother's necklace that had been handed down for generations and now it laid in her hands. A few tears fell upon it and Sophia reached up to wipe away the few tears that still ran down her face. This was the last thing she had of her mother. Sophia put the necklace on, grabbed her dress and headed to Spot's private washing room. There she started to pump water into the tin tub and she stripped from her brothers clothes. A mirror stood not far from where she was. Her body looked frail. She could see where the dirt had clung to her body and where it had not. She put her hands on her chest, looked down at them and frowned. To her, it seemed as if those damned breasts of hers would never get any bigger. She sighed and moved her attention to the tin tub. The water was cold but she preferred this more than swimming out by the docks.

After her that, Sophia drained the water and got dressed. She had found a blue ribbon in of the two pockets on her dress and pulled her hair back with it, showing off her delicate features of her face. She smiled at her reflection, trying to cheer herself up but failed and her face went back to a frown. Ever since Spot found out about her being a girl she had become his little 'keeper'. Cleaning up the lodging house and cooking hot meals for the boys. Spot never did thank her for the hard work she had been doing and she was getting fed up with it.

Sophia walked back down stairs and began her cleaning. She started in the bunk room, cleaning up whatever trash the boys left behind. Next came the scrubbing of the floors and dusting out the cabinets and washing the windows. By the time she was done it was already time to cook supper.

"Once a Brooklyn newsie, always a Brooklyn newsie." she mocked Spot's words while cutting up some vegetable for the soup she was making. And just as soon as she had finished the boys came walking back into the lodging house, hungry and ready for a good, hot meal. Spot's newsie's weren't all that bad though. She actually enjoyed some of the newsie boys company.

Sophia walked out of the kitchen and into the dining room and placed the soup on top of the counter. The boys sat up right away and got in line, each holding their bowls to get some soup. When all of the boys got their serving of food Sophia noticed that one person unparticular had not been in line.

"Has anyone seen Spot?" she asked suddenly. Some of the boys shrugged while others got a massive grin on their faces. "Anyone?" she said, hoping someone would answer but no one ever did. She let out a sigh and got a serving of soup for herself.

Later that night Sophia laid on the floor again. She stirred in her sleep as she heard giggling and then someone tripping up the stairs. The door swung open so fast she felt the air from it brush up against her.

"C'mon!" It was Spot whispering loudly and then a giggle of a girl. She heard them go into the wash room then. For a moment it was quiet but she soon started to hear groaning and moaning and once in a while a few thumps would sound on the wall. Sophia could hardly stand it and flopped the pillow over her head for the rest of the night.

In the morning Sophia woke up with a giant headache. Damn that Spot Conlon, She thought to herself as she got up. Not soon after she woke did Spot wake up as well, slowly opening up the wash room door and leaning to the side, holding his head.

"And how was your night?" she asked, putting the bed together.

"Shut up." Spot told her.

"You missed out on supper." she said, turning around to face him.

"Why do youse keep talkin'?" he said, walking over to his bed.

"Why do you keep bringing home whores?" she was stunned at the fact that she called this place 'home'. Spot didn't answer her after that, instead he flopped on his bed and fell fast to sleep.

Sophia stood above the bed, looking down at him. He seemed like he was under a lot of stress and it didn't look like it was coming from the hangover either.

Chapter Six: Song of Memories.

Sophia walked the streets of Brooklyn. She had just finished doing to some grocery shopping. She won't able to get much despite the fact that Spot hadn't given her much money in the first place, then again he was trying to make a living too and the money he was giving her was all his earnings. She sighed at the five pennies that laid in her hands and then stuffed them back down into her dress where the money laid safely in her bra.

Just then she walked passed a certain store that made her take a double take and walk back. Her eyes lit up when she was the music store. She didn't think that Brooklyn would have such a place. She hurried on in to the music store. The place had a pleasant smell to it: Honey. It reminded her of home. She remembered the sweet food her mother would make. Sophia found herself thinking more about home. Her New then she would remember why she left. Her brother and her would be left in the hands of her uncle. She hated her uncle and all the things he was worth. He was a greedy man who wanted nothing more that her familie's money.

"I don't think we have anything in here for you missy." said a middle aged man who looked to be the store owner. Sophia probably looked like a worthless, poor teenager. On second thought, she did, but that didn't stop her from walking further into the store.

Her heart stopped for a moment when she saw the only piano in the building. It stood a few feet away from the front store window. She set her things down and sat down in front of the piano. She hadn't touched on since the time of her parent's and baby brother's death. She softly ran her fingers across the keys. They were smooth. She closed her eyes and began to play, not caring who saw.

When she finished playing she let out a deep sigh. Her mother had taught her that song. She opened her eyes and saw a face all too familiar looking at her from outside the store window. It was Spot Conlon. She nearly fell out of her seat when she saw him. She stood away from her seat, picked up her bag of food and headed out the door. She looked to her left and saw Spot still standing there, smiling at her. She rolled her eyes and headed in the other direction.

"Where ya goin' Smalls? The lodging house is the other way." Spot said whiling running up to her.

"Don't you think I know that?" she was trying to avoid him but that was impossible.

"Why youse tryin' tah walk away from me?" he reached for her shoulder but she brushed him off.

"Why do you keep talking to me?" she walked even faster now.

"Why do you keep giving me the cold shoulder?"

Sophia stopped in her place and glared up at Spot. This didn't seem to bother him though for he could only smile at her. He was used to her angry looks. "Can't you see I want to be alone right now?"

Spot nodded. "Yeah."

"Then why do you keep bothering me?" she turned to walk away again but Spot pulled her back.

"Brooklyn streets aint safe, Smalls?"

Sophia rolled her eyes at him. "Like you care! You send me out on my own all the time to get food!"

"Yeah, well...that was before you stopped wearing your brotheh's clothes. Now ya so pretty."

Sophia tried not to blush but couldn't help it so she hid her face with the brown paper bag. "Leave me alone, Spot." she said quietly.

Spot bent towards her a little. "Whacha say, Smalls?"

"...Go away." she repeated, a little louder than the first time.

"Too bad, Kid." Spot snatched the paper bag out of her hands. "I'm walkin' youse back to the lodge." He grabbed her wrist and lightly pulled her back to the lodging house. While walking back, Sophia kept her head down. She wasn't use to a man leading her. A man? She thought. Sophia looked up a little and saw that Spot was looking straight ahead. The wind blew back his hair, showing off his nicely shaped chin. She felt herself blush and looked back down.

When they reached the lodging house, Spot placed the brown paper bag back into her arms."Do you have money left over, Smalls?" he asked.

"Oh!" Sophia turned around and pulled the money out from her bra, turned back around and placed the five cents in Spot's reached out hand.

He raised an eyebrow and then looked down at the money. "It's warm." he smirked. Sophia growled under breathe. Spot laughed. "See youse latter, Smalls." he walked off leaving Sophia to do whatever she normally did throughout her day.

Sophia couldn't believe the nerve of that guy. She turned around and stormed into the lodging house. There she made her way to the kitchen and put the food away.

The next few days passed peacefully which was a surprise to Sophia. Spot hadn't given her much crap since he walked her back to the lodging house. Either she was growing soft on him and not being irritated as much while she was in the same room with him, or Spot had something up his sleeve...or maybe it was both.

Sophia sat out on an empty dock by herself. She had finished her chores early and wanted some fresh air. The newsie boys were off doing whatever they did in the Brooklyn streets. Some were still trying to sell their papes while others did some gambling. She hummed the soft tune that she had played on the piano. It gave her comfort. She too busy humming to herself to notice the person standing above her.

"Nice song, Smalls?"

Sophia sat up and brushed off any dirt that may have gotten on her dress. "What do you want, Spot?"

Spot put his hands up in defense. "Whoa! Easy. Just thought Id tells youse that there another party goin' on at Medda's tah night. Your brotheh is gonna be there. Do youse wanna go?"

"With you?"

Spot rolled his eye. "Jeez goily! It's not like it's a date or somethin'." Spot moved closer to her. "Unless ya wants it to be." he smirked and brushed his fingers through her hair once. Sophia stepped back, almost falling off and into the water. Spot grabbed her just in time and pushed her up against him. "Careful goily." Sophia uncomfortably pushed him back. "Youse comin' wit me or not?" he was getting impatient. One of the many irritating things that Spot did best.

Sophia took in a breathe. "Yes." she finally said.

Spot smiled. "Good. We leave at seven. Forget 'bout supper. The boys can handle themselves for one night." With that he walked away.

Sophia was a little shocked by the way Spot was acting towards her. Did he want something? Or was he simply trying to clean up his act? No way! She thought. Spot Conlon would NEVER clean up his act for a girl!

Later that night and 7PM sharp, Spot came walking into his room to find Sophia sitting on her bed. A smirk spread across her face. "I like this image." he suddenly said, making Sophia perk right up.

"Well then why don't you take a picture." she told him, annoyance in her voice.

"Ok!" Spot put up both of his hands as if ready to snap a shot of the beautiful girl that sat on his bed. "CLICK!" he said.

Sophia scoffed and threw a pillow across the room at him. Spot quickly grabbed it and playfully tosed it back her, hitting her square in the face.

"Spot Conlon!" she growled. All Spot did was laugh.

"C'mon, Smalls. Don't keep me watin'. Youse ready to go yet?" She nodded. "Then come on!" he motioned her to follow him and she did.

When they got to Medda's Sophia ran up to Tommy and hugged him tightly. It had been a few weeks since she last saw him. "Whoa! Tom Tom, whose this pretty face?" asked Racetrack.

"This here is my sister." he put around Sophia shoulders.

Racetrack looked at him with wide eyes. "Ya sister? Youse never told me ya had a sister!"

Tommy laughed. "This is Sophia. You've already met her, but during that time she was known at Tony."

Racetrack looked at Sophia then at Tommy and then back Sophia. "Youse serious, Tom Tom!"

Tommy laughed again. "Yeah. When we foist arrived in New York I made her dress as a boy." just then Spot made his way through the crowed and joined in on the conversation.

"Heya fella's!" he looked at Sopia. "And goily!"

Tommy sighed. "I made her dress like a boy, that is, until Spot discovered."

Racetrack made a big 'O' with his mouth when he heard this.

After that they all sat down at a table with Jack, Boots, Blink and a girl that Sophia didn't know. She was sitting awfully close to Jack. When she saw Sophia her eyes lit up. "Oh! You must be Sophia. Tommy's little sister. David told Jack and I about you." she held out her and Sophia shook it. "My name is, Sarah. It's nice to finally be able to meet you." she smiled.

Sophia wondered to herself, How can someone be that happy and smiley all the time? It kind of annoyed her.

After a couple of minutes of hearing a conversation go around the table, Sophia felt a arm wrap around her waist. She tensed up. "Ease up, Smalls." She felt Spot whisper in her ear. She was used to Spots touch so she didn't get all mad or pissed off about it when he would pull something like this. In fact, she rather enjoyed it and she was beginning to hate herself for it.

When the music started to play and Medda came out from behind the curtains, ready to sing and dance like she always did, Spot stood up fast, pulling Sophia up with him.

"What are you doing, Spot?"

"What does it look like, goily? Look around ya. Every ones dancin'. Have some fun!" he pulled her away from the table and into the crowed. He put one hand on her on her waist while the other held one of her hands into the air, making her spin occasionally. She had to admit. Spot was a pretty good dancer and she was actually enjoying herself for once. She laughed. "There wr go!" Spot said to her as he started to spin her again.

"I'm gonna get dizzy Spot!" she tried to hold back her laughter.

Spot laughed. "No worries there, Tootsie. I'll catch ya if youse fall." The words felt comforting to her and she continued to let Spot lead her. Just then the crazy music stopped and Medda began to sing a soft song. It seemed to be the last song of her performance. Spot slowed their dance down and pulled Sophia close to him. By this time she didn't mind being this close to him.

Spot then leaned in and whispered something in her ear. "Youse havin' fun, Sophia?" she was a little surprised that he called her by her real name.

"That's the first time you've said my real name."

Spot shrugged. "Yeah?...Don' get used to it though, goily." he smirked and leaned in so close that their lips almost touched and soon enough they did.

Sophia was overcome by this new touch. It was much different from when he first kissed her when he was drunk. Now this is how it should have been the first time, Sophia thought.

Just then she pulled away from him. He gave her a confused look. What was she doing? "What's wrong?" he asked her. Sophia didn't answer him, instead she headed to the doors and out on to the streets to go back to Brooklyn. Spot was hot on her heals. "Where ya goin', Smalls?" he called out to her as he followed her down the empty street. It was now dark out and most of the city people had gone home.

"I'm going back to the lodging house!" she said to him with a harsh tone.

"What?" Spot spat out, unable to believe what he was hearing. "Ise thought we'se was havin' such a good time togetheh though."

Sophia spun around, ready to face him. "That's exactly it!" she told him.

"Youse actin' crazy, Smalls!"

Tears started to form on her eyes. Not now! She thought. I can't let Spot see me cry! She said something under her breathe but Spot couldn't hear her.

"Whahca say, Smalls?" he inched up closer to her. Sophia shook her head and started to walk away again but Spot grabbed her arm and pushed her up against the brick wall. "Whats the matter?" he asked quietly into her ear, his body slightly pressed up against hers. Spot noticed a few tears fall. He lifted her face up by her chin with one of his fingers. "...Sophia?" her eyes were closed. She refused to look him the eyes. "C'mon, goily. Open yer eyes." slowly, but surely, she did and with that a few more tears escaped from her eyes. "Smalls?" his voice was filled with concern and he wiped away some of the tears that still lingered on her soft white cheek. Her green eyes shimmered when the moon light hit them.

She looked back down, took in a breath and finally said. "I don't want to get attached to you..."

"What?" Spot asked with concern that still lingered in his voice.

"To put it bluntly..." she started. "I...I don't want to fall in love with you..." Her voice trailed off and she hung her head even more. She tried to pushed away Spot then but his hold was too strong. It didn't look like she was going anywhere.

"Why?" he asked.

Sophia gave up and looked up to meet his eyes. "I don't want to love someone who brings girls back to his room. It's disgusting." Spot finally looked away from her and looked towards the street. He had nothing to say. "Will you let me go now, Spot?"

Spot turned his attention back to her and slowly released her. "Let me walk you home at least." Sophia nodded weakly. She was tired from all that dancing and would need someone strong like Spot by her side as she walked back to the lodging house. Spot slowly put his hand in hers and by his surprise, she didn't pull away this time.

Chapter Seven: Close encounters.

Sophia stood at the top of the stairs, holding on to her raggedy teddy bear, the only real comfort she could possibly have. She could hear screaming down stairs. Her Mama and a man, but it wasn't Papa. Suddenly she heard a crashing sound and the door to the upstairs swung open and hit the side of the wall. Sophia ran to her bedroom as she heard the footsteps walking up. Her closed my bedroom door fast and sat on my bed, holding on to my teddy bear even tighter now. My heart pounded faster and faster with every second as the footsteps stopped at her bedroom door. For a moment it was quiet. Sophia took in a breathe and finally her door swung open. There stood a tall, plump man. His beard reaching down to his black suit. The look in his eyes scared her the most. Suddenly she realized that she was holding her breath and released all the air she had been holding in. The man closed the door and smiled at her, telling her that everything was going to be ok, but she knew something was wrong, no matter what he said. He sat on her bed and ran his fingers through her hair, telling her how pretty she was and then he placed his hand on my lap. She snapped. She screamed and she clutched on to my teddy bear...he smacked her. HELP ME! MAMA! DON'T LEAVE ME HERE! DON'T LEAVE ME ALONE! MAMA! PAPA! TOMMY! PLEASE, DON'T CLOSE THE DOOR!

"Smalls?...Smalls!" Sophia snapped her eyes open and saw Spot looking above her with a worried look in his eyes. "Youse ok, Smalls? Youse were havin' some crazy dream." A few tears ran down the side of Sophia's face and she quickly wiped them away. "Yeah...I'm ok." she answered him. She sat up in bed and then realized that she had spent the night in the same bed as Spot.

"Sure don' look like youse ok." he sat up as well.

Sophia sighed and stood up from the bed. "Well I am." she started putting on her shoes and socks.

Spot repositioned himself on the bed, a serious look lingered in his eyes. "Ise don' believe ya."

"Believe what you want, Spot." she now laced up her boots.

"Listen, Smalls...if youse eveh need ta talk-" before he could finished, Sophia cut him off.

"Talk to you?" she said in disbelief. "I'd rather talk to the wall. At least it doesn't say any smart remarks back at me." she finished lacing up her boots and stood up. "I have work to do."

Before she could walk away, Spot got off the bed and grabbed on to her wrist. She looked back him with an irritated look in her eyes. Spot couldn't say anything. This girl was getting to him. Usually he always had something to say, but this girl was stopping him dead in his tracks. And she wasn't even trying! That was the sad part.

Spot watched Sophia walk out the door, unable to say a single word to her. It kind of pissed him off. He knew something was wrong and knowing Spot Conlon, he was going to figure out what that something was.

When Sophia got down stairs the boys were already gone and selling their papes. She got right down to business and started cleaning things up. There wasn't much to clean up though. After a while working hard this place was starting to look really nice, but to keep herself preoccupied she would occasionally scrub the floors, wipe the counters and dust, just to keep up cleanness and to keep her from being incredibly bored out of her mind.

"So, Smalls. What do youse plan on cookin' for supper?" Sophia turned around and saw Spot standing at the intrance of the kitchen door. Sophi scoffed. "It' a simple question, Doll face." spot walked up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. Sophia spun around, her hair wipping Spot in the face as sh did so. "I'm cleaning, Spot. Leave me alone. Don't you have papes to sell?"

"Well well. Here you are, bein' all feisty and yet this mornin' youse was all scared. Talk about mood swings." Spot said that last part under his breath, but it was loud enough for Sophia to hear.

"Don't try to criticize me, Spot Conlon. I have plenty of dirt on you!

"Spot got an offensive look on his face. "Are you treating me, goily?" Spot got closer to her, pushing her up against the kitchen counter a little.

Sophia suddenly felt overwhelmed and looked down to her feet. "Please, Spot. Don't do this."

Spot took a step back and then brushed his fingers through her hair once and then cupped the side of her face and lifted it up to meet his. "I wouldn't hurt you Smalls. Your too sweet and innocent for me. I kinda like that. Keep up the good work kid!" Spot then left the room.

What was that all about, wondered Sophia.

Chapter Eight: Confrintation.

Sophia stood in the kitchen, a place she always seemed to be, cooking up some stew. Suddenly two hands took a hold of her waist. Her heart jumped, ready to turn around and slap someone with her spoon, but it was Spot and she eased up a bit. He had been doing this a lot lately. What was with him. She knew he was a womanizer, that much was true, but ever since the night at Medda's Spot hadn't brought back any girls and she didn't even hear Spot's Newsies talking about his crazy late nights with girls. Spot brought Sophia closer to him and put his face next to hers. "GO away Spot. I'm cooking. DO you want your food or not?"

"Yes." he answered.

Sophia sighed. "Then I suggest you let me go."

Spot pondered this thought. "Eh. I'se rather not." She felt his lips curve into a smirk on her neck. "Can I kiss you?" he then asked.

Sophia's heart raced. "What? No!" Spot refused to be said no to though and tried kissing. Sophia reacted quickly though and turned around and pushed Spot back. Smacking him lightly with the back of her wooden spoon. Soup juice trailed down slowly on the side of his face. He quickly grabbed a rag laying on a stool behind him and he cleaned up his face.

He then started to laugh which confused Sophia. Usually Spot would get annoyed by this and do something to get back at her, but no, all he did was laugh and then said, "Cute, Smalls. Real cute."

A few seconds later one of Spot's newsie boys came bursting through the door. Spot and Sophia both looked at him."Spot! Come quick! Yous gonna wanna see dis!" Spot looked back Sophia who looked as confused as her and then headed out to the main room with Sophia following close behind. There he and Sophia saw an injured newsie boy. He only looked to be about nine. The poor boy looked like he just got the shit kicked out of him.

"What the hell happened?" asked Spot.

A boy who looked a little older than spot said, "Some boys from Queens spotted him in their territory and did this to him!" The poor boy had bloody cuts on his arms and face and black eye.

"Well theys aint gettin' away wit dis!" Spot's voice was strong. "C'mon boys! Let's soak those boys in queens!" All the boys agreed in unison and quickly started heading out the door. Spot was suddenly stopped though when a hand grabbed on to his shirt and pulled him back. It was Sophia.

"What?" Spot asked her.

She looked up at him with serious eyes. "You can't go."

Spot shook Sophia's hand off and said, "The hell I can't! Did ya see what they did to my newsie boy? Theys aint gettin' away with dat dammit!"

Sophia sighed. She knew very well that when Spot had his mind made it up there was no stopping him, but she tired nonetheless. "It's dangerous, Spot."

"So? I don't care!"

"And it stupid!" she said. Her voice sounded more irritated this time.

Spot was the one to sigh this time. "It may be stupid but what they did was wrong and those boys from Queens wont be gettin' away with that they did." None of them spoke for a few seconds after that. "Look, Smalls...take care of this little guy for me, will ya?" he pointed back at the boy laying slumped in a chair. "I'll be back. Don't youse worry 'bout me, doll face. I'm the King of Brooklyn!" with that Spot turned around and left, leaving Sophia with the little boy to take care of.

Sophia picked up the little surprised by how light he was and carried him to the bunk room and laid him down. She went to the kitchen and got a bowl of semi hot water and a clean rag to clean up the boys cuts. So much for working on a nice hot dinner. No one would be here to enjoy it and she wasn't all that hungry anymore. Sophia went back to the boy and started cleaning up his scratches. She started with his hands and worked her way up. She then slipped off the boys shirt and gasped a little. He had more bruises on him then she thought. She dipped the rag in the water again and softly started cleaning off his chest. When she was done she got the boy a new shirt to wear. It was a bit big for him but it would have to do for now. Sophia tucked the boy in his white sheets and sat down on the floor by the foot of the bed. She figured that it best to just stay here by his side, in case he needed anything through the night. An hour passed and she began to get tired. She slumped her back down and fell to sleep. She woke up the next morning to find that Spot and his boys had not returned yet. She was really worried now. "Ouch." she quietly said to herself. She rubbed the back of her neck and winced in pain. Sleeping like this was not very smart of me, she thought to herself. She put a hand on her chest and felt the sapphire under her shirt. She pulled it out and started to look at it.

"That's a real pretty treasure, miss." said a small voice. Sophia shoved the necklace back into her shirt and looked at the little boy who was now awak. "It was my mothers." she told him. Just then Spot's Newsie's came walking through the door. They all looked pretty beat up and tired. Sophia stood up and walked up to all of them. "Are you boys going to be ok?"

"Yeah. We'se be fine little missy." said a boy about her age, leaning up against a wall. Spot then came walking in last. He looked pretty beat up with his bruises and his black eye.

Sophia ran up to him. "Spot! Are you ok?"

Spot got a huge smirk on his face. "Hah! Yeah. We showed those boys in queens what was what." he then lost his balance a little and slumped back. Sophia grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him forward. Spot got his balance back then moved past Sophia. "Yeah still got dat soup, Smalls?"

"Uhmm...yeah.""Good. Me newsie boys and me are gonna need it."

Sophia sighed. She put her hands on her hips and smiled a little. These boys were so reckless. They didn't care about a few scratches. All they wanted was the soup! Sophia walked into the kitchen and started heating up the soup. She brought a bowl for the boys one by one. Lastly she served the little boy that was still laying in his bunk bed, but then where was none left for her. Oh well, she thought. They need it more than me anyway. Sophia sat down on of the chairs in the main room. She was tired from standing on her feet and she was tired from the crappy sleep she got the other night. Just then a bowl popped out in front of her face. "Have the rest." said Spot. Sophia reconsidered her offer but he wouldn't take no for an answer and shoved the bowl of soup into her face more. "Eat it dammit." "...Ok." she took the bowl that had half the soup left in it and started to slurp it down.

Spot soon stood up and strechted. "We'se can't stop here boys! We'se still gots our papes ta sell. C'mon! Get up!" he ordered them. One-by-one they followed Spot out the door and Sophia was left to clean up all the bowls. She didn't mind though. She was getting used to all of this. Sophia went back into the kitchen and started washing everything up. When she was done she went back to the little boy to ask if he need anything.

He shook his head and simply said. "Can you tell me a story?"

Surprised by his request she nodded and sat down on the side of the bed. The boy smiled up at her little, getting ready for her story. Sophia took a breath and then said, "Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Anna. She had a mamma a pappa an older brother and even a baby brother. Now Anna was grew up in a nice home with a nice family. SHe had plenty to eat and lots of friends. She even went to school and got good grades, but things started to turn around for Anna. Her parent's suddenly left her baby brother and the only sibling she had left was her big brother. Anna and her bother were sent to live with their uncle, but he was mean and grumpy, so they decided to leave."

The boy then got a surprised look on his face. "You mean they ran away?"

Sophia smiled. "Yes. They did, and do you know where they ran away to?" The boy shook his head. "To New York city!" The little boy smiled and giggled a little. "When they got to New York they decided to head to Brooklyn, and do you know who they met there?" Again the little boy shook his head. "They met a king!" The little boys face lit up. "It's true. They did, but the King wasn't one to trust people so easily. So he put the two siblings up to a test."

"What was the test?" The little boy asked.

"They had to find him a thousand golden rings each in one week! Anna succeeded in doing this, but her brother did not, so he was cast out of Brooklyn and went to live in Manhattan. Months passed and Anna grew closer and closer to the King. She occasionally went saw her brother too. Things started to change for Anna though. She began to have strange dreams about her past. The King saw that she was frustrated and tried to comfort her, but she pushed him back, not wanting to bother him with her troubles..." Sophia stopped after that.

"And then what happened?" asked the boy.

Sophia looked at the boy and could only smile. She said, "I don't know yet." she said to him truthfully.

"Will you tell me when you think of more?" he asked.

"Of course!" said Sophia. She smiled at him and kissed him on the forehead. The little boy snuggled into his blankets and closed his eyes, resting up more. Sophia was tired too, despite the fact that it was only a little after noon, she had a bad night's sleep and her hurt neck was not helping it at all.

Sophia walked up to Spot's room and walked on over to the dresser. She took out a clean skirt and shirt and walked into Spot's shower room. There she stripped from her clothes, feeling the air in the room brush up against her naked skin. Suddenly Spot came walking in the room. He stopped dead in his tracks when he was Sophia butt naked in his shower room. The only thing she had covering herself with her long skirt that she held up fast to cover up her most private areas. "Get out!" she yelled. She picked up a bar of soap and threw it at Spot but he closed the door in time and soap hit the door instead. She couldn't believe that Spot was back already. He was pretty fast at selling his papes though. He could have them all sold within a few hours even if he slacked at it. "Uh...Sorry!" she heard him say from behind the door. Sophia rolled her eyes and started up the water. After of her bath, Sophia dried herself off and put on her clean clothes. When she walked into Spot's room she found him sitting on his bed.

"About time." he said. "I have to take a major piss!" Spot ran to the bathroom and within a few moments he came back out again. Sophia looked him up and down. "You look like crap." she said to him.

Spot smiled. "I feel like crap." he said back to her and went to lay back down on his bed. Sophia was worried about him and walked down to the kitchen and got a bowl of water and a lean rag. She figured she would clean up his scratches for him. When she got back to his room Spot wasn't on his bed anymore. He was in the bathroom again, but this time it sounded like he was getting a bath ready.

"Oh thank god." she to herself. "I guess I won't be needing this then." she said looking down at the bowl of water and rag. She placed it on the dresser that was next to the bed and then sat down. A few minutes later Spot came walking out. His hair was wet and parts of his bangs were stuck against the side of his face. Sophia then found herself blushing when she realized that Spot didn't have on a shirt, just pants and his suspenders swayed from side-to-side as he made his way to the bed. He had a pretty nice build to him. No too buff and not too skinny. He was just Sophia's type.

Sophia sat up and grabbed the bowl of water and sat down next to Spot. "Let me see that eye of yours.""What?" he said.

"You have a black eye. Let me look at it."

"Whatever." Spot leaned in closer to Sophia she rubbed his eyes lightly. "Ouch! Be more careful. That hurts!"

"Stop moving so much then." she told him. After she was done with his eye she looked down at his hands. They still looked pretty bad so she decided to clean those up too.

"What are you doing?" Spot asked her.

"Since you are incapable to clean yourself properly, I shall do it for you." she started to clean the scratches on his hands.

"I clean myself just fine." Sophia laughed at this. "What's so funny?" he asked.

"Nothing, Spot. Nothing." When she was almost done she said to him, "You need to be more careful, Spot."

"What are you? My mother?"

Sophia looked up him with a concerned look in her eyes. "No, but I'm your friend and you need to more cautious. I mean, what if you got into such a bad fight that you were no longer able to anything for yourself? You won't always have me here to back you up."

The moment went from small bickering between the two to a serious conversation about ones well being.

"Listen, Smalls. I'm the King of Brooklyn and that's that!"

Sophia set the bowl of water down on the floor. "Oh yeah? And how long will you live up to that name? Another year? Maybe two?" Spot had nothing to say. He hated it when she did this to him because she was right. Sophia scoffed when she realized that Spot was going to say anything back to her. "That's exactly what I thought." she stood up from the bed, but Spot grabbed on to her hand and pulled her back down next to him.

"Your right, Sophia. Your absolutely right."

Sophia was surprised to hear this come out of this mouth. "I am?"

Spot leaned in and rested his forehead on top of hers. "Sometimes I'se just don't think clearly. When someone important to me get's hurt by another, I'se don't think clearly."

"I can understand that, Spot. I saw it this morning."

Spot took a hold of Sophia's hands and held on to them. "Look, Smalls. I really appreciate what youse do for me. I'se been trying to be a betteh person for youse too. After that night at Medda's, I'se been thinkin' a lot. About us I mean."

Sophia's heart began to beat fast. "What abot us?" she said to him.

Spot sighed. "Dammit goil! Isn't it obvious? Youse really gonna make me come out and say it just like dat?"

Sophia smiled. "Sure. Why not?"

"Dammit goil..."Spot took in a deep breath. "I'se think I'm fallin' for ya."

"Hmm? What was that, Spot." Sophia started to tease him even though she heard him clearly.

"I said I'se fallin' for ya goil. I want ya ta be my woman." It was quietly for a while between the two.

"Spot...?" said Sophia."Yeah?"

"...You can have that kiss now."

Spot smiled and put his arms around Sophia and kissed her softly. It was a slow kiss, but it was a deep kiss. The two of them then broke apart. The air they had lost was consumed by their kiss and they breathed for some air. They were finally realizing their feeling for each other and it was all just a matter of when.

Chapter Nine: The signs.

Tommy stood in a huge crowd of people who watched a boxing match while he

sold his papes. "Extra Extra! Nude body found in the streets of Queens!

Extra, extra!" With that two men walked up to him, each handing him a dim

for the paper. Tommy walked around the area some more, seeing some of his other

newsie friends, like Jack Kelly and Ractrack sell their papes. Tommy then felt

a terrible pain in his stomach and started to cough. Blood splattered out on to

his left hand. He looked down at his now bloody hand.

"Youse ok, Tom Tom?" asked Blink, walking up to him and resting a

hand on his shoulder. Tommy hid his hand away from Blink's sight and said,

"Yeah. I'm fine. Just a little cold. That's all." he gave him a small

smile and then continued to sell the rest of his papes.

Towards the end of the day, Tommy made his way back to the lodging house. He

laid down in his bunk right away, too tired to play cards with the boys. The

thought of getting sick filled his head. Great! Just what I need, he

thought to himself. He knew he would have to take it easy from now on until he

got better. What Tommy wanted more than getting better though was seeing his

little sister, Sophia. He hadn't seen her since Medda's. He wished he could go

see her, but he knew better enough not to march right into Spot's territory.

The thought of His sister being there by herself with Spot worried him. Tommy

didn't know him all that well except for the fact that he was feared by a lot

of newsie boys. Tommy closed his eyes then, letting sleep overcome him.

*sophia's pov*

Sophia walked the streets of Brooklyn doing a little grocery shopping. The

sun was out and it was bright. There was a blue sky with big white fluffy

clouds. She then thought of Tommy. She remembered when her and Tommy lived

happily with their little family. Tommy and her would sometimes sit outside and

point out different shapes the clouds made. It brought a smile to her face as

she walked over to a small park sat down, enjoying the warm air.

It's going

to be fall soon, she thought to herself.

All this nice weather will be

gone soon.

"Smalls!" A familiar voice called out to her. She turned to see

who it was and by her surprise it was Ractrack. What was he doing in


He took a seat next to her on a bench Sophia sat on. "How ya been

goily?" he asked.

She smiled. "I've been ok. Thanks for asking. How have you

been?"Racetrack smirked. "Oh ise been ok, fer the most part

anyway.""That's good. Oh! Tell me, how is Tom Tom? I haven't seen him

in a while. I miss him."Racetrack nodded. "Yeah he misses ya too.

Say, Medda's having another show ta night. Why don't ya come.""Sure!

I'd love to, but...""But what?"

"I don't know if Spot will let me."Racetrack scoffed. "He'll

have ta! Beside's I'm sure he'll say yes. He loves Medda's place."Sophia

laughed a little. "Your right." She then got a curious look on her

face. "Race...why are you here in Brooklyn?"Racetrack got an uneasy

look on his face. "Uh...ya see...I uh...Da truth is, Smalls, Tom Tom's not

feelin' so well, I mean, he hasn't told any of us boys yet, but, I has a

feelin' somethin's up with him."

Sophia's heart started to ache. "Is Tom Tom sick? I should go see him

now." She shot up but Racetrack calmed her down.

"Don't youse worry ya pretty lil head, missy. I'll let Tom Tom know yer

comin'." Sophia nodded, understanding.

"Goin' where?" Racetrack and Sophia both looked to their right and

saw Spot.

"Spot! Hows it rollin'?" Racetrack put out his hand but Spot

ignored it. "...Ok then." he said pulling hand back to his side.

Spot looked over to Sophia. "Where are you going?"Sophia looked

down at her bag of food and said, "Race says that Medda is having another

show tonight. I was going to ask you as soon as I got back to the lodging

house. Honest."Spot smiled, getting rid of the stern look on his face and

walked up to Sophia and put an arm around her. "Sure you can go, in fact

Ise think I'll go too."

"Awright then!" said Racetrack. "See youse both ta night

then." With that, Spot and Sophia both watched Racetrack leave.

Spot then turned to Sophia. "Ise thought I told ya not to go walkin'

'round Brooklyn dressed like a goil. Your way too damn pretty!"

Sophia blushed at Spot's comment. "I'll be fine, Spot."Spot

scoffed. "Yeah sure. Until some creep comes 'round and snatches you from


Sophia couldn't help but laugh. By this time they were walking back to the

lodging house. "Spot, you don't own me."

"Sophia, youse gotta take my word for it when I tell you not go out

alone dressed like a goil." Sophia knew that Spot was dead serious when he

used her real name to talk to her.

"Ok, Spot." She sighed as they passed by the Brooklyn bridge. Spot

then grabbed on to Sophia's hand and pulled her over on to the bridge.

"S-Spot? What are you doing?" Spot leaned up against one of the

rails on the bridge. "Ise don't feel like goin' back to the lodge house

yet."Sophia then handed her bag of groceries to Spot. "Hold this then.

My arms are killing me." Spot took the bag and Sophia leaned up against

the rail the same as Spot.

"There is something you want to tell me isn't there?" asked


Spot sighed and leaned his head back. "Yeah."

"What is it?" she asked him.

Spot put his head back down and looked over at Sophia. "Ise been

wonderin' fer a while, but never really got the chance to ask ya...Where did

you come from?"

"Where did I come from?" She repeated Spot's question.

Spot nodded. "Yeah. I mean...if yer my goil now, I should know these

things, right?"

Sophia blushed. She loved hearing Spot call her 'his goil'. "If you

really want to know, Tommy and I are from New Orleans."

Spot's eyes got big. "No kiddin'? What made ya two wanna come ta New


Sophia sighed. "Long story." she pinned part of her hair back

behind her ears.

"I like stories." said Spot with a big grin.

Sophia rolled her eyes and sighed. "I have my secrets too, Spot."

Spot then got a disappointed look on his face. "Aw man! Youse aint gonna

tell me?"

Sophia shook her head. "Sorry, Spot. Maybe some other time. C'mon though.

Let's get back to the lodging house, I'm sure your newsies are wondering where

you are." Sophia took a hold of Spots hand and they walked the rest of the

way back to the lodging house together.

Later on that night sophia, Spot and some of the Brooklyn newsie boys all

walked to Medda's. The place was packed as usual. Everyone sang and danced

along with Medda. Soon, within the crowd, Sophia found Tommy and called out his

name. The two siblings hugged and asked one another how they were doing.

"How have you been, Tom Tom? I've missed you so much!"

Tommy smiled down at hi little sister. "I've been good. How 'bout yer

self? Has Spot been treatin' ya good?"

Sophia smiled lightly . " could say that he has." You

blushed a little.

Tommy crossed his arms. "Well he better or he's got another thing


Sophia smacked her brother playfully on the arm. "Tom Tom!"

Tommy laughed. "Well it's true!"

A few moments later Kid Blnk came over and gave Sophia a great big hug.

"It's nice ta see ya again, Smalls! Ya mind if I take yer brotheh fer a

while?" Sophia shook her head and waved the two boys off. Sophia then

remembered what Racetrack had told her about Tommy: He was sick.

Spot then came behind Sophia and grabbed on to her waist and twirled her

around. "Hey, Smalls! Youse enjoyin' ya self?" He gave her a peck on

the cheek, but his cheery smile then faded when he saw that Sophia was not.

"Hey...youse ok?"

Sophia slowly nodded her head. "Yeah. Just worried about Tom Tom is


"Well what's wrong with him?"

Sophia shook her head. "Don't worry about it." She looked up at

Spot and smiled. "C'mon! Were at Medda's! Let's have a good time,


Spot wasn't sure what to think of this. Sophia was usually the one to be

very careful of things and her she was, blowing things off and only wanting to

have fun.

After Medda's Sophia ran up to her brother and gave him one last hug before

saying goodbye. She then turned to meet up with Spot and head back to Brooklyn.

"Smalls, can Ise ask ya a question?"

"Sure. Go ahead."

Spot held on to Sophia's hand as they walked and he shoved the other in his

pants pocket. "Everthing ok with ya?"

"What do you mean?"

"Youse been actin' strange ta day. Like you don't even care." Sophia

stopped dead in her tracks then, her hand slipping out of Spot' grasp.

"What's the matteh babe?" it was then when he realized Sophia was in

tears. He walked up to her and put both his hands on hr shoulder. "Look at

me, Smalls." Sophia looked up him, tears forming in her eyes and streaming

down her pretty white face. Her green eyes glistening in the moonlight from her

tears. "Sophia?"

"I do care, Spot. I do! To be honest, I'm worried about Tommy.

Racetrack says he thinks he's sick, but to me he looks perfectly fine, but I

know that's not a good thing. Tommy never tells anyone if something is wrong with


"Then why don't ya confront him about it, tootsie?"

"I wanted to tonight, but he seemed do happy, I just couldn't spoil his


Spot understood then. All it took was a little bit of explaining.

"C'mon, Smalls. Let's get headin' back." Sophia nodded and rested her

head against Spot's shoulder and walked the rest of the way back to the lodging


As Sophia made her way to Spot's room with Spot close behind her she quickly

made her way towards his bed. She instantly passed out soon after her head

reached the pillow. Spot slowly made his way next to her. He was tired too as

he kicked off his shoes, threw his hate to the floor and laid his cane next to

the bed. He looked over to Sophia. She looked so damn beautiful. Spot wondered

how the hell he got so damn lucky?

Chapter Ten: You are my home.

Sophia held her fist up at the King of Brooklyn. Her eyes furrowed and the cool hair blew back her long brown hair.
"C'mon, Smalls. Show me what youse got!" he said to her. Sophia took in a deep breath and ran at Spot, swinging her right fist at full speed. Spot easily dodged it and grabbed her arms and pinned them behind her. "Is that youse got, Smalls? C'mon. If youse wanna walk 'round Brooklyn alone ya gotta show me that youse got what it takes, goily." he said to her in her ear and then released her.

Sophia stumbled off a bit then spun around fast to face Spot again. She was bound and determined to give him one good hit to the face if it were to be the last thing she'd ever do!

"Relax, Smalls. It's just me." He then held his arms a little ways from his side and bent over a bit, getting ready for Sophia to charge again. As this was happening, the Brooklyn newsie boys watched the two wrestle each other on the dock. They had to admit that Smalls was a pretty good fighter...for a girl anyway.

Sophia took in another deep breath and released it. She Took a step forward and then went at him in full speed. Spot dodged her attack but that was exactly what she was planning for and took a step back, spun around and slammed Spot with her fist in his gut.

"Oooh!" were the words that spat out of the newsie boys' mouths as Spot fell to one knee. Sophia took a few steps back brushed some hair out of her face.

"How's THAT for a hit?" she said looking down at him.

Still holding on to his gut he answered her, "N-not bad at all, Smalls." he then looked up her and smirked. That wasn't the end of their little practice fight. Spot shot up and ran himself into Sophia and the two of them fell into the water. SPLASH!

Sophia came up, gasping for air, while Spot laughed his ass off.

"That wasn't funny, Spot Conlon! You know I can't swim that well." She yelled at him while struggling to swim to the dock and hold on to it.

Spot rolled his eyes. "Chill out, Smalls." he swam up to her squirted water out her mouth on top of her head.

"Ew! That's gross, Spot!"
Spot mocked her words. "Ew! That's gross, Spot!" he said in a girly tone.
Sophia growled and pulled herself up on to the dock.

Later on that day, as Sophia dried her off and got into more new clothes, she walked down stairs to find Jack there. All the newsie boys, including Spot was there, crowded around him. When Jack saw Sophia walk into the room he stopped talking and looked over at her. The rest of the newsie boys and even Spot turned around and then looked back at Jack.

"So youse was sayin' Jack?" said one of the newsie boys.

Jack ignored the newsie boys' words and told everyone goodbye. After that everyone scattered about and the room was quiet. Even Spot seemed a little concerned.
Sophia was worried and walked over to him and asked, "Spot, what's going on?" He only shook his head. "Tell me Spot!" but he would not.

"Sorry, Smalls. There's somewhere Ise has ta go. You keep me newise boys in tip top shape will ya?" with that Spot left the lodging house.

Spot walked outside of the lodging house and saw Jack heading towards Manhattan. "Eh jacky boy! Wait up will ya?" he ran to catch up to Cowboy. "What do ya mean theres somethin' wrong with Tom Tom?"
"Youse heard me Spot. He's sick."

"Yeah? Sick with what?" he asked.

"The Doc says he's got somethin' called...T-Tu-Tuber- Tuberculosis, I think."
"And what hell is that?" said Spot.

Cowboy shrugged. "I gots no idea, Spot. He's just really sick and hasn't been able to sell papes lately so he's was kicked outa the lodhing house."
"What?" Spot couldn't believe this.

"Don't worry though. He's oveh at Medda's right now."

"Ah shit! Smalls is gonna be pretty upset 'bout this." Spot crossed his arms as her walked. He felt bad for Sophia. How could this happen to her? it just wasn't fair. "I gotta go see 'em." said Spot.

Jack stopped. "What? Youse crazy? He's sicker than a dog oveh there!" He grabbed on to Spot's arm.
Spot yanked his arm back and glared at Jack. "Don't try ta stop me Jack boy. Ise gotta see 'em with my own two eyes." Spot changed directions and started to walk to Medda's.

Medda's place was quiet tonight. She was taking a break from all that singing and dancing, but she mostly just wanted to take care of Tommy. Spot knocked on the door a couple of times and when no one answered he let himself in.
"I'm tellin' ya, Spot. Youse don't wanna do this."
Spot stopped and turned back to at jack. He was about to say something until Medda came walking into the room.

"Boys?" she said.

Spot turned back around and walked up to her. "Medda! Youse gotta let me see Tom Tom."
Medda's face went from a small smile to a sad look. "So you know?" he nodded. "Does Sophia know?"

"Nah. That's why I'm here. I need ta see for me self."

Medda sighed and moved to the side. "He's right in that room, Dear."

"Don't Spot!" yelled Jack, but Spot ignored him and closed the door in his face and locked it.

When Spot turned around he laid eyes on a sick Tommy. He's sick was as pale as ever and his hair was wet from all the sweating and his clothes stuck to his skin. He turned his head and smiled a little when he saw that Spot conlon was there.

"Eh Spot. How's it rollin'?"
Spot laughed a little. "That's my line." he then got a look of concern. "I hear ya sick Tom Tom."

Tommy's smile fadded. "Yeah. Looks like it. The Doc says he can't do much for me. Guess I'll have to wait it out then." he then started to cough. It was a loud raspy sound. It was then when Medda and Jack came running through the door.

"How ya two get in?" asked Spot.

"I've got keys, Spot." explained Medda. Everyone's attention then went back to Tommy who started to cough again. Medda swooshed Spot out of the way and she got down on her knees and put a wet cloth to Tommys head.
"Is he gonna make it?" asked Spot. Jack seemed interested to know and waited for Medda's reply. She did not turn around though, instead she picked up Tommys head slightly and slipped some water down his mouth. The water seemed to be too much though as the outcome of it was him puking it all out and with blood to go along with it. Spot couldn't stand it anymore. He ran out of the room Jack hot on his heels.

Spot put his hands up against the wall, trying not to puke himself.

"Youse ok, Spot?" asked Jack.

Spot pushed back Jacks hand that reached for him. "Ise fine, Jacky boy...just...don't touch me." Spot then left Medda's. The cool air hit his face when he walked down the streets and heard Jack call after him. He ignored him though and walked back to Brooklyn.

When he got back to the lodging house he noticed that most of his newsie boys were gone but he didn't care, he had too much on his mind to care about where they were at the moment. He started to walked up to his room when Sophia called to him, but he didn't care to hear what she had to say. When he got to his room he instantly fell flat on his back on to his bed. Sophia followed after him though and walked up to the bed, looking down at him she said, "What's the matter?"
"Go away, Smalls." he told her.

Sophia kicked the side of the bed, trying to get Spot's attention better. "I want to know, Spot. Tell me."

He then shot up out of his bed. Sophia moved back a little. She was taken aback by Spot's fast movement. He took her by the shoulders and looked her straight into the face. "Do you REALLY want to know, Smalls?" She slowly nodded. "What I am about to tell is going to be really hard for you to understand." Sophia waiting for Spot to continue. "Tom Tom is sick, Sophia."
Sophia's eyes grew wide. "What?" she said in a quiet voice.
Spot loosened his grip on her shoulders. "He's coughin' up blood and puking. I have no idea what's wrong with him."

Sophia looked down at her feet. "He's...sick?" Spot didn't say anything. Sophia stepped away from Spot and walked to the door.
"Smalls?" Spot called out to her, but she didn't stop and left Spot alone in his room.

Sophia sat down on a chair. He's head hung low as she looked down at her palms. She then started to play with the ends of her hair. Why Tommy? She thought. Why my family? She then picked up her head.

"I can go buy medicine for him." she aloud to herself, but she slipped back into her chair and sighed. She had no money, at least not as much as she would like to have. Sophia continued to play with her hair and then suddenly stopped. She stood up fast and grabbed a scarf to protect her from the fall winds. Sophia then headed outside and was well on her way to the Brooklyn streets.

Sophia stopped in front of a salon, taking a deep breath she stepped inside. She walked up to the counter and undid the scarf a little from her neck.
"What can I do for you, young lady?" asked the salon man. I need you to cut my hair."
The salon man looked at her, surprised that such a pretty young girl would want to cut her long beautiful hair. "Are you sure, sweetie?" she nodded. "Alright then. Follow me." Sophia followed the man further into the salon and sat down on a plastic, yet comfy chair. "Let me take a good look at your hair now." said the man. He looked her hair over and over again for about a minute and then said to her, "I'll give you five bucks for it. How does that sound?" Sophia thought about it for a while and then nodded. The man then started up some water in a sink and placed Sophia's hair under it, getting all wet and then added a nice lavender scented shampoo to it. It had been months since her hair was this clean and she was getting paid for it!

After her hair was washed the man slowly and carefully combed out her hair so that it was nice and straight. He then brought it all together and grabbed for the scissors. "Are you sure about this?" he asked her one last time. There's no backing out now, she thought to herself.

"I'm sure." she told the man. CHOP! With that, Sophia's long hair was gone. Sophia's heart sank, her eyes stung from the tears that wanted to escape, but she held them in. The man then handed her the money and Sophia wrapped her scarf around her again.
"Wait!" called the man. "Take this. It's rather cold out there." The man tossed her a dark blue knitted hat.

Sophia rubbed the top of the hat with her thumbs and then looked up at the man. "Thank you so much, sir." The man smiled and waved her off.

It was hard for Sophia to get used to the feeling of having short hair. She felt it brush up against her neck at the cold wind blew. Sophia quickly pulled the hat on to her head for warmth. On her way back to Brooklyn the Delancy brothers spotted her. Surprised by her new look they walked up fast to her.
"Hey Smalls!" said the oldest brother. She shot them each a nasty glare.

"No need to be like that." said the younger one. "we'se just wanna see yet knew hair do."

"Go away." She told them, but they wouldn't listen. Soon the youngest brother yanked off her hair and waved it into the air. "Give that back!" she yelled.

"Nah. Ya gotta jump for it foist." he held her hat up high into the air. Sophia glared up at him and then jumped. The two brother laughed at her. She was being completely humiliated by these jerks!

Sophia had just about enough of it and needed to get to a store to find some medicine for Tommy. "You son of a bitch!" she yelled and punched the youngest brother in the stomach. He dropped the hat and Sophia quickly picked it up and started to run for it.

Just as she was about to reach the Brooklyn bridge, the oldest Delancy brother grabbed on to her short hair and yanked her back so hard to fell flat on her back. He then took her by the arm and dragged her to an alley. There she met up with the younger delancy brother. They shoved her around a bit, back and forth and then started to check her pockets. What had she ever done to those boys to deserve this? The oldest Delancy brother then grabbed out her five dollar bill.

"Well looky here. Seems like dis young lady cut her hair her money. That's too bad. You looked better with your long hair. Now ya just look ugly." The words shot deep into her skin but not as bad when he started to rip up the bill in tiny pieces.

"No! Stop it!" when she tried reaching for it he let go of the money and it blew away with the wind. Sophia dropped to her knee's. Tears forming in her eyes. The youngest brother then dropped Sophia's hat and it plopped on her lap. The two brother then walked away, leaving Sophia there in the alley. When they were gone she picked herself up and put on her new hat and ran all the way back to the lodging house without stopping.

when she got back all the newsie boys were gone. She sat down in a chair and removed her scarf. She was completely hopeless now. She had no money. Her beautiful hair was gone and the word 'ugly' rang through her ears over and over again.

"Where have you been?" Spot asked her, walking into the main room.

"I took a walk."

"Hmm. Where ya get the hat then?"

"Nowhere that concerns you." she placed the scarf on the back of the chair.

Spot ignored her rude brush off and walked up to her. "Let me see ya hat then."

"No!" but it was too late, Spot had pulled it off her head. Silence filled the room for a moment.

"What the HELL did you do to ya HAIR?" he yelled.

Spot's hard words was what did her in and she fell to her knee's and cried her eyes out. "I'm sorry, Spot. R-really. I am. I o-only wanted t-to get some medicine for Tommy." Spot instantly felt terrible for yelling at her. He knew how bad she felt. Spot picked her up bridal style and carried her to his bed room and placed her on the bed. He sat down next to her waiting for her sniffles to subside and then spoke.

"So how much money did ya get?"
"Five dollars..." she answered, hardly making a sound.

"Really? Well that's great, Smalls!" he rubbed her soft little hand that was closest to his. "So where is it?" he then asked and that was then when her bottom lip started to shake and the tears formed in her eyes and thus she began to cry again. She covered her face and turned away from Spot. Spot leaned his head over her and rubbed her shoulder.
"Hey tootsie. What's da matteh?"

Sophia controlled her crying long enough to get three words out. "T-the Delancy brothers."

Spot then said, "What did they's want with ya?"

"They...they t-took the money, Spot...and ripped it u-up."

Spot sat up straight. "What?" he was furious. He stood up fast and started walking towards the door.

Sophia realized this and sat up quickly. "Spot! Where are you going?" she called out to him.

Spot stopped and walked back to her, grabbed her chin with his pointer finger and thumb, pulled her face in and kissed her hard. "Ise gonna go give those damn Delancy brotheh's what they deserve fer messin' with my woman! Youse got that, babe?" with that, Spohia was left speechless and watched as Spot left the room.

By the time Spot got out of Brooklyn it was just about dark. The wind was colder and it stung his cheeks a little, making them turn pink. He kept his eyes wide open for those damn Delancy brothers. He was gonna make them pay for what they did to Sophia. He checked some of the bars but didn't see them there, but he was about to give up. Spot walked to the street where had his newspaper shop. He circled the block a couple of times, and sure enough he caught sight of one of the brothers. It was the younger one. He made his way over there in long strides and soon the oldest appeared. Great. He thought. I gets ta soak 'em at the same time. A smirk appeared on his face.

The youngest Delancy brother turned and saw Spot coming. "Oh hey. It's Spot Conlon." The oldest then turned around and nodded his head with a little sly smile on his face. This didn't scare Spot one bit though. He grabbed out his cain and quickly hit the oldest brother in the face with it. The youngest was about to punch spot right then, but Spot was too fast and kicked him the knee. He fell to his knees and Spot raised his Cain and hit the youngest Delancy brother's back with it, making him fall the rest of the way.
"You BASTARDS got SOME nerve messin' 'round with MY woman!" Spot yelled at the top of his lungs and started to kick the crap out of them and occasionally he would hit them with his Cain again to keep them down. By the these two bone heads woke up after getting a beating from Spot they wouldn't remember that he was the one responsible.

Not all the luck was on Spot's side though. A whistle sounded through the air. A police man had caught him. Spot cursed and quickly searched through all the brothers' pockets and found a good wad of cash and went on running.

"Stop!" the police man called out. Spot wasn't stupid though and kept on running and made his way on to the Brooklyn Bridge, but as dumb luck would have it, more police man made they're towards him on the bridge.
"Ya gota ta be kiddin' me!" he yelled. Spot was now trapped on both side. He couldn't run back and he couldn't run forward. The police came closer and closer. Spot then ran to the side of the Brooklyn Bridge and jumped off.
"No!" yelled one of the police.

"That's suicide!" yelled another.

"He's long gone now boys. It's best we forget about him for good." said the fattest one of all of them.

Spot reached the surface and gasped for air. The current was strong and water kept splashing into his face so it was hard for him to get a good look at things or even get a good enough breather and the cold fall water wasn't helping at all. He followed the motions of the water to figure out where he was going. He then started to swim to his left, the side where Brooklyn was. It was a long swim, but he did it and just about passed out when he reached land. He never thought that running from the cops would be so difficult.

Spot picked himself up and walked the rest of the way back to the lodging house. When he got there his newsie boys were already asleep. It was high time for him too to get to bed and he slugged the rest of the way upstairs.

"Spot? What happened to you? Why are you all wet?" asked Sophia, running up to him and helping him walk the rest of the way to the bed. Spot flopped down and started taking off his wet clothes. Soon he was only in his underwear. Sophia couldn't help but blush.

"Smalls." he said quietly. "Look in my pants pockets."
"Why?" she asked.

"Just do it goily."

Sophia sighed and picked up his wet pants and started searching through the pockets. She then grabbed out a whole thing of cash. She gasped. "Spot, where on earth did you get this?"

A smile crept on his face. "Delancy brothers sure carry a lot of money on 'em." he then turned over and fell fast to sleep.

There in Sophia's hands was twenty dollars in cash. "Spot." she said softly. "I think I really do love you." but he was too deep in sleep to hear her words.

The next day, Sophia and Spot went to the store to find some good medicine for Tommy. All they could find were some ointments. All in all, everything ended up costing them five dollars. They then made their way to medda's by slipping in through the back door. Sophia walked up to a man who was cleaning the floor and said, "Sire. Could you tell me where Medda is? It's very important that I see her."
"Here I am child. What do you need?" asked Medda coming down the stairs from the stage.

"Oh Medda! Thank goodness! I need to know where Tommy is. I have stuff for him that can help him get better."

Medda looked down at the poor girl who wanted so desperately help her older brother. Medda looked past Sophia and at Spot. When he nodded Medda looked back at Sophia. "This way child."

The two followed Medda to where Tommy was being kept. Sophia's heart just about broke when she saw the condition her brother was in.

"Hey Tommy." she said softly, walking up to him and taking a seat on a chair next to the bed.

"A lot of newsie boys keep coming by to see how he's doing." explained Medda. "Racetrack, Blink, jack, David and even less come by every single day. Everyone is so worried about him."
"What did the doctor say?" asked Sophia.

"He didn't say much."

Tommy then opened his eyes, seeing his little sister next to him warmed his heart and brought him joy. He had wanted to see her the most. "Anna Sophia." he said slowly as he reached out his hand. Sophia quickly grabbed it and rested his hand on her lap. It was so cold. His whole body seemed to be shivering, but it looked like he had plenty of blankets. "Medda? Could you get me some warm water and a rag, please?" asked Sophia.

"Sure darling." with that Medda left the room to get the water and rag. A few moments later she came back and placed the tin bowl on the bed with the rag inside it.

"Hand me the medicen gab, will you Spot?" Sophia asked him. Spot handed her the bag and Medda and him watched and she went through it and put little droplets of clear medicine in the water and then crunched up some dry leaves and sprinkled it all in there. She let it set for a while and then took the rag and squeezed it. She placed it on Tommy's forehead.

A few knocks then sounded on the door and Medda went to open in it. In came jack, Racetrack, Blink, David, Less and even Boots and Crutchy and Mush. They all gathered around him. Tommy started to breath harder and his voice was still raspy. The feeling in the room was heavy and a dark feeling swam over everyone. Tommy looked up at Spot and said, " keep a safe eye on her will ya. Make sure that she's always safe and with you." Spot knew why he was saying this but didn't want to admit it to himself. Tommy then looked over at his little sister. "Sophia...I'm real sorry."

Sophia shook her head. "No. Don't be. This isn't your fault at all."

Tommy smiled and shook his head. "I'm sorry I took you so far away from home."
A few tears fell down her cheeks. "No, no, Tommy. Don't apologize for that. It's alright. Really. My home is where ever you go, so don't worry about it, kay?" she gave him a small smile and rubbed his cold hand. The air was now thick. Tommy smiled back at his sister but then started to cough up blood again. The tin bowl spilled over as Sophia tried to help her brother, but there was not much she could do for him. He started to breathe hard now. His chest raising up and down within seconds. More tears fell from Sophia's eyes and on to her brothers pale face as she looked down at him.

"It's ok, Tommy. It's ok. You can go now. You can go home and see mom and dad and even our little baby brother. You don't have to suffer anymore." with that Tommy's breaths subsided as he heard the words of his sister. "Thank you...I love you, Sophia." he said and with that Tommy's breaths stopped coming and Sophia looked deep into her brothers dark, colorless eyes. Tommy was dead.

Chapter Eleven: Dreams and Reality.

Sophia stood in a meadow, her brother Tommy stood only a few feet away from her. She then realized the place she was at: The meadow that was only a little ways from her home in New Orleans. It didn't have to be confirmed that she was a child in her dream. Tommy then called out her name and waved her over as he started his way towards a small wooded area. Sophia had remember that they were no aloud to go there, but her brother insisted on going for her kept calling her name, waving her towards him as he inched his was closer to the wooded area.

The sun was beating down on her, making her poor little body sweat from the heat. The trees looked nice from where she was standing. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad to go in there this time, she thought to herself. She took her first step towards following Tommy.

"Wait Tommy!" she yelled. "Wait for me!" Tommy smiled broadly and kept waving her towards him. He started to pick up his pace soon after and disappeared into the woods. Sophia came to a stop as she stood inches away from interring the small wooded area. Her doll-like curls became frizzy from the heat and with all the running she had just done. She was hotter now, but a small breeze came in for the rescue, cooling her down a bit. The wind blew towards the woods as if trying to push Sophia towards it, telling to her to on inside, telling her that it was ok to be a kid and go exploring.

As she interred, everything in her dream changed. It became darker and colder. She looked behind her, but meadow that was just behind her was gone. She could no longer go back. She had to keep moving forward. She then heard Tommy's laugh and she perked her head right up continued moving forward. "Tommy? Where are you?" no reply came so Sophia kept moving towards the sounds of her brothers laugh. she then caught sight of him after running past countless trees and bushes.

"Wait Tommy! Wait for me, please!" Tommy then suddenly stopped and turned back around, looking at Sophia with a sad expression on his face.

"Tommy what's wrong?" she asked, slowly walking towards him. He then raised his hand and pointed behind his little sister. Sophia stopped and slowly looked back and saw a tall, bearded man dressed in black, standing behind her. His eyes were cold looking and a grim smile spread across his bony face.

"You and your brother have been very naughty." he told her. His voice deep and low. Sophia then looked back at Tommy as she heard him scream. He started to run again only faster this time. Sophia looked back at the bearded man and escaped his grasp just in the nick of time and started to run in the same direction as Tommy.

Sophia's heart started to beat with every step she took. Her palms started to sweat and her brain started to pound against her skull. She was terribly frightened by this man and wanted nothing more than to get as far away from him as possible. Sophia then saw an opening from the woods. Another meadow perhaps? She didn't know. All she knew was that she had to keep on moving forward no matter how scared she was or how tough it got. As long as she kept moving she would be ok. Suddenly she came busting through the woods, but she was moving so fast she couldn't see the drop off and fell off the edge. Before falling to her death everything went black.

*end of dream*

Sophia woke up after that in her and Spot's bed. Her heart pounded in her chest as a few tears streamed down the side of her nose, past her other eye and on to the pillow. She clutched on to the pillow and buried her face into it and started to weep. A few knocks then sounded on the door and it slowly creaked open. Sophia bottled up her cries and pretended to be a sleep.

"Smalls?" it was Spot. "Hey. Youse up yet?...Youse gonna get up soon?" he asked. Sophia kept silent. she didn't feel like talking to anyone. Not even spot. Spot then leaned in and whispered in her ear. "Youse can't stay up here forever, Smalls. Ya gotta come out eventually." with that spot kissed her cheek and walked out of the room.

A few moments after Spot left she rose her head off the damp pillow and sat up. Her head hurt, but her heart was hurting more. How could this happen? she thought. Why did you take Tommy from me. It's not fair. We never did anything wrong. It's my uncles fault! I hate him! Now she was angry, but she knew that she would have to contain herself before moving from the bed. She ran her fingers through her hair a few times and then toughed both side of her shoulders. Her long hair was now gone and the feel of air on her naked neck felt uncomfortable. she felt like she was open for anyone to see. As if her long hair was a way for her to hid from people.

Sophia finally rose up out of bed like the dead and walked over to Spots private shower room and started to fill the tin tub and stripped from her clothes. She stood there, naked, looking down at the water that rested in the tub. She bent down a ways and tested the water with her pointer finger and then got in. She hadn't bathed for a couple of days and needed to wash up. After her bath she put on some decent clothes and headed to the main room of the lodging room. The boys stopped with their talking as she interred the room. Some looked over at her and others looked away, continuing on with their conversations. She must have looked like a mess even with the bath she had just taken. She stood there next to the door she had just came through and stood there for a moment, looking around at everyone and everything in the room. It was the same as ever. Sophia then headed outside and made her way towards the docks.

As Spot stood up top upon his wooden throne, looking down at everyone, keeping a watchful eye on all that walked the docks he laid eyes on Sophia. finally, she's up. he thought to himself. He then began walking climbing down from his perch and followed right behind Sophia who made her way towards the end of the docks she was on. He walked up right beside her and said, "Good afternoon, smalls." Sophia slowly turned her head to look at him. Even with all the sleep she had gotten she looked tired as hell. "Youse gonna be ok, Smalls?" he asked her.

She then snapped at him. "Does it look like I am going to be ok, Spot?" she yelled.

Spot back up a few feet. "Whoa, goily. I'm only concerned about cha."

Sophia sighed and hung her head. "...I know Spot." she then felt the tears making their up to the brim of her eyelids and let a few fall. As she tried hiding them, Spot knew too well what was going on and lifted her head up and wiped them away for her and brought her into an embrace.

"We still got some money left over from buyin' that medicine. I'se thought that maybe I'd take ya out to a nice fancy dinner."

Sophia lifted her head from Spot shoulder and looked up at him. "Really?" she sounded like a little kid about ready to get a whole bunch of candy.

"Yeah really." he gave her a small smile and then softly kissed her.

Spot took Sophia to one of the nicest diners in all of Brooklyn. The two stood hand-in-hand as they stood before the restaurant. It was a place that people like Sophia and Spot would never be found in, but tonight it was different. If anyone was looking for them, they would be found there and they would be proud of it too.

"Ready, Smalls?" asked spot.

Sophia turned towards him and nodded her head. "Yeah/" she told him. To be perfectly honest, Sophia was a little scared at first. She hadn't been to a nice place to eat like this since Tommy and her left their uncle. The thought of Tommy then filled her mind and she wanted to cry again, but she kept her chin up and held back the tears. She didn't want to ruin this for Spot. He was trying as much as Spot Conlon could try to cheer a poor girl up by spending money they didn't really to be spending in the first place.

Spot opened up the door and let Sophia in first.

"After you, little missy." he said, giving her a slight bow in the end. Sophia smiled somewhat and took spot's hand again after he closed the door. The two were quickly stared upon. Two young, poor looking kinds in a nice restaurant was a strange picture. Spot didn't seem to care though. All he cared about Sophia's happiness and remembering what Tommy last said to spot, he was going to do his best to make that Sophia was always safe, especially while she was with him.

A couple minutes passed before a man dressed in fine red and black clothes formal clothing walked up to them, holding up to fingers. "Only two tonight?" he asked.

"Yeah." Spot said, straitening his shoulders, making sure that anyone who saw would think that the two of them deserved to be here just as much as anyone else.

The man led them to a small table in the middle of the restaurant. "Someone will be with you take your orders shortly." he said and was off to greet another couple.

As Sophia looked about the fabulous restaurant she couldn't help but feel like she was back in New Orleans again. When Tommy and her lived with their uncle, once a week they would go to a nice restaurant such as this one and all order a big meal. Living with him was hell though. When she was younger she could hardly stand the sight of him and always had an iffy feeling about him.

"Enjoying ya self yet, Smalls?" Spot asked.

Sophia broke from her trance of remembering the past and looked at Spot sitting across from her. The lighting in the room made his hair look brighter and his eyes a beautiful bright blue. His head rested on one of his palms as he looked at her, smiling.

"This place is really nice." she told him.

Spot nodded. "Good. I don't want me goil to not be enjoyin' herself now."

Sophia looked down at her hands in her lap and blushed. "This isn't like you, Spot." she said to him softly.

Spot raised his head from his palm and gave her a confused look. "Yeah, well, I've never had a goil like youse either."

Sophia blushed again. "Thanks, Spot."

The two sat in silence for a few moments, enjoying the scenery around them. All the while Spot kept his eyes on Sophia, looking at her short brown hair brushed up against her pale, skinny neck following down to her shoulders and then to her breasts. He then set his eyes back on her face when she finally noticed him staring at her. Just as quickly as his eyes met hers she looked away again and back down at her lap. Spot couldn't help but smile to himself at how cute she looked just now with that embarrassed look in her eyes. He then sat back in his chair and sighed. They had been sitting there for quite some time and no one had been at their table to serve them. spot then cleared his throat. "Excuse me? We'se would like to order now if that's not too much to ask." he practically yelled, not caring who thought he was being rude for raising his voice. This was bad serves and he was hungry. "Hello? I'm starvin' here!" he said aloud again. Another minute passed before someone finally came to take their order.

"What would you like?" asked the waiter.

Spot grabbed the menu off the table and looked it over slowly on purpose. He already knew what he wanted, he just wanted to get back at those who made him and his goil wait for so long. Spot then handed the menu to Sophia and turned to the waiter. "I will have the chicken with the mashed potatoes." The waiter wrote it all down and then turned to Sophia, waiting to hear what she wanted. Sophia had a hard time figuring out what she wanted though and just decided to get the same as spot. The waiter checked off his paper and was about to turn to leave before Spot called out to him.

"On second thought," began Spot. "Why not throw in some muffins while you're at it, eh?" The waiter nodded and was off.

When they're food finally came it was all eat and no talk. The two were really hungry and hadn't had a meal like this in ages it seemed like. To finish off his meal, Spot took a big gulp of his soda and ended it with a "ahh!" and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. Sophia on the other hand was just finishing up her chicken and slowly sipping down her root bear. The couple were two completely different people and Spot enjoyed that. Sophia may have came from a family with plenty of money to spend and grew up with nice manners, but she wasn't a snob. She had been through some tough stuff the last couple of months and she kept going, showing incredible strength in her will and that was what Spot really loved about her, other than her great compassion towards others. Spot on the other hand spent most of his childhood in Europe. When he sailed to New York from Scotland he had lost his mother on the ship and his father soon after they docked. There was so much about him that Sophia didn't know about. Then again there was still things spot didn't know about Sophia. Only time could tell when the two will finally tell each others secrets.

After Sophia finished her chicken she took a few more sips of her soda and stuffed two muffins her coat pocket for later.

"You ready, Smalls?" asked Spot. Sophia nodded and Spot rose from his chair and held out a hand for her to grab. The two walked to the front desk, ready to pay the man who seated them.

"That will be seven dollars, please." he said. Spot handed him a ten dollar bill and was handed back three dollar bills. He had eight dollars left from that twenty.

Just as they were about to leave, a few men walked into the door, pushing Spot and Sophia back a little.

"Hey watch it!" spot said with an irritated tone in his voice. He then looked back at Sophia to make she was ok.

"My apologies...uh...what is your name?" one of the men asked. After straitening out her skirt, Sophia suddenly busted out the door, dragging Spot along with her. She pulled him along a few blocks before spot finally pulled back from her grasp.

"Hey, what the hells goin', Smalls?" he said. Sophia turned around, a frightful look shown in her eyes. "Smalls?" Spot voice was almost a whisper now. "What's wrong?"
Finally letting her tears flow from all the holding back to finally choked out some words. "That can't!" she buried her face with her hands and sobbed.

Spot walked closer to her, putting his hands on her shoulders. "What man?" Spot asked.

Sophia wiped some of her tears away and took a deep breath before speaking again. "That man...I think he uncle..."

Spot's eyes grew wide. "You mean...the one you and Tom Tom ran away from?" Sophia slowly nodded her head. "I'm sure he didn't recognize me because of my hair, but I'm pretty sure he has people looking for me now if he's here in New York. Please, Spot. Don't let him find me." she brought herself up close to Spot and he wrapped his arms around her.

"Don't worry, Smalls. Nothing bad is gonna happen to you. Not as long as I'm around." Sophia could hardly believe it though. Her bad dreams were becoming real.

The two walked back to the lodging house, finding that most of the newsie boys had already gone to bed. Spot led Sophia up to their room and quietly closed the door. Sophia stripped from her coat, taking out the two muffins and placing them on the nightstand that stood next to the bed. She sat down, tired from the walk and sighed. Spot could tell that she was frustrated, angry and depressed all at the same time.
"You gots ta fill me in on some stuff, Smalls, otherwise it's gonna be harder to understand and protect you for reasons I still don't know about." he's words weren't reaching her though so he grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to look at him. "Smalls? Tell me something. Anything."

Sophia sighed again. "You really want to know, spot?"
"Well yeah. That's why I'm askin'."

Sophia slid Spot's hands off of her and rested hers on her lap. "My uncle is not a good man. He may be rich and have plenty to spend and waist, but he's evil and I hat me. Tommy and I both hated him. Even before our parents died and were forced to live with him, we always knew there was something wrong with him."
"What was wrong with him?" Spot asked.

Sophia rubbed her two hands together, as if getting to a really good part in a story. "When I was little, my uncle would fight with my mother all the time. He didn't approve of my mother marrying my father. They always argued when he was out of the house. My mother would get so upset she would leave us kids home alone with him. Now, I don't know where Tommy was. He was probably off hiding somewhere. That's what I should have done, but instead I sat in my room, holding on to my teddy bear for dear life."
"What happened after your mother would leave?" Spot was amazed that he was getting this much out of her.

"'s explain."
"How so?" Spot asked, inching closer to her.

Sophia took in a deep breath. "There's a reason why I don't like to be touched, Spot." she told him.

Spot gave her a confused look. "Where exactly are you getting at, Smalls?"

"When I was little my uncle would...touch places where little girls are not supposed to be touched, Spot." A cold lump fell flat in Spot's Stomach. When Spot didn't say anything, Sophia continued to talk. "When we were forced to live with him it got worse. It was getting so bad that it was almost everything single night. When I finally told Tommy he was in such rage that he wanted to kill him, but...let's face it, my uncle is not one to make enemies so easily and with us kids, others would start to suspect us, so that's when we left New Orleans and came here to New York. My brother saved me in more ways than you could ever imagine. He didn't ask any questions. He didn't try to fight the subject with me. All he did was steal some money from my uncle and bought train tickets and soon as we were able to leave we took the first ride here to New York. He sacrificed a lot for me to happy and safe and he's gone. And that, why I am here today."

Spot looked like he was about to punch a hole in someone's face with what Sophia just got done telling him. "You mean..." spot started. "...He touched you? He touched my goil?" spot clenched his fists. "Ima kill 'em!" he spat.

"No, Spot! You'll only end up making things worse."
Spot stood up fast from the bed. "How so? He touched you and now he's here in New York and he's looking for you. What do you think will end up happening if he find you?"

Sophia stood up then and placed her hands on spot's face, trying to calm him down. "He won't find out." she said to him.

Spot looked into Sophia's eyes. He looked like a little puppy dog who just lost his owner. "But he hurt you..."

"And I believe that someday he WILL pay for it, but I don't want you to dirty your hands with his blood." Spot pushed away from her, shaking his head. "Where are you going, Spot." Spot wouldn't stop though and headed out of the room.

Sophia sighed and looked at the two muffins sitting on the nightstand. she grew tired from her full belly and got out a night gown. As she undid her dress and slipped it off. Spot came walking through the door. She gasped and held the dress to her chest.
"Get out Spot!" she yelled, but he didn't seem bothered. All he did was close the door behind him. "Spot, go away!" Sophia ordered, but it wasn't helping. He continued to walk closer to her until they were literally inches from each other. Sophia hid part of her face from Spot with her dress. "Spot...go away." she said softly.

Spot then undid his suspenders and took off his shirt, showing off his well built, but boy-like upper half. "You embarrassed?" he asked her. She nodded. "Why?"

"Because I'm naked." she told him.

"Do you have underwear on?" she nodded. "Then you're not naked, besides, you got that damn dress in front of you so I can't see a thing."

"That doesn't matter. Your making me feel uncomfortable, Spot."
Spot sighed and unbuttoned his pants and slid them off. "There. Now were the same. You still embarrassed?" she nodded her head. Spot rolled his eyes. "Look, Sophia. I've got nothing to hide from you when it comes to my body. You shouldn't either."

"But...still. I have things you don't..." she protested.

Spot couldn't help but laugh a little. "Well so do I, Smalls. I've got a penis. You don't. You have boobs. I don't. Were completely different." Sophia's face got a bright red when he spoke those words. Spot then reached out for Sophia's dress in attempt to pull it away from her, but she smacked his hand away.

"What are you trying to do, spot?"
"Listen, Sophia. You trust me, right?" she nodded. "Then let me see you. I'm letting you see me and besides, you shouldn't feel embarrassed around me. I don't care if your fat, skinny or just right. I'm gonna love the way you look no matter what."
Sophia sighed. "Still, Spot...I'm not sure about this."

"Look, Smalls. Were stuck with each other for the time being and I don't plan on ever leaving." Sophia then eased up and slowly let the dress drop to the floor. Spot took in a breath before saying, "You look beautiful."

Sophia blushed and looked down at her feet. "Uhmm...Thank you."

Spot smiled and slipped his arms around her and brought her in for a light embrace. "See? Was that so hard?" he asked her. Spot felt her nod against his chest. He laughed.

The feel of each other's bodies like this was something completely new and overwhelming. Sophia may not have been to this kind of touch, but she could tell that she was already starting to get used to it and she placed her arms around his neck. The couple fell back on the bed and fell asleep in nothing but each other's warmth.

Chapter Twelve: Protection.

The morning after Sophia and Spot had they're rather close encounter with each other, the sun was seeping in through the window as it was rising, making the room have a misty blue color to it. Spot had woken before Sophia again, but this time he laid there for a few moments. Her back was towards him as she slept and Spot placed a hand on her shoulder and rubbed it a few times before trailing his fingers down her back and then around her waist, where he brought himself closer to her. He kissed the back of her neck and then nuzzled his nose against the back of her head.

Spot then raised his head from the pillow and sat up. He was careful not to wake her as he slid off the bed. He quickly put on his clothes and then looked down at his girl, Sophia. She held her arms close to her chest. Spot pulled up the covers a bit to warm her up. He bent down and kissed her cheek and then headed down stairs to meet up with his newsie boys. There they all were in the wash room, getting ready for the day and ready to sell their papes. He walked right in and stood at the door.
"Ise needs ta talk to ya boys 'bout some stuff. So uh, as soon as ya done come to the main room will ya." it wasn't a question, it was an order.

When the newsie boys were done washing up, they did exactly as Spot had wanted them too and crowded around the table. The newsie boys waited patiently for Spot to speak. Before he did, he cleared his throat. "How much do ya boys like, Sophia?" the boys exchanged looks, some nodding and others weren't quite sure what to say. "C'mon! It's a simple question. Answer it dam it!" the newsie boys then started to nod and say yes. " Spot rubbed his hands together. "Good. That's what I wanted to hear. So uh, listen. I need ya all ta keep a close eye on her."
"Why?" asked one of the boys.

"Let's just say, someone is here in New York looking for her and if they find her they might take her away from me, er, I mean us. That person could take her back."

"Take her back?" said the same newsie boy.

Spot rolled his eyes. "Look. All I'se need ya boys to do is keep an eye on here when I'm not around. Got that?" the newsie all nodded then. "Good." said Spot. "Now go sell ya papes!" with that said and done, the newsie boys left in a flash. Spot hurried right behind them too. He needed to sell papes in order to support both him and Sophia. Even with the money left over from the twenty, it wouldn't last for long before it was all gone, and they needed as much money as possible in order to survive.

After selling all his papes, Spot made his way to Manhattan. He would need some back-up from people he could trust. Such as, Jack Kelly, Racetrack, Boots and Kid Blink. As he made his way into Manhattan, people who knew he was began to stare. Spot ignored them though, even if they might have been talking good about him, but more than likely they were not. Spot then noticed Kid Blink selling the last of her papes on the corner of a street. Spot casually made his way there and when Kid Blink saw he greeted Spot with a smile and then spat in his hand. The two shook hands and exchanged a few words before Spot finally cut to the chase.

"Ah, listen, Blink. Do ya knows where I can find Jacky boy?"

Kid Blink put his pointer finger to his chin and thought for a moment. "I'se think he sold all his papes early. Him and Racetrack. I'm ya find them at the tracks."
"Thanks, Blink. See ya 'round." Spot waved him a quick goodbye and was off to find Jack who was supposedly with Racetrack.

As Spot made his way to the races, which was normally packed full of gambling people, he looked for his two friends for a good twenty minutes before hearing Racetrack yelling in victory for winning a bet. He walked over to the two and stood behind them. "Hey jacky boy, Racetrack. I'se been lookin' all overh for ya's."

The two turned around and shot right up, greeting Spot with a handshake.

"What brings ya to these parts of New York, Spot?" asked Racetrack.

Spot cracked some nuckles and then said, "I'se needs ta talk to some people that I can trust." he gave both of the bots a serious look.
"Ah, right, Spot." said Jack. "What do youse needs to talk about?" he asked.

"Some where's other than here." he said to him. Jack nodded the three left the races and went back to the Manhattan lodging house.

There the three of them sat in the bunk room.

"Look, I needs a favor." Jack and Racetrack both exchanged surprised looks.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa." said Racetrack. "You'se needs a favor from us?" he smiled a bit. He held up his hand and took his finger from his other hand and pointed it at the palm of his hand. "Now isn't this big news. Just let me write that down...on my hand...with my finger." he then laughed. Jack couldn't help but smile at Racetracks small joke. Spot on the other hand didn't think it very funny and kicked Racetrack in the shin.

"Listen ya damn idiot. I'm bein' serious here."
Racetrack rubbed his leg. "Ouch! So am I." Spot glared. "Ok, ok. No more least for now." he finished.

Spot cleared his throat before continuing on. "Sophia's uncle is in New York and I'm pretty sure his looking for her. If that happens he might take her away."

"You sure about this?" asked jack. Spot nodded. "Why do you need a favor from us then?"
"I'se needs you to find out as much information on this man as much as you can."

"What's wrong with her uncle?" asked racetrack.

"He's not a good man. Trust me when I sat this. If he finds her, he'll make her life a living hell again."
"Again? What did he do?" asked Jack.

Spot shook his head. "That's not my place to say. Sophia told me what he did and I hate that man so much a I'se just wanna kill him." he clenched one of his fists.

Jack bent over and put a hand on Spot's shoulder. Spot looked over at jack and loosened up a bit. "Don't worry, Spot. We'll do what we'se can. Right, Racetrack?" Racetrack nodded in agreement. "So what's his name?" Jack asked.

Spot opened his mouth to tell them but then closed it.

"What's wrong?" asked Racetrack. "Youse forget already?"

Spot slowly shook his head. "No. Come to think of it, she never did tell me her uncle's name...That DAMN sneaky goil!" Jack and Racetrack were a little taken a back by Spot's sudden blow up.

"Tell ya what," started Jack. "We'se will keep an eye out for anyone who looks suspicious. If we do find someone, we'll ya know right away. Hows that sound?"

"Sounds good." said Spot. The boys then stood up and then said their goodbyes and Spot was headed back to Brooklyn, before he left the room, jack called out to him. He turned around, waiting for jack to say something.

"This might brighten up ya mood a bit, but uh, I heard the Delancy brotheh's get beat up pretty bad a few nights ago." All Spot did was smile broadly and then leave.

Sophia woke up to the sun shining in her face. She lifted up her head and she heard the sound of silence. That was either a really good thing or a really bad thing and now realizing that she was almost naked except for her underwear to brought the blanket up to her chest and held it tightly for a few moments. She had suddenly remembered how she had fallen asleep the other night and her cheeks turned a rosy red. She got off the bed and put her clothes back on and then looked to the small cracked mirror hovering over the dresser and turned her head to the side. Her hair just barely touching her neck. Her fingers slid down the side of her neck and on to her shoulder blades where they finally touched just above her breasts. She looked away from the mirror for a second and down at her boobs and then back at the mirror. She sighed a heavy sigh. Sophia was not like other girls when it came to endowments. It seemed for Sophia that she had gotten the shorter end of the stick when it came to that sort of thing. Sophia finally walked away from the mirror and headed out the bedroom door where she made her way down stairs and outside to the docks.

There she saw some of the newsie boys. They were either wrestling, playing with their sling shots or talking in a circle. Some of the boys lifted their heads and watched as Sophia made her way down to the docks. They remembered what Spot had told them and they were going to obey. Sophia on the other hand had no idea what Spot was doing behind her back: Having a many watchful eyes look after her, it nearly seemed insane, but to Spot Conlon, it was his way of showing that he cared and his authority among the boys.

Sophia sat down and hung her feet over the side of the dock. She slipped off her shoes slowly and placed them beside her. The nice cool breeze felt good.

"Youse might wanna put ya shoes back on, Smalls?" said one of the Newsie boys. Sophia looked up and saw a tall brunet boy standing above her. His eyes were a deep brown and his skin was a natural tan. "Nah. Me thinks I like this better."
The newsie boy sat down next to her. "Ah. Is Spot's Irish side getting to you?"

Sophia looked confused at first but then smiled at the boy. "Perhaps." she said.

"Listen, Smalls, if ya eveh need a thing from one of us boys, youse just let us know, a'right?"

Sophia nodded. "Thanks." The boy then sat up and as he walked away, Sophia called out to him. The boy turned around and waited for Sophia to speak again. "What's your name?" she asked him.

The boy smiled and said, "The names, Hammer." Sophia watched as he then walked away and wondered why his nick name was that and then finally noticed it when the answer hung from one of his belt loops: A silver hammer. Sophia smiled to herself and looked out to sea. It was so big. She then got to thinking about where Spot had came from. Surely he wasn't born here in America. He had to have been from either Ireland, or Iceland or perhaps he was Scotland. She had no idea. Spot was full of all kinds of secrets and they never did cease to stop growing.

Sophia reached into her large skirt pocket and pulled out her sling shot that Spot had given her a while ago. She eyed it for a few moments and then pulled the string back, aiming it out to sea, pretending to hit an invisible object. She then placed the sling shot in her lap and signed while looking down at it. Sophia stuffed the sling shot back into her pocket and put her socks and shoes on and stood up. She wrapped her arms around her as the cool wind blew and decided that it was time to head back inside and start making some food for the newsie boys.

As Sophia crumpled up the muffins into tiny pieces she pour a thing of cream chicken over it and stuck it into the oven. The dinner wasn't anything too special, but it would have to do. While that was cooking she looked out the window, there she saw the busy street of Brooklyn. She saw many faces pass, but no Spot. Where was he? She hadn't seen him all day and she was starting to worry.

When the food was done she brought it out to the Newsie boys who were all waiting for a good, if not, decent meal right before bed. She served them one by one. When the end of the line came and the last newsie boy took his plate she looked around the room and still, there was no Spot in sight.

Finally, she asked, "Where is Spot?" The newsie boys slowly lifted their heads from eating and looked at Sophia. Some of them shrugged, others shook their head and went back to eating. Sophia sighed and looked down at the last bit of food in the pan. There was just enough for her and Spot.

Even though the food was getting cold, she wanted to wait for Spot and just like that he came walking through the door. A burst of cold air rain into the lodging house, leaving everyone to shiver. The cold air did not seem to bother Sophia though. In fact, her heart raced when she saw Spot and her cheeks heated up. She got out a plat and put and food on it for Spot and handed it to him. Before he took it, he took off his hat and stuffed part of it in his pocket. As he grabbed for it he smiled her and said thanks. Sophia grabbed a plate herself then and sat down next to Spot who sat with his Newsie boys. The bunch of kids looked like a family. As a matter of fact they were like a family. A mixed family.

After Supper, the newsie boys all placed their plates in the sink and cleaned off the tables. It was the least they could do for her. As Sophia stood in the kitchen, washing all the plates and glasses a loud knock sounded on the lodging house door. It was so loud she could hear it from other room. Sophia was about to walk out and see who exactly it was, but Spot came walking through and placed his hands on her shoulder. The look in his eyes were dead serious.

"Stay in here." he told her and walked back out. What on earth was that all about? She thought to herself. She did as Spot told her, but kept her ear pressed up against the door.

Spot looked the middle aged man up and down. The man who so carelessly made his way into the lodging house. Spot knew right off the bat who this man was and tried very hard to keep his cool. It was Sophia's uncle, and he wasn't alone. He had Stiner right beside him. The looks on the two men were probably the same as Spots.

"We are here looking for a certain someone." said . "A girl. Her name is Anna Sophia. Long brown, wavy hair and beautiful green eyes. Seen her?" he asked.

The newsie boys shook their head, but Spot wasn't afraid to speak up and said, "Yeah, she was here."

The two men turned to Spot. Both with a grim smile on their faces. "Oh?" said Sophia's uncle.

"Yeah." said Spot. "But no newsie girl ever last long here in Brooklyn. 'Fraid ya missed the goil."

Her uncle sighed. "Pity. This was the fifth lodging house we've searched too. If you see her, boy, tell her that her uncle Christopher is looking for her."

The two began to walk away, but something struck Spot funny. Why didn't they ask for Tommy?
"What about Tommy?" Spot regretted saying it right after.

Christopher and turned around. "You know Tommy?" Christopher said.

Spot nodded. "'Fraid he left too."

Christopher shruged his shoulders. "That's a shame. Oh well." he sighed and headed to the door, letting pass through first. He then looked back at Spot and said, "Be seeing you again, boy...Real soon." and with that, he gave Spot one of his grim smiles and walked out the door.

The heavy air in the room was lifted and some of the newsie boys breathed as if they hadn't breathed during that whole time. Spot felt his skin crawl. Just by looking at the man, Spot knew he wasn't a very good person with the feeling he gave off. After the close was clear, Spot opened the kitchen door and let Sophia slip through.

"He's gone for sure?" she asked.

Spot nodded. "I think it's best if everyone just went to bed. Sophia, you head up first."

"What about the dishes though?" she asked.

Spot looked about his newsie's and pointed at one of the older boys. "You," he said. "Wash the rest of the dishes." The boy had a look of "oh man." on his face and walked into the kitchen. Spot then looked over at Sophia. "There. Problem solved. Now go up the room where it's safe." Sophia really couldn't argue with Spot there and headed up stairs.

As Sophia readied herself to bed by slipping into her usual nigh gown, Spot came walking through the door. He slipped off his suspenders and then his shirt. He let his suspenders hang next to his legs as he kicked off his nearly worn out shoes next to the bed.

Sophia sat on top of the bed, brushing her hair. "Do you always strip from your clothes like that?" she asked Spot.

Spot shrugged. "I guess." he flopped down on the bed and laid back. He then shot and pulled something out of his pocket. "Oh! I'se almost forgot." he held out a long blue ribbon in front of Sophia face. "It cost me a shinny penny."

"It's pretty, Spot." she told him.

Spot smiled. "I'se thought ya would like it to put in ya hair."

Sophia laughed a little. "What hair?" she joked.

Spot ignored her little joke and placed the ribbon on top of her head, wraped both sides around once so that both ends were now on top and he tied it into a cute little bow. "Look at ya self, goil." Sophia stood up and looked into the mirror. Her face turned bright red and she sat back down. "Looks good, huh goily." said Spot. Sophia nodded. "Good." he said. Spot brought Sophia closer to him and kissed her cheek and then her neck, leaving shivers down her spine.

"S-Spot...your lips are cold." she told him.

"Then help me warm them up." he turned her head and closed the gap between their lips. Sophia moaned when she left Spot touch her lips with his tougne, begging for iterance. Sophia slowly opened her mouth and left Spot's tounge slip inside her mouth. She felt him massage the inside of her mouth and she started to moan more. Spot then slipped one hand behind her back while the other slid it's way up to her left breast, squeezing it gently and forcing her back on to the bed.

Spot sat up on his knees and looked down Sophia whose night gown slipped down a little, showing her thighs. Nothing child-like about those thighs. Spot felt himself harden and took off his pants, not caring where he tossed them in the room. He placed himself back on to Sophia and started to caress her breasts as he kissed her. Sophia on the other hand felt Spot's manhood through his underwear being pressed against her womanhood. Spot trailed little sweet kissed down her neck and then to her shoulder. He then slipped his hands underneath her night gown and took it off. He then continued down to her breasts and took his sweet time on those and then left more kissing trails down her soft, pink little belly until he got to her hip and he bit one side playfully, making her moan louder than she had the last two times, leaving Goosebumps all up and down her body. Sophia felt herself get warm. Spot then placed his hands on her side and slowly slipped her underwear off and tossed that aside too. Spot felt himself get even harder. There, with her legs fully spread apart was Sophia, a girl who was much too embarrassed to let anyone see her naked was now fully comfortable around the Brooklyn leader, Spot Conlon. Her cheeks were a rosy red. Her nipples were pink and her belly was somewhat sweaty. He then looked down between her thighs and knew then that she yearned for more of him. Spot slipped off his underwear and dropped them next to the bed and his face down in front of her womanhood and started to kiss there. He left her gasp for air then left her fingers run though his hair. When he was done kissing her there he slipped one finger inside of her. He moved his finger back and forth slowly, letting her get used to the feeling. He then inserted another finger and began moving his fingers back and forth again only faster this time. He felt her tighten and then, within a few seconds he felt her fluids explode. When he released his fingers he saw her fluids come out and on to the bed sheet. Spot looked down at Sophia and said to her, "You'se ok about this, Sophia?" she nodded, letting spot know that she was fully ready. Spot positioned himself, letting her know that she still had time to say no, but she said nothing and he interred her. Sophia let out a light scream and Spot fell on top of her, letting a loud moan. Sophia felt Spot's warm breath against her ear as he placed his arms under her and held her closer to him. As he began to thrust in and out he whispered into her ear, "I love you." he then felt Sophia's nails dig into his back as he began to move faster. The two rocked together for a while till Spot and Sophia could feel themselves reaching their climax. Spot held himself up with his hands, hovering above her. The two kept their eyes closed; only listening to the sounds that each other made. When Spot reached his limit he felt Sophia tighten around him. The two cam together and Spot found himself collapsing on to Sophia again. Both breathing hard. Spot then released himself and lay next to her on the bed, pulling the covers up to them warm. Sophia turned over and Spot put arms around her and the two fell fast to sleep.

Chapter Thirteen: Hide and Seek.

Sophia's uncle sat in a chair at a

desk, across from . He had his hands folded and his elbows resting on

the desk. He listened to the sound of flipping through all his paper

work. He was deep in thought about his niece and nephew. He knew for a fact

that they were here in New York. He had heard work from gossip around the town,

heard that the two kids bought a train ticket and left as soon as possible. His

thoughts wondered for a while as to why they had left. They had a place to stay

with a good roof over their head, hot meals to eat and a safe place to sleep.

Sophia's uncle was hard headed though. It would take more than just a hammer to

crack that skull of his open to finally realize why they had left. He was a

powerful man though and would stop at nothing to find them.

He looked to , who was

still looking at his paper work after gazing off for a few moments.

"Those damn kids

know something. I can feel it." he told .

set his

papers down and looked over at his new friend. He smiled. "Why of course

they do. No newsie EVER tells the truth. Believe me, I know."


Sophia's uncle was now interested. "Tell me how you know."

sighed and scratched the back of his head. ", I know of a

young man named Jack Kelly, well that's not his real name. His real name is

Francis Sullivan, but that is besides the point. The point is: this boy cannot

be trusted, just like any other newsie. He's a quick thinker and will slip

right under your nose if you let him. But if your niece and nephew have met

this boy, then they ARE hiding something from you."

nodded his head. "Where could I find this boy?" he asked.

"This boy lives

here in Manhattan at a lodging house."

gave him a

little smirk. "Let's go to this lodging house and speak to this Fancis


Cowboy sat in his bunk bed, counting

his coins. Race played his harmonica, Blink played a game of cards with mush,

Boots snapped his fingers as he laid in his bottom bunk and the rest of the

newsie boys still slept while they could before getting up. The old man who ran

the place came walking into the room, telling the boys to get up, saying that

they had jobs to get done today and that there was no more time to be sleeping.

Cowboy climbed off of his bunk bed

and tucked in his shirt, Since he had no suspenders to put on, he headed right

to the washroom where he brushed his teeth, washed his face and combed his

hair. He was one of the first newsie boys to get done and ready to head out. As

he was about to open the front door to the lodging house, it swung open before

he could get to it. Jack stopped, making a few other boys knock into him.

came walking through the door with

a man who stood taller than he behind him. The two exchanged looks and then

looked over to the old man who made his way to the front desk.

"May I help

you?" the old man asked.

smiled his

creepy smile that he always did and finally said, "Yes. It seems there is

a young newsie girl who is missing and her brother. My friend, , is

their uncle."

Jack remembered then that Sophia's uncle was looking for her. This guy

must have been him that was with . He kept his eyes on him while he

listened to the conversation was having with the old man who ran the

lodging house.

The old man replied.

"No newsie girl has made her way here. And we haven't had any new boys

come in either for a while. That I can assure you."


nodded his head a few times. "I see. Well, if you do happen to see

them," he held his arm up and placed a picture of Sophia and Tommy

in-between 's middle and index finger and then he brought it close

enough for the man to see."They're names are Sophia and Tommy. If you do

see them, tell them that their uncle is VERY worried." he handed the

picture back to without looking away from the old man. He then turned

his gaze to the newsie boys. "Good luck to you boys." He tipped his

hat and was gone.

After jack had sold all his papes he

made his way to the pig market to buy a small thing of bread for some late

lunch and then quickly started his way to the Brooklyn Bridge to speak with

Spot about Sophia's uncle.

"Yo Cowboy! Where ya goin'?"

Jack looked back and saw his good friend, Race. "Hey, Race!" he gave

his friend a pat in the back. Race did the same.

"Why you'se

headin' ta Brooklyn?" he asked, pulling out a cigar and lighting it

quickly with his small crumpled up box of matches. he took one puff after that

and breathed it out. The smoke blew in the direction the wind was going.

Jack stuffed his hands in pocket, trying to warm them up from the chilly air.

"I'se gotta go see, Spot."

Race took another drag. "What for?"

"Needs ta talk

ta him 'bout what he told us 'bout Sophia's uncle."

Race nodded his head

twice. "I'se thought so."

"You'se did?" Jack asked.

Race nodded once this

time. "Yeah. I'se saw dat ol' gezzeh dis mornin'. Mind if I'se tag 'long

with ya?"

Jack laughed.

"But you'se hate Brooklyn!"

Race took one last

grad before putting his cigar out and places it back in a tin case and stuffing

it carefully in his front pocket. "I'se wanna know what's goin' on with

our old friend, Smalls."

The newsie boys made their way over

the Brooklyn Bridge as fast as they could. The wind blowing was colder on the

bridge. Race put his arms around himself to warm up a bit, but it did not do much good.

"You'se think dat, Spot is back at the lodging house?" Asked Race.

Jack shook his head. "Nah.""Well he more than certainly be done sellin' those papes of his, no doubt.""Yeah. I knows." started Jack, "but I'se doubt he be back at the lodging house. He probably be at some bar, here in Brooklyn, hittin' on fancy goils."

Spot got a complex look on his face. "Aint he with, Smalls though? Those two seem pretty close with each othah."

Jack nodded. "Yeah. But I'se don' wanna confuse myself with their probs." Race nodded, too.

Just then a voice yelled out to the two newise boys. It was Spot coming to greet them. He had on a light jacket and a small piece of taffy in-between his thumb and pointer finger. He gave them a big grin.

"What brings ya boys ovah here?" he asked.

Cowboy stepped forward and said, "We'se think dat, Smalls is in more trouble den we thought she was."Spot got a perplex look upon his face. "What you'se mean, jacky-boy?" he shuved the last of his taffy in his mouth, licked his thumb and finger and then stuck his hands in pocket.

"Smalls Uncle came to the manhattan lodging house dis moirnin'." explained Race.

Spot's eyes narrowed and he looked to his feet for a moment and then looked back up at the boys. "What dat bag of wasted bones have ta say?"

Jack leaned back a forth on his heals and toes a few times before finally standing still, "He still thinks that Tom Tom is still alive and that Smalls is with 'em."Spot pulled out one of his hands and rubbed his chin. "Don' know whether to say if that's good or bad. I jus' don' want 'em findin', Smalls." he sighed. "I'se don' care what it takes. I'd build a whole other Brooklyn bridge for her!"

The other newise boys were taken aback by Spot's sudden claim of affection for Sophia and couldn't help but grin at this. Spot didn't seem to notice though. He was too busy ranting on about how "evil" Sophia's uncle was. Which in most cases, it was true.

Jack then cleared his throat. "Look." he started, "We'se jus' wanted ta tell ya that her uncle came by. He's been hangin' out wit' ."Spot raised a brow. ", eh? Hmm."

"Yeah. We'se also found out that, Smalls uncles' name is, . So watch out." Race finished. Spot nodded at this. Come to think of it; Sophia never did tell Spot what her uncles name was. That girl definetly had her secrets piled to the brim. Spot then rubbed his eyes. "Yeah. Thanks for tellin' me, boys. 'Preciate it." The newsie boys then nodded a good-bye to each other and parted ways.

On Spots way back to the lodging house he stopped in the middle of a pig market and noticed a familiar figure, exaiming some fish. "Sophia?" he said aloud to himself. He continued to walk up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. When she turned around, her big green eyes looked up into his blue, shinny orbs.

"Spot?" she blushed at his sudden apperance. "W-what are you doing here in the market?""I'se was on me way back to the lodging house to check up on ya. What you'se doin' out here? Ya know ya uncle Hart is lookin' for you'se, smalls."

sophia looked a little surprised by his knowledge of her uncle's name. "How do you know my uncles' last name, Spot?"

Spot made that smirk he always did and said, looking right down at her,"Jack-boy and Racetrack ran into him. He ended up showin' up at the Manhattan lodging house. He was lookin' for you'se and Tom Tom."

Sophia looked down at her feet and then turned around at the sound of her brother's name and continued to examine the fish by looking into their eyes to see if they were fresh or not.

"Smalls, don' turn 'round when I'se is talkin' to ya." He placed his hand on her shoulder and turned her around, only to face him with a fish right in his face.

"Does this look fresh to you?" she asked him innocently.

Spor grew irritated by her ignoring him. "Sophia!"

"Spot!" she argued back, making a very poutful face.

Spot rolled his eye's. "Yeah. The damn fish looks fine."

Sophia turned back around and handed the sales man twenty cents and placed the fish neatly into her shopping basket. She then turned back around, tugging Spot by his light jacket. He walked beside her in silence for a few moments before asking her about her uncle. "Why didn't you tell me you're uncles' name?"

Sophia sighed. "I don't want you goin off and getting yourself hurt because you want to hurt him."

Spot scoffed. "You'se kidden' me, goil? Dat guy can't touch me!" he said with saticfaction in his voice.

Sophia stopped right then and there. Spot stopped after a few feet in front of her and looked back at her. The look on Sophia's face was somewhat distraught. "You obviously DO NOT know what kind of man he is, Spot. He's dangerous and very powerful with lots of money. Don't get involved with him. As long as he doesn't find me, I should be fin. Ok?"

Spot slowly walked up to her and placed both his hands on her shoulders, leaned in and kissed her on her left cheek. He took the basket of food from her, grabbed her hand and started to lead her back to the lodging house.

Sophia was confused by his actions. "What? Your not going to say anything back?" Spot shook his head. Sophia looked up at him suspiciously. "What do you have planned, mister trouble maker?"

Spot shrugged his shoulders. "Nothing." he told her. The two walked into the lodging house, silently, but what they did not know what that they were both being watched very closely.

Chapter Fourteen: Double trouble.

Jack Kelly stood on the side walk, calling out the news he's papers had to tell. He shouted out, "Dog bitten by man!" which wasn't true. It was: MAn bitten by dog. But Jack was so fast that no one would be able to chase him down after realizing the lie and he would be off and down the street a few blocks.

He thought a lot about Brooklyn and his two close friends that lived there: Spot and Smalls. He wished he could do more than just keep an eye for his newise friends, but Spot was never one to ask for protection or anything else like that. As for smalls, she was quiet and never asked for much and normally did not complain (unless Spot drove her to her last nerve) but that was a whole new story.

Cowboy held his last pape under his arm, still calling out the news of the world when I man walked up to him and placed a nickel in the palm of his left hand. When he looked up to get a good look at the man he was shocked at first. It was Mr. Hart.

"Thank ya sir." He told him.

Mr. Hart simply nodded. "No boy, thank you for caring the news."

Jack swallowed hard. It wasn't like him to find it hard to talk to people, but at this moment he was.

Mr. Hart started to walk away but he stopped and turned back towards Jack. "Jack Kelly, right?"
Jack situated his bandana around his neck and then stuffed his hands in his pocket. "Depends, whose lookin' for 'em?"

Mr. Hart smirked. "I am. And I have proposition."

"Proposition?" jack repeated.

"As you may already know, I am looking for a niece and nephew: Anna Sophia and Tommy. Have you heard word of them?"
Jack, pretending to think for a while, said, "Uh, no sorry. Even if I has, people around dis place change their names pretty quick."

Mr. Hart nodded, understanding. "I see. Well, if you find out anything, let me know." He pulled out a cad from the inside of his fancy black coat pocket and handed it to Jack. "Let's keep in touch."

After Mr. Hart was well out of sight, jack dropped the card to the ground and let it fly away. He had no intention of narking on his friends.

Later that day as Spot returned early from selling his papes he walked into the lodging house, getting the smell of noddle soup wafted into his nostrils. There he saw his newsie's at the table, playing cards others were on the floor, counting their money and some were just hanging out and talking and telling jokes. Spot walked to the kitchen, finding Sophia working hard at the soup, making sure it tasted good and had enough seasoning in it. She brought a wooden spoon up to her mouth and blew on the hot soup before taking a sip.

"How is it?" asked Spot, startling Sophia a little.

Sophia placed the wooden spoon down next on a cloth on the counter. "It's ok. Same as usual. Don't know why I try to make this taste so good." She finished by placing her hands on her hips and sighing. Spot smoothly walked over and placed his hands on her shoulders and kissed her neck.

Sophia tried to wiggle him away from behind but could not. "Spot, Stop! I'm trying to cook here!" she felt Spot curve his lips into a smile and then finally let her go.

"Chicken noddle soup again, eh? Mmm. My favorite!" he said jokingly. Before Sophia could hit him with her wooden spoon he was already out the door.

Ever since the night Spot and Sophia slept together, Spot was more jumpy than usual when it came to Sophia being alone with the Brooklyn Newsie boys. In a weird way it was kind of sweet. She enjoyed being cared for like this. She had never felt this kind of love before and she wanted more of it every day. A certain kind of feeling twisted and turned in her stomach though. Was sleeping with him the right thing to do? She didn't know.

When the soup was done, she carried it out to the boys, telling them to get in line. When it came time for her to eat, the feeling her stomach had gotten worse and when she took in that first mouthful of soup it seemed to get rid of the pain for but a moment but it soon came back. When she finished her soup she still wanted more but there was none left. With all those hungry Brooklyn boys it was amazing that that one pan of soup fed everyone one serving of food for every newsie boy there.

When it came for everyone to head off to bed, Sophia picked up the pan of soup and started to carry it back to the kitchen, but wondering hands came to her side and took the pan from her. When her tired eyes looked to see who it was she was surprised.


He only took a few steps away before finally looking back at her and saying, "What?"

"Your helping me out?" she said to him.

Spot shrugged his shoulders. "Well why not. You'se go on upstairs and sleep, babe."

Sophia smiled tiredly as Spot kissed her cheek and walked into the kitchen.

Sophia slugged her way upstairs and into her and Spot's room. Right away she undressed herself and put on one of Spot's shirt as a night gown, even though it could hardly be called one. She slipped it on anyway and got into bed, falling asleep before Spot even made his way up to the room.

Sophia woke early that morning with a terrible pain in her stomach. She looked to her right and saw that Spot had one hand around her. He was still fast asleep. He was shirtless, wearing nothing but his underwear. Sophia was a little surprised that he didn't decide to sleep naked again, like he sometimes did.

The pain in her stomach started up again and she sat up right away, grabbing on to her belly as the pain shot right up her spin and into her chest. She slid off the bed fast, trying not to wake Spot and ran to the restroom. She fell to her knees and rested her hands on top of the tin tub and puked hard. So hard her head started to spin that she was forced to rest her head on top tub for a moment to regain her strength. When she lifted up her head she took in a deep breath and stood up, but it seemed to be too soon and she collapsed, stumbling forward a bit and then hitting her head hard against the edge of the stand that was a few feet away from the tub and passed out.

When she came to, she realized a doctor hovering over her. Shocked by his sudden presence, Sophia jerked back in her and spot's bed, making her head hurt even worse and then remembering what happened.

"Don't move." said the doctor. "You really hurt your head." he told her.

All Sophia could muster out was Spot's name. The doctor inched closer to her. "What?" he asked.

"W-where is S-Spot?" she asked. The doctor put up one finger, as in, hold on, and walked out of the room. Just as soon as he had left he returned, with Spot right behind him. A small smile appeared on her face when she saw him, but then it suddenly vanished when Spot did not smile back at her.

Spot tore his gaze away from her and looked to the doctor. "Will she be ok?" he asked.

The doctor quickly nodded and then brought Spot closer to him and whispered on his ear. After speaking with him, Spot sat on the bed, his hands clasped together, his face looking straight ahead and then it happened: His face turned so white, Sophia thought he would pass out.

"Make sure she gets plenty of rest." said the doctor, looking down at Spot. He then readied his things and left the two. Soon after a few newsie boys walked in, asking if Sophia was ok. Spot looked up at them and nodded twice. The newsie boys kept standing there, as if Spot would tell them more.

Spot then shot them an angry look. "What else do you want me to tell you?" he shouted. The newsie boy then quickly gathered themselves up and left the room as fast as they could.

Spot rose from the bed and said to Sophia without even looking back at her. "You're pregnant?"

Shocked by his question, Sophia slowly sat up and rubbed her head, giving Spot a weird look. "What are you talking about?"

"The damn doc jus' told me you'se was pregnant."

Sophia looked down at her belly and rubbed her right hand over it a few times. "I never thought..." she suddenly stopped. "Oh God..."
Spot finally turned around and looked down at Sophia. "Yeah. "Oh God" is damn roight."

"A few teas formed in Sophia's eyes. She looked up at Spot and said, "What will we do?"

"We'se? Ya mean you'se? I aint doin' nothin'."

A tear fell from one of her eyes and slowly down her cheek. "What are you talking about?" she said to him.

Spot took let out a heavy sigh, took off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair a few times and placed his newsie hat back on top of his head. "I'se hardly makin' a livin' now, tryin' ta support you and me. What make you'se think that I can afford to feed three mouths?"

Sophia found it hard to talk to Spot, finally she said to him the only thing she could say at a time like this. "What should I do?" she said to him.

"Get rid of it." He said in a rather blunt and painful manner.

Sophia was shocked to hear those words come out of Spot's mouth. "What?" she said.

"You'se heard me. I'se just can't do it! Get rid of it Smalls!"
Sophia crossed her arms and laid back down, turning away from Spot. "I aint doin' it!" a rough, Brooklyn accent escaped Sophia's lips.

Spot sighed again. Too tired to argue with her any further. He kicked off his shoes, slipped off his pants, then his shirt and went right to bed. This was going to be one heck of a month for him. He just knew it and it pissed him off yet it worried him all to hell.

Chapter Fifteen: A thousand words of pain.

Sophia woke up that next morning. She could hardly get enough sleep with what had happened last night. She was hurt and confused and it made her whole body hurt even worse. Sophia slipped out of bed, trying not to wake Spot, even thought she felt like taking her pillow and hitting him over the head a bunch of times and giving him a rude awaking. But she thought otherwise and walked over to her suit case, which she had not opened for some time and looked inside at all the things she had brought from New Orleans: Underwear, two clean shirts, an extra skirt and dress, a few penny's scattered on the bottom and a wooden brush. Sophia grabbed for the brush and started to run the brush slowly down her hair. This time was different though. Instead of having to brush all the way down to her mid-waist the brush stopped short at her chin.

It wasn't long till she was done brushing out her hair and setting the brush back into her case and then searching through it again. Suddenly her fingers hit something hard and cold: The blue sapphire her mother had givin her. A sense of happiness reached her and her lips slightly curved into a sweet smile. She hadn't worn it in forever it seemed like. Not since Tommy's death. A single tear fell from her right eye and she quickly wiped it away and put on the necklace. She then got out her only nice dress and put that on. The dress was light blue with white ruffles at the bottom and on the top and at three end of the sleeves. Hand painted white flowers decorated the dress. Her corset on the other hand made her body look more curved in the dress. She hadn't felt so famine in so long she felt a little uncomfortable at first, but quickly adjusted to it.

When she was done dressing, she closed her suit case and slid it back up against the wall. She then walked over to the dresser that stood next to the bed and grabbed for the ribbon Spot had gotten her and put in her hair. Suddenly feeling sick, Sophia sat down at the foot of the bed and held on to her stomach. A slight gasp of pain escaped her mouth, waking Spot up in the process. He mumbled something that Sophia could not understand and sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. When his vision adjusted he saw Sophia sitting next to his feet. "Ya up rather earoily." he said in a tired tone.

"I couldn't sleep." she said to him.

Spot scratched the back of his head and noticed the necklace around Sophia's skinny neck. "Dat soir is a pretty thing you'se got there, Smalls." he pointed towards the necklace. Sophia looked down at it and touched it with her fingertips. "Bet it's woith a lot." he smirked.

Sophia narrowed her eyes at him. "I'm not selling this. It was my mothers. It's the only thing I got left from her."

she explained to her. This didn't seem to reach Spot's ears though. He got up and put on his blue shirt and brown pants. He then slipped on his red suspenders and his shoes.

"Smalls...Sellin' dat necklace could solve all our problems. You'se know dis. Bet it's woith hundreds. No. Couple thousand. Ya neveh have ta woik a single in ya life again. Neither would I. We'se have a good house with running wata all that good stuff that rich folk got."

Sophia shook her head. "No. You don't seem to understand me, Spot. This is all I got left of my family. It's been handed down for gernrations."

Spot rolled his eyes. "Whateveh, babe." he finished putting on his shoes and stood up. "Ya gonna have to think of somethin', Smalls if ya dis ta woik. I can't do everything me self." With that said and done, Spot left the room. He was probably off to go get his papes and sell them.

In the mean time, Sophia didn't feel like staying cooped up in the lodging house all day and figured getting some fresh air would do her some good and grabbed her white shawl on the way out. Even though walking around in Brooklyn wouldn't be so "fresh" she felt as if she really needed it.

By the time she made it down stairs all the boys were gone and only the old man you kept track off all the news boys stood at his desk, looking down at some papers. When he heard her coming he picked his head up and gave her a friendly smile and said, "Good morning."Sophia returned the smile and the good morning. Before she walked out the old man called out to her.

"You be careful now, little missy. You gotta take care of more than just yourself now." he then looked back down his papers, not waiting for Sophia's reply, not like she was or could say anything. Did everybody know that she was pregnant? It hadn't even been twenty-four hours yet.

Sophia stepped outside of the lodging house, wrapping her shawl around her tighter, trying to block out the cold November wind. Everyone looked more busy than usual, hurrying about the city, trying to get their errands done and over with so they can get back home and warm up. She heard some newsie's yelling , trying to sell their papes and even spotted a few in the distance. Sophia then reached into her dress pocket and pulled out the three cents that she had taken from her suit case and decided to get some bread for breakfast.

While she looked at all the bread in the bakery her mouth started to water. She was incredibly hungry and couldn't find any bread worth three cents or less. Finally, at the back of the store at the bottom of the shelf she found some bread or exactly three cents. The role of bread was no bigger than from her wrist to her middle finger. She then walked up the front and paid for her bread and walked out. She was so hungry she quickly devoured her bread in just a few bites. Not a crumb was left. Suddenly she felt a big hand come upon her left shoulder and voice she could live without ever hearing again for as long as she lived. Her uncle's annoying, hard, cold voice reached her ears and she slowly turned around.

The time had come. She was now facing her uncle for the first time in months! "Hello, Anna Sophia. I hardly recognized you with hair." I slight laugh escaped from him and it irritated her to the bone. "What are you doing here?" she asked, being cautious not to upset him.

He took his hand off of her and stuck it behind his back. "Why, to look for you and your dear brother, Timothy. I have been VERY worried." A sly smiled went across his face.

Sophia scoffed. "Don't you get it? Don't you know the reason why Tommy and I left?""Whatever do you mean, my dear little niece?"

Sophia crossed her arms. "Don't play dumb with me. I'm not the same little girl you used to know and torment when no one was around."Her uncle's eyes went from soft to a dark, cold color and he quickly snatched up her right arm and brought her close to him so that their faces were inches apart. "You have givin me a lot of trouble. You and your damn brother both! Do not test me!" he said in a rather harsh tone.

This did not seem to make Sophia falter. She continued to glare at him and quickly spoke back. "I DARE you to do something right here and now, you pig!"

He wanted to hit her hard across the face, but seeing as how they were in public she was forced to do nothing but resort to hurtful words. "You and your brother better behave yourselves. I will take the both of you BACK to New Orleans. Make no mistake of that!"

Sophia scoffed again. "I'd like to see you try. I'm a young woman who can make her OWN choices and does NOT need a man to take care of her!"

Sophia's uncle lightly pushed her back and straightened out his black suit. "If you do not listen to me then Timothy shall the price for your mistakes."Sophia glared at him. "Tommy is DEAD you ASSHOLE!" she shouted in the street, making a few people stop and turn their heads, but they quickly went back to whatever it was they were doing before.

Her uncle looked a little surprised but then his cold looking old face went back to it's normal scornful look. "I leave to go back to New Orleans tonight. I am staying with Mr. Snyder. You know where to find me if you change your mind...You will change your mind, Sophia. That I am sure of." with that said he smiled and turned away, leaving Sophia by herself, but not for long. She noticed Spot making his way towards her. He first walked pass her uncle. The two stopped for but a moment and looked at each other. Her uncle then tipped his hat to Spot and continued walking off.

Spot continued to look back him for a few more second and then made his way to Sophia.

"How ya feelin', Smalls?" he asked.

"If you must know, I feel like dirt."

"You hungry?"

"No." she lied. "Have you thought about what we talked about last night?"

Sophia grew tired with all his questions. "Why do you keep asking me questions? Usually you have some kind of damn statement to make!"

Spot furrowed his eyes for a moment and then decided to shrug it off. "Jeez, Small. Only makin' conversation."

"Well..."Spot waited for a moment for her finish, but then decided to say something seeing as she wasn't going to. "Well what?" he said to her. "C'mon, Smalls. Don't leave me hangin'."

"I'm just cold is all." this time she only lied partially to him. She was cold but she did not want to start a conversation with him.

Spot then walked up close to her and put his arms around her, trying to warm her up. Confused by his sudden action she wiggled her way free from his grasp.

"What?" he said.

"Nothing." she told him. "I'm tired of standing here. I'm going back to the lodging house.""Good. I'se was just headin' back." he locked his arm in with hers and walked the rest of the way back to the lodging house in silence.

Spot's attitude was confusing Sophia. Did he have a change of heart and want to go through with having this baby? Was trying to get out of trouble? Or did he simply have something else up his sleeves? She didn't know. But she was going to find out tonight.

As the two walked into the lodging house, Spot walked right up to the old man who was behind his counter still and dug out his money from his pocket and placed it in front of the old man. The man cleared his throat and pushed back some change over to Spot. Spot gave the man a confused look. The old man motioned Spot to come closer and whispered in his ear. When they parted, Spot glanced over at Sophia and then took up his extra change and stuck it back into his pocket.

Later on that night, Sophia sat in the lodging house, watching some of the newise boys play poker. She had grown used to the smoky air. The loud laughter and the rather rude comments some of the boys spat out about other people. She had learned to ignore all that though.

The little boy that Sophia had grown fond of walked up her and patted her on the shoulder.

"Smalls. I mean, Miss. I have a question."Smiled over at the boy while she sat in her chair she said to the boy, "Yes?"

"Do you have anymore to tell me about your story?"

Sophia laughed softly and told the boy this, "Well...not much, but...I can tell you this." the little boys eyes seemed to light up. "The girl and King came across some double trouble along the way but now they don't know what to do. Sorry that's all I have to tell you."

"That's ok." he told her. "As long as you finish it, that's all that matters." with that the young boy ran to the other boys to get a better look at the game.

When Sophia had laughed it made Spot looked up from his game and over at her. Her delecate features were simple yet beautiful. Despite the rough time they were going through, Spot still loved her even though at times she absolutely drove him insane! The sound of her voice, made Goosebumps go up his arms and every time he saw her that one butterfly that was stuck in his chest would start to flutter, making it hard for him to concentrate. Sophia then caught him looking at her and he quickly went back to looking at his game.

Later that night as Spot was making his way to his room he stopped in front of the door before interring. He took in a deep breath and then slowly let it out. He was sure an argument was going to erupt again and he loathed the idea popping into his head. Finally he put his hand on the cold door knob and slowly opened the door. There, putting her necklace away was Sophia. She had not yet gotten out of her daily clothes.

"You'se not ready for bed yet, Smalls?"

She finally noticed Spot standing just a few feet away from her and quickly stood up. "No." was all she said.

Spot slugged his way to the bed and sat down, his elbows resting on his knees and his hands clasped together. "So uh, Smalls. Have you'se thought 'bout it yet?"Sophia sighed. "Thought about what?" she asked him, taking off her boots.

Spot grew weary of her "pretending not to know" and finally said, "'Bout gettin' rid of the baby."

Sophia slipped off her last boot and dropped it, not caring where it went. "You want me to get an abortion?"

Spot scratched the back of his head. "Well, Smalls. It's eitheh dat or ya sell the necklace.""I'm not selling the necklace, Spot. "Thought we went through this already."

Spot stood up, irritated. "I'se already told you'se, Sophia, I can't feed three mouths. I'se can hardly take care of you'se and me."Sophia looked him up and down. "Do you know what could happen to a woman if she were to go through an abortion, Spot? Do you? Obviously you don't, because if you did, you would not be asking me kill out own child."Curious, Spot asked, "What WOULD happen?"

Sophia shot him a disgusted look. "What are you, Stupid?" Spot glared at her but Sophia didn't care. she continued on. "If I were to get an abortion I could either risk never having children again OR it could mean certain death for me." her voice grew softer. "DO you not care for me now?"

Spot shook his head. "No. It's not like that..."

"Then what Spot? WHAT? Tell me because I would really like to know. You used to be so sincere and now...well now you are acting like a total DICK and I HATE you for it!"

Spot lifted up his left hand, ready to smack her across the face, making Sophia flinched in the process, but Spot thought otherwise and put his hand down.

"You'se is drivin' me insane, Sophia!""Good!" shouted Sophia. "Because you have been driving me insane ever since I got here!"Spot grabbed on to Sophia arms and brought her up close to his face. "Shut up! I'm scared ok? I'se don't know what ta do! I wish I could change things, but I'se can't! I jus' can't, Smalls!"

In a low voice, Sophia said to him, "Well maybe you should have thought about that before you made to me!"Spot squeezed her arms tighter, making her wince in pain. "Love? You'se don' know nothin' 'bout love, Smalls!"

Suddenly the bedroom door opened up and a few newsie boys peaked their heads through. Spot and Sophia looked over and both yelled at the same time, "GET OUTA HERE!" the newsie boys swung the door shut so fast you could hear some of them tumble over themselves.

Spot looked back at Sophia and said, "You'se eitheh get rid of that damn baby or you can leave." his blue orbs flashed a painful look of hurt and hatred all at the same time and he finally released her.

Sophia rubbed her arms and looked over to Spot who was walking out the door. "Where are you going?" she called out to him. Spot said nothing. "If you leave now Spot without finishing this, I won't be here by the time you get back!"

Before slamming the door shut, Spot scoffed under his breath and then said, "Whateveh!"

Completely hurt and feelings crushed all to bits felt herself trembling with fear and sadness. What was she going to do? Suddenly the thought of her uncle came to mind. He had probably already left to New Orleans so she would not be able to catch up to him now. She then remembered the money that was left over that Spot had taken from the Delancy brothers and walked over to the dresser and drug out the money. She would use that to get a train ticket to go back to New Orleans. She thought she loved Spot, but she was wrong and she hated herself for ever falling for such a brut. She put her shoes back on and walked over to her suitcase and made sure that all she needed would be in there. Sophia then took up her suitcase and stomped all the way down stairs. Some of the newsie boys were still up and talking but stopped when they saw her. They dared not say a thing to her. In the end they didn't need to though. Before leaving, Sophia said to any of the news boys who were listening, "Tell Spot that he gets his wish. I am leaving so now he doesn't have to worry about a single thing anymore!" Sophia slammed the door shut and started walking towards the nearest train station.

Spot on the other hand leaned up against the Brooklyn bridge. He was deep in thought. He was thinking about everything. About his life, his feelings for Sophia whom he still loved, his mother and father, his home back in Europe. Everything. What would his life be if he had not come to New York. Would he have ever felt such a love that he does towards Sophia? He didn't know and he never would. He was always living in the moment, taking one step at a time, going through life wherever it would lead him. Suddenly it hit him, like the cold, icy wind that blew into his face. From birth, up until now, his life had led him to here to New York, to Sophia. And finally without a second thought, Spot knew what to do. He would go back to the lodging house tell Sophia that he was sorry and try to come up with another solution.

As he stepped inside the lodging house it was dead quiet. As he walked into his room he noticed something. A big change. "Smalls?" he hardly made a sound. He looked around the room. Her things were gone. A cold lump stuck fast in his throat and terrible feeling ran through his stomach. He ran down the stairs, almost tripping over his own feet. He didn't think Sophia was serious. He then barged into his newsie boys bunk room and walked over to the nearest boy his hands were closest towards and shook him awake. "Where is Sophia!" Startled the boy didn't know what to say. "Tell me dammit! I need to know!"

"She left, Spot. We don't know where she went." said one of the newsie boys a few bunks down.

Without another word, Spot left the room and ran outside. He remembered the conversation he overheard Sophia and her uncle have. He had told her that he was leaving soon and that she was more than welcome to go back with him. The train station! Spot thought quickly and ran as fast as he could the nearest train station. The cold hair stung his lungs. His heart beat fast, the icy wind biting at his fast with every step he took. He cared not about himself though. He only wanted Sophia to be back in his arms. Yes. That's what he wanted more than anything else. The touch of her fingers. The feel of her soft skin. The warmth of her body and the sweet smell of her hair and look of her beautiful green eyes. He would hate himself he did not make it to her in time so he tried to pick up his pace but it was so hard and the cold wind chilled his body to the bone. Finally he caught sight of the train station. He was almost there and a sense of hope lingered in his heart.

Sophia handed the man her money in exchange of her ticket and was also handed back some change. She picked up her lone suitcase and waited for the train to come. She could hear it off in the distance and the sound made her cringe. The last time she was here she was with Tommy. She wiped away an icy tear and took out the ribbon Spot had givin her out of her hair and looked down at it. Memories Spot Floaded her mind. She squeased the ribbon hard in her fist and stuffed into her dress pocket. When she looked up she saw the train making it's way toward her, but she also heard someone cry out her name. she looked across the train tracks and on to the other side of the street and saw Spot running to her. Her heart skipped a beat and tore her eyes away from him and looked back at the train that was even closer now.

"Sophia! Please stop! I'se need ta talk you'se!" she heard cry out again and again she tried to block out his voice. Just as Spot was going to come across the tracks he had to stop for the train now made it's way to go inbetween them. "Sophia I'se sorry what I said ta you'se! Please for give me! I'se completely wrong 'bout evereh thing!"

No matter how much Sophia tried to block him out she couldn't. "All aboard!" yell a man. Sophia broke free from Spot's words and made her way to the train. "Sophia please!" he begged.

Sophia stood at the door, about ready to get on. "You gettin' on little missy?" asked the man, looking down at Sophia. She looked up at him, not know what to say.

Spot did everything could to make Sophia stop. He prayed that she would change her mind and stay with him, but why would she? After all the terrible things Spot said to her and after what he wanted her to do, how could she stay with him. A painful feeling resting at the bottom of his gut and the train sounded again, telling everyone that it was leaving time. When the train started up, Spot kept a watchful eye out for Sophia. Suddenly his spirits lifted. There, standing right across the tracks from him was Sophia. Her suitcase sitting next to her feet and her hands resting lose next her sides. Spot ran across the tracks and quickly embraced Sophia in a warm hug. He began kissing her continuously all over the face.

"Spot?...S-stop that." she told him in a quiet voice. "Sorry. I'se can't. I missed you'se Sophia. Thought I'se had lost ya!""...But you didn't.""I didn't take ya serious. Didn't think you'se would eveh leave me. Please, Sophia. I'se so sorry. Forgive me. Take me back!"

Sophia slowly hug him back. "I already have." she stuffed her face into Spot's shoulder and felt hot tears run down her cheeks.

Spot lifted her head and kissed her passionately. Taking in the moment he almost lost. "We'se can do this togetheh, Smalls. You'se and me both. I want you ta have the baby."Sophia was surprised and happy to hear this. "What?" she said.

"Keep da baby, Sophia. I'se do whateveh it takes to take care of ya both. I'se can get a better job and support us all. "

It was then that Sophia broke down and started to sob.

"What's wrong, babe?" Spot asked. "Why you'se cryin'? Thought you'se be happy."

Sophia shook her head. "No, Spot. I am happy. I'm crying BECAUSE I'm happy." Spot took her into another embrace. "I'm happy too, Sophia."

Chapter Sixteen: Can't win for losing.

To make up for his stupidity, Spot took Sophia to another one of Medda's shows. This time was different though. There would be no Tommy running up to Sophia. Greeting and hugging her. Swinging her around and giving her a kiss on the four head. While most of the newsie boys sang and danced right along Medda, Spot continued to glance over at Sophia. She was beautiful and tonight she was smiling and happy. Surrounded by friends and eating her apple crisp pie that cost Spot twenty cents. Sophia would laugh every time Racetrack or jack tired to dance like Medda and would fail terribly.

Spot placed his arm around Sophia and held her close that way. Even though she had said she forgave him, Spot still wondered if she really meant it. He knew was being a complete ass then, but he was scared and didn't know what to do. Sophia suddenly looked over to Spot and smiled. A smile that was full of apple crisp pie that is. Spot smirked and took his pointer finger and wiped some apple goo off the side of Sophia's lips and then licked it off. Sophia blushed and turned her head away, swallowing the apple crisp pie down hard and then giggled. Spot forced her to look back at him and kissed her slowly and gently on the lips. It was a good kiss. Sophia closed her eyes, taking in the moment. So did Spot.

All of a sudden a new song started. Spot shot his head to the front and cheered. He clapped his hands a few times and then took a few big gulps of Irish whisky and turned to Sophia.
"I LOVE this song!" his eyes were bright and cheery and flashed with life. He climbed on top of the table and reached his hand down towards Sophia. "C'mon, Smalls! Dance with me!" Sophia shook her head. "Please!" Spot instisted. Sophia gave into his puppy dog eyes and grabbed his hand. He quickly pulled her up and wrapped his arms around her waist and started to dance in a circle.
"Spot, what if we fall?" shouted Sophia, trying to make her voice audible with all the loud music.

Spot shook his head. "We won't!" he shouted back. "I got you'se. Don't worry 'bout a thing, babe!" he then stepped back a little and started tapping his feet on the table to go along with the music. He then picked up his speed and started to pick his feet higher above the table.
"What kind of dance is THAT?" Sophia had never seen anyone dance like Spot.
"Irish dancing, Sweet heart!" he shouted and laughed, still dancing. "Try it!" he told her.
Sophia was about to say no, but knowing Spot, he wouldn't allow it and slowly, Sophia tried to copy Spot's moves but failed in the end and about was about just as bad as Racetrack and jack when trying to dance like Medda.

After the show was over and everyone was heading on home, Spot and Sophia ran into jack and Blink. The two were lingering over by the doorway.

"Hey boys!" called out Spot. "What you two's standin' 'round heah for?"
jack slipped his right hand through his hair once and put on his cowboy hat. "We'se waitin' on Racetrack and Mush."
"Ah. What for?" asked Spot.

Jack was about to tell them, but Blink beat him to it. "Mush found himself anothah sweet goil," he chuckled at this. "And we'se sent Racetrack to go aftah his lazy bum so we'se can head on back to the lodging house." and like clockwork, Racetrack showed up right beside Spot and Sophia with a drunken Mush hanging at his side.

"Dis boy don' know when ta quite!" said Racetrack. Everyone laughed.

On their way back to the Brooklyn lodging house Spot put a hand on Sophia's side. Sophia looked up at Spot and smiled.
"You've grown." she told him.

Spot looked down at her. "Have I?" he laughed a little.

This made Sophia blush. Before tonight, Spot had never laughed all that much. What had changed in him? His hair was little longer. A few wisps swaying in the wind on the back of his neck. His body was looking more and more like a grown man each day. "You've changes, Spot?" Sophia suddenly said.

This surprised Spot a little. "What do you mean?" he asked her.
"Everything about you has changed. Your looks, the way you carry yourself. You don't walk all still or as if your pain anymore."

Spot couldn't help but chuckle. "You've changed me, Smalls. You did." he kissed her four head.

When they reached the lodging house, Spot held Sophia's hands as he led her up stairs.

"Your being rather...odd tonight." said Sophia.

"Odd?" Spot acted as if he shocked to hear Sophia say that and then laughed. "I'se just bein' nice, Smalls."

Sophia raised a brow. "Yes, well. This 'nice' is rather odd. Just thought you should know this." she smiled.

Spot then opened the door and let Sophia walk in first. Right away Spot took off his clothes. Sophia turned around to see a Spot in nothing but his underwear and already he was getting ready to take those off too.

"SPOT? What are you doing.

"Ah , don't you'se have a cow. Jus' gettin' ready for a bath is all." he then slipped off his underwear and was now completely naked. Sophia glanced down for but a second and then turned around. Her face was as read as an apple.

"I think I'll just get right into bed." she said and started slipp off her shoes. Spot walked past her and headed right to his washroom. Sophia glanced up and saw a naked Spot butt for a few seconds. She smiled to herself and blushed again. That is a nice butt, she thought to herself and continued to get ready for bed.

Spot on the other hand, sighed as soon as he closed the washroom door. His hands shaking. He was putting on a brave face for Sophia. In the inside he was scared. Terrified in fact. And it was about the baby. Sure he was fine now about having it, but what about Sophia? Lots of woman died giving birth. What id Sophia were to die giving birth? He'd never get over it. He then walked over to the tub and started to fill it up. When it got to a certain height he stopped and slipped right in. He was used to the cold so after a while he sat back, trying to relax.

Sophia sat on the bed, brushing her hair right before bed. When she set the brush down on the dresser a sharp pain ran through her stomach. She leaned forward a bit, holding on to her gut. The pain came again. She stood up fast, now leaning against the dresser with one hand and the other still held on to her stomach. The pain came a third time and finally a release of pain left her body. She felt it trail down her legs and even felt a puddle forming at her feet. She was afraid to look down. She did not want to have to admit what was to come or what had came and was now passed. She closed her eyes tightly and a few tears streamed down her face. Still not looking down she took her free hand and trailed it down to her private area. She was wet. Finally she opened her eyes and looked at her finger tips. Red. Her eyes shot open and suddenly she looked down. A pool of blood circled around her feet. She could feel some blood dripping down. She gave out a loud scream and cried out Spot's name "SPOT!"

Spot shot up in his bath when he heard Sophia. He then heard her call out to him again. He got out of the tub so fast he slipped at first and landed hard on his side. Even though it hurt he ignored the pain and grabbed the towel hanging off the side of the tub and covered himself up. When he burst the door open he stopped. He was frozen with fear when he saw Sophia standing in a puddle of blood. Her blood. She slowly turned her head and looked back at Spot. Tears ran down her cheeks uncontrollably. Her lips quivered, her eyes red and whole body shaking.

"I'm sorry..." she told him, choking out every word. Her eyes then went in the back of her head and she started to collapse. Spot got to her just in time and caught her in his arms. He slowly sat down, setting her down with him and cradled her in his arms. Tears now formed in his eyes and he buried his face in her neck.

"No...I'm sorry...I'm sorry." Spot continued to hold the unconscious Sophia in his arms, repeatedly saying that he was sorry and rocking her back and forth. Spot felt a terrible guilt. He first wanted Sophia to get rid of the baby and almost lost her in the process. Now the baby really was gone and he felt as if he was to blame for the whole thing.

Chapter Seventeen: Bad thoughts.

Spot stayed by Sophia's side as she laid in bed. She had been laying there for two days now. The doctor said that she lost a lot of blood and no boubt, lost the baby in the process. This made Spot cringe. What if she never wakes up? Spot thought to himself. For the past few days, Sophia had only awaken a few moments and only for so long till she couldn't keep her eyes open anymore and she could hardly stay awake when Spot tried to feed some broth. She often fell back to sleep, listening to the sound of Spot's voice. What if she stays like this until she really does die? Spot did not want to think about death, especially now, but he could not escape from it. It continued to poison his mind.

Suddenly, Sophia stirred, grabbing Spot's attention right away.
"Smalls?" he said quietly. She moaned this time. "...Sophia?"

Finally her eyes fluttered open. She remained staring up at the ceiling. "Spot?"

Spot inched closer to her, grabbing her hand and holding on to it. It was cold, but Spot was sure his warm hands did her some good.

"Water." Sophia said slowly. Her voice cracking.

Spot hurried and grabbed a tall glass of water. He lifted her head and tilted the glass so that the water flowed into her mouth slowly. When she had drank all that she could, Sophia rested her head back down again. This time though, she did not fall back asleep.

"How long as it been?" she asked Spot.

"Two days."
Sophia made no movement or comment on his answer but continued to talk. "I'm sorry, Spot."
Spot gave her a confused look. "What do you mean?" he was startled by her question.

"For losing the baby." she said quietly, her voice sounding a little better than before.

Spot shook his head. "No, no. That wasn't your fault. That was no one's fault. If anyone's it be me own fault."

Before Sophia could utter another word, the lodging house keeper walked in. He slowly walked up behind Spot. He glanced down at Sophia and smiled warmly. He then turned his attention towards Spot.

"It's pay day, Mr. Conlon." and he reached out his hand. Spot sighed and dug and through his pants pocket, pulling out a dollar. He slapped into the old man's hands and sighed. The lodging house man looked back at Sophia and smiled again and then he was off.

"How much money do we have left?" asked Sophia.

Spot slouched in his chair, ran a hand through his hair and said, "Two dollars."

Sophia's eyes widened. "What?"

Spot gave in. He decided to give in and let Sophia in on the news. "I'se hasen't been sellin' very many papes lately. I mean...I try every day, but...I jus' can't seem ta sell 'em all in one day."

"It's stress." Sophia stated. Spot said nothing.

After a few moments of silence, Spot crawled into bed with Sophia and put his arms around her. There they fell asleep within seconds.

Later that night, Sophia woke from her deep sleep. She looked over at Spot. He was still sleeping. She then looked out the window. It was still dark. Figures, she thought. Memories of the other night then filled her mind. She started to cry, but suddenly stopped. She was tired of crying, tired of being and getting hurt all the time. Tired of everything. Sophia quietly slipped out of bed. It was then when she noticed that she was wearing one of Spots larger shirts. It was a grey and buttons up shirt that reached to her knees. The floor was cold and she could feel the cold air seeping through the cracks of the window. She wrapped her arms around herself, but it was no use. She let her arms fall and decided to take on the cold.

She walked over to the door leading outside of her and Spot's room. She reached for the handle. At first she hesitated and looked back at Spot. Afraid that he would wake up and stop her from going out. He did not wake though and she turned her gaze back on the knob. She placed her hand on it. It was cold as she turned it and opened the door. It creaked it. She looked back again, Spot hardly moved an inch. He must be really tired, she thought.

Sophia walked out of the room and down the stairs. They seemed to creek more this night. It figured, but no one woke up from it. She peered into the other newsie boys rooms. They were all dead asleep. She closed it and took in a deep breath and slowly let it out. Sophia then made her way to the front door. She stopped for but a moment and then opened it. A gush of freezing cold wind blew in, making her shiver to the bone. She stepped outside and quietly closed the door behind her. Not a single soul lingered in the streets or alley ways. The night was far too cold and anyone out at this time of night was crazy. She laughed to herself then. Perhaps she was going crazy.

As she walked she got closer to the Brooklyn bridge. The magnificent bridge looked lonely in the dark even if the stars were out and shining brightly and the moon, big and full of light. Very little clouds showed though. She took her first step onto the bridge. It was icy and the air smelt salty. Sophia looked down at the water. It was half frozen. She then got an idea. That water sure looks nice and cold. She swallowed hard and grabbed onto the railings. She pulled herself up onto the top of the railing, while still holding on to some bars. She looked down at the water again. She lifted her foot, ready to jump. The water seemed very welcoming.

She could do it. She could it now. End it. End it all. All it took was one jump. One step. Suddenly the wind blew hard and she lost her footing a second, but that second cost her. Within seconds all her thoughts of Tommy, her family, Spot. Her baby, all the newsie and even her uncle flooded her mind. In the last second she grabbed on to the railing, the rest of her body dangled in the air, high above the icy water. She was so consumed with fear that she couldn't cry out. She felt her heart beat rapidly. She slowly, but surely lifted herself back on to the bridge. She flopped on the ground. Her whole body shook. What am I doing, she thought. This isn't like me.

After a while of laying there, she picked herself back up and the wind seemed much colder now. She wrapped her arms around herself and ran back to the lodging house. When she returned, everything was the same as before. She slowly and quietly walked back up to her Spot's room. Closed the door tightly behind her and snuck back into bed. In doing so, Spot opened his eyes half way.

"Smalls?" he said tiredly.

Sophia softly shushed him back to sleep and she snuggled up close to him for warmth. Spot was really warm. No wonder he liked to sleep naked or half naked. His body gave off so much heat. But tonight he wore his clothes. Even this weather was cold to him.

A few tears then ran down Sophia's cheeks. She wasn't crying because she was sad, but she was relieved. Happy that she didn't jump. Happy that she didn't leave Spot and all her friends behind. She cuddled up closer to Spot. Getting as close as she could to him. He sleepy face was cute. She smiled a little, but that smile soon faded. She kissed his four head and then rubbed her nose against his and fell right back to sleep.

Chapter Eighteen: Sleep walking and lullabys.

Spot woke up in the middle of the night. He was cold and found the bedroom window wide open. He Shivered and quickly closed it, making the cold wind blow in. When he laid back down he realized something was missing. Or someone. Where was Sophia.

"Smalls?" he said quietly. He noticed that her pillow was gone. He felt the side of her bed. She had been away for a while. Was she on top of the roof! Spot freaked out, opened the window again and was about to jump out when he heard a small creak come from behind him. He stopped and turned around. To his great relief, Sophia was still in the room, but something was off. She did not seem like herself. "Smalls?" he said again, only quieter this time. He closed the window and stepped off the bed and walked towards the crouched figure of Sophia. "Sophia? Are you ok?"

She remained crouched down in the corner of the room, rocking herself back and forth while holding on to her pillow. She mumbled to herself quietly. Spot could only make out a few words: Cold. Baby. Safe. Suddenly she stood up, still mumbling and slowly she turned around. Spot was shocked by the look on her face. She seemed to be sleep walking, but at the same time her eyes were open. They had a certain dazed look to them. She was not herself at all.

Spot inched closer to her, ready to pull her back into bed, but she stepped back, clutching on to the pillow tighter and making an uneasy groan. Finally, she spoke a clear sentence, "My baby. It's cold. Must keep it safe and warm." Spot wasn't sure what to say. He was scared yet confused at the time. Though it was clear to Spot that she was sleep walking but he had never seen someone like this before. It freaked him out.

"Yeah, Smalls. The baby just needs to be warmed up. It will be just fine. You'll see. Come back to bed. It will keep the baby safe." Spot told her without touching her. She smiled and slowly walked back to the bed and sat down. Spot got in right after her and wrapped his arms around her, keeping her feeling warm and safe.

That morning Spot woke up alone again. At first he panicked. Ready to hop on the roof to see if Sophia was there, but before he could, Sophia walked into the bedroom.
"You now just woke up? Sheesh! You lazy bum." She teased, walking over to the dresser to put on the ribbon Spot had given her.

Spot got out of bed and put on some clothes that he had worn the day before. It was too cold to try and clean any clothing or as much that is. He walked up behind Sophia and planted a kiss on her cheek. "How are you feeling?" he asked.

Sophia placed her hands on her stomach. "I…I don't feel much now." She told him.

Spot sighed and nuzzled his nose on her neck. "I'm sorry about this, Smalls."
Sophia shook her head. "Don't be. Maybe it was for the best? I'm really sure to be perfectly honest."

"I just want you to be happy." He told her, turning her around and kissing her softly. He moved his hands up and down her back, caressing her. At that moment, morning sex seemed like a pretty good idea, but Spot knew better than to try to make her do something like that at a time like this. So he stepped back.

"What's wrong?" Sophia asked.

Spot shook his head. "Nothin' babe. Just gotta head on out to sell some of me papes is all." He slipped on some shoes and was out the door before Sophia usher another word to him.

Spot waved his papes in the air, shouting out all kinds of headlines and 'false' stories. After selling his last pape, being handed five cents he sat down on a curb and started to count his money. He made exactly one dollar. He sighed, tired of doing the same crap every day. Yeah sure he was King of Brooklyn, but after meeting Sophia, she opened up so many others doors and windows in life. He wanted to do more. He knew there was more out there, he just didn't know where to look. Not yet anyway.

"Hey Spot!" Spot looked up and saw Jack walking up to him.

He stood up tall. "Eh Jacky-boy!" he said spitting his hand and shaking hands with Jack.

"Hows you'se and Smalls doin'?" he asked.

Spot smirked. "We'se doin jus' fine."
Jack didn't seem to believe him. "I'se heard what happened, Spotty. To Smalls and the baby."
Spot smirk fell. He looked down at his feet and sighed. He then looked back up at Jack. "How many people know?" Jack shrugged. Spot took off his hat for a second to scratch his head and then put it back on. "Right…What brings ya here anyways?" Spot asked him.

"Actually, Medda sent me hera for Smalls."
Spot raised a brow. "What for?"

Jack lifted up a brown suitcase. "This was Tom Tom's."
Spot slowly took it. "I see…It's not too heavy."

Jack nodded. "Yeah. Tom Tom didn't bring much with him." Jack then stuff his hands into his pocket from the cold. "I'se gotta head back to 'hattan now. See you'se lateh Spot!"

Spot walked back to the lodging house and put the suitcase on the bed up stairs. He didn't know if showing her would be the best thing, but from what Spot heard, it sounded like Medda really wanted Sophia to have it. It was Tommy's after all and Sophia would probably want something to remember him as. After that he went outside on the dock where he watched his Newsie's. He stood on top of the perch where he usually stood to get a good, clear view on all his newsie's. From the corner of his right eye, one newsie flicked a cigar and landed behind some barrels. "Hey!" Spot yelled. The newsie looked up at him. Confused. "Don't give me that dumb look, ya damn fool. Step the damn cig 'fore ya start some fire!" the newsie quickly ran over to where the cigar and landed and stomped on it. Another Newise then walked up to the perch and looked up at Spot. "Eh Spot! Hows Smalls doin'?"
Spot looked down at his newise. "She's jus' fine, Skipper." He told the newsie boy. In reality, Spot was worried all to hell about Sophia, but he certainly didn't want anyone else to be worried. Why he felt like he had to take full responsibility he didn't know. Maybe it came with being a leader.

Later that night Sophia prepared supper again. It seemed that every day the meals were getting smaller. Tonight all there was to spare were some hot biscuits with butter. She watched as each Newsie took his plate and sat down in the main room and ate their 'meal'. Finally the last newise inline took his biscuit and went to join his friends. When Sophia looked down at the pan, there was one biscuit left. She sighed. Suddenly Spot came in from outside. He sniffed in the smell food and walked up to Sophia.
"There was more left." She told him with a smile.

Spot picked it up, about ready to eat but then stopped. He asked her, "Have you ate yet?" she nodded. Sophia turned around fast after that and headed into the kitchen. She lied to Spot, but she wanted him to eat. He worked so hard for the two of them. She also loved him and wanted him to stay in good heal and have something in his stomach even if it wasn't much she just wanted him to eat something.

Spot was about to take a bite of his food, but something stopped him from doing it again. "What?" he said, noticing that his newsie's were looking up at him. A few shook their heads and one pointed to the kitchen. Spot rolled his eyes. He knew now that she had lied. He was about to head after her but turned around and said to the same newsie who was smoking another cigar.

"You with the cigar! Yeah. You. Make sure you put that out nice a good. Do you hear me?" the newsie shook his head fast. Spot then ran in the kitchen after Sophia.

She had just put the pan in the sink and wiped away a few tears that came from the pain of hunger.
"Smalls…" he said.

She sniffed. "What?"

"Why did you do that?" holding up the biscuit.

She shook her head. "I just want you to eat."
He walked up to her and caressed her cheek. "Yeah? While, Smalls, you'se gotta eat too. Don't worry 'bout me. I'se can find me own meal from now on. Heck! Why not eat before the boys. Dat way you'se got more in your stomach to last ya."

Sophia took the biscuit. "You work so hard though. And all I do is sit around." She sniffed again.

Spot kissed her forehead. "Don't cry babe."

"I'm trying not to." She told him.

Spot then embraced her in a warm hug. He leaned his head against hers and closed his eyes. "Sophia…I love ya to death, but you gotta stop tryin' to play the hero. Hero's don't get very far on an empty stomach." He half joked. He then let her go and looked down at her. "Smalls…All you'se gotta do is get better. Healthier. What if you get sick? Then I'se be really worryin' 'bout cha." He kissed her on the lips. "Besides," he said, "I have something to show you in the bedroom after suppeh." With that, Spot left the kitchen and Sophia slowly ate her food, savoring the taste of butter and bread.

When Sophia entered the room Spot was just taking off his shoes.

"Hey, Smalls."

"Hey." She said back. When she saw what was on the bed, she asked, "Whose suitcase is that?"
"It doesn't look familiar?" Spot asked.

Sophia took another look at it, closer this time. "…It's…Tommy's."
"Yeah." Said Spot slowly, walking up to Sophia and standing next to her. "Do you want to see what's inside?" he asked her.

Sophia hesitated for a moment and then nodded. She walked up to it and clicked it open. There was once pair of clothes, some socks, letters and a newspaper. Sophia picked up one of his shirts and inhaled the smell. Instantly she started to cry and dropped to her knees. The shirt still had his smell. She then unexpectedly threw it back into the suitcase.

"You want me to put it away, Smalls?" Spot asked.
Sophia shook her head. "No." she sat up on her knees and took out a letter. It was addressed to her. She looked down at his hand writing and read:

Dearest sister, Anna Sophia,

I am sorry to say, but I think I may have been wrong to bring you here to New York, specially Brooklyn. I was stupid and now I fear I may lose you forever. I know there were many other routes we could have taken besides coming all the way here. I'm tired, hungry broke and I can't stop sweating from all this heat. I afraid to admit this but I know I must say it: I miss New Orleans. I miss home. Yes, I am glad to have gotten away from uncle, but now I know that there are worst things out there than him. I never wanted things to turn out this way. I just wanted to see you happy and smile again. I just wanted you to be safe. I hope that you can forgive me.

You're dearest Brother,


Sophia grabbed another letter and read that one too.

Dearest sister, Anna Sophia,

The weather is getting colder and I find myself sitting here around the boys in the lodging house writing you letters more that what I would like to. I know that you may never read these, but it gives me a peace of mind to do so. What I want to say is that I fear now for my health and more now for you as well. You see, I have not been feeling the best. In fact, I think I may be dying. A scary thought, yes, I know, but I can't really help it. It's getting harder for me sell my papers. You were always better at than I. I guess what I really want to say is that I hope Spot is treating you nicely and that you have a warm place to sleep and have enough food to eat. The weather will be changing soon…Stay safe.

You're dearest brother,


"What are the letters about?" asked Spot.

Sophia handed him the first that she read. "Letters from him to me." She placed the second letter on her lap and grabbed for the last one.

Dearest sister, Anna Sophia.

I have written and written so many letters to you, but I find myself throwing them away more often then what I should. I am here now at Medda's. My health has gotten really bad. Last time I saw you, you were at Medda's. You seemed happy with Spot. Speaking of him. I met up with him a few days ago. Gave him a piece of my mind about him taking care of you. He better be treating you well…

A few blood splatters were on the page so Sophia had to skip part of the letter in order to read the rest. This time though, his hand writing was messier.

…Anna Sophia, if anything should happen to me, if I am to die, know that I am sorry and that I love you and I hope you forgive me for taking you to such a retched city. I only meant to do well for you. You are after all my little sister. And If I die, I want you to live out both our lives. Live a strong and healthy life. Get married, have babies. Lots of them! Soon they will grow up and you will have grandchildren. Please, Anna Sophia, live out your life…Be happy and be strong…

You're dearest brother,


Spot handed Sophia back the letter. He didn't seem to want to read anymore. She then placed the letters carefully into the suitcase and closed it back up and put it under the bed. She was tired and her eyes hurt from all the crying. Spot sat down on the bed next to her and rubbed her back.

"Are you going to be ok?" Spot asked her.

She nodded and wiped away her tears. "Spot?"
"When is your birthday?" she asked him.

Surprised by her question, he stumbled on his words. "I-it's in J-January. Why do you ask?"
"Hmm." Sophia thought for a moment. "Mine is this month. A week from today." Spot nodded. Why was she talking like this? Usually she'd go right to bed.

"Tell me about your family, Spot?"
Spot raised a brow and furrowed the other. "My family? Why do you want to hear about them?"
"Because I am curious to know." She told me.

"Alright," Spot said, readying himself. "I was born in Scotland and before I turned 12 my father, mother and five older sisters all sailed here. It was a weeklong trip. It was so crowded. Anyway!" Spot said, getting back to the main topic. "I came from a very big family, I guess you could say. I was the youngest. My sisters all married quickly after arriving here. My father and mother both died. They didn't last for long, seeing as they picked up some kind of sickness." The truth was, Spot knew how his parents died. It was the same way that Tommy had died, but he wasn't about ready to tell Sophia that. "By that time I was 13. Old enough to take care of me self. Or so I thought. Good thing I was tough." He half joked. "Three years later, after becomin' a newsie, I'se worked my way up and people started to pay me some respect. That's how I got my nickname: The King of Brooklyn. Everyone came to me for advise and help. Heck! Even jacky-boy did when he and David started up a strike 'bout the newspapes."

"You mean you help out with that?" Sophia asked, interrupting him.

Spot nodded. "Yeah. I'se did that best I could too and ya know what? It all paid off. The newsie strike one and then I met you." He smiled and kissed her.

"Tell me more Spot." She pleaded, sitting up on top of Spot's lap, kissing his ear and down to his neck.
Spot Moaned. "M-maybe later, babe. You'se got be tired afteh today." He pushed her down on the bed and wrapped his arms around her.

"If you're from Scotland, you must know some Irish songs then right? Sing one to me."

Sophia felt Spot smiled against her neck and soon he started to hum a soft and sweet lullaby. His voice was deep and soothing and Sophia wanted to hear more of it, only she fell asleep before she could hear the end of it.

Chapter Ninteen: Brooklyn is burning.

Spot woke up later that same night that he sang to Sophia. He swore he could smell burning wood. Suddenly, he jolted up in bed. He took a big whiff of air.

"Oh shit!" he got out of bed, put on his shoes and suspenders and ran to the door. When he did a puff of smoke wafted into the room. He coughed and slammed it shut. It was clear now: The Brooklyn lodging house was on fire.

"Sophia get up!" he yelled, taking her by the shoulders and waking her up.

When she was suddenly awaken her eyes shot open, her nose wrinkled up and she put her hand up to cover it. "What is that god awful smell?"

"That Smalls, would be fire."

Sophia shot up, almost hitting Spot in the head. "FIRE? Why the hell are we'se sittin' 'round here for then?" she got out of bed and gathered up some things. Spot did the same.

Just as they were about to head out One of Spot's Newsie's, Skipper, came running in. "You'se two betteh get outa heah! The place is fallin' 'part!"

Spot and Sophia ran to the door, the three were ready to head out but a loud crashing sound came from below them.
"Damn it!" yelled Spot. The roof above the stairs had caved in and crumbled the steps so bad it was impossible to go that way.

"Great! Where do we go now? How do we get out!" Sophia yelled. The place was falling apart, quickly crumbling to the ground.
"On the roof!" yelled Skipper.

"What?" said Spot. "You nuts?" he shuved him.

"What?" Skipper yelled back. "Do you'se wanna die tryin' ta get down those steps?"

Spot scoffed and head back to his room, grabbing on to sophia's hand as they went.

He climbed on to the bed and opened the window. Smoke imminently puffed out.

"Ugh! My eyes are starting to burn." Sophia rubbed her eyes. They were red and watering. Soon she began to cough.
"Hurry!" yelled Skipper.

Spot lifted Sophia by the waist and helped her out on to the roof. Spot then looked to Skipper. "Your next Skippeh!"

Skipper raised a brow at him. "The hell I am! You'se gotta go next!"

Again, Spot scoffed and took a strong hold of Skippers shirt. "When I'se say you go next, you'se betteh go next damn it!" with that Spot roughly shoved Skipper out the window.

Spot quickly got out next. The three could see smoke cover the sky. Whoever started this fire, Spot was gonna soak 'em good!

"We have nowhere else to go!" said Sophia. "We can't stay here! The roof will cave right from beneath our feet soon!" and sure enough a few feet away from them, the roof did cave in. Probably somewhere in Spots room.
"We'll have to jump then!" said Spot.
"H-have you gone mad?" Sophia looked at him with wide eyes.

"What? You'se wanna stay up here then?"

Skipper sighed and threw his arms into the air. "This is no time to be fighting! I agree with Spot. We'll have to jump!"

Sophia looked around. "Where?"

"There." Spot pointed to a clear walkway on the roof that followed to the waters by the dock.

Sophia shook her head. "No way!" she told him. And just as soon as she said it the roof started to cave in more and quickly it made it's way over to the three.

"RUN!" yelled Skipper. The three locked hands and ran to the end of the roof where the water would be while the caving roof followed right behind them.

"Get ready to jump!" yelled Spot.




"JUMP!" Spot yelled followed by Sophia's screaming and the silence of Skipper.


Spots head shot up for air. The freezing water pierced his body like a thousand spikes. Skipper was the next to pop his head out. He coughed out water. Spot moved around in a circle in the water.
"Where is Sophia?" he said Skipper.

Skipper shook his head. "I don't...oh don't think..."
"SHIT!" Spot yelled, suddenly remembering that Sophia couldn't swim. He plunged back into the water. It was dark so it was impossible to see. He swam down far, moving his hands about, trying to find Sophia, but it was no use. He swam up to the top, taking in a deep breath and went back under. Damn it! He cursed to himself. And just as all hope seemed lost, something grabbed on to Spots ankle. It scared him at first, making him almost loose his breath, but he remained calm and followed into the direction where the hand grabbed him. Soon he felt someone. It was Sophia! He took a strong hold of her and pulled her back up to the surface.

Sophia gasped for air and coughed up water. She continued to caugh was Spot pulled her along as he swam to a near dock. Above him was Skipper. Skipped helped spot up and with him Spot held on tight to Sophia. When all three of them were on the dock they breathed heavily. Chests rising up and down. Their breathes made up fog in the cold air. Spot quickly felt his clothes hardening. Jumping may not have been the brightest of ideas but it was the best option they had to follow through, almost killing one of them in the process.

Spot crawled over to Sophia. Her breaths had subsided somewhat, but he could still tell that she was extremely tired from what they had done. He meant to run his hands through her short air, but it was frozen at the ends.

"Is everyone ok?" Skipper asked, a little out of breath.

Spot nodded. "Yeah...For now anyway." he told him. He then stood up, helping Sophia and then Skipper. The three stood there and watched as the rest of the lodging house went down in flames.
"So that's it?" said Sophia. "It's all gone." suddenly she seemed to have gone stiff and not from the cold. "Oh!" she screamed and ran for the burning lodge.

Spot grabbed her and held her back. "Smalls what are you doin'?" he struggled to keep her back.

"Let me go! Now Spot!"
"You'se the one goin' crazy! Why the hells would I let ya go?"
"Tommy!" she screamed. "Tommy's things are in there! I need to get them! I WANT THEM BACK!" suddenly she stopped fighting with Spot and collapsed to her knees. She watched at the lodging house crumbled to the grounds of Brooklyn. She exhausted herself. "No..." she breathed. "This isn't fair!" she started sob. "I deserve to be happy damn it! I-I-I'm a good person, am I not? What did I do to deserve this punishment!" she sobbed and some more and buried her face in her hands.

A few minutes passed a few newsies and grown men came running down to the docks. "I found 'em!" one of them yelled and soon they all came to gather around them. They quickly wrapped them in a green wool blanket, asking if they were alright. Spot looked around. A good half of his newsie boys covered in ash and soot. What kind of leader was he to them now? For the first time in years he felt useless. The newsie's were like his family and now they were left without a home. All looked towards him to have some kind of answer. To tell them that things would be just fine, 'cause hey! Spot Conlon was the 'King of Brooklyn'. Spot suddenly hated that thought and he cursed himself. Was he not a good enough leader? He really started to doubt himself now. If there was one thing Spot didn't show, it was his true feelings he kept bottled up inside, of course he had no problem letting Sophia, but she was different. She was his lover. His wife it almost seemed like.

One of Spots Newsies walked up to him. He asked, "What do we do now, Spot?"

Spot wrapped the blanket around himself more. More of his newsies began to look at him. Even Skipper and Sophia.

Spot took in a deep breath. He never thought he'd hear himself say this. "I don't know. You'se all on ya own now." he sat down next to Sophia, the person he knew would stay by him till the end.

Skipped leaned down and whispered to Spot. "You'se serious 'bout all dis? Look at 'em. They ya newsies Spot."
Spot lightly laughed and shook his head. "No, Skippeh. Not no more they aint."

Spot then felt Sophia lean her head on his shoulders. He felt her shiver. "I'se got someone else ta take care of, Skippeh. I'se made a promise."

Skipper knew that he was talking about Sophia and slowly nodded. "Ah 'right." he said. He pulled the wool blanket over himself more and left the crowed. Spot had a good idea he was headed towards another lodging house and stood up. Sophia did too. The number of news boys were growing smaller now. One-by-one they started to leave. Suddenly one of Spot's newsies walked up to him. His eyes were red, his head was slightly was bent and his shoulders were hunched over. It looked like he had been crying.

"Spot...I'se really sorry 'bout what happened."

Spot gave him a confused look. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"I...You know how ya told me ta be careful 'bout putting out my cigar...well...I started the fire...I'se real sorry Spot!" a tear fell from his right eye.

Spot grew angry. He was wanted to soak him so badly, but he was tired from all that had happened and he knew that he would need his strength. He opened his mouth to speak, but he wasn't givin the chance. Sophia threw off her blanket and ran at the crying newsie. Spot was shocked by her sudden attack on the news boy. She gave him a good punch in the face. He stumbled back, confused and surprised. He wasn't expecting a girl to hit him. Still, he felt her angry blow all the same. She went behind him and climbed on to his back, continuously hitting him.

"WHY?" she yelled. "I hate you!" she yelled at him some more. "You'se so stupid!"

"Sophia, stop!" Spot yelled, but Sophia wouldn't listen. She continued to hit the news boy. Suddenly she started pull at his air. The boy screamed in pain and flung her forward off of his back and before Spot to catch her she moved quickly and punched the news boy a couple of more times. Sophia looked like a wild animal. No other newsie boy dared to get in the middle of the fight. Sophia was pissed!

Finally Spot managed to pull Sophia back before the boy could hit her back. And just as he was about to, Spot grabbed on to his fist and stopped him. He looked to Spot with angry eyes.
"You'se gonna protect this crazy bitch after how she attacked me?" he yelled.

Spot grew irritated. He didn't want to do this, but he pulled his fist back and slammed it into the news boys face. He tumbling down on the dock floor, completely knocked out. Spot hit him so hard that he hurt his hand. He looked back at Sophia and held out his hand. "C'mon Smalls."

Sophia took his hand and the two left the Brooklyn docks together.

"Where are we going?" Sophia asked him, holding tightly on to his hand and with the other she held on to a single dress and the ribbon Spot had givin her. They had lost everything in the fire. The bed where she Spot first mad love was now in ashes. All of her brothers letters, ruined. All her other clothing, lost. Her mothers necklace around felt heavier.

"We'se goin' ta 'hattan." he told her, leading her over the Brooklyn bridge.

"Manhattan?" Sophia said. "Why not somewhere else in Brooklyn?"
Without stopping or turning around to face her, Spot said, "Theys may still have some room at the lodging house. I'se gotta check and see."
"And if they don't?" asked Sophia.

"Then we'll be forced to sleep outside wont we?" he told her.

Sophia cringed at the thought of sleeping outside. It was December ans sure enough, as soon as that thought floated into her mind a single snow flake fell on her nose. She looked up at the sky. Snow was beginning to fall now. "But spot...It's starting to snow." she said to him.

Spot shrugged. "Oh well. Before Brooklyn, I spent three nights and days in the snow. One night wont be so bad." he told her, trying to reassure her as he glanced back at her. All that Spot had taken with him was his jacket and shirt, nothing more, nothing less.

When they reached the Manhattan lodging house, Spot banged on the door for a few good minutes. Finally an old man came to the door. He was in his night wear with a blanket over his shoulders. It was Kloppman. "Can I help you two?"
"We need a place ta stay." Spot demanded.

Kloppman squinted his eyes. "OH! Spot Conlon! Why you here?"
Spot sighed. "Youse know in the morning papes, sir. Please, we'se need a place ta sleep."
Kloppman shook his head. "All the bunks are taken up. Theres no room."
"I'se don't care!" Spot suddenly said. "Just let us come inside so we'se don't die out heah! Just one night! You'se can do that can't cha?"

Kloppman nodded and let the two come inside.

Spot led Sophia into the logding house bunk room. One of the boys were still awake. He had a candle lit, looking at a picture. When he heard them walk in he turned around. Cow boy smiled as he saw the two, but then he grew concerned. What were Spot and Sophia doing here.
"Spot? Smalls? What you'se two doin' heah?" he asked them in a whisper.

Spots shoulders hung. "Ya heah the bells?"
"Yeah...I'se heard some bells, ringin'. Why?"
"Brooklyn lodging house burnt down."

Joaks eyes grew wide. "Jesus! Everyone ok?" he looked over Spots shoulders at Sophia.
Spot shrugged. "I guees. We'se just really tired...Can Smalls have ya bunk. We'se jus' stayin' heah for the night is all."
Jack nodded. "Yeah. A 'course!" He let Sophia on to his bunk and pulled the covers over her. Just as soon as she got in that bunk bed and laid her head down she was out and sleeping soundly.

"Guess we'se takin' the floor then." said Jack. Spot nodded.

"The hells ya are." said a voice from the back. It was Racetrack. He had overheard the whole conversation. "Spotty boy, you'se take my bunk. One night, right?" Spot nodded. "Then why ya still standin' heah. Get ta sleep ya idiot." he joked, making Spot smile tiredly. Spot climbed into Racetracks bunk and fell asleep just as fast as Sophia had.

Racetrack looked over at Jack and said, "Terrible what happened. What you'se thinks gonna happen ta them now, jack?"
Jack shrugged. "don' know. Spots a pretty tough guy though. I'se sure he'll pull through. "'Sides...He's got Smalls ta keep him on his toes."

Chapter Twenty: Happiness in misery.

Sophia and Spot had woken up bright and early the next morning. They hadn't got much rest the night before for obvious reasons, but still, they got up just like any other newsie had to. Kloppman yelled, telling the boys to get up and carry the banner. Jack groaned. His back was killing him from sleeping on the floor all night. Racetrack on the other hand didn't mind it all that much and woke up the same as ever.

As Spot and Sophia readied their things to leave with the rest of the newsies, Kloppman stopped them.
"Spot Conlon...where do you'se plan on going now?"
Spot shrugged. "Back to Brooklyn I guess. Why?" he asked.

Kloppman cleared his throat. "I have a few extra things in storage if you'se and your lady end up staying in a tenement."

Spot nodded, putting his hands on his hips. "Ah, danks Kloppman! If we'se find a place to stay, I'se sure will be comin' back heah then." Spot looked back at Sophia. "Right, Smalls?" she nodded. Spot placed a strong hand on Kloppmans shoulder. "We'se be jus' fine, Kloppman. I'm Spot Conlon after all. I got this." he gave Kloppman a reassuring smile, but somehow Kloppman didn't feel so assured.

Sophia held on to Spots arm as they walked back over the Brooklyn bridge.

"There has to be some other lodging houses we can stay at. What about Queens or the Bronx?" Spot shook his head. "Why not?" asked Sophia.

Spot stopped. "Remembeh when me newise boys went and had that lil fight wit the Queens?" Sophia nodded. "If I was on me own, I would probably consider goin' there, but seein' how you'se is wit me, I don' want 'em layin' a hand on my goil. Therefore, Queens is outa the question."
"Well then, what about the Bronx?" Spot shook his head again. "Why do you keep saying no to me, Spot?" she demanded to know.
Spot sighed. The air from his breath puffed out his mouth like a cloud. "Sophia...I...I'se made too many enemy's in me past." Spot continued to walk then. Sophia caught back up with him and wrapped her arms around one of his again and rested her head on his shoulder.

"Where will we go then?"

Spot thought for a while. "Kloppman did say we'se could take some stuff wit us if we'se got an apartment."
"How will we aford one though? I mean, the apartments are about six to seven bucks at cheapest. What about one of your sisters? Surely they would take us in." she sounded hopeful.

Again, Spot sighed, but this time it was a heavy, slow one. "Smalls...I lied."

"I don't have any sisters. I'se was the only child."
Sophia was quiet for a while. "Why did you lie?"
Spot shook his head. He couldn't believe himself. "I didn't want you'se to feel sorry for me." he said truthfully.

"Spot..." Sophia said. "Were one of the most sorry people here in New York." she half joked. Spot smiled somewhat. "You'se always seem to know what to say, Smalls. I love dat 'bout ya." he smiled a real smile this time. "What would I do without cha?"

Sophia laughed a little. "You have a point." she told him.

Sophia and Spot went some apartment to apartment. Why on earth were all taken up now? And a time like this? It just wasn't fair. Finally, one of the very last apartments that Spot and Sophia checked had a room open. It was small, but cheap. Seven bucks every two weeks. This place would have to do. The apartment had a small kitchen, just big enough to fit a tiny table in one of the corners. A single bedroom big enough for two and half people. Sophia thought of her baby she had miscarried. Her heart ached. And then there was a small closet to fit a few extra things in. It seemed like a perfect little place for a newlywed couple.

"Guess I'se should go get that stuff from Kloppman shouldn't I?" said Spot.
"Great. I'll come with you." Sophia said with a smile.

There, waiting for them at the lodging house, Kloppman handed over a small table, a spare mattress, soap, a tin pale, two stools and two blankets and some silverware.
"I hope this will do for now." said Kloppman.
Sophia smiled and reached in to give the old man a hug. "This is plenty." she told him. Suddenly Kid Blink and Mush walked up to the three.
"Yo, Spot! hoid what happened ta the Brooklyn lodging house. Real sorry 'bout dat." Mush patted Spot on the back a few times.

"Hows ya holdin' up?" asked Kid Blink.
"Jus' fine, thanks." answered Spot.

Kloppman then cleared his throat. "Seems you fellas are done seelin' ya papes. Mind givin these two a hand carryin' their stuff back. They tells me they found a small apartment to stay at."
Kid Blink and Mush looked at them with wide eyes. "Whoa! You'se did?" Mush was surprised. "Hows ya gonna aford dat place?" he asked.

Spot smirked. "Gonna find a betteh job 'course." he told them.

The five talked for a little while longer before Mush and Kid Blink picked up their share of taking things back to the apartment.

"Wow! This place sure is somethin' else, eh Blink?" said Mush elbowing his friend in the arm. Kid Blink smirked. "You'se gota invite some of us boys oveh one oh these days or nights. We'se gota celebrate by playin' some hot pokeh." laughed Mush. "And now you two's gota ya 'own personal time' to ya selves." he laughed harder this time. Spot playfully punched Mush in the arm and smirked, Sophia blushed a deep red. Kid Blink saw this and laughed right along with his friends.

"Ah, Smalls. Look at ya face. No worries tootsy. We'se be on our ways soon, little lady." he tipped his newsie hat.

Spot and Sophia later said goodbye to their friends. They had made plans to hang out soon, just as soon as Spot and Sophia had time to settle a few things down.

After that the two placed everything that Kloppman had givin them in their rightful places. Now the apartment didn't seem so lonely. Sophia now had her own little kitchen counter where she would be able to homemade meals and wash dishes.

Spot watched as she fingered the counter, looking hopeful towards everything. Her hair had finally grown out some. He liked the cute, little curls her hair made. Her body looked more mature despite the hardships she had endured. Her eyes were still their beautiful green.
"We'll have to start looking for job tomorrow." said Sophia, turning around to face Spot, who was leaning up on the table. Spot slowly nodded. He smiled and walked over to Sophia. He put his left hand behind her back and held her left hand with his right and slowly started to move her side to side. "You feeling ok, Spot?" this was unlike him.

Spot laughed a little. "Yeah. I'se jus' fine, Smalls." he brought her in closer and Sophia wrapped her arms around his neck. Their bodies pressed together. "I'm real happy your heah wit me Sophia." he whispered into her ear. It somewhat turned her on.
"I'm happy to be here with you too, Spot." Spot brought her in for a kiss. Spot pressed against hers hard and passionately. She moaned as she let spot take her in his full grasp. He pressed her hard against the counter, caressing her back more now. One of his hands lingered up her back and held on to the back of her head as she bent it back for him to kiss and suck at her neck. She moaned more now, saying his name after every breath.

Spot then suddenly picked her up bridal style and carried her to the other room, laying her on the bed. He slipped off his suspenders and then his shirt and then his pants, until he was jusy in his underwear. Sophia could already see his penis erecting and getting harder by the minute. Spot body didn't have the same boyish look anymore. He was more grown up and Sophia looked at him with hungry lustful eyes.

"You'se not get undress?" Spot gave her a confused look.

Sophia giggled. "I'd figured you'd like to do that part, Spot." she told him. Spot smirked and took off his underwear and then got on top of Sophia. He slid his hands up her dress and took off her underware first. She felt a chill, but she knew Spot would be able to take care of that soon enough. He then took of her dress in one slick motion. Sophia felt shivers go up and down her body from the cold and held her arms close to her chest for warmth.

"What you'se doin' goily?" Spot couldn't help but somewhat laugh at her.

"I'm cold...why don't you warm me up." she said to him with a little smirk.

This turned Spot on even more and ripped her arms away from her chest. Their bodies were close in contact again. Spot played with both of her breasts as he kissed her neck and nibbled on her ear. He then playfully bit down on her collar bone, making enjoyable sensations go through her body. She moaned again.

He squeezed her boond harder now, pressing his hips harder on hers. He soon found her lips with his and licked them for entrance which she gladly gave him.

He massaged the inside of her mouth with his tongue while he placed her hands over her head and held them down. Sophia then bit his bottom lip playfully and growled a little bit. Spot felt himself getting harder. Before Spot could inter her she pushed him forward so that he was now sitting up on his knees. Sophia strapped her legs around his hips and her hands ran through his hair as she kissed him. Spot grabbed on to her ass and squeezed and he felt her smile against his lips as they continued to kiss vigeriously. Spot then repositioned himself so that Sophia's back now facing the wall. He Pushed her up against by hoisting her up a bit. Her breasts pressed against his chest more now. Sophia didn't feel so cold anymore.

"Sophia?" Spot breathed.

"I want you."
Sophia smiled. "I want you too."
"No," Spot said. "I want you to be my wife...Sophia...Marry me."

Sophia caressed Spots cheek and looked him into the eyes. "Yes, Spot. I will marry you." she kissed him and he kissed her back. Without any warning Spot slipped inside of her. Sophia liked that he had surprised her by doing that, making it ever more enjoyable. Spot went slow at first. He remembered that Sophia had only ever slept with him and that they had only made love once before. Sophia drug her nails into his back as she rested her head on his shoulder, letting him do all the work.

Before he was about ready to finish, Sophia told him and lay down on the bed.
"What? Why?" he asked in a heavy breaths.
"Just do it damn it." she told him.

Spot laid down on his back, wondering what Sophia was going to do to him. Sophia began by kissing lips slowly, leaving trails of kisses down his neck, chest, belly and soon she stopped. Spot lifted his head some ways and raised an eyebrow. Sophia smirked back and grabbed his manhood and stuck it into her mouth. To Spot, this was a new sensation. Despite the other girls he had slept with in his past, none of them had ever given him head. He moaned loudly, hardly able to control himself. It was like having sex for the first time all over again. He just couldn't stop moaning. It felt too good. Suddenly he felt all that pleasure being all released. When he looked up next he saw Sophia trying to swallow his semen down all the way. When she did she looked over at Spot. The look in his eyes were satisfactory. She blushed and hid her face. Spot moved over to her and kissed her shoulder.
He whispered in her ear. "No one's eveh done that to me before." Sophia looked up and Spot locked his lips on to hers. He turned her around so that her back was facing him. He brought her in close. He first massaged her breast while kissing her at the same time and while Sophia tangled her fingers in his hair. Spot trailed his hands down her belly, reaching her private area. He stuck two of his fingers inside her and moved them in and out in a fast motion. A minute later he felt her fluids bursts and released his fingers from inside her. Sophia felt herself go numb for a few seconds of such pleasure.

Spot let go of her and she fell on to her hands and knees. She soon felt Spot press his chest up against her back. He nibbled on her ear again and whispered sweet things to her, making her blush all the more. She left him inter inside her again. He first moved slowly and then picked up his speed in faster and harder thrusts. The two moved in one single motion. They moaned together. Became one together. Spot felt himself coming to his climax and finally released all of himself inside of her at once. The two collapsed on the mattress, wrapped up in a blanket together. Slowly their heavy breathing subsided and they fell asleep yet again in each other's arms. Only this time it was different. Sophia was now engaged to Spot. They had a place of their own and future to work hard towards. Despite all the hardships, when they were together they were able to find happiness in misery.

Chapter Twenty-one: Rolling in the deep.

A knock lightly came to the door and Sophia slowly stood up. Thinking it was one of the newsies, Sophia opened the door with a big smile on her face and then to only see an old woman holding a pie.
"Hello there me darling. Did I catch ya a bad time?"

Sophia quickly shook her head. "No. No...uhmm, can I help you with anything?"

The old woman nodded. "Why of course! You can start by taking this apple pie I made for you."
Sophia gratefully took it. "T-thank you Miss..."
The old woman smiled and put up a hand. "Please, ya can call me Granny. Everyone here does. I'm the oldest one heah in the building."

Sophia nodded. "Thanks...Granny." she then looked behind her and then back at Granny who seemed to peak into Sophia's home. "Is there something els?" Sophia asked.
Granny shook her head. "No dear. It's just...I sometimes hear another in here from time to time."
"Oh you mean Spot. He's my...well he's uh...He's my fiancé." Sophia blushed at the very word.

Granny smiled broadly. "Congratulations me dear."

Sophia smiled back. "Thank you. He's not here now though."
"Is he a hard working man?" asked Granny.

Sophia shrugged. " far he's out looking for a job. We've only been here two days and so far we have only been able to sell scraps of metal and wood and that we find out in the city. It's been hard but we've managed. Oh! Would you like to come inside?" Sophia stood to the side to let Granny in but she shook her head.

"No need me dear. I'se best be gettin' back to work me self. Take care now."
Sophia nodded and said goodbye to Granny.

Later on in the day as the sun started to set, Sophia watched the yellow and orange rays settle behind some buildings. For a few seconds she could feel its warmth and she pressed her hands together. She looked down at the apple pie and her stomach growled. She had been waiting for Spot to get back before eating it. She could smell the sweet syrupy smell of apples just waiting for her to dig in. Just then Spot came in and a with him a few flakes of snow fell off of him.
"It's 'lot worse out there than ya would think." said Spot, hanging his worn out coat in the tiny closet.
"How bad?" asked Sophia.
Spot took in a deep breath and let it out. "Well...I'se glad not ta be a newsie this winteh. Looks like it's gonna be a wet December." He then noticed the pie sitting on the table and slowly pointed at it. "Where ya get the stuff to make that, Smalls?"
Sophia sat back in her chair and crossed her arms. "An old lady gave it us. She said to call her Granny. Says she the oldest one here in this building."
Spot grabbed for two forks and sat down across from Sophia and handed her a fork.
"The we'se souldn' let this pie go to waste then should we?" Sophia shook her head and smiled as they both dug into the pie and started to eat. "Another thing," said Spot after taking a few bites.
"What's that?" asked Sophia.
"I'se found a good job today."

Sophia swallowed her food down hard. "Really? That's great! Where?"
"The District Work Union." he told her.

"How much does it pay a week and when do you start?"

"Eight bucks a week and I start bright and early tomorrow."

Sophia finished eating her last bite and got up and ran up to Spot and kissed him. He then picked her up and carried her to bed where he made love to her again.

That next morning when Spot awoke he slipped out of bed as quietly as he could and started to put on his clothes. Sophia turned in her sleep and moaned. Spot stopped suddenly until it was certain that she wouldn't wake up and he bent down and kissed her cheek. As he finished putting on his clothes and took up his newsie hat and looked at it. He laughed, remembering the Brooklyn lodging house and how everything used to be. He then slipped on his coat and took up his cane and head off to the District Union.

When Sophia woke up Spot was gone. She was sad to see him gone so early in the morning, but then at the same time she was happy. Happy to know that Spot was making money. She soon got up herself and got dressed for the day. Sophia left the building to go find more scraps to sell. In the morning the city was at its quietest and most peaceful. She liked it. Sophia felt independent doing things on her own, making a living with Spot and to maybe someday start a family of her own. That was a nice thought: Having a family with Spot.

Spot and Sophia were growing up. They had less time to play and spent of their time working in the city. Sophia picked up one last scrap of metal and put it in her big multi-colored bag that she has sewn together with different pieces of fabric that she had found lying about in the city. The straps weren't that long but she still managed to put the loop around her head. It was easier to carry it that way. She sat down on a curb just a few blocks from her home and pulled out a rag. She got out her first piece of scrap metal, spat on the rag and started to clean off the metal, making it look nice so people would want to but it use it for something. Depending on the size, Sophia sold her scraps of metal from two to five cents. Five cents being the biggest. Sophia usually made about 15 to 20 cents a day depending how much she sold that day. All the while Sophia thought of the Brooklyn lodging house how a part of her still wishes that it was still there and the other part of her is glad that it did. She also thought of the newsies and not just the ones in Brooklyn, but her friends in Manhattan too: Jake Kelly, he always has a smile on his face and knows what to say. Racetrack, he's always got a joke to say and a fun game to play with cards and dices. David and Less, the two brothers with the loving family. It made Sophia miss hers even more. Mush, Kid Blink, Skittery, Pie eater, Crutchy, she missed them all and wished she could see them again.

After selling all of her scraps of metal, Sophia slowly walked back to the tenement. Her breath made a smoky fog whenever she breathed out. her cheeks were numb with cold and her teeth chattered. Her hands were blue and her toes poked out from the top of her shoes. As she was making her way back she passed the start of the Brooklyn bridge only to see two little boys, maybe ten to twelve years old, playing on the ice a little ways from the Brooklyn bridge. She gasped. She felt scared for the boys. Was no one else seeing this?

"Hey!" she called out to them, but they didn't seem to hear her. "Hey!" she yelled louder this time, her voice cracking because of the cold. The boy continued to play on the ice, throwing snowballs at each other. Sophia instantly felt responsible for them and walked down by the ice. "Hey boys, get off of the ice." This time one of the boys did hear her and motioned the other boy to stop. They looked back at her, waiting for her to speak again. "Get back on land. It's too dangerous out there on the ice. Please come back!"

As the boys slowly started making their way back one of them stopped. His foot quickly went under and soon his whole body. The boy left standing screamed and tried reaching for his friend. Sophia's heart stopped for a moment and then started to beat rapidly. She hurried as fast as she could on the ice towards the boy trying to help his friend. Sophia could feel the ice beneath her feet starting to give way. Please, give me more time. She begged to God.

As Spot started heading on home he wrapped his coat around him for more warmth, his cane hooked to his side by the belt loop. He then started to hear distant screams and a swarm of people over to one side on the Brooklyn bridge. He ran over to see whatever was happening and peered down at the river.

"Somebody help them!" a person cried.

"Where are the police?" cried another.

Spot looked at the two struggling figures below and strained to see that one of the people on the ice was Sophia. How could he mistake that ribbon in her hair? He instantly went down the sloop and on to the side, first slipping a little and then regaining his balance. As he tried to make his way over to Sophia and to what looked like a little boy, he too could feel the ice breaking beneath him and knew, without a doubt, that the ice under Sophia would eventually give way. How he managed to make it to her in this time was far from his understanding.

Oh fuck it! Spot cursed to himself and slid on his tummy the rest of the way to Sophia. He could feel the ice burn him and knew that he would have bloody marks on his stomach after this. But he reached her just in time as the ice started to break. The water stung Sophia because it was so cold. It felt like a thousand needles being stuck into her body at the same time. She could only imagine how the little boy was feeling being completely under and feeling useless. Sophia struggled to stay afloat while still holding on to the boy and with her other hand she tried to pulling herself up but the current underneath the water was too strong. Her hand flopped helplessly on the surface and suddenly, a warm hand grabbed hers. She opened her eyes realized that she had them closed the whole time because of fear. When she looked to see her savor water filled her lungs as she started to sink, too tired to fight the current any longer she coughed up water while struggling to say his name: "SPOT!"

Chapter Twenty-two: A promise kept.

The water pierced Sophia's lungs like a thousand needles as she continued to cough up more water. She could hear Spot's voice calling out to her, but it was muffled by the sound of her head going under and the pain stricken cold that had suddenly consumed her whole being. She held on tight to Spot's hand and tried her best to keep a strong hold on the little boy. Suddenly the little grasp of his fingers slipped. Sophia waved her hand around in the water trying to find the boy, but he was gone and Sophia now felt worthless.

As Spot tried to fight the current that grew ever stronger in swiping Sophia away from him, he could feel the ice beneath him getting weaker. It would not be able to hold his weight for long. Finally, an older man, perhaps stronger even, pulled Spot up from his suspenders and with him, Sophia. The man quickly helped them get back to land whilst Spot carried an unconscious Sophia in his arms. He placed her carefully on the ground, looking at her damp figure.

"Is she alive? Is she alright?" voiced stirred in the back ground as Spot placed his lips to hers and then pressed down on her chest. He did this a few times and nothing was helping.

"Oh no!" cried a woman. "That poor girl drowned!" SHUT UP! Spot thought. He didn't want to believe that Sophia was dead. That his Smalls, his girl, was dead. Her body looked lifeless. Her cheeks blue and lips almost as white as the snow around her. Spot placed a warm hand on her cheek and stroked it. She was cold. So deathly cold.

An idea then came to mind and Spot ripped open her shirt. Woman gasped and men looked confused. Spot had good reason to be doing this though. A purpose. He grabbed out a pocket knife and sliced her corset open. A fountain of water came out of her mouth. She coughed. She breathed. She was alive. Spot was overcome with joy and relief that he pulled her in for a hug. Her cold body pressed against his. Suddenly a flash of light sparked through the crowd of people and people applauded Spot for saving Sophia's life.

"Take this." said a young woman. Probably not much older than Sophia, handing Spot a black shawl. Spot immediately wrapped her in it and picked her up. "Will she be alright?" The woman asked.
Spot nodded. "I'se jus' need to get her home."
"No doctor?" said man.

Spot shook his. "No, Sir. No money. Please, jus' let me go." Spot awkwardly left his and Sophia's own scene, but there was nothing he could do about it. All he knew was that he needed to get Sophia back to the tenement and as fast as possible.

When he got inside he quickly placed her on the bed and wrapped her up in their blanket. She was still shivering though. Still cold. Spot felt her head. She was running a fever. He tried rubbing her hands and feet and placing a wet cloth on her forehead, but nothing seemed to be working. She mumbled and stirred; her eyes flickered opened every now and then, but it was not long enough for Spot to be satisfied that she was ok. Spot then quickly stood up. He slipped off his suspenders and then took off his shirt. He was right; he did have a bloody scratch marks from the ice, but that didn't matter anymore. He undid his pants, took off those and then his underwear. He then slipped off Sophia's clothes and placed himself on top of her. Her whole body was like an icicle. A giant icicle.

Spot wrapped his arms around her and kissed her forehead and nuzzled his nose against hers and then kissed her lips, her neck and then her right shoulder. He didn't know how long he laid there with her, tangled up in that blanket on the bed, but the next thing he knew Sophia was opening her eyes and keeping them open this time. She groaned in pain. "Spot...?" her soft, little voice said to him.

Spot picked up his head and looked down at her. "Smalls?"
She squeezed her eyes shut and furrowed her brows, but then looked back up him after a few moments. "What happened?" she asked him.

Spot stroked a few strands of hair out of her face and kissed her forehead. "Ya damn silly goil. Gettin' ya self almost killed. That's what happened."

Sophia moaned. "...Little boys. There were little boys...what happened to them." a tear fell from one of her eyes.

Spot looked at her with sad eyes. "Soph'...there weren't no lil boys anywhere."

Sophia started to whimper, but Spot quickly comforted her and calmed her down. "What's gonna happen to us, Spot?" Sophia asked.

Spot thought for a moment but found no answer to her question and placed his head down next to hers. "Sophia...I'se made a promise. To Tommy. I'se promised him that I would take good care of ya. And I plan on doin' jus' that. A promise Soph'. A promise. And I'se intend on keepin' it." Spot kissed her again. "Ya stuck with me now goily, whether ya like it or not."

Chapter Twenty-three: An unexpected surprise.

Spot awoke that morning before Sophia. She was fast to sleep in the bed all curled up. She had stolen most of the blanket last night, but Spot didn't mind all too much. He threw his legs to the side of the bed and grabbed for his pants. When he put those on he reached for his shoes and tied them tight. He then grabbed for his undershirt and slipped that one and then a long sleeved blue shirt. He put on his suspenders and quietly walked out of the room. When he intered the kitchen he took out his coat from the small closet and put it on. He looked around the room and smiled to himself. He never saw himself at a stage like this in his life. He had always had his lodging house and newsies to keep in check. But now things were different. He was living on his own with the girl of his dreams, working a REAL job and paying bills. Though going out a selling a few papes once in a while wouldn't hurt, which was exactly what he was doing. It was a decent Sunday morning; the sun was out, he could hear the birds singing and his neighbor's getting up for the day. He opened the door, closed it quietly and walked out.

As he got his morning papes at the distrubution center, 300 hundred exactly, he started to walk the streets of Brooklyn once again, shouting out headlines and getting a penny a pape. Within in the hour he had 150 papes sold already and more people were stopping by. Suddenly a familiar face showed up in the crowd and Spot forgot about selling his papes and called out, "Eh! Racetrack!"
Racetrack looked over the crowd of people to see who was calling his name and he caught the sight if red suspenders. A smile quickly spread across his face. "Hey, Spot!" he ran over to his friend and the two shook hands, but first spitting into their palms. "How ya been?" asked Race.
"Surviving." anwered Spot.
Racetrack chuckled a little. "Hows the little lady doin'? Saw in the papes a story 'bout you two's."
Spot shot his head back a little bit. "Really? What page is that?"
"Third page, bottom right hand corner." Race told him. Spot scanned the paper and saw a photo of him and Sophia laying in his arms. "So what happened that day?" asked Racetrack.
Spot looked up at him, unsure of what to tell his friend. "Sophia tried savin' some boys off the ice...I saved her jus' in time." Spot didn't feel like going into detail so he left it at that.
Racetrack whistled. "Wow...Dat goil's really got ya runnin' all oveh the place huh?" commented Race.
Spot shrugged his shoulders. "Ah...I'se don' really mind."
"By the way," said Racetrack. "You used her real name. You'se startin' to call her that now?" Spot said nothing and only smirked. "Right. I'se got it," teased Race. "Welp! I'se betteh get back to sellin'. Only got 50 left. See ya, Spot!" with that, the two friends waved each other off and went back to selling their papes. "Wait!" Racetrack yelled and Spot quickly spun around. "Ya should bring Smalls to Medda's to night. Got a few new songs she's gonna sing. Ya gotta be there!" Spot nodded and was off again.

Speaking of bringing Sophia somewhere...Didn't she say he Birthday was up soon? Spot wasn't sure exactly what day it was, seeing how she never really told him what day. He figured it be a good birthday present to take out for the night. Show her a good time, dance, eat pie, drink a little and get back in touch with some old friends. So then it was settled, Spot was going to take her out tonight and make her feel like the queen of Brooklyn. His queen of Brooklyn anyway.

As Sophia awoke she was somewhat cold and noticed that Spot was gone. She felt his side of the bed. It was cold. That meant he had been gone for a while. She sat up slowly, stretching, yawning and digging the sleep out of her eyes. She slowly got out of bed and put on some more close to be warmer. The floorboards squeaked beneath her and she could hear the neighboors chatting away in German. She knew a little bit of German and French. She took it when he parents were still alive and while she stayed at her uncles. The thought of her uncle made her cring. She was so happy that he was gone, but she was always scared that he would come back and walk right up those stairs and into her home to hurt her again. She shook her head to get rid fo the negative thoughts and walked into the kitchikng, hoping to see Spot she did not and her heart sunk a little. Sophia had gotten so used to spending so much time with him that she started to really miss whenever he was gone. Spot had deffinately grown into more of man since she had met him. He was growing up and getting more of those 'man fitures' and she was loving it. His shoulders were broader, his hands and feet were bigger, he was taller and his hair was getting longer. Speaking of hair, Sophia's hair now when down to her shoulders. She didn't feel so naked anymore.

Suddenly, Sophia got a qeasy feeling in her stomach and she ran to the sink and puked. Uh oh, she thought. I'm pregnant again. She then turned on the sink a cold water started to spit out. She put some water in the palm of her hand and put in her mouth. She swished it around and then spat out. Just as she had done that Spot walked in the door. What a lucky break for her, though, she could hardly consider herself lucky.
"Hey beautiful!" said Spot.
Sophia smiled and said hi back. "What's in the bag?" she asked, eyeing the little brown bag in his hands.
Spot smirked and placed the little bag on the table, grabbing out a small pound of shirt and another little bag. "I'se went and sold me some papes dis mornin'. Made three dollars so I got some sugar and tea. It all but cost 25 cents."
Sophia smiled. She hadn't had tea and sugar in so long. She almost forgot the taste. She then remembered that her mother would always make a special kind of tea when she was sick or if it was her birthday. Speaking og birthdays, she quickly added up the days and she came to the realization that today was her birthday. She wasn't about ready to tell Spot that though. He already went out and bought sugar and tea. She didn't want him going out and spending more money, especially on her. They had more important things to pay for.

"Spot...I really don't know what to say..." she told him.
Spot smirked and sat down, placing his hands behind his head. "Don' say anythin'." He then gestured his head towards the tea. "Why not brew some tea up. I'se don' know 'bout ya self, but I could use some sweet tea right 'bout now." Sophia walked over to the tea and sugar and brought it over to the counter top. She took out a small pan and started to heat up some water. "By the way," said Spot. "Medda's got some new songs she's gonna be singin' ta night. Wanna go?"
"Don't you have work?" Sophia asked.
Spot shook his head. "Nah. I get Sundays off." he stood up and walked over to Sophia. Her put his arms around her waist, bringing her in closer against him and kissed her shoulder. "Ya hair is gettin' longer, Soph'."
Sophia blushed and touched her hair. "Yeah, glad it finally is. I'm not used to having this short of hair. I hardly ever cut it before." she then noticed that the water was getting to it's boiling point and she moved away from Spot. She got out some clumps of tea and started to break it up into smaller pieces and throw them into the boiling water. The water slowly started to turn into a dark brown and she could already smell it and almost taste it.

When the tea was done, Spot got out two tiny tea cup and placed them next to the sugar. When the tea was poured and cooled down a bit, Sophia added one tea spoon to each cup. Spot and Sophia and took up their cups and clanked them together, both finishing off their cup of in one swallow. Just then someone knocked on the door and Spot went to see who it was.
"Got ye money foh rent, lad?" said a middle aged man.
Spot nodded once and looked over to Sophia. "Rent," he said.
With that said, Sophia instantly went to the bottom cuboard and bragged out a tin box. There saw dollar bills and change. She grabbed seven dollars and handed it to Spot. Spot then placed it in the mans hand and that was end of their confrentation with one another. Spot closed the door and looked back Sophia. "How much we'se got left now?" he asked.
Sophia looked down at the tin box and counted. "A dollar in change," she told him.
Spot walked over to her and placed two dollar bills and some change to add to the tin box. "A little over three bucks now," he said and let out a sigh. "Doin' betteh than I'se thought we'se would."
Sophia then put the tin box back and pour two more cups of tea. She handed Spot's his and said, "To a happy and promising future." Spot nodded in return the two clanked cups and drank their tea.

As night approached, Spot held on to Sophia's hand and together they walked to Medda's. The winter night was still cold as ever, but the two walked as quickly as possible. When they reached Medda's they were relived to fin that the place hadn't changed all that much. It had been a while since they had been here.
"Eh, Spotty boy!" called out a already half drunken Cowboy. He placed one heavy arm on Spot's shoulder and said, "Well I'se hasen't seen yoooouuuu'se heah in...foreveh." he breathed in to Spot's face and Spot shoved him away.
"Yeah, I'se happeh t'see ya to, Jacky boy. An' don' go callin' me Spotty. Jus' aint right." he joked. Cowboy laughed, stumbling over his own feet, but before he fell flat on his face, Mush caught him.
"Whoa there, Kelly." he said while still laughing at his own friend. They were then met up with David, Racetrack, Kid Blink, and little less.
"Eh, Spot!" yelled Racetrack. "Ya made it!"
"Wouldn't miss it for the woild." Spot said.
"I'se see ya brought ya little lady witcha. Hey, Smalls."
"Hey, Racetrack!" Sophia said to him with a warm smile.

As Music started to play all the boys started to get excited and run to the front stage. "Oi! It's Medda! Her shows startin'!" cried Kid Blink.
As they made their way to the front, David walked up to Spot and placed a hand on his shouder. "Why don't you and Sophia go sit down with my sister Sarah and Less. I'll be there in a few. I gotta find first." Spot nodded and the two headed over to where Less took a seat next to his sister. When they sat down, Spot was handed a pint of beer and he gladly took it, placing 5 cents in the waiters hand. Within a few minutes David came back with a still drunken Cowbow and sat down. Cowbow sang along with Medda's lyrics, getting them wrong more than half the time. The rest of the table laughed at him and tried to sing along with him, but it was almost impossible with how much slurring he was doing.
"So have you been, Sophia?" Sophia turned her head towards Sarah, surprised to hear someone other than Spot using her real name. "Not used to being called by your real name?" Sarah asked.
Sophia laughed a little. "Not really...Spot's been calling me that for some time now. Once in a while he slips the names, Smalls and Soph', but he usually calls me by my real name now." The two girls looked over at the four boys. They weren't paying much attention to what the girls were talking about so they continued on with their chatting.
"David tells me that you two moved into a tenement." Sophia nodded. "How is working out?" she asked.
"It's been alright. Spot found a job at the Brooklyn union as a master work boy, though the word 'boy' doesn't seem to suit him anymore.
Sarah chuckled. "You got that right! Spot's reallys grown up since he's met you."
"Really?" asked Sophia. "I would think it be the other way around, but perhaps we both grew up while having to put up with each this long." the girls laughed.

Suddenly, Sophia started to feel really sick again and grabbed for Spot's pint and threw up in it. She spit the last of the nasty afterward taste into the pint and put it back on the table. Sophia looked over at Sarah and saw the surprised expression on her face. Sophia's eyes grew wide. Sarah then mouth, "Are you pregnant?" to her and Sophia slowly nodded. Just then Spot reaced for his pint and put the edge of it to his lips. "NO! DON'T DRINK IT!" cried Sarah and Sophia at the same time.
Spot instantly stopped and placed and his beer back down. "Why?" he slowly asked.
Cowboy then turned his head away from the stage and shouted out, "YES! YESYESYES!" David quickly put his hand to Jack's mouth to shut him up.
Sophia took in a deep breath and finally said, "I just puked in your beer. Don't drink it."
Spot gave her a disgusting look and looked down at his beer. He grimace and looked away. "I'se still had a good fourth of that left ya know."
Sophia and Sarah couldn't help but giggle. "Sorry, Spot."
"So I take it ya not feelin' very well?" Spot asked.
Sophia shook her head. "I'll be fine. Nothing you need to worry about."
Spot raised his brows at her and said, "Ya jus' puked in me beer, goil." When David and Less finally caught on to what had just happened they started to laugh. Spot gave David a light push and pretended to pour the puke on him. David backed away pushing Jack in front of him. They all laughed when Jack smiled and opened up his moth. He clearly had no idea what was going on. Spot playfully slapped him on both sides of the face and pushed him back. He put the pint down and scooted closer to Sophia. He placed one arm around her so that his warm hand was resting on her belly. He bent his head down and kissed her fourhead. Sophia then rested her head on top of Spot's shoulder and the two enjoyed the rest of their night listening to the sound of all the other newsie's singing.

Chapter Twenty-four: Chritsmas.

Sophia woke that morning to the sound of Spot getting up. She rolled over on to his side of the bed and curled up. "What's the rush this morning, Spot? I thought you didn't work on Sundays."
Spot looked back at her, seeing that she was up he stopped trying to be quiet. "I don' woik. It's Christmas Smalls!" he smiled at her.

"Christmas! Since when?" she sat up and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.

"Since t'day." He told her and laughed a little. "Why? You don' celebrate it or somethin'?"
Sophia put her arms around Spot and held him close. "Guess I've los' track of time." she said to him.

Spot finished putting on his shoes and stood up. "I figured we'se go walkin' 'round town, see all the sights. Brooklyn usually looks pretty amazin' durin' this time o' year. So how 'bout it?" Sophia smiled and crawled out of bed, rushing for her close and putting them on. "Whoa, whoa, Soph. Slow down," Spot chuckled. "We aint in no hurry." he then walked of the room and left Sophia to get ready changing.

When Sophia stepped outside the room Spot turned around and looked at her. He smiled.

"What's so funny?" she asked him. He shrugged his shoulders. "Well," said Sophia. "Just where do you plan on walking around today?"
Spot gave her a little smirk and said, "Coney Island."

Sophia's eyes grew wide. "What? Coney Island? You must be out of your right mind! That place cost too much!" Spot laughed. "Why are you laughing?" Sophia asked, resting her hands on her hips.

"Smalls...We'se got a whole dollah to spend on ourselvs. Fifty cents for you and fifty cents for me."
Sophia crossed her arms. "You sure we can afford to spend this kind of money? You already work hard enough."
Spot leaned for his cane and slid it in with his belt loop. "What's all the hard work for if you'se can't spend some money on ya self to enjoy?" He grabbed Sophia coat and shawl and handed it to her. She quickly put on her coat and put her shawl around her head. She took Spot's hand and off they went to enjoy their day.

As the two started walking, Sophia noticed that they were walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge and away from Coney Island. "Umm, Spot...Coney Island is the other way."
"I know," Spot answered. "Gotta make a side trip first."
"To where?" Sophia knew that Spot was up to something, but what?"
"That, me dear, is a secret." he gave his girl a wink and looped his arm around her.

The two walked in silence for a while. The city was busy around them. Little kids clung to their parents, couples walked hand-in-hand, children threw snowballs at each other and newsie's shouted out headlines. Their voices brought back memories for Spot and Sophia.

"So where is this special place, Spot?" asked Sophia. Spot pointed to a little shop just a few yards ahead of them. Sophia squinted her eyes and read the top sign aloud. "Jacques Torres Chocolate?" suddenly her eyes grew wide and squeezed Spot's arm. "Oh wow! You're kidding, right?"
Spot laughed. "Nah. What's Christmas without some chocolate?" he told her. Sophia grinned.

They each got one piece of chocolate and all together it only cost them ten cents. Sophia nibbled on hers while Spot shoved the whole thing in his mouth, letting melt.

"I knew there was a reason I loved you." teased Sophia.
In a exaggerated tone, Spot said, "Why Smalls, I'm flattered." Spot slapped a hand on his chest and lifted his nose into the air. Sophia laughed at this and playfully punched him in the arm. "Whoa!" said Spot. "I'se think I mightah felt somethin' there."

The two went on like this for another minute or so until Spot yelled out. "Look, Smalls! A trolley cart!" he pointed at it right away.

"And?" said Sophia.

"And?...Soph...a ride on one only cost five cents! This way, we'se can get there fasteh to the beach."
Sophia sighed and gave in. "Well alright. What we waitin' for then?" she was off to catch up to the cart before Spot could take another step.
"H-hold up, Smalls!" he called out to her, running to catch up with her and the trolley cart. It might have been a cold day, the snow lightly falling and the streets being crowded more than before, but it was good day. It was more than good. It was a great day and Sophia didn't want it to end. She stood on the cart as it went down the street and held on to one of the bars, the wind her face and Spot standing right behind her with a hand around her waist to keep her steady. Spot was right, the trolley cart was faster than just walking and it was more enjoyable. It was the first time she had ever ridden on one. Suddenly her stomach started to turn. At first she thought it was just the chocolate, but it was a feeling of eating too much or the feeling of getting too excited. Sophia was pregnant. Even though she had known about this for a while the thought of it still scared her and idea's ran through her head like a train wreck. What if I lose this baby too? What if it dies shortly after it's born? What if I die? What will Spot do? I don't want to leave him like that. Am I even ready to have this child? Such thoughts ran through her mind, making her feel even more uneasy. She moved her hand to touch her stomach but felt Spot's hand there instead. She placed her hand on top of his and leaned back a little on him, taking in some of his scent.

"You ok, Soph?" he asked her, seeing how she grew quiet all of a sudden.

"Yeah. I'm fine...I'm just...really happy." she told him and fought back tears.

when the cart had taken them as far as it would lead them, they jumped off and walked the rest of the way to Coney Island. The two could see the tall buildings in the sky. They could hear people screaming with excitement and laughing with joy. Everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives. Spot then paid their way in wishing the greeter a good day and placed his around Sophia again. Sophia could hardly believe what she was seeing. Men rode around on unicycles and women walked around with big poofy colorful dresses and hats with loads of make-up on their face. They handed out posters, candy, toys and plastic jewelry for the little girls. There were game booths set up and clowns and fun houses. "Spot," breathed Sophia. "Have you ever seen anything like it?" she almost squealed with how excited she was.

"Nope! Foist time heah too, Smalls."
"Then why are you not as excited as me?"
Spot smiled. "'Cause I'm happy jus' seein' you'se get all excited."
Sophia blushed and brought Spot closer to her and kissed him. After breaking away from the kiss, Sophia said, "Let's go see the beach." Spot smiled and the two walked hand-in-hand again all the way to the sea.

The beach was just as crowed as the rest of Coney. Sophia and Spot could smell the salty air; almost taste it even. The sound of it made Sophia feel like she was back in New Orleans again. She closed her eyes and imagined being back home with her family. Her mother would be next to the fire place, knitting some gloves, her father and Tommy would be sitting by the window, talking and enjoying some hot cider while Sophia would sit on the floor, playing with her baby brother. Her family would sit inside the warm house on a cold day like this and enjoy each other's company and keep themselves entertained by telling stories or playing a game of cards, which was Tommy's favorite.

"Spot?" said Sophia suddenly. "What did you do with your family on Christmas?" The two walked beside the sea.
"Welp..ta put it plainly...My family usually spent the mornings sleeping in and then, once we're were all up, we'se would all crowd 'round the main room and open presents and then start on making a big meal. While it was cooking though, the whole family would go outside and enjoy the fresh air. It was simple and good I guess you could say."
Sophia smiled and said, "It does." she held on to Spot's right arm and rested her head on his shoulder. This was their Christmas and one that would always be remembered.

Chapter Twenty-five: 1901

Spot, Sophia, jack, and David and his family all sat around the table eating a big hearty meal. Chicken, potatoes with gravy, bread and butter, vegetables and some wine on the side for the adults. It was New Years and David and Less begged Spot and Sophia and Jack to join them for the night. The usually empty house was now full tonight and warm with the great smell of freshly made food.

"Ah! This is great!" said Jack, leaning back in his chair after taking a gulp of his water. He had just finished eating the last of his food too and you could see a little muffin top showing through his shirt.

"Had enough, Cowboy?" said David. The bunch of them laughed.

Jack tried to reach for another slice of bread, but gave up and leaned back in his chair again. "Yeah...I'se think dis o'stomach of mine has had its share of food dis evenin'." he gave a thankful nod to David's mom.

"Yes," said Sophia. "This is really great! Thanks for having us over." she smiled and looked over at Spot who was enjoying his time with everyone as well. He sat back, just like jack and watched as his friends talked amongst themselves. Telling jokes, stories and even less showed everyone a few card tricks.

He looked over at Sophia. She seemed different some how, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Suddenly Sophia stood up and ran over to the sink and puked. David's mother, Sarah and even Spot stood up fast.
"Dear, are you alright?" asked David's mom. Sarah ran to get a wash cloth.

Sophia spat out the bad taste in her mouth. She lifted up her head and took the wet cloth that Sarah handed to her. "I'll be alright." she told them.

David's mom gave her a long stern look. "You sure?" she asked.
Sophia nodded. "Yeah. I just...I must have ate too much is all."

Sarah sighed. Even she knew that wasn't it.

Spot then walked up to her, resting a hand on her shoulder. "Smalls...Maybe we should go?" he suggested. Sophia nodded.

"But it's not even midnight yet!" cried Less. "Why not stay the night? It can be one big sleep over! Yeah, that's it."

Spot looked over at Sophia, waiting to see what she thought of Less's idea. "I don't mind staying over." Sophia said.

Spot gave her a small smile and said, "Alright."

When it came close to midnight, a lot of the neighbors had passed out, unable to stay up till midnight, seeing how most people had to work the next day.

While Spot was away, talking to David and Jack, Sophia sat outside on the steps, looking up at the stars. The sky was clear that night and she could feel spring approaching. Suddenly, Sarah took a seat next to her. "Great night isn't it?" she said, trying to start up a conversation. Sophia nodded. It was quiet between the two for a few moments. "Listen, uh, Sophia?" Sarah began.

"Hmm?" she responded, still looking up at the sky.

"Are you...Are you with child?"

Sophia stopped gazing and looked at her friend. She scanned her face for a while and then said, "How do you know?"
Sarah shrugged. "Motherly instinct, I guess?" she laughed a little. "Even though I'm not a mom, I can just tell...So can my mom."

"I was worried about that." said Sophia.
"Why?" asked Sarah.
Sophia shook her head a little and placed her hands on her lap. "I don't know. I just hat having people worry about me."

Sarah gave Sophia a warm rub on the back. "Aw, Sophia. No matter where you go or what you do, people are always going to care about you."

Sophia looked at her friend again. "You think so?" she asked.

"I KNOW so." and she touched Sophia's nose with the tip of her finger.
Sophia smiled and said, "Thanks,"

Just then David popped his head out from the window and said, "HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!" Sarah and Sophia bursted out in giggles, seeing how David must have gotten a hold of some wine. Jack then pulled him in and a light thud sounded inside. The girls started laughing even more at boys.

"Well...Looks like its 1901 now. So weird." said Sarah.

"Yeah...Very," The girls picked themselves up and headed inside. There they saw a few blankets spread out on the floor and some extra flat pillows to lay on. Spot was already sitting down, waiting for Sophia to come sit next to him. Jack, David and Less on the other hand were already passed out. Sophia sat down next to Spot and put his arms around her as they laid down. Sophia loved the feel of Spot being so close to her. The heat from his body warmed her up; the touch of his rough, strong hands left her feeling safe in his embrace and the occasional rub with the nose and soft kiss of his lips on the back of her next made chills go up and down all over her body.

The next morning Spot awoke before everyone else. A faint blue morning light shown through the window, leaving the room look like a giant fish tank. He looked down at Sophia, her small figure curled up into a ball. He ran a few fingers through her hair; it had gotten all the way down to her shoulders now and a little passed that even. Her cheeks were a rosy red, her lips a soft pink. Spot bent down and kissed the side of her head. He didn't want to get up; all he wanted was to lay there and cuddle with her all morning, but his moment was short lived when David's parents started to get up.

"Good morning, Spot." said David's father.

"Mornin', Sir." he replied and stood up, stretched and walked over to the sink to wash his face. David's mom was already starting to make breakfast too: Eggs, sausage, and rolls. Their family sure had plenty of food to spare, at least for the new year.

One-by-one, everybody started to get up. Less was the last to get up and when he did breakfast was ready and everybody sat down again and ate as one big family.

After breakfast Jack insisted on having his friends join him at the Sheep shed races. Since it was a new year, there had to be some new bets going on and without a doubt, Racetrack would be there too! They all agreed and headed for the races. As always, they place was packed and somewhere within the group of people a black head and an Italian accent popped out of the crowd. It was Racetrack, praising another win.

"Hey Race!" shouted Spot and the Italian spun around, stuffing his coins in his pockets.
"Heya, everybody! Happy New yeah!" he laughed; he seemed to be a good mood. "I'se gettin' so luckeh t'day. Mus' be 'cause of the new Year!" he laughed again. He bent down and started betting again. Less watched carefully as Racetrack rolled some dice.

The friends spent a few hours there at the races and joked around. Even Sophia joined in on the betting a little and won a few rounds. Racetrack said it was because of "beginners luck".

Throughout the day, they spent their times running around New York, goofing around as if everyone were kids again and had not a care in the world. Well, besides Less who was a child, it brought back good memories for the others, especially for Sophia and Spot. Last year the Brooklyn lodging was still there (at least the old one. A new one was built but space was taken up quickly) Sophia still had Tommy by her side too.

Towards the end of the day Spot and Sophia went back to their small apartment.

"Ah! So glad to be back! Never thought I'd be happy to come back to this tiny place." she laughed a little to herself. Spot on the other hand sighed and leaned against the table. He looked troubled. "You ok, Spot?" asked Sophia.

"Soph," he said, slowly looking up at her. "Are you...Are you pregnant?"

The words stunned Sophia and made her stand frozen in her place. How did he find out? Did someone tell him? "How did you find out? Did Sarah or her mom tell you?"

Spot shook his head. "Nah. Jus' had a feelin' is all. Why didin' ya tell me right away?" he walked up to her and placed both hands on her shoulders.

This seemed to stop Sophia's frigid stance and she was able to move again. "You remember what happened last time..." her voice trailed off. "You didn't...You wanted get rid of the baby...and then...the baby was gone..."
Spot leaned in and kissed her forehead. "That was when I was a dick though..." Spot stopped, realizing what he had just said.

Sophia looked up at him and gave him a weird look. "Did you just admit to being an ass?"

"Uhm..I'se guess in a way...yeah. But that's beside the point, Smalls. We'se both different now, yeah? I want you to have this baby."
"But think of the expenses," Sophia said. "It will cost us what we don't have."
Spot placed his index finger on Sophia's lips. "Nothin' is too damn expensive for this baby."

Sophia smiled. "I love you Spot."

"I love you too." they leaned in at the same time and closed the gap between each other's lips and kissed for a long while, exploring each others mouths.

Finally, after minutes of kissing, Spot broke apart. He said, "Keep the baby, Soph. 'Sides, me thinks it's gonna be a goil."
Sophia raised a brow. "What makes you think that?" she asked him.

Spot shrugged his shoulders. "Dunno...Jus' gota a hunch is all." and he leaned in again and kissed, picking her up again and carrying her to the bedroom, where they made slow, soft and passionate love this time.

Chapter Twenty-six: An old friend.

It had been six months since Sophia first told Spot about her being pregnant and it had almost been seven for her. Spot and Sophia were in the fish market, looking for bread and fish; they had just paid their weekly bill for the apartment and were now shopping with what little money they had left.

Sophia ran her right hand through her hair, trying to keep it back from the wind blowing it in her face. She finally took up her ribbon that she had recieved from Spot and tied her hair back with that. Once saticfied that her hair was tied back and tight enough it was then when she noticed the glances from afar. Woman from all classes stared at her. Some men gave her whitsle and others completely ignored her.

Finally, Spot showed up with bread wrapped in plastic. He swooped his arms around her and kissed her forhead. "We'se lucky dis time, Smalls. Got a good bargin on this heres fancy bread." he held up the day old wheat bread and gave Sophia a cheerful smile. Sophia smiled back even though she wanted to keep frowning. "Don' mind those otheh people, Smalls. They don' know nothin'." he told her.
Sophia took in a deep sigh. "Still. I feel as if I'm fourteen months pregnant and still have a long ways to go yet...Spot...what are we to do when the baby gets here? We have nothing to support an infant."

Spot only shoot his head. "Don' you worry 'bout babe. Jus' count on me for right now." He turned his attention towards a stand of fish and started looking through them. He picked one up, looked at the scales and the eyes; he then sniffed it and quickly put it down, looking for another he found a smaller one. He examined it just as he did the last and finally sniffed it. Resting it in front of the man selling the fish he asked, "How much?"

The old fat bearded man took a good look at the fish and answered, "Five cents that one will be lad." Spot dug round his pocket and took out a nickle. The man then wrapped the fish up in some newspaper and handed it back to Spot.

The two left the stand and started heading back to the apartment when Spot noticed a woman and a man on the side of the street selling bottles of soda. "Wait here." he told Sophia and headed off to get a Soda.

"Spot?" Sophia called out to him. "What...Where...Spot!" She sighed and watched as Spot walked over to the two people. She waited patiantly as the rest of the city people hustled about her. Suddenly, something caught her eyes. A cute little cafe not even a block away stood out from its white little ruffles on the auning; the chairs and tables that sat outside protected from a white fence. Sophia found herself walking towards it and smelling the lunch from peoples plates.

She would have tipped over the little fence if not for her pregnant belly because she was so taken by the place. A small memory of home led her to the front of the cafe.

"Exuse me miss...Are you alright?" asked a man. "Miss?"

Sophia took her gaze off he sign of the cafe and looked at the man talking to her. He had short, light brown hair and brown eyes. He stood about 5.10. A good five inches taller than she. "Oh...Hello." she said to him.

"Are you alright? You look terrible troubled." said the man.

For a second Sophia was quiet, unable to answer him. Soon Spot found his way back to Sophia, resting a hand on her shoulder.
"Smalls, Don' run off like that." he said to her. "Ya scared me."
"Conlon?" Spot turned his attention towards the man who was speaking with Sophia just moments before. "Spot Conlon?" The man grew a smile on his face. "It is you! How ya been kid?"
"Denton?...Oh hey, Denton! Haven' seen ya face 'round heah for a while. And I'se jus' fine. How you been?"
Denton nodded. "Just fine, thank you! Now who is this little lady you got here with you?" but before Spot could answer a womans voice called out to Denton.

"Darling? Come. Your food will get cold."

Denton looked back and said, "Alright, sweet heart."
"That ya wife, Denton?" Spot asked.

Dento nodded again. "She's a real beauty isn't she? Her name is Maria." Brian's wife had dark hair pulled up into a nicely fit bun and her eyes were almost the same shade as Brian's. A little bit of blush rested on her soft cheeks; her lips were a light shade of pink and the eye shadow made her look ever more doll-like. "Care to have lunch with us?" Brian asked them.

"Nah," said Spot. "We'se jus' bought ourselves some lunch right heah." he held up the fish and the bottle of soda while Sophia held on to the bread.

Suddenly, Sophia jabbed Spot in the ribs playfully and said a smile on her face to Brian. "We would LOVE to join you and your wonderful wife, Mr. Denton." she glanced over at Spot who had a surprised look on his face.

Denton laughed and welcomed them over to sit down.

"Who are these young children, Dear?" asked Maria.

"Old friends." Brian answered, placing a napkin on his lap and getting ready to eat. "Ah, waiter...Two more menu's over here, please?" the waiter nodded and handed Spot and Sophia a menu.

"Friend I see." said Maria. "Well...How are you young children? Mind telling me your names?"
"The names, Spot Conlon, Miss and dis hear is my fiancee, Anna Sophia." Sophia blushed at Spot calling her by her full name.

Maria smiled. "Hmmm. Anna Sophia...what a pretty name. If I could have a daughter I highly think about calling her that."
"If?" Sophia asked, placing her menu down.

Brian dabbed his lips with his napkin and cleared his throat before saying, "Spot, you two are engaged now huh? That's wonderful news! When did this happen?" Maria shot her husband a look for interrupting her.

"Jus' a few months is all." answered Spot.

"And just how old you now? You and Sophia?"
Spot cleared his throat. "Jus' turned eighteen sir. And Soph heah is seventeen."
"Wow...eighteen now, I see. Tell me, have you got a place of your own now?...I read in the paper about what happened to the lodging house. It got filled up pretty fast after they re-built it."
Spot nodded. "Yeah, we'se got an apartment about jus' east from heah 'bout a mile 'way." The waiter then came back and got Sophia and Spot's orders.

Maria took a sip of her tea and then said. "If you do not mind me asking, far along are you?"
Sophia rubbed her belly and then said, "Jus' a little oveh seven months. Have you got any children?"
Maria shook her head and sat back in her chair. "No. Afraid not...It seems I cannot have any children."

Sophia looked at Maria with shocked eyes and then looked over and Brian, seeing that this was no joke she could only apologize.
"Tell me," Maira went on, "Have you got a nursery ready yet for the baby?" Sophia regretfully shook her head. Maria raised a hand to her mouth. "Are you having deficulties, my dear?"

"Maria." said Brian suddenly. "I am not sure you want to start asking them such questions."

Maria soon stood up, her skirt falling to her ankels. "Brian...I wish to speak with you...over there." she pointed a little ways off and started walking over there. Brian got up seconds latter and followed in place.

While Spot and Sophia were waiting their food finally came and they ate quietly.

"Now," started Brian. "What is so important that you have to pull us away from our guests?"
Maria cleared her throat before speaking. "I am worried about that poor girl, Anna Sophia. It seems to me that she is not ready to have this child at all! And where is she to go when the time comes, hmm? I doubt they have enough money for a doctor."
"What are you implying then, dear?"
Maria got closer to her husband and whispered. "I say we have them stay with us until the time comes and help them get back their feet. Look at them! They are falling apart! Slowly, but surely."

Brian shrugged. "I don't know, dear. These kids, especially Brooklyn kids...They don't take sympathy or help from others very well...Unless its know..."Soak 'em"."

Maria rolled her eyes and sighed, resting her hands on her hips. "Well they certain took up your lunch offer."
"That is only because Anna Sophia urged him to do it."

"Well then we will just have to have that young girl convince this Spot Conlon friend of yours that staying with us is the best thing to do."
"I'm warning you, its not going to be that easy, Dear."
Maria rolled her eyes again. "You may not see it, but I clearly do. That young girl is terrified! And perhaps once she has the baby...Perhaps..."
"Yes?" pressed on Brian.

"Perhaps she will give the baby up for adoption...If that happens...Then we can finally have a baby of our own. You said so you're self...You want to start a family. Maybe this girl is the key to starting that family."

Brian stood there for a few moments, pondering the thought and then finally came to his conclusion. "Alright. Do as you see fit, dear. I have no problem with taking them in, but they say no, you must not pester them into changing their minds." Before returning to their seats, Maira gave Brian a kiss on the side, agreeing with him and giggles slightly.

When they returned, Sophia and Spot were already done with their meal.

"Hungry, I see." said Brian. The two nodded with stuffed bellys. "There is something my wife and I wish to speak to you about." he said.

Spot leaned on the table "Listenin'."

Before Brian could talk his wife started right in. "We want you two to come live with us."
Sophia almost spat out the water she was sipping on. "What?" said Spot.

Brian cleared his throat. "Truthfully, we want to make sure Anna Sophia is well taken care of. Being so far along anything could happen."
Spot scoffed. "We'se already been down that road beforeh." he told him. Maria gave him a puzzled look and Sophia glanced over at him with one of her looks again as in, "Shut your mouth!" Bringing back the bad memory of Sophia loosing her first baby made her sink back into her chair. "Anyway," Spot continued. "I jus' paid a whole weeks pay of rent where we'se stayin' now. No need to get up and leave now."
Brian glanced over at his wife for some help and she quickly spoke up. "Mr. Conlon, am I right? Yes. It seems to me that your futur wife AND family need some propper care. Just until you two feel comfortable with how things are going on."
"We'se feel jus' fine, thank you, miss." said Spot with a hard tone. He was about ready to leave, but Sophia tugged on his shirt for him to sit back down and so he did.

"Let's hear them out." Sophia suggested. Spot rolled his eyes and sat back in his chair.

"Good," said Maria and she continued speaking. "I'm sure whatever you have back at your place will be well taken care of and brought over for storage, no doubt. And do not worry about the money you just spent...I will personally see that you get that money back. So if you agree to come with us and stay for a few months after the baby is born and you feel that it is right to get back on your feet again we will gladly let you...There is also one other thing I would like to talk to you about."
"Listenin'." Spot told her.

"Once the baby is born...and the mother feels not up to caring for the child...If it becomes too much...My husband and I will gladly take them child in as our own."
"Ya mean adopt?" Maria nodded. Spot looked over at Sophia. "Well, Smalls...Soph? You wanna do this?"

This was now all up to Sophia. She had to decide now to either take up Mr. and Mrs. Denton's offer or go back to the apartment and go on with their lives. Sophia nodded once and then said, "Let's take them up on their offer. If I want to raise this baby right...I mind as well get all the help I can get."

Maria clasped her hands together. "Excellent!"
Brian smiled and reached his hand over the table to shake both Spot and Sophia's hand, welcoming them.

After lunch, Brian had asked a few of his co-workers to help bring Spot and Sophia's things to their home. While on the other hand, Maria took them home. It was in a nice neighborhood. White fences, nicely built homes, green grass in the yards, well dressed folks and the air smelled


"I'm sure the two of you would like to do some cleaning up, yes?" she turned towards them as they stood in the doorway. Brian's home was clean, smelled good, nice furniture, silky curtains and soft carpet and shiny wood floors. There were plenty of windows to brighten the place up. A study and music room to liven up the place. Spot and Sophia could only imagen what the rest of the house looked like.
Spot felt as if he was intruding. Being in such a lovely home, to a street news boy like him this house was only ever revealed to him in dreams. To Sophia it reminded her of home back in New Orleans. To think that she came all the way from there to come here and get away from her uncle. The thought of her uncle brought chills up her spine, she never did know when he would show up again. In other words, they two felt like a ink Spot on a nice clean white shirt.

"Let's start the two of you off with a nice hot bath, huh?" Spot looked down at Sophia and grinned. "Sepperatly, of course," she quickly said. "Come, come. I shall show you where." She led them up stairs where a line of picture frames rested on the walls and candle-lit lights. Maria opened a door to a room and allowed Spot to go in. "I will be with you in just a moment. I will show Anna Sophia where to get some propper clothes." she then pointed to a dresser standing a few feet away from a window across the room. "There is where you will find some more suitable clothes to put on after your bath." She then left with Sophia to get her some more decent clothes.

Spot closed the door to a crack and walked over to the dresser. He slid it open and looked at all the nicely pressed clothes. This dresser all but, blue, black and gray pants. He picked out a pair of black pants, held them up to see the size. Seeing that they were too bit he put them back in a messy manner and picked up another black pair. Saticfied with what he found he opened the next drawr. Seeing all the nice white, blue, gray and off-white long sleeved T-shirts, he picked up a white one and held it up for size again. Lucky on the first try he closed the drawr and placed the clothes on the bed near to him and waited for Maria to get back.

While Maria helped Sophia pick out a nice dress to suit her pregnant belly they picked out a pair of slippers to make her feel more comfortable.

"You have such gorgeous hair." said Maria. "Why on earth did you ever cut it?"
Sophia brought up her right hand to feel her hair. It was now a littl passed her shoulders, but still wavy as ever.
"I had to. For medicine." she told her.

Maria looked at her with soft eyes. "I'm sorry, dear. No girl should ever have to sell apart of herself for anything." seeing that Sophia was quickly growing nervous she quickly stopped talking about it. "Oh! I have just the thing for you and your hair! The shampoo I use will leave your hair smelling great, and feeling smooth and strong!"

When Maria got Sophia's bath started she left her to do the rest and quickly walked back to where she left Spot. She found him waiting on the bed. He looked up and quickly stood up, picking up the clothes.

"I see you have found clothes. That's good." she scanned Spot as if he had something on his shirt.
He looked over himself, seeing that there was nothing there, he asked, "What?"

"Did you find any suspendors? I rekin those red ones of your would stain the nice new clothes." she then swifly walked over to the dresser, opened up the bottom drawr and pulled out a pair of pink suspendors and placed them on top of the pile of clothes resting in Spot's hands. "There," she said with a smile. "That should do it!"

Maira led Spot to the bathroom a little ways away from where Sophia was. Spot was astonished at the fact of there being TWO bathrooms in one home. Guess this was normal for Brian and his wife and he would have to get used to it too. "I've already got the water running, so whenever you feel the water is just right you can stop it. Don't worry about using too much." she then left Spot and closed the door, leaving him alone again.

Spot placed his clothes on counter of the sink. He started with taking off his suspendors and then stopped and a smirk spread across his face. There waiting for him was a porceline tub of boilin' wata.

Chapter Twenty-seven: Love song.

Sophia sat down at a piano and pressed down on one of the keys. It had been a while since she heard such a beautiful sound.

"Do you play?" asked Mrs. Denton standing in the doorway to the living room. Sophia nodded. "Play something then, please?" Sophia put her gaze back on the keys and started to play Moon light sonata by Beethoven. Mrs. Denton took a seat next to her and said. "Wow! You can play Mozart? I am very pleased and impressed. Who taught you?"
"My mother did." Sophia replied.

"She must be a great teacher." Mrs. Denton said.

"Was." Sophia corrected her.

Mrs. Dentons face fell a little bit. "Oh. I am sorry. I didn't mean-"
Sophia waved her hand. "No. It's alright. You didn't know."
The two sat there until the end of the song. The house was filled with Sophia's wonderful playing and it made her feel like she was at home again in New Orleans.

"Oh! Would you look at the time? It's nearly supper time. Excuse me." Mrs. Denton excused herself from the living room and went to ready the food.

Sophia sighed and looked down at the keys again. The house always seemed so quiet without Spot there. He worked over at the District Union almost everyday now, besides Sunday. Sophia rubbed her round belly. The baby would be coming soon. Anyday now it seemed. Just then the baby kicked and Sophia winced in pain a little. She then placed her finger tips on the keys again, her face full of concentration. "Spot..." his name softly and quietly came out of her mouth so that no one else would be able to hear it. She pressed on a high key note to match the pitch of her voice. She was tired of just sitting around the place and wanted to do something meaningful, so she decided to write a song. And not just any song. It would be for Spot. Yes, she would write a song for Spot.

Within the hour Sophia had written the whole song but the very end. She sat there, wondering what she would sing last. It had to be something good, something with meaning just like the rest of the song. Just as something came to mind Spot and Mr. Denton walked in the door.

"Mmm! What smells so good?"
Mrs. Denton came to greet them both and smiled at them both. "That would be bread, meatloaf, potatoes and green beans." she said. Mr. Denton gave his wife a kiss on the four head and left the room with her to help start the table.

Spot lingered around a bit more and ended up finding Sophia still sitting at the piano. He quickly took a seat next to her. "What are you playing?" he asked.

Sophia blushed, smiling and looking down at the keys. "I'm writing a song?"
Spot looked impressed. "A song? What kind of song?"
"A love song...for you and me." she told him.

Spot inched closer to her and pecked her cheek. "Play some of it for me, please?"
Sophia nodded and began to play. The music was slow and a bitter sweet tune was played all throughout the room. Suddenly she stopped. "Why did you stop?" Spot asked.
"It's not done yet," Sophia sighed. "This is what I was working on before you got back."
"Well, I like it. Are there any words to it?"
"Lyrics? Yes, but...I don't feel like singing them right now." Sophia twiddled with her thumbs.
Spot gave her a pouty look. "Ah, why not, Smalls?"
Sophia shrugged. "Too embarrassing." she told him.
Spot laughed at this. "What? Are you kiddin' me? Too embarrassing? C'mon, goil, sing some of it!" he laughed again.
Sophia loved hearing his laugh. It sounded so great the way he'd chuckled, his face lighting up like the sun; it was the many things she loved about him. "Alright," she said to him, "But don't you DARE laugh."
Spot put his hands up in defense. "Promise." he told her.
Before singing, Sophia cleared her throat and started off quietly but slowly started to raise her voice once she became more comfortable with her singing. "Come to me lover, I pray that you will, Just jump right in and I'll take you there. No more pain and no more sorrow; we will face uncertainty together. What lies must I tell to see you again; here is a kiss to strengthen your heart!..." She then stopped and for a moment there was nothing but silence between the two.

Finally Spot spoke up. "Well, I'll definitely never forget that. Be real nice, Soph if ya could finish that. Ya's been heah for 'bout a yeah now. Be real nice to heah that song once it's done."
Sophia smiled. "So you like it? Oh good! I was thinking that it be way to soft for you."
Spot laughed at this. "Well, you're right 'bout dat, long as you make it, I'se really don' mind at all, Smalls." He then took a big breath of air. "Mmm! I smell food! C'mon, Sophia, Time to eat." Spot got up, reaching his hand to help Sophia up.
"You go on ahead, Spot. I've got a few things to clean up." Spot nodded and left to the dining room. Sophia picked up her papers and quill and set them aside in an orderly fashion, closed the case on the piano keys and took a breath before standing up. It was getting harder, carrying this baby around with her. She left it kick again and she winced in pain. "Ouch..." she muttered. She knew if she showed a lot of pain towards Spot with this baby; if he knew how much it was hurting her now, he'd probably tell the baby to come right on out every night, but that's what she was afraid of: Having this baby. Would she be able to live through the labor? And if she didn't what would happen to Spot and the baby? But if she did live through it, would she really want to give her baby up? Would she have to run away again to protect someone she loves? Sophia didn't know what to do and all she could do was wait for that moment to come. And what scared her too was that it would be soon.

Chapter Twenty-eight: Mary Driskoll

A light breeze that blew all throughout the day suddenly became a vicious storm in the night. The windows rattled and the wind howled while trying to get into the house. Sophia lay on her back, completely uncomfortable not only from the heat but her back was killing her. Suddenly she rose up from her bed, thirsty and wanting some water to drink. She turned on her lantern resting on a nightstand next to her bed. Her room instantly lit up, showing her basic bedroom. She stood up and wobbled to the door holding her fat belly and breathing a little harder than usual.
Suddenly Sophia felt a quick burst of warm liquid wash down her leg. She stopped and held her breath for a moment. She slowly placed her hand on her private area, afraid to bring it back up after feeling the wetness. The last time this happened she had lost the baby. Sophia look down, heart pounding and to her quick relief she did not see blood. Then all of a sudden she realized what had happened. She was going into labor.
Breathing heavily now she rushed out her bedroom as fast as she could and headed to the room just down the hallway where Spot was sleeping. She opened his door and placed her right hand on his shoulder as soon as she reached his bedside.
"Spot...Spot!...Wake up!" she smacked him this time and he moaned in his sleep.
"Get up ya lazy bum, I'm having a damn baby!" she slapped him on the face and he finally woke up.
"What the hell’s, goil?!" he said rubbing his cheek. "Soph...what do you need, babe?"
"Baby! Now!"
"What? Baby? Now?!"
"Yes! My damn water broke! Hurry! Wake the others!"
Spot rose from his bed within seconds, stumbling in the darkness. Once he regained his footing, Spot took a careful hold of Sophia and guided her back to her room. "Stay here. I'll be right back."
"You better!" Sophia tried sitting on her bed but it hurt too much so she continued to stand. Standing awkwardly in pain as Spot ran to get the others.
Within a minute Spot came back with Brian and his wife.
"Brian go boil some water and get plenty of rages and sheets. And call a doctor!" ordered Brian's wife. She then looked over to Sophia and pointed at the bed. "You're gonna have to lay down now my dear."
"But it hurts to sit."
Mrs. Denton shook her head. "This must be done. Now lay down. I shall make it was comfortable as I can for you." She rounded up some pillows and stuck them behind Sophia. Brian then came in with the sheets and together him and his wife put a few underneath Sophia's bottom. Brian then ran out again to get the water started.
"Spot..." Sophia said, her voice shaking."
"Yeah?" he inched closer to her to hear her.
Sophia quickly grabbed Spot by the shirt and said to him firmly. "You betteh get Sarah and her mother oveh hear now!" Spot nodded quickly and ran to get Sarah and her mother.
After a few more minutes of trying to breath calmly, Brian came in with the how water. His wife took a rag and placed it in the water. After taking it out and squeezing all the water out of it, She placed it on Sophia's head. Sophia rejected the rag at first saying it was too warm already to have something like that on her head. "It will help you though, Sophia." She then turned toward her husband and said, "Get a bucket of cold water too just in case."
An hour passed and Sophia was still struggling with breathing as normally as she could and keep up her strength to have this baby.
"Have you thought of a name?" asked Mrs. Denton, trying to bring up friendly conversation.
Sophia shook her head. "No..."
"Really?" Sophia nodded. "Why is that?" Mrs. Denton asked.
"Haven't come across one that Spot and I both like..."
"I see. Well, no need to rush. Take your time, dear."
Spot finally came back with Sarah and her mother rushing into the bedroom. They had a few things with them as well. More towels a rope.
Sophia got a little scared when she saw the rope and asked, "What's that for?"
"For you if you need something to grip on to," explained Sarah's mother. "And trust me, you will want this when the baby is about to come out."
"I want it out NOW!" Sophia growled in discomfort and Mrs. Denton tried repositioning the pillows again for her. Sophia looked to spot and beckoned him to come closer. She reached out her hand and he grabbed for it with both hands, trying to comfort her. Suddenly another sharp pain ran through Sophia's body. She lifted her hips a little and bent back her head, tossing and turning it. "Get it out! Get it out!" she cried.
"We will dear, but the baby is not quite ready." said Sarah's mom. "This will take time."
"Ugh! I don't WANT it to take time! I want to happen now!"
"Your bodies not ready yet." said Mrs. Denton. She then looked to Spot. "Spot, dear. I'm afraid you will have to leave the room."
"NO!" Sophia hissed. "He's staying RIGHT here!" and with the word 'right' Sophia gripped on to Spot's hand even tighter, making him try to pull it away because her grip hurt so much.
"It's going to hurt a lot worse when the baby comes." said Sarah to Spot with a little smirk on her face.
Spot's face suddenly turned white. "Oh...Uh...Great..."
Another hour passed and the baby was not ready to come out. Sophia moaned in pain, wanting it to all be over so she can go back to sleep, but the dam baby refused to come out every time Sophia pushed.
"Keep pushing, Sophia." said Sarah. "You're almost there. Be strong!" she encouraged her.
Sophia rolled her eyes and yelled out. "Oh why don't you just keep FUCKING PUSHING!" she then looked to Spot and looked at him with angry eyes. "You bastard! You did this to me! JACK ASS!" Spot swallowed hard. He knew he was deep trouble.
"Looks like it's almost time." said Sarah's mother. Sarah readied the towels and the hot water. "Ok, Sophia. One more push!"
Sophia screamed out in agony; head pressed back and her eyes rolling in the back of her head. Spot's hand turned blue and white from Sophia's grip. His mouth opened wide as he tried to free himself from her grasp but it was pointless. He fell to his knees, head bent down and still trying to free his hand.
After what seemed like forever with pushing and pushing, those last few seconds were worth it when a soft baby cry erupted. The heaviness in the room began to flow more smoothly and Sophia let out a soft, tired sigh. "You did it!" said Sarah, watching as her mother and Mrs. Denton cleaned off the baby.
When everything was done and cleaned up, Brian was allowed in to see the baby. The baby was wrapped up in a warm blanket and being held securely in Sophia's arms. Spot laid right beside her pointing at the infants tiny fingers.
"It's a girl." said Sophia to Brian."
"Have you thought of a name?" he asked.
Spot and Sophia both looked at each other and at the same time they both said, "Mary..."
"I thought you didn't have a name picked out though?" said Mrs. Denton.
"We didn't," said Sophia. "We just agreed on one now." she smiled a little and looked down at her baby girl. "Yeah," she said. "Mary Driskoll Conlon. That's her name."

Chapter Twenty-nine: For better or for worse

Sophia rocked her baby in her arms. She sang to Mary and smiled at her, rubbing her nose with her hers. Mary cooed sweetly and her cheeks become a soft pink as she yawned and fell asleep in her mothers arms. Sophia carefully placed Mary in her tiny crib and rocked it a few times, making sure Mary would stay asleep for her afternoon nap.

Spot walked in then and put his arms around Sophia and kissed her cheek.
"Got ya somethin' t'day in the market." he held out a small white cloth and handed it to her.

Sophia glanced a smile at Spot before unfolding the cloth, revealing a blue ribbon. "Spot..." She breathed.
Spot grinned. "Ya otheh one was gettin' old so I thought I'se spend the extra few cents and get ya a new one."
Sophia kissed Spot back and told him how sweet it was of to do that. She then got a concerned look on her face. "It's been a month now since Mary was born...I feel as if I should start pulling my weigth again."
"Smalls, what makes ya think ya gotta go do that?"
"Well for one, I hate jus' sittin' here all day. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with little Mary, but I think I should try to find a job too."

Spot looked at her as if she was crazy and stood up, repositioning his pink suspenders. "You'se a strong goil, Soph. If ya think ya can handle a job, go out and find one. But don' go workin' ya self too hard. I worry about you more than ya think I do."
Sophia blushed. "Aw. Thanks, Spot. I'll be fine though."
Spot scratched his head and placed his hat back on. "Welp! Love ta stay and chat...but Brian's got me helpin' him some of his work."
"So you'll be at his office today?" Sophia asked.

Spot nodded to this. "Yeah. It's the least I can do after all he's done for us. And besides...Ya know how much I hate bein' in debted to someone." he winked at Sophia and left the room.

Within a few days, Sophia had more time to think it over with getting a job. She figured working for a while to help pay for things wouldn't be so bad and she found a job at one of the sweat shops near the Denton's home. Since Sophia had experience with sewing machines from the past it was easy to get back in the swing of things. At first though she was left to do the crappy work: Snipping off the extras of blouses and skirts. It was a few days before she was able to move up to a sewing machine and get paid the extra money. She was fast and she was good.

They didn't call it a sweat shop for nothing though. The opened windows was not enough for the amount of hard working woman stuffed in a room working six to eight hours a day. Sophia's back ached by the second half of the day was asleep soon after she ate supper. Today though was different. The manager there, looking down at the sweat, hard working woman blew his whistle and told the woman to take a quick break. They had just had lunch a few hours ago but it was so hot not even the manager could stand being in that room.
Sophia sat next to a window, a little breez came through and she sniffed the air. She crinkled her nose when she smelt something strange. She decided to ignore it and try and enjoy the breez. A girl about her age came up to her and asked, "You mind sharing some of that wind?"
Sophia smiled as a droplet of sweat ran down the side of her face. "I don't mind." she told the girl.

"Thanks!" she said. "It's blazing howt t'day." Sophia could tell by her curly long brown hair and bllue eyes and fair skin that the girl was french.

"Yes, it is." Sophia agreed, fanning herself.

The young girl then looked at Sophia more closely, seeing the blue ribbon, she asked, "Sure tis a lovely bow."
"Thank you. Someone very speacial gave it to me."
"May I try it on?" the french girl asked. "By zee way, my name is Roselette."
"Nice to meet you. I'm Anna Sophia, but you can jus' call me Sophia. And sure. I don't mind if you try it on for a sec." Sophia took out the bow and placed it in Roselette's hair. "Very pretty." She said. Sophia continued to talk to the french girl a while longer, the strong smell in the air getting thicker and thicker. Surely it was someone's bad cooking?

Spot joked around with Racetrack and Jack on the Brooklyn bridge. It had been weeks since he was able laugh with his friends like this.

Racetrack patted Spot on the back and said, "Well congrats, Spotty-boy!" he was congradulating him on his new baby girl. Spot had been telling them all about her. He was proud of his baby girl.
"Have ya gotten ta give 'er a bath yet?" Jack asked.
Spot shook his head. "Ya kiddin me? I've only held 'er a few times. She's so tiny ya know?"

Racetrack spotted a few people walking by and shouted out a headline. He was succecful at selling his last pape of the day. "Ya miss sellin' papes, Spot?"
Spot stuffed his hands in his pocket, leaned back and smiled. "Ya know...I do. I miss yellin' out at the top of me lungs." Their laugher was soon stopped by distant cries for help.

"What's goin' on?" Jack said.
Spot shrugged. "Anotheh rally or somethin?"
"C'mon! Let's go check it out!" Racetrack said, already going a head of his friends.

Sophia was being pushed down a flight stairs like so many other girls. The sweat shop and caught fire and now everyone was running for their lives. Sophia watched as woman and young girls jumped out of the window while others caught fire and ran around the building like a crazy person. It was getting harder to breathe and see and the cries just kept getting louder and louder. Suddenly a loud crash was heard from up above her. She stopped running and crouched down covering her head. Parts of macheniery and other people came falling through the floors that were starting to crumble. Luckely for her a basket half full of skirts was the only thing that landed on top of her. Sophia got back up, continuing down the steps. She had lost sight of the french girl a few stories up and felt terrible for leaving her behind, but Sophia knew what was best for her and surviving was her only opption at this moment.

Sophia was on the last flight of stairs when she heard the crashing sound again but it wasn't coming from above her. Sophia suddenly stopped and a few seconds latter the floor caved oon her and she fell right to the bottom of the buidling. As she fell and tumbled to her knees, Sophia quickly rolled out of the way as she saw girl in flames falling towards her. Sophia heard the loud THUMP sound and covered her ears. As she picked herself back up, looking at the intrance the cornver of a brick scrapped her forehead. She fell to the floor, her mind going hazy. The last thing she saw were two men running to pick her up before becoming unconsience.

Spot, Racetrack, anc Jack all ran to where the huge crowd was, surrounding a building that was in flames.

"God!" Racetrack breathed.

"...No..." Was all that Spot had to say as she started pushing through the crowds of people. Racetrack and Jack went after him.

As he pushed his way to the front of the crowd, Spot watched as woman jumped out of the window and fell to their death. The sound of them landing on the pavement made Spot shudder. Finally Racetrack and jack caught up to him and watched just as Spot was doing.

"What should we do?" Racetrack asked.

jack shook his head, a sadened look spread across his face. "I don' think we can do anything Race." Race track cursed under his breath.

Someone shouted out just then, yelling, "Oh no! Not another one! Someone help her!" Before anyone could think of anything to save the poor girl in time she jumped and within seconds her blood was splattered. Spot's heart suddenly sank to his stomache and then it felt as if someone pulled out out and smashed it. His eye's widened and his face became pale as he saw a familiar blue ribbon. Tears formed in his eyes and he suddenly cried out, running towards the body. "SOPHIA!" Racetrack and Jack fought to hold him back, but Spot refused to be kept away from the body that just fell. "SOPHIA! NO! NO! NO! SOPHIA! OH GOD!" Spot turned around quickly and pushed Racetrack away, watching him fall to the ground and punched Jack in the face, making him spin. Just as Spot was about to reach the body a few police grabbed him and forced him back. When he still urged to keep going one of the police man was forced to knock him out.

The next thing Spot saw he was waking up in his and Sophia's bedroom. They had just recently started to sleep in the same room together. He could smell her scent instantly and sat up fast only to lay back down again as he his head where he was hit started to throb. He moaned in pain but then stopped as he heard the door open. It was Brian. "Whaddya want?" Spot said, irritated and not wanting to talk to anyone. But then he changed his mind and sat up slowly. "Wait..." he said. "Where's Sophia?"
Brian closed the door behind him and sat down next to Spot. "Well," he started out. "No one has heard any word from her. So I guess no knews can be good knews. There are people still searching. I'm sure she'll turn up. Don't give up, Spot." he patted his back and got up to leave the room. Spot stared at the floor, his elbows resting on his knees. He heard a soft cooing noise come from the crib and glanced up at it. He stood up and walked over to see that Mary was rasing her little hands into the air and smiling up at him. Spot felt himself growing soft on his little girl and picked her up gently, holding her little head in his palm. He sat back down and looked down her. So much of her reminded him of Sophia. Mary's blanket started getting droplets of water on it but Spot soon realized that it was his tears. He was surprised to be crying. Hot tears fell from his eyes and he held them shut, trying to make them stop. He brought his baby girl up close to his chest and the King of Brooklyn cried, but no one was there to see or hear him.

Sophia awoke in a soft bed. Her body ached and her eyes burned. What had happened to her? Where was she and how did she get here?
A doctor walked up to her, checking on her. "Oh! You're awake. Someone is here to see you." he said.
"Who...?" she asked, but he had already left and came back with an older man. Sophia eyed the man and gave him a confused look. "Who is he?" she asked.

The doctor smiled warmly at her and said. "You probably don't remember what happened to you. Not worry, your amnesia will clear up soon enough." he then cleared his throat and pointed a finger to the man standing beside him. "This is your uncle. He has come to take you home."
"My uncle? No...He can't be. I would...I would remember...I...I can't...I can't remember...anything." a tear fell from her left eye and whiped it away.

"It's ok." her uncle said, walking up next to her bed side. "It's a good thing I decided to come on this business trip otherwise you'd be stuck here for who knows how long."
"Where are you taking me?" she asked.
"Home, of course."
"Where is home?" she asked.

Her uncle smiled. "Back in New Orleans."

Chapter Thirty: New Orleans

Sophia stood still with her arms held out her side, straight. She looked back at her reflection as two woman put together a blue dress on her. It was quarter length with bottuns at the sleeve. The dress went down to her ankel and puffed out a little where little white frills decorated the edges. Sophia put on white tight with white colored dressed shoes with a little bit of a hill on them. next she was placed in a whicker chair and her hair was neatly brushed and then french braided. Lastely A plane blue hat was placed on her head to keep the sun out of her eyes; pins were hooked in to help keep the hat on better. When she was done, Sophia gawked at herself in the mirror. She looked like a doll.
"Come now," said her uncle, entering the room after she was done dressing. "Ah! Look how wonderful you look. It's as if you never ran away fro home." he walked up to her a finger to his chin while the other rested on his hip. Looked her up and down and nodded approvingly.
"I...ran away from home?" Sophia.
"You don't remember that?" Sophia shook her head. Her uncle shrugged and continued talking."Broke my heart when I heard word that you and your brother left without saying a word."
"We did?" Sophia said. Why wasn't she able to remember something like that. "Are you sure?" she asked him.
"Why of course."
"Where is my brother now?" Sophia asked, hoping that maybe her brother would be able to give her all the answers she needed.
He sighed then. "He left you. I don't know where but he did."
"He left me?" Sophia was hurt by this. "Why...?"
Again her uncle sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "He just...up and left is what some people told me when I was looking for you two."
"Who are these 'some people'?" she asked him.
"Stop asking so many questions. What matters is that you will be coming back to New Orleans with me."
"What about my brother?"
Sophia's uncle rolled his eyes. "I already told you, he ran off. Besides, he is old enough to take care of himself. Don't worry about him."

Sophia and her uncle walked the streets of Brooklyn heading for lunch. She thought hard about herself and what had happened to her. She finally entered a resturaunt that was decorated with flowers and fake vines. They were seated to a small table and givin fancy decorated menus. Sophia scanned what was avalible to eat: Turky sandwhich, beef soup with bread, fish and chips, a bowl of fruit and salad. For beverages there was water, tea with ot without sugar, coffee, and lemonaid. Sophia decided to get the turky sandwhich with lemonaid and set her menu down. She looked to her uncle who lit a cigar but was quickly asked to smoke it outside by one of the waiters who then took Sophia's order.

Her uncle walked outside and puffed his cigar here and there, watching the busy New Yorkers walk by. He was then approached by a young looking man. He held his head high and his hat was a little worn but he looked proud wearing his pink suspenders and new pair of pants. The young man stard at him until he finally said something. "Do we have a problem here?" Sophia's uncle asked.
The young man scoffed. "Yeah. We do."
"Who are you aqgain?" he asked him. Sophia's uncle gave the kid a better look and then said, "Oh...You're that...Spud boy, right? My you're grown." he chuckled and puffed his cigar again.
"It's Spot!" he spat at his shoes.
Sophia's uncled looked where Spot had spit and looked back up at him with an irritated look. "What the hell do you want?" he said harshly?"
"Why the hell are you here?"
"I'm on a business trip."
"Sophia's not here...incase you're wondering." Spot said with irritancy in his voice.
Sophia's uncle eyed him for a moment and smiled. He asked, "Oh? And why is that?"
Spot was relunctent to tell him but decided it was best just to say it. "She's dead. That fire that started two days ago at the sweat shop...She was workin' there the day it happened. They'se never found her body."
"Oh? Is that so? Pity."
Spot's mouth dropped a little. "Are you'se serious? That's all ya got ta say? Pity?"
Sophia's uncle nodded to this. " really is a shame. I mean...I was hoping to take her back to New Orleans today."
"You're leaving today?" he asked.
"So," Sophia's uncle took one last puff of his cigar. "How did Sophia get to know a boy like you?"
The words stung at Spot's ears. "She became a newsie. Got a problem wit that?"
He shook his head. "No. Did you fancy my little niece?"
"Fancy?" Spot was a little surprised. "Well...what's it to ya?"
Sophia's uncle smiled at this. "So you did fancy her." he laughed a little.
"Stop laughing!" Spot yelled.
He suddenly did stop and glared at Spot. "Tell me, Spot...Did you ever violate my little niece?"
In the same hars tone Spot said to him, "No soon than you did."

Sophia's uncle tried hard to remain his composer. "If no one was around I'd shoot you right in your chest and watch as you die by gaging on your blood!"
Sophia who had just been giving her food saw her uncle talking to a young man. They looked like they were arguring. Sophia eyed the young man carefully. Underneath his hat he was really cute and she wished she could talk to him. At least once. Something though, was very familiar about him. Did she know this young man? Had she talked to him before and just couldn't remember? She turned her gaze from him and started eating. When her uncle returned he ordered his food, which was just a salad and some fruit and finished by the time Sophia was done. The two left the resturaunt and headed to the train.
"How long will it take to get to New Orleans?" Sophia asked.
"At least three days. Two if we do not have to stop at too many places." Her uncle replied.
"Two while days? That seems a lot."
Her uncle laughed and at this and assured that the time would pass quickly.

When she boarded the train it was easy enough to get on because she had nothing to take with her. He uncle on the other hand carried with him a small suitcase. When they found a place to sit it was a private area where they could close the door and have their own privacy. Sophia sat down on the soft red cushioned seat; her uncle sat across from her.
"How many times have you rode on a train?" Sophia asked.
"Many times. More than I can count."
Sophia nodded. "I wonder how many times I've been on a train...Say...Do you think I will ever remember anything?"
"I'm sure you will. I'm just glad you are finally coming home. I've been very worried about you."
"And what about my parents. Have they been worried too?"
Her uncle got a sad look on his face and said, "Anna Sophia...Your parents and baby brother...are dead."
"Dead?...Both of them? And...and I had a baby brother too? They're all dead?" tears formed in her eyes.
"Don't be sad Sophia. It's been a while since they've been gone. And besides, they would not want you to shed tears for them."

Just outside their sitting aread and woman walked by with a crying baby, hushing it to calm down. Sophia's chest part of her dress became wet. Surprised as she was she looked to her uncle who gave her a furious look and suddenly slapped her. "You had a child?" he shouted.
Sophia's stumbled upon her own mouth, trying to find the right words to say. "I...I...I don't...I don't know what...I mean."
"Clean yourself up! Now!" Sophia was handed a hankerchief from her uncle and she patted her breasts. "Whore!" he said.
Sophia broke down in tears and covered her face. "I...I am not a whore!" The words made her feel down right useless.
"You had a child! You let someone touch you and violate you with pleasure! You are a whore! Let me guess, you got rid of the child right away, didn't you?"
Sophia shook her head. "Stop yelling at me! Please!"
her uncle calmed down after that and sat back in his seat. "My own little nice...A slut! I thought your parents raised you better than that."
Sophia choked back tears and held her head down. She felt ashamed and usless after her uncles ruthless speech.

Two days passed and the train slowly stopped as it came to New Orleans.
"This is our stop." Her uncle said, grabbing his things. Sophia stood up and followed her uncle off the train. She was hoping to see bright sunshine but the thick clouds made everythng seem so gloomy. This is New Orleans? Sophia thought. She thought it would look so great and fancy. But maybe it was just the clouds making it seem that way. She continued to follow her uncle to a buggy and got in, sitting beside him, her hands resting on her lap.
"You will love returning to my home. I have redecorated part of the house."
"Oh. I'm sure I will then." she tried making small talk with her uncle but she felt uncomfortable after what he had called her.
"Yes. You will love it." he told her. "I didn't touch your room though."
"I have a room of my own?" she asked.
"Of course! When you were younger you and your family would sometimes come visit me for a few weeks during the summer."
"And what about my parents home?"
"I sold it to a nice little family."
"You...sold it?"
"I needed the money."
Sophia was starting to dislike her uncle even more with every passing minute. What kind of person was her uncle really? she wished she could remember everything. She wished she could see her parents and her brothers again. She wanted to jump out of the buggy, rip her silly dress up so she could run as fast as she could and never come back.

Chapter Thirty-one: From poor to rich.

Sophia looked out to the sea, the salty waters hitting her toes; it had been six months since she first remembered something about her past. Slowly she had been remembering but nothing triggered who she really was. All she knew were the faces but could not put names to them. She remembered places in New York that she had visited and lived. Something about a lodging house and papers and a handsome fellow; she touched her lips and looked down to her feet, the feel of the warm setting sun, leaving the water look like its very own paradise. She sighed and put her arms around herself. Why was it taking so long for her to remember?
Anna Sophia!” A voice called out to her and she turned around, seeing her uncle holding a lantern. “Come inside, it’s getting dark out.” Sophia nodded and ran up to her uncle, walking back to the house with him.

The lantern squeaked as it swung back and forth in her uncle’s hands. Sophia looked up at the trees that stood tall and beautiful on the side of the path that they walked. The crickets were singing and owls were coming out. When they arrived to the house the lights were already on and she could smell supper on the door steps. Her uncle’s home was an old Victorian styled house with a porch that wrapped around it. Its light painted colors seemed like a beacon as the night came swarming about the city.
After supper Sophia sat in her bedroom, the lights off and looking out at the window as she always did; the moonlight filled the room and lit up her face. The stars danced in her eyes as she looked up at them in awe.
“Once a Brooklyn Newsie, always a Brooklyn Newise!” The voiced boomed in her head, the accent was somewhat appealing to her. Sophia was now puzzled. Brooklyn? She thought. Brooklyn Newise…

Suddenly she remembered dressing as a boy, but why? She suddenly remembered her brother, Tommy, taking totally certain of her safety. No way could he have just up and left her like her uncle said. No way! Hot tears filled her eyes and fell down her cheeks and on to her hands. She had remembered everything! Just like that! She buried her face in her hands as all the memories came rushing back at her all at once. She was sad, devastated, angry, and wanting revenge. She stopped crying and pulled herself together; there was no time to cry, at least not now. She stoop straight and walked out to the hallway. Everyone had gone to bed except for a few maids who were putting out the lights. One of them asked if she was alright but Sophia pushed away from her and headed to the kitchen. Luckily no one was there and she grabbed for a cutting knife, hiding it in the pocket of her dress. She walked to her uncle’s room and stood at his doorway for a minute to make sure that he was asleep. When she was certain that he was, Sophia quietly opened the door and walked inside.

She walked over to her uncle’s sleeping body and glared at him. Oh how she hated him and wanted to jab the cutting knife right through his bloody heart and watch him bleed to death! She took out the knife and held it above her head, ready to pierce his selfless heart. She stopped. She couldn’t do it and she started to tremble and slowly put the knife down. Sophia continued to watch was the sleeping bastard moved over in his sleep. She stepped back and quickly left his room and returned to her room and hid the knife in her dressing drawer and went to bed.
The next morning as she woke up everything was different. She was still angry and sad but acted as if nothing had happened to her. She washed up and got dressed for the day. She met with her uncle in the dining room for breakfast. He was there before as usual, drinking his coffee and eating his bacon and toast. A plate was already being made for Sophia as she sat down across her uncle. She stared at him with a blank face as he read the paper and held his toast. He noticed her staring at him and said, “Got something on your mind?”
“No.” She continued to stare at him, ignoring the food that was placed in front of her. Suddenly her uncle started to choke and Sophia’s blank star turned into a frown. Her uncle tipped over on his chair and fell hard to the wooden floor. Sophia stood up from her chair and walked over to her uncle and knelt down beside him. He grabbed on to her forearms, staring hard into her eyes, gasping for air.
“I…remember everything.” Sophia said calmly. She bent closer for him to hear her. “You son of a bitch, I remember everything. I hate you.” Sophia broke free from his grasp and stood up. Her uncle, grabbed for her boot but she kicked it away and he held on to his heart; slobber ran down the side of his mouth, his eyes wide, body shaking as he looked at up her. Sophia did nothing but stare back him. Soon, his struggle to survive came to an end and he died right then and there.

Sophia turned her head as she heard a loud crashing sound. One of the cooks who came in with more food dropped the try and screamed a little. Sophia quickly gathered up her emotions and pretended to look horrified and managed to bring out some tears. She stepped away from her uncle’s body as the cook ran to him and called for help. As people were piling in, Sophia stood on the sidelines and watched it all happen. She must have been the only happy one about his death because everyone else seemed so devastated by his death.
When her uncle’s body was taken away a group of men about her uncle’s age came walking up to her. They asked to speak with her right away. They said it was important. Sophia agreed and took them to the living room.
“We need to talk to you about your uncle’s job.” Said the leading man.
Sophia nodded. “Yes? What about it?”
“He has many companies that involve trading and marketing. Well…now that he is gone…and trust us, we all thought quickly and found no one else but you.”
“What do I have to do with any of this?”
The man cleared his throat. “You, Anna Sophia…are the last family member alive that is eligible to take over his business.”

Sophia was shocked to hear these words. “So what you’re saying is…”
“You own over fifty companies in New Orleans and more across the states…that is…if you take on this role. If not we will be forced to split up your uncles work to other people that he ran against. Are you up for this?”
Sophia thought for a while then nodded. “Yes. I am ready to take control over my uncle’s work and anyone who objects to it is just going to have to deal with it!” The men looked pleased and all shook Sophia’s hand. Within minutes, Sophia became one of the riches people in the world!

Chapter Thirty-Two: I'm here to stay

It was a sunny Sunday morning; the temperature was just right and the breez felt great. Spot Conlon, father of one, stood on the side of the street where it was busiest and shouted out headlines. It didn't matter to Spot, as long as he was young he was going to sell Papes as much as he could. He had also made peace with Sophia's "death". An older fellow walked up to him and handed him a penny. In return Spot gave him a paper. They nodded to each other and the man was off. He had bought 200 papes and had 20 left to sell. He looked down to his left and saw his little girl just over a year sitting on a small pile of papes and holding more in her little arms. To Spot, a person was never too young to start selling papes. Mary was a good seller already; her cute looks and very young age pulled people in like kids in a candy shop. Any person buying a pape from her dropped their penny or nickle in a tin can next to her, patted her head and took their paper.

When he was done selling papes he picked up his daughter and carried her back to Brian's house. When they got there Mary was put in the arms of Brian's wife and began to play with her. Spot on the other hand took his tin can and went to the living room to count his money. He dumped the money and even took out the change in his pocket. When he finished counting he had made $2.35. Spot gathered up all the money and placed it in a glass jar above the fire place.
"What's all that money for?" Brian asked as he walked in the room.
Spot turned around and stuffed his hands in his pockets. "It's Mary's money. For school."
"Like college?" asked Brian again. Spot nodded. Brian only smiled. Spot had certainly grown up from his teenage years. He was a man of 19 now. Spot walked out of the room and headed for his bed room to find some peace and quite. It was near lunch time and he wanted some rest before hand. He shut the door quietly behind him and walked over to his dresser. When he opened it he saw Sophia's saphire necklace. He picked it up carefully and looked at it. The saphire dangled as the cain wrapped adourn his fingers. He couldn't believe that at one point in time he wanted to sell it. But now this was all he had besides his daughter and some of Sophia's clothes to remind him of her. his heart was still very much broken but he never did show it. At least in front of people that is. Spot put the necklace back and shut the drawer, retreating to his bed to gain some rest.

Sophia looked down at a silver pocket watch she had bought just the other day to check the time. It read one o'clock. She looked up to see if the train was arriving but there was no sight of it. She carried with her a small suitcase with two other dresses in it and some had had just came from visiting her mother and father and little brothers grave and now she was going back to New York. She wasn't sure what she would do there or who she would meet first; she just wanted to go back. Back to her friends, he lover and her daughter. She was 18 now and fully capable of handling things on her own now. She did, however, take over her uncles business and was loaded with cash. She didn't know how to spend it there was so much. Her uncle was so selfish, hoarding back all this money while her parents needed help to buy medicine for their illness. They were dead now and so was he so it didn't really matter anymore. She was going home and that's what really mattered.

A horn went off and Sophia looked to her right to see that the train was coming. When she got on she chose a seat in first class and got a seat all to herself. When the train started again she watched at people on the train and off the train waved to their loved ones. Sophia didn't have anyone to say goodbye to though becuase she was going to see them right now. The last time she was on a train it was with her uncle and he had yelled at her for having a child. She closed her eyes and fought back the harsh words he called her. when she opened them she saw an older man waiting to punch a hole in her train ticket. She gave the man her ticket and he quickly punched the hole and handed it back to her.
What was she going to do when she got to New York? Was she just going to show up at all of her friends door steps and say hey? No. That would give them a heart attack. There had to be a better way to do this. And there was. Sophia got a big grin on her face as she remembered the song she had wrote for spot at her. She hadn't finished it yet and now was the perfect time to do so. she got a small leather note book and a fancy pin from her hand bag and started to write. She thought of Medda and thought how wonderful it would be to sing a song on stage and surprise everyone that way.

A day had passed and Sophia arivved in Brooklyn that eveing. She walked quickly to Medda's. She had turned the place completely around and was amazed by how much it had changed. New York its self hadnt changed much she wondered how much everyone else had. Would she even reconize them? Would they even reconize her? That didn't matter now. She was here and walking these old dirty streets for the first time in a long time. As she walked down to the stage a voice called out to her.
"Excuse me, miss. We don't have any shows tonight. Tomorrow we do though. You be sure to come back then?"
Sophia turned around and smiled as she saw Medda. She still wore her goddy dresses and lots of make-up. "Hi, Medda." said Sophia.
Medda narrowed her eyes to look at Sophia and stepped closer; he face turned white and she found herself sitting in one of the chairs. "My God...Sophia?" she held a hand on her chest.
Sophia chuckled a little. "Don't worry, I'm no ghost. I'm for real." she told her.
Medda shook her head a little in debeliefe. "But how? They never found your body..."
Sophia hung her head a little and went to sit next to Medda. "My uncle took me back to New Orleans."
"What on earth? Why? Didn't you have a say?"
Sophia shook her head. "I had amnesia for almost a year."
Medda placed a hand on Sophia's and said, "I'm so glad you're back. Everyone will be so happy. It wasn't right not having you here."
Sophia felt tears in her eyes but she fought them back and huged Medda suddenly. "Here I am! I'm here to stay now. And no one will ever change that!"
Medda huged her back. "Good. You've grown into a strong woman Anna Sophia. But...tell me, how on earth did you manage escaping from your uncle and aford to come here? And all by your self?" Sophia nodded and told Medda all about it. Medda was in tears by the time she was done and huged Sophia again.
"I have a favor to ask of you though."
"Could I stay here for the night?"
"Of course! But...why? Why not go see Spot?"
Sophia smiled. "You see, that's where my next favor comes in. I want surpise everyone tomorrow night."
"And how do you plan on doing that?" Medda asked her.
"There is a song I wrote for Spot, but I never got to finish it while I was with him. I want to sing it tomorrow night, but I want it to be the closing song."
Medda smiled to this. "You are FULL of surprises, Miss Sophia. Yes. Of course! That seems like a splended idea!"

As Spot was walking home Medda walked up to him, almost scaring him.
"Whoa! Medda? What you'se doin' heah?"
"You," she said, pointing a finger at him, "are going to come to my show tomorrow night. No "ifs", "ands", Or "buts" about it. Understnad?"
"Uh...sure? What's da big idea anyways?"
Medda grinned. "No reason. I'd would jus' like to your face around a bit more is all."
Spot nodded. "Eh...alright. I'll be theh."
"Good!" Medda patted his shoulder and walked off with a big smile on her face. Spot thought how weird it was of her to show up right out of the blue and tell this. Oh well, he thought. He said he would go so he would. Besides he had nothing better to do.

The next night as Sophia messed with her dress as she heard the crowd of Medda's cheering for her. Her show was starting.

"Are you ready, darling?" she asked Sophia with a warm smile on her face.

Sophia looked up and gave her an awkward smile. "I think so..." She finally said.

Medda patted her on the shoulder and walked to the stairs, before walking up to the stage she turned around. "Sophia?" She looked up at Medda again from her hands, waiting for her to speak again.

"Are you sure this is the right thing to do?" Sophia nodded slowly. "It's been two years. Think of the impact it will have on him." she told her. Sophia knew in her heart that the moment she got back in New York she should have gone straight to Spot, but for some reason Sophia didn't. She just couldn't. Like she had to make some a grand entrance or something. As if showing up at his doorstep and scaring him shitless wasn't enough. As of right now, Spot thinks she's dead.

Medda gave her a nod and headed up on to the stage. The boy's went wild, whistling and cheering. It brought a smile to Sophia's face. She stood up from the chair and walked over to the curtains. She parted them a ways, trying to get a good look at the crowd. She spotted Jack with Sarah, David with his younger brother, Les. Boots, Racetrack and a few others. Then, from the corner of her eyes she saw Spot. His hair had grown out a little more and she could tell he had gotten taller because his knee's almost touched the bottom of the table he was sitting at in the back. He didn't look like he was having to much fun. Blink came over and tried to pull him up but failed in the process. Spot pushed him away slightly and rested his chin on his palm.

Sophia put the curtains back and went to sit back down, but before she got the chance, Medda was done with her song and dance...this was it! After the crowed settled down she heard her speak, "My friends, I have here tonight with me a very special friend. She is here to sing for all of us tonight. I'm sure you will find her to be quite a beauty." I pulled the red hooded cloak over her head, covering her eyes. As she stepped through the curtains and on to the stage her heart beated fast. What are you doing Sophia, she said to herself. She walked on to the stage more, the crowd was quite. Before she started to sing, Sophia looked up little but not all the way. She looked at Spot, he looked at her, though he didn't know it...and she started to sing.

"Come to me lover, I pray that you will, Just jump right in and I'll take you there. No more pain and no more sorrow; we will face uncertainty together. What lies must I tell to see you again; here is a kiss to strengthen your heart!..."
Spot slowly picked up his head and looked up at the stage and at the hooded person who sang. To him, she had the most beautiful voice. He continued to listen.
"Don't be afraid, we'll be together. What else matters? I don't care if I'm selfish, I don't care if they hate me. You and me, you and me. Together, forever." Spot stood up from his seat, he started walking towards the stage, pushing the people aside that stood in his way. Some of his fellow newsie friends watched this but did nothing to stop him. They were too surprised. As Spot finally made his way to the stage he looked up at the hooded person, his face held no emotion other than deep thought. He stood there and waited for the person to finishing singing. Come...Come. Come to me lover. Come...Come. Just take my hand and step right in and I'll take you there..."
The crowd cheered as she finished her song. Sophia's heart was pounding more now. She looked down at Spot for the longest time. He was so handsome, so grown up. She wanted to jump down, take off her hood and hug him and kiss all over. But there was no need to, Spot got up on the stage and looked down at her. He was taller now too. At least 6 feet. He placed a hand on her hood and held on to it for a moment before pulling it off her head. Spot wasn't sure who'd he find, but he remembered Sophia's song. It had been a year and he still remebered! Sophia took on final breath before Spot pulled her head off. Silence filled the whole place.

Spot held his breath for a moment; they both did. He looked down at her. How beautiful she looked. Her head head grown back was back to its normal waves and fancy curles. "Soph?" he finally said, after a moment of looking at her.
He cupped her face with her with his hands and kissed her. He then moved his arms so that he held her tight in his arms. Some people gasped while others blew whistles or cheered. Racetrack, David, Jack, even Les and all the other friendly newsies stood there in awe. They couldn't believe it. Sophia was alive!
Sophia put her arms around Spot's neck and deepened the kiss. It had been a long time since she felt like this. She absolutly yearned for this very moment to happened. It would play in her mind over and over again, wondering how it would turn out and now it was finally happening and she loved every second of it! "Where the hell ya been, Babe? Thou you'se was dead." Spot finally asked after the long kiss.
Sophia smiled. "Later." she told him and started to kiss him again.

The rest of the night was a celebration for Sophia and all her friends. Brian and his wife were shocked to see her alive and Sophia told Spot all that had happened and he wanted to go pour oil on the damn man's grave, but Sophia got him calm down. Sophia then realized that Brian's wife was pregnant.
"What...I thought that you couldn't...have children." She looked at her little round tummy.
She smiled. "I'm four months along. Isn't it great! I never thought it was possible either." It was true. Brian's wife was finally pregnant! She walked up to Sophia and placed Mary in her arms. Sophia was speechless. She looked at her little daughter and smiled.
"Hi," she said, "I'm your mama." Mary smiled up at her and buried her face in her chest, too embarrassed from all the attention. Everyone laughed.
When the night finally came to an end and things started to settle down, Sophia placed Mary in her crib and covered her up to stay nice and warm. Spot walked up and put his arms around her and kissed her cheek.
"Thought I really did lose ya." he said.
Sophia smiled and turned around, kissing him back. "But I'm here now. I'm here to stay." she carressed his hair a littel and then his cheek.
Spot took hold of her hand and kissed. The touch of his warm lips on her skin sent shivers down her spin. After all this time, he still found ways to surprise her and get her excited. Spot slipped off his suspenders and unbuttoned his shirt. Sophia spread her hands across his chest and kissed his neck. He moaned and led her to the bed where they finshed taking off the rest of their clothes and stood there naked. They laid down on the bed, Spot carefully placed his body on top of hers just like he had alwasy done and they started to kiss again. The feel of her naked body on his, the touch of her soft, pink skin underneath him. He never thought he'd be able to feel like this again.
"Hold on..." said Sophia.
"Uh...what?" Spot asked her.
"Since my uncle is dead...and I'm left with running his you know what that means?"
"Um. No?"
"You, Sir, and Mary and me are filthy rich bastards." she giggled and brought Spot closer to her.
"Oh?" He said. Sophia replied by kissing him. "Well now...How 'bout dat?"


A few months later Spot and Sophia finally got married. After that they decided to have another child. This time it was a boy and he looked so much like Spot but had his mothers eyes. Every summer they would got back to New Orleans together. Sophia built on to her uncles home and changed it a lot but still kept her old room the same. She also bought back her parents old home and sold it to Brian and his wife for summer house. Sophia ran her uncle's busieness very well and with the help of Spot, they raised enough money to build up all the lodging houses around the USA for the news boys. Racetrack was a devoted "uncle" to Sophia and Spot's children and often went with them for the summer tp New Orleans. So did David and Les. And Jack finally went to Sante fae with Sarah. After summers end they went back to a house they proudly bought in Brooklyn and lived out their days.

The end...


Text: This story is fan made from the movie "The Newises" All rights go to the creators.
Publication Date: 06-19-2012

All Rights Reserved

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