As We Are // 3

May 17, 2017


I'm always stumped about what photos to put in these "chapter posts" so my thumbnail isn't blank . . . so I'm just going to throw these random, useless cat photos at you. ;D

P.s. anyone need some good dramatic writing music?  Just discovered this new band called Sleeping At Last and this soundtrack of theirs is divine.

P.p.s. I know my writing is super boring, but personally, this is as yet my favorite chapter of As We Are.  Read it even if it's the only chapter you read. xD 

P.p.p.s. Just took my hair out of french braids and WOW . . . someone save me from all these waves xD

--


CHAPTER III
Wherein Philippe Tries For Her Farmers


PHILIPPE LEANED IN for a closer look; the heavily-applied rouge lent an unnatural flush to her normally pale cheeks.  She brushed a final flyaway strand of her burnished red hair behind her ear, snatched a satin covered bonnet off the coat rack beside her bed, gave it a poke to enhance its sentimental angle, and shot the sliest and dazzling smile she could muster at herself in the shard of broken mirror.  The image reflected back to her was one that radiated power and a dreamlike beauty; one that spoke of the bearer’s independent and stubborn nature, and would have made any onlooker quell at the intense gaze of her bright green eyes.  
“Are you almost ready, Philippe?” called Beth around the doorway of Philippe’s makeshift bedroom in the new cottage.  “I’ve been waiting out here for at least two full minutes.”
“I just finished,” replied Philippe with ease, turning to face her sister.  “How do I look?”  
Beth glanced at Philippe briefly.
“Lovely, dear.  But we really should go; the print shop closes early on Fridays.”  With a half-hearted sigh, Philippe’s face lost its charm and cheery expression.  She tightened her boot laces, then started out the front door after Beth.  All around, from every quarter, the arable fields crept up, windswept, but flushed with a dark summer green.  The ripened wheat rippled to the border of the road and the little hamlet seemed like an island in a sea of dark gold.  As Philippe and Beth made their way down the lane toward the outskirts of New York City, they feasted their eyes on the sight of purple and blue chicory under the hedges, and tiny violets out beside the shaded brooks.  Vibrant summer wildflowers growing beside the lane filled the air with their scent and Philippe and Beth drank it all in feeling as if they were in some odd dreamland.  They had so rarely seen the real beauty in nature the past few years, and so the verdant green of the landscape was a wonderful sight to their eyes.  
Upon reaching the main road, the houses began to multiply.  The strong smell of smoke assaulted their nostrils much before the sight of the city did.  To their right and left, colorful rows of stores and mercantiles swarmed up most of their shopkeepers out sweeping the sidewalk in front of their door and carrying wooden crates to and fro.  Philippe and Beth walked side by side their arms linked and their faces set with determination.  Beth’s dainty reticule dangled from her fingertips, and inside could be heard the muffled clinking of a few coins for which all of the girls had scrimped and saved for—looking out and packing in.  Philippe’s reticule was tucked deep inside a pocket of her grey trenchcoat along with a slip of paper reading:


2 Capable

MEN WANTED

to Repair Shabby Cottage

Formerly Owned By Widow E. Goodhill

in Milton Hamlet!

Good Pay, Food Provided, Bring Your Own Tools

If interested, inquire in Milton Hamlet.



---  


The two girls continued to ease their way through the throngs of people blocking the sidewalk.  The noise of the city was deafening; angry shouts from men, wailing children, metal striking metal, the whinnying of horses, and the never-ceasing impatient calls of “excuse me” and “pardon” and “coming through” from all directions.
Philippe studied the faces surrounding her.  There were all sorts of people in New York City—beggars, orphans, vagabonds, traders, merchants, thieves, criminals, and ordinary people like herself.  She liked to imagine that some dashing pirate was studying her face, his reticent eyes seeking her’s in the crowd.  Banishing such further silly thoughts she turned to Beth, annoyance written clearly on her face.  
“We’re going to have to take a back alley to the print shop or we’ll never get there.  C’mon.” Beth nodded and directed her footsteps after Philippe.  Like a lioness, Philippe pushed fiercely through the ever-growing crowd, her eyes searching for a safe exit.  When at last they spotted the entrance to an alleyway on their left they made a wild dash for its refuge and stood inside its opening, panting.  Philippe thought longingly of Frederic who, she knew, with one brisk and loud shout of, “Make way!  Coming through!” would have cleared the sidewalk for himself, Philippe, and Beth in no time whereupon they would have sauntered through the thin opening and arrived at the print shop in half the time.  
When the girls eventually regained their breath, they started down the passage.  A light at the other end reminded them that as dark and endless as the alley seemed, that there was an end.  
When the outline of a tall figure appeared did they realize that they were not alone in the passage.  As they drew closer to the person, they saw it was a man with a perfectly clipped mustache obscuring his upper lip, dark hair, and glinting eyes.  He towered over them.
“Good afternoon, ladies.”  His voice was soft and low and was thick with sarcasm, and he shot them a grin of missing and rotting teeth.  It was then that the stench of the moldy alleyway struck Philippe and Beth with full-force.  It reeked of mold, vermin, and sulfur and the smells mixed together to create overwhelming miasma.  Philippe’s senses reeled; she was overcome with a mad desire to turn around and run, but when she remembered the crowd that awaited her there, she turned to the man before her with unmistakable elegance.  
“And you.  Please excuse us.”  She lowered her eyes and turned her back to the wall so as to squeeze by the man partly blocking the narrow passage, then made her way down the remainder of alleyway.  As Philippe and Beth exited into the bright daylight, a low chuckle reverberated in the tunnel and made the hairs on the back of Philippe’s neck stand straight up.
“Close call,” said Philippe to Beth, raising her eyebrows up and down with a fluid motion.  It seemed as if dangers lurked everywhere in this city.
The crowd on this side of the block was much smaller.  The two girls walked quickly down the sidewalk feeling as if they were in a jungle, for all around them loomed up tall buildings, brightly painted signs above doors, pots of flowers, and carts and wagons filled with all sorts of things.  People were everywhere.  There were pretty peasant girls herding geese, young children scampering through the streets, and block upon block of stores.  Philippe half-surprised herself at knowing exactly how to get to the print shop in this outrageous city.
“Fresh pickles on a stick!” hollered a plump, grey-haired woman, her wooden cart richly laden with emerald green pickles.  Philippe’s mouth watered, however, she passed by the woman with but one wistful glance.  
“Get your pots here!  Copper pots, pans, and silverware!  Get your goods h—!” called an old man in a gravely voice speaking through a greying beard that reached to his waist.  His spiel was interrupted as he suddenly bent double, his form racked by a fit of violent coughing.  Beth looked pitifully at the pathetic sight, but Philippe bustled onward.
“Come along, Beth.  I don’t want you catching something from him.” Beth turned to give one last sorrowful look the old man’s way, and then quickened her pace to catch up with Philippe.  
“The poor old soul.  Philippe, don’t you think we ought to give him something?  A few coins for medicine?  I have some right here in my reticule.”
“How you do run on.  I haven’t time or money to waste on coughing peddlers.”  Then, seeing the hurt look in Beth’s wide brown eyes, Philippe slowed. “Oh, if you must.  Here, give this penny to the man, but be quick about it.”  
Beth hurried back to the old man, her outstretched hand holding the penny Philippe had given her.  By now, the man’s coughing fit had ended and he was polishing his copper pots with a tattered sleeve.  Philippe only caught a few words of the words that passed between Beth and the man—such as: “God bless,” and “What a dear,” and “Of course.”
The moment her sister returned, Philippe set off again at a quicker pace than before.  She watched a young girl before them herding a small flock of white geese, a thin, knobbly stick in her hand held arm’s length, endeavoring to steer the geese away from the road where carriages and carts passed at a rapid speed.  
Soon after, Philippe spied the print shop ahead and she sighed with relief.   The wooden sign was painted with red and dulled navy blue stripes and stars, presumably copied after the American flag, and hung out on a rafter above the shop’s door.  In bold hand-lettered words, the sign clearly read: Whittaker’s Print Shop.  Lush ivy crept up the brick walls of the shop, intermingling with a pot of red geraniums outside of a second-story bay window.  Philippe had always liked the print shop as its appearance was not as demanding as the rest of the shops into the city.  
In the bay window formerly described sat a man, his nose buried in a book.  A broken pane of glass let enough light into his small, dim apartment so as to not cause him too much discomfort when reading.  He sat comfortably in its warm glow, his book balanced on his knees which were pulled up to his chest in much the way a young boy might recline.  The sounds of the city below his window seldom disturbed him, for he had learned to block them out as easily as he learned to block out the putrid smells of the city.  There was a faraway look in his dark eyes as he glanced up from his book and gazed off into the distance dreamily.   
“I’ll be as quick as I can.  You run to the butcher’s shop and the mercantile and see if you can’t get us some chicken, flour, and salt.  I’m afraid we’ve all but run out.”  Philippe’s sharp voice shattered his peaceful reverie, and, peeping underneath a stalk of thick ivy to the sidewalk below, he saw two heads bent in conversation—one bronze and one golden.  He was sure it was the red-headed girl who had spoken.  Entirely forgetting his book, which slid to the floor with a thud, the man craned his neck for a better view of the two girls.  They looked young.  The golden-headed girl turned from the red-headed one and dashed down the street in the direction of the butcher’s shop while the red-headed one slipped inside the print shop on the floor below him.  Curiosity got the better of him as he made his way across the room to his door, opened it soundlessly, and walked a short way down the hallway to the top of the stairs.  From his advantageous perch, he could hear the conversation below.  It took a moment for him to sort out the different voices of the customers, and then he heard her voice again.
“Excuse me!  Sir—over here!” Her call must have caught the attention of one of the print shop’s employees, and the man listened carefully to their conversation, intent on not missing a single word.  
“What can I do for you today, Ma’am?”  
“If you please, I have an advertisement to place in the newspaper.”
“Ah, yes.  Give it here.” The sound of rustling fabric as the girl presumably pulled something from her pocket.  
“Hmm . . . pretty small advertisement.  Costs about three cents to put it in the paper.  I’ll see what I can do, Ma’am.  If Mr. Whittaker accepts it, you can expect to see it in tomorrow’s newspaper.”
“Oh, thank you very much, sir!”  Now the sound of clinking coins. “And, if you don’t mind, I would greatly appreciate it if it were to go on one of the first pages.”  The girl sounded uncommonly delighted.  Quietly, the man slipped back to his apartment at the end of the hall to watch the girl depart from the shop.  Once she had gone, trenchcoat tails flying, the man sat at his window-seat, a meditative look on his face.  


“Why, good morning, Mr. Clemens!  What can I help you with today?” Mr. Clemens, for that was the man’s name who had so furtively observed Philippe the previous day, stepped to the counter of the print shop.  
“I need zee newspaper.”  His voice was confident with a touch of a German accent as he stuttered out the words.  
“Of course!  Of course!”  The man behind the counter wiped his ink smudged hands on his canvas apron and reached under the counter to retrieve the newspaper.  “Here you are, kind sir.  Ten cents please.”

Mr. Clemens shoved his hand deep into his pocket and pulled out a linty dime, handing it over to the man in exchange for the newspaper.  Without answering, he took the newspaper and anxiously scanned the first, second, and third pages.  With relief, he saw that the girl’s advertisement had been faithfully placed in the corner of the third page.  Beaming, he read it, feeling somewhat responsible for the success of its printing.  He looked up quickly, his eyes twinkling, and said, “A job!”

13 comments

  1. Ooh, I'm really curious to see how the story continues! Thanks for sharing it with us! :) Are you writing 'As We Are' as you post it, or you've already written a draft?

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    1. Aww thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. ;D
      I have ten chapters written so far, and am still writing! :)
      Thanks for the comment! <3

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  2. I really enjoyed this chapter!!

    Hailey
    www.haileyhudson.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks, Hailey! I'm so glad. <3

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  3. Whoa! So wonderful!*evil laugh* It's so funny because I know the plot line of what happens next, but I just haven't read it!
    I only noticed two places where the rhythm was bumpy -- 'When the outline of a tall figure appeared did they realize that they were not alone in the passage' and another place which I can't remember.....hehe!
    Otherwise, brilliant job! I LOVED this!!

    Amelia xxx
    <3

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    1. Thank you so much, Amelia!! I know right xD
      K awesome!! Thank you!! That's very helpful. :D
      <3 <3 Thanks!

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  4. CUTE CAT. and I love the hair.

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    1. I KNOW RIGHT. Aww thanks! <3

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  5. Your writing is so gorgeous in this chapter <3 ahhhh, I adore your hair! I've always wanted mine to be like that :/

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. AWW Thank you!!! That's really sweet of you. Haha I've always wanted mine to be like that too! Guess I'll just have to keep french braiding it. . . ;)

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  6. NEEEEEED MOOOOOREEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
    First off, my darling Sophie, I must apologize for not commenting in aaaages!! I could not for a time and now I am busier than before so my inbox gets more and more posts from the may bloggers I follow and I get overwhelmed with the amount of comments I will need to write- we all know how I love to comment, and how long my comments are :P
    But I promise I read your posts and immediately think of comments I never get around to writing!!
    But I HAD to comment on this one BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME AND MAGNIFICENT AND I NEED SOME MORE ASAP!!!?!??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?!!!!!!?!!!!!!!!!!¡!!!!!!!!!!!!¡!!!!!!!!!

    I love the girls. Their loving sisterly ways and yet they aren't perfect, which really makes them all the more likeable. And I am SUPER curious to see what happens with Clenem!!!!!!
    As always, your writing style is impecable and fascinating and I NEEEED MOOOOORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    OH DO POST MORE SOON, SOPHIA DEAR, AND PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY!!!!!!!!

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    1. I NEEEED MORE OF YOUR COMMENTS!!!! LOLOL ;D
      My darling Esther, please do not worry about it!! I was hoping you weren't mad at me or something . . . I was seriously getting worried. ;) I totally know how you feel! Sometimes I can't even look at my feed for fear of getting so overwhelmed—especially when I haven't been active for a bit. xD So I understand, please don't stress!
      Aww thank you!! That really means so much to know that. <3 <3 <3 You are a sweetie.
      LOL SO glad you liked it so much!!! <3 I'll definitely post more. You encouragement is like SO HELPFUL.

      Thanks! Personally, I really do like the way they connect too. I'm super happy you like them too. Hahaha yes Teddy is WAY fun to work with. :D
      Thank you!!!
      xxx

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