Thieves

Victorian London. The air was barley breathable and thick with smog. Life was hard for everyone but especially young Myrtle; she and her brother live in a run down orphanage where she is hated by the majority of its inhabitance, she has struggled her way through her life orphan but it was about to get harder. Thieves. Rich. Poor. Hate. Love. Death. Her life had been turned upside down by one man...

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6. A Real Home

Patrick opened his house door, "Tada!" He said sarcastically, "It's not much I know but it's home." Ralph ran inside, beaming quickly followed by Myrtle. "I see you like it," Patrick laughed.
"What's not to like? A proper house!" Myrtle giggled. 

After a quick tour of the house they gathered round the fire and Patrick read the letter to Myrtle. They talked for hours about plans and acted out some different situations. 

Ginny sat on her bed muttering angrily to herself, cursing under her breath when Hugo walked in. "What?" She snapped. 
Hugo stood shaking, "Just seeing if you were doing okay, it was quite a shock about Rachel and then Patrick running off with-" 
"Don't you say her name! Leave." Hugo gulped and ran out the room, almost in tears. Ginny was showing her true colours now to everyone but Jim. 

Jim patrolled the streets, thinking of nothing but Ginny. He had talked to the constable who had said to leave it, to put it as a suicide but Jim didn't want finish the case yet, he wanted to see Ginny again. He was also told the orphanage would be closed so they would also be transferred to the workhouses and he didn't want Ginny to be moved, she wouldn't last a day with the labour. Ginny wouldn't have to go to the workhouses for long though, she was to turn sixteen in two months. Those two months would be the death of her.

Still ecstatic, Myrtle sat on her bed, her own bed in her own room, looking out on the streets of London. She had the spare room, next to Patrick's. Ralph shared with him and had agreed to sleep on the floor. Ralph had always put others first, especially his sister.

A new life was dawning, no restrictions, no rules, a job and a proper home. The orphanage was not a home, it was a house not a home; a home was loving and warm not cold, damp and strict like the orphanage was. 

Ralph was asleep but Patrick was still awake. He had a fixed grin on his face, he couldn't believe Myrtle had said yes. He wondered if she was still awake, he wanted to thank her again. He quietly got out of bed, carefully avoiding the creaky floorboards and Ralph, he tip toed onto the landing. Peeping through the crack in the door, Patrick spotted Myrtle, awake. He knocked softly and let himself in. Myrtle turned and smiled at the sight of him, "Sit next to me," she beckoned, patting the bed. He sat next to her and took her hands, "Thank you. Bless you. This means so much to me, I want you to know that," he whispered. 
Blushing, Myrtle took her hands away from his and replied, "It is I who should be thankful, you have given me a home, me and Ralph would be in the workhouse if it wasn't for you." They sat in silence, staring into each others eyes. Conscious that she could his heart beating furiously, Patrick said, "I will leave you to sleep, hope you have a good night." He got up, kissed her cheek and left the room. Patrick slowly opened his door and was shocked to see Ralph sitting upright, "Can't you tell?" Ralph laughed.
"Tell what?" Patrick questioned.
Ralph began to giggle, "She likes you! It's so obvious!" Patrick looked at his feet. "And you like her, don't you?" Patrick sat by Ralph and said quickly, "Don't tell her, I can't have any distractions for the job." Ralph laughed and nodded, "Night." 

They were asleep in a matter of minutes. 

Morning dawned, it was Friday. Patrick was already downstairs, thinking about breakfast; he never usually ate breakfast but now he needed to supply some for the others. He got some paper and wrote a note: 

Just popped out to get us some breakfast, will be stolen probably, hope you don't mind.

Patrick 

He sneaked out the house and into the streets where people were setting up stalls. Some stalls had produce out already and as Patrick wondered past he pinched some. Men and women alike were setting up, foreign and locals. By the time he had walked past them all his pockets were full of fruit cakes, pastries and fresh rolls. When he returned to the house Myrtle was setting the table, still in her white night dress and Ralph was sweeping the floor, also in his night clothes. At the sight of Patrick, Myrtle blushed and indicated to a seat for him. 

They sat round the table, handing out the items when Patrick said, "I don't think I've ever had such a civilised meal in my life!" They chuckled, "And also," he turned to Myrtle, "We've got a meeting today a six with our client." Myrtle nodded, her cheeks still rosy. Ralph smiled at Patrick who began to laugh, "Shut up!" Confused Myrtle turned to Ralph, eyebrows raised. "It's an inside thing," Ralph chuckled. 

The three stuffed their faces with the delicious fresh food. Once they had finished and Ralph and Myrtle were heading upstairs to get dressed, Myrtle blurted out, halfway up the stairs, "I almost forgot! Whilst you were out we got a letter to tell us about..." She choked and looked at her grubby bare feet, "Rachel's funeral, it's this afternoon at two." Patrick nodded. 

Jim was a the orphanage early that morning to assist Ginny with breakfast. Some police men had arrived to remove the body and bury it. Jim kissed Ginny good morning and they busied themselves preparing the food. 

The children began to file into the room, solemnly. The arrangements were as yesterday, Winnie with Morgan and Hugo and Emma with Ginny. Jim also sat with Ginny, he whispered in her ear, "Ginny, the orphanage will close down this evening and you will all go to the workhouses. I know this is weird... I know we just met but," he sighed, this had not gone as he rehearsed, "Will you move in with me?" Ginny was flabbergasted, she thought he was just another guy who flirted with her because of her looks but he was serious, he really liked him. "Yes!" She cried out, acting her way through. He kissed her passionately. Hugo slumped in his chair and stared angrily at Jim, they had just met, he had known Ginny for years! He stormed out the room and upstairs. Ginny took Jim by the hand and led him to her room so he could help her pack. 

"So many happy couples," Emma wined. 

Everyone began to get ready for the funeral. Myrtle had a black dress but it wasn't the nicest looking dress, it was ripped and gothic but Ralph had no black clothes so Patrick lent him a waistcoat which he wore with a white shirt and dark breeches.

They walked to the grave yard where everyone was gathered. Patrick glared at Ginny who was arm in arm with Jim, Emma and Hugo nearby. Morgan cradled Winnie in his arms, she was in tears. Oscar stood by the grave, showing no emotion. The three edged closer when the priest offered his condolences then began the service. 

After the service everyone queued up to pay their respects to Rachel. The gravestone read: 

Rachel Sally Jones 

1866-1885

Owner of the orphanage, friend, lover and makeshift mother

The girls laid flowers on the grave of pink, white and blue, crying. Even though Ginny hadn't got on with Rachel the last days of her life weeped. 

When the others had departed, Oscar kelt by the grave and wailed, "Rachel, love, why did you do it? People loved you. I loved you." He got up and walked away, wiping the tears from his eyes. 

At the orphanage, that evening, the children were being escorted into cabs which were heading to the workhouse, carrying the little they owned. No one knew quite what to do or how to feel, should they cry? Should they be happy? The doors of the cab were shut and Ginny waved to them as they trundled off. Jim embraced Ginny and led her to his home.

Everything was quite hectic in Patrick's house, Patrick and Myrtle needed to bathe and change, eat and prepare what they were to say. Failing to make scrambled eggs, Ralph stood in the kitchen, stirring away. Patrick burst through the door, carrying buckets of water  and Myrtle was poking at the fire. "Time!" Myrtle shouted. 
"Half four," answered Patrick as he poured the water in the tin bath. Ralph dolloped the egg onto some plates and called the others over. They sat at the table crunching through the scrambled egg, discovering egg shell in every mouthful. "What ya wearing for later?" Asked Patrick, his mouth full. 
Myrtle shrugged and glanced over to the bath, "Can I bathe first? If you don't mind," she asked, her eyebrows raised. Patrick smiled and nodded. 

There was no changing screen or room she could go into so she would have to bathe in front of them! Blushing, she slipped the sleeves of her dress off her shoulders and paused. She felt like a whore, undressing in front of men! Scrunching her eyes, Myrtle dropped her dress and was left in her under-dress and stockings. Next she removed her black woollen stockings and then, with great difficulty, her under-dress. She stood naked. Patrick turned away, blushing, and began to wash up. 

The water was warm. Myrtle submerged herself and then scrubbed at herself. Swearing under her breath, she called Patrick, "Patrick, I didn't get a towel or a sheet," Patrick rummaged around and produced a small white sheet. Myrtle beckoned him to her and asked him to hold up the sheet for her. Awkwardly, he did as she said. 

The sheet was tiny! It barely covered her. She ran upstairs, feeling humiliated. Patrick's eyes widened, he swore and got ready to bathe himself. 

Myrtle and Patrick stood in their best clothes: Myrtle wore a cropped dark green dress, hemmed with yellow and her leather boots. Patrick wore a white shirt and breeches with a stolen scarlet waistcoat. Ralph kissed goodbye to his sister and wished them good luck. Patrick held out his arm and Myrtle smiled at him and took it graciously. They walked to The Fox and Anchor pub, hoping for the best. 

As rowdy as normal, the two entered the pub, arm in arm. It was rare that a woman entered the pub so all the men smiled hungrily at her as they walked to the bar, some grabbed at her and pulled at her skirts. Patrick glared at them.  

Harry greeted Patrick loudly and took Myrtle's hand and kissed it, "What a lovely lady, she yours?" The barman had the same greedy look at his eyes as the rest of the men. Patrick said defensively, " No!" They both blushed.
"Of course you've got what's-her-name... Ginny. A damn pretty thing you've managed to grab tonight though-" 
"I'm not an object!" Screamed Myrtle at the barman, making him jump. Harry stepped back and turned away. "Wait. We're here on business." Pleaded Patrick. Angrily, Harry pointed at the same door as before. 

It was lit today. Candles lined the walls but their client was hooded so his face was difficult to see. His cackles reverberated round the room at the sight of them. "Good day Master Henrys and who do we 'ave here?" Myrtle curtsied and brushed the hair out of her face. They had agreed she wouldn't talk, Patrick was the expert after all. Patrick replied, "This is Myrtle." Myrtle looked up at him, smiling. Their client lowered his hood to reveal a surprisingly handsome man with a fine head of black hair, bright green eyes and scars. Patrick found Myrtle's hand and gripped it tightly. The Shadow spotted this and rolled his eyes, "Lovers, idiot," he muttered. 
Myrtle said calmly, "No sir. We aren't lovers, I have no lover, I'm not his whore, I'm just a simple orphan." Patrick scrunched his eyes, she had gone against the plan. The Night Crawler grinned maliciously and licked his lips, hungry for women as any other man. "Fine. Do you want a lover?" Their client looked at her, examining every curve of her body. Myrtle looked at the floor and then at Patrick. "Have I hit a soft spot? Sorry. I know how to help you. Master Henrys, leave us." Patrick hesitated but went out. 

"Dear girl, sit." The Shadow tapped his knee, "Don't be scared," his grin was intimidating so she did as she was told. He leaned in to her, Myrtle could smell his awful breath and was attempting not to gag. He looked into her eyes with a piercing stare and spoke,"Girl, you must learn to be more provocative, your looks won't be the only thing that carries ya." He kissed her eye lids and then her mouth violently, Myrtle resisted but he was stronger than her. 
Patrick paced outside the room, terrified of what he was doing to her, it wouldn't be just friendly advice. Eventually, loosing patience, Patrick stormed into the room and tore Myrtle away from their employer. Tears rolled down Myrtles face, Patrick cradled her and bellowed threateningly, "The job. Give us the information we need!" 
The Night Crawler locked her blood off his teeth and grimaced, "Go to Westminster, befriend the Duchess, be her favourite maid and seduce the Duke. Steal their treasures, be rewarded, steal the Dukes love from the Duchess," he cackled and opened the door for them, "Goodnight Master Henrys and goodnight my pretty little Myrtle." Patrick led Myrtle out and they ran out the pub without a drink. 

They stood outside the pub, embracing, "Shh... Shh, it's alright, it's alright now," Patrick assured Myrtle, he stroked her soft hair. Once her tears stopped she let go of him and kissed his cheek then his mouth. Patrick was alarmed but satisfied so held her tightly and kissed her back. 

Jim and Ginny were ready for bed, all that was left was to bid one another good night. It was strange for Ginny, not running into Emma's room to gossip, not having a threatening shout telling her to sleep; it was strange indeed. Jim saw her concern and whispered, "My love, my my love, good night," he kissed her forehead and went to his room and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Ginny stood in the hall for a few minutes, thinking of what the workhouse was like, then she went to bed, wiping her forehead.

Ralph was attempting to wait for Patrick and Myrtle to return but it was getting late and he was tired so he slowly walked up the stairs to his and Patrick's room and laid on the floor. He tucked his legs up to his chest but was still freezing, he missed the warmth of Myrtle in the bed but he knew this was for the best. 

Midnight was approaching. The two strolled hand in hand back to their home, completely forgetting the crude behaviour from the pub. They giggled as they attempted to avoid the piles of horse dung and rats. Their flirtatious laughter echoed around the streets for there were few people on the streets; cabbies, drunks and thieves were the only ones who were not indoors huddling around a fire or asleep. No thief would dare come near Patrick, he was to respected in their community, the new founded lovers were safe. 

They snuck into the house, kissed goodnight and went to bed. 

Ralph knew nothing of the relationship, he still thought it was a secret between him and Patrick so it was quite a surprise when he found the two in Myrtle's room exchanging morning kisses. The two giggled like children. Coughing, Ralph got their attention, "So what you call this? Could it be... love?" 
The two blushed and Myrtle, laughed, "Yes!" 
They all smiled, "I've got breakfast ready by the way," Ralph changed the subject. As they all walked down stairs, Ralph rolled his eyes, he had been right, they did love each other. 

Breakfast consisted of the leftover cakes and bread from the day before, a little stale but anything was better than the orphanage porridge. 

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