Chapter One: When We Meet
When I first saw her, I was polishing the front windows for my mother, to make sure the customers could see the words printed on the glass: ‘Marrigan’s Bakery: Fresh baked and homemade since 1836’.
She was running down the main street that ran on the other side of the river, laughing and jumping in the air. I polished the ‘Marrigan’s’.
She stopped at the top of the hill that lead to the bridge and looked back at our tiny town and the small mom and pop stores that sat upon cobblestone streets. She backed up, a grin crossing her
I polished ‘Bakery’.
She pulled her blond hair up into a ponytail.
I polished ‘fresh baked and homemade’ and let the rag drop from my hand onto the table as I climbed down from my perch.
She took a running leap and threw herself forward into a handspring, then a round off, then a cartwheel.
I grabbed the door of the bakery and flung it open.
“Hey!” I screamed, waving my cap in the air, “The railing of the bridge is out—!”
She turned to look at me as she landed on the bridge, mid-acrobatics, and lost her balance, crashing into the very railing I had just mentioned. Whatever was still holding it together snapped and
she tumbled a good six feet into the water below. I let the bakery door slam as I dashed down the path that lead from the bakery to the river.
“Hey! You alright?”
“Never better!” A voice called down from the water. I jumped down to the riverbank, feeling the sand sink between my bare feet. In front of me, I stared at the girl who had quite literally just
tumbled into my life. Her hair was free from the ponytail and plastered to her clothes; I then noticed she was wearing pants.
“You’re wearing pants,” I deadpanned, not knowing what else to say. She gave me a blank look and nodded.
“Yup…” She stopped treading water and pulled herself up the cement retaining wall between the water and sand. She sat inches away from me, resting on the retaining wall, soaking wet and looking
like a drowned rat. Her blue eyes sparkled as she laughed; little peals of bells running through the air.
“I’m Jubilee,” She says. “And thank you for your warning, even though it landed me in a river.”
“Jack Marrigan, and sorry about that,” I extend my hand and she shakes it firmly.
“Nice to meet you Jack,” Jubilee smiles and stands, ringing out the bottoms of her trousers and the sleeves of her shirt.
“Jubilee is an unusual name, Miss.”
“Why yes it is, my dear Jack Marrigan!” She wrings out her hair and ties it up on the top of her head. “My birth name is Julie Dumas, daughter of French immigrants turned acrobats who turned up
missing one morning in July.”
“Awful sorry to hear about your parents, Miss.”
“No worries, my dear Mr. Jack! It is 1933 and the Depression is full throttle, but Prohibition has just ended. Crazy times for a crazy young girl, I must say.”
“Miss…” I start to say.
“Now cut it with the Miss business, my dear Jack Marrigan. Call me Jubilee kindly, yes?”
“Sure, Jubilee,” I say, still slightly awestruck. She was a strange creature, this Jubilee. I pause a moment, taking her in. She looks older, maybe 15, maybe 17. Yet she looked 12 when I first saw
her plunge into the river. I hold my tongue asking her age; mother says it is rude.
“Jubilee, would you like a towel?”
So here we are, lying on the banks of The Good River Mousehill. My wet clothing is strung out on a line behind Jack’s house. My satchel of things that previously was stored in a bush in town sits
in Jack and his mother’s apartment, above the bakery. The sun has set above the town and left fiery tracks in the stars. Cue conversation.
“My dearest Jack, how old are you?” I tilt my head to the side and glance at him. He shrugs and lets a chuckle escape his lips.
“Ten,” He says, flipping from his stomach onto his back.
“You seem older,” I say, flipping on my back as well. I prop myself up on my elbows and adjust the dry dress I changed into.
“How old are you?” He asks me. I smile softly and look up at the stars before answering.
“Seventeen,” I answer slowly, closing my eyes. “Seventeen.”
“Oh,” Jack stares straight out into space. I wait for him to say more until I hear a small snore come from his mouth. I smile and kiss him softly on the cheek.
“Good night, my dear Jack.”
Cut scene. Because when he wakes up, I will be gone.
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