By the time Elizabeth came home, it was the next day. She, Jean, Jordan, and a family friend of Jordan's, Eric, danced the whole night away. Jean and Elizabeth arrived back at Jean's house in the early hours of the morning. Elizabeth decided to stay in the guest room.
Elizabeth walked into the tenant building that she lived in. The building could do with some renovations. Standing in the foyer/lobby was Mrs. Whiteman, owner of the tenant building. Mrs. Eleanor Whiteman was in her fifties. Her once blonde hair was now grey, always up in a bun. She was the nicest, sweetest person Elizabeth has ever met.
"There you are, Elizabeth," said Mrs. Whiteman. "A Charles Dawson was looking for you last night."
"Mr. Dawson?" Elizabeth said in a surprise voice. "What did he want?"
Elizabeth has known Charles Dawson every since she was a little girl. He was a good friend of her father's. He had tremendously helped her through her time of need. When her parents died, he took her in, giving her a second chance at life. He had always been like that, thinking of others, helping them out. When his business had collapsed a few years back, he changed. Then it was her turn to help him out, which she did. He told her that he had found a new steady job and then left, contacting her every once in awhile. But then the letters from him stopped, and for three months, she had not heard a single word from him. She was very surprised at Mrs. Whiteman's said.
Mrs. Whiteman shrugged. "Don't know, but he says he'll be back later."
"Oh, okay," said Elizabeth, wondering what he wanted. "Thank you."
Elizabeth continued her way to her room. She went up the stairs to the second floor. When she reached her room, she noticed an envelope on the wooden floor, sticking halfway out at the bottom of the door. She picked it up, wondering who it was from. There was no address or name on it.
She opened it and instantly recognized the sloppy cursive handwriting. It was Charles Dawson's.
It's been awhile, hasn't it? I'm going to skip the chit-chat and get straight to the point. Know this—I love you very much like you were my own daughter. I would never mean to hurt you intentionally. But please, please forgive me for what I'm about to tell you.
She frowned, not liking where this letter of confession was heading.
I've recently been in…some financial trouble. And I bet you are wondering what that has to do with you.
Everything. I've wrote a few…bad checks…under your name.
Her eyes widened. She didn't understand what he was saying. Sure she knew what he meant, but why her name. Why? Why? Why?
Please forgive me. The police were looking for me one time when a check bounced. So, I wrote your name instead. I don't know why I did it. God, I really screwed up. Now, I think they think we are accomplices…
Please forgive me. I don't know what time you'll be home and find this letter, but I'll be over later. I've got us two tickets out of the country. I'll understand whatever decision you make.
Elizabeth stood in shock, a million different thoughts ran through her head. How could he ever done that? Why did he write bad checks in the first place? Why did he have to use her name?
She quickly folded the paper and looked around her. She was alone in the empty hallway. She quickly unlocked her door and went in.
She put the letter down on her small table in the kitchen. She took of her coat and hung it on the chair. Slowly, she made her way to a cabinet. She really needed a drink. She pulled out a glass and the bottle of gin that was next to it.
She made her way back to the table and slumped down in the chair. She poured the gin halfway in the glass. Her throat was warmed by the alcohol as she swallowed it.
What was she going to do? All because of what Dawson did, the coppers were after her too. She was angry beyond words at him, but yet she could understand why he did it. It's not like he was the only one, besides the crooks, who usually wrote bad checks or stole. Lately, a lot of people have been doing it. They've noticed how quickly the stock market has been declining.
Those people did it for their families, friends, or own selfish need. But god damn it, Charles Dawson was not a selfish man. She knew that better then anyone.
Maybe she could go to the police and tell them it was all one big misunderstanding. "Oh, gee, officer," she would say. "He only put my name on the checks out of desperation. He doesn't mean any harm by stealing money."
Elizabeth laughed bitterly. Yeah, like they would believe her. "Horse feathers," is what they would say. They would lock her up as if she were some goon.
But what was she going to do? Should she go on the run with her friend or go to jail for a reason she wasn't even part of? Decisions, decisions, decisions. Her glass was empty and she still didn't know what to do. All she knew was that she was between a rock and a hard place.
About an hour later, the gin bottle was empty and still Elizabeth didn't know what to do. She didn't know when she got up from the chair and packed a suit case.
Much later that night, the sound of knocking brought her out of her thinking. She slowly got up from the couch and made her way to the door. She was nervous as hell. What it the cops?
"Who is it?" she asked.
"Only me." Elizabeth let out a breath, it was Dawson. She opened the door and quickly ushered him inside.
There stood Charles Dawson, holding a suitcase. He was a man in his early forties. His brown hair was cut short and filled with gray hair. The business suit that he wore hung sluggishly off his body. Wrinkles that weren't on his face before, where there now. His dark brown eyes looked at her with concern and guilt. Dark black circles were under his eyes. It looked like he hasn't had enough sleep or food lately.
"Took you long enough."
Both Dawson and Elizabeth said at the same time. Both then let out an uneasy laugh.
"I see what you have been doing in the last three months," said Elizabeth.
He visibly flinched. "I'm so sorry," Dawson said again. "I swear to you that I didn't mean to put your name. You name just popped up in my head and my hands automatically wrote it down."
"You swear that I'm the only one you used," she said.
Dawson flinched again. "I swear."
She quickly gave him a hug, to which he hardly responded to. She pulled back and just stared at him. He just stared back. "Are you okay?"
"Are you coming with me?" he asked, ignoring her question. "A lot of cops are roaming the streets tonight. If we are going to make it out, we gotta go now."
Elizabeth quickly nodded and hurried over to pick up the suitcase that stood by the couch. "Where are we going?" she asked, nervous and a little excited at the same time. "Mexico?"
Dawson gave her a small smile. "No. The docks."
He gently took her by the elbow, leading her out of her room. "Why the docks?"
"Shh," Dawson hushed while looking around nervously as he moved. "I'll tell you later."
They quickly and silently made their way down the hallway, to the stairs, and down them. Dawson looked left and right at the bottom of the stairs, surveying the area.
"Shit," he whispered.
Elizabeth looked to where Dawson was looking. In the lobby, a police officer in a blue uniform was talking to Mrs. Whiteman. Thankfully, the officer's back was to them.
"Follow me," whispered Dawson.
He silently left the stairs and was heading towards the back door. As they reached the door, a voice called out to them.
They quickly rushed out the door and into the back alley. They ran down the alley and turned right, out of the alley and onto a crowded sidewalk.
They weaved around the people. A police siren could be heard. They made their way down the sidewalk and across the street. Adrenaline kept them moving.
Elizabeth dared to look behind her. The cop from the lobby was on their tail. She looked forward and kept following Dawson. She didn't care that she was rudely pushing people out of her way or hitting them with her suitcase. All she cared about was reaching the docks with Dawson.
Up ahead, there were three cops, looking around for them. Dawson quickly turned a corner into another alley. Footsteps of the cops chasing them could be heard. Thump. Thump. Thump.
"Police. Stop now!"
But they didn't stop. They went from one alley to another and another. They finally broke out of the alleys and entered another sidewalk. Almost. They were almost to the docks. Elizabeth followed Dawson before he entered down another alley. But instead of going down it completely, he stopped in the middle of it and looked around.
"Where is it?" he muttered to himself. "Where is it?"
He searched the walls and came upon a door. He quickly glanced around, noticing that they lost the cops for the time being. He quickly knocked on the door three times.
"Hurry, hurry," he whispered, his breathing labored.
Elizabeth frowned at him, not knowing why he was banging on the door to an abandoned building. She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, a muffled voice behind the door spoke.
"Ham-and-egger," Dawson replied quickly.
The door opened and they quickly made their way inside. When inside the building, Elizabeth started coughing. Smoke, alcohol, and jazz hung in the air. Men and women were either at the bar, sitting at tables, dancing, and playing card games or pool. Elizabeth quickly recognized where they were. They were at a juice joint, a speakeasy.
"Come on," Dawson said, leading her to an empty table. He put his suitcase down before sitting himself onto a chair. Elizabeth followed his actions. "We'll rest here for a few minutes. The docks are only a couple blocks away."
"But the cops-" Elizabeth started.
"Won't catch us," said Dawson.
A tall woman with curly blonde hair and a note pad in her hands came up to them. "What can I get ya?" she asked.
"What do you have?" Dawson asked.
The waitress laughed. "Anything ya want. The bathtub gin is the berries."
"I'll have that then," he said. "Liz?"
"Nothing," Elizabeth said.
The waitress nodded and walked away. Dawson started looking around as if he were looking for someone in particular.
"Looking for someone?" asked Elizabeth.
"Yeah," Dawson said. "It's a good thing that I can't find him though."
The waitress came back and set his drink down, telling him to give her a holler if he needed anything else. Elizabeth waited until she was gone before talking again.
"What do you mean?"
"It means that the guy is at the docks…Hopefully he didn't leave yet."
"The captain of the ship we are hitching a ride on."
"What!" Elizabeth yelled. "Hitching a ride on a ship? To where exactly?"
"Europe. Britain. London to be exact."
"Malarkey. You are full of malarkey."
"The captain said he would," Dawson said. He hesitated for a second. "But for a price."
"Money and working on the ship."
"You have money?" Dawson flinched at her words. "Ohhhh. No, no, no," she whispered, realization of the situation finally coming to her. "You didn't."
"It was my only choice," he said with desperation.
Elizabeth just looked at him, shocked that he wrote another bad check and got money before he came to get her. He took money so they could run away. He took money for his own selfish needs.
"I can't believe you," she said.
Dawson quickly drowned his drink in one shot before placing money on the table. He stood up and grabbed his suitcase. "Are you coming?" he asked.
She didn't answer him. He took her silence as her answer and started heading the way they came in. What was she going to do? She had no life now. He took it all away with a bad check. She couldn't stay at Jean's. That would only get her into trouble. She didn't want to bring anyone else into the crazy mix. Should she follow Dawson? Could she trust him?
Yes, a voice in her head told her, even if he did something wrong. She could always trust him. She quickly got off her chair, picked up her suitcase, and followed him. "Wait," she yelled out to him. "Wait."
He stopped walking and she caught up with him at the door. "We're in things together now," she said.
He nodded and opened the door a crack. He looked around before completely opening it and walking out. They walked down the alley and made their way to the sidewalk, where Dawson called for a taxi.
"Docks," Dawson said to the cab driver when both were inside the taxi.
Within five minutes they reached the docks. But as they were getting there, they would sink down their seats whenever they passed a cop, hiding. They quickly got out and Dawson paid the driver $1.15, Elizabeth trying not to wonder where he had gotten the money.
The smell of fish and salt water was everywhere. A cold breeze blew, causing Elizabeth to pull her coat tighter around herself. Without the bright lights of the city, the stars in the dark sky could be seen. All different types of ships were ported at different docks.
She followed Dawson as he made his way down a dock. He was heading toward a large cargo vessel. Crew men from the ship buzzed around it, doing their jobs before leaving for the open sea. He walked toward a man that was yelling around orders.
"Captain," Dawson called.
The man, the captain, turned to face him. He looked to be around his early thirties. His short blond hair was cut close to the head. He had green eyes and had the beginnings of a beard. He wore a white cap on the top of his head.
"Charles," he said. "I was wondering when you were coming."
"We ran into a little trouble," Dawson said. He walked up to him and they shook hands. "This is the friend I'm bringing. Elizabeth Sanders."
"She's a female," the captain stated rather rudely. Elizabeth opened her mouth to retort, but stopped when she felt Dawson's hand touch her elbow. The captain just looked at her, sizing her up. He then finally nodded. "Captain Harvey Miller."
Captain Harvey Miller turned toward the vessel. "Hey, Ed," he called.
"Yea, captain," a man, that was a few feet away, yelled out. He jogged up to them. He was tall, skinny and seemed to be in his late twenties. He had flaming red hair and brown eyes.
"Take these two aboard," Captain Miller said.
"Yes, sir," Ed replied with a salute.
The captain walked away and Ed turned toward them. He gave them a big smile, a few teeth were missing. "Follow me."
The walked up a board and onto the ship. Crew members of the ship looked at them curiously.
"Set sail," the captain's voice ran out through a microphone. Members of the crew took their places on the ship. "I would like you to welcome our two guests—Mr. Charles Dawson and Miss. Elizabeth Sanders. Make them feel welcomed."
The crew members greeted them.
"How are you?"
Elizabeth could feel the cargo vessel moving as it slowly made its way away from the dock. She went to the side of the vessel, watching how the port got smaller and smaller as the vessel moved farther way. She quietly sighed, not knowing what the journey to London was going to bring.
Sorry to those who wanted the jazz club sence. I just wanted to get straight to the point of the story.
Jaz108: thanks for reading and reviewng. i'm glad that you like my style!
MICHISMO: i try to stay true to the era. thanks for reading and reviewing. do you think this chapter came to soon?