This chapter needs some serious editing/reviewing. If you read this, please review (doesn't have to be long) on what I can fix in it. I'm horrible at editing my stuff but I can tell when it's not great. I need your help. Bad reviews are always welcome. ;) And hey, I'll review your stuff back… only not as harshly as I hope you'll review mine.

Enjoy. :)

"The only sure thing about luck is that it will change."

-Bret Harte

The town was busy that morning. Elizabeth and her father had made their way through the packed streets to a pub in a far corner of town. Pushing the doors open, a wave of sound and smell held them back momentarily. A wide range of people sat about the bar and tables, clutching their drinks defensively while gambling large piles of money away. Sean found who he was looking for and shuffled towards him.

"Jack," he smiled, holding the back of his hand against his mouth immediately afterwards to stifle a cough.

A small, wiry looking man glanced up at the two as they approached and nodded in response to the welcome. He pulled his mug beside him and kicked a chair towards them.

"Do you have my money, Sean?"

Sean shifted uncomfortably, avoiding the invitation to sit. "Yes. I- No. Not all of it. But I've got—"

A knot clenched in Jack's jaw and Elizabeth imagined to herself how quickly they would be able to get to the exit and into the safety of the street before Jack caught up with them. Sean took a quick glance at the door as well. "Why?" Jack paused. "Why do you still not have it?"

"I have some of it."

Jack considered. "How much?"

Pulling a small pouch out of his chest pocket, Sean sifted its contents onto the table before them.

Jack counted.

The barman had walked to their side of the bar and began serving a customer all the while looking over their shoulder at the meeting that was taking place.

"You push your luck," Jack said finally as he scooped his prize into a box below the table. "Meet me here in a month with the rest. I'm tired of waiting on you."

"Of course," Sean nodded, his composure reinforcing itself in an attempt to look as though this was no problem.

Finishing his drink, Jack said, "I'll see you then. Good day."

Elizabeth and Sean stood aside to let him storm out into the street. Sean slumped into the abandoned chair, his head dropping weakly into his hands.

"Father?" Elizabeth asked and took the seat beside him.

He clenched his hands through his hair, thin grey clumps of it escaping through his fingers.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm preparing to drink myself to death."

She placed her hand on his shoulder, only to find how dangerously thin he'd become. Drinking himself to death wouldn't take too long. "We'll figure out something." She racked her mind for some way out of this. "Maybe you could make some sort of exchange with him."

"I wish it were that easy," he shrugged.

An idea broke its way into the forefront of her thoughts. "I could get a job."

She watched it sink in. "No," he responded after a moment's deliberation. "It's out of the question. I need you at home. We have the crops and the livestock and a house to keep up. I'm not as young and able as I used to be, Elizabeth. Leaving me all of that on my own would be a death sentence."

"But without more income there's no way you'll be able to pay Jack in time. I wouldn't need the job forever." She raised her eyebrows in a plea. "I could work until your debt was paid and then I could come back home."

"And what am I to do while you're gone? The crops won't tend themselves in your leave," he said this as though he'd averted any possible rebuttal she could come up with.

It wasn't one of his better arguments. "I'll get one of the Bell kids to take over for me. They can spare a boy or two."

He opened his mouth hopelessly and closed it again. Then, giving in, he said, "So where will you work?"

"Here," a thick voice rumbled from behind them. They turned to see the barman still standing where the customer from earlier had been. He motioned them to the bar.

Helping her father out of his seat, Elizabeth took the slow lead. As they stopped at the bar, she could smell the scent of alcohol grow stronger and subconsciously tightened her grip on his arm.

"I overheard you talking to Jack," the barman said as he methodically wiped glasses down with his dirty rag. "I don't like him. He's always doing his business in here. Rarely buys anything and never acts decently towards anyone. I've had my share of brutes come through this bar and for a while I was one of them, but that Jack pushes too far. I'd hate to see him take advantage of another family like he does." He set down his glass and looked curiously between the two, observing the state they were in and probably determining how much work he could get out of the girl. A smile flashed across his broad features. "How far out do you folks live?"

"Half a day by carriage," she explained.

He nodded. "If you work for me, I'll give you room and board in the inn. You'll also be making twenty-one shillings a week and you can have Sundays off."

"Oh- Thank you," She stammered, beaming for her good luck. "When do you want me to start?"

"How long until you can get all of your things moved in?"

She imagined all of her worldly possessions and how easily they would fit into a single trunk or bag. "I could be ready by tomorrow midday."

"Great," he smiled, taking up a dirty mug from beside them. "I'll have your room ready when you get here." And with that he turned and strode off down the bar.