Revolution

A/N: School project for my Advanced Creative Writing class fall 2007. This is the revision. The original version of this story was far more melodramatic. Critique is welcome. Please enjoy.

Revolution

By Widow Shark

Miss Diane Dalton pulled her heavy woolen cloak tighter around her shoulders in a futile attempt to keep out the chilly mid-December wind. At least it wasn't snowing; though if it had been, she might not be pushing her way past as many bundled up servants and harried housewives shopping around Boston's crowded morning market. Diane was only there for one reason. She was searching for the perfect cut of meat for the supper that her papa, Jonathon Dalton, was having tonight. Not that this supper was an extraordinary occurrence in any way. Diane's father was the keeper of the Brick and Mortar Tavern near the Harbor, and every Friday he invited his favorite patrons to a private dinner at a table cut off from the rest of the inn. His favorite customer this week, with some hinting from Diane, was Mr. Jacob White.

Diane had fancied Jacob for some time now. And she always served him when he came into the tavern. But it wasn't just his strong chin and Roman nose, or the way that his soft brown hair was always neatly tied back, that she was attracted to. No, it was much more; like the kind words he'd given her when her mother died five years ago, or when he had helped out at the tavern when her father had taken ill last spring. Jacob had only really seen her at the tavern, so this dinner was her one chance to impress him, at least with her domestic skills. She was going to serve a real meal to him, and not just the usual tavern fare. She was going to show him that she could be a suitable wife for him.

There was only one problem though, and her name was Betsy Thomas. Being twenty, Betsy was two years older than Diane, and she was a far more eligible match for Jacob, financially that is. In fact, there were whisperings about a possible engagement between them already, but nothing was official. However, she was also the same Betsy Thomas, who, if rumor proved to be true, was a merciless coquette who divvied her attentions among all the bachelors in Boston. Now, Diane didn't know Betsy very well—they had only met a handful of times—but she was certain that if so many other girls she knew were saying the same things, then they must certainly be true.

Diane shoved her way through a mob of women carrying fussy babies and full baskets of groceries to the quickly diminishing meat carts. If she didn't hurry, she'd be bringing lobster home for supper, which would, undoubtedly, not impress Jacob.

"Good morning, Diane." Diane winced when she heard a shrill voice call her name. She glanced up to see a red-cloaked Betsy Thomas squeezed between two rather large women at the fruit stand across from her, picking over the last of the year's apples.

"Oh. Good morning, Betsy," Diane replied casually, continuing to look over the arrangements of meats in front of her. "How are your parents?" she asked without looking up. She was torn between beef or ham.

"My parents are quite well," Betsy responded. "And your father, how is he doing?"

"Papa is well, too. In fact," Diane smirked, "he's having Jacob White over for supper tonight." She looked up, anticipating some kind of ill-mannered reaction from Betsy on the subject.

"Oh," Betsy replied calmly, pushing a lock of her golden hair back up underneath her red hood while she seemed to be studying a small greenish apple in her mitted hand.

Oh? Oh? Is that all she has to say? Diane thought.

"What do you think of this apple, Diane?" Betsy asked, setting the fruit flat on her palm.

"It's smallish, but it looks ripe to me," Diane answered truthfully. "What do you plan on doing with all of those apples anyway?"

"Mama and I are making apple pies for dess…"

"Diane! Where are you, Diane?" Diane turned around upon hearing her name frantically being called from behind. It wasn't difficult for her to spot her father with his graying hair and pompion belly, waddling around the marketplace, shouting her name.

"Over here, Papa!" Diane shouted. She waved him over to where she was standing.

"Diane…there you are," Mr. Dalton panted. "You haven't purchased anything yet, have you?"

"No, Papa. What's wrong?" Diane asked, placing her hands on her father's shoulders to steady him. "Jake…I mean Mr. White is still coming over for supper tonight…isn't he?"

"Oh, yes, yes, of course dear. But, you see, I've run into Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and became so involved in discussing last night's incident at the Harbor, that I had to invite them and Betsy—oh, good morning, Betsy," Mr. Dalton said, upon seeing the girl, "—to supper as well in order to continue our discussion. So, you'll be a good girl and get enough meat for the six of us tonight, yes?" Diane grew agitated; however, she just looked into her father's strong, blue eyes, took a deep breath, and smiled.

"Of course, Papa," Diane said, giving her salt and pepper-haired father a kiss on his round, scruffy cheek. "I'll be back soon."

Diane then turned back to Betsy, who was looking over the apples again. She stared until Betsy looked up.

"What's the matter Diane?" she chortled. "You like apple pie, don't you?"

O

The crisp December wind picked up, causing Drew Thorpe to pull his black wool cap down over his already frozen ears as he approached the Brick House Bar. He could hear the red neon sign buzzing and cracking as he walked closer. A blurry "Help Wanted" sign sat hap-hazard in the small hand-spun glass window facing the less than busy street. But what had really caught his eyes was that the word "Wanted" had been crossed out and that the word "Needed" had been Sharpie-ed in.

Could they really be that desperate? Drew sighed, allowing a puff of air condense in the cold wind and rise up. He had vowed to himself never to work in a bar again. He'd been a bartender during his last two years of college, and that had been more than enough. He had a million reasons to keep on walking and just follow the Classifieds that were tucked safely inside his coat pocket. But…he was already two months behind on his rent, and he'd just moved to Boston from Williamsburg three months ago. Not to mention that his other four job interviews that day…could have gone much, much better.

Drew sighed again. Then he grabbed the iron handle of the heavy oak door and pulled. At least he could get out of the cold for a little while.

The bar smelled of must and cigarettes, despite Massachusetts's several-year-old smoking ban. And the entire room was poorly lit, except for the two or three windows facing the street and a few flickering neon signs proclaiming this bar sold Budweiser, Coors, and Sam Adams. It being early on a Saturday afternoon, the bar wasn't crowded yet—only a few maintaining alcoholics dotted the room.

Oh great, Drew thought, it's a dive. He considered turning around and walking right back out the door, but…his bills. He took off his cap and shoved it into his coat pocket. Then he ran his hands, which were normally olive-toned but now white from the cold, through his shaggy, dark brown hair.

Drew then walked up to the bar where a thin, older man, wearing a Boston College t-shirt and an etched wooden nametag that said "Colin," was drying beer mugs with a dishrag.

"Afternoon, sir. What can I get for ya?" Colin asked, setting the clean beer mug on the counter behind him before moving on to another.

"Good afternoon," Drew greeted. "So, who do I talk to about getting a job?"

"Anna. But she ain't here yet," Colin said, setting another dry beer mug on the counter behind him.

"I can come back…"

"Nah, sit down. Anna'll be here soon. Have a Sam Adams. On the house."

"Got nothing better to do," Drew said, unzipping his coat and sitting down on a bar stool. Colin set a basket of Chex Mix and a full mug of beer down in front of him. Drew swiveled around on the stool a couple of times, and then started talking. "I looked into going to Boston College for their undergrad program," he said, pointing at the bartender's shirt.

"Wha…this?" Colin started, pulling at his maroon and gold t-shirt, looking at it upside down. "I didn't even go to college. I'm just an Eagles fan. You?"

"Name's Drew," Drew said, holding out his hand.

"Colin," the bartender said. "Good to meet ya, Drew." For such a thin man, Colin had an incredibly strong handshake. "So, if ya didn't go to Boston, where'd ya end up goin' then?"

"I ended up going to the College of William and Mary."

"Oh, yeah, what'd you study there?"

"Colonial American history."

"Is that right, now? History was definitely not my best subject. Though come to think of it, nothing was my best subject," Colin laughed. "So, what brings you to Boston?"

"I had gotten a job offer at the Paul Revere House as a full-time re-enactor, but it kinda… fell through. Seems the person I was supposed to be replacing didn't need replaced after all," Drew sighed.

"It was Gary wasn't it?" Colin asked.

"Yeah," Drew said, surprised. "How'd you know?"

"That old coot's been retiring once a year for the last ten. Always changes his mind soon as they find someone new. He's probably older than the real Paul Revere was by now," Colin said, picking up another glass to dry. "So, how'd ya become interested in doing this re-enacting stuff?"

"I grew up near Colonial Williamsburg," Drew smiled. "And then I worked as a living history tour guide for the last few years during grad school."

"Is that right?" Colin said, setting down another dry beer mug. "Well, this bar was built sometime around the 1750's, but it was shut down during the Prohibition," he said, now starting to dry off the highball glasses.

"It doesn't really resemble a Colonial tavern," Drew said.

"That's 'cause when Anna's pop, Frank, bought the place back in the seventies he did a little remodeling. Okay, a lotta remodeling. I should know. I was a contractor back then. He took out a lotta walls. Even changed its name from the Brick and Mortar Tavern to the Brick House Bar, 'cause he wanted the place to be more hip." Colin said, laughing. Drew raised his beer mug to his cracked lips, and sipped off the excess foam before taking a swig.

O

"You like apple pie don't you?" Diane snorted. "Who does she think she is?" she asked herself as she went around collecting payments and cleaning up after tavern guests. Every few minutes she would run back into the cooking area to check on the meal for later in the evening, shooing away the other tavern cook. "Don't touch it," she warned, and he would back off.

The ham was cooking splendidly. The meal would surely impress Jacob.

Diane was finished setting the table, but she let her father show the guests in through the back door anyway while she secretly watched from around the corner. Jacob had arrived with the Thomases, looking as stately as ever. And Betsy, wearing her red woolen cloak, was carrying a basket.

"Come in, come in," Diane heard her father laugh heartily, "don't let the warmth out." Jacob and Betsy entered first, closely followed by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas. The men shook hands, and Mr. Dalton kissed both ladies on the cheeks. Betsy handed him the basket.

"What is this, Miss Thomas?" Mr. Dalton asked, a surprised gasp tickling his words.

"Mama and I baked these apple pies for you and Diane, Mr. Dalton," Betsy said, "for inviting us to dinner." Diane watched her father lift the towel and take a whiff.

"Why, thank you," he said. "Diane and I will enjoy them."

"Speaking of Diane, where's that lovely dark-haired girl of yours, Mr. Dalton?" the plump Mrs. Thomas asked. "I haven't seen more than a minute of her since she started working in that tavern of yours. Surely you've not got the poor thing working tonight."

"Of course not, Mrs. Thomas; she must be finishing up in the other room. Diane!"

"I'm right here, Papa," Diane said, turning the corner. She was wearing her best dress, which was of a goldenrod color, and her onyx curls were pinned back under a cream cap. "Good evening, everyone."

"Miss Diane, it's a pleasure to see you again. Turn around so's I can get a better look at you," Mrs. Thomas said. Diane spun around slowly. "Look at you, all grown up! How old are you now, dear? Sixteen? Seventeen?"

"I've just turned eighteen in August," Diane said, keeping a suspicious eye on Betsy.

"Eighteen! Oh, where does the time go?" Mrs. Thomas declared, quickly hugging Diane, much to her displeasure. "You should be proud of her, Mr. Dalton. She looks just like her mum, she does." Mr. Dalton nodded in agreement.

"Yes, and I'm sure she'll make a fine wife for some lucky man one day," Jacob added, looking directly at Diane. "And, now that we're all here, I can make my announcement."

"An announcement! How exciting?" Diane said, clapping her hands together.

"I have excellent news, everyone! Betsy…and I…are going to be married." Diane's dark blue eyes widened as her heart rose in her throat. She felt she would cough it up and die that very moment.

Betsy stared at Diane through molasses eyes.

"Are you alright, Diane?" she asked. Diane blinked, smiled.

"Yes, I'm fine. You didn't tell me at the market this morning that you and…Mr. White were engaged," she prodded.

"Oh, but this morning I wasn't," Betsy laughed. Diane didn't find this very humorous.

"Well then," Diane smiled in an attempt to regain her composure. "I guess congratulations are in order," she said, hugging Betsy. "I'm so very happy for you."

"Yes, congratulations, Miss Thomas, Mr. White," Mr. Dalton said. "Now, why don't we move into the dining room? My Diane has prepared a feast that not even King George could disapprove of," he finished, leading the party to a small area in the back that was cut off from the rest of the tavern. The pine table that awaited them was covered end to end with sweet smelling dishes.

Diane seethed as she settled into her seat next to her father, never taking her navy eyes away from Betsy, who was seated next to Jacob. Even in the low candlelight, Diane could see that the bodice of Betsy's burgundy dress was tied just tight enough to allow her small, pale breasts to be pushed upward; Diane herself was dressed much more modestly in her goldenrod gown. But if she could have tied the stays tighter, her breasts would bubble over the top as well.

"This meal looks and smells delicious, Miss Dalton," Mr. White praised. "I simply cannot wait to taste it. Shall we begin?" he asked, picking up his cutlery, cutting into a piece of the glazed ham. Diane smiled weakly at him as she watched him raise his fork to his lips and bite down on the piece of meat.

Diane just picked at her meal. She was too upset to eat. She didn't understand why Jacob would choose Betsy over her. Hadn't he said that she would make an excellent wife? He did, and it was tormenting her. She was wondered what she could do to get Jacob to change his mind. But he looked so happy… She should just let him…them be happy. But watching them was only upsetting her more. So, she decided she would simply not pay any more attention to them for the rest of the evening.

"You know, Jonathon," Mr. Thomas spoke up, "it's no wonder you've made a fortune running that tavern of yours if your daughter is serving meals as fine as this every night." Mr. Dalton put his fork down.

"Well, yes, my daughter is an exceptional young woman, Henry," Mr. Dalton said, putting a hand on Diane's shoulder. Diane smiled, but it waned when she caught herself looking at Jacob. "Now, why don't we finish our little discussion from earlier? I believe I was saying that it was about time that someone showed King George that we Colonists are not to be taken advantage of. And if I weren't so old and fat," he chuckled, "I would have been down at the Harbor whooping and hollering myself…"

O

Drew took another swig as he listened to Colin talk about what little he knew about the history of the bar and its owners. Then the door opened, shedding a stark light on the small room.

"That'll be Anna now," Colin said from behind the bar, nodding his head in the direction of the front door. Drew glanced over to see the silhouette of a woman entering the bar, struggling to keep a hold onto the coffees she was carrying.

"Here, let me help you with those," Drew said, hopping off the bar stool to assist her.

"Thank you, sir," Anna said as she removed her puffy, white winter coat, hanging it on an antique brass coat rack behind the door.

"Not a problem," Drew replied.

"I haven't seen you in here before," Anna said, pulling off her hat and scarf, revealing shoulder-length cocoa brown curls. She rolled her hat and scarf into a ball and stuffed them down one sleeve of her coat.

"I'm not from around here," Drew said. "Name's Drew; I just saw the sign in the window by the door. Colin said you were the one to see."

"Is that so, Colin?" Anna asked, standing with her arms akimbo. Colin just shrugged and went back to drying highball glasses. Turning back to Drew, she said, "He's just lonely. No one ever sits at the bar to talk to him anymore."

"I just wanted to run it by you first, Anna. You know, since you've been talking about just shutting the place down after your dad died."

"Uh-huh," Anna said, taking the coffees back from Drew and setting them on the counter. "Well, Drew, I can hire you, but I don't know for how long."

"Anything is fine for the moment, as long as I can pay a few of my bills."

"I hear that. When can you start?"

"As soon as you need me to," Drew replied

"Good, you can start tonight. There's not much to do yet. It doesn't get too busy in here till about six. And even then there's still room. So, if you just wanna relax for a little while, you can fill out the necessary paperwork so the government can get their share," Anna chuckled. She went around to the other side of the bar counter, pulled out a few papers from underneath the cash register, and then handed them to Drew.

"Thanks," Drew said taking the papers from her. "Hey, is there a men's room I can use before I sit down to fill these out?"

"Sure, it's down the hall on the left," Anna answered. "But be careful, the ceiling back there is kinda low."

"Thanks." Drew used this little trip as an excuse to get a better look at the architecture. He hadn't noticed before, but the woodwork was typical of eighteenth century America—simple and straight. Towards the back of the bar, as he approached the small, darkened stage, he saw that there was a slightly curved, narrow wooden staircase leading up to a balcony and probably bedrooms, if the original tavern had been used as an inn. He wondered how much, if any, of it was original.

He got a partial answer when he reached the back of the hallway, and there, leaning against the back wall and covered in cobwebs was a large, rectangular wooden sign. Drew brushed the dirt away with his hands. The paint was faded to the point of not being there at all, but since it was carved, the words Brick and Mortar Tavern Est. 1752 and the images of bricks and a trowel could still be made out. He was no expert, but he was pretty certain that this was the original tavern sign. He would have to talk to a couple of his buddies back in Williamsburg, but he was already salivating over the idea of restoring the tavern to its eighteenth century glory. He wondered if Anna and Colin even knew that the sign was still back here.

O

Diane had to admit that Betsy's apple pie tasted good, even delicious, but that still didn't change the fact that Betsy had, well, won. For now anyway.

Diane was left to say goodbye to the guests alone because her father had been called on to attend to business in the main area of the tavern. She started cleaning up soon after they left. And now and then she would have to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye. When she was nearly finished, she found Betsy's woolen mitts lying near the entrance of the door.

She picked them up, rubbing her thumb back and forth over the scratchy wool. There was a knock at the back door a few minutes later. Diane opened it, and seeing Betsy standing there—the hood of her red cloak nearly covering her dark brown eyes—she started to shut it again.

"I've just come back for my mitts," Betsy said softly. Diane held the door open, and then grazed the mitts with her thumb once more before handing them back to Betsy.

"Here," Diane said. Betsy took them from her, putting her left mitt on first, before starting to walk away. Diane didn't even have a chance to shut the door when she came back.

"Diane, I know that you have had this…this…infatuation with Jacob bu…"

"What makes you a better choice for a wife than me?" Diane hissed.

"Calm down, Diane! Tell me what you're talking about."

"What can you do for Jacob that I cannot?"

"Diane, I'm sure there is nothing I can do that you can't," Betsy said, wringing one glove in her hands. "His proposal to me was purely for financial reasons."

"Then, is what everyone is saying about you true?"

"Who's saying what about me?" Betsy asked, arching an eyebrow.

"At the marketplace…I've heard the other girls talking about you…flirting with other men…how can you give your attentions to Jacob if you're such a…a…a coquette?" Betsy shook her head and approached Diane.

"You shouldn't believe everything you hear," Betsy said, lightly touching Diane's lace-ruffled elbow. She then put on her other mitt. "Goodnight, Diane," she finished, turning to walk out the door.

"Wait…Betsy!" Diane called. Betsy turned around.

"Yes, Diane?"

"Goodnight, Betsy," Diane said.

"Goodnight, Diane," Betsy said, leaving.

Diane shut the door behind her. She could feel new tears forming in her eyes, but held them back. She wiped the dampness away with the corner of her apron. It wasn't too late; Betsy and Jacob weren't married yet. When she was finished cleaning, she joined her father in the main area of the tavern.

O

"What are you going on about, Anna?" Drew heard Colin saying as he made his way back from the men's room. He approached quietly.

"As you can see," Anna said, showcasing the nearly empty bar with a wave of her arm, "my dad let this place get run down over the years. But instead of just closing it down like I'd originally planned, we're going to turn this place into a nightclub. You know, get the younger crowd in here. Oh, and we're gonna serve food other than beer nuts and Chex Mix," she emphasized by picking up a handful of the snack mix and dropping it back into the basket.

"Where do you think we're going to get the money for that? Remodeling costs…"

"Remodeling? Don't you know how old this place is?" Drew asked, sitting down on a barstool next to Anna.

"Actually I do," Anna said. "When my pop bought this place back in the seventies it had been unused for over fifty years. He put a lot of money into it fixing it up, but after a while it just got run down. And right now, I think I can get the younger crowd in here by turning it into a modern nightclub."

"But that would completely ruin the aesthetics of the original building!"

"I don't care."

"When I went back to the restroom I found the original tavern sign covered in cobwebs. Did you even know it was there?"

"No, but I'm sure there's a lot of stuff in here that I don't know about. My dad was a packrat. You can have the sign if you want it," Anna sighed.

"I don't want the sign," Drew replied. "I think you should think about restoring."

"Restoration costs money—money that I simply don't have."

"Anna, what you're talking about doing costs money, too," Colin added, slinging the dishtowel over his left shoulder.

"Not nearly as much. And who is he," Anna said, pointing at Drew, "to tell me what to do with my bar anyway. I don't even really know who he is. He's just some guy who walked in from the street looking for a job."

"I worked in Colonial Williamsburg for the greater part of the last five years. And I have a Masters in Colonial history. And, if I might add, I think you might be able to get government help…"

"Listen, I have two kids and a business to take care of. I don't have time for this. Now, if you don't want the job…you know what? Just…just get out," Anna sighed.

"At least think about restoring," Drew pleaded.

"Out!" Anna said with force this time, thrusting her pointed finger toward the door.

Drew glared at her. And then he pulled his black knit cap back onto his head, thanked Colin for the drink, and left. He knew he should have just kept on walking, but he didn't. And now that he felt involved, even responsible, he wasn't about to give up. Not without at least trying to change Anna's mind about restoring. He believed in fighting for what he believed in. After all, that's what America was built on, wasn't it?

Pompion was a synonym for pumpkin. boston1775.

Colonial Williamsburg:

Paul Revere House: