kaleidoscopique

kopfkino
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Prestige, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Ideally, my partner and I would work together to advance the plot equally.
Favorite Genres
Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, medieval politics, supernatural, historical, crime, fandom, splashes of romance


  • Welcome to my AU take on the BBC show Peaky Blinders! No knowledge of the series is required. OCs are welcome + encouraged. *Please post in OOC thread if interested in joining!*

    England, 1919



    The war has ended. Birmingham’s working class have returned to the drudgery of factory jobs, but men still wake sweating and screaming and wondering precisely what it was they fought for in the trenches of France. Women who tasted freedom have awoken to find themselves stuck back in the kitchen despite their grand ideas. Workers’ unions are gaining traction and there are worried mutters in government about communism.

    And yet, behind closed doors there is music and laughter, whiskey and a haze of smoke, beautiful women and backroom deals. Striding through this post-industrial hellscape, coats billowing behind and caps set at a jaunty angle, come the kings of this wretched domain. Businessmen tip their caps and mothers pull their children into doorways as they stride past. They are known as the Peaky Blinders, thanks to their reputation for treating dissent with a swipe to the face with the razorblades concealed in their caps.

    This gang, headed by the Shelby family, controls the district of Small Heath more concretely than any politician or lawmaker. Aside from the occasional clashes with cops and the Italian mob, and a tentative peace with the local unions, they do well for themselves. Protection fees, controlling the local black market, and fixing horseraces provide a substantial income at a time when the poor are starving, and they reward loyalty.

    The only problem? This small-time existence isn’t enough for their ambitious leader, made reckless by witnessing the horrors of war. When the gang stumbles across something it was never meant to find, and he attempts to turn that to their advantage, its very existence is threatened.

    Beyond the larger politics, the business is a family affair, and family is messy. Rife with conflicting personalities, romance, strong women and shellshocked men, relationships are complex. And, in a family where the workday involves paying off cops and honor is worth killing for, the stakes are high.


    Welcome! You can call me Kay. I’m brand-new to this site, but an old hand at writing. I’ll be playing the head of the Shelby family. The other characters, and the direction our plot takes, are entirely up to you. I’ll likely bring in NPCs to move the plot along, any of whom are up for grabs.


  • [fieldbox="Rules, goldenrod, dashed, 10"]
    • Adhere to all iwaku rules.
    • 18+ for mature themes.
    • 3 paragraph minimum. More is great. Evocative writing please! Adept + strongly preferred.
    • Romance is awesome. Two characters holding up the plot while they get off? Not so much. Take it to the PMs, people! (again, pls obey iwaku rules)
    • Be able to post minimum once a week. More is highly encouraged. If I haven’t heard from you by then with a reply or a brief explanation, we’ll work around you. If it happens again, I’ll assume you’ve lost interest.
    • If there's a lot of dialogue, you're welcome to use PMs and edit into a single post.
    • Plot ideas? Sweet! Just please run anything gamechanging by me first.
    • I shouldn’t have to say this, but: no godmodding. NPCs are fine.
    [/fieldbox]

    [fieldbox="Character Creation, goldenrod, dashed, 10"]

    Suggested characters:
    • Mob family (associates, members, leader’s siblings, aunt/uncle, mother, etc...please read my character profile)
    • Cops (undercover, corrupt, new to town and idealistic, etc)
    • Rival gang member
    • Union leaders, Communist agitators, assorted political groups (IRA?)
    • Aristocracy
    • Journalist, investigative reporter
    • Prostitute, barmaid, entertainer, innkeeper
    • Ex-soldiers/nurses (can combine with any other occupation; can have wartime connections with existing characters)

    Character Bio (though feel free to elaborate):
    • Name, age
    • FC (realistic please, no anime)
    • History, occupation, personality
    • Any relevant connection to plot/existing characters
    [/fieldbox]



  • Beatrice Holloway

    Age: 27

    Occupation: Multiple, is currently working as a bookie.

    Bio: Near dying for adventure, Beatrice left her large family in Cheshire and headed to London in 1914. Her two brothers had joined the military, but her father had been denied entry due to his health problems. There was more than enough help to be had on the farm and Beatrice figured that they would hardly miss her. Much to her family’s chagrin, she settled in London, finding work first as a cashier and then as a bank teller. Subsequently, when the men returned from the war she was let go from her job. Beatrice was not interested in returning home from failure only to milk cows. Instead, she found work with her cousin who worked rigging bare knuckles fights, among other illegal activities. There, dressed as a young man to avoid harassment, she collects bets and provides bookkeeping services.

    Personality: Beatrice is a strong-willed and confident young woman. Working alone in London has brought out traits that many would say are un-feminine. Quick witted and sharp, she makes an excellent bookie. She’s not loud or brash but measures a situation before she speaks, and some people find her steady gaze unsettling, as if she’s picking you apart, which she probably is.

    Likes: Hot baths, new people, evenings, champagne (she’s only had it twice in her life)

    Dislikes: Rain, rude people, cabbage, being spoken down to​
    Bettina Valentina Claudia Rosamond (nee. Schmidt)

    Pronunciation:
    “Bet-tina Val-en-tina Claud-ia Rosa-Mond”
    Nickname(s) or Known As:
    Bet -
    Affectionate nickname fleshed from Bettina’s family and adopted by her husband. Presently in 1919 the only person that calls her that is her love Horace, whose been mentally wasting away.

    Mistress Rosamond - Known by the family’s staff as Mistress Rosamond, Bettina has never been one for such a title because of her rather modest background in Austria. But, after the war her thoughts towards it have never mellowed, Bet normally just lets the staff call her want they wish and doesn’t cause any issues with it. After all, her main concerns are her main concerns are Horace’s and her children, the generation that will lead on their father’s legacy more so give Horace something to stay living for, if not for her sake.

    Madame - Loyal patrons of the Rosamond’s Pleasure House establishment, often refer to her as the Madame as she’s more often or not seen dealing with the business. Bettina has never seemed bothered by this respective title.

    Mrs. Rosamond - Often addressed by business partners, or police that she sells information to. Personally doesn’t really like people calling her Mrs. Rosamond because in her heart she’ll always be a Schmidt.

    Temptress - A teasing nickname that her husband calls her when Bettina manages to seduce him. Often referring to her as his Temptress in passionate moments or leading up to such a time.

    Date of Birth:
    9th September,1891 (28 years old)

    Birthplace:
    Vienna, Austria

    Nationality/Ethnicity:
    Austrian, Austro-Hungarian.

    Personal Motto:
    Live for the new day, and pray for a better future.

    Quotes:
    “The war may have broken my home, and shattered the heart of my husband. But it will not take me, it didn’t then, nor will it ever.”

    “Our children are the breath of tomorrow, Mister Shelby. My proposal was to assist the expansion of the Shelby Empire, so our blood doesn’t crust and run dry with the coming turf wars but rise up as the victors. Much like my parents had done before me by ensuring my marriage to Horace.”


    “You call it murder, I call it being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

    “Horace, God chose you to be my husband the moment I was born. Things might not have been simple in the beginning remember? We said our vows in a moments that didn’t promise certainty and a future of happiness, yet look at those glorious children we have. They’re our purpose to carry on now. For the sake of their future.”

    “Mister Sabini, always a pleasure really. So what can I do for a drug fucked, loose canon such as yourself?”

    “Birmingham, it’s quite different from what I’m used to… But it will have to do.”


    Occupation:
    Currently -
    Matriarch to the Rosamond family, runner of the family business between her husband. Furthermore the boss of the illegal operations of the Rosamond’s family; Drug Dealing, Illegal Sales on the English Blackmarket, Professional Assassins, Criminal Setups, Covert Operations with Staff, Selling Information (between police or other gangs), and Privately Running a Pleasure House.

    Formerly - Spy for the British Intelligence during the duration of the Great War, posted in the unstable city of Vienna. Before becoming a spy she married her husband Horace Rosamond, though kept her maiden name in Vienna because it was matter of safety.


    Reliable Skills Mastered:

    • Fully mastered the following languages; German, Hungarian, French, Slovenian and English.
    • Capable spy - Able to change accent, dialect, pitch, and general appearance with the training she has received.
    • Multi-tasking - The perks of being a mother has shown Bettina is quite the multi-tasker dealing with children not getting along as well as business.
    • High level of education - mastering reading, writing and mathematics at a young age.
    • Capable of making bombs and weapons for junk. Much like different types of bombs from the cheapest and crappiest of materials.
    • Quiet the actress - To survive Bet has learnt a great deal about playing pretend emotions and actions.
    • Able to hold her own in a fight, even against much larger people. Because of certain techniques she’d mastered in the time of being a spy.
    Weapons of Choice:
    • Mauser C96 - Semi-Automatic Pistol
    • Steyr Model 1907 (M1907) - Self-Loading Pistol
    • A Capsule of Cyanide - For if she’s caught in the wrong hands. Kept within a small locket that she always wears, that was a heirloom that was passed down in the generations of her family.
    ***​
    Social Status:
    Wife of a known veteran whom was left paralyzed, had five child, four of which are still living.

    Marital Status:
    Arranged Marriage to Horace Rosamond (since. 1908)

    Issue:
    • Archibald ‘Archie’ Gilbert Rosamond, aged 10 years old (born April, 1909)
    • Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Rowland Rosamond, aged 8 years old (born August, 1911)
    • Septimus Vincent Rosamond, aged 7 years old (born September, 1912)
    • Julius Hiram Rosamond, stillborn (born April, 1913)
    • Henrietta Priscilla Myra Schmidt-Rosamond, aged 4 (born February, 1915)- Bettina found out she was pregnant with her fifth child while undercover giving her sometime more to hide under, as pretending she was wedded to her second-cousin during the time.
    ***​
    Schmidt & Rosamond Family History:
    Respective families that had alliances going back decades. The English family of Rosamond and Austrian family of Schmidt, decided to join their families together with an arranged marriage. This was arranged at the birth of the youngest and only daughter of the Schmidt family, Bettina Valentina Claudia Schmidt.

    Drawn up in agreement between Horace’s grandfather and Bettina’s parents, the two rather underground operating families agreed to expand their business relations through marriage. They were to be married when the young Schmidt girl turned seventeen. Till then, the two would marry to stop them from running or dispising one another.

    On the 13th of July 1908, after much preparation Horace and Bettina married. The newlyweds were a sign of good luck between the two families so they partied, not truly caring if the pair loved one another. Bet was seventeen years of age, and her husband Horace was twenty-one so it made finding a level playing ground difficult to establish for the young couple. Even language was a barrier, and caused some emotional strain between the pair. But, doing at they must the marriage was rightly consummated, and about September 1908 shortly after the lonely young woman found out she was carrying her husband’s child, which made both families overjoyed.

    While her first pregnancy Mistress Rosamond as her husband’s maids called her, learnt English slowly and weakly. Gaining more of her knowledge of her husband, and comfort in his company on the harder days. Most mornings she’d wake at the side of her husband caressing her swelling stomach, trying to soothe the child growing within her, hoping to allow it’s mother some more sleep. Though, Horace respectively worked hard on the family business, he worried for his young wife’s health and the risks that came with childbirth as it was still a risk even with the best aid they could afford.

    By the following year, in the middle of April 1909 their first son was born after long hours of labouring. Horace named their first son Archibald after his late father. The exhausted young mother agreed, as long as, Gilbert became his second name. After her father whom died from influenza in the later stages of her pregnancy. As a couple they had gained more of a solid relationship through the birth of their first son, often doing their most to experience with the young boy they fondly called ‘Archie’ together.

    Everything thrived with the booming family, and excelling business that the two families had worked so hard to maintain. Bet took her place at her husband’s side after the birth of their third son Septimius Vincent. As she felt that she was needed to assist her husband in opening up some further expansion plans for the family business. Which was when their first pleasure house was opened up in White Chapel, by the time their four and final son was born Julius Hiram whom was stillborn, Bet was struck by the brief of the loss after it had left her fighting for her own due to infection.

    Horace felt his wife begin to slip away even after passing the infection, and recovering. Her grief had caused her to neglect looking after herself, and moving up in the family business. It took months of her state to improve, and then the officials came knocking on their town house door with an order to take Mrs. Rosamond into custody under suspicions of her being an Austro-Hungarian spy. Truth be told the young woman was cleared of not being a spy, yet was tasked a mission even her husband couldn’t know about. To spy on officials and check in on the general life in Austria throughout the war.

    To others it looked like she was just being deported, and thrown away for good. Separated pained Georgiana, but the realisation that she was once more pregnant with her husband’s child made her commit to the course, and fight to protect the chance of going home to meet her love once more. Protecting her cover, one of her second-cousins stepped up and took the role of her husband in a chaotic time of Austria. Acting as her support, and companion in that time, even though she remained loyal to a fault with Horace.

    Sending word rarely through to her husband, managing to get a letter with a photograph of her and their first daughter to him when she was born in February of 1915. Her daughter was raised in Austria much like her mother was, though when the war ended she went home with her mother to England. The reunion with husband, and sons was said to be something of her dreams one of the notable times she was seen sobbing in public. War had broken so many people, and it had robbed her husband of his ability to walk.

    Moving to head of the Rosamond household at her husband condition, Bettina became a strong-minded figure. Loyalty never faltering from her family and the business. Though, since she had spent some time away from her young children, when she came home her sons struggled to reconnect with her. Which has caused resentment toward members of authority such as Mr. Winston Churchill. Henrietta fell into alignment with her siblings quite easily though, her brothers holding a sense of endearment towards their youngest sibling.

    Horace was depressed from the war, and lost in the mindset of those days when he was able. A depression that almost lead to his suicide, but Bettina stopped him at the right time. Supporting her husband through his woes, and the struggles that he now faced many rich men began to approach her trying to take her under their wing as their mistress or lover. Yet, she refused. The grown woman of twenty-eight had her family and business to worry about.

    Reaching out to the Peaky Blinders as a wish to push an Alliance, Bettina has offered herself at the disposal of Thomas Shelby in order to keep her unwell husband alive. Willingly doing whatever the Shelby brother wishes of her to do, much like she did at the age of seventeen with her husband ten years ago. To benefit her parents then, but now her husband and children.

    ***​
    Personality Traits:

    Loyal - It is a spoken trait of the Schmidt family that loyalty means everything. Bettina possesses this trait and it could quite possibly be her own downfall. If there was any dog that could explain the level of loyalty Bet held for her family and close friends it would be the German Shepherd. She’s always there for the people that need her in the lines of business and personal relationships.

    A downfall of her loyal personality is that she has a bad habit of forming a bias for the people she cares about. Though, after time and energy in thinking through situation she’d often see the other side to the story.

    Bettina often struggles with people that can’t grasp the importance of loyalty. In one of the views that really personally erks her is when a spouse, or lover can’t seem to hold a level of loyalty. Inturn people that she knows are like this aren’t respected by her.

    Loving & Devoted - Love has what kept Bet alive throughout the war, in various ways. After the separation from her children after their father was taken to fight at war her need to get back to her children has truly shown through. Finding ways to get in contact with them even countries away from them, from morse code message on their birthdays through agents, cards and letters when their little sister was born. She found no matter the distance she’d do anything for them, making sure they were taken care of and watched by her workers.

    Finally at the war’s end Bettina took all the time in the world around her, trying to make up for the lost time with her children. Even if her debications to work called, the mother always made sure to have time with her family. Driving them out to the countryside on holy days, and having a picnic. Getting some assistance on those days to make sure her husband’s wheelchair could come along too.

    During the long cold nights she stays by her husband’s side, speaking with him about his worries and fears. In the comfort of their own privacy in their bedroom. Soothing her husband lovingly when he crumbles with his fears and the thoughts about topic of discussion.

    Bettina has accepted what has happened to her husband, and loves him no-less because of his condition. Nor will she ever let him feel that he’s a burden to her.

    Business Orientated - From a early age Bettina has been raised about the importance of Good Business, and how to keep that kind of business. Forming and solidifying alliances with other gangs and powerful people.

    Originally she was believed to be a quiet observer by her husband’s side during the early days of their marriage. On some notable occasions with Darby Sabini apparent King of the Underground in London. Yet, she very quickly out-stepped those thoughts made by others. Becoming a rather ambitious rival that looked for alliances in many places, even the most unlikely. More impressively those business endeavours with the most unlikely have more often proved the most successful for the Rosamond Family.

    Bettina’s charming wit, and surprising amount of scarcaims have also helped on many occasions with known sexiest. The business woman is more than happy to take her success as an example of what women can do outside of a kitchen or nursery. Or more blunty not lying in bed for their husband’s to please themselves with. She openly recognizes that this is now the time for change as women have proved themselves rather useful at holding up the fort during the war, why should they be tucked away in their kitchens again?

    She hopes to make a larger place for women within the world, and the people she works around. Bet believes it's important for her daughter to know, and understand that she doesn’t have to be a simple house wife.

    Intelligent - Gifted the highest and best education that Bettina could afford in a considerably wealthy family had its up sides. But not all of her intellect came from the education from schools, and professional tutors. From a young age Bettina learnt what he family business was, and how she could use that to her advantage in any background. Her adaptive personality has allowed her brain survive the worse of conditions, most of all back in the war.

    She always holds more cards at her disposal, and uses them with great care which has been part of the reason she's respected by the paranoid Sabini, and hasn't had any trouble from them.

    Mothering - Extremely capable at being a mother, Bettina from a young age helped people in Austria with delivering and raising their children before having any of her own. Now that she is a mother of her own, and a busy business woman, Bet tries to balance her life to be there for her children, often taking them with her when it came to travelling her children often stuck by her. Her eldest son has now begun to hand out some of her letters to people she wishes to meet along with his little sister Henrietta, often putting up that it was just children sending letters that their father or mother wants to pay off something. Giving her business a little more of an innocent face before the person reads the letter.

    Outside of work hours she often enjoys spending time with her children in the country-side, having a picnic, or joyous times. When she or her husband aren't with her children they are all watched with respective body guards that she appointed after years of service, trust and loyalty. If those guards slip up she's more than happy to execute them herself to ensure the safety of their children.

    Archibald is often in her company for business day now because of the fact he's the heir to the Rosamond legacy, yet Henrietta is also there so she learns that woman have just as much strength as men. It was the way her father raised her in Vienna, Austria as a child also.

    Excellent Spy - As a young woman married into a family quickly in a foreign country, Bettina became quite the observer over time watching on from the distance. Never able to be detected when entering from room to room, the young woman seemingly would float through atmospheres rather nicely, able to observe and get information from her targets without them even noticing. Bettina's acting skills are also something that made the young woman in places of high class, to the lowest of class between the many roles she could play.




    “Well my answer depends on who’s asking”
    Name: Chasity Lucille Laurent

    “Well that’s a bit of a rude question, didn’t you learn never to ask a lady her age”
    Age: 26

    “I make money to live. I feel like that’s all you need to know”
    Occupation: Entertainment at the Garrison, Ex-Combat nurse for WWI

    “One word. Bitch”
    Brief Persona: Chasity is a woman of many secrets and is crowded in an aura of mystery, which is how she likes to keep it. She’s too independent for her own good and definitely knows how to keep herself in trouble. Although she seems like the sweet little dumb blonde to most when first meeting her, there are layers of her personality that she decides to show when she deems necessary. She’s a manipulator, a survivor, and knows when to use her weapon of beauty and when to use her weapon of intelligence. But, she’s a kind soul deep down who loves caring for people she seems worthy in her life. Loyalty is her middle name and anyone who messes with her or her small group of people has to deal with the tornado that this little woman can bring (and best believe she brings a storm). Let’s just say that getting involved with her is worth the trouble it brings.

    “Well that’s for me to know, and for you to get me drunk enough to find out”
    Brief History: The norm was something Chasity had never been aquatinted with. Her father was a French man her mother met one wild night, and only knew that one night before he found himself taking off like a thief in the night. Once she was born, her and her mother had been shunned by her grandparents They lived with the men that found interest in her mother, and It wasn’t until she turned ten that she realized there was a problem with her mother.

    There would be periods where even the world couldn’t stop her from doing what she wanted, But with those periods would come times where she wouldn’t see her mother for weeks, and when she did she was getting screamed at for being a filthy whore for holding hands with a boy. Her ‘norm’ was soon ripped from her life. Her mother was thrown in an insane asylum and she was thrown into an orphanage.

    She never got adopted, the hopeful parents say her as a potiental risk since she was the daughter of an insane woman. So when she got the chance she joined the war efforts as a nurse after receiving the proper training. That was when Thomas Shelby first made an impact on her life, though one that would not last until their paths crossed again. After the war ended she found herself working at the Garrison as a singer which was where she eventually ended up meeting her ‘husband’ the criminal communist agitator Richard, a man she wished she never got involved with.
    Dorothy "Dot" Helen Townley


    Age:
    Twenty-Four

    Occupation:
    Barmaid at the Garrison. Formerly a registered ANZAC Nurse located Gallipoli, Ottoman Peninsula moved to the Western Front after troops pulled out 1915. Originally a farmer's daughter.

    Appearance:
    Dorothy is rather average in height for a young woman, slender in figure. Complexion fair without a trace of a mark from stress or the war's presence in her life. Nicely shaped brows that match her beautifully styled chest-nut brown hair that is often gracefully placed in waves while performing or a messy updo when behind the bar. Sweet honey brown eyes that are almost like a wild doe's would be shaped, glittering beautifully in the dullest of lighting. Long slim nose. Beautifully plump lips are often coated in a lovely plum red shade or orange red.​

    Personality:
    Rather a capable and adaptable young woman, during the war Dorothy learnt to cope with many changes in situation as well as circumstances. Friendly in established business situations where she's working one on one with people, Dorothy is often seen chatting and collecting gossip from her patrons almost like an old widow would. Not many know much about Dorothy's truly rather shy and innocent persona that longs for that storybook love, and dashing prince to save her from the nightmares she suffers from. Regarded as a bit of a mystery to all first meeting her, as she has never disclosed the reason of deciding to never go home to Australia. Rather snappy and quick to temper on bad days.

    Acquired Skills:
    - Speaks French, English and understands a little bit of German and Turkish.
    - Nursing (fully trained to do surgical nursing, amputations and more).
    - Lip-reading
    - Bar tending
    - Writing; War Stories, Poems, etc.
    - Holding and retaining important information for officials and people who've been searching for certain information.

    Brief History:
    Born in East Fremantle to a rather modest family, that didn't own too much but a family farm. Dorothy Helen Townley was nothing more than a normal child with an overactive imagination. Raised beside several brothers and no sisters, the sweet girl that family and friends affectionately called "Dot" was rather left to her own devises. In a small shire known as York her family's farm was settled, and crops were their livelihood, along with the vast cattle and livestock her family produced. Dorothy took responsibilities around her home rather seriously, often going out with her father and brother's to control the local kangaroo population before they become too much of a pest. So, from a very young age Dot learnt how to use a gun and hunt.

    Sweet farm child Dorothy had seen many things within her short life, aged six years old, Dot witnessed her homeland become a country under the Commonweath. Yet, still were proud to follow their then queen and watch her rule from the mother land. Australia mourned the loss of Queen Victoria, but in a timely fashion welcomed a new King as the laws of procession advised. Like most families though, the Townleys' never knew that a war of such measure would come with Britain's allegiance.

    At the time war broke out Dorothy had been thrown into heavy duty nurse's training, planned to be shipped off to Gallipoli on the Ottoman Peninsula. The landing on the beach shores of the Peninsula was something stained in the young woman's mind, blood stained the waters red that day. Those months in Gallipoli were images of hell, and a time Dot would rather not remember as she had watched so many broken men leave this world in a mangled state. At the end of that hellish time in the bosom of the Ottoman Empire, the now practices and talented nurse was shipped off the the Western Front of manage a bunch of roles and soldiers from both sides.

    On the Western Front, Dorothy Townley met the first man to spark something within her heart. A kind private from English soil, a true gentleman that didn't make her feel like a freak from a farm. Strange how well they bonded in a time when death could have been so near. Her love wrote her into his will being his money wouldn't go to anyone if he died, so he wished to give it to Miss. D.H.Townley for good fortune in her future. The death of her Mr. Edward and a few brothers left her broken and unwilling to go home. She found a goal to if she survived the war, Dorothy Townley would move to England and set up a new life for herself.

    She didn't hold much hope for herself, setting a small flat up with rundown furniture before one day a door on the door came regarding the estate of her Mr Edward. Since then Dot has been able to find work at a local bar known at the Garrison, and on the side sell her talents of information collecting. Yet, she dreams to open up a modest shop one day in memory of her beloved Mr. Edward.

    Likes:
    - Privacy
    - Music
    - A little bit of gossip
    - Animals
    - Warm Summers
    - Memories of Simpler Days
    - Reading and Writing Stories
    - Drinking some tea at the end of a long day.

    Dislikes:
    - Cold days
    - Snobbery
    - Rude people

    Georgina Anne Worthington, AKA Charlotte Clarke



    Age: 25

    Occupation: Grifter

    Appearance: Georgina is rather tall, with the slender figure that is fast becoming all the rage. She has golden-blonde waves and the creamy white skin of an aristocrat. The nose, however, failed in revealing that particular heritage, being merely straight and a little on the small side. But the mouth makes up for any lack of distinction there with full, sensuous red lips. And in her dark, well-opened eyes there is a captivating twinkle that at times is irresistible.

    Personality: Georgie, as she is known to her close friends and family, can be a bit of an enigma. For all her entrancing manners there is a certain veil of reserve behind which she retreats from the world. The only person she had ever really opened up to was her brother. For everyone else, the mind and true feelings behind the light and bubbly façade remain a mystery, though few would even think to see that more lay beneath. Georgie’s society personality is trained, rather than inherent; left to her own devices she would be much more of an introvert, and eschew such parties as her parents delighted in (and as were, inevitably, their ruin). But though her reserve allows her to hold back her emotions, and react calmly in the face of even the direst situation, Georgie is not cold-hearted. Indeed, her sympathy for fellow men may well be her downfall in her chosen calling. That’s not to say she would balk at killing, if necessary. She would face such a task as coolly as any other job. But she would also go out of her way to help a friend in need, even if it risked her cover.

    Skills: Plays piano, speaks French and German, can mimic many different accents, nursing (basic), pickpocketing (basic)

    History: The Honourable Georgina Anne Worthington is the younger child of Viscount and Lady Desford, with one brother, her elder by six years. The Worthingtons’ lineage is prodigiously impressive, having been landed gentry for centuries and Viscounts for seven generations, but their acreage and accompanying wealth had dwindled by the time of Georgina’s birth. Lord and Lady Desford, utterly oblivious to this fact, continued to live the merry, expensive, heedless lives of aristocrats of yore. Likewise, they raised their children to have absolutely no useful talents other than entertaining the empty lives of their fellow nobility. Or rather, a series of governesses raised their children in this mould, for the Desfords themselves had little to do with their offspring beyond periodic pro forma visits to the drawing room to show off their talents to Mama and Papa. In this pampered and yet strangely barren environment, Georgina and her brother Sidney clung ever-closer to one another. Being six years her senior, Sidney took on a rather parental attitude toward his little sister, shielding her from the most dangerous winds of the world.

    When she reached the age of eighteen, Georgina was properly “launched” into high society, quite as if from a cannon, and felt herself flying aimlessly through the throng, utterly unable to control her own destiny. She was therefore one of few people on earth to be quite relieved when the war broke out, and put the London social scene in hiatus. Her only regret was for Sidney, who almost at once enlisted and was sent to the front.

    Though they protested (frequently), the Desfords were given no choice but to open up Desford Castle (not, in fact, a castle, but rather a gothic-revival Georgian construction) to wounded soldiers returned from the front. While her parents retired to their private apartments and tried to pretend the incursion had never taken place, with a level of affront that you might well ascribe to poor Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s family (to which overexertions might be ascribed Lord Desford’s demise, midway through the war), Georgina signed up for a basic nursing course and volunteered to help care for the soldiers housed in her backyard. In her training course she met, under her real name, Lizzie McGowan-Bell.

    Georgie did her duty in caring for the soldiers, and felt some satisfaction in having given to the war effort in her small way, but she quickly discovered that nursing was not for her. Her privileged life had not much prepared her for a profession where the great majority of work involved cleaning up various forms of bodily fluids. So, when the war ended, she gladly turned over her apron and awaited Sidney’s triumphant return. The English may have been triumphant, but Sidney Worthington, now Lord Desford, was certainly not. He came back to Leicestershire with a ball in his knee that gave him a pronounced limp and a disturbing new predilection for strong liquors. He reviewed his father’s papers with a gloom bordering on apocalyptic, and announced the family to be bankrupt beyond recovery. Lady Desford, predictably, went off into a swooning fit immediately. Georgie only asked coolly what was to be done now. ‘Sell land, perhaps even the house,’ were the dreary responses, intoned in a voice of complete detachment. They were Sidney’s now, Georgie reminded him, with a sisterly kiss on the cheek. He must do as he wished. She would make do.

    Since Sidney did not seem to much care how Georgina planned to ‘make do’, and Lady Desford had not even noticed that she was gone, her departure from the ‘civilised society’ that had engrossed her entire life up until this point was remarkably easy. In truth, she worried about Sidney, but ever since his return he had repulsed her advances, as if he knew her no longer. She could not bear to live with him like this, so the least she could do was remove the burden of her room and board from his plate. Georgie knew well she had no skills with which she could earn a real living, a legal living, that is to say, but she had heard tell, from the other nurses, of new types of establishments cropping up in big cities where a pretty face could earn a lot of cash in a night for simply ferrying a few drinks around, and maybe a dance or three. Georgie thought she could handle that; after all, years in the haute ton had amply prepared her. Of course, what Georgie knew of partying and what lay in wait for her were two completely different things.

    Adopting the name of Charlotte Clarke and peddling a tale of forgettable working-class normalcy, she did earn a pretty penny, but she also quickly learned to lift a wallet or a weapon, spot a gullible sap a mile away, and fend off unwanted advances with precise use of her bedazzled heels. It did not take 'Charlotte' long to realise that there was more to be made out of some of these fools over a long game, rather than a one-night ticket, and she began to develop more and more elaborate schemes to draw out their money. Her domain was a little limited in Leicester, though, so once she had exhausted all the dupes there she moved on to Birmingham.​
    Name: John Michael Shelby

    Age: 24
    Occupation: Member of the Peaky Blinders. Formerly a machine gunner with the Warwickshire Yeomanry.

    Bio: John is a proud member of the Shelby family. He looks up to his older brothers, and while he doesn’t possess their ruthlessness, he is devoted to the business. He has an easygoing disposition, though there’s a temper beneath it. While no schemer, he’s quick-witted. He also has a softer side. In another life, he might have been been bothered by the violent repercussions of his work, but between Small Heath and the war, it’s all he’s ever known.

    During the war, John was struck by a stray bullet in a confusion of friendly fire. He spent three weeks in convalescence, where he encountered the nurse known to him as ‘Lizzie’. Somehow, despite the opium and the unflattering angle, he managed to seduce her from his sickbed. Or maybe it was the other way around. In any case, their relationship was short and sweet.
    Name: Kenneth Smith
    Age: 32
    Occupation: Factory worker/former sapper
    Bio: An evidently shell-shocked former sapper who served during the first world war. In recent years he has taken to a life of petty crime, drinking, drug taking and other pursuits and vices as a means of coping and as a political statement. His deep resentment at being sent to war with Tommy and the other men of small Neath is evident
    His deep hatred of the establishment that sent him and many men like him to war and continues to hoard the wealth for the rich parasites sickens him deeply. Sickens enough to drive him to drink and drugs.
    He is crass and crude but with surprising eloquence and possesses a wealth of political knowledge despite his regularly profanity-strewn speech.
    Weaponary: A souvenier Webley revolver, a trench club and a dagger​


    Name: Regina Elizabeth "Lizzie" McGowan-Bell



    Age: 27

    Occupation: Freelance Journalist, Ex-Combat Nurse in WWI

    Brief Personality: Lizzie is a great spitfire with a title to her name. She isn't afraid to speak her mind and is extremely aware of herself and of others. After she took up writing, she's used it as an outlet to cope with her PTSD symptoms from war. She tries hard to not let the world get to her, to wake up and believe that tomorrow is always gonna be a better day, but her friends fear she might have developed a bit of a drinking problem somewhere down the road.

    Brief History: After doing her time as a combat nurse in WWI, Regina moved onto more pleasant things. She carried a great passion for writing about factual events and developing better global awareness about the crime and hatred spread throughout the world. She became a freelance journalist, opting to write inside and out about the turmoil and depression from the aftermath of the war. This writing outlet also became a source of comfort and therapy for the young woman. She's seen too many young soldiers die in her arms to want to be a part of war again.​
    Thomas “Tommy” Shelby

    (Based on canon, some of my own twists)



    Age: 30

    Occupation: Leader of the Peaky Blinders, former Sergeant Major

    Bio: Thomas is one of the children of a small-time gang leader, the product of a scandalous romance with a gypsy who gave up her way of life for love. (Mother either a. Died in childbirth, or b. Is an available character. Siblings are open to play!) His intelligence and people skills propelled him through gang ranks from a young age, and picked up the slack (along with other Shelbies, though he’d like to think it was single-handed) when alcohol began sapping his father of what little business acumen he once had. Tommy’s ambition shaped the gang from a rabble of thugs into a well-respected illegal enterprise and a force to be reckoned with.

    Then came the war. His father never made it out of the trenches. Thomas did, but a part of his soul was left behind. Four years of tunneling under enemy lines, of dirt and disease and the scraping of German shovels and the death-glazed eyes of comrades, left him angry and bitter, indifferent to personal risk. Enclosed spaces make his heart pound and he is constantly searching to fill an aching chasm in his chest. He relies on whiskey, distractions, and opium to make it through the week.​

    Personality:
    • Intelligent strategist and businessman. Plays cards close to the chest; can be manipulative.
    • Recklessly ambitious, regardless of cost to relationships or danger.
    • Carefully walled-off emotions, with anger and nihilism threatening to break through. Terrified of letting anyone in close enough to see how he’s falling apart at the seams. Has a (well-hidden) soft side, and utter loyalty to his family, as well as the men he fought alongside.
    • His presence commands respect, despite his unassuming stature. He’s mastered the art of bullshitting people into thinking he always knows what he’s doing.
    Likes: Irish whiskey, horses, respect
    Dislikes: Slurs on his Gypsy blood, cowards, slowing down long enough for emotion to catch up
    Tyler “Ty” Knox Shelby


    Age: 24, born 1899

    Occupation: Enforcer for the Blinders, former Corporal

    Bio: Tyler has always been something of an enigma to his family. He was possessed of some need to prove himself for no apparent reason, always pushing himself further than he should. His family has had to bail him out of trouble more than they’d like, but seem to continue doing it for his prodigious marksmanship skills that landed him a spot in the Marksman Corps while in France.


    Long hours spent sitting in muddy dugouts, isolated from the rest of the unit and being completely still. Eagle eyes watching for a German helmet to show above the wooden parapets of an enemy trenches, just to train his sights on a mans head and watch it turn into a red mass after coming into contact with a .303 bullet. Tyler remembers it all, from the first kill to the last. He still wakes at the wee hours, sweating and screaming at ghosts that aren't here.


    Weapons: Tyler carries a souvenir Mauser “Red 9” C96, taken from a dead Austro-Hungarian during the Somme. During times where he his used to attack a rival gang, he carries a SMLE Mark III rifle or Model 1897 Trench Gun depending on.
    Personality: Tyler is often likened to John and Arthur, sharing attributes of both. He’s very headstrong, disagreeing with almost anyone bar Tommy. Willing to butt heads at the slightest provocation, he is usually kept away from any negotiations as a participant. But at heart, Tyler is a big softie, but rarely anyone knows that.

    Likes: Vodka, Gambling, Killing
    Dislikes: Layabouts, Rivals​

    William Edward Byrne

    FC: Michael Fassbender

    Nickname: Will


    Age: 30


    Family


    Father: Edward Hugh Byrne


    Mother: Deirdre Byrne (nee: Taaffe) deceased


    Sisters: Niamh (32), Clara (22), Poppy (16)


    Brothers: Conor (29) KIA, Oscar (27) MIA, Eoghan (24) KIA, Liam (18)


    Brother In-law: Connall Doherty (35)


    Features: green Eyes, Brown hair. William has a sharp jawline and stands at an even 6ft. He is most often seen dressed in a dark woollen tailcoat and simple dark three piece suit (often simply the shirt and waistcoat, wears the jacket to more formalised occasions. He dresses well out of habit making him stand out a little more than the average lower class worker.


    Personality: Despite appearing to be constantly silent and serious, William loves a good laugh and has a dry sarcastic type humour. He is fiercely loyal to his family with the exceptions of his father and will not tolerate slander. He is honest but has learnt through his profession that he can tell a bloody good lie and cover his bases. He is protective to a fault. He is compassionate though finds it difficult to invest his soft side. When feeling hurt or experiencing episodes he shuts off and can come across abrupt and harsh.


    Likes: boxing, privacy,


    Dislikes: his father, disloyalty and white feathers, speaking about his time at war, heat, people seeing his scars (both mentally and physically), thinking time


    Bio: First born son and second eldest of the eight children, William Edward Byrne more affectionately known as Will was raised in a small north Ireland county on the Byrne’s family farm, land worked by their family for generations. His mother and father where married when she was quite young, his father at least ten years her senior. Deirdre was a local girl, wooed by Edward who knew her through family friends. Young and naïve, Deirdre gave herself to Edward though did not comprehend the consequences until she discovered she was pregnant. The pregnancy caused an uproar between the two families and Edward and Deirdre were married in order to restore honour. Though Deirdre dreamed of a more exuberant existence she lived anything but, instead spending most of their early years of marriage pregnant and confined to the farm. Edward Byrne inherited ownership of the land when his father died, continuing in the family business of training horses for supply across Northern Ireland and later provided stock for war efforts.


    The first child; Niamh’s arrival was not greatly received by Edward which was made much more obvious at his joyous celebration when William was brought into the world, a son the most favourable factor for Edward Byrne. William was to carry the Byrne name onwards and like Edward would one day continue the family trade. Across the years Deirdre continued to provide children, three girls and five boys altogether. The siblings were close, with William particularly close to Niamh, Connor and Poppy though he was always protective of all of his brothers and sisters. He did have friends around town and at school but more often than not, the Byrne siblings preferred each other’s company. When he was old enough to take on larger farm duties, Edward pulled William out of school, consistent in his aim of having his son follow in his footsteps. William was fond of his life but like his mother, William needed more in his life. It didn’t go down well with his father and after a furious argument and his father labelling him a disgrace, William left home and moved to Belfast where he joined the police force. He wrote his mother and siblings regular letters and despite Dierdre begging for him to return home, William refused, stating that he was okay but that he was determined to establish a life elsewhere.


    An officer at the age of 18, William worked in the Royal Irish Constabulary within Belfast and due to their strict requirements, did not actively seek out a woman with the intentions of gaining a wife. He was well known to have a lady on his arm when not in uniform though he never felt settled. He was a member of a local boxing club and competed both privately and as a representative of the constabulary. William did not return often to the family farm, only when his mother fell ill and eventually died of suspected influenza and for Niamh’s marriage. William and his father did not speak following his last visit and William refuses to speak of him openly with people.


    With World War 1 declared, people in positions required for the functioning of the country were exempt from joining which meant Edward was to continue working the family farm whilst William’s younger brothers rushed to recruit for the war effort. Though his work meant William was also excused from recruitment, William enlisted as an Irish soldier under the British armed forces, mainly because Conor was said to be separated from the other brothers as he had moved over to England before the war and thus had enlisted under the British force. It was William’s idea to enlist so that he would fight alongside and protect his younger brother. Fatefully the brothers were never within the same unit.

    A fusilier, William charged the frontlines along a long line of men, many of which did not return home during the years of service they saw. Little is known of William’s experiences because he outright refuses to discuss them, even with other veterans save for the passing acknowledgements they would often swap each other. What is abundantly clear however is that at some point William was treated for a gunshot wound to his shoulder, a visible scar left behind and from a particularly horrific gas attack which has left William with physical scarring over his back, stomach and legs and is cause of susceptibility to the common cold. The sensations and memories of the attack have stayed with William who at time has been seen to be far off in thought.


    The return from war was not at all easy, learning of Conor and Eoghan’s deaths with Oscar officially declared missing in action and presumed dead. It devastated the remaining family and William has felt lost ever since. He returned to the police force once released from the hospital where he had recovered from his injuries though regular police work on the streets did not fill the void left behind.An opportunity however was not far away, William successfully promoted into a specialised unit of the police force investigating complex cases and eventually pulled into his senior officer’s office where he was presented with the option of moving to Birmingham for a classified assignment. With little left in his life, William agreed and has moved to Birmingham in the very neighbourhood occupied by the Blinders.​


  • Ada Shelby

    Age: 24

    Role: Sister to Thomas, Arthur, John, Finn and Ty Shelby

    Bio: As the only female Shelby sibling, Ada was forced to develop a thick skin and a strong voice to make her ideas heard from a young age. She is level-headed, and strong-willed, with a streak of the family temper. She has mixed feelings about being a Shelby, as she doesn't approve of their criminal activities or violence, and goes out of her way to rebel against her brothers in little ways. For the sake of our RP, she's single, and deeply maternal towards John's kids.​
    Aleksei Petrov



    38

    Bio: Aleksei, a former professor with grand political ideals, came to England to escape persecution under Tsarist rule. He washed ashore at Liverpool, and eventually made his way to Birmingham through connections with his immigrant cousin who married a British barmaid. He got a job at a textile plant that paid cash under the table, and experienced firsthand the drudgery of factory work. When word of the October Revolution reached his ears, Aleksei cheered on the Bolsheviks from a distance. The local Communist Party branch was slightly suspicious of his nationality, but they saw in him an opportunity, and his charisma won them over. He’s a proponent of armed revolt, and wants to smuggle in weapons through his contacts in Russia.​
    Archibald 'Archie' Gilbert Rosamond, aged 10


    First born son to Bettina and Horace Rosamond, and heir to the family business. Often seen delievering letters with his little sister Henrietta Schmidt-Rosamond who only speaks very little English and mostly Austrian German. Regarded as a sweet boy with a rather troublesome personality; always willing to help his mother out, though, as he is quite the mama's boy.

    Favours the looks of his father; auburn hair that is neatly slicked back, freckle kissed cheeks and bright green eyes.​

    Name: Arthur Shelby Jr



    Age: 32
    Role: Peaky Blinder; Tommy’s right-hand man

    Bio: While Arthur is the oldest Shelby brother, he’s more comfortable firing shots than calling them. He’s loyal to a fault, but his recklessness outstrips his good sense, and he lacks the subtlety and diplomacy needed for leadership. The war left him directionless and angry, and did no favors for his addictive tendencies. Arthur’s looking for an anchor to hold on to.​
    Name: Elizabeth “Polly” Shelby (formerly Gray)
    Occupation: Aunt to the Shelby siblings. Treasurer for the gang, and matriarch of the household.



    Bio: Once upon a time, in another life, she was the proud daughter of a union between the Shelbys and a Roma princess. She married a gypsy by the name of Gray, but their life together was cut short when, drunk out of his mind, he drowned in the canal. After that, the State took away her two kids despite her sobbing and screaming.

    When Thomas (John, Ada, etc)’s parents proved incapable of looking after themselves, let alone anyone else, the Shelby siblings became the children Polly never saw grow to adulthood. She’s the thread which holds the family together. As involved in the business as any of them, she took over its operation while the men were at war, and relinquished some of her power to Thomas only with reluctance on his return. It breaks her heart to see how closed and emotionally distant he has become.

    Personality: Polly is proud, fiery, and strong-willed. She’s the only person who can keep her nephews under control. Despite her lack of illusions about the world she lives in, she’s a romantic at heart. She fights with words and emotions whenever possible, and sees violence as a dull tool that women are intelligent enough to eschew.​
    Eugene Raymond Townley



    Occupation: Australian Gang Member, Ex-Serviceman in France: Battle of Verdun & Battle of the Somme (Formerly) & Farmer (Formerly)

    Age: Thirty

    Summary: Life wasn't the same after leaving the war, returning to a broken family and missing younger sister that decided not to come home after foul treatment from his grieving parents. Eugene missed his little sister, and wished to be reunited with her, so took the chance from his brother when he offered to go find her. Before they did that the two brothers' had to organise some rebuild in York and throughout the rural towns. Taking a shining to being able to take his war related frustrations into fights, Eugene found a career worked well. Getting into contact with a former comrade Arthur Shelby, the Townley brothers' offered their assistance to the expansion of the Shelby business, and docked the next ship sailing toward England to have some more fun. Meeting new allies, an old friend and finding their little sister.​
    Finn Shelby; aged ten (almost eleven)



    Youngest Shelby Brother, and forever dreaming to take his place in the Peaky Blinders to help his family. Finn longs to have the connection his older brothers have. Loyally he follows them like a lost puppy, in the hopes to help them out in jobs that they needed. His closest relationships within the Shelby family are held by his eldest brother Arthur, and aunt Polly Shelby. Sweet boy at heart, and both aunt and eldest brother try rather hard to keep him out of the dangerous side of the family, in hopes that he could have some innocence in his childhood.
    Name:Frank Holloway

    Role: Cousin to Beatrice Holloway; runs illegal boxing matches in London's East Side. A

    !Not my character, so I won't write a proper bio! Just adding him to the list for reference.

    Frederick Otto Townley



    Occupation: Australian Gang Member, Ex-Serviceman in France: Battle of the Somme (Formerly), Farm-Hand (Formerly)

    Age: Forty (Eldest Townley Son, sixteen years older than his sister Dorothy)

    Summary: Fredrick Townley, affectionately known as "Freddie" only by his younger sister Dorothy Townley is a returned servicemen from the Battle of the Somme. Originally recorded to be MIA, he was later found and sent back home to find out that his family had fallen into chaos and out-cast his little beloved little sister 'Dot', on top of that news he learnt more about the debts and struggles men and woman faced after the war creating a gang to rebel against the government. Under his guidance for a time, Fredrick stepped down and travelled to England with his second brother to locate their sister, and offer her some protection and family comfort around her. But Fred has another motive, hoping to settle in the area of Birmingham and work closely with a certain Arthur Shelby to help expand the Shelby's family business.​
    Henrietta Priscilla Myra Schmidt-Rosamond, aged four.



    Final child to Horace and Bettina, born during the war in Vienna Austria, after her mother was formally removed from her family to be a spy against her will. Originally it was unknown that Bet was pregnant until part way through one of her assignments. Henrietta was raised to speak Austrian-German by her mother and third cousin that helped her mother raise her for a short time before moving back home after the war. She's quoted to be a rather curious little child, tagging along happily with her bodyguard, brothers or mother. Horace is rather resentful to himself about not being around when she was born, but has only really taken that anger out on Henrietta thus Bettina has separated the two and she spends most of her time with her mother in the working hours of the day.

    Heavily favours her mother's appearance, with beautiful blue eyes and brown waves for hair.​
    Name: Howard Bell

    Age: 35
    Gender: Male
    Role: Lizzie’s Husband
    Occupation: Chief of Police
    Summary:
    A sophisticated, moralistic man of a few words. He's been on law enforcement for almost eleven years now and shows no sign of retiring. When Howard was 18 years old and just a dumb high school boy, he took a bet that he could bed Lizzie, a girl many boys deemed notoriously difficult to please. This led to a marriage, one that Howard considers himself and Lizzie quite happy in.​
    Name: Ian Patterson

    Occupation: Birmingham Small Arms factory worker

    Age: 32

    Bio: Ian has always lived in Birmingham, in the worker’s housing unit shared by his parents and his sister’s family. He’s resigned himself to the fact that the world is not forgiving or fair. Years of hard labor, with an intermission of warfare, have given him nothing to show but the calluses on his hands and the nightmare of memory. His would-be fiancée fell in with another man while he was overseas. However, this gloomy outlook has not dampened his natural cheerful mannerisms. All Ian wants is a steady income and a loving wife (though he wouldn’t say no to a less-cramped living arrangement). He has a strong distaste for the Shelbys, and sympathy for socialism, but he’s too wrung dry by daily routine to bother with politics.
    Name: Raymond Gallaway


    Age: 31
    Gender: Male
    Occupation: Car Mechanic, BAS Factory Worker (Formerly), Cadet Captain in WWI (Formerly)
    Summary: Lizzie’s friend, that’s all. Joined military to get away from factory work but also to prove his worth to his dad and mum and fight for his country. Has been sober for a while now and gives Lizzie advice from time to time. Started a small, private car mechanic business not far back.​
    Richard Chapman

    Full Name: Richard Sasha Chapman
    Age: 35
    Role: Communist Agitator; Chasity's Husband
    Bio: Born to a English mother and Russian father, Richard began to appreciate the ideals of communism at a young age. His father was a communist agitator who often took to violence to get his point across which led to his arrest when Richard was the age of sixteen. When his father had gotten arrested his mother has changed his last name to her maiden name so that Richard hadn't been looked down upon because of the radical ideals of his father that frequently appeared in the newspaper, and moved them to Birmingham where he would finish his learning and ultimately be raised. Though when he turned 18 he realized that the preachings of his father were right and against his mother's wishes continued his fathers legacy. Now he commonly is found starting small rebellions in factories and spreads the ideals of communism hoping to gather more people for the large scale rebellion he's planning, but he has yet to gather the right people who actually want to set the plan in motion.
 
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kaleidoscopique

kopfkino
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Prestige, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Ideally, my partner and I would work together to advance the plot equally.
Favorite Genres
Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, medieval politics, supernatural, historical, crime, fandom, splashes of romance


tommyxxx


The air hung heavy with the weight of coal smoke and the stench of industry. March was well underway, but winter still hung on by its teeth, mist rising off the canals and sucking the heat from exposed skin. It was not a hospitable place, but it was home. Dusk had fallen, lamps sputtering to life, and the streets of Watery Lane were bustling with workers off shift, heading home to their families, footsore and tired.

Around the corner came a man. His strides were deliberate, his eyes shaded by the brim of his cap, coat billowing in his wake. His presence drew the gazes of passersby. There was distrust in their eyes, wariness, though also a grudging respect. Thomas Shelby was not a good man, but he was one of them. He’d grown up running barefoot along the canals, slogged through the trenches of France alongside the rest of the Brummie boys. His word carried more weight than any empty promise from a distant Parliament, though the revolver in his waistband might have had something to do with it.

Tommy was too deep inside his own head to return the nods and muttered greetings. There were better places to be lost; his mind was not a cheerful place. The echoes of dying men and screaming horses kept pace with his footsteps. He tried to focus on the business, on the cold bite of the air, on the sound of his own breath. Anything, really. That was the fucking problem with long walks. Too much time to think. Next time John asked to borrow the car to impress a bloody girl he’d be less accommodating.

When he reached the respite of his home, the scene which greeted him was reassuringly domestic. There was a fire in the grate, and the air was saturated with the smell of cooking. His aunt Polly stood at the sink, the sleeves of her dress rolled up to do the dishes. His older brother Arthur sat at the table, a half-finished plate of stew before him, staring into his mug of beer as though hoping it might hold answers. To his left, little Finn was scribbling away in his maths book, tongue protruding in concentration. It was enough to drown out his thoughts.

They looked up at the sound of the door clicking shut. Tommy shrugged off his overcoat, slung it over the back of a chair. He tousled Finn’s hair in passing and moved to pour himself a drink from the sideboard. “Where’s Ada?” he asked. “And Tyler?”

Polly turned away from the dishes to level one of her trademark stern looks in his direction, one hand still gripping a half-washed wooden spoon like a cudgel. “What happened to ‘Good evening, Pol. Thanks for dinner, Pol. Smells delicious. How was your day?’ In case you were wondering, my day was shit. Your men could learn a thing or two from Finn about numbers. And hang your coat up.”

Tommy elected to ignore her in favor of taking a long sip from his glass. The alcohol scorched the back of his throat with a satisfying burn. He turned towards Arthur in search of a more helpful response. His brother raised an eyebrow. “What is this, the Spanish fucking Inquisition? Dunno where Ada is. I think Tyler’s upstairs.”

With a nod of thanks, Tommy began sifting through a depressingly large stack of papers on the corner of the table. A bill, a letter from London, a summary of earnings, another bill...he paused to withdraw a note, writing nearly obscured by several scribbled games of tic-tac-toe. He blew out a breath, strode over to where Finn sat, deposited the sheet before the boy. Finn’s pencil paused. “I’ve told you,” said the older brother, “you’re not to touch my papers.”

The boy twisted in his seat to look up with all the righteous indignation of a child on the receiving end of unfairness. “S’not yours, Tom. It’s from school. Aunt Pol prolly put it there.” Tommy squinted at the handwritten scrawl across the top of the page. It was not a child’s writing, the script elegant and practised and distinctly masculine. March 11th, ten o’clock, Bianchi’s. That was all it said. A date for next Friday, and the name of a rather notorious club. The wheels in his mind began to spin.

“Look at me, Finn.” Tommy bent down to eye-level with the youngest member of the Shelby clan. “I need you to tell me where you got this.”

Finn glanced at the paper again, shrugged. “It was Billy’s. We got bored in class.” Though his expression did not change, this piece of information piqued Tommy’s interest. Billy was the son of Richard Chapman, Communist agitator and, currently, on the run from the law. The kid lived with his aunt. Tommy felt an idea taking shape. It could very easily turn out to be nothing at all, but it never hurt to keep one’s ear to the ground. Besides, it was still early evening, and he had business in London. He also needed to busy himself with something before he went stark-raving mad.

He rose, pocketing the note. “No more messing about during lessons, eh?” He gave Finn’s shoulder a squeeze.

Beside him, Arthur let out a distinct snort. “That’s a bit rich, innit? You, giving advice on good behavior.” Polly was still staring at him with a shrewd expression.

But Tommy wasn’t listening. He put down his drink and, when he looked back up, there was a gleam of anticipation in his eye. “Arthur,” he said, “finish your beer and tell Tyler to get his arse down here. We’ve got a train to catch.”


 
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UnrealNox

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Tyler
A scream, followed by a boom. How flesh sounds being torn apart by shrapnel, while horses whinny amid the chaos of war. Feet splashing in the mud as they ran from the whisting doom of artillery shells.

Tyler hated them, the "episodes". The painful memories of friends lost and opportunities missed. He was a killer, tried and true, but he still had emotions. He didn't kill during the episodes, he just zoned out, remembering all that had transpires in France. It was nice to muse on them, the feeling of having a purpose. It went away soon enough, leaving ghost memories in his head as he pulled a cigarette from his case, striking a match and watching it burn for a second before lighting the cigarette. Taking a puff, he pulls on a vest and stares down at the paper in front of him.

Just as he settle down, Arthur opened the door to his room. Tyler stared back, eyes impassive. Jerking a thumb toward the stairwell, Arthur spoke. " Tommy wants you downstairs, right now." With that, Arthur left again, leaving Tyler alone once again.

Sighing heavily, he stood up and reached his comb. Hurriedly, he grabbed his cap and the Mauser sitting in a shoulder holster hanging on the chair. The gun had saved his life more times than he care to count, and the hat had done the same. The trademark razor blade sat in the brim, ready for action. Throwing a black sports coat over his shoulders to hide the gun, he took another puff and went on his way downstairs.

As he walked into the room, he felt a change on the atmosphere. It seemed tense, and the look in Tommy's eyes confirmed it. He had a certain aura about him when the wheels were turning in his head, and that aura permeated the air with a fury. Polly seemed to be giving dirty looks at Arthur, Finn was drawing, and Ada was nowhere to be seen. Ahhh, family togetherness at its finest.

"Tommy, you wanted me?" Tyler raises an eyebrow, trying to guess what the reason is before his brother can explain it. The action was almost a game for him, to keep him entertained while the others planned.

Tyler had done remarkably well in the gang, pulling his own weight and occasionally picking up the slack of others. Bookie security, that's what he did officially. In reality, he was just a dressed up assassin, used to kill indiscriminately for the purposes of others. He embraced it, for he was damn good at what he did. He crossed his arms, hand unconsciously moving toward the C96. Catching himself, he retreated the hand, blushing a bit.
 

Poinsettia

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Beatrice

Beatrice lit another cigarette as she began to thumb through the week's earnings. She squinted at her book and made a mark. The room she was in could hardly be called an office. A hidden safe, a couple lamps and an old armchair decorated the refurbished room in the arse end of a decrepit warehouse, where her cousin held the fights. Her desk consisted of two cargo boxes pushed together, her chair was an old footstool. Beatrice stood, stretched and pulled her hat off, ruffling her hair. The fights Frank held were decently busy affairs. Big enough to make them a fair profit in bets but not big enough to draw unwanted attention. On the other side of the locked door she could hear men slowly starting to trickle in. Lipping her cigarette Beatrice collected the cash, placing most of it in the safe and locking it behind her. She paused, took a long haul and blew a smoke ring. Taking her time, she gathered her book and pen and took one last look at the chalkboard. Frank deserved to wait, after the stunt he pulled the other night. There was barely a day he was sober lately.

Beatrice put out her cigarette in an empty glass and snatched her gloves off of the table before heading out the door. Her mother had always said she had musician’s hands. Unfortunately, her long delicate fingers were just another feminine trait she had to hide here. Locking the deadbolts behind her Beatrice made her way past the men hanging around the back corridor. They were all acquaintances of Frank’s, nice enough, they never gave her trouble. Old George nodded at her as she passed by. “Don’t let ‘im push you about tonight, James. Your cousin is in a right mood.”

Of course, James. Beatrice was masquerading here as her younger brother James Holloway. No one knew, except for Frank and he didn’t seem to care, as long as she made him money by balancing the books. The older men liked to josh her, but she could have expected a much harder time of it is she wasn’t dressed in men’s clothing. Beatrice gave them a closed-lipped smile. “Oh, I don’t let it bother me none.”

It did.

“You lads better be betting on Johnny Chambers tonight”. She winked “I have it on good authority he’ll be winning.” Leaving the scoffs of the men in her wake, Beatrice pushed open the last door and entered a dimly lit room full of smoke and loud conversation. She slowly made her way through the crowd, taking last minute bets as the fighters warmed up. Really the odds were leaning towards Mad Morris coming out on top, but Beatrice had to make money somehow. Frank wasn’t hard to find, he was up near the ring, having a nice little chat with Johnny’s patron. He motioned her over, but she pretended not to see, making her way to the other end of the ring. The last thing she wanted to do right now was deal with him. Beatrice lit another cigarette and glared at her cousin from across the ring. She tugged on her gloves and flexed her fingers. It was feeling out to be a long night.
 
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tommyxxx


As Arthur disappeared up the stairwell, Tommy leaned back against the sideboard and folded his arms in expectation of the inevitable question. It wasn’t long in coming. Polly finally put down the dishcloth and turned to face him properly, wiping her hands dry on her apron. “So,” she said. “You going to tell me what’s so urgent that it can’t wait till daylight?”

He gave a nearly imperceptible shrug. “London looks better in the dark.”

Polly narrowed her eyes in exasperation. “London? Jesus, Tommy. As it’d apparently kill you to tell me what’s going on, I’m going to assume this has somethin to do with the fighting matches. I can’t tell if you’re being deliberately pigheaded or if you’re up to something I won’t approve of.” She paused for a response. When he did not so much as look at her, she blew out a breath. With Tommy, it was important to pick your battles to avoid ripping your hair out in frustration. “Fine.” She held up her hands in surrender. “Don’t talk to me. Just don’t come stumbling home drunk at four in the morning. Finn and I need our beauty rest.” In a gesture of dismissal, she turned her back to him and began scrubbing the stew pot with unnecessary violence.

At the sound of his brothers’ footsteps on the stairs, Tommy rose to his feet. He looked up at Tyler’s question, nodded shortly. Tyler was dressed to leave at a moment’s notice. Tommy didn’t miss his brother’s hand twitch instinctively towards his gun. A souvenir from the Germans. Sometimes, he wondered if some part of Tyler missed the black-and-white lines of the war. His brother was a competent and reliable soldier, and while that often worked to his advantage, he was no longer sure that Ty properly remembered how to be anything else. They’d all left a piece of themselves behind in the mud.

“Listen to me, Ty.” He slung an arm around Tyler’s shoulders, casting a meaningful glance at his weapon. In all honesty he might have preferred to bring John, but both man and motorcar were still nowhere to be seen. Besides, Tyler was a better fighter. It was also good for him to get out and burn off steam. “I’m not expecting any trouble, not unless things go badly. Tonight, you’re here as a Shelby, not a soldier. I want them to see our faces. I don’t want to make any enemies, not while we’ve got nothing but a toehold on the city. Understood?” He shot a look at Arthur. “Same goes for you. You’re my insurance policy. I don’t want a scene.”

Arthur raised an eyebrow. “The fuck you lookin at me for?”

Tommy decided not to dignify that with a response. And then he was moving, shrugging on his coat, turning towards the door. “Come on. We’d best be off.”

*****

By the time the brothers found themselves in front of the old East End hall, night had fallen. The street was alive with voices overloud with drink, the flow of footsteps headed in the same direction. Friday nights meant fighting, and the smell of beer and testosterone and the possibility of making an easy shilling drew men like flies to a carcass. It was always reassuring to see a good turnout.

Through the main doors, where a security guard cast a suspicious glance in their direction before stepping aside. Down a set of stairs, then through another set of double doors. As Arthur threw them open, they were greeted by a babble of noise and a haze of smoke. The dim light, centred on the rudimentary ring in the middle of the room, cast their faces into shadow.

Most people were too distracted by the slight man calling out bets, working the crowd into a fervour, to notice their arrival at the back of the room. There were some raised eyebrows, and those few who recognized them hurriedly looked away again. This far south, the Blinders were little but a collection of stories on the fringe of their imaginations, nearly irrelevant. With luck, and a little strategy, that would soon change. Nevertheless, they had the unmistakable presence of men who meant business.

“Right.” Tommy leaned in towards his brothers, raising his voice to be heard above the din. “I want it known that the Shelbys are in London. If anyone has a problem with that, we handle it quietly. Not here.” He jerked his chin in the direction of Frank Holloway, who was chatting animatedly with one of the managers. “I’ve got a little chat to attend to. You two stay here, keep your eyes open for trouble. Mingle. Hell, place a bet if you like.” He very nearly smiled at that. “I’ve heard good things about Chambers.”

Leaving his brothers to their own devices, he threaded his way through the throng of people, attempting to catch Holloway’s eye. The steel in his gaze made it easy to clear a path. It was good to be moving. Ever since the front door had shut behind him, he’d felt as though he could breathe again. The sense of purpose coursing through him kept him wide awake.

And then there was nobody between them, apart from the manager. Tommy waited patiently for a lull in conversation to announce his presence, hands buried in his pockets. “Hullo, Frank,” he said.

 
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UnrealNox

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Tyler
Tyler nodded in response to Tommy's little speech, an affirmation and nothing more. A he had been planning on spending the night at the Garrison with a some friends, but family always came first. Not putting up a fight, he followed his brother through the door, donning a black knee length great coat as he did so.

∆∆∆∆∆
When they arrived, Tommy had given them a spiel about what thier boundaries were. Tyler smirked wickedly, watching his brother march off imperiously. Big man Tommy, savior of the whole family. He chuckled at the thought of it. Placing his coat on the rack, he patted Arthur on the shoulder and began walking off to the bar. If they were they're, they'd be damned not to have fun. "C'mon brother, the ladies are waiting." Arthur snorted, following behind him.

Both Shelby's sat down, taking off their caps and putting them on the bar. "A vodka Southside for me." Tyler says first, followed next by Arthurs blunt "Whiskey.". Each mans character could be ascertained by his drink. The first was sophisticated, but with a edge of rebellion. The second was out of place, rough and hard in a place of class. Sipping on their drinks, Tyler nudged his brother. "You remember Ypres?"

Arthur turned, downing his whiskey. "Which one?" Both of them had fought in the infamous battles, including Passchendaele and Lys. So that made Tyler think for a second.

"The second. When the Hun started using gas." Both of them shuddered at the thought, so did one of the men sitting beside the brothers. It was still fresh in their minds, despite having happened four years ago. The major attacks had hit the French and Canadians, but smaller waves had hit the British trenches. It was the worst sensation ever, the feeling of frantic horror as you struggled with the mask and the cloud of death crept ever closer. "I'll never forget it. The worst part of the war, in my opinion." Arthur just nodded, not keen on talking. In response to his silence, Tyler turned, finding his brother and spectating the dealings.
 

Poinsettia

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The smell of cigarettes, alcohol and sweat permeated the hall. Beatrice’s voice was getting gravelly, from the combination of smoking, shouting and her constant struggle to keep her voice pitched lower. She coughed and swallowed gingerly, it was advantageous to her at least, otherwise she would have sounded like a choir boy. As she flicked her cigarette away and was about to turn from the ring a small bit of bustle caught her eye. Or rather the opposite, on the edge of the room the crowd was parting. Three smartly dressed men had entered. Two split off to head towards the small bar and the other seemed to be addressing her cousin on the edge of the ring. Surely men so well dressed would have all kinds of money to spend on bets.

From the corner of her eye she watched Frank address the other man. He had pulled off his cap sheepishly and seemed to be differing to the newcomer. What kind of man was it that could make her cousin so demure? Beatrice wondered idly as she wound her way through the crowd. The other man’s companions were already seated at the bar, sipping on some drinks. “Oi!” She called out to them, “Any bets gentlemen? Odds on Morris 7 to 10. Odds on Chambers 11 to 8.” Beatrice knew what Frank chatting with Chamber’s manager meant. Near most of the men were betting on Morris and if he lost… They had rigged matches before, but with Morris being the local favourite they stood to make a pretty penny off his defeat in this match, even if they had to pay off Morris and his manager. It would at least make up for all the money Frank lost betting on horse races. He thought he was so clever, just because he knew how to swindle men out of a few shillings every other weekend.

______________________________________________

“Eh, you make it look good, drag it out for at least 10 rounds and I’ll see what I can do. You have to make it a clever comeback, make sure the men are getting their money’s worth, right?” Frank clapped the other man on the back. Now that that was taken care of… Where was his godforsaken cousin? He had lost sight of her as she had gone about collecting bets. He scoured the crowd for her, cursing under his breath. Frank had missed the small commotion caused by the Blinders entering the hall, but he didn’t miss the sounds of a sure-footed someone as they joined him at the ringside. The hair pricked up on the back of his neck.

“Hullo, Frank,”

Frank turned, plastering on a grin “Well, if it ain’t Mr. Shelby himself. Weren’t expecting to see you tonight.” The ending note was tinged with anxiety. Frank was small time crime, and as it was he had to pay protection to some of London’s bigger gangs. Seeing Birmingham boys around didn’t seem to bode particularly well for future Frank.

“To what do I owe this, ah, pleasure?” Tommy's cold, even gaze made him uncomfortable. Frank's eyes danced about the hall, rather than meeting Tommy's.

There, across the room, he spied James already hitting up Tommy’s brothers for bets. She was either very bold or foolish, depending which end of the bets she was pitching.
 

kaleidoscopique

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tommyxxx


Frank Holloway’s smile oozed insincerity. Even from two paces back, Tommy could smell the booze rising from his pores. He could forgive the alcohol; God knows he understood the need for escape. He was less forgiving of incompetence, and Holloway reeked of the stuff. During their first meeting it had taken less than five minutes to figure out that the man would have run his own business into the ground long ago without the intervention of his employees.

He followed his companion’s glance in the direction of his brothers. With any luck, the business would be concluded before Arthur got completely plastered. It was gratifying that Holloway couldn’t meet his gaze. Pathetic, yes, but gratifying. Nevertheless Tommy wanted his full attention, not to mention somewhere he could hear himself think.

“You have an office, yes?” Tommy tilted his head in the direction of the back door.

Frank blinked. For an exasperated moment, Tommy thought he was going to have to be more specific. Then the man seemed to orient himself. “Ah, right. Thisaway.”

The noise faded as the door fell shut behind them. Frank could feel a nervous sweat creeping down his back, though the liquor could be partly at fault. He profoundly hoped it didn’t show. He could feel the presence of the other man at his back as he led the way down the corridor. As they passed, two of Frank’s men looked up from their conversation to stare. He returned a defiant glare.

His hands were uncooperative. It took three tries before he managed to still the tremors long enough to unlock the door to his office. While it had a proper desk, used mainly for storing old papers and empty glasses, it was hardly more impressive than his cousin’s broom closet of a workspace. He snuck a glance at Shelby’s reaction, but the man’s face was as impassive as ever.

He’d crossed paths with Shelby here and there, and once a stylishly-dressed woman had hung around asking questions, but he’d hoped the lot of them would simply disappear if he chose not to think about what they wanted from him. The stillness in Thomas Shelby’s eyes gave him the creeps.

“Right,” he said again. He sunk into his chair, reclining against its wooden back in an attempt to appear in control of the situation. “Have a seat, Mister Shelby.” He gestured to the spindly stool opposite.

Mister Shelby did not take the seat. Instead, he pulled a slim case from his pocket. It seemed to Frank that he was deliberately taking his time. Tommy put a cigarette to his lips and struck a match without so much as looking at the other man. He inhaled, the cigarette sparking to life, tip cherry-red in the gloom of the office.

The silence grated against Holloway’s skin. He felt invisible, which was not a feeling he was accustomed to. Finally he couldn’t stand it anymore. “What in blazes d’you want from me?” The words burst out, louder than he’d meant them, but the release of tension felt good. “You should’ve told me you was coming. That’s the polite thing to do, that is. Right. I’ve got a match ter run, so spit it out.”

And then the full force of Shelby’s gaze trained on him, and Frank decided that he preferred invisibility. It felt as though those piercing eyes saw straight through him, through his skin and his bones and his very soul, and found him wanting. In spite of himself, he looked away. He scrambled in his pocket for the reassurance of his flask, downed a fortifying swig.

“What I want, Mister Holloway,” Tommy said at long last, “is to buy you out.” He took a drag on his cigarette. “Horses en’t so different from boxers. Better looking, mind you, but the business is much the same. I’ll give you a fair price. You put me in touch with your contacts, and I'll throw in some advice about next Saturday’s races.” From his pocket he pulled a roll of bank notes. It landed on the desk with a resounding thump.

Frank blinked in bewilderment again. He stared at the stack of cash. He took another swallow of liquor to buy himself a moment. Before he’d had time to decide how he felt about this sudden proposition, the other man was speaking again.

“You said you have a cousin. Does the books.” Tommy exhaled, looked upwards. A cloud of smoke rose lazily towards the ceiling. “I’ve got an errand. I need someone with their head on straight, someone from out of town.” He dug into his pocket again, and several more bills landed on the desk.

Frank hesitated. His eyes were glued hungrily to the pile before him. There was a lot a man could do with that kind of money. It was also true that ‘James’ could use the work. But he was doing well for himself: enough cash flowing in to keep him in drink, not enough to bother the authorities. Becoming mixed up with an out-of-town gang was a surefire way to end up face-down in the Thames. Then there was the little issue of his cousin’s gender. He didn’t want to give the impression of attempting to pull one over on the Birmingham bookie gang, were they to find out his little secret. On the other hand, Thomas Shelby had a reputation for not taking ‘no’ for an answer.

He tipped back the flask yet again, half-hoping it would offer some clarity, and wondered when the hell his life had become complicated.


 
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Ratsiona

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Kenneth finished his shift, muscles sore and aching from a hard day working at the BSA. But there was another tension aside from his fatigued muscles coiled up inside of him. A tension deep inside of him quietly ticking away, he felt like smothering it with alcohol but he had work in the morning making more armaments for the King to use in Northern Ireland. They learnt so much in the mud of France and yet so little he thought. Learnt all about butchering people but oh so little about our fucking hubris. He continued walking, biceps coiled and fists clenched. He knew what he needed, where he needed to go.

The Garrison - that one place where he felt at home, where he could start to relax and drown this tension built up inside of him. Alcohol would be a start but he knew he would need more than just that for today more to drown and douse the fire inside of him burning away at his sanity.

And so he made his way to the Garrison. He entered and was immediately hit with the familiar and welcome smell of tobacco smoke. He strode to the bar, he was far too sober for his liking. Still donning his work clothes he made it to the bar and sat down on one of the stools, taking the weight of his work-weary legs. He ordered a whisky, the luke-warm liquid hit the back of his throat with a satisfying heat and warmed up his insides, he could feel himself start to relax already
 
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johnxxx



Location: The Garrison Pub, Birmingham​


Mentions: Beesknees Beesknees Ratsiona Ratsiona

By the time John Shelby pulled up to the curb, gravel crunching under the tires, he was already half-drunk and thoroughly frustrated. The woman in the passenger seat - Kathy? Katy? - was still prattling away about her bloody wardrobe. Something about a dress from London. He thought she was trying to impress him. He didn’t give a damn about her pittance of a salary, or her family. All he wanted was someone he could talk to without developing a headache.

But she was pretty, with her doe eyes and her best dress and her pathetic hopefulness. He considered telling her to shove off, but then he’d be alone, and he felt he owed her a chance. Katy (Kathleen?) Blythe had been introduced by one of the bookies. She was the daughter of a moderately well-to-do businessman, and he’d pulled out all the stops for her. Even after a drive out into the countryside, a picnic dinner, she turned down his offer of a kiss with one of her grating girlish laughs. John didn’t know what to make of her.

He hopped down from the car, moved around to hold the door open for her. There was no point in locking the doors; there was only one car in the neighborhood, and nobody was foolish enough to mess with Thomas Shelby’s possessions. The girl shot him a sickly-sweet smile as her heels met the ground.

“You sure it’s safe to go wandering about?” She glanced dubiously down the dingy street. The air was thick with coal smoke, and a couple of pissed bums were passed out in the alley opposite. John turned his snort of laughter into a cough.

“Don’t you worry none about them. You’re with me.” He might have neglected to mention his profession. He still hadn’t found a way to frame ‘gangster’ in a good light. Mind you, some girls liked that sort of thing. A taste of well-civilized danger. He didn’t think Kate (Kat?) was the type, but then he knew shit all about women. Tommy would have known how to handle her. Tommy could talk an alcoholic into cheerfully handing over the bottle, and John resented him for it.

“Come on, I’ll buy you a drink.” He threw his coat over her slender shoulders and lent her his arm. Unsteadily, she tottered down the cobblestones in her ridiculous London shoes.

He threw open the doors to the Garrison, and was greeted by a wave of chatter and warmth and tobacco smoke and the smell of stale beer. Fuck the countryside, he thought. The pub smelled like home. It was Friday night, and the place was packed with factory workers off of shift. They came for the company, the drink, and, on weekends, the spectacle of the entertainer, with her songbird voice and her radiant face.

People glanced up at the sound of the door swinging open, and upon seeing the new arrival they moved back to clear a respectful path. It was gratifying. John made his way to the bar, and a BSA kid cleared out to leave him a bar stool. He vaguely recognized the man to his left. Smith, he thought. A factory worker with a penchant for spouting politics. John vaguely recognized the man from his past. Maybe their paths had crossed during the war. He gave Smith a friendly nod and tapped on the bar for service.

“Oi, Harry. Whiskey for me, and give the girl whatever she wants.” He gestured to Kaitlyn (Katherine? Jesus.) who was looking around with wide eyes, lip curled at the smell of unwashed bodies and alcohol. The bartender scurried to pour for him. He gulped at his drink and turned to Smith. “Say, were you in Lys? I feel like we met on the train. Mind you, we all looked the same, what with the dirt and the uniforms.”


 
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Kat

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Lizzie and Ian (thank you kaleidoscopique kaleidoscopique !)

The familiar smell of smoke wafted up Lizzie’s nostrils. She sat at the end of the pub bar with a stranger, thumbing through a pair of queen of hearts, a nine of clubs, two of spades, and a three of diamonds. Lizzie chewed on her bottom lip and squinted at the cards in her hand.

“Ah, damn it. Where’s my good card?” She hastily grabbed the two of spades and smacked it down on the dark wooden finish. “Gotcha.”

The silly grin on her face was enough for the man across her to realize she truly had no idea what she was doing, despite her existing claim that she played better while drunk. The bourbon whiskey had gotten to her, just as every complaint she’d filed to him on ground was complete nonsense in his eyes.

Ian had arrived at the Garrison half an hour earlier, footsore and thirsty after half a bloody shift spent shoveling coal into the great belly of the factory furnace. He supposed it was what came of making bets with coworkers. He’d come for a drink, and to avoid the assortment of cousins and nephews who ran wild in his family home. He hadn’t expected to find himself knee-deep in a bizarre card game with an intoxicated woman.

She was gorgeous, and he was glad of her company, even if he didn’t know what the hell they were supposed to be playing. The game had started out somewhere near rummy, which he understood, and devolved as she worked her way through her bourbon. He was mostly sober, and content to watch the fast-flicker of her fingers as she laid down her cards.

At random, he pulled the Jack of Clubs from his own hand. Slammed it onto the bar between them. “Your go,” he said. He wasn’t entirely sure whether or not the hand was concluded. “Say,” he added, “you from around here? I’d remember a pretty face like yours.” His arms ached from work, and he propped his wrists on the bar for support.

“Yeah, only just got back last year,” She stood up on the foot rail to glance over at the stranger’s card and lost her balance a little. Her hands caught the edge of the bar before she tumbled straight into the handsome man. Lizzie chuckled and sat back down. She tossed her hair and and touched her leg against the factory worker’s. “You got a good card, but I have a better one,” she stated in a frivolous tone, unaware he’d won the round. “Beat this.”

She laid down a queen of hearts and grinned, her chin rested on her hand as she stared at the guy in front of her like he was some kind of dreamy model. “I ain’t seen you around here before either. You from London? It stinks over there."

Ian stiffened as her leg brushed against his own, and then relaxed into the contact. Color rose to his cheeks. He wasn’t entirely unused to female attention; he was attractive enough, and been going steady with a Small Heath girl before the war had gotten in the way. But he was unused to women who were quite so forward. Or, for that matter, quite so drunk.

“I guess you win.” Ian stifled a chuckle and threw down his remaining two of clubs. “Guess I owe you now.” At her question, he laughed properly. “God, no. Does this sound like a London accent to you?” Tentatively, carefully, he allowed his forearm to brush her fingertips on pretense of reaching for his mug of beer.

Lizzie took his subtle touch as a case of interest and stepped down from the bar stool to close the space between them. A sudden drop in volume behind him caused Ian to pull his eyes away from his newfound companion and Lizzie relinquished from her pursuit almost immediately. There was a change in the air. The door had slammed shut behind a new arrival and, while the singing did not falter, the man’s presence took up more than its fair share of space.

Shelby. The peaked cap and cocky swagger were unmistakable. One of the younger ones, and about as intimidating as a peacock without the weight of his older brother at his back. Ian spared a scowl for the self-important sonuvabitch before turning back to Lizzie. “You, ah, want to go another round?”

Lizzie stared at the man who’d just strutted into the bar with a gorgeous lady at his side and took a seat at the bar next to a stranger. Those light blue eyes and that flat cap was unmistakably familiar, so much so that she felt her blood pressure begin to soar in anger and embarrassment. Her chest heaved, the cards in her hand warping into a wad of cards.

“Ah, maybe next time.”
She left the crumpled cards on the table and marched over to where John sat and crossed her arms over her chest. “John!”

The moment he turned around, she struck him hard across the cheek with the back of her hand. The dark red welt on his cheek grabbed some of the bar goers attention.

“Who the hell do you think you are?”
 
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Chasity♡
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Interactions: Lizzie ( Kat Kat ) & John ( kaleidoscopique kaleidoscopique )
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Location: The Garrison Pub, Birmingham



“You know what, Fuck you Richard! You’re trying to start trouble for no reason and you’re not dragging me down with your sorry ass when a Shelby shows up!” Her screaming, their arguing, her cries of pain. That was normal around this ugly part of town, though everything in Birmingham looked ugly to her. She hated this place and honestly, she was just saving up so that she could leave.

Start over with a new name in a place where no one knew her as ‘Richard’s Girl’ or ‘Daughter of a basket case’ but where they knew her as Chasity. She always heard that New York was beautiful this time of year. “Aw are you worried about me baby?” He purred into her ear with the smell of alcohol seeping out of his pores causing her to gag slightly as she shoved him off of her. “No I’m worried about me and your son. Maybe you should try that once in a while” and with that she was gone. She slammed the door behind her and made her way down these ugly streets she’s learned to call home.

Her heels angrily clicked against the pavement as she swung the door to the Garrison open with a small on her face. This was the only treasure in this cesspool of a town, the place where she got to play the star in her talkie. Eyes briefly lingered on her before they turned back to the botttom of their drinks and she breathed in the air that smelled like alcohol, smoke, and a good time (which she needed desperately). She didn’t know how a man could have their young son do their dirty work, but she found it disgusting and she wanted nothing to do with it. Billy wasn’t her son, but he might as well have been. She was caring for him while Richard was swimming in his own vomit or getting into trouble with the law, so when she had to start taking care of Richard like a child she figured it would be best for Billy to live with his aunt so that he didn’t learn that what his deadbeat dad was doing was okay.

“I’m gonna go on now” she said to the barkeep and he just nodded his head toward the mic and she smiled blowing him a kiss before she made her way there. Normally she would say something to Lizzie before she went up, to keep her company, but there seemed to be a man who was doing that just fine. So she wouldn’t impose where she wasn’t needed. She would just cheer her on from the sidelines and pray that she let this man show her a good time, because there was another person who needed one desperately.

“Hi everyone” she said softly into the mic instantly commanding the attention of the room, and she loved this feeling. Eyes on her waiting for her next move. “I’m gonna sing for you now, so just sit back and enjoy your night” she purred with a wink before she let the soft music of the band playing behind her take her over and she let her voice do the rest of the work. She sang songs about gangsters and love or heartbreak and turmoil. Songs she could relate to and she others could as well, all the misfits found their way into this tiny pub and she sang these songs for them.

The door to the bar opened and shut again and even though she looked to see exactly who it was, her singing hadn’t stopped. Even when she noticed it was one of the Shelby’s, she wasn’t sure which one cause she didn’t keep tabs on them; but you can pick a Shelby out of a lineup when you see them. They had an aura about them that you couldn’t misplace, now if only she had remembered that this was the Shelby that put her Lizzie through hell and high water. But it was something she quickly remembered when she saw Lizzie saunter over to him with a whole demeanor shift and arms crossed over her chest. Her breath caught in her chest cause she knew what was coming next, and when it did that was when she stopped her singing. Of course she decides to slap a Shelby in front of a large crowd, because she couldn’t ever make it easy being her friend (not like she was any better though).

Chasity moved off of the stage with small apologies as she quickly made her way over to Lizzie’s side and pulled her back from doing any more damage. “Lizzie what the hell is wrong with you?” She whisper-screamed at the woman before she rolled her eyes. “Are you trying to get us killed?” Because of course if this Shelby tried something she would have to hop in to help Lizzie and then they both would have a large target on their back. Her eyes darted to the man she just slapped, and honestly she wanted to laugh at how confused he looked with his cheek red and welting up, but she refrained from that and just shot him an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry Mr.Shelby. She’s just a little drunk. I’m sure she didn’t mean any harm by what she just did” but she knew damn well that Lizzie had every intent of harm behind that slap.
 

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Mentions: Kenneth ( Ratsiona Ratsiona )
Interactions: Chastity ( Beesknees Beesknees ) + Lizzie ( Kat Kat )​

“John!”

At the shout, he turned away from his would-be conversation with the factory worker in bemusement. His eyes lit on the woman towering behind him like a malevolent spirit, arms folded, anger and alcohol radiating off her in waves. He blinked.

Lizzie?” Her face, the curve of her neck - hell, even the scowl - were achingly familiar. But his brain lagged behind his senses. He felt stupid and slow. It had been eons since he had seen those eyes, heard that voice. She belonged to another time and place. And yet, here she stood, in the dingy pub which lay at the very heart of his Small Heath life.

Pain blossomed across his jaw, faster than he could process the unexpected blow. He shot to his feet, stool clattering against the bar. Behind them, someone squealed. It was probably Kate. His eyes flashed with anger and confusion and recognition.

Before he had a chance to so much as open his mouth, the singer had rushed over to intervene on her friend’s behalf. He rounded on her. “What the fuck do you know, eh? She meant it all right.” He touched a hand to his reddened cheek for emphasis. “En’t that right, Lizzie?”

He could feel the weight of eyes, burning with curiosity and horror and barely-concealed amusement. Why, in the name of God, did she have to do this here? His fingernails bit into his palms with the effort to control his temper. He had just about had enough of the goddamn female race for one night.

His eyes fell on Lizzie’s face again. “You’re here,” he said, stupidly. “Why are you here?” And then the anger surfaced again. “‘Who am I?’ Who the fuck do you think you are? And what the hell right d’you think you have to talk to me like that?” Anger was a defense. Anger was the easiest of a sea of roiling emotions to skim off the top, and he focused on it. He took a step towards her.

Even drunk, even with her cheeks flushed and her hair mussed, she was better in life than in his memories. But he’d resigned her to the past, a fleeting happiness, now over and done with. He felt she should have had the goddamn decency to remain there.

“John? Who is she?” The voice at his side, shrill with emotion, made him jump.

He whirled around. His words came out through gritted teeth. “Stay out of this, Kate.”

Her dark eyes widened with hurt, tears welling. “Katherine,” she hissed. “It’s Katherine, you- you complete ass!” Now that the mystery was finally resolved, John realized that he didn’t give a damn about her name. Come morning, he’d probably owe her an apology. At the moment, he truly didn’t care, not when he had another woman out for his blood and a roomful of onlookers.

Ignoring his companion, he took another step. Made a grab at Lizzie’s wrist, not in violence, but in some desperate bid to bring her to reason. “Lizzie.” He lowered his voice. “Lizzie, let’s not do this here.” He tugged in the direction of the back room, hoping fervently that she would see sense.

 
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Lizzie grimaced, grief and rage flashing across her eyes. He’d come back and had the fucking nerve to walk in with a damn woman he barely knew. Her chest clenched, threatening to squeeze and break her heart in two as she stood her ground. She barely heard Chasity’s voice of reason or her stupid apologetic statement.

“What the fuck do you know, eh? She meant it all right.” She watched as he touched a hand to his cheek. “En’t that right, Lizzie?”

“Of course I did, you son of a bitch!” she snapped and stepped forward, ready to send her fist flying. He came down on her again, anger toiling through his emotional and physical self expression. She knew those fiery, intimidating eyes; she still loved them even when he was angry with her. She loved it all, and despite her further attempt to try and put John in his place through physical means, she couldn’t find herself to swing at him.

The stupid woman he’d chosen to take to the pub stood up and intervened. She felt insecurity wash over as she addressed John by his name. Lizzie’s eyes narrowed in on the lady; curly blonde hair, blue eyes, and a body too good for him, perhaps better than her own. She snorted as the girl- apparently now known as Katherine- called John a complete ass. He was a fucking ass alright, but Katherine was a bigger one for getting caught up with him.

“Why don’t you go cry home to your Ma and Pa while I deal with him? I’ll take that jacket too, while I’m at it.”

She snatched John’s jacket off of Katherine’s shoulders and just as quickly, she felt John’s hand wrap around her wrist. Her chest heaved, but his low voice brought a sense of calmness about her, and she followed him willingly into the back room, all while still wearing a mask of frustration waiting to burst at any given moment.
Once they’d gotten out of sight from the pub, far from the chortles of amusement and sudden rumors, once they’d gotten to a place where it was just her and John, she felt tears begin to brim at the edge of her eyes, but she could not understand why, although she wished she could.

Confusion and a hint of fear crossed Lizzie's face.


“Why’d you bring me back here? And why did Chasity call you someone you’re not?”

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Mentions: Chastity ( Beesknees Beesknees )
Thank you Kat Kat !​

John led Lizzie through a set of swinging doors to the private booth behind the bar where his brothers often conducted business. The moment they shut, a screen between them and the rest of the world, he let her wrist fall. Turned away from her, took a steadying breath. He was glad she’d followed; he had been half-ready to send a bullet through the ceiling. The drop in volume, now, was a blessed relief. It made it easier to think.

When she spoke, he turned again. He noticed, with what would have been wry amusement were he not so angry, that she had somehow wound up with his coat. There were tears in her eyes. Now that he was slightly calmer, he could see that she was coming unraveled.

The question was confusing at first. Then, realization came, slower than it should have. He knew her only as Lizzie, the nurse with gentle hands and a fiery disposition. She knew him as John the broken soldier boy. He didn’t know what else she knew. God, this was a mess.

“Lizzie,” he said again. He was almost accustomed to speaking her name again. He liked the sound of it on his lips. “Lizzie, see, that’s me. John Shelby. I brought you back here cos this?” He jabbed his finger at the air between them. “This is between you and me.” More precisely, it was difficult to hold the respect of the community if a bloody woman could be seen slapping him around without consequence.

Lizzie could not fathom how much her world changed after he spoke his full name; a name she didn’t dare utter after the fact. There was absolutely no god forsaken way he was a Shelby, but Chasity’s voice rang in her ears again.

‘Mr. Shelby, she didn’t mean it.’

Her breath quivered as she fought back her tears. She knew who he was. Chasity probably knew during all those years too. A sharp pain stabbed her chest and she burst into an uncontrollable fit of tears. How could she have been so blind? Lizzie didn’t know what to say; she didn’t even like the way he said his name so casually in front of her, but she could not find herself to scream at him about it. It was almost as if that name, the life of a criminal, was his home, and perhaps, it was. She just hadn’t realized it.

“Why do you say that name so calmly? You’re lying. I won’t accept this.”

As she began to cry, John felt his anger draining away, replaced by fatigue. He wished, once again, that this was happening somewhere else. To somebody else. “It’s my fucking name, Lizzie. What do you want me to say? We were at war. I don’t remember you blabbing on about your home life either.” He was torn between the impulse to comfort her and shake her. He compromised by slumping into one of the chairs; it was safest. He didn’t know what would happen if he touched her again.

Lizzie considered how she would deal with this. There were multiple possibilities: hit him in the jaw again, run away crying, or sitting down and talking it out- but that last idea was far from her drunken mind, and so was the first option. Perhaps she should drink more and pretend that this never happened in the first place, pray that she forgot about this meeting. That seemed like the best option at this point. She wiped away her waning tears.

“You’re right, I don’t blabber on about my home life, because I know no one wants to hear it,” she retorted. “But you, how? You, you’re a- well gods, you’re a fucking criminal, according to the news, and you expect me, Lizzie, the good and brave nurse to just waltz in and accept that? I don’t even know what to say to you. And you’re fucking alive.”

She turned her back to him. He was such a gentleman during WWI, he was more than any girl could handle really, even herself when she first met him, but their last encounter during the war, despite being short lived, had carried a much deeper meaning than Lizzie cared to realize. She chewed on her fingernails and tried to see reason, but only emotion ruled within the moment. Lizzie whirled on the man sitting at the couch, glaring at him, malice laced in her tone.

“You’re fucking alive. Let’s get back to that, shall we? You come back into my life and with a stupid blonde lady nonetheless. You never even wrote back to me and you promised me.”

Tears welled up in her eyes once more.

“You fucking promised me, John Shelby.”

She hated the way that name rolled off on her tongue, she hated the attraction she still felt towards him, and most of all, she hated not knowing who he really was after five years. She’d always thought he was a simple good soldier doing his best to fight for his country but it was clear he was so much more than that.


John felt a welling of shame at the reminder. Yes, he had promised to write. At the time he had meant it with every fibre of his being. It was easy to make promises in the sterile white of the medic’s tent, with the scent of her hair wafting over him. Once he was back among the noise and the confusion, thigh-deep in mud and near-deaf from the sound of shells and the screaming, everything fell into a before and an after. The world boiled down to the narrow filter of survival, and she did not belong to the hellscape which surrounded him.

But he was not about to apologize to her. Especially not after the stunt she’d pulled. Abruptly, he pushed back his chair. Rose to look her in the eye. “Fuck her. And fuck you too, Liz. It was you who came back into my life, and not the other way round.” He wanted to reach out, to brush away her tears, to feel her, solid and warm and real. He tried to remember the taste of her lips. In the end, though, he did neither. He spun on his heel and charged back into the main room. Every step between them made it easier to breathe.

Once again, eyes snapped onto him, the babble of conversation suspended. He shot back a defiant glare. When he spoke, he made himself heard above the assembled onlookers. It was nearly a growl. “If any of yous has summit to tell me, you tell it to my face.” At that, the quiet deepened. His eyes roved over them. God knows, he wanted an excuse to hit something.

It was only then that he realized she still had his coat.

Lizzie kicked the chair he’d sat in, blood boiling as she stood in the room alone. Her knuckles whitened as she tightened her grip around the coat she’d obtained from that stupid girl. She’d never forgive him for the way he made her feel now; Angry and out of reason. Lizzie huffed and pulled on John’s jacket then left the back room opposite the main pub area, out into an alley nearby, and screamed until her throat hurt. Rain fell in a steady rhythm, rising in force every second she stood on the cement.

Tears streamed down her face as she slammed the door behind her and leaned against the brick wall, nausea sifting in subtle patterns. She wiped away her tears once more, the garbage nearby making her stomach twist and turn. Lizzie grimaced; her head felt like it was splitting in two and her stomach did not seem to agree with the drinks she’d consumed in a short period of time. She walked to the large garbage bin and threw herself against it, catching the edges with her hand, and vomiting all over the ground in front of her.

“Fuck you, John Shelby. Fuck you, Chasity. Fuck everyone,” she groaned and leaned her head against the garbage bin, only wanting peace.



 
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Georgina Worthington, AKA Charlotte Clarke
The Garrison Pub | Teal | Kat Kat kaleidoscopique kaleidoscopique
Birmingham. It was about four times the size of Leicester, and it felt it. Smelled it, too. Especially in this part of town. Someone had told Georgie that some pub called “The Garrison” was the place to be, but that someone had clearly been pulling her long leg. Small Heath was, well, a slum, there was no other word for it. As Georgie walked down the street toward the pub she could feel all manner of eyes on her, and knew none of them meant well. She picked up the pace.

Inside, it was a different world. Sure, there was still a fair share of soot-covered factory workers and hollow-eyed whores, but there was also a different element oozing through the smoke and booze-filled air. Something powerful and alert, and somehow oddly attractive. Georgie didn’t really expect to get much of a haul from a dingy place in the factory-district, but something in the very wariness of the patrons piqued her interest. A challenge? A new type of mark to explore? In truth, Georgie had grown bored of Leicester. Everyone there had the same kind of stupidity. But here, here was something new. Birmingham was teeming with intrigue and roguishness. And she was itching to test her wits against it.

Removing her hat and coat always drew them out like flies, and Georgie did so very deliberately, revealing the beaded and sequined confection beneath with a look of perfect unconcern. It really was a matter of unconcern for Georgie; for all she knew how to use her looks to manipulate men, she was not vain. This dress, the glistening of her golden curls in the low light, the way her legs crossed and her hips swayed when she walked, it was all a tool. Georgie used it when she had to, and at the end of the day she gladly threw it all away.

Georgie perched herself on a chair and waited. The first fly to her trap was a portly man in his forties, rather drunk, but not yet completely legless, who slurred out a very bawdy offer to buy her a drink. Georgie accepted with a charming smile, and, when he returned, nicked his wallet as she toasted to his good health.

Fly number two arrived as the first ambled off to take a piss, taking dastardly advantage of his adversary’s aged and less functional bladder. He was a younger man, probably around Georgie’s own age, and would’ve been handsome if he hadn’t had his nose broken one or two times and his skin blackened by smog. Georgie threw back her gin and beckoned to her new catch with a curl of her lips. He was only too happy to oblige. This fly couldn’t be got rid of so easily, though, functioning prostate, and all. Georgie ran a finger down his chest and asked sweetly if he liked to dance. If anyone had asked him this yesterday, the lad would have said most emphatically that he did not dance, but something about this blonde’s entrancing eyes made him nod dumbly.

The singer, a disgustingly beautiful woman, had just begun her act, her rich voice somehow sending a soothing vibe out through the raucous crowds in the bar. Georgie took her fly’s hand and wound her other arm around his neck, looking up into her eyes with a soulful gaze that made men melt. This one, being barely more than a boy, nearly fell over his knees went so weak. Georgie sighed to herself. Just once she wished she would meet a man who was, well, a man. They were supposed to be so big and tough, but in the end they were all just pushovers. All she wanted was a man to look right back at her when she turned on the charm and say, “I see through your tricks, and they’re adorable, but we’re going to do this my way.” God that’d be sexy.

As the music drifted around the pub, Georgie’s hand slid down, inching its way to the fly’s pockets. She almost felt guilty about this one, he was so young and practically in love with her already. Probably a virgin. Pathetic. There, it was done, the fly was eaten. She sent him on his way, with an impossible errand to buy her smokes from down the street. With all the low-lives out on the street he’d surely suspect them of the lift, not her. As soon as he was gone she took a cigarette from her purse and put it to her lips.

“May I?” A match was presented. Georgie lit the cigarette and looked up at its purveyor. The man didn’t seem to fit in this scene of vice and misery. He was clean shaven, and, well, clean. Mid-thirties, she guessed, and well enough looking. His clothes were far superior quality to the rest in the room.

“Thanks,” she said briefly, trying to read his face. “Slumming it?” she asked, with a satirical raise of her brow.

He took the seat next to her and lit his own cigarette. “I might ask you the same,” he nodded to her dress.

Here might be a mark worth a real game. Georgie reviewed the options for how to play it. He didn’t seem to want a damsel-in-distress; rather his eyes glimmered at her own calculating look, as if enjoying her scheming. Another player, perhaps? If so, it was dangerous to get involved. Unless he was recruiting. She didn’t think she’d mind a partner… if he was competent.

“I was told this place was all the rage. It seems I was misinformed.”

Up went his dark brows, revealing the full force of his shaded eyes for the first time. In them she read intelligence, and ruthlessness. “You’re new to Birmingham?” She inclined her head and doffed the cigarette in confirmation. “Then, allow me to give you a fair warning. Whoever sent you here meant trouble. Stay off the Shelbies’ turf, or you’ll be sorry.”

Georgie’s eyes glittered, with combined indignation and interest. The Shelbies, huh? And who were these oh-so-scary Shelbies to send her packing? It smelled like a challenge to her. And Georgie was stubborn enough, or foolhardy enough, never to back away from a challenge.

Extinguishing the cigarette in the empty gin-glass, Georgie said lightly, “I don’t know who or what you mean. I came here for a drink. If that’s trouble, I’ll take my business elsewhere.” She rose slowly, making sure to flash the man a little extra leg along the way, and donned her coat and hat.

Her path made for the door, but as soon as she had blended into the crowd and out of the man’s sight, Georgie turned back another direction. There was some ruckus going on near the bar, someone had been slapped and the singing had stopped abruptly. She was invisible now, a stark change from her dazzling brilliance of a few moments ago. With her face shaded and her body covered, she was just another drab brown form shuffling through the pack, taking advantage of the faces turned toward the brawling couple. Georgie didn’t even glance their way.

A wallet here, a pocket watch there, pennies, really. It was about time to move on. She turned to head toward the door again when something sparkly caught her eye. That was not cheap Small Heath fare. That was the genuine article. The woman was looking around as if searching for someone, then her eye fixed on the man who’d been slapped with a shade of annoyance and anger. Georgie took advantage of the moment when she stalked forward, all her attention on the man (who was apparently about to come in for his third dose of female ire this evening), and stumbled forward into her.

“Oho!” she giggled, hiccupping and teetering on her heels. “Terribly—hip—sorry!” Another hiccup-giggle escaped her lips, and she started to move away.

“Wait.” Damnation. A hand snapped out to grab Georgie’s wrist, holding her fast. She flailed drunkenly just in case this was something else – please God let it be something else. “My bracelet is gone.” Her hard eyes fixed on Georgie, boring through her.

“Oh a bracelet! What’s it look like?” Georgie made a show of looking around on the floor nearby, though the grasp on her wrist held fast. “Is that it?” She pointed to a wisp of rope under a table.

“Do you think I’m stupid?” The grip on her wrist tightened painfully. “Give me back my bracelet.” The woman’s voice seemed to be seething through her teeth now. Georgie suspected she would be strip-searched at any moment now, and she lacked the strength to fight this woman off. Not a flash of fear crossed her face, however. She coolly passed through all her options before selecting the least ridiculous.

A slip of the hand and – “Oh look! You’ve something stuck on your coat pocket.” Another stumble.

The brunette disentangled her bracelet from the wool, and returned it to her wrist, still keeping a hold of Georgie and watching her closely. She seemed to be deciding what to do with her captive. “Don’t you know who I am?” she asked at last.

Georgie hiccupped and shook her head. “Are you-are you famous?”

A sardonic sneer met this sally. “They should’ve told you not to steal from me.” She looked over to where the couple (or was it a threesome?) had been fighting, but the scene had dispersed, and the quarrelers fled elsewhere. “They can clean up their own damn mess,” she muttered, seemingly more to herself than to Georgie. With her vice-like grip, she towed Georgie mercilessly toward the back booth.

“Hey! Hey, where we goin’?” Georgie slurred, making sure to stumble along the way. The crowds seemed to part before the woman as she dragged Georgie across the pub, and something ominous dawned in Georgie’s mind. She had a darkling suspicion that she was about to meet the Shelbies, and find out exactly how sorry she would be for meddling on their turf.

The doors to the back room slammed open, and a young man emerged growling something threatening to the whole room. By the way the crowd went silent, Georgie gathered he was someone of importance here. She had just had time to register that, when she was thrown forward, falling to a crumpled pile at his feet. “John! This bitch just tried to steal from me! Train your dogs better next time, would ya?"
 
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Smith recognized the Shelby that came to sit near him, recognized him from the mud and horrors back in France. He looked much older now but his features were similar to his brother's it was hard to gauge which one it was, wasn't the oldest certainly, that one had a moustache. But he acknowledged him and so Kenneth felt obliged to acknowledge him back with a slight nod before returning to his drink.

He drank on his own, there were no communists around that he could find himself among to talk shop with. That was poor operational security, he knew but at least it gave him some chance to let out some of this pressure built up inside of him like a compressed spring, with that he downed the rest of his whiskey with a gulp. He ordered another, the first in a long line of drinks.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A hulking figure came limping with a clink of walking cane striking concrete flooring - flanked by two burly figures walking with rolling fluidity of experienced fighters. It was Alfie Solomons, an indecipherable look on his face, his eyes were wide open but with an absent look in them, his mouth firmly shut. He grumbled slightly as he limped through the cellar, his mind preoccupied by an issue raised to him - "Bad fucking etiquette." He mumbled as he entered his office leaving the two burly men outside, a young looking Jewish lad stood sheepishly in the corner, anxiously wringing his hat in his hands. The lad had raised the alarm, he usually just dealt with smuggling in cigarettes on the side to his apprenticeship at the docks. Some gypsies had come to London and ran an illegal boxing match, not usually a problem except for a few things, they didn't ask first and they certainly didn't have any Solomon bookies there.
"M-mr Solo-"
"Fuckin' sit down, yeah?" He interrupted firmly pointing to the chair as he sat behind his desk.
"O-okay sorry." The boy stammered as he was sitting down, he couldn't be older than 15.
"So you got some information that concerns a... certain foreign element that has failed to do the adequate steps in crossing the border and coming to London, yeah?"
"Wha-? Yes, yes. There's a boxing match without any of your bookies there."
"Oh! That just won't do, that won't fucking do at all! Will it?"
"N-no, Mr Solomon."
"Tell you what, lad - For bringing this important digest of information. How about you go 'ave yourself a cigar and some gin?"
The boy nodded with a nervous grin
"Good lad." He grumbled as he set about writing something down, plucking a cigar and a pen from a pot on his desk. He finished and handed the boy the piece of paper andcigar. "Give this." He tapped the paper. "To one of my men on your way out and fuck off, yeah?"
"R-right... Shalom..." The boy quickly said as he took the piece of paper with shaking hands and left, handing it to one of the guards before departing.
"Shalom!" Alfie bellowed, arms stretched to the air and a grin on his face, before smoking a cigar of his own.

In a few hours a telegram would be sent to Tommy Shelby's office, one that read - "Let's break bread together."
 
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kaleidoscopique

kopfkino
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
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One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Prestige, Adaptable
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Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Ideally, my partner and I would work together to advance the plot equally.
Favorite Genres
Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, medieval politics, supernatural, historical, crime, fandom, splashes of romance


tommyxxx



Location: Fighting hall, London's East End
Mentions: Beatrice ( Poinsettia Poinsettia )

The silence in Frank Holloway’s rathole of an office stretched to breaking point. Its weight constricted his chest. He stared at the stack of cash, wet his lips in nervousness. This was the kind of decision which shaped a man’s future, and he was too bloody drunk to handle it. Or, maybe he wasn’t drunk enough.

An image flickered once again across his consciousness. He thought of his cousin, of her feminine hands and her too-high voice. He thought of how she might look to this dead-eyed shark of a man. Of what might happen to her, were Shelby to discover her secret. Of what might happen to him.

His voice came out scratchy. “I-” He swallowed to cover the sudden dryness in his throat. Tried again. “I need some time. To talk it over, like. With my accountant. And, ah, my cousin’s got a lot on his plate.” He dared to meet Shelby’s eyes, then.

For a moment, Tommy didn’t move, beyond blinking. It was worse than a shout. And then,

“Right.” His hand shot out. Frank flinched, only to flush with embarrassment when the gangster merely collected the proffered money with a sweep of his arm. Tucked it back inside his pocket. “You just think on it. You think on it, and you keep in mind that I’m offering twice what your shitheap of a business deserves. I’ll send someone by next week to collect your answer.” And, before Frank could so much as breathe a sigh of relief at the borrowed time, Shelby had clambered to his feet, turned his back.

As Tommy strode down the corridor and away from the stench of incompetence, he was silently fuming. More than anything, he was angry at himself. It seemed he had misjudged; Hollway’s greed was rivalled by his cowardice. It was still possible that he would see sense, and threatening the man could only result in a confirmation of Frank’s reservations. It would have been satisfying, though.

Frank’s employees fell silent as he passed, eyes brimming with curiosity. One look at his expression was enough to forestall questions. Though his expression was carefully neutral, his eyes were dark with impending storm. He passed them without looking. He would find his brothers, and get them the hell out of the place while Arthur could still walk. Maybe they’d go for a drink somewhere else. The walls of the building were suddenly stifling. He thought of tunnels. He inhaled sharply, and the bare earth resolved itself once again into grimy brick.

The main room, with its noise and open air, was a relief. He scanned the room. His brothers were not difficult to locate; Arthur’s drunken bark of a laugh cut through the din. He navigated the edge of the crowd towards them.

“...and then, right, she decks him right in the-” Arthur’s audience, a horse-faced hungry young woman who was clearly not in attendance as a spectator, turned her head to look, and he broke off. “Oi! Tommy! This beer tastes like piss.”

“Yeah.” Tommy brushed past the girl without looking at her, leaned in so his brothers could hear. “Let’s get out of this dump. Find somewhere else.”

Arthur raised an eyebrow. “Can it wait? I’ve ten quid on the dark-haired kid.”

“We’re leaving.” Tommy’s tone brooked no argument.

Arthur let out a theatrical groan. Cast an apologetic look at the girl. “Sorry, love.” And, with that, the Shelby brothers made for the exit.

 
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Kat

★ sustainable & conscious
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
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Slow As Molasses
My Usual Online Time
Varies
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Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Passive-Aggressive
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Romance, Horror Elements
Genre You DON'T Like
Soft Sci-Fi, Hard Sci-Fi, Furry, Yaoi
A Rise and Fall
a collab between Beesknees Beesknees & Kat Kat

Chasity's heart stopped as Lizzie let John drag him into the room where she wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on either one of them. “Lizzie! Lizzie please come back here!” She shouted after the girl to no avail since the door behind them shut and she was forced behind the wall. If she really wanted to she could have put her ear to the door, the walls were so thin that everyone out here could probably hear what was going on in there. But she knew that Lizzie needed this, the girl had been broken up over John since they had left France. “Fuckin’ Shelbys…” she mumbled under her breath as she turned back to the lot of the bar. She would give Lizzie the time she needed, and if she heard it getting too out of hand then she would step in there and slap the living shit out of John herself, she hated men who thought they could speak to women anyway they damn well pleased.

So she waited. She waited, and kept waiting at the bar. She even went through a few drinks of her own to ease the stress she was feeling, her heart was pounding in her chest as she fiddled with the scarlet red that adorned her nails. Her eyes finally shot up once she heard the doors to the ‘secret’ room fly open and out stormed John Shelby himself growling and trying to pick a fight with anyone who look at him the wrong way. While everyone in the bar felt fear swell in them, she only felt irritation as she pushed her seat out and look at John up and down before rolling her eyes and pushing past him.

“You think you’re a man or something? Ha! You’re only a little boy pretending to be a man and you make me fucking sick.”

To emphasize her point, she spit at his feet before turning on her heels and making her way into the back room, and when she finally found Lizzie, she felt bad for the woman.

This was what being in love with a Shelby turned you into; a drunk, blubbering mess throwing up behind a run down pub. She heard her screaming to the heavens and sighed not even wanting to approach thism but knowing that this girl needed someone to check in her, and it definitely wasn’t going to be that bastard John. “Lizzie…” she mumbled hesitantly as she approached the drunk woman with a sigh as she rubbed her back soothingly with one hand and tried to hold her hair back with the other. “You can’t take what was said tonight to heart, you two were both drunk, angry, and emotional.” She whispered praying Lizzie didn’t really meant what she said about her because she needed to be here to comfort her, not scold her.

Lizzie leaned against the garbage can, sick to her stomach. She threw up again and groaned when Chasity pulled back her hair. “I don’t know why you’re here but you’re the last person I want to see,” she grumbled, and placed on her throat, bile leaving behind an acidic taste in her mouth. “You fucking knew who he was, and yet, you failed to tell me.” She chuckled, her eyes blurring as she batted her friend’s hand away from her. She wiped away at the irritation in her eyes.

“I don’t know who you was thinking I was Chasity. Some fool blinded by love, a coward who couldn’t fucking admit he wasn’t good enough for me… I’m not stupid,” she sobbed, cradling her face in her hands. “Gods, I just want to fucking hit you right now. I’m so angry at you! You lied to me!” Lizzie’s breath shook as she tried to calm down, but found that she could not get her head on straight. Her cheeks reddened, and although it was difficult to see, Lizzie was certain Chasity would notice how embarrassed she felt and that she didn’t want to be seen this way.

The expression of confusion was clear on Chasity’s face as she was pushed away and she tried to breath in and out to calm herself down. She was drunk, and upset. What she was saying wasn’t how she really felt. Her thoughts of calming down were sadly pushed to the side when Lizzie wanted to hit her oh so bad. She looked at the woman with irritation and disgust.

“You’re mad at me because I knew who he was?! I thought you knew who he was since you seemed to be so in love with him.” she said with thick sarcasm in her tone as she crossed her arms over her chest. “I thought you, as an adult woman, knew exactly who you were falling for, I mean shit asking someone who there name is is kinda the first step in meeting them.”

She tried her hardest to not be cruel, but she felt like Lizzie’s anger was a little misplaced.

“You aren’t the only one who fell for a Shelby and got burned for it Lizzie, I fell for John’s brother while I was a doe eyed nurse too. The only difference between you and I is that I learned to get over that man because I knew nothing good was coming out of falling in love with him, regardless of if he was a Shelby or not. Knowing someone for a few weeks while you’re tending to their gunshot wounds doesn’t equal love Lizzie.”

Lizzie sniffed and turned her body to walk out of the alley and away from her friend, but stumbled a bit, foot stepping out of her low heel. She grimaced and used the side of the Garrison to stand back up and place her foot back in her heel. Chasity would never understand how she felt, no matter whether she fucked a damn Shelby or not.

“I have t’ go home. Where’s the taxi? Thought they’d be here by now. I don’t want anythin’ to do with that John Shelby or you.”

“Lizzie, fuck, stop being a child. Let me at least see you home and then you can be as mad as you want to be with me, but sooner or later you’re going to have to accept the fact that you fell in love with a criminal. And sooner or later you’re going to have to stop being mad at me because I knew who he was and you didn’t. Honestly Lizzie, I thought you knew,” she said softly as she slowly tried to approach the woman like a wounded wild dog, because that’s technically what she was at this given moment.

“I knew his name was John, that’s it. I knew he was the best man I’d ever met until he decided to leave me in the dust and never write back. I knew he was everything my husband was not and I fucking hate him for it.”

Her voice was bubbling with distress and betrayal. Surely, Chasity could not comprehend how much the damn soldier had meant to her. Afterall, she did say that knowing someone for a few weeks wasn’t the same as love. Lizzie pulled John’s coat close to her body, the fabric and scent giving her a sense of peace. She’d fucking keep this jacket if it was the last thing she’d do on this god forbidden planet.

“I don’t remember how t’ get home. I don’t even know where the nearest pay phone is or if my husband will even pick me up or whether I have money.”

Her eyes blurred again and she let out a quiet sob, emotions wracking her every thought and clouding her judgement. She leaned against the building once more, feeling lost and helpless.

“Take me home.”

John Shelby hadn’t heard the last of her, she knew that when she saw one of her best friends (her only friend) so torn up about him. She bit her lower lip and closed the space between her and Lizzie with a sign. “We’ll talk more when you’re sober. Right now, we just need to get you home," she said quietly, not wanting to look at her in this state anymore. It reminded her too much of how broken she was after that fucking idiot, he who not shall be named. Chasity wrapped Lizzie’s arms around her waist so that she could be balanced and then proceeded on the walk to her house. It was silent and she hated it, since their beginning of their friendship there had never been such deafening silence between them.

So when she finally made it to her house after a considerable walk she turned to the woman and bit her lower lip. “Lizzie. It’s your life at the end of the day. But I think you and John should talk, in a better spot where emotions aren’t as high. He cares for you, I can tell. And you care for him, maybe it’s different for you two. Maybe a few hours were all you two needed,” she whispered, almost jealous of their caring for each other. Lizzie went to wrap her arms around Chasity, a gesture much needed in the moment.

“It was so much more than a few hours,” Lizzie mumbled. She pulled away and hit the doorbell. It rang and she let out a huff, ready for her husband to start flapping his gums again about how being drunk was wrong, and it hurt him.

“I’m gonna go home, make sure you get in safe Lizzie, and just think about it.” And with that she was turned back around with lit a cigarette so that she could make her own way back home, a place she honestly didn’t want to be right now.

Howard came to the door and opened it, a sigh leaving his lips. She’d gone and done it again; Lizzie knew he hated it. “Bye,” she whispered, as Howard silently thanked Chasity and led Lizzie inside. The door shut behind the two and only the cold winds and eerie atmosphere was left of the night.
 

kaleidoscopique

kopfkino
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Prestige, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Ideally, my partner and I would work together to advance the plot equally.
Favorite Genres
Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, medieval politics, supernatural, historical, crime, fandom, splashes of romance


john + georgiexxx





Mentions: Chastity ( Beesknees Beesknees ), Lizzie ( Kat Kat )
Collab with Kythera Kythera ; thank you!


At John’s challenge, mutters ceased and eyes averted, though Ian’s fists bit into his palms in an effort to restrain his temper. Of course a bloody Shelby would come between him and the first bit of good luck that had come in way in months. He thought he could take the scoundrel, but withstanding the full force of the family ire was another matter. They thought they were untouchable and, for all practical purposes, they were. Stripping hard-earned cash from the pockets of ordinary workers, the mere presence of the middle brother sufficed to silence most dissidents. It was enough to make Ian sick. Still, for the sake of his little sisters, he’d settle for grumbling into sympathetic ears. Maybe that made him weak. Maybe it made him smart.

A shove, and John stumbled sideways before catching himself. He whirled just in time to receive a scathing look of disgust from the Garrison’s resident singer. Before he could point out that it was unwise to insult the guy who worked for your salary, the door slammed behind her. He stood statue-still, rage and exhaustion battling for dominance with every beat of his heart.

“John!”

He spun around at the sound of his name, ready to lash out, then stopped in confusion. It was Ada, dragging a well-dressed woman by the forearm. He looked at his sister, then down to the girl at his feet. Ran a hand over his face. “Jesus fucking Christ, Ada. This is not the time. Go talk to Tommy.”

Ada rolled her eyes at him. “Tommy’s out of town. You know, on business. You might as well man up and make yourself useful.” She peered at the mark on his cheek, only now beginning to recede,and a malicious grin crept to the corners of her lips. “She got you good, didn’t she?”

John flushed. “Lizzie’s none of your damn business.” He glanced back at the would-be thief. She was pretty, and much too stylish to belong to Small Heath. He would have remembered her. He did not want to deal with her; he felt incapable of dealing with much of anything at the moment. But he was conscious of his own ineptitude. He was not Tommy, and while he didn’t want to become lost in that same emptiness, he felt pressured to live up to his brother’s confident certainty.

“Right.” He bent down and, with all the venom that he’d refrained from using in his confrontation with Lizzie, hauled her roughly to her feet. His eyes met hers. Under normal circumstances her gender and costume of innocence might have tempered his reaction. Tonight, they worked against her. If he never saw another representative of the female gender, he thought it might be too soon. They seemed to have an unspoken agreement to do him in tonight.

“Listen here, you fooking gaffler. Dunno who you think you are, walking in here dressed like a high-class whore, and I don’t much care. You picked the wrong bloody pub in the wrong bloody neighborhood. See, this is Blinders turf, and that was my fookin sister. You dip your fingers where they’re not wanted, you lose said fingers.” He realized he was shaking her and dropped her shoulder as though scalded. Took a sharp inhale in an attempt to regain control. “Tell me why you’re here.” His voice shook with the effort of restraint.

Georgie tried to scramble back to her feet, and felt herself being dragged up by one arm. Continuing her drunken act, she slurred out a protest laden with hiccups, and once on her feet stumble and swayed suitably. Inside, her mind was processing all the information. Names, accents, attitudes. Blinders… something about it sounded familiar. Georgie wasn’t yet steeped in the criminal underworld enough to be familiar with all the gangs of England. But this seemed to be a prominent one in Birmingham, that much she had gathered. Which meant she really was in trouble.

“Sister!” she giggled, looking back and forth between the pair once John had released her from his vigorous shaking. “Look alike!” She let another giggle escape her lips, like a bubble that couldn’t be held in. “We found the bracelet! Not stolen.” Her head swayed side to side, and she let herself fall forward, tumbling into John and catching herself on his chest. “Thieves are naughty…” she whispered, walking her fingers up John’s chest, and hoping secretly he wouldn’t break them off for her impudence. With any luck, he would just grow impatient with her drunkenness and thrust her away, and then she could leave this place and forget the whole stupid adventure. She could kill that idiot who told her to come to the Garrison tonight. Clearly a trap. Why hadn’t she just stuck to the higher-class joints that she knew? True, they were boring, but at least she didn’t end up with her head on the chopping block, surrounded by gangsters.

John stumbled back a step as the woman leaned into him. He wasn’t entirely sure what to make of her reaction. He gripped her wrist, putting a stop to her wandering fingers. The last thing he needed was for Lizzie to walk in again with yet another woman swarming all over him.

“Christ.” John didn’t know if Ada was referring to him, to the woman, to the world at large. Apparently deciding that her brother’s approach was inadequate, she forced herself between them. She leaned in, placed her hand on the pickpocket’s shoulder. The gesture would have been friendly if her gaze wasn’t steel-sharp. “Cut the bullshit. It’ll make this easier for the both of us. Tell me what your deal is, and we might come to an arrangement. Who sent you? Why are you here?” Her lips nearly brushed the woman’s ear. “Or, if you like, I can leave you to the tender care of my idiot brothers.”

Georgie looked back at the woman speculatively, her brown eyes unreadable and cool. The hand was not a grip, as she had expected, but almost a comforting touch. And though she looked deadly serious, and still spouted threats, something about her seemed understanding. Georgie wasn’t sure why, but she felt almost at ease. With a half-shrug and a rueful smile, she dropped the act.

“No one sent me. Or at least, no one who meant me to come out alive, that’s for sure. I didn’t know it was your turf, alright? I’m new to Birmingham. And look, I’m sorry about the bracelet, but you got it back, so we’re good now, right?” She flicked her gaze back to John and pursed her lips. “I promise, you’ll never see me again. This isn’t really my cup of tea, anyhow.” God she needed a cigarette. Outside she was all calm collection, but internally Georgie was shaking. She only hoped she hadn’t just dug herself in deeper.

Ada drew back to consider. A gaze flickered between the two siblings. A language of eye contact and shared history. For all their differences, they were family, and she had always held a soft spot for John. While she held no real ill wishes against the newcomer, neither could she let the trespass go unpunished. And John was still smouldering with an anger which very much desired punishment. As far as her disaster of a family went, John was a good kid, but she didn’t want to see how far he’d take this in his present state. She decided a compromise was the best way to avoid serious injury.

“Right.” Ada’s voice was all business. “Here’s what’s gonna happen. You’re going to tell us your name, and your address, and you’re not going to so much as think about running, or lying, because you’re playing out of your league. We’re all going to go home and sleep off the night.” She shot a look at John before continuing. “Starting tomorrow, you owe us a debt, and you’ll work it off. There’ll be no slicing of fingers.”

A mouthful of breath that she hadn’t even known she was holding in hissed through Georgie’s lips. “My fingers are relieved,” she said, her voice as dry as paper as she wiggled a handful of digits before her. At least she was escaping with her life, and all her appendages. That was something. She’d face what came tomorrow tomorrow. Georgie bit her lip, throwing a glance at John to make sure he wasn’t still going to pounce. “My name is Charlotte Clarke.” She drew a card from the pocket of her coat with two elegant fingers, and handed it to Ada. “You can find me there. I’ll be waiting for you tomorrow, rest assured.” And aquiver with anticipation, she added to herself. She rather judged these people didn’t have quite so much of a sense of humor, though. She wondered if she should ask what kind of work she would be expected to do for them, but decided it was best to wait and see. Or perhaps she was too scared to find out. But she didn’t admit that, even to herself.

Ada took the proffered address. She narrowed her eyes at Clarke, but detected no deceit. She didn’t seem with it enough to keep a stack of false cards handy. Under different circumstances, Ada thought she might have liked the woman, but a would-be robbery put a damper on her good will. “Well,” she said. It was almost cheerful. “Glad that’s settled. I’m off to bed.” And, with that, she spun on her heel.

John stood a moment longer, staring at ‘Charlotte’ with a glazed expression. Exhaustion seemed to permeate his very marrow. Then, without a word, he turned away from her. Slung himself back onto his bar stood. He banged his fist on the counter with enough force to slosh drinks. “Whiskey,” he said through gritted teeth.

The bartender obliged. If it weren’t so dangerous, in that instant he might have pitied John Shelby.

 
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