Sidestory - Tuesday, June 14th, 1932

by Julie

Libby was just closing up the shop--the last time she'd do it for at least a week, she realized, and she felt numb. Unless she snuck in tomorrow--and she didn't think she'd have time, with all the last-minute preparations she had to make before Thursday--this was the last time she'd stand behind the counter a free woman. She stared at the ring on her finger, in the hopes that would cheer her, but she drew no comfort from it. She was madly in love with Jack, but was it enough?

The bell on the door tinkled as a beautiful, confident woman strode into the shop, looking around. Her bias-cut dress was more stylish than anything Libby had for sale, and prettier than Libby's wedding dress. She knew there was no reason to hate Glory--she and Jack had made their choices--yet she couldn't help it.

"Welcome to Libby's," she said without her usual inflection. "How may I help you?"

"Just shopping," Glory said, examining a polo shirt, evidently not impressed. "Graeme and Jack went to the pub; figured I'd give them some time to catch up. Graeme still feels a bit guilty." She laughed. "Jack had it coming, though, after swearing to go straight for me and then changin' his mind."

Libby cringed, and took a couple steps towards the door, trying not to think about Jack doing the same to her.

"A girl gets lonely when her fella's incarcerated, you know," Glory added irrelevantly. She spied a pair of white pumps and sat down to try them, without asking for help. "What are you going to do if it happens?"

"Why do you think Jack's smuggling again?" Libby asked.

"And who said anything about smuggling?" Glory replied with a smirk. As Libby got the sinking feeling that Jack's occupation was so obvious everyone on the island probably knew, Glory added, "Don't worry; I won't tell." She leaned back in the chair, letting the new shoe dangle uselessly from her toes. "He's a good fella. When I first met him, I banged my foot on the couch something awful and I just kept a smile on my face, 'til he said life's too short to pretend to be someone you're not. And when I cursed a blue streak, I swear he liked me all the more for it. He was the only person who loved me for who I was, who didn't seem disappointed that I wasn't a perfect lady." From the shine in her eyes, Libby suspected the woman still loved Jack.

Glory kicked off the shoe, laughing. "Don't get jealous, now. You used to be rich, right?"

Libby flushed.

Glory went on, "You look well-brought-up; you have this bearing about you. You look too good for him, tell the truth."

"Don't humor me," Libby said coldly, wishing the woman far away from her. And then she and Glory were in the tavern, the one Jack didn't work at, sharing a table. Glory had a bag from Libby's shoppe; she'd bought a pair of shoes after all, judging from the box inside. Libby could feel that she'd had maybe three drinks, but Glory was too startled to be very drunk herself. She cursed a couple times, asking Libby what had happened. Libby explained her powers, hardly caring what Glory thought.

Glory laughed--she didn't even have a drink in front of her, Libby noticed. "You do that often?" Glory asked with a grin.

"Dry up," Libby said.

"And you can't control it?" When Libby didn't reply, Glory added, "You need to cheer up. You're marrying a great fella. Aren't you happy?"

Libby silently finished her beer.

"You love him, right?"

"Of course I do!" Libby banged her mug down on the table, and glared at Glory. "It's the same problem you had with him."

"Funny, I didn't think he was in jail," Glory said, a bit smugly. "He promised you he wouldn't get caught, right?"

Libby called for another beer, and drank most of it before murmuring, "Didn't he tell you the same thing?"

Glory shrugged. "The authorities are pretty useless here; even I noticed it, before Graeme said anything. You have no reason to worry about him."

"I shouldn't have to worry anyway," Libby snapped back, looking at Glory so fiercely the woman nearly backed off. "Is it wrong of me to expect he love me more than his work?"

Libby could tell Glory was trying hard not to laugh. The woman got control of herself after a moment and edged closer to Libby, softly saying, "You don't understand, do you? If you have a falcon for hawking, you can clip his claws and even his wings, tie him to a post if you like. But if you don't let him fly, he's not gonna be happy...and I don't think you'd be happy, either, watching him turn into a sparrow."

Libby finished the beer, in part to hide how startled she was at the relative eloquence of Glory's words. "Couldn't I at least train him to stop poaching on the king's land?" Glory smiled weakly, and Libby lay her head down on the table. "I love him. I'm just so scared to lose him."

Glory put a hand on Libby's, laughing. "You can visit a fella in jail, Libby. And you know Jack; he'll make sure you're taken care of, if it kills him."

Libby knew Jack was immune to gunfire again, but the image of him lying pale, cold, and still, gave her chills. "Don't say that."

The laughter left Glory's eyes, replaced with sympathy. "I get it. You know if you leave him, you'll lose him, but you're scared if you stay with him, you'll lose him too." She smiled sadly. "You wouldn't believe it, but I felt the same way when I married Graeme."

"It sounded to me that you married him out of spite," Libby replied.

Glory smirked.

"Well, if Mother were here, I'd have an easier time going through with it," Libby said weakly.

"You think she'd like Jack?"

"I know she'd hate him." Libby laughed. "But you didn't really do it to upset Jack, did you?"

Glory laughed too. "I'm glad he's happy."

"Are you sure he is?" Libby asked softly.

Glory rolled her eyes, cursing. "You're the most insecure woman I've ever met. Your Jack's a meat-and-potatoes man. Do you really think he'd stay on this crazy island--away from his mates--with a woman who can make him vanish in an instant--if he didn't love you?"

Of course Libby had known all that, but it felt good to hear someone else say it out loud. Even if Glory was probably speaking to get rid of her own guilt for leaving Jack.

"Tell me it's worth it?" Libby asked.

Glory stood up, smirking. "I'm happy I married Graeme. I'm not going to tell you how to feel. For heaven's sake, you're a grown woman. And it's gettin' pretty late in the game to be changin' your mind."

Libby's eyes fell to her engagement ring again, and she remembered scouring the shop in Marquis, finding nothing she liked, and finally describing what she'd like for Jack to look for when he went out working. She didn't know if he'd hit on it right away or if he'd searched the jewelry shops of Gate Town, maybe even looked through Rellins or another town on the mainland; Jack was hardly the type to brag about spending time in jewelry stores. But it really was perfect, exactly what she'd wanted. She gently fingered the band, smooth except a line of curlicues to ornament it, and the beautiful sparkling diamond. She could feel him slipping it onto her finger, the roughness and strength of his hands, the warmth of his embrace...

When Libby looked up, Glory was gone, and so was much of her own fear. She was still anxious deep inside, the same way she'd felt when she'd gone to college, or started the Freak Show, or even when she left New York. She couldn't know what would come in the future--if they could have children, or what kind of troubles Jack, or herself, might face. But she'd rather have Jack, even locked away, than live without him. She was sure of it. And besides, she'd always have her friends to back her up. Libby laughed out loud, put her money on the table, and headed for home.

On to Thursday, June 16, 1932

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