For more information, take a look at the OVERTURE.
Title: Thoroughly Modern Winry
Not for the Life of Me
Author's Note: So here is the first chapter at last. Man this has been quite a struggle, figuring out how I want to deal with the different songs and ‘dance’ scenes. I doubt I will deal with them all in the same manner, but I’m glad with what I did with these first two.
Even harder than that was getting use to incorporating 1920s slang in there. It almost seems like when people try to add Japanese terms for poor reasons to their fanfiction—cases where it is unnecessary, obviously forced, and obvious that said writers don’t know a speck of proper Japanese. Always a pet peeve of mine, so I hope it doesn’t sound too artificial, please let me know if it does.
This was actually suppose to extend past more scenes than this but it started to get long so I had to cut it O.o
A cookie for anyone who catches the one RENT reference in here. XD
Still trying to figure out who Trevor Graydon should be. Again. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
. . . 1 – 1. . .
“Miss?” a voice called faintly.
She made a small protesting noise in the back of her throat and shifted somewhat, hoping that whoever was calling her would get the point and leave.
“Miss!” Now it was more fervent, and so the young lady came to the sad, sad conclusion that she would have to wake up whether she wanted to or not. With more stretching ( a well aimed arm nearly knocked the steward's hat off ) and grumbling than was probably necessary before she finally sighed and opened her eyes to stare at him with an at first angry stay, which after a couple second flipped to mild confusion.
The steward looked at her nervously, intimidated by both stare and the fact that it seemed like she had tried to lob his head off earlier “Umm,” he began, hesitantly, “we've reached Manhattan, Miss.”
He saw comprehension finally dawn and her and she let out a gasp, annoyance immediately melting from her expression. She leapt up, taking ahold of her two suitcases and dashed away. “Thank you!” she tossed hurriedly behind her as she raced out of the subway.
The steward stared after the strange young woman, uncertain of what to make of that strange little bout they had, had. He walked down the aisle slightly, stepping down to pick up the straw hat that had flown off her blonde hair. He wrinkled his nose. A straw hat? She must either be incredibly poor, incredibly unfashionable, or have come from a long, long ways away. Probably a combination of some of those, even. Come to think of it, she had also been wearing rather dull garb—a peasant dress with a slightly dirtied apron on top. A country girl from the looks of her attire, strangely enough she had had fair skin which one wouldn't have expected from someone who probably worked in fields. He strode to the window where he saw her standing right outside the subway door turning this way and that, an ecstatic expression on her face as she looked at the people milling around her.
He whistled, catching her attention and then tossed the hat at her which she surprisingly snatched right out of the air and plopped on her head, returning him with a bright smile.
“Thank you!” she said again, her voice sweet and genuinely grateful. So very unlike the woman who had given him that acidic stare.
With one last look at the steward, she adjusted her hat, took her suitcases up once more and climbed the stairs up to the city of Manhattan.
When Winry got to the top she dropped her bags and stared in awe.
It was so much more than she had imagined.
Sure she had studied all the pictures in magazines. Sure she had read up on all the books that she could find in her small home of Salina, Kansas. She had even gone as far as to memorize the subway map, too, so no matter where she ever found herself she would always know where to get where she wanted. From here she knew it was one block north to Macy's and two to Brother's Brooks. Nothing could have prepared her for this..this platinum version of the Emerald City, this sprawling metropolis of gray, silver and black colors. All the buildings towered over her and she had to crane her neck just to see the top of them. Flivvers cluttered the roads with the occasional Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost or Chrysler Six—indicative of those swells. The streets were crowded with people all walking to and fro: some to their jobs, some to their homes; countless places, she was sure. There was actually somewhere to go in this place.
A small grin began to form on her face. Oh just look at them, all hurrying—people who made something of their lives. It was so different from home where life was so slow and people had no desire to roam. Dry, old Salina, Kansas where everyone knew everyone and where people wondered why she had sung the Blues. When she had proposed the idea of moving here so many people had begged her to reconsider. Her grandmother had said she'd just become lonely and miss home. It has been just one of those many days where she felt like the whole world was against her, and when you lived in such a tiny isolated place like Salina that rarely ever got any news or any visitors, it might as well be the world. A dusty, restless, monotonous world.
Her hand slipped into the pocket of her simple dress and withdrew a ticket from within it. Her grandmother had been the one to insist on it, and she had finally caved only to give her a sense of calm. This ticket home, in her pocket, for which she could return home when she wished to. This ticket home, that would return her to a safe and certain life. This ticket home, to do whatever she pleased with.
With one quick motion, she ripped it in half.
Burn the bridge! Bet the store!
She was not fleeing back home!
“Not for the life of me!” she whispered to herself, taking a deep breath of air and puffing herself up, taking her suitcases and marching forward. Her life wasn't in Salina, Kansas: a one-light town where the light is always red—an old ghost town where the ghost wasn't even dead! She as going to be more than a simple country wife making babies till she croaked, going to be more than the leading role in a farmer's daughter joke.
Winry had come to New York to make something more than that of herself. She was going to make her own destiny and not just grab ahold of whatever came her way. The world was moving fast these years and she would be damned if she let herself be left behind so with buzzing curiosity she came to a plaza where many people were gathering—a hot spot! There she stood in the middle in her peasant clothes and long hair—a green glass brooch amongst dozens of emeralds, diamonds and rubies. Everyone else had the modern look and she stood out like a sore thumb but she either didn't care or notice, most likely the latter. She drew up to a group of snazzy men, all dressed up and looking keen who seemed to be chattering about something serious.
“...and they think we're all mad, but heaven knows the world has gone to rack and ruin!” one man was saying in a gruff voice. He was a humongous man, mostly blonde with a simple blonde curl. Winry was a little distracted by what seemed to be pink sparkles emanating from him when another suddenly spoke.
“Women these days! You give them an inch and they take the whole mile!”
Another snickered “You don't even need to give them the inch, they'll just take whatever they want.”
Winry frowned: What did they expect? Women to continue to just lead their lives with their heads bowed? She turned slightly when a group of women approached the men, and she suddenly found herself caught up between the two groups.
The supposed 'leader' of the group from the way she strode in front of the groups, two women tailed a little behind her on either side, had short dark hair and a beauty mark on her cheek.
“Oh, Armstrong. You just hate modernism. You just think that what we think is chic, unique, and quite adorable is odd, and 'Sodom and Gomorrah'-able” she teased with a small smile on her face. The other women grinned a little, these men so wanted to stick with their biblical traditions. Thankfully it was only a scattered few here and then, most people liked the changes that the world was undergoing. World War I, the first war that had admitted some women and had depended so much of those back at home had shown that they were just as capable. The Roaring Twenties were in full swing and if these people wanted to remain in the past, so be it.
The man, apparently named Armstrong stood up straighter and raised an eyebrow, but seemed unoffended. Winry looked between them a little confused, this didn't seem very much like an argument, but just a friendly and silly banter.
“We simply understand that decency is flying out the window, Ross” he said gruffly, but even his mustache could not hide his grin.
Many people seemed to be coming in to join the friendly spat and Winry, determined to fit stepped towards the first group behind Ross. “But the fact is everything today is thoroughly modern!” she spoke and suddenly all eyes turned on her, and she realized at last that though she had been right in the middle of everything no one had noticed her until then.
For a moment she was in the spotlight, mouth slightly open but she plunged on, refusing to be daunted. She gave a bright smile and tiny wave appearing like a bright sunshine “We can't cling on to the past, right? Things have to change, and that includes us. We don't want to be forced to stick to kitchens and babies when we can do so much more!”
No one answered her, but eyes remained on her. The two women she was next to were studying her as if she were some phenomena before they finally said in unison “Check your personality.”
She stumbled over to the other group, looking back, what was wrong with her personality? When she turned around to face the other duo, before she even reached them they muttered “Better face Reality.” and strode off. The group dispersed and Winry was left, wondering what was wrong with her. It took a moment of studying herself, the others, and her surroundings before it finally hit her.
Well, of course!
She may be out of hickville, but that didn't mean hickville was out of her.
. . . 1 – 2. . .
Perhaps it hadn't been the wisest thing. She didn't have much money...well...now she hardly had any money except for a couple dollars for food, but it had to happen for her to get anywhere, right?
Winry studied herself in the mirror, quite pleased with what she was seeing.
“This is 1922!” she said, spreading her arms out to her sides so she could see everything better and turned about. A trip to the salon and snip here and there had given her stylish bobbed hair. Her hand reached up to finger what remained of her head. It felt so strange, when they had been cutting it off it had felt like a part of her was being snipped away. She had had long hair for many years, it'd take getting use to.
Along with her clothes, her old clothes had gone out the window and she was wearing a short sherbet and fuchsia dress. It had a multi layered skirt, the top layer ended, scandalously above her knee and was the one of the layers which covered her front. The other two fell down elegantly, in ways behind her. To finish the look, she had on tan heels and a cute little that fit to her new hairstyle. No more straw hats for her!
It was an investment in the end, a risky one, but an investment none the less. If she wanted to go through with her master-plan that would bring her to the top tier she had to look good. She grabbed her suitcases and went out the door, thanking the clerk one last time. She strode through Manhattan's streets much more confidently. Now she looked the part of a modern too, and it'd be no trouble fitting in and paving her way. Oh cheery day! The sun was in the sky and she was on her way to finally making her dreams come true, from here on life would be perfect, from here on life would be--
And suddenly her vision was swirling and littered with stars and there was a pain in her face. She fell to the ground, suitcases going down with her and next thing she knew she was being dragged to the alleyway she had been passing by. She shrieked as she felt hands ripping the suitcases out of her hands and she looked up to see two scrawny looking kids reaching at all her belongs. There went her hat, suitcases, and one rascal was ballsy enough to grab her foot and steal one of her shoes. They tried to go for the other but she delivered a kick right to his face and sprung up to her feet when the other tried to take her purse.
“Gimme back my purse!” she snarled.
There was a momentary tug of war between he two, before the other brat came up and tackle her from behind. The mugger let out a victorious laugh and the two dashed out with Winry shortly behind them bruised and looking disheveled.
“Help! Police! Somebody!” she yelled as people milled past her, not even caring about the obvious crime which had just gone on. She went up to a man, hands clasped.
“Excuse me, sir. My purse was--” she beseeched, but he went on without even having heard her. She turned around to a woman who was coming by, engrossed in a copy of Vanity Fair.
“Miss, some child grabbed my purse, and he--” she too, just went on, completely ignoring Winry.
“Miss? Miss?!” she called, appealed. What this actually happening? Was this really happening? She had just gotten mugged in broad daylight and no one was doing a thing to help her, not a thing! Infuriated she wheeled around and saw the next person who was passing by, hands in pocket, and head bowed. He was a strangely short young man, hair in the odd style of a tight braid, unlike most of the other modern men around but it seemed to suit him. That was the last thing on her mind right now though.
Winry may have been a country girl, but she had always had a formidable temper and right now this poor, hapless man was having all that indignation channeled at him. So Winry rounded herself up and delivered a swift kick to the man's legs making him fly and sprawl all over the ground. Without a moments hesitation she ran up to him and began to yell her troubles. The man turned and stared up at her with an anger, matching her own intensity and the two began screaming at each other simultaneously.
“WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING, WHY DON'CHA?”
“That man, he stole my purse! THAT MAN, HE STOLE MY PURS--”
“WHY DON'CHA? YOU DON'T OWN THE SIDEWALK, LADY!”
Winry shut up and the man smirked, pleased with his victory. He stood up and casually dusted himself off, checking his suit and cuffs to make sure they weren't disorderly before fixing Winry with a stern look.
“Learn to share it with the rest of us.”
Winry's eyebrow rose. Who did this guy think he was, the big cheese? “Oh, I meant to trip you.” she said airily, folding her arms to mock the man's hoity-toity attitude.
The expression that flew across his face—a hybrid of indignation and disbelief was almost too much for her. “Of all the dirty rotten--”
She cut him off, before she could laugh and returned to the more important matters. “My purse is gone!” And with it all the little money that remained. God...it was much too late to do anything about it now. The kids must be long gone.
“And?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. What did this crazy woman expect him to do about it?
Winry, misinterpreting what he said went on. “My suitcases!” with all her clothing “my hat, my” she paused again and pointed to her foot, “shoe!”
Edward snorted and quickly put a hand over his mouth to holding down the laugh “They stole your shoe?” he asked incredulously, a small grin forming on his face despite his slight annoyance with this woman. That was rather sad, but humorously so.
“While I was still wearing it!” she hissed and gave a frustrated growl, clenching her fists and punching the air. Boy if she ever got her hands on those...
The man backed away a little. Wow...this one was a little feisty.
Winry huffed and dropped her hands to the side “Ten minutes in this town, and I already have my New York horror story.”
The man shook his head and back up a little more. “Honey, you're my New York horror story.” With that he began to make his leave, thinking it best before she decided to put those fists to use on him. Before he could get very far though, she cried out.
“But it's every penny I have!” He turned around to look at her standing there, arms down by her side and a desparate look in her eyes before he sighed and returned to her.
Winry's eyes widened a little. She had expected for him to just continue going, to ignore her as everyone else had before here he was. Back...to help her?
“Look..I feel for you. I'll cross the street next time I see you, but I feel for you. Girls like you arrive here everyday, so full of dreams you may as well be sleepwalking.”
Winry bowed her head a little. She knew she was only one of a million. She wasn't the only girl who aspired to dreams of more, it seemed so unfair to her that some people should get everything simply because they were born in a certain place.
“Well, now that you're awake, why not ask yourself, 'Do I belong here?' 'cause New York is great, but the cost of living is high, and I'm not talking about cash.” he continued, making Winry shudder. He was right though. What had happened to her had been horrible. At the time she had just felt anger. Everything had happened so quickly, and it had only been kids so she couldn't really process everything but now that she was really thinking about it she felt terrified. It could have been so much worse. It could have happened at night, it could have been someone older, it could have been someone with a weapon, someone who might have wanted something more than just her belongings. If anything, she had gotten off lucky.
“And I can't help thinking if I were in your” he stopped, and made a vague gesture at her bare foot, “shoe, I'd make a beeline back to Keokuk or Gopherville or--”
Something struck and Winry looked up, breaking out of her depressed reverie to acidly spit “Salina, Kansas.”
He shrugged and then began to leave again.
Ooohh! Now he had some nerve just coming up and acting like some hot-shot! Lecturing her like she was a child.
“And who are you?! The unwelcome wagon!?” she screamed at his back. A little decency. Just a little decency was all she asked for now. She had learned the ways this city worked the hard way, there was no need for him to make it harder but telling her to go back home.
Once again the man wheeled on his foot and walked back to her, only this time he got right in her face. Winry couldn't help but notice, with a sense of superiority that she was taller than him, even if she was uneven with her missing shoe.
“Let me get this straight...you knock me flat on my back and make me late for a date with a sweet little blonde, but still and all, I take a minute to give you some sound advice—my good deed for the decade--”
Winry interrupted with a roll of her eyes “If this is your good deed, I'd hate to see a bad one, 'cause you're really not helping!” All he had done was yell at her, mock her, and tell her to run back home with her tail between her legs.
“I'm trying to! By telling you the way it is!” he said, pressing his hands to his temple as if she were giving him a headache, “Look, you got a place to stay?”
Winry backed away from him, caught off guard by the question “Well, no but--”
“Any friends or family nearby?”
“Any you don't have a job.” This time he said it was more of statement, as if he already knew the question and it grated Winry that he was right.
“Not but....” This time she only said it half-heartedly.
“No buts. You ain't got nothin'.” he said with a contemptuous nod of his head. This took the wind right out of Winry and she bowed her head. He was right. She had absolutely nothing. Not anymore.
“Listen, I said I was doing you a good deed.” he said with a sigh, and took out a pen from his coat pocket. He took Winry's hand and quickly wrote something on it.
“The Hotel Priscella?” she read.
“A rooming house for actresses. They're used to girls who can't pay. Check yourself in, get a good night's sleep, then first thing tomorrow, wire home for the train fair. Your folks will be only too glad to send it, and you may not believe me now, but once you return to..uhh..Kansas was it?”
“You'll say to yourself,” and he took on an exaggerated hick accent, “Well, I had my big adventure, but it sure is good to be back in my own bed.” With that, he left, and Winry said nothing, looking the epitome of glum.
Nothing, she had absolutely nothing, and from the looks of thing she never would. Those dreams of being independent, about living her own life and not having to work herself to the bone just to survive. After such a horrendous experiencing she actually was missing home a little...seemed that people knew what they were talking about. She was realizing how young and naïve she had been in just setting out. Yes she had her plan to get rich, but if she couldn't even survive in New York was point would there be? Just like her Granny and deceased Mother...she's be old and gray at twenty-nine after a life of servitude to her husband and children. Calloused hands, a broken heart, dreams that died before she had ever even started.
“I ain't got nothing.” she echoed. Then she rose her head, realizing something, “so I ain't got noting to lose!” The determination and stubborn that comprised most of her being was returning stronger than ever.
“Who needs a hat? Who needs a purse?” she looked in the direction the unwelcome wagon had gone in and sneered, “and who needs you, mister whoever-you are?” She was a pioneer woman. The Woolworth Building, the Met Life Tower! There was gold in them there hills and she was gonna get it or die trying. With a look at her hand to check the address, she marched off. Already, memorizing those maps was coming in handy. Nothing was going to hold her down.
Days of yore, kind and gentle, ask me if I'm sentimental. Not for the life of me!
Author's Note: Ahhghheuhr. So there is the first chapter. Jeez, I cut this thing down by a significant amount from what point to was suppose to get to and it's still kinda long. Anyway, tell me whatcha think ^~ I don't have a schedule of when I will or won't update but it's always nice and encouraging to see people's opinions and I'd like to say I –LOVE-- constructive criticism, so if you have any, comment away!