The Secrets We Keep


b_kaylee_icon.gif young-gin_icon.gif

Scene Title The Secrets We Keep
Synopsis Kaylee makes a discovery about her friend Malachi…
Date September 20, 1890

Lower East Side

Even in the afternoon, there is a slight chill hanging in the air, hinting at the fact that the cold weather was on it's way. It's only standing in the sunlight that warmed the body. It means pulling out the thicker, heavier skirts and dresses for Kaylee Thatcher, even if she hates them so.

The weight of the black skirt swishes around her feet, just short enough that she wouldn't trip over them, but she did occasionally catch the toe of her heeled shoes in the hem in the early years. A basket on her arm and a knitted shawl over her shoulders, blonde curls gathered up into a bun on the back of her head, she continues to look like a woman of the times. The glint of gold on her finger is a lie, but it is one she has become use too.

"I think a stop for rice and we will be good." A glance goes to her companion, a much shorter young man. "Maybe some oat as well, for breakfasts and…" A small smile ticks up the corner of her mouth. "… cookies. One of our boarders inquired about cookies. He looks like he could do to skip a few, but —" he is the customer. She doesn't voice that opinion tho.

The market for the Lower East Side is bustling with activity, vendors way at the telepath as she passes, returned by the woman. In the time since she was seen talking to the handsome young British man, some of the woman have really watched who she's interacting with. The scandal over a simple conversation was more amusing for Kaylee then upsetting, since her 'marriage' was a lie really. It was Timothy's reaction that had made her feel the guilt. He had actually looked hurt by it.

It had just been a conversation!

Kaylee will never really understand this era.

"People never really know what's good for 'em, Missus Thatcher," Malachi remarks with a crooked smile. The marriage may be a lie, or her husband years dead or any number of things, but it seems Malachi is more than willing to go along with it. "My sister knows a recipe for some cookies that'll having him wishin' he could move in."

And in truth, the scandal amused Malachi, too. But his story is one that's left him fairly immune to the shocking. He and Timothy had gotten into it over the way the other man had been treating Kaylee over it, too. Until Margaret pulled them off each other.

So it's possible there is some tension in the Inn that was only threatening before. And Malachi opting to go out with her today probably isn't helping much, either.

"Our mother worked magic in the kitchen. Spoiled the lot of us," he says with a touch of regret in his smile. "Father would get so mad, comin' in from the fields to find his children moanin' and groanin' from eatin' too much."

That gets a chuckle from Kaylee, an amused glance going to the young man, "Wish I could say the same. My mother wasn't much of a cook, which I guess would explain why Ms. Smith had such a horrible time teaching me." Pausing at a vendor, with folds of cloth draped across it. Fingers feel the silky texture as she continues. "My father was never around, never met him, so my mother had to raise me alone." Which might explain some of the woman's independence.

"I guess it's a good thing I hadn't been pregnant when my husband left… I might be doing the same thing." With a heavy sigh she leaves the fabric behind to continue down the length of stalls, in no hurry to get to the grain merchant. "Anyhow, my granny was the cook.

"I was the worst child… but then we all have some type of fits when we are young. Those points in our life where we rebel a little and not realize what you have." Kaylee sends a sad smile Malachi's way and she opens her mouth to continue, but the collective laughter of children, peppered with those of adults, pulls her attention to a small puppet theater set up for the hopes of a few coins.

Any amusement bleeds away into a sad look and Kaylee alters her path, angling to head in that direction.

"Your mother raised your whole family alone?" Blink. A thing that's impressive in the modern era is all the more so back in time. "I'm sorry about your father, though. It's a damned sha- Oh, pardon the slip, Missus Thatcher." Malachi actually looks embarrassed there, too, and tugs down his hat a bit. Habit.

When she turns for the little theater, he tilts his head and follows after her, curious. "Somethin' the matter?" He asks quietly as they make there way along. "It's jus' some children puttin' on shows…"

Stopping at the edge of the crowd, children seating before the little stand watching as puppets with worn and chipped pain tell a story about a princess and a dragon. "What?" Eyes finally pull away form the show to little at the short man. "Oh… wrong." Kaylee's attention slowly slides to the show again.

"This reminds me of home." Kaylee murmurs softly, brows drift down into a light frown of thought, as she chooses her words carefully. "I had a friend who was a master with puppets, his name was Eric. I use to help him set up his shows." There is saddness in the small smile that curls at her lips, memories making tears threaten to prickle at the back of her eyes. "He was a good man, not always, but he use to care for the town's orphans and they really changed him."

Speaking of children, one grabs at the telepath's skirt and tugs at it, looking up at her with an young angelic, if grubby face. "Emma! Hello, baby." Crouching down, her long dark skirt pooling around her, Kaylee gets down the the child's level. "Where is your momma?" The red haired little girl, reaches hands up at the blonde, which gets a smirk.

Emma was the daughter of one of Margaret's friends, her tiny girl, was often in the care of the woman of The Smith Inn, since her mother had to actually work. So it's not an unusual thing, for Kaylee to scoop up the little two year old and straightens. "And what have you been eating." Once the toddler is on her hip, the woman licks her thumb and wipes at a smudge, of course, the girl only has eyes for the puppets now that she can see them.

Malachi looks over at the show as Kaylee explains, nodding slowly to the homesickness and nostalgia. It's a sort of non-reaction, the way he looks away from her and everything. It's almost like he isn't listening. And what's worse! When she picks up the little girl, Malachi disappears from her side.

But really, he's just sneaked around to one of the adults, to have a little conversation. She can't hear it from this distance, but Malachi is definitely up to something and in the end, there's an exchange, some money for some trinket that Mal slips into his jacket. And with a tip of his hat to the man, he slips back over to Kaylee and little Emma as if nothing at all had happened. "Workin' with orphans, that's admirable," he says, as if there hadn't been a hitch in the conversation at all. Odd duck, this one.

Little does Malachi know, Kaylee knew he was moving away by the hum of his mind, but she doesn't pay it no mind. "What did you get into?" she asks the child who grins at her toothily and points at the puppets, "I know, the puppets are funny," Kaylee seems to answer some unspoken comment. Tucking the little girl closer, she glances back at Malachi when he's by her side again.

"I did my own share, as well." There is a wistfulness to her voice, blue eyes drifting to the little girl again. She had once asked Margaret if she ever regretted not having children with her husband, not knowing the woman's full story. Of course, the inn's owner had quickly countered with a question of how long she would pine over a man, cause it was obvious the blonde's biological clock was ticking. Kaylee always seemed to have a way with the kids and was drawn to them, and thanks to the cookies, the kids always looked forward to seeing Mrs.Thatcher.

"You are not getting any younger and a woman only has so many good years for birthing children." Margaret had commented in a smug way.

Kaylee had stood by her desire to wait for her husband, even if she didn't really believe Hiro would come to take her back to her home and family. She couldn't risk the future for her selfish need of a human connection.

A brow arches in a questioning manner to the man, as Kaylee asks, "For your sister? Or have you found some special woman you've kept secret from the rest of us?"

Malachi lifts his eyebrows at that last question there, surprised, like it had never occurred to him that he should be pursuing a girl like the other men do. Or try, in some cases. "What? Uh, no no, Missus Thatcher. Neither of those. Did anyone ever tell you, you pay too much attention?" Because she does, apparently!

What he pulls out of his coat is one of those little puppets, which he passes over toward her sort of awkwardly, like he's not sure how to give a gift. "I jus' thought… you might like somethin'. Maybe your friend would like it, when you see him again. Like that."

"That is a new one." Kaylee comments softly, but her expression falls a little at the sight of the puppet. "There was a time when it was my job to be that observant." Shifting the toddler on her hip, to free a hand she takes the puppet.

Now she can't stop from tears swimming to her eyes, teeth biting her lip when it attempts to tremble. Eric would love the puppet, he always enjoyed each new one he got. Kaylee still remembers the way he lit up when she gave him that christmas present. With a sniff, she looks at Malachi, trying hard not to really break down, "Thank you." The words waver a bit, but at least no tear falls. "He'd love it, I just — " She trails off, pain flitting across her face. " — just wish I knew if I was going to go home again."

As far as anyone knew she sent a letter home, to tell people there where she was, when he husband returns. After five years, hope was not something she had much left.

Emma suddenly starts to wiggle, wanting down. "Oh! Sorry, Emma. Okay, go see your momma." The toddler smiles brightly at the telepath before hurrying off to where her mom is, only allowed too, cause Kaylee can see her.

"You do realize there will be all sorts of talk over this." Kaylee comments with amusement as she turns back to Malachi, puppet still held in one hand. There is another sniff from her as she looks at the puppet again. "Sorry…" she murmurs suddenly, brushing fingers under her eyes to take care of the moisture gathering there. "…you'd think I'd be over the homesickness and missing people."

"I don' pay much attention to the talk, Missus Thatcher. I've found that people talk no matter what you do." Malachi lifts a shoulder a bit there, before he looks over at her, sympathetic. "You'll get home again. Life ain't ever perfect. But it works out how it can. Like… Deborah and me. You know we had a farm? Family farm, we grew up there… and one night, there was a fire. We lost it all then, it was hard." Which is an understatement. "But she and I, we still had one another. It ain't perfect, but it's pretty good. We're happy here, now. Right now, you've lost it all, Missus Thatcher, but the important things, they'll find a way back to you. Like my sister for me. But however it goes, no one's gonna blame you for missin' your old life. And if they do, I'll give 'em a punch." He's kidding! Mostly.

Much like the band of gold on Kaylee's finger, or the crucifix around her neck, the puppet represents a fragile string of hope. The fibers already fraying as time goes on. It is held against her chest, eyes closed for a long moment, "I wish I had your hope. I keep feeling like I should mourn their loss." With a shift of her foot, she nods in the direction they had been going. "It's hard to keep hope after five years." The puppet is tucked carefully in her basket, as if it is a fragile thing. "I ponder often if Joseph has moved on. We were still new when he left… maybe he found someone better." It's the first time she's echo'd what others have been saying for awhile.

"I was an only child growing up. Did I ever tell you that? I didn't find out about my brother and sister til I was a grown woman." Kaylee sighs a bit, glancing at her companion. "I just met my little sister when I ended up here. Miss her, I was looking forward to getting to know her."

Malachi chuckles a bit, shaking his head a bit. He's got something he'd really like to say right now, but when he looks over at her, something different comes out. "It takes a lot of work, I'll admit that." He lifts an eyebrow at her, though, and he seems amused by something or another. "By all accounts, Missus Thatcher, you're the kinda gal a man don' jus' give up on." By which, she means Timothy, of course. A little teasing, perhaps.

"So keep looking forward to it. The minute you give up, that's the minute you actually lose them. If you don' mind me sayin' so. Maybe you won't see them again, maybe you will, but when you stop tryin'… then it's not a 'maybe' anymore."

There is a quick bark of laughter from Kaylee, which makes her cheeks flare red and her hand cover her mouth. It was a rather unlady like gesture, but she couldn't help it. "Sorry." A smile still plays on her lips, since her own thoughts are amused. "I just… have never thought myself as that kind of lady. I still feel shock whenever I think of the fact that I ended up with Joseph or… had." There is that sigh of a woman who has lost her hope.

"And how is it, Mr. Gibbs, that you are not married. Kind and thoughtful, hard worker… you are wasting away where you are." It's not a flirt, but just a statement of honest truth. "Margaret and I talked about that… you know some of the younger girls coming through have their eyes on you, just as much as Timothy." A knowing look is tossed his way.

"You don't have to say sorry," Malachi says with a gentler laugh himself. "Well, looks like you thought wrong," he adds, his smile turning crooked. But when the subject is turned back on him, he blanches for a moment. Or two. Maybe three.

"Uuh. Well, I jus' ain't… it ain't… I don'…" Stutter, trip, gape. "I've got Deborah to look after, I- I- I'm sure a woman wouldn' much like bein' put second."

Call it a woman's intuition, or the fact that Kaylee Thatcher seems to know things, but the woman stops in her tracks, making her skirts swing with the suddenness of it. She is also staring with shock.

She's a telepath, how could she miss that?!

Such an important thing, but then she somehow missed Joseph's feeling for her, so maybe she shouldn't be so shocked. Still….

"Y-you…" Kaylee stutters to a stop, mouth slightly agape. Then as if something hits her, the mouth snaps shut and she moves to catch up. "That… explains a lot." It's vague enough that people won't know what the hell she's talking about, but 'Malachi' can probably figure out.

"What? There's nothin'… to explain nothin'! There ain't even nothin' to explain," Malachi says, a little flustered. Because, really, the possible explanations Kaylee might be thinking, none of them are good. "I jus'… ain't… interested in tryin' to add… It would just be such a mess," he adds that last with a breathy chuckle.

He just walks on, his face red, his hat dipped low to try to hide it. It's half embarrassed and half… troubled. If people find out… they'll have to go on the run again. He can't do that to Deborah…

It's almost like she can read his mind, because a sly smile is cast the young man's way. "Don't worry your head none, I have no plans on spreading any rumors." The look she has becomes gentler. "We all have our reasons for things we do. What you've done holds no malice towards anyone.

"Honestly, we all have our secrets." Kaylee speaks plainly, chin tilting up just a bit. "Sometimes, they are what keeps us human when things seem so bleak." Reaching out she touches his elbow. "Malachi… if that is your true name." Her voice is soft, but the fact she uses his name means what she has to say is important. "You are safe. Trust me. You've known me how many years now?" Brows lift a little in an expectant way.

It's the touch to his elbow that makes him actually stop to look at her. And then he looks around a bit… and then just to add fuel to the fire, he takes her arm and ducks her into a little walkway between two buildings.

"Malachi… was our brother," Gin says, her voice a low whisper. "I couldn'… begin to explain the things we been through, but there was some trouble and we had to run, and it was just safer, we thought, for us to run around as a brother and sister. Instead of two women alone."

She takes a moment there, still glancing around nervously before she looks back to Kaylee. "My name is Ginny. And nobody on earth beyond Deb knows that."

The blonde woman narrows her eyes, that smile staying on her lips, before offering her hand out to her. "It is nice to meet you, Ginny. Your story I doubt would surprise me, my story would have you calling me insane.

"As I said we all have our secrets." Kaylee says with a sheepish smile. "Margaret and Timothy found me sick and injured on the street and took me in. I was a fighter before all this, dressed like you did. Protected people, from bad individuals." There is a soft sigh and a crooked tilt to her mouth. "Joseph is real tho and I miss him and my family… all my friends something terrible." Fingers play with the gold band turning it on her finger.

"Until they come back for me, I am stuck here, living a life that is not me. Sound familiar?" Kaylee sighs softly, glancing away from the 'woman' to the street beyond them. "We are both women hiding who we truly are."

"Well, hell, Kaylee," Gin says, using the woman's first name and everything. "It's nice to meet you, too. You bein' a fighter, that explains a lot," she adds with a crooked smile. "And it sounds very familiar. I was a fighter, too, for a bit, getting Deb and me out of Arizona. As much as I've tried to leave it all back there, it's sorta relievin', bein' able to say that to someone." Whew.

Gin looks over at Kaylee, her hands on her hips. "I was gonna say before… sometimes, when you've lost everythin', hope is the only thing that'll keep you goin'. That and grim determination, Kaylee. They'll come for you. Or if they don', you go huntin' for them. Maybe they jus' don' know where to look for you."

You have no idea. Is all Kaylee can think, her true true story to wild to imagine, so it's kept under wraps, for now. "Maybe." Is all she offers in return, a small smile on her lips. "We will have to see, for now, you and I have a good thing where we are. Ms. Smith is a good woman, who doesn't seem all that judgmental on where you come from, nor snoopy about it."

Another glance goes the way they came from. "We shouldn't linger here, though. Last thing we need is word getting to Timothy or you another black eye, defendin' my honor." A hand goes to her own hip as she states blandly. "Honestly, the man is a stubborn mule, being as he doesn't see how your little sister lights up around him. I'm not the one for him."

Kaylee shakes her head and takes a step towards the front of the alley, already noticing the glances down it. "Come on, lets get that rice and get home."

"We do have a good thing. I don't plan on messin' things up, if I can help it. But a black eye every now and again isn't such a bad thing." And it's Malachi who straightens the hat on his head before turning to walk back out onto the main thoroughfare. "But you're right about him bein' stubborn. Deb doesn't want me to be pushy about gettin' his attention on her, though, so I've been stayin' out of it."

Shouldering the bag, he hefts it up and carries it along, seeming far more comfortable in this role than his real identity. By far.

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