Traditions Ch. 01byhoneyblood©
This is my first submission and I hope people will enjoy reading this. You all may notice several grammatical errors with in the story, and I know you'll probably find those very annoying. I am in desperate need of an editor, and if anyone would like to volunteer for the job, it would be greatly appreciated.
My story is based heavily around the gypsy culture. Not a lot of people really know about them and their strict traditions and morals. There are two main groups populating the UK. They are usually referred to as Romani Gypsies or Irish Traveler's. I figured it would be pretty interesting to read a story about them. If there is anything you'd like to share with me about their culture, please message me. I do not mean to offend anybody, and hope that people realize that this is a work of FICTION.
In the beginning, and especially when the Irish Traveler's (gypsies) talk, you'll notice a lot of weird spelling. I only did that so the readers could imagine what the character's would sound like with their accents. The main female protagonist and any other British person won't have any strange spellings in their words.
At one point, the male protagonist will perform an act called "grabbing" and the female lead. It's a gypsy custom where boys grab girls and pull them aside for a kiss, whether or not a girl is willing to give them one or not. It's usually a sign that the boy likes the girl, and is in no way meant to be offensive. Although, there are cases where boys can be extremely rough (as you will see later on in my story) in this chapter it won't be too bad.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this story. Comments are much appreciated, and I hope to post more soon.
"Oy, Declan, you missed a branch!" someone shouted from below.
Declan took off his safety mask and pushed back his disheveled, black hair. Looking down from the twelve foot ladder he was perched on, he saw his cousin down below staring back up at him.
"Wha' dyou say, mate?" He turned off his chain saw so he wouldn't have to shout over the noise of the machine.
"I said you missed a branch," lifting his head Aidan pointed towards the top of the tree. "Right up thar."
Declan leaned back and looked up at the tree he had been working on for the past hour. He sighed when he noticed the one lone tree limb sticking out from the now perfectly trimmed tree. He'd been trying to get that same branch for past fifteen minutes when he had decided to give up on it. Securing his mask, he hefted his chainsaw in his hand. The ladder he was on was only so tall, and the chainsaw only stretched so far. Pulling at the chord, he revved up his chainsaw and reached for the branch one more time.
"Ahh... Oy, I can't reach it. It's too high." He yelled back down to his cousin.
"Well what are you gona do then?"
Looking back up, he simply shook his head and headed back down. "Fuck it." The branch was too high and it was impossible to reach.
"You're not gona get it?" Aiden came up behind him and steadied the ladder.
He shook his head. "Naw, there's no point."
"Man, if the owner sees it and doesn't pay us our money, I bet you won't be shrugging your shoulder's like you are now."
"He won't notice. Blocks like him never do." Lifting up his saw he walked over to their old, pickup truck and placed it in the back with all their other yard tools.
Aiden looked at his cousin for a moment before shaking his head and turning back to the ladder. "Jimmy," he nodded to his little brother who was patiently sitting on the stoop, "help me with this thing."
Once the ladder and all the other tools were put onto the back of the truck , all three of them walked back up to the house where the owner was waiting. The middle aged man that owned the house was quite short compared to the tall boys who had worked his yard, and had a protruding belly and a bald spot. When the three boys first laid eyes on him, they found the sight of this man quite comical. He had only been wearing a navy blue bath robe when the first arrived at his house. Now, as he emerged from the small home, the owner had taken it upon himself to look more presentable, choosing to wear a light grey sweater and knee length plaid shorts. They didn't dare laugh however, because they knew it would be rude. This man was a new client, and they wanted to make a good impression so he would be more inclined to hire them again.
"Well well boys," he said as he looked around his newly trimmed yard, "looks pretty good. You boys did well." He gave them a small smile.
Declan smiled at this. They had worked exceptionally hard replanting flowers and trimming the yard and surrounding trees. They even went the extra mile by cleaning out the ugly bird bath in the middle of the green lawn. Hopefully, if things went well, they would be recommended to other people in the area.
"We hope that ever'ting is to your liking, Mr. Cumberland."
"Umm," Mr. Cumberland merely nodded, not really paying attention to the boys as he surveyed his lawn.
His response really irked Declan, for he did not like to be ignored. To him, it was just disrespectful to be treated in such a way. Turning back to his two cousins, he gave them a stressed glare and inclined his head to Mr. Cumberland as if to say "Do you see this guy". Knowing how easily annoyed his cousin can get, Aiden place a calloused hand on his shoulder and shrugged. Aiden gave him a look that said "Just let it go."
Turning back to the boys, Mr. Cumberland looked at the boys with confusion for a moment, as if trying to remember why they were still there. After a second, realization hit him and he reached into the back pocket of his ugly shorts and brought out his wallet.
"Well I reckon I'll have to pay you boys for your hard work." He said laughingly as if he just told a joke.
"Well no'ting in life is free." Delcan spoke in a sarcastic tone.
Mr. Cumberland gave him a hard look before handing each of the boys their money. Quickly, Declan counted then recounted his pay.
"Sir, we're supposed to get ten pounds each."
"Yes, that's right."
"Then why'd we only get five?"
Cumberland shrugged. "Because the job wasn't done right." He said in matter-a-fact voice.
This time Aidan spoke up. "What?"
Cumberland sighed and lifted his hand toward the tree Declan had been working on. One lone branch stuck out. "You didn't finish with my tree."
Jimmy jumped in. "The branch is too high. We weren't able to reach it."
"Yes, but I expected to get the job done. I was going to pay ten pounds for a finished job. You boys didn't finish, so you're not getting the full amount."
Declan pinched the bridge of his nose, something he did frequently whenever he was annoyed. "Sir, we understand what yar saying, but we couldn't get the branch and we really need the money. I promise that next time we will have better supplies and will be able to get everything prim and proper the way ya like. But we need money in order to get the supplies. So could ya please pay us?"
"You know, you boys came highly recommended, and I expect nothing but the best." Cumberland grumbled. "So maybe next time, if you get the job done right, I'll pay you the full amount." With that, Mr. Cumberland turned and walked back into his home.
Declan stood there for a few seconds more, clenching and unclenching his jaw. After twenty-two years, he should have been use to the treatment he received from country people. He knew the real reason why he and his cousin's weren't getting paid. It had nothing to do with the fact that they missed a damn branch. It had everything to do with the fact that they were Irish Travelers, gypsies.
Gypsies had always had to deal with discrimination, and it was no different in Liverpool, England. Many times he and his cousin would have trouble finding work because they were gypsies. People would take one look at them and turn them away. Gypsies are loud, boisterous people, and wouldn't do well in the work place. Oh, gypsies travel a lot and wouldn't make a good employee because they would just end up leaving. Stereotypes like these made it hard for them. So whenever they had the chance to do the occasional odd job, they would do it. They needed the money and were not getting an income any other way.
Noticing his agitated cousin, Aidan stepped forward and pulled at his arm. "Come on, there's no use cry'in over it. You know how country folk are."
Declan sighed. "Yeah, I do." Turning around he let Aidan drape his arm over his shoulder and lead him back to the truck. One by one, the three boys filed into the front cab, with Jimmy in the middle seat. It was a good forty-five minute drive to get to their small trailer plot home outside of Liverpool. It was not as grand as the modern suburban homes they were passing by, but it was still home. Growing up, Declan and his parents traveled frequently across the UK, commuting from city to city in their small caravan. But they had long since settled down due to the increasing size of their family. Aidan and his family did much the same, and lived right next door to Declan.
Looking over at his cousin, Aidan could see that Declan was still steaming about the way Mr. Cumberland had gipped them. He was staring straight ahead with his jaw clenched and his hands gripping the steering wheel.
Aidan sighed. "I toll d'you to cut that branch."
"There's no need to be getting mad about it, mate. I warned you this would happen, and now you're getting upset because you lost us our money."
"I said shut the fuck up." He hated when his cousin was right. Yes he knew that he should have tried harder to get the bloody branch. Yes he knew that Mr. Cumberland could have docked there pay because of it. But Aidan didn't have to bloody well rub it in his face.
"I'm just saying man." Aidan held his hands up in surrender and turned his head to look at the passing trees.
"Stupid country people." Declan muttered under his breath.
"Come on Dec, at least we got paid." Jimmy piped in.
"What are you two, my support group?"
Jimmy smiled. "With the temper you have, you need one." Off to the side, Aidan tried to cover his laugh.
Looking over at the two brothers, Declan could see the strong resemblance between them. Many of their facial features were the same. They both had the same chin, the same smile and the same forehead. The only difference between the two was Jimmy's freckles and carrot red hair that he had inherited from his mother. Aidan, thank heavens, was blessed with wavy blond hair.
"Relax mate," Aidan said, "today was a good day overall. Hopefully, it's about to get better."
"What d'you mean?" Turning the wheel, he exited off the highway and began traveling down a back road.
Aidan gave a devilish smile. "We're goin out tonight."
"Awesome!" Jimmy started to jiggle in his seat.
"Not you squirt." Aidan playfully rubbed his brother's moppy read hair. "It's just gona be me and Declan this time."
"What!" Jimmy looked at his brother in disbelief.
"Declan needs some...alone time, to unwind. I think taking him out to one of the discos will help blow off some steam."
"And I can't go?"
"That's completely unfair. I'm sixteen years old. I should be able to go out with ya, go party, find girls."
"Oh, so it's girls yar after." Aidan smiled. "Trust me; there will be plenty of time for girls later. Your young, and in a couple more years, they will be fallen all over ya and beggin to marry ya." He chuckled at the thought.
"Oh no, not me." Jimmy shook his head. "I just want to have some fun. I ain't lookin to get hitched no time soon."
"Well that's all me and Declan are lookin for tonight, some fun." Looking back at his cousin, Aidan reached across the car and nudged Declan. "What d'ya say Dec? Ready for a night out?"
"Come on, mate. It's just one night."
He shook his head. "Not interested. Plus, I've got to get up early in the morning to go to the gym. I've got fight's comin up that I need to train for."
"More reason to take a night off. You've been working your butt off lately."
Declan shook his head as they pulled into the trailer park. Home sweet home, Declan thought as he gazed out at the small plot he and his family lived on.
Five years ago his father, Ducky, had gotten permission from the local government to be able to build a trailer park on a small plot of land. He built it in hope that it would become a home for other Irish Travelers who wanted to settle down. In the past several years, many gypsy trailer parks had been destroyed. People's prejudices had kept many gypsy families from settling down in some of the small cities. They were afraid to have such a secretive and alien community so close to home, and as a result, would protest against having them build homes nearby. Irish Travelers and Romani Gypsies alike have been evicted without warning, and no home to go to.
Declan's family was the victim of one of those horrible evictions. His father had refused to leave and Declan and his siblings had to sit back and watch as there small trailer home was torn down by huge bulldozers.
Looking out through the driver's side window, Declan couldn't help but smile a little as he saw his little brother's and sister's play with some of the other kids in the street. Knowing that his siblings were living a life he never had, made him happy. They were going to get a better education then he had and we're going to be given more opportunities in live. That thought made him a little proud.
That small moment died as Aidan walked around the cab and leaned in through the window. Declan gave him a hard look and sighed.
"I'm not going."
"Yes, ya are. You want to know why?" He didn't wait for a response. "Because tonight is the perfect night to go out. You've been annoyed this entire ride home; and what better way to unwind then with some booze and couple of girls. Then, when ya wake up in the morning, ya won't be as cranky when ya work out."
Declan just stared at Aidan. "Ya know it wont be a very good morning if I'm hungover."
"Eh...we'll limit your drinking then."
The pleading look Aidan was giving was too much for Declan. He let out a small chuckle as he watched his cousin cup his hands as if he were praying. He had thought that after the crappy treatment Mr. Cumberland had given him, it would just be better if he went home and relaxed for the night. But sitting there thinking back on his day, maybe going to a disco was the key realizing some steem.
"Ok ok. Fine, I'll go out." He smiled and opened the car door, effectively hitting the Aidan in his side.
"You have to move so I can get ready." Declan spoke through a small laugh.
"Damn near busted my shoulder."
Walking past his cousin, Declan smacked Aidan in his sore shoulder. "You'll get over it."
"Cheyanne, I think there is something wrong with you?"
Looking up from her Pre-calculus homework, Cheyanne saw her roommate standing in the door, wearing another one of her infamous clubbing out fits.
"Hannah, what have you got on?"
"What? It doesn't look good?" Suddenly worried that something was wrong with her get up, Hannah frantically ran to the mirror hanging up in the corner.
Cheyanne couldn't help but laugh at her friend. They had been roommates for the past three months and Cheyanne had yet to get use to her roommate's crazy antics. While she was content to remain in her room studying for her classes, Hannah was always out partying at the hottest night clubs and sporting the cutest styles. Hannah had frequently tried to invite Cheyanne on several of her crazy outings, but she would always refuse. Cheyanne was in Liverpool on an international scholarship and could not afford to allow even the slightest drop in her grades. After a while, Hannah realized that there was nothing that would get her new friend out of the turtle shell she put herself in. But for some strange reason, she felt like tonight would be different.
Giving herself a good look over, Hannah was satisfied that her clothes were ok.
"I really like this top," she said as she pulled at the glittering top, allowing for more of her ample breasts to show. "The guy at the store said it looked nice on me."
"I bet he did," Cheyanne spoke under her breath. Darn thing looks like a bra, she thought to herself. Shaking her head, Cheyanne went back to staring at her math homework.
"Anyway," turning back to her friend, Hannah sighed when she saw that her roommate had returned to her homework. "What I was saying is that I think there is something wrong with you."
"Oh, why do you think that?" Cheyanne said, not bothering to look up from her notes.
"Because in the three months you've been living here, I haven't seen you go out once. You're either in class, in your room, or at work. I don't think you've even been on a date since we've started school." Hannah stood there and watched as Cheyanne continued to write notes in her notebook.
Hannah placed her hands on her hips. "Cheyanne are you listening?"
Slowly, Cheyanne lifted her head. "I'm sorry were you saying something?"
Hannah sighed. "See this is what I'm talking about." Walking over to her friend, Hannah grabbed the notebook out of Cheyenne's hands.
"Hey!" She tried to make a grab for it but Hannah effectively dodged her and placed her hand out of Cheyanne's reach. "I need that."
"Don't you see? This is exactly what I'm talking about. You're so wrapped up in your school work, you can't even pay attention to what's going on around you. " Hannah quickly grabbed the Calculus book on the desk when she noticed Cheyanne's hand slowly inching towards it.
"Seriously, Hannah?" Cheyanne sighed.
"If you want them back, you have to do something for me."
Cheyanne narrowed her eyes. "What?"
"Come out with me."
"Please," Hannah pleaded. "Just for tonight."
"No, give me my book back. I have a test coming up in a week."
"So you'll have plenty of time to study. All I'm asking is that you come out with me, just this once. You've been cooped up here for far too long, and I've finally gotten sick of it. I'm starting to think you're arachnophobic or something."
Cheyanne laughed. "I think you mean agoraphobic."
Hannah flailed her arms out. "Whatever. The point is you need to get out, and at least try enjoy what college life has to offer before you graduate."
Cheyanne leaned back in her chair and looked back at her feisty, young British friend. Never had she ever met someone so full of life before. She remembered back to her first day in Liverpool and how scared she was being by herself in a new place. Hannah had been the first person she ran into at the university. It was a surprise to find out that they were actually roommates, and they talked to each other all the way to their room; or rather, Hannah did all the talking while Cheyanne just listened. As soon as they settled themselves into their two bedroom apartment, Hannah had shot out of the room exclaiming that she was going to a party she had just heard about.
"Wait," Cheyanne stopped her in the doorway. "You don't want to look at the campus, or talk to some of the teachers?"
Hannah merely laughed. "I'll see them when classes start, silly. I've got a party to go to." And with that she bounced away and never looked back.
Looking at the fiery, blond in front of here, Cheyanne knew all too well that when Hannah had a goal in mind; she would not stop until she got what she wanted.
With that thought, Cheyanne took a big breath and sighed.
"You know I've never seen you put this kind of effort into your school work before." She smiled.
"I know, but I promise I'm working on it. Will you please go with me?" Sticking her bottom lip out, Hannah made the ugliest sad face in the world.