Henry had spent enough of his teenage years conning people. He knew when to spot a fake smile, and forced cheer. Still, it wasn't his place to pry. She'd given him a brief explanation, and he would have to make do with that. He was essentially still a stranger to her, so it made sense for her to still be guarded.
That didn't mean he wasn't going to do his best to offer some semblance of comfort.
Putting his hands on her upper arms, he crouched slightly to meet her eye level. [b "If there's one thing I'm sure of out of this whole production, it's that there isn't a single thing on this planet that could take your talent from you. Lily may have trained and lost her ability to perform, but you were born to do this. That doesn't just go away."]
It was a relief that she still seemed set on performing. And by going last, he could finish the damn playbills with the order of performances. She would rally in the finale. Everything was falling together, even if it was a little sloppy around the edges.
Lily interrupted the talk with promises of food. Henry was too hungry to put off grabbing a plate and stuffing his face. He couldn't remember the last home-cooked meal he'd had. Apparently the troupe hadn't either, because they were soon loading up their second helpings. Despite the jovial tone of the day, it didn't escape Henry's attention that Amanda slipped away from the group once more.
Leaving his friends to their picnic, he detoured upstairs to grab the stacks of parchment with his drawings that would become the playbills for the audience. He found Amanda back to work on her costume, and claimed a table against the far wall. [b "I'm not here to disturb you. I won't even talk. I just thought we could both benefit from a little company while we work,"] he assured her, rolling up his sleeves to avoid ink stains.
Sitting in the creaky old chair, he flashed her a quick grin and got to work, carefully detailing the final touches with a whimsical script.
To keep up the ruse she would smile from time to time. Hiding back the tears that’s choking to come out on its own free will. Yes, she knows she should be over the moon seeing and hearing their reactions. It’s actually around moment. However, seeing lily react the way she did for something she should have never forgotten because they’ve been practicing for years! The second she crosses her arms Henry approached her. it made her hands drop to her side forcing a quick smile. What he said was one of the things she said in her head. perhaps he can read minds?
[#af18ae Everything is fine. Just having one of those days I guess…] Amanda must’ve been more upset than she realized because she didn’t chuckle or anything when he asked if anything happened last night after he left her. it did take a while to think of what to say or do when her mind is racing a bit. Her silence probably killed him for him to grab hold of her hand to lead her away from the others. [#af18ae No, you can’t. this is personal. I’m afraid I’ll lose myself and my talent like lily. She afraid of it now. She’s a caged bird now…] her for cracked a little. It was never a fear living with the family she’s known for years/ anything can happen out here. Hell it may be happening already. Part of her doesn’t want to perform with a circus that isn’t hers. That isn’t her home. nor her family. But after seeing lily the way she was not too long ago makes her worry and want to perform. All she has is four days to whip something up. [#af18ae I’ll perform. I’ll make my own costume or see if Lilly has one she’s kept all these years… I’ll end the show, so it won’t interfere with what they’re used too.] Amanda gave him a shy smile.
Lily was back with a picnic basket. She’s actually going to feed everyone. Taking a deep breath, Manda got up to go collect the costumes. She be damned if they stain it so soon. Lilly and her took some feedback. Everyone seemed to like it so far. Manda grabs a small plate before disappearing to the back to work on her outfit.
[center [https://listverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/main_circusdessi.jpg Her outfit for the show]]
Henry's jaw set as her rich friends came to the door to usher her in. He didn't miss the way they spat the word 'commoner' at him, either. [b "Pleasure to meet you,"] he spoke through gritted teeth.
His greeting was met with a door slammed in his face. Once ready to go to bed, he was now seeing the appeal of stopping for a drink at the pub with everyone. They looked just as surprised to see him when he came in the door, cheering loudly and handing him a pint without another word. By the time Lettie and Angus helped him upstairs and he collapsed onto his cot in the loft, he could barely string a sentence together.
He regretted the decision the follow day with the sun beating through the windows and the musicians tuning their instruments. Had they always been that loud? God, he felt like his head was going to explode. The others could apparently tolerate their liquor better than he could, as they looked no worse for wear despite having outdone him in shots. And by the looks of his empty wallet, he'd been generous enough to cover whatever the bill had been at the end of the night.
By early afternoon, he'd already thrown up twice and choked down a few gallons of water. He didn't even notice that the troupe had disappeared backstage until he realized it was silent in the auditorium. Straightening his shirt to lie flat and patting down his mess of hair, he found them in the midst of trying on their costumes.
[i "Check it out!"] Charles brandished his general's hat. [i "The ladies will be lining up for me."]
[i "Not once they see me,"] Constantine flexed in his vest.
Henry gave his first genuine smile of the day. Spotting Amanda behind everyone, it fell slightly at the sad expression in her eyes. [b "You don't look very pleased for someone who just made the day of a dozen people,"] he said softly as he sidled up next to her. [b "Is everything okay?"]
In an instant, his protectiveness flared up. [b "Did something happen last night? With them?"]
The others chattered on without them, boasting their costumes to each other with each new feature they find. Henry took Amanda's hand to lead her a little further away so they could talk. [b "Is there anything I can do to help?"] he offered.
His first show is in five days. Five! It’s so soon yet so far away. They need to start doing more! The girl wants to help him and make his first show amazing! Although she wasn’t sure if she wants to perform in it. Not just yet. The guilt of leaving her family and performing elsewhere makes her feel like a dirty horrible mistress. It hasn’t left her mind. The urge to preform and practice. It’s already been too long since she hasn’t practiced or simply do what she does for fun. It feels like something is tugging at heart telling her to just go with it. Have fun.
Amanda never questioned anyways life before. The circus life has its ups and downs, but someone was always smiling and laughing. Part if her understood him when he said people don’t seek anything more than that. Why change a routine if it works so well, is something she hates hearing. Although she envies him for somewhat being successful when he ran away. It was hard to do when you live in the middle and everyone knew you wanted out. The world outside the circus is a scary and dangerous place for performers. But he has a wild dream. Henry must be crazy to be going after them. It is no walk in the park.
The girl was seconds away from unlocking the door when he spoke. It made her turn around smiling. [#af18ae That is very kind of you, but I do it for peace in mind. He may be… unusual is the nice way of saying it and I’m beyond thankful to even have a room with a real door of my own. If anything happens you’ll be the first to know…] Amanda was cut off when the door opens.
“Thank goodness you’re okay! We were so worried.”
“Yes. Indeed. Who’s this commoner? Is he bothering you?”
[#af18ae Just a late night preparing and no. He’s a friend. The one who’s going to be opening his own circus. Henry was kind enough to walk me.] Manda’s friend walks in first. Amanda waves bye before the old rich fart places a hand on her lower back. A little too low for the girl’s comfort. Instead of walking in with the ladies he walks down the steps to give henry money for his [i troubles] before going inside and turning off the porch lights.
The next day Amanda received a talk for scaring them. It feels like she’s living with parents she never had. A quarter pass one was when Amanda and Lily whose now Lillian took a carriage ride to the old museum. It was hard to prove to the others Lily was once one of them. She’s so proper now… the perks of money and being married into the upper class. At least she knows how sew so she’s helpful.
When it was time for a break Amanda dragging her to the hoop and show her a little something, something. Lily couldn’t do it. She freaked out when the hoop began to go up. Manda had to drag it down. it’s clear as day now that Lily isn’t one of them anymore. Everything the used to do, love and dreamt of vanished. What Amanda did made Lily leave to get some food and go back to sewing. Out of disappointment Amanda began to practice in tears. She doesn’t want to be like that. Ever. A few times she did lose focus and could’ve gotten injured, but her reflex was still sharp as a cat. The other knew something was up when the came back. Amanda reassured them she’s fine. But the toy soldier wasn’t having it and told them what he saw. She didn’t know he was around, but he did find hos costume. Might as well let the ones whose costumes is done try it out and practice wearing it to see if it’s up to their standards.
Henry stepped out of her way so that she could get her things together. [b "The first show is in five days,"] he admitted, running a hand through his hair. [b "We've pretty much got the acts all set, other than a few polishing points. I wanted to give you a couple of days to rehearse your own performance, if there was anything you wanted to add or change."]
The costumes were coming along beautifully. He admired the ones she had completed. [b "I can help out back here to finish everything, now that group rehearsals are done,"] he promised. [b "The contortionist acts requested simple fabrics with stretch to them, so I can work on those tomorrow. They're more worried about functionality than actual fashion of them."]
He was a little more tense than before as he locked the main building and escorted her to where she was staying. Henry hadn't been pleased to hear that she felt the need to barricade herself in her room, and was more than tempted to offer her his own room instead, knowing there was a couch backstage that he could use.
Her question pulled him out of those thoughts. [b "Where I'm from, there isn't much to smile about. Life is work, and then you die. Most of us were happy to just have a roof over our head, and food on the table. People didn't seek out anything more than that."] He paused, giving her a smile. [b "And then I ran off one day and found the circus. And saw what happiness actually looked like on people's faces. It was like they were experiencing joy and imagination for the first time in their lives. I wanted to be the one to bring that magic to people. To give them something to smile about. Especially the kids around here who don't have much reason to smile."]
Henry's features fell as they approached the house she was staying at. It was larger than what he'd grown up in, and now that he knew what kind of people were waiting for her behind closed doors, his protectiveness grew. [b "I can try and find you something closer,"] he blurted out as she made her way up the porch steps. [b "Somewhere you can sleep where you don't have to block the door. I can build you a room up in the loft of my building."]
Amanda began to stretch as she sat up. On her lap was a handmade shoulder patch to complete the outfit. The girl placed the patch on the table using her other hand to cover her mouth as she yawns. [#Af18ae I must’ve dozed off trying to complete this boring thing. It may have also shaven off some of my youthful years.] she says getting up to stretch. [#Af18ae I never asked but when is the first performance? I’ve actually completed three outfits. Yours being one of them.] ‘Manda walks over to a box where she put the finished outfits. All she needs to do is patch up the second shoulder patch. That she may do later at home. [#Af18ae I actually ran into an old circus family member. She’s married to a snob now... he’s rather flirtatious. I sleep with a chair under the doorknob...] after packing a few things she was ready to go.
It was a walk. About a 30 minute walk. It didn’t bother her. [#Af18ae So why a circus? It’s not easy to run a circus. There’s hatred for our kind. Money also tend to change people.] Amanda stops when they finally arrived to the house of snobs. [#Af18ae I may be a bit late. My friend may tag along to help me with the costumes. Although her circus years have ended. She hasn’t practice in years and she’s not the same anymore.] Amanda nods as she calls it a night. [#Af18ae Thank you for walking me home. I’ll see you tomorrow.]
She fit in with them more smoothly than Henry could have ever imagined. More often than not, he was dragging one of the troupe members away from her desk to go practice the routines. Charles was the worst offender of skipping rehearsal to hang around Amanda, completely smitten with her. Henry had to physically carry him out of the room on several occasions.
On the days that he couldn't help her with the costumes, he managed to hire someone to help her so that she wouldn't be overwhelmed with everything, even with her design skills. His ringmaster suit was coming along beautifully, and was more extravagant than anything he'd worn in his life. When she had him try on the crushed red velvet coat, he spent a good five minutes just feeling the soft material.
After a ten hour rehearsal day, he was finally able to dismiss the crew for the evening. [b "Don't get into too much trouble,"] he advised them, knowing they were headed for the bar up the road.
He did a brief headcount as they left to make sure no one was left behind as he locked up. [b "Wait, where's Amanda?"] his brow furrowed.
[i "Probably still working in the back. Haven't seen her since dinner,"] Lettie answered, pulling her scarf up to her nose to avoid being seen in the streets.
The auditorium fell quiet as they left, and he secured the lock on the door while he went to find his latest employee. Sure enough, he found her surrounded by yards of material, head resting on her latest piece. Carefully stepping around everything so as to not startle her, Henry switched off the lamp on the table. [b "Amanda?"]
He rested his hand on her shoulder, giving her a gentle shake. [b "I think you've worked yourself enough for one day,"] he used his free hand to pull Charles's pants out from under her arm.
Henry crouched so they were eye-level with one another. [b "Everyone's gone to the pub for drinks. I was just getting ready to lock up. If you want to go meet up with them, I'd be happy to walk you there, or to wherever you're staying if you want to turn in for the night. This isn't exactly the best neighbourhood. I don't feel right leaving you to walk alone."]
Ananda maughs. Her kind tends to enjoy their own kind better than the normal civilian. For some reason her smile wouldn’t fade! How can it this be possible?
They rounded the corner and came face to face with a mountain of fabric and equipment littering the floor. He led her to the lone piece of furniture but she couldn’t stop staring at the mess. Poor guy needs all the help he can get. [#Af18ae Thabkfully I’m here to help...] she grabs the shimmering purple fabric. Poor lad is using the wrong thread and needle. Amanda searches for a a piece of paper and a pencil. [#Af18ae One always starts with measurements. Something my mother taught me...] Amanda searched for a measuring tape but couldn’t find one. The girl went to go get her things to get hers. Thankfully she didn’t leave without her mothers sewing kit. The deceased always said to never travel without one.
Henry was the first one to get measured. Since Lettie’s Outfit is there shells be the next one and she’ll measure whoever she runs into after that. Amanda began to organize what she can. Eventually she got help, which was the greatest thing. What caught the girl off guard was watching them rehearse and sing. Sing! One two many songs. Her circus would play music to keep the other entertained. Amanda also jotted down what they would prefer for a costume. Let’s see if she has her mamas skills!
The girl spent all night working on some costumes. Lettie’s as done. Henry’s was a work in progress. The ringleader needs a good outfit. She fell asleep on the desk finishing the final touch for the little wanna be soldiers outfit.
Henry couldn't help but grin with pride as they all huddled together, watching her performance. He could tell that his friends had never seen anything like it before. She was mesmerizing. He took pleasure in watching the troupe's eyes widen and gasps leave them as she went through her routine. [i "Is she even real?"] he heard Charles exclaim.
[i "Looks like we got ourselves an angel, boys,"] Lettie laughed.
They broke into applause as she came down from her perch in the air. Seven voices blended together as the group hounded her. Jo Jo patted a hand to his heart. [i "Beautiful!"] he spoke in his broken English.
[i "I never wash hat again,"] the Russian giant beamed, clutching it to his chest.
Henry stepped between Amanda and the group as the rest dispersed to gush over what they'd just seen. [b "I think you made quite impression,"] he teased, sliding his hands into his pockets. [b "They're more in love with you than they are with me, now."]
Her question made his smile stretch wider. [b "Maybe a little more graceful than when you were a kid, but just as amazing to watch,"] he assured her.
At the mention of the costumes, he groaned. [b "You have no idea how helpful that will actually be. I've been working on them by myself for over a week. I used to have to patch my own pants and shirts on the farm, but basic sewing skills don't exactly hold up to fashioning together actual costumes."]
He motioned for her to follow him. [b "I'll show you to the wings. It'll be organized better once everything is a bit more complete. My apologies for the mess."]
It was evident what he was talking about when they rounded the corner and came face to face with piles of fabric and equipment littering the floor. [b "I've just been working at the desk over here,"] he led her to the lone piece of furniture not taken over by debris. [b "It's been slow progress, as you can see,"] he gestured to stack of shimmering purple fabric that was to become Lettie's performance gown.
[#af18ae Whatever the ringleader wants.] she says curtseying. It’s a sign of respect for the snobs like he as he calls them. Well the uptown snobs.
Amanda couldn’t help but laugh. Not because of what’s happening, but because she did the same thing to Henry! The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. [#af18ae It’s my life. Grew up loving heights.] she says smiling. The girl looks at Henry smiling. Is he trying to sell her to his crew?
Her eyebrow arches first before shaking her hand. Whoever she is, is no fool. Amanda would do the same thing to the newcomers. Just to make sure they are who they say they are. [#af18ae No, no it’s okay… this is normal…] she says looking up to examine the ropes and… oh my is that a hoop? Amanda began to rearrange some of the ropes. With a rope in her in her hand she takes a bow before tugging the rope. It lifts her up and she catches the hoop. It was fun pretending to walk in the air until she was able to touch the ground. The next few moves involves a lot of leg work to help her stay hanging on the hoop. The sandbag slowly drops raising her into the air. She was then carefully walking on the railings on her toes before grabbing another rope. She jumps off swinging around, stealing the tall mans hat laughing. The sandbag did its job again lifting her. Her feet return onto the railing and climbs down. [#af18ae I may need more practice with the hoop. For my first time using it I wasn’t so bad.] she hands Henry the tall guys hat and went to go fix the ropes. [#af18ae I validated that I am one of them, so it should be smooth sailing here on out. Hopefully.] Amanda took note that some of the ropes need to be moved just a little. Although, she's going to keep her suggestions to herself. [#af18ae Am I still as good as I was as a kid? I have to be honest that was a lot higher than what I'm used too, but the speed and bug free air was lovely. As for costumes I know hot to sew. we used to adjust our outfits all the time. I can help make some or adjust in size. Might as well make myself useful.]
His face scrunched, hearing 'sir'. [b "Just Henry is fine,"] he spoke. [b "Anything more formal sounds too stuffy, like the snobs uptown."]
Hearing a throat clear, he turned and saw what she'd been looking at over his shoulder. The entire troupe was huddled together, watching them carefully. Lettie raised an eyebrow at him, clearly suspicious that he didn't immediately have her leave. [b "Don't worry about them,"] he turned back to Amanda. [b "Privacy is not a word in their vocabulary."]
[i "Observe, huh?"] Charles narrowed his eyes. [i "Unless you plan on paying, the show ain't free, sweetheart."]
Henry nervously laughed. [b "I'm sorry, apparently they've also lost their manners,"] he spoke through gritted teeth, tilting his head at his friends in confusion over their attitudes.
Placing a hand on Amanda's lower back, he guided her into the auditorium. [b "Amanda isn't here as a spectator,"] he clarified. [b "She's the performer I went to speak with upstate. Our trapeze artist, if she decides she wants to join in this craziness. As for costumes,"] he glanced at her. [b "We're still kind of figuring that bit out."]
[i "If I don't get my uniform, I'm walking,"] Charles aimed a warning finger at him.
[b "The general suit has been ordered, I told you that,"] Henry sighed.
Lettie crossed her hands above her head in a 't' shape. [i "Allow me to stop this train derailing before it goes too far."]
Approaching Amanda, Lettie circled her much like she had done to Tristan in her tent. [i "So you're crazy enough to want to get up on those ropes, huh?"] she pointed to the ceiling, where the aerial equipment had already been installed.
[b "She's amazing, really,"] Henry assured. [b "Best in the business."]
The other performers remained silent. It was almost unnerving how focused on her they were. Henry held his breath until Lettie came to a stop in front of her again, offering a smile. [i "Welcome to the ragtag misfits show,"] she stuck her hand out in welcome. [i "Now get up there and show us what you can do."]
[b "She doesn't have to do that right now,"] Henry interjected. [b "You definitely don't have to do that right now if you don't want to. Don't let them pressure you. They're a bunch of scoundrels,"] he grinned, dodging a slap upside the head from Lettie.
Amanda couldn’t believe her eyes. The building is awfully big. The inside is nothing what she expected. The wood work is spectacular. It made her want to climb up the pillars. It is an upgrade. If she decides to stay. The building seems to have three levels and a beautiful architecture. Her hands drop seeing posters of who recruited so far. A bearded woman, a freakishly tall man, a small man, and some contortionists. It made her shiver.
When she was younger a guy who was unbelievable flexible scared her on Halloween! Apparently, he did a good job that he got hired. She hated that guy ever since. He would occasionally do it to piss her off.
For a moment she walks to the middle, slowly twirling around taking in everything. The girl walks back to columns to attempt to climb it, but someone caught her. Her hands instantly dropped to her side. Slowly turning tucking a chunk of her hair behind her ear all she could do was smile until she saw his face. Henry. [#af18ae H-hi Henry. Sir. This place is amazing. I thought I’ll come check it out to make sure it’s not a scam.] the girl gasps seeing his recruitment watching them. You would thing she would be used to these things, but it’s weird being watched when she isn’t performing. [#af18ae Hello, I’m Amanda. Here to observe… I guess.] she looks at Henry. [#af18ae So have you figured out the other? Costumes?] she asks him in almost a whisper. Maybe this was a mistake. Do they think she’s a critic or someone here to complain? If she could show them she’s one of them they can stop eyeing her suspiciously.
Henry couldn't lie; he was a bit wounded when he left the following day without having seen Amanda. It was a hard decision, that he knew, to leave a family you'd grown to care for. For that reason, he didn't fault her for not having shown up. After waiting in the parlour until checkout, he boarded the stagecoach that would take him home.
Upon returning to New York, he threw himself back into work. The performers he'd acquired so far - a bearded female singer with lungs capable of bellowing out extraordinary notes, a man standing two feet taller than most, a small man with dreams of being a general, and a few contortionists - were more than ready to begin rehearsals that would bring them stardom.
Henry had outlined the showcase to feature group performances scattered throughout a night of solo acts. That meant choreography. The first night ended with a bottle of whisky after it became almost impossible to coordinate a group that wasn't used to any form of performance. He ended up conceding organization of the opening number to Lettie, whose voice commanded everyone's attention to follow directions.
By day three, she had successfully configured a way to highlight everyone's talent, weaved throughout the song. [i "If we're telling our stories, each of us needs a chance to shine,"] she'd told him when he'd wandered down from his bedroom in the loft above the auditorium to watch.
[i "I swear to god, if you step on me one more time, I'm going to tie you up in the yard,"] Charles the minuscule general threatened Jo Jo, the teen billed as Dog Boy.
The four-piece band he'd hired so far played absentmindedly in the background, still practicing the piece they'd written for the song. [b "This is never going to be finished on time,"] Henry's head sunk onto Lettie's shoulder as she tried to corral the group back into formation.
[i "Boss? You wanna go let the straggler know that this is a closed practice?"] she nudged his head off of her, pointing at the figure wandering the hall outside of the main stage.
[b "You're an angel,"] he gave her a kiss on the cheek. [b "I owe you big time for this,"] he gestured to the muddled mess that was rehearsal.
Their voices carried out into the hallway, blending with his footsteps. [b "Miss? I'm very sorry, but I'm afraid we aren't open to the public yet. I'm going to have to ask you to-"] he paused, catching sight of who it was in his building. [b "Miss Amanda?"]
The applause startled her. The timing was weird. Kind of like they witnessed them escape. It went along perfectly with his joke. It made her laughs. She courtesy watching him leave. For a few second she gather her thoughts and went to go say farewell to the audience. A few of the circus members did so as well.
A few people noticed the girl was spaced as she was cleaning. They are messy people. Not to mention the amount of popcorn that was on the ground is just hurtful. It could’ve been in someone’s tummy. All satisfied with they butteriness goodness. Amanda stayed behind to practice on her own. Her new thing is the hoop. Even though it’s new it wasn’t hard. Slightly dangerous practicing alone but she’s not worried. The hoop was barely off the ground. An easy jump wouldn’t hurt. So a fall should be nothing.
Amanda walks to her tent. Hearing the a few circus members arguing about when they should perform. It’s sad. No matter what they’ll be performing. Laying down with the poster hovering over her head, she stares at it until she fell asleep. In the morning she was rudely woken up. Someone went into her tent and saw the poster. They didn’t know why she had it. It took a while to say it was mixed in her mamas things. But a few of them questioned her about it. Their [i ‘meeting’] was interrupted by a small angry mob calling them freaks and demanding they leave. Things got a bit messy. Physically. The new guy was a punk and ran to hide. The cops weren’t as helpful, but didn’t help.
Without a their leader, who’s currently riding in a cop car, they were kind of lost. They didn’t want to leave. They’re going to bail him out. We’ll pay for his bail. It would be impossible to leave now. Everyone is keep an eye on one another for security purposes.
It’s been two days since she’s been offered to go to New York. The day her circus packed up to leave was when she left. She actually left her family. The people who’ve known her since she was a tiny baby in her mothers belly. It broke her heart. It took forever to get to New York. Even took a chunk of her saved money to get there. [#Af18ae Monaghan's Circus...] she whispers to herself when she finally found the bloody building. His theory of escaping the cops also works when it comes to sneaking insider. Her and her life within 3 bags. [#Af18ae Be good to my New York...] she says gently gliding her hands along the wall as she walks around eyeing the place.
[b "What are you-"] her finger cut him off to shut his lips up.
Fighting back laughter, he allowed her to pull him through rows of tents as she helped him escape. Clearly, she knew how to navigate even in the darkest of night. Flashes of chasing her around as kids played on a loop in his mind. Henry needed to grab his side when they were finally able to stop running, feeling a stitch in his muscle.
[b "Good to know that prison breaks are always a fall-back profession for you, if you ever leave the circus,"] he joked, trying to catch his breath.
Adjusting his bowler hat back into place, he took her hand in his. [b "I'm glad my second impression was more memorable than the first,"] he grinned.
Applause broke out in the big top close by, signally that the show was likely drawing to an end. [b "Room 201 at the Monroe Inn. My checkout time is one o'clock tomorrow afternoon. I hope to see you again, Miss Amanda."]
Henry tried to think of what a proper gentleman would do in such a situation of bidding her farewell. A tip of his hat felt too casual, but a bow was far too stuffy. [b "Goodnight,"] he awkwardly tipped his hat while bowing forward slightly.
It was relatively easy for him to slip into the emerging crowd. Children chattered excitedly around him, while parents remarked on the oddities they'd witnessed. Henry tuned the adults out, choosing to focus on the look of wonder on the kids' faces. He had that same expression. It was why he was pursuing a show of his own. To put smiles on people's faces, and make their jaws drop in amazement.
Still feeling the ghost of Amanda's hand in his own, Henry was beginning to feel that his show would actually make a name for itself, if the starring acts had anything to say about it.
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