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12 July 2007 @ 01:19 am
Don't sell your body to the night  
Title: Of Sirens and Red Lights
Author: Lily Peters
Prompt: Panic! At The Disco-Intermission
Fandom: Shattered Glass (Original)
Character/Paring: Claire, Wallace, Roxanne
Rating: PG-13 for prostitution
Completed: [10/13]
Summary: “I love my son with every fiber of my being, but I die every time I look at him.”

The intermission in Claire Englehorn’s life that she was so longing for finally occurred. She and her son could at least settle into a parody of family life here in Liverpool. Yes, they—no, she—struggled; yes, little Wallace didn’t deserve this. On the other hand, he didn’t deserve to be Leonardo Alexander Englehorn’s illegitimate heir, either. The streets suited the toddler far better than anything her former manipulative lover’s family could offer.

Aristocrats and whores, after all, did not mix in polite society. Oh, Claire heard the people whisper when she’d carry Wallace through the muddy streets, heard them inquire about the missing father. “Away on business,” she’d reply in a cold voice and move on. Thank God Wallace was too young to question her about Leon, about the red lights of the unsavory French streets. France was past; this was England and the present.

Their money ran out eventually; at night, Claire would leave Wallace in the care of Roxanne, the young woman next door. She took out the rouge again, the dresses she’d worn years ago, and headed in the direction of the red lights. They drew her like a magnet, those lights, beckoned to her with the promises of money. Claire only did it for the money, just for the money…

Perhaps it was her subtlety that drew customers; she didn’t wear too much powder and was very discreet in approaching men. Too much makeup did not suit her like it had years before; becoming a mother had changed her in that regard. It was not uncommon for a client to leave the room with Claire sobbing from guilt and shame as she thought of her child.

Religious solace, the act of turning her life around, was no longer an option. If any churches knew of her history—it wasn’t the churches that frightened her as much as the congregations—she would only bring shame on herself. Late one night in the summer of 1898, Claire knocked on the door of her flat in tears. “R-Roxanne?” she choked out, not bothering to compose herself.

The door creaked open; the plain blonde woman with the thick English accent appeared. “I know, I know,” she whispered, letting the young mother cry.

“Don’t let Wallace…”

“Mama?” The inquiry, so simple, almost broke Claire’s heart. The two-year-old stood looking at his mama with wide eyes; Roxanne turned round.

“I told you to go to bed, Wallace,” she said. Wallace just pointed at his mother.

“Mama crying.”

“Yes, yes, Mama’s crying,” Claire answered, taking deep breaths. “Mamas cry, Wallace, because mamas make mistakes, too.”

“He won’t…” Roxanne trailed off.

“It doesn’t matter,” Claire answered in a whisper, scooping her son into her arms. “Guilt’s a small price to pay on my part as long as Wallace can eat.”

“You can’t keep hurting yourself like this, Claire. It will kill you.”

Claire’s cheeks were wet with tears; she could almost taste their bittersweet quality. “I love my son with every fiber of my being, but I die every time I look at him.”


“Roxanne, you have shown more kindness to Wallace and I than we deserve. It’s best you don’t know why.”

All of this pain was unseen by day, of course, as it should have been. It was what Claire’s mother called “the Devil’s money” that kept their family alive, but they took it. Sin did not exist here, but neither did goodness, piety. Gray was better than the defining white or black.
Current Mood: contentcontent
Gin: dylanhallwaydancer on July 12th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Awww, so sad. But I like it anyway.

Lily: determinedlilypeters on July 12th, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
As you should. :D