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TRUMPETS SOUNDED, SIGNALING THE BEGINNING of a promising race day. The laughter of children could be heard just over the laughter of men and women who talked amongst themselves about anything and everything. 

Through the tunnels and out on the field, the horses made their way to the starting gate. Running in the morning sun beautifully to warm up and reassure the faithful gamblers who hoped it would be that one horse who'd get them wealth and prosperity. There was only three minutes left to post for the first of eleven races but that didn't stop anyone. 

The morning was a rare sunny day, bright blue skies and sun rays were in sight. Above the bustling activity of the betting halls, common rooms, and grandstand, was the closed off section for premium members. Wealthy men and women who held more reserve but did not hold back the same level of excitement stared out the large glass panes which gave them a full view of the whole track. 

A voice spoke smoothly through the speakers that reached all corners of the track, announcing the odds of each horse and the favor the public held for Sweet Girl, a horse from Australia. 

Then, the bell rang, the horses bolted out of the gates. The volume of chatter increased as people watched their picks rush to the golden post which resembled the finish line. 

Among the crowd, three brothers stood in appreciation of the masterpiece created through the vision of a woman who disappeared from their life.

It was a vision of a woman who took the shithole of Birmingham and transformed it into something that could offer something as beautiful as this. Greenery surrounded all parts of the building, vines decorated the walls, plants hung above their heads, shrubbery lined the exterior, cream walls. Sweet, bright yellow flowers bloomed in the infield portion of the track, no fee required and open to any curious eyes or individual who happened across the track in their ventures.

It was a pillar of hope that offered more much like what she could have been. 

Thomas Shelby stood alongside his brothers, feeling a threatening clench in his chest as he pondered on his experience with said woman. It was for the best, he knew that but he couldn't help but hope she would return to see her creation. She never did though. 

He would sit in the same spot everyday, waiting for that moment she would come in and yell at him for being insufferable and claiming her drew her mad. The split was much harder than he could have imagined but it was his fault. This emptiness and longing was a consequence of his own actions. 

And ironically, Arthur felt the same. Despite having no knowledge about the interaction between Esther and Tommy, he felt as though his best friends disappearance was his fault. He punished himself daily as though it was his fault anyhow. 

The day the news finally reached him, he nearly drank himself to death, picking a fight with anyone who dared to come near him. He was on his way to her home with the greatest intentions to celebrate her recovery and the success in the Shelby business turning legitimate but the house was empty.

He almost killed a man that day. A fool who was only walking down the same street as him. Tommy told him she left but never offered any explanation. And that lack of explanation and the lack of compassion in his words made Arthur angry at his brother for a long time. A hatred of sorts burning through him, slowly destroying him. 

The youngest of the trio hadn't changed much in her absence but he still held some kind of compassion for the woman. She was kind, a force to be reckoned with, and she had his brothers by the balls. He noticed the change in his brothers and around him and could only hope she would return to make everything better again. 

𝐀𝐍𝐆𝐄𝐋,   𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐛𝐲.Where stories live. Discover now