It had been years since you had arrived in Small Heath. With your father supporting you and your sister, Annie, you two had been living comfortably. So it was a complete shock when he died of a heart attack.
Suddenly you were thrown out of the life of partying and pushed into the world of business. You and Annie had been on the verge of homelessness when you were alerted to a job application looking for an ‘adult dancer’; although it made you extremely anxious at first, the Victory Club welcomed you in and soon you were the star of the show.
John Shelby was having a completely opposite time. He felt as if he was being pushed to the back of the family. Tommy was going after Grace, Arthur was being cared for by Polly and Finn was getting attention from Ada. Everyone had a partner, a family member that was caring for them -apart from John and that made him incredibly jealous. He needed someone to pay attention to him and that’s how he ended up pushing his way through the queue outside the rundown club, notifying everyone that he acquired the name Shelby.
From inside the club, you watched the girls with their short flapper dresses and beautiful headdresses dancing about from a crack in the velvet curtains. They were supposed to get the audience engaged and then you were to really rile up them up straight after.
The sound of heels clicking on the floor made you turn around and leave the stage as your friend, Frances, bounded up to you. With a strong, and huge smile she began unravelling whatever she was holding in.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph! You will never guess who just walked in? Johnny fucking Shelby!”
Your mouth opened in agape, your legs stamping onto the wooden floor in excitement. Although John was a brutally honest man who had done some illegal and harrowing things, there was no denying that you found him, his profession and the entire Shelby family attractive. However, it wasn’t just that John was handsome but whenever a Blinder went somewhere, it became big in Birmingham with people flocking all around the city just to get a taste of what being a Peaky Blinder was like; and that meant a better pay rise.
“Imagine the tips! You shouted in Frances’ ear over the loud music. She grabbed your hand and squealed in delight. “Now let’s get some Tokyo, eh?”
Although you knew that cocaine could make you dangerous and loopy, it was the only way to combat the nerves before performing; the feeling of euphoria growing inside of you made you ignore your dad’s warnings.
Watching your fellow dance partners organise the cocaine in tiny and neat lines, you waited patiently before holding your nose and snorting the substance into your bloodstream. It burned the insides of your nostrils but the four of you shook your heads rapidly, trying to stop the awful sensation from spreading.
”Off you go, darling. Have fun and remember… John Shelby is in the audience.”
The music stopped abruptly and the three girls ran off the stage in giggles, clapping each other on the back for another great performance. Frances handed you your big, white feather fans as you stripped your bathrobe off your shoulders.
You breathed in a quick gasp of air before moving the feathers to hide your body and slowly walked out to a cheering crowd. They wolf whistled and held their glasses of alcohol up towards you as if they were saying thanks.
As you reached the spot on the middle of the stage, you leisurely removed the fans away from your body, showing off the revealing lingerie that hugged your bare thighs. You loved the reaction. It created a sense of confidence within you to continue the risqué dance.
You eyed the audience, twirling your body around the stag, before landing on a lone man that sat in the corner of the room. He held a glass of whiskey in one hand and a cigar in the other. John Shelby. After catching your eyes, he picked his hat up and sauntered towards a closer table.
“Hurry up, love. I’ve got a wife to get home to!”
An older gentleman held up a pound note as he leant on the lit stage; this certain man hoped you would notice him but your eyes remained with John’s. Strangely, you noticed a shift in his appearance that seemed to relate to anger or jealousy. You continued the dance, spinning round and kicking your legs into the air whilst the man slowly walked back to his table full of his friends that mocked and laughed at his rejection.
John Shelby was known as a ladies man, a heartbreaker in fact. Every woman you grew up with acknowledged his attractiveness and as you moved your feather fans around your body, tempting every member of the room, shaking your hips provocatively, he seemed even more handsome than before -especially that he seemed to get jealous at that impatient man.
As the music started building to its climax, Frances and a few other girls made their way on stage; one foot in front of another just like you had entered. Concealing the fans around your body, the girls began untying the bra that was fitted to your body. Remembering the first time you were told of that sent shivers down your spine but John’s gaze created enjoyment in it.
The whole club began erupting in shouts as they watched Frances walk away with the lacy fabric dangling between her fingers. She noticed the Shelby make his way to the stairs, waiting at the side stage. His eyes never leaving yours.
The jazz band had hit the music climax but you weren’t giving in. To entice John even more, you kept the music going for another ten seconds before dropping the feathers in a huge finale. Your breasts were exposed as you bowed to the crowd. A smile reached your entire face, a sense of freedom and thrills had filled your body.
You left the stage winking at John as a smirk began emerging.
“That was brilliant!” Frances hollered towards you, grabbing the robe from the back of a chair. She handed you her cigarette and you mentally thanked her. “John was so mesmerised by you.”
With a smile and a kiss on your best friend’s check, you left in a hurry. Your sister had suffered through the fear and constant anxiety after being broken into as she was sleeping so you had promised to always been home before midnight. It was six minutes till the new day and you would beat yourself up over it if you arrived before then.
You had barely left the side entrance before someone grabbed the arm of your coat. It was normal to be confronted by an audience member or a fan of your dancing but that didn’t mean it was any less scarier than before.
“Look!” You started, removing your arm from his grip. “I am a human being who deserves to be left alone. I’m not fucking intereste-”
Whipping your head around, you came face to face with the Shelby who had been obsessed with you. You hadn’t seen him probably since he dropped out of school at fifteen so it was a refreshing sight to see him up so close. You closed your mouth that was hanging open slightly.
He removed the wooden food pick from the corner of his mouth and continued to hold a bunch of your cheap coat. You relaxed your limbs, pulling your runaway hairs from your eyes. Taking in a deep breath, John touched your ear with his lips and whispered: “You and me. Tonight. By order of the Peaky Blinders.”
sun + sums: dad!tommy snippets | the babies have a name now! also they’re delightful. etta does sums and also eats sand. violet is on this shit work work work work work work. tommy’s ya know. [wc: 756]
@sceawere’s head canon that Alfie and Polly are really good friends and bond over Tommy being a lil bitch got me thinking.
I have this headcanon that Alfie is really good friends with all the women in the Shelby family because you know that Esme and Ada are card carrying members of the ‘Tommy Shelby ain’t shit’ club.
Like Alfie brings them up in meetings trying to be nice and ask them how their bloody wife/aunt/sister is and they just think that he’s threatening them.
The Shelby “rocks for common sense” brothers finally figure it out one Christmas when Alfie send the three of them a bottle of whiskey each with the card saying something like 'you deserve this for putting up with that boys bullshit’.
And everyone else in the room is like 'hang about mate what the fuck’.
All the while between the three of them they’re just discussing what they sent him for hanakuz, and wondering if he’d like a floral or landscape thank you card.
Realistically in probs gonna write a Drabble about this.!