The story of tonight

Submitted into Contest #12 in response to: Write a story that features an ensemble cast of characters.... view prompt

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General

“Everyone give it up for America’s favorite fighting French Man, LAFAYETTE!”

    “Benjamin go to sleep,” yells my mother from the hallway, “Tomorrow is a big day.”

Grumbling I turn off my speaker, silencing Lafayette’s Iconic rap. A quiet knock echoes throughout my room and when I look, my mother is in my doorway smiling softly at me with her arms stretched out. Accepting her embrace, I melt into the comforting feeling of my mother’s arms, all of my stress flying right out the window. 

“I have no idea how Dahlila agreed to marry a lunatic like you,” says my mother chuckling. 

“Me neither. I’m one lucky man,” leaving her arms I mentally sigh, Instantly missing her motherly scent, “ I should go to sleep. I wouldn’t want to be late to my own wedding. How embarrassing would that be? ”

She laughs lightly and places her hand gently on my cheek, “No you do not,” she says smiling at me with a look I couldn't begin to describe. A look of fond, sadness, and happiness all in one, “Goodnight Benji.”

My mother walks away, leaving me in my own thoughts once more. I find myself restless, tossing and turning as the night goes on, too anxious for the day that was to come. Eventually, my eyelids start to fall heavier, the sound of That Would Be Enough softly ringing throughout my bedroom. 

“I wish I could’ve met the Hamiltons,” I whisper, Eliza’s voice lulling me to sleep. 

“Benjamin, Wake up. We must get ready.”

An unfamiliar handshakes my shoulder, their voice beckoning me awake. Cream colored walls are the first thing I see, but my bedroom walls are not cream. No, they are light grey, and this bed is not mine either. My sheets are much softer, fluffier, and navy. The sheets are soft, but not fluffy, and they are white, not navy. Turning away from the wall, I see the person the voice must belong to. They have their back to me, as they neatly laid out their clothes. I sit up in my bed, noticing that I am not in the clothes I fell asleep in. The shirt has long sleeves and a deep ruffle neckline, while the pants are simple cream breeches that stop above my knee. I instantly shot out of my bed. Today is my wedding, the day I’m supposed to watch the love of my life walk down the aisle. The day my Fiance is to become my wife. What am I supposed to do? Where am I? Is this a dream? I need to get back right now! 

“Ah, you’re finally awake,” the stranger says, turning around to face me, “we must be at the Schuylers house soon.”

Looking towards the stranger, I see he is sitting at a desk writing. His bed is perfectly made and his clothes are neatly folded on top of each other, waiting to be worn. I walk towards the dresser and wardrobe, intent on finding new clothes to wear. The pile of clothes on the stranger's bed seems really nice, too nice for a casual day. When I open the wardrobe doors, away from everything else, hangs a long dark brown coat. In front of that hangs a tan metallic vest and a white long sleeve shirt with ruffles at the wrists. On the bottom shelf sits a pair of black shoes with buckles on the top. Grabbing the jacket, vest, and shirt, I neatly stack them on the bed and go back to grab the shoes, placing them on the floor below. I walk back towards the dresser, and In the first drawer I open I find a pair of white stockings, I place them on the bed with the rest and open the second drawer. I find a pair of breeches the same color of my coat and take them out of the drawer, putting them with the rest of the things completing my outfit. With my clothes neatly folded like the strangers, I walk over to him and place my hand on his shoulder. 

“Pardon me…” It was like a flip switched right then. I knew where I was.., and I knew who the stranger was.  On top of the paper he is so neatly writing on, reads Alexander Hamilton. 

    He turns to me, placing his quill on the paper,  “Are you ready to go? The carriage should be here in,” he takes his pocket watch out and checks the time, “well... now I suppose. Shall we?” 

“After you,’ I said, gesturing for him to go ahead. 

“Why are we leaving?,” I ask turning away from the carriage window.

    “Have you forgotten?,” he said shocked, “ Today is my wedding. The day I marry Eliza.”

the sound of the horse’s hooves on the gravel was the only noise filling the stale silence.  Before I know it we are stopped In front of a beautiful mansion. 

Hamilton turns to me, a joyous look on his face, “Here goes nothing.”

    He motions for me to get out of the carriage, and I follow him up to the doors. Hamilton's face immediately changes to nervous as the door is opened by an older looking man. He is standing tall and proud, and from the looks of it, he seems very intimidating. 

“Hello Philip,” Hamilton says holding out his hand, “How have you been?”

    “I’ve been well,” says Philip accepting his handshake, “Today’s the big day.”

“Yes sir it is,” replies Hamilton.

“Well... Shall we?”

Philip motions us in and leads us towards a beautiful parlor. Four men sit on a beautiful leather couch, chatting amongst themselves. At the sound of footsteps approaching all four heads turn towards the hallway to see who it is. Three of them immediately shoot up at the sight of Hamilton and me. 

“ Well look who it is!,” Exclaims the first man.

“Hercules Mulligan,” Hamilton says embracing the man, “It’s been quite some time hasn’t it.”

    “Too long if I say so myself,” says another man.

“Well I’m a busy man Laurens,” Hamilton says chuckling. 

“Surely you can spare some time to visit your old pals,” he says laughing as well.

“I have a country to defend and papers to write, but I’ll try.”

    “Toutes nos félicitations! You are one lucky man,” the third man says.

“You’re right Lafayette,” he says sighing, “I am definitely one lucky man.”

    “I never thought I’d see the day that Hamilton married a Schuyler,” said the last man. 

“Aaron Burr,” Hamilton says accusingly, “What have you been up to these days?”

    “Besides trying to best you,  Alexander. I’ve been living quite well.”

All of the men sit down again, engaging in a new conversation. Before we know it, it’s time for Alexander to stand at the altar. All of us take our spots beside him, I directly by his side, followed by Mulligan and Lafayette. Burr and Laurens sit in the first seats on Hamilton’s side, right next to Washington himself. As the seats continue to fill,  Alexander’s eyes start to fill with nerves. 

“Don’t worry Alexander,” I say, placing a hand on his shoulder, “you’re ready. You two are meant to be.”

    “Thank you, Benji,” he says with a smile, “what would I do without you by my side.”

“Perhaps you’d faint and make a fool of yourself in front of all of these people.”

    His shoulders relax a little bit as he begins to laugh, letting some of the nerves left his body. The soft melody of the piano rings throughout the air and the french doors to the backyard open. There stands Eliza in a beautiful blue gown matched with a white veil and a bouquet of white and red roses. As she and her father walked closer, Hamilton starts to tear up, his smile splitting his whole face. Once Eliza is standing in front of him, Alexander takes both of her hands in his. Their vows were said, and tears were streaming down almost everyone's faces. The rest of the wedding was amazing. Hamilton and Eliza were as happy as they could be. 

Not that long after the wedding, Hamilton started traveling all throughout New York with Washington as head of the Presidential Treasury department. I stayed at home working as a blacksmith, and helping Eliza around the house while hamilton was away.   I remember when she found out she was pregnant, she had come to me first asking for advice. She had told me that she already wrote to General Washington and asked him to send Hamilton home. She spent day and night awaiting the arrival of Hamilton, or even a simple letter that he was coming home. There was no news, just a knock on the door in the middle of a winter’s day.

 About three months later Lafayette returns from France, but instead of more money, he brings back more guns. Soon after Hamilton receives a letter calling him back into battle, and this time I go with him. We are sent to Yorktown where we meet Washington, Lafayette, Mulligan, Laurence, and surprisingly Aaron Burr.

“Monsieur Hamilton,” says Lafayette shaking his hand. 

    “Monsieur Lafayette,” replies Hamilton

“In command where you belong.”

    “Immigrants,” says Hamilton shrugging, “we get the job done.”

    Washington orders all the men to huddle around. 

“The codeword is ‘Rochambeau’,” he says handing Hamilton battle orders, “You have your orders, now go.” 

    John Laurens is sent to South Carolina fighting alongside the troops against the British and trying to end slavery. Hercules Mulligan is sent undercover as a tailor for the british army. He gathers information while making and altering their uniforms, and sends it back to us through many letters. We fight for a week until all that's left is a young man in a red coat standing in the air waving a white handkerchief. Surrender. The towns celebrate for weeks on end, constantly praising the soldiers when they walk past their homes. Not too long after we return home, Philip Schuyler Hamilton, named after Eliza’s father, was born. Hamilton finishes a few of his college credits and becomes a lawyer, coincidentally working right next to Aaron Burr.

 Alexander’s career began to grow while Burr stayed at ground level. Hamilton was chosen to be at the Constitutional Convention, and he asks me to tag along. He talks for six consecutive hours, SIX HOURS! He proposes his ideas for a new form of government in this brand new nation. He asks Aaron burr to defend the US Constitution with him by publishing a series of anonymous essays. He disagrees with Hamilton and wants nothing to do with the controversy that would come with it. 

Angelica marries a wealthy British man and moves to London. Soon after,  Alexander, John Jay, and James Madison join forces to write a series of essays defending the new Constitution which they entitled, “The Federalist Papers.” The original plan was to write twenty-five essays, each man to write eight, Hamilton writing nine. In total, eighty-nine essays were written. John Jay fell ill, after only writing five. James Madison wrote twenty-nine while Hamilton wrote fifty-one. He returns to Washington’s side on the treasury department, leaving Eliza behind once more. Thomas Jefferson returns from France, only to be appointed Hamilton’s old job as secretary of the state department. Hamilton plans to establish a national bank, but Jefferson disagrees. Jefferson and Hamilton remain in a disagreement, no compromise to be found. Angelica returns from london to go upstate with Eliza and the children to the family mansion for the summer, Hamilton stays behind to try and reconcile with Jefferson and also to get his plan through Congress. 

It is two days after the rest of Hamilton’s family left for the Schuyler Mansion, and I have returned to the law firm, trying to finish up some work when in walks Hamilton. He is freaking out, in a state of complete guilt and panic. He tells me of the whole night.

“Maria Reynold knocks on my door, and when I opened it, this is what she had said,” says Hamilton, “I know you are a man of honor and I’m so sorry to bother you at home. I don’t know where to go. My husband beat me, cheated on me, and now he’s left me all alone with the children. I offered her some money and to walk her home. I gave her thirty dollars ad she said ‘You're too kind sir.’ Once we arrived at her house she pulled me through her door and to her bedroom and then begged me to say. I couldn’t say no. Benjamin, this wasn’t the only time. This has been going on for a month and I’ve just received a letter from John Reynolds, her husband.”

Hamilton then places a paper on my desk as he finally sits down in a chair. I carefully take the letter in my hands and read what it says. 

Dear Hamilton,

I hope this letter finds you in good health, and in a position to put wealth in the pockets of people like me, down on their luck. You and Maria was no secret, I knew about it from the beginning. You can keep seeing my wife if the price is right, but if not, I’m telling Eliza about the whole affair. Keep this in mind Alexander, we both know what we know, and rumors only grow.

                            Sincerely,

                                John Reynolds

“Hamilton,” I say looking up to him,” what have you gotten yourself into this time.”

    “Benji, I know. I’ve done the unforgivable. But look,” he places a stack of papers on my desk, “no one knows, and that’s the way it will stay.”

    Hamilton convinces James Madison and Thomas Jefferson of a compromise. He gets his debt plan is approved, and in exchange, Madison and Jefferson get to decide where to put the nation's capital. Not long after, Aaron Burr takes Philip Schuyler’s seat in the senate, giving Hamilton another reason to despise him. When France was on the verge of war with England, congress couldn’t decide if they should send troops and supplies to aid their revolution, so once again Hamilton and Jefferson battled it out at the cabinet meeting. Hamilton was against sending aid, and Jefferson was all for it. Washington sides with Hamilton, agreeing that the nation is too fragile to start another fight. Jefferson resigned as secretary of state and proposed his plan to run for president. Washington then revealed his plan to step down from the pedestal, and asked Hamilton to write his resignation letter. 

Eventually the inevitable happens. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Aaron Burr find Hamilton’s bank statements transfering money to John Reynold's accounts, and they accuse him of stealing Government funds. He tells them everything of what happened with Maria, and the proceeds to publish the Reynolds Pamphlet. It talks of the whole affair, every detail of the past months. He talks of how John Reynolds blackmailed him and sent his own wife as a set up for money. Eliza finally learns of the affair through these papers and she is furious. She burns all of their letters and takes the children away to her fathers. When she returns home she completely shuts out Hamilton and spends all of her time with Angelica, who had returned from England as soon as she heard. Philip, their son, finally graduates from King’s college. He gets in a brawl with Aaron Burr’s accomplice, George Eacker, for talking badly about his father. He challenges him to a duel and they meet in New Jersey at the dueling grounds. Philip is shot as he raises his gun in the air, George not waiting until one. He dies soon after, Hamilton and Eliza at his side. After his death the Hamiton’s move uptown, enjoying the quiet. Eliza forgives Hamilton and they spend their days walking up and down the streets of town, enjoying each others company and mourning the loss of their eldest son. 

Burr and Hamilton were in a constant battle, each trying to be better than the other. So here we stand at Weehawken, New Jersey. Right in the same place Philip was shot and killed in a duel of his own, you can see the hesitation in Hamilton’s actions because of this. The sadness and fear in his eyes, the way he fiddles with his gun, and the way he slowly scans the area. Hamilton had his glasses perched on his nose, ready to shoot. When the countdown begins, Hamilton starts to raise his gun towards the sky but before he can even reach his hip, a shot rings through the air and he falls to the ground. Burr immediately realizes the extent of his damage and attempts to walk towards him. I quickly step in his way and place my arm out.

“Get out of here Burr!,” I yell at him, “if you know what’s best for you, you’d leave.”

    He knew someone would shoot, but he didn’t think it would be him. I watch burr walk away and row back across the Hudson. I rush over to Hamiton, dropping to my knees at his side. His face remains still, his eyes closed and hands placed gently over his wound.

“Hamilton,” I say towards him, “Alexander, look at me.”

Slowly he opens his eyes, “I left a letter for Eliza, just in case this would happen. Tell her it’s on the desk in the office, right next to my wedding ring. There's one for you too Benjamin.”

“You can tell her yourself, Hamilton. This is not where you die. Stay Alive a little longer.”

I wave the doctor over and assist him in lifting Hamilton back in the boat. We take him back to his house where Eliza and Angelica await our arrival. At the sight of blood on his coat, Eliza falls to her knees tears streaming down her cheeks. Angelica rushes inside to hide the children away and prep an area for Hamiton to be stationed. Once he is patched up and placed in his bedroom, the children are allowed in to say their final goodbyes. Eliza and Angelica never leave his side, while I visit every couple of hours bearing news, food, and water. Hamilton dies that night. The whole town is quiet, mourning the loss of one of the brightest minds they’d ever come across. 

When I return home, leaving Eliza alone to mourn with her children, there is a letter waiting for me at my doorstep, just like Hamilton said there would be. I pick it up and walk into my home, the same one Alexander and I stayed in when we first moved here. I take off my boots and my jacket, placing the letter on my nightstand. In the kitchen is where I spend the next couple of hours, a glass of rum in my hand. The desk still has papers that Hamilton decided were not good enough, or that he simply left behind. The same candle he burned all night sits in the same place on the right upper corner of the desk, next to it a glass with two quills he left behind. When I finally laid in my bed, I grab the letter he left behind and just hold it in my hands, afraid to read the contents. Shakily, I break the seal and read the letter. 

Dear Benji,

Is this where it gets me? Is it my fate to die at the hands of my first friend, my enemy? The last face I might ever see? I suppose it might be my fate after all I did to tear his career down. Not that he did any different, we were always trying to destroy each other. Legacy! What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see. My projects will go on without me, my essays will continue to make a difference. I’m running out of time, I must leave soon. Don’t mourn for me my friend, after all I will get to see my son once again.                     Your friend,                        Alexander Hamilton.

I place the letter under my pillow, holding it with one hand as I lay down.

“Goodbye Hamilton,” I whisper, falling asleep to the sound of silence in the town.

    “BENJAMIN! IT’S TIME TO GET UP YOUNG MAN!”

I wake up to the sound of yelling outside of my door. Looking to my left, the alarm on the nightstand in my bedroom reads, December 14, 2019. 11:07 am. I’m back home, I’m right where I was when I left. I was in the musical timeline for 28 years, yet in my timeline I was only gone for eight hours. As I’m getting out of my bed to get ready for my wedding, I feel something brush against the side of my hand. Grabbing the paper, I pull it out from under my pillow, my eyes nearly bulging out of my skull at what it says. On the top of the paper, in perfect cursive right above the red wax seal reads, To Benjamin Thomas, from your dear friend, Alexander Hamilton.


October 22, 2019 12:11

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