So, here it is, St. Patrick's Day! Woo-hoo! Green beer for everybody . . . or a margarita if you're so inclined! In honor or St. Patrick's Day, Jon Paul over at Where Sky Meets Ground had this crazy idea about doing a writing thing called the drunk at first sight blogfest. And, crazy me, decided why the heck not!
So, below is my entry. Now, be warned, this is a chapter pulled from a Work in Progress. The rough draft, initial writing phase, no edits, no nothing, nada draft where errors lurk in unlikely, and possibly likely, places as well. No, I didn't polish it up and make it all snazzy so I could post it on my blog. Just consider the below entry as having just stepped out of the shower - unshaven, hair a mess, clothes for the day not picked out and . . . well, you should get the picture. Hopefully, it's not that bad, but you just never know!
The setup: this chapter occurs early on in the novel, not long after the main character Seamus' gran has died. This is only his second visit back to the United States in 20 years time. He hasn't seen any of his family, except his Gran of course, in twenty years, and is really not sure he wants to see them. Yeah, there's a reason why, some of that comes out in this chapter, but not all of it, and you'll just have to wait until the novel is published to read the full story. Sorry, I'm mean that way sometimes.
So, without further adieu (I always wanted to use that phrase in a sentence - woo hoo) . . .
The bar was filled with people dressed in various shades of green. Green streamers hung from the ceiling, green shamrock shaped balloons floated everywhere, and the wait staff all wore green bow ties with flashing lights. Someone had gone overboard with the decorations, and not in a good way.
Seamus shook his head. He should be home in Ireland, and not stuck in the United States bowing to the whims of his Gran. He glanced up as the bartender, with a smile and a wink, slid the drinks toward him. “Dude, the wink is not going to erase the fact that you’re wearing a green bow tie with flashing lights.”
“I can’t believe you’re making fun of my Irish-wear. It is St. Paddy’s Day, after all.”
“That’s not an excuse to shop at the Tackorama.”
“Your Gran picked out these ties.” The bartender reached up and touched his tie.
Seamus grinned. “My Gran must have been having a serious taste problem that day . . . as in none at all.”
“Seamus, that’s almost sacrilegious. I love it.” His brother’s wife Sofia reached for her drink, raised the glass toward him, and then took a giant gulp. As she started to set the glass down she seemed to notice that her scotch and water was a brilliant green color. She glanced at the bartender. “Please tell me you didn’t violate my scotch with green food coloring.” The bartender grinned and walked away. “Now that,” Sofia pointed at her glass, “is sacrilegious.”
Seamus laughed. His own drink glinted evilly green as well. He picked up his glass and raised it toward her. She did the same with her glass. “Aren’t you afraid someone is going to tell your husband your meeting with a charming, much younger, man?”
Sofia laughed. “You’re full of yourself, aren’t you?”
“Just a bit.”
“Derek used to be that way, but I tamed him long ago.” She took a sip of her drink. “There’s a big dinner at your mother’s house tonight.”
She was persistent, if nothing else. He could avoid referring to them as his family time and again, but she always ignored his evasions and tossed the proverbial ball squarely back at him. “Really? Must be fun.”
“Dreadfully boring. Your youngest brother is an ass.”
“So he hasn’t changed in twenty years? Go figure.” He took a sip of his drink. He and his youngest brother had never gotten along very well. They had tolerated each other. He didn’t think twenty years of not seeing each other would change things much.
Sofia set her glass down on the bar. “Derek’s been talking about you a lot lately.”
“Hey, I thought we had some rules.” He and Sofia agreed not to openly talk about her husband’s family, and not to mention anything Derek might say about him.
“No, you’re not.”
“Truly, I am.”
“Uh, huh.” He exhaled. His life didn’t turn out like he expected. He never expected to walk away from his family and, for the most part, not look back. He never expected to be here, now, days after his grandmother’s funeral, talking to his brother’s wife.
“So, do you expect any surprises from your Gran’s will?” She arched one brow, a half-smile on her face.
“Isn’t your law firm representing her?”
“Yes, but I’ve been kept out of the loop, that whole conflict of interest thingy.” She rolled her shoulders. “Your mother’s seemed quite distant lately.”
“I’m sure she has good reason. Her mother just died, ya know.”
She picked up her glass and raised it toward him. “Ahh, I see you took your clever pill this morning.”
“Two, in fact.” He raised his glass and clinked it against hers.
“It’s more than her mother’s death.”
“Perhaps it is.” He wasn’t about to tell Sofia that he and his mother had talked, and the talk hadn’t gone well. He was still so angry, twenty years notwithstanding. She was his mother, she should have loved him enough to support him. Instead, she let him walk away. He wasn’t sure he could forgive her that transgression, nor the rest of his family. He wasn’t sure why he was even thinking about forgiveness. He had a life far from this place. He was going back to that life as soon as his Gran’s will was read. Her family, his family, needn’t know he ever came back. They could all return to their lives of blissful ignorance.
“So you’re just going to walk away? Run back to Ireland?”
He tilted his head to the right. “I walked, I didn’t run.”
“Doesn’t your family mean anything to you?”
He took a sip of his drink. There was the gist of the situation: try as he might not to care, for them not to have some meaning in his life, they did. He, in some way, perhaps a deep psychological disorder, still cared for the people who turned their backs on him and never said stop, don’t go. He missed – to some extent – the people who had once, still were, been his family.
In all his years away, the decades in Ireland, there was always a sense of something missing from his life.
He met Sofia’s intense gaze. “I’m not sure what they – they’re italics around that word, by the way – mean to me.”
“Then stay and find out.”
“I have a life in Ireland.”
“You have a family here.”
He finished his drink in one gulp. “I have people connected to me by DNA.”
She shook her head. “They’re your family.”
“They stopped being my family a long time ago.” He stood up and reached into his pocket. He pulled out some money, found a twenty, and tossed it on the bar. “It was a pleasure seeing you again, but I have dinner plans myself tonight.” He smiled and started to walk away.
“And what if I tell my husband you’re in town?”
He stopped, but didn’t turn around. “Would your husband even care?” He continued walking. He didn’t want to know the answer to his question. His greatest fear had always been that his family truly didn’t care for him, love him, and that was why it was so easy for them to let him just walk away, and for them not to say stop, don’t go.