Clare sent a glare her way as she handed Brendan his pint. Siobhan smiled.
‘I never liked dances either,’ Assumpta said.
‘That's because you were always beating the boys up instead of dancing with them,’ Padraig smiled.
Ambrose came in. ‘Uh, Peter can I have a word?’
Peter nodded and they went into the kitchen.
‘Assumpta and you are happy right?’
‘Right. Well, here's the problem. Niamh says I am boring.’
‘Yeah. She's says I don't know how to do anything spontaneous. I thought I’d ask you for your advice.’
‘Right. Well, um, something spontaneous. Well just do something that you normally would never think of doing. Something different.’
Ambrose looked thoughtful for a moment. ‘Right. Thank you Peter.’ He left as Assumpta came in.
‘What was all that about?’ she asked.
‘Ambrose has been told to be spontaneous.’
Assumpta looked at him strangely. ‘You know what, I don't want to know.’
Peter smiled and kissed her.
The next day, Clare and Kevin were down at the Angel, taking Fionn for a walk.
‘Can I ask you a possibly hypothetical question?’ Kevin asked Clare.
She raised her eyebrow. ‘Sure.’
‘You hate dances right?’
‘With a passion,’ Clare replied.
‘Okay. Say a guy asked you to go with him. Would you?’
‘Depends who the guy was.’
‘Okay. Can I ask you another possibly hypothetical question?’
‘What if the guy was me?’
Clare looked thoughtful for a moment. ‘I would probably say yes.’
‘Okay. Can I ask you a question that's not hypothetical?’
‘Will you go to the dance with me tonight?’
Clare’s eyes went wide. ‘Ah, sure,’ she managed to squeak out.
‘Great! I'll pick you up at seven?’
Clare nodded numbly.
‘What should we do with them all Mr Quigley?’
‘I’ll go and speak to Peter.’
‘Mr Quigley he's not a priest anymore.’
‘He’ll think of something.’
Assumpta stepped over James crawling on the floor and looked at Clare strangely.
‘What's the matter? You look like you've just seen a ghost.’
‘I just did the single most stupid thing in my life,’ she muttered.
‘I just agreed to go to the dance with Kevin.’
Assumpta and the rest of the regulars tried to stifle their amusement.
‘So what's the matter with that?’ Assumpta asked.
‘He's my best friend!’ Clare hissed.
‘People don't go to dances with best friends,’ she replied.
‘They just don't. Dances are for couples not best friends.’
‘Well then go as friends. Not as a couple.’
Clare sighed and went upstairs. Brian Quigley entered, Liam and Donal
following. He beckoned to Peter and pointed
at the kitchen. Assumpta raised her eyebrow and looked at Peter who shrugged. Brian stepped over James who was crawling into the bar area, quickly put to a stop by his mother who scooped him up in her arms.
‘What is it Brian?’ Peter asked.
‘You remember, about four years ago, when Liam and Donal dug up One Tooth Tommy’s bones?’
Yes,’ Peter said slowly.
‘Well, they've done it again.’
‘But One Tooth Tommy..’
‘No not One Tooth Tommy. Some other fool of a person who had to have a grave on my construction site.’
‘What do you want me to do about it?’
‘Can you bury him?’
‘Brian, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm not a priest anymore.’
‘I know but can't you do something?’
‘Brian, take them to the new priest or something.’
‘He’ll ask questions.’
‘I don't want any trouble.’
Peter sighed. ‘Well, I can't help you Brian.’
‘Thanks,’ Brian growled.
‘Are you ready to go?’ Ambrose asked Niamh.
She nodded. ‘I left Kieran with Assumpta. She said she'll stay up till Clare comes home anyway.’
‘Clare and Kevin eh? Who would have thought?’ Ambrose smiled as he locked the door.
Clare came downstairs in a long skirt and a jacket.
‘Are you wearing that?’ Siobhan asked.
‘Well, I can't wear jeans apparently and I refuse to wear dresses or short skirts.’
‘Fair enough,’ Brendan said.
Kevin came in, followed by Padraig who ordered a pint. Both Kevin and Clare became a little self conscious.
‘Uh, you ready to go?’ Kevin asked, swallowing hard.
‘Sure,’ Clare replied hastily as they left the bar.
‘Wouldn't you just love to be a fly on the wall at that dance?’ Peter said, watching them leave.
‘I’ll say,’ Padraig answered.
Late that evening.....
Kevin and Clare stopped, out the front of Fitzgeralds. In the bar, Brendan beckoned everyone to the windows.
‘I had a great time tonight,’ Kevin smiled.
‘Me too,’ Clare replied.
‘So I’ll see you tomorrow at the football game?’ Kevin asked.
Clare nodded. They looked at each other intently for a moment and then they kissed.
‘Uh, I better go,’ Clare stuttered, a little out of breath.
‘Yeah,’ Kevin replied.
In the bar, there was a rush to get back to the chairs as Clare walked in.
‘So uh, how was the dance?’ Assumpta asked, trying not to smile.
‘Disturbing,’ Clare replied, going upstairs.
‘I better get home to Kevin,’ Padraig smiled after she had gone upstairs.
Niamh stomped into the bar.
‘Want to talk?’ Assumpta asked, gesturing to the kitchen.
Peter took James from her. ‘I’ll go and put him down. Say night to Mummy,’ he smiled.
Assumpta kissed James and then Peter. ‘I’ll be up to check on him later.’
‘What’s going on?’ Assumpta asked, as she closed the doors.
‘What did he do?’
‘I told him I wanted him to be spontaneous.’
Assumpta was starting to get a funny feeling in her stomach.
‘He took me to a wrestling match!’
Assumpta burst out laughing.
‘Assumpta!’ Niamh said indignantly.
‘I’m sorry Niamh, it's just that the thought of you and Ambrose at a wrestling match.’
Niamh frowned and stomped out again.
‘Ah Niamh!’ Assumpta groaned and went upstairs. She entered James’ bedroom where Peter was changing him into his pyjamas.
‘Need a hand?’ Assumpta asked, tickling James.
‘I think we just have it covered. Isn't that right James?’ Peter asked, lifting the boy into his arms.
‘Did you tell Ambrose to take Niamh to a wrestling match?’ Assumpta asked.
Peter raised his eyebrow. ‘He didn't?’
Assumpta nodded. ‘He did. And Niamh is furious.’
‘I told him to do something he wouldn't normally do but a wrestling match?’
Assumpta grinned. ‘You sure put things into people's minds don't you?’
‘Listen I didn't suggest a wrestling match! I said do something different.’
‘Well watch your mouth next time,’ Assumpta smiled.
‘Have you spoken to Clare yet?’ Peter asked.
‘No. She seemed like she wanted to be left alone. I think that kiss may have given her a start.’
Peter put James down. ‘Come on. We'll lock up and then go to bed.’
‘Just a one time thing. Heat of the moment. Never happen again,’ Clare muttered to herself as she tied up her football boots.
‘Talking to yourself is usually the first sign of insanity,’ a voice came from the doorway.
Clare looked up to see Assumpta smiling and rocking James.
Assumpta came and sat on the bed. ‘Want to talk?’
‘About you kissing Kevin.’
‘Wonderful. Did the whole town see it?’
‘The whole town wouldn't fit in the bar,’ Assumpta replied.
‘I don't know. Something happened. We didn't mean to kiss. I mean he's my best friend!’
Assumpta smiled. ‘Sometimes best friends can become more.’
‘Oh no. You and Peter are completely different. He was a priest and you couldn't fall in love with him.’
‘What I'm trying to say is, if you feel something more than friendship for Kevin, you should tell him.’
Clare sighed. ‘I’ll see. We better get a move on. Come on James.’
‘...so you see that's my problem,’ Kevin finished.
Padraig looked thoughtful for a moment. ‘Make her jealous.’
‘You heard me.’
‘I don't want to hurt her.’
‘You won't hurt her. See if you make her jealous, she'll come to you. Then you won't have to worry.’
‘You tried it?’
‘Sure. I used it on your mum.’
Kevin raised an eyebrow.
‘Come on, you've got a game to win.’
The bookie, Rory was hugging his jacket around him, to keep the winter chill out.
A tall man came and stood in front of him. ‘Ten pounds on Cilldargen to win.’
Rory raised an eyebrow. ‘Do you think that's wise sir?’
The man looked at him harshly. ‘Excuse me?’
‘There's a new kid on the Ballykissangel team. Apparently this kid and Kevin O’Kelly have a striking force to be reckoned with.’
‘What’s his name?’
‘The new kid ain’t a he mister. It's a she. Clare Fitzgerald.’
The man frowned. ‘Any relation to Assumpta Fitzgerald by any chance?’
Rory nodded. ‘Although she ain’t Assumpta Fitzgerald anymore. She's Assumpta Clifford. The two are cousins.’
‘This kid's a girl?’
‘Yeah. Apparently she's one of the best players on the team. A force to be reckoned with their coach says.’
‘Who's their coach? Quigley?’
‘No mister. Quigley coaches the men's team. These kids are coached by a Mr O’Brien.’
‘Mickey O’Brien’s dad.’
‘Alright. Ten pounds on Cilldargen to win and five pounds on Ballykay to win.’
The man left and Assumpta came.
‘Morning Rory. How's business?’
‘The usual. Trying to convince people to put money on the Ballykissangel team. I mean, with your cousin and Kevin O’Kelly, O’Brien says they're sure to win.’
‘Right so, five pounds on Ballykay.’
The game was well under way. Cilldargen were in the lead by three goals.
‘Brendan will you take Aisling?’ Siobhan asked, handing him the crying baby.
‘What did you bring her for? She doesn't like these matches!’
‘Well I wanted to come. Be a good father like Peter and walk her around a bit.’
‘Peter’s not walking James around!’
‘Well James is a good boy that sleeps at good times. Now you can be a good father and walk Aisling around a bit.’
Peter, Assumpta, Padraig, Niamh and Ambrose were watching this with amusement.
‘All right, all right,’ Brendan grumbled.
‘Have fun Brendan,’ Padraig answered, as Brendan walked off, rocking Aisling.
The group went back to watching the game. Clare and Kevin were passing the ball to each other as they ran down the pitch. The crowd was yelling in anticipation. Finally, Clare took the ball and belted it into the back of the net. The crowd roared.
‘Number 3, Clare Fitzgerald.’
‘That was a good goal,’ Ambrose smiled.
‘Good? It was brilliant,’ Siobhan corrected him.
As time went by, Kevin and Clare took turns at sending in goals. As the final whistle blew, Ballykissangel had won by seven goals.
‘Good work you two,’ Coach O’Brien smiled, as Kevin and Clare jogged off the pitch.
‘Thanks,’ Kevin smiled.
Clare frowned as Eileen Gogerty came up to Kevin. ‘Good work Kevin,’ she smiled sweetly.
Kevin looked a little flustered. ‘Uh, thanks,’ he stammered.
Clare glared at him and took off.
‘Oh great,’ Kevin sighed.
‘Was I too over the top?’ Eileen asked.
Kevin sighs again.
Assumpta, Peter, Niamh, Ambrose and Siobhan have watched this with interest.
Assumpta’s eyes went dark as Clare took off. ‘Where's Padraig?’ she asked Peter.
‘Headed back down to the pub with Brendan.’
‘Right,’ Assumpta, said, getting up.
The door to Fitzgerald’s slammed shut as Assumpta came in. It was then opened tentatively by Niamh as she, Ambrose, Siobhan and Peter came in.
‘What did you tell your son?’ Assumpta asked Padraig.
‘What are you talking about?’
‘You heard me.’
‘Assumpta,’ Niamh said.
Assumpta sent a glare her way and then went back to looking expectantly at Padraig.
Peter handed James to Niamh. ‘Would you take him upstairs and put him in his cot?’
Niamh nodded, understanding that he didn't want James to get upset.
‘I just thought he should make her jealous,’ Padraig answered.
‘Jealous!’ Assumpta cried.
‘Yeah. Then they would realise that they were falling in love.’
Assumpta groaned. As they argued, Kevin slipped into the kitchen, unseen. There he found Clare, sniffing.
‘Oh it’s you,’ she growled, as he sat down.
‘Listen, I don’t like her.’
‘Then why were you flirting with her?’ Clare cried.
‘Because strange as it may seem, I seem to like you better!’ Kevin yelled.
‘Oh, so because you like me you flirt with Eileen Gogerty!’ Clare yelled back.
‘My dad suggested that I make you jealous so that you would tell me that you like me!’
‘So you don’t like her?’
Kevin groaned. ‘I like you! Why do you think I paid Eileen ten quid so that she would flirt with me!’
‘You paid her to flirt with you?’
‘Well how else was I going to make you jealous?’
‘Why did you want to make me jealous in the first place?’ Clare cried.
‘Because for some reason that I can’t explain, I’ve fallen in love with you!’ Kevin exploded.
Clare looked at him wide-eyed. ‘You’ve, fallen in love with me?’
‘I don’t know why. I mean, you’re the most stubborn person in history and you have a fetish for beating up Mrs Hendley’s grand-nephew. But yeah, I’ve fallen in love with you.’
‘Oh,’ Clare said simply. ‘Oh.’
Kevin raised his eyebrow. ‘Are you going to say something other than “oh”?’
‘Oh,’ Clare said again.
Kevin shook his head. ‘Never mind,’ he smiled as he kissed her.
The kiss quickly escalated to a passionate one. Peter spied it through the door and smiled.
‘Assumpta, Padraig,’ he said to the two that were still arguing.
‘What?’ Padraig growled, glaring at Assumpta.
‘I don’t think you need to fight anymore,’ he grinned.
‘Why?’ Assumpta asked, strangely.
Peter gestured to the kitchen where Kevin and Clare were caught in a passionate embrace.
‘Well, well, well,’ Brendan said. ‘Who would have thought?’
‘Kevin and Clare,’ Ambrose smiled.
The two in question got wind that people are watching them and break the kiss. Clare blushed and Kevin looked awkward.
‘Want to go for a walk?’ Kevin asked softly.
They left the pub together.
Assumpta turns to Peter. ‘Remind you of anyone?’
Peter smiles and kisses her.