'I think the question is more of what can you handle?' he replied, raising an eyebrow.
'Here give her to me,' Siobhan said.
'Where's Peter?' Brendan asked, looking up from his book.
'Looking after Sarah and her nappy,' Assumpta smiled sweetly at Brendan.
'Here we go,' Peter said, coming back downstairs, holding Sarah in his arms. 'Clean and fresh.'
Niamh raced in and thrust Kieran into Padraig's arms. 'Assumpta I need you to baby sit tonight.' She raced out again.
'Would you like to baby sit Assumpta? Are you sure it's not too much trouble with twins Assumpta? Thanks Assumpta?'
Siobhan laughed. 'Do you want me to take him tonight? Since the twins are teething and all?'
'You are a saint,' Peter smiled at her.
'Not really. I just know what it's like to have a teething baby in the house.'
'Yeah well we have two,' Assumpta replied.
'All the better to learn with my dear,' Siobhan smiled. 'Come on Kieran. Let's leave your Uncle Peter and Aunt Assumpta in peace.'
'I'll take them upstairs okay?' Peter asked his wife.
About seven minutes after Peter had left, Assumpta noticed two of their not so great friends enter the pub.
'Leo, Jenny,' she said tersely.
'Hello Assumpta. I heard you had a baby?'
The atmosphere in the pub was frosty. Padraig and Brendan were watching to see what would happen. Brian walked in with Liam and Donal behind him. When he saw who was there he walked straight back out again.
'Can we have a room please?' Jenny asked.
'You can. There might be a little noise at night because the twins are teething.'
'We'll be fine.'
Assumpta nodded and gave them a key. Just as they were about to go upstairs Peter came down.
'Assumpta,' he said not noticing Leo and Jenny. 'I'm just going to duck
down to Hendley's. We've run out of baby powder.' Then
he noticed Leo and Jenny. 'Hello.'
'Nice to see you Peter,' Leo told him. Turning to Jenny he smiled. 'Come on dear. Upstairs we go.'
Assumpta looked at Peter. 'Go on then.'
'You be okay?'
'I'm not a baby Peter.'
'I know. It's just that I love you and I know how hard this is on you,' he told her, stroking a stray hair out of her face.
'If it's hard on me then it's hard on you too. I'll be fine.'
She kissed him lightly. 'Go on.'
Peter smiled and went to Hendleys. He was intercepted by Brian, Liam and Donal.
'Safe to go in there now Peter?' Brian asked.
Peter raised his eyebrow and nodded.
'So what evil are you doing now?' Padraig asked Brian.
Brian glared at him. 'I am opening a museum.'
'A museum? On what?' Assumpta asked. 'Ten ways to get rich and fail each time?'
'Very funny Assumpta,' Brian replied. 'It will be on the history of Ballyk.'
'We have a history?' Padraig smiled.
'I thought it was amazing too,' Liam grinned.
'Are you planning to include the pub in it?' Peter asked, coming back downstairs, after taking the powder upstairs.
'Yes I am. And Assumpta?' Brian said.
'What?' she glared back.
'I want to include your father in it. He was a fine man.'
Assumpta softened. 'I'll see what I can find.'
LATER THAT NIGHT......
A shattering cry penetrated the pub. Assumpta moved to get up but Peter beat her. 'Go back to sleep. I'll look after her.'
'Thanks,' Assumpta replied sleepily.
'It's only fair, you were the one that had to push,' he smiled.
Assumpta threw a pillow at him.
'Alright I'm going.'
Peter entered the nursery and picked up Caroline. 'You have a pair of lungs on you don't you sweetheart?' He began rocking her. 'You look like your mum.'
Jenny entered the room. 'Peter.'
Peter turned around. 'I'm sorry that she woke you.'
Peter continued rocking Caroline until he noticed that Jenny hadn't gone.
'Can I get you anything?'
'I was thinking. I could divorce Leo and you could divorce Assumpta and we could go back to England.'
Peter looked at her aghast. 'Jenny, maybe you haven't fully understood
this yet. I love Assumpta. Very deeply and more than
my own life. I love my daughters. They mean the world to me. I would never leave them.'
Assumpta was standing in the doorway smiling.
'Right then. You've made yourself clear.' Jenny brushed past Assumpta and returned to her room.
Peter noticed his wife. 'How long have you been there?'
'Long enough,' she replied, entering the room.
'So you heard everything?'
'Are you mad?'
'Should I be?'
'I suppose not.'
Assumpta wrapped her arms around his waist. 'I love you Peter very much. And I was glad to hear what you said.'
Peter smiled. 'Thanks.'
'Can we go back to bed now?'
'Rise and shine in Ballyk! Yes it's six o'clock everyone and the weather is absolutely brilliant.....'
Assumpta groaned and buried deeper into Peter's arms. 'I am so tired.'
Peter kissed her softly. 'Me too. But we have a pub to run and two gorgeous girls to look after.' As if on cue a cry shattered through the pub.
'I bet it's Caroline,' Assumpta smiled.
'I bet it is too,' Peter told her. 'I'll get her.'
Peter got up and dressed, then went into the nursery where he picked up Caroline.
'Hello sweetheart. Trying to wake the whole pub up and put your parents out of business?'
'Trying do all that and more,' Assumpta replied, walking in and picking up a contented Sarah.
'I'll dress them if you like,' he smiled at her.
'Should I trust you with teething twins?'
Niamh walked in and smiled at Assumpta and Peter through the kitchen, trying to feed the twins. 'Kieran still asleep?' she called out.
Assumpta handed Sarah's spoon to Peter and came out. 'Kieran?
What did we do with him. He's not here.'
Niamh looked aghast. 'But....'
'Calm down Niamh,' Assumpta smiled. 'Siobhan offered to take him since the twins are teething.'
Niamh glared at Assumpta. 'That wasn't funny.'
'Assumpta?!' Peter called up the attic. 'What are you doing up there?'
No answer. (I promise I haven't killed her!) He swapped hips with both the twins who giggled and proceeded up the stairs. 'Assumpta?!' he called again.
'Over here,' came the reply.
He walked over beside a couple of the boxes and sat down, placing the twins on a nearby rug. 'What are you looking at?'
'Pictures, stuff my father used to keep up here.'
Peter picked up a photo of a small girl with dark hair and dancing eyes. 'Is this you?'
Assumpta nodded. 'That would be Assumpta Fitzgerald aged four.'
'You were cute.'
Assumpta raised her eyebrow at him.
'And of course you still are,' Peter finished quickly.
Assumpta smiled at him. 'I was looking for some stuff to give to Quigley. Dad would have loved for the pub to be famous.'
Peter kissed her softly. 'I'm going to put the twins down then I would like to come and help. If you don't mind.'
'Ok,' Assumpta was immersed in memories.
'Are you going to the opening of Quigley's museum tomorrow?' Siobhan asked Assumpta.
'Well I have seen the flyers everywhere. Including on my pub.'
'Excuse me?' Peter said.
'Sorry. Our pub.'
'I'm going,' Padraig said. 'I want to see if he keeps his promise about your dad.'
'Me too,' Assumtpa replied.
'Ah, Assumpta?' Liam said, entering the pub. 'Mr Quigley wants to make sure you're coming tomorrow.'
'Fine! We'll go,' she replied.
The next day there was a large crowd at the opening of Quigley's museum.
Assumpta and Peter had the twins in the prams and
Siobhan was holding tightly onto Aisling's hand. Brendan had hold firmly on the other hand and Niamh was chastising Kieran
for pulling Aisling's hair.
'Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls,' Brian began.
Assumpta rolled her eyes at Peter.
'Today we unviel the new museum. This museum is dedicated to a special man, who really put this town on the map. He was a good hearted man and was always ready to help. If you wanted anything you could be sure this man would help.'
'He's naming it after him?' Assumpta hissed to Niamh.
Niamh just smiled.
'Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. I would like to present to you and his beloved daughter, the James Fitzgerald museum.'
Assumpta's eyes widened in amazement as Brian unvieled the plaque. Peter smiled and hugged her.
Brian stepped down and went to Assumpta. 'It's no more than he deserves.'
He then handed her a pair of scissors. Assumpta
looked at him and a silent acknowledgment passed between them. Peter smiled as he kissed his wife. Life was good. And they both knew it.