Me and Emily

By: Eleanor Rigby

Author's Note: The title of this fic and the basic idea was taken from the song "Me and Emily" by Rachel Proctor. So... the idea is hers, not mine. Although I must say I think I've done rather a good job with it! Also, I didn't bother to watch the show after series three ended, so the characters' lives have pretty much time warped and stayed the same; for example, Niamh is still married to Ambrose and Peter is still the curate. Enjoy!

As the little blue van drove over the bridge, Assumpta's stomach began to churn. She had been gone for more than four and a half years. Everything could have changed. Well, she thought as she saw the familiar blue pub coming up in front of her, at least one thing hasn't.

 She parked the van out front and then turned to the backseat. Emily lay sprawled out, asleep. Assumpta smiled. Her daughter was the spitting image of herself, the same hair, same face, same petite build.

 "Emily..." Assumpta whispered in a sing- song voice, kissing her daughter's cheek.

The toddler stirred. "Where are we?" she mumbled, eyes still shut.

 "We're home, love," Assumpta said with a smile. "The blue one I told you about, remember?"

"Uh huh."

Emily made no sign of moving so Assumpta picked her up and rested her on her hip. She shut the van doors, took a deep breath, and walked into the pub.

"Hi everyone. Did you miss me?" There was a crash as a tray of sandwiches Niamh was carrying fell to the ground, a simultaneous gasp from the regulars, and a dead silence that followed.

"Oh my God, you're back!" Niamh cried, rushing round to the other side of the bar to hug her best friend.

Assumpta quickly put Emily down before being swept up in a hug. As much as she'd told herself that she wouldn't cry, the tears came without warning as she clung to Niamh. Padraig, Siobhan, and Brendan each came forward to hug her and welcome her back. After a few more unwanted tears, Assumpta wiped her eyes.

And then she saw him. He was sitting at a corner table, drinking a coffee and doing a crossword. He still had that same boyish haircut, those big brown puppy dog eyes. He was wearing a checked shirt and jeans, and for a fleeting second Assumpta hoped that he wasn't a priest anymore. But she knew that wasn't possible. Wishful thinking. He was still the same person. Peter. Assumpta hoped that no-one could hear her heart pounding or see her cheeks blushing more and more by the second.

She walked over to the table and said in a quiet voice, "Hello, Peter." He looked up at her with those eyes, and she found herself melting, much like she had every time he'd looked at her since they first met.

"Come here," Peter said softly, standing up. Assumpta walked into his arms and they hugged for a long time, sobbing without realizing it. When they did pull apart, it was awkwardly and with everyone watching.

"Yes, well..." Assumpta said, shifting her weight from foot to foot, looking at their expectant faces. "It's nice to see you all again. God, I've missed you!"

"Hello, who's this?" Siobhan asked, looking down at Emily as she felt a tug on her pant leg.

"Oh. Everyone, I'd like you to meet my daughter Emily." She picked her up and everyone gave their various greetings.

"We'll give you a chance to get settled in," Niamh said. "And then we can all talk later."

"Right," Assumpta nodded. "I'll just get my stuff out of the van."

Seeing that Padraig and Brendan didn't offer a hand, Peter said, "I'll help."

Niamh, Brendan, Siobhan, and Padraig went off and Peter helped Assumpta bring her bags in from the van. As they walked back through the door they saw Emily sitting on a barstool about to drink what was left of Brendan's stout. Assumpta dropped the bags she was carrying--one of them landed on Peter's foot--and rushed over to take the drink out of her toddler's hands.

"Emily, no!" she scolded. "Don't drink that, pet! That's a grown-up drink! I'll get you and orange soda once I'm done bringing in the stuff, ok?"

"Ok," Emily nodded sadly. Assumpta put the toddler on her hip and turned back to Peter. "Sorry!" she said, noticing him wincing at the pain in his foot. "Did it hit your foot?"

"Yeah, but I'm fine."

"Who are you?" Emily asked Peter.

"Emily!" Assumpta tisked, but she and Peter both cracked smiles. "This is Peter, Emily. He's one of Mummy's best friends."

"She looks just like you," Peter said tenderly, stroking Emily's cheek. Assumpta smiled at him and for a moment they were lost in each other's gazes.

Then Emily said loudly, "Mummy, where's my room?" Assumpta looked at Peter apologetically.

"It's upstairs, Em. All the way at the end and on the left. You want to go up there and look? Mummy and Peter will be right up, ok?"

"Left is this way, right?" Emily asked, pointing to her left.

"That's right--er, correct," Assumpta said, kissing her daughter's cheek. "Now go on up." Emily scrambled out of her mother's arms and up the stairs, leaving Peter and Assumpta alone.

"She's adorable," Peter said, watching the toddler run up the stairs.

"Yeah, she's great," Assumpta agreed. "I was hoping maybe you'd babysit her if I ever needed it..."

"For you, sure," Peter said. Why, oh why had he said that?

Assumpta moaned to herself. That feeling was coming on again, the one where she felt lightheaded and her knees felt weak and she just wanted to collapse into Peter's arms, cos he was always there when she felt it. She did not, however; instead she managed a weak, "Thanks."

The atmosphere was pierced by Emily calling, "Mummy, the door's locked!"

Peter and Assumpta dragged the bags upstairs and found Emily standing in front of a closed, apparently locked, door.

"Ahhh--" Assumpta stomped her foot to stop herself from cursing in front of her four year old daughter. "Niamh's got the key! Peter, would you stay here with Emily while I run over to the Garda house for a minute?"

"Sure," Peter nodded.

Assumpta squatted down and looked at Emily. "Emmie, will you stay here with Peter? Mummy's got to go across the street so we can get the key for your new room, ok?"

"Ok," Emily acquiesced, seeing that there was benefit for her.

"Looks like that babysitting job's already starting," Assumpta said to Peter as she walked past him and down the stairs.

Emily plopped herself down on the floor and Peter, figuring "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," also sat.

"Do you like it here?" he asked Emily.

She looked him straight in the eye and said, "I've only been here ten minutes."

Peter smiled. A tongue just like her mum.

"We used to live in London," Emily began. "Me, Mummy, and Daddy. It smelled funny there. But here it's pretty and the only smelly thing is the cows."

"Your dad," Peter asked, he had to know, "what was his name?"

"Leo," Emily said simply. But to Peter it wasn't simple. The name was so complicated, it brought on so many feelings. "Mummy and I don't live with him anymore though," the toddler went on. "They got a...a... some word that starts with a d..."

"Divorce?" Peter offered hopefully.

Em nodded. "Uh huh. I don't really know what that means, but after it was over Mummy packed some stuff and drove us here. She kept telling me how pretty it was going to be and stories about all her friends."

Again, Peter's curiosity got the better of him and he asked, "Did she mention me in any of her stories?"

She didn't answer his question. She simply looked up and momentarily ceased tugging and the carpet to respond with a question of her own: "What's your job?" Then she returned to yanking at the loose thread in the runner that padded the long, thin, wooden hallway.

Peter decided to forget his question; he shouldn't have asked it anyway, so he said, "I'm a priest."

"How come you're not wearing that funny outfit, the black one, like other priests?"

"When have you seen other priests?"

"At church," Emily said, much to Peter's surprise. "Mummy took me a few times. I fell asleep." He smiled. "I liked the singing though." Peter made no comment, so Emily asked again, "How come you're not wearing black?"

"I'm not on duty right now, although--" he glanced at his watch, "--I hope your mum gets back soon, because I have to take confession in fifteen minutes."

"Confession, that's that?" Emily asked, not pulling at the carpet anymore.

"Well, it's when people tell me their sins and then I tell them that God forgives them." Peter tried to explain it without using words like absolution and penance.

"Oh, right," Emily said, remembering. "In the big wooden box at the back of the church." A pause, then, "Sins are bad, right?"

Not everything was so black and white, but he didn't want to confuse her, so he nodded. "Pretty much, yeah."

Emily was quiet for a long time, and Peter thought maybe the questions had stopped. Then, almost inaudibly, Emily whispered, "Is it a sin that Mummy and Daddy got a divorce?"

Peter was taken aback. "Well... some people think it is."

"Do you?" She had a way of asking questions that made him uncomfortable, just like Assumpta.

"Well," Peter said, "I think if two people aren't happy together then they should try and get on with their lives while they still can. So maybe getting a divorce was the best thing for your mum and dad."

"Yeah..." Emily nodded.

At that moment the heard the door open and Assumpta call, "I'm back!" She came up the stairs holding the key aloft and fit it into the lock. Then she pushed the door open and Peter blushed upon realizing that he was looking at Assumpta's bedroom.

"Oooh, pretty!" Emily said, running in. As the toddler dashed round the room Peter made a quick, sweeping evaluation of it. It was simple enough: a double bed pushed up against the wall by the window, a closet, a nightstand, and a dresser. As he looked at the dresser he realized that one of the drawers was open, displaying some of Assumpta's undergarments. Peter took particular note of a black lacey bra before Assumpta kicked the drawer shut with her foot on her way past. Emily had climbed on the bed and was peering out the window.

Assumpta turned back to Peter. "Could you help me with the last few bags?" They went back down to the front door and each got one more bag to bring back upstairs. "So how did you and Emily get on?" she asked.

"Great. She told me a little about your life in London." Assumpta froze in the hallway, causing Peter to bump into her. He immediately pulled away.

"How much did she tell you?" She hardly needed to ask; the answer was written on his face: Emily had told him about Leo. "Peter, look, I wanted to be the one to tell you, I was going to--"

He shook his head. "It's fine." Then he stepped ahead of her and walked down the hall to her room. He was putting the bag down next to the others when Assumpta came in with hers. "Well, I'll be off then," Peter said. "Nice to see you again, Assumpta. Bye bye, Emily."

"Will you come round for a drink later?" asked Assumpta, mending where she could.

Peter wasn't sure if that was a private invitation or not, but he said, "You'll see me around."

As he walked down the hall and the stairs he could hear Emily's childish voice say, "I liked him. He was nice." He also heard Assumpta's mysterious mutter but couldn't make out the words. Peter walked out of the pub, making sure to shut the door a little louder than he normally would.

He didn't plan on going to Fitzgerald's that night, but when he found that he had no bread to make sandwiches and that Hendley's had been closed for the night, the pub seemed like the only option, aside from not eating, which he wasn't too keen on. When he walked in, several people called his name. There seemed to be some sort of informal party going on and there was no need to inquire as to the occasion. He took a seat between Brendan and Doctor Ryan and ordered a sandwich and a Guinness. Assumpta never met his eyes the whole night. He caught her looking once but she averted her eyes quickly. Emily, on the other hand, wanted all the attention she could get. She was the life of the party, singing, dancing, and amusing the entire pub. She looked exactly like Assumpta must have when she was four. She reminded Peter so much of her mother, so much...

"Peter?" Assumpta's voice startled Peter back into reality. The pub was completely empty, save for him, Assumpta, and Emily.


"I'll be right back," Assumpta said. "Once I put this one to bed." She picked Emily up. "Come on, love. Bedtime."

"But I don't want to! I'm not sleepy!" Emily protested the whole way up the stairs.

When Assumpta came back down ten minutes later, she'd brushed her hair, and Peter thought she'd put on some lipstick. As she came closer he realized she must have put on more perfume too, because she smelled spicier than ever. "Sorry," she winced. "Em was being a bit difficult. You know kids." She sat down on the barstool next to his and something in the atmosphere said that they both remembered a night similar to this one, a night filled with red wine and uncomfortable questions.

"Do you ever want what you can't have?" The question echoed in both their minds as they struggled for something, anything to say, to break the silence, the tension.

"D'you want to go for a drive?" Assumpta said finally. "My first day back and I've been cooped up in here all day."

"Sure," Peter said, grateful for something to do.

"Let me just call Niamh and ask if she'll watch Emily for a bit." Two minutes later Peter and Assumpta were driving away in the van. Niamh stood at the door, watching them go, a million thoughts running through her head.

"Where are we going?" Peter asked Assumpta; she was driving.

"My special place," she said mysteriously. After a short drive they pulled up in front of the grotto. Wordlessly, they got out and just stood there in the dark, looking at the statue of the Madonna. "I missed it," she said quietly.

"Missed what?"

"The grotto. The statue. This place." Assumpta placed heavy emphasis on the word place, and as she did she looked up at the stars above them. "I couldn't see the stars in London," she said, looking down at the ground now, "I missed them, too. I missed a lot of things, the pub, the Angel, the regulars hanging around even when I didn't want them to, even if I was practically going out of business." She paused and looked straight ahead, smiling ever so slightly. "Especially when I was practically going out of business. I missed you, and Niamh, and Kieran, and seeing--"

"Wait. What'd you say?"

She hesitated. "I didn't mean--"

"Did you say that you missed me?"

Assumpta stammered, not knowing what to say. "I...I..."

"Assumpta, you can talk to me," Peter said, his eyes full of tenderness.

She knew she might as well say it. "Ok, ok, I missed you, all right?" she snapped.

Peter grinned. "I missed you too," he said.

Assumpta softened. "Really?"

"Really really." Peter touched the tip of her nose and she smiled, but then pulled away and changed the subject.

"I've got some food and stuff in the van, d'you want some?"


Assumpta opened the back of the van and climbed in. Peter looked at her skeptically. "Well come on!" she huffed. Awkwardly, he crawled in, too. There was little head or legroom, even with both of them sitting cross-legged. Assumpta was rummaging through a small box she'd pulled from under the seat when Peter finally got comfortable. It was late, therefore dark, and had it not been for the light of the full moon it would have been pitch black. "Here." Assumpta handed him a Kit Kat bar.

Peter took it and said, "So this is your idea of 'food and stuff'?" Assumpta shrugged.

"I've got crisps if you want 'em."

He shook his head and they ate the chocolate in silence. Peter watched her as she chewed. The moonlight accentuated her soft features and put an ethereal-like glow round her hair. Like a halo, he mused.

"What?" Assumpta asked; she realized he was staring.

"Nothing," Peter said, then added, "You just look pretty in the moonlight, that's all."

"Oh. Thank you." She shifted uncomfortably. Having finished her Kit Kat, she crumpled up the wrapper and tossed it to the side. Then she stretched out on her back, her boots peeking out the back of the van. "Ooof, my feet hurt!" She sat back up, unlaced her boots, took off her socks, and let them all fall to the ground. She resumed her position on her back. Peter also finished his candy bar, put his wrapper with the other, removed his own shoes and socks, then lay down on his back also. As he got comfortable, his hip brushed Assumpta's. "Sorry," she murmured, and scooted over. They lay next to each other for some time. The silence again.

"Why," Peter asked, "did you bring me out here if you didn't have anything to say?"

"I don't know," Assumpta sighed.

"I wish we could just talk," he said. "What's on your mind?"

"Nothing..." Assumpta said evasively.

"There you go again!" Peter shook his head. "Closing up every time we try to finally be honest with each other!"

"I don't know what you're talking about," she muttered, and got out of the van, padding in the grass toward the statue in her bare feet.

"Yes you do!" he followed after her. "Assumpta, I want to help you! Talk to me, please!" She kept walking. "Running away from your problems again?" he asked. Now she turned round.


"Every time the going gets tough, you get going!"

"Oh, that's rich," Assumpta snorted. "And what about you, going on retreat, saying you had to say 8 am mass--"

"Assumpta!" Peter took hold of her arm. "Let me help! What d'you want?" She struggled to get away.

"Who do you think you are! Let go of me! Get off! Am I going to have to scream? Get your hands off me!" He held fast. Now the fear was apparent in her eyes and she began to plead. "Please! Peter, please, let me go! Stop it, please!" Peter released her, alarmed. She was badly shaken and crying now.


"Why did you do that?" she sobbed. Something was definitely wrong.

"Assumpta, is something the matter?"

"No, I'm fine!" she snapped, still crying. Peter moved closer to comfort her Assumpta backed away.

"Don't touch me!" she shrieked. "Please! Just don't."

This was the last thing he wanted. She hated him. She was afraid of him. There had to be a reason...and then he remembered Moira Kilfeather.

"Assumpta, did Leo ever hurt you?" Peter asked. "Physically, I mean." She stopped crying and looked up.


"Assumpta, I need you to tell me the truth. Did Leo ever hit you, or beat you?"

She looked into his eyes with such fear that the answer was clear before she said, "Oh, Peter, yes. Yes, Leo beat me. More than once. Here." She rolled up her sweater sleeves to reveal several black bruises on each arm.

Peter gasped. "Oh my God... Assumpta, I am so--"

She cut him off. "Sorry? Yeah, everyone is. But that's all they can do, be sorry." She laughed sadly.

"Oh, Assumpta..." Peter took her in his arms and held her close, rocking her back and forth. She rocked with him, sobbing on his shoulder.

"I'm so scared," she whispered.

"You don't have to be," he said quietly, without really thinking.

"Why not?" Assumpta said. She looked up at his face, searching for a sign that he really was saying what she hoped he was.

"Because... I love you," Peter said simply. As soon as the words were out he couldn't believe he'd said them. It was true, sure, but he never though he'd say them out loud. But at that moment Assumpta was looking into his face with such love, as he'd always wished she would, that he was glad he'd said it.

"Peter..." Assumpta whispered.

They both shut their eyes and inevitably moved closer. Finally their lips met and the kiss they shared was long, passionate, and terribly romantic. All the years of trying to resist each other and then all the years of being apart were poured out into this one moment that was the sweetest thing either of them had ever known. When their lips finally parted for air, it was extremely brief, and then they were at it again. Peter kissed away the tears streaming down Assumpta's face as she fingered his hair and memorized his face with her hands.

"I love you so much," she said with a ragged breath as he nuzzled her neck. Hearing her finally say that made Peter so happy that he kissed her again with breath stealing force. She melted into him and kissed him right back.

The moment could have gone on in perfect bliss had it not been for the harsh honking of a car horn. They jerked apart and stared in horror at the sight of the Garda car parked behind the van with Niamh at the wheel.

"Oh no..." Assumpta moaned.

Niamh rolled down the window and called out, "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

Assumpta tried to change the subject. "Niamh, you're supposed to be watching Emily! Where is she?"

"Asleep in the back," Niamh answered. "And it's a good thing, too. Imagine, seeing her mother kissing a priest--"

"Shut up!" Assumpta shouted. "Niamh, you have no right to interfere with my personal life! Go home!"

"Well I was worried!" Niamh protested. "You've been gone two hours, have you not noticed? I'll take Father Clifford home and you can follow in your van."

"Now just a minute--" Peter began to argue but Niamh cut him off, too.

"No buts! Get in, Father."

Peter and Assumpta both knew it was hopeless to argue and obeyed. Peter sent Assumpta a look that said he'd try to talk some sense into Niamh. Sadly, Assumpta walked to her van and Peter got in the passenger side of the Garda car. He and Niamh drove in silence but Peter was too afraid to say anything; Niamh looked like she was about to blow her top.

"Please try to understand," he said finally. "This wasn't an easy choice for either of us to make."

"Oh yeah? Well you could have fooled me!"


"I'm sorry, I just... I can't believe it!"

"Yeah, I'm having some trouble believing it meself."

"I mean, you're a priest!"

"You think I don't know that?"

Niamh sighed. "I've prayed this wouldn't happen for years," she admitted. "You and Assumpta are two of my best friends but I didn't want either of you getting involved in a scandal."

"I don't want a scandal either," Peter agreed, "which is why I'm going to leave the priesthood."

"What!" Niamh nearly stopped the car in the middle of the road.

"I've loved Assumpta ever since I met her, Niamh. And now that I know that she loves me, I'll give up anything to be with her."

"Wow." Niamh was impressed. "Have you told this to Assumpta?"

"I was going to before we were so rudely interrupted," Peter joked.

She winced. "Sorry. I see now how you two really feel about each other. But it doesn't mean I approve."

"Well, I'm glad you understand."

They had pulled up in front of his house. He thanked Niamh for the lift and got out. Niamh drove off to return Emily to the pub. Peter was very cold standing there in his driveway and after a few minutes he realized why. Assumpta still had his shoes. He stood there for a few minutes more, being indecisive as the whether he should walk down to the pub to retrieve his footwear or just wait until morning.

Before he could decide anything, he heard a soft voice say, "Hey, you forgot these."

He turned to see Assumpta standing there with his shoes. "Oh, thanks. I was just coming to get those."

"Uh huh."

"Look," Peter started, "I'm sorry if I scared you."

"Scared me? Peter, how could you possibly scare me?" Assumpta asked, looking up into his face tenderly.

"When I grabbed your arm earlier...I'm sorry, I didn't know about Leo and about what he'd done to you."

"Kiss me and I'll forgive you," Assumpta said with a sultry smile. Peter looked around uncomfortably.

"Here? Now? Anyone could be watching."

"Well we could go inside if you don't want anyone to see..." Her smile grew even more suggestive.

"Are you inviting me into my own house?"

"I am."

"In that case..." Peter leaned down and kissed her full on the lips. The passion escalated and eventually Assumpta had to pull back to stay calm. Her heart was beating a mile a minute and every inch of her was screaming for Peter.

"So I can't come inside then?" she asked, trying to hide her longing.

"Not tonight," Peter said. He wanted it as much as she did, but not just yet.

"Not even for a cup of tea?" she pleaded. She understood why he was doing it, but she couldn't help asking.

"Don't tempt me..." Peter warned, smiling.

"Ah, but I've already done that," she grinned. She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his lips again tenderly, then walked off down the street, back to the pub. Her skirt danced round her legs and she was still barefoot. Peter watched her go until he couldn't see her anymore, then went inside and slept peacefully for the first time in years.