A Love That Never Dies

by Glenys Packer

A/N The title of this fic is from the song “Paradise”

Rain lashed at the windows of Fitzgeralds. Though it was noon, the sky was close to black, and the only light was the frequent flash of lightning. Inside the pub, however, there was a cozy feeling of comfort. Assumpta had lit a fire in the fireplace, and all the regulars sat at one end of the bar, sipping their drinks and watching the storm progress outside. A small black radio sat on the bar, quietly reporting the weather.
Severe thunderstorms still in store for Cilldargen and the surrounding areas. Residents are advised to...
“Oh I can’t take this anymore,” Assumpta said finally, switching off the radio. She folded her arms across her chest. “Don’t you people have anything better to do?” she snapped at the regulars.

Padraig grinned. “Nope,” he said. Assumpta rolled her eyes.

“Oh surely, Assumpta, you’re not going to send us out in that are you?” Siobhan asked, jerking her head towards the blackened windows.

Just then the door flew open and Peter stepped inside, soaking wet. “I’ve lost power at my house!” he complained, peeling his jacket off and draping it over the back of a chair. “The lines running to it got hit or something. The church is out too.”

Assumpta gave him a pitying look and tossed him a towel. “Here,” she said. “You want anything to drink?”

Peter glanced up. “Yeah, a cup of tea. And I need a room,” he said. Brendan snorted.

Assumpta glared at him. “What’s your problem?” she hissed. Brendan shook his head, attempting to maintain a straight face. Assumpta rolled her eyes and went into the kitchen, returning a few minutes later with a steaming mug of tea for Peter. “Here ya go,” she said, handing it to him. As Peter took the mug, his hand brushed against Assumpta’s. An indescribable feeling seemed to run up his spine. Peter shook himself. “You all right?” Assumpta asked, frowning.

“Yeah, fine. Thanks.” Peter took a sip of the tea, and smiled. He suddenly realized all eyes were on him. “Nasty storm,” he said.

“Yeah,” Siobhan agreed.

“The fields are going to be bogs by the time this lets up...” Padraig agreed.

Brendan however, said nothing, he continued to watch Peter. He’d noticed the way Peter looked at Assumpta, and wondered what exactly was going on in the priest’s head.

The door opened a short while later and Niamh and Ambrose came in, wet but looking cheerful. They kept looking at each other and sniggering.

“Hey...” Niamh said. “The electricity went out. Line knocked down. The church is out too...”

Peter looked up. “That was about half an hour ago,” he said, frowning. “What took you so long to notice?”

Niamh started laughing. Ambrose looked at Peter and shook his head. Peter decided he didn’t want to know.

Assumpta stuck her head out of the kitchen door. She seemed to count the number of people in the room. “Hello Niamh, Ambrose,” she said. “Would someone come in here and give me a hand?”

“I’ll help,” Peter said, getting to his feet. He walked into the kitchen and shut the door behind him.

“Here,” Assumpta said gesturing to a loaf of bread. “You can start buttering the bread.”

Peter nodded and went to stand next to her, looking around. “No chance of a butter knife, is there?” he asked grinning.

Assumpta smiled. “Oh yeah...” She pulled one out of the drawer and handed it to Peter. Again as she handed it to him, their hands brushed, Peter froze, and stared at where his fingers gently overlapped Assumpta’s. “Peter?” Assumpta asked, one eyebrow raised. Her voice snapped Peter out of his reverie.

“Sorry,” he murmured.

“Are you all right?” Assumpta asked. “You’ve seemed a bit off.” There was concern in her voice, and a tenderness that seemed out of place.

Peter smiled slightly. “I don’t know to tell you the truth. I have been feeling a bit off,” he said, taking the knife and beginning to furiously butter the bread. Assumpta continued to look at him. Peter felt his face burning under her gaze. “Argh...” he growled as he accidentally ripped a hole in the bread. “Look what I’ve done.” He held up the ripped slice.

Assumpta laughed. “I’ll eat it,” she said. Peter held it out. Assumpta leaned forward and took the bread in her mouth, somehow managing to chew and swallow the entire piece.

Peter stared at her. “God you’re so beautiful...” he whispered, so quietly Assumpta was barely sure he’d spoken at all.

“What?” she asked.

Peter sighed. He knew he had to tell her. But what if she didn’t feel the same way? What if she thought he was just being lustful? But staring into her eyes, her dark...deep...gorgeous...eyes...Peter knew he had to say it. “I love you,” he said. Assumpta stared, and took a step backwards, leaning against the wall.

“What?” she said again, staring incredulously at him, her mouth slightly open.

“I love you,” Peter said again. “I should have some long speech to give you, but I don’t. I hope you don’t mind.”

“But you...you’re a priest!” Assumpta said again. Never! She’d never seen this coming.

“Don’t I know it...” Peter said again. Aware that he was still holding the butter knife he set it on the table. Suddenly he felt very foolish. Who was he kidding anyway? He looked at the floor, his face burning again.

“Peter...” Assumpta began. “Why should I care? You...just startled me, that’s all. I mean, you’re a priest, you're not supposed to feel like that...” She leaned against the wall again. Peter took a step closer, and another, till he was but a few inches away.

“But I do,” he murmured. “I do feel like that. From the moment I first saw you, I’ve been blown away by your beauty. And by the beauty of your soul...” He paused. “I’m sorry, that probably sounded really...” He stopped as Assumpta shook her head, her lips turning up into a brief smile.

“It’s all right,” she said, gazing up at him. Peter couldn’t take it anymore. He slowly slid his arms around Assumpta’s waist, and gently pressed his lips to her neck. Assumpta closed her eyes, allowing herself to relax . She softly whispered Peters name. He raised his head, gazing at her with longing, loving eyes. “I love you too,” Assumpta said, quietly. This was all Peter needed to hear. All other things forgotten, he drew Assumpta close to him and kissed her again and again. He didn’t stop until Assumpta let out a little gasp and pulled away from him.

“Niamh!” she cried, staring at the door, where her friend stood, opened mouthed at the scene before her.

“What...the...hell...are you two doing?” Niamh spat angrily.

Peter blushed furiously, muttered that he should go, and slipped out past Niamh. Assumpta heard the front door close a minute later. Niamh continued to glare. Assumpta slowly walked past her into the bar.

Everyone was looking confused, they’d noticed Peter’s hurried departure, and were all wondering why Niamh looked so angry, and Assumpta so...stunned.

“What’s going on?” Siobhan asked, looking at Niamh.

“I don’t know,” Niamh said scathingly. She turned and scowled at Assumpta. “Why don’t you ask miss I-only-want-what-I-can’t-have!” Silence followed this. Brendan finally cleared his throat and said he’d better find where Peter was off too.

Outside it was still raining. Minutes passed, and no one said anything. Finally Assumpta opened her mouth to speak, her voice quaky.

“I’m sorry you had to see that, Niamh,” she said, not meeting her friend's eyes.

“Yeah?” Niamh snarled. “If you really were sorry, you wouldn’t have done it would you?”

“It’s not like you didn’t kiss Ambrose before you two were married.” This only confused everyone more. They didn’t seem to be able to grasp what probably had just happened.

“Ambrose isn’t the village priest!” Niamh said.

“I’m sorry I upset you, Niamh,” Assumpta said, anger growing in her voice.

“Oh I’m not upset at all!” Niamh’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “I just walked in on the priest with his mouth pressed up against my friends neck. Oh no...I’m perfectly happy about that!” She turned and stomped up the stairs.

Assumpta turned to look at Siobhan, Padraig, and Ambrose who were all staring at her disbelievingly.

“Is what she said true?” Ambrose asked, looking confused.
“Yes,” Assumpta spat. “What are you going to do? Arrest me now? Hah. I’d like to see you try...”

Ambrose scowled. “That’s enough,” he said, standing. Assumpta glared at him, and he sat back down. Silence resumed.

“Oh I can’t believe you!” Assumpta cried, flinging her arms in the air. Tears filled her eyes. “You’re all just a bunch of shallow minded idiots!” She stomped back into the kitchen.

“Oh yeah, we like you too, Assumpta.” Padraig sneered.

Siobhan glared at him. “Shut it, Padraig,” she hissed, and followed Assumpta into the kitchen.

Rain lashed at Brendan Kearney’s face as he ran down the street, calling out for Peter. Finally, he ran over to St. Joseph's and, noticing the door was open, went inside. The huge space was lit with candles. Small green votives and long white tapers sat on every available surface, and filled every candelabra. Long shadows climbed to the ceiling, shaking over the faces of the statues and stained glass. Peter sat before the altar, watching the light of the candles cause the brass crucifix to shimmer. A hand gently touched Peter’s shoulder. He jumped.

“Oh, Brendan, it's you,” he said. Brendan sat down next to him.

“You want to talk?” Brendan asked.

Peter sighed, and glanced back at the altar. “About what?”

“About what just went on in Fitzgeralds.” Lightning flashed outside, momentarily lighting all the stained glass windows.

Peter sighed again. There were tears in his eyes. “I love her, Brendan. I really do.”

“I can’t say I didn’t see this coming.”

Peter looked at Brendan, shocked. “No?”

“No.” Brendan said smiling. “I can tell when two people are in love, Peter.” They sat in silence for a long while.

Finally Brendan asked, “What did Niamh see?” He grinned, “She looked pretty upset.”

“I don’t know how much she saw.” Peter smiled sheepishly. “I kissed Assumpta’s neck, and then her mouth, but I don’t know when Niamh walked in...” Even by the light of the candles, Brendan could see his friend was blushing furiously. “I’m going to leave, Brendan. I’ve made up my mind.”

Brendan looked at him in horror. “Leave Ballykay? You can’t! Do you know how many people you’ll...”

Peter cut him off. “No! I’m not leaving Ballykay!” he said reassuringly. “I’m leaving the ministry. I’m going to stop being a priest.”

“Oh,” Brendan said, calming now that he wasn’t in danger of losing his friend.

“Yes,” Peter said. “I think it’s the best thing.”

“So you quit, and then what?” Brendan asked.

“Well...” Peter said slowly. “I suppose...I’m going to propose to Assumpta.”

“Good man.” Brendan said slapping him on the back. “Just be good to her, ok?”

“I don’t think I could do anything else!”

“Oh come now, Assumpta!” Siobhan said soothingly, gently putting a hand on Assumpta’s back. Assumpta sat at the table, her head resting on her arms, positively sobbing.

“It’s not fair!” she said, once she’d managed to control herself. “The one man I love...”

“Shhh...” Siobhan whispered. “They’re just shocked. They don’t expect to see the priest kissing the publican. It’s not a normal occurrence, even for Ballykissangel.”

Assumpta frowned and wiped her eyes on a napkin. “I really do love him, Siobhan,” she said.

“I know,” Siobhan said. “You must. Neither of you are the type to kiss someone just because you feel like it.”

“I wish Niamh would understand,” Assumpta sighed.

“She will,” Siobhan said. “She’s just in shock. What would you have done in her place, after all?”

“I suppose you’re right,” Assumpta said. “Thank you, Siobhan. At least there's one person who understands.” Siobhan smiled. The two got up and returned to the bar.

Peter didn’t leave the church until seven o’clock that evening. The rain was still coming down hard as ever, but he’d found a tattered black umbrella in the church office. Brendan had left earlier, and now Peter made his way back to Fitzgeralds. When he got there he was happy to find only Assumpta there, absentmindedly polishing the bar.

“Hey,” Peter said, setting his umbrella down just inside the door.

Assumpta looked up and smiled. “You’re back, are you?” she walked over to him and gave him a hug.

When they parted Peter smiled. “Yep. I’m here to stay.” He said, watching as Assumpta went over and clicked off the lights. The only light, besides the lightning, now was the fire, still blazing cheerfully in the fireplace.

Assumpta went and sat before the fire. “You want to sit a while?” she asked, patting the couch next to her. Peter came and sat down. After a moment he carefully put his arm around Assumpta. She leaned on his shoulder. “You all right?” she asked quietly.

Peter nodded, then, “Yeah. I’m fine.” He yawned. “Brendan came and found me at the church. We talked for hours.”

“What’s his reaction?” Assumpta asked, raising her head to look at Peter.

“He seemed ok with it.” Peter bit his lip. “Oh...and I’ve decided to leave the priesthood. To be with you.”

Assumpta scowled. “I don’t want you to throw your life away for me,” she said.

Peter gently stroked her face with one hand. “I won’t be,” he murmured.

Assumpta smiled at him. “I love you,” she whispered, leaning forward so that their foreheads were touching.

“I love you too,” Peter said. He kissed her, sweetly, tenderly. Assumpta wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling them together. When they parted Peter had tears in his eyes.
“I love you so much...It’s painful,” he said, his voice breaking. Assumpta felt like her heart was about to explode. No one, no man or woman, had ever felt this way about her. She pulled Peter closer. He carefully lay his head against her chest, crying softly against her.

“Shhh...” she said “It’s going to be ok...really. Every thing's going to be fine.” She began to gently rock Peter back and forth, as though he was a child she was trying to get back to sleep.

Peter finally took a deep breath and looked back into the face of the woman he loved more than anything. He carefully traced her face with his finger, her eyes, her delicate mouth...
“Nothing matters...” he whispered. “Only us.”

Assumpta smiled, mesmerized by every movement Peter made. Indeed he was right. To her, the only thing that existed was Peter. They sat, neither saying anything, Peter carefully thinking, racking his brains for the right way to say what he wanted.


“Yes?” Her voice was soft, perfect, filled with love, like her eyes, her whole being.

“I know I’m still a priest, but not for long. Anyway, I couldn’t imagine a life with out you. It would be bleak and empty. So...will you marry me?” There he’d said it.

Assumpta didn’t look surprised, but she smiled, and let out a little laugh  “As if I’d refuse!” she said. “Of course I’ll marry you, Peter!” She pulled him into a tight embrace, holding him as though she never planned to let him go.

“We should go to bed...” Peter muttered, his head resting on Assumpta’s shoulder.

“Alone?” she asked. Peter looked at her and smiled.

“What do you want?” he asked, helping Assumpta to her feet.


“Assumpta? Hello...Assumpta!” Brendan said, waving his hand in front of Assumpta’s face. “What’s up, you look like Christmas has come early.”

Assumpta just smiled at him. She looked slightly tired, but extremely happy.

“Assumpta?” Niamh said, coming down. “ Do you know where Fr. Clifford is?” Immediately Assumpta’s face darkened, confirming Brendan’s suspicions.

“No idea. He’s probably in bed asleep,” Assumpta said quickly. Niamh looked worried.

“Nope. His room is empty,” she said.

Brendan sighed. “Perhaps he’s not in his bed,” he said slowly.

Assumpta glared at him. “And what’s that supposed to mean?” she snapped.

There's the Assumpta I know. Brendan thought. “I mean...perhaps he didn’t sleep alone last night,” Brendan smiled. “Oh come off it, Assumpta. I already know.”

She sighed and sat down heavily. At that moment, Peter came down the stairs.

“Morning,” he said, grinning. He was greeted by an array of raised eyebrows. “What?” he asked, sitting himself down at the bar.

“Where were you? Just now?” Niamh asked.

Peter looked at her. “In my room.”

“Whose? Not yours. I just checked.” She scowled at him. Peter exchanged a nervous look with Assumpta, who shrugged.

“I’ve got to go...” he said slowly. Assumpta pursed her lips. “I have to go see Fr. Macanally about something.”

Niamh, who had been looking back and forth from Peter to Assumpta, finally spat, “I’d say you do!” Peter stared at her for a minute before leaving. Niamh turned to Assumpta.
“Why?” she asked. Assumpta set down the towel and cup she’d been holding.

“You know Niamh,” Assumpta said scathingly, “there’s this thing; it’s called Love. Perhaps you should try it sometime.” Niamh looked very much like she wanted to hit Assumpta, but instead she left, slamming the door.

“Now Assumpta,” Brendan said sternly. “That was uncalled for.”

Assumpta snorted and returned to her drying. “Last time I checked you aren't my teacher anymore, Mr. Kearny,” she said.

Brendan rolled his eyes. “I think you don’t give Niamh enough credit,” he said quietly.

“Credit? She doesn’t understand anything!” Assumpta cried.

“It’s you that isn’t understanding.” Brendan spoke in the soothing voice he used on riled schoolchildren. “I don’t think you’re realizing how this looks to people. He’s a priest, and what he’s gone and done, is well a mortal sin. Do you understand that?”

“Yeah,” Assumpta sighed

“But they do say love is blind,” Brendan said. Assumpta smiled at him. Brendan stood up. “Sometimes I wonder, if God really meant for Peter not to be with you, would we be standing here having this discussion?” He turned and left, leaving Assumpta standing behind the bar, smiling to herself.