Did you ever think it slightly odd how Peter’s crisis of faith was brought so suddenly to the fore in season 3? He seemed happy enough at the end of season 2 and in the Xmas special…This is my take on why and takes place as a tag to ‘As happy as a turkey on boxing day.’

Christmas Wishes

by Janine

(send an email to the author)

Peter sat sullenly nursing his lager and looked around at the happy faces of his friends.

Festive spirit abounded aplenty in Fitzgerald’s and not just in the metaphysical sense. Everyone was relaxed and full of good cheer after the day’s dramatic events. He chastised himself for feeling melancholy and tried to shake it off. Scanning the crowd he laughed as he spotted Ambrose’s mother Imelda pin Brian down under the mistletoe. With a broken leg the man didn’t stand a chance and he manfully gave in to his fate. Padraig wolf whistled and everyone laughed. Peter smiled and took a sip of his beer. It was good to see Padraig relaxed after his stressful day and even better to see Conn happily playing the fiddle while he accompanied Timmy on guitar.

He’d been unhappy when Father Mac had dumped Timmy on him, but he had to admit the young man had turned out to be good company. He’d make a fine priest and a handy one at that. He’d certainly proven himself the hero of the hour today! Unfortunately he was also the destroyer of classic cars. Peter shook his head and felt his smile disappear. He knew he wasn’t supposed to crave material things but he’d loved that car dearly and suddenly felt like crying into his beer. He turned instead to the bar and stared into his lager.

“Penny for them?” Assumpta said making him jump.

He looked up to find her watching him closely.

“Sorry?” he said.

“You’re very quiet,” she commented.

“Sorry,” he repeated and sighed.

She leaned across the bar so her face was inches from his ear.

“The Javelin?” she said knowingly.

He smiled and wondered at how well she knew him. “Pretty shallow of me, eh?”

She shook her head. “Pete,r you loved that car. You are allowed to be upset.”

He shrugged and she stood folding her arms while staring at him reproachfully. Peter smiled and held his hands up in a gesture of surrender. “Okay, okay. I will try not to feel guilty about feeling sorry for myself.”

She smiled broadly at him and laughed in a completely unguarded moment. Peter found himself mesmerized by her beauty and felt his heart rate double. He caught himself staring and suddenly looked down trying to hide the blush he felt creep over him.

Assumpta misread his action and reached behind her for a bottle.

“Here,” she said pouring him a very generous amount of brandy. Peter looked up and accepted it gratefully.

“Stick around afterwards, okay? I promise you can talk your car troubles away,” she said.

Peter raised his glass to her and smiled. She returned it before walking away to replenish drinks at the other end of the bar.

The evening wore on and as the hour drew late people began to file out.

Timmy pulled a drunken Eamon to his feet. “I’ll make sure he gets home in one piece,” he said to Peter.

The rest of the regulars fanned out waving as they went.

“Night Assumpta – Merry Christmas!” they all chorused.

“Yeah, bog off the lot of you,” she laughed and ushered them out.

As she pushed Brendan out he held Imelda’s mistletoe above his head and wiggled his eyebrows.

She laughed and stood on tiptoes as Brendan kissed her.

He smiled at her and threw the mistletoe down on the table.

“Merry Christmas, Assumpta,” he said then called out. “Night, Peter.”

Peter waved and laughed as Assumpta bundled him out the door before closing it. She turned around and leant back staring at the place. “Just what I was hoping to avoid this year,” she said.

Peter raised a quizzical eyebrow at her and she gestured around at the tables and bar filled with dirty plates and glasses.

“Ah,” he said, realisation dawning.

“Yeah,” she sighed.

“Want some help?”

“Santa’s little helper are you now?” she laughed.

“Only elf you’re gonna get at this late hour,” he said and she threw a bar towel at him. “You’re hired.”

They worked together quickly and soon had the place tidied up.

“Thanks, Peter,” she said.

“My pleasure.”

Assumpta returned to the bar and poured some more brandy. Motioning to the sofa by the fire they both made their way over and sat down. She handed him his drink and they sat quietly together watching the fire.

“So what happened to your friends?” Peter asked breaking the comfortable silence.

“Ahh, better offer I guess,” she said sipping her drink.

“Their loss,” Peter said and Assumpta smiled.

“But you had a good Christmas despite your friends not coming?” he asked.

“But my friends did come,” she said and he smiled at her.

“Touché,” Peter said and they both drank.

“So go on then. Bend my ear,” she said.

Peter closed his eyes and leaned back against the sofa.

“I’m not upset about the car in the physical sense,” he said and opened his eyes when he heard Assumpta giggle.

“Okay I’m really going to miss the car in the physical sense,” he admitted and nudged her playfully. “But it was more than just a car, Assumpta. I really liked Judge Bradley, you know? Respected him - I could talk to him and he’d listen. Something my dad couldn’t do,” he said quietly.

Assumpta tentatively placed her hand over his and squeezed it. He looked down and turned his hand over lacing their fingers together. “The fact he left me the Javelin meant a hell of a lot to me. Do you know what I’m trying to say?”

Assumpta nodded slowly. “I do now,” she said. “I’m really sorry, Peter.”

He shook his head and squeezed her hand back. “Thanks for listening,” he said.

“What are friends for?”

They both smiled and sat watching the fire for a few more minutes still holding hands.

“I never got you anything for Christmas,” Peter said suddenly.

“That’s okay. I didn’t get you anything either,” she said.

“So what do you want?” he asked and looked at her.

She looked at him intensely before turning her head away. In the glow of the fire he thought he saw her blush. Assumpta released his hand and stood up.

“Nothing that I can have,” she said with a hint of regret.

Peter looked up at her smiled sadly. He finished his drink then stood up. “Well, I guess I better go before Timmy burns my house down,” he said.

“I wouldn’t joke about it,” she said.

They both laughed and walked to the door. While she reached up to unbolt it Peter spied something and picked it up. When she turned round she found Peter regarding her with an intense expression.

“What?” she asked.

He raised his hand above their heads and she glanced up to see him holding the mistletoe Brendan had left on the table.

“Peter?” she asked uncertainly.

“It’s tradition. Who are we to argue?” he said.

She watched him for a moment then smiled.

“Ah well, when you put it like that.”

Peter smiled and leaned down touching his lips to hers, marvelling at how soft they were; she tasted sweet from the brandy and he found himself wanting to melt into her. His free hand lifted to her face touching her hair before gently tracing his finger down her cheekbone. When he met her neck he slid his hand around it and pulled her closer to him. He’d never felt so alive; so aware of every nerve ending in his body as he touched her skin, smelt her perfume, tasted her mouth. He took it all in greedily, determined to commit every detail to memory.
He dropped the mistletoe and put his arm around her pressing her to him and felt her own arms encircle his waist, their bodies moulding into one another’s. The kiss changed instantly from nervous exploratory, to passionate need and their hands began to roam freely over each others bodies until they broke apart gasping for breath.

They looked into each others eyes and Peter smiled timidly still reeling from the adrenaline rush he felt.

“Merry Christmas, Assumpta,” he whispered against her mouth.

“Merry Christmas, Peter.”

They stood holding one another in silence until, in unspoken consent they let go off each other and took a step back. Assumpta straightened her clothes and then opened the door.

“Goodnight, Peter,” she said quietly.

He looked at her and closed his eyes struggling with himself. He sighed heavily and stepped past her into the night.

“Goodnight,” he said.

Hope you enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed writing it