by KatieBaby86

Assumpta smiled. Her breathing was shallow and ragged and her body exhausted. She felt her lover’s arms around her body as she drifted into a contented sleep. As a smile played on her lips in sleep, her lover kissed her once and left the building.

Assumpta woke alone. It was all a dream. A wonderful, vivid dream, but a dream all the same. She buried her head in the pillow and smelt his smell. She knew then and there that they would never talk about this, it never happened.

About 7 weeks had passed since that night, and she’d been right, nothing had been said – it had never happened. Assumpta’s face contorted as she felt her stomach doing back flips. Something wasn’t right. She hadn’t been able to keep anything down for the last couple of days. She quickly finished pulling Brendan’s beer and dumped it unceremoniously on the bar before running for the bathroom.

“Keep an eye on the bar, Brendan!” she called. Brendan looked at Siobhan knowingly. They’d known Assumpta was never forthcoming but thought that she’d have told them by now.

“Do you think she’s…?” Siobhan let the question trail off.

“I’m sure of it. But the question is does she know? And who’s the father?” Siobhan shrugged. There was more to this situation that met the eye. Assumpta came back into the bar her shoulders slumped and her demeanour quiet.

“Everything OK, Assumpta?”

“Fine, Siobhan.”

“Have you seen Doc Ryan yet?”

“No, Brendan.” Assumpta smiled inwardly at his protectiveness. He really was the father she’d never had.

“Go. We can cope here.” Brendan moved around the bar and gently pushed her towards the door.

Assumpta’s face was tear-stained as she returned to the pub. Brendan and Siobhan knew better than to say anything. Some of the others were not quite so perceptive.

“Assumpta? Is everything ok?” Peter asked. Assumpta’s face split into a sarcastic smile as she sauntered over to him. She picked up his beer, smiled, and tipped the contents over his head.

“Like you give a shit, Father!” She turned and stalked upstairs. The silent bar let out the breath it had been holding as they heard the door slam upstairs. Peter stood up and made towards the stairs.

“Ah, I wouldn’t Peter. Leave her for tonight.” Brendan’s knowledge of her made him someone to be trusted when it came to the mind of Assumpta. He knew when to retreat! Peter smiled sadly and walked out of the pub.

Assumpta threw the last of her bags into the back of her van and tears rolled down her face as she looked at the pub bearing her name. She knew she’d be back eventually – no one could ever stay away for long – but it would never be the same place to her. Her hand resting protectively over her stomach she pulled her van onto the road and out of Ballykissangel.

Two years had passed since that night at the pub and Peter had never once stopped thinking about her. He said mass and all he saw was her face, grinning sarcastically at him and rubbishing the church, he slept and she haunted his dreams. She possessed him. As the last of the congregation filed out of the church, Peter returned to the sacristy and removed his robes. He sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. He was tired. He was always tired. He had aged considerably since she’d left. They knew she was ok, she’d left Niamh a letter telling her so. But he still worried about her every day. He picked himself up from the chair he’d collapsed into and made his way down to the pub. As usual, it was busy. He’d never quite worked out why people would go straight from Sunday mass and into the pub. He shrugged. It wasn’t important. He picked his way through the crowd to his normal position with Brendan, Siobhan and Padraig at the bar.

“What will it be, Father?” Niamh asked from behind the bar.

“Lager, thanks, Niamh.” Peter put his head in his hands and rubbed his face.

“Mass that tiring, Peter?” Brendan asked.

“It’s not so much mass but everything that goes on behind it. There’s so much to do and I don’t feel my heart is in it at the moment.” Peter had grown to trust these people and spoke to them as he would his Bishop. Trust and honesty is what made this community work. That’s where Assumpta had let them all down. When he wasn’t working, Peter spent most of his time in the pub, reminding himself of the beautiful red head, knowing that if she was ever to return, this would be the place that she’d come.

Peter ran up the main street of Ballykissangel on his return from his morning run. It had become a kind of ritual. As he ran past Fitzgerald’s he noticed a blue van parked out the front. He was about 50 meters up the road before it registered. That was Assumpta’s van! His heart beat fast as he turned and sprinted down to the pub. It had been two long years but he was finally going to see the woman he loved again. He crashed into the car, steadying himself before moving around it. In the back seat he noticed a toddler’s car seat. She had a child. She was probably also married. Peter felt like his heart had stopped beating. He stood still, debating whether he went in on not. Silently, he sat on the benches outside the front door. On the one hand, he’d be able to see the woman that he’d missed so much, on the other, if she was married, what would he do? He slunk forward and groaned to himself. Resolutely, he stood up and moved to push the front door open just as it was yanked from his hand. Suddenly, he was face to face with the woman he loved. He was face to face with Assumpta. She stood still, staring at the priest, one arm holding the door, the other cradling a toddler on her hip.

“Ah, hi.” Peter smiled slightly and blushed.

“Hi. Ah, come inside. We can talk. Don’t want the gossips starting already.” Peter looked over his shoulder and noticed Kathleen supposedly sweeping the front of her shop. He took the weight of the door from Assumpta and followed her inside. He followed her to the lounges near the fireplace. In a corner there was a box of toys that as soon as Assumpta put her down the child ran to.

“She’s beautiful.” Peter grinned, smiling at the child.

“Yeah, she is. Thankfully her temperament takes after her father, not her mother.” They both laughed at this.

“Did your husband come with you?”

“I’m not married.”

“Oh.” There was silence as they watched the child play.

“Mamma? Sheep?” The little girl held up a sheep toy.

“Yeah sweetie. Why don’t you show Peter what noise a sheep makes?”

“BAAAA!” Peter laughed.

“Well done!” He turned to Assumpta. “What’s her name?”

“Chloe. She’s 17 months. I can’t believe how quickly she’s growing up.” Chloe had pulled herself up and was watching Peter intently.

“Da?” she asked. Assumpta’s head snapped around.

“What’s that, sweetie?”

“Da!” Chloe toddled over to the dresser on which stood a photo of Peter and Assumpta. She pointed at the photo. “Mamma. Da!” Assumpta closed her eyes, silently offering a prayer to the Gods that she’d be able to talk her way out of this one.


“Wel,l we weren’t exactly careful, were we? Passion just… overtook us.” Peter just looked at her.

“Why did you leave?”

“Why do you think? So you wouldn’t feel trapped. I hoped I could come back and everyone would just assume I’d met someone…”

“The assumption…”

“Something like that. I didn’t realise how much she’d put together so quickly.”

“She’s smart, just like her mum.”

“She’s a great kid. Never cries or complains… like her dad.”

“She’s beautiful like her mum.” Peter smiled and pulled her into his arms. “God, I’ve missed you so much!”

“Me too, Peter.” Tears began to roll down both their faces. As they slowly pulled apart, they smiled through the tears.

“Can I hold my little girl?”

“Of course.”

“Chloe? Can I have a cuddle?” Chloe looked at him quietly and toddled over, her arms outstretched, begging to be picked up. “You’re a beautiful girl, you know…” From her spot next to them, Assumpta smiled. Peter caught her look and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. There was something precious about this, being with both his girls. Since seeing Assumpta again, he’d virtually forgotten that he’s a priest.

“You ok?” Assumpta asked, looking up at him from her position resting on his chest.

“Just thinking. I’m going to have to go and see Father Mac and leave the priesthood.”

“You don’t have to do that. I never wanted to force your hand. I’m happy to lie to the community and let you continue as you are.”

“I can’t. If you walked away again I don’t think I’d cope. And if you took Chloe with you, that would be the end of it… I want to leave.”

“Only if you’re sure.”

“I think I’ve been looking for an excuse for a while now.”

“Then, when you’re ready, do what you have to so you can be a part of our lives.”

“I’ll be a thorn in your side forever, Assumpta. You will be the light in my life for as long as you want to be.”

“Then I guess you’re stuck with me forever. I’m not going anywhere if I’ve got you.” Chloe was wriggling and Peter let her go, watching as she toddled over to the toy box again. She pulled out a red dog.

“FINN!” Peter and Assumpta laughed. The dog, hearing his name came bounding into the lounge area. He gently nudged the child with his head and seemed to smile. This is what Peter had been missing. Why had he let her walk away? Stupid, stupid, stupid!

“I love you,” he whispered in her ear and pulled her closer into him.

“I love you, too.”