Forever is Not Very Long at All

by KatieBaby86

Peter stacked the glasses up his arm and carried them into the kitchen. Assumpta was busy washing up. They didn’t feel the need to talk. Assumpta smiled as she listened to Peter moving around her pub. She felt comfortable and safe with him around. She threw down the cloth she was using and wandered to the kitchen door. Leaning against the door frame her smile widened as she watched Peter wiping down tables and pushing chairs in. It was funny, until recently she hadn’t thought of Peter and her seriously having a relationship. Sure, she’d dreamt and hoped beyond hope, but it had never seemed possible before. They’d talked, really talked, a couple of nights before and she was astounded by what he’d told her...


“I don’t seem to understand the church anymore.” They’d been sitting by the fire after closing with steaming mugs of coffee in their hands. Assumpta looked up, startled by his revelation. “I mean, I still believe in my faith and I don’t think anything will change that, but my vocation... God says that one of the most precious gifts in life is love. Then how can the church condemn His disciples to a life of celibacy and force them to miss out on that gift?”

“Aren’t you supposed to be in a relationship with God?”

“God can’t give me children or flesh and blood companionship...”

“Peter, what do YOU want?”

“I always thought that serving God would be enough for me. But Kieran’s made me think about family and what I’m missing out on by staying in the church.”

“Could you be happy outside?”

“I think so. My faith hasn’t changed.”

“What would you do?”

“I was talking to a friend in Cilldargen and he’s offered me a job as an outreach counsellor for schools and communities like BallyK. If I talk to Father Mac tomorrow, I could start that next week.”

“You’ve seriously been thinking about it, haven’t you?”

“Argh! Assumpta, I just don’t seem to know what I want anymore.”

“Listen to your heart. Do what will make you happy.” Peter looked pensively at her. She knew him so well at times.

“When did you become so philosophical? Thank you.” He lent over and gently kissed her cheek.

“What are friends for?”


Peter looked around the bar, surveying his handy work. He liked being here, helping people, listening. The lure of an attractive woman may also have held some appeal. He grinned. Having told Father Mac that he was leaving the priesthood, Peter was less concerned about his growing feelings for the feisty publican.

“You satisfied yet?” her voice laughed across, startling the soon to be ex-priest. He jumped slightly and turned and grinned at her.

“Scared me half to death! And that’s a very open ended question!”

“I thought priests were supposed to be pure of thought?”

“They are. But I’m on a down hill slide. Come and sit?” He motioned towards the fire before taking a seat on the couch. She picked up a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses before joining him.

“Down hill slide?”

“I went and saw Father Mac. I’ve left the priesthood. I’ll finish up after Mass on Sunday.” Assumpta stared at him, dumbstruck. She hardly dared to believe it. He moved so that he was sitting next to her.

“You ok?”

“I guess I’m just shocked at how decisive you are about some things.” Assumpta stood and moved over so she was staring into the mesmerising dance of the flames. Peter stared at her back, confusion etched onto his face.


“Have you ever wanted something you can’t have? Don’t pretend you didn’t know what I was talking about! What I wanted, what I’ve always wanted is you and only you and yet you never got it did you? Or if you did, you chose to ignore!” Assumpta glanced over her shoulder at him and his heart broke seeing the tears cascading down her cheeks. He rose to his feet and closed the distance between them, wrapping his arms around her waist.

“I dared not dream that you thought of me like that!”

“I want what I can’t have. I’ve loved you since I picked you up in the rain the day you arrived, everything I’ve done in the past three years or so have been to make you happy, to try and get you to notice me...”

“Assumpta, I’m a male, a male who’s been held away from women for over 5 years! You’ve gotta tell me straight out!” Peter laughed and grinned as he felt Assumpta’s laugh ripple through his body. “Don’t ever doubt that I love you. I’m just so out of touch with women. They didn’t exactly teach us about flirting and picking up on ‘the signals’ at the seminary!”

“You seem to have made the decision so quickly to leave the priesthood and I feel like I’ve been waiting a lifetime for you to make up your mind about me.”

“There was never any doubt in my mind what I wanted with you. The problem came in deciding if I could risk it if I left for you and you rejected me.”

“Love you.” Peter guided them back to the couch and they settled down with her leaning against his chest. “Siobhan had some interesting news tonight.”


“Wonder who the father is.” Assumpta looked back up at Peter. He refused to meet her eyes. Assumpta sat up quickly and stared at him. “You know!”

“I can’t say.” Assumpta grinned at him before straddling his thighs.

“Come on Peter. You know you want to tell me...”

“Assumpta, I might not be a priest for much longer, but I’m still a priest. And confession is sacred.”

“Hmm... I’ll get it out of you somehow.” Assumpta snuggled down into his chest and held him tight as they watched the fire go down and fell into a contented sleep.


Brendan stood quietly at the door, watching the goings on around him. Siobhan and Padraig sat in their usual seats. Siobhan’s face had been drawn and confused since their ‘indiscretion’. He caught a glimpse of someone moving around in the kitchen and Assumpta was behind the bar and Niamh was sitting nursing her drink. He made his way slowly around to his regular corner.

“Afternoon everyone.”

“Brendan! Assumpta! Give us a stout for the school master!”

“Keep your shirt on Padraig!” Siobhan looked anywhere but at Brendan. He didn’t understand what was going on with her. Assumpta handed Brendan his beer.

“Ta. So, who’s that in your kitchen Assumpta?”

“In my kitchen? No one. Or at least, there shouldn’t be anyone in there!” Assumpta stormed off into the kitchen. She held the door open, revealing an empty kitchen. “Satisfied Brendan?”
The school teacher shrugged and went back to his conversation with the regulars. A hand reached around the kitchen door and gently pulled Assumpta in, closing the door behind her.
“Why am I hiding? Why are we hiding?”

“Because I love you and I’m not ruining your reputation.”

“Assumpta! I don’t want to worry if I get sprung in your kitchen or if someone’s watching us walk down the road. I just want to be with you...” Peter held her close.

“I’ll tell you what. You tell me who the father of Siobhan’s baby is and I’ll stand on the roof of the pub and tell the world that I love you.”

“You know my answer.”

“Fine, but I’ll tell you one thing,” Assumpta said walking back to the door, “you can kiss, for a priest!”

“What’s so funny?” Siobhan asked, watching the grin etch itself into the publican’s face.

“Just remembering something funny that happened...” She couldn’t help her grin, it was a permanent fixture on her face. She didn’t think she’d ever stop smiling. Her grin widened as an idea came into her head.

“I’ll tell you my secret if you tell me yours, Siobhan.”

“What are you...? Assumpta!”

“Are you holding something back from us Assumpta?”

“Yeah Padraig, you’re next pint!” Assumpta winked at Siobhan and moved on to serve another customer. The front door to the pub opened as Peter walked in. Assumpta looked up from the beer tap and quickly divert her eyes before she gets locked in his gaze.

“Father, can I get you a drink?” Siobhan asked, her eyes darting between the priest and the landlady.

“Thanks, a pint please Assumpta.” Assumpta handed him the beer and grinned as he grabbed her hand with the pint.

“Alright out with it you two,” Siobhan called, breaking their look and forcing them to quickly pull their hands apart. Brendan’s face broke into a satisfied smile. He knew it! Assumpta raised a questioning eyebrow at Peter.

“Well, ah, I’ve left the priesthood.”

“And?” asked Brendan. The confusion spread across Padraig’s face.

“What are you lot on about?” The other four looked at each other before Brendan spoke.

“Assumpta and Peter are, now correct me if I’m wrong, having an affair?”

“We are not having an affair. We’re, umm, seeing each other?” Peter looked confusedly at Assumpta.

“Don’t look at me buddy, it’s your fairy tale.”

“Oh Assumpta! Blind Freddy could see the tension between the two of you! And why else would he have left the priesthood?”


“Come on Assumpta! Don’t be so naive!”

“OK! I just wanted him to myself for a little while!” she laughed. “So are you going to tell us all your little secret?”

“Peter already knows.”

“And he won’t tell me so spill it!”

“Good man Peter!” The regulars laughed and relief flooded across Siobhan’s face.


“Out with you! Go and sleep it off,” Siobhan muttered pushing Padraig out of her van. Brendan helped him stumble to his door before unsteadily returning to Siobhan.

“Onwards and upwards Siobhan!”

“God, you’re just as bad as he is!”

“Siobhan?” Brendan grinned as he put his hand on hers.

“Brendan,” she warned, her heart not in the warning. She knew where it would lead. It takes a skin-full of alcohol before either will act on their feelings towards one another. Even the priest – sorry, ex-priest – was better at expressing his emotions!

“Brendan, tell me what you feel when you’re sober.” Brendan’s head hung down towards his chest and he started moving his hand away before Siobhan grabbed.

“Siobhan? Can you take me home please?”

“Sure, but hear me out first. Brendan, you’re going to be a Daddy.” Brendan looked at her through his beer fogged eyes and grinned before his eyes closed and he started snoring.


“Finished in there? Assumpta called, making her way from the kitchen to the bar.

“Yeah, I think so.” Peter leant against the broom as she inspected his work.

“Not bad... Want a drink for your troubles?”

“Na, I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I should get going.”

“Not like you to be in such a hurry to get out of here...” concern laced her voice.

“I know,” he said, wrapping her up in his arms. “It’s just, I don’t know how much I trust myself around you right now. You’re driving me insane woman!” Assumpta laughed and she pushed him towards the door.

“I know that feeling well!” She stopped and kissed him firmly before shoving him out the door. “Sleep tight Peter.”

“Sweet dreams Assumpta.” Peter trundled off down the road knowing full well that his dreams would be haunted by a beauty that he could not yet call his own. He’d have to rectify that situation... soon!


Peter wandered through the streets of Cilldargen. Having spent so much time in the small town where everyone knows your life story, it’s nice to get back to the big smoke occasionally. It felt good to be just another fish in the sea. Despite that, Peter couldn’t wait to return to the small slice of heaven he called home. He stopped and stared into the window of a shop and smiled. He’d found what he was looking for.


Assumpta stood in shock. She supposed she should have guessed. It was obvious really. Brendan was quiet having heard the news. He was lost. What did it mean?

“Brendan, you’ve been a dad to me, more of a dad than my own was. You’ll be a great father to your own child.”

“Look how you turned out. A sarcastic, church-hating fighter.”

“Or you could see the university graduate who runs her own business and works hard serving the community.”

“Or, you could see the beautiful woman who’s won the heart of a priest, tearing him away from his supposed vocation.” Assumpta looked up and grinned at Peter.

“Peter, tell Brendan he’ll be a great father.”

“Ah, so she told you then? Brendan, you’re a great teacher and kids love you, you’ll do fine!”

“I can hand those kids back if they become too much trouble!”

“Brendan, you never handed me back. I don’t think anyone can be as much trouble as I was when I was a kid. You’ll do just fine!”

“You were a nightmare!”

“Oh tell me more Brendan!” Peter teased, grinning at the daggers shooting out of Assumpta’s eyes. Brendan sculled the last of his pint and shrugged into his jacket.

“I think I need to be alone and think this one out for a while. But I’ll fill you in on the Fitzgerald monster another day. Thanks for the pint Assumpta...”


Assumpta was subdued for the rest of the evening. So many opportunities begged for her sarcastic wit and were ignored. Peter watched her, concern etched across his face. Niamh’s face mirrored Peter’s. They sat together watching the happenings around the bar. Siobhan was quiet but Padraig more than made up for it. Brendan was yet to surface from his journey of self-discovery. Liam and Donal were arguing and Brian was tactfully ignoring them.

“Fath... I mean, Peter? Is she ok?”

“I really don’t know Niamh. I don’t know what’s worrying her. She’s been like this ever since she found out Brendan was the father of Siobhan’s baby.”

“Did she tell you Brendan was like a father to her?”

“Yeah, she’s quite frond of the man isn’t she?”

“You’ve got nothing to worry about Peter. I’ve never seen her happier than when she’s with you.” Assumpta rang the bell and called for everyone to finish their drinks and leave.

“I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about how she’s taking the news, she’s more than concerned for a friend...” The pub slowly emptied but Peter and Niamh stayed.

“I’ll help you clean up Assumpta.” Carrying arms full of plates and glasses the three made their way into the kitchen.

“Who’s turn is it to wash up tonight?” Peter asked jokingly.

“Mine...”Assumpta mumbled, dutifully taking her place at the sink. Niamh and Peter exchanged a glance.

“Ah, it looks like you two have this down to a fine art. I’ll see you both later.” Niamh hugged her friend before leaving the pub. Peter had to smile at their friend’s tactfulness. He snaked his arms around his Assumpta’s waist.

“What’s bothering you?”


“Come on Assumpta, I know you better than to believe that!” Assumpta sighed and threw down the cloth. She slowly turned around to face Peter. Tears glistened in her eyes.

“He’s my dad!”

“What?” Assumpta laughed slightly.

“Well, not biologically, but he’s the closest thing I’ve had to a father for most of my life and I love him like a father. Even now he puts me in my place and looks out for me.”

“And you think him having a child will affect that?”

“It’ll be his own flesh and blood. I was just a stupid monster. The Fitzgerald Monster.”

“You’re going to have to tell me about this monster!” Peter laughed. “But not now. You’ve grown up, you’re a beautiful, intelligent woman and Brendan thinks the sun shines out of you. And I love you so much. Can I look out for you and put you in your place so you know that there’ll always be someone here who loves you? Not that Brendan will ever stop!”

The tears flooded down her face. She knew he was right. She snuggled into his chest and breathed in his smell. The tears stopped falling and she roughly wiped her hands across her face, drying it. “Thank you.”

“I only told you the truth. Come on. I’ll finish cleaning up in the morning. Let’s go to bed.” Assumpta stared at him.

“That’s very presumptuous of you. Say something nice to me and think you’re getting into my bed!”

“Fine! If you don’t want me to hold you and look out for you all night...” Peter trailed off and started towards the door. She grabbed hold of his arm and pulled him back.

“Stay. But what happened to you not being able to trust yourself?”

“You need me. I can’t desert you in your hour of need!”

“Oh, my hero!” Assumpta laughed as he picked her up and carried her up the stairs.

Peter threw the stick and watched Finn chase it down. The dog bounded up to his mistress and she wrestled the stick out of his mouth. Peter smiled at the interaction between man’s best friend and the woman that he loved. They walked along the River Angel. He’d never found the tranquillity and peace that he found in Bally-K in England. Ever since his mother died his brothers have been trying to convince him to return, be close to the family. But he had his own family here now, be it an abnormal one. He patted his pocket discretely and grinned at the sight of his girlfriend chasing the dog along the rivers edge. Her laughter lit up his face. It was a sound that he’d never tire of... Brendan lent against the side of the blue truck he knew so well. He looked down at his feet and sighed.

“What can I do you for Brendan?”

“Can, ah, can we talk Siobhan?” Siobhan nodded and started walking down towards the river.


“Siobhan, I’m going to be a Daddy.”

“I know, Brendan.” Brendan looked out over the river.

“I want to be a proper dad to my child. I never thought that I’d have a child, and now here I am with my best friend having my child and surprisingly I couldn’t be happier.”

“Does this have a point?”

“Move in with me?” Siobhan stopped dead in her tracks and stared at him.

“What did you say?”


“What did you say?”

“Marry me.” Peter was down on his knee in front of her. She pulled him up to meet her and threw her arms around him.

“You are an incredible man, Peter.” Peter grinned as he kissed her.

“So is that a yes?”


“Maybe. Would it work? I mean, could we stand being under the same roof?”

“Siobhan, we’re together when we’re not working or sleeping anyway. And recently we’ve been together sleeping! You’re my best friend and I love you dearly. Someone wise once said that love is friendship on fire. Please? I want to be a real dad.”


“Alright then.”


Peter grinned at Assumpta and placed the ring on her finger before enveloping her in him arms. He couldn’t believe that it had happened. They continued their walk back towards the pub. As they rounded a bend the noticed Siobhan and Brendan sitting together, her between his legs resting back against his body.

“That’s something you don’t see every day!” Assumpta laughed. Finn bounded up to the couple sitting on the rocks, licking the faces that he’d come to know as a fixture of ‘home’.

“Assumpta, get this beast out of here!” Brendan groaned. Assumpta laughed.

“You heard him, Peter, away with you!” Assumpta and Siobhan laughed before Peter threw Assumpta over his shoulder and walked towards the other couple. Copying their positioning, they sat down.

“I’m moving in with Brendan,” Siobhan said, deadpan. Only the smile on her face gave away how thrilled she really was, and of course Brendan couldn’t see it. She would never make it easy for him!

“Humpf!” Assumpta grinned. “I can beat that. I’m marrying the priest!” Despite the sarcasm in her voice, the whole world knew that she was thrilled with the idea, the thought, the prospect of marrying an incredible man – priest or not! Brendan’s smile broke his face in two. He was thrilled that he was going to see his eldest ‘daughter’ so happy. He reached for her hand and kissed it.

My dear, my dear, I know / More than another / What makes your heart beat so; / Not even your own mother / Can know it as I know/ Who broke my heart for her / When the wild thought/ That she denies / And has forgot/ Set all her blood astir / And glittered in her eyes.” Brendan smiled through the fog threatening to cloud over him. He was so happy for her.

“How long is forever?” Assumpta asked, her head pillowed on Peter’s chest.

“Forever isn’t very long at all, when I’m with you...” Assumpta grinned at his cheesy reply.

“Forever: always like this.”

“Forever and ever.”


Author's Note: Well, there you go! Finished! The time for this fic is all over the place, but, forgive me, I’m Aussie without all the DVDs yet and it seems like forever since it was last on TV. I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings... feedback is much appriciated... I'm also slowly working out how to use - hopefully this part is clearer than the last!!

DISCLAIMER: Not mine... unfortunately. I do not intend any copyright infringements! Poem: To a Young Girl by WB Yeats