Scene in the kitchen
Peter follows Assumpta into the kitchen and shuts the door behind them. "What's
the matter?" she asks, concerned about the look on his face.
"Is it true you're leaving?" he asks.
"This place drives you mad. Tell someone something around here and you may
as well post it on a wall."
"Look, right now I have something rather more important on my mind."
Assumpta goes to the pantry, opens the door and gestures inside.
"Beer?" questions Peter.
"Bootleg beer. It's duty free," says Assumpta, keeping her voice down for
fear of the `revenue' men out in the bar.
"I didn't pay any tax on it, it was brought into the country illegally. I
had to do it," she adds, at the look on his face. "I had burst pipes and
an exploding tank to pay for."
"You had me carry it in for you."
"Oh, don't be so pious."
Peter asks again, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Whether I should sell bootleg beer?"
"You know what I mean," Peter says, annoyed, "about leaving Ballyk?"
"It's my business"
Peter pauses, then says intently to her, "I care about you Assumpta." Assumpta
forgets all about the beer, and about trying to bluff her way out of this.
A look of naked honesty passes between them.
Assumpta draws in a breath and whispers, "Peter." She walks up to within
a few feet of him. "I care about you too. Too much. Don't you know that's
why I'm thinking about leaving?"
A look of astonishment passes over his face. "Assumpta, you know I..."
He is interrupted by a shout from the bar, "Can we get those sandwiches now
"Look Peter, I shouldn't have said that. I have to go." She moves to go around
him but he puts a hand on her arm.
Assumpta draws in her breath and says pleadingly to Peter, "Please, don't
touch me. I can be the Rock of Gibraltar if you just don't touch me." She
sweeps past him and out the door.
Peter can't help but think about what Assumpta told him in the kitchen of
Fitzgerald's pub. And then there's this mess of the (possibly) revenue men
being in town. It's really thrown everyone into a panic, and he's caught
in the middle. He can't believe the nerve of Father MacAnally, asking him
to lie for him. He ends up compromising, something he doesn't like to do,
by storing Assumpta's bootleg beer in his shed, and offering to get Brendan
out of a jam about undeclared taxes. The rest of them have just gone off
to celebrate the announcement of Niamh's pregnancy and he and Assumpta are
left alone in his shed.
There is a very awkward silence. They both start talking at once. "Peter,
"You first," says Assumpta.
"Are you really leaving because of feelings for me?" Peter asks.
"Whoa, that's certainly the direct approach," responds Assumpta, "let's not
beat around the bush here Peter."
"Yeah, well. The indirect approach doesn't seem to be working for me lately.
"Peter, I don't know how to answer that," says Assumpta, running her hands
through her hair nervously. "I shouldn't have said what I did in the kitchen.
I had no right to force you into anything. You're a priest for God's sake,
"Yes," Peter responds heavily. "For now," he adds under his breath. "But
you still haven't answered my question Assumpta."
"What are you trying to do, force me into a confession here?" Assumpta replies,
suddenly angry. "You're not MY priest."
Peter backs down from his interrogation. "No, you're right. I'm sorry Assumpta.
It's just that the thought of you leaving Ballyk has me feeling ..."
"What?" asks Assumpta. "Feeling what?"
Peter looks at her and says, "Lost."
Assumpta sighs and whispers, "Yeah, I know Peter." She stands there unable
to leave, unable to come any closer. Peter walks over to her. "I don't really
want to leave here," she says.
"Then don't. Stay, please. I've no right to ask you to stay for my sake,
I know that, but I'm not the only one who would miss you. Maybe I'll send
around a petition of my own to get you to stay," he adds with a touch of
humor. Assumpta rewards him with a smile.
Peter is overwhelmed with feelings of love for her in that moment. "At least
don't make any hasty decisions." He reaches out and tucks a strand of wayward
hair behind her ear. She turns her face into his hand with eyes closed and
kisses the palm of his hand. Just then they hear the approach of Donal and
Liam. Brian has sent them to move the beer yet again.
"We're back again Father, did you miss us?" says Liam. "Oh, hello Assumpta,"
he says as Assumpta brushes past him on the way out the door. "Mr. Quigley
has sent us over to take this beer back to the pub, OK if we borrow your
van again? Right then, come on Donal, a party awaits."
The strain is getting to be too much for Father Peter Clifford. He and Assumpta
have come to an unspoken agreement to act as if they are just friends, and
have been avoiding each other. This is killing me, thought Peter. Trying
to keep his feelings hidden from Assumpta and everyone else is making his
life intolerable. He never thought he would consider leaving the priesthood,
but the incident with the "sweating" statue was just one more nail in the
coffin, as it were. His faith in God was intact, but his feelings for Assumpta
were forcing him to a crisis point in his life that he knew he couldn't avoid
for much longer.
And now, somehow, here he was alone with Assumpta in his car in the middle
of the night. He knows he should have left, but he couldn't bring himself
to. He has taken her cold hand in his and held it to his forehead in a moment
of despair. Assumpta reaches out and turns his face towards her. She caresses
his face for a moment, then drops her hand back into her lap.
"Peter," she says softly, "what do you want?"
"This," he says simply. He cups her face in both hands and leans forward,
then kisses her.
Assumpta pulls her head away, reluctantly. She takes several deep, steadying
breaths. "Peter, I'm trying to be a tower of strength here, remember the
"Assumpta, I don't know about you, but this rock has already crumbled. I
can't go on living a lie. It's certainly not fair to you, making you live
this kind of half life."
"You'd better mean what you're saying right now, before there's no going
back," said Assumpta.
Meanwhile, Siobhan, Brendan and Michael are sitting in Siobhan's car, a mile
or so from the construction site, trying to keep warm. "Do you think we've
stayed away long enough?" asks Michael.
Brendan glances at his watch. "A few more minutes, eh? We want to give them
some time, but not enough to get into too much trouble," he adds with a wink
to the others.
"It was a good idea to drop a few hints about how cold and hungry we were
going to get out here tonight, you were right about them not being able to
resist helping their friends," added Michael.
As they pull up a few minutes later, they can see that Peter and Assumpta
are sitting in Peter's car.
Assumpta pulls away and starts to get out of the car.
"Assumpta, wait," begins Peter.
"Peter, you may not care about your reputation, but I do," and gets out of
the car. She walks across the field to where the three are unloading the
"Assumpta?" Peter calls loudly across to the group.
"What!?" she answers in some exasperation at the idiocy of them shouting
at each other across a field in the middle of a freezing night.
"I really do mean it, you know," he shouts back.
With a nervous glance at the others, Assumpta doesn't reply, wondering what
Peter is planning to do.
Brendan waits a moment and glances between the two of them, then shouts back,
"What do you really mean, Peter?" he asks with a smile.
Peter takes a deep breath and shouts back, "I love you Assumpta, I'm not
hiding it anymore and I don't care who knows it. I'd give everything up for
you. You're the love of my life!"
Assumpta just stands there in stunned silence.
Siobhan rolls her eyes heavenward and gives Assumpta a little shove. "I think
this is the part where you are supposed to run into each others arms for
a passionate embrace, you ninny."
Doc Ryan also gives her a little shove and a kindly smile. "Go on."
Assumpta finally gets her legs to move and she does rush across the field
for that passionate embrace. "I love you Peter, so much."
"Just like in the movies," Siobhan says with a sigh, wiping away a tear.
Brendan comments, "I wonder if I can work this into the sequel to `Ryan's
Mother'? I'll have to talk to Padraig about it." The three stand there awkwardly
for a few moments, thinking Peter and Assumpta will eventually come up for
air and recognize their presence.
"Should we offer our congratulations, do you think?" says Michael.
"We could bring in a brass band and they wouldn't notice right now," says
Brendan in some amusement.
"Fine. Great," says Siobhan "Now that's settled, can we all stop freezin'
our arses off and go home?"