The Wedding Quilt – Episode 21

She blushed.

“I hardly noticed you were gone.”

“Is that so? But you must have cared a little bit when they told you I was dead, or what would you be doing here at my wake?”

“I’m always sorry when someone I know passes away,” she said primly.

Paddy put a finger to her cheek.

“Methinks you cried a little tear for me, darling girl, for the tracks on your face are plain for all to see.”

Beasie tossed her head.

“I was happy for your poor mother when she learned she hadn’t lost her son after all.”

“’Twould be a hard heart that would not be moved by such a thing. But to feel nothing for the man himself, that’s a horse of a different colour. I was going to ask you to come out with me, so I was, Beasie, but I guess I’ll not bother now, when you’ve so little regard for poor Paddy Ryan.”

He was laughing as he said this, and Beasie felt her heart leap.

“You were going to ask me out, Paddy? What did you have in mind?”

“Since I’m a driving man, I thought we might go out driving, if Da will give me the use of the horse. The lake is pretty at this time of year, what with the birds nesting and the butterflies on the blossoms. But if you won’t come I’ll just stay at home with my poor heart breaking.”

Beasie laughed.

“You’re an amadán, Paddy Ryan!”

“A fool, is it? Well, maybe I’m a fool for love. What do you say, then, Beasie Burke? Will you come with me, or will you not?”

And that was that. Somehow he’d managed to talk her into going out with him after church on Sunday, and the prospect was alluring in the extreme.

She couldn’t think what Dad was going to say when she broke the news to him, but so what? She was twenty-three years of age and if she couldn’t accept an invitation from a personable young man there was no justice in the world. No justice at all.

Beasie had been so engrossed in that little exchange that she’d forgotten all about Drusilla standing nearby. Now, when Paddy had moved away, to be slapped on the back and congratulated by some new arrivals at what was meant to have been his wake, she turned to her friend, only to be rebuffed.

The glare she received was very much what Mum would have described as an old-fashioned look.

“What’s the matter with you, Drusilla Carmody?”

“I could ask you the same question, Beasie Burke! Flirting with Paddy Ryan like that! And worse, agreeing to go out with him!”

Beasie opened her eyes wide.

“Are you jealous, Dru? You want Paddy for yourself, is that it?”

“I do not. It’s Frank I’m thinking of, that’s all. You know he’s sweet on you, Beasie, and that’s why I invited you to lunch while he’s at home. Now you’ve got yourself tangled up with Black Paddy Ryan instead.”

“I can still come to lunch, if you’ll have me, and I’m not tangled up, as you put it. We’re only driving up to the lake. I thought it would be nice to see the water and all. There could be kingfishers nesting there by now.”

“Frank would have taken you!” Drusilla pointed out. “All you had to do was ask!”

“I’m not in the habit of asking men to take me out!” Beasie retorted. “Paddy invited me and Frank didn’t. I accepted an invitation, that’s all.”

“Oh, please yourself, Beasie!”

“I intend to!”

Stiff-backed, Drusilla crossed the room to stand beside her brother, nudging him sharply on the arm.

Startled, he looked down at her with a question in his eyes, but she simply shook her head, with an expression on her face that would have soured milk.

“Time we were heading home, Frank. Dad will be wondering.”

Frank nodded. Josh Carmody would be doing nothing of the sort, but it was evident that something had upset Drusilla.

Perhaps the solemnity of the occasion, followed by the sudden appearance of Paddy, had been too much for her. Best get her home where she could put her feet up until she recovered from the shock of it all. One way or another this had been quite a day!

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.