Under The Streets Of London – Episode 50

“You would not embarrass me in any way,” Eliza said. “But the tea shops here are very dull. It’s a lovely evening and it’s not far to the riverside – why don’t we walk a little?”

“You don’t mind being seen with me?”

“Of course not.”

She took his arm firmly, determined to make him feel at ease, even though her own body was tingling with the touch of him at her side. His arm felt so strong, his body so warm as he leaned protectively in over her.

As they came within sight of the great Thames Eliza swallowed and tried to find something to say.

“You wanted to talk to me?”

“Yes. Some good news. Seamus has the money to bring Brigid to England.”

“Does he? That’s wonderful!” She looked up at him, delighted, and was surprised to see him frown. “Is it not?”

“It is. I just thought . . . you seem surprised.”

“Why would I not be?”

He shifted awkwardly and stopped walking.

“He found a surprise package in the coal shed – an envelope addressed to him with money inside.”

“And you thought it was me? I’m afraid not. Would that I could be so generous, but no, it wasn’t me.”

“But if not you, then who?”

“I’m not sure.” Her arm was still in his, his chest close to hers. “It seems you have a mystery benefactor.”

“It does.”

“How nice.”

They’d run out of things to say but still they stood there. Dusk was falling and the street was quiet, the dark river running softly behind them. They were the only ones still out; the only ones, it seemed for a moment, in the whole world.

“Eliza,” Niall murmured, leaning closer, his lips inches from her own. “I – I like you so much. I know I shouldn’t. It’s wrong, presumptuous even. But . . .”


She tilted her head back a little and slowly, quietly, his lips found hers and, oh, they were so soft and cautious and so very, very sweet. This was nothing like that first, terrible experience in her father’s library. This was loving and safe, and Eliza felt as if she could lose herself in Niall’s kiss for ever.

“If only,” the voice of reason whispered treacherously in her head, but for now, for this one glorious moment, she ignored it.

 * * * *

“She’s here, Niall! My lovely wife is here, before our very eyes, here in London. And my wee petal, Ciara, with her.”

Niall grinned at his brother’s babbling.

“I can see that, for they’re right here before my own eyes.”

Seamus hugged Brigid and Ciara closer.

“’Tis God’s own miracle.”

Niall gave up teasing and absorbed Seamus’s happiness. Stepping forward, he hugged Brigid, having to tug her out of Seamus’s hold to do so. It seemed that, having got his wife back, he never wanted to let her go again. Niall couldn’t blame him for that.

“You look well, Brigid,” he told his sister-in-law.

“Nonsense, Niall,” she flung back with a smile. “I’ve bags under my eyes from trying to sleep on that crate of a ship and I’m the size of a house with the bairn so close.”

Niall looked down at the sizeable swell of her stomach and nodded.

“Must have taken a lot of potatoes to get you that size, Brigid,” he teased.

“Nope – just the one,” she joked back, kissing Seamus firmly.

She’d ever had a dry sense of humour and Niall rejoiced to see it intact after what must have been a hard few months for her as well as for Seamus.

He turned and swept young Ciara into his arms.

“Goodness, lass, you’ve grown so big and tall since I left Ireland. I can barely lift you!”

Ciara, just a week off her second birthday, giggled and batted helplessly at his muscular arms as he pretended to drop her. She’d grown taller, it was true, but she was painfully thin and very pale and was as light to lift as a ragged feather. But she was here and that was what counted.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.