Danaher's was a safe sanctuary from the storm.
"What may I ask brings the O'Rourke out tonight?" asked Mahraid Danaher.
"It could be that I have no food in the house," Mary Brenna answered. She was smiling. The days when she would feel embarrassed about her cooking were gone. She kept a clean and tidy house but had never found the love of cooking that her mother had passed on to her five older sisters. Besides she could have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Danaher's pub if she so wished. It was the law where Mary Brenna found her passion.
"Then you'll also be wanting a pint whist you take a look at tonight's menu?"
"Aye, that would be good." Mary Brenna smiled.
The Danahers had owned the pub for four generations. It was now in the hands of Mahraid and Sean Danaher after their parents were killed in a car accident on the Dublin road. The entire village had attended the funeral service.
"How is Sean, I haven't seen him in a little while?" Mahraid shrugged her shoulders.
"Sean is Sean." Mahraid fell silent as a thought occurred. "Though, I thought he'd be happier since he's been taking some time off recently."
Mary Brenna wore a frown.
"But Sean doesn't go anywhere?"
"They were my same thoughts exactly," said Mahraid.
"So how's it going with your Michael then? David is telling me that he is taken with you."
Mary Brenna suddenly looked up as Sean stepped through from the kitchen. She had always considered Sean to be handsome in a rugged way. He stood five-eleven and a bit. The way he made a point of mentioning the 'eleven and a bit' would always bring a smile to her face. To Mary Brenna there was some of Steve McQueen in his manner. It wasn't arrogance but untouchable confidence that he had.
Normally she would find any reason to look into his crystal clear blue eyes but she didn't recognise the look in his eyes as he walked by. There was no mistake in her mind that he had heard Mahraid's question.
"The orders are done so I'll be wanting to close the kitchen now, Mahraid," Sean announced as he walked behind the bar heading for the kitchen.
"You can't Sean, Mary Brenna is still choosing from the menu." Sean barely looked at her before he turned away and disappeared into the kitchen.
"Now what has the O'Rourke been doing to my brother, Mary Brenna?"Mahraid asked her friend.
"I haven't touched him."
"Are you sure?" Mahraid asked quizzically. "It doesn't matter the truth be told; I wouldn't want to be in your shoes by the look he just gave you."
Mary Brenna shook her head slowly. "I'm sure."
"Well, I was thinking of asking you to take your order through to Sean yourself so that I can get on serving my other customers but..."
Mary Brenna jumped down from the bar stool. "I'll tell Sean that I'm taking a liking to the fish and chips."
Sean Danaher felt his heart beat stutter and stumble as he stepped out of the pub kitchen. Seeing Mary Brenna sitting at the bar talking with Mahraid had come as something of a surprise. It was clear, that Mary Brenna was engaged in conversation with his sister as she served her with a glass of Harp. Though,if he was honest with himself, he wished he hadn't overheard their conversation. At least he knew the reason why he hadn't seen her in the pub recently.
He had known Mary Brenna for as long as he could remember. Even standing at five-two against his five-eleven and a bit, she was the only person on Clonmaine who could best him two out of three. He had also witness the fiery temper when she lost. The scar on his cheek was a testament of one of those tempers.
Lost in his memories he didn't hear Mary Brenna enter the kitchen or call out his name.
"Sean, I think I'll be having fish and chips?" said Mary Brenna. He jumped, startled at the sound of her voice.
"I'll be sorry if I startled you Sean," Mary Brenna couldn't keep the laughter from her voice. She wasn't surprised when she saw anger in his eyes. She always was able to press his button.
"I was thinking is all," he answered sharply. He saw the first flush of embarrassment on the skin at her throat.
"There are some that find thinking a chore," Mary Brenna teased. Her heart fell when he was silent. The person standing at the stove was not the Sean Danaher that she knew.
"Sean, is everything OK?" Mary Brenna's voice sent his heart rate racing. Sean raised his head slowly. There was a sad, almost defeated look in his eyes.
"Sean, if you're in trouble I can help?"
"Can you find me a woman who is willing to have my child?" Sean's laugh sent a shiver running down her spine.
"There's only one catch. I have eight days to get her pregnant."