Sorry I disappeared for a few... ya know... months! But now it's summer! Which means I have MUCH more time to write and I should, if everything goes well, be able to update this much more often. Hopefully I'll post chapters a few times a month instead every few months. So here's to more updates and no writers block this summer. Enjoy and have a great summer!
That’s what the hands on my watch were figuring the time to be. I huff impatiently, standing on my toes to lengthen myself as much as possible in order to see over the sea of people. But my 5’2’’ frame could only stretch so far. I look around, making sure none of the bitter security personnel were around, before climbing up on the chair beside me. Finally, I had a height advantage over the million or so people crowding around the airport like herds of confused cattle. Well… maybe not a million, but the number had to be close to that.
“Excuse me, Miss, you can’t stand on the chairs,” a deep voice says from behind me.
I let out an annoyed heavy sigh, readying myself to turn to the man and explain that I was handicapped because of my height. As I turn around to come face to face to the voice, I find myself looking at a well-built man of my exact age. He stood in front of me, almost nose to nose, and he wasn’t standing on a chair. His long legs were clad in jeans held up by a leather belt. His solid torso and broad shoulders were concealed beneath a forest green sweater and under a leather jacket. His rugged face had chiseled features that I knew could bring a girl to her knees. His high cheekbones, and tawny skin hinted at his Native ancestry, and his lips were quirked up in a smirk, his light green eyes almost mirrored mine as they smiled at me.
“PADDY!” I shout loud enough for the million others to hear, throwing my arms around my twin brother as he laughs and twirls me around in a bear hug.
“I missed you baby sister!” he grins putting me down. His 6’2’’ frame towering over me, and he was my shortest brother!
“I’m 3 minutes younger than you!” I say exasperated, but I can’t keep the smile off my face.
Out of all my brothers Paddy and I were the closest, probably due to the fact we shared the same womb for 8 months. And we weren’t like some twins that looked similar but were complete opposites personality wise. He was basically the male version of me. Stubborn, outspoken, outgoing, and a short temper, plus neither of us were very good at putting down roots.
I hadn’t seen him in almost a year, since the Sutherland Christmas last year in Montreal at my Dad’s. But he and I made sure to call each other at least once a week. Both of us were constantly traveling, me with National Geographic, hopping from dig to dig, and him with his “pub education.” I had been in Egypt for two months, Israel the two before that; Ireland, Siberia, and Russia for the remaining eight. Paddy had been traveling through multiple countries in Europe and North America. Traveling and learning about beer, wine, and liquor for his pub.
I wait for him in the driver’s seat of my jeep grinning as he dumps his North Face backpack in the back seat before plopping down next to me in the passenger’s seat.
“What?” he smirks looking over at me.
“Nothing,” I smile back.
“Tell me!” he says annoyed.
“It’s nothing,” I shrug.
“You just look like me, is all. All that traveling did you good,” I grin, looking over at him quickly before switching lanes
“Well, of course you would think so, Miss I-can’t-stay-in-one-place-for-more-than-6-months,” he chuckles.
“Hey, now I wouldn’t talk if I were you!” I shoot back.
“We’ll blame it on Dad,” he shrugs looking out the window.
“Yeah…” I respond solemnly.
Paddy only had but a slightly better relationship with the Admiral than I did. Which really wasn’t saying much. It was no secret that our dad had moved us here, there, and everywhere throughout our childhoods and tried to force us into his plan. I was the first to break free, and from there it was a like a chain reaction amongst my siblings.
“So this is it, huh? Home Sweet Home,” Paddy asks stepping into my apartment and letting his backpack fall beside my messenger bag.
“Eh, for now,” I smirk.
“It’s nice, Maggs dad wouldn’t approve of so many books,” he grins.
“Thanks Paddy!” I grin, “You cool with the couch?”
“You mean you’re not going to give up your bed?”
“I’ve basically been living in the sand for four months,” I say, my hand automatically coming to my hip in attitude.
“So that’s a no?”
“Didn’t you just come back from Gran’s?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he sighs, “she says hi by the way.”
“Padraig, you’ve been sleeping at Gran’s! That house even melted Dad’s heart a little! No way am I giving up my bed. You didn’t even bring me back something from Ireland!”
“You were in Ireland a few months ago!” he retorts, going over to pull a beer out of the refrigerator.
“Fine, I’ll give ya that. And if you’re going to drink my beer grab me one too,” I sigh flopping down on the couch and turning the Penguin game on. They were playing the St. Louis Blues and it was the last game of their road trip.
He comes over, handing me a beer before dropping his 6’2’’ frame on the lazy boy with a mighty sigh like groan.
“So you found Max Talbot, eh?” he asks, bring the bottle up to his lips and taking a gulp, looking at me from the corner of his eye.
“Technically he spotted me first. But yeah, never thought I would see him again,” I chuckle, watching as number 25 himself checks Andy McDonald into the boards.
“And there is nothing going on between you two?” he asks slowly, not so much out of curiosity but assurance.
“Come on, Paddy, you know me, I don’t do relationships and neither does Max,” I sigh rolling my eyes.
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he replies gruffly.
I pick at the napkin before a little piece falls off. I roll it in a tight ball and push it off to the side of the table with the 3 I had previously made. Sighing, I look down to my watch. They should be here any minute.
“Collecting spit balls?” Paul asks, setting down a beer in front of me.
I chuckle, “No, just waiting.”
“Waitin’ for who? Another lady-friend?” the bartender asks, wiggling his eyebrows at me suggestively.
“Not exactly, I’m meeting Maggie and her brother for dinner,” I smile, feeling nerves serge through my stomach again at the thought of coming face to face with Paddy.
“So, why are you nervous? Don’t you guys go way back?” Paul asks confused, leaning on the table as a few people chatted beside us in the bar.
“Because the last time I saw Padriag, he threatened turn me inside out,” I chuckle nervously, picking at the pealing beer bottle label.
“Ah, I see. Something to do with Maggie?”
“Yeah, I spent the night with her and he found us. Nothing had happened, but that’s not what he thought, and Maggie doesn’t remember because she was drunk.”
“Oh. That’s a tough one,” the bartender says pondering an answer.
“Well I hope you’re ready for him, cause Maggie just walked in the door,” he whispers before walking away.
My head shoots up and I spy the petite brunette walking through the door with a tall male. If you couldn’t tell that the two were siblings, you were a fucking idiot. Besides the height difference and the whole gender difference, they were identical. I watch as Paddy bends down to tell her something. Something she apparently didn’t like because she frowns and jumps up to smack the back of his head. He let’s out a hearty laugh before pulling her into a headlock as they approach the table.
“Lemme go, Paddy!” she grumbles, twisting around in his arms, but he just chuckles continuing walking.
I watch as she suddenly throws a punch into his side, making him cringe and let out a grunt, before letting her go. Maggie let’s out a triumphant “HA!” and grins before plopping down beside me.
“Jesus, how old are you two? Your father would never approve of such behavior,” I grin.
“Haha, Dad never approves of our behavior…or lives,” Maggie chuckles mischievously, reaching over to take a sip of my beer, to which I give her an annoyed look.
“Especially Maggie’s,” Paddy grins, ruffling his sisters hair, who lets out an annoyed huff before smoothing down the tousled waves.
“How have you been Paddy?” I ask, reaching my hand out cautiously to him, trying not to let on that I was afraid he may bite… or worse.
“Not bad, Talbot, not bad,” he says evenly shaking my hand, “ ‘course, I don’t have the superstar status like you do.”
I hear Maggie let out a sarcastic snort as she plucks a pretzel from the bowl on the table, popping it in her mouth.
“Max isn’t a Superstar, he’s just a hockey player with bad acting skills,” she says rolling her eyes.
“Pfft, like you can act. At least I was on TV,” I retort, facing her with a smirk.
“Oh no, you shouldn’t have said that,” Paddy groans as Maggie’s eyes light up.
“Actually, Talbot, I WAS on TV. I was in a documentary about Cahokia 2 years ago. I talked about the burial mounds they have left behind and how similar mounds were and still are in a few places in the United St…” She begins before Paddy covers her mouth with his hand.
“Don’t start. Tonight is a dead civilizations free night. Max doesn’t want to hear about Cahokia, the Aztecs, the Egyptians, or any other ancient civilization. You can talk to your other archeologist friends at work about dead cultures,” Paddy sighs, “OUCH! Don’t bite!” he says quickly pulling his hand away from his sister’s mouth, allowing her to stick her tongue out at him childishly.
“Very mature,” he grumbles, “Once she starts in on ancient cultures it’s impossible to stop her and next thing you know you’re hearing the details of female circumcision in the Middle East during dinner.”
“It’s interesting!” she defends.
“She had Liam running for the bathroom and everyone else squirming in their seat. I still can’t eat tortellini,” Paddy says rolling his eyes toward me.
“Yeah, dinner probably wasn’t the best time,” she admits.
All I can do is shake my head in amazement. The Sutherlands were mind boggling at times.
“And then Joey went to kiss her and she delivered the best jab I have ever seen to his nose,” I laugh, Paddy holding his sides in laughter, as Maggie grins next to me recalling the event.
“I told him to bugger off. He should’ve listened,” she shrugs with a smirk, draining the last of her Sam Adams from the bottle.
“I warned him not to mess with her, but when he came into practice the next day with the tell tale black and blue eyes… it was easy to piece it together,” Paddy laughs.
“Georges LaRaque didn’t even throw punches that well,” I smirk at her, watching as her green eyes smirk back at me mischievously.
“Well I learned from the best,” she shrugs with a smirk.
“Sean?” I ask, unable to break her emerald gaze.
“Ahh, that’s right,” Paddy nods, after taking a swig of Guinness, “Uncle Donal.”
“Yup, when I was 14 he took me aside after dinner at Gran’s, he told me a pretty young lady had to learn to protect herself. Never mind that I had 5 brothers,” she chuckles.
“Uncle Donal took out an entire pub once in Kilarney. The man would take on the entire British army if you let him,” her brother says shaking his head.
“And win,” Maggie throws in, toasting her brother with her bottle.
“You know, I have no doubt that all of that is completely true,” I chuckle, “Anyone else and I would call bull shit, but you two? No doubt.”
The laughter dies down and everyone smirks, tracing the edge of their glass or picking at the label on the bottle. All of us let our memories wonder, remembrance heavy in the air. Maybe Paddy forgot all about that night after all.
“Well… Some of us have to be at work tomorrow,” Maggie says glancing at her leather watch.
“You go on Maggs, I want to catch up with Talbot a bit more,” Padraig says, glancing over at me and throwing an innocent look at his sister as she stands up and shrugs on her fleece.
I take a gulp of my Molson, uh oh.
I watch as Maggie’s furrows her eyebrows, her green eyes scanning her brother’s face as her hands rested on her hips. Her eyes move over to me, scrutinizing the situation, obviously knowing something else was going on. I smile at her, trying to void my face of the nerves I was feeling.
“It’s cool Maggs, I’ll see you later,” I smile, hoping she won’t suspect anything.
“Alright,” she says slowly, “See you later, Max.”
She walks to the door, waving to Paul on her way out.
As soon as she’s out of sight, I feel Paddy’s gaze turn to me. I could almost feel the heat from the intensity burning into my skull. I take a deep breath and turn to face him. Just as I suspected, his light green eyes were intently trying to set me ablaze.
“Alright, Paddy, out with it?” I sigh, might as well get this done and over with.
His mouth turns up in a smirk, his eyes holding an almost deadly humor.
“What’s are your intentions with my sister?” he asks almost too calmly, but the heat behind his eyes tell me that one false move and I’m walking out of here with a messed up face.
“Maggie and I are just friends, Paddy, nothing more,” I sigh shaking my head.
“I know you’re friends. But that wasn’t what I asked. Why are you friends Max? Unless you’ve changed drastically, you were never one for being ‘just friends’ with any one of the opposite sex,” he says his voice rising slightly.
“I don’t do relationships, and from what I gather, neither does Maggie,” I quip back, getting a little pissed off because he knew me too well, and I didn’t want to tell him that I wanted to fuck his sister. I didn’t have to, he already knew! But he wanted to hear me say so that he had a justified reason to break my nose.
“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of. I don’t know how long you are going to keep up this friendship façade, but don’t lay one hand on her Talbot, or I swear to God…” he growls.
“What Paddy? What the hell are you going to do? Maggie’s a grown woman, she doesn’t need your fucking protection, and I highly doubt she wants it,” I growl back, my temper rising, “If she wants to have fun there is nothing you can do about it. You’re not her father Paddy.”
“Damn right I’m not, I’m her brother. And you don’t get it do you Max? You are one of the few guys Maggie has ever wanted to have anything other than sex and friendship with,” he snarls.
My eyes widen at his words. He may as well have punched me; it sure as hell feels like he did.
“Look, Maggie has tons of guy friends, a product of having to grow up with all of us boys, but she doesn’t do relationships passed friendship. I know she’s not some defenseless virgin, hell I walked in on her and some bastard in Spain, which scared me for life,” he says shaking his head in disgust, “But you’re different Max, Maggie could really fall for you,” he says, his voice lowering, but not in a hostile way, it was as if he had just revealed one of his sister’s deepest secrets.
I look at him evenly, his light green eyes were a completely different green than his sisters, they were borderline hazel instead of the deep clover color of Maggie’s. His gaze seems to challenge me to spit out an out of line comment.
“What if I’ve already started to fall for her?” I ask before I can stop myself.