SNIPPETS FROM VICIOUS (WILD IRISH ONE)
Once again Una captures my attention as she pulls a plumb lip in between her teeth and bites it. A laugh leaves her mouth, and she finally opens her eyes. They still manage to hold me in awe, one blue the other green. I’ve never seen anyone like Una. It suits her. She is two very different people, she’s unpredictable, I often think that’s why I’m drawn to her. Right now she holds out her arms and starts to twirl.
“Una stop it.” Finn tries to pull her hands down, but she keeps spinning and Darragh joins her. That’s when I decide I’ve seen enough.
“Are you not going to greet me brother?” Shane asks as Mary places my breakfast in front of me. Everyone‘s attention falls on to Shane and the tension in the room seems to grow. Mary shuffles back to the stove and I start to eat. I’m not hungry but I don’t know what else to do.
“Why should I? You threatened Siobhan.” Siobhan was Finn’s new girlfriend and from the sounds of it their relationship was very serious. But to hear that Shane threatened her has me looking at him. His jaw is clenched, and he flickers a glance at me before looking back at Finn.
“Don’t be so petty it was a few words.”
A vein is flickering like a heartbeat in Finn’s neck. “No it wasn’t you know what you said and I’m not having it.” Mary puts a fry in front of Finn and he quickly thanks her.
“What are you going to do?” Shane is leaning forward and there is something in his stance that tells me this is far more serious than it appears to be.
Finn has a death grip on his knife and fork and I can see them now as deadly weapons. His nostrils flair as he stares down at Shane and he looks like he wants to hurt him. But Shane’s eyes are shinning with violence. It’s like he’s excited at the idea of hurting Finn. I want to defuse the situation so I do the only thing I can think of. I knock my coffee over with a little more force than intended. I only wanted to send the coffee pouring over the side but the mug goes too, the sound of it smashing has everyone looking at me.
“Sorry my hand slipped.” I say getting up. Shane is staring at me, and I’m not sure if he’s mad or what he is thinking.
“I’ll get it Una finish your breakfast.” Mary is there with a cloth but I start picking up pieces of the mug.
“Una leave it alone before you cut yourself.” Shane’s words are barked at me and I am so close to losing it with him. I take the cloth off Mary. “Please Mary I’ll clean it up.” She gives me a nod before leaving me.
“Mary clean it up.” Shane stops her in her tracks and I grind my teeth. He was so controlling. I gather up the rest of the mug and stand.
“Mary it’s done. Seriously, it’s fine.” She’s waiting for Shane’s word and he nods at her so she goes back to the kitchen. I’m shaking my head in disgust at him and I really want to throw the broken mug at him, but I can’t. Michael picks that moment to enter the kitchen, and he smiles when he sees us all.
“Ah, I was wondering where everyone was.” He stops me as I make my way to the bin and kisses the top of my head. When he sees the broken mug in my hand he leans out. “Be careful you don’t cut yourself.”
“That’s what I said.” Shane chimes in from the corner like I’m some fragile little flower.
“I won’t. It’s a mug. Not a sword.” Michael doesn’t appreciate my smart mouth. But lets me pass as he sits down.
I’m ready to return to the table and eat my breakfast when Shane stands up all cheery. “Are you ready to start work Una?” he asks me like we are best pals. I narrow my focus at my breakfast and Shane looks at his watch. “If you need more time?”
I wave his comment away. I’m hungry but I’ll be dammed if I ask for more time. “No. I’m good to go.”
“What are you doing?” I ask.
She spins around, her wet long hair flicking water with the speed of her movements. The wildness in her eyes has my stomach tightening. I’m beside her, searching her face. Her gaze lowers now, and she’s shaking her head.
“Una, what’s wrong?” I ask the crown of her head, and when she peeks up at me, her eyes are watery, and she stares at me unblinking. A tremble has entered her body, and my heart starts to pound. “Una, what’s wrong?” I want to grab her and shake her, but touching her has never been a luxury I have allowed myself. Right now, I seem unable to move.
I step out of the car, and he places a large jacket around my shoulders.
Now all I smell is Shane, his cologne along with the scent of leather and trees. It’s a weird combination, but it was uniquely Shane. My stomach trembles as he leans around me and closes the door.
“She was unpredictable.” He looks at me for the first time. “Untamable.”
My pulse spikes, with how he looks at me, and it might be the lack of sleep, but I feel like I’ve stepped into a twilight zone with Shane. It’s like that feeling when you’re lying under the stars knowing the world is asleep. It’s magical, but it has to end.
“I’m sorry.” His words are low and precise. Like he’s trying out a new language. I glance at him, causing our shoulders to brush, and this time, it looks like he’s the one who freezes
“Master Shane?” I question not wanting to mention the fact that he knew pancakes where my favorite.
“Sit down, Una.” The demand is sharp and comes from Shane.
I don’t like it. I shed his jacket and place it on the chair, but I don’t sit.
He flashes a glance towards Mary as she prepares pancakes and coffee before they snap back to me. “Please.” He says it through gritted teeth, but I take it and sit down.
I love watching her mouth when she smiles. It’s as fascinating as her different coloured eyes.
I take another sip of coffee and continue to take her in.
I stand in front of her, and she has no choice but to look at me. “It’s nothing, Shane,” she tells me with too much false bravado.
“I’ll decide that,” I tell her.
“It’s just when I was with him.”
“With him in what way?” I cut her off with a growl.
She throws her hands in the air. “I can’t talk to you,” she tells me, and I reel in my frustration.
“I’m sorry,” I say softly.
She eyes me. I’m ready to lose my cool, but thankfully, she speaks.
She’s wearing the same dress from earlier, her hair is now dry, and her beauty is all I see. I close my eyes as her hands flutter to my face. She moves my head to the left and right.
“Where are you hurt?” There’s a touch of hysteria in her voice, and when her hands run down my arms, I know I should tell her it’s not me, but I’m a bastard for enjoying this moment.
“Shane.” She’s pulling at my top, and I open my eyes. The tremble in her lip now has intensified. So I speak up.
“It’s not my blood,” I tell her as tears slip from her wide eyes. Her eyes slowly move down to my hands, and she covers her mouth with her hand. It trembles, and I take her by the shoulders. She’s shaking her head while looking at me.
“I’m fine,” I reassure her. She searches my face and then steps into me, her arms hugging me tightly. She’s not asking whose blood this is all over me. She seems content to know it’s not mine.
When I return, she’s sitting cross-legged on the tarp chewing her lip, and my heart stills. Her red fiery hair is like a halo, and I think again of what this place will do to her. Since arriving, she has lost weight, and dark circles have grown under her eyes.
She’s been strong for all she has found out, but I’m not sure she’s strong enough. I don’t want her to have to strengthen herself to our way. This is why I never got close to her, why I never touched her, and now I’m terrified because I can’t let her go, even if it damages her.
She looks up, and a smile lightens her eyes. She takes in the two buckets and sponges that I carry. Once I set them down, I take two pairs of rubber gloves from my back pocket, one yellow the other pink. I hold the pink pair out to her, but she nods while biting her lip.
“Nope, I want the yellow,” she tells me, taking them from my hands. She’s trying not to laugh as she puts on her yellow gloves.
“Put on your gloves, Shane,” she tells me as she snaps the rubber band at the wrist before grinning up at me.
“You think I’m afraid of a bit of pink?” I ask her, and she laughs. I want to keep her laughing, so I put on the stupid gloves.