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"I knew I had heard that name before" Evelyn muttered to herself, looking down at the papers scattered on her desk.

A few days after she had moved to Angela´s, Nathaniel, one of her students from Trinity, contacted her in regards to a doctorate thesis he was working on about William the conqueror the impact of the Norman Conquest and the flight of Anglo-Saxon nobility to Ireland that ensued on the British Isles. She had welcomed the distraction and asked him to send in his work as well as the bibliography he had been working with. She missed the process of researching, taking notes and reviewing work. Her last book had come out before her father had passed away and she had only worked on articles since then. She had a tacit agreement with Lewis that she would take some time off for herself and as soon as she felt like her life was back in order again they would start talking about her next work. So, in the meantime, helping a former student with his own research was a very nice way of oiling the old machinery.

Soon she had immersed herself in documents and books about the Norman Conquest she had laying around, and whatever else she could obtain from the library of the local college. William the Conqueror was one those inevitable characters any medieval historian always has to go back to over and over gain, and she was more than happy to return to that familiar place and rediscover all about it. Angela called it a "researching frenzy" and she wasn´t wrong. Evelyn knew Angela and Father Thomas were worried sick that she was overworking, but neither of them had known her long enough to know "overworking" was exactly what she needed. Evelyn craved it, the mad dash from classroom to library, to archives, then back to the office, taking notes, writing drafts, reviewing, editing, the ungrateful job of writing bibliographic references and organising them alphabetically so you could go back to them when needed, the multitude of colourful sticky notes on every page of a pile of books that never shrank...It was the kind of routine she was most comfortable with, what gave her the comfort of familiarity. So, in her spare time, usually before bed, Evelyn went over her former student´s work, and his references, pointing out corrections, suggestions or additional bibliography. It relaxed her, and took her mind off things, specially as James´audition approached and she found herself almost as nervous him.

One of the documents she had come across in her last visit to the library was a list of people and families known to have been a part of or been connected to the Norman invading army she had photocopied from a book titled "Norman families of France and England". That´s where she found it. That name.

Armand Malfoy. A Norman mercenary who had earned himself a title under William the conqueror in exchange of services of an unknown nature. If the French root of the name stood as testament to its meaning of “bad faith”, she could imagine what kind of services Armand offered his protector. She knew she had heard the name 'Malfoy' before. Could they be the same, however? Surely whoever the Malfoys Severus knew were, they were people of means, so...it wouldn´t be that far-fetched to think they were connected with the Malfoys of the Norman conquest. The notes on the list didn´t give her much. Apparently the Norman Malfoy family was extant until at least the early Elizabethan period, for a certain Lucius Malfoy had attempted to court Elizabeth I, probably with dire results, as no further mention to the family was recorded after the event.

"Lucius Malfoy." he smirked "You can´t make this shite up."

"Talking to yourself, Lyn?" Angela was standing at the door, neatly dressed in a yellow and black floral dress, black tights, a wool sweater,  with ballerina flats completing the look.

"You look great. Going out?"

"Matthew´s sister invited me for brunch. Want to come with?"

"Oh, thank you, dear, but I´ll have to sit this one out."

"Evelyn, it´s Sunday. If you don´t want to come with us, at least go out for a stroll or something. There´s finally sun outside, take advantage of it."

"I will, don´t worry."

"Evelyn, I honestly think..." Angela was getting ready to go into one of her long speeches about how Evelyn should work less and go out more when, mercifully, Evelyn´s mobile rang.

"Hello? Oh, hello, Lewis!" Angela shook her head as she heard the name of Evelyn´s Irish editor and left the room, surely hopeless that she´d even convince her friend  to get some rest.

"Hi, dear! How have you been? Feeling better I trust?"

"Yes, thank you."

"Sorry for calling on a Sunday, but I thought I´d have a better chance of catching you. You´ve been working all the time now it seems. What are these boorish Brits doing to you, love?”

“Oh, not you too, Lewis. I´m quite fine I assure you.”

“Look, I know we agreed you´d take a wee bit of a break, but I got a call last Friday and it´s seems to me like a very good opportunity."

"Do tell."

"Apparently there´s a Russian publisher interested in your work."

"Russian? Well, that´s random."

"I know, I know. I got a call from the man´s secretary, apparently he stumbled on one of your books while he was in London and really liked it."

"Which one?"

"'The magic word' "

Evelyn smiled. 'The Magic word. Mythical and political rhetoric in Pre-Christian Ireland.' was the full title. It had been her second published book, coming in the wake of  'Witch trials in Ireland.'´s modest success, and had quickly outsold its predecessor. Of course the public´s growing interest in a commercial version of Celtic mysticism that smelled of cheap incense and sounded like 'Enya´s greatest hits' had helped boost the sales, but Evelyn was nevertheless proud that she had managed to reach a wide audience with a book that talked about political rhetoric in the mythic narratives of the Celts.

"I love that one. So...this man read it and wants to publish it in Russia? I didn´t know Russians were into pre-Roman Irish history?"

"Oh, dearie, it´s the 90s. Everybody is into everything Celtic these days, they watch one performance of Riverdance  or read “The Mists of Avalon” and have a sodding spiritual awakening.  In any case, he doesn´t just want to publish this one book. It seems he has read all of your work and wants you to sign a contract for more than one translation. We have done translations of your work to French, Spanish and Italian already. If this man says there´s an audience for you in Russia, why not? He seems very impressed."

"Well, that´s...amazing."

"I just wanted to ask you if I can give your number to his secretary. I told her I can´t OK anything without your 'amen' so they want to talk to you."

"Of course, of course you can."

"Grand, love. I´ll do that immediately and keep you posted."

“Thank you, Lewis.”

“You´re welcome, darling. Now I´ll let you go. And do take care of yourself, you had me worried, lass.”

“Yes, mammy.” she laughed

“You wish old softy Lewis here was your mammy.” he laughed that full, musical laugh of his that always managed to calm her nerves “ Don´t think I don´t know you haven´t told her what happened and I know 'la grande dame' will eat you alive if she finds out through somebody else. Give her a call, specially if you´re thinking of going back home on account of it.”

“It´s not on account of it.”

“You know what, Evelyn. Drop by my house when you come back. I have a feeling you need to talk. Or just call me. I´ve been rather bored Sunday nights.”

….......


Dinner at the Rotts were always stilted, silently awkward affairs. Draco actually preferred it that way. Whenever Ludwig or Claire tried to engage him in conversation he felt like stepping on egg shells. He had to measure every last word coming out of his mouth in order not to give anything away. In fact, every last one of his actions ans gestures had to be planned and mentally rehearsed. Every time Draco sat with them for a meal, when  he pretended to be reading or studying in their palatial library, as they had a party or invited guests over and he had to play the role of polite cousin on vacation...he was always pretending, thinking long and hard before any gesture, any word, any step. Draco spent his days uttering pleasantries in the calm and cool style his mother had instilled on him with her properly tight control of etiquette, becoming of a born and bred Black, listening meekly as Ludwig and Claire repeated all the venomous things he had heard over and over through his young years, all the callous things he had learned the hard way were not true about muggles, about muggle-borns.

Draco spent his days playing the role of dutiful pupil as his nights went by sleepless, as he slid silently through the house looking for anything that could give him a clue that the Rotts were involved in the recent Death Eater attacks and flights. As he read Professor Snape´s letters, taking careful mental notes, memorizing every word of advice as if his life depended on them, writing back, letters that he knew were of no help. Draco could imagine the Ministry officers breathing down Professor Snape´s neck, pressuring him. He said nothing, but Draco knew what they expected of him. And as time went by he despaired that he wouldn´t be able to provide them with what they wanted.

Why was he doing this, the young man wondered at times, laying awake in bed or looking out of the windows counting the last leaves of the withered trees outside. He didn´t quite know the answer. Something had changed. That earth-shattering change, that comes like a painful ripping of the soul when one realizes everything they believed in was a lie, everyone he ever looked up to was a fraud, and everything he took as granted, as rightfully his, everything he thought he was and everything he believed he could accomplish turned to ashes under his grip.

What was Draco seeking, lurking on the halls and corridors of the Rotts mansion, sneaking into the library and studying spells that could open their safes and cabinets? It wasn´t redemption of any kind. Maybe just the chance to prove he wasn´t the same boy who stood in the astronomy tower the year before, trembling before an all too grand Albus Dumbledore, unable to go forward, unable to turn back,  lost and trembling, smothered by the realization that, after all, he wasn´t what he thought he was, what he had been raised to be, but didn´t know how to be anything else.

“Have you had any news from home, chèr?” Claire´s voice sounded hollow and flat, barely raised over the clatter of crystals and silverware. She didn´t even look at him as she asked, he lack of expression betraying her lack of true interest.

“Nothing much. Mother worries too much about everything as usual.”

“I can appreciate her concerns. The new Ministry is a joke. Have you heard about the registry? And they expect pure-blood wizards to collaborate.”

“I don´t think the registry will come to pass.” he said, for once truthfully. Draco knew Kingsley Shacklebolt would never let that happen.

“Don´t ever doubt the length to which blood traitors will go to ensure pure-bloods are underfoot.” Ludwig told him, sternly “We must look out for our own. There has been a slew of new arrests.”

“Last I heard they got Selwyn” Draco offered, trying to sound like he didn´t give the story much importance. He knew Selwyn hadn´t been arrested, but maybe he could get something if he threw it at them. “Mother said the media made a big deal out of it.”

“To make themselves look better after they failed to trap Rodolphus and Rabastan.” Claire scoffed, her temper flaring suddenly.

“They say they´ll get to them soon.”

“Not likely.” Ludwig let out “You sound defeated. I´m sure your mother has been filling your head with her fearful nonsense again. Don´t listen to her.”

…...


Later that night Draco saw the lights on in Ludwig´s studio, as he sneaked out of his room to go to the library as he did every night.  He could hear their voices from down the hallway

“I had hoped he´d get himself killed, but it´s Selwyn. He managed to get himself arrested instead.” Claire sounded mildly intoxicated. So she did believe the Ministry had Selwyn after all.

“I doubt it.”

“He´s doesn´t have half the brains necessary to successfully escape the aurors.”

“And how come this is the only recent arrest that didn´t get a photo feature in every newspaper? The aurors have been making a point of parading every single one they get their hands on.”

“I told you the  Ministry had him and were using the fake letters  as a cover to keep us off Snape´s track from the beginning.”

“So you did. But if they had him since the beginning, why announce it now? And how come they can´t produce him for a photo op?”

“What are you getting at?”

“You were right.”

“About?”

“Snape. You were right, that snake is probably alive. Why else would they announce the arrest of such a low ranking agent as Selwyn if not as a diversion? And providing no evidence to the press?They´re lying about Selwyn to get us to believe Snape is not part of the equation and Selwyn´s arrest was a routine one.”

“So Selwyn is somewhere, with information about Snape.”

“Yes. And I have the feeling he´s going to come back to us soon..”

…....


December 16th

Evelyn stood by door of the small auditorium of the music school James was applying for, “Da capo academy”, noticing it was was only half full. It was a small school, that mostly took in upper middle-class kids whose parents were eager to find more and more activities to fill up their kids schedule outside of their school hours so they wouldn´t have to deal with them. Music lessons made for a good distraction and even better bragging fodder, as little Mary or John would play or sing in family gatherings and school plays, and mummy rubbed her little darling´s 'natural talent' on her friends faces while daddy arrived too late to see the presentation, if he made it at all. Needless to say not many kids were applying for a scholarship. From what Evelyn had seen, this year there were only seven candidates for two spots on James age category. James had a foot in, she told herself.

She studied her pupil from afar. He looked rather uncomfortable sitting still in the in the neat black dress slacks and crisp  light blue shirt Tancey´s mother had picked out for him. Evelyn´s eyes moved from James to hallway and back. No sign of his parents.  Evelyn had picked him up herself, expecting his mother to come along, but only him had emerged out of his house and got into her car without a word.

“Are they coming?” she had asked.

“No.”

“Not even your mother? They can´t do this.” she had insisted, outraged “It´s important for you.”

“All the more reason they shouldn´t go. Tancey asked me to drop by hers first. I think her mother is going to put me in one of Clem´s dorky outfits that he wears for work.”

Unsurprisingly it had been Tancey´s mother who picked James´outfit, and made sure he was properly combed and clean. It had been Tancey´s father and brother to give him supportive pats on the back as he moved to his assigned seat on the front row. And it was the Francis family who were sitting few roads behind him, on the seats assigned to family members, all of them dressed up and each one nearly as anxious as James. Not Meredith nor her husband ,who cared so little about his own child that Evelyn didn´t even know the man by name, were in show. Standing by the door, even now Evelyn hoped Meredith would show up. The woman had her issues, but there was no doubt in her mind that she at least cared about her son. Then it hit her: knowing James he probably hadn´t told his mother anything about the audition. It was entirely in-character for him. Maybe he feared she would ruin it somehow. Maybe he just didn´t want her there.. James´trust in his mother was waning.  

With a sigh she turned away from the door and started to make her way towards James for a last pep talk before they started the event and ushered her back to her proper seat, next to Tancey in the family section.

“How are you feeling?” she asked, seating on a vacant seat next to the boy. On the front row the other six candidates seeking the same spot as James we´re being fussed over by their parents and music teachers just as much as the child candidates. Girls dressed in gowns, boys in expensive looking suits and polished shoes. James looked slightly out of place, his tall frame slouching over his guitar while the other teens proudly paraded their violins, cellos and clarinets. Even the small children, competing in the under 11 category seemed more confident than him.

“What do you think?”

“Remember what I told you: this is a step. You already have what it takes, from now on it´s a question of polishing it.”

“I hate how you act as if I have this in the bag.”

“Because you do. You´ve taught yourself the guitar, you´ve learned the basics of piano in a couple weeks, you´ve learned to read music in even less, and you can compose. Look around you. How many of these snotty brats would even know how to hold their instruments the right side up if they didn´t have the help of God only knows how many music teachers? How many of them will stand on that stage and play something they created? James, look at me.”

His gaze fell on hers, blue eyes filled with questions she hoped she could answer.

“This right here” she gestured their surroundings “This school, this is not your objective. It´s a stepping stone. Your objective is the Royal Northern College of Music. Or any other proper music academy you chose. Because you can choose. You´re that good.”

…...

Severus made his way in with the last members of the public.  The auditorium was half full, but he wasn´t expecting an audition for a small music school to be a big event.  There were many seats to pick from, but he chose to remain on his feet, in the back of the room, by the door. So he could flee without being seen.

When he left the house, Severus had all intention of talking to her. That was the reason he had asked Fr. Thomas for information on James audition. He would come and talk to her on a neutral place, some place where it wouldn´t cause a scene. But as he caught the bus and got off on the nearest stop his resolve faltered. What would he tell her? Or rather what could he tell her? Just a couple days ago Draco had sent him a letter. The Rotts were sure Severus was alive. And, as he suspected, they didn´t have Selwyn He now had to worry about the Rotts trying to get to him again, as well as Selwyn spilling information on Dmitri´s ears. He had to keep Evelyn away, and yet here he was.

Evelyn returning to Ireland was the best possible resolution to his situation. No more worrying about her finding compromising information on magic and wizards, no more fretting that she would accidentally get involved in the risky business he was conducting against his will. And Kingsley would no longer have leverage over him. If Evelyn was out of his life, everything would be easier, most of his problems would be solved. Severus would have nothing to worry about. And yet, he had got on a bus intent on talking to her. Did he want to convince her to stay? He didn´t even know.

He should probably leave. He wasn´t about to work up the courage to talk to her, and even if he did, what would he accomplish? Still, Severus stayed. He stayed as people took their seats and a man walked on stage, approached the microphone to ask everyone in attendance to take their seats. He saw as the people standing by the front row started to make their way to the back, presumably to their assigned seats, leaving young children and teenagers, the ones auditioning, on their spots to wait for their turn to go on stage.

Then he saw her.

Her hair was pulled back in a complicated braid, her face had but a hint of make-up, blushing cheeks and rosy-lips that matched the pale pink of her jacket, as well as the roses of her white dress. It was mildly amusing that she looked every bit the proud mother as her child´s school presentation, but Severus couldn´t help but finding her overwhelmingly breathtaking regardless. He froze in place as she walked to her seat, next to Constance, with her usual rapid, dance-like gait, light feet trapped in unforgiving heels as always. She was nervous, he could tell even from afar, just from her body language, how stiff her shoulders looked, how she shifted her purse from one hand to the other and pulled a non-existent strand of loose hair behind her hear. He couldn´t see her face as she sat, but if he had to bet, he´d say she was biting her lower lip. She always did that when her nerves got the best of her.

After that, everything dragged. He looked on as young children, some barely able to hold on to their instruments gave wooden, laboured performances of barely recognisable classic pieces. One after the other they came on stage and looked bewildered for a while, before lacklustre applause ushered them off stage. The teenagers were slightly better in that they could operate their instruments with more physical ease, but there were only so many times Severus could stand Liszt or Haydn be played in such a sleepily adequate fashion.

It felt like hours before James was on. They announced he would play a piece he had composed himself, on the guitar. Severus wondered about the piano lessons, but imagined they had decided to go with something the lad was more comfortable with. It was a long, awkward, littler eternity as he made his way on stage and sat on a stool in front of a microphone, properly positioned in front of his guitar.

“Don´t ruin everything, you twit” Severus found himself whispering.

….....

Her heart was pounding so hard Tancey felt like it would land on her lap any second now. She desperately tried to read any sign of hesitation on James´face as he moved on stage, but saw none. He walked on stage quietly his expression betraying no visible emotion as he sat down and prepared. There was no music sheet in front of him. For weeks he had rehearsed with Ms. Black without ever letting Tancey know what he was planning to play. It would be a surprise, he said. James had been studying day and night, scribbling notes, trying and retrying chords and melodies. Sometimes he´d spend hours in the rectory, and still continue studying when he got back home. When his father was home he would stay at school past their class hours to play. As much as he tried to act like it didn´t matter to him, like he was doing this to humour Ms. Black, James had been putting all his will and energy into this. And Tancey knew why. Music was the only thing he still gave a damn about, and now he believed it could get him somewhere in life, finally. He had to get this, she silently prayed, as his fingers touched the strings.

Clement squeezed her hand when she breath out a sigh of relief as the music filled the auditorium. The room went quiet and perfectly still. She looked at Ms. Black sitting by her side, and saw her eyes were glistening as if she was about to cry. Tancey herself felt a lump on her throat. This song was unlike anything she had ever heard him play, and yet, it was so much like him; it had a hint of darkness and sadness under the intricate array of notes. She looked around at people´s faces. Everyone looked enraptured, like they had just seen and heard something out of this world.

Thunderous applause erupted when he finished. Tancey stood on the tips of her toes, trying to get a glimpse of the judging panel over the standing audience.

They were clapping as well.

They hadn´t clapped for anyone else.

….....

“He did brilliantly.” Severus turned towards the quiet voice next to him, barely audible over the storm of applause.

“Fr. Thomas...”

“I´m glad you came, Severus.”

On stage, the organisers thanked the candidates and their families and started the proceedings of announcing the winners of the available scholarships.

“He will get it.” Severus spoke quietly to himself.

…...........

Everything was a blur after they announced James´name. Evelyn jumped from her seat pulling Tancey into a tight hug. The audience started to disperse, as the families of the approved candidates loudly celebrated and moved to the front to congratulate their kids. Olivia ushered everyone to the front row, where James was still sitting, looking stunned, as if he didn´t understand what was going on.

“You made it, you dork!” Tancey near screamed pulling him up from his seat to hug him, as Clement messed up his for-once-in-a-lifetime neatly combed hair.

Evelyn stood back as the Francis's smothered James in affection and praise. The boy finally seemed to get his wits back and started to return their gestures. To her recollection, it was the first time Evelyn had ever seen him smile. He disentangled himself from his friends and approached her.

“What did I tell you?” she asked him, pulling his lanky frame by the shoulders into her arms.

“Thank you, Ms. Black.”

“You got nothing to thank me for. You did it on your own. All I did was remind you that you could.”

“And nag me every step of the way.”

“It´s what I do best.” she pulled a small package neatly wrapped in a pretty blue paper from her bag and handed it to him “Here. To practice.”

He opened the wrapping eagerly. It contained a box set of CDs.

“Santiago de Murcia, Francesc Guerau, Battista Granada” he read “Baroque guitar selections”

“Start studying. I think we´ve found your style, and may The Cure and Joy Division forgive me, this is where it is.”

….

“Shall we?” Fr. Thomas gave him a pat on the back

“What?”

“Let´s go, Severus, congratulate him.”

Severus looked on. James and Evelyn were talking surrounded by Constance´s family. There were hugs and smiles all around. The boy looked dazed, Constance was beside herself, and Evelyn looked like she was fighting back tears as she gave the lad what looked like a nicely wrapped present.

“You go ahead, Father.” he said.

As Fr. Thomas approached the celebrating group, Severus realized it was the perfect cue to leave. Nobody would notice. Instead he stayed. Not because he made a decision to, but because he couldn´t bring himself to leave. He stood where he was, watching her, her resonant laugh carrying to his ears across the room, over the noise and clatter of chairs and conversations. She caressed James face with one hand as the other pulled Constance to her side showering both youths with mother-like endearment as the other adults in the group talked joyfully. Then he saw Ft. Thomas join them and, after giving James his congratulations, approach her and say something on her ear.

Severus saw Evelyn turn her face in his direction, her smile fading away as  those intense eagle like eyes of hers looked straight at him, filled with surprise and something else he couldn´t quite identify. For a moment he could no longer hear all the noise surrounding them. Only then did his feet finally move and he slipped out of the door, into the hallway, slithering through the crowd.

When he made it out of the building, Severus realized there was no chance for him to apparate to a different location without being noticed. That neighbourhood was too busy, which was precisely the reason he had taken a bus to get there in the first place. Logically he´d have to hop back in a bus to leave and there were none at the bus stop across the street.

“Severus, wait!”  She was standing in front of him before he could properly take in the feeling of hearing her voice say his name. It was the first time in nearly he heard that. It felt oddly satisfying. “You came.”

“Father Thomas...He told me about the audition so I came to see what´s so amazing about James´ musical skills. I´m genuinely impressed.”

“He´s incredibly talented.” she smiled, a wide, frank, disarmed smile, one that almost convinced him everything was fine between them.

“Indeed. I guess I´ll have to take back everything I said about him being a lost cause.”

“So...why don´t you go in and tell him that. If you came all the way here to see him perform, after all.”

“Maybe some other time.”

“Severus...”

“I need to go...” he took a first step away from her, but the second one was impossible. He had to ask. “Is...Is it true?”

“What?”

“That you´re going back to Ireland. Is it true?”

“I bet Fr. Thomas told you....”

“Can I take that as a yes?”

“Yes...Yes, I´m going back home. As soon as the semester is over.”

“You didn´t tell me anything.”

“We went over this, Severus.”

“But...why?” It was everything he could say. It was a stupid question, but he had to ask it regardless.

“I just...don´t belong here.”

“That´s nonsense.”

“How you figure?”

“I know. Everyone knows. You have friends, your students...How can you say you don´t belong here?”

“I...”

“They need you, you know that? Constance, James, Fr. Thomas...He told me you´ve been helping him with his charities and whatnot. They need you...and I...” he stopped midway through the stream of disconnected words.

“You...what?”

“Evelyn....” he sighed. He couldn´t believe what he was doing, what he was saying, right there in the middle of a busy muggle street, but he feared if he didn´t say it now he would never say it “I´m not going to stand here and pretend that anything I´ve been doing or saying makes any sense, because I know it doesn´t. And I´m not going to ask you to change your decisions regarding your own life on account of me, but the truth is I...I need...”

“Ms. Black!” Constance appeared out of nowhere running to Evelyn, still visibly drunk of excitement. She stopped dead on her tracks as soon as she saw Severus was also there. He enthusiasm vanished and he shifted on her feet uneasily, her eyes going back and forth from him to Evelyn “Oh...Mr. Snape. I didn´t see you there.”

“I was about to leave anyway, Constance. I just came to see James play.”

“Then don´t leave.” she stammered, obviously desperate to correct her little gaffe. “We´re going to celebrate in my house. Mum made us all lunch and dad bought dessert, why don´t you come with us? Have you ever had Bahamian food before?”

“No, I haven´t.” Severus forced himself to smile, without quite managing to tear his eyes off Evelyn, who stood stiff in front of him. “But I´m in a bit of a hurry now.”

“Severus, you could...” Evelyn offered.

“Go, go celebrate with them. I´ll catch up with you later. And...do give James my congratulations... sincerely.”


….....


“I´m.so.sorry” Tancey let out, mortified, when Mr. Snape crossed the street leaving them behind. She wanted the earth to open under her feet and swallow her whole. “I didn´t know he was here, I thought you had come out to get your car, my dad wanted to know if you were ready to go.”

“It´s quite alright, Tancey.” Ms. Black smiled faintly. “Tell him I´m ready. You and James can come in my car. And do ask Fr. Thomas if he´s got his car or if he need a lift.”

“Ms. Black?”

“Yes, dear?”

“Pardon me asking, but...I overheard the other day that you´re going back to Ireland. Is it because of him?”

“Tancey!”

“I know I shouldn´t be eavesdropping. But...is it?”

“It´s a little more complicated than that, I´m afraid. And I don´t recall giving you the liberty to...”

“He fancies you, you know? I mean he really does.”

“Constance, what did I just tell you?”

“You really think he came here for James? He doesn´t even like James all that much. He came because of you. And you like him too, don´t you?”

“Constance!”

“I know.” the girl rolled her eyes “It´s none of my business.”

“Just go in and tell everybody I´ll be waiting in my car.”

“What is it with people making everything more complicated than it needs to be? I mean really...” Tancey shrugged, going back inside.
Not sure how many people are still here (it seems most readers migrated to ff.net) but here´s a new chapter to anybody who may be interested. 
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