Saoirse placed her hand on Walter's across the table. Once again he felt the intensity of her touch. Her skin seemed to have a softness beyond comparison and he could feel an energy flowing from her fingertips. It entered his body and made his spine tingle. Soon his joyful tears subsided. He wiped away the last tears with his other hand and looked into Saoirse's eyes. He could not keep it up for long. It was like looking with naked eyes into the sun. The brilliance of her deep serenity and powerful love was hard to behold and soon he felt compelled to look down at the table. Saoirse understood this well and as he looked down, she squeezed his hand to comfort him.
Their moment of intimacy was rudely interrupted as the heckler Sean O'Gill staggered over to where they were sitting. With his right hand he slammed a half-drunk pint of Guinness onto the table and then raised himself out of his hunched posture.
"Oi moight have known, Saoirse. A new man in town, ya can't wait to get yer paws on him. Ya feckin' whoore."
A wave of anger suddenly swept through Walter and he made to stand up, ready to defend his companions honour, but Saoirse held his hand tightly to prevent him.
"Have you finished, Sean?" Saoirse said with a quiet calmness that seemed to suck in and silence the clamour around them. O'Gill was dumbstruck for a moment, but seeing that he had sparked a reaction in Walter, he decided to change his point of attack.
"Yer wastin' yer toime wid dis tramp, Sasanach. Yer happy cow won't be able to help ya once she has finished wid ya. Oi'm not usually one for helping the loikes of you, but take a bit of advoice from me, elf-boy. Walk away whoile you're still standing, before she brings ya to yer knees."
Saoirse continued to hold tightly onto Walter's hand, dissuading him from rising to confront the provocation. Every fibre of Walter's body urged him to do something. He began to speak but Saoirse quickly interrupted.
"Have you finished, Sean?" Her powerful stillness once again seemed to suck in all the tension that pervaded the air and Walter found himself relaxing. He noticed that the clamour of the pub had fallen silent and that many faces had turned to watch the scene. Magic Dara walked over to stand behind Saoirse.
"Come on, Sean." Dara said with a voice which carried the same power as Saoirse's. "You will not remember this in the morning but I don't think you will be short of people who will remind you. Don't make it any worse for yourself." Dara looked straight into O'Gill's eyes and held his gaze until O'Gill could not stand it any longer. He looked down, his body hunched once more and he reached to retrieve his pint from the table. But before he reached it, Dara caught him with his gaze once more, stopping him in his tracks. Then with the slightest movement of his eyes, Dara reminded O'Gill of the way to the exit, and O'Gill turned and shuffled out, muttering obscenities to himself under his breath. Gradually the onlookers turned away and the noise of the pub gradually returned to its former volume.
Magic Dara returned to the bar and Walter turned to face Saoirse.
"How can you just sit there? How can you let him insult you like that?"
"Insult me?" Saoirse answered. "Sean can't insult me. He does not know me. If he did, he would not be so unhappy. He would not need to abuse his body loike dat. He would not carry such anger. If he knew me, den he would know himself and he would be free from dat pain. He is insulting his moind's idea of me, dat is all. He's insulting a fictional character. Now, why d'ya tink Oi would want to spend moy toime defending a figment of Sean's imagination?"
"Does that not make you angry at all, not even a little bit?" Walter asked further, incredulous. "What about all these people? What about your reputation? If it's a fiction, don't you want to put him straight, tell him who you really are?"
"Who Oi really am? Are you so sure dat is something dat can be told, Walter? You too have much to learn about me." Saoirse answered enigmatically. She looked Walter in the eye and gave him a smile which left him in no doubt about whether she was feeling any anger. Then she leaned across and ran her fingers through Walter's hair and softly kissed his lips. A wave of elation swept quickly down Walter's body, finally making his toes tingle. "Maybe Oi'll see ya tomorrow, Walt." She rose smoothly to her feet and glided towards the exit, her elegant presence once again turning many heads like a powerful magnet. Walter sat quite still for a moment, touching the silence behind the pub's noise, clearly feeling his own heart beating inside his chest, until eventually he realised that he had stopped breathing and a long, sharp in-breath shook him out of his reverie.
Freedom Page 2 >>
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