“I’m going to clean this up and it’s probably going to hurt, okay?” A hint of worry laces his warning.
“I can handle it. Do your worst.”
He grabs a brown bottle off the counter and pours some of the liquid onto a cotton swab. When he begins to move the cotton toward my cut, I flinch.
“Ouch!” I jerk my hand away.
“Knock it off! I didn’t even touch you yet.” He rolls his eyes and now I have a full-blown smile on my face as he starts to wipe my hand with the cleanser. It stings a little, but I’m too focused on his close proximity to even care.
“So how did your meeting go? Everything good?” Liam asks as he continues to work his healing magic on me.
“It went. I don’t really want to talk about it, though. No more business drama for me today.” He glances up from my hand curiously, as if he knows I’m hiding something. Or maybe that’s just my paranoia. Either way, I want to change the subject before he presses me for more details, and anyway, there’s something I’ve been curious about since the plane ride.
“Can I ask you something, Liam?”
“You said on the plane that your dad was a boxer in Ireland. I was just curious how he went from boxing in Ireland to bar owner in Washington. Seems like a big leap.”
“That’s what you wanted to ask me? You’re curious about my dad?”
“Yeah—no, well, sort of. Not about your dad specifically, I’m just curious about you, I guess. You’re going to be living in my pool house for the next three months, and it occurred to me that I should probably know more about you. Your origins and all that.”
Your origins? Where do I come up with this weirdness?
“Fair enough,” he says as he grabs another cotton swab and runs it under the faucet, then starts to clean up more of the blood. I watch his movements curiously because his attentiveness is so foreign to me and I want to revel in the rare moment. “My dad moved to Washington when he was twenty-one. For a girl, actually. My mom. She went to Ireland when she was nineteen, for some study abroad nursing program with her school. She walked into my grandpa Niall’s bar one night with her school friends when my dad was hanging out with a few of his friends. He was ‘enchanted by her.’ His words, by the way, not mine. I would never say something that fucking lame.”
“I would never dream you would,” I say, shaking my head dramatically.
“Anyway, some douchebag that had come with her—”
“Wait, how do you know he was a douchebag?”
“Because my dad said so, and because the guy wasn’t my dad. So he was a fucking douchebag.”
“Gotcha. Continue.” I try and contain my laughter at his ridiculously adorable matter-of-fact statement.
“So this douchebag ordered a round of some fruity bitch drink for all the girls and Guinness for all the guys at the table.” I can’t hold it in anymore and I start to laugh as he begins to swipe some kind of ointment over my cut, but the second he starts to blow on it I forget why I was laughing in the first place.
Oh yeah, I remember now. “The horror! Ordering drinks for everyone like that. You’re so right, what a douche!”
Liam shakes his head and I know he wants to laugh but he’s refusing to give me the satisfaction. “He is because he didn’t even ask what anyone wanted. So, everyone at the table happily drinks except for my mom who ignored hers and watched as the guys drank their beers. Because my dad was staring at her like a creep all night, he noticed this. He walked a Guinness right up to the table, handed it to her, and said ‘Mavourneen,’ which means my darling” Liam winks at me and I grin like an idiot. “Mavourneen, you’ll never get everything ya’ want out of life if you don’t open that pretty little mouth of yours and ask for it.’”
“He really said that?”
“He really did.”
“And what did your mom say?” My eyes widen as big as my smile in anticipation. Yes, I am a sucker for happy endings; it’s my dirty little secret.
“That’s the best part. She smiled at him, swallowed the beer in a few gulps like the fucking champ she is, and said ‘I wanted a shot of whiskey, darling, and when you bring one back, pull up a chair so I can tell you more about what I want.’ He spent the next two months showing her around Ireland, then he left everything, his boxing career, his family, his life there to move back to Washington with her.”
“Wow. That is incredibly romantic. The kind of thing that only happens in movies. In fact, I think I might have been in that movie.” Despite the fact his head is still bowed, I catch the smile playing at the corners of his lips.