Two hours later, Sean and her father came out of the study, her father obviously having trouble walking straight.
“I’ve given your hand in marriage to young Sean here,” he announced heartily.
“What?” she and her mother demanded in unison.
“Did I mumble?”
“Well, aye, actually you did,” Maeve replied, her hands on her hips.
“I said I’ve given my permission for Sean O’Malley to marry you,” he informed them with a huge grin as he staggered to his chair.
“How much whiskey did you have to pour down his throat to get him to agree to that?” she demanded, looking at Sean.
“When a man gifts another man with a bottle of whiskey, tis not his place to tell him how to drink it,” Sean answered with a grin.
Maeve rolled her eyes and sank to her knees before her father, taking his hands in hers.
“Da, I can’t marry him,” she said earnestly.
“Canna or wilna?” he asked, slipping heavily into the brogue as he always did when drinking.
“You’d shame me in front of the entire town?” he demanded. “What’s wrong with O’Malley anyway? He seems a fine young lad with a good head on his shoulders.”
“He’s too bossy and arrogant,” Maeve insisted, glaring at Sean who stood leaning against the door casing, grinning.
“Ach, so is your mother and I married her,” her father cried, waving off her objections.
Maeve sighed and put her head down, waiting for the outburst. It wasn’t long coming and after her Ma had given her Da quite a large piece of her mind, she stormed from the room.
“I should have taken a stick to her years ago,” her father said sadly.
“It’s never too late,” Sean offered helpfully.
“Shut up, O’Malley,” Maeve said under her breath. “Don’t encourage him when he’s in this condition. She’s likely to clock him a good one. Come on, Da. Let Sean help you up to bed and then he and I will hash everythin’ out.”
“You won’t shame me, not after I’ve given me word?” he asked, narrowing his eyes.
“I won’t shame you, Da. Now go up to bed and don’t worry about a thin’.”
“Aye, you’re a good daughter,” he said, trying to rise and falling back into his chair, “even if you are a sassy lass. I have no doubt Sean here will know what to do about that.
“Come on, lad, help me up. Maybe I can fall asleep before her Ma decides she’s speakin’ to me again. Now that t’would be a blessin’,” he sighed, patting Maeve’s cheek.