Bridget O’Malley plopped down on a bar stool at The Rose and Thistle and promptly jumped back off with a squeal. Her brother, Patrick, made no attempt to conceal his amusement as he took inventory of the liquor bottles behind the bar.
“Do you always laugh at the misfortunes of your customers,” Bridget asked tartly, standing at the bar. “Give me a beer.”
“Not all of them,” Patrick shot back smiling. “Only ones who are deserving of a little, ah what was it you called it? Oh yes, misfortune. I hardly see how a sore hind end can be classified as misfortune. Knowing Dell, I’m sure you earned it.”
“Just shut up, Pat, and give me a beer.”
“A please would be nice.”
“Do all your paying customers say please?” she asked sarcastically.
“No, are you paying?”
“Well, no but…just put it on my tab will you?”
Patrick laughed. “You don’t have a tab, Bridge, and if you did you wouldn’t pay it anyway,” he told her putting a beer on a coaster in front of her. “What’s the trouble about anyway? You’ve been surprisingly well behaved since you and Dell got engaged. I thought things were good between you two.”
“They are, or they were until a little while ago,” Bridget replied after taking a big gulp of her drink.
“So what happened?” Patrick was genuinely concerned. He and his older brother Rory had put a lot of effort into this relationship, probably more than Bridget. They’d almost hand-picked Dell for their little sister. Frantic for her to settle down, at least a little bit, they spent hours talking to Dell and instructing him on the proper way to handle their headstrong, wild sister. No one in the family wanted Bridget to be unhappy, but they didn’t want her to self-destruct either. She needed love certainly, but firm guidance and stability were essential. The quintessential free spirit, Bridget sailed through life in the moment without a care or concern for the future. Her personal motto was, ‘If it feels good, do it.’ She loved everyone and assumed everyone loved her. Bridget had absolutely no sense of fear or restraint and the entire O’Malley family had breathed a collective sigh of relief when Delbert Bertram Winston the 4th had somehow convinced her to marry him.
“We had an argument over St Patrick’s Day,” Bridget answered gloomily. “Apparently we have been invited to the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Dance at the country club and Winston told his parents we were going.”
“So, I told him there was no way in hell I was going to miss the St Patrick’s Day bash at the pub. I said I wasn’t spending one of the most important days of the year at his stuffy country club with a bunch of people who were so socially constipated they can barely fart!”
Patrick dropped the bar towel to the floor so he could bend down and have a second or two to recover. Biting the side of his cheek, he controlled his laughter not wanting to give his sister any encouragement. In all reality she was probably right. Standing back up he noticed her flushed cheeks and flashing eyes. He could just imagine how angry and confrontational she had been with Dell.
“How did that go over?” Patrick asked watching her blonde ponytail swinging behind her.
“He said I was being unreasonable, that my language was atrocious and that he hoped I would not feel the need to be vulgar at the dance. I said vulgar? You want to see vulgar? Look at this hawking big ring on my finger, now that’s vulgar,” she continued, sticking out her tiny hand adorned with a four karat solitaire surrounded by smaller stones.
“Oh Bridget,” Pat sighed. “I don’t think that was a good idea. Did he ask for his ring back?”
“No, and he wouldn’t take it when I tried to give it to him. He said I made a commitment to him and he was going to see that I kept it. I tell you Pat, I thought my head was going to explode I was so pissed off. I don’t understand why his mother didn’t want me to keep the first ring he gave me. It was much smaller and prettier, but no, I have to wear this giant thing. I know it’s expensive and old but I swear it’s so big it looks like it came out of a bubble gum machine.”
Patrick watched as Bridget picked up her beer and drained it before slamming it down on the bar. He refilled it without a word and waited for her to continue. Knowing Bridget, he figured what she’d told him so far was just the tip of the iceberg. Bridget might be small in stature, but her ego was monstrous.
“So was that the end of it?” Patrick asked after he served another customer.
“Hell no! He told me that for once in my life I was going to behave and do as I was told. I was starting to get a little nervous. Winston is really pretty strong, even for a geek, but I figured I was way faster than him. Turns out I’m not as fast as I thought. I finally just told him to kiss my Irish ass and that I was not going to that damn dance and there was nothing he could do about it. Turns out I was wrong about that too,” she finished red-faced as she absently rubbed her bottom while sipping her beer.
“Look Bridge,” Patrick said gently as he walked around the bar and threw his heavy arm over her shoulder. “Maybe Dell’s not the man for you after all. I really like him, we all do, but we thought you were in love with him. If you’re not…”
“That’s what really sucks about the whole thing, Pat. I do love him, the shithead,” she admitted with a grimace. “I really just set out to seduce him,” she stated, giving her brother a jab with her elbow when she heard his hissed curse. “Oh, shut up Pat, guys do it all the time. For some reason I was immediately attracted to the big geek. I figured we could have some fun and he really did make me laugh. He took himself so seriously that I couldn’t resist bursting his bubble. He was like a huge piece of bubble wrap that you just can’t leave alone after you pop the first one,” Bridget grinned unashamedly. “And besides that, what are you doing taking my side when you just about gave him lessons on spanking me? What’s up with that?”
“I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either,” Patrick admitted walking back behind the bar. “I just want you to be happy Bridget, and safe and loved. If I thought for one second that Dell did not have your best interest at heart…if he ever disciplined you without love behind it, I’d punch his lights out myself.”
“Don’t worry about it, okay? He hasn’t spanked me since Christmas Eve Day so I figure maybe he owes me a little. As much as it pains me to admit it, I do have my moments when I can be a little aggravating. Winston is really a gentle natured man, but he has his limits. I just have to figure out where the line in the sand is and dance on this side of it.”
Patrick smiled. “Cheer up Bridget, maybe you can bring some of those old codgers to life at the dance. You can be very charming when you want to, kid.”
“Thanks, Pat, for listening to me bitch without judging me. I have to get moving. I’m meeting Mrs. Delbert Winston the 3rd for a shopping expedition. Apparently she doesn’t trust me not to embarrass them at their soiree so she wants to help me find a dress. She’s paying of course, ‘Nothing is too good for Dell’s little fiancee’,” she mocked flashing her ring.
“Have fun kid, put a dent in her budget,” Patrick encouraged.
“Hell, I couldn’t put a dent in their budget if I insisted I needed a carriage drawn by six white horses. Wait till you see their house, I mean they have servants for Christ’s sake,” she finished, giving a little repulsive shiver. “The place is like a museum,” she called over her shoulder as she headed to the door.