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Title: Timeline Fanfic 
Authors: Jason & Mollie Lundy

Peter hadn't felt so free in years. The sun was out and the sky was clear. 
There was a beautiful scent of spring in the air. Yesterday he had told Fr 
Mac that he was leaving the church. For several hours the older priest had 
tried to change his mind. Now with each breath he was more convinced of 
his decision.. After mass he had taken himself up in to the hills, walking 
for hours. He had never been so aware of the beauty that was Ballykay. A 
single line of an American sonnet came to mind, O world, I cannot get thee 
close enough. As he passed one of Eammonšs wooden sheep, his thoughts as 
they so often did, turned to Assumpta. He still hadn't discussed his 
decision with her. He prayed it would be what she really wanted. 

Kathleen was the only one in the shop later when Peter entered. After Fr 
Mac she was his least favorite person in Ireland. 

"Ill take a KitKat bar and I believe Ill take a chance on the lottery this 
beautiful day, Kathleen." Disapproving as ever Kathleen said, "Priests 
gambling, its disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourself Father 
Clifford." Peter sighed deeply, "Kathleen it hasn't escaped my notice that 
in my 3 years as curate here, I have yet to do a single thing that you 
approve of." 

Kathleen scowled "That's as may be." 

Peter slipped the lottery ticket into his pocket and smiled, "Perhaps the 
new curate will be more to your liking." Peter was nearly out the door 
before Kathleen understood what he had said. "You're leaving us, Father?" 

Knowing Kathleen the news would be all over the county by tomorrow. He has 
to speak to Assumpta now, and without a bar full of onlookers. He should 
have kept quiet until he had seen her but the urge to shock Kathleen had 
just been to strong. 

Steaming around the corner Niamh almost ran right into Peter. 

"There you are Peter, Fr Mac has been calling all over town for you." 
Expecting another attempt to change his mind Peter asked "Will he never 
give up?" 

Niamh was confused by Peters unusual attitude, "He said it was urgent, 
call your brother William." 

Kathleen didn't get the chance to spread the news of the new curate, 
instead the news of Peters mothers illness went through town in record 
time. Many of the people of Ballykay included Peter and his mother in 
their prayers. Assumpta seemed particularly subdued. For days there was no 
news. On Tuesday the pub was closed at lunchtime causing grumbles from the 
regulars. Leo McGarvey was seen in town that afternoon. Assumpta stood for 
no comment. Always busy, Assumpta became a flurry of activity. She was 
washing the windows again as Michael Ryan drove up to the front of 


Assumpta dropped her sponge and leaned into Michael's car. 

"Michael, sorry we don't do curb service." 

Michael had on his serious doctors face and Assumptašs attempt at humor 
didn't change it. 

"I just spoke to Peter." 

Assumpta swallowed hard. "Oh!" 

"His mother just died." 

Assumpta's stomach fell. Peter was much closer to his mother than she had 
been to her own, and her mothers death still haunted her. How devastated 
he would be. She tried to cover her emotions but Michael knew her too 
well. "I think he would appreciate a call." Michael handed her a folded 
piece of paper. 

"But Michael..." 

"You are his closest friend, Assumpta. Promise me you'll call." "Okay" as 
Michael drove off Assumpta looked from the paper to the receding car and 
back again. Fear and dread permeated her as she walked back into 
Fitzgerald's. Poor Peter. She knew too well the struggle he had been having 
for months. It had been difficult for her as well. She picked up the phone 
and began to dial, a severe case of nerves forced her to hang up. She 
calmed herself with the thought that at least she wasn't having to do this 
face to face. When she tried to dial again her heart began to race and her 
hands to tremble. She hung up again. She leaned her head against the wall. 
I am such a coward, she thought. The ringing of the phone startled her so 
badly she actually jumped. 


Very softly Peter said, "Assumpta" 


"Its so good to hear your voice." 

Assumpta said, "I'm so sorry Peter." 

"I don't think I can handle this alone," he said with his voice breaking. 

"Your family will see you..." 

Peter interrupted "I need your strength." 

"Peter it would cause a lot of talk." 

"I need you here Assumpta." 

With resignation Assumpta said, "Alright." 

The news that a winning lottery ticket had been purchased in Kathleen's 
shop rocketed around town. It was the topic of the week. One by one the 
residents confided It wasn't me. Even Fr Mac was questioned on the phone by 
the Bishop. "No your grace as far as I know the winner hasn't stepped 
forward yet...of course if the winner is from here Ill be sure to mention 
the desperate need of the church. Speaking of the church do you think we 
could advance the arrival of the new curate? I know that Peter Clifford 
was to have been here until the end of the month but since his mother..." 

The station was very busy and her mind was in turmoil so she didn't see 
Peter until she was right in front of him. She dropped her bag in surprise 
as he threw his arms around her. They held each other for sometime. When 
he finally released her he took her face in his hands. They both thought 
that he was about to kiss her. "Assumpta!!" He pulled her close for 
another embrace. "I'm so glad you're here." When he finally released her, 
she noticed a tall sandy haired man watching them with interest. 

"Everything's going to be okay." 

He said, "now that you're here." 

With one arm still around her Peter picked up her bag and they began to 
walk out. Almost as an after thought Peter stopped in front of the sandy 
haired man. "Assumpta, this is my brother Terence, Terence this is 

Assumpta swallowed hard, trying to replay their embrace in her mind. She 
suddenly became aware of Peters arm across her back and the warmth of his 
hand at her waist. What must Terence be thinking? As she shook his hand 
she became very light headed. Terence smiled. "Good of you to come." 
Looking deeply at Peter, "She's everything you said." 

The whole day was confusing. Assumpta met the rest of Peters family at the 
funeral. She couldn't put her finger on it but something was strange. While 
everyone was very interested in them, no one seemed to view their 
relationship as anything odd. Surely they weren't that good at hiding their 
emotions. Maybe she had just lived in a small town too long, too many 
busybodies like Kathleen. Mercy, if Kathleen ever got wind of this. 

A reception was held at the family home. A large crowd of friends and 
neighbors attended. Peter stayed very close to Assumpta, holding her hand 
like a lifeline. Peters brothers William and Terence stood watching them 
from the dining room. William said, "They do make a very striking couple." 

Terence nodded, "how long do you think its been going on?" 

"Peter told me, he knew the day he met her, but you know Peters ethics. I 
wouldn't bet he's even told her yet." 

"Then that's not his ring she's wearing?" 

"What ring!" Asked William. 

"Assumpta is wearing a very nice engagement ring." 

Gulping his drink William said "Oh lord! There's someone else. It will kill 

Reassuringly Terence said "I don't thing its as bad as that. Look at the 
way she looks at him. She maybe trying to convince herself that there is 
someone else but there's only Peter." 

Terence was the last to leave the reception. At the door he embraced 
Peter. "You'll be okay now." Then whispering "tell her how you feel before 
its too late." Then he turned to Assumpta and hugged her. "Thank you for 
coming, he really needed you to be here." 

Later Peter stood in the middle of the room staring at his mothers chair, 
the needlepoint basket just as she left it. He didn't see Assumpta come in 
carrying two drinks, "After hours drink?" Peter looked at her as if he 
didn't understand. Very gently Assumpta said "Peter sit down." Obediently 
Peter went to the couch. Assumpta put the drinks on the table and joined 

"Its so strange being here without her." 

"I know, after my mother died the rooms seemed so empty." 

Suddenly overwhelmed Peter put his head in his hands. She touched his arm 
and he broke down completely. She put her arms around him and let him cry. 
After a time he stopped. When he looked in her eyes it was like a magnet 
drawing them together. The kiss caught them both off guard. So did the 
next one. When it finally broke they sat with foreheads touching, very 
much lost in the moment. 

"I need you so much." 

"Peter you're confusing your emotions." 

With determination Peter said, "Not anymore. I cant go back to the way it 
was. Pretending." 

Assumpta couldn't believe what she was hearing, actually hearing Peter say 
he cared just seemed to melt all her resistance. Even if he changed his 
mind tomorrow it wouldn't matter. Right or wrong he love her. Assumpta 
brushed her fingers across his cheek and kissed him. He caught her hand, 
looked at it and froze. Barely above a whisper he said, "What's this?" 

At first Assumpta didn't know what he was talking about. Then she saw it. 
Leo's ring. Embarrassed she said, "Leo asked me to marry him." 

"You cant mean it!" 


Angrily, "Do you love him?" 

Very softly Assumpta said, "NO" 

With great difficulty Peter said, "I love you Assumpta, I thought, I hoped 
you loved me. Why would you marry him." 

Defensively Assumpta said, "Peter you are a Priest. What kind of future 
could we have?" 

"The only question is, do you love me?" 

"Yes Peter." 

"Then tell me you're not going to marry Leo or anyone else." 

Assumpta put her head on Peters shoulder and began to silently cry. Peter 
held her closely. 

Assumpta said, "You win. You always do. I do love you, and nothing else 

Peter pulled the ring from her finger and tossed it on the table. 

Niamh was behind the bar pouring Siobhan an orange juice. 

"So was it you, who won the lottery Niamh?" 

"Do you think Id be here if it was? What about you?" 

Siobhan shook her head, "I didn't even remember to buy a ticket. Maybe it 
was Assumpta." 

Laughing Niamh said. "She could certainly use it. This place is falling 
about my ears. Have you heard about Peter?" 

"His mother do you mean?" 

Niamh shook her head, "he's left the church." 


"Fr Mac told my dad." 

"I thought that Peter liked it here." It was quiet for a minute and then 
Siobhan asked, "how do you think Assumpta will take the news." 

"Doesn't pay to think about it, I might be stuck here until Kieran goes off 
to University." 

Padraig came in from the lavatory, his shoes soaking wet. "You know that 
thing is busted again, water everywhere." 

"Great!" Niamh said as she raced to the phone. 

The last few days had been the hardest and the brightest of Peters life. 
He felt the loss of his mother acutely. He knew that Assumpta was the real 
reason he had made it through. They had spent almost every waking hour 
together, much of the time talking, about the past, about now, nothing 
about the future. Two hurdles had to be passed before the future could be 
planned. Leo and the church. 

Assumpta arranged to meet Leo at a pub after work. Peter and Assumpta sat 
at a small table in the back until Leo came in. As Leo joined them Peter 
patted Assumpta's hand and excused himself. "Must be bad new if YOU bring a 
Priest for moral support." Peter smiled weakly and took a seat halfway 
across the room. He watched. Assumpta broke the news, Leo was stunned. 
Assumpta put the ring in his hand. 

"I'm sorry Leo." 

"I don't understand. Why did you change you mind?" 

She motioned for Peter, when he was beside her she took his hand. 

"Assumpta, he's a Priest. You know how it will end." 

"Goodbye Leo." 

It was official, Peter was no longer a priest. He had thought it would 
have been more wrenching. Yet what he truly felt was liberation. Only a 
few more things to do, then they could plan a life together. Taking a 
plastic bag he went into the closet in his room. Time to pack away his 
clerical clothes. Check all the pockets, fold neatly and into the bag. He 
found some change, the notes for a sermon he would never give, a lottery 
ticket and one of Kieran's pacifiers. Assumpta had said a ticket from 
Ballykay had won, wouldn't it be funny. He could just imagine Fr Mac's face. 

Beginning the morning after the funeral, Peter made a habit of going to 
Assumpta's bedroom to wake her with a cup of coffee. It was a wonderful way 
to start the day. She was so pretty in the morning. As they drank their 
coffee Peter took a small box from his pocket and toyed with it trying to 
work up his nerve. Assumpta watched him with some amusement. Finally he 
opened the box and placed the ring on her finger. Assumpta looked at him 
and said, "I thought you said..." 

"This one is different. This one is from me." 

She said nothing for a moment, only looking at him. 

"Put me out of my misery." 

With a smile she said, "There's no fun in that." 

Desperately Peter said, "Assumpta are you going to marry me?" 

Assumpta held out her arms and Peter went into them. Assumpta whispered 

"After you get dressed I have another surprise for you." 

"Is it as good as this one was?" 


Brian was trying to go over some financial papers at the kitchen table. 
His financial situation had gone from bad to worse. Niamh was on the 
phone. She seemed very pleased about something. Niamh hung up. "Dad, we've 
had an offer on the land." 

Brian couldn't believe his ears "How much." 

"Full asking price." 

Brian jumped up, grabbed Niamh and spun her about, "Were saved." 

Niamh hugged him, "Yes we are." 

"Do we know the buyer?" 

Trying hard to reign in her smile, "You could say so!" 


"Peter Clifford." 

"On the level? Where would he get that kind of money?" 

"The lottery." 

"That was him? Well done, but what does he want with our land?" 

"He and Assumpta plan on building a house." 


"Yes, they got married this morning." 

Laughing Brian ran his hand across his forehead, "Its about time." 

Peter and Assumpta had timed their arrival in Ballykay for midnight. There 
would be enough commotion tomorrow at Kieran's christening. By ten in the 
morning Niamh had called twice. After the second call Assumpta come back 
into the bedroom to find Peter struggling with a tie. She watched for a 
moment ad then went to his rescue. 

"So, is this the real reason you became a Priest?" 


Peter kissed her forehead and put his arms around her pulling her close. 
"I'm so nervous." 

"You've done lots of christenings." 

"But I've never stood godfather before. Besides half the village will be 
there watching us." 

"I know but nerves or not we cant let Niamh down." 

"Aren't you even a little nervous?" 


At a quarter to eleven they made ready to go. Assumpta was standing 
outside looking at the large Closed For Renovations sign that ran across 
Fitzgerald's. Kathleen came down the steps of the village shop. Assumpta 
smiled and said brightly "Morning, Kathleen." 

Kathleen replied with a slight chill as always "Assumpta." At that moment 
Peter stepped out, locked the door and said cheerily "Kathleen!" 

Kathleen stared open mouthed as they walked off hand in hand. Several 
houses away Assumpta said, "that went well.." 

St. Joseph's was very full by the time Peter and Assumpta arrived. As they 
started up the aisle it was apparent that their secret was not very well 
kept, but well received." 

End Roll Credits