Miranda, an independent business woman, was in dire need of an extended vacation. She left her penthouse in the States and travelled alone to the picturesque and serene fishing village of Kilcrohane, County Cork, Ireland.
It had been a long trip, yet a journey her heart had ached for. The nearer she became; the more she anticipated the road ahead and dismissed the anxieties she left behind. As she approached her destination, Miranda surveyed her surroundings; the lush green moors, and the breathtaking view of Dunmanus Bay. Like lovingly open arms, the mystical Ballyhoura Mountains seemed to graciously welcome her home.
It was dusk when Miranda arrived at the cottage. She hadn’t been there since childhood. She stood at its door and breathed in the familiar vanilla scent of winter heliotrope with traces of primrose beginning to blossom. She felt renewed, at total peace, and she smiled from her soul for the first time in her recent memory. She was home.
The cottage was far from town, quiet, and charming. She cherished the memories of time spent there with her grandmother. She grinned happily as she traced the back of a chair with her fingertips and when she took the antique tea set from the hutch. She’d inherited the old cottage when her grandmother passed, but had not been there since she was very young. The caretakers seemed to have kept the place just as she remembered. She knew she would have to return to the hustle and bustle of the city and her work at some point, but right now she forced it out of her mind. She was in Ireland to rejuvenate, to renew her senses, to relocate the magic she once felt in her heart. Somehow, she knew she would find it there.
Once night had fallen, Miranda took her tea and a quilt across the dirt road in front of the cottage and sat on the grass looking out at the sea. She was lost in the tranquility of her thoughts when someone spoke softly to her. “You don’t see much primrose in these parts,” the stranger stated.
Miranda was startled half out of her mind and nearly dumped her tea. She turned to see a very tall gentleman holding a lantern and a covered basket that smelled delicious. “Who are you?” she blurted.
“My sincerest apologies ma’am, I didn’t mean to startle you.” He silently held back a chuckle. He’d never seen a woman jump like that.
“Oh!” She replied, somewhat suddenly. “I’m sorry too. I didn’t mean to jump. I suppose I was wrapped up in my own thoughts.”
She struggled to stand up without tangling her feet in the blanket and he extended his hand to help. She took it right away and he pulled her upright.
“You didn’t even spill your tea,” he said with a smile.
“I guess I didn’t,” Miranda laughed.
Absentmindedly, she still held onto his hand. Now that she was closer she could see his face more clearly. Even in the limited light she could see that this was an attractive man. He was very tall and powerful-looking. He was younger than she expected, not too much older than she, and his smile seemed warm and generous. Suddenly, she noticed that the curve of his lips was very inviting. She wished she could see him even better.
She felt her cheeks begin to blush and was thankful for the muted light. She quickly let go of his hand and secured both hands on her tea cup.
“My name is Patrick. It’s a pleasure meeting you,” he said cordially.
“Is that Patrick as in Saint Patrick?” she playfully queried.
“Not quite,” he chortled. “I hope I haven’t ruined your night, interrupting you like this.” He broke his gaze and turned away slightly.
“Not at all,” she insisted. “My name is Miranda. I was just out here enjoying the moonlight on the water and some primrose tea.”
“Ah yes, the primrose; like I said, you don’t see much of it this far south, but Anna could always make it flourish.”
Miranda was taken pleasantly aback. “You knew my grandmother?” she asked.
Now, Patrick was bemused. “Anna Kelly was your grandmother?”
“Yes, I spent summers here when I was a child.” She smiled at that memory. “This is her favorite tea.”
“Oh,” said Patrick. “Well, if that’s her favorite tea, than I’d say it’s got a splash of whiskey in it, ey?” he jested.
“A little bit more than a splash,” she admitted.
The two laughed together a few moments, but Patrick looked around and noticeably came to a realization. “I must be getting back home. I was just on my way there from town. But it was wonderful meeting the granddaughter of Miss Anna Kelly; absolutely wonderful.”
“Do you have to go?” Miranda asked. “You’re welcome to come inside for a spell.” She grabbed the quilt and turned toward the cottage. Patrick seemed such a gentleman, and since he seemed to have known her grandmother well, the least she could do was be hospitable.
“No, no. I can’t. Thanks for asking. I’d really better go now.”
“All right, if you’re sure. Will we see each other again?” she asked.
Patrick took her hand and kissed it gently as he stared into her eyes. “If I am truly that fortunate,” he declared.
His words unexpectedly surged through to her soul. His voice was like delicate thunder, the soft touch of his lips against her skin dazed her momentarily. He then slipped away into the darkness.
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Happy St. Patrick's Day!