wild irish envy (copperline #2)

 

A story of chances lost, opportunities gained, and the fight for love through guilt ~
Shell

Holy wow Sibylla is an amazing writer and this one was just fantastic ~
Clare

The best Irish fella I've ever read ;) ~
Ruth

Denny is a wanker......... However the more you read the more you realise he can be as smooth as a pint of Guinness ~
Odette

Omg I do believe this one is my fav!! Oh how I love Denny!! ~
Sada

This book was so well written between the Irish and English wording you are crying and laughing at the same time ~
Kim

Denny is the best dang wanker in the history of wankers!! ~
Lisa

 

 

 

 

© 2015, Sibylla Matilde
[email protected]

Cover photography:
Sara Eirew Photographer
Cover models:
Stephanie Lambert and Rémi Desgagné

ISBN: 1511412629
ISBN-13: 978-1511412629

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from Sibylla Matilde.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. With the exception of the original material written by the author, all songs, song titles, and lyrics contained in this book are the property of the respective songwriters and copyright holders.

 

 

To Denny, thank you for being a wanker. And
to my Pimp Shell who bagsied him.

 

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Epilogue

Songs that inspired Wild Irish Envy

Acknowledgements

Other Novels by Siby

About Siby

Stalk Siby

 

a good spit:
(phr) not very far

A-one:
(phr) good job; well done

arse:
(n) backside; bum

arseways:
(a) messed up

as sick as a small hospital:
(phr) very ill

barney dillons:
(n) shillings; money

bap:
(n) bread bun

bean-jacks:
(n) ladies toilet

bird:
(n) girl generally; or girlfriend

bits and bobs:
(phr) an odd assortment of anything

black pudding:
(n) sausage made from blood, meat, fat, oatmeal, and bread or potato fillers

bleedin’:
(a) strengthening adjective; used liberally

bloke:
(n) man; male person

bloody:
(a) strengthening adjective; used liberally

bog off:
(phr) go away

bollocks:
(n) testicles; also used as an exclamation

bolloxed:
(a) very drunk

boot:
(n) trunk; cargo area of a car

busker:
(n) a street performer

cacks:
(n) underwear

can’t be arsed:
(phr) to be seriously lacking motivation

car park:
(n) parking lot

cheesed off:
(a) angry

chubbed up:
(phr) having an erection

clink:
(n) jail

coddle:
(n) a one-pot Irish dish commonly consisting of roughly sliced pork sausages and rashers with sliced potatoes and onions

craic:
(n) fun time and good conversation (pronounced ‘crack’)

crisps:
(n) potato chips

culchie:
(n) a city dweller’s name for a country person

da:
(n) father

dodgy:
(n) suspect

dollybird:
(n) a woman who is all dressed up to the nines

donkey’s years:
(n) a very; very long time

dosser:
(n) layabout; useless; lazy person

d’yaknowhwatimeanlike:
(phr) do you know what I mean?

Dub:
(n) someone from Dublin

eejit:
(n) idiot

feck:
(n) used instead of the other f-word

feckin’ Jaysus:
(phr) invocation of Christ’s name in an incredulous and unbelieving manner

fella:
(n) male person; also used for boyfriend, husband, partner

fierce:
(a) very

fine thing:
(n)

fine bit of stuff:
(n) admiring comment on member of opposite sex

fluthered:
(a) drunk

footie:
(n) football (i.e., soccer)

fuckhead:
(n) derisory term denoting a total feckin’ gobshite, moron, or other malodious form scum

get up on a stiff breeze:
(phr) easily aroused

give her the business:
(phr) have sexual intercourse with

gob:
(n) mouth

gobshite:
(n) idiot; exclamation of disapproval at anyone or anything

gobsmacked:
(a) very surprised

gossún:
(n) child

grand day for the ducks:
(phr) pissing rain

he’d shag a crack in a plate:
(phr) will feck damn near anyone

hi:
can come at the beginning or the end of any sentence; really has no meaning whatsoever hi!

hoor:
(n) woman of loose morals

hooring:
(v) being slutty and sleeping around

howya:
greeting

horse it in:
(phr) to sexually ravage

jacks:
(n) toilet

Jaysus:
(phr) Jesus; common expression of disbelief or despair        

Jaysus bleedin’ ting:
(phr) some infernal source of consternation that causes untold grief

johnny:
(n) condom

knackered:
(v) very tired

knickers:
(n) ladies’ underwear

knockers:
(n) breasts

knocking knickers:
(phr) having sex

lift:
(n) elevator

loo:
(n) toilet

lorry:
(n) a truck, especially a large one

ma:
(n) mother

manky:
(a) filthy dirty

nob:
(n) penis

not worth a shite to me:
(phr) used when someone offers you something which is of no practical value

off his face:
(phr) very drunk or high

off your nut:
(phr) crazy

Pasty:
(n) a large, round patéd pie eaten in Northern Ireland… and Butte

peeler:
(n) policeman

put a Santa hat on it and call it Randal:
(phr) messed up; crazy; beyond understanding

posh:
(a) high class

rashers:
(n) pieces of bacon

relax the cacks:
(phr) calm down

ride:
(n) an attractive person or (v) to have sex

right:
(a) very

rock on:
(n) erection

savage:
(a) very severe or excellent

savage ride:
(n) great sex

scarlet:
(a) blushing

scrubber:
(n) female of low morals

shades:
(n) police

shag:
(v) have sex

shaggin’:
(a) the act of having intercourse

shite:
(n) shit

shlossed:
(a) very drunk

shopping trolley:
(n) shopping cart

slagging:
(v) teasing or making fun of someone

slán:
goodbye

snapper:
(n) child

snog:
(n) kiss

sod:
(n) chap; fellow

sod off:
(n) leave

spiteful ride:
(n) hard rough sex

stocious:
(a) drunk as a lord

Taytos:
(n) crisps (i.e., potato chips); brand name, but most refer to crisps as Taytos

throwing a feckin’ moody:
(phr) getting upset and angry

toke:
(n) a drag of marijuana

tosser:
(n) wanker

wank:
(n) to masterbate

wanker:
(n) an uninteresting person; usually someone you can’t stand

what in the Jaysus?:
(phr) exclamation

whatcha goin’ mad for?:
(phr) used to irritate someone who is getting angry

would ya ever just feck off?:
(phr) go away and leave me alone

young wan:
(n) a young woman

you’re grand:
(phr) a term to tell someone no or that you are fine

 

 

 

May, four years ago

 

She stood there in the faint haze of dusk. Staring out the window, over the fields before her and the mountains that lined the horizon. Off to the west, the setting sun cast a breathtaking purple-pink glow across her features, lighting the tear tracks down her cheeks.

I knew I was the last person who should offer her comfort. She was Trent’s girlfriend. Never mind that I saw her first. Never mind that she had once smiled at me and I saw a bit of peace. That I had wanted her before he even knew her.

I had just never told him that. Or her.

“Fliss?” I softly said, and she sniffed and quickly wiped her eyes, not looking over at me, but instead dropping her face down and away. Inhaling a steadying breath and straightening a bit, she blinked rapidly to clear the tears from her eyes as she looked again out the window.

“I’m sorry, Denny,” she finally whispered.

I took a few steps towards her, touching my fingertips under her tense chin. She resisted the pull for a few seconds, but eventually allowed her face to be drawn up towards me. Her sapphire blue eyes retained their unfocused gaze across the western Montana landscape, watching the last glimmers of sunlight quickly fade away.

I traced my fingertips along the sweet curve of her jaw, wiping away the trail of wetness down her cheek. This brought her luminous eyes up to mine.

“Don’t be nice to me,” she breathed in a broken voice. “Not now.”

I touched my forehead to hers.

“Fliss…” I murmured, cupping her face in my hands. We stood there, quiet and hurting, for what seemed like forever. The sky darkened slowly, and a faint glimmer of stars began to appear. She gently began to settle into my body and we found a silent refuge for a time in just being close.

Until I fucked it all up.

I heard her inhale a broken breath, a faint shudder, and turned my face ever so slightly into hers. My lips brushed along her high cheekbone, feathering over the damp path of her tears. I pressed a tender kiss on her skin, and a faint salty taste lit on my tongue. My hands had slowly moved from her shoulders up to her slender neck, into the thick, dark silk of her hair, coaxing her face up until my kiss touched the corner of her mouth.

Then everything suddenly changed. Her lips parted, and a faint startled gasp seemed to echo in my mind. For a split second, we stood frozen. Knowing I shouldn’t, but wanting to so badly, I softly touched my lips to hers.

It was so light that I’m not sure I could have even called it a kiss. Barely contact. An ethereal dusting that echoed with a tender longing.

But it was tremendous… electric and powerful. Fierce and mighty. Overwhelming.

The almost-kiss erupted into an irresistible plunder of her lips. A fiery wave of longing and urgency rushed through my veins and seeped through my body. I slanted my mouth over hers, exploring the taste of her with a moan of pure, sensual emotion.

Fliss’ arms slid up my biceps, sliding over my shoulders as her petite form melted into mine. One of my hands held her face steady, keeping her captive for my kiss, while the other stroked down her torso to wrap around her waist.

She felt so fragile, small and delicate in my arms, yet I crushed her to me in desperation. That gnawing hunger for her, that eternal longing, flowed through my veins as I deepened our kiss.

And for a moment, I forgot.

I forgot who we were, who she was. I forgot Trent. I lost myself in the sweet intoxication of her lips, spurred on by the vicious ache that had consumed me for so long.

It was her voice, soft and breathless, that brought me back.

“Denny…” she gasped as I lifted scarcely away to catch a breath.

It all came raging back to me.

“Feckin’ hell,” I groaned as I pushed her harshly, shoving her back against the wall. Away from me. She stumbled with the abrupt movement. Her hand, those fingers that had just been tangled in my hair, lifted to cover her mouth in horror at what we’d just done. Fierce anger at my own actions ripped through me, at the realization that my envy had finally taken control.

I’d finally given in.

I’d just kissed the girlfriend of one of my best friends.

And I’d done it at his funeral.

 

 

 

Present day

 

“Oh, yes, fuck me, Denny!” Ruth cried as she slammed down on me again and again. “I’m a dirty little slut. Fuck me harder!”

Best going away present ever.

Ruth always seemed to be a bit of a wallflower during parties, even though she was quite stunning with her long, mahogany hair and mysterious dark eyes. She’d caught my attention more than once, but was never alone for long, and I’d never really gotten to her fast enough… until tonight.

I’d heard from a couple of the fellas that she lit up like the bleedin’ Fourth of July once ya got in her knickers. Granted, all the blokes I hung out with could get up on a stiff breeze, especially Justin. He’d shag a crack in a plate.

That said, though, Ruth really had turned into quite the firecracker, cursing with words I’ve never even heard before as I gave her the business.

“Oh, yes, right there. Fuck!” she squealed as I shifted my hips to hit her just right with my Jacob’s ladder piercings. “I’m going to come. Shit! Fuck! Oh yes, fuck my pussy!”

Then she sorta went off in some kind of garbled speech that practically sounded like some kind of pagan tongue. I heard the occasional ‘
pussy’
and ‘
cock’
and even let out a ‘
goddammitshitfuckhell’
at one point right before she gushed all over me.

Oh, yeah.
She was great craic.

She lay there straddling me on the couch in the music room with her skirt up around her waist, her bared knockers heaving against my chest. The calamity of my farewell party continued raging in the other room, a pulsing beat almost shaking the windows. They’d probably still heard Ruth swearing over the music, though. She could make a porn star blush.

“A-one, Ruth,” I murmured, patting her lightly on the arse as she breathed into my neck when we had finished.

“I don’t know if you’re complimenting me or not with that Irish accent of yours,” she giggled into my shoulder, “but thanks, I think?”

“It’s a compliment,” I chuckled. “That hit the spot.”

“Mmm…” she murmured in response, “those piercings of yours hit the spot.”

She really had been pretty damn good. I wasn’t sure why I had never tried her out before.

“It’s too bad you have to go,” she said, rising upright to look at me, combing the hair from my eyes. “I’d be interested in doing this again sometime.”

She was nearing that danger zone, where these fine bits of stuff started getting a little wistful after a good hard shagging. It was like walking a tightrope, requiring the delicate balance of flattery and reality to keep from hurtling to the ground.

“I’m not sure how long I will be gone, so don’t hold your breath,” I said lightly, imparting the reality to be sure there was no misunderstanding. “Who knows though? I might be up for another round when I get back.”

She gave me a shy smile, then lifted up off of me to straighten her skirt, cover her breasts, and find her knickers. I stood as well, slipping off the condom and tossing it before I tucked myself back into my jeans.

“Well,” Ruth said, once she had gotten herself sorted, “give me a call when you do get back. I’d be willing to go another round with you, too.”

As she slipped out of the room, my mind turned back to Dublin. This time tomorrow I’d be about halfway there, and I really didn’t know when I would be able to come back. If I’d be able to come back, really. My student visa was hardly valid anymore. I just hoped things with my grandmother, my ‘nanny,’ would get better quickly, although there wasn’t much chance for that. My da had said it didn’t look good.

I was likely going back for a funeral.

I sat back down on the couch and scrubbed my hands down over my face. My nanny was the person I missed the most in all of Ireland. There was just something special about her. How ironic that going back to see her one last time would likely keep me there without her around.

I dropped my hands down to my lap and caught sight of the tattooed lyrics on my forearm.

Always hungry,
Craving,
Desperate and fading,
A twisted, tortured memory
Of you

 

At least if I got stuck in Dublin, it would solve one problem. I could maybe, just maybe, finally put that ghost to rest. Put the past behind me, release that guilt and regret, and forget about that one girl who had haunted me for years. The one girl I could never have.

I wondered for a moment if her hair was still that deep crimson red it had been the last time I saw her.

It was naturally a rich, dark chestnut that lit like a flame in the sun, and it had been that shade when I had kissed her.

She’d started dying it not long after Trent’s funeral. As much as the color was startling, it fit her. It fit the personality I remembered as much as it fit the wild streak that took hold of her after Trent died. The steampunk, pinup style of clothing she wore. It all at once screamed
‘look at me’
yet also seemed to shield her true persona from the world outside. An artifice that protected her frail soul within.

I’d seen her in passing a time or two. Not often. She lived in Butte and went to Tech, but she still came to Ophir sometimes with friends. She’d even been to a couple parties at my house.

Parties I had always left.

I couldn’t seem to eradicate her from my mind, though. I couldn’t ease the hollow ache that permeated my soul.

Maybe I could finally move on if there was an ocean between us.

As luck would have it, though, there were only a few people between us. Five, actually. Five people between her and me as I waited in the line to board the plane for the first leg of my trip.

I had barely seen her face, but it was her. I knew it.

And her hair was still that scarlet red.

“Final call for United flight 2384 to Denver, boarding group three.”

I watched, all the while trying not to, as all the passengers filtered into the plane. I swore I could catch a faint sweet freshness in her wake, a scent I had always associated with her since that very first day. She reached her row and sat by the window, shoving her carry-on beneath the seat in front of her. I turned my head as I passed her row, heading towards my own seat towards the back of the plane. Last minute booking meant shite seats.

As I sat there, eight rows behind her, knowing it was eight because I’d counted them again and again (and again), I tried to forget she was there. It was a lost cause. I’d not been able to push her from my mind a single day in the last four years. She was too firmly planted in my thoughts, in my memories.

Even the bad ones.

Like at the hospital when Trent had overdosed. The shock of his passing left her white and shaking, sitting in the room across from his cold body. I noted the bruise on her cheek as I looked at her sidelong, trying to focus on Trent. My friend.
Had he done that to her?
Justin had said something about a horrific fight between them when they were leaving the party. I’d never known Trent to be violent, but I wasn’t sure I knew him at all anymore with some of the substances he’d started experimenting with. He had gotten kind of edgy. Unhinged.

Thinking about him brought all that guilt back. I’d abandoned him. Not wanting to see Fliss and him together, I’d grown cold and vitriolic whenever she showed up, and she always seemed to. Because I couldn’t take the way she smiled up at him. The way he would tuck her sweet little body up against him, and she would give a little contented sigh that nobody seemed to hear but me. So I would leave… every single time.

And now here she was, eight rows ahead of me, stuck like that for a good couple hours until we reached Denver.

Bollocks.

I hoped I’d gone unnoticed. It would only hurt her to see me, even after all this time, and I never wanted to cause her pain. I’d done it, time and time again, but I hadn’t wanted to.

The knowledge she was there festered the entire flight. The clouds were thick, so I couldn’t even see the landscape below us. I remember flying into Butte when I came for school, though. Witnessing the flat farmlands of the Midwest that suddenly giving way to the peaks of the Rockies. Then the dry and desolate terrain of Wyoming that made the mountains of Montana seem all the more grand. I kept trying to picture where we might be. We had to be nearing Denver. I didn’t know how much more I could take sitting here so close to her, yet a world away because of the wall that I had built to keep her out.

I held back for a while when we landed, sitting in my seat, fiddling with my bag, buying time to allow her to get to her gate and away from my conscience. The plane was nearly empty when I departed, and I didn’t have a huge layover, so I quickly made the trek through the terminal to find my gate to Newark. Then I’d leave the continent. Leave Fliss behind, maybe never to return. I wanted to come back to Montana. My life was there – my friends and my band. There was just that whole green card issue. I still hadn’t figured out how to get that worked out.

As I dragged my carry-on along the speedwalk, I found myself again wondering where Fliss was headed. I’d heard through some friends that she was working on her Master’s thesis. She was amazingly brilliant, in spite of her vicarious lifestyle, so my guess was some Ivy League school. Someplace that would allow her to shine.

My stomach lurched as I caught sight of her again, sitting in the chairs at the gate for my bleedin’ flight to Newark.

Jaysus, Mary, and Joseph.
Another flight with her.

Feckin’ hell.

She looked out the windows, out towards the plane, as she waited for the boarding call. I couldn’t see her face. Her back was to me, and, once again, I sat just out of sight, hoping I could keep off her radar.

Yet, I kept finding myself peeking over at her. At one point, she had her head in her hands, a posture that had me wanting to sit beside her and hold her, even though I had no clue what was wrong. It could have been a headache. It could have been heartache. But, as always, I wanted to protect her and soothe her pain.

Fuck me.
I was such a sorry sod.

The call came out to board again, and I stepped behind a pillar, waiting for her to get in line. Hiding like a sneaky ninja, pure secret-agent shite, but feeling more like a creeper.

Once again, I found myself boarding a plane behind her. A few people back. Watching her find her seat and stowing her bag down by her feet. For a second I panicked a little, thinking that my seat was next to her. I’d had to book a center seat for this leg of the trip. At the last minute, there had been nothing else left. Relief made me weak in the knees as I realized her seat was F and mine was B, across the aisle and one row back. Trying to act casual, I gave a sidelong glance in her direction as I passed her row.

She had settled back. Her skin seemed abnormally pale, especially for her. The gray, overcast light from outside filtered in and mixed with the overhead lights of the plane. Her eyes were closed and earbuds were in, shutting out the world around her.

I shoved my bag into the overhead once I reached my row and quietly offered a greeting to the sweet old bird sitting by the window. I spoke in an almost intelligible murmur to cover my accent since I didn’t really feel like being heard.

Instead, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and thought back to the first moment I’d seen Fliss.

 

 

 

April, five years ago

 

There had been something about her. Something that triggered this deep-set feeling in me from the first moment we met all those years ago.

She was at Tech with a group of high school seniors, touring the institution. She’d gotten distracted, falling behind the rest of the group, and had wandered into the chem lab where I’d been half-heartedly doing a make-up assignment. Truth be told, I was a hair away from dropping the class. None of my studies really appealed to me. School itself was quickly losing its luster. And as soon as I saw her long dark chestnut hair and wide blue eyes, my focus went from slight to nonexistent.

“Shit,” she muttered as she peeked into the room, then stepped back out into the hall.

She was perfection
.

“Can I help ya find something?” I called after her, and she froze, turned around and looked me over with surprise.

“You sound exactly like my grandfather,” she said with a gasp. Her beautiful lips had rounded into a tempting little ‘
o’
and my mind immediately started whirling in all kinds of deviant ways.

“He was Irish, was he?” I asked. She looked young.
Jailbait young
.

But
feckin’ hell
… She was breathtaking. And I was feeling way too pleased with myself that she had come back into the room.

“He was. Worked the mines. He was one of the last wave that went underground before they all went to the Pit.”

Berkeley Pit in Butte, America. Most miners hated it. They had taken such a great pride in mining underground, and then strip mining came along with the giant trucks and the massive machinery. It was never the same for so many of them, and Butte was never the same. It likely never would be.

“He came to Butte as a kid,” she continued as she stepped closer. Her face still seemed a little awed by the lilt to my voice, my thick, common Dublin accent. I loved the way she looked at me. It had me feeling all kinds of crazy shite.

“You look a little young to be a college bird,” I mused, and that warmth I was already experiencing spread throughout my entire body when she smiled wide.

“Bird…” she grinned, shaking her head a little as though to clear a fog. “Oh my God.” Her voice was breathless, not really speaking out loud, but more a thought that she hadn’t been able to contain.

I think it was safe to say she liked my accent.

“I, uh,” she began again, “I’m starting here in the fall, so I’m not quite a college student yet. A senior in high school.”

Bollocks. Too young.

But she was close… If she was a senior, she had to be almost, if not already, eighteen.

“Ya don’t look old enough,” I prodded, unsure why this information was so imperative to me, but I just really had to know.

“I’m a little young for my class… just turned seventeen.”

Feckin’ Jaysus.
Jailbait. I was right.

I subconsciously stepped back, and she laughed, her deep blue eyes sparkling.

“I don’t bite,” she giggled.

And I suddenly had that image back in my head, her full lips on my skin, nipping at my flesh. Wrapped around my cock.

Stop.
I had to stop that line of thought.

“So what are ya doing here? Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“We’re here checking out the campus. I kind of, um… lost the rest of the group.” Her slender shoulders gave a little derisive shrug. She was too bleedin’ cute, and I couldn’t really help the chuckle that escaped my lips.

“I don’t think they’ve even been in this building,” I grinned.
Don’t,
my subconscious warned.
Don’t do it. Don’t offer.
“I could maybe help you find them, though.”
Bastard mouth.

“I’d like that,” she said, sealing my fate.

It took much longer than it should have to find the group, probably because we weren’t really trying very hard. At all, really. We mostly just walked around the campus and talked. She was easy to be with, making me feel like we were old friends as opposed to two people who’d only just met.

“You’re obviously not from Butte, so where are you from then,” she said as more a statement than a question.

“Born and raised in Ireland,” I replied. “I came over to go to Tech. Wanted to see what Irish in America was like.”

“So why not someplace like Boston? Why Montana?”

“I suppose the rural population with the mountains and the wide-open spaces. This area intrigued me.”

“Hmm…” she nodded. “Butte is intriguing, I’ll give you that. I grew up here. My dad grew up here. My grampa, for the most part even… like I mentioned.” Her expression grew thoughtful as she looked over the landscape. “It’s weird because I love it, yet it drives me crazy. Everything is just so… Butte.”

“That’s quite funny, actually,” I laughed. “I’ve only been here a couple years, but I know exactly what ya mean.” Because there really isn’t a way to describe it. Like she said, Butte was just… Butte.

“You’re in good company, too,” she added. “Butte has the highest Irish population in Montana, I think. Not many of them quite as Irish as you, but around here, anyway, it’s considered Ireland’s fifth province. Everywhere you look, there’s Sheas and Shannons, O’Neills and O’Briens, Duggans and Dolans.”

“You said your grandfather was Irish,” I said as we walked along the path by the football field where the Orediggers were out doing their spring training.

“He was,” she grinned up at me. “His dad had grown up in the Pennsylvania coalfields, but came to Butte to work for the Anaconda Company. My gramps followed in his footsteps. There’s even pictures of the two of them in the Mining Museum.”

I stopped and pointed off to the distance to our left with my thumb. “That Mining Museum? Over there?”

“Yeah,” she nodded. “They’ve got tons of cool old photos, but I could show you the one of them, if you’ve got time.”

“I’m not so sure you have time,” I said, eyeing her curiously. “Aren’t we supposed to be finding your class?”

She pursed her lips, looking a little bit guilty as her eyes slanted off to the side. “To be honest, I just came today to get out of school. I grew up in Butte, and probably know more about Tech than half the faculty.”

“Well, you’re a rebellious little thing, aren’t ya? Skippin’ out on school and all.”

“Oh, please,” she snorted, yet somehow made it seem ladylike and adorable, if that was possible for a snort. “I have straight As. I’ve been taking dual credit courses since I was a freshmen to the point where I’ve practically finished a year of college already.”

“Jaysus,” I said, eliciting another adorable giggle from her. A giggle that totally made me smile and started a warm squeeze in my chest. “You’re a smart little thing, too.”

We found ourselves veering away from the main part of campus towards the arched gate that proudly declared this area the World Museum of Mining. Each side of the arch was perched on a sculpture, shaped similar to the massive headframes that still stood out along the hills and valleys of Butte. Ahead of us, towards the end of the lot was an odd assortment of buildings behind a fenced in area.

“That’s the Orphan Girl Mine,” she said as she pointed to a massive headframe at one end of the museum grounds. “They’ve started giving tours where you actually get to go underground. It’s kind of cool.”

“Yeeesh,” I shuddered. “Sounds right creepy.”

“It was a way of life,” she shrugged. “And the underground miners were very proud to be just that.”

We went through the main entrance of the museum, a small, unobtrusive building that held a gift shop. Through the shop and out back was the ‘
ghost town’
of Hell Roaring Gulch with its boardwalks, brick roads, and 1800s mining-camp-style buildings. We walked up the hill towards the Orphan Girl’s monstrous frame.

“Here,” she said, motioning off towards the left, “this is the crankhouse. Below it is sort of a simulated mine shaft, and that’s where the pic of my grampa and his dad is.”

As we stepped into the building, she grabbed my arm and pulled me towards some old black and white photos that hung on the walls. She pointed to one of a few men standing around an ore cart with some drilling equipment, hardhats on and looking serious as can be.

“Here,” she murmured, pointing towards an older man in the photo. “That’s my great-grandfather.” She moved her fingertip to a younger man, maybe early twenties, at his side. “And this is my grandfather.”

“Eoghan Williams, huh?” I read aloud from the informational label, then looked down to see her eyes sparkling up at me. “What are ya lookin’ at me like that for?”

“You pronounced it right,” she smiled, a bit dreamily. “Like Owen, but most people around here don’t get that.”

“Well,” I grinned back, “I’m a Dub. I think I can figure out how to say an Irish name here and there.”

We slowly made our way through the photos, so many with grim and serious expressions. A little farther, and there were some photos of when the strip mining began. When they started to carve out the pit. In one photo was what appeared to be a…

“Feckin’ hell, is that a rollercoaster?”

She looked at the photo that had caught my attention. “Yeah,” she said softly, and maybe a little bit sad. “Columbia Gardens.”

“I had no idea there was a rollercoaster anywhere near here. Where is it at?” I asked.

“It’s not there anymore. My grampa and my dad both would go on about it forever. Both of them spent every minute of their childhood summers there. The Anaconda Company had built it for the miners and their families when things were good.”

“What happened to it?”

“There was this catastrophic fire that wiped it out.”

“What a bleedin’ shame,” I said in a quiet voice, looking at another photo that showed the Garden in all its glory. As I looked at another, I saw some signs of the strip mining beginning around the edges of the picture. Another showed it encroaching even more, and yet another with the Pit butting right up against the rollercoaster.

“When did that fire happen?” I asked in a hushed tone, as though someone might overhear, not even really sure why I was speaking that way.

But she seemed to feel that same sensation, leaning in close to me and lowering her own voice. Like the ghosts of those responsible could hear. “In the early seventies.” She looked over at me with a raised brow. “Coincidentally, it was in a spot where the Company wanted to strip mine.”

“Hmm, that’s quite a coincidence,” I murmured, thinking it seemed like anything but.

“Yes,” she nodded, “very suspicious. There were some pretty hard feelings when that happened. It’s still something that people are very passionate about.”

I looked down at her right as she lifted her face up to me. For a second, I was a bit mesmerized. Not just by her beauty, but by the depth of her tone. The feeling she conveyed, having lived a life here in this unique town with its unique history. The moment was interrupted as a few other people meandered in, chatting quietly about the photos. She dropped her gaze with a slight smile and turned towards the doorway.

We made our way back up towards the Student Union Building, doing what could only be described as dawdling or lollygagging. Dragging our feet in an effort to delay saying the inevitable goodbye. But it was late in the afternoon, and she really had to rejoin her group.

“So what are ya plannin’ to study?” I asked.

I would be in my third year by the time she started, and it was very doubtful that I’d end up having any classes with her regardless. For the first time in a long while, though, probably in my entire life, I found myself actually
wanting
to be in school. I’d become sidetracked with life outside of class lately, playing music with the guys, turning metal into art… smoking a fair amount of weed. Things that tend to make a fella a bit lackadaisical about education. And, quite honestly, I didn’t really think that I wanted to be an engineer anyway. It was my major, but I didn’t really feel any drive, certainly nothing like I felt when I focused on the artistic side of my life.

“My major is Liberal Studies,” she replied.

“What the feck do ya do with that?” I laughed, and was rewarded with another flash of her sweet and sexy smile.

“It’s actually a great degree. I can go all kinds of directions with it. But I’m thinking social work. Sort of keeping it in the family. My mom was an addiction counselor. My dad’s a cop.”

Bloody hell,
I thought,
her dad was a cop.

She was feckin’ underage and her dad was a cop.

I could feel the blood leave my face at that thought, yet it did nothing to detract from the intense attraction I felt for her. I still was drawn to her something fierce. Having spent the greater part of the day listening to her, watching her, and wanting her, I sorta thought she may just be worth going to the clink for.

We stepped between the Main Hall and the Engineering Hall, up to the railing that gave an impressive view of the city below. The wind tousled her hair and sent the light, fresh scent of her perfume my way, making me want to lean closer, to breathe her in and press tender kisses along the curve of her neck.

Seemingly unaware of where my thoughts were at, she continued. “How about you? What is your major?”

“General Engineering, Welding option,” I replied, trying to sound cool. Probably failing. “Engineering mostly for my ma and da, because they want me to have a real career.” I tossed some air quotes around the word real. “But I’m more a hands-on guy. I like to make things. To create things with my hands. Welding is an awesome thing for that.”

As I spoke, my hands moved in a way that caught her eyes. As she looked back up at me, some purely illegal thoughts began to swirl through my brain. Triggered by the thought of holding her hand in mine, of my hands on her curvy little hips, and her ample, delicious-looking tits that were entirely too mouthwatering for a seventeen-year-old girl to have.

Seventeen. She’s only seventeen, ya eejit,
I reminded myself over and over.
And her da’s a feckin’ peeler.

As if the heavens above were trying to cool my ardor, the dark clouds that had slowly made their way from the west began to release big, cold, heavy drops. Starting with a few here and there and then unloading as we rushed inside the entryway of the Main Hall. Mountain storms could piss rain like no tomorrow, but they were generally short-lived. The veritable wall of water outside the wide arches of the building seemed to create a curtain, separating us from the rest of the world outside.

A sudden intimacy seemed to filter around us with the soothing rainfall pattering in the background. I couldn’t seem to stop my hand as it brushed a few drops of water from the curve of her cheekbone, and my fingers tingled where I touched her. Her eyes drifted almost closed with the touch, and her plump lips fell open ever so slightly.

“What’s your name?” I quietly asked.

She looked up at me just a moment before she answered. “Felicity.”

“Happiness…” My voice had grown a little too husky for my liking, but I couldn’t seem to control it. “That means happiness.”

“Right,” she replied with a slight tremble. It could have been from the chill in the air. Her dark-green t-shirt was a touch dampened from the rain, and it clung to her curves, accentuating her waist. The heat in her deep blue eyes, though, told me it was more than that. “My dad always says I’m his happiness.”

“It’s kind of a mouthful, though,” I shrugged, attempting to appear nonchalant. Ignoring the slight movement as the tip of her tongue darted out to wet her lips, I tried to ease up the tension that suddenly filled the humid spring air of the entryway. “I’ll call ya Fliss.”

Her lips curved up into a gentle smile. “I like it.”

The rain let up, and moments later, a group of high schoolers, led by a frazzled looking instructor, came barreling out of the Engineering Hall next door.

“Felicity,” the instructor harrumphed, “I was wondering where we’d lost you.”

Fliss waved over at him, then turned back to look up at me. Her eyes held a bit of sadness and her smile faltered a little. “I better…” she trailed off, motioning to the group with her thumb.

“It was nice to meet ya, Fliss,” I murmured.

She took a few steps backward and started to turn, but then stopped.

“Wait,” she said, “I don’t know your name.”

“I’m Denny.”

She grinned and began to turn. “Well, Denny,” she said over her shoulder, “I’ll be seeing you around.”

And as I watched her petite curves and long thick hair as she walked away, I could only think one thought.

I sure feckin’ hope so.

 

 

 

Present day

 

About an hour into the flight, I noticed that the guy sitting somewhat next to Fliss had gotten the attention of the flight attendant. I couldn’t hear much, as he was talking in a hushed, agitated voice, but I did catch the words
‘sick
’ and
‘big presentation
’ and he appeared to be asking for a different seat. The stewardess appeared concerned, then offended and mildly outraged as he continued to speak. His voice grew a little louder and it became clear what his issue was.

“I can’t get sick. I have a meeting in New York in two days, and it is crucial to my business. I need to find another seat.”

“Sir, the plane is practically full. You’re lucky to have the seat in between you.”

“Maybe so,” he demanded, and the fuckhead even had the gall to press a handkerchief over his mouth to block the germs, “but I can’t sit next to someone who is ill.”

Ill? Fliss was ill?

The flight attendant pursed her lips. “Let me see what I can find, but you may end up in a center seat.”

“Whatever, I just cannot get sick right now,” the jackass muttered as she began to walk away, down the aisle towards me.

Don’t do it, Denny… Don’t do it.

“Excuse me, miss,” I said, ignoring that quiet little voice in my head, “I think I may know her. If she’s ill, I’ll sit there to help take care of her.”

The flight attendant looked back at the other guy.

“Works for me,” the jackass said.

My heart was thumping hard up against my ribs as I stood and stepped back, allowing him to take my seat. Thinking I was an idiot for what I was about to do, I took a deep breath and sat in his.

“Howya, Fliss,” I murmured.

Her head, lying against a small pillow propped up on the cabin wall, jerked around and her wide blue eyes fixed on me. I’d dreamt of the color. For years really. All that time I waited. All that time I had pushed her from my mind and told myself it could never happen.

“Denny?” she croaked. Her face was pale, and she was clearly feverish with sweat-dampened tendrils pressed to her forehead. Initially, in spite of her obvious illness, she almost appeared elated. She weaved towards me a little before straightening up in her seat, blinking a few times like it might clear me from her sight. “What are you… I don’t…”

“You look as sick as a small hospital,” I said.

She just sort of looked at me for a moment before she replied, looking sad and lost and confused. “I don’t know what that even means.”

“Ya look like pure shite,” I explained, instantly regretting it when her expression fell and tears filled her eyes.

“Fuck off,” she murmur, turning towards the window. “If you’re just sitting here to be a dick, you can leave.”

I shook my head. “Actually, I can’t. I gave away my seat.”

“Fine, I’ll just ignore you then.” Reaching down to her earbuds, she placed them in her ears and propped her head up on the pillow again, looking out the window. Doing her best to pretend I didn’t exist. I couldn’t just leave it like that.

“Fliss,” I said, tapping her on the shoulder. “Fliss, hey…”

She yanked the earbuds out of her ears and glared back at me. “What, Denny? I’m really not feeling up to this right now.”

“I can tell. Have you got anything to take for your fever?”

She took a long moment and just watched me in speculation, like she was waiting for the other shoe to drop. It had been a long time since I was anything but curt and cold to her, and her shields were up. Finally, she pressed her lips together and she just sorta deflated, releasing the anger she’d been using to appear strong. “I took some Tylenol, but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. One minute I’m freezing, and the next I’m roasting.”