Concentrate. She used to be good at that. Very good. Until he showed up. Focusing on a subject, on a book, on a strange scene, on the tides and the cry of gulls... But now all thoughts wandered like drunken rambling men towards the same face, the same damn face she didn't wanna think of. Her mind decided to gravitate around a different planet, and the book in her hands made sense, but was of no matter. Nor were all the things she tried so hard to tell herself she should listen to. Reason, for example. Oh, she's been Spock rational once, that's for sure... But that damned Mac Diarmuid was changing her thoughts around like furniture in an empty room, and he carelessly threw all her reason through the window. But she wouldn't think of him, she told herself for the hundreth time. Not now. Not now when sunset turns Dublin to gold and crimson, and even those rainclouds look like gigantic butterflies comig out of a Dalí painting... If love is a ghost, sunsets are it's haunting grounds. She thought of closing the curtains.
Aidan: "Can I come in?"
But he was already in, wasn't he?

Dee:"What the frigging hell are you doing here, Aidan?"
Dan:"I come in peace."
Dee:"Where's the pepper spray?"
Dan:"But I brought the safety goggles, in case ye'd try to spray me out, so, don't. When did you decide to lock me out, Dee?"
Dee:"That door was locked, since we're discussing locks...How did you get in?"
Aidan:"You taught Róise how to pick locks, lass. T'is part of your useful paranoia program, says she, picks the lock, and here's yer man, a 6 feet tall shamrock. And I've company for ye."
Dee:"Ah, Rosa..."
Dan:"She didn't do nothin' I didn't ask her to."
Dee:"Is that supposed to make me show clemency?"
Dan:"Well, darling, if Seneca tried to convince a Roman Emperor to show clemency, why can't I give it a try at least, aye?"
Dee:"He did fail..." Wry smile.
Dan:"But I won't. Because I love you."
Dee:"There you go again... You ruined the beginning of a possibly nice try..."
Dan:"I love you..."
Dee:"Stop it..."
Dan:"Why? It makes you smile..."
Dee:"I only smiled because you're my friend and I... "
Dee:"I like you... No, don't even s-"
Dan:"See? There's that smile again... Admit it... T'is about time we're together..."
Dee:"I told you to quit it!"
Dan:"I won't. I want time with you, Deirdre O'Connor."
Dee:"Very funny..."
Dan:" See, I brought ye flowers..."
Dee:"I don't want them." Throws the bouquet on the bed without even a second glance. And crosses her arms as if that somehow would make her feel safer.

Dan:"I've also a mind to take ye out... 'Tis St. Paddy's and it's packed with people and cráic outside..."
Dee:"I'm Buddhist."
Dan:"And I'm your Karma, love... I'm sure Budha loves everyone, including good old Pat...And even meself."
Dee:"He does..."
She can't help but smile at him... The warmth of their exchanged glances fills the room for a while.
Dee:"Aidan, please, quit it, ok? We both know this isn't going anywhere."
Dan:"Do we? How so? We never even tried, have we?"
Dee:"I don't need to try. We're friends, and you're making a mess..."
Dan:"T'is no mess but love. We both know it."
Dee:"All I know is how much Brigid likes you! And how much you like her yourself!"
Dan:"But I don't, no. We've been through that. And you should stop trying to tell me what I feel. Here, I brought ye me best friend. I have him since I was a baby... The lad's name is Pipo... How d'ye like him?"
Dee:"I never cared for plush toys." But that white fur ball is so cute,she'd best not look at it, so she gives it her back.

Dan:"Won't ye even look at him? He loves you... And so do I..."
Dee:"That's no doubt the weirdest thing I've ever heard..."
Dan:"Strange as it sounds, t'is true..."
Dee:"If you're hoping to get something going with such lines, forget it..."
Dan:"Why can't ye deal with the simple fact that ye're loved?"
Dee: "By a Teddy bear? No, thanks."
Dan:"By meself then, since ye're not in the mood for romance, and ye'd rather the plain truth instead..."
Dee:"I don't want any of that either..."
Dan:"If only ye'd lie looking into me eyes... But ye won't, Dee. And t'isn't just pride there... T'is fear..."
Dee:"You're hilarious..."
Dan:"Where's ye're laughter off to, then? I can't hear it... Fear won't do nothing for ye, Dee, so come off it, why don't ye? We're friends... Do I still have to prove meself to ye?"
Dee:"I don't want you to prove anything! I want you to get the hell out of my bedroom! You, your stupid flowers, and your ridiculous bear too!"
It took him a while to make any sound again. The stricken silence just clung to their skin a while... Then his voice came out, low and hoarse...
Dan:"Well, then... If that's what you want..." But he walks towards her bed instead.

Dee:"And what are you up to, now? I told you... I don't want your flowers, I don't... I don't want your bear..."
Dan:" But Pipo will stay. He'll watch over you and take care of you, won't ye lad?"
Dee:"Fine... Leave it, take it... I don't care."
Dan:"You do, aye... Ye wouldn't be crying if ye didn't... Don't lie to me, Deirdre... And you shouldn't lie to yourself either, but that's another matter, isn't it not*? "
Dee:"Jus... Just go... Ok?" But then again, he wouldn't just go, would he? It's towards her that he comes this time, and it's all she can do not to melt into a crying puddle in front of him. She knew better than that...

Dan: "I'm leaving then..."
Dee:" Yeah, just do. "
Dan:"Is that what you truly want...?"
Of course not. He knows the answer is no... But staying won't change her mind...
Dan:"My man there will take care o' you while I'm not here..."
And without another word, he leaves. There's not much left to be said. Not by himself, no... He's run out of words, at least for now... And he knows how much love she's holding back... And that hurts more than any of the words and occasional piece of furniture she hurls at him.

He's gone. Out the door he closed so gently. But he didn't really leave. His scent lingers. That wooden enticing scent, like he's some magical creature who wandered out of ancient woods. He left Pipo on the bed too. And the flowers...

"Stupid...", She turns the word over and over in her thoughts, "I feel like I'm redefining that word every damn time he walks out that door... There is Brigid to consider, yeah, there's that huge kiss she planted him in front of the whole friggin' office... She's my boss, she's our teacher... I'll lose more than I can afford to... It's not my country, I didn't come all the way from Brazil for this... I wasn't looking for love, I wasn't... What about the girls... They can't pay the rent alone... Owen will kick us out, that merciless junkie bastard... I can't think of me now, life ain't a bed of roses, especially in another country... And there's so much more to think of then the scent of his perfume on the bear's...On Pipo's fur..."

... "No, I'll throw it all away, I'll hide it somewhere where I don't see any of it, I'll bury it in a drawer... And then I'll try to make up my mind about what makes me more stupid... Loving him or letting him go... When I don't have more pressing matters ahead of me... Like KILLING Rosa for picking my lock and letting him in!"
Rosa (speaks through the closed door): "Dee! What are you doing in there, girl?? Don't let him go!"
Dee:" Darling... Why don't you come in, hm? Let's... chat..."
Rosa:"No way I'm going in... Miriam is in Tokyo now, so she won't be there to keep me safe from you, miss Lecter..."
Dee:" You'll see what I do to you when I stop laughing!"
Rosa: "Dee, don't let him go..."
Dee:"He's already gone."
Rosa:"No, he isn't. Isolde is holding him in the kitchen, and filling him with her muffins for as long as he can take them..."
Dee:"That'll be a long time! He never says no to food..."

... "He never says no to food... Especially good food... He's never too tired to help other people... He's had a hard life so far, but do you see him complain? He's bloody stubborn, and so bloody sure of what he wants... He's a hard working man, an honest man... A man I can finally trust... Dad will make his life hell... But he'll pull through... This one's not a quitter... I know it, I know it in his eyes, I know it when he says I'm his one... 'Cuz bloody hell, who am I trying to fool? He's the one for me too..."
Rosa:"Dee, are you even listening to me? We'll handle things if you lose your job, but girl, if you let that man out that door, I'm gonna twist you inside out the way you taught me to!"
"The flowers will be safer in my bed than on the trash can... And Pipo, you're with me on this one..."
Dee:"Rosa, that only works with guys... AIDAN, WAIT!"

Dee: "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..."
Dan:"T'is all right... T'is all right, especially if you don't send me away ever again..."
Dee:"I won't... I promise... I'm sorry for being such a brickhead..."
Dan: "As long as you're the same brickhead to keep me with ye, love, I don't mind it..."
Dee (smiling wryly): "You have no idea...You belong to me now, Mac Diarmuid..."
Dan:"That's grand then... T'is just that what I was after..."
And he plants a kiss on her forehead to seal it...
And a storm of love fills the room although outside the stubborn sun still thinks he'll outlast clouds and night both. And she laughs throughout the storm, since she finally has the wings to ride it.