Poster: Patrick Frasier
Post # 4
a Bet Date
Patrick was a busy man, had been for some time after his wife left and a
divorce decreed many years ago. He had not tried dating as he was a man
that took things to heart and hard when his heart had been given. Hard
to accept things as they were and gain his heart back. In time he
finally accomplished it and still a few more time went by where he
kept from the dating scene. Having made a bet with Gemma was his first
step, small one, in dating. Not a true date being it was to see to a bet
but it was the closest he had come so far. Perhaps why he had made
the bet to force the step and who better than the lovely Gemma Quinn? A
beautiful, respected lady who couldn't cook (as announced by her). The
thought had him chuckling as he headed for the Quinn Manor. He had
better see to making good his bet or soon there would be no snow as
required. He was dressed up but not overly, smart looking coat over neat
attire consisting of an heather wool sweater of wheat and browns, twill
pants of a darker brown and the functional boots lacing up to below his
knees. He added a picnic basket that Hannah willingly saw to so in
helping her brother out in this matter no matter if it had been a bet.
There would be surprises in there he would find out. A note had been
sent ahead in plenty of time so Gemma would be ready and if it had been
an inconvenient time, enough time to send back a note stating such. He
knew were the manor was in Heathfield and planned to stay the night at
his cousin's casino where there were a few extra lush rooms.
Gemma knew Patrick had a busy life and might have suspected the reason.
She also knew he was a man who would see to his bets. So, it was no
surprise when the note arrived at the manor. She had been in a kind
of argument with her grandmother on what she should wear. Mary Quinn was
bound and determined that her granddaughter would not go on a date in
britches whether it was because of a bet or not. They had come to a
compromise and Gemma was wearing a riding skirt of butter soft suede
dyed a deep rich shade of blue. The blouse, though not frilly, was
feminine, with a scoop neckline and she wore a lined jacket that came to
her waist and matched the skirt. Her argument had been they would be out
in the weather and the outfit not seen but it had been easier to finally
give in. She wore a velvet cloak that was a deeper blue than her outfit,
nearly black, lined with rabbit fur. Gold embroidery decorated the hems
along the bottom, front and hood. She even took the muff that her
Grandmother had offered, smiling at the pleased expression on her face.
Now she waited at the door, feeling somewhat anxious, for Patrick to
Bells had been put on the harness of the two matching dapple greys. So
they could be heard not far away as they came trotting up the road
leading to the manor's door. Reining them in, Patrick was quickly out
and up to the front door to give the brass knocker a few sounding taps.
The horse drawn sleigh could fit six people in all as it had a back
seat where the basket rested. An open sleigh with cushioned seats and
extra wool blankets to put over ones laps if needed. To keep his head
warm, he had donned an woolen Irish cap and a scarf made of soft wool
around his neck whose tails hung down the front of his coat freely.
Lined leather gloves kept his hands warm.
She was laughing as Gram told her to not answer right away in order to
not seem anxious. "I'm not keeping him waiting!" She declared
but she did take a moment to make sure all was in order before she
opened the door. "Hello, Patrick. Right on time." She wouldn't
have minded if he were a little late, he looked so dashing. "And a
prefect day for this. Would you like to come in for a moment or shall we
leave right away?"
Green eyes were vibrant in the wintry noon day sun. "Mrs
Quinn," giving a respectful nod to the Matriarch standing not far
behind Gemma, "a good day to you, I will not keep your
granddaughter overly long." Which held a charmed smile to show
fleetingly before attention shifted upon Gemma, taking in her features
this close as if seeing her for the first time. He had not really gotten
a good look at her before now and it had him pause. Blink. Smile
followed as he offered her the bend of his arm. "Hello, Gemma, our
sleigh awaits. Best we be on our way and perhaps stop once back to warm
up." The time out was precisely timed to get them back while there
was still light, accounting for any mishap or obstacles that would have
the trip take longer.
She hadn't realize Gram had moved closer and had looked over her
shoulder when Patrick spoke, blinking while she bit back a laugh. She
had also noticed the blink and wondered if something had surprised
Patrick but left it go. A dimple appeared as she smiled slipping her arm
through his. "Be back soon, Gram." She gave her an airy wave,
tempted to say good-bye to her sisters and Brigid who she knew were
peeking. She didn't however. "I'm so glad you picked today. The
weather couldn't be better."
Patrick held himself in a dignified way as becoming of their Clan that
Neale set an example of. There was another side full of passion buried
under the polite outer crust that only one so far had a full glimpse of.
That crust had been built up even more but the passion was still
beneath. He was almost reckless as a younger man and gradually curtailed
to keep out of trouble. "Had I waited much longer for all my
duties, I fear there would be no snow left to see to this sleigh ride.
Then I would have to beg of you forgiveness and amend the bet to a
regular ride in a surrey." A gloved hand coming to rest over where
hers laid upon his arm for a moment as they reached the sleigh then away
to see her within. Leaving her to settle as he was around and up into
the driver's side taking up the reins. He waited the few moments,
pulling a woolen blanket up over their laps and legs to keep them warmer
for the trip.
She knew there was another side to Patrick, one of good humor when he
rode in the hometown races. The other might be seen in time. She
listened to his words and nodded, looking serious though the sparkle in
her eyes showed she wasn't totally. "And I'm certain I would have
forgiven you and accepted the surrey ride." Her smile reappeared
like sunshine coming out from behind a cloud. "But I have to say,
I'm pleased you took the time off from those duties." She
understood all too well how they could overtake one. She thanked him for
helping her into the sleigh, then smiled again for the blanket. A wave
was given toward the house where there were four faces peeking out of a
"That is good to know." Smile reached his eyes slightly shaded
from the brim of the wool cap as the wintry sun shown down like it was
warm but it was not. "I have a motherly sister named Hannah who has
been on my case of late. Worse, she has rallied my sister-in-laws to
further nudge that I was becoming unbearable and better a person in my
more rash days. I am pleased to have lost this bet and in your company
for a good portion of the day." A ride that would take three to
four hours when all said and done. The click under his tongue
accompanied the light tap of the reins on the backsides of the horses
that had them easily on their way. The ride was a bit different in a
sleigh, smoother and less bouncing.
"So, tell me of yourself, Gemma Quinn, what goes on inside that
pretty head of yours? Your achievements and goals, the past, the present
and the future you hope for?" He would prefer getting her to speak
on herself but knew that if she did and then turned it on him he would
have to then open up enough to oblige in all fairness. If she hedged
around the questions then he could too. All the while they were already
leaving the Quinn lands and out into the open streets that had been
rolled over but he was soon going through another gate taking them
through a field that had signs of sleighs having passed this way before.
Rolling hills far from the beaten path that had a more scenic view
including a trail that went right through a small edge of a forest.
Bunnies hopped out of their way as well many deer to be seen. There was
not as much wildlife about as spring would bring. A family of raccoons
were disturbed and the two scolded as they passed. One lone red fox was
seen in the distance looking at them curiously before disappearing into
She laughed when he spoke of his sister.. "I understand completely.
Segan's lady, Vanessa, has adopted a baby and my grandmother has been
fussing at all of us about giving her great-grandchildren." Which
was more problematic since only he was seeing someone, as far as Gemma
knew. She pursed her lips in thought with his question then batted her
lashes in a silly way. "Why, I'm not sure what you want to know,
Mr. Frasier." Laughing, she considered a moment. "Well, I
suppose one achievement is being trained to become part of the Order of
Athena, which is also a goal. I've trained with sword, knife and bow and
wasn't certain I would find a place where I could use those but when we
came here, I was pleased to hear of it. " She looked at him a
moment, blue eyes bright. "Are you sure you want to hear about my
past? There's nothing special about it?" At least in her opinion.
"I would love hearing all that you wish to impart, Gemma."
Giving a reassuring glance her way and the ease of a smile to go with
it. They were coming out from the other side of the forest's edge to
advance on a trail that wound them gradually up the side of a
mountain. The lower side as the other was too steep and dangerous at
this time of the year to go by even sleigh. Some ventured up on
horseback or foot but that was not his goal. "Most do not
think their own life events are out of the ordinary or special but
whether they are or not, they add to the richness of getting to know
"Hmm, that's true." She made a slight motion with her hand, as
if waving vaguely in the direction of Ireland. "Well, we were all
born and raised in Ireland. I wanted to be trained as I said and also in
the old ways. Our mother, and grandmother, did what they could but in
the end, I was sent off to the same school as my aunt had been. That was
after mother died. We probably had an idyllic childhood, days of roaming
the countryside when chores were done, lessons in a classroom. I was a
tomboy and the oldest girl so I tried to follow my brothers around. When
they wouldn't let me, I'd go off by myself. Gram always worried the Fae
folk would steal me away." She laughed, "and I always told her
they'd bring me back because I was so stubborn."
The road was wide enough to fit the sleigh easily but there would have
been problems had one been coming down the side of the mountain. Luckily
the chances of that were slim. A section opened up as he geared it off
to the side to a small field that overlooked the valley from above. A
view that one could see for miles of snow and further capped mountains
in the distance. Here he stopped as a picnic table was set up under a
canopy. He had not set it up but knew of it before deciding where to
take her on the sleigh ride. "This school was of warrior training
your aunt had gone to?" As it wasn't specified and he didn't want
to assume for the context of the tale. "If you get the spot in
protecting the high born ladies of the castle, it will require a lot of
you in devoted time. If there are enough lady knights, dames, then
duties would be rotated giving you some time of your own. All in all it
could become a very solitary life for you, different from what you have
known no matter your love of the sword. You may not find much fighting
other than the everyday practice I am sure the Dames are expected
as are the knights on the king's field every morning." With
the sleigh stopped it had his full focus on her in a curious
way. The idealism of such a position and the possibly boring reality of
it. A sort of grown up babysitting he couldn't imagine the Queen of
these lands being too pleased with. He remembered the stories of her
champions when that was pressed upon her. Although this could be
different. He was wondering. "The Fae Folk might like you even more
for your stubborn streak, it would prove a challenge to them and they
"It could very well be, as I'm sure it can be for the men."
She had thought about that reality several times but it was still what
she wanted. "And since there is no war, there isn't much fighting
at all. "The only other prospect is to attempt to become a
ranger." She looked at him a moment before she continued. "It
was for training as a Druid. School is the best term I have for it since
it wasn't quite like the schools of my childhood." She had been
looking at the scenery as they rode but now her attention was on him.
"There are some not comfortable with the Old Ways but I've found
most are open to everything here."
"No, Druids don't have classrooms that anyone can go to. Those with
gifts are chosen and all is taught without books or recorded other than
in one's mind and psyche." He was out and around to help her out
then to see to retrieving the basket from the back seat. "Rangers
are kept busy especially their trips to the borders and what remains
wild beyond them not necessarily beasts but in humor form. You would be
gone from society completely for months at a time." Only a tipped
smile to the last about those being comfortable to the Old Ways here as
with basket in one hand he offered her the bend of his other arm.
"I hope you are hungry."
It was easier to talk to someone who understood. She accepted his help,
and then stepped to the side so he could retrieve the basket. "I
know they're away a good bit of the time which is one reason why I think
it's something I'll have to let go." She could just imagine her
grandmother deciding that Gemma needed to be found and setting out to
look for her. "Yes I am to be honest." She slipped her arm
through his as she laughed again. "I have a good appetite though I
can't compete with my brothers."
fixed the basket for me so I can lay no claims to the cooking. She is
much finer cook than myself but I can cook." Which he did for his
son and himself every so often, it was just more convenient letting
Hannah and the other sister-in-laws do the cooking along with the cook.
Hannah just loved to cook but when busy, and certainly she was with the
brood she had, the cook was there to take over. He led her to the picnic
table and set the basket atop. "I choose this place for a reprieve
for the magnificent view." Needless to say as it spoke for itself.
High enough up the mountain for it to be breathtaking. "Just don't
get too near the edge for the snow and ice could have you slipping over
the edge and this day end up tragic." Fair warning for if one were
not afraid of heights it would be exhilarating to get close to the edge
which was about twenty feet away. A clear day as the snow
glistened over hill and dale below, the river cut out like a sparkling
blue ribbon against white. Patches showed some spots with a hint of
green and the castle in the distance and ocean beyond. He opened the
basket to find a small catch of wild flowers as he took them up with a
chuckle. "These are for you." A variety that were picked for
"Then I'll save the closer view for a time when the snow is
gone." She turned from the view, a pleased smile appearing. For all
her determination to be as stoic as her brother, Eion, Gemma was not.
"Oh, how lovely!" She accepted the flowers and buried her nose
in them, inhaling the scent. "I'm not much of a cook at all but
Gram feels there's hope for me." She grinned at him as she brushed
snow from the table. "Of course, I never really had to cook, though
I had to scrounge for food in the woods a few times as part of my
training." She looked at him a moment. "What did you do before
your had the racetrack and raised dogs?"
"Perhaps next race I will bet a cooking lesson." He had
stepped close watching how she enjoyed the flowers. Something he would
have forgotten he was so far out of the social arena. A hand lifted as
if to touch her hair or face but it lowered as he stepped away. They
hardly knew each other but this whole deal was reminding him of a time
long ago. Something he realized he missed and there was no longer pain
associated with it. The wound had healed, the situation accepted, now
all he had to do was move on. That became prominent. "I got into a
lot of trouble." Which had him chuckling under his breath. "I
helped my brothers out as needed but staying idle could not last long,
I've too much energy for that and it would turn me going wrong." A
spark in green eyes was near a challenge her way if she could believe
him. The spark alone showed the bit of the devil still alive deep
inside. "Although, I have not tried raising dogs being Eddie
McAndrews has the kennels not far from us and had more than enough dogs
to help everyone out. You might say he was a bit exuberant in getting
pairs to breed when he first started out. Are you looking to get a
Which had the idea he should get one for his son. He was old enough to
learn this responsibility. "I was married and have a son. The woman
I was married to left the lands many years ago. No rhyme or reason, one
day here, next gone and never returned. We searched but she left no
trace. After two years went by, my brother saw to a discreet
divorce as he felt it not fair for me to keep clinging to an
ideal." That was all he would say on the matter. Green eyes
darkened a moment but that was all. A year ago he probably would not
have been able to speak on it at all, two years ago, definitely not.
"Anyway," chasing away any grey cloud that might threaten to
form over talking on it. "I do believe we have fried up fish
fingers in a buttery crust, not heavy in oil as is Hannah's secret and
just enough spices to have you wanting to eat more." He was
taking the plates and such out.. first the cloth which he laid down to
place the others stuff on. "Apple cobbler with cinnamon crust, some
veggie sticks," mussing as they were set out. There was a bottle of
wine and glasses in the basket too.
She blinked then laughed, shaking her head. "For some reason I
associated the dog track with raising the dogs. My apologies." She
gave a slight bow of her head though the apology was given with a hint
of mischief. "You got into trouble? I'd never believe it." She
was teasing and the glint in her own eyes showed it. "No, Eion got
each of us a dog. The estate is filled with horses, dogs and cats and
Gram keeps order over it all." She had watched his face and nodded
when he spoke of the past that was over and she did touch his hand
briefly. She couldn't imagine how he must have felt but it didn't need
to be said. "It sounds delicious. Of course, if you do bet a
cooking lesson, I'd have to win."
"No apology needed, it was an honest assumption." Smile tipped
to the side as that spark was back in green eyes. "I think I prefer
you not believe me." A quick wink added before he paused with the
touch of her hand, his other folding over hers before it could get away.
Captured and lifted as eyes held and a kiss placed on the palm.
Sensitive area as lips were warm, one might get the impression he would
prefer her lips but that would be far too bold. It lasted one of those
lingering moments that seemed far longer than it actually was before her
hand was lowered and he went about pouring the wine. "You do drink
Gemma prided herself on the fact she didn't blush but Patrick was very
close to causing that to happen. She bit at her lower lip as he kissed
her palm, nearly holding her breath. Maybe it had been too long since
she had been out socially. In fact, she couldn't remember when she had
been. "Yes, I do. We have it at dinner quite a bit."
He took out two cloth covered pads, setting one on the bench seat for
her to sit, then one where he would sit across from her. "The food
is still warm, but wont stay so very long," needless to say. He
lifted his glass first for a toast, "to days of beauty shared with
another to make the day more exquisite still." Touching her glass
with his before he would take a drink to seal the compliment.
"And perhaps more to be shared," added before she too, took a
drink. She lowered her glass, taking her place on the bench. "It
smells almost as good as the flowers." As she sampled the fish, she
closed her eyes, enjoying the taste. "I don't dare tell Gram about
these or she'll be hounding me to ask Hannah for the recipe." She
might not cook, but Gemma did enjoy food. "Is this a favorite spot
"If you would feel more comfortable not learning from family,"
as such sometimes caused problems with being too personally involved,
"I'm sure Hannah would teach you." Which he would offer
knowing his sister well. He dug in too but paused with her question,
taking a moment to view their surroundings again. "Favored enough,
there are other places favored too, this is just one of them. In the
spring, further up and to the other side of this mountain you can see
the herds of wild horses. If you're lucky, it's not like they come
scheduled as clockwork. If you look closely you can see Ravanna
farmlands, the McDonough ranches, and sheep ranch as well the Crystal
lake from up here." Being they were covered in snow, one may not
realize it with a quick look. The cattle looked like brown spots of snow
cleared away upon a first glance. The sheep blended in so harder to
tell. He set into eating for indeed this was one of Hannah's
speciality and he was making the most of it.
She would have to look of course, though while she did, she continued to
enjoy the food and wine. A decision was made that once spring arrived
and the snow cleared, she was going to do some exploring. "I may
consider it though I know Gram enjoys teaching, even if she pretends to
be aggravated with me." Mary Quinn had an amazing amount of
patience when it came to her grandchildren. Once she was full, she
continued to enjoy the rest of her wine, watching not only the scenery
He did the same, there was just enough food and certainly enough wine as
he topped off her glass and his for the second time. It would not do
well to linger too long or the cold would seep in but long enough to
enjoy the day especially one with sunshine. "Besides skill with the
sword, are there other things that you like to do, Gemma?"
"I like to ride, and," she paused as she gave him a look,
"I enjoy doing embroidery. It helps me to relax and I guess it
brings me closer to my mother. She's the one who taught me when I was
very small and was fascinated by it." She laughed as she held up
the cloak so he could see what she had done. "It also satisfies my
taste for pretty things."
"So no one can say you don't have a feminine side for being a
warrior." Teasing but it was true as he made note of the cloak.
"I like to go riding too, take off in the country side. No matter
how many times I go out, there is always a new place to discover."
Which was probably why he enjoyed it so much. He poured them the last of
their wine and gradually put all back into the basket: dirty plates, the
table cloth, the empty wine bottle, and once they were done the glasses
and pads would follow.
"Where you born here, or rather in Ballicastle?" She motioned
toward the landscape, taking it all in. "I think you could spend
your lifetime exploring and still be surprised. I've been to a few of
the closer places, the different gardens, the library and museum, and of
course, the race track." She helped him put things away, then
finished the wine that remained in her glass. It would help her feel
warm for a time at least. "Is there any single place that's your
"Have you been to the Celtic Gardens yet?" He had risen as his
glass was empty and set into the basket as well the pad he'd been
sitting on for warmth and comfort. Why they had been added. "I was
born in Scotland as were the rest of my family. Direct siblings. Our
father died shortly after we arrived, it was his dream to come
here." He realized he wasn't sure why but probably Neale knew.
That was a time of his life where he got in trouble a lot, hot headed
and more self centered which was a normal stage. And he grew out of it
which was normal to follow, it was the ones that didn't that had
problems. Once done, all packed up and the basket over one forearm, he
offered the other in escort.
"The castle gardens but not the Celtic. I know it's always warm
there but I wanted to wait until I had a full day and so far, every time
I do, there's something else to be done." She handed him her glass
and the pad she had been sitting on and then slid her arm through his.
"It seems to be the same for a few. Of course, our father wanted to
come because of our grandfather. I understand why now that we're
"I really don't remember being any where else it has been so long.
This is home to me and I'm sure my siblings and cousins feel the same at
this point, or they would have left." Seeing her to the sleigh as
he set the basket inside first then saw her up and in. A strong hand to
guide before he was around and inside to take up the reins. Luckily
there was enough room to turn the sleigh around, carefully, before they
were on their way back down at a slow steady pace so there would be no
slipping of the sleigh into the horse. His free hand on the break in
case they started sliding at certain dips in the road, they were going
down the side of a snow covered mountain after all.
"Then wanderlust has never taken you off to other places?" She
watched as they traveled down the mountain, watching the changing
scenery and occasionally spotting wildlife though many of the animals
were settling in for a night's sleep. "I've been to England but I
find it a dreary place compared to Ireland and, now here. The nobles are
a stuffy bunch for the most part, especially when it comes to the
Irish." Unconsciously she moved a little closer to Patrick. It
wasn't that she didn't trust his driving but more that some of those
dips were a bit un-nerving!
"Aye, it has, but I came back again too. Never gone long,
especially now." Although he had built in baby sitters he tried to
spend as much time as he could with his son. The race tracks took up a
lot of time but he was starting to bring his son with him and this
summer most likely more being he was going on six. "Aye, England is
one of my last choices to end up there. Scotland, Ireland, either of the
two are more preferable. He noted her moving closer and naturally slid
his arm around her in a protective gesture, drawing her closer which
she would find much warmer.
"I didn't go much farther than that though I would have liked to
travel more. My father took ill." She frowned slightly, "And
was gone before I made it home so I joined Mel here. It's something I've
not regretted so far." She gave him an impish look. "Nice to
share the warmth, isn't it?" She meant it too!
Which had him dip his chin with a look down her way with her snuggled at
his side. Something else shadowed green eyes a moment in reflection and
was gone again. "Yes it is. I had forgotten how nice it is to have
one close like this," anything else was left unsaid as focus
shifted back to the road and the workhorse making its way carefully
down. A bit of a relief once they were past any dangerous points and the
horse then picked up a steady trot. "I enjoyed losing the bet for
it brought us here," words lowered between them with a glance back
down upon her face.
Again, she noticed the shadow but it was something she'd ask another
time if they saw one another more. "I'm not sure quite how to say
it because I don't want to sound smug, but I'm glad you did too."
She laughed as she answered. "I've truly enjoyed myself. It was
exactly how I hoped. And please tell Hannah that everything was
Which had him laugh outright, slightly throwing his head back for the
outburst. Rich deep sound, "now how can I believe that.."
teasing no less back at her. "Of course with this last race,
you owe me breakfast was it? See if you can learn to cook some
scramble eggs, hash browns and.. or.. pancakes. Just let me know when
you are ready, although I may have to bring my son with me that early if
that is not a problem?" Giving a wink as they continued onward
across a field then out onto the main road heading for the Quinn manor.
His laugh had her joining in before she became just a touch more
serious. "Oh, all the lessons are planned out and this time I will
pay attention so, I would say within a week or two. And of course your
son is welcome. I don't know if Gram will be able to resist peeking in
to meet him." She looked toward the manor then back. "Will you
come in for a few minutes? If you can, of course. I promise we won't
keep you overly long." She didn't want to keep him from his son if
that's what he planned for the evening.
"I would love to come in and meet your grandmother and the others.
Will you be serving me breakfast here then?" Which would be a
logical choice as he would be over in time as she called it and when.
Once to the front of the manor he rein in the stallion and was out and
around to help her out. He had an hour or so he could spend as long as
he was home for dinner and at the table with his son and the rest of the
"Good, she'll be delighted." The meeting before they left
would not have satisfied Herself. "And yes, here. In case I get
stuck." What she was going to make wouldn't be hard, but it was
natural for her to make fun of herself. As they headed for the
front door, she had to laugh when she saw the curtains move.
"They're waiting for us I think." The hour would pass far too
quickly but it would be fun, and Gram would likely be talking about
Patrick for days!