Poster: Stephanie Shawnesey
Post # 5
There's something to be said for a quiet tavern. But if Patrick wanted
quiet solitude, he could have gone to the country. Here in Rhydin, quiet
was the calm before the storm. He had gotten his drink and claimed a
stool at the bar, waiting to see if the place began to fill now that the
lanterns were lit.
The place was not completely unoccupied for there was a daring young
woman, spitting image (or that kind of close) of her mother that once
tended this place, in the back. Sound within the main room had her
hustling back with a snap of a dish towel as she emerged. "I'm
sorry to say there is no regular tender here and it is more help
yourself..." dipping glance brought the temptress smile in a
beguiling way for a split instance and gone, "I see you have done
just that." Almost sounded like good boy. She had a bottle of wine
tucked under her arm which she used the towel to wipe it down as she
came around the customer side of the bar down a few stools. The cork
screw was then applied as she twisted it in.
Holy Shit! Patrick did a double take as Maggie O'Brien bustled out of
the back room, as if he had been transported in time to a day in the
past. Except, the tavern was empty. He narrowed his gaze, brought up his
whiskey glass to look down into it and then back to the lass who had
come around the bar. "It wasn't always the case, this place used to
be a hubbub of activity and tended by one of the best in this tavern's
history." He watched the young woman as she set to her task of
opening that bottle of wine.
Curiosity kill the cat but satisfaction brought him back. Steph kept
stealing glances the man's way. She didn't seem to be intimidated by the
fact she was in a tavern (first time) with a strange man. "Aye, so
the tales are told that have a far reach from these lands. You look like
you could probably tell a few of them.." did she just imply he was
old? Maybe. Maybe he looked like he weathered a lot and there was silver
there in his hair. She slightly pinched her finger, not enough to draw
blood but enough to put it between the cushion of nicely formed lips.
There too only a second before she braced the bottle in one hand against
her body then pulled with the other to the tune of a nice pop.
"Sounds like a good vintage." Setting the bottle aside she
chose one of the few glasses she had washed earlier and poured some.
First it was lifted to get a good look at its color from one of the
diffused shards of light making it through the window. Next the swirl
then the sniff before the rim was pressed against her lips and just the
tiniest taste taken, one to linger on her tongue a moment. She seemed
pleased and so another full drink was taken.
Patrick caught the reference and the 'older' man chuckled low, that
deep, rumbling sound that vibrated in his chest. "Tales are for
those who don't know how to have a good time for themselves. So, no,
Miss...I don't tend to spin a tale. What's your name, Lass?" The
entire time he spoke he watched her with her wine. She looked as if she
knew what she was doing, but then, anyone could mimic what they saw.
Too many vineyards where she came from as well a mother and father who
taught her the finer things. She slipped onto the stool, keeping her
distance but there were no bones in the way she studied him. Perhaps a
little admiration for the maturity she saw there. She was mature for her
years, one born going on thirty-two some would say.
"Stephanie," easily given but without the surname. No way was
she going to let that be known and possibly get in trouble for coming
here alone. She just had to finally see the place she heard so much
about. "What is yours," sounding much like fair was fair.
Ignorance was bliss, and so it seemed for the lass who shared the tavern
with him at present. She wasn't intimidated or frightened to be alone in
a tavern with a stranger, not even one of his size. But then, she really
didn't know who he was...at present. All he needed was her first name,
since her features were so familiar. "Well met, then, Stephanie.
I'm Patrick." And like her, he gave only what he received, although
he did continue. "You were named after your uncle is what I've been
told, Lass." He smiled, a white flash of teeth within the darkness
of beard. "Tales and all."
"Patrick," much like the taste of her wine, so was his name
tasted as it parted her lips, "a fine Irish or Scots name, which be
yea of the two?" The last almost had her lose her composure, so
grown up acting but then she was all of twenty two and feeling all grown
up. In some ways, yes, in some ways, no. She'd argue it to the positive
no matter. Such came with that age of more daring. Which had her blink,
"A man was named Stephanie?" Oh wait, "you mean
Stephen." Which had her eyeing him suspiciously then curiously,
"did you know him?"
He waited for her to work through her mental drama but after she
finished, he nodded once. He didn't bother with his own name since his
heritage was really not of any importance. "I knew him, if your
mother is Maggie O'Brien Shawnesey. Is your family name Shawnesey,
It was just her luck to come all this way and run into someone that
recognize family resemblance and knew her surname. What could she do? It
was not in her to lie unless it could save a life, including hers.
Maggie O'Brian was that kind of known, famous in her own right as was
her father. "Yes it is," slight pout couldn't be helped.
"They would not be too pleased to know I came here on my own but I
had to see the place my mother tended for a span of time. She was here
on her own probably a few years younger than I." Which had it dawn
on her. "Patrick would your last name be Maitland?" Obviously
the name had been spoken in the Shawnesey home at one time or another.
"Would you tell me of him?" She was named after him after all!
Spring had definitely arrived, Shawneseys were swarming from the
woodwork like termites. Blue gaze dipped to her lips, then back up to
her eyes. "All my life it's been Maitland." He chuckled again,
bringing up his glass and drinking before he reached across the
broadness of chest to place the glass on the counter. "Don't worry,
your secret is safe with me, Lass." He stalled as he considered her
last request, speaking of Stephan O'Brien hadn't been something he had
come prepared to do today...or any day for that matter. "What do
you want to know?"
Winsome smile, brought out the freckles that were sprinkled from one
cheek, over her nose, to the other if one got close enough to see. So he
was the man that had been involved in her mother's life, one that was
attached to here and so many years ago. Least twenty and three. Dipping
glance with the motion of his hand then back again to a face that
probably had aged well, aged as well as the man who wore it.
"Everything and anything you wish to impart. My mother never said
much and I got the impression it was too painful. Was she close to
Was the lass prepared to pull teeth? He nodded. "They were." A
cant of head and he looked her over. "Are you close to your
"Yes. I could not even think of life without them a part of it.
Were you close to my uncle too?" Slight dip of her head as it
tipped to the side as if getting a better look of the man. Next moment
she was up, and passed two of the stools, taking up one that was closer.
Being he knew her family, it initiated a little closer atmosphere.
He watched her approach, friendly little snippet, wasn't she? Again, he
nodded. "He was my business partner." They were doing business
the day he died, but Patrick didn't add that.
"How many years were you partners before he died?" She didn't
know that perhaps there was that connection of his death and the job.
"What was he like? Personality? Smart like my Ma? Witty?"
Prompting him to tell more.
Patrick chuckled. "He wouldn't have been my partner if he wasn't
all of those things and more. Your brother reminds me of him to some
degree." Years were a blur, and inconsequential. Patrick picked and
chose his questions to answer. It was the way of the man. Only so much
information offered and what was provided, worked in his best interest
for the moment at hand. "Tell me, Stephanie ... what are you made
of? You're here...without permission, so I'm thinking you've a bit more
O'Brien in you than Shawnesey. You approach a stranger and make yourself
comfortable in their presence...more proof that Maggie's blood flows
thick in your veins. I didn't know your father well, but by the looks of
you ... "
"Which brother? I have three," which was quickly asked
curiously. So he was turning around the conversation to a degree. At
least if she had an idea of which brother then she could have a better
idea of how her uncle was. There was the smallest of a smirk, hard to
tell being her lips naturally curled at the edges always hinting at a
smile. "I would like to think both. Proud to be like either, or be
somewhat like both or be myself rolled in there too. Long as I make them
proud which I believe I do. My mother had captured the eye of many a
bloke but she had only eyes for my father. That alone says much on him.
I do not have the eye of anyone, so in that, I'm not like her." If
she did, she was clueless.
She was all over the place with her conversation, but Maitland waited
patiently for her to finish and went from there. "How could you?
Your parents keep you sequestered, no eye can fall on you. Your mother
was the center of attention in this place. She came in contact with
anyone passing through these parts." He shrugged, she was right.
Maggie O'Brien waded through the masses of men as if they were mere
roaches on the floor. Rhett Shawnesey was the only one that Patrick had
ever seen Maggie get flustered around. He looked her over again, from
her eyes down to her toes then back up again. "You're right though,
you don't have Maggie's backbone...yet."
She listened to him stating facts she was all too aware of. She had been
sequestered away for far too long. That very backbone straightened,
stiffened, with his comment. "That remains to be seen. One never
knows they can swim until tossed in the water. Do you really think I
will sink?" There was that little smirk that fell somewhere between
sassy and daring in taunt. She may have been all over the place but she
went right back to the question he had not answered. "Which
brothers of mine have you met and which one reminds you of Stephen
That'a'girl. That's what he wanted to see. He hooked his arm on the
counter, starting to grin as the young lass took offense to his
statement and attempted to show him just how much spunk she had after
all. Dark brows arched with her repeated question. "They are one
and the same. I met only one of your brothers, Stephanie, Douglas. And
he has Stephan's spirit."
"So Douglas has worked his way here." Not really surprised but
it brought a smile again as she reflected on that. Rhett junior was too
busy with a lass and Shaun, well he was just coming into his own. Time
would tell with him but he was likely to meet him before Rhett.
"Douglas has a good heart," only thing she'd say there for he
did. "How long did you know my uncle?" That was another
question that kind of got skipped over.
And that same brother was making his way into the tavern right then,
pausing a moment when he spotted Stephanie here. A brow lifted but he
didn't say anything to her, just kept his grin in place and made his way
toward the two. "Evening, Mr. Maitland, Stephanie." He studied
his sister for a moment. "You're a long way from home."
Well, speak of the devil and he'll walk through the door. He looked to
Douglas' approach and his answer for Stephanie was while he nodded to
Douglas. "Long enough. Shawnesey." He looked to the girl, then
back to her brother. "Grab yourself a glass, I've got a bottle we
"Thanks." He did just that, and took up a lean once he had the
glass in hand. Steph hadn't answered so he waited, ever patient.
"Aye, as are you and I'd bet a pretty coin what brings me here is
what brought you here. If not at the moment, at least the first time.
I'll not tell either," giving him a sassy wink as she well heard
the evasive reply from the Mister Maitland. So that was the best way to
address him. Patrick would be too familiar to use. It made sense. She
took another of the glasses and poured Doug some of the wine she had
opened then offered it over.
"Better you don't, Stephanie. Since your parents already know of
Douglas' journey here...and doing so will only give yours away."
That deep rumble followed and he brought up his glass again.
Well, of course she didn't know about that as focus riveted on Maitland
then back to her brother, "how did that go?" Oh, she was
He had helped himself to the bottle Patrick had sitting there and then
... he was being offered wine? Chuckling, he took it anyway and set it
on the bar. "Not too bad. I was told to be careful here." And
that was true. He looked at Patrick and grinned. "Got three ships
of my own now." Not that he captained them.
"And you should be...careful." He looked at Stephanie then,
because she had strode right in and up to him without a hesitation. He
heard Douglas' claim, and lips pursed with appreciation. "That
should keep you busy enough, Lad. Choose your cargo well."
"I can now say you were with me here.." oh, one of those just
in case kind of things. Sweet.. sweet.. smile for her brother. "I
think you will do well with them." Leaving the business talk to
them as she took another drink of her wine.
"I plan to." He gave the man a nod then looked at Steph.
"But you arrived here before me." Teasing her. Of course, he
wouldn't tattle on her. Unless she did something stupid. "Has she
been asking all kinds of questions about Ma when she was younger?"
He intended to talk to Patrick more on business later, but mostly, he
was wondering what exactly his sister was up to.
He didn't look to Stephanie as she spoke, just kept that blue gaze on
the lad. Anything he may have added he kept to himself when Douglas
changed the subject. "Your mother?" Patrick shook his head.
Another nod and he laughed. "Then I'll have to quiz her on the way
home." He gave Steph a little nudge, then looked at Patrick.
"I would like to get your advice as to that cargo. I've been
thinking about the best way to make use of the ships." There was a
hint of devilment in his eyes as he spoke. He'd keep quiet about Steph
being here, if she kept quiet for him.
"He agreed she was the Belle here, that all eyes turned upon
her.." so there was some said even if not a whole lot. She could
tease too, "I'm well pleased my mother married me Da but I would
wonder if you too didn't have an eye for her." She had noticed no
ring upon the man's finger that would indicate his marital status.
And Douglas nearly choked!
Patrick looked right at the lass and he didn't say anything at first.
His jaw tensed, eased, tensed again before he responded.
"Don't." No ring upon his finger did indicate his marital
status. Single. That was his marital status. "Maggie O'Brien was a
pain in my ass that I endured only because of a promise to a dying
man." The look in his eyes said more than his words, she would do
best not to press this particular subject further. In fact, he shifted
his gaze from Stephanie over to her brother. "When you find the
time to pull yourself away from the dust bunnies and cob webs, make your
way to my warehouse, Douglas. You know where it is. And where to find
"Well.." and she actually kept from saying anything nor
bursting out into laughter which she had a hard time holding in. She
doubted he watched over her only because of a dying wish but she could
believe she was a pain in his ass if her mother so set herself out to be
one. In that way she was as a pit bull, once taken hold there was no
letting go. She perked hearing that offer. Warehouse. Duly noted.
Stephanie Shawnesey had been under the protective canopy of her father.
She didn't realize that there were men that didn't have to court a lass
to bed them. Nor did they want to court them, marry them, make babies
with them. That was not their idea of happily ever after. Every action
did not center around winning them for life but more, just to toss their
skirts and be done with them. He reached around and reclaimed his glass.
"To your parents." He lifted his glass, he meant it.
He just watched the interaction between the two, taking in Patrick's
reaction. When Patrick's attention came back to him, he nodded.
"Aye, I will." And he also noted Stephanie's reaction, and
kept from commenting in front of Patrick. He would warn her later, for
all the good it would do.
Oh, Douglas would be plied with all the questions she held back on
asking this Maitland fellow. She had good instincts, when to gab, when
to let it seem she was just gabbing for other reasons. When to stay
silent. Her silence usually meant some kind of trouble brewing. She took
another drink of her wine to the toast, eyes shifting from brother to
the man she was only becoming more curious about.
"And their long and happy marriage." He added as he lifted his
glass in a toast. He may not always agree with them, but he was proud of
them and that was how it should be.
"May it be longer and just as happy." He chuckled, only then
bringing the glass to his lips.
The last had her lifting her glass Douglas' way as she took another
drink. Her sentiment as well. Actually, she and Douglas were the closest
being the two oldest ones. "Do you plan to directly command one of
your new ships, sail it on one of the trading missions?" Stephanie
was looking for adventure, perhaps to make up for the docile life she
had let up to now and the flame in her heart ignited.
These delusional parents that believed sheltering their children kept
them safe. Bullpiss! It made them hunger, thirst, seek and find even
more dangers than those parents could ever imagine.
"I've been considering it though I'll need to talk to the
Captains." He shrugged slightly. "I know I'd have a lot to
learn and I don't want to lose them before I'm ready. One is close to
leaving sailing and settling down." Though he couldn't imagine not
wanting to sail anymore.
Hell, Patrick never wanted to sail, ever. "Consult with your father
then, Lad. He'll probably know of another captain looking for a ship.
Just no redheads..." There was that warning again, and a smile
before Patrick turned to reach for his bottle to refill his glass. He
would have offered Douglas another round but the youngster still had a
glass of wine to drink down.
Ooooo, that redhead. The stuff dreams were made of. He laughed at the
warning, though he'd take heed. Glass lifted in salute, he down the last
of that, and reached for the wine. Never let booze go to waste, unless
it was utterly undrinkable.
Redheads? Oh.. that remark sounded loaded to her as she glanced between
the two again. She would pry it out of Douglas later. "I would like
to go on such a trip if you take one." Heads up warning.
Dreams indeed. The kind that brought sighs of pleasure and then gasps of
pain. Where there was a fine line between the two, both a welcomed
experience if done correctly, but ... damn, some women should just be
avoided at any cost. "Yes, because it would definitely be a
pleasure cruise." Patrick brought up his hand and scratched at the
back of his neck. These young women and their fancies of being at sea.
He had met only a few females that could manage life at sea and those,
were more likely to slit your throat than look at you.
"If I do, it'll be a short one." He laughed as he admitted,
"I have no idea if I get seasick or not after all." And if he
did, he wouldn't be taking over as captain. And yes, he would avoid that
previously mentioned redhead. He cut a look at Patrick and bit back a
grin. The man didn't hesitate to say what he thought.
He had a scar or two for that very reason. He got up, leaving the
siblings to sit together as he went off to the back room. From there, he
called out to them. "So Stephanie, really ... do you have plans for
your life besides marrying some Lord and chasing after the babes he
fills your belly with?" The best way to build a backbone was to
have to deal with the likes of Patrick Maitland. He came out with an
apple, polishing it on his shirt front. He leaned against the door
frame, buffing away, his legs crossed at the ankles as he looked over at
The two were mostly quiet except for loaded comments. She knew enough
not to bait them, not here, not yet. "It is a good thing you moved
from the room Mister Maitland," for certainly something would have
made a flying contact with him. Oh, not so smart as she picked up a
wooden bowl left on the bar and whipped it at him like a Frisbee.
He didn't even flinch as it soared past his head. "I'll take that
as a no?"
"Very observant of you Mister Maitland," slight lift of her
chin but the twitch at the corner of her lips gave way to her amusement
Which meant she had no other plans...figured. She'd do well to find a
man as pleasant as her sire and just settle in for the rest of her life.
Shame really. His gaze darted to Douglas as the lass admitted to her
fate, not even realizing what she had agreed to.
"Geeze, Steph." He shook his head as the bowl went flying. A
bowl? When Patrick probably was used to knives? He lowered his glass to
stare at Stephanie. She had agreed with him! "Have anyone in
Actually she had plans, she just didn't share them at the moment. She
wasn't set on one thing but had a few things in mind. Douglas just had
her blink his way. "What do you mean? Get the wax out of your
ears.. the taking my answer as a no, not a yes to marriage and children.
I have no plans there." Making it clear.
Good thing she clarified, because Patrick heard it, meant it just as
Douglas had interpreted it. He chuckled where he stood, taking a bite of
apple with a loud crunch. He chewed, enjoying the wet flavor. He
motioned with the fruit toward the two. "Keep getting out,
Lass...you'll find plans there."
She had finished her drink and wasn't really enjoying this Maitland's
company. She was up, leaving the glass right there and what was left of
the bottle of wine. "I shall leave you two to your business
talk." She was going to go explore being up this way, take
advantage of it as she headed for the door. "Catch you later
Douglas," almost slipping with a Dougie.
So much to see and do. He knew what she was going through and maybe how
she felt though it was harder on a lass. At least, he thought it was. He
watched her stand, frowning slightly. "How'd you get here?" He
was a bit torn about leaving her wander or staying, but he didn't want
her feeling like he was playing protective brother!
"I rode," pausing at the door with a look over her shoulder
followed by a wink. There was only a second spared with a hard to read
look on Maitland before she was out the door and taking a good cleansing
"No need, this tavern is no place to discuss business." He
motioned with the apple between Stephanie and Douglas. Best Douglas
spend some quality time with his sister. Especially in this area!
He gave Patrick a slight nod as he stood. Yeah, he should follow after
her. "I'll come within a few days. It was good to see you again, Mr
Maitland." If something happened to Stephanie, he'd never forgive
himself and his parents wouldn't either!
"Same, Douglas." He smiled, moving his gaze back over to the
girl. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Shawnesey." And though he
winked to her, he was totally serious.
One step out the door but she lingered there, turned to catch that wink
as certainly she heard the conversation. "I hear there is a cafe
not far from here that overlooks the bay." Heard that one from
Lorcan when down at the docks but not something she'd let on about. Poor
Douglas, she'd be giving him silver hairs long before they were due for
his physical age. "Mister Maitland," possibly their paths
would cross again, possibly not. One never knew.
A cafe...well, that was a far cry from the MT. Sounded more to the Lady
Shawnesey's current pace. A twitch of a grin but he didn't say anything
else, just crunched down again on his apple and pushed up to go over and
retrieve his whiskey glass.
She was going for the view.
"Good night, sir." He stepped up beside his sister and nodded.
"Aye, though I've never been there." And hopefully there'd be
no one to cause her to get that look she had right now. Like she was
ready to strangle the man.
The bowl...he left laying in the floor.
Some women might want something else from this Patrick Maitland and it
might well prove she was more like her mother than she knew, strangling
him would be far more satisfying than bedding him.
Come now, without trying, how the hell would she ever know? Then again,
she was Maggie's daughter....she would never know.
Maggie would skin him alive and hang his hide on the MT door for anyone
coming or going to pass it by.
...and piss on it in passing!
With a sign: Here Hangs Maitland's hairy pelt.