Poster: Stephanie Shawnesey
Post # 57
Conor hadn't taken a break during the day. From the time the sun
rose to the time he finally set his work aside, he had worked solid.
No breakfast. No lunch Only a breath to toss back some
water and then to work again. Jeremy was taking the days off to
help get the manor ready, he could understand that, but Conor had come
to rely on the boy's help more than he realized. Conor's back
ached. His fingers ached. His head ached. So
once the sun had set, he just walked away and sought out the
Thistle. A glass, a bottle, and the hearth. That was the
beginning to a good evening.
Steph was the oldest of the Shawnesey children as Maureen was the
youngest; adoringly called little Mo but she was no longer little. In
fact, it was time for her to get out and meet others. Sooner by years
than Steph had gotten out of Dunshire. There were reasons as being the
oldest she helped her mother take care of the others when growing up,
helped her most in the kitchen and other such duties. Hopefully they had
not spoilt Mo too much! "It is a really nice place,"
encouraging her as they headed up those very steps. "Lots of people
come here, from older to our age. You remember Alex?" As she opened
the door and held so her sister could move in first.
Of course they spoiled her too much, but you wouldn't hear her
complaining and she wasn't a brat because of it. Mostly due to the
fact that Rhett and Shaun would remind her if she was being too much of
a brat. She liked to help around the house too, even if she wasn't
very good at it and most of all, she loved to bake. "I
remember him being very stern looking but with a twinkle in his eyes.
Mostly I remember Hazel and the cookies she makes." She
didn't wait long to step inside. No need to let the cold in more
She was in right behind her as she commented on Mo's comment, "yes,
and she still makes them. More than likely there is a tray out on the
bar. Alex will probably let you have some punch if you act like you're
older." Giving her a wink as she saw to the door being closed over.
Mo always wanted to be as old as Steph anyway. Grew up faster than her
years for it. "Good evening Alex. You remember Mo?" Seeing to
her winter outwear as she spoke.
"Hello Alex." She gave the tender a bright smile as she
removed her cloak and gloves. "It's been a long time."
Had it really been that long? Maybe to Mo. She spotted the
man sitting in front of the hearth and smiled at him as well.
"Good evening, sir."
Conor didn't say anything as the two lasses entered. They were
speaking to each other, so he just watched them, and listened. It
was when the one addressed him that he offered them a nod.
Steph had missed the one being so intent on her sister. Silver green
eyes lifted to shift from her to the one in front of the hearth. Smile
tugged at the corners first with a dimple only to spread fully. Warmly.
"Hello, good evening to you." Reaching the bar as she ordered
up a black cherry punch.
Hello? Good evening to you? She gave her sister a look.
She was talking to a good looking man, and she didn't even give their
names. "I'm Maureen Shawnesey and this is my sister,
Stephanie." And she gave him a pretty smile before she
attempted to get the same drink as Steph.
Ah, well, maybe the man was a bit too good looking and had distracted
her more than usual. Enough to forget her manners but then he had not
offered introductions either. She only smiled. Dimple showing then
collected her drink.
"Stephanie, Maureen. Pleasure. I'm Conor Quinn."
He scooted up so he wasn't so relaxed in his chair. "You can
join me over here by the fire if you'd like."
"I heard of the Quinns, you've a big family." More a comment
than a question as she tried to at least participate in conversation.
"A pleasure to meet you Conor of the many Quinns. Would you like
He just smiled and nodded to the chairs he had suggested earlier.
"And I've heard of the Shawneseys."
Ooo! She managed to get a glass of the punch too and gave Steph a
triumphant look. And there was an offer they had to accept.
She just managed to bridle her enthusiasm and not drag Steph over to the
hearth. "You're the one who makes the saddles, aren't you?
I've heard talk they're some of the finest about." She tucked
a leg under her other on the chair as she sat. In spite of being
told not to do that over and over. 'Sit up straight, ladies,
both feet on the floor, eyes front. Proper posture always.'
Well, Madame and her ruler wasn't here now to correct her.
Her comment caused him to grin. "I'd like to think I'm that
one, aye." He held his drink, but didn't bring it up to taste
at the moment. "Haven't seen the either of you here
"Oh, well, Stephanie's been here before, but no, I haven't
been until tonight. Our parents used to bring us when we were
small." She laughed, softly. "And I was at school
for a time." And as if realizing, she was babbling, just a
touch, she added, "do you come here a lot?" And fell quiet to
hear the answer.
He started his reply to her with a nod. "Aye, quite a lot. I
enjoy the company it always seems to provide."
"It seems pretty quiet tonight." She looked around
before she turned her attention back to him again, just taking a moment
to study him. "I'm hoping to meet more though. Have you
met any of our brothers?"
"Have." He brought up his glass, swallowed, then lowered it
again. "When I first arrived, met Rhett, he made a weapon for
my brother, Eion." That smile grew some. "And I
will say that I've had the opportunity to enjoy the toboggan run."
"I've gone on it too. I think this is the best they've
done." She paused a moment. "Though I didn't get to go
on it the first time they made it." She was proud of all four
of her siblings, and tickled her brothers were known. "They had a
few races there too though I think last year and this, they were
"Doesn't mean bets still aren't made." Eyes sparkled
with his amusement. "Where did you go to school,
Maureen?" He completely twisted the conversation to her, and things
more personal to her.
She went quiet which was not usual for her as they joined Conor at the
hearth. Settling a seat or two away, close enough but not crowding. The
drink was sipped as she listened, leaving her sister to be the talkative
one for a change.
"Here in Heathfield until I was old enough to be sent to
England." She glanced at her sister, and smiled again.
"I wanted to be a dancer but it's not so easy there and I finally
got homesick." Not ashamed to admit it either as she looked back.
"I didn't care for London so much. Too damp." Not to
mention, the girls were snooty!
She finally cleared her throat as she added a comment, "we were
thinking of asking to run the dance hall that has been abandoned."
Not too much before she quieted again. Mo could speak enough for them
"The dance hall?" He looked between the two young women.
"That would be interesting."
"We would teach dance there and maybe hold dances if there's an
interest." She tipped her head slightly as she looked at
Conor. "Do you dance, Conor?" Look, Steph! She
wasn't calling him Mr. Quinn.
Which had her smile on the thought. Yes it would. For a few. "Do
you dance, Master Conor?" Caught between being not too formal nor
He chuckled as they both asked the same thing...at the same time.
Which had her slightly cock her head as a sparkle roes in sliver green
eyes. "Are you modest or fear you would step on toes?"
Slanting a glance her sister's way she had all she could do not to burst
"I do if the moment's right for it. And I even enjoy it if
I've a lovely partner." He was still chuckling, especially
with Steph's question. "I am far from modest, Miss and it has
been quite some time since I've stepped on anyone's toes while
"I would imagine having a lady as your dance partner would be far
grander than learning with your brothers?" She knew that when lads
learned, a lot of times it was with another lad as the lady. "Then,"
and here came the IFs that would make it questionable to even happen,
"if we get the dance hall and if you come down, I will request a
dance with you if you do not mind, Master Conor," adding a smile at
the end that reached her eyes.
She wrinkled her nose at all the formality from her sister. His
name was Conor, for goodness sake!
Brows lifted with the spreading of an even bigger smile. "If
I don't mind? I would very much enjoy that, Miss Stephanie."
His gaze touched on her sister. "And if you're willing, Miss
Maureen, a chance to dance with you as well." He lifted his
glass slightly. "I'm hoping you are able to do so."
She had the purity enough that a blush touched upon her cheeks but
certainly that only enhanced the glint it caused in her eyes. Didn't
matter it was offered to both, not she in particular. In fact she was
very pleased he included her sister. She lifted her glass, "to
dreams of the future may they be blessed with them."
A toast? Aye...he'd drink to that!
She drank down every last drop that had been in her glass. Rising then,
she was over to get more. "Do either of you want something
She would too, finding she liked the punch very much, and after she took
a drink, she smiled at Conor. "I would be delighted to dance
with you. No, I'm still working on the first glass."
She was going to be very careful because she wanted to return.
That might not happen if she were to return home drunk.
"I have a bottle stashed beside the chair, Miss. I will be
set for a good part of the evening. Thank you." A fine
pair, these two sisters. He smiled to himself as Stephanie
wandered back over to the bar.
Glancing between them both, with a slight pause on Conor for his
comment, then around to collect her drink as the glass was refilled.
Once done, she wandered back to take up the seat she'd previously
vacated. "How goes your leather trade. Do you only make
The fact she brought up business caught him by surprise.
"Just saddles? No. Some of the tack as well. Harnesses.
Reins. But let's not talk about me. Let's talk about you
two. Really, what has kept you from gracing the tavern more often?
We've surely been deprived of such lovely company."
"Well, home life, I help my mother out a lot but now she is chasing
me out of the house or I'll become an old maid she says. I've been out a
few times but have not met you until now.."
She was going to settle into listening now, though of course, she'd add
what she could, when she could. A slight shift and she had both
legs where they should be beneath her skirt since the other had been
falling asleep under her. She bit back a giggle when she heard
Steph and all the while she was wiggling her foot to try to stop the
pins and needles in her leg.
For the unheard giggle she knew was there. "Mo will probably be
married off long before I am." Grin.
"You an old maid, what a pity that would be." He slid a
look to the younger one. "And you...you've been away at
"Yes, where it was all so veddy, veddy proper." She
imitated an upper class English accent and laughed. "And utterly...
boring. So, now I'll be here seeking excitement, and
Stephanie will be here so mother doesn't chase her out of the house with
"I would not mind some excitement in my life." Long overdue
most likely. Shooting a glance Mo's way before taking another healthy
dink of her punch.
"I don't know about excitement, but the Thistle is a good
place to start to meet people, Ladies...that might be able to introduce
you to some excitement."
"You prefer peace and quiet, Conor?" She gave him an
impish look, tipping her head a bit.
Somehow she doubted that as she was curious to his reply. So he had two
sisters with their focus on him.
"At times." He grinned, bringing up his glass lest they see
that expression that told the remainder of his words.
And yes, she had ignored the talk of marriage and would, for
goodness sake! "But not always. So, flying down the
dragon is your excitement?" She studied him again, then shook
her head. "No, I don't think that's it at all."
But then he thought better of it, his glass coming back down to rest on
his leg. "But most times, no, Miss Maureen. I'm more a
man of action, for the most part. And you've only just met me, Miss
Maureen." He laughed now, a low, rumbling sound filled with his
amusement. "I've a penchant for seeking out my entertainment
where fights are plentiful and whiskey even more so."
"And the lasses are lovely and willing?" She was
probably going to get swatted by Steph as she continued without a blush!
"So, are you secretly a swashbuckler, or maybe a highwayman, and
when you've found a likely victim, do you follow him to take his
gold." And maybe, she shouldn't drink the punch just yet.
Slowly he added a negative motion of head. "Far from it, Miss
Maureen, though, if it pleases you, I would say it is so." He
scratched at the corner of his mouth where his grin remained.
"And lovely, willing lasses are not all they have been built up to
be. I prefer a lass...with a bit of sass to her and not so much
willing to say yes to everything I may suggest." He shrugged
then. "I'm an Irish lad, Miss Maureen. We've been
raised to appreciate a real woman."
"What kind of action do you like the best?" There it was, the
Like their mother! She grinned and nodded. "Well, I
think that's probably better then." And Steph finally spoke
"Action?" There it was...a sort of side step around the
"Yes, you spoke of excitement and action, or did I hear you
"No, you heard me right, Miss Stephanie, but only heard part of
what I said." He reached over the side of his chair and
then brought up a bottle. More of the potcheen was added to his
glass. "The action I prefer drops me dead center of a
round or two of whiskey and a good brawl. But, that's not all I
enjoy...just my preference."
"Well, yes, that would get the blood pumping. I'm sure there are
other situations that are best not discussed." Least not in public.
She was not that innocent in knowledge, just not first hand experience.
She read a lot.
He finished pouring and cut another look Stephanie's way.
"What would you consider excitement, Miss?" As he
brought up his glass, waiting for her reply, he lowered the bottle
beside his chair again.
"A good rousing dance such as the more exotic in Egyptian clothing
where silk moves as your limbs do." She didn't add anything more,
just took a sip of her punch in lieu.
That...kind of excitement then! "I see." He smiled,
lowering his glass. He nodded to Mo. "Is it the same
for you, Miss Maureen?"
"No, I think racing the wind on the back of a horse, or sailing off
to some faraway place that isn't England, or maybe ...
watching a brawl with a good Irish lad at the center." She
was teasing with the last and the sparkle in gray eyes would show it.
"There are those too.." feeling like she was an old lady
already if she didn't like such excitement. Which she did. She only
They both had excellent suggestions, although the whole sailing off to
faraway places wouldn't be an agreeable one to Conor!
"Doesn't one of your brothers sail?" She heard something.
"To far off places. Maybe we can stow Mo away on his ship."
Giving her sister a wink with the teasing.
Conor nodded faintly. "Aye, he does, but seems you could tuck
yourself away on one of the ships your family owns far easier."
The nod had changed to a shake. "Really, though, I'd much
rather race across a field, or be in a brawl then endure the likes of a
rolling, pitching sea."
Ah, but Mo wouldn't know that. She laughed at the suggestion.
"I could but with my luck, I'd find myself in England again."
She tipped her head at Conor. "Ah, not one for the sea
then?" Nothing wrong with that either.
"Oh, I meant for my sister to catch a ride on a ship bound to some
foreign exotic place. Douglas would have her head if caught on his
ships, well, to be his ships." She wasn't sure Douglas knew. She
got to overhear conversations he was probably not privy to yet.
"I meant your sister too, Miss Stephanie." He twitched a wink
off to her. "And no, I'd prefer my feet on solid land.
I do just fine that way."
"Well, there is the sled run for excitement," something that
was solid and true for as long as the winter lasted.
She sipped the punch then laughed. "And I guess that will have to
do for now. Though.... how did you get here then,
"Swam." He grinned...bringing his glass up. The
rest he spoke against the rim of the glass. "All the way from
Ireland." Brows danced with amusement and then he tilted the
glass up to drink.
Which had her laugh at his obvious teasing. "You landed as a prune
She laughed too, but mostly at herself. "It was a silly
question, wasn't it?"
"Near enough, Miss Stephanie. I dripped sea water for
"So, sailing is not an option for you." She looked thoughtful.
"Unless you know you can swim the whole way." She looked
like she thought he was serious.
Maureen's assessment caused him to laugh. "If I can help
it...sailing is never an option for me. Ever." He WAS
serious about the sailing!
"Did you gather barnacles too?" Which she was starting to
picture all this as amusement danced in her eyes.
He had a nice laugh! And she grinned at him. "At least you
can admit it. There are a few who would never do so!"
And she leaned forward slightly. "I didn't mind sailing when it was
nice and the sea fairly calm but not so much when it was storming."
Stephanie had her laughing too!
"Wasn't ever still long enough. That's a hellova swim, Miss
Stephanie. Had I slowed, I may not be here yet today." He was
laughing, these sisters were quite entertaining.
"So I can't nickname you Barnacle Bill?" Looking like she was
hoping and that wicked bit of a smile. "I love swimming in the
summer," as an afterthought. "I may not have gotten out here
much but I was to the lake every morning and in the evenings when I
could take a midnight swim."
"Not Barnacle Bill, but perhaps Crawfish Conor." He tucked his
glass between his knees and then tucked both his arms close to his
chest, making a swimming motion with just his hands.
She giggled and placed the now empty glass on a side table. One
was all she was going to have tonight. "Hmmm, crawfish don't
do the fishy mouth, do they?" And she pursed her lips
together to demonstrate.
"You do that rather well, do you practice in front of a
mirror?" It came easy in teasing him, "Crawfish Conor,
that's catchy. It might be shortened to Craw after a while."
His gaze touched upon her lips, he chuckled, but shook his head, turning
his attention to Stephanie. "I should do it well, I swam an
ocean such." Another wink and he collected his glass,
scooting forward and then standing. "I do regret for you that
I'm the only one that happened to the tavern when it's a night for
excitement. But I truly do not regret it for me." He
offered them each a nod.
She rose as he did, more out of respect. One of those silent things that
spoke more than words. "I'm pleased to have met you." It
didn't really seem to bother her that the tavern hadn't filled up.
"Easier to talk to one or two than if there had been more
"Ah, but I got to have you both all to myself. Quite the
pleasure. I look forward to seeing you again."
There came the smile, "have a good night Master Craw. May your
dreams be pleasant ones, filled with excitement and adventure."
She stood as well, her smile appearing again. "It was very
nice, Conor, and I don't regret it at all. I hope to see you soon
too. Good night and rest well." She laughed softly,
"And may your dreams be of places far from the ocean."
"Now there's a dream worth having." He pointed a finger
to Maureen with a grin, then continued on to the bar to bring Alex his
glass and bottle.
"More like streams and babbling brooks..." having a light
laugh follow. That was also where one found crawfish.
She watched him walk to the bar, then leaned to nudge her sister.
Which she got a quick discreet pinch back. She would be teasing Mo
She'd be teasing Steph! After all, she didn't blush like Stephanie had.
She would deny it. "Let's go take a walk down to the square and see
if the actors are still out performing." There was also dance
studio next to it. Deciding she was going to go for it wasn't far, she
headed for her coat to put on. They would be staying here a few days to
"All right." She followed to grab up her cloak.
"Are we going to come back here to stay then?" She had
enjoyed herself tonight and hoped there'd be more such nights to follow.
And though they had been teased about staying at the warehouse, she
hoped that wasn't the case.