Heart Strings

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Connor received Liam's request with good humor and ran it past Terri, Jim and Amanda. They decided they would go check in at the hotel and then come to the house so the boys could prepare a little dance music. The overbooked string quintet was only available for an hour and a DJ couldn't be found at the last minute, so getting a ceilidh band together at short notice was a welcome idea. Terri only insisted on one song and that was Galway Girl, which Liam told her was already in his repertoire. Her only other caution was no laments. Liam and his friends had brought her, Cheri and Amber to tears with a song called Kilkelly.

"I promise Mam, it will only be for dancin', how do yas feel about Waltzing's for Dreamers?"

"That's a good one and you can dance to it, I'm sure you've got the idea now, Terri encouraged.

When the Powell's arrived, the boys retreated to the music room and worked out at least fifteen songs they had in common. The rest of the time, they talked about how things were progressing between Shane and Pearce. Shane presented Liam and Danny with an original drawing of themselves but it was different from the nude. The drawing was of Liam and Danny sitting in a small sofa with Danny leaning into Liam as he wrapped his arms around Danny. Both boys were truly touched by the gift.

"Well lads, it will be just the three of us here after today for a fortnight, what shall I be puttin' on the shopping list for meals then?" Maeve asked.

"Whatever it takes to make those pastie things, they were great!" Danny volunteered.

"I'm way ahead of you Danny, how about you Liam?"

"We shouldn't need much, just some fresh veg and we can go to the Farmer's Market Sunday and get that. We should have plenty of meat and chicken in the deep freeze. I plan to cook a bit while you're here so you can try my cuisine," Liam grinned at her.

"Well I think we all should get ourselves dressed and get to the courthouse. We've only an hour and a half," Connor suggested.

The family left the house and arrived at the courthouse with plenty of time to spare.

At the court house, the family was shown to the chambers of Jack Corrigan.

"So you're going to marry this Dublin hooligan then eh Terri?" Jack inquired.

"I can't resist his roguish charm and he's not bad looking either," Terri grinned.

"Shall we assemble?" Jack suggested.

Terri and Connor stood directly in front of Jack with Sarah Hanlan on Terri's left and Mike Hanlan on Connor's right; Liam stood behind Terri and Danny stood behind Connor. The boys held hands as Connor turned to Terri and took her left hand in his right.

Jack Corrigan began the simple ceremony,

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to witness and sanction the joining of two people in the bonds of marriage. Marriage is a contract between two people not to be entered into lightly." 

"Theresa Fiona Sullivan, are you here of your own free will, under no duress?" Jack queried.

"I am," Terri answered clearly.

"Connor Cormac Dennehy, are you here of your own free will, under no duress?"

"I am," Connor affirmed.

"Will you Theresa, take Connor to be your lawfully wedded spouse?"

"I will," Terri smiled.

"Will you Connor, take Theresa to be your lawfully wedded spouse?"

"I will," Connor said strongly.

"Will you be exchanging rings?" Jack inquired.

Mike handed Connor a box which he proffered to Terri. Terri removed a large gold band and Connor removed a smaller version of the same ring.

"You may exchange rings as you wish."

That was quickly dealt with and Jack continued.

"Before I pronounce you to be married before the law there is another matter for this proceeding."

"His Honor Jason Marraccini has conveyed to my office the documentation for adoption proceedings regarding two minor children. Patrick Daniel Sullivan are you present?"

"I am Sir, Danny said meekly.

"Liam Rory Dennehy, are you present?

"I am yer Honor," Liam proclaimed.

"Patrick Daniel Hurley Dennehy, I now convey that name upon you and grant the adoption by Connor Cormac Dennehy."

"Liam Rory Dennehy I grant your adoption by Theresa Fiona Dennehy."

"I pronounce that Theresa and Connor are lawfully wed and entitled to all the benefits and responsibilities that go with marriage, in accordance with the laws of the state of California. My congratulations to the happy family."

When all the kisses and hugs were dispensed with, Jack spoke again.

"I was honored that Connor thought of me when he began looking for a judge to officiate over this occasion. Normally the civil ceremony only requires the judge to ask three or four questions but this was not an ordinary wedding. It was my pleasure to preside over, not only a marriage ceremony but also the joining of two families. I thank you for the privilege."

"Thank you Jack, I trust we'll see you and your lovely wife Angela at the reception," Connor confirmed.

"We'll be there with Colin and Connor. I doubt you'll recognize them, they've really shot up of late," Jack announced.

Sarah, Michael, Terri and Connor signed the documents and Jack stamped the marriage license.

Maeve approached Jack with Liam and Danny.

"That was a lovely ceremony you came up with there, yer Honor," Maeve intoned.

"Thank you, it was a pleasure to write a special ceremony for such a good friend, and please call me Jack. Connor and I are old friends. He designed my home and helped me pull my head out when my first wife ran off. Connor is a solid friend and I'm glad to do it. You raised a fine son and a fine grandson along with it," Jack confided.

"Thank you Jack, they are quite a team aren't they. As close as I've ever seen for a father and son. Connor was close to his da too, but he and Liam are much closer. I doubt there's much about Liam that Connor doesn't know."

"And now he has another boy to raise and he tells me Danny is a wonderful lad," Jack reported.

"He is that, he's a very sweet child and incredibly strong inside. I'm happy to have another to spoil."

In a short while, the party were back in the cars and headed to the Faculty House for the reception.

The boys, Maeve and the Hanlans rode to the hall together to get things organized while Terri and Connor would come along a bit later.

"It's official, Danny is my brother; I'll let him tell you his full name," Liam announced to their gathered friends.

Cheri and Amber swept in and kissed Danny within an inch of his life. He would have to wash his face to remove the lipstick but he was grinning broadly.

When the girls released him, the guys took over with hugs and more than a few kisses.

Brian and Calvin walked in wearing proper suits and ties and Calvin looked adorable. He was told so by most of his assembled friends. Brian received plenty of compliments as did all the boys and girls that had gathered just inside.

"So does everyone have their alarm set for 2:15?" Liam asked.

The crowd gave an assent and agreed that they would be in position by twenty-five after to listen for the cue. Connor would sing from the stair case initially and make his way to Terri during the first chorus.

The main group of reception guests began to arrive at 12:30. Connor and Terri had arrived earlier and were lounging in a private room to the rear of the hall.

After an hour, the string quintet was seated and started with the Haydn Andante Cantable and followed by a mixture of Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Liszt.

Behind the hall was a small disused quadrangle and the singers all visited to warm up prior to the performance.

At 2:15, there were reports from phones ranging from beeping to low vibration sounds and many of the guests excused themselves from conversations to make their way to their assigned and carefully chosen positions in the hall. The quintet concluded a well-worn Liszt selection and at 2:25, Richard invited guests to open the envelope they had been handed as they entered. The quintet began the introduction to Libiamo as Connor descended the staircase to the half way point and as Terri entered through a side door walking to Sarah and a few other women.

Connor's rich baritone filled the hall and it had begun; Terri gave her reply and the chorus joined in. The contra canti was executed wonderfully and in roughly four minutes it was done and the entire hall was applauding. Although not many of the guests had joined in using the lyric cards it was an unqualified success and the most unique reception many had ever attended.

Dinner was served shortly after the singing and people spent a great deal of time questioning the singers at their tables.

After dinner came the speeches. Mike Hanlan recounted a few watered down tales from the streets of Dublin and then became serious and wished Terri and Connor the happiest of marriages.

Liam, Danny and their friends retrieved their instruments and they started with Tell Me Ma and followed that with Galway Girl, in addition to plenty of Classic Irish wedding songs such as Maggy's Wedding and others. Tristan joined with his guitar since Liam had been playing fiddle most of the afternoon. They played Waltzing's for Dreamers as Cheri danced with Connor and then shared him with Terri. The music went on and after an hour or more, it was time to stop and cut the cake and throw the bouquet and the bride's garter.

Rick's date caught the bouquet much to his embarrassment and Spencer caught the garter, which landed nowhere near the assembled bachelors due to Connor's inability to launch a garter successfully. Spencer shrugged and slipped the garter up the sleeve of his shirt and went on with his chat with Amber, Cheri and Melanie. Melanie for her part hung on every word that Spencer uttered. Later, Spencer, Pearce and Shane joined Danny and Liam on the service steps at the back of the hall. They sat chatting when a couple of shadows loomed over them.

"Hey, you guys were pretty good in there. Maybe you don't remember me but you rescued my brother's buddy Craig on the bike trail. I work at the hall here but I don't usually speak to the guests. The whole singing thing earlier was awesome, I never saw a flash mob in person before, I'm Josh by the way."

"Oh yeah, we didn't talk much when we met you the first time. This is Danny, Shane, Spencer and Pearce," Liam explained. "I hope Craig healed up okay."

"Oh yeah, his mom took him to Urgent Care but all they did was a little more cleaning and put on another dressing and they gave him a prescription for antibiotics. He didn't have any internal trouble with his knee or anything except some bruising," Josh added. "You'll probably see him on the trails soon."

"Grand, I'll look forward to that," Liam answered.

"Oh well, break's over, I gotta get back in and buss tables. See you guys later," Josh waved as he retreated through the doors.

All in all, it had been a fine day and everybody had enjoyed themselves. Nobody seemed to be over indulging in drink and no arguments were heard amongst the guests. Liam suggested that they get back in and load up the instruments in the Landcruiser and get ready for the short trip home. Connor and Terri would head for the airport in Terri's Mini; Maeve and Liam would leave in the Landcruiser and Danny would ride with the Hanlans with Cheri and Amber. Liam and Danny assembled all their friends thanking them for their participation and help. Plenty of hugs were exchanged, Todd and Darren were very emotional and lingered a bit during their hugs. Finally, they all caught their respective rides and the hall slowly cleared out to cheer Terri and Connor as they embarked on their honeymoon.

People ambled to their cars or stood around chatting. Liam caught sight of Rick and Michelle and waved. They waved back and Michelle glowed. Had Rick taken the plunge? Liam wondered.

On the drive home, Maeve asked Liam how he was feeling now that the big event had come and gone.

"I'm feeling quite grand, some might think that since I couldn't stand Erica, I didn't want a mam of me own but that's rubbish. What I wanted was a woman like Terri to be a real mam and take care of Da as well as me. It's so wonderful to see Da happy again, there's nothing more I can think of that I want. I've me Danny and now Mam and Da and who knows, there might be a wee one comin' round. Danny and I would love a little brother or sister. All I can do is hope," Liam mused.

"Well you and your mates sure gave a good account of yourselves at the reception. I wasn't expecting a ceilidh band to spring out of the ground like that," Maeve lauded.

"Mam only had the one condition which was no laments, they would have been out of place at a reception anyway. But if I ever play a wake, I'm all set," Liam chuckled.

Maeve laughed and the pair moved on towards the house.

Both cars arrived at the house at the same time and Danny bounced out thanking Mike and Sarah. Mike reminded Danny that there was a suitcase in the back of the wagon that belonged to his parents so Danny grabbed it and carried it to the door. Cheri and Amber decided they would hang around for a while with the boys and help them with the instruments. They all waved as Mike and Sarah pulled away and then set to the task of unloading the Landcruiser.

"We'll put them all in the music room. They're not all mine and Tristan will want his guitar and Sean will want his bhodran." Soon everything was brought in and secured. Liam texted Sean and Tristan to let them know their instruments were safe.

"Spencer was pretty good on the squeeze box wasn't he, Liam?" Danny observed.

And the flute, he sings quite well and he's the voice for it as well. I'd say he's well suited all the way around," Liam agreed.

After a bit more chat and a couple of glasses of tea, Cheri and Amber decided to make their way home. Maeve wouldn't allow them to walk because it was coming on dusk. Kisses and hugs were exchanged and off they went.

When Maeve returned, she found Liam preparing a dinner of French Dips and Danny was monitoring a batch of chips in the fryer.

"When will I know they're done?" Danny quizzed.

"It's on a timer and when the thing beeps you pull the basket and salt the chips lightly. Use that metal shaker on the counter, it has special salt," Liam instructed.

Liam's own timer sounded and he moved the pot with the meat and broth off the hob and onto a large trivet.

He set about slicing French rolls for the sandwiches and prepared plates. Once done with that he pulled the malt vinegar from the cabinet and set out small bowls for the au jus.

"I hope you didn't have something planned Shan, but we needed to use this roast beef soon while it was still good," Liam cautioned.

"You'll hear no complaints from me. I usually cook for meself or go to a take away. Trying to eat in a café has become a right pain. When yer on yer own you get a shite table and they ignore you after that. If I want to eat out, I go to Morrisey's on the high street. It's the best pub around and walking distance from me digs," Maeve replied.

"Well it's ready, I hope you like it. Da seems to fancy them. The trick is getting the broth to taste right. This seems to be a good batch so I hope you find it tasty," Liam announced.

"It smells like heaven to me," Danny gushed. For a slight framed lad he could pack away groceries at a prodigious rate.

Half an hour later, they were pushing back from the table.

"Saints, that was heavenly Liam, and the chips were perfect Danny, I've never had better," Maeve extoled.

"Thanks Shan, it was my first time and Liam showed me what to do. I'm glad you liked them."

"It's an easy meal to fix, only eggs and chips are faster as far as I know. You just need the seasoned roast beef from a deli. Morelli's is the best around here, it's an Italian deli. Costa's used to be okay but now it mostly carries Hispanic stuff. It's not bad if that's what you want but they don't have cannoli or anisette cookies or any really good bread," Liam explained.

"I know what you mean Liam, years ago my favorite chippy retired and sold his stand to a nice Hindu man but he put curry on everything and couldn't understand why the customers stopped coming."

"It might be tasty once in a while but I like my chips traditional," Liam declared.

"And me dear," Maeve agreed.

Liam and Danny began the clearing up while Maeve found a plastic container for the remaining beef and broth.

"You'll want to show me where that deli is so we can get a few things for one of my own recipes," Maeve suggested.

"Anytime you're ready Shan, we'll go with you," Danny replied. "Carmina is really nice, she gave me my first anisette cookie. It was great."

"What are you lads going to do with the rest of the day?" Maeve asked.

"I need to check some glue ups in my shop and Danny mentioned piano practice," Liam volunteered.

Danny poked his head in the door and confirmed his plan.

Maeve decided to take a break and read in the living room and listen to Danny's playing.