Heart Strings

Chapter Thirty-Seven

February was a cold and rainy month, the rain had begun in earnest in late January. On the twenty-seventh of February, the clouds moved eastward to rain on some other part of the country. In its wake, it left mudslides in areas that had burned in the fall. In four days, the Dennehy and Sullivan families would join as one; all the planning was done. Mike Hanlan had accepted the role of best man and his wife Sarah was Terri's matron of honor. But since it would be a civil service, they would serve as witnesses.

The reception would be at the Faculty House in Claremont. The hall had a walkway on the second floor which overlooked the tables and dance floor. The room had really good acoustics.

March third was on a Saturday, so on Friday the boys, Connor and Mike Hanlan, would work out the details of the little flash mob style performance.

The first half of the day was devoted to signing the papers that would change Daniel’s name once Connor and Terri had tied the knot.

"You're sure of the name change now Daniel?" Connor asked.

Danny nodded.

“Okay then, once the judge signs the papers it would be hard to change back, I just want you to be sure.”

“I want my name to be Daniel Patrick Dennehy, Patrick was my mom's uncle and he was a good man, so I was named for him instead of Grampa Sullivan, and Daniel McCann was my dad's name. It's not his fault his family wouldn't recognize me. They don't have anything to offer me but I want to honor the man who brought me into the world," Danny explained.

"I think that's a grand thing to do Danny, I'm proud to share my name with you," Connor assured him.

"Thanks Da, I love you and it means a lot to me that you want to adopt me."

Connor hugged Danny and the attorney completed the papers for Connor and Terri to sign.

Hands were shaken and best wishes offered to the bride and groom. The small family took their leave of the attorney's office and went on to the next errand. The lyric cards for the guests were picked up and inspected and no errors were detected by the family.

"This is going to be so cool," Danny chirped. "Are we still doing a run through in the hall Friday evening?"

"That's the plan, and it's what I told Cheri and Amber, I'll call Calvin, Brian and the rest when we get home," Liam supplied.

"It sounds like you have it well organized boys, thank you both for the idea and making it happen," Terri put in.

"It's been fun to get people involved. Brian and Calvin have never sung in public before. Calvin got Brian to agree to give it a go," Liam added.

"You do realize Terri, that Richard will want to rope us into Karaoke nights from here on once he hears us sing," Connor warned.

"It might be fun, and we can work on a few duets just to be ready," Terri rejoined.

"Just giving fair warning Darlin’, I know a few songs that would be appropriate for our voice types. Which is the problem with Karaoke, people who aren't suited to singing rock ballads doing exactly that," Connor concluded.

"There are also people who really have no business singing in public, it doesn't stop them though," Terri laughed.

Upon arriving home, Liam collected the mail and a parcel and brought it into the kitchen.

One of the green signature cards was found in the collection of bills and advertisers. Connor signed it and Liam returned it to the clip on the mail flap.

"It's a registered letter, so we won't see it until tomorrow," Connor advised.

Terri prepared an early dinner and then left to run a few more errands.

Connor made a few phone calls, returning one to Dennis Sprague the attorney.

"Hi Connor, We have some movement, I've heard from all three respondents’ attorneys.  One of them is an insurance company for the company and their attorney is representing the guard as well. I suspect this is a strategy designed to keep the guard's attorney from working against the security company. The Parkers’ attorney is also working with an insurance company to limit the liability of the policy issuer. We have a meeting set up for next Monday to sit down and discuss the case. With the witness statements, and the fact that the Parker kid is locked up, I think we have a lot of leverage. What I need from you is permission to negotiate once I see what they're putting on the table. I would want to stay above our minimum amount, if they can't meet that then we go to court, or at least convince them of our intention to do so. I plan to make it clear that we have no issue with taking this to the wall. So what is your instruction?" Dennis asked.

"You have my permission to proceed with negotiations and see where it leads. A settlement would be better than a trial. Either way, no nondisclosure agreements, that's not negotiable," Connor stressed.

"That sounds right to me too Connor, may I swing by to have you sign a document to that effect this evening? I can be there in twenty minutes," Dennis requested.

"Yes, I'm in for the night and I'll be ready for you," Connor affirmed.

"That sounds fine Connor, I'll see you shortly," Dennis agreed.

Liam had heard the conversation and asked Connor what was up.

"Just some papers to sign so he can act for us. I want you lads to be on your guard, don't speak to any adult that's asking questions about the situation with Dave Parker. If someone approaches you, move away from them and call me. Both of you might be in the sights of the other side in this. So just be careful," insisted Connor.

"Sure Da," the boys agreed in unison.

"We're going upstairs to call our singers, do you need us for anything?" Liam asked.

"I'd like you to meet the attorney that's acting for us, I'll give you a text when he arrives," Connor told him.

Dennis arrived with the documents and Connor signed off on them. He summoned Liam and Danny to the study to meet the attorney.

"Hello Liam, I'm Dennis Sprague, and you must be Danny is that right?"

"Yes Sir," Danny replied.

"Nice to meet you Sir," Liam added.

"You boys are twelve, is that correct?"

"Yes Sir," Liam replied.

"Well if this ends up going to trial, you are going to make my job easy. You might have to describe your first run in with the defendant on the stand, will you be able to do that?"

"Yes, I will Sir," Liam uttered.

"Dave did something to me too," Danny put in.

"Can you describe the act, not exactly, just a short summary. We can go into details later."

Danny explained what Dave had done in the locker room as Dennis wrote it down.

"And when did that occur, Danny?" Dennis inquired.

"A week after school started," Danny replied.

I will add that to my notes and take it up with the other attorneys. If they aren't cooperative, I will ask the school to conduct inquiries about other possible victims.

Once back in their room Liam and Danny finished alerting the other singers that were taking part.

"Liam can we talk for a little bit?"

"Sure Danny, we haven't really had a lot of time for that lately, let's have a lie down and talk," Liam agreed.

The boys stretched out facing each other.

"What's on yer mind, Danny?"

"I'm just worried, about… us."

"What do you mean, is something scaring you?"

"Yes, with my adoption so close, I worry what might happen if we stop being in love. I'm scared you'll get tired of me and then start hating me. But we'd be stuck together in the same house. Or what if we want to get married someday, I don't think they let you marry your brother. What happens then?" Danny inquired tearfully.

Liam wrapped his arms around Danny and did his best to soothe his weeping love.

"Danny, I don't see us not loving each other forever. If it happened, we would have to agree going in that it wouldn't change us being brothers. We can write out a pact that puts that down in black and white. As far as getting married, we'd have to consult a lawyer and I think we should ask Da about it before we start spinning out about something that might not be a problem," Liam counselled.

Later in Connor's study, the boys posed the question to him.

"I thought about that lads, the attorney assured me that it wouldn't be a problem. Step children are allowed to marry and you two would be as well, the only requirement would be proving you're not biologically related. The law is structured to prevent offspring from closely related people. It could result in birth defects, like insanity or limited intellect, take a look at the Royal family in Britain. If you want to see the results of inbreeding," Connor chuckled.

"Thanks Da, I was worried you'd have to un-adopt me if we decided to get married someday," Danny sighed in relief.

"So now there's just the other question then eh, Danny?" Liam asked.

"Oh yeah, I just… I don't know what to do about that."

"How about this, I swear on my honor, in front of our father that if our love ever falters or fades, that I will continue to love you as my brother. Is that of any help to you at all Danny?" Liam implored.

"It's not something I think will happen and I never want it to but… I swear on my honor, in front of our father that if our love ever falters or fades, that I will continue to love you as my brother," Danny returned the pledge to Liam and wrapped his arms around him. Connor rose and hugged the both of them. It was clear Connor was deeply affected by the display. He released the two boys and suggested that they all go wash their faces and take a few deep breaths.

"I love you Liam, thank you for doing that, I don't know what would have to happen to make us stop loving each other, but we made a pledge and that makes me feel like we can get through anything together," Danny whispered.

Liam kissed Danny's forehead, "There's no reason to stop loving each other Danny, if we are honest about our feelings and know we can speak our minds without fear that the other will stop caring, we can get through anything. I've heard the biggest mistake that people make is expecting their lover to read their mind. If I'm not doing something you need, tell me. It doesn't matter what, as long as I know what you need from me, I'll try to give it to you. You know we're going to get cross with the other but it doesn't mean love stops. If we get angry, we have to talk it out. Love isn't just for the good times, it's the glue that holds people together when they're going through a bad patch. You once asked me if I was trying to fix you so you'd be good enough for me to love. But I was already in love with you heart and soul. I know you can't change people to suit your own purpose. My intention has always been to help you do something you really seemed to want. Music, that's something we share in common, but I'd love you if you couldn't play or sing a note."

Danny embraced Liam sobbing, "I'm sorry Liam, I never wanted you to think I wouldn't love you forever. I just feel like I'm less than you somehow and that I can't keep up."

"Oh Danny, that's not true, you are every bit my equal. But our strengths lie in different places. You're so much better at talking to people and getting their confidence in you. I try to be kind but some people make me want to grab them by the throat. I just don't suffer eedjits very well," Liam insisted.

For the first time in several hours, Danny's grin spread over his face. "That's true isn't it? You don't put up with people who say or do dumb stuff. Oh Liam, I love you so much, I wish it was bedtime and I'd show you just how much."

"I'll settle for a kiss for now, but I'll be givin' as good as I get, later on," Liam promised.

The boys returned downstairs to tell Connor that all the volunteers would show up at the house at four o'clock so they could all ride over together.

"Well it's not far and we can make more trips if needs be," Connor agreed.

"Uncle Mike and Aunt Sarah will be happy to take a few with them and you and Mam can drive the rest,"

"Ah, that's well sorted and one less thing to worry about, thank you lads. Are you feeling better?" Connor asked.

Both boys affirmed that they felt better in general.

"I knew you'd work it out, it can't be any other way with you two."

Terri returned with a few bags and rushed up the stairs to put them away.

Danny and Liam watched a bit of television with Connor and Terri, then decided to turn in. They gave kisses and climbed the stairs. After a quick shower, the two of them renewed their passion in no uncertain terms.

Breakfast was lively with plenty of talk and planning. Liam and Danny both accepted assignments as Connor left to collect Maeve from the airport. Terri left to meet Sarah Hanlan for more last minute details concerning the reception.

Connor returned with Maeve just as the mail carrier arrived. Connor handed him the signed card and the carrier handed over a registered letter. He sat at the kitchen table and opened the envelope only to find another inside. The second envelope was a letter from Skiva, Erica's partner.

:Dear Connor and Terri, I wanted to write you and wish you congratulations and best wishes.

I have convinced Erica to move with me back to Iceland. She has had a lot of counselling over the months since you last saw her and she's accepted that she blew her chance with Liam many years ago. She will never bother him again, but if he ever wants to make contact, she would be willing.

Our flight leaves tomorrow and the girls are excited to see their new home.

Our very best wishes for your whole family, Skiva, Erica, Lyla & Hildi :

Connor shook his head and passed the letter to Terri who read it and passed it to Maeve.

"That is truly a relief, I'm glad for the both of them. I may never like either of them but I don't wish them ill," Maeve declared. "Do you think you'll show this to Liam?"

"Yes, it might give him some peace about the whole ordeal," Connor nodded.

Liam's reaction was just that, relief that Erica finally got her head around the idea that he wanted nothing to do with her for the present. He didn't really see himself going to see her, but he might have a change of heart someday so he didn't rule out the possibility.

Friday evening arrived and all the people taking part in the mob were soon assembled at the hall.

There was a short greeting period and then the singers took their assigned positions. Cheri and Amber were on the upper tier with Brian, Calvin, Todd and Darren; Bender and Anders were also there to balance the voices below.

Terri, Sarah, and Miss Grace were on the ballroom floor while Connor, Richard, Mike and Jason were positioned strategically.

There was a clamor of noise as five people entered the hall.

"Sorry we're so late, we had some difficulty making our way through traffic," Jim Powell announced. But I brought you three more voices. Alas, Shane and I will have to sit this one out but Spencer and Amanda are keen and so is young Pearce. Doug and Gabriel are both home sick. They aren't contagious, they ate some bad hotdogs at a soccer league party."

There were three run-through performances and then a final dress rehearsal of the song. The last went flawlessly and everyone felt pretty good about it. Pizza and Chicken were served and everyone chatted and joked.

"We booked into that Carver Inn over in San Dimas and I checked with them earlier and they are all ready for us. Amanda went over everything with them and scoured every pixel of their web tour. Thanks for the recommendation.”

"This is a cool idea having a flash mob at a wedding. Who thought it up?" Spencer asked as he, Shane, Pearce and Danny sat with Liam at a table munching pizza.

Danny pointed at Liam who shrugged.

"We had been singin' one evening and it just struck me that we could do the song and include the guests in the chorus if they felt up to it. A lot of our mates and Da's sing pretty decent so I just thought I'd suggest it. It came off quite well I thought," Liam explained.

"I thought it sounded great and I enjoyed singing. I don't usually sing opera but it was lots of fun," Spencer agreed.

"Yer ma tells me you like Irish music, do you play as well as sing?" Liam asked.

"Only flute, penny whistle and concertina. I only have a pennywhistle with me though."

"I have a couple of concertinas at home, your lot could swing by after we're done here and we could work on a few dance tunes if yer interested," Liam offered.

"Shane said you had quite a music room, I'd love to see it but we'd both have to work on our parents. Maybe after we get checked in at the hotel we can come over. Maybe you could get your dad to ask ours to come over?"

"Let me work on that and maybe it'll happen. Danny and I play guitar and I can fiddle and of course there's me shan who plays a bunch of stuff, she's a session musician in Dublin," Liam recounted.

"Yeah, I heard that from Shane, I was hoping you could introduce me. And thanks for all you did for Dougie and Shane, they still talk about you guys. Doug is playing like he's been at it for a year now. He had just started when you met him."

"It was a pleasure, your brothers are great guys. I better get over and talk to Da while he's at loose ends. I'll be back soon.