And we’re back! After a tiny break due to my vacation, Kir and I are back to Gabrielle’s story. You can read Kir’s half here.
If you’ve missed anything or want to refresh your memory, all the pieces can be found here.
The thick, bitter liquid filled her mouth. Gabrielle forced herself to swallow then set the glass off to the side. Her mother however downed her own Guinness in gulps.
“How can you drink this? It’s absolutely vile.” She gestured for the waitress and ordered a glass of white wine.
“Ah, lass, dinna tell me ye don’ like Guinness!”
Gabrielle snorted at the very believable Irish brogue rolling off her mother’s lips. This was definitely a side of her she’d never seen. In fact, every moment she’d spent with her mother the past few days had been a surprise. She wasn’t the uptight, controlling, demanding woman Gabrielle remembered from her earliest memories. Instead, Audrey was relaxed, full of smiles, and eager for girl talk.
A little snort escaped Gabrielle’s nose as she remembered last night’s gossip session. It had been a tad surreal. Her mother didn’t ‘chat’. Gabrielle had always gone to her father for any sort of advice or casual conversation, leaving encounters with her mother to the more basic “yes, I did my homework”.
“Where did you pick up the accent?” A grin stretched Gabrielle’s cheeks. “It suits you.”
Audrey winked. “I have many secrets, Gabby dear.” Her voice returned to the cultured tones Gabrielle was familiar with. “Didn’t I ever tell you where your grandmother came from?”
Gabrielle had faint memories of a tiny, wizened old woman whose strong, enunciated words belied her diminutive nature. Grandmother did not just speak to you, she commanded in perfect English. No accents Gabrielle could recall.
Audrey continued, “My mother came to America as a teenager. She decided to reinvent herself as the perfect American girl and worked very hard to remove all traces of her ‘gutter-trash Dubliner’s accent’ as she termed it.” A faint smile crossed Audrey’s lips. “However, that accent came out loud and clear whenever Mother was angry with us kids. She couldn’t keep it buried then.”
A handsome man paused at their table, Gabrielle’s glass of wine perched on a small tray. “My apologies that the Guinness isn’t to yer likin’. Please, enjoy this on the house.” The glint in his eye sent a shiver down Gabrielle’s spine. He looked so familiar. Before she could place him, he placed the glass of wine on the table and disappeared towards the bar.
“Now,” Audrey said, snapping her fingers under Gabrielle’s nose. “Will you please give up the goods on who gave you that dazzling rock on your finger? I think I’ve been patient enough.”
Gabrielle sighed. She knew this was coming. Her mother had surprisingly understood the other night when Gabrielle brushed her off, saying they could talk about her love life later.
“As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the man who showed up at my apartment the other night is the one who gave me the ring. His name is Steven and we’ve been dating for about two years, engaged for just a month.”
Gabrielle noticed the pinching around her mother’s mouth. She braced herself for a lecture.
“Well, I can’t say I’m not upset you didn’t share your engagement news with me.” Audrey sighed before continuing, “but I also can’t blame you for not. I haven’t been the easiest person to talk with.”
Reaching across the table, she grasped Gabrielle’s hand in a tight squeeze. Gabrielle took a sip of wine, and then almost spat it out at her mother’s next comment.
“So, when do I get to meet the other half? And his family of course.”
“Uhm, I’m not sure…” She was quite certain if it could, her heart would have burst out of her chest and run screaming at the thought of her mother and Steven’s father sitting down to dinner. “Maybe on your next visit to the city?”
She could tell Audrey wasn’t happy with that answer. Well, too bad. Their mother/daughter relationship wasn’t going to be fixed overnight. Gabrielle was freaked out enough about committing to Steven, considering the role models she’d grown up with. Marriage had never brought any happiness to her parents. It had taken Steven three tries to finally get her to say yes, she was so uneasy about that walk down the aisle. And her in laws, despite being married for almost thirty years, were so volatile towards each other she wondered why they were still together.
“You never did say who you were meeting in the city tomorrow.” Gabrielle attempted to change the subject. Audrey gave her a look then offered a tiny smile.
“Someone you might want to see yourself,” she said. “Your father of course.”
Gabrielle opened her mouth to answer when her phone rang. Steven’s image lit up the screen. Saved by the bell.
I seem to be following a trend of using the Inspiration Monday prompts to help craft my ‘Path’ Loosely inspired this week: