(1937-11-09) A Taste of Bushmills
Details for A Taste of Bushmills
Summary: Keenan walks Veruca home. WARNING: Hot kiss advisory. No TS, sorry.
Date: 09 November 1937
Related: Immediately follows Tea For Three.

It takes a moment of convincing to get Veruca to let Keenan accompany her, leaving Edwarlinda to her tea, but finally the couple are exiting into the London evening, Keenan gentlemanly holding the door open. Rue's eyes are on him as she brushes past him, a little closer than absolutely necessary. She pauses on the street to give him a moment to see the door is shut, pulling her coat around her. The garment balances the fence between muggle and wizard, fitting easily into either side of the veil.

Once tha door is closed, Keenan pulls his outer robe snugly around his shoulders and offers his arm to Veruca. After a glance around, he leans his head slightly down to ask her, "ye warm enough, Rue?" There's an honest concern for her comfort as he asks, while he takes a lead from the direction she turned after they walked out the door to start guiding her down the street.

A step takes Veruca close enough to the Healer to take his arm comfortably, the movement becoming quite practiced between the pair of late. His concern for her well being brings a hint of surprise to her face, although she conveniently turns to look at something down the street for a moment before answering, and when she does it's with her normal composure. "I am, Keenan, thank you. Warming charm," she adds softly, with a smile. Since it's only chilly and not raining, there is no real hurry to her steps and although she may not say as much, she is content to stroll and share the wizard's company.

Keenan nods agreeably, and continues alongside her. "An' where am I walkin' ye?" he asks lightly. His arm, though having the same proper angle it has always had when he's offered it to Veruca (which seems to be just right for her hand to snuggle comfortably on it), actually hangs a little closer to his body, keeping her almost touching alongside him as the walk. Whether he's actually conscious of this, is anyone's guess. "I haven't yet found out where ye live, even though ye can find me easily enough. That seems an unfair disadvantage tae me, aye?"

This brings a soft laugh from Veruca, her other arm coming up to cross her body so her hands can rest together on his arm. "I suppose that depends on which side you look at it from. But we actually aren't very far from my flat." She nods to a sign as they stroll past it, the arrow pointing to 'Notting Hill'. It's a somewhat upper class neighborhood, but not quite as posh as where most moneyed purebloods call home.

Keenan looks up to the sign and nods once. "Well, being that I'm a /man/, I was, of course, lookin' at it from my side," he informs Veruca with just the right touch of pomposity, accompanied with a grin and an almost wink. "I haven't been around this part of town much. I have tae admit, my experience runs tae extremes when it comes tae neighborhoods. For some reason, those closest tae me are either very posh, or very poor. Although I never thought on that before." His gaze wanders along the front of the buildings they pass with curiosity.

Veruca turns her head to regard Keenan as he informs her of a fact of which she was already quite well aware. "You've not been to the Portobello Road market?" Many London neighborhoods have some sort of open air market, selling things from food to clothes to whatever one might need before they even knew they needed it. A turn takes them down a side road, traffic left behind momentarily.

Keenan shakes his head slowly. "Nae, can't say I have. I don' shop often, an' usually, living on Diagon Alley, I can find anything I need." He turns a little red at whatever direction his thoughts have taken, but he moves around the turn easily.

"Perhaps one day you'll feel inclined to pay it a visit," she comments lightly. A few steps have them well down the short connecting road, and Veruca waits to speak up again. Her words are still light, but there's a note of a tease in them as well as she makes an observation. "Eddie seemed convinced that you had a terrible time and were quite uncomfortable."

Keenan nods amiably enough. "Perhaps…" he agrees. At the mention of being uncomfortable and miserable he gives one of his devillish grins, looking off down the street. "Aye, she was right," he agrees. "I was terribly uncomfortable." He doesn't elaborate, though, merely grins away with that devilish gleam in his eyes.

Veruca stops, her arms wrapped with his inevitably bringing him to a halt as well, unless he breaks away. Stepping to face him, her eyes are curious, her question direct and simple. "Why?"

Keenan chuckles as Veruca brings him around to face her. "Because, lass," he explains with patient humor. "The minute I saw ye I remembered how ye felt in my arms. An' all I could think about was how much I wanted tae pull ye close an' kiss ye senseless."

Her eyes still hold his, even as one eyebrow lifts with his reply. She considers this a moment, then nods, "I suppose that would make one a bit uncomfortable." Rue's doing quite a good job of keeping her smile tamed, but amusement shines in her dark eyes. Taking his arm again, she makes to resume their walk.

Keenan chuckles as they continue on. "Aye, ye don't know tha half of it," he says. "She'll never believe me if I tell her I haven't lain with ye, so it seems best tae keep quiet on that… yet…" he blows out a breath. "Did ye notice how she introduced us?" His brow furrows. "Didnae use tae bother her that I led a bachelor life style… but now that she's happily hitched herself tae Sloan's wagon, she seems determined tae fix me up with a lass so I can be happy, 's well."

Since Veruca isn't in the habit of talking about her conquests, she will have no trouble with not mentioning to Eddie what level of knowledge they share. But she is reminded, for a moment, why she has that rule about not dallying within the community. Still, that doesn't serve to loosen her hold on Keenan's arm. She's not dallying with him, just enjoying his company. It's as simple as that. And as complicated. "Surely you've seen that whenever one person is in love they immediately forget that it is very possible to be happy as a singular entity as opposed to part of a couple. She can't help herself."

Keenan nods slowly. "Ye may have a point there. I guess when ye've been runnin' around enjoyin' bein' on yer own for… awhile, ye get tae a point where ye think it's always goin'ta be like that. Ye think it's past yer time tae hitch up, an' really, things are fine, so why bother, aye? Then if ye do… all of the sudden, it's not tae late fer yer friends tae do the same, an' they really ought tae." He chuckles. "Sounds like another category of one type of people bein' better than another. Couples are happier than singles."

"They only think they are," Veruca counters. "Who could be truly happy under such restrictions? Structuring your life around someone else's time and abilities. Compromising instead of just having what you really want." Her words are light, as they would be from one who has not before found someone for whom she would be willing to compromise. "Of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg." She is too polite to bring up the single bed partner that being a couple entails, but as he has eluded to it, surely he would miss the variety as well.

Keenan nods in agreement with Veruca. "Aye. What if the lass won't let me put ma feet up on tha coffee table after a long day walking around the wards? Or tells me ma favorite chair doesn't look good enough fer tha living room? An' then there's the 'where have ye been? Don't tell me ye've been at work all this time,' because they never believe that an emergency patient can sometimes show up late an' take hours ta treat, ye're always been suspect o'strayin'…" he shakes his head. "Drives a man tae drink, it does." The subject of missing out on variety doesn't come up, seemingly unspoken on his end as well.

Well good. Clearly they think alike. She doesn't question why, thus far, one memorable kiss has been enough, when normally she's already had her fill and moved on. By this time they've traversed the short lane, and Veruca is veering their steps toward the back garden gate of one of the houses lining the way. "This would be my flat," she says, again slowing their steps to a stop.

Beyond the gated fence, the garden is a communal space shared by the tenants of the Pembridge Apartments. There is a simple table and chairs in one corner, a garden shed for storage in the opposite corner. A strip of grass leads from the fence to the back porch, and bushes add a softness to the plain wooden fencing.

As Veruca indicates they've reached her gate, Keenan looks around, taking in the first view, so to speak. A small smile curves one corner of his mouth, and he gives a small nod. "It's very nice," he says quietly, his gaze lingering on the green that separates the street from the house. Then he turns to look down to his companion.

Veruca releases Keenan's arm, taking a step to release the latch on the gate, letting it swing open of it's own volition. Her head tilts a measure as she looks up into Keenan's eyes. "It was very kind of you to accompany me home, Keenan. Thank you."

Keenan remains where he is, letting her open the gate, and turn back towards him. He pauses for a moment, then he steps forward to lift his hand to her cheek. Leaning down, he kisses the opposite cheek before he straightens. "It was my pleasure, Rue," he tells her. "Good evening."

Tilting her head to accept the kiss, Veruca lets her cheek slide softly against his skin as he pulls away. She lets him begin to turn away, then speaks up softly. "I rescued what remained of that bottle of Bushmlls from the party."

Now that is something that will get Keenan's attention. He stops in his tracks, almost comically, and then turns around. "The 1902, barley corn malt, Spanish Sherry cask 1608 Bushmills? That bottle of Bushmills?" he asks. He takes a step closer. "How much of that bottle did ye 'rescue'?" he asks.

Veruca's eyes turn thoughtful, her lips pursing lightly before she nods slowly. "Yes, I do believe that's the one." The direct gaze is back, and leveled on Keenan. "I would say there's a bit more than half the bottle." She actually did supply that bottle herself, and felt no compunction on taking the remains. Certainly with no thought of ulterior motive in the least.

Keenan raises his eyebrows at the mention of how much is left, that devil gleam creeping into his eyes again. "At least half a bottle, that's quite a bit. Did ye have any plans fer this rescue of yers? Is there perhaps, anything I can do tae help ye?" He steps back towards her, and even through the gate if it's still open, coming closer with his offer of assistance.

Only a step or two past the gate herself, Veruca stands her ground as Keenan draws near. "I hadn't thought of it before, but yes… maybe you'd like to help me dispose of it." Maybe even slowly, over the course of several visits. Maybe. "Would you like to come up for a nightcap?"

Keenan's mind seems to be traveling along the same lines because he nods. "I don' think I can help ye with the whole bottle tonight, though, lass. That would be disrespectful tae tha Bushmills." He offers his arm again, even though she'll have to pretty much lead the way to her flat itself. "Ye may need my help for more than one night cap."

Veruca lets her hand slide down to nestle in Keenan's hand instead of taking his arm. Easier to lead this way, it's not that she wants to hold hands. Tucking her purse under her arm, her wand is in her hand, a quick wave and a murmur unlocking the door before they reach it. "I suppose that'll have to depend on your availability, Healer," she quips, leading him into the darkened back hall. She knows the way easily, and knows it's uncluttered, so she doesn't bother with a light as she moves.

Keenan tilts his head back slightly to laugh, his first actual laugh, as she leads him through the hallway. "Touche, my dear Rue," he applauds. He walks closely to her, not enough to trip over her, but close enough to make sure he follows her exactly to not trip on anything.

It's only a few steps, and then Rue says quietly, "Stairs." Her footfalls are surprisingly soft as she goes up bare wooden stairs, because they are treated with a quieting charm, so instead of the sharp strike of their shoes, there is just a muffled whisper. Halfway up she slows, then stops, turning, her voice still quiet. "Keenan."

Keenan nods at the warning, and carefully finds the first one with his feet, following one step behind. When she stops and turns, he just barely stops himself from running into her. His other hand comes up to rest on her waist, and he finds himself on perfect level with her, eye to eye, and lips to lips, and he finds he can't resist. He leans just a little closer and brings them together, kissing her gently, a still, prolonged moment of contact before he asks, "yes?"

From the way she melts into his kiss, Keenan might get the idea that was her very intention in stopping and turning. Her hands come up on either side of his face, thumbs brushing along his jaw as her fingers settle lightly, the scruff that's growing back scratchy but near to that length when it will soften again. The only light comes from above them, where it filters dimly into the stairwell from the upper hall. As the kiss breaks she leans back only enough to see the rough outline of his silhouette, and then only for a moment before she leans in to him again, seeking another kiss.

Her return to kissing him answers his question enough for Keenan, and the hand on her waist wraps around to the small of her back, pulling her against him. He brings both feet up to the step below her to make sure he's set solidly and won't fall backwards. Then the other slides up her arm and to her shoulder, making it's way across the back of her shoulder to the back of her neck.

Veruca leans forward lightly, mindful of their somewhat precarious footing, but seeking his solidness even as he holds her that measure more tightly. It's a deeper kiss, but still not demanding. More… experimental and testing. It tapers off into several short, light kisses before she gives in to one temptation, her tongue running lightly over his lips, tasting his tea lightly and the singular sweetness that can only be attributed to him.

Keenan doesn't seem in any mood to push it, joining in her spirit of experimentation. When he feels the trace of her tongue, though, the hand at the nape of her neck tightens a little to pull her closer, as if he's going to erupt in passion against her lips, his mouth opening wider. He gives a little growl, and with an effort, he separates their lips by a whisper. "Careful, lass," he warns, but the timbre of his voice almost hopes she'll ignore the warning.

That little growl is almost the end of the experimentation, and it takes Veruca an almost superhuman feat of pure will to stop herself from bringing an end to the teasing and temptation right here and now. She's not one to play it extremely carefully by any means, though, and she can't resist a teasing whisper in the darkness. "Or what?" The whisper is warm on his lips and she resists the urge to take another taste, instead waiting for his reply.

Keenan shifts his balance, and brings a foot up on the step next to her. As if leading her in a dance, the hand at her waist directs her to turn her back towards the wall. He does lean in and kiss her then, again, his tongue flickering at her lower lip before he answers, "Or ye might not make it yer door." The hand that was at the back of her neck now rests against the wall, serving to be the only thing that's keeping him from pushing completely against her by bracing rigidly straight.

Veruca can think of nothing in the world that she would like more at this very moment than to have him right here. But this desire she feels for him holds a different quality. The fact that it holds any quality at all and isn't just a practice in exercising the libido is enough to bring her back in check, however difficultly. She pushes forward, purposely taunting him now. "I think… that there is a bottle calling your name.

Keenan gives a little growl and he lowers his head to the side of her neck, kissing just below her earlobe. "I think there is a woman much sweeter than a bottle calling my name," he murmurs in her ear. He gives a little nip to her ear, but then he stands back and steps up to the next stair, finding one of her hands to pull her up after him.

The darkness of the stairs is a blessing, hiding the flush of desire that colors her skin at another growl, and the potential of his passion. He moves away a moment before she would have lost her battle with herself. After a few steps she takes the lead again, a little faster as if the stairs themselves are to blame for the temptation they presented. It's a charm that opens the door to her flat as well, and she moves in easily, flicking a switch for the lights and guiding him inside. It's quick work to give him a tour, most of the flat being seen easily, and the bedroom… well, he doesn't get to see that just yet. But surely a glass of whisky will fix that.

Following along behind once she takes the lead again, Keenan rakes a hand through his hair and blows out a breath to calm himself as she shows him the apartment. He pauses at the end of the tour. "No echoing footsteps, I like it," he remarks, then grins. "It is something like I would imagine for ye. It's comfortable posh, without overdoing it…" he trails off as he looks at the coffee table in front of the sofa.

Moving into the kitchen area, Veruca opens a cupboard to take down the bottle of whisky, then reaches for glasses in another cupboard. She fills them with easy, practiced movements, then steps over to him, offering a glass. His look is noted, and she asks with a smirk, "Do you not like coffee tables, Keenan?" Every time she says his name there's a certain quality to it. Almost a verbal caress.

Taking the glass, Keenan relishes the first sip. He glances to the coffee table once more. "I like putting my feet up on coffee tables," he replies with a wink. Then he takes another sip and walks over to look out the window for a check of the view before turning back her, his eyes finding hers curiously.

His comment brings a soft laugh. "Just take your shoes off first." Veruca may be willing to indulge him in a way she would very few, but let's not get nuts. Don't scratch her table. As his attention turns to the view, overlooking Portobello Road, her attention turns to a study of him. Her eyes move slowly over him, taking in things like the curve of his jaw and that spot that looks absolutely delicious, and his hand holding the glass, long fingers wrapped around it. It takes her a moment to notice he's turned to look at her, and that hungry look isn't quite gone as her eyes meet his own curious gaze.

Keenan gives a chuckle. "Ye're still tryin' ta find somethin' Rue," he tells her, the nickname seeming to come so naturally to his tongue, where her full first name doesn't seem to be able make itself comfortable. He doesn't make a motion to remove his shoes from his feet, but he does walk across the room towards her.

Dark eyes watch his movement, the desire covered once more, and now she's curious. Again. He makes her damned curious. "Do you really think so, Keenan?" The words come evenly, and she holds her ground as he approaches.

Keenan keeps approaching until he's close enough to raise a hand and finger to trace her jaw. "Aye," he says quietly. "Ye keep lookin' at me like I'm some new creature ye've not seen before…" and the green teases her as he lets his hand fall and grins. "I'm just a man, lass."

The response to his touch comes without thought, head turning a measure to accept it as her eyes hold his. Instead of debating the point with him, her empty hand moves to lightly urge his glass of whisky to lift. "Drink up, Healer." She lifts her own glass and drinks as well.

His glass is almost finished, but he obediently lifts it as directed. After a sip he raises his eyebrow, and wonders, "bring me tae yer lovely house, ply me with ma favorite liquor… one might think ye have an ulterior motive behind those dark eyes." His hand comes up to capture the fingers that lightly urged him to drink, twining with them and pulling them down to hang comfortably clasped between them. His thumb slowly traces along the base of her palm, almost reaching her wrist.

"Don't forget trapping you in a dark stairwell," she adds helpfully, letting him take her hand. There's a lazy smile on her lips as she steps up, a light challenge in her eyes. "Will I get to find out tonight how you taste mixed with whisky, or shall we save that for another time?"

There's a little flash of a gleam in his eyes and a nod as he replies, "aye, that, too," when the stairwell is mentioned. As she steps closer and asks her question, his eyes smoulder in a different direction, taking a turn from humor and teasing towards desire. Very deliberately he lifts his glass to drain the last of his whiskey, his eyes on hers the entire time. Then he lowers the glass, letting it hang loosely cradled in his fingers. He doesn't step closer or do anything to pull her body along his. His eyes still on hers, he lowers his head and opens his mouth as it finds hers, letting her have her taste she asked for. It's a slow kiss, and the exchange of tongue is unhurried, after all, one must savor a good Bushmills, especially when it's on the tongue of a good, Irish man.

Veruca makes no move closer, taking pleasure in the moment as it is, fingers entwined as she tastes him languidly. His sweetness, the sharp tang of the whisky, the warmth shared tongue to tongue. It's tempting, the desire to press for more, but something holds her back. It's a long moment before the kiss is broken, and as she pulls back slowly, her tongue slides over her lips, catching the last of his flavor. Dark eyes regard him thoughtfully. "Hm."

Keenan finds himself slightly out of breath when he lifts his head. He looks down at her, and then chuckles. "Just a hm?" he asks. Stepping back he leans down to put his empty glass on the coffee table. "Ye're in danger of wounding my male pride with such an unenthusiastic response. I might have tae try harder…"

This brings the smile back to Rue's lips, thoughtfulness broken by a return of amusement. "Perhaps you should." She can't help the rejoinder, but there's a fleeting thought that if he tried any harder she might need oxygen. Her eyes hold his in her direct way. "I think I might prefer the whisky this way. It adds a bit of… sweetness."

Long healer's fingers reach out for Rue's glass, gently tugging it away to place it on the coffee table next to his. "Ye won't be needing this then," he surmises, his voice becoming gruffer again as he moves to accept the challenge. This time one hand goes behind her head, and the other rests on her waist as he lowers his head. This time he gives her more of a taste, not just of whiskey, but of the desires that, for some reason he hasn't cared to question, he's been holding in check when she's in his arms. The longer the kiss continues, his hand slides from the side of her waist around the small of her back.

With both hands now conveniently freed, Veruca let's them travel slowly up Keenan's chest as he draws her into another kiss. For a moment they stall on his chest, resting lightly, one over his heart although she cannot feel it's beating through the layers of fabric he wears. That hand stays as the other travels onward and upward, finding bare skin at his neck, her touch soft as her fingertips glide over his warmth, up to the line of his jaw, hesitating… and then, as her tongue slides with his, a very light scratch of her fingernails as she lets her hand lower slowly.

It's surprising that she can't feel the thudding of his heart, possibly thanks to the over coat/robe he never actually took all the way off when he entered. His breath becomes a little shaky against her lips and when her fingernails graze through his stubble his chin lifts, breaking the kiss with a barely audible murmur from his throat. He's still for a moment, but then he lowers his head, his nose nuzzling at her cheek. He doesn't remove his arms from around her, but they do tense a little in their grip.

While Veruca's breathing comes with more control, it's a conscious control. She pauses when she finds a sensitive spot that gets a reaction, noting it with all the other tidbits she has filed away about his. Still, as he moves to nuzzle, she cannot resist and gently nudges his jaw before dipping her head, lips finding that spot, the stubble not bothering her as she presses a kiss. Then a light nip.

Keenan isn't used to practicing control, conscious or otherwise. Once he starts with a lass, he follows any sensation, exploiting it to lead to more desire. This idea of not just going forward is new, and he's not even sure why he's holding back. He smiles a little at the kiss, and then gives another mutter before turning to kiss her again. The first touch is hungry, but then he pulls back the intensity, and this time he breaks off, almost before he began in a way. He lifts his head and rests his chin on top of her head, the hand behind her head curling, his knuckles grazing the back of her neck.

Despite the sudden turn into totally unfamiliar territory, Veruca doesn't resist the break of the kiss that turns into something more of an affectionate snuggle. She can't remember the last time she had an embrace of such simple warmth. If ever. It brings a stillness to her as she lets her head lean against his shoulder, shutting her eyes. If a moment could be bottled. Her hand moves, sliding beneath the robe, the fabric of his shirt against her fingers, and it comes to rest again, back over his heart. This time, without the thickness of his robe, she can feel it beating.

Now comes another awkward moment. After holding himself still for a moment, when Rue leans her head against his shoulder, and slides her hand under his robe, he relaxes a little more himself. What's awkward is, he wants to know more about her. More than just how she kisses and how she feels in his arms and how her skin would feel against his in bed. But how to find out. He clears his throat and shifts his head, but no words form themselves to glibly fall from his lips.

There's no telling how long Veruca might have stayed there if Keenan hadn't cleared his throat. But the sound makes her draw away slightly, face lifting to look up at him. And the sudden question pops into her head…'Veruca, what are you doing?' She remembers now when she last felt like this, and it's not a pleasant recollection. Her eyes slide away from his and she takes a step back, stopped only by their still joined hands.

Letting her step back with a sigh, Keenan looks down slightly as she pulls away, then looks away. He reaches his hand, takes her chin gently in his thumb and forefinger so that she's looking up at him again. "Tomorrow's my last double shift, an' then I work normal day shifts tha rest of tha week. Maybe we can meet for dinner after I finish up one night, aye?" he suggests softly. "I should be headin' home since taemorrow's goin' tae be kickin' me in tha head soon enough."

Dark eyes rise to meet his green again, holding as he speaks. And then she surprises herself with her response. It comes easily, with a half smile. "Aye." She shifts, a hand at the back of his neck urging him forward for a soft, lazy kiss. "Go home, Keenan O'Shea," she says lightly, the words a murmur on his lips.

There's an answering smile, and he leans willingly into the kiss, his lips moving with almost the exact same easy tenderness as hers. When he lifts his head, he brushes his knuckles along her cheek. "Codladh samh, Rue," he replies, the gaelic words every bit as much of a caress as the fingers that trail down her smooth skin and then drop to his side. He still holds her hand, although he turns towards the door for her to lead him to it and let him out.

Veruca steps toward the door, asking lightly as she gives him a gentle tug, "And that means?" She is English through and through, but suddenly, she doesn't seem disinclined toward a language lesson. Stopping with her hand on the doorknob, she pauses before turning it to open the door and allow him to leave.

Keenan grins, dimples just barely creasing his cheek. "It means, 'sleep well'," he tells her. Then he gives her another kiss on the forehead before he steps through the door once she opens it for him. He pauses a moment to turn back, then grins again and heads towards the stairs, finding his way down them, even in the dark, without too much trouble.

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