(1937-12-25) Christmas Tempers
Details for Christmas Tempers
Summary: Christmas Dinner at the O'Shea house is going well until Gideon and the Old Man clash.
Date: 25 December, 1937
Location: O'Shea Residence (Cornwall)
Related: I'll figure that out later

Aside from Easter, this is the one time of the year where the O'Shea tribe not only gets together in one place, but is somewhat.. controlled. At the dinner table at Christmastime. The table is set, the candles lit, and the two empty spots for Mary and Joseph are set near da's side of the table. It's a large dinner table, but it is still a little cramped. No extra table for the kids; they get to sit and learn how to be civilized. For the most part.

Grace has been said, and with that out of the way, the carving of the Christmas goose begins. It's a good sized bird, with winter vegetables set on the side fried in the goose fat. Potatoes, carrots, beans, turnips.. and fresh bread that seems to be never-ending, freshly churned butter, clotted cream for the sweet breads.. and drink. Wine. Water. Whiskey for those who care to have such things- after the toast.

Keenan has a little glass of Whiskey next to his plate, he brough Da home a good bottle of Black Bush, and it's been poured to those who wish it. Sitting near Da as he slices the goose, he passes the plates around as they're served. For the moment, there is quiet, especially from the ginger healer, as everyone waits. The little ones fidget, but they want food, and aren't willing to jeapordize their chance for it just yet.

Gideon takes his cue from the others, sitting silently and waiting for the food to be served. He casts a quiet smile over at Niamh; her happiness at being here with her family is contagious, and has certainly helped the Scottish Scrooge to better appreciate the Christmas holiday.

A glass of wine is next to her plate and her hands are folded neatly in her lap as Sorcha sits next to the eldest of the nephews, ready to block any flying slices of bread or spoons of potatos that may fly by. But. For now. They're waiting patiently for the toast with hands folded on napkined laps.

Niamh rises enough to help pass the plates down, adding the vegetables before they're handed over to their respective 'owners'. This gains more than a few groans and some rather loud sighs with the 'I don't like..' as a precursor to at least one of the several vegetables on the plate. Rule is.. must be tried. While those at the table hadn't suffered through the Famine, like most things Irish, it's become incorporated into the psyche. "Oh, ye'll eat it anyway, I know ye will," is given as encouragement, and a wink is given towards their mums. She, too, has a glass of the whiskey by her plate, as well as some water, and her plate looks exactly like the others- veggies and all. Her voice lowers to whisper to Gideon, "Ye see, too.. plates'll be cleaned before their das let them away from table."

There's a slight smirk from Keenan as Niamh loads the veggies on the plate, and the groans ensue. He passes his and Da's plates up to her to be loaded before they set them down. Glancing at Sorcha, he grins and then he glances up to Niamh, "I've already had ma carrots earlier, thank ya." Once the plates are settled, he pauses, waiting for Da to start, before he begins in on his goose, his eyes crinkling in a smile as he chews. "Crackin' bird, Mum," he compliments when his mouth is empty.

Knowing better than to even try to protest at this point, Sorcha takes the plate that is laden for her and plans to eat all her veggies. Looking over at her brother she shakes her head, "That was days ago, doesn't count. You still have to eat just as many as everyone else." She smiles and nods down to their mother, "It looks grand, Mum. Everything turned out to be lovely as always." She passes plates down to the nephews, watching to make sure that no vegetables get slipped onto other plates in the process.

Gideon chuckles softly to Niamh. "Aye. Just how my mum was. Nothin' went to waste." He lowers his voice to keep the little ones from hearing, "Though I'll admit now that more than a few scraps made their way to the dog."

Niamh giggles at Gideon's whispered words and gives him a soft 'shoosh', knowing full well the kids have incredible hearing when it suits them. "There's nary a dog t'be found 'round here," is whispered back. Looking to the others, Niamh makes sure Keen gets a couple more carrots than the others, under mum's watchful eye, and with a quick glance in Sorcha's direction. There's a touch of impish glee to be found there when she's not stopped by either parent, and she, too, settles down for the toast.

It is simple when it comes, "T'family," is rumbled. "Past, present an' future. T'absent friends who are family, and absent family we hold dear t'us." And, with that.. the eating can begin!

"The goose, mum, is perfect," Niamh doesn't stop from her 'work' at cutting into it, and spearing her piece with a carrot and potato. "It's the one thing tha' I cannae yet make right. Gets too dry on me in parts, an' others.."

"Yesterday isnae days ago, lass… an' will ye look at that? After all ye said I needed tae replace tha carrots I ate or there wouldn't be enough, there's actually plenty fer me tae have extra. Guess I don't owe Mum a carrot after all." Keenan winks to Sorcha, and continues eating.
"Speakin' o'yesterday, son," Da speaks up as he swallows a bit of potato. He washes it down with a swallow of whiskey. "Sorcha said ye had tae help someone last night when ye missed Mass?" The green eyes are as sharp as the ones found in the eldest born that he levels his gaze.

Gideon has little to say. He is too busy filling his mouth with good, Christmas food. He's growing more accustomed to it, with Niamh cooking so many of his dinners now. But the majority of his meals still come from vendors and restaurants. There is just something to be said for the power of home-cooked food, and it shows on his face. Finally, he manages to speak. "Mrs. O'Shea, this is spectacular. I can see where Niamh gets her skill in the kitchen."

"It will be in a few mere hours." Sorcha says easily, grinning over at Naimh when she gives him the extra carrots. She flips her hair back over her shoulder and leans in to cut up her nephew's goose on his plate for him with quick even strokes of knife and fork, "And you may or may not peel carrots as you like, that's between you and Mum." She continues cutting right along until her father brings up last night's Midnight Mass. At which point she takes the fork in her hand and scoops up a substantial portion of potato to stick right in her mouth, mumbling, "Mum ish ish derishous."

Niamh has a healthy appetite; she's learned over the years that meals are meant to be finished. There's no wasting of food at home, either.. she plans for 'leftovers' and incorporates it into 'current meals'. She grins at Gideon's enthusiasm for the meal, pleased to no end. "I'm nae anywhere near as good as mum, but I'm tryin'. She's gained her skills by cookin' for the likes of us."

As for Mum, she looks to Eamon first, and glances towards Keenan before her attention turns to Gideon. Her smile creases her face, and she looks as pleased as her daughter, or rather, perhaps Niamh's learned the expression from her mum? "Thank ye, Adamantus, tha's very kind of ye. An' I'm glad at least one o'the girls has some ability in th'kitchen." She's teasing her youngest, of course.. but it's filled with affection.

Niamh, however, can't help but turn her gaze towards da.. and Keen, as her brother is asked directly regarding the reason for missing Mass. Brows rise in askance; how is this going to turn out?

Keenan nods once as he finishes chewing. "I took care of a burned hand," he replies easily. "Didnae have much on hand fer it… which reminds Mum, I'd like tae take back one of yer aloe plants for Miss Max when I go, if that's all right with ye." Setting his silver ware down, he takes up his glass, and washes down his food with whiskey. "Then I took Miss Max tae Mass in London, before I returned." His gaze is steady as the green locks to green.

The elder pair doesn't waver, and then he gives a grunt. "Well, 'tis good o' ye tae tend tae those in need of it, son," he allows, taking another bite of goose. He leans on his elbow and points his knife towards Keenan. "An jus how is't that ye knew Miss Max in London needed her hand seen tae when ye were here?"

Covering her mouth delicately with her hand as it's still full of potatos, Sorcha replies to their mother, "I'm goo a eatin i', tho." Such a good rolemodel she is for the young ones. Her nephew is looking at her like she's crazy. Everyone knows not to talk with their mouth full in front of Gran! Especially at Christmas dinner! But, Sorcha hands him her clean fork and then moves on to her own plate, beginning to carefully cut her goose into very small pieces. Very well cooked that goose on her plate.

Of course now would be the time to 'duck and cover'. Niamh is more than familiar with what this could be the beginning of, but it could end .. any way. She looks to her baby sister with an amused smile, mostly hidden (Lord knows she doesn't want to get called out for making light of things!), "Aye, ye do an excellent job there." Gesturing to the plate that sits before her sister, she can't help but grin, "Don't forget your turnips.." And she's back to cutting and eating her goose; such a wonderful goose.. and dipping bits into the fat, rolling the potatoes around it before taking that next bite. It's washed down with water, and as she drinks, hazel eyes move towards Keen, waiting for the response.. and feverishly praying that she doesn't end up drowning in her drink for the answer..

"Because I took some pudding tae her when tha wee ones were bein' washed an' gettin' ready fer Mass," Keenan answers easily.
"I am not 'wee'," the oldest nephew next to Sorcha complains, before he's shushed.

Da nods and takes another bite. "I thought that tha reason you were nae at Mass tae begiin was accountin o' tha fact ye were called tae go help someone? How does that follow exactly?

There's a brief shake of Keenan's head. "I cannae know what ye were told as I wasnae there, but ye just asked me if I helped someone, an' tha truth is I did. Why I was there tae find out Miss Max had burned herself was because I took her some puddin' an' went tae ask her tae join me at Mass."

Turnip, check. Fork goes into a nicely cooked one and in it goes with the remaining potato into Sorcha's mouth. Chew chew chew. But not too fast. Slow. Nonchalant… it's deliscious Christmas dinner, this is. Little Paddy looks from her to his father and back again, perhaps concerned that his sweet dear aunt is going to choke. But she sips from her glass of water and continues to chew very politely. Not wanting to interrupt anything about the continuing conversation.

Niamh sets her drink down, and looks to her eldest nephew with a gently, amused warning. "Ye are t'us.. now act big an' keep eatin'. No interruptin' your gran an' uncle when they're speakin'." With the water thus taken, she sets upon the whiskey, and takes a couple of tentative sips of it, stifling coughs over the heat of it that runs down her throat and causes her cheeks to pinken. Water again, then it's back to her food.

At the mention of what he was told, Eamon looks down the table to his youngest, and his eyes rest there briefly. "Ahhh, I see. Sorcha, dear. I thought ye said yer brother sat in tha back of that church durin' mass an' had tae go help someone? Ye forgotten what yer own brother looks like, then?" Even while his eyebrows raise to Sorcha, his fork points towards Keenan. "Ye're borderin' on cheeky, son. So…" he cuts some more goose and looks back to his son to continue the interrogation. "Ye decided ye wanted tae ask Miss Max tae Mass, instead o' goin' with yer own family?"

There's a nod of the ginger's head as he pauses with his fork halfway to his mouth. "Yes, sir."

Gideon glances between Eamon and Keenan, taking notes on Eamon's interrogation techniques. Could be useful on the job. Of course, the greater concern is whether the patriarch will eventually turn his attention on Niamh and himself. Then again, Gideon did go to mass with the O'Sheas…even if he didn't exactly join in the actual worship.

Blushing scarlet, Sorcha takes another drink of water and glances from her mother to her father, mumbling around her still slight mouthfull of food, "Sorry, Da." She shoots a look over to Paddy and back to Nia and then digs into her plate and hopes that she stays under the radar the rest of the time.

Irish twins. Once more into the fray, as it were, and Niamh sets her fork aside as she looks for that perfect spot to jump in to the defense. "Da, I've met Miss Max, an' she's nae had a proper family gatherin' for the holiday. Nae like us. An' if he said they went t'Mass, it'd be easy to ask the Priest for the record o'giving." She reaches for the water again before she'll have more whiskey, and taking a deep breath, she finishes, "An' she's very nice."

"I'm nae worried about ma son lyin' tae me, Niamh," Eamon says mildly, although his eyes flicker towards Sorcha. "I am wonderin' why he decided tae spend Mass with someone else, an' why he nae told us before he left." Into the mouth goes a bite of potato and then the gaze is leveled on Keenan as he chews.

" 'T was a last minute idea," the eldest son admits when his mouth is empty. "An' I was nae sure she'd agree… might've been back hardly after I left." He gives Niamh a grin, and then turns to eyeball his father. "An' I went tae ask her because I'm hopin' she'll be goin' tae Mass with us next year. An' many years after that."

Sorcha sinks down in her seat a bit when her father looks over at her, now seeming to be roughly the same height as Paddy next to her as she takes a few forkfulls of goose, chewing slowly and keeping out of the line of fire as much as possible now that she's been pulled into the mix. She sips her wine, sending a quick look to Mum and then back to Keenan and Da again.

"It's an adjustment for everyone," Gideon pipes in. No sense pretending to be meek. The O'Sheas will have to get used to his strong personality eventually. "That Miss Max attended mass with Keenan is a big step. I know." His eyes shift to Niamh for a moment, then back to Eamon. "But…she and I both have an investment in this family now. It means learning ways that are new to us. But it's worth the effort."

Niamh opens her mouth to begin her statement with 'As I said, da..' and closes it again. Disrespectful, to say the least, and the ire of da isn't something she wants to truly risk. Not at Christmas! "Miss Max was alone in the holiday, da.. an' she's nae accustomed t'the likes of us." Now, the whiskey is given a little more attention, and she takes that sip again.. and another. Looking to Gideon now that she's said her piece in defense of her brother, her gentleman chimes in? Her smile rises upon her face, and she reaches out to take his hand to give it a squeeze. "Ye have to admit, there are few like us, da.. nae in England."

Since his son is giving him the direct eyeball, Eamon gives it right back. There's a long moment of silence between the two, and perhaps he hears the others, perhaps he doesn't. "So ye're clear on yer intentions towards this lass?" he finally asks.

Keenan's head dips in assent. "I am, sir."

"Harrumph. Then ye see that ye bring her about sooner rather than later, then, aye?" The older man continues with his meal, letting the other breathe a collective sigh of relief. He washes down a few bites of potato, turnip and goose with a swallow of whiskey. "Speakin' of intentions," Eamon muses before the table talk can raise to a level too high. "Young man, sittin' there with an investment in this family…" seems the old man was listening after all. "'Xactly what kind of investment are ye talkin' of, then? I'm nae seein' a ring on Niamh's finger, yet. What're yer intentions tae me daughter?"

"She does take it really well when an O'Shea drops from the ceiling on her." Sorcha offers when they're talking about how much Keenan cares for Miss Peirce. She smiles as she takes a regular sized bite off her plate and chews merrily along, reaching over and foiling Paddy's plans to 'accidentally' bump some turnips on the floor. But, then they're onto Gideon and Niamh and she sips her wine again, looking over at her sister and her guest.

Gideon gives Eamon a respectful nod. "My intentions are no secret, sir. I love Niamh deeply, and I'm courting her. We're getting to know each other, and the more I learn of your daughter, the more I love her." He smiles over to Niamh, pausing for effect before looking back to Eamon. "When my intentions change — when I am ready for the next step — you'll be the first to know."

Niamh knew that da's attention would be pulled around, though it'd have happened whether or not she opens her mouth in defense of her brother. Not at all a surprise. What is a surpise, however, is Sorcha's words about dropping from the ceiling .. on top of her. She aspirates her whiskey, taking too much and some of the heat moving directly into her lungs, and she begins to cough.. in the beginning a little violently before she covers her mouth with a napkin, trying desperately to keep her eyes from watering too much. If she could reach her sister, she'd kick her under the table.

Her face is red, then, as Adamantus offers up his declaration of intentions.. courtship for the time being as they learn more of each other. "He's a good man, da.." and it comes out in a breathy squeak.. as she continues to try to find a proper breath.

"An' just how've ye been courtin' ma daughter, then?" Eamon asks. "I'm nae gointae be findin' out that ye've decided tae move ta the next step one day, an' the next day find I'm gointae be a grandfather again' an' can we please hurry tha ceremony, am I?" Sorcha's assertion brings about a puzzled frown of annoyance from the older gentleman, and a sudden interest in draining a glass of whiskey from Keenan.

"I've seen tha way ye've been lookin' at each other when ye think nae one's lookin', an' it's not tha look o'innocence." His gaze now is just as piercing for his daughter as it is for Gideon.

Looking between her brother and sister with a genuinely innocent expression when Nia starts to choke to death after her comment, Sorcha says, "She was visting Keenan and I apparated in from the ceiling when they were getting ready for tea." She sips her wine and frowns a little at Niamh, "Are you alright? Do you need one of us to give you a pat on the back?" When her father starts asking Nia about moving on to the next step she takes the opportunity to eat more of her mother's lovely turnips. Two healthy bites worth.

Gideon's hand goes to Niamh's back, and he leans in with concern. "You alright, love? Breathe easy now." He picks up her water, offering it for when she's ready to drink again.

Eamon's interrogation gets a steady sigh, as Adamantus takes a moment to remind himself that this is Niamh's father. "With all due respect, sir, the way I look at your daughter is out of love, and it's no man's place to impugn that."

Niamh chuffs a breath in acknowledgment of her sister's words in defense. It's something Sorcha has to learn; the less said, the sooooo much better. "I'm fine," she manages to breathe. Now, it's safe for her to put the whiskey down and she reaches out for the water from Gideon's grasp. A sip out of that glass is taken, and other as she regains her composure and her voice.

"All's right, da.. an' ye will see me in white at Mass before ye get your grans." It's something Niamh can promise with assuredness. "An'.. we're in love. We'll nae disrespect your house, but ye can remember when ye courted mum," and she looks to her mother, her smile brightening her face. "An' the way I've caught her lookin' at ye, even now?" She wants that sort of love.. the longevity.

Eamon lays down his silverware. "Mr. Gideon," he says quietly, with a blaze in his green eyes.

"Da," Keenan says quietly, but his father makes one shushing motion. "When ye're talkin' about me daughter, it is most certainly ma place ta make sure that any man courtin' her will nae impugn her honor by marryin' her barely in time fer her babe tae be born in wedlock." His eyes turn to Niamh, "ye see that ye're wed a good nine months before ye give me any grans, lass, or it'll be tha only gran ye're givin' me. I look at yer Mum tha way I do because I've been married tae her these last thirty eight years, an' I nae touched her afore our weddin' day… ye'll nae disrespect ma house?" Those words finally catch his ears, and the look he turns back to Gideon isn't very pleasant.

Keenan clears his throat. "Da, Gideon's put Niamh's life above everythin', I'm sure ye've little tae worry about…" Except them living in sin which they seem intent on proving.

You're not going to catch her twice! Sorcha looks over to Paddy and then across at her other two older brothers and then… turnips. Yup. NOoooooone of those are going to be left on her plate at the end of this meal. Turnips. Yum! And cheer and Christmas. And she's not interrupting anybody. She is very careful nooooot to look at Gideon. Or her brothers' wives. Because she doesn't want to know anything else!

Gideon sets his jaw. Eamon's isn't the only ire that's been raised. "When you are talking to me, sir, it is your place to assure that I am treating her well, and I am. I dinnae care for your accusations. I came here in good faith. I've shown you nowt but respect. But now you try to twist the love between us into something impure. You, sir, owe her an apology." He rises, setting his napkin on the table and nodding apologetically to Mrs. O'Shea. "Ma'am, I'm sorry my presence has caused strife at your table." His eyes shift to Niamh and he murmurs softly, "I'll be gettin' some air." He tucks his chair in, and heads for the door to leave the O'Sheas some peace.

"That's nae what I mean, da," Niamh begins. "I swear it. I meant.. th-the looks ye were talkin' about." And her face reddens. She shakes her head, trying to be understood. "At least nine months, da," she murmurs before she raises her voice a little more, though it's not raised. She doesn't even want to go into the fact that Gideon's sworn to keep her safe and such in that the last thing she wants is for her father to believe that there's any danger for his daughter to begin with in that city. "O'course ye have every right, but can ye agree, please, that—"

Oh dear. With Gideon's declaration, Niamh watches him rise from his seat.. and looks to her father, and back to her suitor. This.. isn't good, at all, and she looks very much like she's about to cry. "It's nae what I meant, da.." she whispers, and makes to rise from her spot. She's not making any overt attempts to follow Gideon out, but rather, she's more than likely to disappear into the kitchen to make her hands busy so she won't get in any more trouble.

The older man doesn't stir as the Scot rages on, but when the man has left he turns to Keenan. "He can take his air all tha way back tae London. I'll have nae man in ma house tellin' me that it's all right tae be doin' as he wishes with ma unmarried daughter because he loves her, nae tellin' ME what's pure 'r impure." He downs his glass o'whiskey an' nods ta tha table as he pushes to his feet and heads towards the kitchen. "Tha rest o'ye, eat yer food." The man who was a short time ago seemed enlivened by the Christmas festivities has now aged again, the bitter lines settling sadly onto his face as he walks with reluctant steps towards the kitchen.

Looking between the door and her father and Nia and then to Keenan and then Mum, Sorcha's eyes are about as big as saucers. Along with Paddy's and the other kids. The other siblings silently eat their dinners, wives alike staying out of the discussion as the two men storm off to their separate corners. Giving a sympathetic look to her sister, Sorcha clears her throat, "So… ah… who got what they asked Saint Nicholas for in their stockings, then?" She looks hopefully to the others at the table to try and move on from the minefield of a conversation earlier and bring the topic back to Christmas for a (hopefully) more peaceful holiday meal…

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