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Authors: Maeve Binchy

Quentins (41 page)

BOOK: Quentins
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The twins approached. “We are allowed to sing only two songs. Will we sing them now?”

“Of course.” Nora could hardly speak.

Simon and Maud liked things announced.

“The bride and groom have connections with Italy, what with the bride having lived out there for a long time and her teaching Italian here, so we thought they'd like ‘Volare.' ” Everyone in the room seemed to know it and joined in the chorus.

Maud announced the next song. “It doesn't matter what age you are when you get married, your wedding day is meant to be your best day, so for this couple we are going to sing ‘True Love.' ”

They knew all the words and the bit about the “guardian angel on high with nothing to do.” They looked round proudly as they sang. They were making a fine job of this, unlike “Volare,” which wasn't even English and everyone had drowned them out. So when they were doing it so well, why was everyone weeping unashamedly? Simon and Maud found life more impossible to understand every day.

“Those two are extraordinary, they break people up all over the place,” Cathy said to Tom in the kitchen.

She had come in to sit down. There was this pain, well, it wasn't a pain, more a downward dragging feeling. It had come on quite suddenly.

Three times in the last two weeks she had gone to the hospital, certain that the baby's birth was imminent. Three times they had sent her home saying there was absolutely no sign of anything. So she hadn't taken much notice of the pains earlier on today. She was so eager to be at the reception. And she knew the hospital would only send her away again.

“Cathy, are you all right?” Tom asked suddenly.

“I must be, I have to be, but . . .”

“But what?” He was ashen.

“But I think the baby's coming, Tom,” she said . . .

Blouse and Mary saw first what was happening. And knew there was no time to get an ambulance or to move them upstairs.

They moved instead to the storeroom and sat her down in a big armchair. Mary ran to her own quarters for sheets and towels. Blouse ran into the dining room to get Brenda and Patrick.

Ella came into the kitchen that moment and took everything in. “Well done, Cathy,” she said. “We'll be absolutely fine.” Her voice calmed the two, who were
holding hands so tightly, it looked as if they would never be prised apart.

“Couldn't be a better place, plenty of boiling water,” she soothed.

“Tom, get Derry to point out a Brian Kennedy to you. He's actually a doctor. You couldn't be in better hands. Quick now, but don't alarm them.”

Cathy's face was terrified. Mary and Ella calmed her. “You couldn't be safer, Cathy,” they begged her.

Brenda was with them and then they began to believe it might be true. They leaned over her.

“Push, Cathy,” they all said. The baby's head was there.

Dr. Brian Kennedy said by the time he came in, it was all over. The baby was born. Tom and Cathy had a son.

That was when Derry had come into the kitchen to find Ella. And the moment was frozen forever in everyone's lives.

There should have been the noise of the kitchen, the ovens, the humming of the various appliances. There should have been the sounds of the party in the next room. They definitely should have been heard.

But they all remembered a moment of total silence before the little lungs of the boy who was going to be called James Muttance Feather gave a cry to say he was safely in the kitchen of Quentins and the world.

“I love you,” Cathy said to Tom.

And Mary said it to Blouse.

And Patrick Brennan said it to Brenda.

And Derry and Ella said it to each other at exactly the same time.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's Imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.


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BOOK: Quentins
8.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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