Chapter 1 - In The Beginning Continued What am I doing? Hazel Thaxton thought as she put the phone
down and then quickly picked it up again.
“What kind of mother in my position would do what I’m about to
do? My poor baby is in such pain over this! I’ve never seen her like
this. I need to end this once and for all!”
for a few seconds.
“Ian Madigan’s room, please,”
she said when a voice answered her.
This was the hard part. The
moment of truth had now arrived.
When she heard his voice on the
phone, she knew that now was the
time to take action. She didn’t
know what to do, but something
indeed had to be done.
“Good morning, Ian. This is Mrs. Thaxton, Elise’s mother.”
With that, Ian rose straight up in bed and frantically blinked his
eyes to make sure he was actually awake.
“Well top o’ tha morning ta ya, ma’am! Ta what do I owe this
unexpected pleasure?” His accent was much thicker than she remembered,
and his voice
sounded so warm and friendly that it made her smile
on the other
end of the phone.
“Ian, meet me at the bakery today at 11:00 for lunch. My husband
will be out on business, and I need to talk to you privately.”
He knew it must concern Elise or she wouldn’t be calling.
“I’ll see ya there. Thank ya for calling. Goodbye.”
As she hung up, Mr. Thaxton emerged from the bathroom with a
“I’ll try not to be gone too long today. I know I should be back
before the evening rush.” He kissed her and
started getting dressed. In a few minutes her
husband was out of
Meanwhile Ian muttered, “This is bad. I just
know it tis! Elise has
told her about me. She’s tired o’
seeing me. What a bloke I’ve been! I
mean she told me ta leave her alone, but I just couldn’t and now her
mother wants ta see me. I’ve offended their entire household! Well,
it’s better than having ta face her father. He’s huge! Well, I’ll have ta
be a man about it and take it in stride.” Ian declared as he hopped
into the shower and prepared for the lunch of a lifetime.
The clock on the wall of the bakery read 10:50 when the door
opened and in stepped an eager Ian with a nervous smile like never
before. Mrs. Thaxton glanced at the clock and then at his electric
smile, and it was clear how he had begun to melt her daughter’s icy
heart. He walked up to the counter where she stood.
“Good morning, Mrs. Thaxton. How are ya? Thank ya again for
me.” Ian didn’t know what to expect, but he was ready for anything,
aren’t you early? I had a feeling you would be.Why don’t you
sit down, and I’ll bring our lunch. We have some talking to do!”
She turned her back and busied herself with the food, but not
raising her eyebrows at him. His heart immediately fell to the
of his stomach! His throat went dry, and his palms began to
It’s over, he thought. I can feel it! Just take it like a man, and don’t
let her see ya sweat, he thought to himself. Ian took a seat at a booth
and tried to remain calm. Before he could gather himself together,
Mrs. Thaxton appeared at the table with fresh squeezed lemonade.
This time Ian followed her and brought the sandwiches to the table.
This surprised his hostess, and she gave an inward smile.
“Everything looks so good,” he stated trying to keep her from seeing
how nervous he was. She was pleased by his willingness to help
he brought the food to the table. She watched him silently.
“Thank you, Ian.”
As they sat down to eat, Ian touched
his plate, but was soon distracted
by the softness of her hand on
his. He glanced up as panic
filled his being and his stomach did
you like to bless the food?” Mrs. Thaxton asked him as he
“Uh, uh, aye, ma’am.”
He was really on the spot now! He summoned all of the courage
he could muster as he closed his eyes while she did the same. Fear
engulfed him, but he knew he had to conquer it somehow. He wiped
his sweaty palms on his pants a time or two, but nothing seemed to
help. He didn’t know what to say, so he said what he knew.
“Lord, we thank ya for this food and bless tha gracious hostess
and her lovely daughter. Bless us all. Amen.”
tried not to show it, but he was extremely nervous. He didn’t
to look foolish in front of Mrs. Thaxton. After that unexpected
was over, he tried his best to calm down and wait for her to
talking. Only seconds had passed, but it seemed like hours.
the silence was broken.
“Ian, the reason I’ve
asked you here today is to stop this madness!
I can no longer stand
to see my daughter like this. Whenever you’re
like trying to mix oil and water. After all of the times
turned you down, why do you keep coming back? I’ve never
a man try as hard to win a woman’s affection as you’ve tried to
win hers.” Ian took a sip of his lemonade before answering the
question of a
“From tha first moment I saw Elise, I felt something surge
through me tha likes o’ which I’ve never known before. It was like I
put ma finger in a light socket. It was so powerful and so strong, and
I could see it in her eyes and I knew she felt it too! She just doesn’t
want ta give me a chance. I understand about the color issue, but ma
eyes see only her. She’s the most beautiful, vibrant woman I’ve ever
seen in ma whole life, and Ireland has its share of beauties, but none
can compare ta her! Ma heart is colorblind and so am I. If I could tell
ma heart ta stop caring about her because ma skin isn’t the same
color as hers, I would, but it just isn’t that simple. My heart has amind o’ its own. I need her in ma life, Mrs. Thaxton, and I’m not
ashamed ta admit it either.”
Ian stared intensely into her eyes as he poured out his soul to her.
She felt compassion for him, especially since she knew that Elise felt
the same way too. As she listened to his plight, it was evident how
strong his feelings were for her daughter, so she came to a decision.
“Elise does have feelings for you, and that’s the only reason why
I’m doing this. But she has to come to terms with the past first. Let
me explain. Her closest friend, Gail, met a man, a white man named
Kurt. They began seeing each other, and soon it became so unbearable
for her, because people always told her they didn’t belong
together. He promised his undying love and marriage, but somehow
he was different. He never came around until dark, and it seemed he
was uneasy whenever they were together. I had a really bad feeling
about him from the beginning, but Gail didn’t listen to me. She said
she knew what she was doing. Anyway, Gail tried to make it work,
but soon he broke it off before any wedding plans were made, butnot before
he knew her
in the biblical sense, so to speak.”
Ian’s eyebrows raised in complete shock. He then looked away
from Mrs. Thaxton’s gaze. He felt as if she thought he was going to
try to do the same thing to her daughter as well. She continued as Ian
shook his head silently in anger at the sad turn of events.
“Gail was deeply hurt, and Elise was there to pick up the pieces.
has never forgotten the toll it took on her either.”
want to interrupt his hostess, but something had to be
was fuming! That snake should have felt tha backside o’ a whip! Her father
should have skinned him alive! I’d kill a man if he even looked at
Elise wrong! Ian thought as he tried to restrain himself, because he
had to make his feelings known. He couldn’t believe this. His face
grew red with rage at the thought of something like this happening
to the woman he loved. True, he was a womanizer in every sense of
the word, but he never lied to get his way.
The women he was with always knew exactly what they were getting,
was the time of their lives with no strings attached. It was
merely a physical encounter
and nothing more. He went on his way
and they did the same, but here was a man who used
a woman by
promising love, but giving only heartache instead. To make matters
worse, he tossed her away like a dirty rag once he got what he
prided herself on being a good judge of character, after all she did
Right now she's torn
between her emotions and trying to preserve
her lifestyle as she knows it. She realizes that if she gets
you, her whole way of life will change, and that's what frightens her
myself as well."
“This snake ya call Kurt should have felt tha backside
o’ a whip! I
hate tha lot o’ his kind! I’d never behave improperly with
I’d hurt anyone who did! Now that is a promise,” Ian stated boldly
she looked at him. His sincerity shone through and she knew he really
prided herself on being a good judge of character, after all she did
warn Gail about Kurt. Just as she could see through Kurt’s “so-called”
declaration of love, she could tell Ian was if nothing else honest.
she didn’t want to be the catalyst that brought them together,
but somehow she found
herself doing just that!
“I want her to take the opportunity to explore her
feelings for you.
Right now she’s torn between her emotions and trying to preserve
her lifestyle as she knows it. She realizes that if she gets involved with
her whole way of life will change, and that’s what frightens her
and myself as well.”
What’s from the heart reaches the heart, and she could tell that he
genuine. She’d already made up her mind this morning when
she called him on the
phone and now she gazed directly into his eyes.
With a serious look and without batting
an eye, she raised her lefteyebrow at him.
What's from the heart
reaches the heart, and she could tell that he
was genuine. She'd already made up her mind this morning
she called him on the phone and now she gazed directly into his eyes.
With a serious
look and without batting an eye, she raised her left
eyebrow at him.
going to help you, Ian, because I can see how hard all of this
is for my daughter, and this will enable
her to make a decision one
way or another. Come back around closing with a single red rose and
poem that you've written especially for her. When you recite it, let
your eyes speak to hers before she
can refuse. Give her your best
smile and she'll change her mind, because I will have already spoken
to her. She loves poetry."
Ian smiled and for the first time he felt he actually stood
with her. He always knew there had to be another reason why he
any ground with her. She'd seen firsthand why she
should stay away from him. He was determined to prove
that he was
different. To her, he was not to be trusted. If he was the least bit like
he was a liar who would only break her heart and ruin her reputation,
if she gave him the chance but she
wouldn't! The difference
between him and Kurt was that Kurt was only out for what he could
at any cost, while Ian was after Elise. Ian wanted and needed her,
all of her. He loved the way she smile,
and the way she smelled of
fresh strawberries and even the way she shook her finger at him in
disapproving manner of hers. Whenever he thought of the effect she had on him, he chuckled.
He liked everything
about this woman, so he had to make her see he
was not another Kurt.
bring tha pictures I've been taking o' her. She might like them
because I certainly do! At this point,
I'm willing ta give anything a
try. Thank ya so much. Ya don't know what this means ta me!"
He left feeling confident for the first time since he met her. When
Elise came in to
work, she put on her apron as usual and was greeted
by her mother's kiss on the cheek to which she naturally
"You know, I still can't get over that young man popping up like
at church last week. He must really be serious to do that. The
flowers alone must have cost a pret-ty penny!
Then he poured out
his heart in those letters to you. I've never seen a more determined
except maybe your father, that is."
Her mother smiled and so did Elise.
"Why he keeps coming back time after time is beyond me. I've
embarrassed him or tried to, but nothing
seems to work on that
crazy Irishman! Mama, I have to tell you something," Elise declared,
her voice for fear that if anyone ever heard, nothing would
ever be the same for her again. Her mother
nodded anxiously as Elise
moved closer to her.
"Mama, I do feel something
for him. He seems so honest and so
different, but yet so, so, oh, I don't know what he is, but there's
something that intrigues me about him." Elise stood there silently as a smile covered her lips.
"Well, give it a chance to see what develops. If you have something
in common, okay. And if not, you'll
never ask yourself what would
have happened if you had only given it a chance. Just keep your mind
open and be true to yourself, because only you can say who will
make you happy. If I know
our Mr. Madigan, he'll be back."