*** Your Title Here *** Part one
"Your mate's going to be filming here in a couple of weeks."
I was sitting in Hannah's café enjoying a nice quiet cuppa and a scone, reading a magazine and trying to pretend I wasn't hopelessly blocked on the new book. As usual someone had chosen to intrude on my pouting. This time it was my old friend Seamus, former beat cop and now Sergeant O' Neil of the Wicklow Garda station.
"Which mate would that be now?" I decided to play along.
"That Welshie fella with the odd name, whatsis name, Owen."
This made me sit up straight, and my heart skipped a beat, because Seamus knew what he was talking about- all the film crews that come here have to go through the station for permits and such. And I knew he had to mean Eoghan. Pronounced Eh-van, God help him.
"You mean Eoghan Rhys? He's coming here? Jaysus, how can that be- I thought he was over in LA right now? What's the movie?"
"Okay- here's a bit of a scoop for you, between us now, right?" It's that one about the Rebellion. The one Frank McCourt wrote the script for."
"Ah Seamus- that one has Ewan McGregor in it, you have it all arse backwards." I took a sip of my tea, my excitement hopelessly dampened. But Seamus grinned and shook his head.
"Had Ewan McGregor in it. The producers sacked him and brought in your man to replace him, very hurried and hush hush like. Trust me on this one."
"Oh my God, now that's some interesting news. Are they shooting in the town here?"
"Yep- filming some at the Old Gaol and around the countryside, they'll be here for at least a good three weeks. And they're all staying at Tinakilly." Tinakilly House is a very posh bed and breakfast type place where all the stars stay when they come to Wicklow. I'm betting the poor grunts on the crew will be stuck at the Bayview though, where the water is often at least lukewarm and the music from the pub downstairs can only be heard up to the third floor.
"So there you go girly- here's your chance to get in there and shove a copy of that book in his face. Get those telly people to make up their minds."
Seamus was referring to my first novel, which had come out a few months ago, and most definitely was not making me rich, but sales were building slowly. It had gotten me a job writing a column for an Irish women's magazine, and more importantly it was making me just enough money to allow me to stay in Ireland. ITV was hemming and hawing about making it into a two part miniseries, which would surely help pay the bills and sell a few copies of the hardcover. I had made no secret to anyone about who I wanted to play the male lead.
"Oh please, he's way above doing telly these days. Sure, isn't he replacing Ewan McGregor in a big Hollywood movie now?"
"Well, nothing ventured nothing gained, so they say."
I knew Seamus was right, but my more practical side was telling me there wasn't a hope in hell I'd even get close enough to say hello, let alone have a chance to mention my book. Still, this was like a dream come true- even to get a quick peek at him from afar would be enough to fuel my fantasies for a year.

Before you start thinking I'm just some star struck goober with a fatal attraction for a pretty-boy movie star, let me tell you the story of my obsession. Because there really is a reason, other than just the fact that he's gorgeous and sexy and has a bum you could cut diamonds with.

Just over two years ago I was struggling to be a writer, going through the typical sleep deprived, too-much-caffeine, on the edge thing that most struggling writers have to go through. I was sad and depressed because I had run out of money and had to come back to the States from Ireland, I was working at a crappy retail job to keep myself from starving and living in (God I shudder to even remember it) a camper in Colorado. A big camper, but a camper all the same. I thought I was Jack Kerouac's sister. This might all sound bad enough, but when you realize that I was well over thirty, well- it seems almost pathetic doesn't it?
I had begun writing a novel about my time in Ireland, but it was coming hard and not going well. I had written my heroine a young friend, stunningly gorgeous and much younger, but at that point the relationship was purely platonic. Then one night I turned on PBS and I saw…him. It was an adaptation of some period classic where everyone runs around emoting in funny clothes, a piece of BBC culture and fairly entertaining, I but when HE showed up I almost choked on my popcorn. It was my character, the sexy neighbor boy come to life. The big, dark, innocent eyes, the chiseled jaw, the chestnut hair tousled and softly curling. And the large, sensuous mouth so sharply in contrast to the sweetly guileless eyes. And when he smiled, a huge unselfconscious infectious grin, I was gone. I turned on the PC and began to write, and in no time at all my characters were going at it like bunnies, and falling in love in the bargain. In a few months I had a first draft, and not long after that a finished product, and it only took me a few months to find a small UK publisher to take it, because it is rather shamelessly commercial. I didn't care. Let the critics hate it, it allowed me to fulfill my life's ambition, to write full time, and to stay in Wicklow where I was happy. The fact that I might have been about to meet in the flesh the real lad who, in a very round-about way, had made it all possible, excited me and terrified me at the same time, because I was sure he'd turn out to be another spoiled little show biz brat who's madly in love with himself, and that, dear reader, would have broken my heart.

Almost three weeks later the town was abuzz with excitement over the film crew being there. Well, the Chamber of Commerce and a few women were excited, the rest of the town just went about its business as usual. The Irish are singularly unimpressed by this sort of thing. Myself, every time I saw any tallish slender fella with dark hair I almost came out of my skin, but they had been there two days and still no sightings of himself. The lesser members of the cast and crew had made many friends around though, as I had predicted they were billeted in the Bayview and everyone had joined in the craic in the bar the night before, the traditional start of the Irish weekend- Thursday night. Eoghan's old BBC buddies Jimmy Blanders and Duncan McKenna had supporting parts so I was starting to see where the producers had gotten the idea for Ewan's replacement. Jimmy, recently split from his girlfriend, was quickly charming all the women, and Duncan, although apparently more quiet, had his own fans. I had been chained to the computer the night before trying to finish my column before the deadline though, and missed the fun. I was standing in Earl's Newsagents being filled in by my friends Laurie and Sinead.
"Oh my GOD- Jimmy Blanders is just loverly, so he is, sound as a pound and not a bit show-bizzy, you know," Sinead said.
"He's dead on," Laurie agreed, "his Da is Irish, don't you know."
"Well, shite. I can't believe I farted around so long with the bloody column and missed it all." I said, disgusted with myself. Although ignore and then panic is my traditional MO for writing. At least now I knew I'd have a topic for next month- a film crew in our midst.
"No Eoghan though, Duncan said he doesn't get here until today sometime."
"Oh he's probably a snotty little bastard anyway, after being over in LA for a few weeks. And I'm sure he wouldn't be interested in slumming with a bunch of us culchies after he's been running around shagging skanky ho pop stars and clubbing with Leo baby and all. He'll probably be dropping the last name any day now and just be known as Eoghan like Brad and Ben and Matt and Hugh." When I was nearly through this witty little speech I realized Laurie's, Sinead's, and everyone else's eyes were focusing somewhere just above my head and behind me and I knew that I wasn't going to want to turn around anytime soon. Why did this stuff always happen to me, anyway? Couldn't possibly be my incredibly big mouth. I heard someone clear their throat and I knew I just had to see him, although I was sure my face was undoubtedly the color of a stop sign. So I turned around and looked, putting on a bold face. My God in heaven, was he gorgeous. His hair was long, he hadn't had it cut since doing his last corset-and-breeches saga, it was nearly to his shoulders and not as curly as it is when it's shorter. He was dressed in sweats, black ones, and a T-shirt, plain and blindingly white. He looked so much like Danny that my heart almost stopped. The eyes were more beautiful than you ever got from photos or videos, and his skin was just lovely- slightly tanned from the California sun. He had the faintest bemused smile on those gorgeous lips, and he was staring right at me. My knees felt like they were going to buckle.
"Actually I have been working on a nickname, I was considering just 'Ev'. What do you think ladies?" he said, his eyes never leaving mine. The other three women giggled uncontrollably, the cows.
"I'm really sorry," I managed to get out, "I was just slagging a bit."
"Mmm-hmm. I've been warned about you anyway," he said, startling me.
"Me?" was my biting comeback.
"Aren't you the one who writes that naughty column for that sex obsessed women's magazine?"
"What…how do you know about that?"
"Never mind. But I just want you to know, I'll be watching you. Any nasty rumors end up in the Mirror about me and I'll know who to blame." He was saying this with the little smirk on his face the whole time, so I knew he had been put up to it, and I also knew I wouldn't rest until I got my hands on Seamus O'Neil and strangled the life out of him, Sergeant or not.
"Well, don't give people anything to gossip about and you'll be fine, won't you?" I retorted, emboldened by his teasing.
"Don't know about that, they seem to have great fun living my life without any help from me at all." I supposed he was referring to all the recent rumors linking him with various starlets and members of girl pop groups, one particularly nasty example who has to have given his poor mother a few sleepless nights.
"I'm sure you're a regular little monk, so you are." I told him.
"Well, I haven't actually taken a vow of chastity yet, but sometimes it just seems to work out that way." By this time he had paid for his paper and pack of Purple Silk Cuts, and thanked Theresa politely. "Ladies, lovely chatting with you. You have yourselves a grand day," he said, putting on a very passable Dublin accent, "and you-" at this he stopped and poked me lightly on the nose with one long finger, "I will definitely have my eye on you at all times. You have troublemaker written all over you." And with that he went out the front door, giving us a view of the finest backside I've ever seen filling out a pair of sweats. For a few seconds we were speechless, and then Laurie came out with a little screech- "Oh my GOD! He's feckin' beautiful!!"
I only can but agree.

That night, free of deadlines and any other responsibilities I just had to get myself dressed up and go out to the Bayview, the current hot place in town because of the film crew, naturally. I had arranged to meet Laurie and another friend, Mags, there at 8:00. I was trying very hard not to expect to see him that night, but also telling myself that if Jimmy and Duncan were out there was a good chance he'd be with them. With my luck I feared they had all taken themselves up to Dublin to hobnob with Bono and Liam and Patsy and the other celebrities.
When I walked into the Bayview I had to squeeze through a packed crowd, even bigger than a normal Friday night would warrant, so I knew that at least some of them were here. After finally finding Mags and Lol in the crush at the bar I shouted my order at Robbie the barman and said "Oh Jaysus, it's black in here, isn't it? You'd nearly leave and go to the Bridge or somewhere."
"Especially since your little man isn't here," Laurie said. Well poop.

After a while I announced I had to go to the loo, although really it was more a case of slight claustrophobia and I knew taking the long way around, out the back door and through the foyer, would get me a bit of fresh air. Thankfully there was no one outside, so I went and sat on the wall lining the steps that lead down to the beer garden. I sat and listened to the music coming from inside, Remember Me, a country song that had been popular a few years before. I sang along for a few lines, looking up at the gazillions of stars in the summer sky. And then suddenly I had the oddest feeling of not being alone. I turned quickly and there he was, standing behind me again. He jumped a little, and so did I, startled.
"Sorry, I always seem to be sneaking up on you. I was just enjoying your voice, it's quite nice." I couldn't even answer him at first, it all just felt too weird.
"It's a beautiful song, Stan and the guys do it well," I finally managed.
"They do, very well. It makes me too sad though, reminds me of my ex girlfriend. Not the skanky ho pop star." He smiled, although I could barely see his face in the dark. He came and sat on the wall beside me.
"I'm sorry about that, I really was only trying to be funny."
"Ah hell, I deserved it. Although she never was my girlfriend, we only went to a couple of parties together."
"It's none of my business," I told him, "you don't have to explain yourself to me."
"I know, I just wanted to. I guess I'm getting in the habit of explaining myself to people." I decided to try and lighten things up.
"Ah ya poor crature, yer a martyr to the cause, so ya are, a real martyr to the cause" I said in my worst Mother McCree voice.
"See? I knew you were trouble, now you're taking the piss out of me again." He pulled a pack of Silk Cuts out of his jacket pocket. "Do you smoke?" he asked, offering me the pack. I shook my head. "Do you mind if I do?" I laughed at him.
"Eoghan, you're in Ireland, not in LA now, you don't have to ask anymore. I'm about the only person in town who doesn't smoke."
"I bloody wish I didn't. I never did much before, then I did a film a couple of years ago where my character had to smoke, and the director told me that I looked like a very unconvincing smoker. I practiced so much that I haven't been able to stop since. Too much stress, I guess."
 "So how's this film going? Are you enjoying working on it?"
"Don't know- ask me tomorrow when I start. The script is excellent, and it's great to be working with some of my old mates, but the director had a thing for Ewan and I'm afraid he's going to break my balls every step of the way. You didn't hear me say that, by the way. And pardon my language."
"Well, I hope you're wrong, we want you to have only good memories of our little town when you leave." I didn't know what else to say, I was so surprised at his candor, although I shouldn't have been, it was so typically him.
"At least I got to meet a famous author," he smiled.
"Is Roddy here then? I hadn't heard he was in town."
He started to giggle then. "I was talking about you, you dork."
"Oh Kee-rist, I'm hardly famous!"
"Sure you are- you're the local Famous Person, aren't you? Your friend Seamus gave me a copy of your book and strongly suggested that I read it, if you know what I mean."
"Oh for heaven's sake, if he's read it himself I'll sit down in the middle of Main Street and eat my Doc Martins! Nah, they couldn't care less around here. Half of them don't even know I got the damned thing published. Even the some of the ones who are in it haven't read it."
"So it's autobiographical then? Hmm, I think I'll have to read it after all."
"Don't put yourself out now," I teased him.
"You have me intrigued. And Seamus frightens me a bit- I'm afraid he's going to quiz me on it, and throw me in the nick if I don't pass."
"I'm really sorry about that, he does mean well."
"It's all right." He smiled at me, the famous lopsided grin. "I thought it was quite funny. And I am going to read it, I swear. But I have a lot of lines to learn first."
Laurie and Mags came out the side door of the pub just then, spotted me sitting on the wall and started slagging me about being outside on the "shifting wall"- where couples often came for a quick snog. Until they saw who was with me, and went instantly silent.
"Hello- I guess I've been monopolizing your friend haven't I? Sorry about that, I'll give her back now. Thanks for the chat," he said, "and I want you to autograph that copy of your book for me."
"Buy yourself one and I will," I retorted. He laughed loudly again.
"Hey, gotta pay the ESB bill next week, I need another royalty check."
"Like I said, trouble with a capitol T," he called after me as I went back through the door after Laurie and Mags , leaving him sitting on the wall in the dark, smoking his cigarette.


The next day as soon as it was an even reasonably decent hour in the States I was on the phone to my friend Deb who was the one person who knew all about my silly little obsession.
"He's just so fecking CUTE!" I practically screamed into the phone, "I was all ready for him to be a bollox, a snotty little stuck up prima donna, but he's just- a BLOKE!"
There was a knock at the door just then and my dog Beavis started barking and leaping at the door.
"Well, dammit, who's this now?" I peeked out the front window to see an Irish rebel soldier standing on my doorstep, tall and lanky and dark-haired.
"Oh SHITE! He's here, gotta go!" I hissed, and unceremoniously hung up the cordless. I opened the door and he smiled at me.
"Hi. Hope you don't mind, I asked someone where you lived."
"No problem. Come on in."
He came into the front room and looked around, suddenly seeming quite shy.
"So how are your balls today?" I inquired.
He looked at me like he was trying to decide if I had really said this. "Pardon?" he finally asked.
"Not broken yet, I hope."
"Ah. Yes." He scratched his head, looking embarrassed. "I really do need a minder when I've been drinking, I say the rudest things sometimes,"
Beavis was leaping at him like a manic Jack-in-the-Box, so I shouted at her- "Beavis! Down!" He made a downward gesture with his hand and in a firm and commanding voice said, "Sit!" Beavis looked at him for a moment, and then looked quizzically at me. I thought I could almost here her say "Huh?" and then she went back to jumping at his legs.
"She isn't very well trained, is she?"
"Trained? I've just about got her where she doesn't eat the carpets anymore."
"I guess I've only been around movie dogs," he said apologetically.
"Beavis- FECK OFF!" I shouted at the top of my lungs. She dropped to the floor and offered us her belly. He started to laugh and knelt to give her a pat.
"She is cute, though."
"Yeah, she's a pain in the arse, but she's my child. Want a cuppa?" He glanced at his watch and seemed undecided for a moment, then said "Uh, sure."
"Can I take your sword, sir?" He looked down at the sword hanging from a scabbard on his costume and said "Well, damn. I forgot to take that off, didn't I?"
He removed the sword, scabbard and all, and set it beside the sofa, then followed me into the kitchen.
"This is a lovely little house, did you decorate it yourself?"
"Yeah, can't you tell? That's going to be my next book- How to Decorate From Skips."
He laughed, and then held out a copy of my book. "Speaking of- I just came by to get you to sign this for me. Purchased this morning from the local bookshop, by the way."
I smiled at him. "Can I write something naughty in it?"
"I think I'd be disappointed if you didn't," he said with a straight face.
We sat down at the kitchen table, and he stretched out his long legs in front of him and ran his hands through his hair, which he had released from the ribbon that was holding it into a tail at the back. There was a shaft of light coming through the back window, hitting him squarely on his face, and it made his dark eyes look almost golden. His skin was creamy-golden too, and I wanted to gawk, transfixed by the little scar on his cheek that always drew me when I had seen him on the screen or in photos. His lips were perfect, full but not too big, and I tried not to stare as he lifted his cup and sipped his tea. It struck me suddenly that the longtime object of my lust and obsession was actually sitting here in my kitchen, drinking tea I had made him, out of a mug that I would later wash. And it also struck me how much he really did remind me of my fictional creation, here was Danny, the man I had made for myself to fall in love with when the real ones had disappointed me once too often, sitting at my distressed pine kitchen table, looking almost too long and lanky to fit into the matching distressed pine chair. He was rubbing the smooth surface of the table with one beautiful huge hand, his fingers tracing a circle on the wood, and my mind started to torment me with imaginings of what that would feel like on your bare skin. The only sounds were our breathing and a faint noise of the neighbor's radio, playing Garth Brooks. He looked back at me, the moment drawing itself out, and spoke in a soft voice.
"This is very comfortable."
Before I could answer, the phone, which I hadn't even realized I was still holding, screeched at me, causing me to cry out and jump about a foot off my seat.
"Bugger! Who's that?" I said, before I could stop myself. I put the phone to my ear.
"Is he still there??" the voice on the other end shouted at me, before I could even say hello.
"No- there's no Bob here, you have the wrong number," I said, and hung up again, hoping Deb would understand my code and wait for me to call back. But just in case I switched the phone to off.
"Wrong number." I clarified. He smiled.
"I'll leave in a few minutes and you can call her back," he said, and I'm sure my face went red again.
"Cheeky little bastard, aren't you?" I said in mock indignation.
"Well, I could hear what she said, it's a miracle you aren't deaf now."
"Sorry, she's American, they're very excitable."
"I hope you aren't too disappointed, I'm kind of a sad excuse for a movie star, aren't I? I can't even manage to hang onto a…what did you call her? Oh, a skanky ho pop star for more than a couple of weeks." I refilled his cup from the teapot, and he dumped another spoonful of sugar in there, I could hardly take my eyes from his hand while he did this, his movements were so- well, elegant somehow, without being affected or prissy.
"I think you're lovely, and I haven't met many movie stars to compare you to so I wouldn't worry about it."
"It's a bit hard to hang onto who you are sometimes, you know? It's supposed to be about acting, or I thought it was, and then all of a sudden you have to think about all this other crap, and I just wasn't ready, I think I'm making a balls of it sometimes."
"I think you're doing fine, you seem very bloody normal to me."
"God, I don't know why I'm blathering on like this, you poor woman. You must have been a priest in another life, there's something about you that makes me want to confess."
"I don't mind, really."
"I also keep forgetting that technically you're the press. I should be keeping my lip buttoned."
"Oh hell, all I ever talk about in that column is women's stuff. PMS and chocolate and my woeful lack of sex." After I said this I was embarrassed, but my mouth has never seemed to listen to my brain when it tells it to shut the hell up. He laughed, such a cute little-boyish kind of snickery laugh.
'Well, we have one thing in common then."
"You're not PMSing too, are you?" I teased.
"No, and I'm not terribly fond of chocolate either." He jumped then, and looked at his watch. "Oh hell, I'd better get back- I'm due on the set in about five minutes."
I walked him out to the front door, and he turned and said to me, "Thanks for the cuppa, and for the ear. Sometimes it's hard to find someone to just talk to, you know? I really appreciate it."
"Don't mention it, anytime. My door is always open."
"Thanks- you may regret that yet." He grinned that big, gorgeous, knee-weakening grin and walked off down High Street in the direction of the Old Gaol. Ack. He's better than chocolate.

Part 2

Just minutes after he had left I spotted the scabbard and sword leaning up against the sofa.
"Well, dammit Beavis. The silly boy has gone and left his sword behind him. Don't you just hate when that happens?" I decided that I would play the Good Samaritan and return it to him, and maybe get a look at him in action for my troubles. As I was walking out the door I also remembered the book he had left on the kitchen table in his haste, and I returned and wrote a little passage in it, smiling evilly the whole time.
As a 21st century woman carrying a very large sword and scabbard up the High Street on a busy Saturday afternoon and through a throng of onlookers to a movie set, you get a lot of notice, and snide comments from smart arsed acquaintances.
"Where ya goin' with that sword Jo? Some poor fella piss ya off again, has he?" one of my binmen shouted at me from across the street.
"Shut up Jake, or you could find yourself sitting down to pee," I shouted back.
"She'd do it too, mate," my ex favorite mistake, Eddie Kavanagh, added to the conversation. Ed used to be the town Romeo, then he married to the worst shrew in the town, and had two kids. Sometimes life IS fair.
"And to think, you believed me when I said it would grow back."
When I got to the head of the crowd (funny how people will move out of your way when you are carrying a sword) I suddenly couldn't figure out who to approach. I couldn't tell in this mess of busy looking people carrying clipboards just who had some authority and who was a grunt. I chose a woman close to me who had a walkie talkie and a pained expression.
"Excuse me," I began, but she started yelling into her walkie talkie just then.
"Well tell the little bastard to go back and get it himself! Honest to God he'd lose his head if we didn't watch him, he's probably left his willy somewhere and when he goes to have a piss he'll be whining about that!" then she noticed me standing there staring at her. "What?" she said abruptly.
"I have the little bastard's sword."
"Bloody hell," she sighed, and then said into her walkie talkie "I've found it."
"Would it be a terrible imposition if I was to take it to him myself? It's just- I have something else for him and I'd like to give that to him in person."
"Sure love, go on. I hope it's a kick in the arse."
Another girl, this one definitely a grunt, led me around the side of the Gaol, past groups of other busy looking people, around cables and large pieces of equipment lying about the place, and up to the busiest looking group of people, my fair hero in their midst. When he spotted me and the sword he looked relieved and embarrassed at the same time, and he grinned, showing his teeth and his dimples.
"I always seem to forget that when I'm in a hurry for some reason," he said.
"Better this than your pants," I quipped, getting a laugh from the onlookers.
"I'd soon feel the draft if I left those behind me," he said, playing along.
"You forgot your book," I held it out to him. He took it, looked in the front cover, and started to laugh.
"You are a very naughty woman!" he exclaimed.
"And you haven't even read it yet. God knows what you'll call me if you do."
I suddenly realized that the group around us seemed to be listening intently to this little exchange, and it made me shy.
"Well, I just wanted to give you that, sorry to disturb your work."
"No problem, thanks so much."
"Well, goodbye then,"
"Bye, enjoy the rest of your Saturday," he said, and the girl who had been fussing around his hair and his jacket resumed her ministrations. I started to walk away but before I got too far I heard him call my name. I turned and he was jogging up to me.
"Um- will you be down the pub tonight?" he asked.
"Sure, it's Saturday night, isn't it?"
"It's just, I would like to buy you a drink if I see you out, to thank you for the hospitality today, and for returning my sword. God, that sounds really funny, doesn't it?"
He seemed suddenly very young and very shy, and I wondered how hard it was getting for him to find someone he could talk to, if he was desperate enough to be wanting to buy me a drink.
"I'd like that a lot. I'm sure I'll bump into you at some point anyway."
"Brilliant. We'll see you later then." He turned and jogged back to the set.
I was trying desperately to stop myself from fancying him.
5521

Part Two 3265

Call me a silly old thing, but I must admit that I got ready for the pub with a bit of extra care that night. And the whole time I was appreciating the irony, knowing that even if I did run into him, what I looked like was going to matter to him about as much as my stance on trade with China mattered to Tony Blair. But it's always fun to dream.
My first doubts were assuaged the minute I walked into the Bridge to meet some friends and was surprised to see Eoghan standing at the bar with Jimmy, Duncan and some other people from the crew. He saw me and grinned.
"Hello! See you managed to talk yourself into going out tonight after all," he said.
"Ah well, it's always a struggle but I do persevere."
"What are you havin'?"
"Oh, um, pint of Bud would be grand, thanks."
Jaime laughed. "That's what I like, a woman who goes straight on the pints, none of this namby pamby 'I'll have a half first' nonsense." I just made a face at him.
 "So are we ready for a really good night on the piss, all?" Eoghan asked. "Jo, you can be our designated slag watcher."
"And what pray tell would that be?" I laughed.
"Well, as the evening wears on, and we start to get a bit drunk and, well- let's say our vision gets a bit bad,"
"Not to mention our taste," Jimmy added.
"Then it's your job to keep an eye on us and make sure we don't go off with any sleazy looking women."
 "That just sounds like a whole load of fun for me," I said wryly. "Well, it's a deal, but if I look like I'm going to go off with any sleazy looking men- please don't stop me, okay? It's been way too long."

So I spent the evening following the lads around from pub to pub. In most ways these young lads were not much different than my Wicklow mates, except that they were stunningly beautiful and rather famous. People (not only women, either) couldn't seem to keep their eyes off them, and it began to make me feel uncomfortable for them after a while.
We were sitting in a booth in Phil Healy's about midway through the evening when I noticed a group of young ones standing a few feet away, trying not to make it obvious that they were watching Eoghan and whispering about him. I had tried to stick as close to Duncan as I could, in hopes that people would think we were together, as I had become suddenly all too aware of the age difference between myself and Eoghan.
 "How can he stand to be watched all the time?" I mused to no one in particular, but as Duncan was the only one who heard me he answered.
"I suppose he just has to stop thinking about it or he'd never be able to relax."
"God, it would drive me mad, I think. I'm glad I didn't go into acting. It's weird enough being stared at just because you're with him, isn't it?"
Duncan laughed, and I realized that perhaps that had not come out the way I had intended.
"Oh shite, I didn't mean that the way it sounded."
"It's all right, I do know what you mean, and believe me I'm glad that I don't have that kind of fame. Mostly." He smiled his wry little smile. "But writers get that too, you know."
"Yeah, if you're Stephen King or JK Rowling, maybe. Most people wouldn't even recognize their favorite writers if they walked up and spit on them, though. Best of both worlds- immortality and anonymity at the same time."
Duncan laughed and then excused himself to make a run to the bar to get his round in. Eoghan slid over next to me and said, "How are you doing? You and Dunc seem to be getting on quite well, eh? He's a lovely bloke."
"He's interesting. Kind of quiet."
"Not always. So, are you two…" he raised one eyebrow suggestively.
"Oh God no, I wouldn't think so, Eoghan. We're just chatting."
"Oh, that's too bad. I think Dunc is kind of lonely since he and his wife split up. I'd like to see him find someone nice. And you're very nice, you know. And cute." He grinned the big silly grin again and I realized that he was definitely just on this side of drunk.
"Uh-oh," I said, "I think it's time for me to put on my slag watcher's hat. You look like your vision could be getting bad."
"My vision is just fine, thanks."
Arg. I was suddenly aware not only of the fact that he was he leaning quite close to me, but there was half a pub full of people who were watching him lean quite close to me. And I got a sudden feeling of how very lonely this kind of life must be. It would take a strong woman to put up with it- the feeling that you were always being watched, and judged. I knew that if this was the case, if people were thinking there was something going on between us, I wouldn't pass the test with flying colors- 'plain' would be the nicest thing the tabloids would ever say about me. No wonder he had been through two 'normal' women and then moved on to skanky hos.
"Don't you be cheeky, or I'll call time on you and get your handlers to take you home."
"If you're referring to these lads, I predict that any time now they will be looking for some local talent to get off with and leaving me to make my own way back to my hotel."
"What about you? You won't be looking to hook up with some local talent?" I teased him.
"And see my shortcomings plastered all over the British tabloids? No thank you. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and paid the bills for it. No shag is worth that kind of torment. My poor mum's had enough, anyway."
"I don't know how she stands it. She must get so worried about you."
"She drinks." He said with a perfectly straight face. Then he broke into the smile again.
"So what's the solution?" I asked him. "Do you have to be a monk for the rest of your life?"
"Well, it isn't easy to find someone you can trust, but I haven't given up hope either."
Just then one of the young ones had worked up the courage to come over and talk to him, so our conversation came to an end. She was pretty, about 20 or 21, and I watched him charm her, not with that smarmy Don Juan kind of charm that some men have, but just by being his genuine, nice and outgoing self. He could have just been an exceptionally attractive local lad, with the gift of bullshit that so many of them have. Only he wasn't, and there was something about him that made that obvious. It was almost impossible to define, except by using that old stand by- star quality.
When it was nearly closing time and we had been to almost every pub in the town Eoghan's prediction had come true-Jimmy and the other lads had gone off with a local beauty to a party somewhere up Church Hill, Duncan had excused himself a while before to go back to the hotel, as he was the only one who had an early call the next morning. I had watched Eoghan fend off the increasingly forward advances of several bold and drunken girls, always politely charming, never rude or cruel. So at just this side of twelve we found ourselves alone in a booth at the Old Forge, me nursing my last pint (I had gone deliberately slowly all evening, not wanting to end up making a fool of myself at my advanced age, like Eoghan himself said- I had been there and done that all before) and him quite rapidly downing his.
"I'm starving," He announced as he set down his glass. "How are the chippys in this town?"
"Well, one's absolutely horrid, one's not too bad, and one's actually rather decent."
"Which one do you recommend, then?" he grinned. I laughed.
"Make you a deal, you take me there and I'll buy you anything you want," he offered.
"Wow, this must be one of the fringe benefits of hanging with movie stars, eh? Free greasy chips and all the tomato sauce you can ingest."
"It's a glamorous life," he agreed.
So we left the Forge and headed up the town to the best chipper in Wicklow, ironically named The American Food Fair. The name always made me do a little inward cringe.
"This has been a really good night," he observed, "it reminds me of being back in Cardiff with my mates, a bit. Only I don't know anyone, and it's…well- Irish. And a lot smaller. What the hell am I talking about?"
"I have no idea at all, but I'll humor you if it makes you feel good."
"You know what?" he said, sounding rather amused, "I think I'm drunk."
'These things happen," I agreed, "when you drink rather a lot of beer."
"How come you're sober? You drank rather a lot of beer yourself."
"Oh, I'm drunk, I just hide it very well. Anyway, that was nothing, I usually drink rather a lot more beer than this."
"I love that in a woman- ability to hold her lager."
When we walked into the chipper we created only a mild stir. These people were all too drunk and intent on getting some greasy food into them to really care who was at the back of the queue. The exception being some of my wonderful friends, who couldn't pass up the opportunity to slag me about my night on the town with a bunch of young studs.
"I see you've managed to snare one then, have ya?" my friend Tommy shouted across the room.
"Yeah, he was slower than the rest of 'em." I joked.
"Never was very good at playing hard to get," Eoghan called over to Tommy, grinning, and I looked at him, rather surprised that he was going along with this.
"You know what they say about older women, don't you lad?" another mate Kevin added.
"What, that they're really randy?" Eoghan shouted back, and the room obliged him with a laugh. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I thought I might even be blushing.
"Well, let us know, would ya?"
"If I live through it, I surely will," Eoghan finished, with a cheeky wink at me.
"Sure go on," Tommy continued, "show us how they kiss in the movies then. How come it always looks so much hotter than it ever is in real life?"
"The secret is to show a lot of lip, you see. You have to kind of go at it on only one of her lips at a time," Eoghan answered, mock-serious. The lads were just eating it up. "And make sure your lips are nice and wet too, give 'em a good lick before the camera rolls."
"So how about it, don't we get a demonstration?" Tommy was going to push this to the limit, I could tell.
"Well, you're not a bad looking fella, but I don't actually snog lads unless I'm getting paid for it," Eoghan joked, winning a huge laugh from the crowd.
"Then go on and use Jo there, she could use a good snog, seein' as how it's been ages since she's had one." I gave Kevin an evil glare, which only made him laugh.
"All right then," Eoghan said with a grin and took me by the shoulders. "Do you mind?" he asked, still smiling.
"Who am I to ruin a good comedy sketch?" I answered. He put his arms around me and pulled me closer to him, then turned to his audience and gave his lips a big run around with his tongue, getting the expected laugh. Then he leaned down and very slowly pressed his lips to mine, quite softly at first, then a bit more firmly. I closed my eyes and felt him take my lips between his, first the bottom lip then the top, just as he'd described. Despite the dozen or more people watching us I felt myself getting drawn in, and I mirrored his actions with my own lips, taking his bottom lip between my own. The spell was broken when I realized the crowd was actually cheering and catcalling, and I broke contact.
"Hey, you could be an actress, you catch on quickly," Eoghan told me and then laughed. He took my hand and did an exaggerated stage bow to the assembled company, who then broke into applause. This apparently signaled the end of the show, everyone went back to their own conversations.
"Are you sure you're not Irish?" I gave him a teasing scowl.
"Welsh, Irish- not much difference when we're pissed." He looked around the packed room. "We'll never get a seat in here, will we?" he observed.
"We can just take it back to my place, if you want." I ventured, a bit hesitant to make this offer.
"A nice pot of tea and some telly? Sounds great to me. You're sure I won't be imposing though?"
"Course not. I'll even throw in some bread and butter if you're really nice."


So after we got our food we walked the few blocks back to my house, engaging in the normal after-the-pub socializing you do with the other people heading home in various stages of inebriation. Hey, how's it goin'? Good night out? Ah yeah, the craic was ninety in the Forge. Bit quiet in the Old Court for a Saturday night, wasn't it? No one commented on the fact that I had a gorgeous young almost-movie star with me this particular Saturday night.
When we got home I had to take the dog out the back for her wee, and when I came in I saw that Eoghan had put on the kettle and found the tea on his own, gotten out plates for the food and all.
"Hope you don't mind- I just made myself at home," he said, filling the teapot with boiling water.
"Not a bit of it," I said, "I love a man who can take care of himself. I'm just going to change though- I've had enough of this dress." I went into the bedroom and found my sweats, and while I was pulling them on, it struck me suddenly who was in my kitchen making tea. I had to smile to myself- life is a funny old thing sometimes. I heard the telly go on and Eoghan exclaim "Brilliant!" I was really hoping it wasn't Match of the Day. When I came out he was plonked on the sofa, shoes off, and all the food and the tea things were set out on the coffee table. Not only is life a funny old thing, sometimes it's a bloody wonderful thing.
"Would you look what's on?" he said, his voice almost as excited as a kid at Christmas. I had to laugh when I looked at the screen.
"Please don't tell me how old you were when this came out." I begged him.
"Okay I won't then. Do you mind if we watch it though? I love this."
"Sure, I'll watch Harrison any old day. I love it too."
It was just starting, only a few minutes into the opening- long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away……
Watching him enjoy this old movie with his burger and chips was almost as much fun as the first time I saw it myself. Good Lord, both of us could practically recite the dialog along with it, and we cracked ourselves up doing just that a time or two.
"I have the whole set on DVD," he informed me, "When you're in London next we'll have to have a Star Wars marathon one night, just get in lots of beer and junk food and have a party." Well, it seemed that he and I had become mates somewhere along the line. Just my luck, always the friend, never the girlfriend. But he was just so sweet and enthusiastic and natural- mates seemed pretty acceptable at this point.
It was almost 3am when the movie ended, and Eoghan looked at his watch with a worried expression.
"Don't even think you're going anywhere, matey." I said. "You can just doss down here on the sofa for the night. It's pretty comfortable."
He looked relieved. "I didn't like to ask, but thanks a bunch- I'm absolutely knackered and I don't fancy trying to find my way to Tinakilly at this hour."
I went to the hot press and got him a blanket and a pillow, and when I came back he had removed his jeans and was lying on the sofa in his knickers and shirt. My heart did a little dance, and I tried not to look.
"God, I just felt drunk again all of a sudden-I must be really tired," he said quietly.
"Here, raise your head, I have a pillow for you." I tucked it under his head, barely resisting the urge to run my fingers through that soft looking brown hair. I spread the blanket over him, and as I was fussing with the top he caught my hand in his.
"This is so lovely, I just can't even begin to tell you," he said. "You're one in a million. I haven't felt this relaxed in ages." On an impulse I leaned down and kissed his forehead softly.
"Lie down with me," he said.
"What?"
"Just lie down and snuggle with me, I promise I'll be a perfect gentleman. God, I'm still pissed and I don't care, it's just been so long since I had someone I felt close to. I don't want to be by myself tonight." He was still holding my hand, and I could feel my heart beating too fast and my breath start to catch in my chest. I didn't know what I wanted to do- I had no doubt that he wouldn't have any trouble keeping his promise to be a gentleman, he was already half asleep, but I wasn't sure what I would do if I actually had the nerve to wedge myself against that lean and gorgeous young body. I looked down at him, eyes closed, long curls already tousled on the pillow, gorgeous lips curved into the slightest of smiles, and I figured- oh what the hell. When is this chance going to come along again in my lifetime? So I lifted the blanket and lay down in front of him. Luckily my sofa is the one item I had spent a ton of money on and it's nice and wide and soft- I've spent a few nights there when I was too tired and comfortable to get up and go to bed. He immediately wrapped his long muscular legs around my short ones and his strong warm arm around my upper body, nuzzled his face into the back of my neck and whispered, "Good night." I could feel his warm breath and the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed, and I thought it highly unlikely that I would get one minute of sleep that night. 3265

Part three 3527

I was dreaming- that much I knew. Because it had been ages since I had had a man in my bed, a hard masculine body and male scent this close to me. In my dream I sighed with contentment and snuggled closer to whoever this fantasy man was, kissed the soft yet scratchy skin on his neck and stroked his bare thigh. I could hear his deep voice murmuring something incomprehensible in his sleep. It didn't even sound like words, not English words anyway. It sounded like Irish, or….
Welsh. It was Welsh. I wasn't dreaming, and it was really Eoghan whose bare thigh I was stroking, and his neck I was kissing. Oh dear, how embarrassing was this going to be when he woke up? I immediately started to extricate myself from his grip, gently, trying not to wake him. But my movement caused him to clutch me even tighter and fling his leg around me. My God, but he was warm, and he smelled good, especially for someone who had imbibed several pints of beer and then finished off the night with a burger smothered in onions and chips with garlic mayonnaise. Relax and enjoy it while it lasts, I told myself, because when he wakes up he's going to dump you on the floor and run. He mumbled some more gibberish and breathed into my hair. Suddenly I heard another rhythm of breathing, and I realized that Beavis was sitting on the arm of the sofa, looking down at us, rather puzzled. She began to lick the top of Eoghan's head, and I couldn't stop myself from giggling. He stirred and opened his eyes, complete confusion in them for a moment. Then he stared at me, with a small bit of the embarrassment that I was starting to feel. I wondered how often he woke up with his body pressed against women he had only recently met.
"Morning," he said simply.
"Morning," I answered. Well, what else was there to say, really? "How'd you sleep?"
"Like a babby. And you?"
"Quite well, oddly enough." He grinned at this.
"I guess I'm a bit embarrassed," he said, "I don't know what came over me. Too much beer, not enough sleep lately, I guess."
"It's okay, really. It was nice."
"Yeah, it was. Thank you."
"No, thank you." He laughed, and we both became aware of something else at the same time. He blushed.
"Sorry about….uh hem. Kind of an unavoidable male morning phenomenon, I'm afraid."
"Eoghan, how old do you think I am? I do know about these things, believe it or not."
"Still, I'm embarrassed. And I seem to have my hands on your bum, too."
At this we both started to laugh, and the dog began to excitedly jump at our heads and bark, which made us laugh harder. She dived into the middle of us, and I fell off the sofa onto the floor with a thump.
"Oh no- are you all right?" he laughed, looking down at me. I nodded my head and tried to answer through my laughter.
When we had both calmed down a bit I picked myself up from the floor and said, "Coffee? Yeah, coffee." And I went into the kitchen to make it.
He helped me to clean the mess from the night before, had a cup of coffee and some toast and then announced that it was time for him to get out of my hair. I could feel my heart sink just a bit, the whole thing had been such an unexpected pleasure for me. I had almost forgotten who he was.
He stopped at the door and looked at me, suddenly serious. "Thank you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate everything. The night out, the film, the laughs, and thanks for letting me talk you into sleeping on the sofa in your own house. I needed this so much. Thanks for making me feel…normal."
I smiled at him. "Not a bother. I had a grand time."
"I know you probably won't want to hear this, but I want to say it, and I hope you'll except it as the compliment it is." I smiled wider, wondering what he was going to say. "You remind me a bit of my Mam."
Ack.
"Not that I ever sleep with…oh hell. I think I'll go before this gets really weird." He grinned and walked out my front door, looking tousled and gorgeous, and all I could think was that the smile was frozen on my face, and that I reminded him of his mother. Whenever I start to feel too good real life just has to step in and bite my bum.

When I was out walking the dog a bit later it came home to me how quickly those rumors start.
I walked over to the castle with the intention of letting her off the lead and strolling down the steps to the beach, but knew this plan was not to come about when I rounded the corner and saw the large group of people gathered there. More filming, dammit. Shouldn't these people take Sundays off?
Because of the sunny weather combined with it being Sunday there was a sizable crowd around to watch, well- sizable for here anyway. If it had been anywhere but Ireland the whole castle would have been black, but this crowd consisted mostly of old people with not much else to do and young ones who were still green enough to be star struck, everyone else had better things to do on a lovely day besides gawk at a bunch of bloody movie people. Not having anything better to do myself, I joined the people at the back and strained to see if I could get a glimpse of him.
"Hiya there Jo," said the woman next to me, Mrs. McEvoy who lived next door to my friend Laurie.
"Oh hello Mrs. Mac- isn't it a gorgeous day? You couldn't stay in for anything."
"It is a fine bit of auld sun we're getting, so it is. There's your young man there now, he's looking quite fine himself." She nodded her head in Eoghan's direction- he was setting up for a shot right at the edge of the cliff, on a slight rise so we could get a really good view of him.
"He's really lovely, isn't he?" cut in a woman on the other side of me. "Not a bit full of himself, very natural. And not a bit hard on the eyes, either. How did you manage to snag that anyway? Must be grand having a Toy Boy like that."
"Oh for heaven's sake, don't I wish?" I exclaimed. "There's nothing like that going on between us, we're only just mates. God, he even told me I reminded him of his mum."
"Then how come Oifa Sillery saw you snoggin' him in the chipper last night?" added some young one, she looked familiar but I couldn't place where I knew her from.
"What? Oh for feck's sake- that was only a joke!"
By now the crowd around me had turned its attention from the activities by the camera and were all staring at us, waiting for the next line in eager anticipation. Luckily for me just at that moment the director called for quiet and I was given a few moment's respite. They watched the scene, almost grudgingly I thought since the little drama that had been unfolding amongst ourselves was by far more entertaining to them than the filming. In a few minutes the director called cut and we picked up where we had left off.
"I was not snogging him, we only went in for a bit of food and then Tommy Doyle started his slagging, you know how he is. Eoghan was only being a good sport and going along with the panto."
"Sure, Oifa said youse looked awful convincing, so youse did," the young one added, and everyone laughed.
"Maybe you should try acting instead of writing then, Jo, especially if it means you get to snog young fellas like that and get paid for it." Another laugh from the crowd.
"Sure you could play yourself in your book and he could play Danny, there's a plan!"
"Oh feck off all of you!" I said with a grin. If I was being honest with myself, I was rather enjoying this line of teasing, until my neighbor John Merrigan, who had walked up during the little show, had to butt in.
"Sure, and didn't he have a big auld grin on his face when I saw him comin' out of your front door this mornin', wearin' the same clothes he had on him last night."
Oh bloody hell. This won a big "Whoooo!" from the crowd and a few raised eyebrows.
"Oh hang on here, I can explain that," but I was interrupted by the director shouting over at us.
"All of you over there QUIET or I'll clear this set!" We all hushed like school kids when the teacher comes back into the room. Since the dog was becoming more than a little bit restless I decided this would be an opportune moment to make my getaway.
I decided to stay in that night and watch a bit of telly instead of going out to the pub. Discretion is the better part of valor.

The next day dawned bright and warm and gorgeous, I took my coffee and toast out in the back garden to slack in the sun for a while before chaining myself to the PC again to try and wring some creativity out of myself. So at eleven o'clock I was still sitting there in my ratty old dressing gown and my fuzzy slippers reading the paper when Beavis suddenly leapt from her doze in the sun and ran barking inside. My little hairy doorbell was telling me that someone was at the front. I went in and opened the door to Eoghan- this time in civvies. He looked me up and down and grinned.
"Hard at it, I see."
"A writer's life is pretty grueling."
"Anyway, I was hoping I'd catch you in. I find myself with a day off, just wondered what you were up to. Some of the others have gone for a drive in the hills, but I didn't fancy it for some reason."
"So what did you have in mind then, you poor little lost lamb?"
"I haven't seen much of Dublin, fancy going up and showing me around?"
"Well, I'm really supposed to be working…" I must have had a look like I was going to be very easy to persuade, he didn't even bother. He just gave me a wry look and nodded his head.
"Ah, I see. Well, I wouldn't want to keep you from your work." He crossed his arms and leaned against the doorway, smiling.
"Just let me change." God he smelled wonderful.
As I was throwing on some clothes and trying to make my hair look presentable, he called through the door, "I thought we would take the car as far as that big town up the road where we can get the DART into the city. I'm not sure I fancy driving in that mess."
"Smart boy- that sounds a wonderful plan." A couple of minutes later I decided that I wasn't going to improve any without a shower and another hour or so, and I grabbed up a cardigan and made my entrance.
"God that was quick," he said, turning from the bookshelf he had been perusing. He gave me an open appraisal and then announced "You know what? You're really quite cute."
"Oh go on with you, you're more full of shite than a pig farm," but I couldn't stop a little shy smile. Bull or no, it still felt nice to hear it.
"No- I mean it. You're very fresh looking, I can't believe you're as old as you are."
"You know Eoghan, I think you can stop right there and we'll both stay happy."
"Sorry, I'm not very smooth am I?"
"You're adorable, that's what you are." He gave me a big bold grin- didn't he know it?
"By the way, I have to warn you, we seem to be having an affair," I told him as we walked out to the car.
"Ah yes, I heard that last night in the pub. Where were you by the way? I thought I'd see you out for sure."
"I had some work I had to finish," I lied. "Deadlines you know. Anyway, I'm really sorry about all that, small towns are very gossipy I'm afraid."
"Not to worry, it happens all the time, I always find myself involved with women. Some of them I've never even met, at least I have had the pleasure of actually sleeping with you. In a manner of speaking." He smiled at me. "We're probably engaged by now, and by tomorrow we will have broken up, you heartbreaker you."
"You certainly take this kind of thing in your stride, don't you?"
He shrugged. "You get used to it. The bad part is that when you meet someone you really like, they usually get scared off by it. That's why you end up with other show biz people, they don't get scared off because they're usually only with you for the publicity anyway."
"You'll find someone, you still have loads of time. I know there's someone nice out there for you, you're too nice yourself."
"I hope you're right. Shall we?"
He opened the car door for me like a perfect gentleman and soon we were on the road. It was a flashy sports car, one of those insectile looking things- the dark green paint job making the body look even more like a carapace. The inside was comfortable with leather seats and more electronic controls than a Stealth bomber.
"Nice ride," I commented.
"Pardon me?" He raised an eyebrow and glanced over at me.
"The car- it's pretty sexy isn't it?"
"Oh, the car….yeah, it's nice. I borrowed it from one of the Producers."
"Wow- he must be doing well for himself."
Eoghan grinned- "Uh, that would herself, actually."
"Ooops! Well, that was terribly sexist of me wasn't it?"
"Someday when you're a filthy rich famous writer you can buy a car like this and give me a ride in it."
"Don't you have a car like this?"
"You must be joking- I have a two year old Ford. Something like this would break me."
"Spending all your money wining and dining skanky ho pop singers, are you?" I teased.
"They don't come cheap." He gave me a dirty look and I laughed at him.
"There are two things people think you have a lot of when you're an actor on the edge of success," he continued, "one is money, and the other is sex. You would be surprised to learn how little I have of either these days."
"Still probably have more of both than I have," I told him.

We found a spot to park the car easily enough in Bray and walked the short distance to the DART station. I loved watching him move, he had a masculine kind of grace that made you have to watch him, not lumbering but not light. Captivating, on screen or in person. While we were milling in the crowd waiting for the train I could see a few people stealing glances at him, maybe a couple recognizing the face but most of them trying to figure out where they knew him from, at the same time adopting that air of disinterest that the Irish are so good at, unless you're Jack Charleton or the Pope. Eoghan was openly curious about everything, he chatted with an old fella who was carrying a pigeon in a box and accepted a chocolate digestive from a little girl who looked like she would explode with excitement over it. She recognized him from the Disney film he had done last year.
"You have a big fan there, Disney Boy," I teased him.
"Please, don't remind me of that."
"Whatever possessed you anyway?"
"Um- the overdraft, perhaps? People forget this is how I pay the bills."
"I have the same problem, get a book published and everyone thinks you're loaded, ha! They forget that people have to actually go out and buy the damned thing before you get any money for it."
"You will- you're getting there. I predict that after this tour when you go out and meet your public they will be so enamoured of you that they will just have to buy copies for all their friends and family."
I laughed at him, he was hamming it up disgracefully, knowing that everyone in the vicinity was listening to him.
"I'll let you do a blurb for the jacket of the next edition- 'Disney Hunk says- I laughed, I cried…"
"I had to go for some quiet time…" he finished with a big naughty grin and an eyebrow lift. An older lady next to us snorted with laughter and a fella gave him a dirty look.
"You are so bad," I told him, giggling.

The train trip up to Dublin is beautiful in spots, depressingly industrial in others, like most train trips. The view as you clatter along the coastline is breathtaking, it really looks as if you're going to fly off the cliff and go for a little dip in the sea. It's great fun on a sunny day to watch the little 10 second movies you get of people on the beach- people running with dogs, playing football, lugging a picnic basket, having a snog. When I'm alone I make up little stories in my head about them, usually so much more interesting than I'm sure the poor folks' reality is. But today Eoghan was more interested in the people on the train with us, he was making up backgrounds for them and whispering them in my ear, keeping me in stitches the whole way up.
"See the fella in the girly looking sweatshirt?" he said, "He and his girlfriend got a bit too randy last night, did it in the park, and he forgot his shirt there. So he had to wear one of her shirts home this morning and that's the least girly one he could find. But it was in the ironing basket so that's why it looks all damp and wrinkly."
I couldn't stop giggling like a loon. "You nutter! And you're all wrong- his mother gave it to him and he's off to visit her and that's why he's wearing it. She keeps asking him where it is. He did have it in the dog's basket and he had to hurry and wash it last night, and that's why it looks all damp and wrinkly."
He snorted with laughter. "You're very good at this game, I know why you're a writer."
"You're good at it too. Actually your story probably is the true one, he looks pretty pleased with himself."
"I have to do this for characters sometimes, when they don't give you enough background about the other people around your own character."
"You really love acting, don't you?"
"Oh yeah, it's great when it's good. Like being a kid again and tying a towel around your neck and making a sword out of a cardboard tube and pretending you're one of the Musketeers. And getting paid for it in the bargain. The rest of it is a hard go sometimes, the celebrity part of it, and even more so in America. They seem to expect something out of me and I can't figure out what it is."
"They expect you to act like an asshole."
"Ah, is that what it is? Hell, I can do that easy enough."
"I'll bet you can't actually."
"Well, I did warn you I'm a sad excuse for a movie star."
I laughed at him, taking a good look at that cheeky smile and those gorgeous eyes. So familiar to me, and yet somehow still fresh. Then he shocked the hell out of me.
"I want to kiss you really bad," he whispered. It took a moment for me to convince myself that he had really said that. Then I shocked myself.
"Why don't you kiss me really good instead." He leaned over and tentatively, almost shyly pressed his lips to mine and took my cheek in his hand. He was right, there was a big difference between his movie kiss and his real kiss, his lips were somehow softer and warmer this time, and I could feel a flush of heat starting at my feet and moving slowly up my body. We kissed for a few moments and then suddenly remembered where we were, separating with slight embarrassment.
"Oh yeah, really good," I said breathlessly. He grinned, looking rather pleased with himself.
"Maybe we should rethink that breaking up thing," he teased me.
"We'll see. One kiss does not a relationship make," I teased back, and he laughed. 3527