- Character Bashing
- Ménage or More
Padraig McCormac was wandering around his gallery Mínealaín supervising the paintings that were being hung for an upcoming exhibit. His wife Caterina was in the back room helping their metal artist Sean O’Grady place his pieces in the combined exhibit he was doing with another of their artists Justin Taylor. Justin worked in a wide variety of mediums, and about a year back had begun playing around more seriously with a more computer-based type art. The two artists were as thick as thieves and it was Sean that convinced Justin to give his digital work some more serious attention.
Padraig’s youngest child and the only one he had with Caterina was back there offering up her opinions, and probably needling Justin just because she could. Gwendolyn was a sculptor, and when she’d first become serious about her art, she made it clear that she would be making a name for herself on her own or not at all. Because of that, she didn’t display at the family gallery, but that didn’t mean that she didn’t hang around trying to soak up as much knowledge from the regular artists as she could. Both Justin and Sean, who worked in the gallery as assistants, looked at her as a younger sister, something that both Padraig and Caterina appreciated.
Wanting a moment of peace in the chaos, Padraig wandered toward his office for a break and was surprised when Caterina stopped him. “You need to relax, Padraig,” She insisted softly. “I know you’re nervous with both the exhibit and Gregory’s arrival, but you’re making everyone more stressed.”
“I’m sorry, A mhuirnín*,” Padraig swore letting his wife curl her smaller hand into his larger one. “I am anxious for Gregory’s arrival, and I cannot help but think of the others. Of course, I have always known he was mine, but ever since his call, I cannot help but wonder if I was wrong about Claire and Stephanie? What if all this time I’ve had three sons out in the world that I had no contact with? What kind of man does that make me? What must my sons think of me?” *A mhuirnín – Darling
“We will cross that bridge if we come to it,” Caterina stressed as she leaned into her husband to try and give him some comfort. “We do not even know if there is any foundation to your concerns. You are working yourself into a state, and do not even know if there is anything to be anxious about. You need to take a deep breath and set this worry aside until you can determine if there is even an issue.”
“How am I to do that though, Cat?” Padraig asked trying not to take his frustration out on his wife. “Jackson Grimes is not exactly someone that I can just pick up the phone and call. I may be a well-known artist, but I was not that well known. As for Claire, with her death, the only way I would have of finding her son is through her husband, and I do not think Mr. DiNozzo would appreciate me calling to see if his son is actually his.”
“You have not looked at the names Justin and Sean added to the guest list, have you, Love?” Caterina asked, and the amusement was obvious in her tone.
Padraig frowned and finished his treck to his office and after sitting down behind his desk shuffled papers around until he’d found the most recent guest lists. The last thing he expected was for Sean to have invited Jackson Grimes, and for Justin to have invited an Agent Tobias Fornell and Supervisory Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Jr. “How…? I don’t understand. Explain this to me. How are my sons the guests of my two interns.”
Caterina laughed as she perched delicately on the edge of the desk openly smiling at her husband. “You truly need to listen when your daughter is telling you the gallery gossip. Sean met Jackson at a club a couple of weeks back. There was a band playing, I think called Shinedown, and someone who was overly inebriated pushed Sean into Jackson making your son spill his drink all down the back of Sean’s shirt. As an apology, Jackson took him out to a midnight snack, and they hit it off.”
“As for Anthony, there is some reuniting going on between him and Justin and his partner Brian,” Caterina gossiped looking somewhat more solemn. “It seems that they met Anthony, who it seems goes by Tony, previously in their hometown of Pittsburg while he was working. Justin is quite tight-lipped about the details, but according to Gwendolyn, they were forced to separate for Anthony’s safety. At some point, after Brian’s club burned down in Pittsburg, the two decided to move to the DC area so that they could hunt Anthony down and try and rekindle their previous relationship. I find it quite romantic.”
“Huh,” Padraig offered as he leaned back in his chair and watched his wife while the pieces of the puzzle combined in his head. “I do not know what to say about this. The fates are rarely so kind to me that they would grant me, my sons, back. If they are in fact my sons, I suppose. It is perfectly reasonable that their mothe4rs were telling the truth, and the boys are not mine, but I just feel in my bones that they were not. I do not know if this makes things better or worse. In one night I am getting all three of my boys back. It is hard to take in.”
“All you can do is tell them the truth, and go from there,” Caterina advised softly, “but maybe we should not foist the whole story on them that night, my love? What if I invite tell Sean and Justin to bring Jackson and Anthony to the house for our post exhibit meal? They are the only staff at the present besides you and myself, well and Gwendolyn and Harrison when they have the time. So, it would be an intimate affair. Gregory advised in his last phone call that he and Nicholas had taken some time away from their jobs and would be in the area for quite some time. So, it will be perfect.”
“And how will Sean feel about being in the middle of all of this family drama?” Padraig asked seriously. He had always treated the people who worked in his galleries like family, but Sean and Justin had found places in the family’s hearts that Padraig did not think would easily be replaced. The last thing he wanted was to make one of his pseudo sons uncomfortable.
“Knowing Sean, he will find it fascinating,” Caterina offered wryly, “and I expect that he would be fine with it if things turn out well with Jackson. Despite the hardened façade that he shows people, there is quite a sensitive and empathetic man underneath all that steel and barbs that he presents people. I believe at this point, we just need to each take a deep breath, and let things play out. The fates have presented us the opportunity to get back what may have been taken from you. It is up to us not to mess that up.”
Taking a deep breath, Padraig nodded and forced himself to focus on something else. As always, his wife was wise. She had not captured his heart where many others had failed just because she was a beautiful woman. The exhibit opened in less than a week. What was that to wait as opposed to the lifetime that he’d already waited?