A Love Melody – Bonus scene: St. Patrick’s Day
This is a bonus scene that is not included in the book.
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The St. Patrick’s Day parade had just started when Valerie and Ryan managed to reach Karen and Kevin, among the throng of people with Irish blood in their veins—as well as those who weren’t but were always happy for a reason to celebrate.
Everywhere she looked, Valerie spotted something green—a cap, a t-shirt, a fluorescent wand or, as in Kevin’s case, a big Leprechaun felt hat and a green “Kiss me I’m Irish” tie.
“Oh, my God. Would ya look at him?” Valerie tugged on Ryan’s coat sleeve, giggling at the sight of his friend and her flatmate’s boyfriend.
“I think you’re in no position to make fun of him, Doc,” Ryan said, tugging at one of the braids on Valerie’s bright green wig. “If I were one of your patients and saw you like this, I’d ask to see another doctor.”
She punched his bicep, and stuck out her tongue at him. “Says the international jazz star wearing green, shamrock-shaped sunglasses and a Leprechaun t-shirt under his coat.”
“That’s just because I need to maintain my anonymity. It’s a disguise.”
Valerie rolled her eyes, which earned her another tug on one of her braids.
“Valerie! Ryan!” Karen’s shout was louder than the general chattering and music, which was saying something. Valerie couldn’t help wondering whether her friend, who wore a hairband with glittery shamrock-shaped boppers, had already had a pint of green beer on her way to the parade.
Karen waved frantically and Valerie waved back, just so she’d stop drawing all eyes to her and Ryan. The last thing she wanted was for someone to recognize Ryan and spoil their celebrations—and she knew Ryan felt the same.
Kevin watched them approach and as soon as they were close, he placed a kiss on Valerie’s cheek, grinning at Ryan in their on-going joke where Kevin flirted with Valerie just to annoy Ryan. Even though Kevin and Karen had been an item for nearly three months, he still enjoyed teasing Ryan whenever he had the chance. Karen wasn’t jealous and Valerie knew it was all in jest, so it didn’t feel awkward the way it used to in the beginning, when just a flirtatious glance from Kevin would cause Valerie’s cheeks to heat.
“Nice hat,” Ryan said, nudging Kevin’s shoulder with his.
“Nice shirt.” Kevin grinned, referring to Ryan’s very Irish t-shirt with a Leprechaun with his butt on display. “Póg mo thóin? What the hell does that mean?”
“I know, I know!” Karen bounced like a little girl, raising her hand in the air. The glittery shamrocks on her hairband bounced frantically. “It means, ‘kiss my ass’. Right, Valerie?”
Valerie laughed. “Well, I see my Irish lessons worked.”
“You speak Irish?” Kevin’s eyebrows shot up and he gave his girlfriend a surprised sideways glance. “Since when?”
“Since she was hoping to impress Ryan with her perfect knowledge of Gaelic, a few weeks after I arrived in Boston,” Valerie said, winking at Karen, whose cheeks were now as red as a cherry.
Kevin glared at Karen, but it only lasted for a few seconds before he placed a peck on her cheeks, careful not to smudge the green shamrocks she’d painted on her cheeks, as well as on Valerie’s.
“It’s okay, babe. I’m not jealous. I know I’m hotter than Ryan and don’t have to fear the competition.”
Ryan disguised his chuckle with an annoyed huff, and Valerie poked him in the ribs. When he looked at her, she winked.
“Don’t worry, I still think you’re the best,” Valerie said. Ryan wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her in against him. He placed a kiss on the top of her head and Valerie didn’t miss the look their friends exchanged, right before grinning at each other. No doubt they were still thinking there was more than friendship behind Ryan and Valerie’s shows of affection. Would they ever get it?
“Look, bagpipes! Ohmigod, I love bagpipes!” Karen squealed, as excited as a little girl, when the marching band came into view. This wasn’t her first parade; they’d been here, the four of them, every single year ever since Valerie moved from Dublin to Boston nearly eleven years ago, but apparently some things never got old.
“Have you guys stopped by a pub on the way to the parade?” Valerie asked, eyeing Karen, who giggled in response.
“Nah, she’s just happy she can be Irish today.” Kevin grinned and wrapped an arm around his girlfriend, pulling her to him. He placed a kiss on the top of Karen’s head, and she glanced at him with such adoration in her eyes Valerie’s heart melted. Her friend had never, ever looked at anyone the way she was looking at her boyfriend now. She had it bad for Kevin.
For a moment there, just a tiny fraction of a second, Valerie wished she had someone in her life who’d look at her the way Kevin was looking at Karen, who’d hold her and kiss her in the most natural way, just like Kevin always did with Karen. They hadn’t been together long, not even three months, but they were practically inseparable. Sure, Valerie had Ryan and even though he didn’t have that kind of loving look in his eyes when he looked at her, he did care about her—like a brother would.
She wanted more. She wanted the romance, the whole package, the fairy tale wedding and all that. When would she ever meet The One who’d give her the happy ending she dreamed of?
“Doc, you okay?” Ryan brushed a hand on the small of her back, pulling her out of her self-commiseration. Valerie smiled and nodded, but from the way Ryan’s hazel eyes narrowed, she was sure he wasn’t buying her fake smile. He could read her like an open book, damn him.
“Hey, look, St. Patrick’s coming!” Karen’s high-pitched shout interrupted whatever Ryan was about to say. He closed his mouth, glanced at Valerie, then turned his attention to the float carrying St. Patrick.
When the last group of participants passed them by, people started scattering, headed no doubt for the several pubs around the city. Kevin took Karen’s hand and looked at Ryan.
“You up for a pint, guys?”
Ryan nodded and looked at Valerie for confirmation. She shrugged. “Sure, if you can blend in with the crowd without causing an upheaval, I’m okay with hitting the pub.”
It seemed they could never go anywhere without someone recognizing Ryan and ruining their time together. That was why they preferred to never go to clubs, pubs or public places whenever Ryan was in town. Today was a special day, though, and hopefully everyone else would be too busy celebrating, or too drunk, to notice America’s Jazz Star was back in town.
Kevin led the way, walking two steps ahead of them and singing, “The Wild Rover” in unison with Karen, a traditional song they’d sung together a lot during their silly jamming sessions at Ryan’s. Ryan took Valerie’s hand to slow her down.
“What was that all about?” he asked. Valerie could play dumb, but she knew it wouldn’t work—not with him. “That look you had on your face before St. Patrick showed up.”
Valerie shrugged. “Nothing, it’s just . . . I hadn’t realized how serious things were between Karen and Kevin.”
“Yeah, they’re pretty smitten with each other.” Ryan laughed, shaking his head. “I never thought I’d ever live to see the day Kevin fell head over heels with a woman. I kinda envy him, ya know?”
“Me, too.” Valerie said on a sigh she hadn’t intended to let out. Ryan cocked his head to the side and stared at her for a long beat.
“You don’t still have a crush on him, do you?” he asked, his tone serious and, she had to admit, rather menacing.
Valerie rolled her eyes. “I’ve never had a crush on him. Not that you would’ve let me, anyway.”
Ryan smiled, nodding. She’d never admit to his face that the first time she’d met Kevin, back when she’d just moved to Boston, she’d found him quite attractive and yes, maybe she’d had a tiny little crush back then, but she’d reckoned it was just because he was good-looking and he kept flirting with her—not that Ryan ever let him close to her anyway.
“What I meant is, I envy what they have. Their feelings for each other are strong, this isn’t just a fling. It’s written all over their faces when they’re together.” She stared straight ahead at their friends walking hand in hand, looking at each other while they sang, “It’s a great day for the Irish”. “I’d like to experience something like that, too. I don’t want to die a spinster. I want love, a husband and kids, maybe even a dog. But if I keep up this lifestyle, I doubt I’d get any of that.”
Ryan laughed and wrapped his arm around her shoulder, pulling her against him. He rested his chin on the top of her head and brushed her shoulder. “You’ll get your happily ever after, Val. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Look at me, I’m older than you and still nowhere near to finding a decent girlfriend.”
“You’re a jazz star. You’ll find someone sooner than you think.” The thought of another woman spending time with Ryan, hugging and kissing him made her a little uneasy, but she couldn’t really expect him to remain single out of solidarity.
“Tell you what. If by the time we’re fifty we haven’t met our other half, I’ll marry you and give you the fairytale wedding you’ve always dreamed of.” He looked at her with his trademark mischievous grin, and she couldn’t stop the giggle that escaped her lips. “Deal?”
Valerie nodded. “Only if we can have a dog, too.”
“You got it, girl.”
Valerie smiled. Even though they weren’t celebrating this special day with their families in their hometown in Ireland, and most of the people swarming on the streets of Boston probably didn’t have a drop of Irish blood in their veins, as she joined their friends in the chorus of the song she couldn’t help thinking that yes, it was definitely a great day for the Irish—especially because Ryan was with her.
* * * Did you like this scene? Let me know in the comments! * * *
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