Somehow I found an excuse to stick around Finlay’s place, and became somewhat less useless as a fisherman, although I was a much better oarsman than I’d ever be an angler. And I found other ways to make myself useful, splitting wood, re-thatching the roof, hunting rabbits and other small game. Sorcha wasn’t immediately receptive to my charms, but after a few weeks of persistence, not to mention a few weeks of being the only guy around who wasn’t her father, we came to an understanding of sorts.
That understanding being that whenever her father wasn’t around, we’d make love like minks as often as possible while still getting all her chores done. This went on for a couple of months before Finlay made mention of getting along in years and needing someone to start taking the boat out a few days a week. Now Finlay wasn’t an old man, but when the average man lived to only his mid-thirties, it didn’t take long for someone to think he was old, especially when he was well into his third decade. That would usually have been my clue to move on before anyone caught on to the fact that I wasn’t aging, but I decided that Finlay already knew something was odd about me, and Sorcha was so head over heels for me that she wouldn’t care. So one night, after dinner, I decided to tell them the truth about myself.
“Sorcha, Finlay, there’s something about me that you should know.” I started.
“Aye, son, what’s that?” Fin replied.
“Well, I’ve enjoyed my time here. A lot. And I’d like to stay on for a while longer. But if you don’t want me around after you hear what I have to say, then I understand.”
“What is it, lad? I can’t fathom anything ye could say that we’d toss ye out on your ear for, but go ahead with yuir tale.”
“Well, it’s like this. You were talking about getting on in years…” I paused, unsure of how to continue.
“Aye, and I am. It’s not something I’m thrilled about, but it’s happenin’ just the same.”
“Well, I won’t.”
“Huh?” I love it when I can get that reaction out of someone else. Petty, I know, but that’s how I roll.
“I don’t age. And I don’t die. I’ve been alive a long time, a lot longer than anyone else ever has, and there’s no sign that I’m going to die any time soon.” It felt good to say it, but I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen next.
“What…are ye?” Sorcha asked in a scared, small voice. The look on her face was why I so seldom told anyone about my true nature.
“I’m a man, like any other. Except I don’t get old, and I don’t die.”
“So yuir a god?” She asked, breathless. In Ireland at that time it wasn’t out of the realm of most people’s understanding for a deity to visit the Earth and consort with mortal women. And Sorcha was worth some consorting, let me tell you.
“No. I’m just a man.” I said.
“But ye won’t die? Ever?” Fin asked.
“If history serves as any indication for future performance, no, I’ll never die.”
“And Aidan isn’t yuir name, is it?” he continued.
“No. Most places I’m called Adam.” I confirmed.
“I need a drink.” Sorcha sat down heavily in a chair by the fire, and I got a bottle from the cupboard and poured a big slug for each of us. Fin drained his in one gulp, and held out his cup for another. I poured him another drink, and sat down myself.
“So do you want me to leave? I’m sorry I deceived you both, but I wasn’t sure how you’d take it.”
“Nay, son, ye don’t need ta leave. I’ve grown a bit attached to ye, and I know Sorcha’s taken a right shine to ye as well. I don’t mind keeping ye around if ye’ll learn to be a bit of a better fisherman, so ye can take car of our girl here once I’m gone.” Fin sipped his second drink and settled in to his chair.
“I…I don’t want ye to leave.” Sorcha spoke very quietly, not looking at me. “But what will ye do when I get old?”
“I’ll love you.” I said very quietly, surprising myself a little because it was true. I hadn’t talked of love to anyone since Eve, but this fire-haired maid of Erin had captivated me completely.
“Do ye mean it?” She looked up at me then, and there was a moisture in those jade eyes that tore my heart apart. I knew it was a bad idea, and I knew that it was going to hurt like hell when it ended, but Father help me, I was in love with the girl.
“Aye, I mean it.” I went over to her, took her hands in mine, and said, “Sorcha, will ye be mine and no other’s?” I don’t often affect the accent of the times, but it seemed appropriate at the moment.e
“Aye. Will ye be mine and no other’s?” She asked in turn, and then thought of whom she was asking and added, “as long as we both draw breath?”
“Aye. As long as we both draw breath I am yours and no other’s.” I pulled her to her feet and kissed her for a long time in front of the fire. After what might have been an uncomfortable moment for a father, Finlay coughed.
“Then it’s done. Now that ye be me son, ye must learn to fish for real. I’ll not be havin’ ye stay here and do woman’s work just so ye can sneak off to the woodshed with me daughter every afternoon.” I had the courtesy to blush, and we all laughed and drank well into the night. It was with a throbbing head and a delicate stomach that I went out with Fin the next morning to begin my true education as a fisherman, but somehow I managed.