I was with them for another forty years, one of the longest stretches I ever spent in one place. There were a few skirmishes around, but nothing touched our remote little fishing shack. And on the off chance that someone did wander by with ill intent, it’s always been very useful to be immortal when people started waving swords about.
Fin died about ten years after I arrived, a very old man for the time. The last couple of years he would go out in the boat with me, but he’d just sit in the stern and tell stories while I hauled in fish. Then for the last few weeks he sat in the house by the fire and told Sorcha stories of her mother, and how much like her she was. I dug the old man’s grave with my own hands, and built his cairn out of stones that Sorcha helped me carry down from the hills.
I wept for the passing of that old man like I hadn’t cried since Abel died, and wasn’t ashamed of a single tear. I let that man and his daughter touch something inside of me that I had walled up when Eve and I split up. I didn’t even know it was still in there; it had been so long since I’d seen it. And then eventually, Sorcha grew old, and she died one night in my arms. We had no children, so I was the only one with her at the end, or at least I thought I was. It was a spring evening, and the first fireflies had just appeared. She had been fading for weeks, and I knew it was coming soon.
“Aidan, love, carry me out to the rock in the front yard. I want to see the fire flies one last time.” She never called me Adam in all the years we were together. I was always Aidan to her. I did as she asked, and lay her down on the grass in front of our cottage. I piled up blankets around her so she would be warm enough and I sat behind her so she could lean on my chest and sit up to look across the hills at the fireflies flickering in the dusk.
“The little people are lovely tonight, aren’t they, Aidan?” Her voice was a papery whisper, and I had to lean close to hear her. Just as I got close enough to almost feel her breath on my earlobe, she reached up behind her head and pulled me down further, kissing me passionately. Sorcha was nothing if not a creature of passion, and no number of years could steal that from her.
I turned her frail body around and kissed her with everything I had. I held her tight, but gently at the same time. She was so thin, but I could feel a passion in her grip and in her kiss that had all but burnt out months before. I don’t know if we kissed for seconds or minutes, but when the kiss was over she leaned back, let out a contented sigh, and died. I laid her down on our yard with fireflies dancing in the spring evening, and I kissed her one last time. I lay there on the grass with her all night, and when the sun came up the next morning, I wasn’t nearly as alone as I was expecting to be.
Eve was sitting on the front steps of the house, watching me. I hadn’t seen her in several hundred years, and like most of our meetings, that one hadn’t ended well. I wasn’t in the mood for a fight, but she just stood up, walked over to me without a word, and put her arms around me. I fell to my knees on the lawn and cried on her shoulder for a little while, and eventually we got up and buried Sorcha next to her father. We never spoke a word that day, and when we were finished, Eve walked back out of my life. Sometimes nothing needs to be said. But now, standing beside an elevator at a Fairfield Inn in East Nashville, Tennessee, Eve had brought all that rushing back to me.
“Why bring that up now?” I was not happy with the comparisons between Myra and Sorcha. I had loved Sorcha like I loved few women in my life, and it still hurt to remember losing her. But I also still smiled a lot when I remembered her, so in a lot of ways it was worth it.
“Believe it or not, Adam, I don’t like to see you hurt.” She said.
“If that’s true, why have you beaten the shit out of me so many times?” I was straining to keep things light, but she wasn’t making anything easy.
“No, asshole, I mean really hurt. The kind that takes a long time to get over, if you ever do. And you’re falling for this woman, and that only hurts you in the long run. I know, I’ve watched it.”
“Yeah, I’ve always meant to ask why you were there that night in Ireland.” I started, but Eve cut me off before I could get going.
“Don’t. You don’t need or want to know why I was there, but you needed me, and I was there. That’s all that matters. Now I can see the look in your eyes with Myra, and I can see how she looks at you, and you’ve got to remember, this isn’t smart. It doesn’t work out for us. Ever.” She was right up in my face by now, speaking low and very intensely. There was a lot going on behind her eyes that she wasn’t saying, and I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to get into in a motel hallway.
“Butt out. I appreciate your concern, and I’m grateful for your help back in Ireland, but this is my deal. I’m a big boy and I can take care of myself.” I turned to head into the waiting elevator, and Eve followed me.
“I know you can take care of yourself, dick.” She muttered, pushing the button for the third floor. I all the rooms were together, so I just leaned as far away from her as I could in the cramped space. “But for once in all these years, please think of something or someone outside your own skin. I don’t even really know what you’ve gotten me into here, but if it’s as big as you claim, then for my own good, and maybe the good of everybody else in the world, we need you to keep your shit together. And that means you can’t go tits-up and tail-waggy over Little Miss Cuppa Joe until this is all over. Let’s just stay focused, save the world, and then you can chase waitress tail for another thousand years for all I care.”
There were so many absurdities in Eve’s monologue that I couldn’t even begin to address them, so I stayed quiet until we got off the elevator and went into our separate rooms. I did toss her a glance across the hall as I opened the door and said “Eve?”
“I’ll keep it in mind. Really.”
She didn’t look very mollified, but she obviously knew it was all she was going to get, so she gave me a little smile, shot me the bird, and went into her room. I went into mine, kicked off my boots, and flopped down on the bed for a quick nap before dinner.