Leaving the kitchen, Anna noticed Alec and Iain lurking behind the bar. She strode towards them as they tried not to meet her eye.
'Which one of you is going to tell me what happened while I was out?' She said sweetly.
The two men pointed to each other.
Anna sighed. 'Ok, eenie, meanie, minee mo.' Ok Iain, you're up.' She said, her eyebrows raised in question.
'I don't know missus.' The waiter said miserably.
'But there was something?' She said.
'Decco was talking to yer man, then he came back in like a bug had flown up his arse.' Alec cut in suddenly.
'Which man?' Anna asked.
'Yer man, the American one.' Iain said.
'He's not my man but what did the American say to him?' She asked.
'No idea.' Alec said, 'but he weren't happy.'
So he'd spoken to Jeremy, she could imagine how well that went. She glanced back towards the kitchen. There was absolutely no point trying to get Declan to talk to her when he was in this mood. Oh well, she'd just have to find out what went on from contestant number two. 'Either of you boys know where the American is at the moment?'
'He went down to the shop in the village.' Alec said.
'Thank you.' She said, determined to go and find him.
Dissecting the lamb for the Irish stew had taken some of the sting out of Declan's temper. He still felt uneasy and couldn't quite shake the notion that Jeremy couldn't be trusted. Presumably, the bloody shrink would have completed her assessment by now, especially as she'd spent the whole morning with Anna. He paced the kitchen. It was no good, he was going to have to find out once and for all. Taking off his apron he made his way towards the guest quarters. At the door to Belinda's room, he nearly changed his mind. No, if his heart was going to be broken again he had to know one way or the other. He raised a fist and knocked. When there was no answer after several minutes, he turned to go, just as the door opened.
Dr Belinda Roseburg looked surprised at her visitor, but not entirely displeased. 'I'm sorry, I was in the shower.' She said with a smile indicating the flowery silk kimono style dressing gown she wore.
'I'm sorry to disturb you, I can come back later.' Declan said hurriedly.
'Don't be silly, it's not every day I have a tall dark handsome stranger knocking on my door. What can I do for you?'
Declan hesitated. 'Look, Jeremy told me everything, how you're here to assess Anna, he thinks she'd gone round the bend.'
'That's one way of putting it certainly.' Belinda said with a short laugh, 'Though we rarely say that to our patients.'
'I just need to know what you're going to tell him.' Declan said.
Belinda considered for a moment. 'You'd better come in.' She said, opening the door wider.
Anna could see Jeremy in the distance as he came out of the shop. She noticed the way he wiped his hands on a towelette which he then dropped gingerly in a waste bin. He seemed so primped and preened, even first thing in the morning he looked as though he was newly laundered. She had never known him smell of anything other than aftershave, never seen him the remotest bit disheveled, he seemed sterilized. She inhaled, remembering waking up to the male aroma coming from Declan. She'd once accused him of smelling, simply because, in her world, men reeked of paco rabanne or jean paul gautier, it made her smile, now she couldn't imagine anything sexier than Declan au naturel.
'Anna!' Jeremy said spotting her. He speeded up his walk, reminding Anna of a well-dressed duck.
'Did you come to meet me. Look sorry I couldn't make this morning, Bill needed a consult.' He was already taking his phone out of his pocket.
Anna put her hands up, turning her face away. 'I don't need to see it thank you.'
With a shrug, he put the device away. 'I came to see if there was something to eat.' He said indicating the shop. 'Do you know they don't even have an organic section?' He said shaking his head. 'I asked and the man looked at me as if I'd asked for the moon.'
'All the produce is organic, it comes from local farms.' Anna said. 'Anyway, if you were hungry you could have ordered something at the pub.'
'Hmmm, I'm not sure what that chef would put in it.' Jeremy said pulling a face.
'Don't be ridiculous. Much as Declan might not like you, he's too proud of his food to contaminate it.' She said indignantly. 'Speaking of which, you had a little chat with Declan earlier?'
'Oh, he told you, did he? Well, I suppose it doesn't matter now, the results will be in soon enough and I'm quietly confident I will be proved right.' Jeremy said with a smug smile on his face.
'Results, what results?' Anna asked. There was a bench, she sat down.
Jeremy peered at the seat next to her before eventually taking a handkerchief out of his pocket, carefully spreading it out before sitting himself.
'What results? Anna said again.
Jeremy took her hand in both of his and gazed earnestly into her face. 'Sweetie, you've been very sick.'
She snatched her hand back. 'Don't be silly, I'm fine.'
Placing a fist next to his mouth, Jeremy closed his eyes for a moment before continuing. 'Now this might be hard to hear but, I believe you've had some kind of nervous breakdown.'
Anna opened her mouth to speak, but he continued.
'You must admit, you've not been yourself. Things you've done are so extreme and out of character. It's not like you. I can only imagine that the excitement of the Davenport and getting engaged was just too much for you, too overwhelming, and I understand that.'
'You do, do you? Anna said icily.
'But don't worry sweetie, we're going to get you some help. Dr Roseburg will have completed her assessment and will give us the findings later on today, we can then start to get you the help you need and I'm sure we can find a sympathetic judge to get this marriage nonsense sorted out, after all, you weren't in your right mind.' He tapped a finger against his lips in thought. 'There might even be criminal proceedings.'
'What the…' Anna began. 'You think I've gone mad!'
'Not mad sweetie…'
'Don't call me that!' Anna got to her feet. 'And you said this to Declan, you told him I only married him because I was insane?' She paced up and down, her voice getting higher with each circuit.
'Well I obviously didn't tell him the last part, I didn't want him to punch me in the nose.' Jeremy said with a smirk.
Anna stood in front of him, bristling with fury staring at his smug face. She didn't know where it came from but suddenly her right hand was balled into a fist and traveling towards Jeremy's face where it connected with a satisfying crunch.
'Ow!' He howled as his hands flew to his injured nose.
'That's for every interrupted dinner.' She began, hopping from foot to foot with adrenalin, 'and for every cancelled date, and for every photograph of people's insides, and for being rude about my father but mostly for telling the man I love I only married him because I'd lost my marbles!' She finished with a stamp.
'You punched me!' Jeremy said nasally.
'And if you're still here by the time I get back, I'll do it again.' She snapped before almost running back to the Carragh.
'Where's Declan?' Anna said, bursting into the kitchen.
Alec shrugged. 'Dunno missus.'
'He was heading up to the guest bedrooms.' Iain said helpfully.
Barely pausing for breath Anna hurried up the stairs, just as the door to Belinda's room opened and Declan stepped out.
'Thanks Belinda.' Declan said.
'Was glad I could be of service.' She replied, folding her arms around her dressing gown.
'What on earth!' Anna exclaimed glancing back and forth between the two of them.
'Anna.' Declan said in delight before suddenly realising what she was seeing. 'This is absolutely not what it looks like.' He added, now in horror.
'It looks like you're coming out of a half-dressed woman's room.' Anna said incredulously.
'Ok then it is what it looks like, but it's definitely not what you think.' He said, approaching her slowly.
'You son of a…' She began before bursting into tears, turning tail and running back down the hall.
'Excuse me.' Declan said to Belinda before taking off after her. He caught her at the bottom of the stairs.
'Will you stand still a minute and let me explain.' He said as he struggled to get a grasp on her.
'How could you.' She said through tears.
'I couldn't, well I obviously could, but I didn't, I wouldn't' He said, narrowly avoiding an elbow as it swung past his head.
'Let go of me.' She said.
'No, not until you've listened to me, you big eejit, will you stop wriggling woman!' He said in exasperation.
Finally beginning to tire Anna stopped. 'You have one minute.' She sniffed.
Declan took a deep breath and placed a hand on each of her shoulders. 'Jeremy thinks you're doolally and hired the Dr to poke about in your head and see if you are. Personally, I think that ship has sailed.' He added.
Anna raised an eyebrow in warning.
'Ok, ok. I didn't really know what to think, except I knew you were normal, well normal for you, but I didn't trust germy not to fake the results so I went to see Belinda myself just to see what she was going to tell him.' He gabbled. 'She just happened to have gotten out of the shower after your ride but I didn't really notice that because I was too worried about you.' He gave a big toothy, hopeful grin.
Anna's eyes narrowed. 'And assuming I believe you, which I'm not sure I do, what were her conclusions?'
'You're fine.' He said holding his hands out.
'I know.' She said.
'Jeremy told me about Belinda, I punched him in the nose.' She said, wiping her eyes.
'Fair play that woman.' Declan said, impressed.
'You swear you weren't doing anything else with Belinda?' Anna said, sniffing.
'Cross my heart and hope to die.' Declan said, drawing a big cross on himself to demonstrate.
Reluctantly Anna allowed herself to be drawn into his arms, her own eventually circling his waist as he bent to kiss her. It seemed an eternity before they finally broke apart.
'Ugh that was a horrible feeling.' Anna said as she rested her forehead against his.
'Were you jealous Bob?' He asked innocently.
'Of course I was jealous you big eejit!' She said slapping him on the chest.
'It may be petty, but I thoroughly enjoyed giving your man his marching orders today.' Declan said. Anna was changing in their room and he lay back on the bed watching her, hands behind his head. 'Especially with his nose like a watermelon.' He sniggered.
'I do wish you wouldn't call him that.' She said snippily before eyeing her husband suspiciously. 'But he did deserve it.' Anna crossed to the bed and sat down. 'Do take your boots off the bed.'
With a sigh, Declan sat up, his feet on the floor. 'I suppose I can't blame him for thinking you'd gone round the twist, you had everything, money, perfect life, perfect everything and you skipped out on it all for this.' He indicated the room.
Anna bowed her head, her hands clenched in her lap.
'And you're thinking I might do it again.' She said quietly.
Placing a finger under her chin and raised her head. 'Like you said, you had everything you ever wanted, but they were just things. I'll never be able to give you that so I just want to be sure you're happy, you still feel you made the right choice.'
Anna scrunched her nose. 'It was as though my eyes were suddenly opened. I realised that this was going to be my life, beautiful apartment, gorgeous dinner parties and expensive things.'
'Doesn't sound too terrible.' Declan said with a small smile. 'Perhaps I'll leave you here and go and marry Jeremy myself.'
Anna placed a hand on his cheek. 'It was going to be my life, wonderful as it was, but missing one very important piece, it didn't have you in it.'
Leaning forward she pressed her lips to his, a kiss which was immediately reciprocated. As they parted she rested her forehead against his. 'I realised that all the things in the world didn't matter, as long as I could be with you.'
'Oh.' He said smiling, 'I think I can tolerate you a bit longer.'
'That's good, best we get started painting the nursery.' She said with a nervous smile.
'Definately.' Declan replied before his brain caught up with his ears. 'Wait, what?'