A/N I thought I'd give this story a little TLC ^_^

Chapter Eighteen: Later

It had been a few hours since the news cast about the Saints of South Boston. Kareen had had a drink…or three…just to calm her shaking nerves. This couldn't be happening! They weren't supposed to get caught! They were supposed to go and do whatever it is that they do then get the hell out of Dodge! She leaned on the counter and put a hand to her forehead. This couldn't have turned out any worse. Now Bobby knew about Connor and Murphy and there was no way he'd ever let that die. He had already tried to sooth her, telling her that there was no way she could've known and blah…blah…blah…She looked up at the man who was sitting in the living room watching the news. He had refused to turn the channel just in case some new update occurred. That only made her snarl a bit. If it was so obviously upsetting her why couldn't he drop it and change the freaking channel? She sighed and just walked over to sit beside him on the couch.

Bobby looked at her. "Are you alright?"

She just nodded and gave the weakest of smiles while on the inside she was screaming that she'd be so much better if he would just turn off the fucking TV.

"Hey, there was no way you could've known."

She tensed up. This would now amount to his seventh attempt at trying to get her to talk and she was getting sick of it. Maybe…maybe she should talk, though. If it got him to shut up than anything was worth a try. "I know…Et's just a shock." Kareen tried her very best to act the way she was supposed to. She wasn't supposed to know. She had to pull out all the stops and just play hard core pretend.

He put a hand on her shoulder. "All that matters is that they're going to be locked up and can't hurt anyone anymore." Deep down Bobby felt quite happy about this whole situation. He didn't like Connor, he never would. He was happy to know that now there was no way that the man would ever see his wife or his children ever again.

She gave a small huff. "Bobby, ye can't say dat!"

Confusion splashed across his face.

She shook her head. "Yes, they were killin' people, but de Saints never killed anyone who wasn't bad!"

Bobby stood and stared at her in utter shock. "You're defending them?"

She sighed. "No! I'm just sayin' dat ye can't condemn a man like tha' who was just tryin' ta do some good, even ef 'e was goin' about et de wrong way!"

He pulled her to her feet and locked eyes with her. "Kareen, you can't think like that. You're trying to make Connor seem like a good guy here, but he's not. He and his brother killed all those people. How is that a good thing? They're murderers!"

She looked away. "They killed bad people. They were doin' good by doin' bad."

He shook his head. "That's not how this works, Kareen. You have to stop trying to make excuses for them! You have to understand that what they were doing was wrong. Why can't you see that?"

She yanked her hands out of his. "Because Connor an' Murphy are two o' de best men I've ever known! Yes, they made a bad choice 'ere, but tha' doesn't mean they're bad people!"

Bobby shook his head again. There was simply no convincing her that what had transpired was truly as horrible as she needed to believe! "Kareen, you've got to stop letting whatever feelings you think you have cloud your proper judgment."

Her brow furrowed. "Feelin's I think I have?"

He nodded. "Yes, you obviously still picture him as the man from eight years ago and that's not who he is anymore."

Her jaw clenched. He was to the man from her past! He hadn't changed! Not at all!

Bobby put a hand on her shoulder. "You need to believe what I say and—"

She stepped out from beneath his hand. "I need ta believe wha' ye say? Are ye tryin' ta tell me wha' ta think an' do, here, Bobby?"

He sighed. "Don't make it sound so bad! I'm trying to get you to see reason here, Kareen, and you obviously aren't!"

' She narrowed her eyes at him. "I know perfectly well wha' I think an' wha' ye want me ta think! My judgment isn't clouded by feelin's, Bobby! All I'm sayin' es ye can't blame Connor an' Murphy for thes!"

"Obviously, it is if you stand there before me trying to defend them like that!"

Kareen's lips pursed in a dangerous line. She squared her shoulders. "Ye don't know them."

"It's been eight years, Kareen, are you sure you even know them?"

That was a striking blow to her pride. She held her head high, though, never letting it fall. "I will always know them. Nothin' ye can say or do will ever make me think I don't."

They had a stare down for some time, neither willing to budge. Bobby knew he was right. He knew that she was simply letting her emotions get in the way of things and that she needed to see things his way, the right way. This would take time, of course, he knew she still…felt…for Connor (an admission that he never enjoyed thinking about) and that meant she would need plenty of time to get over him and see things properly. It would take his persistence to break her of this dangerous folly.

Kareen saw things quite differently. She was seeing a man trying to break her of her own ideals and making her see things his way, which she was certain he thought was the right way. She may have always been a demure character with her head down through most of her life, but that didn't mean she didn't take stands. Now, with her feet planted firmly, she was taking a stand. She looked up at the man who towered over her without any fear of what he might think of anything. So many things were becoming clear in her mind.

Bobby shook his head, breaking the eye contact first. "I swear, you and your damn pride."

"Pride?"

He set her with a look. "Yes, pride! Irish pride to be more specific! You hate to be proven wrong and you'll stand up for the stupidest of things at times!"

She openly gasped at the highly offensive statement.

"Oh, don't play coy! You know what I'm talking about! Take right now for example, or how about not even letting a man have one bottle of a kind of alcohol in the house? For Christ's sake, Kareen, you sell it in the pub!"

She glared at him. One, he was insulting her pride, and, two, he had taken the Lord's name in vain. She narrowed her eyes at him. "How many times 'ave I told ye ta just get over that?"

"But you don't want me telling you to just get over Connor?"

She stiffened. "Tha's different! He happens ta be de father of my children an'—"

Bobby sat down heavily on the couch. "Oh, come off it, Kareen. You don't I don't give a flying fuck if he's the man who knocked you up and if he was your first love and all that fuckin' bullshit." He rolled his eyes. "I'm sick of hearing it from you. That's all you ever say about the man."

She was openly glaring at him now as she stood before him with her arms crossed over her chest. "It burns you tha' I still love 'im, doesn't et?"

And the switch was flipped.

"Of course it fuckin' bothers me! How could it not? The entire time I was gone, even if it was only for a few days, all I could think about was him doing or saying something and you'd just forget all about me and go right back to fuckin' him!"

It hurt that he thought she wouldn't be faithful…but then again, she hadn't been. She would bring that up…later…Now she stood with her head high. "For such a big man ye've got very little confidence in people."

He set her with a burning gaze. "Trust isn't easy to give. For example, I'm not sure I'll be able to trust Liam when he gets older."

Oh, wrong move.

Kareen's fury flared. "What do ye mean ye won't trust Liam?"

Bobby stared at her with emotionless eyes. "Just look at his father. I think Ryanne will be fine because she'll probably just turn out like you, but then again I'd have to watch out for her taste in men."

At that moment Kareen wanted to rip into Bobby with the sharpest thing she could find in the apartment. How could he sit there and insult not only her but her beloved children as well! The kids he claimed to love as thought they were his own? Now he was openly bashing their future selves! "How can ye say that!"

He gave a small shrug. "Don't most kids take after their parents? Right now I have half a mind to go and take any violent toy that Liam has away and throw them out. We don't want to risk him enjoying shooting if his father turned out to use it for the wrong thing."

Kareen was almost at the point of trying to snap Bobby's neck.

"You wouldn't want him to end up in prison like his psychopath of a father, right? We'll have to make sure that he never has any inclinations about learning to shoot a real gun."

She glared at him. "How dare ye say such things about my children! How dare ye think for even a minute such a thing could ever happen!" She wasn't going to stand for this any longer. Now was the time to bring it up. "Ye know, de only reason I would worry over Ry's choice en men es ta make sure she never winds up wit' a man like you."

The sting that caused was evident on his face.

"I'll be sure ta teach 'er dat de first man she loves es de only one she'll ever really love!"

Bobby began to glower at her.

There was no stopping it now. "Because ef tha' man ever comes back around she just might not be able ta tell 'im no." She narrowed her eyes a bit. "I sure as hell didn't tell Connor no."

That did it.

Bobby shot to his feet. "I was right! I knew this shit was going to happen!" He glared down at her. "You're no worse than that Ellen girl you told me about. Your ex cheated on you with her and then rubbed it in your face!"

She held her head high, refusing to let the insult sting. "I've made my peace wit' tha'. Wha' does et matter, now, anyway? I know I never really loved Kian just like I don't really love you."

That hurt.

Bobby looked wounded. "What?"

She gave a nod. "I've been lyin' ta myself long enough. I don't love you, Robert. Ye know, Connor asked me not ta marry yah an' instead leave wit' him, takin' de twins wit' us. I really," she locked eyes with him for good emphasis, "really wish I 'ad said yes."

He glared at her. "My mother was right. You're just European trash."

Bobby reeled back when her hand collided with the side of his face.

Kareen glared at him. As they locked eyes she made a point to slip the ring off her left hand and set it on the counter. She would have been more dramatic and thrown it out the window or something, but the ring had been her grandmother's and she'd hate to lose it over someone like Bobby. "Get out."

He stormed over to the door and wrenched it open. "I'll come by for my things."

She smirked. "I'll have et all en bags on the street fer yah."

Bobby slammed the door so hard a crack appeared in it much like the one Kareen had caused all those years ago.

She collapsed onto the couch and looked at her hands. It was strange not seeing the ring there anymore, but at the same time she felt some kind of release. Oddly enough, her first thought was that she had wasted all that time sending out those stupid wedding reminders for nothing! She frowned. All those hours of work…wasted…She shook her head and began to laugh at herself. She looked up to the ceiling and right through it to the heavens above.

"He was never de one for me, was 'e? No…Et's always been Connor."

She felt the strangest thing as though hands were set upon her shoulders, reassuring her newfound belief.

A/N Bye Bobby!