Author's note: I've been inspired by a recent spate in lovely Ballyk fics, along with having just received the DVDs of series 1-3, to put something out there. This is set after the Christmas episode, the idea being that Assumpta's uni friends would have to show up some time and help our urst-filled couple along a little bit.

Disclaimer: I wish they had been mine... I'm just playing with them for a bit, then returning them to their rightful owners.

They'd bailed on Christmas, then again for New Year's, so when her friends rang to say they were coming down that weekend, Assumpta was hesitant about preparing anything significant. She made sure there was room for them if they did follow through on their promise – not that there were any problems there; she'd have needed bookings for that – and that she had people to work the bar. To the regulars, it would look like she was just wanting a break if they didn't turn up. Indeed, she was almost looking forward to some time off when the phone rang Saturday afternoon.

"Hello. Fitzgerald's."

" 'Supmta, is that you?"


"Yeah. Look, we're on our way, only Jack has gone and got a flat tyre." Assumpta could hear protesting mixed with the sounds of a garage over the line. "We're going to be a bit later than we expected. I hope that's OK."

"That's fine. Take your time. I'll have everything ready for when you get here."

She must've done a good job of covering her surprise as Erin began to babble on some piece of gossip regarding a mutual acquaintance from university. Assumpta didn't hear a word of it, she realised that her blasé attitude had left her with an awful lot to get done before they arrived, and she was trying to work out how she'd manage it.

He was about to leave the confessional when he heard the door open and someone kneel then cross themself. He shouldn't have been irritated by the latecomer who'd delayed his trip to the pub by who-knew how long, but he was and chastised himself. Still, it didn't stop him contemplating how quickly he could dispense absolution without appearing flippant.

"Bless me Father, for you have sinned"

"Wha... Assumpta?"

"You're a hard man to pin down. I've been looking for you all over this past half hour. You're harder to find than a leprechaun."

Peter smiled despite himself. Trust her to ambush him in the confessional.

"I'm trying out new times for confession to appeal to those who can't usually make it. Is there something you'd like to confess?"

The irony of having Assumpta Fitzgerald sitting on the other side of the confessional was not lost on either of them.

"Actually, I was hoping you'd enlighten me as to why you have swindled a poor publican and deceived the community."

Her tone was completely serious. He'd expected some sort of joke, but he was at a loss as to its punchline.

"Assumpta, if this is some sort of joke..."

"It's no joke Father. Now I could be mistaken, but I seem to recall that I and the local hospital were promised a grand total of 4 hours of your labour. Yet those 4 hours have never been fully accounted for."

Peter remembered exactly what she was on about, and exactly why he'd forgotten. It was all tied up with several days worth of memories he'd purposefully suppressed: being bought at the auction, working behind her bar, working with her on the play. Oh, that play! Suddenly the more tantalising memories came flooding back: her hands on his face, the softness of her skin, her breath mingling with his, the dreams that followed. These were not thoughts to be having in the confessional, at least not on the side in which he currently sat.

He didn't realise he'd been silent for an unusual period until she spoke.

"Peter? Everything OK?"

"I, er, yeah, sorry. I seem to remember..."

"I believe you still owe me 2 hours. Bring your apron."

By the time he composed himself properly, she was gone, along with any chance of a relaxing evening on his favourite bar stool.