IRISH BLUE - BOOK 1 THE CHAPEL A novel by Sheila Willar Copyright 2016 Sheila Willar ISBN 978-0-9867101-4-8 CHAPTER 11 ………………………. THE CHILDREN's CHAPEL
Erin and Lila arrived at the main gate of the Mancinni’s on a very busy Friday afternoon and they were not alone. There was a long procession of cars ahead of them and more gathering behind. Most of the guests were grandchildren and the children of friends who were attending Mrs. A’s pre-wedding celebrations.
Lila estimated that it would take forty-five minutes to get to the main house so she suggested that they exit the limousine and walk. They grabbed their satchels and ran past the string of cars up the winding drive. However as they did, they inspired the others to do the same, and soon kids were running up the road behind them, chased by their nannies and parents.
Erin and Lila were ignorant of the fact that they were being followed and when they veered off the driveway to take a shortcut to the chapel, all of the young guests ran after them. It wasn’t until they reached the meadow that they saw the line of people coming from behind.
“What are they doing?” asked Erin.
“I don’t know. Let’s go,” urged Lila who hoped the kids would travel in a different direction.
When they reached the chapel it was engulfed with pots of Irish Blue geraniums that lined the walkways, windowsills and the front abby.
“It’s beautiful,” exclaimed Lila. “If this was a mistake it’s a good one.”
They slowly entered the chapel with reverence but were quickly overrun by a convoy of children and their out of breath care givers.
“Hey!” cried out Lila who tried to caution them from stepping on the repaired stone, but it was too late. They paid absolutely no attention to her. The chapel was full to the brim with kids who climbed over and under the benches and played tag by chasing each other up and down the aisles. They danced and twirled and rolled over the restored stone and even jumped on it with a vengeance. The more Lila shooed them away the more they seemed to be drawn to it like a magnet.
“Are you our teacher?” one of them asked Erin.
The children reminded her of when she was a kid and played in Father Michael’s cathedral, so she decided to have some fun and asked them to form a parade line and follow her up the centre aisle, out the door and back in again through a side entrance. They stayed glued to Erin until Mrs. Mancinni appeared and then they swarmed their host as if she was Santa Clause. After hugs and excited greetings, Mrs. A led her young guests back to the main house where they were given treats and settled down.
“It’s remarkable,” mused Lila. “I wouldn’t have expected the bonding on the stone to withstand that kind of force so soon. The kids jumping up and down and the women’s high heels put a lot of pressure on it.”
“It’s O.K. then?” asked Erin.
“It’s way better than O.K. It’s great. Even the edges and smaller pieces held together.”
“Then it will be ready for the wedding.”
“It’s ready now.”
“What shall we do with the extra stone?”
Lila looked at the boxes of THEE Irish Blue stone sitting in the corner. “It’s funny isn’t it? That stone is so priceless. It isn’t even legal to buy or sell it, and out here at the Mancinni’s it just sits in the corner as if it’s ordinary.”
“How much ‘does’ it cost?” Erin inquired. “How much would a single, one square foot of THEE Irish Blue stone cost if I wanted to buy it?”
“The Mancinni's won’t accept money for it. They only gift it to places like cathedrals, orphanages and places of healing. If you want a sample you can ask Stoneworks and they might give you a piece but I wouldn’t count on it.”
“How do I know if I they give me the real thing?”
“You’d have to do a series of tests. There’s a diamond dust that runs through it. We call it ‘diamond dust’ but we really don’t know what it is. It’s not on the periodic table. I’ve heard people say that John Mancinni can identify it by listening to it. Apparently it makes a sound but I’ve never heard it.”
Just then Lila’s phone rang but the reception was bad, so she stepped outside and gave a report to Professor Foster about how well the restoration went. In the silence Erin stood in the centre of the stone circle and looked up through the chandelier and waited for a hint of a white light to show itself, but nothing happened.
“How odd,” she thought. “When I didn’t want to see it, I did, and now that I want to, I can’t.”
She picked up her bags and began to leave down the centre aisle but just before she reached the door, she heard a voice and looked up to see another vision. Erin remained frozen in place until Lila came to say that the car was ready to take them back to the city.
"Sure. Let's go."
On their way to the main house they met Mrs. Mancinni and Erin tried to apologize about the flowers.
“I’m so sorry about the mixup. I’ll try to have someone come and pick them up.”
“No need they’re perfect where they are.”
“We’re going to pay for them.”
“They’re already paid for. Arthur’s a dear friend of mine. He said he nearly went mad trying to find that much matching ribbon. He called as soon as he got the order and I told him to check with you.”
“But I sent half the flowers to Maggy’s and now they’re in a cathedral and I can’t get them back.”
“I know. I told Peter to give them to Father David.”
“I didn’t order flowers anyway. I ordered stone.”
“I know all about it dear. That’s why Ms. Statton is not my assistant anymore. She’s Arthur Bloom’s assistant. She’s perfect for him. She’ll be able to find all the ribbon he needs.”
“I’m really sorry.”
“Don’t worry about Ms. Statton. She’ll own that place soon. Besides, the order for potted flowers for Maggy’s wedding has sparked a trend and now everyone want to go “green”. Arthur’s so excited that he’s started a brand new environmentally friendly line of wedding products and he can’t keep up with the orders.”
“Car's ready mam,” called the driver.
“Off you go then,” said Mrs. A solemnly.
“She’s not her usual thorny self today,” thought Erin.
The ride back to the city was a light-hearted one for Lila because the weight of the project had lifted. The bonding for the stone was strong and the boss was happy. But for Erin however it was a different story. She couldn’t shake the vision that she saw in the chapel. Before she left Ireland she swore to God that she would never forgive Him for allowing her young niece to die, and she wasn't assuaged by the sight of her niece playing happily in heaven. It did not console her in any way.