Wednesday, June 13
Ryan glances over at Chase, letting out a chuckle, before getting comfortable in his seat.
“Comfy there?” He questions, earning a glance from Chase.
“Very actually,” Chase answers. “Don’t mock until you try it.” Ryan just chuckles once again.
“I’d rather not based on how strange that looks…”
“Looks don’t matter if you’re comfy for a six-hour flight.” Chase then sends one final text to Sarina before putting the phone away. “I still can’t believe you told Lindsay to take care of herself about 10 times before we left.”
“She’s pregnant, and I can’t help but worry about her. I want the best for that little bundle of joy, and you can’t blame me for caring…” Chase nods his head accepting.
“Are you sure you’re going to handle being away?”
“I know Lindsay has an eye on her, so that’ll help.” Ryan then glances over at Chase. “What about you?”
“She’s going to be distracted and enjoying the girl time that she’s been missing combined with racing that she won’t even notice.” Ryan knew that wasn’t the purpose of the question.
“What about you?” Chase lets out a sigh, knowing the direction Ryan was headed.
“I told Alan this, and I am going to tell you, too – I don’t need to be hove-”
“I heard about the nightmares. I saw the flashback before the pageant. I get that you want to move forward, and you don’t want reminders, but you’re still dealing with stuff.” Chase lets out a sigh.
“I’ll be fine, okay? Besides, isn’t that the purpose of this vacation?” Ryan nods his head.
Chase and Ryan walk through the airport, glancing each direction for the sight that they were waiting for.
“Ryan!!!” Erin immediately runs up to him, wrapping both arms around him.
“Hey,” Ryan says to his little sister as he gives her a hug. “How are you?”
“Absolutely amazing. As much as I miss you, Emma, and our parents, I am loving Ireland. I can’t wait to show you both around. But first – it’s just so great to see you!” She then gives him another hug.
“You obviously remember this guy, I hope…” Erin then glances over at Chase, and nods her head.
“How could I forget my banquet date?” She then gives Chase a hug. “It’s nice to see you, and how well you’re doing after everything. Ryan has been keeping me posted…” Chase lets out a sigh. “I didn’t mea-”
“No, it’s fine,” Chase cuts her off. “I just don’t want reminders and thoughts about it.” She then stands up straight.
“Then we won’t say a single word from here on out, okay?” He nods his head accepting. “Now when in Ireland, we must do as the Irish does and have a drink a pub. Shall we?” The group nods their head accepting.
Once making the trip into town with Erin at the wheel, she takes them to one of her favorite pubs to stop in at while visiting Galway, leading the boys inside.
After taking their seats and ordering a round of drinks, it was time to catch-up. Erin shared all of her adventures with friends since moving over there, assuring them both she’d show them all the highlights, while Ryan caught her up on the family business and everything that she would’ve needed to know.
With everything on the table, there was only one thing remaining….
“So I have some news that I need to tell you,” Ryan starts a little nervously as he taps his hands on the table.
“Do I want to know this news, Chase?” Erin questions and Chase nods his head, knowing where Ryan was going immediately. “He seems a little nervous…”
“He already told Emma and she maybe didn’t have the best reac-” Chase starts carefully, knowing a warning would hopefully lessen the blow if any.
“Oh so now I’m second rated now?” Ryan just rolls his eyes in response, as he takes a long sip of his glass.
“I wanted to wait and tell you in person,” he offers, earning a curious glance from her.
“Go on….” She encourages, eyes locked on her older brother.
“Lindsay is pregnant. We’re due for a baby in December.” Erin looks back shocked as she glances at Chase for assurance, before locking her eyes back on Ryan.
“I’m going to be an aunt for Christmas basically?” Ryan nods his head. “You and Lindsay met at the banquet, and only started seriously dating in February….”
“Yes, we’ve only been together four months, Erin. But I’m absolutely certain about her and our future together. I know that she’s the right gal for me as we just click amazingly well. It was love at first sight, and it has only grown from there. I know that we’re both going to be amazing parents and we can’t wait to raise this baby together and spend our lives together.” Erin smiles a little as the happiness on Ryan’s face immediately radiated off onto her.
“I’m surprised, honestly, but I’m happy and excited. I can see how much Lindsay means to you and where you see your future, and I’m also excited about being an aunt. I can’t wait to meet him or her.” Ryan smiles as it was nice to see the approval from her immediately. “I can guess that mom and dad were over the moon while Emma was concerned?”
“She expressed the same thing that you said initially, and then laid into me about making irresponsible decisions. She was also concerned, given the past for Sarina and Lindsay.” Erin glances at Chase at the mention of Sarina and takes a deep breath.
“Sarina has that same past, and look at how the past two years have worked out with Chase – they’re amazing and belong together. If they can overcome that, then what’s stopping you and Lindsay? I’m happy for you…” She then lifts her glass in toast. “Here’s to a new little boy joining our family!”
“Boy?” She nods her head as their glasses touch.
“I have a feeling I’m getting a nephew this winter.” She then glances over at Chase. “You’re quiet..”
“I was just letting Ryan share his news and you bask in the excitement,” Chase offers. “I’ve known for awhile and I told him immediately I was happy for him, but worried about the reaction he’d get in return. I’m glad you’re on his side.” Erin puts her hand on top of Chase’s.
“When someone believes in you from the start, it makes the world that much more easier to handle and tackle. You know there’s someone to depend on when the walls start to fall around you.” She then glances across the table at Ryan. “I could never leave my brother hanging.” She then returns her eyes back to Chase. “Just like even though I have no clue firsthand what Alison is like or what her motives are, but I believe you when you say that you didn’t sleep with her and you’re not the father of her forthcoming baby. It’s about that trust.”
“I appreciate that. Thank you.” Erin then takes a big sip of her glass, eyes locking on Ryan for a minute.
“I was actually surprised to hear that you and Sarina got into a bit of a fight over that news, and she hasn’t come to full grips yet.” It was now Chase’s turn to give Ryan a stern glance. He didn’t mind details shared since they’d come out eventually, but he wish a line was drawn in the process.
“She actually has now. It took some time, but she’s come around to believe what I was saying.” Erin then looks back over at Chase.
“I’m just surprised it took tim-”
“Complicated reason and situati-”
“You were adamant from the beginning so that should tell her someth-”
“She also felt that I was trying to prote-”
“You wouldn’t lie, Chase. I thought she learned that already.” Chase lets out a sigh as he didn’t want to get this far into the discussion or advanced, but there was no choice.
“She also just found out at that time she probably wouldn’t be able to carry a baby full term, Erin. She had a lot of her own emotions about her own chances at motherhood and just throwing that on her, I felt it would’ve been too much, so I originally hid the notion of Alison even being pregnant. Everything combined together and I can see why she wouldn’t believe me. Why would I tell her if I slept with someone else? Why would I encourage the thought of someone else giving me what she couldn’t when I expressed a desire at one point for that?” He then takes a deep breath, glancing down at the table immediately. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to just go off…”
“No, it’s okay…” Erin then places a hand on his shoulder. “I shouldn’t have pushed the issue with you, either. But now hearing that, and understanding your shoes, I get where she’s coming from. I also don’t even know what to say about the fact that you may not be able to have a family of your own one day. You’re great with kids.”
“We’re still waiting for a second opinion, and there’s options ranging from adoption to a surrogate.” Ryan then smiles a little.
“You’d make a great surrogate,” Ryan offers candidly, earning a stern glance from both Chase and Erin.
“That’d be a little awkward, all things considered,” Erin comments and Chase nods his head in agreement. “Since you guys are here to forget about all that for a week and have some fun, let’s try talking about something else. Say, let me discuss my plans for you both…” Chase and Ryan glance at each other concerned.
“Should we be scared?” Erin just rolls her eyes as she pulls out a notebook and map.
The rest of the night went smoothly as the plans fell together perfectly with excitement all around, followed by the usual banter that they normally shared when together.
Though as they left the pub later that night, Ryan couldn’t help but pull Erin aside about the comments earlier.
“I told you from day one that Chase will always have a sweet spot in my heart and I’ll always care about him,” Erin starts. “I’m just looking out for him, Ryan. Relax….”
Thursday, June 14
The boys head outside, following Erin as they tried to remember what she had put on the list of things to do.
“So who believes in Santa Clause?” Erin asks as the boys glance at each other confused.
“Erin, do you not remember the discussion with our parents?” Ryan wonders earning a chuckle from Chase.
“Yes, Ryan, I remember when my heart got broken because someone told me that daddy bought me the wrong dolly when I said that Santa messed up.” Chase glances over at Ryan a little surprised and Ryan lets out a sigh. “This is why having siblings close to your age is not a good idea. At least for you, both Brittany and Starr would be old enough to keep it a secret.”
“I learned a young age, though, when I told Santa that I needed new tires for the go-kart rather than other gifts,” Chase reveals, as Erin just smiles.
“Ah of course that would do it,” Erin comments. “See, Ryan spoiled it for both me and Emma.” Ryan makes a mocking face behind her which earns a chuckle from Chase. “Can I smack him now or later?”
“Whenever you please.” He then puts his sunglasses on as they head down the street. “Now since we’ve got sunshine for a change in this cloudy city, enlighten us…”
“We’re going to St. Nicholas’ Church.” Chase nods his head accepting as they make the walk down the street. “It’s not far from the hotel, and it’s a signature spot. I figured we’d do the tourist thing before a fun thing.”
“I didn’t come all this way for you to give me faith and a church,” Ryan argues as Erin just rolls his eyes.
“To appreciate the city, you must appreciate the artwork of the past,” Erin offers, earning a curious glance from both men.
“Just go with it, Ryan….” Chase encourages as they walk down Market Street.
The church, built in the 14th century, wasn’t a full stroll down the street. While not much for history of churches, there was an appreciation in knowing the church was built in dedication to St. Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of children, better known as Santa Claus.
“Are those gargoyles?” Ryan offers as he glances at the exterior of the church, earning a nod from the other two. “No other church has those….”
“And suddenly he’s interested,” Erin whispers earning a chuckle from Chase. “That’s one of the things that makes this church unique and why it stands out. I know like you said you’re not here as a traditional tourist and such, but you can’t come to Galway and skip it.”
It wasn’t long before the group was inside, taking a tour of the layout, which included various tombs and a reader’s desk. It was also neat in looking at the list of people who worshipped there, including Christopher Columbus.
“Feel special now, Ryan?” Chase questions as Ryan just flips him off. “That’s rude..”
The afternoon plan for the boys was better, as Erin knew that she’d get them interested immediately. Considering it was also sunny for once rather than cloudy, that was an added bonus.
She knew they both liked to go for decent bike rides and jogs, and there was no better spot to do that than Salthill Beach. Known for its high standard of environmental quality and safety, it was one of the nicest spots to relax in Galway, whether swimming, being a beach bum, or working out. That was easily thanks to the surroundings, from a scenic view back to the city to the color of the water.
“This is the perfect spot for a sunset,” Erin comments after they had gotten done a nice jog to look around everywhere. “Whenever my world feels like it’s too stressful or I’ve just had enough – whether missing everybody or whatever, this is where I come. I can sit here, watch that sunset, and just bask in the glory. It really takes me back and makes me be thankful for what I have..” She then glances at the boys as she gets comfy on the beach blanket. “Just like I’m thankful right now that you both chose to vacation here and spend time with me. I’m thankful for a very supportive big brother, and also an amazing best friend for life.”
“I’m glad you’re a part of my life too,” Chase offers with a smile. “I didn’t realize how much I needed this until now, laying here, thinking…” He then takes a deep breath. “No matter how crazy the world gets, I always have my friends, my girl, and my family.”
“Alison can do whatever she wants, but nothing will change that if they’re truly loyal to you, and if you remain strong.” He nods his head accepting.
“Don’t be questioning how strong he is now….” Ryan offers as Erin glances over at him.
“I wouldn’t be so quick to past judgment over there. just promise me no jumping out of planes anymore.” Ryan chuckles as he looks over at Chase.
“I already made Chase promise me that we’ll forget that activity.” Ryan glances back out over the water. “I may pick on you, Erin, but thank you for bringing us here. I agree with Chase – I didn’t realize how much I needed this time.”
“I never want to forget this view when I come home,” Erin continues. “I’ve told myself to memorize it. That way when I’m home and everything is chaotic, I can take a deep breath and come right back to here. When I leave Ireland and come home, I don’t want to lose this. I want to make sure that I come back here again.”
“Can we make a pack that we’ll come here again, together?” Chase questions and Erin nods her head in agreement as the three join hands.
“Heck, next time we’ll bring Lindsay and Sarina, too…” Ryan was a little surprised based on Erin comments in relation to Sarina, but was glad that she was opening up to respecting everyone.
Once the sun had set and group agreed hunger was on the horizon, Erin took them to another one of the pubs she enjoyed visiting on a regular basis. The group immediately set forth on ordering some food, with their drinks.
“One Guinness beer please,” Ryan orders as he places the menu down after everybody had ordered their food.
“You never drink Guinness,” Chase comments as Ryan looks over at him.
“Irish brings out a different side of me…” Chase just rolls his eyes remembering the trip to Amsterdam and those adventures.
“I’ve never tried a Guinness,” Erin then reveals, earning a surprised glance from both men.
“Seriously?” They both question and she nods her head.
“How can you spend months in Ireland and not try a Guinness?” Ryan questions and she shrugs her shoulders.
“She even suggested a tour of the plant – but yet has no idea and why they’re so good,” Chase adds as Ryan just shakes his head in disgust.
“Make that three glasses, please. She’s not getting out of here without a sampling.” The waiter heads off as Ryan just continues to look at Erin surprised.
“I can’t believe that we got ID’d.” Ryan then looks back towards Chase.
“It’s nice to blend in for a change and just let loose without any regard,” he offers and Chase nods his head in agreement.
“Should I worry?” Erin questions and both men shake their heads no. “Can I trust that?”
“We went through Amsterdam and didn’t get arrested,” Chase reminds her as she nods her head, having heard about those adventures.
“So do I get to see those two left feet turn into a pair of tap dancing heroes?” Chase just chuckles as he gives her a wink. Ryan could only think of every nerve in the process, knowing the feelings Erin still had.
It didn’t take long for the waiter to return, placing three glasses before them.
“It smells good,” Erin comments as she takes her glass, taking a wiff.
“Just drink it already,” Ryan encourages as she rolls her eyes.
“Here goes nothing….” She then takes a sip, smiling immediately. “This is good.”
“Better than Heinkenen?” Chase wonders, knowing her drink of choice.
“Not quite, but it’s a very good substitute,” Erin answers. “You still like your whiskey?”
“You can’t beat a glass of Jack.” Erin chuckles a little, followed by holding her glass in the air.
“Here’s to a week of adventure, laughs, joy, and a good ‘ol distraction. Let the fun begin!”