Yvette's ~*
*~*~*~ the Last Rains of Summer ~*~*~*

a Romance Novel, Love Story & Epic Drama Adventure
                       written by:
 Sean Terrence Best         
*~ Dedicated to Abagail ~*

                 Chapter One
                    *~ A Wedding ~*

Alone in the backroom of the Friendly Flower Shoppe, the
professional florist Shelley Halifax worked her maiden magic on the
Bridal Bouquet.  She circled many times around the pink Bartsias &
the smaller Blue~Bells like a priestess performing a ritual.  Arranging
Wild Yellow Daisies and Red Valerian all around the edges, she
then added one bright orange Montbretia in the very center.  With an
expression of triumph upon her youthful face, she stood back to
admire her crafty creation.  Clasping her hands together and holding
them tightly under her chin, she whispered,  "Brightest Blessings for
the Bride and Groom."
Youghal, Ireland can be found in County Cork on the eastern shore
of that distant green isle.  A popular tourist destination nowadays.  I
could tell you a story about a young woman named Shelley Halifax.  
She worked as a florist in a little flower~shop during a simpler time
when the flow of daily life was easy like a pastel palette, but when
love of the romantic heart was as passionate and as explosive and
as eternal as in any other time.  Yes, I can tell you about Shelley
Halifax and her little drama which happened in the little lives of some
little people in a little place just south of Youghal called Valeria.  
Valeria, a picturesque little township so named for the Red Valerian
which grew 'round its cottages and high on its sea~cliffs overlooking
the violet Celtic Sea.  It is rumored that Red Valerian was first
brought to Ireland during early Medieval times by the Roman
Legions who, at the behest of famous Emperors such as Hadrian,
marched & sailed ever westward seeking to further expand the
growing boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire.  Valeria, the quaint
little seaside community in which our story takes place, was a
memorable and cheerful spot where many a weary soul found
refuge from the storms of life.  Oh, you won't find it on any map.  
With all the technological progress, time itself has marched on and
forgotten Valeria.  In hushed tones in the shadowed corners of pubs
late at night, it is often said that beautiful Valeria went the way of
Atlantis or some of those sea~faring souls which have mysteriously
disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.  One such story recounts how
pretty Valeria was so loved by the Leprechauns and Faerie Folk that
they magically transported the unsuspecting town from this world
into their Mystical Realm beyond the Veil.   According to this eerie
Yarn, on a moonless night in late October, an unusually dense fog
moved in from the Celtic Sea and enshrouded Valeria in the pale
blue aura of a glowing mist.  When the fog moved back out to sea
just before dawn, pleasant Valeria was gone and in it's stead, a
small inlet which to this very day hasn't been named.  During the
late quarter of the 19th century, however, Valeria was a thriving and
happy little township complete with all the Victorian trappings
befitting such a dreamy locale in such a theatrical era.  For starters,
Valeria was equipped with an historic town hall & civic building
which had been constructed during the Middle Ages as an Abbey by
the Benedictine Order of Monks.  An Anglican Chapel, built mostly
of yew wood, served as religious center and primary school for
Valeria.  It was perched on a green, grassy knoll at the edge of town
and each summer, when the tourists began their holiday visits,
Valeria Primary School hosted a series of arts'n'crafts classes.  The
most popular of which was a course on pottery~making taught by
the school's headmistress, Miss Lavender.  Her real name was
McBaine, but to her, Miss Lavender sounded more artistic.  She had
visited the desert southwest in the United States during her days at
University when she served as assistant to the Professor of
Archaeological Studies.  The Navajo of the region known as the
Painted Desert had been very cordial to Miss Lavender.  They
accepted her as a ceremonial member of their Tribe and gave her
the Navajo name, Ah~Tad Le~Eh~Gade Tacheene, which means
"girl who likes to put her hands in red soil".  They placed her in a
sweat~house, burned cedar and wafted the smoke over her with an
eagle feather.  During her field research, Miss Lavender had made
many exciting artistic discoveries among the mesas, canyons and
cacti.  The Navajo people taught her much about their ancestral
pottery~making methods which, of course, accounted for the
popularity of her pottery workshop during summers at Valeria
Primary School.  Miss Lavender told many humorous anecdotes of
her adventures, and she related tales of Navajo Mysticism, Legends
and Lore.  The main point of interest and tourist destination in
Valeria Township, however, was not the Primary School, but the
hotel resort for which Valeria's fame had spread throughout the
length and breadth of Ireland and a place or two in foreign lands.  
Shell House was a sleepy little coastal resort with just 21 guest
rooms of modest and antiquarian decor.  Shell House also had one
Bridal Suite & one Bungalow, each opulently outfitted for any rich
patrons who could afford the finest luxuries of the day.  The
proprietors of Shell House were Mr. & Mrs. Nolan.  A charming Irish
country couple whose pedigree included Sir Edmund Raleigh.  
Living the life of a humble country squire, Sir Edmund was believed
to be a sometime confidant of Sir Walter Long who was a friend to
Sir Walter Raleigh, who sold his lands to Richard Boyle, the 1st Earl
of Cork who was also 1st Baron Boyle of Youghal and Lord High
Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland during the reign of Queen
Elizabeth the First in the late 1500's.  Mr. and Mrs. Nolan were, in
addition to being brilliant conversationalists, cute, cuddly and elderly
so that over the years they cultivated a loyal clientele, many of whom
were regulars at Shell House every summer.

thank you for visiting  Yvette's ~*
As our story begins, it is quite a day for Shell House.  For not only is
it the first day of the summer tourist season, but a wedding day as
well.  Aidan, the son of the butcher is marrying Karen, the daughter
of the baker.  All we need now is a Candle Stick Maker, right ?  Well,
good news, there's one in this story.  In fact, there are two.  As you
can imagine, neither the catering nor the wedding cake would be
anything less than the very best the good folk of Valeria had to offer.
 The wedding ceremony was to be held in the Anglican Chapel and
Shell House would host the reception and the happy newly weds
would occupy the Bridal Suite for the entire first seven days of
summer.  The Shell House Bridal Suite had been reserved a year
ago for this very special occasion.
The hustle and bustle were energizing.  Activity of every sort was
afoot.  Miss Lavender had made 99 hand size wedding bells out of
white paper and was busy hanging them about the hotel entrance
and lobby.  The baker was struggling to find a safe hiding place in
the kitchen for the beautiful 7 tier wedding cake.  The butcher and
the hotel chef, Fabian, were in a mad dash to see who could
prepare the finest meat entree.  Summer guests who had come from
Longford by train to the Youghal Station were being wheeled up in
an Irish jaunting cart and even old man Wemple had emerged from
his hiding place among the cliff caves to get a glimpse of the
celebration and commencement of festivities.
"Where's Gillan!?" Mrs. Nolan shouted.  "He was supposed to be
back with the extra tablecloths by now!"
"He's coming around the back, Mrs. Nolan." Shelley replied as she
walked into the banquet hall with another beautiful flower
arrangement.  "Only three more of these and I can run home to
change into my fancy dress!  I'll just have time to make it to the
Chapel and be seated before the Bride walks down the aisle!"
Mrs. Nolan looked pleadingly at Shelley Halifax and made a request
which she knew wouldn't please her,  "Oh, Shelley, would you be a
dear and help take the rest of the lily bouquets to the guest rooms?  
And convey the special flower arrangements to the Bridal Suite and
the Bungalow as well?  Mr. Lynch will be arriving this afternoon and
I want everything to be perfect for all our guests, especially for the
Bride and Groom and especially for Mr. Lynch."  
Mr. Liam Lynch was the thirty~one year old son of a wealthy banker.
 As was customary for the wealthy classes, he was educated at
private schools during his childhood but then, rather than go
straight to University, Liam Lynch spent his early twenties traveling
the world.  He was now preparing for his last year of formal
education at Cambridge following this summer.  After that he was
sure to take over his aging father's position as senior officer of the
Lynch Merchant's Bank, headquartered in Dublin.
"Where's Dolores?" Shelley asked with a bit of disappointment in
her voice.
"She's not feeling well again.  I sent her to Doc Kirwan.  She put up
her usual quiet objectionable resistance, of course, but I bade Gillan
to see her to the good doctor's and then return quickly with the extra
tablecloths we need from your Grandmother."
Shelley Halifax and her Grandmother, Grandmother Halifax, lived
together in a small two room cottage behind the Friendly Flower
Shoppe.  Grandmother Halifax had a goose down feather bed in
one corner of the larger room of their quaint little cottage, and this is
where she slept at night.  Shelley's bed was in a loft above, for the
roof of their cottage was rather high and inclined like most other
cottages in Valeria.  Shelley's mother and father had been lost at
sea while on return voyage from London during the winter of 1863.  
After setting sail with the night tide from Bristol, the vessel a
schooner named The Lady Gale was never seen again.  It was
conjectured that an unexpected winter storm had been the cause of
the mysterious disappearance of the Lady Gale.  Sometime later a
section of rigging bearing the insignia of The Lady Gale had been
spotted and picked up by a merchant seaman making way for the
Portuguese Coast.  Shelley Halifax was only 2 when the tragedy
occurred, so Grandmother Halifax was the only family she had ever
known.  Grandfather Halifax died the year before Shelley's birth.  He
was a skilled carpenter and converted a shed beside their cottage
into a sewing room for Grandmother Halifax just a few months prior
to his death.  Grandfather Halifax left Grandmother with a stipends
on which she lived contentedly, but now and again she wanted to
buy a little something extra for Shelley and her sewing skills were
her means of doing so.  It gave her something to busy herself with,
besides.  Yes, Grandmother Halifax loved Shelley very much and
Shelley requited her dear Grandmother's love in every filial respect.
Shelley Halifax was forever running in and out of the back door of
the Friendly Flower Shoppe during her childhood and apprenticed
with Lilian Rowan, the flower~shop owner, during the happy
Valerian summers.  During that time Lilian met and married a tourist
named Feidhelm Rowan; everyone called him Feid for short.  His
family's home had been in Youghal, but they immigrated to New
York because his father had been offered a job over seeing the day
to day operations of a textile mill. Feid's mother was happy in New
York because of the increase in income.  Feid's brothers and sisters
had all gotten jobs of one sort or another and married and settled
into the Big City quite well.  Feid, however, was always homesick for
Ireland and vacationed each summer at Shell House.  The Friendly
Flower Shoppe provides flowers daily for the guest rooms at Shell
House during the summer tourist season, so this made it inevitable
that Lilian and Feid would encounter each other.  After a number of
such encounters during such summers Feid asked Lilian to marry
him and she gladly accepted.  They had since had three girls.  
Imogen, the oldest at 15, Eileen shortly after her at 13 and the
youngest Rowan daughter, Aislinn, was just 6 years old.  Aislinn
loved the fact that her name means dream and she was constantly
reminding everyone in Valeria of her name's meaning and of just
how much it meant to her.  
Shelley Halifax helped look after the Rowan girls and was just as
another member of the family.  Kind of like a second mother to
Imogen, Eileen and Aislinn since Shelley herself was only seven
years younger than Lilian.  
During autumn, winter and spring, the Friendly Flower Shoppe
shipped lovely flower arrangements and bouquets to all parts of
Ireland, especially the capital, Dublin and even by steamship to
London on occasion.  This meant that the Friendly Flower Shoppe
was always busy, especially so during summers with the steady
flow of guests at Shell House.  It was during these busy summers
that Lilian and Feid needed, along with Shelley, some additional
assistance at the Friendly Flower Shoppe, which is where Sean
Quinn emerges into our story.  
Sean Quinn was the youngest son in a very large family which lived
on a potato farm a few miles inland from Valeria.  Sean's family also
herded sheep and even grew strawberries to have as a pleasant
treat in season.  This was a novelty for the local area residents
because during that time, Ireland's strawberries were almost entirely
imported from England and Holland.  Sean, at the tender age of 24,
didn't fancy the farm life other than as a ready subject for his
drawings and paintings.  A reclusive and soft spoken young man,
Sean did his share of work to help out around the farm, but he had
big dreams of becoming a world famous painter someday.  Sean
Quinn loved art.  Sean loved to draw and he loved to paint all that
he saw in the big bright beautiful world around him.  Sean loved
drawing and painting portraits of people most of all.  Portraiture was
the endeavor which mystically called to him more than any other
facet of life.  To Sean, it was magic to start with a blank space and
scrub and scribble and erase, then scrub and scribble again until a
very real likeness of a human being appeared on the sketch paper
or canvas before him.  Sean, though self taught, was dramatically
skilled at portraiture.  Many assured Sean and repeated as much
among themselves that he would indeed become a very successful
and world famous painter.  This encouragement was music to
Sean's ears and he carried on in vigorous pursuit of his daring
dream.  Yes, painting, especially portraiture, was magic to Sean.  
Sean was a Sorcerer.  His charcoal and brushes, his magic wands.  
Drawing and painting portraits, his magic.
Naturally, an artist would also be drawn to flowers.  Sean Quinn, in
order to escape what was to him the drudgery of the farm, worked
helping Lilian, Feid and, his favorite, Shelley at the Friendly Flower
Shoppe.  Imogen and Eileen loved helping Miss Lavender with the
arts'n'crafts classes at Valeria Primary School.  Aislinn got to play
with the other very young children during those happy summers at
the little Anglican Chapel, so Sean lending a hand with the Friendly
Flower Shoppe made everything work out nicely for everyone.  
Sean's primary duties were sweeping, mopping, emptying the trash
receptacles and delivering flowers but once in a while, he got to
assist with creating the actual flower arrangements themselves.  
Sometimes Lilian would show him a thing or two about the art of
flower arranging, sometimes Feid and sometimes even Shelley.  He
loved it when Shelley let him assist her, though he never breathed a
word about how much he really liked her.  In fact, Sean never said
much of anything at all.  
Contact Yvette's,
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Portrait of Yvette ~*, click here ~*
Established 1980
the Last Rains of Summer
page two, click here ~*
Call to Artists !! ~*
please click here !! ~*