"Nora," Thomas said, "did you get an annulment? Answer me, girl." Nora shook her head.
Danny rattled the ice cubes in his glass. "Quentin."
Quentin Finn looked over at him. He raised his eyebrows. "Yes, young sir?"
"How'd you fi nd us?"
"A man has ways," Quentin Finn said. "I've been searching for this lass for some time now."
Danny nodded. "You're a man of means then."
Danny lolled his head to look at his father, then lolled it back to Quentin. "To track a woman across an ocean, Mr. Finn, that's quite a feat. Quite a costly feat."
Quentin smiled at Danny's father. "I see the boy's been in his cups, yah?"
Danny lit a cigarette with the candle. "Call me 'boy' again, Paddy, and I'll--"
"Aiden!" his father said. "Enough." He turned back to Nora. "Have you any defense, girl? Is he telling a lie?"
Nora said, "He is not my husband."
"He says he is."
Thomas leaned into the table. "They don't grant divorces in Catholic Ireland."
"I didn't say I got me a divorce, sir. I just said he was my husband no longer."
Quentin Finn laughed at that, a loud haw that tore the air in the room.
"Jesus," Connor whispered over and over again. "Jesus." "Pack your things now, luv."
Nora looked at him. There was hate in her eyes. And fear. Disgust. Disgrace.
"He bought me," she said, "when I was thirteen. Man's my cousin. Yeah?" She looked at each of the Coughlins. "Thirteen. The way you buy a cow."
Thomas extended his hands across the table toward her. "A tragic state," he said softly. "But he is your husband, Nora."
"Fookin' right on that, Cap'n."
Ellen Coughlin blessed herself and placed a hand to her chest.
Thomas kept his eyes on Nora. "Mr. Finn, if you use profanity in my home again? In front of my wife, sir?" He turned his head, gave Quentin Finn a smile. "Your path home will, I promise, become far less predictable."
Quentin Finn scratched his beard some more.
Thomas tugged Nora's hands gently until he covered them, and then he looked over at Connor. Connor had the heels of his hands pressed to his lower eyelids. Thomas turned next to his wife, who shook her head. Thomas nodded. He looked at Danny.
Danny looked back into his father's eyes, so clear and blue. The eyes of a child with irreproachable intelligence and irreproachable intent.
Nora whispered, "Please don't make me leave with him." Connor made a noise that could have been a laugh.
Thomas ran his palms over the backs of her hands. "But you will have to leave."
She nodded and one tear fell from her cheekbone. "Just not now? Not with him?"
Thomas said, "All right, dear." He turned his head. "Mr. Finn." "Yes, Cap'n."
"Your rights as a husband have been noted. And respected, sir." "Thank ye."
"You'll leave now and meet me tomorrow morning at the Twelfth Precinct on East Fourth Street. We'll properly adjudicate the issue then."
Quentin Finn was shaking his head before Thomas had half fi nished.
"I didn't cross the bloody ocean to be put off, man. No. I'll be taking me wife now, thank ye."
Danny pushed back his chair and stood.
Quentin said, "I have rights as a husband, Cap'n. I do."
"And those will be respected. But for tonight, I--"
"And what of her child, sir? What's he to think of--"
"She has a kid?" Connor raised his head from his hands.
Ellen Coughlin blessed herself again. "Holy Mary Mother of Jesus." Thomas let go of Nora's hands.
"Aye, she has a little nipper back at home, she does," Quentin Finn said.
"You abandoned your own child?" Thomas said.
Danny watched her eyes dart, her shoulders hunch. She pulled her arms in tight against her body--prey, always prey, searching, plotting, tensing for the mad dash.
A child? She'd never said a word.
"He's not mine," she said. "He's his."
"You left a child behind?" Danny's mother said. "A child?"
"Not mine," Nora said and reached for her but Ellen Coughlin pulled her arms back into her lap. "Not mine, not mine, not mine." Quentin allowed himself a smile. "The lad's lost, he is, without his mother. Lost."
"He's not mine," she said to Danny. Then to Connor: "He's not." "Don't," Connor said.
Danny's father stood and ran his hand through his hair, scratched the back of his head, and let out a heavy sigh. "We trusted you," he said. "With our son. With Joe. How could you have put us in that position? How could you have misled us? Our child, Nora. We trusted you with our child."
"And I did well by him," Nora said, finding something in herself that Danny had seen in fighters, usually the smaller ones, in the late rounds of a bout, something that went far deeper than size and physical strength. "I did well by him and well by you, sir, and well by your family."
Thomas looked at her, then at Quentin Finn, then back at her, and finally at Connor. "You were going to marry my son. You would have embarrassed us. Besmirched my name? This name of this house that gave you shelter, gave you food, treated you like family? How dare you, woman? How dare you?"
Nora looked right back at him, the tears finally coming now. "How dare I? This home is a coffi n to that boy." She pointed back in the direction of Joe's room. "He feels it every day. I took care of him because he doesn't even know his own mother. She--"
Ellen Coughlin stood from the table but moved no farther. She placed her hand on the back of her chair.
"Close your mouth," Thomas Coughlin said. "Close it, you banshee."
"You whore," Connor said. "You filthy whore."
"Oh, dear Lord," Ellen Coughlin said. "Stop. Stop!"
Joe walked into the dining room. He looked up at them all. "What?" he said. "What?"
Thomas said to Nora, "Leave this house at once."
Quentin Finn smiled.
Danny said, "Dad."
But his father had reached a place most sensed in him but few ever saw. He pointed at Danny without looking at him. "You're drunk. Go home."
"What?" Joe said, his voice thick. "Why's everyone yelling?" "Go to bed," Connor said.