Fandom: Beyond the Western Sea - Avi
Characters: Maura O'Connell, Ralph Toggs
Prompt: 080. Why?
Word Count: 438
Summary: Maura has an unexpected visitor.
Author's Notes: This is a "Five Things That Never Happened" AU, so you can read this without reading Chapter One, but it is here.
Mr. Drabble asked Maura if she desired to accompany him in his work. She gently declined, but she walked with him to the porch. She lingered there, watching people pass up and down the street. Some of them were English, but others, she thought, were emigrants like herself. More people walked past than the entire population of Kilonny. One could easily get lost in Liverpool. She felt glad that Patrick was safe inside.
Maura gave a start when she saw Ralph Toggs. He's not coming to Mrs. Sonderbye's, she thought. He's alone. But he noticed her and doubled his pace. She turned to go inside, but there was a man leaning on the door.
"Stop," she heard. Toggs was halfway up the steps. He wore the same hat at the same angle with the same grin and the same way of standing with his legs apart. "I want a word with you."
Maura's anger flared up. "And what would you need to say to me? The Union House didn't burn down. You told us a lie."
"I was only doing my business. Besides, I came to give you your money."
"My money?" said Maura, taken aback.
He reached into one of his pockets and produced a few coins. "Your money," he repeated.
His face had a new expression on it, one that she recognized. Father Mahoney had worn it when the children of Kilonny asked him difficult questions. To see it on this trouble-maker was so absurd that she almost laughed.
"Well now," in a quieter tone, "I thought you might want it when you get to America."
"Why didn't you think of me wanting my money before you tricked me out of it?"
“I didn't make you come here.”
“You ripped up our tickets.”
He closed his fist around the coins and climbed two steps in order to stand one below her. "Will you just take it? I won't leave until you do."
Maura wanted him gone. She held out her hand, Toggs dropped the coins into it, and she placed them in her skirt pocket. Her blue eyes met his. "Well, is that all?" she said.
The cocky grin returned. "I could show you around the city. Or I could stay here and you could tell me about yourself."
"No. No. Be off with you! Or I'll call for Mrs. Sonderbye."
"All right, I'm going." He started down the steps, then turned back to her. "I never got your name."
"Maura O'Connell," he echoed and touched his fingers to his hat.
She watched him go before heading inside.