Chapter One

Blue to Green

Brendan O’Neal was glum.  He was moody.  He was not enjoying himself at all.  Being drug on a trip across the entire ocean to a country where apparently there was nothing to do except watch goats eat grass and pass gas was not his idea of a good time.  He could have been back home practicing with his team or working and saving up for that ‘81 Camaro he had seen on the internet from Newark.  Tromping half-way across the world on the wild goose chase that his father had him on was not tops on his priority list of things he wanted do in the summer before his senior year.  It didn’t help that his sister was sitting next to him being her normally irritating self.

He watched her for a moment, glaring at her and the I-pod that annoyed him throughout the entire journey.  She sang along to every song and she must have had a billion of them, she flailed around “dancing“ in her seat occasionally knocking him upside his head.  To cap it all off, she tried talking to him in the loudest voice that she had, embarrassing him and agitating everyone on board the flight.

After one final elbow to the ear, Brendan had had enough.  “Lizzie, stop dancing!”

Lizzie danced on, oblivious to her brother’s plea-or maybe she just invoking her right to selective hearing.

“Lizzie, stop dancing!” he said a bit louder.  When she didn’t reply again, he snatched the headphones from her ears and jerked the I-pod from her hand.

“Hey!“ Lizzie turned to her father who was sitting across the aisle and screamed, “Dad!  Brendan’s trying to break my I-pod!”

Oscar didn’t hear the spat between his children since he had his nose buried in a thick book about Ireland.  He had bought the book in the London terminal while waiting for their connecting flight to Dublin.  The anthropologist was a studios person when it came to understanding culture and civilizations, but obvious sometimes escaped his radar.  

“No, I’m not!” yelled Brendan.  “I just want you to stop singing and dancing.  You’re getting on my nerves!”

“Your face is getting on my nerves all the time,” replied the spunky fifteen-year old.  Her face was scrunched and her curly hair bounced as she shook her head in defiance.  “Do you see me yanking on your face?  No!”

Brendan furrowed his brow and held his face out.  “I’d like to see you try.  It’d give me a reason to toss you off this plane.”

Lizzie turned back to Oscar and said, “Dad!  Did you hear Brendan?”

“Hmmm?” grunted Oscar from a particularly interesting page about holiday traditions in Galway.

“He said that he was going to throw me off the plane.  And he admitted that he’s a big jerk.”

“What?  I did not!”

Oscar flipped the page and said, “That’s nice.”

“See, Dad just gave me permission.”  Brendan started to get up and grab at Lizzie’s shoulders.


Oscar looked up and saw the whole ridiculous scene.  “Brendan, sit down and keep your hands to yourself.”  He watched Brendan and his glower and then added, “Please act civilized on this trip.  We don’t need any craziness out of you two.”

“Why do we even have to go to Ireland in the first place?” complained Brendan.

“You know that it’s important for my work, Brendan.”

A stranger watch the family with interest from three rows back.  They were an odd unit with no obvious signs of power, but it was there.  The stranger could sense it.  This was a family that would be watched with great interest.

Brendan slumped down in his seat and stewed.  He was angry at his dad and his dad knew it.  High school was winding down and he had a lot of work to do.  The fall was going to be his big shot at earning a soccer scholarship, at least his coach had told him that several schools were interested in him.  But, was he back in the States working on his game?  No.  He was stuck on a trip to exotic potato country with his brat sister and nerd father.  No working out meant no scholarship, and no scholarship meant no getting away from these two.

“Look, son, I know what you would rather be doing, but let’s face it, we only have one year left as a real family.  After that you’ll be off to school starting your own life…it won’t be the same.”

“It hasn’t been the same since Mom died,” Brendan shot back.

“I know,” Oscar agreed, pain showing behind his glasses.

“Well, I’m looking forward to this trip.  Unlike some people, I think family is important,” Lizzie said, narrowing her eyes at Brendan.

Brendan turned away to look out the window.  “What family?” he mumbled, tossing the I-pod at Lizzie.

Oscar heaved out a concerned breath.  “Brendan, this trip is important to me.  It’s a two birds, one stone kind of trip.  You know?”

Brendan rolled his eyes and replied, “I know.  I know.  Your research for the university and…”

“…and we’re going to try and look up the old family tree.  Right, Dad?” Lizzie interrupted her brother merrily.

“That’s right.  It’s much easier to know where you are going…”

“…when you know where you’ve been.  We’ve heard it before,” Brendan said in disgust.  Why was this whole thing so important to the old man?  Who cares if the family came from here!  It has little to do with my life now, he thought.

Oscar smiled wryly, “Doesn’t make it any less true.”  Oscar leaned over and patted his son on the leg.  “You’ll see, son.  Ireland is going to open your eyes to our past.”

Brendan scoffed.  “My past?  I still don’t know what my future will be?”

“I do,” said Lizzie.  “You’ll be a loser.”

“Shut up, Lizzie!”

Oscar interrupted the siblings.  “Come on, now.  There are clear skies ahead of us, let’s not fight.”

Lizzie glanced past Brendan at the bright blue skies that they were gliding through.  “You will probably never have a girlfriend either.”

Brendan thought about arguing with her but decided to say nothing instead.  The scary part was that he thought she might be right.

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