When Irish Guys Are Smiling (S.A.S.S.)

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9780142410165: When Irish Guys Are Smiling (S.A.S.S.)

For seventeen-year-old Delk Sinclair, studying abroad in Ireland means one thing: escape. Delk is tired of hearing about her friends? debutante parties, watching her pregnant stepmother redecorate her mother?s house, and having to smile sweetly even though she doesn?t think she?ll ever get over losing her mother. Ireland is Delk?s chance to be happy. With the stunning green landscape as backdrop, Delk revels in all things Irish, from living in a real Irish castle, to celebrating St. Paddy?s Day in Galway, to enjoying Irish music and dance, to studying Yeats and shearing a sheep! So when Delk begins to fall for a very handsome Irishman, she wonders if there?s more to the Emerald Isle than it first seemed. It is fun, to be sure, but will those smiling Irish eyes really be able to heal her broken heart?

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About the Author:

Suzanne Supplee, originally from Tennessee, lives in Maryland and works as a writer and teacher. She visited Ireland on her own many years ago and highly recommends traveling solo, at least once in a lifetime. Her favorite hobbies are reading and chasing her two Jack Russell terriers. Suzanne is married and has three daughters, Cassie, Flannery, and Elsbeth.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Application for the Students Across the Seven Seas Study Abroad Program

Name: Delk Sinclair
Age: 17
High School: Junior at Overton Preparatory
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Preferred Study Abroad Destination: Connemara, Ireland

Why are you interested in traveling abroad next year?

Answer: I feel it is important for me to discover the world so that I can become a self-assured, self-aware young woman, and Ireland is so rich in culture and tradition and natural beauty. To me, there is no better environment in which to discover my true self and embrace the simple things in life.

(Truth: I want to get away from my father’s child bride—she is only ten years older than me. Besides that, she and my father are having a baby. Connemara, take me away. Please, please, please accept me, S.A.S.S. Powers That Be!)

How will traveling abroad further develop your talents and interests?

The new insights I gain while studying in Ireland will help prepare me for college life and the adult world. Traveling abroad will open my eyes to new opportunities and shed light on what I might chose for a future profession.

(Truth: Ireland seems like such a happy place. Maybe a little of that happiness will rub off on me.)

Describe your extracurricular activities.

Overton Preparatory Tennis Team
Overton Preparatory Junior Class Activities and Events Cochair
Overton Preparatory Sophomore Class Activities and Events Cochair
Overton Preparatory Freshman Class Activities and Events Cochair
West Nashville Country Club Junior Social Committee Member
Booth Coordinator for Find It Now (an annual fund-raiser for kidney disease research)

(Truth: As much as I look down on shallow people, I am one. Mostly, all I do is plan events and try to look hot.)

Is there anything else you feel we should know about you?

I lost my mother two years ago, and my goal is to live my life in a manner which would make her proud and honor her memory.

(Truth: I miss my mother, and I don’t think I will ever get over losing her.)

Chapter One

“Hi, I’m Delk.” She smiled, extending her hand to a broad-shouldered girl who was seated on a bench under an Aer Lingus sign at the Dublin Airport. “Delk Sinclair. You’re with S.A.S.S., right?”

“How’d you guess?” The girl smirked and looked down at the “Students Across the Seven Seas” logo imprinted on her wrinkled T-shirt. Delk had a top just like it, except she hadn’t worn hers yet. It’d come with the official S.A.S.S. acceptance letter.

“That was kinda obvious, I guess.” Delk laughed uncomfortably and waited for the girl to introduce herself. “So what’s your name?” she asked finally.

“Iris,” she said, and smiled broadly, which was when Delk noticed Iris was missing a cuspid. Plain as day there just wasn’t a tooth where a tooth would normally go. “Yep, name’s Iris. Suits me, don’t you think?” she said, sticking her tongue through the space as if to draw attention to the flaw.

Delk couldn’t help but stare. “What happened to your tooth?” she asked. The rude question shocked Delk herself, and she wondered if it was the jet lag that made her forget her manners.

“Congenital defect,” said Iris.

Delk stared at the girl in horror. “Genital defect?” she whispered.

Con-genital. As in from birth,” she explained.

“Oh, right,” said Delk, embarrassed.

“I have an appliance I can wear—when I want to impress people. I rarely want to impress people, though,” Iris added. “So where you from, Delk? No, wait, let me guess! Alabama? Kentucky?”

“Nashville,” Delk answered.

“Yep, I could tell by your accent it had to be somewhere down there. It’s ironic, I guess,” said Iris.

“What’s ironic?” Delk asked, searching through her purse for rewetting drops. Her contact lenses felt like sandpaper. She was tempted to remove them and put on her glasses, but they were thick as Coke bottles, and unlike Iris, she did want to impress people, at least at first.

“Well, it just seems to me that you should be the one missing teeth,” Iris quipped. Delk felt herself bristle. She hated degrading jokes about the South, and she could tell Iris was about to make one.

“We have excellent dental care in Nashville!” said Delk curtly. “And, I don’t go ’round barefoot and playing a banjo either.”

“I was only kidding,” said Iris. “I’m a Jersey girl. I know every word to every Bon Jovi song ever written. I’m a Turnpike Rat. Proud of it, too.”

“Turnpike Rat?” asked Delk.

“A Turnpike Rat is your basic redneck, only from the North.” Iris took a small blue case out of her duffel bag and inserted a contraption resembling a retainer into her mouth. She flashed a now-perfect smile.

“Wow! You can’t even tell with that thing in,” said Delk, impressed.

Iris laughed and popped the appliance out. “I’m also freakishly muscular, thanks to my sports addiction.” She flexed her biceps.

“Good Lord!” cried Delk. “What have you been lifting? Small cars? Guys named Guido?” she threw in, a retort to the Tennessee jab. “So what sport do you play?”

“That’s sports,” Iris corrected her, “and I play everything.” She snapped the appliance back in its case and stuffed it into her one duffel bag.

“You’re not gonna wear your appliance?” Delk asked. She preferred to meet the S.A.S.S. director with a companion who had all her teeth.

“Oh, I never meet anyone for the first time with it in,” said Iris, as if this were the most obvious of choices.

“Why not?” asked Delk.

“Hell, you can tell a lot more about a person with it out,” Iris explained. “It’s like my own personal Myers-Briggs. I get to see if you’re a shallow ass or a decent person, you know, someone with depth who won’t judge me based on a congenital defect.”

“All this you can tell by revealing a missing tooth?”

Iris nodded and let out a noisy yawn. “You’re all right, though, Delk. You passed with flying colors. As long as you like Bon Jovi, we’ll get along just fine.”

Delk thought how different Iris was from her friends back home, the West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gowns, a term Jimmy Buffett used in a song to describe girls of wealth and privilege. They’d sooner die than be caught with less than perfect teeth, or less than perfect anything, for that matter. Delk loved her friends, and she would miss them, but she also needed to get away from them for a while—completely away.

At the very last minute, Julie and Rebecca, Delk’s two best friends, had stopped by the house to say one last good-bye. “We promise to e-mail with all the Forest Hills dirt,” said Rebecca. “Yep,” Julie chimed in, “we’ll make you feel like you’re being presented right along with us!” They had the best intentions, Delk knew, but the Forest Hills Country Club presentation was precisely the reason Delk wanted to go to Ireland.

Every year the club held a lavish ceremony for girls Delk’s age. The presentation candidates wore white dresses and attended a formal ceremony in which they were presented. For several weeks afterward, the girls and their families threw parties to celebrate their introduction into Nashville society. Before leaving town, Delk had politely declined twenty-two party invitations. There’d be tents the size of Dallas in backyards all across West Nashville, trees glittering with thousands of white lights, bands playing in the warm Southern night air. More than likely, the combined cost of all these soirees could feed a small country for a year.

Too superficial was the excuse Delk had given her father when he asked if she wanted to participate, but the real truth was Delk avoided monumental, Kodak-type occasions altogether; such events made her miss her mother too much. Delk felt guilty, but she’d lied to Julie and Rebecca, told them she wouldn’t have Internet access while in Ireland. By the time she returned, presentation season would be over, and Delk could go on with life.

“Left some hottie back home, right?” asked Iris. She was staring at Delk quizzically.

“Huh?” Delk replied, shoving the depressing thoughts out of her mind.

“You had this emo look, you know, like you were missing some dude or something.”

“Oh, I don’t even have a boyfriend,” Delk replied. “I’m just . . . um . . . tired.”

“Ditto on both accounts,” said Iris, yawning again. “Hey, think he’s looking for us?” she asked, nodding toward the airport courtesy desk.

Delk spotted an older man wearing a S.A.S.S. T-shirt identical to Iris’s (except neater). The customer service rep was pointing in their direction. Delk stood up and smoothed out her linen skirt, which was wrinkled beyond any hope. She rubbed her dry eyes and blinked a few times to clear the cloudy lenses. She glanced over at Iris, who still sat sprawled on the vinyl bench.

“Good morning to ya.” The man smiled, his Irish lilt thick and songlike. “I’m Keegin Keneally,” he said, taking Delk’s hand, “and let me be the first to welcome you ladies to the Emerald Isle.” He was a rather compact, robust man with a sharply upturned nose and bright blue eyes.

“I’m Delk Sinclair from Nashville, Tennessee.” Delk smiled back at him. “It’s very nice to meet you. Are you the director?”

Mr. Keneally laughed. “Now tha-twould be something. No, I’m just the local farmer, airport shuttle man, and unofficial tour guide. There was a bit of a coal crisis back at the dorms, so Mrs. Connolly couldn’t meet you in person. Who’s yer friend there?” he asked, glancing toward Iris.

“Oh, we just met,” said Delk. “This is Iris.” Delk realized she didn’t know Iris’s last name. “I think she could definitely use some coffee. She’s too tired to get up.” Iris took Delk’s not-so-subtle hint and stood. Mr. Keneally and Delk gaped up at her. Iris was, without a doubt, the tallest girl Delk had ever seen—over six feet for sure.

“Nice to meet you.” Iris grinned down at Mr. Keneally.

“Same to you.” Mr. Keneally mused. “What in God’s name do they feed you in America?”

“Small children and live farm animals mostly,” Iris replied drily. Clearly, she’d heard all the tall jokes before. Mr. Keneally laughed broadly with his mouth wide open and a hand on his round belly.

“May I get you ladies some coffee or tea for the trip? The two of you look like you could use it, and we have a few hours’ drive ahead of us.”

Delk and Iris followed Mr. Keneally to the coffee stand. Secretly, Delk was dying for a Diet Coke, her morning caffeine preference, but she settled for tea with cream, which wasn’t all that bad. Lugging their bags, they made their way to the airport parking lot, and Delk was rather startled to see a very cute boy sitting in the van’s passenger seat.

“That’s my son there,” said Mr. Keneally as he hoisted the bags into the back of the van and slammed the door.

“Mornin’,” Cute Boy said politely, and tipped his cap. His fair face was spattered with freckles, and he had a shock of strawberry-blond hair hanging over his vivid green eyes. His eyebrows were thick and blond and seemed to have a will of their own, as if they were actually patches of hay glued to his forehead. Somehow, here in Ireland, this had a sexy effect, although Delk knew her Nashville crowd would insist he undergo a thorough waxing.

“Hi, I’m Delk,” she said. Thank God she had resisted the temptation to put on her glasses.

“I’m Pather Keneally,” said the boy. He looked to be about Delk’s age, but she couldn’t be sure.

“Nice to meet you,” said Delk. “This is Iris,” she explained, understanding by this point that Iris would not introduce herself.

“Hey there,” said Iris gruffly.

They climbed into the van and settled against the cold vinyl seats. The drive to Connemara was a quiet one. Delk felt herself dozing off, and when she wasn’t dozing off (or staring at the back of Pather Keneally’s gorgeous head), she was thinking about home—not a good thing.

She pictured her dad with his new (and very pregnant) wife, Paige. Knowing Paige, she was probably home rearranging furniture right this very minute. Already she’d had the kitchen wallpaper Delk’s mother painstakingly hung a few years ago ripped down, and she’d cleared out boxes of trinkets that “simply weren’t her style” without even asking if Delk might want them. They’d had a huge fight over that one. Actually, they’d had a lot of huge fights.

Right before Delk’s dad married Paige, he said, “Delk, honey, I guess I’m just young at heart” (he was referring to the twenty-five year age difference, of course). Old and stupid was more like it, but Delk never said so. Her father had been devastated when her mother died; there was no point in torturing him further. Besides, like Delk, he was stubborn, and she knew there was no talking him out of it.

The biggest shock of all was when Paige announced The Pregnancy. Pregnant! Delk’s fifty-two-year-old father was having a baby. By the time the kid graduated high school, her father would be hunched over a walker, and Delk would probably be the one changing his Depends. Certainly, young chicky wife would’ve found some Ashton Kutcher-type hunk by then. No, Delk hadn’t anticipated a sibling. Half sibling, she corrected herself. Only half.

“Are you asleep back there?” Mr. Keneally asked.

“No, sir,” replied Delk, glancing over at Iris, who appeared to be in the REM stage. Her eyes were shut tight, but her mouth gaped open widely.

“So what do you think of her?” asked Mr. Keneally.

“Who, Iris?” replied Delk.

“No! The mother country!” Mr. Keneally corrected. “She’s lovely, isn’t she?”

Delk gazed out the window and actually saw Ireland for the first time—lush green fields, vast blue sky, low-lying stone walls, sheep, and more sheep. It was beautiful. Magnificent. Green. Greener than Tennessee even. Emerald, in fact. The van bumped along the rural road, and Delk realized she had actually done it—crossed the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in a foreign country for three whole months, a thought that both thrilled and frightened her. “She is lovely,” she said softly, realizing how inadequate her response probably sounded.

She closed her eyes and made a mental to-do list: (1) Take out contacts; (2) Nap; (3) Write a safe-arrival e-mail—to her father only, of course; (4) Snoop for Pather Keneally details. Later, she would go for a long walk and get her bearings. Obviously, Connemara was vastly different from Nashville, and it would take her a while to get used to living in the country.

According to the brochure, her S.A.S.S. campus was “five miles from the nearest village.” The thought made her stomach sink a little. After all, she was used to Nashville, a large and stylish city. She’d lived there her whole life, in fact, and it had all the amenities a girl could hope for—fancy salons, massive malls, trendy boutiques, gourmet coffee shops, quaint places to lunch, not to mention Diet Coke. What would she do if she hated it here? Admittedly,...

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Book Description SPEAK, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. For seventeen-year-old Delk Sinclair, studying abroad in Ireland means one thing: escape. Delk is tired of hearing about her friends? debutante parties, watching her pregnant stepmother redecorate her mother s house, and having to smile sweetly even though she doesn t think she?ll ever get over losing her mother. Ireland is Delk s chance to be happy. With the stunning green landscape as backdrop, Delk revels in all things Irish, from living in a real Irish castle, to celebrating St. Paddy s Day in Galway, to enjoying Irish music and dance, to studying Yeats and shearing a sheep! So when Delk begins to fall for a very handsome Irishman, she wonders if there s more to the Emerald Isle than it first seemed. It is fun, to be sure, but will those smiling Irish eyes really be able to heal her broken heart?. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142410165

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Book Description SPEAK, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. For seventeen-year-old Delk Sinclair, studying abroad in Ireland means one thing: escape. Delk is tired of hearing about her friends? debutante parties, watching her pregnant stepmother redecorate her mother s house, and having to smile sweetly even though she doesn t think she?ll ever get over losing her mother. Ireland is Delk s chance to be happy. With the stunning green landscape as backdrop, Delk revels in all things Irish, from living in a real Irish castle, to celebrating St. Paddy s Day in Galway, to enjoying Irish music and dance, to studying Yeats and shearing a sheep! So when Delk begins to fall for a very handsome Irishman, she wonders if there s more to the Emerald Isle than it first seemed. It is fun, to be sure, but will those smiling Irish eyes really be able to heal her broken heart?. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142410165

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Book Description SPEAK, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. For seventeen-year-old Delk Sinclair, studying abroad in Ireland means one thing: escape. Delk is tired of hearing about her friends? debutante parties, watching her pregnant stepmother redecorate her mother s house, and having to smile sweetly even though she doesn t think she?ll ever get over losing her mother. Ireland is Delk s chance to be happy. With the stunning green landscape as backdrop, Delk revels in all things Irish, from living in a real Irish castle, to celebrating St. Paddy s Day in Galway, to enjoying Irish music and dance, to studying Yeats and shearing a sheep! So when Delk begins to fall for a very handsome Irishman, she wonders if there s more to the Emerald Isle than it first seemed. It is fun, to be sure, but will those smiling Irish eyes really be able to heal her broken heart?. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780142410165

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