The room was spinning. She wasn’t sure if it was the rum or the ceilidh which had done it but she didn’t know which way was up, but then, she wasn’t sure she wanted to. She knew he was there somewhere, either above or below her, certainly inside, and that was what mattered. Oh god this was good. But what a journey to get here!
It had all started when her father, Lord Daniel, had caught her riding Donna legs astride. ‘Helen!’, he had cried, ‘how could you! What if anyone had seen you? What if your MOTHER had seen you’. Since then, the admonishment had come thick and fast; ‘lower your voice, young ladies don’t shout!’, ‘shouldn’t you be sewing’, ‘that is not ladylike’. Then little Allan had started joining in, the impertinent upstart! Who did he think he was? He might be the oldest son (lucky bugger) but he was still 4 years her junior.
She had spotted her chance when the Irish pirates had docked to flog their stolen wares. Her parents might seem like upstanding and well-bred citizens but she knew about the late night visits from that mysterious beast, Cap’n Mahoney. She knew her father selected the best bits for himself and his family, and she had heard from the stable boy, Lewis, how they’d been begotten, that lad missed nothing. Ah she would miss Lewis. He’d taught her more about what being a ‘lady’ was than her stuffy parents ever could. Her hips bucked all the more vigorously at his memory. She wondered if her father had had to scrub the blood from the goblets before he served wine to Lord Randell at the next banquet.
She’d packed her bags, kissed Donna goodbye, and stowed away on the ship until they were far out to sea. She’d then revealed herself to Cap’n O’Mahoney, who had recognised her instantly from her portrait over her parents’ hearth, and responded in abject terror that her father would discover his role in her disappearance. She had managed to convince him not to throw her overboard, however. Her fee? Dancing lessons. It turned out that the Cap’n was a dab hand at ceilidhs but wished to expand his repertoire to include the waltzes recently favoured in the courts. Having acquired some higher class clientele like the good Lord Daniel himself, he had aspirations of setting himself up on land, becoming one of the folk to whom he owed his wealth through late night deals or mid-sea steals.
So there she was, trying to recreate Chopin and Schubert on a tin whistle, when the pirates had themselves been ambushed. Helen had pleaded again for her life, saying she was Beth, the stolen daughter of a good Irish family who’d pay good money for her safe return, and had managed to find her way into this Captain’s favours, this time through teaching him the ceilidh moves so spurred by Cap’n Mahoney. And there had love, and passion, and true womanhood blossomed.