This is the story of what is happening in the background of the main events outlined in my previous book MOSSY'S FAMILY. Like looking at a night sky it is easy to see what is happening in plain view. But it is much more difficult a task to see what is happening in private. Yet the events of any adventure are affected by the good things that happen and the nasty things that cannot be avoided.
In a cemetery just out from Shannon Airport located in the far south of The Republic of Ireland, assembled around the grave of a common ancestor, three elderly women were overheard to mutter,
"I am the only married one here so I should tell Mary about Hera's child."
Her sister complained that the birth of the"golden child" was too important to leave to one person. She countered her sister's objections by reminding her of the future laid out for this still not yet born girl baby.
Her argument went as follows,
"Second cousin Mary will need to be extra vigilant. Her daughter will have a difficult pregnancy. There is a risk that the baby will not even make it out of the womb. You have to admit Tyrrn that it is a complicated lifestyle saga....."
The younger sister called Murna now interrupted using an impatient tone of voice,
"Oh lets just do it. We only have a few days with the inside scoop on this wedding."
It still took the efforts of the middle sister to get real progress on the issue at hand.. Penar'dun said,
"We three can give the bub protection. But Mary must be ready for the adverse actions of various interested parties.."
Not to be outdone, Tyrrn announced the details of a new vision. In a tone of awe she said,
"In my vision I saw a child who could command obedience from animals, temper the worst weather outcomes and make simple predictions at a young age."
They all knew what that meant to the future of the family. The child was destined to be the guiding example for generations to come. But the trick would be to get this child safely through its birth and early years.
Real threats existed back at the premier harbor city of Australia. The biggest threat was Mary's husband. Abraham Feelgood was determined to marry his daughters off for either a profit, or, an increase in family wealth assets. When the richest man in Australia is determined to use his daughters marriages to advance his business dominance, children of such marriages are usually rare. There would have to be exceptional circumstances before any of Mary's daughters were allowed to marry the man they loved.
Then there was the jealousy that great wealth fosters. Mary Feelgood dominated the harbor city social scene. But a scandal about one or more of her daughters could ruin hr reputation. Mary's eldest was the one least likely to run off with an unsuitable husband. But the middle daughter was vulnerable to manipulation by city based men. Abraham Feelgood had had to either bribe, or use his tough problem terminators to keep Hilda free from grasping fortune hunters. Luckily the youngest daughter was way too young to even contemplate marriage. But young woman can be drugged at parties and even assaulted by inappropriate friends. So constant vigilance was required to keep the Feelgood daughters from relationship disasters.
One such disaster was averted more by the steely actions of Hera Feelgood than any precautions taken by her father. Hera was at a business awards night where drinking and dancing was common. She was there because it involved her mother's estate's bull breeding operation. As she sat at her father's table the fortune hunters began to scent real money. One of the biggest wealth predators was carefully approaching the Feelgood Estate table. He had to wait until Abraham Feelgood was away from the table. It did not pay to cross any rich man but Abraham Feelgood was a dangerous man to cross. Still he could not watch his daughter all the time. When he got up to visit the table of a business ally, the wealth predator launched his assault. Coming up on Hera Feelgood's blind spot, he surprised her by saying,
"Hello there little lady. Would you care to dance. I am a friend of your father. He won't mind you having just one dance with me."
Hera was thinking to herself; "Who is this creep. If he thinks he is dancing with me then he can go whistle for a taxi. Only certain men where such expensive fakes." Out aloud Hera replied,
"I wouldn't dance with you no matter how many friends you claim to have. What I do know is that my father would never be friends with the likes of you. Go away or I will call over one of his bodyguards to "dance' all over your ugly face."
Stunned by the savagery of her language this fake gentleman hurried away from the Feelgood table. Only when he was safely hidden from view by a large floral arrangement did his "courage" return to his cold heart. To be scorned was part of his chosen life. Most of his peers simply wrote it off to experience and played the odds that their next target would be easier. But this nasty man had suffered a blow to his male ego. His nature demanded that someone pay a high price for this assault on his self esteem. In this case he determined that the girl who did the damage would pay the penalty. These society girls prided themselves on discreet affairs that did not affect their virginity. To have that publicly removed was almost social death. So this social predator decided to wait for Miss Hilda Feelgood to go to the Ladies Room. There she would learn what is was to insult his manhood.
So when Hera got up to go to the bathroom, the predator was lurking around the Mens Room. As she walked past he bundled her into the disability toilet. In these close quarters he tried to sexually assault Hera. But she had years of self defense lessons and her own toughness to draw upon. Firstly she kneed him hard. As he struggled to regain the initiative, Hera broke his nose with the heel of her palm. As blood flowed freely,Hera made her escape. Once outside the toilet Hera went to find her father. She told him what had happened. The predator could still get some revenge on Hera by pretending that something sexual passed between them. Probably he would do this via social media. Calling over one of his biggest bodyguards, Abraham Feelgood said in an angry tone of voice,
"There is a vile man with a broken and bleeding nose hanging around the toilets. Go and persuade him to say nothing about my daughter. Tell him if even a whisper reaches social media he will have swimming lessons in the deepest part of the harbor. Oh don't be gentle in the telling. Okay?'
The bodyguard did not have a wide vocabulary but he had enough words to reply,
"I will explain your wishes to him with extreme violence, Mr Feelgood."
At the city mansion of Abraham Feelgood and Mary Feelgood the atmosphere was tense. This was apparent by the blustering coming from the richest man in Australia. His wife simply met his bluster with sweet calmness. Of course this drove Abraham Feelgood to further outrageous accusations. He was now covering old ground between he & his long suffering wife. In a tone of voice that would have been more appropriate in his boardroom meetings he stated,
"Mare (a nickname for his wife that he used when angry) you have never let me plan our daughters futures. I am their father! Does that not give me the right to select suitable men as possible husbands?"
His wife knew where this was heading. Not because of her Irish gift. but because they had the same argument about the girls schooling, their sports choices and their clothes. The fact that Abraham Feelgood was away for six months just before Hera started school; or the fact that Hilda was so allergic to grass that she would never have survived the season of cricket he arranged for her; or the fact that Hannah could not wear any color that would betray her Celtic paleness seemed to have evaded this "doting" father. So Mary used her best defensive response in a kindly tone of voice when she answered her husband's last question by saying,
"Ab (this nickname was used constantly by Mary so it gave nothing away to her husband about her mood) I never make a decision concerning our girls without talking it through with you first. But they have always been strong minded children. Forcing them to go to the best school, pushing some sport down their throats or even buying the wrong colored clothing is going to get us nowhere."
Her husband was not being outflanked by this argument. So he countered with his best shot. In a clipped tone of voice he said,
"Ha! Strong minded? That does not even come close to describing that bunch of little terrors. You have been too easy on them and I have been too lenient. Well that stops now, at least for Hera. The other two must learn by watching me make Hera marry the right man.....No Mary I have made up my mind. Either Hera chooses someone to marry this year or I do it for her."
Knowing her husband,Mary Feelgood knew that there was no use arguing anymore. Her husband had that look on his face that meant he would never change his mind. Poor Hera was going to be thrown onto the marriage market. Marriage predators would see only her family fortune. There was no chance she would meet the man of her dreams. Mary had to act now to save her daughter from this fate. So she said in a shaky tone of voice,
"Oh Abraham, can we discuss this later ,I feel very weak and light headed. Please call our doctor."
Now his wife was pale looking and seemed to be almost fainting. Immediately he yelled,
"Get an ambulance now. Someone call the family doctor. He has ten minutes to get here or I will sue him for every cent he has in those tax havens he uses to avoid Australian taxes. That quack told me not one week ago that Mary was fine and would live a long life. I'll have him if she ...if Mary..."
His wife leaned across to comfort her husband. She said in a soft weak tone of voice,
"Now Ab don't get over excited. Your blood pressure won't stand all that yelling. I'll be fine once the ambulance arrives. Please make them take me to our private hospital. I don't think I could stand the public emergency ward. "
Almost crying , Abraham Feelgood began to experience a perception of time standing still. He kept saying over and over again in an increasing desperate tone of voice,
"Where is that ambulance? Bloody politicians cutting back on the health budget."
When the private hospital ambulance finely arrived, the drivers were verbally abused. But luckily they did their jobs professionally. Abraham Feelgood and his wife were left at the foyer of the top private hospital in the harbor city.
Hera was taking the initiative to bolster her friends' dating successes. She was the matchmaker for her former classmates and her current junior nurses. Working at a major city hospital was exhausting but Hera still found time for her friends. She was now giving advice to one of her youngest nurses. In a firm but kind tone of voice she said,
"Astride you cannot believe that those young doctors are really going to call back. They only say that to get a kiss from you as some sort of trophy. Look, I will arrange a date for you with a teacher I know. He is about your age, very good looking and single. Leave the doctors alone if you want a real romance. Now tell me again which doctor had those photos of you?'
A scared very much quavering voice answered,
"Its Doctor Tolero. He said all the nurses were doing it. Oh Hera if my Mum and Dad see those photos I'll die. They don't even go onto social media. What am I going to do?"
Hera took a firmer line to stop this nurse from despairing of her plight. She said,
"Do nothing. I will handle "Spanish" Tolero. You go to this dinner date I have arranged. Be natural with the teacher. Wear your peach colored dress. He will be blown away but don't talk shop. Talk about movies you love or your favorite picnic spots. He loves adventure and travel. So do you. There is a lot of common ground for a lasting relationship. But do not mention doctors you have dated. Now go do you rounds. You are with lovely Doctor Palmer today. He will make you laugh. Go! I will see you tomorrow."
When Nurse Astrid raced away to do her job Hera strode towards the surgeons coffee room. Pretending to be yet another dizzy young nurse, Hera stammered that she had been assigned to Doctor Tolero's theater. The young surgeons laughed and wished her luck. She was directed to Theater B4. When she arrived Doctor Tolero noticed her at once and said,
"Well hello you sweet thing. What are you doing here?"
Keeping up her disguise Hera said in a faltering tone of voice,
"Oh Doctor, Nurse Marina is down with the flu. I was sent to assist in her place."
A predatory gleam came to his eyes as Doctor Tolero said,
"Well you better stay right by my side and assist. We can have coffee later as I tell you how well you did today. I will make sure your head nurse gets a full report of your willingness to follow my instructions."
After the surgery the two of them retired to a public coffee room. Hera pretended to be overawed. She said little and even clapped her hands with glee when Doctor Tolero told her how he saved the life of a little baby. After coffee he asked her for a dinner date. They arranged to meet at a well known but cheap restaurant. He finally got around to asking her name. Hera used the name of a former school friend who was a nurse but at another hospital.
Arriving at the restaurant, Hera was unconcerned at being recognized. None of her society friends would be caught dead at this venue. Just one step up from a fast food outlet, it reeked of cheap perfumed escorts and oversexed cheating husbands. Hera had found out that Doctor Tolero was married. His wife was mousy but a very jealous wife. The hospital grapevine had told her that he was on his last warning. Divorce had been threatened. Still to see him turn up with such obvious after dinner plans, you would have been excused for thinking that he was single. His opening line made Hera even more determined to nail his hide to some divorce court. He said in a arrogant tone of voice,
"You are fortunate. I only bring my best dates to this exclusive restaurant. They know me here and give me the best table. Great dress by the way. It certainly shows off your considerable figure. You must work out at the gym like me. I do my four hours on the weekends and two hours every day. Feel that bicep, it is so hard. All my muscles are hard. But that is for later. Lets order. Waiter some of your best house wine."
Hera was never more bored on a date than with this egomaniac doctor. He never stopped bragging about his operations, his expensive car (turned out to be second hand) and his vast overseas travel ( two trips in five years). The dinner dragged but was finally over when he had his fifth cup of coffee. They went back to his place ( obviously a rented apartment as he had no idea where the bathroom was) and he made his move. Hera put up with his groping. Then he suggested a photo together. Hera made sure it included her considerable bust line. As he gloated over his success, Hera lowered the boom.
"Doctor I have also taken a photo of us together. It shows off my bust and my figure. I will be sending this photo to your wife. Do not try to see me again. I have some very hard friends who would make your life a painful hell. Tell your wife I will give evidence at your upcoming divorce hearing. Goodnight."
She left this stunned man staggered at what had just happened to his future.
Lucas Horan was juggling many people to keep the enjoyment going in his love life. His fiancee was a complication. Horan had no doubt that Abraham Feelgood was having him followed. If evidence could be collected of Horan's scandalous night life then Mr. Feelgood could break the engagement. Lucas Horan was under no illusions about what his father would do if he dragged the Horan family name through such a high profile social disaster. So Horan used back stairs and even his new office to hide his visits to his mistresses. Having being established at the top of the management structure at one of his father's companies, Horan had the opportunities for binge sex. His new office manager was his latest conquest. She was a hard woman but good in the bedroom. Now all Horan had to do was manipulate his fiancee's obvious affection for him so as to keep her in love. They had lunch every day at the most expensive restaurants in the harbor city. Horan began his brainwashing campaign from their very first lunch date. Once they were seated at the best table they ordered from the wine and food menus. Horan waited for Hilda to have her first sip of champagne before he opened up on her family. In a wounded tone of voice he said ,
"Really Hilda the way your father went on about my boys' night out you would think he has it in for me. He turned a simple game of cards into some sordid clandestine meeting. I should say something to him about it but would not upset you for the world."
Hilda had that puppy dog look some people get when deeply in love. Still she had never criticized her father before and was not willing to do so now, even to appease Lucas. So she replied in a conciliatory tone of voice,
"Lucas, I am sure you must have misunderstood what Daddy was trying to say. No need for you to bring it up at all in your conversations with Daddy. You know I trust you one hundred percent. No one better try to bad mouth you in front of me."
Smiling inwardly, Horan used this opportunity to excuse away any bad reports that may be compiled by watchers. So he said in a self righteous tone of voice,
"Hildy I try do all the right things to please your Dad, but nothing I do seems good enough for him."
Hilda sought to reassure her man in a loving tone of voice,
"Oh you are the best of men. Any girl would be proud to have you as a fiancee."
Sensing that he had won this round against Hilda's father, Lucas turned the conversation to preparations for their wedding.
He asked Hilda for an update. Hilda responded with this gem,
"Mummy has devised an ingenious back up plan just in case we run out of wine. Mummy dearest is trucking over parts of Daddy's wine cellar. A cellar-master will then monitor the wine consumption to manage any shortfall."
Horan was steering their conversation to be able to touch on a vital arrangement. So he asked in an innocent tone of voice,
"How is the guest list going? When do I get to request best men and reception guests?'
Hilda thought she had tamed her man, so was prepared to ignore her mother's secrecy pact on guest lists. She said in a conspiratorial stage whisper,
"Well Mommy darling said that you would probably have three best men as that is how many brothers you have. As for special requests Mummy wants them all in by the first day of June."
Horan had planned to nominate ringers for his guests. Certain ex-mistresses wanted to see him one last time. Maybe there would be some opportunity for him to say goodbye to these woman in a very personal way.
As they finished their lunch there could not have been two more like them in that restaurant. Hilda had romantic thoughts of her night of nights. She hoped it would be all she had dreamed of and more. Horan saw that same night much differently. He was determined that he would find a way to have some prenuptial enjoyment. The bridal suite could wait as far as he was concerned.
Hannah Feelgood was not enjoying the engagement of her sister and Lucas Horan. For a start her future brother in law already called her "Sis". He insisted on kissing her on the mouth every time they met. Hannah was forced to do her jazz ballet final examination routine in front of all her family and friends at the family estate Easter Party. She was sure she had caught Lucas Horan staring at her skimpy costume. His facial expression was hidden from Hilda by the angle of their chairs but Hannah got the full blast of his sneer. She would never forget what happened when she went back to her bathroom to change back into her party dress. When she was still partly undressed Lucas Horan came into her room. He pretended to be embarrassed but Hannah knew that leer from earlier. She said to him in a forceful tone of voice
"What are you doing in my room. Get out."
Horan tried to continue pretending that it was an accidental intrusion by saying in a falsely apologetic tone of voice,
"Sorry did not know anyone was in this bathroom. Just wanted to sneak a quick smoke. My humblest apologies."
Not convinced for one moment that he was at all sorry for entering whilst she was undressing, Hannah retorted
"You better leave now or I will have to tell Hilda."
Horan assumed a superior attitude before saying ,
"She would't believe you. Not if I tell her that you invited me to your bedroom then undressed in front of me. Now if I was to get just one kiss I may forget the whole thing."
Stunned at both his audacity and the unfairness of her situation, Hannah sought another solution. Just then ,Hera turned up at her door knocking loudly. Her voice traveled to the two occupants of the bathroom. In a big sister tone of voice she said,
"Hannah, Mommy is asking for you. It can't take that long to change. Have you seen Lucas? His father is on the rampage. Thinks that his son has left the party. He better show himself quickly. That Mr. Horan is one tough disciplinarian according to Daddy."
Hannah saw that the last part of that message had affected Lucas so much that the leer had gone from his face. Without even acknowledging what he had demanded previously ,Horan slipped out the far door of Hannah's bathroom that opened onto the main corridor. She had to laugh when she heard her sister's voice saying in mock concern,
"Oh there you are Lucas your father is looking for you and wants to tell you something."
The voice of Lucas Horan reached Hannah's ears as the sound of running feet died away,
"Must dash. Can't keep the old man waiting."
Hannah then heard a soft tap on her bathroom door. Hera entered to see the state of Hannah's clothes. She opened her arms and Hannah flew to her sister's comforting embrace. As Hannah cried away her fears of what might have happened, she failed to notice the expression on Hera's face. If Lucas Horan had seen it he would have made plans to leave the country. Hera would never forgive Lucas for what he attempted to do to her sister.