Tag Archives: romance

Chapter two part three

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Young man on the streetSo far in Embraceable You. Josefine Hanrahan, the  daughter of mining tycoon St John Hanrahan, has escaped from her boarding school to play her saxophone in the mist garden beside the National Art Gallery. There she will connect spiritually with her mother Liv, who died when Josefine was six years old. Unfortunately, she has just been located by her collage principal, Miss O’Mara.

“Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you. Embrace me, you irreplaceable you,” the sound of Liv singing played in Josefine’s head. She opened her eyes and saw that the rusty sculpture, the bones of a becalmed ship, was enveloped, embraced, by a salty ocean of greying smoke. Standing quite close by, looking down on her with an odd mixture of emotions on her face, was Miss O’Mara, her college principal.

“I thought I’d find you here.”

“Miss,” Josefine acknowledged her teacher’s words with cool politeness.

“You were playing beautifully.”

“Embraceable you.”

“I know. Gershwin.”

“Are you angry?”

“I’m disappointed.”

“Sorry.”

The spell of the saxophone’s haunting voice was broken. The tourists, who had been tip-toeing around quietly, respectfully leaving the girl and her saxophone in privacy, now stood and openly listened in. Liv was gone and Josefine was just another moody teenage girl.

“You need to come with me now.”

“No.”

“Josefine, there are always security issues surrounding your whereabouts, issues you are well aware of, that make it imperative that we know, at all times, where you are.”

“If I’d asked, you would have said no.”

“Or yes.”

“But then, you’d have insisted on coming with me.”

“For your own safety.”

“I wanted to be alone.”

“We don’t want a public scene, do we?”

“We don’t want everyone knowing that Josefine Hanrahan went AWOL from her school. Or rather, that Our Lady of Dolores college lost their prize fish for a while,” Josefine snapped in a peevishly childish whine that carried much more clearly than she intended.

Somewhere in the depths of her heart, Josefine caught a fleeting image of Liv’s face shadowed by sadness.

The middle-aged woman leant in closer as she whispered: “Josefine, you know perfectly well why we don’t make public announcements like that.”

The Hanrahan heiress was always a kidnap risk. The board of Our Lady of Dolores had held a special meeting when St John chose their school to send his returned daughter. They had even discussed the feasibility of accepting her there under a false name. In the end they decided it was much too likely that the uncooperative eight year old would undo their work by telling everyone who she was. That scheme was dropped. They had extra security and extra rules that applied just to her. She made a habit of ignoring them both.

Josefine knew she was behaving childishly. She liked Miss O’Mara and knew that it wasn’t her fault that she had to come to fetch her back. She’d probably been standing there for a long time, letting the miscreant have some privacy in the garden, and that was kind. But Josefine was eighteen, for heaven’s sake, and it wasn’t as though she’d been out dancing at a disco. She was just having a quiet session jamming with her mother in the mist garden, bothering no-one.

“Fine,” she sulked. She pulled the saxophone apart and packed it into its case. “I’m finished anyway.”

“Good,” replied Miss O’Mara crisply.

She extended a hand to help the girl to her feet. The hand was ignored and the uncoordinated teenager stumbled as she rose and turned her back on her teacher.

“Let’s go,” Josefine spat over her shoulder as she gathered her coat into shape and slouched off moodily, leaving the saxophone case on the ground behind her. This forced Miss O’Mara to pick it up to avoid another public outburst.

The tall, skinny girl cast a belligerent eye over the faces of the small number of curious spectators witnessing the public spat. A ferocious scowl locked her eyebrows together and her blue eyes were hidden under semi-closed lids lined by long, thick dark lashes. She looked off to the edges of the crowd and couldn’t see the security guards who shadowed her moves, even though she’d become quite adept at spotting the ever changing personnel of her security team amidst the faces of crowds. None of the men and women in the garden looked away in the telltale manner when she scanned their face.

Josefine did notice someone unusual. Just at the entrance to the mist garden, not blending in any way despite the drifting thick curtains of ambient mist, was an extraordinarily tall, hunky boy, well… a man really, standing like a mountain of muscle. He was watching her with a look of intense fascination on his face.

Perhaps it was going to be a good birthday after all, thought Josefine, as a smile began to wriggle all over the top of her teenage scowl, like a puppy begging to be allowed into the kitchen.

 

 

e has just been located by her school principal, Miss

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Chapter one – part four.

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So far in Embraceable You ….

School girl Josefine Hanrahan has been a boarder at Our Lady of Dolores for most of her childhood. Today is her eighteenth birthday but it’s a  lonely birthday. Josefine finds it difficult to make friends and the other girls don’t like her. Her father is Australia’s richest man but he’s a lousy father. Today, Josefine is going to break free …

Play Saxophon

“I want you to remember that love’s the only thing that matters. Will you do that for me, Baby?”

So blue, her mother’s eyes were, even when the rest of her faded.

“I’ll remember Mummy.”

“Say it for me, baby girl.”

After Liv died, taking longer than St John had budgeted for, her father made the trip himself to fetch his daughter back. She must have made a sad little bundle with Mormor’s small cardboard suitcase and a battered leather saxophone case – all arms and legs and bewilderment. As she’d been expecting an envoy, Josefine briefly thought that his arrival was a sign of love for his only child. It was a fleeting delusion. She read in the in-flight newspaper that it was the only way that the Danish authorities would agree to her leaving the country. Liv Axelsen’s daughter had dual citizenship and her maternal grandparents had contested their son-in-law’s demand that they return his off-spring, so he had to come to collect her himself. How annoyed he must have been to be forced to take his eyes off managing every little thing in the conglomerate that was Hanrahan Iron!

A couple of years later, she checked the business pages for December that year and found an article which confirmed that the company’s share price dropped one percent during the week that St John was fetching back the inconvenient child. Extrapolating from the information, she calculated that JosefineKarla Hanrahan was worth over five hundred million dollars a week when she was just eight and a half years old. She wondered if, like a good wine, her market value might even improve with age.

“Happy birthday Josefine,” the senior year school girl murmured to herself as she bundled up her golden saxophone and set out from Our Lady’s gated grounds.

The bodyguards her father paid to protect her should have known she would creep out through this path, but she’d scanned with an expert eye and she couldn’t see them. The walk along the lake from the school was cold and crisp and she could feel the frosted grass snapping under her feet.

In the sculpture garden, the automatic timers had not yet turned on the misters, so the central sculpture was just rusty metal strips, evoking the impression of a ship hull sallying forth amidst waves of soft fern tendrils. Josefine nestled into the pebbles on the ground. They were cold under the thick fabric of her heavy overcoat and her saxophone was icy to touch as she slipped the pieces together. She closed her eyes as she placed the mouthpiece between her lips. It was only because her torso she was so elongated that she could sit on the ground and play without the saxophone bumping onto the pebbles. There was one advantage to being freakishly tall.

“Happy birthday Josefine,’ she whispered to herself as she began to play.