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Authors: Tara Finnegan

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Mastering Maeve

BOOK: Mastering Maeve
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Mastering Maeve

 

 

By

 

Tara Finnegan

 

Copyright © 2013 by Stormy Night Publications and Tara Finnegan

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2013 by Stormy Night Publications and Tara Finnegan

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Published by Stormy Night Publications and Design, LLC.

www.StormyNightPublications.com

 

 

Finnegan, Tara

Mastering Maeve

 

Cover Design by Korey Mae Johnson

Images by Period Images and Bigstock/ZambeziShark

 

 

This book is intended for
adults only
. Spanking and other sexual activities represented in this book are fantasies only, intended for adults.

Prologue

 

 

The multitude of mourners huddled closely together, trying to garner what protection they could from the icy, driving November rain as the two coffins were lowered into the ground.

“Tragic,” one man whispered to his wife. “What’s going to become of that poor young lass?”

“I suppose she’ll have to go off to Clifden with her grandmother; she has no other relations, I don’t think.”

The chief mourners stood at the side of the grave, a little apart from the rest of the congregation. A girl of sixteen was clutching onto a small grey-haired woman in her mid-sixties. It was impossible to say who was supporting whom. Both were ashen-faced, wearing a dazed expression; the vacant look in their eyes a result of shock and the medication the local doctor had prescribed, the only thing he could offer as a small act of compassion to the tormented souls.

The young girl, five foot six already in spite of her youth, with lily-white skin and hair as black as coal, accentuated by the black mourning clothes, gasped audibly as the priest chanted the words “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” Before the first soil was replaced on the coffins, she cast in two red roses, one each for her beloved parents. A heart-wrenching sob emanated from her lips that would live in the memory of those present for a very long time.

“Oh, Granny,” she choked, “this was all my fault. I was just so pleased to be let stay home on my own for the first time, and now God is punishing me.”

“Hush, child, that’s just silly talk. Sure what teenager wouldn’t be glad to get the house to themself? It was a stupid, senseless accident. It’s just sometimes bad things happen and this is about as shit as it gets.” Maeve looked at her grandmother; she had never heard the older woman swear before. But it was clear to Maeve that Bridie was angry at God for letting this happen, rather than at her, as she was holding onto her granddaughter for dear life. Normally the older woman was very undemonstrative of her affections.

It was the day after the funeral when the reality of Maeve’s new life became apparent. Her grandmother told her to pack up all she needed, and the two headed in the car to the deserted hotel in the small town of Clifden, Connemara. Having grown up in Galway city, when Maeve arrived in the sleepy town on that bleak November day, she thought her life was over as surely as her parents’ lives were. Even in her grief, she took in her new home. Before her stood a cut stone building, cut off from the outside world by seven-foot-high stone walls and vast gardens. Built initially as a Magdalene Laundry, industrial school, and convent, the main building, although architecturally magnificent like many of its kind, had served as a prison to many before her. For almost a century, it had been home to the unwanted women of Irish society. Originally set up as a charity to rehabilitate former prostitutes, the Magdalene Laundries soon became an institution to ‘
take care of
’ unwed mothers, troublesome teenagers, victims of abuse, or parentless, unwanted or difficult children who had outgrown the orphanages. If you were poor, a trip before a magistrate was sure to land you either in a laundry or in an industrial school for a life of servitude, enforced labour, and horrendous physical and mental cruelty. And while Maeve was fully aware her circumstances were a damn sight better than those who entered before, for now it seemed it was to be her own private prison for her own troublesome, unwanted self.

 

* * *

 

Bridie was summoned to the solicitor’s office for the reading of the will, alone; she emerged grim-faced. As expected, she was sole guardian. Declan had long since lost touch with his family due to irreconcilable differences. She had called them about his death and even delayed the funeral by two days in the hope that they’d soften, but it seems they couldn’t forgive him for marrying the daughter of an industrial schoolgirl. Maeve was better off without the cold heartless bastards, in Bridie’s opinion.

The guardianship wasn’t the cause of her concern. It was the secret she was bidden to carry for the next nine years, and the fallout that she already knew would surely follow. She didn’t agree with the conditions, but her job was simply to obey instructions. No matter how big the burden, she would shoulder it gratefully, her last act of love for her now lifeless daughter. And even when the need for secrecy was over, Bridie vowed she would be the one to take the blame. Why taint the precious memory of the dead?

Chapter One

 

 

Maeve’s heart was definitely not in it as she returned to the outposts of Clifden. Even after nine years of living there, she still didn’t consider it home. Home was still the much more lively and cosmopolitan Galway city where she had grown up with her parents. She pondered on how different this day would have been if her mother and father were still alive. She’d probably be on a whistle stop visit before packing to go off to America on a working holiday along with many of her friends. She gave in to her self-pity on the train journey from Dublin to Galway, thinking just how cruel life was, forcing her back to a miserable existence, chamber-maiding and waitressing in her grandmother’s hotel with nothing better on the horizon. She lamented the recession-struck economy that meant there was not much call for history and archaeology degrees. In spite of applying for everything even vaguely related to it, Maeve had failed to land herself ‘a proper job’ as she thought of it. Of course the aftereffects of the late night, end-of-term partying wasn’t helping her mood.

Finally her mood was lifted when she disembarked and was met by her friend Sean, who brought a smile to her face and caught her up with the local news in his good-humoured easy way for the remainder of the journey. He was still in his Garda uniform and his youthful, roguish charm belied his position of authority as a member of the police force. They whizzed past stone walls, rolling hills, beaches with breath-taking views, and small sleepy villages, yet Maeve was oblivious to the beauty of it all as she really didn’t want to be there. The only thing she was aware of was the smell of the sea and the wild hedgerow, so much more fragrant than the city stench in this unusually hot May.

“Are you coming in for a pint?” Maeve asked as they drove through the wrought-iron gates of the hotel gardens. The usual sense of incarceration descended on her immediately as the high walls surrounded her as if sucking her in. The pretty floral gardens, gazebo, and water fountain, a cheerful, welcoming sight for most visitors, were not achieving their goal with her.

“No. I’ll catch you later. I’m still on duty, and if I know Bridie, she’ll have a list of chores as long as your arm and she’ll be
tsk tsking
as long as I’m there keeping you from them. Besides it’s dinnertime; she probably needs you in the dining room.”

“Did you have to remind me?” Maeve replied with a groan. “Thanks for picking me up, Sean, you’re an angel, as ever,” she continued a little more chirpily, grateful for the ride home and his good spirits.

Without even seeking out her grandmother, Maeve donned the hotel uniform of a simple black skirt and white shirt, and made her way straight to the dining room for waitressing duty. Mealtime was unusually quiet, much to her relief. There were only a couple of men sitting at one table and Maeve was surprised to see her grandmother sitting with them, absorbed in conversation.

She observed the little group from a distance for a minute or two. The two gentlemen looked like father and son, one grey-haired and distinguished looking with a pleasant lined face showing character and a life fully lived. She judged him to be around her grandmother’s age. The younger man had a more serious face; his sandy sun-bleached hair made it difficult to age him, but his face had a rugged, slightly weathered look, although it was wrinkle free. And he was big; even sitting he was a full head clear of the other man and Bridie looked like a midget beside him. Maeve tried to suppress a smile at the funny-looking picture they made.

Americans, I’ll bet
, she thought as she entered the room, only to have her hunch confirmed on hearing their accents. Bridie didn’t often make free with the guests, preferring to keep a professional distance, so Maeve was pretty stunned to hear what she was saying to the younger man.

“I was here too for a while. My mother died, leaving me and my brother, and my father couldn’t get work so he had to go to England. He came back for us years later, and gave us the money to start afresh in America. I got a wicked pleasure when we got this place off the nuns for a song back in the eighties. I took it as payback. I do remember your grandmother, not from here, but I knew her later. She helped people like us; got us jobs in service. She was a real lady. Ah, Maeve, you’re home,” she broke off abruptly on seeing her granddaughter finally. Maeve was aware of her grandmother’s early history, but she had rarely heard her talk about her years in the industrial school. Bridie accepted her granddaughter’s perfunctory kiss on the cheek without acknowledging it.

“This is Lawrence Williamson and his son, also Lawrence, from Texas. They’ve been here for a few days and have been looking forward to meeting you so they could get some of the history of this place. I told them it was your department, seeing as you’ve read so much about it. I only know it from the inside.”

“Mr Williamson, Mr Williamson,” she said, shaking hands first with the older gentleman. “It must have been difficult for your family to distinguish who was whom,” Maeve jabbered, trying to penetrate the cool demeanour of the younger Mr Williamson, who was now eying her critically.

“Please call me Lawrence, and not at all, I’m the third generation of Lawrence Williamson, and my son here is the fourth,” the elder gentleman answered. “It’s a sort of family tradition, to keep the name alive. My wife called me Lawrence and my son Larry, so we always knew which of us she was scolding.”

The younger Mister Williamson remained silent as Maeve offered him her hand, neither calling her by her name nor inviting Maeve to call him Larry.
A cool customer
, she surmised as Lawrence spoke again, breaking the impasse. She saw him shoot a disapproving look at his son.

“Your grandma tells me you’re the one to talk to about my mom; she was an inmate in the laundry, an unmarried mother, when my daddy saw her at Mass one Sunday. He took a shine to her and posed as a relative to get her out. He told us he had to bribe a few of the policemen and pay some money to the priest too.”

“Oh, wow, not many escaped like that. Once you were in, it was almost impossible to leave; usually a parent had to sign you out. Mostly if you had a baby out of wedlock, you were doomed to a life in the laundries, because your parents never came back to claim you,” Maeve explained. “Did she ever find out what happened to her baby? What was your mam’s maiden name, by the way?”

“Margaret O’Flaherty, and no, ma’am, she never did; so many records seem to have been lost. She died sadly not knowing. All we know is that the father was a schoolmaster who took advantage of her youth and left her to pay the price, but she never did tell her family, as he was well respected and she was afraid nobody would believe her, a fourteen-year-old girl. A sad tale all round.”

“That’s awful, but a common story, I’m afraid. I should have a few hours tomorrow where we can go through all the information I’ve pulled together. I’d really like to turn the old laundry into a museum, a sort of memorial to all the girls who went through its doors, for those who survived and all those who weren’t so lucky. Have you seen the graveyard attached to the church? All the paupers’ graves? They belong to those who died when still inmates; some of them were so young. This place was quite unusual in that it was both a laundry and an industrial school; usually they were only one or the other.”

BOOK: Mastering Maeve
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