Mallorcan Magic – Episode 23


EIRA put her arms around her friend and hugged her. Despite learning about Helen’s philandering father, she didn’t feel Danny Carpenter shared those tendencies. His respect for her and the way he dealt with the Raoul situation, clearly understanding her feelings, but determined to sort out matters by appealing to both his employees’ better natures, spoke volumes.

“I think we should go out tonight,” Helen said later, while she and Eira relaxed beside the pool.

“Anywhere special?”

“I thought you might enjoy Bodega Stop. It’s a small club, close to the city centre so easy for us to get a taxi home afterwards.”

“I can drive us, if you prefer.”

“That’s a kind offer but I think we deserve to relax with some wine and music.”

“Is there a band?”

“You bet. You’ll see Flamenco dancing and there’s a resident tenor with a great voice and flashing eyes. Antonio introduced me to the place so it’s not at all dodgy!” Eira laughed.

“I didn’t think a respectable teacher would take me to some sleazy dive. I guess we don’t need to dress up?”

“Oh, dear, didn’t you pack your tiara?” Eira laughed again.

“This is fun, isn’t it? No men around and just the two of us acting like teenagers.” At once she felt guilty.

“Sorry, Helen. If Antonio wants to come round after he finishes work, I can go to my room and you’ll never know I’m there.”

“I did say I’d ring him around five.”

“Just tell him to come round. We’ll be back before he finishes, won’t we?”

“If we leave after the first cabaret spot, we can be home by ten.”

“And now you’ve got your feet under the table, if he wants you to go to the family lunch tomorrow I can leave around the same time.”

She wondered if Danny and the children were missing her. Probably not.

“If you’re sure you don’t want to dance the night away, I’ll tell him it’s OK to call round. So, how does your boss cope when you’re not there? I can’t imagine him staying in on a Saturday night.”

“He’s actually a hard worker. Most of the functions he attends are business ones.”

“You’re very loyal.” Helen shot Eira a curious glance. “I still reckon Mr Carpenter has his sights set on you, Eira.”

“He’s just my boss, all right? Now what were you saying about dancing the night away? Are you sure Antonio will approve of you going out on the town without him?”

****

Eira noticed colourful posters of bullfights and photographs taken at celebrations, as Helen led her downstairs to the bodega’s dimly lit nightclub.

“The drinks aren’t too expensive and it’s not touristy. I hope you like it.”

A middle-aged woman, dressed in black and with her ebony hair pulled into a severe bun, hurried forward.

“Buena noches, señorita. It is good to see you again.”

Helen greeted the proprietress and introduced Eira.

“Welcome,” Maria said. “You shall have a good table as you are early. Come…”

Once they were settled, Maria clicked her beringed fingers to summon a waiter. Helen ordered a carafe of red wine and some tapas with bread.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“I like the atmosphere, though it’s quiet.”

“More people will come for the show, but we’ll be gone before it gets too crowded.”

Eira admired the raffia panniers and castanets decorating the walls and noticed each table held a lit candle in a bottle.

“I wonder who first started this fashion,” she said, pointing.

“All in the cause of romance, I imagine. Or just to keep the electricity bills low!” Helen leaned forward. “Don’t look round, but I’ve spotted a friend of Antonio’s, talking to someone I don’t know.”

“Well, Antonio knows you’re out with me so you don’t need to worry about anyone telling tales, do you?”

“Of course not, but the guy I don’t know looks worth getting to know, if you understand my meaning.”

Eira kept her eyes on the waiter approaching with their champagne bucket. She had mixed feelings about meeting young men.

Helen appeared to read her mind.

“Remember what I said about not letting the past, or your job, interfere with having fun! If someone comes and asks you to dance, what harm could come of that?”

“How about you?”

Helen raised her glass.

“Tonight, I’m your chaperone. Some of the people in here will recognise me as Antonio’s girlfriend, including his pal Fran over there.”

“Does that mean you’re not allowed to dance with anyone but your boyfriend?” Helen hesitated.

“It would be frowned upon. Tongues wag, you know. Many Mallorcan families go back centuries. I wouldn’t risk upsetting Antonio and just think if my future father-in-law got to hear!

“If anyone should ask me to dance, unless he is a good friend of Antonio, I’ll have to say I’ve hurt my knee.”

Eira almost choked on her drink.

“You need to remember to limp at going home time, then!”

“Here comes our supper,” Helen said. “All of a sudden I’m ravenous.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.