Her father is a dispossessed member of the Cavanaugh family. He married for love, a girl the family told him bluntly would mean being disinherited. They married anyway, and he served with the police force, she in teaching history at a local church school. When their young daughter - conceived before the marriage, another split with the respectable Cavanaughs - was old enough, she attended said school in between whatever activities her father could arrange with other officers and their children. She spent her time moving from uniform to uniform, from skirts and blazers to soccer or track or fencing. She spent her nights exhausted, and sometimes she wouldn't touch clothes of her own choice until the weekend. If then
As she grew up, the uniforms fit only a little tighter on her. Used to a life of moving from one class and group to the next, she was kept on her toes even more than the ballet class her mother dropped her off from and a patrol officer picked her and two other girls and dropped her off at the station. Police brat from her pointes to her buns, as one of the female officers grinned (and the guys laughed, and when she understood that laughter, she glared at them). There was reconciliation between the Cavanaugh's and their wayward son, and occasionally a grandparent would show up to watch the young Emily at a recital or a soccer match. She began to spend some summers at the family homes; trading uniforms for prim and neat dresses. She saw just another uniform, just another face she had to wear.
University was always going to happen, but she quickly fell in with a ... crowd. Overwhelmed by the options open to her, for the first time able to make her own choices, it could have been a lot worse than it ended up. HEMA - Historical European Martial Arts - picked up the athletic history student at an open day when she stopped to chatter to one of her fellow cop floor brats. It worked well for her - a love of history and a taught physicality. Her father was happy enough to have his daughter go into something that might help her if she followed him into the police.
So there she is. On the edge of the very respectable Cavanaughs, of late, Emily has grown far more confident and self-possessed than ever before. Maybe her blood's starting to run true.
When a Knight Won his Spurs - Jan Struther
This is War - Ingrid Michaelson