Eleanor Abernathy leaned against the railing of the ship that would take her to her destiny. Looking down into the clear aqua waters of the Mediterranean, she watched beautiful tropical fish dart here and there. Among the innocent marine life, the toxic Mauve Stinger jellyfish floated, looking for victims. She looked up to watch the island getting closer. The black Eyes of Twilight flowers that covered the landscape didn't look deadly in the bright sunshine, but they were. There was so much danger hidden in the beauty of this tropical paradise, but humans were in the minority. There were so many ways for them to die.
She sighed and went to sit down at one of the little tables that lined the upper deck. She took her laptop out of the big canvas beach bag she carried, and put it on the table. She powered up the little computer and fiddled with the thick silver chain she wore around her neck. The pendant attached was a largish blue sapphire teardrop that wept blue ribbons in the air as the sunlight hit it like a prism. This lovely jewel also had its hidden danger. Eleanor put her head down and touched the secret latch that attached the sapphire to the chain. The back opened to reveal a small thumb drive buried within the heart of the teardrop. She took it out of the pendant and plugged it into the laptop. She typed in the password that would open its files: Justice.
Several folders appeared, labeled in terms of what was inside them: DNA results, Hit-and-run investigation results, 1970 restraining orders, and the biggest file of all – Billionaire Linden Murray. She opened that one and immersed her entire attention in its contents. A sudden jarring of the table made her look up with a guilty look on her face, which she quickly hid.
“Hi Miss Abernathy. Ah. I see you're working on our presentation to my grandfather,” Meredith Murray said as she sat her Mai-tie on the table.
“Uhhh … what? Yes … yes, of course. It'll be completely ready before we see him.”
Eleanor stumbled over her words as she deftly removed the thumb drive from her laptop and closed the lid. She looked over at the tall blonde young woman and locked eyes with her, trying to to avert Meredith's gaze away from Eleanor's hands, which were busily hiding the thumb drive in an inside zipper pocket of the beach bag on the table.
“Well, it better be,” Meredith said in a bitchy tone. “I need to get my trust fund back, so it's up to you to convince him that it's in his best interests to reinstate it.”
“Tell me again why it would be in his best interests?” Eleanor shot back with an irritated tone in her voice. She hated the fact that she would have to cater to this spoiled brat just to get an audience with Linden Murray – the selfish cruel misanthrope who had destroyed her life so many decades ago.
“Well … uh .. you know, I need my trust fund to go to university, to make something of myself, and to make him proud that I carry his name.”
“He never did officially acknowledge that your mother was his daughter. He's got a lot of young people who carry his name, with or without his approval. I doubt if anyone or anything at all makes him proud. He doesn't like people in general, he just uses them whenever and however he can to make himself richer.”
“He was nice to me when I was younger, I always thought he liked me,” Meredith said with a pout.
“I don't know, I haven't actually seen him in years. Perhaps he's changed, but from everything said about him in the public arena, he's not likely to be manipulated easily. I've done all the hard work of making your grades and community effectiveness look worthy of him, but I'm only your English Professor. I only have limited access to your files. When you see him, you'd better live up to his high expectations of what a granddaughter should be. You have to convince him that graduating from the private prep school you attend, and I teach in, is a good thing in terms of what the world thinks of him. That seems to be the only thing he truly cares about – his reputation. He has spent a great deal of time and money trying to make it publicly look spotless, when he's done so much privately over his lifetime to besmirch it," Eleanor said as she put her laptop into her beach bag and stood up.
“We're approaching the pier, Meredith. You should go and change into something less slutty. You're only a kid of eighteen, yet you dress like a well seasoned hooker.”
Eleanor threw the scathing remark over her shoulder as she left the table. Meredith stuck her tongue out at the middle aged woman's back, and took a sip of her drink. She had no intention of changing her clothes. She intended to do whatever she damn well wanted to, just like her grandfather had always done.