Chapter One

A quick hack of the cover...

Three days ago
Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida

She leaned over her bed to grab her favorite little bear.  It was a simple little stuffed animal, but her memories while holding on to it were among the most cherished.  Cheyenne Pulace was feeling simple today.  She threw on a spaghetti strap shirt and white shorts, of course making sure that they accentuated her skin color and still developing curves, but other than that the top and shorts were basic.
She looked out her portal over the dock facing the resort community here in Southern Florida.  A resort that her father owned.
She hated coming to one of his resorts.  That would mean that it was just her and her mother on their own while he took care of the business and the stewards loaded the yacht back up for another leg of the endless journey.
He did spend plenty of time with her and her mom.  He lavished them with anything they wanted but she grew tired of living the life of a preteen diva.  She wished for a normal day, just walking through the streets with her parents, hand in hand.  She recalled the walks on the beaches of the world.  She then recalled how many of those walks were just her and her mother.  Then there was the typical element that followed her for what ever juice they could get.  She could always spot them.  Sometimes she would do something naughty just to grab their attention.  She could feel one of those moments coming on. It was a sixth sense she was developing.  She could tell when a pack of the paparratzi wolves were around.
Everette Pulace was a real estate mogul at his finest.  Fifty-two resorts that he owned outright and hundreds of smaller hotels and resorts that he was partner in.
Her mom, Cicilia, had been high school sweethearts with Everette and they married the month after he made his first million, right after she got her degree in psychology.  Married now for thirteen years, and spent the first two on a honeymoon, culimnating in their pride and joy, their only daughter.
Never having stepped foot in a normal school, she has been tutored by several great minds of the times.  She found great minds very boring even as she respected them.
She stopped at her vanity mirror and quickly ran a brush through her hair and shoved a head band in, to hold her bangs from her eyes until her mom would perform the usual magic, creating some new diva-like hair do.  She put on her best smile.
It felt so fake.
She wanted to go down to the beach and find some kids to run in the water with.  She knew that wouldn’t happen today.  Might not happend all weekend this being the off season and all.  There may not be any kids here to play with.  She and her mom were going shopping in Miami then back to go poolside and get some work on her tan.  She opted to go with her glasses this morning, instead of the contacts that made her have bluer eyes.
She slipped the sandal-like shoes on and made for her door.  Someone must have left the main bulkhead door open again.  The salty sea air smacked her in the face when she opened it and stepped into the hallway.  She loved that smell.  If she ever became a homeless peasant, she would have to find a cardboard box on the beach somewhere.
She watched her glasses auto-darken to the blazing, beautiful sun.  These glasses were supposed to be state of the art, using the same technology that some welder’s visor somewhere uses to protect his eyes from the bright light from a welding arc.
She liked that.  She wasn’t a nerd, but she liked games and technology.  She had no need of a computer anymore.  She carried the latest and greatest of all devices in her small purse.  It had a leather cover to make it look like a small book, but it was a computer, phone, book collection, camera, and diary all in one.
Cicilia stood at the bow, over-looking the same dock that she had seen from her portal.
“Hey, Mom.”
“Chey!  Good to see you this morning!” God, why did mom have to be such a morning person?
“Where’s Dad?” Cheyenne asked, looking around to see the bridge.
“He went off to start the stewards in their day, he’ll be right back.”
“He’s already on land?” Chey asked, sounding hurt that her daddy didn’t tell her he was leaving.
“In the warehouse,” she said, pointing to a building to their left, “Not technically on land yet.”
Chey just nodded.
Her mom draped an arm around her shoulders, “How about some breakfast?”
“Mom?” Chey gave her mom an incredulous look, “It’s almost noon.”
“I still feel like breakfast.”  She nudged Chey toward a chair, “There’s a great little place just off shore here.  They serve great omelets.”
“Eggs?  Mom?  Seriously?” she groaned.
“Yes, seriously.”
“Next your gonna want me eating bacon or something.”  Chey make a puke-face with her tongue and acted like she was gagging.
Her mom sighed, “I was hoping.”
Chey sat down in a deck chaise and her mother sat behind her.  No less than five minutes later Chey had prefectly straight cornrows of blonde ending in purple and blue ribbons.  Her mother should have been a hair-dresser.  It was funny though, she felt like her eyebrows were stretched half-way down her back.  It always stopped burning after a few minutes.  She allowed this hairstyle to happen a lot because her dark tan and bright blonde hair always recieved the amorous comments from the upper class.  It seemed to make her dad happy, knowing that his daughter was the talk of society.  That too, though, was getting old.
An armed body guard followed them down the gang-plank.  Thomas.  Chey didn’t know his last name, but she did know he was ex-CIA and had been a Navy Seal.  He always made her comfortable, and not just because he was about two hundred pounds of solid muscle.  He was warm and kind.  Sometimes she caught herself wishing he was younger.  She knew he was at least three times her age.
She had made the mistake of mentioning that to her mother once.  Her mom let know very quickly that there would never be a day like that and that she was too young to be thinking like that.  The problem was, that made her even more curious.
As Chey and her mother walked hand in hand to the limousine that awaited them, Chey had that feeling of the wolves again.  She glanced over her shoulder only briefly.  There he was, in a blue sedan with a camera lens shining.  She caught a glimpse of Thomas shaking his head with a sly smile on his face.
“What?” she asked innocently, which caught her mother’s attention.
“You’d be good at my job Miss Pulace,” he grinned.
“How long did you know he was there?” she asked.
“As we were walking off the gang plank.”
“You’re slipping then.  He’s been sitting out there since the ship was moored at six this morning.”  Chey twisted back toward the limo.
Somehow she could tell he was nearly to the point of laughter.  As he held the door for them he said, “Slipping eh?  We’ll see about that, Miss Pulace.”
He shut the door with all the poise of an English butler and opened the passenger side front door and sat next to the chauffeur.  They never had the same driver twice, it seemed.  Chey had never learned any of their names.  She was confident, however, that Thomas had done all of his bookwork to make sure that each one was well qualified.  She was sure he still had friends in high places, even though he wouldn’t admit it when she asked.
She sat with her hands folded in her lap.  She might have tried taking in the scenery but she had been to so many sea ports over the years that all of them started looking the same.  The only thing that the islands like Key Biscayne differed from places like Rio or Cape Hope were the amount of beggars at the windows of the limousine asking for money.  She always felt sad for them but what would they do with it if you gave it to them?
Her father was always fond of saying, “We can give them a hand up, but never give them a hand out.”
She really hadn’t understood that until recently.  She still felt guilty, because she didn’t feel that she was doing either.  All she felt like in those cases, was an idol, a poser, someone for them to be jealous of.  She didn’t care for that kind of attention because that’s what the paparazzi were after too, feeding the jealousy of the masses by sneaking peeks of the upper class and entertainers that everyone else wished they could be.
She figured that every rich person in history had felt those eyes staring holes in the backs of their heads, but why did one of them have to be her.  She just wanted to be normal.  Then, she knew better than to voice that opinion to her parents.
Here in Florida however, she didn’t have to worry about those things.  Even the lower class here had big cars and fast boats and property on the ocean front.
“There is a light house on this key isn’t there?” Chey asked her mom.
“I think so, on the south tip.  Why?” her mom tried to sound interested, but ended up sounding agitated.
“Can we go see it?  You know how much I love light houses.”
“I dunno kiddo, we’ll see.”  Chey’s mom didn’t seem happy about the idea.
They rode in silence as the limo made its way through the streets.  The driver made the turn from Crandon to North Club Drive.  She watched the four and five story buildings drift by her window.  The odd octagonal shape of the buildings, made even stranger to her by the fact that most of them were half of the full shape.  Only the fifth building made it to seven sides before having a grand entrance right off of Lake Drive.  these were only half of the buildings, however.  The whole set of buildings were known as the Beach Club.
She knew this by memory mostly.  Her father was only a silent share holder, this one wasn’t all his.  She did think it was neat that all of the buildings seemed to float on the lake, and of course the beach was a short three block walk away.
This small island was known for it’s tennis association and was home to the Sony Ericsson Open.  The key was connected to the mainland by only the Rickenbacker Causeway to the far north of the island and only connected with Miami after hopping to Virginia Key first.
Virginia Key would be where they headed for breakfast.  Just past the Miami Seaquarium was a fantastic restaurant.  They always made a point to go there when they stayed here.
Thomas hopped from the car and stepped to the rear driver side door.  When open, Chey father sat down hugging her mother before Thomas shut the door carefully and made his way to the passenger door again.
The limousine was mobile again and stayed so for almost a half hour while Everette, her father, pointed out new homes and who owned them.  Key Biscayne was rebuilding from a hurricane a few months ago.
The ride being uneventful was the standard barrage of questions from her father about how the day was going and such.  She was bored out of her skull, but she knew better than to play that up.  It wasn’t long before she had a bit of relief.  The limo turned into the parking lot and come to a stop in front of the restaurant.
She looked out to the bay then the parking lot barely big enough to make a U-turn with the limousine was a marina full of boats.  Her father’s ship dwarfed them, but she loved looking at them anyway.  Especially the catamarans.  She wanted one of those for herself someday.  She could barely see the marina for the dense copse of trees between the parking lot and the water.  She wasn’t sure if it was the restaurant trying to keep the boats from view or the Boat Club keeping away the sight of cars.  She smiled to herself as she knew of instances like that where the owners were in such dispute that a simple solution like this stopped a war.  She had seen the boat ramp as they had come in, so it was possible that both places were owned by the same person.
The waitress seated them and took the drink order.  Thomas stood by the door, his back against the wall, facing in such a way that he could watch the door and the dining area.  His presence was making everyone uneasy.
Chey was purposely the last to order.  Her mother shook her head.
“I’ll have some baby chicks, over-easy.  Then I want some pig belly, crispy.  Hashed tubers, but easy on the grease, I have a delicate stomach.  A squished orange, and a small glass of squeezed cow tit.”  She gleamed, proud of herself, “Oh and a couple of wedges of bleached flour bread with lots of churned cow pus and tight on the toasting.”
Her parents glared.  The waitress held a very unsure look; wide-eyed. Thomas was smiling widely.  Chey belched loudly.
“I bet I can’t get a beer in this country can I?”
The waitress swallowed, “Um, no honey, I can’t serve you a beer.”
“That’s okay,” she said, “I’ll just drink Daddy’s.”
“I’m not ordering one,”  Everette growled through his teeth.
She twisted her mouth in a mock disappointment, “Well, I guess I’ll have to wait to get to my stateroom.”
“Why?” the waitress was soon to find that she should have left it alone.
“Oh, the stash of Bacardi under my bed,” she couldn’t help but snicker, “It’s with my collection of Playgirl.”
The waitress finally realized what the girl was doing to her and smirked then stamped away.
“Are we going to have to have another talk young lady?”  Everette said.
Chey chuffed a breath of air from her nostrils, then with a deep breath she shook her head.  “I just don’t get out enough, Dad.”
“Nice try,” Tamera, Chey’s mom, said.  She did have a smile on her face though.
Then her dad let out a chuckle.  “Churned cow pus?  Where did you get that one.”
When the waitress returned with a scowl, Chey shook her head, “Sis, don’t take it personally.  I’ve been at sea for three weeks and had to vent.  I’m sorry if it offended you.”
Now the waitress had a change of heart and was smiling.  “Got quite an imagination on ya.”  She had a strong Southern drawl.
“Where are you from?  It’s been a while since I’ve heard an accent that heavy,” Chey said.
“Kentucky.  Why?”
“Oh, no more jokes.  I was just thinking how nice it would be to get away from the ocean for a while.”
“You sure don’t talk like a little kid.”  The waitress set the drinks down.
“Because I’m not a little kid,”  Chey squeaked.
Tamera took the lead this time, “No, she’s a big baby.”
The waitress smiled widely at Chey’s hurt expression.  Chey lathered more on with a big pouty lower lip.  They all started laughing.


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