It’s not my fault.
It was my grandfather who squandered our inheritance, and he did it long before I was born. Still, I’m tainted by his failures just like all the rest of his descendants. On the other hand, his brother parlayed his fortune and now his children and grandchildren are growing it even more. Most of us still live in the same coastal town—the one that my great-grandfather built. Everyone knows who we are: the poor relations of the founding family. Looked down on by those who don’t even have as much as we do.
My great-uncle’s descendants sail; we work in the restaurants on the dock. They own many of the buildings on Main Street; we rent a couple of them out and try to make a living in the tourist trade. They live in the hills above the town; we live in a few of the small row houses off Main Street, contending with wayward tourists who think our homes are part of the attraction.
I broke the mold and went to college on a sailing scholarship. Got my Master’s Degree. I wouldn’t even be in this town, except that I’m honor-bound to help my mother and sister. As soon as my sister has graduated from college, I intend to talk my mother into selling the little house we grew up in so that we can make a fresh start somewhere else.
The other side rarely has anything to do with us, but now, one of them needs my help. Of course, he wants me to do something underhanded. Almost—well, it is—illegal. But if I do it, he’ll bring me in to his side of the family—and I’ll bring along my mother and sister. Maybe even help some of my cousins if I can—the ones who haven’t given up. We can escape three generations of disdain and disrespect. There’s more at stake for us than the consequences of breaking a few laws.
I have to do it.