The taxi pulled up outside the cruise ship in the port of the Mediterranean. The young lady sat inside looked up at the ship and admired it and thought to herself and remembered this is where she is going to spending her summer as part of her grandmother's wishes.
She opened the door and swung her legs out of the car. When she got out she once again admired the crisp white boat named the Ember of The Sea. Her long brown hair and pink dress blew in the gentle Mediterranean wind as the driver got her case out the back of the car. She thanked the driver and paid him as she walked up to the man who was dressed in shirt and waistcoat, who she assumed was a member of the crew.
"Welcome to the Ember of The Sea, the pinnacle of the luxury cruise ships. Are you ready to embark on the summer of a lifetime?" The crew member relaxed. "Sorry, they make me say that. Let me help you with your bags, Miss…?"
"Miss Peralta. Sophia Peralta." Sophia introduced herself as to check herself in.
"Peralta? Your part of the group Mr Singh has been waiting for. Follow me this way and from what I hear your about to get some very interesting news."
The crew member led Sophia up onto the deck of the ship. Sophia was blown away by the elegance and how modern the ship was. She couldn't think of a better of way of spending her summer with her family. Plus, it would take her mind off Ben. Ben, her recent ex-fiancé.
They stopped when they reached the on-deck bar. "Have a seat. Trust me, this is a lot more scenic than our meeting rooms. I'll tell Mr Singh you're here."
Sophia sat at the bar looking around at the beautiful ship and the sun twinkling off the ocean and the water in the swimming pool. She listened as children laughed and played, there was the faint sound of music off in the distance, Sophia thought it must have been a part of one of the boats various activities.
"Gorgeous" Sophia muttered under her breath.
"I was just thinking the same thing." A voice came from behind her. "Can I get you a drink, beautiful?"
Sophia was taken aback by the stunning features of the man. She liked his long hair and the twinkle in his brown eyes. He had a good body…everything that Sophia dreamed of in a man. She was instantly attracted to him.
"Oh! A drink?" Sophia flashed the mysterious man a smile. "I'd love one."
"What can I get you? I make a mean Raspberry Flirt…" The man said with a wink.
"So, you're the bartender. That makes sense."
"Yeah my friends don't usually call me the bartender. The name's Jay."
Jay flashed a smile at Sophia. "So, Sophia, what brings you to our corner of the ocean?"
"To be honest, it's a bit of a mystery. I'm supposed to be meeting my grandmother's lawyer."
"A lawyer? Sounds like you could use a drink. What do you want? I can a lot about woman from the drink that she orders." Jay asked obviously flirting with Sophia.
Sophia looked at the drinks menu. "Get me something tropical. What does that say about me?"
"That you're cute." Jay said as slip a bright pink cocktail towards once again with a flash of his pearly smile and a twinkle in his eye. "Better stop ignoring the other customers before it gets obvious that I'm playing favourites." Jay winked at you as he went to serve the other customers.
Sophia sipped the cocktail when all of a sudden, she felt someone behind her and then all of a sudden, they grabbed her and pulled her into a tight hug.
"Finally, sis! You're here. I hope you're ready for tonight it's going to be crazy."
Sophia turned to look at her sister. Savannah was one of her younger twin sisters. Savannah was the party loving member of the family who couldn't really hold down a job and was unsure of what she was going to do with her life. She had a way with the men, Sophia could see why she was gorgeous and looked very similar to Sophia but just younger. Sophia and her family still loved Savannah all the same.
"Only you would be thinking about partying at a time like this. Aren't you even a little bit curious as to find out what we're doing meeting with nana's lawyer." Sophia chuckled.
"Of course, I am. But that meeting has stopped you flirting with Mr Hot Bartender." Savannah said to her sister.
"Me and him? Flirting?" Sophia scoffed. "He is cute, isn't he?"
Sophia and Savannah giggled between them. Sophia got on with all her siblings, but she saw herself in Savannah the most.
"He is way more than cute. I would take him for a Sex on the Beach from him anytime." Sophia said winking at her sister then there was a sudden realisation on her face. "Wait, were you really checking him out? What about Ben? I mean I never liked him, but you are getting married to him. Where is he anyway?"
Ben. Sophia's fiancé…. Sophia's ex-fiancé. "It's a long story."
"Well that doesn't matter. Let's forget about him. Let's kick this cruise off right! A toast!"
"The wildest summer of our life" Sophia said as she lifted her glass into the air.
"That is what I like to hear!" Savannah said encouraging her sister.
The sisters clinked their glasses together. As Sophia sipped her drink, Savannah necked hers. Sophia was dumbfounded at how her sister was able to do that. Then a cough came from behind them. They both turned to see a professional looking many in a crisp white suit. They assumed that this was nana's lawyer, Mr Singh.
"Excuse me, ladies. I'm Dinesh Singh and I have some paperwork for you to attend to. Thank you for meeting with me. I know that it is highly unusual to meet under these circumstances." Dinesh continued in his professional manner.
"You mean that's highly awesome. I can't believe that nana's last wish was for us to have this amazing cruise together." Savannah said in her excitement and then she remembered. "I mean, it would be way more awesome if she was here." Sophia put her arm around her sister.
Dinesh continued. "From my short time knowing her, it was clear that this summer trip was very important to her. I imagine she wanted you to enjoy your time together, as she did when she was on this cruise when she was younger." Dinesh wryly smiled. "But on to the matter of business. She left each of you a letter for yourselves and your two other siblings and cousin for when they arrive."
Savannah interrupted Dinesh. "They're running late. You may as well just give us ours now."
Dinesh handed each of you a sealed envelope addressed to each of you. Sophia just starred at letter for a brief moment. "Wow, her last words to us, Savannah. Do you think she said something special?"
Sophia turned to look at Savannah and she had already ripped her letter open and was reading it.
"Sophia, open your letter now!"
Sophia opened her letter and begun reading.
My dearest Sophia,
I hope you'll forgive me for keeping this from you, but I've seen wealth ruin many happy families, and I never wanted that for my children or grandchildren. But now that I am gone, I want you to know the truth. And I hope you'll honour my last wishes and find happiness from them.
"Wait what's she trying to say." Sophia questioned.
"Your grandmother was a very wealthy woman. She left a £500 million fortune to split between yourself, your three siblings and your cousin." Dinesh told the sisters.
"That's…£100 million each." Savannah realised.
"Grandma left us a fortune. I could…I don't know." Sophia said in a state of shock. She couldn't believe she was going to be multimillionaire. She could definitely get away from Ben. Ben would be getting none of it. Oh, he'd try but she wouldn't let him have a single penny.
"OK, Mr Singh I'm ready for my money. I'll take it in cash, preferably twenties." Savannah was eager to get her hands on the money. This meant she wouldn't need a job and she could fill her expensive tastes. Sophia knew that's what she was plotting.
"Its not going to be quite that easy Miss Peralta. You see, your grandmother left very specific instructions on you would receive your inheritance." Dinesh explained.
"Instructions?" Sophia questioned.
"You'll find them detailed in your letters." Dinesh informed them.
Both Sophia and Savannah turned to the second pages of the letters.
Savannah let a sigh. "Oh no. This isn't good."
She showed her let to Sophia.
You've never learned the value of hard work. To get your inheritance, you must keep a job on board the ship for the entire summer.
"Making me work for money. Did nana really love me at all?" Savannah groaned.
"You know she adored all of us. Especially after you know mum and dad…."
"Yeah but my life was all student debt and pot noodle when it could have been private jets and speeding around Ferraris. Besides you know what I'm like it's going to be impossible for me to do her task. Are you sure there is no way I can get around this?" Savannah moaned.
Dinesh shook her head. "Unfortunately, not. Your grandmother was very specific in her will."
"But how am I going to get a job here?"
"Arrangements have already been made to work on the ship's finest restaurant, Nomade. You will start this week."
"This week! At least you'll be there with me Soph, right?" Savannah prayed.
Sophia continued to read her letter.
Sophia, you've already found the love of your life. I know you've always struggled with being decisive and making commitments, so I want to help you overcome that. At the end of the summer, when the cruise reaches its final port, an elegant wedding has been prepared for you and your beloved fiancé.
Sophia shuddered at the thought of Ben being her fiancé
You only need to make your vows to earn your share.
Sophia read what she had seen and read to again just to be sure. She would have to get married to Ben in order to receive her share. Sophia couldn't imagine anything worse. How could she do this to herself? She didn't want to throw her money away, but she couldn't think of anything worse.
Savannah couldn't believe it. "Sophia, you've got that easy! You've got it made."
"Might not be as easy as you think. Can we have a chat in private in a while?" Sophia said solemnly.
"I'll take my leave. Been a pleasure meeting you both," He turned to leave but then turned back. "Should you have any questions, your grandmother stipulated that I stay on the ship during the duration of the summer to see her wishes carried out."
Dinesh walked away back into the ship. Sophia and Savannah finished their drinks and headed back towards their cabins.