A/N: Okay, so here it goes. This is the second fanfic that I've written, and of a completely different genre. I'm still primarily focused on my Stargate story, so this may not be updated as much as I'd like, unless it becomes just as popular as the Stargate story. I've got about 4 chapters pre-written, so bare with me. I know that this is one of those "What happened X amount of time after the movie ended" stories, but I've got this all figured out, I just need to write it all down on paper, so to speak. And I'm babbling...Enjoy!
If you had asked me a year ago where I would see my life, this wouldn't have been on my list. Aside from my older sister, I don't know how many girls who would want to be stuck working on a tugboat for a living.
To better understand what happened a year ago, I should say that it wasn't always like this. A year ago, I was studying at a University to be a doctor, but then, the phone call came.
The call was a complicated one. It was a psychiatric doctor, wanting me to come in for a consultation. After stating that I wasn't in need of therapy, and that there must be some sort of mistake, the doctor clarified to me that it wasn't for me, but for my sister.
I haven't seen my sister in years, due to my studying, and my sister was busy running her business on her tugboat with her best friend and mentor, Murphy. Murphy had helped my sister out of a bad business deal that almost cost her life. After that moment, the two of them had spent several months talking to each other, and within a year, they had devised a business to pull sinking boats back into harbor. When this business started, my sister and I had a falling out.
My older sister, Maureen, would be lucky to come home for the holidays. When she did come home, she didn't stay around for long. I remember her telling me that I was the lucky one. She explained to me that I had a whole future laid out before me, that I would never have to work in her world. She told me at that moment, how envious she was of me, and to never lose sight of my dreams of becoming a doctor.
So as you can imagine, getting this phone call, was a shock. Maureen was always the strong one, the tough one, the one that could stand up for herself. I was not like my sister. She was always the one to defend me, and beat up those who teased me or treated me poorly. It was hard to hear that she was in the hospital, and would possibly be sent into the psychiatric ward. After the phone call, I dropped out of the University. I got onto a bus, and made the long trek to Alaska to visit my older sister in the hospital.
I walked up the cobblestone steps of the psychiatric hospital in Juneau, Alaska. I reached for the loose doorknob, turned it and crossed the open threshold. I approached the front desk and waited for the young receptionist to get off the phone. I looked around the main room, and watched several patients just...being. They seemed so lifeless. Soon, I heard the girl clearing her throat. My attention came back to her as she asked," Can I help you?"
"Yes, thank you. I'm here for a consult with Maureen Epps' doctor," I stated clearly.
The girl looked bored as she flipped through charts. Finally, she looked back up and said," Room 402. Top floor. Left wing."
"Thank you," I said as I approached the elevator.
As I rode the elevator, I noticed that there was no music. The lighting was poor. It was depressing. I suddenly began to worry about how Maureen was faring in a place like this.
The elevator stopped on the top floor. I stepped off and continued down the hall towards the room that the girl at the receptionist's desk. I stopped outside the room. Taking a deep breath, I walked in.
The doctor looked up from his chart to meet my gaze. He lowered the clipboard and walked up to me with an extended hand," Ms. Epps, nice of you to come."
I shook his hand," Thank you, doctor."
He motioned me to come further into the room. I followed him, and stopped at the foot of the bed, next to him.
My eyes fell upon a familiar face, lying in the bed. There was my older sister, in an almost comatose state. I almost cried by looking at her.
The doctor stated," She comes in and out of her unresponsive state."
"Why is she in this state?" I asked, choking back tears.
"She has suffered from an extreme amount of stress. Her body has also suffered a lot of trauma," he started reading off of the chart.
"What kind of trauma? What stress? Stress from her business?" I interrupted. When the doctor turned to look at me, I said," I'm sorry for interrupting you, I just don't understand..."
The doctor sighed," She was found several miles from the Bering Strait. She had been in the water for several hours. We really don't know for how long. When she is sleeping, once in a while, we hear her screaming."
"Screaming what? And why was she in the Bering Strait?" I was confused, and worried.
"She shouts names. When we come in to calm her down, she is crying, and trying to fight some of our staff members," the doctor stated. After seeing my face, as I stared at my sister, he asked," What did your sister do for a living, Ms. Epps?"
I stammered at first, but pulled myself together," She-she was a co-owner of a tugboat company..."
"That would explain why she was in the sea, when she was found." The doctor put the chart back into the tray. "We have tried to contact her crew, but no one has seen them for weeks."
"What does that mean?" I asked.
"It means, Ms. Epps, that it is possible that something happened out in the Strait, and your sister is the only one who survived." I looked back at my sister, as the doctor continued," Now, I will allow you some time to visit with her, spend some time with her, as she will be admitted here, until further notice. When you're finished visiting, come back to the front desk, and we will have some papers for you to sign." I nodded and he left the room, closing the door behind him.
It wasn't long before a knock was heard on the door. A short man dressed in a pin-striped suit walked in. He asked," I'm sorry, I'm looking for a Miss Ellie Epps?"
"That's me...Mister-" I sniffled.
"Oh, excuse me, where are my manners? I'm Mister Worthington. I was your sister's lawyer and business accountant," he explained.
"What can I do for you, Mr. Worthington?" I asked politely.
He spoke," Well, you see, we just received word that your dear sister is in a comatose state, and well...that's not good."
"How so? I assume you mean it's not good for business," I asked for clarification.
He stuttered," Of course, I didn't mean any harm. I do, however, want to bring something to your attention. She had a large withholding set aside, that states in the business contract that she would have to work for a minimum of three years, before she would get that money. The contract states that if she cannot work, or find someone to replace her if she is unfit to return to work, whatever the circumstances, that the money would be nullified."
"What do you mean by that? Why would her withholdings be nullified? Isn't that her money?" I stood listening to his every word.
He cleared his throat," In a sense, yes. But it's like borrowing against the company that she co-owned. It's like a loan."
"Why would she do that?" I pondered out loud, not really looking for an answer.
Worthington replied," It states in her record that she did it for you."
"Me? Why would she do that for me?" I asked, shocked.
"She has it written here...let me see...Ah! There it is," he pointed on the paper as he turned it for me to read, but he read it out loud anyways," To pay for your medical schooling."
I closed my eyes and sighed. Dropping my head in defeat. Knowing what was to happen, I asked," What do I have to do?"
The man smiled," All you have to do, is finish the time allotted in the contract. Then you can sell the company, or keep it, but either way, that money would be yours."
"I don't know anything about running a business, let alone a salvaging business," I replied.
"That's where I can help you," he stated.
I looked up at him," What do you mean?"
"I know a few people who know the trade and are in need of work. I can make a few phone calls, and help you set it up," he replied.
I smiled," That would be very nice of you, Mr. Worthington. I really appreciate it."
"It's the least that I could do. Your sister was a respected client, and I want to make sure her best interests are handled properly. I have some calls to make, then." He stood and when he reached the door, he looked over his left shoulder and stated," She loved you, you know. You were always a topic of interest for her. She even displayed your pictures in her office." With that, Mr. Worthington smiled warmly and left.
I looked from the door that he walked out of, back to my sister. I maneuvered my chair to sit closer to her side of the bed. I held her hand and asked," What happened, Maureen? What happened out there? How can I help you, if I don't know what to do?"
I felt her hand tighten around mine. I looked up to see her smiling at me. She started to speak, but it was dry. I grabbed the cup of water, and let her drink from the straw. Once she finished, she whispered," Thank you."
"How are you doing?" I asked, putting the paper cup back down on the table.
She looked at me with a seriousness," What are you doing here?"
"What do you mean? I was called and I came as soon as I could," I explained.
"I told them not to call you," she whispered back.
I looked at her confused," But why? What's happened?"
Maureen closed her eyes, and I saw her tears fall freely down her cheeks. I wiped them off as they fell. She opened her eyes," It's really you, isn't it?"
"Of course it's me...Maureen...Talk to me," I practically begged," What happened out in the Strait? Where's Murphy and the rest of your crew?"
She choked on her tears, before completely bawling her eyes out," Dead! They're all dead, and it's my fault!"
After sitting there watching her cry her eyes out, realizing that she wouldn't be able to say much more, and needing to rest, I left the room, promising to visit again. I walked to the elevator, and pushed the button. I could still hear her wailing from the end of that hallway.
When I finally got downstairs, I was thankful. The air didn't seem as heavy from the front desk, as it felt everywhere else. I signed the paperwork that they asked of me, and I walked out the front door, down the stone steps, and towards the harbor, where my journey, and my nightmare would begin.