Chapter One

The youngest of Edward “Ned” McIver’s children was Mary Siobhan (Siobhan). Siobhan was a late-in-life child. Her oldest brother, Aidan, was 25 years old at the time of her birth, followed by Patrick at 20, Jack at 16, Colin at 13. Her mother, Corinne, died nearly two years after her birth.

After Ned’s death when she was 12 years old, Siobhan came under the guardianship of her brother Patrick. Many questioned this decision, given Patrick’s single marital status, his general disposition, and the mutual distain each had for the other. Under terms of the guardianship, Patrick was trustee of Siobhan’s inheritance of between 1 – 15 million dollars, depending on the source. –FBI Dossier

Part 1

THE MORNING I discovered I was completely and utterly broke was gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

It was the beginning of August, a few days before the start of Fall semester. I had made it through my freshman year at Notre Dame–just barely, if I’m honest–and I had hopes of doing better this semester. At least, I had hopes in the tutor I hired. She seemed nice.

She also seemed Type A, judging from the texts she sent telling me to get started on my syllabi. Like that was going to happen. I planned on coasting on a C average all the way to graduation, so why stress? I was many things, but cerebral wasn’t one of them.

Secretly, I wasn’t sure about this whole college thing. It was hard, at least, harder than I wanted to admit. At the same time, I didn’t have any other skills, and I had to do something more than sit around and stare at my phone. College seemed the best use of my time.

I mean, it was either that or get married. Ha ha.

Anyhoo, there I was, sitting in my swimsuit on my balcony and all packed up and ready to head on out to the beach. The only thing I needed to do was to get up and go. Unfortunately, I’m always at war between the desire to go and do something and the actual getting up and doing it.

I yawned and wiggled my toes. They were why I was still here. My toes, that is. No pedicure in almost a month, and my feet looked like crap. I needed a pedicure, stat. The thing was, if I went to the beach before, everyone would see the grossness of my feet. If I went to the beach afterwards, I ran the risk of ruining the paint job.

I could paint them myself, but I’m always making a mess. It’s a skillset, painting nails.

At that point, my phone rang, making me jump and nearly knock over my coffee. I had forgotten to reset it on silent after my boyfriend called last night.

He’s old. He still calls.

If it wasn’t for him, I would never answer my phone–who does?

I glanced at the number. Hmm. It was my landlord. Could be a thing. I didn’t bother to check her message.

“Hey, Mrs. B,” I said, picking at the polish on my big toe. “What’s up?”

“Hi Siobhan,” she said, “how are you doing?”

I stopped picking. She sounded nervous. “Fine, Mrs. B. How are you?”

“Oh, you know. These allergies.” She coughed a little and cleared her throat. “They get worse every year.”

“Uh huh,” I replied. It was always something with Mrs. B. “Is there something wrong?”.

“Well, um, you know, rent’s due…” Her voice trailed off. “I’m calling because I’m concerned. It’s only the 6th, so you’re not very late, but you know, I usually get a rent check from you well before the first.” She laughed uncomfortably. “Just want to make sure you hadn’t forgotten.”

I went back to picking. “My rent is paid through the trust, Mrs. B. You should have it any day now.”

“I know, I know.” She paused. “But this would be your second month without paying….”

“What?” I sat up. “What do you mean, second month?”

“Yes, well, we didn’t get the wire transfer from last month, and I thought maybe you had a new bank account and maybe the account numbers weren’t put in, you know… but now, this would be two months…” She paused again. “Siobhan, I need your rent, or I’m going to have to start with eviction proceedings.”

I raised an eyebrow. Eviction? Shees. Dramatic much? “Okay,” I replied, standing up. “How much is it?”

“$4500,” she said quickly. “Normal rent is $2000, but with late fees and whatnot… maybe if you paid in cash, I could knock off the late fees.”

“Sure. Whatever.” I yawned and stretched. “I’ll be over in a jiff.”

“Today, Siobhan. By 5PM. I don’t mean to be ugly, but I need your rent.” She ended the call without saying goodbye.

I frowned. Mrs. Beasley was usually more awesome than this. Daddy was right; money makes people into assholes.

I changed into a nearby caftan, slipped on my JW Anderson slides I picked up earlier in the summer, and went to my bathroom. There I took off the back of my toilet tank and pulled out a waterproof bag I keep extra cash for emergencies.

I counted out $4500 and put the rest back, then took the elevator down to the to the manager’s office. Hindsight being what it is, I probably should have been more upset than I was about the rent issue. The thing was, I always had money. It had to be a glitch. Nothing more.

Or so I thought.

Anyway, once Mrs. B. got paid, she was all happy again, even though she still charged me the late fees. “I knew you weren’t a deadbeat, Siobhan,” she said while giving me a big hug, “Just don’t get behind like that again. Lots of people want to live here, you know.”

She was right about that. The building was the most luxurious on campus; hell, probably even in the whole community. Exercise room, roof deck, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and an onsite spa. It was so cheap because South Bend. Notre Dame wasn’t located in a bustling metropolis, that’s for sure.

I made myself a cup of Keurig and sat down across the table from her. “So you didn’t hear from the trust at all?”

“Not a peep. Probably some glitch.” She made herself a cup and joined me. “And the mail these days, too… I mean, I just got a postcard from my Jenny, and she sent it three weeks ago.”

Jenny was my landlord’s daughter, a small town beauty queen who got on with a major air carrier as a flight attendant. For some reason, my landlord thought that this was the most awesome job ever and just brimmed with pride about it. Hey, to each their own, that’s what I say.

“Where’s she at this time?” I asked as I doused my coffee with extra cream to mask the burnt taste.

She handed me the postcard. “Hong Kong. Look at those stamps.” She sighed and looked sad for a moment. My landlord desperately missed her daughter. If I didn’t get her off the topic, she’d start crying.

“Cool.” I handed it back to her. “When’s she coming home?”

“A couple of weeks.” She smiled at the thought and patted me on the arm. “She wanted me to tell you she wants to see you when she gets back.”

“Awesome. I would love to hang with her. She’s a lot of fun.” And she was. The girl had a liver like an Englishman. She could drink me under the table, and I’m Irish, for God’s sake.

“She is.” Mrs. B. reached for some tissues. “Sorry, dear. Allergies.”

Oh Lord. She was going to start crying if I didn’t change the subject fast. I’m fond of my landlord; I hate seeing her upset. So I asked her about my crazy neighbor who kept trying to walk his cats through the halls. That distracted her enough to start gossiping about all my other crazy neighbors. I ended up sitting with for around another fifteen minutes or so, gagging down rancid coffee and laughing at her worldview until she was thoroughly cheered up.

I didn’t give the trust another thought. It was a glitch, after all.

It had to be.