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New York 

“This is your Captain speaking. We are currently on our decent towards JFK International airport, New York City. The current time is 10:45 am, it is glorious day with the temperature sitting at 89 degree Ferinheight, or 32 degrees Celsius. We will be landing within the next fifteen minutes. Please have your seat in the upright position and seatbelts fastened, and we ask you to remain in your seats until the seatbelt light is turned off.”

The announcement from the airline captain woke Avis out from a light slumber. She had little sleep the night before, with Stephanie Carson waking her up at six that morning and rushing around to make sure Avis was dressed and packed before they had to leave for the airport. Avis was less than welcoming to the Children’s Aid rep, which did not smooth the situation over any. It took her great pains to conceal the box Mr. Wright had given her, but Miss. Carson seemed more concern about making sure Avis looked respectable then paying attention to what Avis threw into her bag.

The flight had been uneventful, a few areas of turbulence but Avis had managed to catch another few hours of much needed sleep, though her dreams were disturbing, filled with shadows, fire and the faces of those creatures. When she couldn’t sleep, thoughts of her mother came to her mind, of her long bright red hair and green eyes with gold sparkles in them. There were moments when she was angry at her for leaving her alone, and even at never telling her who her father was, but they were short and far between moments, what she really felt most of the time was a deep sadness of a broken heart.

As the plane began it’s decent, Avis started to become more anxious. She looked out the window at the approaching city landscape below. New York, America. One of the few countries she had never been in. Here she would be the man who shared half of her DNA, though she wasn’t sure if he wanted to met her. Everything had been arranged through is company Locklear Industries, some receptionist or assistant had talked to the Children’s Aid Department, organized her papers and secured her a rather nice leather seat in first class. There were some perks to being the bastard daughter to a wealthy billionaire.

Still, as much as Avis tried to push the man’s face away from her mind, he kept on returning. Would he meet her at the airport? She wondered, would he be there with a bright smile and a welcoming hug? The dark-haired teenager frowned, she wouldn’t accept it if he did try to act the caring father. He had never been there for her for the past fifteen years of her life, during those years of moving from place to place, country to country for her mother’s job as well as to keep moving period to avoid the truth of their alien identity from leaking out. But she wondered, deep down, if maybe Malcolm Locklear would greet her as a long-lost family member.

The airplane landed smoothly as the passengers filed out one by one into the airport, and onto customs and checked luggage. It took Avis longer at customs than most given that she was not on vacation, or business. Papers had to be doubled checked, her birth certificate and identity of her father had to be looked over by two other receptionists before she was finally given the go ahead to proceed towards the outside.

Following the rest of the stream of other travelers from other international flights, Avis found herself in an open room lined with more people. Those that were following her fled past as they found familiar faces in the waiting crowds. Husbands hugged their wives, wives hugged their husbands, children greeted their parent, and others just found the driver with their names on a card and left. Avis stood still, as the throng of people moved about her, her sharp blue eyes gazed over the crowd, scanning the names on the cards of the drivers, wondering if there would be one for her, or if Malcolm Locklear had already forgotten about his daughter.

“Avis Rison?”

A voice called out over the crowed. The teenager turned at the sound to see a tall woman with dark brown hair tied up in a tight bun and a pair of oval, titanium coloured glasses. She looked like a business woman with her dark pin stripe skirt and neat cream coloured blouse, her black heals clicked as she walked over the laminate floor towards her. So much for the brief hope of meeting her father in the airport, Avis thought already realizing that the woman was some sort of secretary or assistant come to collect her, perhaps the same one who had arranged the flight for her.

“Yeah, that’s me.” Avis said, laying the Scottish accent on thick. She normally didn’t have an accent, but moving around a lot, especially at a young age had taught Avis much about perception of people and how to blend in quickly.

“I’m Eve Monroe, your father’s personal assistant.” The woman said, introducing herself with a small smile and outstretched hand. Avis looked at her, then at the hand, feeling disappointed but shook it none-the-less.

“He doesn’t want to see me, does he?” Avis asked as the two began to move out of the airport towards a wall of automatic doors.

“He has a meeting today and has asked me to pick you up and take you to his penthouse.” Eve replied back quickly. Avis couldn’t help but notice the twitch in her eye. They were both sizing the other up, Avis noticing how Eve continued to look at her watch, and at a large digital pad in her arms. It felt as if they were late for some sort of appointment.

“This way, the car is waiting out front.” Monroe said, pointing towards a dark BMW just outside of the doors. Avis hurried to keep up, a part of her not wanting to disappoint those that worked for her father. After all, she assumed they had to be taken off their normal duties because of her. Avis also thought, naively that if she did what she was told, her father would see her sooner.

Outside, the sun-baked down, making it feel much hotter than what the pilot had reported over half an hour ago. The driver of the BMW stood outside and moved to open the doors at the women came out.

“This is Pete, he’ll be driving you to school.” Eve said to the driver. The man, dark-haired and a slightly heavier built looked like he could have once been a pro athlete or rugby player at one time.

“Hello there Miss. I’ll take your bags.” He said, reaching towards Avis’s messanger bag, the one that held the wooden box. Avis held on tight and backed away from the man who caused both adults to pause and stare at each other for a moment, then down at her.

“Here, you can take this.” Avis said, sliding her backpack off.

“Is that all you have?” Pete the driver seemed concerned, he probably thought she forgot her other luggage.

“The fire destroyed everything else.” Avis replied back in an icy tone.

“Ah, I’m sorry Miss.” Pete said, and Avis knew he really meant it. From Monroe’s glare it seemed that not everyone knew about her recent past.

“You can call me Avis.”

“Alright Avis, into the car.” Eve said, ushering the teenager in. Avis wanted to point out that she had said that to Pete, not to her but was cut off when Monroe gave the orders to Pete to head to the penthouse.

“Mr. Locklear is excited to see you Avis. He had designers come in to work on your room.” Eve said as the car began to move, obviously looking for a conversation to latch on to. “You have to know that this came as a shock to him.” She added carefully as if she was trying to make up for his absence.

“He’s not the only one who’s shocked.” Avis put forth to her, her blue eyes glaring. Eve turned and for a moment she seemed lost for words, but suddenly she laughed.

“For a moment there, I thought… you have your father’s features, his eyes and even that tone.” She said to Avis. It seemed to have lessen the stress in her as her body sagged to relaxation. “Mr. Locklear is in the middle of some very high profile and secretive projects and we are doing our best to make sure they are kept that way and out of the public eye.”

“He seems to do well in the public eye. His anti-gravity device sounded to be a big success.” Avis said, mostly to herself as she turned her attention outside the window.

“How do you know that?” Eve asked startled, a suspicious look crossing her face.

“Please, he’s been in the news constantly for one exploit or another, the anti-gravity or whatever it’s name is, created a huge stir in the space program. It’s all over the internet.”

“So you’re into science? Space?” Eve said, she seemed more intrigued now.

Avis bit her lip. What was her mother’s first rule? Avoid space talk? And here she was, already talking away about Locklear’s newest successful technology. “I have an interest, that’s all.”

“Well, it’s true the anti-grav was a hit down in Washington. I guess you’ve heard of Mr. Locklear’s name a lot if you’re into space.”

“Yeah, a bit. Though I mostly see him in the tabloids and entertainment section of the news.” Eve shifted in her seat and remained quiet the rest of the drive. It was a low blow and Avis knew it, but it was the only way to get away from talking about space and exploration and… a hope of going to her real home.

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