Ophelia: Second Kindle
Edition (copyright 2013 by D.S. Ryelle)
Text and cover design
copyright 2010 by D.S. Ryelle.
OsCorp Executive Tower
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Published by DarkMoon Publishing, in association with CreateSpace Publishing,
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Harry Osborn, Norman
Osborn and all other Spider-Man characters, names and related indicia are
trademarks of Marvel, Inc. Ophelia Osborn, Eduardo Miraz, David Westbrooke and
all other original characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of
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Division of Darkmoon International (Lansing, Michigan)
To W. James Remar,
who is nothing short of phenomenal.
December 14, 2002
knock was so soft; Ophelia nearly took it for her fiancé’s heartbeat. She
lingered on Eduardo’s chest a moment longer.
“Do you want me to get it?”
Ophelia shook her head as she sat up and reached for her
“If it is half seven on a Saturday morning, it is
The knock sounded again.
“Just a moment!”
“Hurry, Ophelia!” David, her bodyguard.
Ophelia called over her shoulder as she headed toward the bedroom door.
“Come out here, please,” David said.
Ophelia tried to invite him into the sitting room, but a
sharp look caused her to softly close the door to her suite.
“Are you familiar with a man who calls himself Thomas
Harris?” her bodyguard asked in Irish.
“Not that I recall.”
“Mr. Harris says he is a junior associate with Laurier,
Fitzwilliam and Morris of New York. He told me he is here on the behalf of one
of the partners, Michael Laurier.”
“Michael Laurier is my father’s solicitor.”
“What does Mr Harris have to say that could
not wait for office hours at the
“If Harris is to be believed, your father was killed in an
accident on November twenty-second.”
She paled. The only way for Ophelia to stop her tears was to
remind herself that the message could be a hoax.
“Have my assistant call the solicitor’s firm
and verify Mr Harris’s claim.”
“Nicole is standing by…I wanted to receive your permission
before she called.”
She nodded and turned toward the door.
The young woman glanced at her bodyguard.
“Are you going to be okay?” he asked in English.
“For now. It is likely that Mr Harris is
merely deceiving us.”
David touched her shoulder. “Stay in your suite. I don’t want
you or Eduardo moving about the house until the situation is clear.”
Ophelia nodded, then reached out and hugged him impulsively.
“I’ll help you sort this out,” he whispered. “I promise.”
minutes later, Ophelia and her fiancé were showered, dressed and waiting
restlessly for David’s return.
“I’m hungry. Let’s call for
Ophelia looked anxiously at the
door, but didn’t respond.
“Your hunger will have to wait!”
Eduardo tried to put on a good-natured smile. “Are you afraid
to try David’s patience?”
“Doubtless the entire compound is under
“If anyone is allowed to use
the water closet, I should be surprised.”
He was prepared to tease her out of her tense mood, but was
interrupted by a knock at the door.
“Hold your peace, if only for a few
Ophelia slipped out, trying not to appear startled when she
noticed that David’s expression had not changed.
“You need to be in New York by the solstice, Ms. Osborn.”
The young woman felt ill. Her bodyguard had only called her
Ms. Osborn once, on her eighteenth birthday, when he abandoned “miss” in
deference to her age.
“I told the
staff that you would address them
at the top of the hour. Nicole is rushing to finish a briefing for you to
peruse in the car and I have informed your chief of staff that you will address
the household upon your return.”
David hesitated upon noticing that Ophelia had propped
herself against the wall. “Are you all right?”
He had been speaking English, but the words had swirled
around in her ears and muddled her brain, making it sound as if he had chosen
Welsh or perhaps Ancient Persian. After a moment, Ophelia repeated her
instructions and David guided her away.
“I was hoping that I would not have to make this announcement for
several more years…”
Ophelia tried not to sigh.
be leaving for the States on the morrow. My father passed from this earth three
weeks ago and—to my knowledge—I am the executor of his estate. I do not know
when I shall return, or whether return is even possible.”
A low murmur suffused the crowd,
but she held up her hand.
“Mr Miraz and Ms Crawford will be entrusted
with the completion of my current collection. Following the presentation of the
collection in Milan, Mr Miraz will complete the closure of the
and join me in New York. You will be advised of the future of Golden Rose Design
as soon as we are aware of the circumstances surrounding my father’s
December 21, 2002
Osborn strode out of the conference room, bent on going straight to the liquor
cabinet at home, but heartache stood in the way. The heartache who claimed to
be his sister.
Everything about her, from the curve of her lips to the wave
of her hair, spoke volumes as to why his father might have loved her,
biological child or no. Ophelia was nearly eye-to-eye with Harry, slender
curves radiating down her graceful form; as if she had coalesced into life,
instead of having a mother like everyone else. She took down her French twist,
her auburn hair shading frosty violet eyes; but Harry was too busy
concentrating on his sister’s unusual command of the English language to
realize she was saying anything of importance.
“…only has one class on Fridays. I am sure
she would be happy to provide a swab and send it via express post.”
Is she talking about that damn maternity test again?
Harry wondered. Ophelia had first raised the topic when he tried to tell the
attorney that he was an only child.
“I don’t know how you plan on doing that, unless you don’t
mind going to the expense of exhuming the body.”
do a paternity test,”
she said, misunderstanding.
“But it would be far simpler to
obtain a sample from Mother…far less costly, too.”
“Why do you keep talking about Mom like she’s
Harry demanded. “She died from leukemia when I was three months old!”
lied to you,”
“Leukaemia was a story he made up to hide the divorce.
has been living in Dublin with her second husband for eighteen
years now. I lived in Dublin myself until age fourteen.”
Harry frowned. This was too hard to believe.
“Why hasn’t she called? Why hasn’t she visited?”
did not want to stay away,
but with the way the marriage ended, she thought it was best to eliminate all
Ophelia’s tenderness only riled her brother’s anger.
“It’s been heaven, then? Positively blissful?” Harry sneered.
“It must seem like a game to you, to bask in Mom’s love all these years and
then snatch Dad’s fortune as soon as he’s gone!”
“It has not been lovely at
tried to be there for
me, but his business was always more important—I only saw him when he came to
the Pacific Rim.
tries, but never hard enough. Our stepfather,
Aidán, feigned interest for the first year or so, but
is all he
Ophelia sighed and for the first time, Harry noticed that she
seemed upset and perhaps hurt.
“David, my bodyguard, is the only one who
has ever really been there for me. My fiancé wants me to force David to retire
now that we are marrying, but with OsCorp in my hands, there is no way that I
can let him go.
“Believe me, Harry…I did not come all the
way from Australia just to ruin your life. I have been training as the
‘Archduchess of the Osborn Empire’ for many years.”
my sister,” he said after a few tense
moments. “How is it that the company goes to you and not me?”
have to spell
out for you? I am the eldest child. The estate and all of our father’s property
and assets are mine.”
Harry gaped, unable to form words.
“Had you come first, it
not have mattered. If you were
, to whom would you bequeath your
empire? The academic layabout or the genius who began university at fourteen,
an apprenticeship already in hand?”
lazy!” he growled. “I’ll tell you the same
thing I told Dad—those pretentious schools weren’t for me!”
Ophelia brushed aside the battle of wills.
need your decision, little
. My fiancé is expecting a call from
me and I have an empire to run.”
Harry stared at his sister for a moment, amazed at how truly
like “Stormin’ Norman” she really was.