CHAPTER 9 | a change in tactic

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📎A/N.  Hello my lovelies.  Thanks for sticking with the story...

A few of you have remarked throughout the chapters about Ethan and how unjustly he had judged Sydney based on her father's actions.  

Now it might surprise you that the this same scenario has actually played out in the real world time and time again.  Immediate families have been harassed and ostracised because of the actions of  another member of the family.  They have been subjected to viscous verbal and physical attacks from both the press and the victims of the crime their family member committed.  This is especially visible with cases relating to Ponzi schemes.   There have also been cases where family members have been driven to taking their own lives from the intense and constant stigma and bullying of society wanting to blame them for what someone else has done.

In addition, there are many government agencies that exclude people from employment because a member of their family has had a criminal conviction, and other scenarios where they are restricted from advancement because of the same reason.

While this story is a complete work of fiction, the base premise of the story is very real.  The attitudes and reactions of the characters unfortunately, reflect the human condition.

I hope you enjoy this chapter and thanks for all your support.  Don't forget to vote, and comments always welcome.

Take care.


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Ethan was feeling restless. He wasn't used to inactivity. Years of focusing on work and Walter's recovery had not supplied him with the ability to relax. After spending the morning ensuring his assistant had things under control, Mason had threatened to throw his phone and laptop into the ocean if he made one more call to the office. And, from experience, Ethan knew it wasn't an idle threat.

The house Mason had rented for the month was situated on three private acres of land overlooking Tashmoo, one of the tidal inlets off the North Shore of the island. The house boasted stunning views of the water and provided them with their own private access to the beach. He could understand why so many people trekked to the island year after year.

After his friend had disappeared to collect Grace, he had taken advantage of the rowing machine in the exercise room and had spent the better part of an hour hiding from Mason's sister. Over the years, he was used to Pauline trailing after him. It was funny when she was a gangly kid. But now that she was a grown adult, it just got on his nerves. This year she seemed to have taken her shadowing of him to a new level, till she had almost made it an art form.

The sound of laughter permeated the room. Ethan glanced out the window in the direction it had come from. Grace and Mason had wandered outside and Grace had laughed at something he had said. A tightness overtook him as he watched the happy couple. Ethan was happy for his friend, but he couldn't help but feel slightly envious.

He had to admit that Grace was the perfect match for Mason. They both seemed to have the same basic goodness to them. This differed considerably from the previous women Mason had dated. Due to the Van der Brink family wealth, the women in his friend's life were highly pampered with a sense of entitlement. They tended to only desire the social standing and doors that his family name could open. Grace, while sharing a similar upbringing, appeared to make an effort to help others - if her charity work was anything to go by.

Ethan finished up and wandered over to the others, grabbing a towel on the way out the door of the small gym.

He cringed as he passed Pauline, who was laying under a large umbrella. "I don't know why you would want to get so sweaty in this heat," she complained as he got closer.

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