A/N: Alright, so here's chapter two! Kind of short, but I needed to cut if off where I did. :) Rate and review!
Oh my god, forget this.
Elayne twisted the lid back on her nail polish. Coral pink 210 just wasn't worth the hassle. Not to mention Vick would have a conniption about it since technically nail polish wasn't allowed 20,000 leagues under the sea. Elayne put the polish back in the small seashell jewelry box that was given to her for Christmas two years ago. The box was nice, Elayne supposed. It had little, white, cone-shaped shells glued all over the surface so that the dark wood beneath wasn't even visible. The inside was bare, save for a few nicks in the mahogany where Elayne had thrown in jewelry haphazardly. Now, all that was inside was the coral nail polish, a couple of gold chains, and a tennis bracelet that Elayne's grandmother had given her to congratulate her on graduating high school. Elayne flipped the lid shut and put the jewelry box back in the bottom drawer of her tiny metal dresser. Three drawers- Elayne had three drawers for all of her things. Not that she was allowed that much.
Elayne sighed and looked at the clock. 11:56. That meant lunch would be served in four minutes, and that meant Elayne would be eating beside her now silent father. Again. Last night was so irritating. Vick had glanced at his daughter maybe once before continuing his talk with his assistant. Elayne had picked at her food and waited for her father to tell her off or pretend like nothing had happened. Instead, all she got were a few nervous glances and the silent treatment.
Even this morning, Vick acted strangely. No hello, no "Get out of bed", no reprimand. It was weird, Elayne thought.
Elayne sighed and stared at her feet dangling off the side of the bed. Her legs- normally pretty nice, since they were so long- just looked gangly and thin in her wet suit. Elayne was already too tall for her age. Being around all of these 5'4" curvy scientists (even though there were only three on board, and one of them was pretty dumpy) made Elayne feel like a 5'9" chicken in a scuba outfit.
Ugh! Why was she even here? She wasn't helping this thing at all, and to make matters worse, it was already June and Elayne's birthday was in two weeks. She hadn't seen any of her friends in a little over a month. And now her dad was treating her like a leper. It wasn't like Elayne had begged to be on this infernal vessel. She thought back to May. She had just graduated high school. Everything was supposed to be fine.
"Elayne, we need to talk."
Elayne looked up from the magazine she was reading. She was curled up on the tan leather couch in the living room. Her father stood on the white carpet, wearing his work khakis and white button down shirt. He had already removed his tie, Elayne noticed. She put her magazine on the coffee table.
Vick's eyes were rimmed with red. If Elayne didn't know better, she would have thought her dad had been crying. Vick took a deep breath and deadpanned, "Your mother is missing."
Elayne snapped her eyes shut. No, she couldn't think about it. And now Vick was dragging them both to the same place Anna had disappeared. Why was he doing this to her? To himself? Didn't he know that being surrounded by the ocean and cute little fish did absolutely nothing to Elayne's mental health? Once again, she couldn't help but wonder, Why am I here?
Elayne spent the next few days doing everything right on time. She stayed out of the way (mostly), she kept her head down, and she didn't speak to Vick after her first "Good morning" got a grunt as a response. It didn't bother her at first, but now she was starting to get really irritated. They slept in the same room for Pete's sake, the least he could do was say hello every once in a while. So she read a few restricted files, so what? It isn't like they said anything important anyway. And maybe she did show up at dinner the other night, but that shouldn't have made Vick angry enough to ignore her.
Well, this was it. Elayne wasn't taking this bull crap anymore. Vick may be her father, but she had a right to know what was going on.
So that night when everyone retired to their rooms, Elayne went quietly behind her father to their cabin. She had been practicing her speech all day. It was full of I thought you cared's and How could you do this to me's. She had her war face on. Her nails were perfectly filed and she didn't have a hair out of place.
So of course, when her father turned to face her after the door to their room slid shut, all of that planning went out the window and she blurted out, "What's going on?"
Elayne snapped her mouth shut. Vick sighed and closed his eyes. He pinched the bridge of his nose. Elayne waited patiently for what seemed like forever. She started to talk again, but Vick held up his hand to silence her. She huffed and crossed her arms before leaning against the cool metal of the wall.
Vick breathed deeply through his nose. When he finally looked at her, Elayne started. She had seen that look on his face before. It was the same look he had given her before he ripped the carpet from under her feet a month and a half ago. "I think you might need to know at least part of what's going on here-"
"No, really?" Elayne scoffed.
Vick gave her a hard stare. "You will listen, and you will not interrupt me, young lady." Elayne had enough grace to look at the ground before Vick continued, "Your mother's disappearance sparked a lot of controversy- Do not interrupt me again! Your mother's disappearance caused a lot of people to wonder what exactly our company's goals were with all of our underwater excursions. Many seemed to think that maybe we weren't mapping the ocean floor like we said we were. Maybe- Maybe we were looking for something. Something that most think never existed." Vick looked at Elayne expectantly, as if wanting her to make a connection with something he had said. She just continued to look confused, so he elaborated, "Within the past few years, the new technology we developed to try and catalogue different dolphin echolocations picked up something else entirely. No one had heard anything like it before, because no one had invented something that could differentiate it from all of the other noises in the ocean. It sounded familiar. After a few months, we managed to pinpoint the general area it was coming from. It would happen every day, at almost exactly twelve noon. It was music, Elayne- coming from the same place, at the same time, with the same melody."
At this point Vick took a pause. Elayne's head span. What was he saying? Music? And mom's disappearance? "Dad…" Elayne began, "I'm… not quite sure I understand what it is you're saying…"
Vick gave her a look that told her he was trying to decide what to say. Then, he dropped the bomb. "Atlantis, Elayne," he began, "We think we may have found it."
Elayne almost interrupted, but Vick threw caution to the winds. He leaned in and, grabbing her hands in his, he whispered urgently, "We need you to help us get there. You're the only one now that can do it."
"Th- this is…" Elayne began. She looked away from Vick, and he dropped her hands. Then she turned around, entered the passcode to open the door, and ran down the corridor. The last thing she heard from her father was her name. When she reached a secluded enough corner, she fell hard to the ground and cried with everything she had.
My dad is a nutcase, she thought. But even as the words ran through her mind, she knew they weren't true. It all just made too much sense.