The Darkness Behind A Shadow

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Chapter 4: The Journey to Answers

Usually, when people set out on a quest for answers, like agents, they have a look of determination and bravery radiating off them. The majority are dressed in active wear, or at least comfortable clothing, so they can get away when danger comes into their view. When they first begin, the majority have leads, whether it be a suspect or a person they must visit to get a lead. Or, if they are extremely tacky, they already have the majority of the answers and just need to get confirmation.

But, wherever they begin, it usually isn’t McDonald's.

But, that did not stop Nick from dragging Elena there.

Sitting in a booth, Elena watches as Nick devours his third serving of fries. Elena herself had finished her burger fifteen minutes ago and was now slurping on her drink as she stared.

“Really? I thought we were getting answers. Instead, for the last half hour, we’ve been sitting in McDonald's. And what is wrong with you! That’s your forth serving of fries! You’re going to get sick, you douche bag!” Elena exclaims as she watches Nick shove numerous amounts of fries down his throat from the fourth container while keeping eye contact with her.

Instead of halting, Nick smirks and shoves more fries into his mouth and then chugs on his drink. As he swallows, he speaks.

“Yeah, we are going to get some answers, but I didn’t say that’s all we would do. And leave me alone. I’m going to eat as much as I want. After all,” Nick’s smirk widens, “I’m a growing boy, and the only thing we have at home is that disgusting broth. I need to fill my stomach so it can last for a good eight hours.”

Elena rolls her eyes in response.

“Alright, fine. But hurry up. It’s already nine. Wait, who are we going to see anyway? It’s obviously not Maria because we are headed in the opposite direction.”

Maria Dominguez is Elena and Nick’s foster-care advocate. She has been keeping a close eye on the Henrys to make sure that they are in good hands. Prior to living with Ms. Kuttler, the siblings were under the care of the Becketts. Mr. Liam Beckett was business partners with Michael Henry, the siblings now deceased father. But, Maria found out that the entire adoption process was done through court bribery. She then took the two of them out from under their care and placed them with Ms. Kuttler, who was supposed to be their legal guardian. Their education advocate did not know of the Becketts’ intentions, so she made sure that the family stayed away from them. This was not much of an issue for Nick because he abhorred even the site of the family. The same went for Elena because Liam, the son of the Beckett couple, pestered her until her head throbbed. She hoped that Liam didn’t have feelings for her because the image of the two of them dating or spending the rest of their lives together made Elena vomit. To Elena, Liam was a mosquito that needed to be swatted away. He’s nothing but a waste of space. Elena and Nick had not seen the Becketts in years and that is how they hope it will stay.

Clearing his throat, Nick speaks, “We’re going to see Mark.”

Elena stares at him confused.

“Mark? As in Mark Stevens? Doesn’t he work for dad’s company? Why are we going to him?”

“Yeah, he used to work for dad and is taking care of the company-”

“So? What’s he going to tell us? He’s working for dad’s company. That’s it. What information could he snoop out for us about the kidnappers,” interrupts Elena.

“Um, hello! Why do people kidnap? For ransom. They are probably gold diggers, possibly one of mom or dad’s enemies. And who takes care of the financials for Henry Solars? Mark. So, he could tell us if dad had any potential enemies to worry about.”

“Oh,” Elena realizes.

“Blond much, sis?” Nick states as he gathers all the trash on the tray.

“Shut up,” shoots back Elena as they both get up to throw out their trash.

As they exit McDonald's and walk down the streets, Elena halts.

“What?” Asks Nick as he turns and notices that Elena was not walking with him. He walks towards her as she begins to speak.

“Yes, it’s true that the kidnappers were probably after money, but then why on Earth would they get me married to Spencer? Where does he fall into the picture?” Elena questions with frustration laced in her voice.

“I don’t know. But, Mark is still a lead. After we figure out who the kidnappers might be, we’ll figure out that too,” remarks Nick as his gaze softens, noticing his sister’s distress.

“But, I don’t want you to worry about this, Elena. We’ll figure it out. We always do. And, I won’t let that Spencer guy near you if you really don’t want him, okay? No one is pressuring you into anything.”

“Thanks, Nick,” Elena whispers tenderly as she grabs onto her brother’s arm. “Now, let’s hurry up and hail a cab. Mark isn’t as big of a workaholic as our father was. It’s almost nine thirty. He may have left by the time we get there.”

“Alright,” states Nick as he casts his arm out to stop a taxi.

Once he grabs the attention of a driver, he pulls on Elena’s arm and leads her towards the taxi. He opens the door and they both hop in.

“To Henry Solars, sir,” utters Nick.

As the driver begins to drive through the congested roads of New York City, Elena’s peers through the window. Unfortunately, the beaming street lights hinder the brightness of the stars, but Elena finds enjoyment in watching the people bustle through the streets. She turns towards Nick when she feels a tap on her shoulder.

“Okay, listen. I think it is best if we keep Ms. Kuttler out of this. Let’s just keep this between us for now. If old Kuttler found out that you were kidnapped and all, she’d have steam coming out of her ears, and she’d pack all our bags, and make us relocate to somewhere unknown,” explains Nick as he lightly chuckles at Ms. Kuttler’s possible hysterics.

“Are you sure? Because if she happens to find out, it would break her heart,” Elena replies in concern.

“Don’t worry about that. We’ll tell her eventually.”

As Nick finishes his sentence, the taxi arrives at its destination: Henry Solars.

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