The Darkness Behind A Shadow

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Chapter 6: Mark, Cough up Answers

Walking into the main Henry Solars building, Nick and Elena noticed that not much has changed. With its fifty-seven floors and glass exterior, it made the inside transparent for the people walking by. In the main lobby, everything was white: the desks, the floors, and even the elevators. In fact, the floors were so clean and white that one could eat off them. And, the height of the ceiling could comfortably fit the giant from “A Jack in a Beanstalk”. As the siblings walk up to reception, Shirly, the receptionist, recognizes them.

Sitting at the white front desk in the middle of the lobby, she is dressed in her typical pencil shirt and formal, white blouse. From her dorky, black glasses to her sleek, straight hair, there is nothing much different about her.

The siblings figured that even after not visiting their family corporation for a year, time didn’t make much change.

“Oh my, look who it is! What can I do for you lovely children today,” questions Shirly with her extensively high pitched voice.

“We need to talk to Mark,” Nick replies after internally grimacing.

“Oh-” She was cut off as Mark promptly exited from the elevator located to the near right of the reception desk.

When he makes eye contact with Elena, his eyes widen in recognition as he realizes why the siblings have come here today.

“Shirly, I need you to cancel my appointments for tomorrow. I won’t be coming in,” Mark bluntly states in boredom as he orders the siblings to follow him back up to his office.

As the elevator doors close, Mark locks eyes with the siblings.

“I know why you both are here, and I understand that you may have a series of questions. I’ll be glad to answer them for you.”

Nick and Elena exchange confused glances.

“And how exactly do you know why we’re here?” questions Nick with a suspicious look.

“Maria told me. She’s keeping an eye on you both.”

“You know, this is getting really annoying! You both are casually watching our every move as if we’re in some sort of danger. And you’re so transparent about it! We have a legal guardian who can very well take care of us. And we’re not even young!” Nick outbursts as Elena transfers her stares between the two, not knowing whether to interfere or not.

The elevator dings open, and Mark promptly proceeds to his office at the end of the hall, expecting Elena and Nick to follow.

As the three of them enter, Mark shuts the door with a bang. His office is quite bland and empty. With the walls painted dark gray and a black, L-shaped desk in the middle of the room, there wasn’t much to it. Sitting on his black office chair, he tells them to sit on the two chairs on the opposite side of his desk.

“What is with this room? It’s like you’re at the funeral or bathing in coal,” comments Elena, trying to decrease some tension illuminating from the two males.

“Well, you could call me the grin-”

“Oh, shut up,” Nick rudely interrupts as he eyes his sister and tells her to stop changing the topic.

“We’re here for answers, so get on with it. Why was Elena kidnapped? Who the hell is Spencer? Do you know the kidnappers? Are they after our father’s will or something? Are they-”

“Alright, alright. Slow down, mister. I don’t know much yet.”

“Yet?” Elena blurted.

“Yeah, Elena. Yet,” Nick answers as he glares at Mark.

“You know, this is turning out to be a complete waste of time. He acts like he’s Mufasa up in the skies, guiding us, but in reality, he’s just a glorified jerk. You used to be so transparent when dad was alive. It’s as if you’ve completely lost yourself. And Maria, rather than fulfilling the duties as our foster care advocate, has become your personal Sherlock Holmes,” Nick retorts with anger seeping through his veins.

Mark starts to grip the edge of his desk as he tries to remain calm.

“I can’t tell you much, okay? But Elena,” says Mark as he looks at her, “your kidnap was not a coincidence. It was clearly planned by one of your father’s enemies, and Maria and I have a pretty solid idea about who it is.”

“As in enemies, you mean rivals, right?” Elena arcs a brow as she exchanges another confused look with Nick.

Mark’s gaze hardens as he releases his grip on his desk and leans back in his chair. After squeezing his eyes shut for a second, he opens them and stares at the Henry siblings.

“Look, your mother and father weren’t just business owners. They were also part of an organization, an organization that I can’t reveal to you yet for the sake of your safety. And as for Spencer, he is actually one of your father’s friend’s sons. Spencer’s father is also part of this organization. And, the people that kidnapped you, Elena, are not only after your father’s wealth, but also are most likely also after something from that organization, which, once again, I can’t enclose you due to your safety. I know this must all seem bizarre, but, as much as you both do not trust Maria and I, we are here to keep you both safe. Now, as time goes on, Maria and I will tell you exactly what is going on. But for now, go home and do not disclose anything that happened to you, not even Ms. Kuttler. Maria and I will meet with you both in my office in two days time. Tomorrow, I am taking off from work for some investigation. We’ll figure this out. Don’t worry.”

As shocked as Elena and Nick’s faces were that night, it was nothing compared to what was to come.

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