The Secret Thief

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Chapter 20

An empty warehouse, a business closed. A shuffle of customs documents and the companies assets had been frozen. The employees were sent home and a padlock was placed on the front gate. The CEO, poor fool, was sent off on a bureaucratic wild goose chase.

But it was only temporary. All would be sorted eventually and everyone would be back at work. In the mean time the fantastically remote loading bay became a center for clandestine gatherings.

Red tape in the hands of the right people was priceless.

“What happened?”

“Nothing. Everything is fine. She got injured and required a break that’s all.”

“That’s all? That was eight days ago. She should be back by now.”

“I can’t make her train.” He said.

“Can’t you? Isn’t that what we pay you for? To make her do what we want?”

“This isn’t a game of Candy Land Simon. I couldn’t have foreseen this. No one could have. She is her own person.”

“Who do you think you’re talking to?!” Simon, irritation spread to every corner of his body, puffed up like a bird. “Do you have any idea what I could do...”

“Yes Simon. He knows.” M cut him off. Simon had always been too easily rattled and his ego got everyone off course. She looked at Marco, “We understand the difficulty of the position you are in.” She told him.

“Good.” He replied, falling short of thanking her for grasping what Simon could not. This was not the time to appear weak or needy. “It’s important that we are on the same page.”

“Yes,” She said, “but Marco the problem is when she isn’t with you, she’s vulnerable. We don’t have eyes on her.”

“I know.” Marco said. “And I believe we’re worrying unnecessarily.”

“She’s already started to stay late after school.” Margaret stared at him. “There is no tail and I can’t exactly follow her around.”

“I understand.”He told her, feeling the room heat up. Tensions were running high. “Her case isn’t ideal,” he forced his words to come out calmly, “but I can handle it. I can handle her.”

“Can you?!” Simon, who had been stewing silently between them could take no more. “I’m not so sure. In fact I’m beginning to doubt everything the compound said about you!”

Simons angry rant set Marco off and before he could think he snapped.

“Then replace me!” He spat back. The words stung as he said them and that was unexpected. He stepped back. He was unprepared for the feeling running through his body. Not here, not in this place, not with these people. He thought.

“No one is going to replace you.” M stepped in again, her eyes on Marco but her words meant for Simon. “It’s too late for that. No one else is ready. You are our best hope.”

“Then trust me.” He said “The plan is good. Give it time.”

“Time?” Simon huffed. “Time is running out!”

“Simon,” M pleaded. He needed to back off. Everyone needed to calm down. They were getting nowhere. She looked at Marco, “Are you certain she will return? Are you positive she has feelings for you?”

Marco squirmed. Even though that had always been part of the plan, he found discussing it now uncomfortable.

“We’ve connected.” He said. So much could go wrong. They were not operating in fact or figures. They were trying to predict the actions of a person, one single person with one very strong mind. Everything rested on that, everything. It was no exaggeration to say the fate of the world depended on what that strong mind decided.

“It will all come together.” He promised them, knowing he had no right to make such a claim. But he didn’t care. Strangely and for the first time in his life, at that moment these people, this job, the fate of the world were his least concern. At that moment all Marco could think of was her.

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