Maddy had just accepted a massive new role. She was terrified by the prospect yet excited at the same time. On her way out the conference room, she said, “Something still bothers me.”
“What does?” Corbyn followed behind.
“Did you guys not notice the postscript on the letter?”
“I saw it,” Aaden replied nonchalantly. “It says we still have to locate the plans to build the reactor. I’m assuming your grandpa knows where they are.”
Isaac exited the conference room. “Actually,” he said, “as another security measure, I never had the plans in my possession. This was decided in case something happened to me before the inheritance quest was completed.”
Maddy looked confused. “But, you do know where they are, don’t you?”
Isaac smiled. “All I know is what I was told by my successor the day before he retired.”
Maddy’s eyebrows rose. “Which was?”
“Simply that the location of the plans would soon be revealed after the quest is complete. I took him for his word and haven’t really worried much about it. Come on. Let’s go to my office first.”
Maddy was confused, but she could tell Isaac had already revealed all he knew. On her way into her grandfather’s office, she stopped and stared at the empty chair that used to be Sarah’s. Isaac stood beside her and put his arm around her shoulders.
“I may not have spent enough time with you for most of your childhood, but I know enough to know when a lady is worried. Something else is bothering you, isn’t it?”
Maddy nodded slowly. She looked up from the empty chair. “Sarah and those guys…they aren’t going to get out of jail, are they? I mean, couldn’t they post bail or something and come after us?”
Corbyn waved Maddy off. “Like Aaden and I would let them anywhere near you.”
“Thanks,” Maddy replied, her face full of doubt, “but you won’t be able to do much against them if they have even more powerful weapons next time. What if they come to my house?”
“Then they’ll have to answer to me,” Jake said.
His words were quiet but Maddy could tell from his tone that he meant every one of them. She also knew he had the skills to back them up if anything happened.
“Nothing like that’s going to happen,” Isaac said. “Considering all the charges those three are facing, they’ll never get out on bail. Once a judge hears what they’ve done, they’ll go to prison for a very long time.”
Maddy nodded. She suddenly drew in a sharp breath as another thought occurred to her. “Aunt Janet! I can’t go home! She’ll be waiting for me!”
“The police know all about her role in this,” her grandfather said. “There’s no way she can claim she knew nothing about my staff being held prisoner in her house. Besides, didn’t you hear Sarah trying to cut a deal with the police on her way out the office? It won’t take much to get her to tell everything she knows. Janet will get hers, you can be certain about that.”
“Once the chance to make money is out of the picture,” Jake said, “criminals aren’t a very loyal bunch. Trust me on that one.”
Jake’s face was set with an edge of guilt. Maddy knew he was still feeling bad about what he’d done all week. She put her hand on his shoulder.
“If it makes you feel any better, K-1 doesn’t exist to me anymore.” That statement was as important for Maddy to say as it was for Jake to hear.
“And I’ll do whatever I can to prove myself,” Jake replied.
Maddy turned back to her grandfather. He had a small frown on his face and was looking at the door to his office.
“What? Oh, it’s nothing.” Isaac forced a smile.
Maddy wasn’t buying it. “Be honest.”
Isaac breathed in deeply. “It’s just…the company. Bronson has a spy in here. No telling what that traitor learned and passed on. Whoever it was didn’t get any information from the quest of course, but he might’ve learned enough to ruin our company in other ways. If that’s true, Bronson will stop at nothing to destroy us. I’m sorry, Maddy. If that scenario plays out, I don’t know what we’d do.”
“I can probably help with that,” Jake said.
“What can you do?” Maddy asked.
“I can go to the media. I assume they’re already interested in hearing how the quest turned out. It won’t take much to get their attention. Then I can publicly out Charles and everything he’s been up to before he can strike.”
“If I know Bronson,” Isaac said, “he’s already a step ahead. Let’s just hope I’m wrong.” Isaac sighed. “For now, let’s celebrate your success. I’m famished. Anyone in the mood for pizza?”
Everyone suddenly realized how hungry they were. They started walking into Isaac’s office when Maddy suddenly stopped.
“Is Mr. Zhang still in the building? He should come back and eat before he leaves.”
Isaac called down to the front lobby. Phil hadn’t seen Mr. Zhang since letting him in with Jake. He got permission to page Mr. Zhang but there was no sign of him.
“He just disappeared,” Maddy said. “What did he have to do that was so important?”
Isaac looked out the window. He seemed lost in thought again. “I think,” he said slowly, “Mr. Zhang is the kind of man that likes to stay ahead of the game. He might already be out there clearing the path for you in ways we’ll never even know about.”
After a long pause to let that sink in, Maddy asked, “Do you think we’ll ever see him again?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. His job with the quest is complete. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
“Until then,” Aaden said, “you still have us.”
Maddy smiled again. It felt good to smile. She laughed as she grabbed both of the twins and hugged them. And in the middle of their celebration, nobody noticed the letter that had been left on Isaac’s desk.
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