Morrison heads towards Lake Havasu - Bermuda Avenue <O>.
Robert is where he often is - in his office, which is more of a parlour with a work area. He sits at his massive, expensive executive desk, going over accounting books by hand. It's well known that he actively tracks everything going on in his empire.
A plan somewhat in place, Theo begs leave of the visitors to go handle what may be the one complication in this whole plan to keep the twins safe, the actual owner of the vault. Still dressed for work in one of his better three piece suits, sans jacket for the moment, complete with a pair of cufflinks marked with small rubies to match his crimson shirt, he also wants to make ure he look presentable and serious for this conversation. And not out of his mind, which is a little how he feels, not that he lets it show. He stops just outside the parlor, and politely knocks on the door frame. Protocol, even at home, working hours are working hour. "Father?"
Yes. The owner of the vault. Who is notified any time it is accessed after hours and has a remote camera feed of it at his home, a rare and expensive thing in this day and time. Without looking up from the books, Robert replies coolly, "Theodore."
Theo steps into the office, clasping his hands behind his back. He needs every ounce of surety he has right now, this is the man he crafted his image in the likeness of and the one that probably could read him better than anyone. "I have reason to believe the twins and Thea are in danger. There's a powerful and violent biker gang in town, they are likely the ones responsible for Brenda." Calm. Steady. "They're some sort of.. deranged cult if what I've been told is true, and I believe it is. I fear they might actually make a play to get their hands on them." He keeps going. He needs to tear this off like a bandage. "They've apparently made a threat for monday night. I'd like to take action to keep them safe.. using the bank's security." And there it is. Actually saying it aloud seems twisted, but he tries to project and air of surety in his words.
Robert continues his work without looking up, without outward reaction. In fact, Theodore might almost think his father isn't listening if this wasn't how he always is in this setting. One could tell Robert that the room is on fire and he'd keep working, formulating a reply for a quiet moment.
"The bank's security," Robert repeats back to him. "As in security guards?"
Theo doesn't even bat an eyelash at Robert cooly continuing to work. He pulled the same thing on plenty of people on multiple occasions, including the twins not even an hour ago. "That was one bonus. A much more formidably target than our house." His eyes flick to the back of the monitor that has a feed of the vault. "The vault.." He starts slowly formulating his words to figure out how to sell this. Words were his game and trade. "Also is better than any panic room money can buy should it come to a last resort." The plan might require tweaking, as all plans do, and selling it as an emergency panic room has.. merit. "I hardly expect they'll think we're hiding them at the bank of all places."
Silence. Robert keeps working, no emotion betrayed, no shift in expression.
After some time: "And how did the twins and Dorothea come to be threatened by them?"
"Typical teenage stupidity." Theo can't keep the ice out of his voice as he says those words, though it's obviously not directed at Robert but rather the teenagers. "Apparently a party with alcohol and drugs." Yup, he's throwing them right under the bus. "And if what they told me is true, once they had everyone under the influence, they tortured someone in front of them. So they're all frightened spitless. I passed the information on to the police when I became aware of it, but either they can't act on it or won't." He's not going to lie to Robert, but he's also only going to share the parts he at least believes. "And they're using it as blackmail. Quite a few of their schoolmates it seems, but I'm really only concerned about ours." He pauses, luckily the fidgeting fingers that give away his nerves are hidden behind his back. "I find the accusations to at least be.. credible enough to take precaution. The worst we will be accused of is being over protective of family."
More silent work. Gears turning, angles being considered.
"And Devereux was not involved?"
"Surprisingly.. no. He apparently has stuck his nose in to try to keep his classmates safe, but he is not among the group in trouble." Theo actually shakes his head, sounding a tad disbelieving. He doesn't comment further on Jade though, this is not the moment to drag out sibling spats in front of their father.
There is the faintest twitch of Robert's left 'brow, as if he finds this incredible as well. It's the first sign of a 'tell' he's given.
"Are the twins home? Have them brought up."
"Yes, sir." Like a courtier leaving the king Theo takes a couple of steps backwards before turning to stride out of the room and fetch the twins. Once he locates them it's a nearly harshly whispered. "Father wants to see you. Keep it kosher and don't embellish. We're skating on thin ice as it is. I'm thinking of a back up plan, but I'd prefer this one. Scoot." There's a quick hand wave to usher the pair ahead of his as quickly as possible.
Lucas cleans himself up and out of reflex fixes Landon's collar before they ender the room trying their damndest to loo like consummate professionals. Honestly it's scary as hell to have the only adult adult that has ever wanted to acknowledge them look at them this way. Well it's time to swallow that shit and sell the answer and the plan. He wades in and stands, much like Theo does with a nod to him, "Sir."
Landon is one of the few kids who tends to wear a tie to school a few days a week, at the very least, so when both twins comes into the room in dress shirts and blazers and that sort of thing, it's not entirely out of place. Gone are those sunglasses that they've both been wearing for most of the day. His skin is still pale and as the day slowly turns into night, his mind is more focused. Just as with his brother, the two are very polite in present company, keeping up their appearances, when he, too, addresses Robert, echoing Lucas' word, "Sir."
Robert continues to work at his desk, going over books by hand. He doesn't look up when the three arrive. He says nothing, doesn't even look up at them. They might as well not even be there.
He lets them all simmer.
"Perhaps you would be better off with your Mother. It would seem you came to us too late in life, too steeped in the Lester way of life."
ROLL: Lucas rolls spirit for: : x1 : x1 : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 0 (Raw: 1 2 4 5 -- d6)
Theodore visibly flinches. "Sir, they came to me because they knew they did something foolish. Which shows at least some common sense." He's sticking his neck out. He never sticks his neck out. In fact, doing so makes him look more than a tad ill. "I think they are still worth the investment and we have no proof this.. gang may not have targeted them to get to us." And maybe that's where Theo's sticking point truly is, he's feeling attacked and a shark doesn't like being the prey.
Lucas squeezes his jaw tight. It stings, and now's not the time to let that show. He takes a bold risk and inquires, "Sir, if we may? What happened to us was not voluntary." And as much as that's in its own way true, the fear is there and his words lack their usual declaritive punch. Whatever he had to say falls into silence. His jaw squeezes tighter to hold his face in neutral and stare ahead.
It's hard to even attempt to hold Robert Marchant's gaze, if the man even cared to directed it in their direction. Thus, Landon's own eyes lower even if he keeps to a tall, straight posture. Hearing his brother speak, his own dark eyes decide to peer out at Robert to gauge what the man may be thinking about what is being said so far. "We were on assignment for the newspaper, Sir, having been told of a party the night before. That's what brought us in contact with... those people in the first place. Then they just kept... following us."
"Not voluntary," Robert repeats thoughtfully. "So you were kidnapped. Forced to take things. And you never told me, never said a word to the police, and now Theodore wants to lock you in the bank vault. -- I'm starting to warm to that idea, admittedly, perhaps for other reasons. -- But I fail to see how a biker gang that you made the error of partying with is such a danger that you must be locked in a bank vault for a night. What about the next night? Or the next day? Or right now? This incredible threat is only valid on one night?"
Landon offers his version. "An assignment for the school paper. I see. Then I'll just call Mr. Gibson and ask him why he sent students to investigate a dangerous biker gang for a high school paper."
"Apparently they're.. cultish in their mannerisms." Theo tries to calm himself down. Logic against logic. "And one night's caution I feel is warrented. If they do try anything, then we will have more than enough evidence to twist the authorities into actually doing something. There is nothing to be lost by being cautious." He looks to the twins. "The vault as a last measure, if they do come. If not..." He lightly shrugs. "We've simply spent the night in the bank. I've slept on my office couch more than once." He gives the twins a bit of a sharp glare, trying to silently will them to stop digging the hole deeper. "I think I've proved that I don't take unnecessary risks, sir."
Lucas takes a deep breath, "We weren't at a party, Sir. Dorothea and some of their frieds were. As Landon siad we were there investigating. The short is they threatened to hurt people if we didn't comply, and it would be us." He pauses and takes a deep breath, "The authorities have not been taking this seriously. We... realize" He looks to Landon and back to their uncle praying they are not struck by lightening on teh spot. "We are asking for help and guidance so we can fix this and protect our family before it becomes more severe, Sir. We tried fixing this on our own and failed to do so." There's a pause and he can't believe he's saying it but adds, "I know we've disappointed you, and that's, honostly worse than what they might do to us, but we would like the opportunity to correct this before we have to see anyone else die."
Sean heads towards Lake Havasu - Bermuda Avenue <O>.
Landon doesn't look like someone caught up in a lie. They did write a few articles in regards to that particular incident. Mostly they labled it as the hardships that teenagers go through due to school and how that can lead to drug use. "At the time, we looked into the matter on the word of several students. They didn't mention a gang. That's something we learned later."
He then quiets down for Lucas to get everything off of his chest and the tension is evident in the way Landon's own jaw sets, his gaze lowering once more. "We didn't mean to draw this much attention our way. We didn't know who we'd anger by sticking our noses for the sake of journalism."
"Our home is safe enough," says Robert in reply to Theodore. "We have staff, security, a high perimeter wall... Suggesting we lock the twins and Dorothea in a bank vault is the kind of rash and excessive action that makes me think you need some time off following Brenda's disappearance. I'm sure it has shaken you, but I wasn't aware it had to this degree."
Here he sets the pen down, removes his reading glasses and rubs at his eyes as he straightens in his seat. Then he looks at the three of them.
"If these people are dangerous, I should have been informed immediately. I could talk to Chief Thistle, or contact one of my acquaintences in the Bureau. The bank vault is an insured holding place for the public's valuables and money, not our personal panic room. But I'm only now finding out that three of the young people in my care have been consorting with a violent, dangerous biker gang - or cult - that will be coming for them in less than 48 hours, and the best way to protect them is to lock them in the vault at the bank. Do you hear yourselves? The absurdity of this plan? Of all of this? And of all the people to be involved, it's Dorothea and you two. Devereux I'd believe this of. Desdemona, maybe. I thought you three had better judgment and self-control than to take what a shady biker gang gives you. And I'm to believe that someone died, and this is the first you've told me? Was a body found? Do the police have any evidence of this whatsoever? Or is it all based on the accounts of juveniles who may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs?"
To Theodore, "Perhaps there is a reason the police may be less than convinced."
Theodore has his back up now. Standing completely rigid. "Perhaps I do need some time off." It's said coolly, evenly. He would never actually snap at his father, and the tone he has now is the closest he'd even come to toeing the line of insubordination, which is to say agreeing with exactly what Robert wants, just with the bare faintest whiff of passive-agressiveness. "I'll make sure they're under lock down in the house then until you can deal with the authorities then." He's back to not sticking his neck out, the lesson burned into him once more. "Since I'll have some time off, I'll keep an eye on them personally, unless you obeject?"
Lucas stands still and lets it wash over him. "The last person in our grade to go to the police was hunted down recently and assailed. Also they have not moved on the issue in any appreciable fashion, as is evidenced, sir. So no we didn't bother going to the authorities after that. A hand full of people commit a violent crime. Now they hold our health hostage- which we do not approve of- and try to destroy any credibility so we cannot get the assistance this situation requires."
The look on his face stills, "If you advise us to stay put here, then we are happy to comply with your wish in this, Sir." Shoulders rise and fall with his hands behind his back. Because when blood suckers trash the begonias he won't have to say DO you see the problem now? Really they just want to live long enough to get into a good school. His eyes lift to Theodore, curious in gesture. Maybe they picked a good personal hero after all, or maybe they're all off the mark.
"We've been complying with Theodore's suggestion as of late to remain in the protection of our home at all times, being driven to and from school by Morrison every day." Landon explains their current situation, "After that incident, we made sure to keep our noses out of trouble and focus on school, primarily. So believe us, sir, we've been trying our hardest to keep our noses clean." The fact that Brenda was not only missing, but most likely murdered has Landon wanting to say something more, but he refrains.
"Not in the least," Robert casually answers Theodore. "Take whatever time you feel you need, Theodore. I know what I would feel if your Mother disappeared, and can sympathize. When you feel you're ready to return to work, I leave that decision to you. Until then, your nephews and sister are under your watch. See that they are reminded of what it is to be a member of this family and what is expected of them."
He considers Lucas' words. "Were they? I've read nothing about it in the paper. Heard nothing about it around town. Do you have a single shred of actual, physical evidence of any of this? All I'm hearing are wild stories told by teenagers who have admitted to making highly dubious choices. What court would accept that? What police officer? But I'm supposed to just take your word for it that the police are blind to the truth and you need to be locked in a vault for your own safety? Again, do you hear your own words?"
"I'll do so. Come on, we don't need to bother him any more with this." It's Theo speak for: stop talking before you make things any worse. Though his expression is a bit disheartened, he quickly schools his features and turns offer a nod to his father. He turns a little to the side and holds out his hand towards the door. Also a very clear sign. Of the three standing in the room he probably knows where his father's limits stand the best and he's not willing to push them anymore than they have tonight. Though he adds a rather incongruous. "Everything will work out." The cellar is suddenly looking to be a prime spot to go check out in the morning.
Lucas watches this get met as well as it was bound to. As the vault was never his idea but he's not taking liability for it anyways? He stands resigned. "Well should you speak to the authorities about this Fran and these Painkiller degenerates? Know they seemed disinterested when Miss Thistle brought it to them, but it is what we solidly do have to go on should it help. Do you need anything else from us, Sir?" Not trying to go but also having nothng left he can add under these conditions. His head tilts to teh side and he gives Landon a look. This is why he never goes to adults with anything, but he stands there obediantly unless dismissed.
"I believe Silver Thistle, our photographer," And friend! "Was going to speak to Chief Thistle about what we all witnessed." Landon starts out, "We've not heard on whether they were investigating on the matter or not as of yet." If anything, there is a look of guilt that he allows on his features when he says, his words apologetic, "We didn't mean to make the family look bad nor mar the family name in any way. And we're sorry to put everyone through this for an error in judgment. We didn't realize how badly things would blow up in our faces in our attempts to learn the truth of what was going on with our classmates." He has no objections of being locked up at home rather than the vault, even if his eyes seek Theodore's out briefly.
"Oh I will be speaking with Chief Thistle tonight," Robert confirms. "I intend to get answers. Now if you'll excuse me."
He returns to his books.