Dancing With DangerBy: Cristina Grenier
Dorian didn’t know if that was a good thing or not.
He came down the stairs, back straight, head high, the way his father had taught him when he was a boy. It wasn’t meant to intimidate, but to let people know that he wasn’t someone they could push around because he was in charge.
Benjamin looked at him without Dorian even having to clear his throat for attention, and Dorian awarded him a mental point for attentiveness.
“This is Dorian Kingston,” Carlos was saying, gesturing for Dorian to come closer. “Sir, this is Benjamin Samuel.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Dorian said as they shook hands. Already he liked him better than the others he’d had. He wasn’t massive, but it was clear that he could hold his own, and he didn’t seem like he was interested in trying to be intimidating either, shaking Dorian’s hand easily and then letting go without trying to test his strength. He was just an inch or so taller than Dorian’s own height, and while muscular, it wasn’t excessive. He had a kind face, and white, even teeth flashed in his dark face when he smiled.
“Likewise. Please, call me Ben, by the way.”
Dorian nodded and gestured for him to sit. “I was impressed with your resume, Ben,” he said, folding himself into his chair and crossing his legs. “You haven’t done a lot of big things in the security field, but what you have done is exemplary, and I think your police work speaks for itself.”
Ben smiled. “I’m glad you think so. It’s. A passion of mine, I guess. Protecting people. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, cheesy as that sounds.”
“It’s admirable,” Dorian replied. “And considering I am currently without any security because a member of my former team wanted money over my safety, it’s something I can’t afford to do without.” He tapped his fingers together and then looked up. “How much do you know about my family?”
“Not much,” Ben admitted. “I did some research when I got the call from Mr. Ortiz, but I’m pretty sure that was just the cliffs notes version of the things I’d need to know.”
“Very much so. I won’t bore you with a long story about the family history because much of that isn’t important in the States, and you can read about it on Wikipedia quite easily. But I will tell you the important parts.” When he looked at Ben again, he was rapt with attention. Another good sign. Dorian took a breath and launched into his story.
“Money has always been in my family. There is an old tale that says that my great-great grandfather came from royalty and that’s where the fortune began. Whether or not that’s true doesn’t seem to matter all that much as each successive Kingston heir has managed to increase the money when they had it. Investments, good business dealings, the like. It has almost tripled since my great-great grandfather’s time, and of course, as you can imagine, such things do not come without their share of peril. My father was a smart man, but he was an arrogant man as well. In England there was a group of...thieves, I suppose you could call them. I don’t know if they have a proper name, but they commit crimes from grand theft auto to murder to extortion. They are a syndicate and no matter how many of them get arrested, there are always more.
My father made the mistake of crossing some of them, and to this day I’m not entirely sure what he did. All I know is that it involved money and they are angry about it. So angry that they were calling for his death for years. A heart attack took him before they could, but they want their money back plus interest in the form of the rest of the family fortune,” Dorian explained. “With my father dead and the money in my control now, I am their target. With the mess that just happened with one of my bodyguards working for the very people who are after me, I need more than just someone who can protect me. I need someone I can trust.”
Ben nodded. “Absolutely. I can only imagine how horrible it must have been to be betrayed by someone you were trusting to protect you, but I can give you my word that it won’t happen with me. Loyalty is most important between a bodyguard and his charge.”
Dorian arched an eyebrow. “There are some that would say that money is the most important.”
“Well, those are people that I wouldn’t trust with my life,” Ben said with a shrug. “Trust, Mr. Kingston. If you can’t trust someone to take the risks necessary to keep you safe, then they aren’t worth the money you’re paying them. And, if you’ll pardon me saying so, men go the extra mile for charges they feel loyal to in this business.”