Dancing With Danger

By: Cristina Grenier

“Mr. Kingston.”

He sighed with relief. The voice belonged to his guard, so maybe he wasn’t about to be killed.

“Yes, I’m here,” Dorian replied, putting his head up and wincing when his knees protested how long he’d been crouched down there.

“I need you to come out here,” the guard said. “See if you recognize any of these people.”

The thought of looking at dead bodies was massively unappealing, and he seriously hoped he wouldn’t recognize any of them. With a groan he moved until he was sitting in his seat again, and then slid out of the vehicle, stretching and moving around the door and into the open.

They were on the side of one of those roads that maybe saw two cars an hour on a busy day. It was mostly quiet, and he could see the green Honda a few paces back, doors open. A body was slumped on the ground in front of it, and Dorian didn’t need to get closer to see that the person was dead.

He swallowed hard and looked around for Breckidge, who seemed to have disappeared in the moment.

A hand reached out to touch his back, and Dorian jumped, spinning around to see the burly guard standing there, gun in hand.

“I’m fairly certain I don’t pay you to scare the wits out of me,” he snapped, letting his fear run his mouth for a moment. “Good grief.”

“Then maybe it’s time for a raise,” Breckidge said, a grin splitting his face.

Dorian was pretty sure he’d never seen the man smile before, and it was disconcerting. “Haha,” he said. “You get paid plenty already. Can we get on with this? Believe it or not, I’m not thrilled about being out here in the middle of who knows where, and I’d like to get home sometime before the second coming.”

The grin on the guard’s face twisted into something ugly then, and Dorian frowned. It took him a minute to realize what was going on. Well. It actually took him until Breckidge raised the gun and pointed it at his head to realize what was going on.

“It was you.”

“You’re not as clever as they like to pretend you are, Kingston,” Breckidge said. “Coming out here with only one guard? Not even knowing his name? Not good business.”

“We ran background checks, though. How did we miss the fact that you’re a traitor?”

He shrugged. “You’re not the only smart one, Kingston. And it helps that I didn’t start working for these people until after I started working for you. There was nothing for your checks to find.”

Dorian was used to loyalty. He knew that any of his father’s guards would have jumped in front of a bullet to save him without a second thought, and here he was, staring down the barrel of a gun wielded by someone who he had trusted with his safety. With his life, really.

“What do you want?” he asked, trying to keep his voice from shaking. This was the closest he’d ever come to danger like this. Never had he had a gun pointed at his face, but he knew he was going to have to use his brain if he wanted to get out of this. Carlos was still in the car, maybe he’d realize something was wrong and come help him.

“Money, obviously.” Breckidge said. “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Those idiots,” he jerked his head in the direction of the Honda. “Weren’t supposed to make a move on the car so soon. They were supposed to let us get back to the house first.”

“What good would that have done? My entire security detail is at the house.”

“Yeah, but how many of them do you think you can trust?” Breckidge asked, showing teeth. “And anyway, I had it all planned out. I was gonna take charge of your ‘safety’ and then smuggle you out to the car so the rest of them could take you.”

Anger welled hot and thick in Dorian’s throat. It was a good plan, he had to admit. No one would have thought twice about Breckidge taking him somewhere for his safety. Even he wouldn’t have been able to argue about that. Bless the rest of them for being idiots, then.

Anger was good, though. Anger was more productive than fear. It cleared his head of the thoughts of how much he didn’t want to die and how worried he was, and let him think. All he had to do was hold onto that feeling and he could get through this without going to pieces. That was what they wanted, after all. They wanted him scared and vulnerable, and he didn’t want to give them the satisfaction, no matter how true it was of his current emotional state.

“You’re not going to shoot me,” he said, pitching his voice loud enough that Carlos would probably hear it. “If you want my money, you’ll need me alive.”

“I’m not an idiot,” Breckidge said. “I know that. I’m coming up with a new plan.”

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