Dancing With Danger

By: Cristina Grenier

Anita frowned as she sifted flour. “I thought the guy didn’t turn bad until after he’d already started working here.” All the other staff members had heard the story by then.

“He didn’t, but we can’t be too careful. It turned out that Breckidge had an uncle who owed money to whoever these people are, whether he knew it or not. It wasn’t just because he was working for me that he got recruited.”

“Ah, I see. And how is that man doing?”

Dorian scowled. “He’s being released from the hospital and into police custody. A part of me wishes Carlos had killed him.” He felt bitter and mean for saying that, but it was true. That man would have handed him over to people who would have extorted him for money and then gladly watched him die. After signing a contract promising to keep him safe. It was ridiculous to be so upset about it, but Dorian had never been rational when it came to his emotions.

“It’s better for him to face justice,” Anita said. “You know that, but your hurt feelings are talking right now.”

Dorian couldn’t argue with that, so he didn’t try.

It was soothing to work beside Anita in the kitchen. She had a way with food that fascinated him, and he loved listening to her talk about how she learned to cook from her mother and aunts back in Mexico. She always took care to explain the things she was doing, and it was a way of cooking that Dorian couldn’t learn from cookbooks or watching the Food Network. It was more intuitive, and he followed her instructions, letting the tension drain from his body as they worked.

By the end of it, there was a plate piled high with perfect pancakes, and Dorian sat down across from Anita as they started in on them.

Carlos came in when they were halfway through, smiling as he always did to see his sister and boss getting along. He’d confided in Dorian that he thought Anita was lonely sometimes, and he worried about her, so he was glad that the two of them had bonded.

“Good morning, Anita,” he said. “Sir.”

“Morning, Carlos,” Dorian replied, wiping his mouth with a napkin. “You should have some breakfast.”

This was, perhaps, the closest Dorian came to having a family. His father was dead, and his mother had died giving birth to him, but Carlos had been around since Dorian was eight years old, and Anita had such a warm demeanor that it was easy to feel like he’d known her for just as long.

While it was true that they worked for him and he paid their salaries, they were both more than just his staff, and he liked to think that he was more than just a boss to them, but he wasn’t going to ask.

Carlos smiled and took a seat, piling pancakes onto an empty plate. “Thank you, sir,” he said. “I have some good news for you.”

Dorian looked up. “Really?”

“Mm. I think perhaps we’ve found someone to head up the security team.”

Well, that was something. Dorian sipped his coffee. “Go on.”

“It’s...a bit out of the ordinary, but I think that considering what happened we should do something different. I’ve been looking into more local security firms. People who had experience, but also have a sense of...loyalty to the job, I suppose. There’s a man who runs his own firm not far from here. He gets called in when important people visit the city: celebrities, even a politician or two. His reviews are all excellent, and his training record is flawless. He was a police officer before he started his firm, and a very good one from all accounts. I think he’d be perfect. But if you don’t like him, there are some others that I have lined up with more traditional experience. I think it best if we build a new team with the head of security instead of just calling people in.”

Dorian tapped his fingers against the table, thinking. It was risky to go with someone who hadn’t done much of this kind of work before. Protecting celebrities and politicians wasn’t really life or death work, but work with a police force was. Carlos seemed to have a good feeling about it, and Dorian had always trusted his judgment.

It wasn’t like he was going to be able to find people with loyalty to his family name here. Back home, people knew the Kingston name and the same people who worked for his father had relatives who’d worked for his grandfather and so on, but here things were different, and it was hard to find that kind of loyalty.

So it would have to do.

“Well, call him in for a meeting, I suppose,” Dorian said finally. “I didn’t like Breckidge all that much anyway, so we’ll see how I feel about this one.”

“Very good, sir.”

It didn’t take long to find a time to meet with this man, Benjamin Samuel. He came in the very next day, standing in the living room with Carlos, dressed in a suit and looking around nervously. It was clear that no matter how much work he had done with celebrities, he wasn’t used to being around wealth.

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