“As I explained on the phone,” Ash began, “we will assign an operative to trail you everywhere you go for the next few weeks. He will need to have full access to your home and office—”
“Kirkland was just explaining that to me,” I said, glancing at the incredibly handsome man sitting to Ash’s right. I quickly turned my eyes away because he was so handsome. How was I supposed to go about my normal day with a guy like that following me around? And sharing my little apartment… “The thing is, I live in a one-bedroom apartment. Is it really necessary for him to stay the night?”
Ash glanced at Kirkland, then his warm, green eyes focused on me. Again I thought of what a great asset he would be on my website, if only in a print-type ad.
“We find that most of these threats are carried out in non-public areas, when they are carried out at all. So, yes, it would be in your best interest to have Kirkland stay with you at your apartment. Or, if you were uncomfortable with that, we could arrange for you to move to a safe house we maintain.”
The idea of staying anywhere but my own apartment seemed bizarre. It also felt like I’d be letting this person—whomever it was making these threats—win. I really didn’t want that.
I waved my hand, as though waving away that idea like it was an annoying insect.
“We have a team at your apartment as we speak to set up cameras that will be monitored via the software I told you about on the phone.”
“The software David designed?” I smiled. “I know all about it. Ricki likes to brag about her fiancé.”
Ash inclined his head, a proud smile just making it to his eyes before he focused on business again. I found myself wondering what his story was. Ricki had told me that he’d lost his fiancée not long before his and David’s parents died, but she didn’t know many details. It was kind of romantic, thinking of this big, strong man remaining single by choice because he lost the woman he loved. I should make a note of it for the short story section of our website. Might be a good idea for the writers.
“Then I guess we have most of the business out of the way. If I could just get you to sign this paperwork,” Ash said, indicating an impressive stack in a file folder on his lap, “I can let you and Kirkland get to know each other.”
I again glanced at Kirkland, but there was something about him that made my brain just kind of fizzle. I don’t know what it was. His gorgeous, caramel-colored skin? His dark, carefully trimmed hair? His mostly green, but sort of gold, hazel eyes? He reminded me of an actor. Michael Ealy, maybe. Or that guy on that medical show…I don’t know. I don’t watch much television, and I don’t get out to the movies much. Maybe I need to.
I signed the paperwork and stood to shake Ash’s hand again. He smiled politely, then turned to Kirkland. There was some sort of silent exchange between them, but I had no clue what it was about, or if it was a good or bad thing.
When Ash was gone, Kirkland and I were left standing, my desk separating us, just staring at one another. He slid his hands into his pockets and rolled back on his heels.
“I guess all we need to talk about is your schedule.”
I shrugged. “Carrie keeps track of my meetings. I usually start the day a little after eight, stay until I’m done, usually between seven or eight, then head home. Nothing really unusual.”
“Do you mind if I get a copy of your schedule from Carrie?”
“No. That’s fine.”
“And your vehicle…?”
I tilted my head, as a question bounced on the end of my tongue. But I knew before I could ask the question what the answer was. He was here to protect me, after all.
“I have a little Buick down in the parking garage on the fourth level. If I have to go somewhere during the day—a lunch meeting or something—the company provides a car.”
I shrugged. “It looks good to show up in a fancier car sometimes.”
He nodded. “Gray Wolf provides an SUV to transport you back and forth to your house.”
“Your personal car makes it too easy for someone to track your comings and goings.”
I sat back down, wanting to run my fingers through my hair, but trying to remember that I couldn’t because I’d taken the extra time to put it up this morning. Sometimes I picked the worst days to get creative.
“I realize that this feels like an invasion of your privacy and your personal freedom, but it will, hopefully, only last a few weeks. Ash has already contacted our liaison with the Los Angeles Police Department, and she’s checking into the threats you’ve gotten.”