After we’d gotten dressed, Knight went over all that I was and wasn’t supposed to say. “Come on, Knight. I can handle this. I promise, I won’t take the job. And I’ll buzz you if anything gets out of line.”
He kissed me then took me downstairs to his father’s study. My body felt weak like I hadn’t eaten in a few days, but I put on a confident smile and opened the door.
The room was larger than my whole apartment. Huge floor to ceiling windows offset the intimidating desk. Antonio Richardson watched me like an eagle sighting a juicy fish in the water.
“Welcome, Mr. Day. So nice of you to agree to meet with me. Please, have a seat.”
I grabbed the closest chair to me, settling into the red leather.
“I hope you’ve had a nice morning with my son. Those upstairs rooms are...convenient.”
My stomach took a nosedive. Did he have cameras in the rooms? Gulping, I wanted to get this over with, so I asked, “Um...what is it you wish to talk with me about, Mr. Richardson?”
He laughed. “I like a man who cuts to the chase.” He brought up a hand. “Do you like this office?”
“The office? Well, yeah, it’s pretty amazing, to be honest. Why?”
He put on a cheesy grin that kind of scared me. “Would you like to work here in this office?”
“Um...what exactly would I be doing?”
“I’ve heard from Knight that you are a professional fighter and I need that kind of strength. You see, in my line of work, I naturally collect enemies. You know how it is...when you accumulate wealth, people get jealous. If I had you by my side, working as protection, I’d feel much safer.”
I couldn’t have been more shocked if he’d pulled off his pants and did a hula dance on his desk. “You want me to be your...bodyguard? Aren’t there tougher, bigger, and more frightening people who could do this for you?”
“That’s the thing. You are not someone they’d suspect as powerful. But if they did anything...threatening, I’d unleash you. I think of it as you being my stinger. You don’t realize a bee is around until you feel its pain. Does that make sense?”
I put up my hands and stammered, “W-With all d-due respect, Mr. Richardson, I’m flattered that you think so highly of me but I really can’t do stuff like that. I mean, the people I take down in the MMA are my size. We have weight classes. And if they got too big, I’d lose.”
“But those matches are against other professionals. These men wouldn’t even know what hit them. Sort of like what you did to my son?”
I knew a threat was coming. Knight had warned me not to be frightened by anything he’d say. Knight would protect me.
“Look, Mr. Richardson, I appreciate the offer, but I’m booked solid with training for my bouts and running the garage, not to mention raising a seventeen year old. I just don’t have time to be your bodyguard as well.”
I rose from my seat and threw on a smile. “I hope you’ll understand. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got to get going. My coach is waiting for me at the gym.”
Antonio Richardson met me before I could get to the door. Although he smiled, it wasn’t friendly. “Ah...but Mr. Day, I do mind. I’ve agreed to look the other way about your unconventional relationship with my son on the condition that you agree to work for me. Does that make sense?”
He held my gaze, making me uneasy and the tensing of his jaw only disturbed me more. My heart sped up. “What do you mean?”
He let out a sigh, glancing around his office then back at me. “I’m a busy man as well and I care about my family. I bet you care about yours?”
My thoughts instantly went to Bri. I could feel the blood rush out of my head. “Are you threatening my family?”
His voice was so low I could hardly hear it. “I get what I want sooner or later. It’s up to you. Either you choose the easy way or the hard way. I really don’t want to do this the hard way.”
Panicking, I backtracked. I’d do anything to protect my sister. “W-What’s involved in being your bodyguard?”
“You would live here and be available for me whenever I asked. You would still train with your coach. I’d need you in tip top form, but you will have to stop competing.” He looked me up and down as if I was a prized stallion. “I wouldn’t want my stinger broken.”
I gasped, not believing I was contemplating this. “What about my sister? She lives with me. I’m not about to have her here with all these men hanging around.”
He put his hands behind his back. “She would go to a private academy with dormitories. It is the best in education. What does she want to do?”
I barely heard him, my mind was racing so much. “S-She wants to be a...a writer. English major.”
“Then this is the best for her as well. I have connections in the publishing industry and she would get a leg up in her writing abilities. What do you say, Alex? Do we have a deal?”
“I need to talk with my sister about this before I can give you an answer.”
Smiling broadly, Antonio patted my arm. “Sure, talk it over with her and let me know tomorrow. I have a meeting now, so you will need to see yourself out. I hope to welcome you to the family soon!”
All I could do was watch him file out with his henchman at his side. Was that going to be me?
Slinking down into the chair, I crossed my arms, throat tightening. How could I get out of this and protect Bri at the same time? It was obvious Knight didn’t know his father as well as he thought he did. The man was scary. There were fangs in the things he didn’t say. “Oh, God. What am I going to do?”