Unedited. Subject to change. Probably the last sample. Enjoy 🙂
The thing about the Whitfields though… if you answered to one, you answered to all. But even if that wasn’t the case, I would always ask “how high?” to any request of Angela’s to see me jump, because she was one of my favorite people in the world.
“Sit down, please,” she said, motioning to a place at the counter where a cup of black coffee was already set up. Hers was at the next seat, and without waiting for me, she made herself comfortable in the bar chair and started adding cream and sugar to her own cup.
I did as she asked, lowering myself into the seat she’d offered, and preparing my coffee using ingredients from the tiny decorative bowls on the counter. Angela watched in silence, not speaking until I’d taken a sip from the luxurious Ospina coffee she brewed – the good stuff, unlike the shit her son kept at his house.
“So,” she started. “My son has mentioned that you’ve seemed a little preoccupied lately. Something on your mind?”
As a stall tactic, I took another sip, savoring it longer than necessary before I shook my head. “No ma’am. Nothing more than the usual.”
“Really? Because… he claims you’ve been off your game.”
My eyes bulged wide. “King said that?!”
Angela lifted a hand. “No, actually, let me amend that. He said you’ve been… paranoid. Which, let’s face it – is a default state for you. But for it to be so obvious that those close to you see a difference…”
I cleared my throat. “I promise you ma’am, my duty to this family is of the utmost im—”
“I don’t need any of that,” Angela interrupted. “I’m well aware of your dedication to us – however unnecessary I may find it. And do not open your mouth to argue.”
Only because she said so, I pressed my lips closed.
The truth was, I barely wanted to accept payment from the Whitfield family for my security services – I’d gladly do it for free because of what Daniel and Angela had pulled me out of. Instead of using me as the carefully honed weapon I’d become after years of investment… they hired a tutor for me. Gave me a room in their home. Treated me not like I was an asset, but a person.
Wherever the Whitfields went, I would follow.
“Anyway, you don’t have to explain yourself sweetie,” Angela said, patting my hand. “It’s clear that whatever is going on, isn’t something you wish to discuss. When you are ready, I’m here. Okay?”
A smile spread across Angela’s beautiful face as she pushed her thick, gray-streaked hair behind her ear. I didn’t flinch when she reached out, cupping a hand under my chin.
“You are such a wonderful young woman,” she said, a compliment that brought heat to my cheeks, even as I tried to keep my expression neutral. “I wish I could erase the things that still haunt you.”
I inclined my head. “I don’t.”