Shelly's Story - Part 3
I kept that appointment, even though it was a little weird. OK, a lot weird. Still, Chez Café was a public place. What could it hurt?
When I got there, the cafe was one of those intimate little restaurants, which was kind of a surprise. I figured someone with Mr. Mann's money would go for the bigger and fancier places to eat. I just didn't realize how much he valued his privacy.
I was escorted to Mr. Mann's table, and we had a pleasant enough chat. He asked about me and my opinions on a lot of things, and actually listened to my answers. That was rare. I was impressed by what he had to say, especially since he made a point to look at my FACE while we were talking.
Finally, he leaned over and said, “Shelly, I'd like to make you an offer.”
Oh boy, I thought, here it comes. I knew this was too good to be true.
“I want to hire you as my personal assistant. But really, you'd...”
Uh huh, right, “personal assistant.” I knew the code. Thanks, but no thanks.
“...be my bodyguard.”
Huh? That wasn't how I'd seen that sentence ending. I grilled Mr. Mann as to why he didn't already have regular bodyguards or personal assistants or in fact anybody. He claimed that they “hindered his work.” I asked him what that meant. He clammed up.
So, what were the terms? Freedom to come and go as I pleased. Set my own hours. I didn't even have to follow him everywhere all the time. All he needed me to do was assist him with his research, and give him pointers in self-defense when I was available. Bodyguard duties would be at my discretion. I'd be on the payroll for a lot of money, and free to decide what my job description involved.
No hanky panky? “None.”
What about his personal life? “I don't have one.”
That was a surprise, too. I knew he'd been involved with that reporter Roxanne Prize for a couple of years, but that had ended badly. He'd sort of withdrawn socially since then, and some jerks in the media had even dubbed him “Captain Satellite.” They said it was because his mind was always in orbit, instead of on Earth. Creeps.
It was my turn to look into Paul Mann's eyes, and what I saw was a sincerity that would have been hard to fake. Plus, he sure came across as really damn innocent for someone who was one of the richest people in the world. I chose to trust him, until he gave me a reason to hit the road. Maybe it was all a put-on, but I wanted to find out for myself. Besides, if this was real, it would be the sweetest job ever.
“Mr. Mann, you've got a deal,” I said, and we shook hands.
TO BE CONTINUED