The entire drive home, all Emma could think about was their delightful encounter. Phew, any hotter and they’d have had to call 911. How delicious was he! Her phone rang. Pulling the cell from within her cavernous purse, she noted Nathan’s phone number. “Hello.”
“Have dinner with me tomorrow night, Emma. We have much to discuss.”
“I’m in meetings until six, so around seven I should be free.”
“Seven it is, I’ll have Jim pick you up.”
The reprieve was over. She’d hear him out. It was a forgone conclusion at this point. Moot indeed. Emma had every intention of getting to the bottom of this story, such as it was, and enjoying the amuse-gueule as she thought of their delightful encounters, along the way. She only hoped her heart could hold up. It would be very easy to lose herself in Nathan and what they could become to each other.
Nathan was busily preparing. He couldn’t wait to have Emma all to himself. He’d given his employee something to think about for interrupting them and Nathan doubted it would ever occur again.
Emma dressed with care. The deep Koamaru sheath dress she’d chosen was easily transformed from day wear with a long line jacket along with black handbag and floral cutout peep toe shoes, into evening wear by adding silver aquamarine teardrop earrings and pendant necklace.
Promptly at seven, Jim was waiting out front of the condo. Her amused eyes took in the slightest of movements, as curtains opened and closed by curious onlookers. Indeed it would definitely have caught her eye if a limo suddenly started dropping by a neighbours home. She couldn’t fault them for it.
Dinner was a delectable mixture of french cuisine starting with salad, Chicken Marengo, baguettes, and pots de creme. “Nathan, every bite was sumptuous. If I keep eating like this, I’ll be the size of a house in no time.”
“I doubt that! You enjoy your food, but you never over indulge. You taste the flavours offered and I’ve noticed you stop when you are replete.”
Retreating to the ‘den’ for lack of a better word, Nathan had coffee brought in. Once they were settled, he began his story. “I have been involved in covert operations of a sort for a considerable number of years.”
“I take it you want this off the record?”
“It’s imperative, Emma, otherwise I’m useless to anyone.”
“I don’t work for anyone but myself and I take only the cases that interest me the most, or where harm is imminent to children or other individuals unable to protect themselves. Hence the secrecy.”
“There are many occasions I’ve entered other countries, and my artwork provides appropriate cover so my actions aren’t questioned.”
“What are we talking about here, Nathan?”
“I do whatever is necessary to free captives, protect children, and remove families from duress. While it is my intent to extricate these people without harm, it has on occasion been inevitable. Intel may have been missing, and while I managed to do the job, there have been one or two occasions when an innocent bystander was harmed.”
“Many of the individuals involved are high-rollers. Some paid assassins, others opportunists. Very few know what I do or what my cover is. However, having said that, there are and have been reprisals. On occasion, after extraction, family members have come looking for revenge.”
“If you decide to partner with me, long or short-term, you will inevitably require constant protection.”
“I get that there are and could likely be reprisals, but why me?”
“Since its has been incumbent upon me to protect family friends and close associates, I will unquestionably protect you. You will surely become a target as well. You need to know, going into a relationship with me, that there might be serious consequences.”
“This certainly comes out of left field, Nathan, and wasn’t something I would have suspected. You’ve certainly managed to keep the lid on this, because I dug, and dug deep using every resource I could find, and I was unable to uncover anything that hinted at a clandestine existence.”
“You’ll have to accept a guard will accompany you at all times until the current situation I’m involved in, is resolved. It includes a wealthy man of ill repute on the outskirts of London. His daughter was seen badly beaten and her picture was captured and sent to me by a close and very concerned relative. Arrangements have been made for her entry into the states and she’ll remain under my protection until such times as it is safe for her return home.”
“I received a letter yesterday indicating the people responsible for her current condition have become aware that she’s going to be extracted and brought here. Reprisals are almost certain.”
“How would they know of me? We just met.”
“Intel in this business is immediate and responses more so.”