Their picnic lunch was very enjoyable. They were so wrapped up in their conversation and each other, they were oblivious to any around them. Although a more secluded location, people did saunter through from time to time. Jim had parked the car and leaned against a tree far enough away to allow privacy, but near enough to act should it become necessary.
Jim’s glance swept the area continually. Imperceptibly, Jim straightened. Sunglasses and hat in place, it was difficult for anyone to say with certainty what he was looking at. Suddenly he was sprinting, then running all out! He veered left then right through the bushes. Emma started. “Where did Jim come from? I thought he was gone?”
“Emma, please, come with me, now!” The gentle but firm command in his voice caught her attention immediately but before she could act, Nathan grasped her hands unexpectedly tugging her to her feet. Wrapping an arm securely around her waist, he practically plucked her off the ground, hurrying her along while shielding her body with his own. He was headed in the opposite direction. Every now and again he’d look back across his shoulder before spurring them forward to the waiting car. He pulled his key fob from his pocket, the car blinked seconds before he yanked the door open. He propelled Emma inside and across the seat before scrambling in behind her and snapping the door shut.
“Nathan, what the hell? What was that all about?” she asked peering about trying for a glimpse of whatever was responsible for the sudden dash to the vehicle. “Where’s Jim?” sudden concern clouded her eyes.
“Jim’s fine, he can take care of himself. I’m not worried about him for the moment. My priority was getting you to safety.”
“But what happened, Nathan? One second we were eating a delectable meal, the next your whisking me to the car!?”
“Jim is my bodyguard. He saw something out of the ordinary and went to take care of it. That’s all. Could be nothing. Jim tends to be overprotective on occasion.”
“Is this what I can expect then?”
“On occasion, possibly. I won’t take chances with your life, Emma. Nor will Jim. As long as he’s on guard duty, you will be safe. He won’t allow any harm to come to you.”
“That’s certainly wonderful to know, but a little-advanced warning might help. I’d know how to react in the event of a disturbance.”
“If you are with me, I’ll take care of you, should you be alone, Jim will direct you. Listen to him, Emma, do exactly what he says when he says to do it. If he tells you to run, then run. If he says lay low, find a place to hide and wait the disturbance out.”
“Soooo, you don’t know any more than I do what was up.”
“Jim will explain as soon as possible.”
“How long are we going to wait? I mean how do we find out if Jim’s alright?”
“This is what Jim does, Emma. He’ll be back,” Nathan assured her.
Emma was antsy. She’d never been involved in anything like this and the waiting seemed interminable as was her overriding concern for Jim. He may be doing his job, what he was paid for, and Nathan might take that in stride, but she didn’t, couldn’t. He was a human being, and should he fall taking care of her, well . . . she wasn’t sure how to cope with that.
Within minutes Jim was back. Using his own key fob, he entered the car and plopped down into the driver’s seat. “Jim, are you ok?” Emma asked scuttling forward on her seat to reach a hand toward him.
Turning to peer across his shoulder he responded, “I’m fine, Emma, someone came too close, had a camera, wanted pictures. I suggested they go elsewhere.”
“Does this happen often?”
“There are instances where someone gets too friendly and it’s necessary to dissuade their interest.”
Nathan sat back watching the interplay. Her heartfelt concern for Jim was touching. Jim handled the situation correctly, without divulging his real concern. Jim didn’t sprint after anyone unless there was a disconcerting provocation.