HB01 – Introductions

“You come highly recommended. But I need to see it for myself. Prove that you can protect my most precious daughter.”

The bodyguard smiled. Then she moved. Hands on desk. Legs over desk. Before her client could blink again, the bodyguard had her arm around the man’s neck, and another arm locking his behind his back.

“Move and I’ll break your neck,” she breathed into his ear as she pulled out her sleek blade from the sheath on her thigh. Without hesitation, she threw it at the cushion on the couch in front of her client and it cut right through the middle. “With my bare hands,” she finished.

“I’m not moving. I’m not moving. Please don’t kill me,” her client begged.

“If I kill you, who’s gonna pay my salary?” Stepping away from her client, the bodyguard returned to her seat and waited for him to regain his calm.

When his breathing regained regularity, he looked at the petite, youthful woman in different light. Here sat the best bodyguard for his youngest daughter. One that most people would probably underestimate. One that would make them pay a steep price for doing so. But this bodyguard needed to be told one more thing before he sealed the deal.

“The daughter you are going to protect is my youngest. She lost her mother at a young age and because of that, I have tried to give her all that I can. Now that she is grown up, she can be a little demanding. You must have the patience to handle her moods and temperament. Failure to do so will result in your contract’s termination.”

“Mr. Hwang, with all due respect, a spoilt princess’s behavior is well within my tolerance. But to do my job properly, I must be given permission to give your daughter the necessary advice and training to ensure her safety.”

Her client’s eyes twinkled when she mentioned ‘necessary advice’ and ‘training’. “I see. Well, if it has to do with her safety, by all means, do what you must. I give you permission to do the necessary.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hwang.”

“Do you have any other requests or questions?”

“No, Mr. Hwang.”

Her client pressed on a button and instructed his secretary to send in the contract prepared by his lawyer. She entered the office with a folder in hand and placed a copy in front of both Mr. Hwang and the bodyguard. Pen in hand, they signed on the dotted line and exchanged contracts. As soon as the second signature was down, Mr. Hwang stood with eyes that twinkled like stars with secrets to tell.

“You’re offcially hired, Ms. Kim. Do your job well. My daughter’s safety is in your hands.”

“Your daughter is in good hands, Mr. Hwang.” The bodyguard smiled as she got up to leave. “There are no better hands than mine.”

¤¤¤

The bodyguard her father hired didn’t look impressive at all. She was very slim, shorter than her, and looked like she just got out of high school. Of all the bodyguards her father had hired over the years, this girl must be the worst. Maybe her father was getting old and losing his eye for quality. Maybe the supply of female bodyguards was running low and this girl was the only one left that nobody wanted to hire. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

“Stephanie–“

“Daddy, I’ve told you a million times–don’t call me Stephanie.”

“Alright, alright. Tiffany it is.”

“Yes, Tiffany it is.” Now,” said Tiffany, casting a glance at the bodyguard and looking away as though she was something unpleasant to look at, “is she going to be my new bodyguard?” Wrinkling her nose, Tiffany continued, “She’s a little short for a bodyguard. Are you sure she’ll be able to protect me?”

“She’s the best, dear. Highly recommended by a discreet source.”

“Well, if the ‘source’ is really discreet, you wouldn’t get to hear about it, would you?” Tiffany sighed. This was such a waste of her time. She could think of at least ten better things to do than to be introduced to her new bodyguard.

Her father merely laughed at her jab. He always laughed it off. Tiffany was sick of her father’s patronizing way of handling her biting comments and even sicker of her father pandering to her whims and fancies. She was no longer a little child. When was her father going to talk to her like he did with her older brother and sister?

“Dear Tiffany, I’ll leave you to get acquainted with your new bodyguard. Ms. Kim has been briefed and she knows what she has to do. Get to know her well. She’ll be your companion for a long time.”

“Oh, we never know. Life is full of surprises and Ms. Kim might decide to quit even before the week is up.”

Strangely, instead of laughing again, her father smiled. His eyes twinkled merrily as though they had something to say. But all he said was goodbye before leaving the hall for his study room. Weird. But whatever. She had a bodyguard to deal with. And she knew exactly how to put her bodyguard in place.

Turning to the bodyguard who looked more like a girl who needs protection herself, she gave her first order in her haughtiest tone, “Come with me.”

¤¤¤

Once they were inside her bedroom, Tiffany closed the door and began her real introductory speech. “Ms. Kim, I know my father paid you a handsome fee to protect me, but let me tell you right now, that you are to stay out of my way. You will not be seen by my friends or anyone I am with. If you are to interfere with my life, whether it’s social or work, you will be fired immediately.” Tiffany finished her speech with the same glare that had sent all her previous bodyguards into a state of uncertainty and she looked eagerly to see the same look in the new bodyguard’s eyes. But there was no uncertainty to be seen.

“Ms. Hwang, firstly, I am here to protect yo–“

“Do you understand what I just said? Or do I need to repeat myself.”

“Let me say my piece, Ms. Hwang,” said the bodyguard with a stare, strong as steel. Taken aback, Tiffany remained silent and the bodyguard continued, “Point number one. I’m here to protect you, not to be your friend. Point number two, I don’t need to stay close to you all the time so your friends probably won’t see me anyway. But if I feel, at any point in time, that your safety is in danger, then I will appear and take the necessary precautions, friend or no friend, work or no work. I’ll take no chances. Do you understand?”

Tiffany sucked in a breath of hot, angry air. How dare this bodyguard speak to her like this! “Ms. Kim–“

“Don’t call me Ms. Kim. It makes it terribly obvious that I’m your bodyguard and that’s bad for your security. We’re both twenty-seven. Call me Taeyeon.”

“Why should I listen to you? You’re just my bodyguard. You’re not my father or my boss.”

“Ms. Hwang, I’m going to call you Tiffany. In the event that I must make my presence known, calling each other by our first names will establish that we know each other casually. This will lower the guard of whoever it is you’re with.”

“Ms. Kim–“

“I said, call me Taeyeon.”

“I refuse.”

“Well, in that case, there’s only one thing left to do.”

Tiffany smirked. This might be the fastest resignation yet. “Are you gonna quit?”

“Quit?” Taeyeon chuckled. “Tiffany, you don’t know me well yet, so let me tell you one thing about myself. I don’t ever quit. Unless my job is done and my contract fulfilled.”

“What are you gonna do if you’re not gonna quit?” Tiffany followed Taeyeon with her eyes all the way to the safe in her built-in shelving unit. “What are you going there fo–shit, no!” But it was too late. The fucking bodyguard had already opened the safe and taken hold of her passport. “Put my passport back in the safe!”

The bodyguard fended off her hands deftly, stopping her from snatching her passport back. “If you’re not gonna cooperate with me, you will not be allowed to go to Singapore with your friends this Saturday.”

“Fucking hell, who are you to treat me like this? I’ll have my father fire you right now!”

With the passport still in her hands, the bodyguard gave her a push and moved to the door swiftly. “Be my guest,” she said and opened the door.

Fuming mad by now, Tiffany marched to the door and glared at the audacious bodyguard. “You’ll regret this.”

Still holding the passport away from her, the bodyguard smiled. “We’ll see, Tiffany. We’ll see.”

¤¤¤

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