Billionaire Protector

By: Nikki Chase

I spot several men in the garden, buff men who wear black, like the man at the gate—and, come to think of it, my driver, too.

I wonder what they do. Are they gardeners? Are gardeners usually this brawny? Are they security? Why would Seth need this kind of security?

His understated business card simply says Seth Wayne, and lists a phone number and an email address. No mention of his line of work at all.

The main question pops into my head, the same question that I’ve been asking myself: How well do I really know Seth Wayne?

The answer scares me: not very well. I didn't even know his last name until he gave me his business card last night.

To be honest, I have a small crush on him. Just a tiny one. Can you blame me? The guy is hot as sin, even if he’s rude and demanding.

What can I say? He appreciates good food, and it flatters me that he’d hire me, considering his high standards.

When he called me back to the table last night, I thought he was finally going to ask me out. Everybody said he was about to do it soon. There was even a betting pool going on in the kitchen.

Then, instead of a date, he asked me to an interview. Of course a man like him wouldn't go for someone like me. I mean, just look at this mansion! Obviously, the man is some kind of a billionaire. He probably only dates supermodels.

It's not that I don't like getting complimented on my cooking. Of course I appreciate the compliments; cooking is my art. What's an artist without the people who appreciate her art?

It was just a rough day for my feminine confidence.

When I saw Fred at lunch yesterday, I realized I’d been waiting for a loser to change his ways for me for five damn years. Why did I do that? What a waste of precious time!

It makes me so angry when I think about it, not so much because it didn't work out, but more because it took me so long to realize it was never going to work out.

Then, I realized I still had no idea who had sent me the flowers. So, when Seth asked for more time, I was hoping…

Ah, never mind. I was being dumb.

I shake my head to dispel the negativity brewing inside my brain.

I’ve decided today is a new day. I’ve obviously been in a funk, and a new beginning is exactly what I need.

For weeks, I’d been pining for Fred, thinking about how he was finally becoming the thoughtful guy who’d finally treat me right. I couldn't have been more wrong.

So, I’ve been thinking. Maybe it takes more to really make a clean break with Fred. In the past, whenever I didn't want to talk to him, he’d come to my apartment building and wait for me downstairs. Moving here would solve my problem of having to avoid Fred, removing the temptation altogether.

I don't want to see him when I feel lonely. I’m afraid I’d impulsively decide to get back with him, just so I could cling to something familiar.

I can’t take that risk; I’ve done that way too many times before. Now, while I’m thinking clearly, it’s time to make sure that won't happen.

The best way to do that is to move the hell away from the city, go somewhere he won't find me. Like here, in a small town I’ve never heard of.

I walk up the front steps of the mansion, stop at the door, and press the bell button. A woman opens the door. Her skin is tanned brown, and her hair is dark as night. She gives me a smile, showing off her white teeth.

“Hi, I’m Alice Webb. I’m here to see Seth Wayne.”

“Come in, Alice. Seth has been waiting for you.” The woman speaks perfectly fluent English with a thick Spanish accent.

She gestures for me to follow her with her hand, drawing my attention to her long, pretty red nails. Working in the kitchen as I do, keeping my nails long or painted is not an option. She wears a red wrap dress that skims her figure beautifully, showing off her petite, curvaceous body.

Who is she? A sister, a girlfriend, a wife?

I look around me. High ceilings, marble floors, classy interiors—this is the residence of a rich man. To be honest, I had my doubts that Seth could double my salary at The Local. He didn't even know what they were paying me. But now I see he has the money to back up his offer.

It's hard to say no to that kind of money. If I keep getting work at good restaurants and I make a name for myself, maybe I’ll eventually reach that kind of income level, but it’ll take years of hard work and a lot of luck.

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