A puff of smoke streamed from my mouth as the cigarette parted from my lips. The cool surface of the black Bentley sent a chill down my spine as I exhaled…mentally preparing myself for another grueling day.
This job was the last thing I wanted…
I remembered sitting in the Oval Office. The President pulled me off my midnight shift, outer perimeter security at the White House, to have a chat. Two weeks prior I received a distinguished service medal for protecting the President's family from a subject who opened fire on their motorcade. I was allotted a week off, but only took two days. I didn't know how to function without a vest on my chest and an SR slung over my shoulder. For the past ten years, that's all I knew…and it kept me sane. Downtime only left time to think and stare at the ceiling fan as it whirred overhead, its humming noise sending my mind into a still chaos. So, since the pomp and circumstance along with my unneeded break was over, I was unsure why the Commander and Chief needed to speak with me again. I had heard his many thanks to the point it was unnerving. Even more irritating was the look from my peers, who's eyes bled "kiss ass" as I passed them by. No one here has the guts to confront me. Instead they averted their eyes.
I became team lead for my tactics and ruthless drills, and they knew one word would make their morning exercises hell. However, I never wanted special treatment. I, like them, just do my job.
"Sit down, Mr. Ray." The President smiled in the Oval Office, pointing to a plush couch.
I did as the president commanded, making sure not to damage his seats with my raid vest.
"Look, I really appreciate not only what you've done for my family, but also for the American people. Your superiors have nothing but good things to say about you. You're a highly distinguished Iraqi war vet and have taken your training and experience to improve our uniform division program. Now we have not only boys, but weapons protecting our homeland."
What's he getting at?
"However, what is puzzling is Colonel Lee said you have no desire to become an agent. Instead you prefer to remain on UD? Why is that?"
Easy, I don't want to babysit politicians…especially HIM.
"I'm a guard dog, sir. That's what I do best and this is the best place for my skillset."
He smiled, my response was what he wanted to hear. Shit.
"Understood, but let me be frank. My son's DL is retiring and I want you to take his spot."
"What?" I couldn't help the surprise leak of my mouth.
"Don't sound too excited!" He joked.
I couldn't hide it. Didn't he know? Sure, he was never around back then and I'd be unrecognizable to the boy I once was…but you can't tell me that he didn't know…that Kai and I…
"My son informed me that you two had a past, but I can't think of anyone else more qualified for the job. So, let's let sleeping dogs lie Mr. Ray."
I watched this man walk over to me, his hand outstretched as if he was selling a bill that needed to be passed. But here's the thing…I wanted to say no. Actually, I wanted to tell him that I would rather cut off his son's balls than protect him. But instead…
"What do you say to being promoted as a special agent?"
I took the job.
The cigarette fell to the floor as I extinguished it beneath my foot. I leaned back on the car, staring up into the heavens.
What the hell was I thinking?
My earpiece began to buzz. DL, Lotus coming to you.
Lotus…how I wish we could've OK'd the codename Dick.
I stood up, holding the rear passenger door open as two agents flanked me: making sure no threats were approaching.
My lead, Agent Roy Pearson, appeared first out of the hillside manor, called the Belle, and behind him was…Kai. Today he wore a Beverly-hills sport coat with bright blue shorts. His aviator glasses covered his green eyes, and his brown hair was slicked to the side. To me, he was still daddy's little frat boy.
"Morning, mutt." His smug lips were almost too close, that I unconsciously pushed him inside the Bentley and closed the door.
"Lotus in limo." I conveyed to my team, as they made their way into the SUV's in front and behind the limo.
"Geez," Kai smirked as I got into the driver's seat.
Kai leaned up close to me, his hand reaching out to my shoulder. "Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed."
I caught his hand before I felt his touch.
"Lotus secured, ready to move." I stated into my mic, returning Kai's hand.
"Mr. Yanaka, I'd appreciate it if you sat back and put on your seat belt."
I shifted the Bentley in drive as I started to follow the lead car to the Hanley House: Kai's favorite stop for breakfast.
"Oh, that's right." I heard Kai click in his seatbelt. "I forgot, you don't like being touched. Which is wild since I've seen all your scars."
"I mean, don't you think it's odd that we are together again, like this? It's like a stray returning to his master."
Bite your tongue.
"Hell, after that day, you were so devastated that your love for me was one sided that it was almost pathetic. You said you hated me, supposedly enough to run off to the marines, huh. How silly."
My knuckles were turning white. The more he talked, the more I wanted to shove my gun in his mouth.
"Shit, you probably haven't dated anyone since! I mean, how could you? Intimacy is not your—"
I slammed on the breaks, taking Kai by surprise. It was a red light, the same burning hatred that illuminated my soul. Had he chosen to forget what really happened that day…the day he and those thugs…
My eyes were an unnatural color. But when I was pissed, they lit up like the depths of Hades. And as I looked into the rearview mirror, I got satisfaction out of seeing Kai sweat. He was calculating what I would do next.
I took out my gun, not taking my eyes off him.
"What…what are you?" He questioned, uncomfortable.
I released the mag, emptied the 40 caliber round out of the chamber of my Sig and caught it: placing my weapon on the center console. I held the bullet in my hand, so Kai could see it clear as day.
"This," I said, flinging it back to him, "is for you."
Kai caught the round, dread clouding his face.
I reloaded my gun and replaced it in my holster just as the light turned green.
"You're going to need it."