Fit for the Job(8)

By: Darien Cox

“I love my daughter, Bodie. This isn’t all about protecting my own ass,” he said, seeming to read Bodie’s unspoken thoughts. “I’m still the dad. I need to teach her right from wrong. It’s my responsibility. And what she’s doing is wrong.”

Bodie nodded. “I know. I just don’t know what you think this Jay character can do to help the situation.”

“I’m not going to be around much with all the filming and she’s not allowed to have friends visit while...all this shit is going on. Not until I can find a way to resolve it with her. She needs a hobby, something healthier than sitting around watching horror movies. Endorphins from exercise will be good for her mood,” Eben said. “Sassy will love Jay, mark my words. He’s a nice looking guy, don’t you think?”

As happened often, Bodie found himself baffled by Eben’s logic. Sassy was going through a severe emotional crisis due to whatever had gone down between the two of them. But rather than take time off from working, and throw everything he could into fixing the troubled relationship with his child, Eben was more or less hiring an expensive babysitter, like he could distract her with a shiny bauble and their problems would magically go away.

“You do realize he’s gay, don’t you?” Bodie said snidely. His boss’s seeming comfort with the idea of distracting his daughter with an attractive man—man, not boy—added to the growing list of things about this job that made Bodie’s moral compass squirm.

Eben laughed. “Well, you would know.”

“Funny. I’m serious.”

“Of course I know he’s gay,” Eben said. “You think I’d hire a thirty-year-old man to spend time with my fifteen-year-old daughter if he wasn’t gay? Not that I assume everyone’s a predator, just makes me feel more comfortable.”

“Thirty?” Bodie asked. “He looks about twenty-one.”

“I know,” Eben said. “She’s gonna love him. And if she spends enough time with him, she’ll grow to trust him. And maybe we can end this...madness.”

Bodie struggled not to flinch again. “You said you tore her phone, her computer, everything she owns apart. Is it possible she was bluffing, and doesn’t actually have anything hidden away? Maybe you should loosen the reins on her a little.”

As soon as it came out of Bodie’s mouth, he knew it was a mistake. Eben’s handsome face folded in a frown, his sparkling blue eyes set in a cold stare. “How I discipline my daughter is none of your business. If you have a problem with it, you can find another job, Bodie.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t want another job. I’ve got your back, Eb, it’s’s hard to see her in distress. She is family to me, remember. I like the kid.”

Eben’s frown smoothed out and his shoulders relaxed. “I’m sorry, Bodie. I know this is hard for you.” He reached over and gave Bodie’s forearm a squeeze. “You’re my blood. And you’ve been a godsend. I couldn’t ask anyone else to help me with this delicate a situation. Ingrid’s washed her hands of it, she says it’s my problem and I have to fix it, she’s no help at all. I’ve got no one I can trust.”

“You can trust me,” Bodie said, and he meant it. He might not like all of Eben’s methods. Hell, he didn’t like most of Eben’s life choices. But he’d pledged his loyalty, and Eben had helped him out when he was in a tight spot. He owed him.

“Can I just say one more thing about this, and then I promise I’ll zip my lip?”

Eben nodded. “Of course.”

“What if your predictions come true, and Sassy does start to trust this Jay guy. Trusts him so much that she confides in him about this...damaging material she has on you. How do you know Jay will come to you? How do you know he’ll tell you anything she said to him? You just met the guy.”

Eben shrugged. He stared at Bodie for a long moment. “I don’t. That’s why you’re going to have to make Jay trust you.” He shrugged. “Intimately, if necessary.”

Bodie frowned. He hadn’t planned on becoming too friendly with the fitness instructor. Sure, he’d have to spend time around him because of his security duties with Sassy. But he didn’t particularly want to watch the train wreck close up. If Jay was a normal guy, as he seemed to be, he’d quickly realize that things around here were anything but normal. And Bodie didn’t want to be seen as someone who contributed to that. He didn’t want Jay to dislike him. It was silly, as he’d just met the guy, barely spoken a word to him. But he found his mind kept wandering back to the flush he’d seen in Jay’s cheeks when Bodie held his gaze, the obvious interest in his eyes.

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