I'll keep telling us that anyway.
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“Liam,” he corrected.
“Liam.” Todd smiled winsomely. “We understand you have a commitment and we applaud your dedication…”
“But your itinerary is a mess,” JJ interrupted.
Todd stepped back and let her. Because the fact of the matter was this was the moment where they tested whether or not Corbet was willing to follow directions. This business didn’t work if the mark wasn’t willing to follow directions. JJ wouldn’t have a chance of getting him through the three weeks.
Corbet blinked at her. “Is it? I’m not really used to having an ‘itinerary’ so that’s not a surprise.” He offered her a hand. “I read the thing they sent me but I don’t remember your name.”
She shook hands, because it would be rude not to. “Commander Jennings is fine.”
“Commander.” He smiled, like he thought this was amusing, and looked at the board. “What part in particular did you have problems with? I can’t really change my speaking arrangements, or my apartment.”
She swiped across the board, moving to his scheduled itinerary. “The apartment is fine, or I can make it fine. There isn’t enough time in your planned itinerary for us to ensure your safety in transport. You’ve said you’ll leave the apartment at 0900 and begin your engagement at 0930, given travel time that doesn’t allow for perimeter maintenance.”
He blinked. “I’ll be awake by six. How much time do you need?”
Todd relaxed, and leaned against the desk. “In general at least thirty minutes on either side is preferable. You’re okay with us adding that in?”
Corbet nodded. “Sure.”
Todd smiled at her as he adjusted the schedule. JJ withheld her grumble and moved to the next part.
“You requested no detail on the weekends.”
“I’ll be at home most of the weekend.”
“But your threats were specific to this time period, and sounded like they had something to do with the conference.” JJ folded her arms over her chest. “The assumption that that means you are only in danger while at the conference is erroneous, and likely to lead to your safety being compromised in the entirety.”
Corbet wrinkled his nose in distaste. “So you’re going to follow me for the entire three weeks.”
“If you just want someone to follow you, hire a bodyguard.” JJ smiled, hard.
“Traditionally, Mr. Corbet, a security professional will orchestrate your movements for the period of the job, it is the best way to ensure ones safety,” Todd soothed. “It is inconvenient, I’m sure, but—”
“Less inconvenient than getting hurt,” Corbet said dryly. “I suppose I can manage three weeks. Did you have other concerns Commander Jennings?”
“A few.” She flipped to his listed modes of travel. “But the largest is the insistence that you travel on the E.” She highlighted where he’d listed all the different times and trains on the public transit system he’d listed.
“He has access to a driver he generally refuses to use.”
“I don’t need a driver,” Corbet insisted. “The E works just fine.”
JJ rolled her eyes. “Sure. It also has at least a few dozen, possibly a few hundred people on it I can’t easily account for.” If he wanted to slum it on the train with the normies the rest of the time, that wasn’t her business.
The twenty percent completion bonus wasn’t going to help much if she couldn’t complete the job.
He looked at his grandmother. “And this doesn’t have anything to do with you not liking the fact I take the E.”
“Yes, darling, you’ve found me out, I sent you death threats so you would use the driver we are already paying,” Jaqueline retorted.
Corben laughed, and gave her a one armed hug. “Well, I wouldn’t put it past you.” He looked back at JJ. “Should we just give you the contact information for the driver and you can arrange when he’ll be picking us up and where?”
“Yes.” JJ relaxed her shoulders. She didn’t like him, she’d honestly never met a trust-fund baby she liked and she’d met plenty of them in this job. But she didn’t have to like him to successfully run security. And if he was going to listen, and not be a stubborn idiot, she didn’t have a reason not to take the job.
She’d have liked to have a reason not to take the job, but she didn’t.
“I’ll need to adjust the start date on the contract. If you intend of leaving your apartment Monday I’ll need to set up the day before, at least.”
“Liam has an engagement at my house this evening, I’ll be taking him with me,” Jacqueline insisted, settling her jacket and adjusting her purse. “I can refuse to release him until the morning if you would prefer.”
JJ flipped back through the pages. “I can be ready by this evening.” It was barely noon now, that gave her more than enough time to lock her place up and gather supplies. “I can provide transport for this evening.”
Jacqueline nodded, and looked at Liam. “Is that agreeable to you, dear?”
“You don’t sound as if I have much choice, Maman.” He smiled, and nodded, though. “But yes. That’s fine.”
Todd pulled the contract tablet off his desk and held it out to Jacqueline. “I need your thumbprint and an acknowledgement of the change in quote, and then you can be on your way.”
She scanned through the contract before signing it, at least. Not that JJ was surprised by that. Jacqueline Corbet carried herself like the kind of woman who was capable and ready to rule the world. The kind of woman who fully understood the ins and outs of how her world worked and knew trusting anyone was a fool’s errand.
“It’s been a pleasure, Ma’am.” Todd shook her hand again, and opened his office door while shaking Liam’s. “Feel free to contract me if you have any concerns.”
JJ took a snapshot with her personal system of Corbet’s contact information. “I’ll contact you when I’m ready for retrieval this evening.”
“I shall endeavor to be waiting like the sack of potatoes I am.” He saluted jauntily and followed his grandmother out of the office.
Todd closed the door carefully, and let the privacy screens engage. “Well.”
JJ rubbed her face. “Why do I let you talk me into these jobs?”
“Because they pay well.” Todd cleared the board. “And he took notes real well, for a mark.”
“He did. I’m sure it won’t hold.”
Todd chuckled. “Eventually we’ll get those positive thinking lessons to stick.”
“Sure.” She grabbed her helmet off the chair in the corner. “I’ll work on that. Maybe when I take that retirement package.” She gave him a hard smile. “Excuse me while I go reorder my life because you didn’t tell the client showing up the morning of wasn’t an option.”
Todd tossed her the secure tablet that held all the mission particulars. “You’re picky about clients. There’s no point in my putting in extra effort if you’re going to refuse to take them.”
JJ waved the tablet at him, and had her hand on the door when he stopped her.
She stopped, and turned. “Chief?”
“In all seriousness, those letters didn’t look like nothing. If you need more, let me worry about whether they’re going to squabble over the price.”
She nodded in agreement. “That’s what you’re for. I always do.”