Click here to Download The Bodyguard PDF Book by Katherine Center Language English having PDF Size 3.9 MB and No of Pages 339.
MY MOTHER’S DYING wish was for me to take a vacation. “Just do it, okay?” she’d said, tucking a lock of hair behind my ear. “Just book a trip and go. Like normal people do.” I hadn’t taken a vacation in eight years. But I’d said, “Okay,” the way you do when your sick mom asks for something. Then I’d added, as if we were negotiating, “I’ll take one vacation.”
The Bodyguard PDF Book by Katherine Center
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|PDF Size||3.9 MB|
|No of Pages||339|
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Of course, I hadn’t realized it was her dying wish at the time. I thought we were just making middle-of-the-night hospital conversation. But then, suddenly, it was the night after her funeral. I couldn’t sleep, and I kept thrashing around in my bed, and that moment kept coming back to me. The way she’d held my gaze and squeezed my hand to seal the deal—as if taking a vacation could be something that mattered.
Now it was three in the morning. My funeral clothes were draped over a chair. I’d been waiting to fall asleep since midnight. At five in the morning, just as the sky was starting to lighten, I gave up, dragged all my sheets and blankets off the bed, shuffled to the walk-in closet, curled up on my side in a makeshift nest on the floor, and conked out, at last, in the windowless darkness.
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When I woke, it was four in the afternoon. I jumped up in a panic and stumbled around my room— buttoning my shirt wrong and kicking my shin on the footboard—as if I were late for work. I wasn’t late for work, though. My boss, Glenn, had told me not to come in. Had forbidden me to come in, actually. For a week. “Don’t even think about coming to work,” he’d said.
“Just stay home and grieve.” Stay home? And grieve? No way was I doing that. Especially since—now that I’d bought these tickets to Toledo—I needed to find my boyfriend, Robby, and force him to come with me. Right? Nobody goes to Toledo alone. Especially not for Valentine’s Day. It all seemed very urgent in the moment.
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In another state of mind, I could have simply texted Robby to stop by after work and just pleasantly invited him to come with me. Over dinner and drinks. Like a sane person. Maybe that would have been a better plan. Or led to a better result. But I wasn’t a sane person at the moment. I was a person who’d slept in her closet.
By the time I made it to the office that afternoon—just as the work day was ending—my hair was half-brushed, my shirt was half tucked in, and my funeral pantsuit still had a program with my mom’s high school graduation photo on the cover folded up in the jacket pocket. I guess it’s weird to head in to work the day after your mom’s funeral.
I’d researched it, and the most common bereavement leave from work was three days—though Glenn was making me take five. Other things I’d researched as my sleepless night wore on: “how to sell your parents’ house,” “fun things to do in Toledo” (a surprisingly long list), and “how to beat insomnia.” The Bodyguard PDF Book
I wasn’t sure exactly how much Jack Stapleton knew about the world, but part of my job today, and going forward, was to educate him. You absolutely have to get buy-in from the principal, because you really can’t do it alone. Making it clear that protection is necessary without freaking anyone out is a crucial task at the beginning.
You have to calibrate exactly how much clients can handle. Arriving at Jack Stapleton’s door, I clutched a checklist of things to cover so that he could hold up his end of the safety bargain. I also had some basic in-person tasks that his assistant in LA couldn’t do for him: fingerprints, a blood draw, a handwriting sample.
Plus, a list of questions that Glenn called the VPQ—Very Personal Questionnaire—that gathered info on tattoos, moles, fears, weird habits, and phobias. Normally, we’d do a video recording, too, but, obviously, for this guy: no need. Anyway, that was all I had to do. Stick to the script. But wow, did I feel nervous. The Bodyguard PDF Book
And that was before he shocked the hell out of me by opening the door. Shirtless. Just opened up the front door. To a total stranger. Utterly naked from the waist up. What kind of a power move was that? “Jesus Christ!” I said, spinning around and covering my eyes. “Put some clothes on!” But the image of him was already burned into my retinas: Bare feet.
Frayed Levi’s. A corded leather necklace encircling the base of his neck, just above his collarbones. And I don’t even have words for what was happening in the midsection. I squeezed my eyes tighter. How the hell was I supposed to work with that? “Sorry!” he said, behind me in the doorway. “Timed that wrong.” Then, “It’s safe now.”
I made myself drop my hand and turn back around … Where I beheld Jack Stapleton halfway through the process of wriggling into a T-shirt—six-pack muscles undulating like they wanted to put me in a trance. Let me just stop the clock right here for a second, because it’s not every day you stand in Jack Stapleton’s doorway, squinting directly into his magnificence. The Bodyguard PDF Book
While he does a completely normal yet utterly astonishing thing, like put on a T-shirt. Glenn had sent over a pretend wardrobe for the pretend girlfriend, courtesy of a personal-shopper lady friend of his. No pantsuits allowed. Fair enough. That’s how I wound up wearing an embroidered sundress with sandals, my hair wrapped in a messy bun.
I guess it’s hard to feel professional in a sundress with puffy cap sleeves. It was late October, I should mention, but that can mean anything in Texas, weather-wise—and it was a solid eighty degrees outside. Even so, I felt underprepared, a little bit chilly, weirdly naked, and uncharacteristically vulnerable. I missed my pantsuit, is what I’m saying.
And yet. I could see why Jack would want to do it this way. When my mom was sick, I’d been all about bolstering her spirits, and keeping her hopes alive, and protecting her from despair. I got it. The idea that Jack might be in danger could be very stressful. It’s hard enough being sick. The Bodyguard PDF Book Download
I’d thought about it last night as I’d driven the freeway— doing a quick route assessment out to the ranch and back— and I decided I was fine with it. In theory, at least. Now, today, as it was actually happening, I was less fine. I sat primly in the passenger seat with my knees pressed together, feeling not myself.
Jack Stapleton, in contrast, positively lounged in the driver’s seat, steering with one hand and manspreading like a champion. Hair unbrushed defiantly. Chewing gum. Wearing aviator sunglasses like he’d been born in them. We were going to a ranch, so I guess I’d expected a cowboy look from him.
But he seemed more like we were heading for a weekend at the Cape—a snug blue polo and stone-colored khakis with loafers and no socks. True, I grew up in Houston. You might guess I’d been to a ranch before. But, honestly, no. I’d been to the Eiffel Tower, the Acropolis, the Taj Mahal, and the Forbidden City in Beijing, but I’d never been to a Texas ranch. The Bodyguard PDF Book Download
It was hopeless, but I tried zhuzh-ing myself a little bit, anyway. I took off my jacket and hid it behind a potted plant. I rolled my sleeves and unbuttoned the top button of my blouse. I unwrapped my hair from its bun and shook it out to fluff it. I popped my collar for a second before deciding I was too nervous to pull that off. I’d just have to make it work.
I mentally reviewed what I knew about Jack’s parents from the file. Dad: William Gentry Stapleton, a veterinarian, now retired. Went by Doc. Widely beloved by all who knew him. Once rescued a newborn calf from a flooded oxbow lake. Married to Connie Jane Stapleton, retired school principal, for over thirty years. High school sweethearts.
They’d spent five years in the Peace Corps, rescued homeless horses, belonged to a recreational swing-dancing club, and were, by all accounts, good people. I knocked on the door, and then I opened it as I said, redundantly, “Knock, knock.” The three Stapleton men were seated around Connie Stapleton’s bed in chairs they’d pulled close. The Bodyguard PDF Book Download
She was sitting up a little, wearing a dab of lipstick with her feathery white hair neatly brushed—and looking somehow more puttogether than a postsurgery patient in a hospital gown had any right to. She could have pulled off a popped collar. If she’d had a collar to pop. At the sight of them—live, actual people—I started overthinking it.
What kind of expression would Jack’s girlfriend have on her face? Warmhearted? Concerned? What did those expressions even look like? How did you arrange your features? How did actors even do this? I held my hands out for the rifle, and I let him hand it to me. Then I let him give me a lesson. I didn’t lie to him, exactly.
I just stayed pleasantly mute while he walked me through the most basic of basic introductions to the gun in my hands: “This is the stock,” he said, “and this is the barrel. This is the trigger. You pull this lever to reload between shots.” Then he pointed at the muzzle. “This is where the bullets come out. Be sure to point that at the ground until you’re ready to make some trouble.” The Bodyguard PDF Book Download
This is where the bullets come out? The urge to show him up rose in my body like water filling a glass. “Take that little group over there,” Doc said, gesturing at row of old beer bottles. “If you can hit one, I’ll give you a quarter.” Wow. There was something so inspiring about being so underestimated. Right then I decided to do more than just hit the bottles.
I was going to hit them with some style. Fast and easy. Like a badass. And also: from the hip. “Okay, little lady,” Doc said then. “Just try your best.” My best? Okay. I flipped off the safety, stepped into a comfortable stance, pressed the rifle butt to my hip bone, and pulled the trigger with a BOOM! The rifle had a hell of a kick, but the first bottle disappeared in a puff of sand.
But I didn’t even stop to enjoy it. As soon as I’d pulled the trigger, I was popping the lever out and back with a satisfying ka-chunk and then pulling the trigger again. Another BOOM! And another bottle turned to dust. Then another, then another, then another. BOOM—kachunk, BOOM—ka-chunk, BOOM! Right across the row, as the bottles exploded one after the other. The Bodyguard PDF Book Free
With unexpected things: The way he took every opportunity to shoot free throws at the kitchen garbage can —and missed every time. The way he was trying to make friends with a crow by setting popcorn out on the fence. The way he’d decided that the most sanitary way for everyone to sneeze was to put their face inside their shirt at the moment of impact.
“See?” he said one night, after sneezing into his shirt at dinner. “It totally contains the spray.” We all stared at him. “But you just sneezed on yourself,” Hank pointed out. “People who want to be famous think it’s the same thing as being loved, but it’s not. Strangers can only ever love a version of you. People loving you for your best qualities is not the same as people loving you despite your worst.”
“So,” I said, “until the whole nation has seen your boxer briefs on the bathroom floor…” Jack gave a decisive nod. “Then it’s not true love.” I relaxed for a minute and let my swing slow down. Jack went on. “It skews your perspective, too. Everybody wants to be around you all the time, and they hang on your every word and laugh at everything even if it’s not funny. The Bodyguard PDF Book Free
And you’re kind of the center of every situation you’re in.” “That doesn’t sound too bad, though.” “But then you get used to it. You start forgetting to notice other people or ask them about themselves. You start believing your own hype. Everybody treats you like you’re the only person that matters … and you just start thinking that’s true. And then you become a narcissistic asshole.”