Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”

-Helen Keller


Serves me right for listening to an online advertisement. Serves me right for being tempted by $600 a day. So here I am.

Her high black heels click toward me, and she purses a mouth rich with pink lipstick. Her eyes are brown and almond-shaped, highlighted with dark gray and lavender eye-makeup. She smooths down her gray pencil skirt and her black suit jacket worn over a ruffled white blouse, and perches on the edge of her desk.

“I’m still not so sure, Mrs. DeVeen,” I say. She smiles warmly.
“Come on, dear, you’re perfect for the job. You know how many people applied? 25. And you’re the best out of all of them.”
“I don’t know…”
She looks steadily at me. “I’m not going to lie to you, Orli. It’s not going to be an easy job. My daughter is… very headstrong. You have to protect her without her even knowing you’re there.”
She sets my resume on the desk. “But I’m confident you can do it.”
“Um, can I ask something?”
Mrs. DeVeen is the very picture of your typical caring-but-responsible business mother. Other than the fact that she’s hiring a bodyguard, or shadow, to keep her daughter alive.
“Sure, sweetie. What is it?”
“Trained assassins. Hired muscle. Ex-veterans. They’ve all applied for the job. Why’d you pick me? I’m a seventeen year old girl.”
She smiles. “For one thing, I think you’d be the best shadow for Vera. You may try to act like an adult, but you are a teenage girl, just her age. A lot easier to hide too. And for another…” she stares deep into my eyes. “If you think so lowly of yourself… why did you apply for the job?”
Because I was bored of working at Emack&Bolio’s. Because I need some sort of way to support me and Leilani until Mom gets out of jail.

But I don’t say any of these things. Mrs. DeVeen nods. “I thought so. You’re hired, honey.”

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