Countdown

Countdown

Sun and wind and surf; Dorian loved it. He always enjoyed trips to the beach in the summer, and this year was no different. Somewhere nearby James was wailing about costs and lack of profit and terrible conversion rates. He tuned it out with a happy sigh.

“Bonham, anything planned for today?”

The stocky man sitting beside him turned to give him a puzzled look. “Not that I know of.”

“Then can I sneak off for a little while – a very little – and leave James in your capable hands?”

“I-“

“I’ll take him back tomorrow and give you the day off,” Dorian wheedled.

Bonham’s expression was resigned. “I’ll have earned it.”

“Thank you, darling! You’re the best!”

Only an hour later, Bonham was seriously beginning to rethink the bargain. Not that he really had any choice when his lordship turned on the charm, but James was being even more obnoxious than usual. Even his placid temper couldn’t take much more.

“James, you’ve got a choice.”

The boy didn’t even bother to glance up from his weeping on the ground.

“Either you sit up and stop actin’ like a two-year-old, or I’m going to throw you into the bleedin’ sea.”

“Booonhaaam! You’re cruuuuel! And Lord Gloria left me here aloooone!”

“Ten… Nine… Eight…”

“And I saw that look of his. He’s going shopping!”

“Five… Four…”

“Probably something brand-name that you can never resell at its original price! And we’ll be poor and penniless! And live a wonderful, miserable life, but without any money!”

“Two… One. Right, in you go.”

James’ wailing rose in a crescendo, reaching an eardrum splitting shriek just as he landed in the water with a rewarding splash.

“That was your choice, Jamie-boy.”