Frank Martin sat comfortably on the back deck, enjoying a glass of very expensive wine and waiting patiently. Tarconi had invited him over to test out his new barbeque and was grilling up some steaks. It wasn't going to take too long to cook since both men enjoyed their meat medium rare. Tarconi invited him over for something to eat every now and then, but Frank didn't remember him ever going out of his way to pamper him with such an elegant menu. The wine cost at least a hundred euros a bottle and he even had some hors d'oeuvres waiting for him when he arrived. Rather than say anything just yet, Frank remained seated and kept his thoughts to himself while sampling the wine. He enjoyed the view from Tarconi's deck anyhow. The view of the city was breathtaking, and it was something he always took in because he couldn't stand taking up residence in an area as crowded as Paris. Frank liked the view, but he was the kind of man who needed more space, hence the reason why he preferred to live outside of town and in a more rural setting.
Tarconi finally came back to the table with two plates, and seemed very proud of himself as he brought to two succulent piece of meat to the table. "Here you go my friend, medium rare and a potato on the side. Bon Appetite."
"Merci." Frank said as he sat up and started to dig in. ""This looks really good. I can't remember the last time I had a hearty steak."
"There is nothing wrong with a little red meat my friend, but like all good things it must be taken in moderation." his friend took a seat opposite of him and started to eat the steak. "This is fantastique." Tarconi said as he took the first bite, "I was a little worried about grilling it myself but I am proud to say I am a natural."
Frank laughed and put a hand up to his mouth to prevent anything from coming back up from the convulsions. "It's delicious, thank you."
"You're very welcome." After a few bites, Tarconi looked at the bottle. "I think it's time to open another bottle of wine. Don't you?"
"I'm sorry, why are you being so nice today?" Frank suddenly asked.
"What do you mean?" Tarconi retorted with a question of his own?
"Well, the expensive wine, the hors d'oeuvres, the steaks. This is all great, don't get me wrong… but it's not my birthday and I checked my blackberry to confirm it's not yours either. Is there some good news you have to bring up or are you buttering me up to ask for something?"
Tarconi smiled and took another bite from his steak. "I guess the wine was pushing it a little." he confessed, "The reason why I have asked you here was to ask you for a favor. Now don't get upset, if you don't want to do it... we'll just finish supper and that will be that."
"Okay." Frank said as he put down his fork, "You have definitely aroused my curiosity. What exactly are you going to ask of me?"
"I need you to do a job." Tarconi asked.
"You're a cop." Frank replied, "I don't think it's legal for you to hire me for the kind of jobs I do."
"First of all, it's not that kind of job." Tarconi said as he took another sip of his wine. "This one is vastly different and the police don't know anything about it. This is a personal favor to me."
Frank took attention to this since Tarconi had never really approached him for a personal favor before. "What kind of job is this going to be?"
"A close friend of mine is a member of parliament."
"Which branch?" Frank asked.
"The national assembly." Tarconi quickly answered, "But very soon he will be announcing his intention to seek a higher office. Most of us are sure he will try to run for President."
"What are his chances?"
"I don't think they're good, but he's ambitious. Men like that scare people and make them nervous especially after what happened in the States with Obama."
"So where do I come into the picture?" Frank quickly asked, eager to find out what Tarconi was up to.
"Right now my friend is hiring staff to make up for the campaign when it gets into full swing. Since I work with law enforcement, I've been asked to recommend some good people to add to his staff. People he can trust without hesitation. I'm going to recommend you as his new personal driver."
"You want me to be his new chauffeur?"
"No, I want you to be his bodyguard."
"Won't he have his own people for that?"
"He will, but I want you to be the wild card." Tarconi said as he resumed eating his meal, "The last line of defense that the opposition won't be aware of. There's a good chance you'll never have to get involved in anything and just drive the man around, but I'll make sure you're paid nicely for your time."
"If I do this job, it won't be for the money but I do appreciate the fact that some of it will come my way."
"I appreciate that. I'm asking you because I'll just feel better knowing you're the man behind the wheel if things get sticky."
Frank picked the wine back up and took another hearty swig. "You're gonna have to open another bottle while I think about this."
Tarconi laughed out loud. "I guess I asked for that, huh?" he left the table and went to fetch another bottle from the kitchen.
Frank sat there and thought about what was being asked of him. There was something missing from this assignment. Something that Tarconi knew but wasn't telling him. He had to know what that was before accepting this job. When Tarconi came back to the table, he refreshed both their glasses and then sat back down. Frank took a quick sip of the slightly chilled wine. "I need to say something; I don't think you're telling me everything. This man you're asking me to protect, there's something about him that makes him special than all the others, isn't there? Why are you going out of your way to protect him without him knowing about it?"
Tarconi knew nothing was going to get by Frank and he paused for a few moments. "He's my brother. Half brother really, but isn't that close enough? Dad had a few more kids after he and my mother divorced a long time ago. We don't always see eye to eye but since he was elected to the assembly, we've gotten much closer through our professional relationship."
It was all making sense to Frank. Tarconi wasn't asking him to watch a close friend but a member of his own family. Someone so close to him that only Frank was the person he could trust with that security. When he thought about it, it was quite a compliment to ask someone to watch over family and Tarconi was showing a lot of trust in Frank by asking him to do this highly secret job for him. "You've been holding out on me." Frank said with a smile, "Your brother is going to run for President?"
"I know, I know." Tarconi said with a grin, "I told you he's very ambitious. When I first talked to him about it I told him he would have a better chance trying to run for the Senate first. You know build up some more experience and rapport with the people before making a run at high office but he'd have none of it. For him it's either all or nothing, that's just the kind of man he is. He also thinks this coming campaign season is the best chance for him with the current field. Like it or not, he's going to run. You have to admire the kid for his… gusto." His friend had a hearty chuckle before he drowned it with another sip of wine.
"That's one word for it." Frank said with a chuckle. He pushed his plate aside as he was finished eating. The steak was gone but he had left half of his potato intact. He paused for a few moments, and then turned back to Tarconi. "I'll do it on three conditions."
"Name them." Tarconi said eager to negotiate final terms.
"No one can know what I really do. As far as they know I'm just the driver."
"That's the plan. I don't want them to know anything unless it's absolutely necessary."
"Two, I only answer to you and your brother. Technically only you when it comes to matters of security."
"Of course," Tarconi concurred, "And the third?"
"I drive my own car."