Kei looked up at the huge, elegant mansion with his usual, unreadable expression. He stood just outside the gates, hands thrust into the pockets of his black leather jacket, waiting for the mansion's security detail to let him in. The usual nonsense; checking of references, treating their jobs as though they were Knights Templar for some god-king, rather than hirelings for a lot of fat cats who bought their power. He couldn't really fault them for being so self-important. That was how their rich masters tended to act, so it was probably part and parcel of the atmosphere. Not that he wasn't deadly serious himself when on the job, he just didn't treat it like some messianic calling. It was the first day of Kei's newest job as a bodyguard, but he had no expectation that things here would be much different here. Hired to watch out for some rich kid, probably a spoiled brat, who would fire him in a few days when Kei refused to kow-tow to his stupidity. He was a professional bodyguard, not a nursemaid. Still, it was better than being on the streets. The dark-haired male blinked slowly at that last thought, pushing it and its attendant memories to the back of his mind, just as the prig on the front gate intercom addressed him. "Your papers and I.D. are all in order, Mr. Umura. Step through the gate, go around the back of the West wing to the servants' quarters, and touch nothing. You will be directed where to go from there." A slight curl of the lip showed what Kei thought of this nonsense. Like he was going to get sticky fingerprints on the million dollar wallpaper. Or steal the Ming vases. If they knew he'd spent time on the streets, they probably wouldn't let him in the gate at all, but he wasn't interested in fancy knick-knacks. Kei preferred to travel light and be mobile, and expensive acoutrements made that a hassle. As the massive iron bars parted, he strolled in, not impressed with the large manicured garden and expansive lawn out front, the wide marble pathway, or the huge building, with its cut glass windows and carved double-doors with gold inlay. He'd seen a hundred of them, and they were usually empty of anyone worthwhile inside. So long as he got paid, though, he didn't much care. The door to the servants' quarters was almost as ornate as the double set out front, though the divide was clear. And under-butler showed him in, leading him to a sitting-room (one of many, he had no doubt) where he was to wait for his new employer. Kei had been hired by the head of general house security, so he had no idea of the kid's parents or the kid himself would be coming to size up the new recruit. The bodyguard's reputation preceded him, so he wasn't at all nervous in that regard. People with this kind of money could afford the best, and he fully intended to give them just what they paid for.