Rich is Ryan’s bodyguard and friend. He is introduced the same time as Ryan in the story. At first he’s quiet and let’s Ryan and Penelope talk, but eventually he opens up some. I can’t the balance between being someones best friend and also having to have their back all the time because it’s your job. How do you manage that? Well, Rich has found the delicate balance. He is necessary to this story and was originally named after a friend. The name stayed, but the character himself has morphed into someone else, someone I didn’t expect to get to know like I have. He’s given himself several story lines, and things that are happening. I know more about his extended family than some of the other characters because as every good secondary character knows, the book is really about them.
Richard Everett Cunningham worked security for awhile before applying for a slightly different type of security work. His brother and himself ended up as bodyguards for Ryan for a couple days of events about five years before we meet them in the book. It ended up being Aiden Cunningham doing security for his brother Rich and his new best friend Ryan Meade. Ryan and Rich are close in age and they got along like a house on fire. Within six months of that weekend, Rich had been hired as Ryan’s personal bodyguard and they never looked back.
While he takes his job very seriously, he takes more pride in being Ryan’s friend. When Ryan built his house, he added a room in the basement with it’s own entrance for Rich since he lives on the other side of London and a little out of town. It makes it easier sometimes and Rich appreciates that he can come and go as he pleases. He worked hard to find that line between work and friendship, and enjoys the delicate balance that it requires. According to the company, Rich is very good at his job. According to Ryan, he’s a sarcastic little shit and he isn’t sure why they’re friends, at least that’s the yearly review he gives Rich. The copy that goes to the company is always very professional and praiseworthy. It’s made very clear that Ryan won’t work with anyone else, except in an emergency.
Rich is the younger brother, and as such loves to play tricks on his brother. Ryan helps, as he is the eldest in his family and has no brothers of his own. At first everyone thought Rich was the bad influence, but it became clear after a short time that they were just two peas in a pod and Ryan had just as many bad ideas as Rich did. While it’s gotten them in professional trouble a couple of times, nothing too bad has ever happened and they are thankful for that.
When Rich meets Penelope, he likes that she keeps Ryan on his toes. She gives as good as she gets and is sarcastic as hell. The more they talk, the more Rich wants to get involved in the conversation and you notice the subtle shift from bodyguard to best friend in the amount of harassment and potentially embarrassing facts that he shares just to make her laugh. He has her phone number before Ryan does, and before she’s even through customs in London, Rich has found her Facebook and sent her a friend request. For a moment, Ryan actually offers to bow out so Rich and Penelope can have a shot with one another, but it’s made clear to him that they are just friends.
They do stay friends and still talk, both through his girlfriend Nora and on their own. When Ryan and Penelope reconnect, they talk more and it’s not quite as strained as it was before. Rich values his friendship with Penelope and is glad that Ryan never asks him to stop talking to her. Throughout the series their friendship becomes one of mutual appreciation and respect. Over time he even gets close to Asher and despite Ryan’s aversion to him, Reid.
I hope you all enjoyed this look at Rich. He’s a great guy and he deserves the good things in life. His friendship with Ryan is one built on respect and appreciation. It’s wonderful and even though his loyalty will always be with Ryan, he never feels like he’s cheating on a friend by befriending Penelope, or Reid even, and even better, Ryan never makes him feel that way either. Rich is one of the unsung characters in this story, and at times his role gets downplayed, but he is a big part of their group dynamic. He provides a comedic lightness to Reid and Ryan’s controversial relationship, but keeps everyone grounded and safe. He is logical and never presumptuous. Hope you liked him.
As always, be awesome to each other and yourself!