September 15th, 2021

_Agent of the 300_ addition to Ch. 10

Pauli's starting to get interesting, so I'm sticking in a few things here and there . . . thiss is a continuation of Natasha's POV.

And the wind was coming up, the temperatures dropping.

Pauli got up and collected all the trash and took it to the alley where all the big garage doors opened to, on this long strip of small businesses. Service companies needing the garage space for their equipment, as well as the office space. A car customizer, a fencing company, industrial cleaners, a artist who welded car parts into amazing sculptures . . . I don’t think we’re the only ones who sometimes sleep here, although Pauli’s the only one here most of the time.

She scowled as Pauli poked through the refrigerator.

“You really ought not feed the Ferals.” She hunched her shoulders. I refuse to feel guilty that there are people lower than servants. Not that they aren’t servants, but bad grow-ins, and behavior problems, and they get toss out onto the streets to survive. Or not.

“It’s just a M-mom and her k-kids.”

“All five of them? You’re going to let them sleep here again, aren’t you?”

“It’s g-going to freeze tonight. They always l-leave when the s-storms blow off to the east.”

Natasha sighed. “One of these days they’ll steal your computers. Anyhow, nobody needs new jobs this afternoon, so I’m heading back home.”

“Watch out for ice, and use my comp in the attic for work tomorrow if the streets are bad tomorrow.”

She gave him a hug. “See you tomorrow.”

She bundled up in her coat and headed for the bus stop. Passing the feral family. The mother had to be past forty, but she looked pregnant. The oldest girl was sixteen or seventeen, and hopefully toting her little brother, not spawn of her own, and the other three she’d guess ranged from an early teen to maybe seven.

All on the lean side, and not dressed for a freeze, especially if it started with rain then froze.

I’m soft in the head too. “I think Pauli’s fixing a big dinner.”

They eyed her and sidled past. The oldest girl eyed her narrowly. “He yer boyfren?”

“Cousin. Raised practically like a brother.”

The girl just adjusted her grip on the squirming five-year-old, and hustled after the others.

Arg! I ought to have said “Yes and keep your hands off him.” Well, if Pauli wants to adopt Ferals, I guess he can.

She smiled a little, suddenly picturing him sitting on the floor reading books to them, like Axel used to read to all the servants’ kids at the House. I’ll bet he does.