Numbers Page 84

’’I understand. I want to kill the feline. I\m adjusting to it, or otherwise I\d ask you to look at photos of all the feline males who were freed from Mercile to see if that male is still alive.’’

’’You thought about doing that?’’

He nodded. ’’He had no choice, nor did you. The reasonable side of me knows this. You saved my life. I don\ ever want to know if he is alive and surviving. I\d be too tempted to kill him anyway just because of my jealousy.’’

’’You\ e all I\ve ever wanted.’’

’’That\s how I feel too, Candi.’’

’’I\ll stop worrying then.’’

’’Good. You\ e my mate, my female, and you are my everything.’’

Chapter Ten

Hero leaned against the counter, his arms crossed over his chest, and grinned. Candi looked happy as the three females taught her how to cook a steak in a cast iron skillet. Sunshine, Bluebird and Midnight had arrived at the men\s dorm and taken over their kitchen. He stayed out of their way, but kept close.

’’The pan is very hot,’’ Bluebird warned. ’’Use the glove when you touch the handle.’’

Sunshine nodded. ’’I burned myself at least half a dozen times because I kept forgetting that.’’

’’And I treated her injures every time.’’ Midnight chuckled.

Movement at the edge of his vision had him turn his head. Torrent smiled at him and leaned against the counter next to him. ’’Your female looks a lot healthier. She\s got more color in her complexion.’’

’’She does.’’

’’The females are eager to help her. They have started a campaign to have us talk you into moving to the women\s dorm so they have easier access to your Candi. They\ve sworn to take over our dorm if you don\ .’’

That news made him frown.

Torrent laughed softly, keeping his voice low. ’’Don\ worry. We like them invading our space. No one is going to ask you to move. You should have seen all the males who volunteered to clean early this morning once word spread that they planned to use our kitchen today. There were two dozen of us down here.’’

’’You too?’’

’’Who doesn\ want to impress our females? We\ e also competitive. We wanted our living spaces to be cleaner than theirs. They always tease us about all the male hormones they smell when they come here.’’

’’I\m sorry for all the extra trouble everyone had to go to.’’

’’Don\ be. It was fun. The females plan to teach yours how to use household cleaning appliances too. Expect a bit of a crowd for that. Word has it that some of them are afraid of vacuums. We\ e placing household chore-trading bets on whether that\s true or not, and who has that fear.’’

Hero chuckled. ’’I see. What chore do you wish to get out of?’’

’’It\s my turn to clean the main-floor bathroom on Wednesday morning. I bet Jinx that they\d hide their fear, if it exists, from your female. He thinks they won\ be able to. He\ll have to clean the bathroom if I\m right, and I\ll get to take over his chore of pulling weeds around the building on Thursday.’’

’’What if he\s right?’’

’’I have to clean the bathroom again next week when it\s his turn on Monday and he\ll have to dust the library for me on Tuesday.’’

’’I\m supposed to mop the kitchen floor tomorrow.’’

’’It\s a good thing we\ e only assigned one lower floor chore a week.’’

’’There are a lot of us. The females probably have more chores.’’

’’That\s probably why they want you to move with your female into their dorm.’’ Torrent grinned. ’’I can guess who would end up moving all the furniture and vacuuming under it.’’ He pointed at Hero. ’’You.’’

’’I\m not planning on transferring to the women\s dorm. Candi wants to stay here.’’

’’She\s comfortable living with all males around her?’’

’’Yes.’’

’’Good.’’

Hero had something on his mind and he shared it with his friend. ’’Is everyone accepting her?’’

Torrent held his gaze. ’’Because she\s human? Is that what you mean?’’

’’Yes.’’

’’They think of her as Species. She was raised at Mercile. They respect her, Hero. Her story has been told to all.’’ Torrent turned his head, watching Candi. ’’She\s like a Gift in size, but has the courage of one of our strong females. She escaped from captivity on her own and killed to gain her freedom. Then she walked right up to the front gates without fear and demanded entry. She\s an amazing female.’’

’’She is. I\m just worried that there might be some problems with her living in the dorm. Some of our males don\ trust humans. I\m supposed to return to duty tomorrow and am hesitant to leave her in our home. I plan to take her to the females.’’

’’Stop worrying. She could run around the dorm without you at her side and not encounter any problems. The males would love it.’’

Hero growled low. ’’Why?’’

’’Relax. They know she\s your mate. Everyone is curious about her, and Jinx has a big mouth. He told them how brave she is, and they\d like to talk to her. That\s all. No one is used to a female who looks like a Gift going near them without being timid and fearful. They feel protective of her and want to help her become accustomed to freedom.’’

He relaxed. ’’I understand.’’

’’Speaking of which, some of the males have wanted to approach you with a list they put together.’’

’’What kind of list?’’

’’They want to take turns helping you feed your female. Everyone knows you didn\ excel at cooking when we were learning, and you admitted as much by having one of them cook for you both. A group of them would like to offer to bring you meals for a while. The females have offered too. I know last night they covered dinner.’’ Torrent shook his head. ’’You lucky bastard. No one wants to deliver meals to me. Accept the help.’’

’’I will, for Candi.’’

’’Some of them have offered to teach you how to make whatever she likes.’’

’’I\m aware.’’

’’Good. Take them up on it. That female needs to gain weight. It makes me want to beat whoever nearly starved her to death where she was kept.’’

’’I know. I feel the same.’’


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