Chapter 13: Scientia
They’d shoved a pile of clothes in my hands less than four hours later. When Alpha Kaine had demanded someone go to my apartment to bring me my own clothes to cover to filth with dirt and grime from his penthouse floor I was under the impression that it would take them several days to find the garments. I had half a mind to think he had someone stationed in the place in case anyone came by expecting to meet with me about my alleged top secret mission to bring down the Alpha and his District.
I grip the sponge tighter in my hand as Alpha Kaine rounds the corner, rubbing his face with his hand. He’d had a decently long day. He had to deliver a test to a pesky human girl he was trying to convince everyone was dangerous. Soapy water pools around the floor by the bucket. My knees grow moist under my ripped jeans but I continue scrubbing.
He notices me. The slight grimace in his face when he watched me from the adjoining bedroom was an obvious display of the disgust he felt when he saw me scrubbing his bathroom floor. He sits on the bed for a moment, eyeing me curiously, but he says nothing.
“How long are you going to keep me here as your slave?” I ask him, paying extra attention to a black line on the light gray floor.
“You aren’t a slave here, Anita,” he says without even thinking about it. “You are my employee.” I raise an eyebrow but continue my scrubbing.
“An employee implies that there’s a paycheck and that the work is voluntary,” I tell him seriously, lifting the sponge to see my progress on the black stain. It’s faded but not yet gone. I submerge the sponge into the bucket again as he mulls over my words.
“There is a paycheck,” Alpha Kaine says. I stare at him as I wring out the sponge over the bucket. “You’ll just never see it,” he explains. “You see, Anita, you are working off your debt that you owe me and my family.”
I shake my head, a small laugh falling from my lips. “I don’t owe you a damn thing. You don’t need to tell me what your official claim to the other Shifters will be. I am your slave through and through,” I retort.
“Oh but you do owe me. Just because you have not specifically borrowed money from my namesake does not mean you do not owe me. Every shop you and your other gang members have destroyed? The repairs came out of my pocket. Each funeral from a heist that turned dirty has been paid for by my association. You may not owe me personally but you owe my District members and you will pay.” I frown at his response but don’t give him any more satisfaction than that.
“I haven’t killed anyone in any of my heists. I never destroyed any property,” I say to him, finally satisfied with the way the stain fell away from the tile floor beneath me. I shift and begin to work on another portion of the room.
“Maybe not you personally. But can the same be said for others in your line of work?” Truthfully, I didn’t know. John and I had a very peaceful approach; get in, wave your gun around, get the goods, report back to HQ with our haul, go home. My last partner, Paul, was very hands on. He was always firing bullets and bruising the captives. Last I’d heard he was removed from this line of work. But I could never be sure.
“I shouldn’t be punished for other people’s actions,” I say to him, turning my nose up slightly at him. He rises from the bed, pulling his shoes off before dumping them beside him on the royal purple rug under the bed. I was mildly surprised that someone as brutal as Alpha Kaine would go for something as feminine as a rug that would cover his bachelor pad hardwood but I didn’t dwell on it.
“The rug is covered with dirt. Please see to it that it is properly vacuumed,” he tells me, sternly. I nod, continuing my work on the floor. Alpha Kaine wiggles his toes on the floor before walking over to the dresser to retrieve a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt. “I’m going to shower now,” he says.
I stare at him for a moment, trying to find a way to tell him that I’m otherwise occupied with the bathroom floor but not finding the words to justify it. ”Get out," he says. I stand quickly, grabbing my bucket and sponge before leaving the bathroom.
The hardwood in Alpha Kaine’s room is cool against my toes. I had warmed the tile in the bathroom with my body heat as I crawled around on the floor mopping it to the Alpha’s satisfaction. There must have been something about making a girl your live in maid that really made his temperature rise.
“Do you need me to do anything besides the rug?” He brushes past me as I speak, making sure his shoulder brushes harshly with mine, causing me to stumble a bit on my feet before I look back to him pointedly. He shrugs, peeking his head out through the doorway.
“Dust. It’s fucking filthy in here,” he tells me, slamming the door behind him. My shoulders slump in defeat. I don’t even know where any of the cleaning supplies is around here. No one bothered to show me around the place before I started working for Alpha Kaine.
“Great.” I mutter to myself. “Just great.” I wipe my hands on my pants before brushing a piece of hair behind my head. I hadn’t really looked at the room much since I got here. The room was decorated in an array of earthy browns, creamy white, and shades of purple. I wasn’t going to go as far to suggest that the Alpha’s favorite color was purple. But it was most definitely purple.
The wood floors were dark, as most wood floors in the Kaine District seeed to be, but the wood that made up his furniture was black stained wood. He was right, the room was dusty. I run the pad of my finger along the headboard, gagging a bit at the grey substance that coated my skin.
His room was impressive. The bed was large, beautiful curtains lined the windows, and bookshelf was overflowing with books. I let my hand trace the duvet on Alpha Kaine’s bed on my way to the bookshelf near the door. He didn’t just have one, he had three beautiful wooden bookshelves pushed together to form a small library.
I wonder if he’d read all of these. I doubt he had time for that. His busy duties as head of the District probably kept him far too busy to sit down and read these novels.
They were sorted alphabetically. My eyes flicked over each title as the sound of the water flicking on filled the room. I wasn’t sure what kind of shower taker Alpha Kaine was but based on the pristine look of his room, save for the growing pile of dust on all of the surfaces, I’m willing to bet that he takes long showers.
One book catches my eye, a thick book with a brown worn cover. There was no text on the spine and when I opened it I was surprised to find the phrase The Complete History of the Slethian Districts scrawled on the first page of the book in what I could only assume was Alpha Kaine’s own handwriting.
The letters were curly, not quite calligraphy, but written by someone who had a knack for it that just didn’t have the time for this particular work. My fingers run along the pages. Inside there are lists and documentations of the Districts and its leaders, starting with Alpha Lector, followed by Alpha Kaine, and so on. The last few sections were left blank, reserved for Alpha Kaine’s brothers who had yet to take the Alpha Oath.
Does Alpha Kaine write in this book himself or does one of his servants do it? Would he even trust them with that sort of information?
There were scribbles the marred the pages and lines that weren’t written in a straight left to right fashion, but that’s what made the book appeal to me even more. The shower knob turns off, sending my beating heart into a frenzy. Apparently, Alpha Kaine is a quick shower kind of person.
I pull a book from one of the other shelves, rearranging the shelves a bit to disguise the hole that would be left after I snuck the book out of Alpha Kaine’s room in the penthouse and hid it under my mattress until I could read it for myself. Hugging the book to my chest I walk quickly over to my side, throwing open the closet and standing on my tiptoes to try shoving the book under the thick blanket on the top shelf.
Alpha Kaine might have finished with his shower but he still had to at least get dressed before he could officially come out of the bathroom and question me about why I haven’t been able to do any sort of cleaning work while he was in the shower.
I push the book with a small jump, getting it on the shelf but not quite under the blanket. For now, it would have to do. With Alpha Kaine roaming about the room I couldn’t very well spend any more time trying to tuck it away. I just had to hope he had no interest in the contents of the closet, specifically the blanket on the top shelf.
“What are you doing?” he asks me as I push the doors shut. I try to control my breathing, knowing full well that his supernatural ears will be able to pick up any nervousness I’m feeling at the moment after the stunt I just pulled. I stare at him, my lips pursed. I can’t very well tell him that I’m trying to hide a book I stole from his shelf when he was in the shower because I thought it could help me escape. That would be ridiculous.
“I don’t know where any of the cleaning supplies is,” I tell him without a second thought. A good lie, if I do say so myself. “I thought maybe they would have put it in my closet. But there is nothing here but a few of my jackets and some spare blankets.” Please don’t check. Please don’t check.
“Are you sure?” he asks, his hand raising to latch on to the closet doorknob. Not wanting to raise any suspicions by putting my hand on the knob to stop his actions I bat my eyelashes at him with mild seduction.
“Could you ask the other maids where they keep their cleaning supplies? I would hate to keep you waiting for me to vacuum your precious carpet, Alpha.” He nods without even thinking, his hand falling back to his side. If he notices my sarcasm he doesn’t comment on it.
“There should be someone outside the door. Go ask them. Tonight just go to bed. I’m exhausted and will be turning in early myself. I do not want you to keep me up late with your cleaning noises,” he explains to me, his face expressionless.
“Is that all?” I ask, waiting for a snarky insult that leaves my head spinning. He shakes his head slightly, the warm water from his cleansing having cleared his brain for the night.
“When you are working here I don’t want to see you. Unless I seek you out you are to wait here for me to leave before you tend to my room or any other place I send you to. Got it?” I nod, looking around the room for dim lighting or a candle of some sort to read the book beside.
“I got it, Alpha.” I say to him with a timid smile.