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Chapter 18

Masters car wasn’t that big inside but I didn’t get knocked about like I had in that box to be brought to master’s house. I was a little curious to see the outside but I stayed laying down, too nervous to get up and a little worried I’d fall over if the car moved suddenly. The sound of the engine lulled me into a doze, it rumbled and purred like me, I found I liked the sound. The car smelt of leather, like my collar, and master’s scent was present too, faint but it was there.

I nosed one of my paws, using it to cover my eyes from the sun streaming in from the window, falling asleep.

“We’re here Luci,” Master called and I lifted my head sleepily, my jaws opening wide to let out a large yawn. He got out of the car and opened the door facing me, standing aside so I could get out. I stretched and hopped down onto the solid cold ground, my head craning around at our surroundings. We were underground, there were lots of cars, a strong smell hanging in the air.

“Luci.” his voice was firm and I turned my head to focus my eyes on him immediately. “Good boy, heel.” his hand tapped the side of his leg and I quickly walked closer to him, turning and sitting right by his side, looking up at him. His fingers ran down my head and I purred. “Good boy.” he cooed, voice thick with praise and it was difficult not to leap around at the joy I felt, my chest feeling so full and warm it was fit to burst. “Unless I say so you must heel at all times and watch me Luci.” as he said watch he tapped beside his eye and I understood the command, my eyes must never leave him, I must focus on him and not any distractions, even tasty cubes of tuna. “This is very important, okay?” he emphasized and I gave him a short nod. “Good.” he smiled and briefly scratched behind one of my ears, “Let’s go.”

He took off at a brisk walk and I fell into step beside him, my head up and almost touching his leg, my eyes focused entirely on him.

We walked across the underground space and master stopped at some shiny doors but they didn’t have any handles. I sat at his feet when he stopped, continuing to look up at him. He pressed a button on the wall and it lit up, a distant grinding electrical sound coming from behind the shiny door. It opened and revealed a metal box, master stepped inside and I followed right at his side, turning when he did and sitting by his feet once more.

“This is called an elevator Luci, it’s nothing to be afraid of, it just takes you to different floors of the building a lot quicker than stairs.” master explained.

I let out a quiet snort to let master know I understood, I wasn’t scared, I was with master, so I knew I was safe. The elevator rumbled and I could feel it moving, it did startle me a little but master soothed me with a gentle hand on my head. “Good boy, you’re doing so well.” he praised, briefly scratching behind my ears. His hand settled back as his side as the elevator doors opened and he strode out of it.

The first thing that hit me was the noise, bustling, so many voices merging into one, settling into a dull roar. The smell was quite intense too, so many different people, perfumes, colognes, it also smelt like master’s office things and coffee, a lot of coffee.

I stood and walked by his side, my eyes looking up at him, we walked past many desks, a person at each one, working like master always did.

I heard a few people make some exclamations at the sight of me but like master told me I ignored them, he glanced down at me and gave me a reassuring smile, looking back up again so he could see where we were going.

We shortly stopped at a very tall desk, a few different women set behind it, each having their own computer, busily typing away. “Good morning Mr Clermont.” one looked up and smiled at master.

“Good morning Miss Everglade, is everything prepped for my meeting? Did you get everything I asked for?” Master replied.

“Yes sir, everyone’s present and in the prep room, they're waiting for you to call them into the meeting, I’ve left everything you asked for in your office. Would you like a coffee, perhaps a bowl of water for your pet?” she smiled down at me and I blinked in surprise, that was an unusual response to seeing me, she didn’t smell scared at all, I liked her.

“Yes please Miss Everglade, both would be most appreciated.” master nodded with a smile.

“The usual coffee, milk and one sugar?”

“Yes please.”

“I’ll have it brought to your office, sir.” Master nodded again and set off once more, past the tall desk and passed more people working. He walked through a glass door and into a really big office, the walls made of windows. He headed past the table with about six chairs around them in the middle of the room and to a desk at the far end of the room, setting his briefcase down on top of it and sinking into the plush looking leather chair behind it.

I sat down at his side and watched as he turned the computer on and started typing away at it. “There’s a bed just over there Luci if you want to lay down.” Master pointed using his head, gesturing to somewhere behind me. “The meeting might go on for a while.”

I grunted softly and nudged his thigh with my nose. I wanted to stay at master’s side, I would go and lay down on the bed if he told me too but if I had the option I’d rather be beside him.

“I’m not going anywhere Luci, I just want you to be comfortable, you can move the bed closer if you want.” he briefly stroked my head and I purred and leaned into the touch.

Once he went back to typing I glanced around, finding the pet bed against the wall, master said I could move it so I went over and gave it a sniff, it smelt new and clean, there was no other pet smell on it. I gently grabbed it with my mouth and tugged it across the carpet until it was beside master’s desk.

I looked up at him and snuffed, nudging the bed, asking if I could put it here. He glanced down and chuckled with a soft smile. “A little bit further away Luci, I don’t want to fall over you if I need to get up,” he answered my unspoken question.

I pulled it a little further away from his desk, so he’d have room like he’d said. I stepped onto the bed, kneading it with my claws and walking in circles to get comfy, flopping down when I was satisfied.

The glass door opened and the nice lady from the desk came in with a mug and a bowl, setting the former down beside master on the desk and crouching down to set the bowl on the far side of the bed, so it would be out of masters way. She smiled down at me with an inquisitive expression on her face. “Your pet seems very well behaved Mr Clermont,” she commented, tilting her head.

“He is Miss Everglade.” master replied and I purred at his praise, happy warmth filling me. “If you want to pet him you can ask,” he added.

“Then… could I sir?” she inquired in an excited but nervous voice, her fingers seeming to itch as she kept moving them.

“Would that be okay with you Luci?” Master asked me.

She did seem like a nice lady and I always wanted to make new friends so I gave an animated nod and a snort, making master laugh lightly.

The lady offered a loose hand first and I leaned forward to sniff it, her perfume was sweet and flowery but not strong enough that it made my nose hurt. I gently knocked it with my nose, impatient for some pets. She cautiously stroked my head, smiling. “His furs so soft,” she commented.

“You don’t seem phased that he’s a jaguar?” master wondered.

“My parents have a pet lynx, although she’s not as tame as your pet. She’s still got a lot of wild in her, it took years for her to trust my parents, even so, she doesn’t tolerate being touched much, she would never hurt anyone but she’ll let you know when she’s had enough.” the nice lady chuckled a little, her hand going to my chin and scratching there, hmm, that felt nice.

“Wild?” master inquired.

“She was brought up in a conservation, there not very common, some breeders believe it’s a more natural way to raise shifters, especially the larger ones. She wasn’t taken from there until adulthood, she was more lynx than human, still is,” she explained and I looked up at master, I was born in a place like that before those at the auction took me, there were no cages, just open sky and fences at the very edges of the land, I remember it faintly.

I snuffed loudly up at master, no longer interested in the nice ladies petting.

He glanced down, frowning. “Does that mean anything to you, Luci? Conservation?” I nodded with a snort, he scratched the back of his head, thinking. “Your mother… you said the last time you had been outside was when you were a cub, were you born at a conservation maybe? It’s not normal for breeders to leave young in an outside pen, even with their mother.”

I nodded, ever so gently pawing at master’s leg, yes! I was born at a conservation.

“Hmm… he’s nothing like Genny though, he’s so friendly.” the nice lady remarked and straightened, smoothing down her skirt.

“He was separated from his mother very young, I don’t think he spent much time at a conservation, he lived at an auction for years in a cage, humans haven’t treated him the best but he’s got a good temperament.” master pet me, scratching behind my ears in the way I liked, I leaned into his touch and purred.

“Well I’ve got to get back to work Mr Clermont, it was nice to meet you Luci.” and with that, she left the office so it was just me and master again.

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