Don't Flatter Yourself

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            Nathan sighed as he poured himself a cup of coffee. Why did he let Brook bring back an indenture? As if his bandaged hand wasn’t a big enough of a problem.

            Letting out another sigh, Nathan took a seat in the large armchair of his vast library, and was about to open a collection of contemplative philosophy works when the thudding of running feet on the banister reached his ears.

            He paused for a moment, cup at his lips, as the thudding grew nearer.

            “STOP!!!” Lily shrieked as she burst through the door, running around in the nude. A couple of twenty year old house maids followed her in worried calls, to find Lily hiding behind Nathan’s arm chair. Nathan eyed the filthy girl with disgust, and demanded to know why IT was doing here.

            “We’re very sorry, young master!” the two maids bowed. “The little lady suddenly fled the bathroom as we prepared to give her a bath!”

            “You,” Nathan scowled at Lily, who had crept out from her hiding spot and poked her head from behind the arm chair. “Get your filthy feet off of the rug and into the bathtub! Don’t make me toss you out on the streets again, little-”

            A slipper sailed into the side of his head, and Brooklyn came stomping in through the double doors that led to her study he had assigned her.

            “Don’t talk to her like that!” Brooklyn yelled as she walked up to trembling Lily and hugged her close. “What’s wrong with you?!”

            “Well, you’ve only started living here since last night, so I don’t expect you to understand. Just know that there isn’t a reason to treat an indenture too kindly,” Nathan scoffed as he tossed the slipper down on the floor in front of Brook. “If you’re not strict with them, then human practices will never get into their thick heads and-”

            “I,” Brook shouted, “happen to be-!”

            “Calm down, dear,” Nathan hissed as he turned to look at the nervous maids. He continued in a louder voice.

            “You take my fiancé and her pet up to the bath and do whatever it takes to clean it. Make sure the indenture is scrubbed clean and have someone clean the banister again.”

            “Yeah, young master,” the maids murmured as they gently towed Brook and Lily out of the room, ignoring Brook’s outraged face.

            “You’re very kind, Miss Avery,” one maid murmured as the four girls entered the steaming bathroom. “Not many people sympathize with indentures. You mustn’t blame Young Master Walker for not loving indentures.”

            “What’s wrong with treating them nicely?!” Brook shot back as her grip on Lily’s had tightened. “They can feel pain, sadness, and talk just like you- I mean we- do!”

            Lily suddenly burst out, “Please don’t put me in there!”

            Brook looked down at Lily’s shaking figure. “What’s wrong? Does the bathtub scare you?”

            “My back will sting,” Lily whimpered.

            The maids giggled, and Brook looked at them, trying to keep her anger down. “You know, it’s not funny to laugh when somebody is being-”

            “Oh, no, Miss Avery!” the maids laughed. “I suppose you and the indenture haven’t heard of this due to your living circumstances up until now, but the bath water royals use are soothing and heal surface wounds!”

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