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Thursday's Child, Part Ten
tapestry jacket
You are definitely allowed to feel bad for Richard, encouraged even. He's not being an evil boss by any means. Hector just doesn't like him and isn't really admitting that his own actions aren't making it easier for anyone.

Lavinia wrapped the burgundy scarf I offered around her neck. Shortly down the hallway, Lavinia was stopped- unfortunately by Richard. There would be questions. He moved to slow her from leaving when she pointed to the exit, but didn’t block her completely. I think she was promising she would get on with everything as soon as possible. I couldn’t hear shouting or snarling from him, but she looked close to tears anyway.
“Hello Rick!” I yelled out, waving my newspaper. He tried to weigh up whether to get answers from me or from Nia, and refrained when he saw Nia had run out. For a second he had that sort of resigned, exasperated look one gets when they have questions left unasked. I let him walk to me.
“Doctor Quentin, why would you take an employee that needs to be sent home here?”
Cute, it was much politer than how he phrased it in his head. He was quashing his thoughts on how dare I feed into his employee’s delusions and now I was stealing them away from work and how it couldn’t possibly be beneficial to anyone other than myself and now they were scared when he asked them ordinary questions so what did I actually say to them to make them scared… Dick did care in his own narrow-minded, job-centred way, I will admit.
“Lavinia needs to do a special task as part of her therapy, she’ll be right back.”
“Why can’t this task occur after working hours?”
“It’s part and parcel of her therapy. She needed a debriefing after yesterday.”
“What happened yesterday that needed debriefing and a personal errand, yet is not so severe to inform me?”
“As you said, it was personal.”
“I have a staff member taken ill and one that will miss half a working day due to your machinations.” He so wanted to say scheming. “Do you plan to do something other than read the newspaper today or do I have to contact a physician who actually heals?”
I shoved a piece of paper in his hand.
“What is this?” He was good enough to read it, at least.
“This number is the amount of rent Lavinia pays for a hatbox to sleep in courtesy of the parole board.”
Even he reacted, if just by a subtle inhalation. “This can’t be a usual figure.”
“It’s not. They were originally going to put her into a room with at least two men. She’s paying that to stay out of a shared room, and there’s still only one kitchen and one bathroom there for all the residents. The scheduled eating times conflict with her working hours, but do you think she would be safe during them anyway?”
“It’s to be expected.” His mind was telling himself not to think in front of me. I suppose he’s experienced in not using his brain as it was working.
“Her pay’s already been docked-”
“That is perfectly reasonable.”
“Not my point, Rick. Rightly or wrongly, do you think she could afford to live like this financially and physically, at the mercy of sentinels and ‘unfortunate peers’? Could you do it?”
“I cannot negotiate wages, if that’s what you’re pestering me for, and I will not try to reverse the salary reduction.”
“I wasn’t going to ask that, that’s unreasonable. I’m simply informing you of what I would wish to know about employees under my care if I was a manager. I’m also going to see what the hard limits parole has on accommodation.”
“You are within your rights to ask.” He was trying to figure out if he had been defeated or not or even if this was an argument to win as employee health was much more important than squabbles.
“Is today causing a problem with the workload?” I’m not going to apologise.
“Yes, but not severely. Some things cannot be helped, but a great deal of things were taken care of yesterday in my absence. The concern pertains more to my employee’s working hours.”
It took everything in me not to yank on that thread. Rosalie would have told him what Lavinia had completed for him, without even trying to. I realised he must have been asking everyone what had happened yesterday, perhaps even what Lavinia had been doing to figure out why she hadn’t come in. Maybe he was grateful for her endeavours and accomplishments?
“So, who’s sick, Rick?”
“Agent Fife is in your office now.”
If he had a sense of humour, he would be smirking. Richard is sterile in that field, and some others, so for once I was grateful. Shit. Shit. Shit. I hope Nia wasn’t right all along about the faerie food.


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