Vision in Silver Page 62

While Nathan systematically explored the living room, Simon stepped toward the kitchen and sniffed. Then he looked at Montgomery. “Something stinks in there.”

“I meant to take out the kitchen waste when I got home yesterday,” Montgomery said, looking embarrassed.

<Old smells here,> Nathan reported as he sniffed the back and sides of the sofa.

When Simon relayed the remark, Montgomery nodded. “The sofa was here when I rented the place, left by the previous tenant. I haven’t replaced it yet.”

<Kowalski’s scent on some of the books,> Nathan said as he checked out a bookcase before returning to the sofa.

“Kowalski was here?” Simon asked.

Montgomery nodded. “He packed a bag for me yesterday.” He blinked. “You can tell he was here? You recognize his scent?”

“Of course,” Simon replied, watching Blair check out the kitchen, including fridge and cupboards. No reason for intruders to look in those places for the Lizzy or Boo Bear, but Wolves didn’t get invitations to look at human dens. Why waste the opportunity?

<He lives lean,> Blair said. Then he paused near the waste container. He crouched and sniffed around the top before getting down on his hands and knees to sniff the foot pedal that lifted the lid.

Simon watched Blair but noticed how Monty winced, probably thinking it was the garbage that was interesting . . . and noticed how Burke focused on the Wolf.

<Someone who isn’t Montgomery or Kowalski touched this container,> Blair said.

<Some new scents on the edges of the cushions,> Nathan reported.

Simon relayed the observations as the other two Wolves checked out the rest of the apartment.

“Ah . . .” Montgomery hurried forward when even human ears could hear Blair rummaging in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

The three of them reached the bedroom in time to see Nathan shift his forepaws enough to pull open dresser drawers and poke around. Abandoning the dresser, the Wolf sniffed the clothes in the closet before standing on his hind legs in order to sniff the shelf above the clothes rod.

Finished with the closet, Nathan poked his head under the bed, then pulled back, sneezing. <Dusty.>

Judging by the look on Montgomery’s face, Simon didn’t have to relay that comment.

Montgomery sighed. “If it was my mama noticing the dust, she would have said, ‘Crispin James, you are disrespecting your home.’”

“Crispin James?” Simon said. “Not Montgomery?”

“Mama calls me Crispin or Crispin James. The rest of the family calls me C.J., and my friends call me Monty.”

“Why do humans need so many names?”

“I do not know.” After a moment, he said, “Sometimes names represent a different aspect of the same person. Crispin James is the son of Twyla and James Montgomery. Lieutenant Montgomery is a police officer. Same person, but the people around me have different expectations, need different things from me.”

“We each have one name,” Simon said.

“That’s not quite true,” Monty said. “I’ve heard you referred to as the Wolfgard when other terra indigene talk about you as the leader of the Courtyard. And then you have Meg Corbyn and cs759. Same person.”

“No.” Simon showed his teeth to emphasize the denial. “One was property. The other is Meg.”

“Same person, but what she was, and is, called carries weight and meaning, for herself and for the people around her,” Monty countered.

The blood prophet pups on Great Island need to have names to help them learn they aren’t property anymore, Simon thought as Nathan gave the bathroom and kitchen a quick sniff while Blair went into the bedroom. Something to discuss with Steve Ferryman since the Intuit might already know some suitable names.

That settled, at least momentarily, Simon watched the humans without making it obvious. Burke remained focused on the Wolves. Montgomery, on the other hand, looked like he regretted calling the Courtyard and letting those sensitive noses poke into every corner of his life.

Blair and Nathan returned to the living room.

“Two scents that aren’t Kowalski or Montgomery,” Blair said. “We don’t recognize them, so it’s no one who has been around the Courtyard.”

Simon saw the tension drain from both men. Not a betrayal from someone Montgomery would trust.

“Thank you for your help,” Burke said.

Simon looked around the apartment. No pack here to help guard the young. No one to protect the Lizzy when Montgomery had to do police things.

Humans were like sticky vines. If you didn’t escape at the first touch, you got more and more tangled up.

Most of them were meat, would always be meat. But, damn it, now when he looked at some of them he just didn’t see them as meat anymore, even when he wanted to bite them for a transgression.

“Predators have found your den,” he said reluctantly, remembering how Montgomery and Burke had helped him protect Meg. “The Lizzy can’t stay here.” Hearing Nathan’s soft, distressed whine, he added with some heat, “But I don’t want her playing with Meg or Nathan until she understands how much trouble she caused today by being a whiny human.”

Judging by the way Montgomery stiffened, his hackles would have risen in defense of his young—if humans had hackles.

But Simon heard more regret than anger in Montgomery’s voice when the man said, “I am sorry that Meg and Nathan were harmed by Lizzy’s actions. Young humans will misbehave and make mistakes.”

“Young Wolves misbehave and make mistakes too,” Simon said. “But for the well-being of the pack, the young must learn from mistakes and be disciplined when they misbehave.”

<The Lizzy is just a pup,> Nathan grumbled. <We won’t nip her that hard.>

<But we will nip,> Blair said.

<If the Lizzy stays in the Courtyard, of course she’ll get nipped for misbehaving, same as any other pup,> Simon agreed. They just wouldn’t tell Montgomery. And if the Lizzy was smart, she wouldn’t tell him either.

“I appreciate you allowing us to stay in the Courtyard while I sort things out,” Montgomery said. “I’ll make sure Lizzy understands she has to follow your rules.”

“We’ve been here long enough,” Blair grumbled.

Simon nodded.

“We talked to a bakery on Market Street and have some samples of the food Nadine Fallacaro can offer for Tess,” Montgomery said. “If the food meets with Tess’s approval, she can talk to Ms. Fallacaro about placing an order for A Little Bite.”

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