“Try me for a week,” Ink said. “If I don’t measure up, tell me to leave and I will.”
“He’s had no police check done on him,” Tay’s mother said.
Ink shrugged. “Do the check.” Oh, for fuck’s sake, don’t do the check.
“Of course, you’d say that.” Tay’s father spoke through gritted teeth. “Basic checks take fourteen days.”
Fourteen days with a bed to sleep in, a roof over his head, a hot shower every day and food in his stomach? Great! No need to pay me.
“No,” Tay’s father said. “It’s too much of a risk.”
Now there was an actual chance of a job, Ink really wanted it. “I don’t know how much you’d have to pay someone from Helper but I’d do it for a hundred pounds a week. Cash.”
Three faces turned towards him then.
“Shit! Too much? Not enough? Whatever you think is right.”
“You don’t need to pay me until the end of the week,” Ink added. “If you’re homing and feeding me, you really don’t need to pay me at all. If you turn out to be an arsehole, I’d definitely want money as well.”
“Oh God.” Tay’s father groaned.
“I want him,” Tay said. “Is anyone listening? The rest of them were shit. He’s the least shitty.”
Ink raised his eyebrows. “Thanks a lot.”
“You’re welcome.” Tay smirked.
“What work have you been doing?” his father asked.
“Horse trainer.” Once upon a time. “So I know how to deal with… stubborn, awkward, cantankerous animals.”
Tay chuckled in a tone that implied Ink hadn’t yet seen awkward.
“So how would you make my son eat cauliflower?” Tay’s mother asked.
“I’d tell him it was anaemic broccoli.”
“He won’t eat broccoli either,” she said.
“Guess I’d let him starve then.”
His father frowned. “Why do you want this job?”
“I have a sick mother to support, a huge gambling debt and a compulsive gay porn addiction.”
Tay’s parents gaped at him.
Ink winced. “Too much?”
Tay sniggered and they turned horrified faces in his direction.
“Oh come on. He’s joking. I’ve just listened to one bloke after another tell me the same thing. How rewarding they find it being able to give their clients the support they need in order that they can continue to live independent lives in their own home. They all claimed they were passionate, dedicated, positive and attentive. No doubt quoting from Helper’s bible. He didn’t say any of that.”
His father had been pacing. Now he stopped. “You need all of that.”
“I need someone who can make me smile. This is my place. He’s working for me. He’s going to live with me. I get to choose. He’s starting now. Give him the keys.”
“A private word.” Tay’s father beckoned Ink.
Ink followed him to the living room. The guy stepped right into his space but Ink held his ground.
“If you hurt him in any way, I will hunt you down. Understand?”
Ink nodded. Join the pack of hounds already on my trail.