On Wednesday I’ll find out if I’m having a repeat cornea transplant this summer. For the last six months, my eyesight has continued to deteriorate and I”ve had only hours here and there when it was good enough to allow me to do any reading or writing. But you can only sit and listen to TV so much, so I decided to attempt beginning a new book, albeit in extremely short bursts.
I characterize my erotic romance stories as “Fluffy bunny.” I don’t have anything against the harder, darker stuff, I’ve simply never been inspired to write in that vein. Until now. I should now by now never to never because it’s usually the next damn thing I find myself doing. So for grins and giggles, I decided to post about my adventures in ophthalmology and writing a darker story at the same time. Which will give me the most trouble? We’ll see.
The gist of the new project:
Master Edward is a minor character who appears in Interview with Mistress A and the OTJT series. I decided it was about time he got his own story. He and his long-time submissive have recently parted ways and he’s a wee bit adrift. Time to give him a challenge, right? Enter Rennie, a woman who survived a horrific event and now suffers from PTSD and a whopping case of survivor’s guilt. Good thing Edward’s day job eminently qualifies him to take on her case.b
Here’s an excerpt from the prologue which took me forever to write since I could only manage a few paragraphs at a time.
Two years earlier
Was today the day?
What is it within the human spirit that causes it to cling to the tiniest shred of hope? I was ninety-nine percent certain I was going to die and not in that someday, off in the future kind of way. At this point, I told myself to accept it, welcome it even. When exactly it would happen was still unknown. Maybe today, whatever day of the week it was—I’d lost track, along with consciousness, quite a few times. Please, God, if it be your will, I’m ready but if not…I want to live.
How long will it take? How much will it hurt? No…I can’t think about that now. I coughed and the sound reverberated around what seemed to be a cavernous space. It was quiet now that Kelly and Andrea were…gone. I can’t let myself think about them either or I will go mad, and I need to keep my wits intact. Just in case.
“I’m home! Please forgive me for leaving you alone so long. My errands took longer than I expected.”
Dear God, please help me. He’s back. Stay calm. My traitorous body began to tremble.
I felt the bed shift as he sat on the edge beside me. “Now, let’s get you up. I’m sure you could use a trip to the ladies’ room.” He removed the handcuffs from my wrists and gently rubbed the chafed skin. “You know the routine, Renee. Be good and everything will be just fine.”
He uncuffed my ankles and helped me stand on wobbly knees. Tucking my hand into the crook of his arm, he escorted me, like a suitor, across the room, my bare feet stumbling on the cold cement floor. The bathroom door squeaked on its hinges as he pulled it open and led me inside.
“Because you’ve been such a lovely houseguest, please feel free to have a nice long shower. I’ve left arobe and a towel in there for you. You’ll feel ever so much better afterward, I’m sure.”
This was a new thing. Before, he’d allowed me to use only the toilet. I raised my fingertips to the cloth wrapped around my head.
“Of course you may remove the blindfold. Just be sure to replace it once you’re dressed again. I know I’m a silly goose, but I’m not quite ready to show myself to you, my dear. My shyness is something I’m still striving to overcome.” His voice was soft, his tone utterly sincere.
As soon as I heard the door click shut, I yanked the fabric from over my eyes and blinked in the harsh fluorescent light. As my vision adjusted, I stared at my reflection in the mirror in front of me. My hair was a matted mess; the remains of my eye makeup was smeared in a dark stain on my cheeks, and my favorite dress was torn and twisted around my body. Averting my gaze quickly, I hesitantly pulled the shower curtain aside and was relieved to see the stall was clean and stocked with soap and shampoo.
“At least I’ll smell better,” I whispered and flinched at the sound of my voice; I’d had no one to talk to for…two days? There was three…then two…now the cheese stands alone. No one left to pray with me.
My muscles protested as I reached back to pull down the zipper on my dress, and I gritted my teeth to keep from groaning. He didn’t suffer complaints well. I let the garment fall to the floor and stepped out of my panties which smelled faintly of dried urine. After adding my bra to the pile, I turned on the water in the shower, shivering as I waited for it to warm. Finally under the spray, I relished the sensation of the water cascading over my body. I’d always preferred showers to baths and my husband had often chided me for hogging all the hot water.
How long will he let me stay in here? Forever sounds about right.
As I lathered my hair, I thought again about the will to live, my will to live. Did I still have it? Maybe a little. I always believed I’d leave this world kicking and screaming but now…I was ashamed of being so meek. Where was my fight or flight instinct? I was weak and hungry and had barely enough energy to bathe myself. Perhaps it would be more dignified to go quietly. The condemned marched to the gallows nobly.
The water temperature turned tepid but still I was reluctant to step out. Forcing my hands to twist off the taps, I stepped out and hastily reached for the towel he’d left, along with a robe, draped over the sink. Though not fluffy by any means, it was clean and smelled of lavender. After drying my body, I used it to wrap up my hair and enclosed myself in the plain white robe .I blotted my hair and looked around the room.
Nothing to break the mirror with, no towel rods. The toilet was a commercial one so not even a tank lid I could swing like a baseball bat.
A polite knock came on the door.
“Renee? Are you finished? Your dinner awaits.”
“Don’t forget the blindfold, please.”
My fingers were clumsy but I managed to secure it over my eyes and reached for the doorknob. He was waiting a step beyond the door; I could feel the heat coming off his body. The only sense I had of him was that he was quite a bit taller than me and stocky.
With every cell in my body, I wanted to jerk away from his touch but the quiet voice in my head told me that was a very bad idea. He’s not hurt me yet…that I know of.
Leading me back to my bed, he chatted easily as if we were the oldest of friends. “I hope you liked the shampoo. I picked that scent especially for you, Renee.”
“Thank you, it’s lovely,” I replied, on auto-pilot.
He settled me back on the hospital-style bed, straightening the top sheet, fussing like an old maiden aunt. “I took the opportunity to put fresh bedding on. There’s nothing quite like clean, crisp sheets, is there?
“It’s very nice. I appreciate it. You’re taking excellent care of me.” Maybe if I kept him talking…made a connection.
“Let me just pull the cart over and we’ll get you fed.”
I heard the sound of wheels and then his sigh as he sat down on his bedside chair. “Open wide, my dear.”
I obeyed and was rewarded with a spoonful of lukewarm chicken noodle soup. Broth mostly, it was thin and watery, but it tasted heavenly after having had nothing for what felt like forever. My stomach rumbled and he chuckled. “Are you enjoying your dinner?” he asked as he fed me another spoonful.
“Yes, thank you.” I paused before continuing. “You’re very good at this. Have you been trained in nursing?”
“Who, me? No, I’m afraid not. Any skill I have was gained through practical experience. I had to care for my elderly mother for quite a long time. I would love to have attended higher education of some sort, but she took up most of my time. It was only the two of us, you see.”
“I take it she has passed on then?”
“Yes, finally, about five years ago. After that, I was able to get out in the world a bit more, get a job, live a normal life.”
The spoon clattered against the empty bowl after he gave me the last bite. “There we go. Time to tuck you in for the night.”
I knew what came next and extended my legs out straight. He’d kept them bound together, releasing me only for the all too infrequent bathroom breaks. But this time, he grasped my right ankle and secured it to the foot of the bed before doing the same to the left. His breathing became a little ragged as his fingers lingered on my skin. Dread filled the pit of my stomach and its scrabbling fingers began clawing their way upward.
What’s happening? He’s breaking routine!
Silently, he gathered my wrists together, bound them with zip ties then secured them to something (a hook on the wall?) over my head. I was uncomfortably stretched but kept my expression impassive while alarm bells clanged within my mind.