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Broken-hearted and hurt, Jen’s ready for a new beginning, but that means leaving Todd and the life they shared behind. Before she goes, she’s determined to give him the perfect goodbye.
About this Book:
Coda is an erotic short story I’ve written as a follow-up to Little Bird and an introduction to the next book in the series. While it involves characters and events from Little Bird, it is intended to stand alone.
Be forewarned: Coda contains explicit language, bdsm, and a very naughty piece of ginger.
I’m usually pretty good at lying to myself. Some would probably say that’s how I got myself in trouble now, and they’d be right. But it’s time to be honest. I’m in love with a man who doesn’t love me. That’s a hard thing to admit because I’d always assumed things would work out in the end. Worse, I’d embarrassed Todd and he didn’t deserve that. I owe him an apology. Actually, I owe several people an apology, but Todd is the only person who will get one. Not that I wouldn’t apologize to the others if given the chance, but, realistically, that’s not going to happen. No doubt, after the way I behaved, my call wouldn’t be accepted and, even if it would be the right thing to do, I can’t quite bring myself to apologize to an answering machine. So, Todd will get his apology and the others can think whatever they like. It’s not like I’ll ever see them again anyway.
Todd called a while ago to tell me he was on his way home. He should be here any minute and I wish he would hurry. I’ve been moping around feeling sorry for myself since he dropped me off yesterday morning, but now I just want to get this over with. It’s going to be difficult and I’d like to get it behind me. I suspect Todd is dallying for that very reason. He wants to let me suffer for a while, let me think about what I’ve done. Well, I have and I’m ready to move on. But first, I want my apology to be perfect.
Since I expect him at any time, I’m naked and kneeling in the foyer waiting for him. He’s going to punish me, of course, and as regretful as I am for my behavior, for embarrassing him, I’m looking forward to the punishment. I always do. That’s one of the things that made our arrangement so successful.
When the front door opens, I resist the urge to look. I’d like to see his face, to gauge his mood. But I don’t dare sneak even the smallest peek. I know he doesn’t want me to look at him. He never wants to be looked at during a scene. He just stands there staring at me for the longest time and I can barely stand it. I feel itchy and anxious; it’s interminable. Did he see my bags packed and sitting by the door? Maybe that’s why he hasn’t said anything.
I’m about to crawl out of my skin, the waiting is making me that crazy. The silence, too. I hear his breathing, see the toes of his tennis shoes in my peripheral vision. I know he’s here. It’s driving me a little bit mad that nothing is happening. Words start to jam up in my throat, trying to fight their way over my tongue in such a rush they probably wouldn’t come out in the proper order if I let them escape. Just when I think I’m not going to be able to hold them back any longer, he finally speaks, putting me out of my misery. Or rather, putting me out of one misery and tossing me directly into another.
“Look at me.”
I’m startled by his request and it takes me a moment to comply. When I do, my heart plummets straight to my toes. He looks awful, tired and worried. But what bothers me most is the look in his eyes. He’s calm, frighteningly so. Anger I can ignore, but disappointment eats at me until I can’t stand it.
I want to ask him what happened but I’m confused and not sure if I should. Normally, he’d say don’t speak unless spoken to. That’s one of his bedrock rules, right next to the one about not looking at him. But now he’s told me to look at him and I don’t know what the rules are anymore. Maybe I am allowed to talk? Dammit. This was one of the things I always liked about Todd. Structure, routine. Clear rules that I could rely on. Discipline. I don’t know why but I get so upset when I don’t know what to expect, I can make myself sick thinking about it. So, while some might have found Todd’s rigid expectations cold and unfeeling, I adored it. It grounded me and removed a lot of the nagging doubt from my psyche. But that one order—look at me—is like a weight tied to my ankle, pulling me deeper in a swamp of uncertainty.