Zoe waited until the truck drove off and then decided to get on her computer. She wasn’t ready to go to bed, in spite of what Tim thought. Zoe curled up on the couch and started reading the latest news and comics. Then she moved onto other websites. She’d barely gotten started on one of the blogs when the phone rang.
“Oh. Hi Tim. No, I’m fine. No, I’m not in bed. I’m on my computer. Well, I um… I didn’t feel tired. Besides, if I had gone to bed, you would have woken me up!” Zoe hung up the phone. “How DARE he try and tell me to what to do!” she thought. She pulled up her Netflix account and started watching a movie. Ten minutes later, she was asleep, and her laptop slid off her lap and onto the carpet.
Tim had hung up the phone and gone back to watching the people in the lounge at the Rosy Thorn. He knew that Zoe wouldn’t go to bed, even though she really needed to. However, he also knew that he had to work slowly with her.
“So, how’s your little hawk?” asked Boris walking up quietly.
“Fighting the jesses.”
“Ah, has she hung up on you? Or just slammed the door in your face?”
“Phone. I have the feeling that if I went over right now, she’d be sound asleep.”
“Most likely. Keep your distance. Make her want to come to you. She will. I could see it in her eyes.” Boris smiled, thumped Tim on the arm and then walked back into the dungeon.
Zoe was standing in line at The Computer Doctor, waiting to see if they had been able to repair her laptop. The line moved slowly.
Zoe walked up to the counter. “Hi. I’m here to see about my computer?”
“Ticket?” The guy was maybe 25 and bored as he waited for her.
“Here. Number 349. I brought it in last week.” She shifted from foot to foot.
“Oh yeah. Cracked screen, broken case.” He walked over to a bench and looked at a computer. He walked back over with a small padded envelope which he handed to Zoe.
“Your hard drive.”
“I… I thought you were going to fix my computer.”
“Lady, let me explain. You broke the case and the screen on your computer. It’s four years old. By the time we repair it, it’ll cost you at least $150 in parts and $175 in labor. You can get a new laptop for $350. Do yourself a favor. Take your hard drive and go buy a new computer. Switch the hard drives, and you have ‘your computer’ back.”
Zoe stood there for a moment. This isn’t what she expected. “What do I owe you?” she asked as she put her hard drive into her handbag.
“Nothing, except don’t leave your laptop where it can fall next time. Oh, and don’t buy your computer here. Go to Amazon or NewEgg online.”
“But I don’t have a computer. How am I suppose to get online?”
“Go to the library.” He turned and walked away.
Zoe stood there stunned. She walked out and made it all the way to her car before the tears began to flow. Ten minutes later, she dried her face and headed for the library.
Zoe felt weird buying a computer online. She’d thought about going over to Claire’s, but that would involve too much discussion of why she’d been online. She finished her purchase and then checked her email, which she hadn’t done in a few days. Zoe turned off the computer and was just standing up to leave when she realized someone was standing in front of her.
“I’ll be done in just a second,” she said thinking that it was a librarian.
“I don’t mind. I just came over to say hello.”
Zoe looked up to see Tim standing there. “Oh. Um. Hi.”
“What are you doing in the library?” he asked gesturing at the laptop.
“Mine died. I had to order a new one.” Zoe could feel the blush creeping up her neck.
“Oh? Were you able to rescue the data off the hard drive?”
“I have my hard drive. I need a new computer.” She stood up to leave, but he didn’t move.
“How did it die?”
“I was stupid and it slid off my lap, fell to the floor and broke.” Zoe realized she was a little too loud and pushed past Tim in an attempt to leave before she embarrassed herself even more than she already was.
Tim let her past and then followed her. Once they were outside, he caught up with her. “Zoe, why are you acting like this?” He had his suspicions, but waited for her to explain.
Zoe turned to face Tim. “Okay! It’s all my fault! If I had gone to sleep like you told me to, I wouldn’t have broken my computer. Okay? So just get it over with and say ‘I told you so!’ Then I can go home.”
“Whoa! Hold on. I suggested that you go to sleep that night. I knew you were upset and tired. When I called, I was concerned about you. However, you are an adult. We are not in a relationship of any kind and you are free to do what you want. I’m sorry that you couldn’t sleep right away. I can understand the need to process the what happened that night. I’m sorry too, that your computer got broken, but the last thing I’d ever say would be ‘I told you so.’ I mean that.”
Zoe looked up at him, and did see concern on his face. He wasn’t lording over her or smirking. She slumped against her car as the tears rolled down her face. Next thing she knew, Tim was wrapping her in his arms.
“Shush. It’s okay.” He held her until Zoe stopped crying. Then he let go and pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket and handed it to her. “It’s clean.”
She took it, wiped her face and blew her nose. “Thanks. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Do you want to go get something to eat?”
“No, I want to go home.”
“Do you want company?” Tim noticed she hadn’t let go of his hand.
“Sorta. I don’t really have much to make for dinner for two though,” she sighed feeling inadequate once more.
“No problem. Head home. I’ll stop by the deli and get some things. I’ll be over at your house in about thirty minutes. Relax until I get there and then we can talk. Okay?”
Zoe thought about it for a moment. “Okay.”
He watched Zoe drive off in her car and then walked over to his truck. He climbed in and turned to Dirk. “I’m going to drop you off at the club. Tell Miller I’ll be in later or tomorrow. I’ll switch days.”
“Fine by me. What did you do? Take her library card? Ban her from reading romances?”
“No, She was in there ordering a new computer online. Seems she fell asleep after I called the other night and dropped her computer. Felt guilty because I’d told her to go to sleep, and she didn’t listen to my suggestion. When I bumped into her, everything just sort of blew up in her face. All her own doing too.” Tim looked over his shoulder as he backed out. He pulled into traffic and headed for the club.
“Damn. Talk about distant Dom-ing.”
“I’m finding that Boris is a scary accurate man,” Tim admitted. “I honestly didn’t think she’d be the kind to be a sub. Switch maybe, but not a sub. He pegged her though.”
“She reminds me of Sally and Kerri. Very in control during the day, but that she needs to let go in order to re-charge.”
Tim nodded. “I agree. I wonder though what will happen when she finally lets go. I don’t want a puppy.”
“Hell, that’s the same fear I had with Liz. Good thing she’s so damn obstinate.” Dirk thought about his sub, Liz. She’d come a long way in the year since she’d been raped. They still had their rough spots, but both were actually happy with their arrangement.
Tim laughed. “I understand.” He pulled up in front of the Rosy Thorn and let Dirk out. He waved and then headed for the deli for dinner. He had care and feeding of a sub to do tonight.