“These are for your hawk,” said Boris as he walked past Tim. Boris dropped a pair of leather straps. Soft deerskin with beading on one side. Hawks.
Tim looked at them. “You really think I’ll ever get to use them?”
“Yes. I saw her across the street, trying to decide whether to come into the club or not. She’s been out there pacing for about twenty minutes. Make her come to you though.” Boris smiled and headed into the dungeon.
Tim went upstairs to the offices and glanced out one of the windows into the parking lot. Boris was right. There she was across the lot, walking back and forth in front of her car. He smiled and wondered if this was about her computer or the fact that he hadn’t called on her in over two weeks. Part of that had been because he had been busy with work and the club. The other had been because he’d begun to question whether it was worth continuing to try and work on the relationship. He sat down to do some of the paperwork that Miller avoided like the plague.
“I’d like to speak to Tim please.” Zoe felt the blush creep into her face.
“Sure. Just a minute.” The girl wasn’t wearing a bar between her arms this time, but she had on nipple clamps that stood out a good two inches. As she walked past, Zoe realized that they were wood working clamps.
Zoe paced. She’d been pacing most of the afternoon, and the inner turmoil was building. She looked at her watch. Five minutes since Ms. Nipple Clamps had walked into the club. She was about to walk out the door when she heard the sound of the inner door.
“Hello Zoe, What can I do for you?”
She turned. It was that other man. Brian? No. Boris. He looked at her like a cat does a mouse.
“Um, I was looking to talk to Tim.”
“He’s busy at the moment. May I take him a message?” His voice was soft.
“Well, if he’s busy, I’ll… I’ll just come back later.” She started for the door. She never made it as Boris came up to her and gently took her by the elbow.
“Now Zoe, we both know that you must want to talk to Tim about something important. Otherwise, you’d have not come to the club. What is it dear?”
Zoe was a little shocked to be touched. He held her elbow so softly, and yet his voice ran shivers up and down her spine. “I… umm, he said if I had computer troubles, that I was suppose to contact him. I was in the area and figured that I’d just drop by.” She realized just how lame that sounded, the moment it left her mouth, but there was no reeling it back in.
“Ah. Come with me and we will see if he is finished.” Boris didn’t give her a chance to disagree, but simply held her elbow and walked into the club.
The club was loud tonight. It was Friday, and everyone was relaxing. Two different clubs were having their Munch. Boris walked Zoe through the crowd and towards a set of stairs. Up they went and into an office off to the left.
“Tim, you have a guest.” Boris gestured towards Zoe and once he had her in the center of the room, he left. The door closed almost silently.
Tim glanced up, saw Zoe and pointed towards a chair. “Have a seat. I’ll be with you in a minute.”
“I… I really didn’t want to…” was as far as she got before Tim gestured for her to be quiet. Fifteen minutes passed. She started to stand and leave.
Zoe did so automatically. Another fifteen minutes passed. Every time she began to move, he glanced up and negated her movement. She didn’t know whether to be angry, frustrated or sob.
Tim had been finished with his work a minute or two after Boris had brought Zoe into the room. However, this time he decided that it was time for more control. He shuffled papers until forty minutes had passed. “Hello Zoe. What can I do for you?” He leaned back in his chair as if he’d kept her waiting for a minute and not forty.
“My… my computer. I’m having issues. You said you’d be able to help me.”
“Well, I expected you to call me on Tuesday or Wednesday over two weeks ago.”
“I thought I could work it out, but Windows 8 is just evil!”
Tim laughed. Maybe there was hope for her yet. “Why is it evil?”
“The stuff doesn’t work well. It isn’t like Claire’s phone at all and the computer wouldn’t take my old laptop hard drive. I tried using it as an external drive and that didn’t work either. So, I came to talk to you to see if you could help me.”
Tim looked at his watch. “I just have to finish this up and I can follow you over to your house.” He shuffled some more papers, and wrote Miller a quick note. Then he took his time getting ready to go. Finally, he grabbed his briefcase and motioned for her to leave the office with him.
“Don’t thank me until we have something figured out. I really wish you had called me earlier.”
“I thought I could take care of it.” Her tone was a little indignant.
“Zoe, sometimes it is alright to fail, or not be in charge. I’ll meet you at your house.” With that, he walked off.
Zoe fumed all the way home. “How dare he insinuate that… that I can’t handle things!” she thought to herself. By the time she got home, she was almost ready to send him home and just have Claire’s nephew work on he computer. At least he wouldn’t try to tell her that she wasn’t good enough.
She parked and had the front door unlocked before Tim had a chance to park. Zoe took a deep breath, and tried to settle down. Part of her wondered if she over reacted. The other part was still trying to figure out why she’d gone to ask for Tim’s help in the first place.
Tim watched Zoe. He could tell she’d worked herself up on the way home. He put his keys in his pocket and felt the jesses that Boris had given him. He smiled and went inside. Zoe was pulling things off of the table and tossing them into a box she then hauled off as he walked in. A quick glance around the house let him know that her world was crumbling. Something had upset her. She put her computer, the external hard drive and some other things on the table.
“There. I have tried everything, and it just won’t work,” she started.
“Zoe. I want you to go make some tea and let me look at this.”
“I’d like a cup of tea.” He turned his attentions to the computer and watched her storm out of the room out of the corner of his eye.
Zoe made tea and brought him a cup. She set it down and started to say something.
“I will help you on my terms.”
“What in the hell is that suppose to mean?”
“You will sit on that chair and be quiet.” He pointed to a chair.
“This is my house. I…”
Tim stood. “You asked for my help. My terms are that you sit quietly in that chair. You will answer when I ask you questions and be silent when I don’t. Oh, and you will hold these.” He sat her in the chair and handed her the jesses. When she began to open her mouth to question him, he put his finger over her lips. “No.”
Zoe sat there, not knowing what to think. She turned the two leather straps over in her hands and looked at the beaded design. Tim was working on her computer when she looked over at him.
Zoe had no idea of how long Tim worked on her computer. Every time she made to move or speak, he just looked at her and shook his head no. She started to think of all the things that had gone wrong in the last few weeks. First her computer, and then the issues at work. Oh, and the fight with Claire over dating.
Zoe blinked. “What?”
“Your password. What do you want it to be?”
“Um… do I need one?”
“Yes. Choose fast, or I’ll choose one for you.”
Tim looked at her. “Okay, H@LLow33n is now your password. I’ve written it on this sticky note. Do not forget it.”
“May I look to see what you are doing?”
“In a minute.”
Zoe waited. Unconsciously, she ran the leather straps through her hands.
Zoe walked over to the other side of the table.
“You are right, Windows 8 is evil. I know what you were using and understood that it wouldn’t work well for you. I’ve installed Kubuntu on your machine and uploaded your old data. It’s linux, and if you have any issues, call me right away.”
“Kubuntu? Linux?” She started to look at her computer.
“They are free operating systems. Much more like what you use.” Tim watched as she ran through a few things.
Zoe stood up. “Thank you. What do I owe you?”
Tim smiled. “First off, I want you to have a date with me tomorrow. I’ll be here at 6pm. Before I pick you up, I want you to clean house. This is the second time that I have seen you throw things in corners or rooms to ‘clean up’. Last, I want you to wear these.” He took the jesses from her hands. “Hold out your arms.”
Zoe held out her arms, and watched as Tim wrapped each wrist in leather. Hawk up, when her hands were palm down. “I’ll need to take them off when I shower.”
“No, you won’t. They’ll be just fine. Now, play with your computer for an hour and then go to bed. No falling asleep with it on your lap.” Before she could reply, he turned and left the house.