I’m very excited that my novel, ‘Tiptoe’ is gathering beta-feedback and you know what? I feel like sharing something nice with you all. While I wait, you can enjoy the prologue and the first chapter. Let me know what you think! Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear what you guys think!
Amy paced around the bedroom, hands together in a prayer. She had twenty minutes. She’d weighed the pros and cons, but came to the same conclusion every time. There was no use questioning it anymore.
It had to be now.
A sharp breath followed a sob. He knew everything. She opened her eyes and shifted her gaze to the shiny scissors on the bedside table. The cold touch of the laminate floor on her bare feet quickened her steps.
Her trembling hands grabbed the scissors as she hurried to the full-length mirror, stepping over clothes and broken glass, the remnants of Sean’s explosion scattered across the wooden floor. The broken shards distorted her reflection.
Inches from the mirror, she raised the scissors to her black hair. How she loved her long hair, soft and silky, like satin. She gripped it tightly. It was beautiful, her very favourite thing…
Chunks fell to her feet. Frantic chops destroyed her precious tresses. There was only one thing she loved more than her hair, and it was him. As each chunk fell to the floor, her sobs came closer together. Her heart ached as if a giant hand tried to squeeze every ounce of life from it.
Amy eased her grip, and the scissors bounced off the floor. She studied her reflection; the swollen cheek was darker than yesterday, the cut on her lip seeping from the latest outburst. She looked awful, but she felt better. Relieved. Even with her precious hair around her toes, she felt better than she had for months. She touched her belly and smiled.
Amy scanned the room for a notepad. Sean usually had them scattered around the house. One had to be here somewhere. The state of the bedroom had spiralled out of control. And as usual, it was her responsibility to clean it. He had the tantrum, but she was expected to tidy up. Not tonight. He could clean his own mess.
She pawed through his drawers, throwing everything aside: his watch, his boxers, condoms and finally, she found a scruffy pad. Perfect. As she pulled it out, she scooped a pen up with her middle finger. She bit the lid off and began to write. But what should she say? She’d not thought this far ahead before. Whenever she came close, doubts returned. Her palms grew sweaty, and she wiped them on her trousers. Now was not the time to wimp out.
Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. Gripping the pen, she began to write.
I know this isn’t what you wanted, but I have no other choice. Things between us have been hard. It’s hard enough to wake up everyday and see the cold look in your eyes. I know you hate me, you have every right to.
Living in this world is hard enough without bringing a baby into it. Maybe you were right and I should have aborted her, but its too late. I love you with every ounce of my being, but I don’t love who you’ve become.
I never thought this side of you existed. How could somebody so cruel live in the man I once loved?
I can handle your moods, that’s never been the problem. The problem is you treating me like a possession. If you do this to me now, then what will happens in the future? It fills me with sadness to know that I mean very little to you. I know about her. I know about everything.
I can’t live in this world with you, and I certainly can’t live in it without you.
Sorry for the mess.
Amy dropped the pen and folded the note gently, leaving it on his bedside table. The note was propped behind the alarm clock. She checked her watch. Twelve minutes. Suddenly her legs felt like jelly. Medication. Where was it?
Her tiny hands scrambled through the drawers, exploring every corner. Nothing. Where was it?
The only thing she found was a pot of painkillers. Sean’s headaches had returned, and she bet it was connected to his drinking. He claimed he didn’t have a problem, but the bruises on her body begged to differ.
She opened the prescription pot and swallowed as many as she could. The chalky sensation made her wince, and the lingering taste made her shudder.
Swallow. There’s no time to waste. Just swallow.
In times like these, she was grateful she could take them without water – but there was only so much she could manage. Oh God. Her gag reflex fought against the dry tablets.
She didn’t have time. How many could she take before she purged? She took as many handfuls as she could before the churning sensation made her feel slightly faint. Now was not the time.
Dropping the pot, several pills scattered across the floor. Her heart pounded and sweat trickled down her temples, skin crawling as a wave of uncertainty stuck her. Not good enough. Pills could be fixed with a stomach pump. It wasn’t enough! How could she make it foolproof?
Guilt struck her; the sudden pain in her stomach returned her thoughts to the dulling ache in her belly, the tiny movements shattered what was left of her heart. Stroking it softly, she sighed.
Something horrible boiled inside her … oh God. She rushed to the bathroom, reaching the toilet just in time. Burning. The terrible feeling grew until her best attempt was void.
She pulled away and slipped her hand through her choppy hair. With a final glance at her watch, she whimpered. Eleven minutes.
What if she couldn’t do it? The fear returned and she closed her eyes. She couldn’t even handle the pills. What was wrong with her? There had to be another way … Amy’s eyes shifted to the scissors on the ground. The thought of piercing her skin, sliding it across until the blood released, slicing the femoral artery would end it. But the pain. She shuddered. She couldn’t handle the pain. That wouldn’t work. How could she get so close and hit a dead end?
“Oh God,” Amy mumbled and covered her eyes, tears escaping.
She needed something. Something to really end it. If she wanted peace, to be free from the chains that kept her in a living hell, she needed to think – and fast.
Focusing on the banister in the hallway, her lips twisted. She abandoned the bedroom in search of a rope. Sean kept DIY items in a cupboard in the bedroom, hiding behind the collection of shoes; in case he needed it, he always said.
Today, she needed it.
After several failed attempts, Amy tied it as tight as she could, then slipped it around her neck. She adjusted it, easing it closer to her throat.
This close to death, she suddenly felt fear. But the fear she felt when she thought of Sean’s reaction urged her to finish the job she had started. If he came home before she had succeeded, she doubted she’d see tomorrow morning. She fumbled with the rope, struggling to tighten it.
Her shaking hands barely secured the rope. One job done, the second was the hardest of the lot. She climbed over the banister, careful not to slip. She took a deep breath and looked down at her stomach.
She gazed down, calculating the injury if the rope failed her. It was quite a distance … if something went wrong, if the banister wasn’t strong enough, she’d have a broken ankle. Or worse, if she landed on her stomach, the baby would be no more. It would be murder. But a merciful one.
Pushing the thoughts away, she gripped tighter, but her sweaty palms made it difficult.
The kicking returned, this time harder. The chemical reactions taking place in her body must be harming the growing baby, the baby that wouldn’t take a single breath, would never see natural sunlight. Death was better than a life of misery, longing for the peace. Whether or not Heaven existed, anywhere was better than here.
“I’m so sorry, baby, please forgive me. This is better, for both of us.” Amy took a deep breath, released the banister and jumped. When her feet left the second floor landing, a flash of panic struck.
Three years later.
Five more minutes. If he wasn’t home in five more minutes, she would go to bed. That was final.
Addison tugged the silver band from her hair, and her long, brown locks tumbled down. She twirled it around her fingers to give each wave a gentle kink. With her foot propped against the arm of the couch, she wriggled her toes. The scent of nail polish was strong, almost enough to make her nose twitch. Stroking her fingertips against her thigh, she rubbed the slight itch before pulling her hand towards her mouth. Her ruby red nails were ready.
No longer cautious, she reached for her phone and checked the time. Hmm. He was late. Again. She shouldn’t be surprised. Ten minutes turned to half an hour, which escalated to two hours. Like tonight.
Addison gazed around the apartment. Candles lined the decorative fireplace, coffee table, and storage unit. The flames flickered before the light reduced, and several candles surrendered. The magnolia aroma filled the room. She took a deep breath, then releasing it. Heavenly.
The longer she waited, the more impatient she became. Huff. Adjusting her thin dressing gown, she gently tugged it apart, granting Sean a peek at his favourite underwear set, if he ever came home. She closed her eyes and rubbed her rouged lips together. Addison groaned then blow the flames away from the closest line of candles. He could please himself tonight. That was final.
Addison checked her phone again, but the jangling of keys caught her attention. Finally. She looked up to find Sean walking through the front door, focused on a box in his hands. Oh, a present, for her? She perked. Clearing her throat, she alerted him to her presence.
He dumped the box on the table and walked towards her. He slipped the tie off, draped it over a kitchen chair. As he unbuttoned his shirt, it flowed open.
Sean removed his belt, then flopped on the other end of the couch.
Why was he sitting so far away? Something was very wrong. She lifted her foot, and brushed it across his cheek, beckoning his attention. Teasing the gown open, she revealed the surprise he wouldn’t get to play with. If he could tease, so would she.
As expected, his eyes widened. He touched her knee, then traced his fingertips across the skin. Like a child in a candy store, he wanted her. But he couldn’t have her.
“I didn’t know you had those.” Sean’s fingers crept up her thigh until he was inches away from the thin layer of lace.
Swatting him away, she crossed her legs and covered up. “I bought it for you. It was supposed to be a surprise. But I guess you don’t like them anymore.”
His smile quickly faded. “Addy, I have no choice. Symonds needed an extra–”
She shuffled towards him and captured his lips in a tender kiss, her lipstick remained as she pulled away. “It’s fine. You’re forgiven … this time. It would be nice to see my fiancé sometimes. While you’re off playing journalist, I’m here playing lonely girl with nobody to keep me company.”
With pouted lips, she gave her best puppy eyes. “I miss you.”
Sean’s warm touch found her thigh, leaning closer and massaging the soft skin, and stole a kiss. “I know. But life’s getting a little …”
She lowered her hand to his stomach, and teased against the buttons on his trousers.
“Busy.” Sean smirked. “But what’s the surprise for? You don’t normally do this. Not that I don’t appreciate it, but it’s just not like you. Is it Christmas already?”
She shifted to his lap, leaning closer until there were only millimetres between their lips. His mischievous stare in his eyes sent shivers through her spine. Her fingertips stroked his five-o-clock shadow. Why was it so difficult? How could she say no to his handsome dark eyes and the defined cheekbones. The sight alone made her smile, warmth filling her. Maybe she could make an exception … after all, she had needs too.
“Four months.” Her caressed his cheeks. “You might not keep all of your promises, but you kept this one. I’ve never been more proud of you.”
Sean’s gaze lowered. “And this is my present? I should have quit years ago.” He tugged the gown open.
* * *
After last night’s celebrations, Sean woke to an empty bed. The alarm still buzzed. Was this his punishment? Who wakes up at nine anyway?
He followed the trail of underwear from the bedroom, through the hallway, and stepped in the living room. Last night had been eventful, but not enough. Even if she couldn’t resist him, she still refrained in his moment of need. Sean rubbed his eyes, then adjusted to the natural light shining through the window.
His scattered clothes on the floor were not a sign of victory, but defeat. He nudged his shirt aside and followed the scent of perfume. Unfortunately, she was fully dressed.
“Remind me again why we’re awake at 9:30? I wanted to sleep in. More time to kiss you.” He found her shoulder with his lips, hands stroking the sides of her white dress. It clung to her tiny waist, but the curve of her hips aided the natural puff of the skirt. His touch lowered to her thighs. The touch soothed him. Temptation struck. “Make love to me.”
Addison swatted him, then walked away. “No. I’m busy.”
He followed, trailing behind without releasing his grip. No, this wasn’t working. “I’ll make love to you.”
He grasped her hips and tugged her closer, squeezing tightly.
She slapped him away again and wriggled free.
This must be his punishment. Maybe he should have seen it coming, but there were always ‘Get of out jail for free’ methods. Releasing her, he scowled. “Don’t do this to me. I told you I was sorry.”
“I’m not in the mood, Sean.” She swayed past him, carrying a fresh bowl of fruit.
He grabbed her again, and slid closer. What was her problem? “I’ll put you in the mood.”
“I said no. Learn to wait. I waited more than enough for you. You can’t always get what you want, Mr Tomlin.” Her sharp tone meant one thing – she wouldn’t change. She put the fruit bowl down and looked at the present.
Admitting defeat, he turned away and flopped to the couch. Ridiculous. Awake early and she wouldn’t put out. What a waste of a morning.
“You gonna open that?” She held the box.
“Later.” He turned his attention to the TV, grabbed the remote, and flicked through channels.
Addison walked towards him, sat on the couch, legs crossed. She offered one of the apples in her hand, and when he accepted it, she took the control and stopped at the Home Decorating channels.
Deep joy. Reluctantly, he and stared at the screen. There really was nothing better than watching home decorating channels first thing in the morning. The more he suffered, the more he questioned her motives. Did she purposely try to irritate him, or was it purely a coincidence? He usually dismissed the investigation; then he remembered the soft skin only inches away. He grabbed her knee, rubbing gently.
“So … who sent the package?” Addison asked between nibbles.
“I don’t know. Probably just Alexander. He usually sends me random shit I don’t need. But I don’t care about that. I care about you.” He looked at her, and stroked the hair from her eyes. “What’s the matter?”
Addison’s eyes widened. Taking a bite of her apple, then she covered her mouth as she swallowed. “Nothing. I’m just busy. Will you be alright by yourself? I’m meeting the girls for lunch. I’ll probably be gone all day. I think they’re doing birthday presents. So that should be exciting. Don’t peek when I come home! I want it to be a surprise. Be a good boy.” She lowered the apple and leaned closer.
“I’m always a good boy.”
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