A Simple Misunderstanding: Corbin's Bend, Book Seven by Kathryn R. BlakeThough Arthur and Eleanor Benson have been practicing domestic discipline for three months since their wedding, he insists moving to Corbin's Bend, where domestic discipline is the norm rather than the exception, will revitalize their marriage. Elly has...
In his years as a vet, Jerry Douglas has seen what abuse does to animals, and he recognizes those same signs in Elly Benson during her daily escape to the dog park with her tiny poodle. Jerry steadfastly supports the tenets of domestic discipline and enjoys the freedom Corbin's Bend offers its residents, but he remains fiercely protective of anyone in need of a champion. And when he witnesses evidence of harsh handling, his instinct is to rush in and rescue. Problem is Elly Benson is a married and consenting adult who insists all her bruises and welts are nothing more than a simple misunderstanding between her and her husband, until the day Arthur Benson takes his authority and discipline one-step too far, endangering Elly's life.
About Corbin's Bend:
Welcome to Corbin's Bend, the first equity-cooperative housing development just for spankofiles. Thirty thousand acres in the mountains above Denver sits your dream come true. With 1000 home sites, several restaurants, a club house, theater, pool, and many other amenities, you will find yourself at home.
Corbin's Bend is the setting for a group of spanking romance novellas set in, where else? Corbin's Bend, Colorado. A fictitious housing cooperative, Corbin's Bend is unique in that everyone living there is into spanking, whether that be erotically or through domestic discipline. Just imagine, a place where nobody has to hide their particular spanking lifestyle.
While reading any series in order is nice, Corbin's Bend books can be read as stand-alones as well.
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A Simple Misunderstanding: Corbin's Bend, Book Seven (Sample Chapter)
Copyright © 2014 Kathryn R. Blake
As a vet, expressing an animal’s anal glands had never been one of Jerry Douglas’ favorite duties, but for some breeds, anal sac expression was the best method of keeping the gland from becoming infected or impacted. Unfortunately, sometimes owners thought it was cute when their doggie scooted or ran in circles snapping at its tail and didn’t realize, until a rather obnoxious odor began to permeate the home, that their pet had a serious problem. And, when the dog was small and snippy, like the chihuahua he’d just finished treating, the task was more than unpleasant. Not to put too fine a point on it, pushing foul, bloody puss out of a dog’s rear end, and appearing unaffected by it, took a strong constitution.
Still, Jerry was a professional, so he did the job, gave the suffering animal an injection of antibiotics, counseled Mrs. Kline on the warning signs of a full gland to keep Pepper from reaching such an uncomfortable state again, and sent her and her trembling dog out front to pay.
Though he’d worn gloves, after expressing an infected gland, he spent about five minutes scrubbing his fingers with antibacterial soap at the sink in his office. It wasn’t necessary, but the clean smell helped counter the previous assault on his olfactory senses. So, as he scrubbed, Jerry gazed out at the small dog park near his clinic and spotted her. He glanced at the clock. Five minutes early today. Quickly drying his hands, he told his assistant he was going to take Jack for a walk and loped up his stairs, two at a time, to retrieve his black Lab.
Jack was a gentle dog, and he and Muffin had exchanged sniffs before, so Jerry knew the tiny toy poodle wouldn’t get upset if they joined her and her mistress. His purpose for this late afternoon walk, however, pertained more to the animal’s mistress, Elly Benson, than the white ball of yipping fluff she owned.
After grabbing a jacket to help ward off the Colorado chill of early October, he jingled Jack’s leash. The six-month-old Lab bounced forward in clear doggie excitement.
“Easy boy. Sit, Jack. Let me attach your lead, then we’ll go visit the ladies in the park.”
Although Jack was eager to romp and play outside, he instantly obeyed Jerry’s quietly spoken command. Jerry grinned at his Lab’s pained expression, suspecting Jack’s excitement for visiting the dog park was far different from his own.
He’d tried for weeks to involve Mrs. Eleanor Benson in a conversation, but she’d shied away from even his most gentle overtures, as if she almost feared to look at him, much less chat. He would have put her attitude down to a shy, reserved nature, but the way she hunched her shoulders in an effort to make herself smaller, as though she sought to be invisible, made him suspect she feared a dire consequence if she mistakenly drew attention to herself. And other than her daily trips to the dog park, she remained locked within her home, drapes drawn and windows closed. A virtual recluse from society.
Then, three weeks ago, when she thought she wasn’t observed, he’d witnessed her playing in the park with her toy poodle. She’d bent and slapped her knees in a pretend attack, and the little white dog dashed about the perimeter of the small fenced-in area before bounding back to her for more fun. Those few unguarded moments were the only times he’d ever seen Elly Benson’s delight-filled natural exuberance bubble forth.
Though her shyness brought his protective instincts to the fore, what he sought was more of her playful mischievousness. Like the game of hide-and-seek, he’d caught her playing with Muffin a few minutes ago. Yet, the second he opened the gate, he knew a somber pall would fall over the woman like a shroud of sobriety, masking any hint of enjoyment beneath a veil of polite reserve intended to make her invisible.
Yes, the lady was married, but he wasn’t trying to seduce her, merely get her to relax and open up around him. Let her true personality shine through the formal reserve she’d adopt whenever anyone was near. A reserve he suspected might be enforced, rather than natural.
“Heel, Jack,” Jerry commanded as he led the animal to the small dog park where owners were permitted to let well-behaved dogs off their leads.
After Jerry made certain the gate was securely fastened, he unhooked Jack’s leash and gave him permission to romp. “Go on, boy. Do your stuff.” Then he turned toward the pale, frail-looking young woman who promptly drew the sleeves of her sweater down and averted her eyes when he glanced in her direction.
He brusquely rubbed his arms over his leather jacket. “A bit chillier today, wouldn’t you say?” He opened with a yes or no question even a complete stranger couldn’t criticize.
She nodded while casting a quick glance at her watch. That’s when he spotted a reddish-purple bruise encircling her wrist. Over the past few weeks, he’d seen similar indications of harsh treatment, like a stiff legged-gait combined with winces of pain when she threw balls for Muffin, or rubbing her neck and favoring one arm over the other, which put together had him suspecting her husband played on the rough side. Though, this was the first time he’d witnessed evidence of a physical injury.
Accidents happen, and many dominants used restraints that occasionally left marks. However, when notable bruising was coupled with shame and embarrassment masked by a well-rehearsed reserve, his protective radar went on alert. Jerry had seen what ill-treatment did to animals, and Elly Benson showed many of the same characteristics. He’d lay odds if he mentioned those bruises on her wrists, she’d minimize their significance while she struggled to keep the evidence of her shame hidden beneath the sleeves of her bulky sweater. Not conclusive proof of abuse perhaps, but enough to cause doubt in his mind. Doubt that had been percolating inside his head for over two weeks now.
He started toward her, stopping when she backed away with an expression of grave uncertainty on her face. Okay, down boy. You’re freaking the lady out even more by encroaching on her personal space.
“Sorry,” he murmured, holding his hands up in a universal sign of surrender. “I didn’t mean to scare you, but I noticed your wrist was bruised.”
She promptly yanked the arm of her sweater down to cover the mark, as he’d expected she would. “It’s nothing. And, I’m not scared.” Her chin came up as though she dared him to contradict her.
A flash of pride, accompanied by sixteen words and three sentences. A miracle. “Sorry, again. Those bruises appear to be swelling and I wanted to make sure you’re not injured.”
“I’m not.” Another glance at her watch, then she slapped her thigh. “Muffin, come. We need to go. Now.”
Muffin, however, was more interested in playing a game of nip and dodge with Jack, than in obeying her mistress, so Jerry tried a different tack. “It would seem Muffin isn’t quite ready to leave, yet.”
Wrapping her arms about her, Elly Benson shivered and stomped her feet a couple of times as if to return feeling to her toes before giving her arms a brisk rub. The afternoon air had acquired a frosty bite, and though her ski sweater appeared warm, she really should be wearing a proper coat and gloves. Then, she curved her shoulders inward and shivered again
Jerry removed his black leather jacket and headed toward her, palms facing outward. Careful not to make any sudden moves, he approached her as he would a timid animal. “You’re cold,” he murmured in a low, soothing voice. “At least wear this until Muffin is ready.”
“No. Thank you.” She tried to circumvent his approach by walking around him, but he sidestepped her, unwilling to be put off. From what he’d seen over the past few weeks, the lady needed a champion, and he suspected her husband was ill-suited for the job.
“I insist,” he said, inserting a note of steel into his voice, figuring she would respond to his tone and obey. Instead, she held her place and gave another shake of her head, though she declined to meet his gaze. A muted show of spirit that most likely masked a deeply rooted fear firmly lodged in her psyche. A fear of her husband’s disapproval. So, with his arms extended, Jerry remained where he stood and held her gaze. Even in this small clash of wills, he expected to win.
“I can’t,” she whispered finally, eyes still lowered.
“Why not? You’re shivering. Colorado can turn unexpectedly nippy at this time of year, so you should always wear a coat in the afternoon.” Offering logic, not condemnation, he took another step closer.
Though she tensed as if ready to bolt in any second, she let him drape his jacket over her shoulders. “I was in a hurry,” she explained, grasping the leather collar and drawing it close about her neck.
“Ahh. So your bit of fluff was being impatient, was she?”
She nodded, and a tiny smile teased the corner of her lips. “She likes coming here.”
“But of course.” He wiggled his eyebrows at her. Usually it was just the two of them at this hour of day, since other dog owners tended to come closer to dinnertime, after their pets had been fed. “What’s not to like?”
“Thank you.” She indicated his jacket. “Except now you’ll get cold.”
He shook his head. “Superheroes don’t get cold. Didn’t you know that?”
She gave a small, almost self-conscious, laugh and Jerry enjoyed the sound, probably more than he should. “It’s true.”
Regarding him with a touch of skepticism, she said, “So, what’re your powers?”
“You mean outside of x-ray vision, invulnerability to the elements and mind reading?”
Her smile faltered. “No one can read minds.”
Crossing his arms, he placed a fist under his chin and regarded her with thoughtful consideration. “Think not? How about we place a wager? If I’m able to tell you what you’re thinking, you agree to grant me a boon.”
She regarded him with wary caution. “A what?”
“A boon. It’s a cross between a favor and a gift.”
Doubt mixed with curiosity in her expression. “I’m not supposed to bet. Besides, your offer sounds terribly one-sided.”
He gave a considering nod. “Yes, I suppose it does. All right. If I fail to demonstrate my superpower, then I shall grant you a boon instead.”
“But I don’t want anything, and I’m not allowed to accept gifts.”
“A conundrum to be sure, though not insurmountable for any true superhero. Perhaps I should offer a small demonstration first.”
She frowned down at her Rolex again, and the puffy ring of flesh not covered by her watchband was fully visible now. “I really need to go.”
“That bruise looks serious. May I see it?”
When she gazed at him, her face expressed so much dismay he almost relented, but he wanted to determine if the bruising represented a case of play gone a step too far, or if she’d been held against her will. “I won’t hurt you,” he promised. “No touching, just a look. Not only am I a superhero, but I am a doctor, too, you know?”
A slight smile followed by a hesitant nod, she extended her right wrist to him. He gently pushed the sleeve of her light blue bulk knit sweater to expose her wrist. Just as he thought. In addition to the reddish bruise and swelling, the flesh was rubbed raw. The lady had been resisting her restraints.
“What happened?” he inquired casually, as he extended his hand for her other wrist. She obeyed without question this time, though her fingers trembled in his grasp.
He met her gaze, uncertain how far he could push her into admitting the truth before she shut down or ran away. “My mind-reading super sense tells me you’re not being truthful. Do you realize the risks you take in lying to a superhero?”
She shook her head and tentatively tried to pull her hand back, but he held on, not ready to release her, yet. He wanted answers to questions that had been running through his mind since he first spotted her in the dog park four weeks ago. However, if she persisted in pulling away, he wouldn’t detain her. He didn’t hold women against their will.
“Your pulse is racing, and it’s the doctor, not the superhero who’s detecting that. Do I scare you, Elly Benson?”
“No, sir,” she replied in deferential respect, her voice a mere whisper.
“Good. Because I never want to do that. However, these marks on your wrists aren’t a result of ‘nothing.’ So, unless you prefer I employ my mind-reading super skill to extract the truth, I think you should tell me what happened.”
“Please,” she whispered, pulling her hand back again. This time he let her go, but she remained where she stood, as though uncertain what to do next.
He bowed. “A superhero worth his salt always bends to a lady’s request. So, why don’t we get our dogs and I’ll accompany you back.”
“No!” Her response held a note of panic, then she shook her head and attempted a smile; however, he wasn’t fooled. “That’s not necessary,” she countered. “I mean our condo is right over there.” She indicated a row of houses, which pretty much all looked the same, then, she reached up to remove his jacket, but he placed his hands over hers to stop her.
“Keep it. If you won’t let me walk you home, I want you to wear it. You can give it back to me tomorrow when you and Muffin visit the park again. All right?”
She nodded. “Thank you. For understanding.”
This time he shook his head. “Don’t mistake me, fair lady. I’m not at all happy you refuse my escort, but I won’t press if my company is not wanted.”
“No. It’s not that…” Another quick glance at her watch. “I’m already late and I—”
“And your husband doesn’t tolerate tardiness. Correct?”
“No. I mean, yes. He can be strict about certain things, and one of those is my schedule.”
“I don’t want to cause any trouble, but I’d like to help, if you’ll let me. There are many people here who are more than willing to lend their support, if you and Arthur are having problems.”
She nodded. “I know. We’re not having problems.” She tugged at her sleeves to cover her wrists again, as if she considered the bruises proof to her lie and a testament to her failure to accept her husband’s discipline. “It was only a simple misunderstanding. Sorry, but I really have to go.”
“All right.” He whistled for Jack, and Muffin came pouncing after the big Lab. Jerry thought the little poodle might even have a crush on his much larger dog.
“Thank you,” Elly murmured as she bent forward to attach a pink lead to her poodle’s matching harness. Straightening, she offered him a shy smile. This one more genuine. Yup, they’d definitely made progress today. He’d actually engaged her in a conversation and she’d let him examine her injured wrists.
“I promise to return your jacket tomorrow, Dr. Douglas.”
“No hurry. I have another one. And call me Jerry. All right?”
“Yes, sir… Jerry.”
“Good girl,” he offered an encouraging smile. “Until tomorrow.”
With a nod, she hurried out of the park and practically ran back to her home. He could only hope his detaining her hadn’t made matters worse.
* * * *
Elly’s fingers trembled as she fumbled to push her door key into its lock, but not because of the cold. After she’d hurriedly unfastened the lead from Muffin’s harness, she rushed over to the phone and dialed her husband’s work number.
“You’re ten minutes late, Eleanor,” he replied without even a pretense of cordiality.
“Yes, I know. I’m sorry.”
“So, what’s your excuse for tardiness this time? Weather, improper footwear, or that rat of a dog you own?”
Elly hesitated, unsure if the truth would only make matters worse. “Dr. Douglas, the vet, wished to speak with me, and I didn’t want to appear rude by cutting him off.”
“I see. So, is it more important for you to chat with our neighbors than keep your word to your husband?”
Elly’s heart sank to her feet. No matter how she replied to the question, she’d be punished for the wrong answer. “I’m sorry.”
“Yes, I’m sure you are, but that doesn’t address the issue, does it?”
“Your perpetual tardiness is yet another sign of your inability to manage your time properly. I thought I’d made it clear during our previous sessions that timeliness and tidiness are signs of respect, and to ignore either reflects a blatant disrespect to me.”
“I didn’t want to be rude….”
“But you were. To me. I am not pleased, Eleanor. However, you knew I wouldn’t be when you made your choice, didn’t you?”
Yes, she’d known he’d be angry with her, though other than run away from Dr. Douglas, which would have only intensified his suspicion, she’d had little choice. All the same, she answered, “Yes, sir.”
“Then we shall have to deal with your inconsideration later tonight. Hopefully, this time you’ll learn from the lesson. I expect to be home by six. I suggest you not disappoint me further by failing to have dinner on the table when I walk in the door. After we eat, I shall address your failure to keep a simple promise to me.”
“Thank you, sir,” she murmured, knowing he expected her to be grateful for his ‘loving correction.’ Except, Elly no longer thought there was much love in Arthur’s corrections, which made them more and more difficult to accept with the dignity and grace she was expected to exhibit. She’d begun to regret their move to Corbin’s Bend, and they’d only been there a month.
“See you at six,” he replied before disconnecting.
That gave her two hours to get their evening meal ready. Demonstrating an appreciative willingness to accept her discipline often resulted in a lighter punishment, so Elly intended to do everything she could to express her desire to learn from her husband teachings. Especially, since she was still sore from his last one.
* * * *
As Elly removed the roast she’d prepared for dinner and transferred it to a board, the garage door opened. Muffin heard it too and started the peculiar growl-like barking she gave in warning whenever Arthur came home. “Muffin, quiet,” Elly scolded in a low voice as she covered the still sizzling roast with tinfoil. Then, wiping her hands on a nearby dishtowel, she quickly prepared Arthur’s scotch on the rocks and set the glass on the marble coaster situated on the small table by his chair in the living room.
Muffin’s protests softened to a growl. “Shh. If you won’t behave, then you’d best get in your bed. Daddy’s already upset with Mommy, and you aren’t helping.”
The poodle gave her a look that Elly could only interpret as resentment. “Yes, I know you’d like nothing better than to give Daddy’s leg a good nip, but you can’t. Now, go. Beddies.”
With a slow, sullen gait, Muffin did as she was bid. Arthur didn’t care much for Elly’s dog, and Muffin barely tolerated Arthur. Afraid her husband would demand she place her pet in the pound, Elly attempted to keep peace by making sure Muffin maintained her distance. Though the poodle had snapped at Arthur a few times, she’d never actually bitten him, but Elly feared the animal could and would if given half the chance. Man and dog didn’t even make a pretense of mutual respect; their dislike of each other was too consuming.
Giving a quick glance about to ensure everything was in its proper place, Elly straightened her dress and held her breath. She didn’t dare open the door for Arthur, since she was to keep their front door locked at all times and woe to her if she ever forgot. It was the first thing he checked when he got home, and she’d learned not to interfere with his process. Instead, she stood at a soldier’s attention and waited for her husband to unlock their door and enter.
Arthur liked to take his time. In truth, she thought he took perverse pleasure in making her worry, and he was very good at that. Over the last few months, he had her worrying about everything. The doorknob turned, then a key jingled as it revolved the well-oiled tumblers. Seconds later, Arthur stepped inside and dropped his suitcase by the door. He noticed his drink and gave her a nod of greeting. She rarely received praise, but he acknowledged her efforts when she did as he’d asked.
“Is dinner ready?” he inquired, opening the armoire where they kept their coats. Though they’d selected one of the most expensive units in Corbin’s Bend, the place didn’t have many closets or cupboards, so they made do with new furniture they’d purchased to serve their needs. They still hadn’t gotten around to buying the china cabinet Elly needed to store their fine dishes and delicate figurines she’d collected over the years.
“Yes, it’s waiting to be served. Would you like me to place everything on the table now, or would you prefer to relax with your drink first?”
He frowned at her. Now what had she done? Then, he pulled a large leather jacket out of the closet. Jerry’s jacket.
“To whom does this belong, Eleanor?”
She took a deep breath. She’d done nothing wrong. “It’s Dr. Douglas’ jacket.” His left eyebrow arched, which meant she’d provided him with insufficient information. “He’s the veterinarian I spoke about earlier.”
“I see. And what, pray tell, is his jacket doing in our hall closet?”
She drew her lower lip in her mouth and skimmed her teeth over it. Arthur preferred exactness to vagueness, however, informing him their armoire could hardly be considered a closet would not be good for her health, so she focused instead on how to present her afternoon conversation with the vet without drawing attention to her own error in judgment.
“He believed my sweater wasn’t keeping me warm enough, so he lent me his jacket.”
Arthur ran his fingers over the material and examined the lining. “Why weren’t you wearing your coat?”
“Muffin needed to go out, and I thought I’d be fine in a sweater and slacks.”
With a nod, he hung the jacket back in the armoire. “It would appear you misjudged—again. Colorado falls can be bitterly cold, Eleanor, and you need to dress appropriately.” Closing the door, he turned to regard her through wintry gray eyes. “Must I start laying out your clothing as well in the mornings?”
Not wanting him to see her growing resentment, Elly lowered her gaze. “No, sir.”
“You’re my wife, Eleanor. Every decision you make reflects back on me, and I will not have you prancing about the neighborhood improperly dressed.”
She met his gaze only briefly, then returned her focus to the floor. “I’m sorry, Arthur.”
“So you say, but I believe you need another lesson. I think wearing an anal plug and a diaper through dinner might serve to remind you your actions have consequences.”
Elly bit the inside of her cheek to keep from saying what she thought. Arthur didn’t tolerate back talk, but that plug was truly a punishment for her, and he only made her wear diapers if he determined her actions had been childish. Adults knew how to dress appropriately, children needed supervision and reminders. So, he would help her remember she needed to give her wardrobe more consideration by insisting she dress like a child.
With a shake of his head and a long sigh, he murmured. “Fetch the black plug, lube and one of your bad girl diapers, then meet me in my office. I’ll attend to you there.”
“You might as well bring the paddle down, too. Perhaps a few swats after the plug is inserted will drive in the point of this exercise.”
Elly gazed at her husband. She wanted to protest that she’d pay more attention to how she dressed in the future, but experience had taught her once Arthur decided on a punishment any hesitancy or argument on her part would only make matters worse for her. So, she went upstairs to gather the requested items.
* * * *
Elly’s tears had dried by the time she set the table. Arthur had been matter-of-fact about her punishment, giving her only three swats with the paddle after he’d inserted that oversized, bulbous octopus head into her anus. She hated that thing, but as he’d so often reminded her, punishments were not meant to be enjoyable. They were intended to teach her a lesson, and he expected her to learn rushing about inadequately dressed was unacceptable at any time.
Despite her deep-seated resentment of Arthur’s strictness, Elly did try to be the wife he wanted, and the last thing she sought was to tarnish his image with her inadequacies. Appearances were of prime importance to Arthur, and she worked hard to make him proud of her, but as of late, she couldn’t seem to do anything right. Though he never said as much, she suspected he regretted ever marrying her.
The bulky diaper forced her to walk like an incontinent toddler, which was meant to remind her when she behaved like a child, she would be treated like one. She recalled the time he had taken this punishment to an extreme after she’d attempted to hide a serving of peas beneath her napkin. In addition to the anal plug and the diaper, he’d insisted she change into a short nightgown and sit at the table with a bib around her neck until he’d finished feeding her two servings of the hated green pebbles. She’d gotten ten swats of his belt over the plug for her subterfuge. His punishment hadn’t changed her mind about peas, but she dutifully ate every one she was served whenever he requested them.
At dinnertime, all the food had to be laid out in dishes before Arthur’s place setting. He maintained Elly didn’t eat properly, so he made sure her plate contained a proper mix of food groups, and she was expected to eat everything he set before her. He didn’t approve of snacking between meals, but she was allowed to munch on carrots or celery in the afternoon if she got hungry. Even though she ate lunch alone, he planned each of her meals, telling her what she should and shouldn’t eat. A chef salad with various vegetables and a serving of meat and cheese with a light dressing was scheduled twice a week. All sandwiches were to be made on whole wheat bread, and she needed to consume a minimum of seven servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Anything less, provided she wasn’t ill, was a punishable offense. Arthur did look out for her, but sometimes she wished he wasn’t quite so regimented about it.
Elly was laying the bowl of roast potatoes on the table when Arthur stepped into the dining room. She attempted to smile at him, but when her lower lip trembled, she swiveled to return to the kitchen.
“Eleanor,” he said quietly.
Swallowing, she turned back and met his gaze.
“You know I don’t enjoy punishing you like this, but these lessons do seem to improve your memory and behavior, and as your husband, I consider it my duty to ensure you learn from your mistakes and modify your actions accordingly.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“I doubt you mean that now, but I hope you realize when I punish you, like I did earlier, I’m only fulfilling the vows I made on our wedding day to cherish, protect and guide you. And, later tonight, when we review the reasons for your tardiness this afternoon, I hope you’ll accept that my discipline is given with a loving hand intent on making sure you are always the best person you can be.”
Unwanted tears spilled down Elly’s cheeks. “Yes, sir.”
“Good. You may finish serving dinner now.”
“Thank you.” She returned to the kitchen to fetch the rest of their meal.
When they’d finished eating, he rose from the table. “I need to do some work. You may remove the diaper and plug, if you wish. After you’ve completed your clean-up chores, come to my office and we’ll go upstairs together. Just make sure Muffin is locked in the laundry room first.” At that, he turned and strode out.
Elly slumped forward with a mixture of relief over her reprieve and dread for what was to follow.