Peeling one sleepy eye open, Darren glanced over at the clock. Upon realizing the time he shot straight up from bed, it was almost dinner time. Neither his journal nor his exercise had been done and he'd missed breakfast. Mistress wasn't going to be at all happy with him. His feet had just hit the floor when he heard the sound of someone clearing their throat. Turning he saw Mistress in the doorway. Rushing to her, he knelt in shame.
"Stand boy and fear not. You have done no wrong. I chose to let you and Kim sleep in late as you both did exceptionally well last night. I have been thinking, perhaps the debt you made with me had to high a price tag on it. This is something we will discuss once you are dressed. Now I'm going to my room, dress and join me."said Mistress with a tone of uncertainty in her voice.
The word's Mistress has spoken rang in Darren's ears. What did she mean? Hastily he dressed and ran to her room. When she opened the door, a look of sadness was on her face as she ushered him inside. Seating herself on the edge of the bed she looked down into Darren's eyes as he knelt there silently.
"Boy, in the beginning I judged you poorly. Thought you were of poor merit and to be honest I intended to make you pay dearly for stealing from me. But you have proven to be of much higher morals than expected. You have taken a lot, dealt with it in an honorable manner."
Reaching behind Darren, she released the lock on his neck collar and placed it on the bed. Motioning for him to stand she removed the collar on his balls. As it fell free, Darren felt a loneliness he hadn't felt since the loss of his mother. Shoving her hand inside her pocket she withdrew a piece of paper.
"Here boy, take this and go shopping for new clothes. Your jeans are somewhat ragged and those shoes need replacing too. Before you leave here today, I want you to know you are free now, all debts have been canceled. I'll have Winston drive you to go shopping, when you are ready to return to your school he will take you there as well." she said as she turned away as if to hid her face.
Taking the paper and looking at it, Darren sighed. It was a check for three hundred dollars made out to him. Unsure of what to do he stood.
"Go now boy, and enjoy the rest of your life."
Darren in a state of shock wondered out the door and to the car where Winston awaited. The further down the road they went the more empty inside Darren felt. A sickness swelled within him.
"Winston, please take me back to Mistress!"
"Are you sure boy? You are free to return to your old life now." replied Winston as he brought the car to a halt and eased to the edge of the road.
"I'm sure Winston, please take me back. I need to go back, please?"
The closer they came to the house, the faster Darren's heart raced. "What if she doesn't want me back? What if she's tired of me? The thoughts played havoc on his mind as he fought back the urge to throw up. Once the car had stopped Darren jumped from it and ran to the house. Straight to Mistress's room, stripping off his clothes he knocked and waited.
"Enter please," came her voice from within.
Easing the door open, Darren hesitated a moment then walked straight to her and knelt. Looking down at the floor as if unsure what to do next he waited.
"Look at me boy. Why are you here you are free to return to your world and friends again?"
Looking back with tear filled eyes, Darren sighed. "Free to return to childish pranks which I no longer care for, to failing grades, to an empty room with nothing but loneliness filling it. To not belonging or fitting in. Mistress...please let me have my collars back, I don't want to leave here, this is where I belong, here with you."
A smile lit Mistress's face as she reached and took the neck collar from the bed and wrapped it around Darren's neck. The sound of the lock securing it in place brought a warm secure feeling to Darren.
"There is no need for the behavioral collar any longer boy, you know what is expected." whispered Mistress.
He smiled to himself and reached and wrapped his arms about Mistress's waist as he snuggled his head against her chest. Silence filed the room as he held her and she stroked his head.
Something cold hit Darrens shoulder, looking down he saw something wet like water. Looking up a small trail of tears were flowing down Mistress's cheeks.
"It's ok boy, these are tears of happiness. You have filled my heart with so much joy that it has to come out somehow. Welcome home my child!" she said as she nuzzled him tightly to her chest.