“You have mail, Sweet Junie. Your friend Monica has written you back.”
Junie held the small envelope uncertainly in her hand, looking at the rounded childlike handwriting on the outside. She looked at Bob and then Donna. “Is it okay for me to read this or do you want to see it first?”
Donna laughed, “Junie, just read the letter. Show it to us later or read it to us if you wish.”
Junie ripped open the letter and unfolded the lined notebook paper.
I was so happy to get your letter. I still have it with me all the time. I read it over and over again. Thank you so much for writing me back.
I am going back to the hospital next week for my last surgery. Sometimes I don’t know if it is worth all the pain, letting them cut me open again just like that man did, just to try and put the pieces back into the right places. I feel like a jigsaw puzzle and I wonder what the picture will look like when they get done.
I am sorry if I sound a little down. It’s just that the pain from the surgeries always brings back the feelings of terror. When he had me and was hurting me, at first I was afraid he was going to kill me and then I wanted nothing more than to die. I just wished he would hurry up and kill me. Last time when I was waking up from the anesthesia I thought I was back there with him, tied up, I could see him there in front of me with that knife and all the blood, my blood.
Anyway, my Mom says this is the last time. I think I am doing this for her as much as for me. Somehow in her head she has this idea if we can fix my body that my heart will be mended as well. She talks all the time that I will still be able to have children. And for me the whole idea of trusting someone enough to let them touch me seems beyond understanding. And who would want this jigsaw puzzle of a girl?
It seems like this is all I can think about lately. The doctors have given me some pills that are supposed to cheer me up, but they don’t seem to be working very well. Sometimes I look at that bottle of pills and wonder what would happen if I take all of those pills at the same time.
I find myself wanting to say I am sorry over and over again in this letter. Sorry for only having sad things to say. Sorry for not being brave. Forgive me.
Junie had tears running down her cheeks when she handed the letter to Donna with a trembling hand. Donna looked at it and exclaimed, “Junie, this is a suicide note.” Junie nodded mutely.
Donna looked up sharply. “Bob, where is that number for that FBI Agent Gold. He will be the easiest to reach on short notice. He will know how to get a hold of Agent Durant.”
Bob pulled the card from his wallet and handed it to Donna. He had a reserved look on his face. “If the girl is that sad, is it our place to interfere with her choice to move on?”
Junie looked at him in shock and Donna frowned. “Bob, she is not in her right mind. She is in no position to make that decision for herself. Anyway she has to stay in this world long enough to put that monster away in a cage.”
She turned to the phone and began to talk. “Agent Gold, I am glad I could get a hold of you. Junie has been corresponding with Monica Bond and she just got a letter that sounds like Monica is at risk for suicide. She mentioned contemplating taking an overdose of some medicine that the doctors have prescribed to help her with her moods.”
Donna nodded and listened for a while. “Good, we will wait to hear from you.” She hung up and spoke, “He is going to call Agent Durant and one of them will get back to us.”
Junie was still staring at Bob in shock. “How could you say that? What did you mean ‘move on’?” Her voice shook with horror.
Bob looked up in surprise, his voice was gentle. “Junie, it is not our way to stand in the way of another’s choices. I believe it is everyone’s right to choose to live or die according to their own wishes. Death is not an ending; it is merely a step along the path. If she cannot find happiness here, if she cannot see the beauty around her, if she cannot sense infinity in this existence, perhaps she will find it in her next.”
Junie blinked and shook her head. “I don’t understand. She is just a baby. She is so hurt.”
Donna interrupted, “You are right, Junie. She is not able to make a sound decision about something as serious as ending her life. But Bob is right too. Once she is calmer and is in her right mind, we should not stand in the way of a choice that is ultimately hers to make.”
Donna turned to look at Bob. “Honey, this is not a time for a lesson of this sort. Junie is too emotionally involved in this girl’s tragedy to be able to listen without protesting.”
Donna turned to Junie, “As far as Agent Gold knew, Monica has done nothing to hurt herself yet. He said that they would make sure she did not hurt herself. You should write her back. She needs support even more now.”
Sweet darling girl, please, please don’t give up on being brave now. You have made it so far and I guess you are feeling so sad and scared that you cannot see that.
I have to confess that when you wrote to me in your letter about thinking about taking those pills I knew that you were thinking about giving up. And I cannot sit back and let you hurt yourself. My Mistress called the FBI and let them know what you said. I am sorry if that was a betrayal, but once again I refuse to sit back and not do anything.
Monica, if those pills are not making you feel happier, get some better ones. You are still filled with the fear that that evil man put into your heart. At first you were afraid of death, but now you are afraid of life. I don’t know for sure how or when, but I do know that you will start to feel happier if you will let that happen. All you have to do is start believing you deserve to feel happy. I believe you will find that in your life. It took me a lifetime, but I found my joy and I know you will too.
Let me tell you a story of a short little fat girl that was so shy she could not go to school most days. She was so completely convinced of her worthlessness that she did not believe she deserved to feel happy. She was married for a while, but the man she tried to love did not know how to love her back. He decided that he could not love her because she was fat. She did not even know for sure what happiness was. She felt it fleetingly when she held her children in her arms, but she believed that happiness came from them. And when they grew up and made their own lives she felt like the world had fallen out from under her feet.
That girl was me. I felt worthless and ugly and useless. For a long time I thought that life was not worth living. I even thought about ending my life for a while. Luckily I still had my children to think of and, even though they were almost all grown up, I could not do that to them. That kept me alive. I am so glad I am alive now. It took a long time for me to find my happiness, but now that I have it, I am glad of everything that happened to me in my life that brought me down this path, even the sad and painful things. If I had it to do all over again I would not change a thing. I like who I am now and I love where my life has brought me.
I am still that same fat shy girl but I am learning to love that about myself. When I look in the mirror I can see the beauty that was always there. You may be a jigsaw girl but you are still beautiful. Nobody can take that away from you.
Write back to me and tell me what hurts. I will listen and I will do everything within my power to help you through this hard time in your life. Don’t give up on being brave and, at those times you cannot stand it anymore, promise you will not hurt yourself. Promise me to write it down. Promise me to call someone you trust for help.
Junie looked up from her writing and looked at Donna. She chewed on her lip and then spoke up, “Ma’am, could I give Monica my cell phone number?”
Donna looked up from her computer, “You don’t even use your phone do you? I have never even seen you use it.”
“I haven’t been using it much because nobody calls me, but I usually have it with me when I go places. I gave my number to Mary and I think I might start carrying it more. I was thinking of giving the number to Monica to call if she starts feeling down. I told her that she should call a friend if she was thinking about hurting herself. It just occurred to me that I could give her my number.”
Donna shrugged, “I don’t have a problem with it. Talk to Bob about it, if our Master says it is okay with him, I have no objection.”
Junie found Bob in the garage. He was putting up a portable kennel. Her eyes were curious. “What are you making?”
“A whelping kennel, Honey is getting close enough that I want her to start spending her time in here. She needs to start feeling like this is her place, her den. And she is getting far enough along that she is starting to want to find a place to be away from the rest of the pack. I will have her start sleeping here soon.”
Junie was hesitant to talk to Bob about Monica. His words about respecting Monica’s choice to die still rolled around inside her head. In some ways she could understand what he meant, but it felt so wrong to apply that way of thinking to this situation. She wondered if it was her own journey, her own dark time when she had contemplated that choice and made the choice for life, that made her want to fight to save the life of this wounded child. Or if it was just the fact that Monica was so young, like a child, that made his words seem so wrong. Junie was also intensely aware that her impulses and emotions around this issue made her question her blind obedience to his words and that frightened her a little too.
As she watched him, she inhaled to ask him about the cell phone and then found herself catching the words in her mouth, hesitating and then letting the air out softly. Bob paused briefly in his task and looked at her curiously and then returned to his task. Again she took the breath and then found herself stopping, tension building in her belly. Bob did not even turn from his task but his voice was sharp, “What is it that is so hard to say?”
Junie flinched and fought down an impulse to turn and walk away. “Um… I was writing back to Monica and I was wondering if it would be permitted to give her my cell phone number? Donna said it was okay with her, if it was okay with you.”
Bob stood and turned to face Junie. “And that was so hard to say?”
Junie stood nervously and nodded uncertainly, her eyes shifting. “I guess so.”
“But it was not everything that was in your heart was it?”
Junie shook her head miserably. “No, Master, it wasn’t. I am just so angry at you for saying that.”
Bob continued to working on his task, “Why do you think the life of this girl is so important to you?”
Junie felt the anger rising in her. “Because she is so young and has so much to live for.”
“Tell me what she has to live for, this girl you have never met and have only gotten three short letters from. How do you know her so well that you are willing to decide her fate?”
Junie wanted to scream at him that he shouldn’t ask questions like that; that he should know better than her that there was hope for happiness for everyone. “She is so young. She could still get well. She has her whole life in front of her. She could find love, get married, and have children. She could do so many things.”
“But you don’t know that for sure and you are willing to let your hopes dictate her destiny.”
Junie stood up and whirled around to leave, her voice choked with rage and confusion, “I can’t talk about this anymore.” She hurried toward the door, fleeing toward the house.
His hand on her shoulder brought her up short and spun her around. His voice was a growl, “I am not done talking with you, girl. Don’t you ever, ever walk away from me like that again.” His blue eyes blazed into hers. “Now come back here and help me with this fucking dog kennel.” His fingers dug into the flesh of her shoulder as he propelled her into the garage in front of him.
His voice was sharp, “I am going to ask you a question, but I don’t want you to rush to answer it. I want you to take your time and think carefully about the answer. In fact, I don’t want you to speak at all until I tell you to. Why do you think that the life of this girl is so important to you?”
Having the safety of not being able to speak the words that flooded her mind made it possible to stay in the garage. At first all she could think about was how Bob just did not understand, that he of all people should understand. She knew her feelings were showing clearly on her face and made no effort to hide them. Keeping her lips pressed together and falling into the role of assistant, she efficiently handed Bob the tools as he asked for them.
Soon they had an eight by eight square of chain link fencing set up in one corner of the workshop with a wooden box in one corner. Bob stepped back and looked over the work and nodded. “The box gives her the feeling of being in a protected place. She will be more willing to whelp in an enclosed place. The lid comes off so we can access the inside more easily.” Junie knelt and peered inside the four foot square box. There was a six inch lip along the bottom of the doorway. “That keeps the puppies from squirming out. Come help me get some cedar chips to make a bed in there.”
Junie held the handles of the wheelbarrow as Bob filled it. He left her to transfer the cedar into the whelping box. Junie was still lifting and throwing big handfuls of the cedar into the box when Bob returned with Honey slowly waddling behind him. “I want you to stay in here with her. Sit with her; it will help her get used to the space. Take the time to think.” He put Honey into the kennel and closed the gate.
Junie watched him go and for a second she felt a wave of rage that he was walking away from her. Honey pushed her nose under Junie’s hand begging for some attention. Junie sighed, sat down on the cold concrete floor and propped her back up against the box. Honey lay down beside her and pushed her nose under Junie’s hand. Both of them heaved a big sigh. Junie put her hand on Honey’s swollen flank and felt a flutter of movement as one of the puppies stretched and twisted in the womb. Junie felt a rush of wonder and excitement.
Bob found them there, curled up together. Junie’s hand was still on Honey’s flank. When he opened the gate both of them looked up and Junie smiled a radiant smile. “You can feel the puppies moving.”
Bob returned her smile. “Yes, you can. Junie, have you thought about my question?”
A shadow fell over Junie’s face and she nodded sadly. “Yes, Sir.”
“And do you have an answer to why the life of this girl so important to you?”
“It is important because it could have been me.”
“You mean attacked and hurt?”
“Well, that too I guess, but I meant it could have been me that committed suicide.”
“Donna and I read what you had written so far to Monica. It made me realize where your passion about this subject stemmed from. You identify very strongly with this girl and now she has to face even more of the same demons you did. You confused your own feelings about yourself with your feelings for this girl. What you thought was your anger at me for not caring about Monica was in truth your feeling that I did not care about you.”
“It was a hard time for me. Greg, my ex-husband, and I had just called it quits for what was clearly the last time. I was broke and about to lose my apartment and then the kids decided to move in with their Dad. I was unemployed. It felt like there was nothing left for me, that no one cared. I was a failure as a wife, a failure as a mother and a failure at life. I was too terrified to go out and look for a job. I had a bottle of pills that I would look at, too.”
“Why did you choose life?”
“I tell myself it was because I could not stand the idea of my children living the rest of their lives with the knowledge that their mother had committed suicide in their hearts. And I think that was a big part of it. But also there was a part of me that never stopped believing in happiness.”
Bob smiled, “And that is what kept you here with us. And I must admit that I am glad you are here. Go finish your letter to Monica. Give her your phone number. But remember that sometimes even when we try to save someone, that there is nothing we can do. If she is determined, she will find a way.”
Junie gulped and nodded, “I know.”
Bob put his arm around her and pulled her close. “Now, my Junie, let’s discuss your failure to trust me. It was a lapse that must be addressed. You knew that this subject was fraught with feeling because of your past, but you chose to keep this from me.”
Junie had no question in her mind what he meant. She had fought him every inch of the way with this struggle. She had been so angry with him for not understanding and yet she had not communicated the truth with him. It was true she had focused her rage at the unfairness of her suffering at him and her perception that he did not care. That was it, she had wanted to die because she had believed no one cared about her anymore and she had let herself believe this about him.
“Yes, Master, I did not trust your wisdom. I just wanted to make you listen to me and I was not listening to you. I wanted you to understand, but I did not tell you the truth. I tried to believe you did not care.” Junie sighed, “That is why I contemplated death. I started thinking that no one cared.”
Bob shook his head. “What is it with you two that you both doubt my love for you in such a short time?”
Junie’s brow wrinkled with a puzzled frowned and looked at him in confusion. “Both of us?”
Bob laughed and shook his head. “Let’s just say that your Mistress had her little storm of doubt as well, but that is in the past and all is forgiven. Now we must bend our minds to you finding your forgiveness. But first you finish your letter and we will eat dinner, then we will deal with atonement.”
Junie gulped and nodded. “Yes, Sir.”
She did not add much more to the letter, just her cell phone number, and when she signed her name she wrote, ‘Don’t stop believing in happiness’.”
Junie could hardly eat, the food seemed to have no flavor and she could hardly force down more than a few bites. Her eyes kept straying to Bob, wondering what was going to happen. When he slid his chair back and stood, she flinched and dropped the fork she was using to push the food around on her plate. Bob looked at her with a measuring eye, “I am going to go take the dogs for a walk. Clean up and then go to your room.”
Junie found herself sitting on the foot of her bed, swinging her feet, bumping her heels over and over. She felt a delicious wave of dread when she heard Bob come into the back door to the basement. Her heart had been racing and her cunt had been throbbing ever since Bob had spoken of atonement. She bit the inside of her lip to force her face to look serious and remorseful, trying to hide her growing feelings of curiosity and anticipation. She told herself that Bob was too good at reading her feelings to hide anything and berated herself for not feeling as guilty as she thought she ought to be.
She looked up from her swinging feet to see him standing in the doorway. Her feet slowly stopped their swinging and hung still. Bob came and sat down on the foot of her bed beside her and began to swing his feet. Junie looked down at his feet, as they bumped the bed. His voice was soft, “Junie, you seem to be acting a little childish at times lately.”
“I guess so.”
“It is not surprising, I guess. It is a natural outgrowth of accepting authority, giving up that control to another.”
Junie found her legs starting to swing in synch with his, her eyes mesmerized by the rhythm. Her voice was soft and bemused. “Is that it?”
“It may be one explanation. A child expects her parents to be all powerful, all knowing. A child does not need to explain, to communicate. I expected the protest, but I was surprised at the rage that I sensed from you, Junie. It is not an emotion you show the world very often.”
“It was weird, I was so mad at you. I kept thinking that you were being so callous.”
“Well, little girl, when you were little and you were bad, how were you punished?”
Junie’s feet froze. “Usually I was just sent to my room. But there was one time when I did not come home. I was at a neighbor kid’s house. We were playing, hiding under her bed and I fell asleep. It was way after dark when I woke up and went home.” Her voice was quivering, “My dad was so angry at me.”
“What did he do to you?”
“He yelled a lot, yelled that I had upset my mother so much that I had made her sick. He had picked me up and was holding me in his hands. I can still see his face, all purple, and the way he looked scared me so bad. He had this rage in his eyes. Then he put me over his knee and spanked me.” Junie choked down a sob. “He spanked me and spanked me and spanked me. And all the time he yelled at me how bad and stupid I was. How I had hurt my mother.”
“Where was your mother?”
Junie took a deep shaky breath. “I don’t know. She was not there. I know that at the time I thought I had killed her.”
“How old were you then?”
“I don’t know, eight or nine.”
“Did he ever do that again?”
“No, my dad worked a lot and my mom was the one who did most of all of the discipline for me and my brothers. She would just send me to my room. That was the only time anyone had spanked me until I came to you.”
“So, little girl, when your mother sent you to your room, did it work?”
“Did you learn your lesson? Did you improve your behavior?”
“Yes, I guess so. I wasn’t a very bad kid.”
Bob laughed, “And you have not been a very bad sub.” His blue eyes sparkled, “Yet.”
Junie looked down at their swinging feet. “So, what now?”
“Now, little girl, you are sent to your room.”
Junie’s head jerked up and she looked at him in protest. “What?”
“You are sent to your room.” His voice was firm. “And that means your bedroom, not your sewing room. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Sir.” Her voice was petulant. Suddenly there was nothing she wanted less than to be sent to her room. She realized she had been looking forward to being punished. That she had been squirming in delicious terror at the prospect of writhing and screaming as Bob exacted some terrible toll for her transgressions.
Bob’s voice continued. “You will only leave your room to use the bathroom. Then you will return to your room.”
Again Junie felt another wave of rage; she wanted to scream that this was not fair. “Yes, Sir.” She could not keep the disappointment from her voice.
“You were hoping for a little more drama, weren’t you?"
“Well, you aren’t getting any drama.” Bob got up and walked out of her room and closed the door. Junie gave a frustrated wail and threw herself down on her bed.
It was very late in the night when the realization that she was going to be spending the night alone in her oversized bed hit her. For the first time she began to cry, soft bitter tears of self-pity. She did not fall asleep until the night sky began to lighten with the first promises of dawn.
Her watch said it was after 10:00 a.m. when she woke. When she opened her bedroom door to go to the bathroom she saw the tray on the floor next to her door. A bowl of cold oatmeal sat next to two dry looking pieces of toast. The only thing that looked the slightest bit appetizing was the glass of orange juice. The message was clear. She was not done.
Junie quickly used the bathroom and carried the tray into her room. She nibbled on the dry toast and sipped the room temperature orange juice. She stopped chewing when she heard someone walk across the floor over her head. From the stride she knew it had to be her Master. A pang of longing stabbed through her. Suddenly she missed him so much; it was like a knife in her heart. This time her tears were tears of sadness.
The row of windows that let light into her room ran in a narrow band along the top of the wall. Lying on her bed she could see the gray sky. The lack of activity was beginning to wear on her. She had rearranged her closet at least twice, cleaned and dusted using spit and tissues and even found herself on her hands and knees polishing the floor with one of her socks. But her room had already been spotless and she knew there was little point to her obsessive cleaning other than trying to keep her mind occupied, and the senseless repetitive motions held no solace for her now.
She tried to force herself to fall asleep, but even that eluded her. Idly, she slipped her hand down between her legs, retreating into old habits. During her years alone it had always been difficult to sleep and this was one way to silence the sadness and left her in a soft relaxed state that made sleep easier to find. A small nagging voice worried at her, wondering if this was forbidden behavior. She argued with herself that neither Bob nor Donna had said she could not do this.
She lay on her back, her hand moving slowly inside her panties, her mind taking her back to her old fantasy, once again a captive of a band of men, being forced against her will to do things. This time they were forcing her to have sex with another woman. As her orgasm approached she let her eyes drift closed and smiled softly when the face of the woman was Donna’s face, she sighed and let the orgasm flow through her.
Still warm and tingling, she kept her fingers pressed against her flesh, easing the last tremors from her cunt. When she opened her eyes, an icy wave of terror erased any pleasure she had felt as she saw Bob standing outside her window looking down at her, a small frown on his face. Junie guiltily snatched her hand out from between her legs. Her eyes sought out his face pleading for forgiveness. When he shook head and turned and walked away, she felt a wave of despair. A deep sob shook her, and then another. Junie huddled on her bed and rocked herself as she wept the deep wracking sobs of desolation.
Her throat was raw and her head aching, but she had no tears left to shed when she heard a soft rap on her door. When she opened it Donna was standing there with another tray. Donna’s voice was clipped and cool. “Give me your tray from breakfast.”
Junie’s fought the impulse to throw herself on the floor. As she handed the tray to Donna, she spoke her voice hoarse from crying, “Thank you, Ma’am.” Her voice quivered and cracked. “I am sorry, Ma’am. Can you tell him I am sorry?”
Donna’s icy gaze softened for an instant, “He knows.”
It was almost dark when Donna came back to her room. “Junie, go take a shower and come upstairs for dinner.”
A wave of relief and uncertainty came over her. “Yes, Ma’am.” Junie looked pleadingly up at Donna, “Ma’am, are you mad at me?”
Donna tipped her head to one side. “Mad? No, I am not angry with you, Junie. But it is our Master’s decision to keep you in your room. It is not my place to speak with you about that.” Donna turned and walked away. Junie could not help whispering out loud her second question. “Is he?”
Junie hurriedly showered and brushed her teeth. Suddenly shy and unsure of her welcome, she crept upstairs. When she peeked out of her door she could see Bob seated at the table and Donna moving around the kitchen. A wave of sadness and remorse almost made her turn and flee to her room. The memory of his face looking through the window and her strong intuition that she had violated an unspoken rule when she had indulged in masturbation while she was being punished made her feel sick to her stomach.
She stood frozen in the doorway. Unable to force her feet to move forward and knowing she could not retreat, she stood swaying, her eyes locked on her Master’s face looking for some sign. She wanted anything, his anger or his forgiveness, anything would be better than this not knowing what was in his heart.
Donna looked up and snapped impatiently. “Junie, come sit.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Junie walked quickly and sat down, trying to shrink into herself, wanting to just disappear. Too afraid to look up, she stared at her plate, her hands clasped and twisting in her lap, blinking back tears.
Donna put a quick meal of venison steak, brown rice and salad on the table. She filled Bob’s plate and then her own. Last she served Junie. Junie ate slowly, forcing herself to chew and swallow, not even noticing the flavor of the food as Bob and Donna spoke to each other about their day. When they had finished eating, Junie stood and began to clear the table and Bob spoke to her for the first time, “No Junie, leave that.”
A whimper of sadness at being denied her duties made her throat ache. She froze and slowly put the plates back down on the table. Her voice was quavering, “Yes, Master.”
Again her eyes sought out his face, searching for some clue as to how he was feeling. She flinched back to find him staring intently at her, his expression very thoughtful. The tone of his voice was neutral, “Tell me, Junie, how you are feeling.”
A cascade of remorse and fear roared through Junie’s body, shaking her, driving her to her knees. Again she found herself completely at the mercy of a storm of tears, deep sobs shaking her whole body. She tried to talk, to speak of her desperate need for his forgiveness, but all she could do was stammer and repeat over and over through her tears, “Sorry, sorry, sorry…”
Bob was still, and she could feel his eyes looking down at her. When her tears waned to a soft series of hiccups, she swallowed and tried again. “I am sorry, Master. I feel bad. I am so sorry that I did not tell you about the time I thought about hurting myself. At first, when we were writing to each other on the internet I did not tell you because I was afraid you would not want me if you thought I was a depressed, suicidal person. And I told myself that that was all in the past and it is. But it did influence how I felt about your words about Monica and it distorted my thinking and behavior towards you.”
Junie took a deep breath and forced herself to look up at him and forced out in a quivering voice, “Master, I should not have touched myself like that without knowing I had your blessing to find my own pleasure. I told myself that you had not said no, but in my heart I knew that it was probably wrong and I did it anyway. I was so bored and lonely, but that is no excuse. You spoke of me acting like a child and you are right, I was just thinking about myself.” Her voice cracked and broke, “Please, forgive me.”
Bob stood quietly looking down at her. When he finally spoke his voice was soft, “And that is the essential quality of a child, being the center of their own universe, seeing everything revolving around them and needing to know they hold that place even in the hearts of their parents.”
He turned to walk away. Junie felt another wave of grief threaten to overwhelm her, when he paused, and called back over his shoulder, “Junie, put on some shoes and come with me.”
Junie tore down to her room and was back upstairs in less than a minute. She raced out to find him standing looking at the dark sky. Calling to the dogs he strode off and she followed, her shorter legs hurrying to keep up. Bob did not speak, but to just be out of the house walking with him was a balm to her growing fears that she would never be forgiven. A thought spun randomly through her mind, she had never known if her father had ever forgiven her either. Her breath caught in her throat at the realization. Again she was putting the fears and confusions from her past onto her Master.
Her voice was soft as they walked, “Master, may I ask some questions?”
“You speak of me acting like a child and you are completely right, but more than that I am not just being generally childish, I seem to be going through a lot of the same feelings and stuff that I experienced as a child. It’s like I am regressing almost. And the frightening thing is I am catching myself applying many of the feelings I had about my father to my relationship with you. You are nothing like my father, but I keep reacting emotionally to you, like I did to him. I don’t understand why.”
“Junie, you do not need to know why you do something to be self-aware and in control of yourself.”
Junie felt a wave of frustration that he had not answered her question and ignored the message in his words. “But how can you change it if you don’t understand why?”
Bob did not speak for a while and then responded, “Understanding is not always the key to change.”
An irrational conviction that Bob knew exactly why and was refusing to tell her seemed to loom up inside Junie and once again she felt that frightening little flash of anger. Her voice was a soft whine, “Why won’t you tell me?”
Bob stopped and looked at her, “Tell you what, Junie?”
A flood of emotions seemed to well up inside of her, drowning her. She found herself gasping for air and looking about in a panic. Mindlessly, she turned and took a step away, but then stopped and turned back, forcing herself to stay. She took a deep breath and then carefully exhaled slowly through her open lips. When she could breathe normally again she said, “Master, I don’t know what is wrong with me. I feel like I am going crazy.”
Bob stood for a while thinking and then took her hand and kept walking. “It is getting pretty dark. Let’s head back to the house.”
Once they were back inside, and the dogs had settled themselves in their chairs, Junie stood uncertainly looking at Bob, waiting.
When he spoke again, it was a knife in her heart, “Go on back down to your room, Junie.”
Her wail of pure rage and grief was loud, “No! Please no! I am sorry.” She threw herself on the floor at his feet, wrapping her arms around his legs, pleading. “I am sorry. I will be good. I promise I will be good.”
When he pried her arms off from their desperate embrace and turned and walked away she fell to the floor and lay huddled in a ball weeping. It was Donna that came and stroked the hair from her face and spoke in a soft efficient voice. “Come on, baby, let’s get you to bed.” Junie passively climbed to her feet and let herself be guided downstairs to her room, soft sobs making her jerk and stagger as she walked.
She stood as Donna pulled her clothing off and let her push her into the bed and cover her up. When she turned to go, Junie reached out and grabbed her hand. Her voice was hoarse, “Please, don’t go.”
Donna paused and then sat down on the edge of the bed, stroking her hair. “Sweet Junie, this is hard for me, too. I miss you, too.”
“I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I want to do better, but it seems like the harder I try to be good the more confused I am getting. I can’t stop being angry.” A soft sob bubbled up, “And all I can do is cry all the fucking time. I keep getting these irrational waves of rage and frustration and I can’t figure out why and when I asked our Master why he would not tell me.”
Donna continued to stroke her hair and laughed, “Darling girl, what makes you think he knows the answers to all your questions?”
A sudden wave of awareness washed through Junie and she giggled through her tears, her first giggle in what seemed days. “Oh my god, Ma’am, that’s part of it. I am angry because I want him to know all the answers.” Her voice softened and became more thoughtful, “And I desperately need to know he will forgive me. For some reason that has been haunting me, that he might never forgive me.”
Donna laughed softly, “Junie, as you learn more and get to know us better, you will learn that we are people. You will learn to trust that our Master is a forgiving man, but will not always say the words. He also frequently does not know all the answers and has an endearing, if somewhat infuriating, habit of making broad philosophical statements to cover this.” Donna made a wry smile, “He rarely will admit not knowing something.”
Junie giggled again and nodded, “Okay, Ma’am, if you say so.” She sobered and asked one last question, “Ma’am, how do you keep from getting mad at him? I have been getting mad a lot lately.”
Donna shook her head, “Oh, I get mad. It’s normal to get mad. But I am thinking that you are dealing with a lifetime of denying anger and finally you are getting confident enough to let yourself feel it and it frightens you a little. And you respond to your anger in a childlike manner. Take some time tonight and think about how you have dealt with feeling angry in the past, think about how you are dealing with it now and finally stop and think about the differences. Last of all stop and think about your duties to us.”
Donna pulled her hand out of Junie’s and stood. “Sleep, little one, and when you wake up come upstairs and make my coffee. Focus on your duties and stop trying so hard to be good. I need my giggly girl back in my kitchen.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Their little talk had calmed her spirit a great deal. She lay for a while and thought about her anger and what Donna had said. She knew that her mother had never shown anger and that displays of temper were strictly forbidden. More often than not, when Junie had been sent to her room as a child it had been for any signs of anger. She sighed as she realized how her mother had systematically trained her to retreat instead of facing and dealing with her feelings. She had learned to deny her anger, but had never learned how to deal with it. A tiny thought of dissatisfaction crossed her mind. This being sent to her room by her Master was just more of the same.
As she lay drifting between waking and sleep Junie felt her body convulse like she was falling, as a realization shot through her. She heaved a big sigh and drifted off to sleep.