Author's note: This takes place shortly after Part 10.
Dinner simmers on the stove. Mistress's favorite dish. I love cooking for her. I love watching the joy on her face as she eats. I look forward to it every day. I hear the door and my ears perk up. At least I imagine them perking up, they are pinned below the hat and earmuffs of my uniform.
I rush to the door, prepared for the ritual I love so much. I stop in my tracks. It's Theresa.
"Hello, Miss Theresa," I greet with a bow. She carries a suitcase.
"fur, get changed." She throws me a set of keys.
"No protocols, fur, Cass has been in an accident. I need you to get changed."
Subspace is gone before I even realize it.
"What? What happened?" My chest hurts. Dread. A feeling worse than Miss Renee.
"Drunk driver on the wrong side of the road. Hit her head on. She's in surgery..."
I drop to my knees and burst into tears.
"Will she be okay?"
Her pause makes my heart sink.
"I don't know, fur, the doctors are doing everything they can."
I sprint up the stairs in tears, suitcase in hand. I place it on the bed and open it. Inside are several pairs of plain black sweatshirts, black sweatpants, some boxers, and a few pairs of socks. I try to undo the locks on my uniform. I fumble. I scream. The collar lock. I can't get the key in. I flail my arms in frustration. Mistress. I love you.
I don't notice Theresa enter the room.
"fur! What are you doing? Pull yourself together!"
"I'm sorry... I can't reach... It won't open..."
She grabs the keys from my hand and forces my head roughly against the bed. The locks click and drop one by one.
"fur, Cass needs you. She needs you together. She needs you strong. Be what she needs or I will kill you myself."
I wipe my eyes. I feel shame. Theresa is right. Theresa is always right. I dress myself. Theresa stands by. I finish dressing and straighten my hair with my fingers in the mirror.
"Have you calmed down?"
"Yes, Miss Theresa."
"Is dinner ready?"
"Yes, Miss Theresa."
"fur, we are going to go eat and wait for the hospital to call."
"I'm not hungry, Miss Theresa."
"fur, you will eat. You will need your strength, now go."
I serve us dinner. I eat with Theresa at the table. She flies through her phone. She is stressed. I pick at my food, taking small bites. It has no flavor. I would never serve this to Mistress. I bury my fear but it's right near the surface. Theresa is right. I need to be what Mistress needs me to be.
The phone rings. Theresa answers. She bobs her head and responds. A string of "mm hmm's" and nods.
"We'll be right there." She hangs up.
"fur. Cass sustained some massive internal injuries. They managed to stabilize her condition, but she's in a coma."
I press my hands over my face. I feel lost.
"Thank you, Miss Theresa. Thank you so much for being here for me. Thank you for being strong. Thank you for being you."
She grabs my hand and squeezes. Tears fall from my eyes. Hers too. The drive to the hospital is silent. I refuse to fear the worst. I still fear. The drive is only 5 miles. It feels like 5 years. We arrive and both of us run. Fear. We run for fear... we run for hope... we run for love.
Theresa leads me to Mistress's room. I see her. Her face is swollen and bruised. Tubes and machines run all over. They breathe for her. I fall to my knees beside her bed. I look back at Theresa. She nods. I take her hand in mind and kiss it. I press it against my face. She's limp. I can't hold back anymore. I sob and I wail. My voice can only whisper.
"Mistress, please come back to me. Please don't leave your pet all alone."
Theresa places her hand on my shoulder.
"fur, I need to take care of some things. I will be back soon. Don't you dare leave her side."
I look up at her and nod. She forces a smile. Theresa is kind.
I lose all sense of time. I kiss her hand a million times. I need her, she is my everything.
I hear a rapid patter of footsteps. Arms around my chest. A hug. I look down. These tiny hands can only belong to B. I feel her breath on my neck. The pattern tells me she has been crying. She leans her head on my back. She's warm. She doesn't speak. She just holds on.
Theresa's voice appears behind me.
"fur, I have a letter for you to read. This is part of emergency protocols F that Cass set up in case something like this happened. She planned for this, just in case because she loves you. Also, Cass's sister is arriving in town tomorrow."
"She has a sister?" My first words in hours. The sound of my own voice surprises me. It's frail and hoarse.
"They weren't close, fur. Do you remember when you got married, you signed those other documents, fur?"
"Yes, Miss Theresa."
"Do you remember what they were for, fur?"
"They declared me legally incompetent to make my own decisions and gave that power to Mistress."
"fur... I want you to be prepared. If she remains in a coma... or... I'll be taking over your custody until she gets better. Cass's sister, Brianna, becomes the next of kin. I was worried about this when you signed, but the both of you insisted this was the next step."
She hands me an envelope. On the front is written: "To fs. Protocols F." The handwriting belongs to Mistress.
I open the letter. The stationary smells like her.
"To my dearest pet.
If you are reading this it means something has happened to me and I am unable to care for you. I want to know that I love you and you are the light of my life. I need you to be strong for me. Be strong for me, for yourself, and for everyone around you. Everyone is hurting. Be strong for them and make me proud.
I have been grateful for every day we have been together. I cannot stress that enough. You are my special pet."
I weep. My tears drop onto the paper.
"If I know you, you are probably suffering in agony right now. I want to save your heart. I want you ready for me when I return. The thought of you wasting away here in pain hurts me. It hurts so much I can't bear it. Please forgive me for this, but I think it is for the best. You will have 30 minutes per day with me and 2 hours on Sundays. Promise me that you will use the rest of the time to stay strong. I know you will worry about me but life still happens all around you.
I'm not asking you to be happy when I am in this state. I want you to make the most of your time. I want you to tell me every day what you've been doing, even if I can't hear you. Think about how upset I would be if you came and told me 'I sat and cried all day even though you told me not to.' Trust in Theresa to support you through this. I left her instructions for what to do.
You are the most important thing in my life. Wait for me. I'm fighting with all my heart to return to you.
Forever and always,
I sob and kiss Mistress's hand again. I speak softly.
"Mistress, I love you. You are my Queen. My Goddess. You are my world. You are the keeper of my soul. Please come back to me."
"fur, let's go home."
I kiss her hand one more time. I touch B's hand and she releases me from her embrace. I turn on my knees and bow.
"Thank you, Miss B."
I take her hand and kiss it. She blushes. She places her other hand on my head. She doesn't speak. She doesn't have to. Her eyes talk to me.
Theresa drives me home. She follows me to the bedroom. B accompanies us. She sits on a small footstool.
"Strip, fur." My cheeks turn red and I do as I am told
"Face down, on the bed. Feet on the floor."
I lay on my face. I think I know what to expect.
Smack. I grunt as the leather bites my the flesh of my rear. Smack. I let out a small cry. My hands make fists in the quilt. Smack. My body bucks and I bite my lip. I don't have the energy for more tears.
"fur, this was in Cass's instructions. These are her blows for you. fur, what is going to leave marks that you will feel for a few days?"
I turn over and point to the fiberglass cane hanging on the wall over the dresser. I return to my position. I hear Theresa's footsteps and the rattle of the hook.
The cane cuts through the air. A light swish before it lands. Smack. I howl. Theresa pauses. I feel the blood rush in and swelling almost immediately. Smack. I cry out. Smack. Tears flow gain. Smack. She pauses for me to catch my breath. My chest heaves. Smack. Smack. I whimper and sob. Theresa takes this seriously. These blows aren't light. I'm certain she's swinging as hard as she can.
Smack. Smack. I'm no longer reacting to each blow. I simply weep. Smack. Smack. Smack. Smack. Smack. I fall limp. The blows stop. I'm certain my bottom is red, swollen, and bruised.
I climb off the bed and kneel.
"These are Cass's specific instructions fur I expect you to follow them exactly and I'm sure she does too. You are not permitted to rub your bottom all night. You may in the morning, but if you rub it at all tonight you will report it to me and I will give you more marks. This will repeat every night until Cass recovers. You will sleep naked and you will sleep in the bed. No cage."
"Are you okay being alone tonight, fur? We can stay over if you want."
"Thank you, Miss Theresa, but I will be fine. Please don't inconvenience yourself any more for me. I know you are hurting too. Let B comfort you, she's an angel."
I climb onto the bed. My bottom hurts. I can feel my heart beat and pulse. It is a distraction. One pain to cure another. I watch B whisper to Theresa. Theresa nods and pats her head.
B walks over to me, carrying Mistress's robe. She holds out her arms.
"fur sissy, please sleep with this. I think it will comfort you."
My eyes tear up. I take B's hand and kiss it.
"Thank you, Miss B, you are wonderful." She blushes.
Theresa and B leave the room, turning off the light behind them. I pull the robe close against my body. I run my fingers through the fur and press the collar to my face. It smells like Mistress. My love. My Queen. I love you, Mistress, please come back to me.
I doze off in spite of the throbbing of my bottom. Theresa and B are so kind.