Deciding on what he wanted to have for dinner that evening, Simon turned the doorknob and was about to usher the child into the house, but the unmistakable sound of feet speedily padding across the wooden floor behind him prompted him to immediately turn around.
For no apparent reason Jacob was sprinting across the yard towards the path near the lake. Simon immediately took off behind him hoping to capture the child before he could put himself in danger.
"Jacob!" he called after him wishing the child would snap out of the fight or flight response he seemed to be experiencing. He hoped this was not another strange side effect from the Restalsis.
Running behind the child, he regretted being as out of shape as he was. He mulled over not sticking with his New Year's resolution. The last time he had been to the gym was about two years ago, but now that he could plan on having to chase a tyke around, he imagined he would find the motivation to make good on his membership fees.
As they got closer to the forest, Simon began to worry. He knew it would be extremely difficult to find Jacob once he was hidden within the trees. So, he put all his energy into closing the last foot of distance between the two of them. Just as the child passed the second tree, he picked him up midstride and tucked him under his arm.
As winded as he was, Simon didn't even want to attempt at a conversation with the child right away. Instead, he focused on catching his breath and maintaining his grasp on the resistant boy as he walked back to the house.
"No! Someone help me!" Jacob yelled into the forest, trying to twist and turn out of his captor's grasp.
"Jacob! Calm Down!" Simon scolded him, already irritated that he had to run so far to fetch the fleeing child. He knew that there was no one in earshot of the boy's screams since the lakeside home was relatively secluded. In fact, the closest neighbor was a few miles away.
When he began to climb the porch steps, the little boy screamed with desperation evident in his voice, "Help!"
His kicking and writhing intensified so much that Simon struggled to suppress the urge to land a spank on the child's rear end. He really wasn't one for corporal punishment, but Jacob's behavior aggravated him. The little boy had made such a short trip exceptionally difficult.
As soon as they entered the house, Simon went to the living room and released the squirming child into the playpen. He stood inches away rubbing at his sore muscles for a moment before Angelique made her way downstairs.
"I heard the commotion outside. What happened?" she asked, standing at the bottom of the stairs in a bathrobe.
Still recovering from sprinting, Simon huffed before he explained, "When I turned around for just a second to open the door, Jacob ran down the path to the forest."
Jacob quickly stood up, propping himself against the rail of the playpen. "Damn right I did, and you're absolutely out of your mind if you think I'll ever stop trying to escape," he confidently declared to them. He intended to shatter any delusions his captors might have of the three of them existing as a happy family.
"We aren't trying to harm you," Angelique clarified in a gentle voice.
"Then just let me go, you sick fucks."
"Language, Jacob," Simon promptly reprimanded him.
"You aren't my father. Shut the hell up," Jacob sharply retorted.
Simon pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath trying to keep his cool. "Okay, Jacob. You will remain in the playpen until you've calmed down enough to have a chat about your behavior and what our expectations are going forward."
"Oh, you'll leave me the hell alone like I've been asking you to? Great!"
Simon shook his head disapprovingly, and without saying another word, he walked into the kitchen where Angelique joined him right away.
Sitting in the middle of the playpen, Jacob could hear them having a conversation, but they were far away enough that he couldn't make out what they were saying, not that it mattered to him. The only thing on his mind was enduring his time in captivity and plotting his future escape attempts.
Jacob ruminated over his failed escape attempt. He had been so close to the forest. He couldn't believe Simon was able to catch up to him so quickly, but the young man attributed it to his toddler body. If he hadn't been so far regressed, he would have easily been able to evade Simon in the forest.
He wasn't sure if he was going to have another chance at escape any time soon. He imagined that it would probably be a few days before either of them slipped up, but he resolved to wait it out. He was confident that another opportunity would present itself, and he just needed to be ready.
About fifteen minutes later, Simon approached the playpen.
"Ready to talk?" he asked, peering down to make eye contact with the defiant child.
"Fuck off," Jacob replied, scowling at his former therapist.
"Alright then," he replied in a level tone and walked back into the kitchen.
Jacob sat silently taking in the layout of the living room. It was an open floor plan which would make his future escape attempts particularly difficult. He wondered what was behind the closed door near the stairs. Another possible exit would be a blessing since it was clear that he wouldn't be able to escape from any of the windows upstairs with how small his body was.
After about another half-hour, Angelique came by to place a blue plastic bowl in the playpen. "I made you a burrito for dinner, and I brought you some warm milk to go along with it." She said as she placed a sippy cup of milk in the playpen.
Jacob didn't even realize he was hungry until he was assaulted by the tantalizing smell of the burrito, but he refused to even consider eating it. At that point, he felt confident they would resort to drugging him. It was clear they had been enjoying the docile toddler he was before, and if he wanted to escape, he needed his wits to remain unhampered.
He scooted into the corner of his prison and sat with his head resting against the padded corner. His stomach rumbled in protest, but he simply closed his eyes and focused on assessing weaknesses of his captors that he could exploit in the future.
About fifteen minutes later, Simon abruptly interrupted his musings, "Why won't you eat?" he asked in a no-nonsense tone.
Jacob scoffed. "I'm not gullible enough to think you psychos aren't trying to drug me."
The older man's face twitched into a smile. "Jacob, if we were willing to go that far to control your behavior, don't you think we would just inject you?"
Stunned into silence, Jacob felt foolish. He didn't have a counter ready because he really hadn't thought of that.
Simon was pleased to see the embarrassment creep into the child's face. He felt like was finally getting through to him, and he hoped this was the beginning of the blatant disrespect finally coming to an end.
"Eat," he instructed, walking back into the kitchen to finish cleaning up.
Jacob waited until Simon had walked back into the kitchen before crawling over to the bowl and sniffing the burrito. The seasoned beans and grilled chicken certainly smelled appetizing, and his mouth watered. He took tentative bites of the burrito, reminding himself that he needed to have energy for his next escape attempt.
After his hunger was satiated, he had been nodding off in the corner of the playpen intermittently for about an hour before Angelique took pity on him.
"Time for bed, mister grumpy pants," she announced.
He didn't have the energy to do more than glare up at her when she lifted him up.
They made the walk to the nursery in silence until Angelique laid him on the changing table and noticed a few cuts on his feet.
"Do those cuts hurt?"
He was confused for a second until he tilted the bottom of his feet into his view and saw some shallow cuts that weren't even bleeding.
"No, not really."
"Hm," she muttered, removing his clothes and tossing them into the hamper.
Jacob was barely awake while she changed him. He didn't offer any resistance when she put the clean pair of pajamas on him.
Once he was fully dressed, he was left dozing off on the changing table while Angelique went over to grab a pair of socks from the chest of drawers. He woke up again when she took him to the bathroom and sat him on the counter.
Angelique gathered a few items from the medicine cabinet before gently cleaning the bottom of his feet with alcohol. She soothingly blew on it until it dried. After Angelique rubbed some first aid ointment on his feet, she covered them with the pair of socks.
Once they got back to the nursery, she laid the child in the crib and tucked him in with a thick blanket.
"Goodnight, Jacob. Sweet dreams," she said turning on the mobile above him and flipping the light switch to the nursery.
After Angelique closed the door behind her, Jacob laid in the crib contemplating what the future would hold for him. He was ashamed of his complacent behavior after he ate, but his escape attempt had already drained most of his energy. Having a full stomach on top of that was just too much. He resolved to resist as much as he could when he woke up tomorrow.
He turned onto his side trying not to look at the stupid mobile above him, and quickly fell into a deep sleep.