he called her gretchen

nc-17 | violent content | sexual content

He called her Gretchen.

She didn't know why. Her name was Charlotte. When she was at work, she went by the name of Melody, because she had always hated her name. She thought Melody sounded sexy. Gretchen wasn't a particularly sexy name.

But he called her Gretchen.

She guessed it was the name of his wife. There was a pale band of white on his otherwise tanned hand. She presumed that she left him, or she died, and that he never got over her. Or maybe it was the name of his mistress, a poor woman who didn't know he was married until the wife showed up at her door one day. Maybe she had left him just as if his wife had, and it was she that he mourned. One of her co-workers had suggested that it was his daughter's name. That thought sickened her, and she tried not to think about it.

She had begun to ask once, but the expression on his face had silenced her.

She shaved her legs. She hated shaving her legs. But depilatories and waxing irritated her sensitive skin, and he liked her legs smooth, so she shaved her legs.

He liked her to smell like apples too, so every month she drove for an hour and a half to a special shop that sold rich lotion with a strong apple scent. It was a bit of an inconvenience, but she felt he was worth it.

He wanted her to wear her hair in a simple French braid. The first few times she had to get her best friend to do it, but eventually she learned how to braid it herself. She spent a good thirty minutes carefully arranging her hair, letting a few dark red tendrils escape to frame her face.

She wore expensive makeup. Ivory foundation and powder. Dark brown eye shadow. Pale pink blush. Dark red lipstick. Her makeup would be smeared and ruined by the end of the evening. She usually pulls out her heavy-duty makeup remover to clean herself up after he leaves. It takes about five minutes and six tissues to wipe all the artificial color from her face. She usually puts on some Chapstick - cherry flavored - before she leaves the hotel room.

So on that Wednesday, like every Wednesday of the month, Charlotte Patterson spent ten minutes in the shower shaving her legs. Then she lathered her apple-scented lotion onto every inch of her body that she could reach. She blow dried her hair and then braided it with the usual care. She secured it with a simple red ribbon that matched her simple red dress. She packed her dress in the bag with her makeup, her Chapstick, her makeup remover, her condoms, and her wallet. She put on her waitress uniform and kissed her boyfriend good-bye.

At the hotel, she applied her makeup in the dim light of the bathroom after changing into her dress. She set a condom on the nightstand and sat on the bed, waiting for him to show up.

He was late. He was always late. She opened the door and let him in.

He called her Gretchen.

The first time he did it, she corrected him. The second time he did it, she corrected him. The third time he did it, and every time after that, she let it go.

He kissed her. Most of them didn't. He kissed her hard, shoving his tongue into her mouth and mussing her hair and makeup with his hands. She pretended to fight him, groaning protests against his mouth.

The routine was familiar. They had gone through it so many times that she no longer had to think about it. He told her to get on the bed. She told him no. He raised a fist at her and she complied, lying down face up. He told her to roll over. She did so slowly, begging him not to hurt her. He ripped her dress. He tore the fabric off her body, revealing nothing but skin underneath. He groped her behind, squeezing the flesh roughly. She whimpered, asking him again not to hurt her.

The first time, he did hurt her. He struck her along the face, leaving a huge bruise that she had to cover up with concealer for two weeks. She threatened to never see him again. It was only after he paid her five hundred dollars and swore to never do it again that she agreed to continue seeing him. Now, the only casualty every week was her dress, and he always brought a new one to replace the one he destroyed.

He turned her body over, grasping her wrists and holding them over her head. He used the tattered remains of her dress to tie her hands to the headboard.

Her nipples weren't hard.

He never aroused her. As many times as they had done this, there was always fear in the back of her mind that he would hurt her again. Only the lavish amounts of money he gave her got her to keep coming back.

He pinched her nipples until they rose up out of her skin. She did what he liked her to do. She writhed on the bed, mock struggling against the restraints, moaning protests even as her body emulated a woman in the throes of passion. He called her a slut. He called her a whore.

He called her Gretchen.

He jabbed his fingers into her harshly, even though she wasn't ready for him. He poked and prodded inside her, still calling her names, still chanting curse words. He could never get her body to produce enough natural lubricant so that the experience wouldn't hurt her. This always seemed to anger him, even though he expected it.

He put on the condom only because he was required to. He used lubricant because she made him. He told her often that he wanted to ejaculate inside her. But he wasn't allowed to and she wouldn't have let him even if she could. She had the feeling she wasn't the first woman he had called Gretchen and she wouldn't be the last.

He fucked her hard. He rammed his penis into her over and over, all the time calling her Gretchen. She squirmed on the bed, once again acting like she was enjoying it as she cried out for him to stop. He told her she wanted it. He told her she was a dirty slut. He told her she was enjoying it.

She didn't. She never did.

But she pretended like she did. And on that Wednesday, it was a little bit easier because she knew she wouldn't have to do it anymore. So her moans were a little louder. Her body shifted around on the bed a little bit more. And when he called her Gretchen, her mind didn't bother analyzing the meaning behind it.

His face contorted, and she knew it was coming. She braced herself as he pulled out of her and slipped off the condom, stroking himself hard until he came all over her stomach. He asked her if she liked that. He called her Gretchen.

He untied her and let her get up. She walked into the bathroom and stepped into the shower, washing herself clean. She grimaced in disgust, but smiled as she remembered this was the last time. She wrapped a towel around her body and walked back into the bedroom, where he counted out her money and handed it to her. She thanked him, tucking the bills into her wallet.

Then she told him that it was the last time.

He was calm, at first. He wanted to know why. She told him that this job was just that - a job - which she had taken to pay her bills. College was expensive. She hadn't been making much as a waitress at a seafood restaurant. Call girls made more. But her bills were paid off, and she was graduating the next week. She didn't need this job anymore.

She had majored in English. She wanted to be an author. She had already started her first novel, and her professors thought she had promise. Her boyfriend was going to work to support them until her writings started making money. He had already bought an engagement ring, although he didn't know that she knew about it. She had heard him talking to his mother. She knew that he wanted to pop the question on Friday, at their favorite restaurant.

She had been practicing how to look surprised.

He became angry.

He called her Gretchen.

He told her she couldn't leave him. Not again. He didn't let her leave the first time. He wasn't going to let her leave again. He grabbed her arm. His hand tightened around her, like the cuff of sphygmomanometer.

The nurse at her doctor's office always made the cuff too tight. She would press the bulb repeatedly until Charlotte could barely feel her fingers. Then she would release the pressure slowly, with a forced smile on her face. When the nurse left, she would have to sit there and flex her fingers repeatedly to regain full feeling. She had complained to her physician, but she always got the same nurse. With the same tight grip. And the same forced, sickly smile.

He didn't smile.

His face was full of fury as he pushed her back to the bed. He didn't let go of her arm. He shook her body violently, causing her head to snap back. She sat in shock for a moment until his hands moved from her arms to her neck, encircling her throat. His thumbs pressed in on her voice box, as if he had done this before, and knew exactly how to apply pressure.

When she was seven, she had gotten her scarf caught in the door of the school bus. As the bus drove off, the scarf had tightened suddenly, constricting her airway. It was only a few seconds before she managed to untangle the cloth and free herself, but it had scared the Hell out of her. She felt panic rising. She flashed back to that day at the bus stop, and her mother crying out, "Charlotte!"

He called her Gretchen.

The towel had fallen off before she landed on the bed. She wrapped her fingers around his wrists, trying to pry him off her. Even with her brain slowly beginning to be deprived of oxygen, she recalled advice given in her self-defense class. She brought her arms together and placed them in between his arms, right at his elbows. Summoning all her strength, she pushed her arms apart, trying to force him to release her.

She didn't have enough strength.

His hands continued to squeeze. Her vision got blurry. She couldn't speak. She couldn't scream. She clawed at his arms, desperately trying to get him to stop. Her fingernails dug into his flesh, pulling away chunks of bloody skin. It didn't stop him.

Darkness closed in on his face. She figured once she was unconscious, he would stop. She thought she'd wake up later. She tried to think of an excuse for why she was in a hotel room, naked, with a strange man. She worried what her boyfriend would think. The blackness engulfed her. As she finally lost consciousness, she thought she felt his grip strengthen. She heard him say that he'd never let her go.

She never did find out why he called her Gretchen.