It’s amazing the difference a good night’s sleep and well-cooked meal can do! It has been a few days now since my nightmare back at the Retreat and things are slightly more normal and happy for me again. It worries and scares me that Taun doesn’t know who may have taken me there but he says he will find out so all I can do is trust him.
There were three men and in my last diary entry I told you about one of them. I will now, if I can, try and tell you the details of the next man I met and actually this entry won’t be too difficult for me to bring back into my memory and write down. It’s the next one I am dreading.
I started to wake up, hearing soft chatter coming from the path leading up to the house. I had slept on the grass, just off the path, where Steve had left me but I didn’t know how long I had been asleep. Days and nights kind of melt into each other at the Retreat; men come and go at any time and just because it’s 2am and you’re tired doesn’t mean there won’t be a man wanting you to be awake and available for him. Or, actually, a man not caring or even liking the fact that you are fast asleep and deciding that it’s fun to start touching you in intimate places while you sleep, or hurting you, so that you wake up with a start, disoriented and very frightened. That, amazingly enough, has never happened to me but I dread it because I know it could. There is no safe space at the Retreat where us girls can go to be alone or away from the men; we are available to them any where and at any time they please.
Anyway, I was still groggy but forced myself to wake up when I heard footsteps walk towards the group of female voices. I stood up as slowly and carefully as I could and tried to not catch the man’s eye. I heard him ask the girls if they belonged here or was just visiting (all girls at the Retreat used to live here but more recently, I have heard, some girls come and go at the wishes of their husbands, owners or other men who decide such things and who may not have permitt
ed full general use of their girls.) I relaxed a little when I heard one of the very pretty girls say that she visits here often and I saw the man go up to her and put his hands under her clothing to touch her breasts. I answered his question too, because I didn’t want to get in trouble, but I tried to speak as quietly as possible so he wouldn’t hear me and be distracted from the beauty he was groping.
But then, to my dismay, I heard the man say that he liked what he saw but that he was looking for a challenge and he walked straight over to me. A challenge! Whatever did that mean? I hoped it didn’t mean he was one of the men who enjoyed using the girls who, like me, do not enjoy being with all these men and who do not want to be at the Retreat at all. But I was sure it did mean that or else he would have stayed with the gorgeous lady who was smiling so prettily at him while he fondled her breasts.
I remember backing away from the man as he walked towards me. His words and the way he walked made me so uneasy. He asked me what I was scared of and he reassured me that he was an English Gentleman and that he wouldn’t hurt me but, he added, when he wanted something or someone he always got what he wanted. His eyes took off the white, lace bra and panties that I was wearing as he looked at me and although he was promising to not hurt me I couldn’t find anything reassuring about him. He asked me why I didn’t leave, if I was so unhappy here and he pointed to the water saying that I could easily just swim away. I think he must have been mocking me because I am sure Mr. Negulesco explains to all the men before they come here what he told me which is that the water is filled with animals and fish who would not hesitate to make a very quick meal out of me. I don’t know if it’s true, of course, it could be a complete lie, but it would be a horrible way to die and I am too scared to find out. It is definitely something I can imagine Mr. Negulesco doing because he wouldn’t care if one of the girls decided to make a run for it and befell such a fate; he would just think it served her right.
The man – whose name I later found out was Jethro Cabot – told me to not be afraid of
him and, as he held onto my wrist just tightly enough that I couldn’t pull away without making it obvious that I was trying to pull away, said he was known as a mailed fist in a velvet glove. I didn’t think I liked the sound of that but at least so far he hadn’t done anything horrible to me and maybe he would be a Gentleman if I managed to act sweet and polite enough. I knew I would try.
But he was so confusing! One minute he called me gorgeous and asked my name. The next minute he asked if I preferred to be called Clara or Slut and I was almost sure he was going to chose the latter (although, thankfully, he didn’t. I don’t know why but although Cunt is a much worse name to be called I actually hate it more when the men call me Slut because it’s as if they’re suggesting I like and want what they’re doing to me. Cunt is simply a derogatory term and an insult which makes my skin crawl but I can more easily ignore it that when they call me a Slut.)
Then Mr. Cabot smiled a warm, beautiful smile at me and suggested we move to the bar so I could get him a drink and tell him more about myself. For just a second I almost felt like a normal girl being taken for a drink! He said he would try and make anything we do pleasant for me so that I could at least easily pretend that I enjoyed it which reassured me that he wouldn’t hurt me and that he did actually prefer girls to enjoy his attentions rather than brutally rape them. He suggested that if I could learn to enjoy doing things with men then my life here at the Retreat would be easier and more pleasant for me. I thanked him for trying to help me (he was trying to help me!) but told him that I could never do that because I do not like being used like this and I would never accept that I belong here.
And then he broke the small spell he had been casting around me by looking at me with a stare that scared me and made me feel so weak I thought my knees would buckle under me. He said that if I didn’t do exactly as he told me he would tell Mr. Negulesco that I had threatened to run away, I had hit him, I had been rude to him. I begged him not to so that because I knew Mr. Negulesco would believe his lies. I implored him to take one of the other girls who were offering themselves and even begging for his attentions. He replied that he didn’t want another girl; he had decided he wanted me and that he knew Mr. Negulesco would believe anything he said and then he looked at me with an expression that bore into me even more, if that were even possible, and he called me a Slut.
I burst out crying. I couldn’t stand the disappointment and the way he was talking to me. I thought he would laugh or say something worse to make me cry even more but he opened his arms to me and said with such a soft,
caring tone, that I needed to cry and that it was okay and that I should let it all out. I just broke down at that point and fell into his arms and sobbed. He hugged me close and I knew it was false, I was scared he was playing with me, but I couldn’t help it. I needed the comfort more than anything else at that moment.
After a while of holding me close while softly stroking my hair Mr. Cabot pulled away gently and, with a delicate kiss to my forehead he proposed we go inside for that drink. I reluctantly pulled away too and proceeded him into the house. I really dislike walking in front of the men when they tell me to go somewhere because it seems as though I am eager and can’t wait to get there; it looks like I am going of my own free will; and I can always feel their greedy eyes all over my butt.
After the kind cuddle I was hoping against all hope that Mr. Cabot would be nice to me if I just did as he said and so as soon as I reached the bar I asked him what he wanted and quickly started to prepare the drink. But after a very short time I jumped up, startled, almost dropping the glass as I poured whisky into it, when he suddenly banged his fist onto the bar telling me to hurry up and calling me a slut. I hurried, shaking, to bring the drink to him and he called me a hopeless case but “reassured” me that he wanted me anyway. I was scared and insulted but more than that I was confused and so disappointed that he was being mean to me again. He calmly patted his lap and indicated that I should sit there, telling me off for trembling so much, asking what I was afraid of, that he wasn’t going to whip me or anything and saying that he wanted us to be friends!
I started to get so angry but, I am proud to say that I did all I could to temper it and instead of shouting I managed to simply and as politely as I could point out to him that he didn’t need to talk like that to me and that he was being rude by not even thanking me for the drink I had just brought him. I’m not sure what reaction I was expecting from him but he cooly reminded me that if I didn’t comply he would tell Mr. Negulesco that I had done many things to displease him. When I tried to protest again that he would be lying he slammed his glass down on the bar with such force I’m surprised it didn’t break and and told me to stop complaining and that I had the choice of being compliant or I would feel his whip or mailed fist.
He had just told me only five minutes before that he would’t whip me! I had no idea how to react with this man. Some men are just rough and cruel from the start; some are more gentle albeit persistent. But some, like Mr. Negulesco and now also Mr. Cabot (although I’m not saying these two men are similar because they are not) keep changing and it’s so confusing, exhausting and upsetting. I just never know what to say or do or how they will react or behave.
This time when he patted his lap I slowly pulled myself up to sit where he wanted me and I tried not to feel his warmth on my skin. Luckily Steve hadn’t taken my clothes off previously so I still had my underwear on but I could feel him everywhere else and even through the thin lace. I tried to stay still as he began to gently stroke my skin and he offered me a sip of his drink. I really didn’t want to have any as it smelled awful and I hate alcohol. When I was younger, a boy tricked me into getting drunk (I believe it’s called spiking a drink) and I had no idea what was happening. At first I thought it was great and I felt really good and happy but then the room started to spin and I didn’t know what was happening and the way the boy was talking to me and looking at me changed. I thought I was ill so he gave me yet another drink promising that this one would make me feel better. It tasted funny but I trusted him and I don’t remember what happened next. My body hurt when I woke up though. I confronted the boy when I saw him a few days later and he just laughed at me saying that it wasn’t his fault if I couldn’t take my alcohol, that I must have fallen down or something and that perhaps in the future I should think twice before getting so drunk. I avoided him after that and never found out what really happened after I passed out.
So anyway, the first thing that flew threw my scared mind when Mr. Cabot offered me a sip of his drink was that he was going to do the same thing as that awful boy so I politely declined saying that I was sure us girls weren’t allowed to drink. He got angry at that and insisted that if he was telling me to drink then I most certainly was allowed to do so. I did so.
It was horrible! Even more yucky than I remembered. I voiced amazement that anyone drinks such a beverage for pleasure and he laughed in a good humored way. We chatted pleasantly for a short while and luckily he didn’t insist I drink any more. His touches on my body were really not awful, they even started to feel nice and I remember tilting my head back to rest on his shoulder as he nuzzled my neck telling me that I smelled good. But when he tried to put his hands between my legs and I wouldn’t open my thighs he got angry again. I really tried to let him touch me freely but I just couldn’t. I don’t know him; he’s a complete stranger to me and he wanted to touch me so intimately in such a private place.
I started crying and told him that I was sorry and that I would really try harder and I opened my thighs a little for him. And then, he said, “Oh, Clara, I’m sorry too.” Can you believe that? I didn’t know how to react so I asked him what he was sorry about. He said that he didn’t mean to hurt or scare me and that he really did want me to enjoy my time with him, that if he had wanted to play rough he would have done it from the start and that he was really trying to be kind to me. He said that he wanted to get to know me and then he added, “If I really get to like you, I might even help you leave here.”
I was still staring at him incredulously not knowing which version of him to believe when another man joined us at the bar. He asked Mr. Cabot if I was any good and Mr. Cabot laughed saying that he didn’t know yet. He appeared genuinely delighted and amused by the fact that it was taking him so long and so much work to get my compliance, as though I were a fun game for him. Mr. Cabot continued talking to the other man and started to offer me to him if I didn’t give him what he wanted more quickly and easily. As much as I hated the idea of doing anything with Mr. Cabot I definitely didn’t want to be handed over to this other man who looked terrifyingly scary. So I clung to Mr. Cabot and promised I would be docile.
Thankfully the stranger left us alone and Mr. Cabot seemed pleased enough with me thereafter. We chatted for a while and I put up no resistance when he tried to touch me everywhere. It took all my energy and self-control but maybe he could sense that he had won my complete obedience for the moment because he didn’t require anything else from me. I don’t really remember the rest of our encounter (not that afternoon, anyway. I remember too well when I met e, he left and Ihim again later that night although I desperately wish I could forget it.) Maybe that one sip of the whisky made me drowsy, maybe Mr. Cabot had to leave for some reason, maybe he tired of me when I started to do as he asked without putting up any fight. In any case, I was permitted a few minutes of blissful free time.See More of Charlotte & Clara: