Charlotte spent most of the day in bed watching TV. She ordered takeout, convincing herself she deserved the rest after her long trip and everything that had happened to her recently. Tomorrow she would venture out, get an idea of Portland and what her options were.
In the evening, Charlotte finally decided to unpack her things and find her phone. Melanie deserved a phone call. An hour later, everything was unpacked. Where was her phone? Charlotte frantically began searching through everything again. She went through every pocket on every bag, dumped out her purse, and searched the car again. She had her charger, but where was her phone?
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Charlotte thought back to when she had left the apartment. She replayed the whole evening in her mind.
She gasped. She had left her phone on the desk. She remembered it chirping needing to be plugged in and she completely forgot about it. Cursing, Charlotte slumped over on the bed and groaned. She flopped onto her back and tried to remember Melanie’s phone number.
“412-720- …. what? What is it? I should know her number! 412-720-83something4? 8something34?”
Of course Charlotte knew Ryan’s number by heart but there was no way she was going to call him. He could suffer, she didn’t care. She felt a physical pain of homesickness when thinking about Ryan. She did love him, but why did he have to cheat? And why for so long? He did this. Ryan made her make this choice.
Charlotte debated calling her mom to have her mom try to get a hold of Melanie. Of course, the first thing she would do is tell Ryan. Her mom loved Ryan and Charlotte thought she was more loyal to him than to her own daughter! No, Charlotte would not call her mom until she was settled.
Thoroughly annoyed at herself for her stupidity, Charlotte crawled into bed and cried herself to sleep. This wasn’t supposed to be this difficult.
In the morning, Charlotte awoke more resolved than ever to make Portland work, even if she forgot her phone. She would just get a new one and it would be fine. She would remember Melanie’s number eventually.
Charlotte spent some time walking around her hotel and then got in her car and drove around. She scoped out nearby places to work and live. Eventually she would feel familiar in this town. Maybe what she really needed was a night out. Just some time to enjoy herself before she started looking for work and a place to live tomorrow.
Charlotte finally found her hotel again and got ready for a night out. It was nearly 10 pm when she was finally ready to go. She walked along Broadway for about six blocks before she came across a hookah lounge. She went in and spent the next several hours meeting new people and smoking with them. She had a grand time.
Finally, 2 am rolled around and the club was closing. Charlotte started walking happily and dreamily back to her hotel. She actually felt like she knew where she was going and where to turn. This wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
Charlotte heard footsteps behind her, but she wasn’t worried. She was just a block or so away from her hotel now. Suddenly she felt her arm grabbed.
“Let go of me!” Charlotte yelled.
“Shut the hell up or I swear I will kill you slowly and painfully.” A low voice growled into her ear.
Charlotte was terrified. She didn’t have anything with her. In Pittsburgh she always carried pepper spray. He forced her down a different street and into a dark alley. She cried out in fear as he pushed her against a wall.
“What did I tell you, bitch?” He grabbed a handful of her hair and slammed her head into the hard brick wall. Pain flashed white in her mind and she could feel blood trickling down her face. He pulled tighter on her hair and she clenched her teeth together, whimpering. She could feel his forearm across her back, pinning her against the wall.
“You gonna scream again?”
Charlotte could only whimper in reply. Her head and face hurt so much she could hardly think.
He pulled her away from the wall and wrenched her around. She lost her footing and tumbled. He still had hold of her hair and her head jerked as she fell. She could feel a tuft of hair rip out of her scalp. She cried out but slapped her hand against her mouth to muffle it. She didn’t want to die.
“Oh you want it down there? I’ll give it to you down there!”
He pushed her face down into the rough ground. It was the same side that he slammed into the wall. Charlotte whimpered again in pain, clenching her teeth. He pulled her skirt up and ripped off her panties. Tears streamed from Charlotte’s eyes. She had never been so scared in her life.
As he slammed himself into her, pain exploded up through her pelvis and into her abdomen, radiating down her thighs. He grunted fiercely with every thrust and she cried out each time. She could feel her skin grating off as it rubbed along the ground. She tried flailing at him with her arms, but he picked up and slammed her head into the ground.
Charlotte went limp.
Charlotte drifted in and out of consciousness. She heard herself saying Ryan’s name. She was vaguely aware of other people around. Her head and face throbbed in pain, a constant ache radiated from her pelvis. Her back groaned in agony every time she moved. She moved her legs and her knees lit up as the sheet dragged over the broken skin.
“Honey, what’s Ryan’s phone number? We can call him for you.”
Charlotte turned her head and a few tears tumbled out. Her brain could hardly register anything over the pain she felt in her body.
“Sweetie? What’s Ryan’s number? I can call him.”
Charlotte heard herself recite his phone number. She heard the door open and close.
“Ryan will be here soon, honey. I’m going to give you something for your pain. Can you tell me your name?”
Charlotte groaned out Ryan’s name again and she began to cry. She felt a soft hand grab hold of hers and another stroke her hair.
“It’s okay, sweetie. You’re safe now.”
A few minutes later, the pain began to subside. Charlotte drifted back into sleep.