This story contains sensitive content

Trigger Warning: This story contains sexual imagery.

Look at her with those legs. Can those jean shorts get any shorter? Definitely cannot get any tighter. Who is she? Look at that hair. What color is that? It’s like a light red with shimmers of gold. Her profile is perfect. I wish I could see her straight on.

The young woman who is unknowingly being watched, being only five-one, stretches on her tiptoes to put back the get-well card she was reading. Her crop top rises a little too high.

She definitely isn’t wearing a bra. God she’s hot! I want her. I want her bad.

Clifford Jaycey continues to side-eye and steal glances of the young woman at the end of the card aisle. He’s there to pick out an anniversary card for his parent's golden anniversary, but he has been looking at the same card for five minutes now. Realizing this, he puts it back and picks up a Captain America birthday card specified for an eight-year-old without looking. The woman moves along the aisle closer to him. His blood warms and his body tingles as he watches her. She stops when a card catches her eye. Her finely manicured nails graze her nape as she tilts her head and smiles at the card before picking it up. Cliff feels blood shifting to his nether region as he watches her.

So beautiful, so delicate, so perfect; I have to have her. She glides as if she’s on air. So young and so fit, a guy like me could never get a girl like that.

The young woman reads the card and bounces with glee, her womanhood bouncing along with her. She turns and leaves.

Follow her, a voice says in Clifford’s head. He drops the card on the floor and hurries to the end of the aisle where he peeks around, making sure she doesn’t notice him.

Look at those hips sway, he thinks, mesmerized by her every step.

He follows her to the floral department where she picks out a bouquet of tulips. He passes her as she is coming out.

Green eyes. Prominent green eyes like an Irish meadow. My god I want her.

Cliff grabs the closest arrangement, various wildflowers, and hurries after her. The young woman gets in line to check out. Clifford gets in the line two lanes over, keeping a close eye on her. The woman in front of him has a cart full of groceries. She’s not even hallway done checking out when the young woman exits the building. Clifford’s heart sinks. He throws the flowers aside and exits the store, hoping he hasn’t lost her.

He spots her walking down row D, so he heads in that direction. He gets close enough to identify the make, model, color, and license plate number of her car. Committing it all to memory, he cuts over two rows to his car. He follows her closely as she leaves the lot. She drives across town to the hospital.

Crap! There’s no following her in there. Clifford lights a cigarette and makes himself comfortable.

After an hour the young woman comes back out. She leads him to her home where he parks on the street a few cars down. He waits, the cherry of his cigarette occasionally glowing in the dark like a beacon in the night. She finally turns off the lights. He waits some more. Cigarette butts pile up outside his car window. Several hours pass by. The neighborhood is quiet. Clifford goes to her front window, shimmies it open, and climbs in. He sees a table next to the door. It has her mail on it.

I have to know the name of my goddess.

Turning on his phone light, he picks up a piece of mail and reads, Caroline Dempsy.

Caroline. Caroline. Caroline Jaycey. The perfect name for the perfect woman.

He turns the light off and sneaks down the hallway to her bedroom. There, Caroline lays sleeping. With his phone he takes a picture. She doesn’t move. Slowly, cautiously, he peels back her covers, revealing her in nothing but a simple pink nighty. He takes a couple pictures from different angles and then gently covers her back up. She switches sides but does not wake up.

I should take you now, Lord knows I want to, Clifford thinks as he heads back down the hallway.


Clifford can’t sleep. Fantasies of Caroline run through his head. He thinks about how they could meet and what life will be like together, but he can’t get the images of her in bed out of his head. He can’t stop thinking about the way she looked in that card aisle, especially when she stretched. He runs scenarios in his head where she wears revealing outfits, behaving seductively and dominantly. He imagines her dressed cutely, being flirtatious and submissive. He’s tortured by arousal until he gives into the urge, satisfying himself, and falling asleep.

Clifford wakes at five in the morning and calls into work. He grabs some coffee and a donut at the gas station before going to Caroline’s. There, he parks where he had the night before and waits for her to come out. At six, she comes jogging out the door and down the road. She disappears around the corner. He crosses the street to the front door, which she left unlocked, and goes inside. He flips on the TV and scrolls through her streaming channels to learn her viewing preferences – reality TV, rom-coms, and the occasional horror flick. He goes through her refrigerator and cabinets. As he suspected, she’s a healthy eater, but has a taste for wine and flavored coffees. Going down her hallway, he sees a lot of framed pictures of her with friends and family. He makes note of the locations he recognizes. In the bathroom he finds a bottle of her perfume. He sprays it on his wrists and inhales it deeply.

That’s what it must be like to be close to her, to hold her. She must smell amazing.

He leans into the shower to take a whiff of her shampoo and body wash too. He goes in her bedroom and goes through her underwear drawer. He takes time to admire each piece, visualizing her in them. Before shutting the drawer, he takes a red pair of thongs and wads them up in his pocket. He lies down on her bed and visualizes them lying together in the throe's passion, squeezing her pillow tightly, trying to breath in her essence.

Caroline comes home to find her TV on, one of her kitchen cabinets half open, her perfume on the sink, her bedding in a wadded-up mess, and her bedroom window open. She sticks her head out and looks around. She sees no one and closes the window.

“One day, Caroline, one day…” Clifford whispers to himself as he watches from the tree line in the back yard.

Clifford makes his way back to his car. He was going to leave, but he sees Caroline walk out of her place. He follows her to a coffee shop, this time keeping some distance. He gives it a few minutes before going in just in case she comes back out. He can see her talking to another woman in the corner when he orders. He takes a seat within hearing distance and pretends to be minding his own business.

“I think he was in my house today, Kelly.”

“Who, Lance? He just doesn’t strike me as the obsessive type.”

After her, I bet he is now.

“I don’t know, Kell. I come home from my jog, the TV is on, my cabinet is open, my perfume is out, my bed is a mess, and the bedroom window is wide open. Nothing was missing. Nothing was damaged. Who else could it be, but my crazy ex-boyfriend.”

Yes! No boyfriend.

“Maybe you should get a restraining order.”

“Maybe. Definitely, if it happens again.”

“So, what now for Caroline Dempsy? What is she looking for in a man?”

“Definitely no more self-centered pretty boys, that’s for sure. Maybe somebody rugged. He needs to be a hard worker. I’m not supporting his ass. But he needs to be able to make time to travel and support my photography. Animal lover is a huge plus. He would be attentive and have plans for the future like marriage and children.”

I can be all that.

“Awe, I hope you find that. I hate to cut this short, but I told my mom I’d take her shopping.”

“No, no, no. It’s okay. You girls go have fun.”

Kelly leaves. Caroline stares out the window while finishing her coffee.

Maybe I should go talk to her. I can tell her that I overheard and that I’m that man. Nah, too soon. Might freak her out. Then again, she might see it as her lucky day. No, got to play this right. I want her so bad. I need her. It has to go perfectly. I need to know more about her.

Clifford follows her back home. She goes in and stays there a long time. Two hours pass and he grows bored. He makes a trip over to Matherson's Camera where he purchases an Olympus OM-1 with a M. Zuiko 40-150 mm f/4 lense. The salesman gives him some tips on how to use it and then he goes back to Caroline’s. He waits another hour, and she comes out, hair in a ponytail, dressed in athletic gear, carrying a yoga mat under her arm. He snaps a picture.

God you’re sexy. I bet you look good in anything. Hell, you probably make the clothes look good, not the other way around.

Caroline’s yoga studio is across from the park and has a large window where they stretch. This allows Clifford to walk through the park snapping pictures. With his new lens, Clifford is able to zoom in tightly on Caroline as she exercises. He gets a shot of every pose, a few second video, and a few shots of her joking around with the other women. On his way back to the car, he makes a mental checklist of what he has learned.

Okay, besides being the hottest woman alive, Caroline is a photographer who wants a hard-working man to pay attention to her and start a life with her. She’s active and eats healthily. Animal lover. Wants to travel. Has traveled. She’s very fashionable. I need to know more. If I’m going to have her, I need to impress her with all the things we have in common.

“Hey! Hey, you, mister!”

Clifford looks up and Caroline is waving at him from across the street. He looks over both shoulders then points at himself, not believing that she’s actually talking to him.

Is this actually happening? Has the universe opened up an opportunity for me to walk into her life?

“Yeah, you,” she giggles. “You look like you might know a thing or two about cars. Do you mind helping a girl out?”

“Sure,” Clifford says, crossing the street.

“I’m Caroline. Cool camera. I have the same one. Are you a photographer too?”

“Uh, Cliff, and no. Well, I want to be. I just got this and I’m trying it out. I want to photograph wildlife.”

“That’s what I do! The work is inconsistent, but it beats an office, that’s for sure,” she says with a playful smile.

“So, what’s going on with your car?”

“I don’t know. It got me here and now it won’t start,” Caroline says as she pops the hood.

Clifford takes a look and sees the problem right away. “Do you have any tools?”

“Yes, my dad gave me a set. They are in the trunk, but they are heavy. Do you mind,” she asks, motioning for him to come with her to get them out.

Clifford follows her to the trunk. She pops it open for him. A tire iron slides out of Caroline's jacket sleeve. She cracks him over his head, and half of him slumps over into the trunk. As dainty as she is, she leverages the rest of Clifford into the trunk and shuts it.

When Clifford comes too, he’s chained to a wall.

“I hope you enjoyed the pictures,” Caroline says.

“Pictures. What pictures?”

“The one’s of me sleeping. Or was it the underwear you stole that pleased you the most? I’m getting really sick and tired of having to buy underwear! They come in sets,” Caroline shouts as if addressing the whole room.

In that moment, Clifford realizes he is one of four men chained to the wall in a basement. The other three guys don’t look so good and smell horrible. The one who surely has been there the longest is so thin he looks to be on death’s doorstep.

“You’re just so beautiful. I wanted to learn all about you…

“If you want to get to know me, talk to me.”

“I didn’t think a girl like you would want a guy like me.”

“I wouldn’t. You’re twice my age. But that doesn’t give you the right. Do you think you’re the first guy to try and ‘learn about me.’ Look around. You guys picked the wrong girl. One guy succeeded in learning about me, manipulating his way into my pants and then into my heart. Then he gaslighted the hell out of me to control me, to keep me. Abuse is abuse, but not in the eyes of the law, so I’ve been taking the law into my own hands,” Caroline explains as she gets up and heads for the stairs.

“Why not get a restraining order?”

“Why? You are restrained. Plus being punished for violating me,” Caroline says as she ascends the stairs.

“You can’t do this, Caroline. You don’t understand. I love you. I would never do what that other guy did. Caroline? Caroline! Car-o-line!

April 20, 2024 03:11

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Lyle Closs
08:51 May 02, 2024

Good build-up. Great conclusion. Really enjoyed the story.


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Helen A Smith
07:20 Apr 28, 2024

Caroline was determined not to let any man get the better of her having been burned and gas-lighted. Gripping read and a scary twist here.


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Trudy Jas
11:55 Apr 22, 2024

The title grabbed me, the story kept me, the end enchained me. Maybe all girls should have a dungeon. Just one autocorrect - slowly pealed (peeled) back the covers.


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Story Time
04:45 Apr 22, 2024

Caroline is something--wow. That was a gripping read.


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Hannah Lynn
02:28 Apr 22, 2024

Boy, Caroline got him good! Do not mess with her!


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Jim LaFleur
13:27 Apr 21, 2024

Ty, your story has a compelling blend of suspense and empowerment. Great twist at the end that really turned the tables. Thanks for sharing this gripping piece!


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Mary Bendickson
03:27 Apr 21, 2024

Caroline's catch of the day!


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Alexis Araneta
16:04 Apr 20, 2024

HAHAHAHAHAHA ! You go, Caroline ! Clifford gave me the chills...in the worst way possible. A very unique story with a great twist. Lovely work !


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Darvico Ulmeli
12:33 Apr 20, 2024

Like the twist. I was expecting much worse for her.


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Tammy Green
07:23 Apr 20, 2024

I loved Caroline’s restraining order!


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