Charlotte Underwood, fresh out of the shower, sat down in front of her vanity. The bedroom was dimly lit, but she could see well enough. After a long look into the oval mirror, she applied lotion to her body. The movements were slow and methodical. There was no hurry to her actions.
Her eyes kept returning to the reflection in the mirror. An unrest growing within her. Contemplation, if not outright judgement, burned behind her eyes.
With her skin properly moisturized, she picked up her favorite brush and began to attend her hair. With long and thorough strokes, Charlotte brushed her hair until it was silky and smooth. Her nightly ritual was to pamper her hair, making sure there were no knots or tangles.
Charlotte kept eye contact with her reflection. She thought back to youthful conversations with boyfriends. She was always persuaded to keep it long, even when she had a strong desire to cut it shorter. Never wanting to displease anyone, she kept it long and brushed it out each night.
None of those boys stuck around for long enough to make any serious impact on her life, but they took up her youth. The fresh years when she might have experimented, stretching her boundaries and comfort zone. She would never know those possibilities now. Those boys had made the length her hair seem to be special, as if by cutting it, she would lessen her own value.
Still brushing her hair, Charlotte grew resentful of those who came before, the ones who she hadn’t been assertive enough to say no to. She wished she could grab their memory and yell “No!” to them. “No, you will not interfere with my desires!” She was not some Rapunzel to keep pristine.
Charlotte set the brush down and took a deep breath. She opened a drawer and took out a pair of scissors. She closed her eyes and cut the precious locks to chin length, letting the disembodied strands fall to the floor.
She was shocked to see what she had done. She had actually done it; finally. There was no turning back now. The task needed to be completed and so she did. Wide eyed, she sat frozen in her chair.
There was something else missing. An idea formed in her head. She has seen several women on Instagram with short hair she was always jealous of. Charlotte rummaged under the sink and found clippers. She shaved the sides of her head and put the remaining hair back in a stubby ponytail. Examining it from all sides, Charlotte decided she really liked it. She was excited and giddy. Her hair had a punk vibe she had never been able to feel when she was younger.
Charlotte stood, letting her towel fall to the floor. She picked out panties and two sports bras. She slowly and deliberately got dressed. She found running shorts and a tank top. She double knotted her sneakers and adjusted herself in the mirror. Running her fingers through her fresh coif, Charlotte smiled to her reflection.
“I’m going for a run.” Charlotte turned around and walked confidently out the door.
On her bed, a very naked man lay bound and gagged. His eyes explained that he was in no position to make any decisions.