It was a dreary February day in the Ozarks with overcast skies and a drizzling rain. Not able to work outside on the property, I drove the 30 minutes into the nearest town where I kept a small storefront office for my hobby photography business.
I started the business after my wife died just to give me something to do and didn't worry too much about making money. I had run a few newspaper promotions, but was mostly involved in store promotions and school picture packages . . . thus, I did not have to keep someone in the office. Instead, I just left my message machine on and had a drop-box at the door for written messages.
Arriving about 10 a.m., I found a couple of interesting messages on the phone and picked up another small school in the area for next year. The word was getting around that my work was high quality and my prices were cheap.
I turned on the local radio station to see what was happening around town and sat back at my desk to catch up on some photo editing and completing my annual store promotion schedule.
My shop is on a side street which gets little traffic, so I became interested when I saw the same old Pontiac cruise slowly past the front window a second time and stop on the other side of the street. A couple of minutes later a woman stepped out of the car and crossed the street toward my office, pausing slightly at the door before entering.
She looked to be about 30 or so, with long, light-brown hair which she tucked behind her ears making them stick out a little. She would have been pretty if she did not look so tired – worn-out, actually. Maybe she had a houseful of children.
She was wearing an old flannel jacket with a couple of tears on the front – most likely from carrying wood, judging from the smell of wood smoke which she brought into the shop with her. Under the jacket she wore a flannel shirt and faded jeans. Her clothes were clean, but nearly threadbare in spots.
The lady was slim, almost skinny, and looked out from under too-long bangs with a hesitancy that signaled insecurity rather than just shyness.
I walked to the front counter which is really just an old bar I had taken out of our house when we moved in. It was just over waist-high to me, but came up almost breast-high on the petite woman.
"I would say 'Good morning,'" I began with a smile, "but we both know I would be lying."
She looked at me blankly for a second, then returned my smile slightly, glancing out the window to show she understood my jest. She then bit her lower lip in a cute sort of way, and I realized I had interrupted her train of thought. She must have memorized what she was going to say.
Pulling a worn piece of paper from her jacket pocket, she laid it on the counter, pushing it toward me.
"Is this still good?" she asked, looking down at the paper as she did.
I looked at the paper and recognized an ad I had put in the local paper back around Thanksgiving. It offered $5 off for a $15 calendar made from snapshots brought in, or $10 off for a $25 sitting. The sitting would include a free calendar and the opportunity to save 10% on any pictures purchased. The promo had been pretty successful and I had planned to use it again this year.
"Of course," I replied, "And I will still give you twelve months, they will just start with March instead of January. Did you bring in some snapshots with you?"
She shook her head and looked back down at the paper again, once more chewing on her lower lip.
"I was wondering if you could take the pictures?" she asked, looking me in the eye for the first time. Her gaze was almost child-like, with a mix of innocence and trepidation.
"Sure thing," I said. "We will just have to set up an appointment and decide when to get the shots. Are they going to be of your children?"
She shook her head again, returning her gaze to the paper.
"My husband wants to know if you would take some sexy pictures of me . . . kind of like the ones in the magazines and things," she said in a voice so quiet I could barely hear it.
I didn't respond immediately. I had taken a lot of nude pictures of my wife over the years, and even some of my friends' wives on occasion. The Ozarks are pretty conservative, however, and I had never had such a request since opening the shop. There were a couple of women who had brought in home snapshots of themselves in lingerie and swimsuits for calendars, but no one had asked me to take revealing pictures.
I needed a few seconds to think about my response, and while I was doing so the woman stood perfectly still in front of me, never lifting her eyes from the paper on the counter. It was clear this was not her idea.
"I don't have any problem taking whatever type of pictures you want," I said softly, feeling sorry for the woman, but also feeling a little heat in my crotch at the thought. As I spoke I looked more carefully at her face and body as she continued to look away. "Are you talking about nude pictures . . . or just pictures in your lingerie or swimsuit?"
"The kind with all my clothes off," she almost whispered, and then looked up at me with tortured eyes. She had not blushed, as I expected, but had turned even paler than before. I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but her vulnerability turned me on, whether the emotion was noble or not.
I had to respond to that almost desperate look in her eyes, however, or I would not be able to live with myself.
"Do you drink hot tea?" I asked pleasantly, smiling at her as warmly as I could muster.
She just blinked, and then her gaze went totally blank, showing no emotion at all.
"Sometimes," she said, watching me carefully, like a trapped animal which was already hurting.
"Well, I just boiled some water and was going to make some tea to cut the chill," I said, turning to walk to the back of the room where my desk was. "Why don't you come on back and have some tea and we will sit down and decide what to do."
I did not wait for her to answer but went straight to the apartment-size gas stove which I had bought at an auction and on which I had water boiling. I took out two cups, two spoons, two teabags and a cup of sugar and walked to my desk. She had followed me hesitantly, and was standing by the chair across from my desk. I put the stuff down and returned for the boiling water.
She took the cup of tea that I offered her and followed my lead by putting a couple of spoons of sugar in it and stirring it. She also perched delicately on the edge of the overstuffed chair that I indicated to her while I settled into my ancient desk chair that creaked and groaned at every joint as I sat down. Neither of us spoke as we prepared our tea.
"My name is Cal," I said, starting the conversation simply, hoping to get off on the right foot. I had watched her covertly as she stirred her coffee and realized that I really wanted to photograph this woman in the nude. She was not a raving beauty, and did not have a voluptuous figure, but she was cute . . . and I had the feeling I would get to see something few people had seen before.
"My name is Jennifer," she began looking at me briefly before looking back at her tea. "But people just call me Jenny."
"Jenny, have you ever posed in the nude before?" I asked gently, watching her face for any negative reaction. Uncooperative models are very difficult to photograph.
"No," she said quietly, shaking her head. Then she raised her head and looked into my eyes and I saw that the guard had dropped and her eyes were shy and friendly, though still slightly clouded with uncertainty. "But I have to do this."
"Can you tell me why?"
She stirred her tea thoughtfully for a full minute or two before looking me in the eye again. This time I saw hope, and knew that she had decided to trust me.
The next 15 minutes she talked non-stop, barely pausing for a breath, pouring out her story in a quiet, but almost desperate voice.
She had married young, before graduating from high school, to a man eight years older than her. He was a sawmill worker who worked hard, played hard, and drank constantly. They had not been able to have children, and he had blamed her because he said she did not enjoy having sex. When he saw the ad in the paper he bought a cheap camera and tried to take some pictures himself, but they didn't come out the way he expected, and he blamed her for not posing properly. Two weeks ago he had sent her into town with orders to "let the damn city photographer" take her picture and make a calendar. She had come into town three times and the office had been closed and she was afraid to just write a note or leave a message. Her husband was getting angrier and thought she was lying to him about the office being closed.
"I know you probably don't take instant pictures," she said in conclusion, "but I have to take something back with me, even if it is only an appointment ticket or something."
"Jenny, have you ever taken your clothes off in front of any other man than your husband?"
"Well, once about two years ago on a holiday we went to the river with two other couples and we all got drunk and went skinny dipping," she replied. "But I stayed in the water most of the time."
"How did your husband react to that," I enquired.
"He attacked me that night," she said, blushing for the first time. "Not a hurting me kind of attack . . . but a sex kind of attack. He was really turned on."
That took care of my main concern. I felt the excitement start to return as I considered what to do next.
"I've got a little studio in the back and can take some pictures of you right now to show your husband that you are cooperating with his desires," I said carefully. "But they will really just be to help me get my settings for your skin tones and hair color and such."
I hated to lie to her, but I wanted more than just a couple of hours with this gal, and I wanted to give her something she would not be ashamed of when her husband would surely show it around the sawmill.
I read mixed emotions in her eyes – which were now openly and honestly revealing her every emotion. She was relieved that she did not have to go home empty-handed . . . and maybe get a beating from a drunk husband. Mixed with the relief was a hint of dread as she realized she would soon be asked to take her clothes off. Her verbal response was as simple and innocent as the woman herself.
"Thank you," she said nervously, looking around for the studio.
I rose and led her back through a door into the small studio, which was really just a storage room with a roll of backdrops, two lights on tripods and a couple of chairs.
"This won't take very long, it is just like a practice," I told her. "I need to see what kind of lighting I will need, and to get an idea of what you look like with your clothes off so I will know how to set up the pictures."
"When do you want to set up the appointment for the real shoot?" I asked as I turned on the lights and dropped a solid black background behind a straight-back chair.
"I could do it tomorrow," she said quickly, and then ducked her head nervously when she saw me smile. "My husband really wants this done as soon as possible."
"Tomorrow it is," I said. "How about 10 o'clock?"
"Okay," was her own reply as she watched me take a light reading by the chair and then off her face.
"All right," I said, as casually as I could, but with my heart racing in my chest. "Just come over here and sit on the chair. Take off your jacket and sit facing the door with your knees together and your hands on your knees."
She did exactly as I asked, and responded positively to my instructions to keep her back straight, her shoulders back and her head up. Upon my instruction, she followed me with her eyes as I walked a semi-circle around her snapping an occasional picture, and asking her to mimic my expressions which ranged from an outright grin to a troubled frown.
She did not flinch as I rearranged her hair to cover her ears, and lifted her chin a couple of times with my index finger.
After a dozen or so pictures I stopped and downloaded them on my computer as I made two more cups of tea. She was intrigued with her image on the screen and I took the time to talk about posture, head tilt and expression.
"Well, are you ready?" I asked, watching her for any change in her decision to pose.
She gulped slightly and then nodded.
We walked back into the studio and I asked her to take off her shirt and return to the chair. She did as I asked, turning her back to me as she unbuttoned the shirt and removed it. Her bra was a simple, padded one, badly frayed and slightly discolored from many washings.
I took several shots before asking her to remove her jeans, which she did without hesitation, glancing up once to notice I was watching before finishing the removal. I folded the jeans and laid them on a stool as she returned to the chair. Her white cotton panties were in the same condition as her bra.
I had her pull her legs up and hug her knees as I took a few more pictures, still changing expression from time to time and she stayed right with me. I could see she was getting caught up in the "posing" game and it was taking her mind off her exposed flesh. I also hoped she did not notice the erection I had been carrying around since her shirt came off.
I asked her to change her position on the chair a couple of times until I felt she was as comfortable as possible and then I asked her to take off her bra. She did so quickly and without comment, not even getting out of the chair.
Her breasts were small, the nipples shriveled and hard, but deep brown in color. As soon as she was topless she began to slump forward and I had to remind her to keep her shoulders back – which she did for the remainder of the shoot without being reminded.
After a few shots on the chair I replaced it with a fake doorway and had her leaning against the door jam in different poses. She followed my instructions to a tee, watching my face intently for instructions and expressions to mimic.
A few shots later I asked her to remove her panties. This time there was a slight hesitation before she complied. She did not have a tan of any kind and had not trimmed her pubic hair in any way. Her bottom was firm, but not full with deep dimples in each cheek. Her waist was miniscule and I could see great promise in being able to make this girl look very good.
As she changed positions at my suggestion we discussed pubic hair and she agreed to trim the hair so it would not be so thick, and said she would shave her legs and thighs if her husband would let her. I couldn't believe I was standing here talking to a totally naked woman I had just met an hour earlier about how closely she should trim her bush.
As I zoomed in for some head and shoulder shots I saw some marks on her breasts around her nipples. Before I had even thought about my actions I stepped up and reached out with the backs of my fingers and gently touched what was obviously cigarette-burn scars in several places around each nipple, and even a couple on the sides of her breasts.
I looked quickly at her face and saw that she had been watching me touch her, almost entranced by the caress of the hairs on the back of my fingers on her breasts. She raised her eyes to mine and I saw embarrassment – she was embarrassed for what had been done to her, not what she had done.
I wondered if that was the only place he had burned her and asked her to turn around. She did so slowly, standing quietly after she had turned. I found marks on her back, on her buttocks, and, when I had spread her cheeks lightly saw scars around her anus. As I squatted at her feet I placed my hands on her hips and turned her around gently.
As I expected, there were scars up and down her inner thighs, around her navel, and even in her armpits.
She was watching my face as I inspected her body, and I had forgotten about being turned on. I wanted to reach out and hold her and tell her she could live with me and did not have to go back to her torture chamber.
She must have read my thoughts, for she reached out and touched my cheek with the palm of her hand for just a second.
"It's okay," she said quietly. "It's been a while since the last time – I threatened to run away to my parents in Lousiana. Those are mostly old scars."
Mostly. The word stuck in my mind. Mostly.
"You can get dressed now, Jenny," I said softly. "I have everything I need."
"Can you send something with me . . . so it won't go too bad tonight?"
"Certainly!" I said, wondering if I was any better than him. After all, I was taking advantage of her by having her strip for me twice when once would be enough.
I left her alone to dress as I downloaded the images and chose about 12 which I printed out on a contact sheet at a low resolution so they would be grainy and look like nothing but "practice" shots.
When she came out of the studio I handed the sheet of pictures to her.
"They don't look as good on paper as they did on the computer," she said thoughtfully.
"That's because they are practice shots," I said. "The ones we take tomorrow will look just like you walked off the pages of Playboy!"
She nodded, but her eyes said she didn't think that could happen.
"Will that be enough for tonight?" I asked, not wanting to be the cause of any more pain to her.
She nodded, and then looked up at me and smiled – a warm, friendly smile that said I was her friend.
"It will be great . . . I'll probably be busy tonight." She blushed at the thought and then smiled at me again.
Thank you, I'll see you tomorrow at ten."
And then she left, turning at the door to wave before going to her car and driving away. I hoped she would be back . . . and in one piece.
I spent the rest of the afternoon running into the city to the Goodwill store and buying some clothing and props for her to wear the next day.
The following morning she drove up about 9:30 and we left in my vehicle shortly after. We went out to a local state park which is crowded with tourists in the summer but deserted in the winter.
Jenny got into the posing right away when she saw the clothes and props and we shot for nearly three hours. She never batted an eye when I asked her to take her clothes off, nor did she question me at any time, even when it had to be evident to her that I was taking some VERY personal pictures (for myself, of course.) She trusted me. I didn't know whether she should or not.
A week later she came back for the calendar. I had also made 8X10s out of a couple of the best shots – hopefully that would make the old man happy.
She looked through the calendar carefully, looking at herself totally exposed on paper.
"You took the scars off," she said quietly, looking up at me questioningly. "How did you do that?"
"Computers," I said. "Will it bother him . . . that they are gone, I mean."
"No, I don't think he'll notice. If he does, I'll say that is what they do with all pictures."
"I wish there was something else I could do for you," I said, searching her face for any sign of emotion.
"You have already done too much," she said, looking into my eyes, and I saw respect and gratefulness . . . and maybe even longing. "You made me look beautiful, you treated me with respect and didn't take advantage of me. You shared with me maybe the best day of my whole life." She paused for a minute, looking into my eyes and smiling. "You made me feel valuable as a person, not just a sex slave, for the first time in my life.!"
She took both of my hands in hers and squeezed them gently.
I just nodded. I didn't deserve her praise. I should tell her how I took advantage of her; but I couldn't. I just stood there and waved as she took her calendar, climbed into the old Pontiac and drove off to her caveman.