In keeping with the weather here in Germany – it is a mild day, but we’ve had rain since December 1 – I offer you a small short story to warm you up. This is the story which was accepted for publication last year, you remember reading what I had to say about my dealings with this publisher – and then withdrawn by me because the contract offered wasn’t to my liking. I’m not going to offer it elsewhere, since it was written exclusively for this one publisher, so you now have the exclusive chance to read a little bit more of where my mind goes sometimes. Enjoy.
I knew it was a mistake even before stepping through the front door. Pulling it to with a solid click and leaving the warmth of my shared apartment to join the morning rush hour into the city on what had been forecast as a warm-to-hot Wednesday morning with almost no possibility of rain, I considered going back in and changing, but that would have meant the very real risk of missing my connection and coming in late to work, risking the ire of my colleagues, the store manageress. Twice in one month was something I couldn’t afford. So I pulled my light summer jacket slightly tighter around my neck, tucked my chin downwards and hurried, dodging puddles, through the light drizzle to the subway station. After only one hundred yards, almost a mad dash as the rain became a torrent, I knew it was hopeless. The first cool, damp seeping of rainwater inside my shoes, between my toes, and the splashes across my bare legs, above my white cotton ankle socks promised nothing good for the rest of the day. A thin trickle down the back of my neck, down my back, causing me to shiver briefly, and then the rain began dripping from my loose fringe, across my nose, my chin, and down the front of my blouse. I finally arrived at the subway entrance feeling more like a drowned rat than a young woman, and imagine I looked like one too: hair a mess of dripping tangles; clothing saturated, wrinkled and, dread the thought, partially transparent; shoes almost overflowing with my tiny socks slipping further down inside, a sodden, useless fashion statement.
Living and working in London had been my ideal since I was a young girl; the capital city of a strange land, packed with history, music, clubs and bars, fashion. In short the perfect place for a country girl, used to the quiet, massive farmland spread across the length and breadth of Kansas, to the drawling, brawling, laid-back, timeless boredom of a small town, backwater upbringing. My friends, as small-minded in their hopes and dreams as in future prospects beyond of marriage and life on a farm or stacking shelves in the Mall, talked of Wichita, dreamed of New York and made it to neither for more than a day-trip; window shopping and dreams with enough cash for the ticket home again, a coffee in Starbucks and a fast fading memories of the big day out.
The warm rush of air across the platform, tightly packed with people hurrying to their work, flipped my short skirt briefly in the air, mine and a few other women who had been caught out by the false weather forecast. None of us reacted. None of us moved to hold our skirts down, fully aware that the brief flash of underwear, in such a mass of people, would have gone unnoticed; everyone concentrated their full attention of the approaching train, determined to be first through the doors as they slid open, to get the best possible seat or, if the train was already full, at least a comfortable space to stand in, to watch the other people, to wait for a chance of a free seat and dive into it before anyone else. Rush hour in London is the perfect place to see the survival of the fittest, human ego at its best, manners and consideration for others at its worst. And the warm air, pushed out of the tunnel, swirling through the mass of damp humanity, brought light relief after the coldness of rain. The man next to me, awaiting his chance to push forward as the doors slid open, had begun to steam lightly. I ruffled my nose, unable to escape the overpowering smell of sodden clothing, aftershave and sweat he gave off. Inside the train, pressed against others soaked by the unexpected downpour, steaming in the confined warmth, it was worse still; hardly the ideal start to my working day.
This is my daily routine: leaving my apartment before anyone else – the other three women sharing are all students, enjoying late nights as much as late mornings – to fight through the morning rush hour to Kensington; opening the small fashion store at nine; tending to customers’ desires, whims and fancies; a half hour break for lunch, normally a sandwich or similar from a chain bakery across the road; an afternoon much the same as the morning; tidying up clothing strewn about by indifferent customers; closing in the late afternoon and the subway journey back home again, tired and ready for bed. Six days a week. Twenty days vacation a year, plus official holidays. A monthly check which barely covers the bills. London nightlife, the clubs and bars, remains in the realm of dreams like Wichita or New York.
Today will be no different to any other, aside from the bad weather mood everyone will undoubtedly be in; the awkward demands; snide remarks; little acts of nastiness influenced, no doubt, as much by the bad weather as by the normal attitude of customers to those poor souls designated to serve them. Our supervisor, the store manageress, will be as watchful as usual; pointing out small, insignificant mistakes no one else could possibly have seen; giving out random tasks to keep us occupied when we would much rather be catching our breath after a particularly rude, loud or demanding customer; chatting with random halfway handsome salesmen on the telephone, in her office, by the cash register. Her eyes are everywhere, and I sometimes have the feeling that they follow me wherever I go, whatever I do and that she hears every single word I say, reads my secret thoughts as if I had spoken them aloud. Tall and imposing with her mid-length, raven-black hair drawn carefully back into a tight ponytail, dark eyes evenly-spaced in features which attract and can hold any ones’ attention; she is always dressed to her best advantage. Her fashion sense, her ability to choose clothes which accentuate her slim but well-rounded figure, is breath-taking. Even on such a day as today, where everyone else has been caught out by the sudden, unexpected downpour, she appears immaculate, as if the rain has folded itself around her and chosen a different target. The salesmen, male customers waiting impatiently for their girlfriends, wives or daughters, even passersby on the street, are attracted to her like bees to a honey pot. A smile, a simple flirt, a flicker of interest can double sales although, as supervisor, she is above such things, invariably calling one of us to her side to wrap and pack, to register the sale and give out change or the credit card receipt while she lords it over the susceptible emotions of her unsuspecting victim, wrapping him around her little finger and sucking out his hard-earned cash into her till.
I’m not jealous of her, more in awe of her prowess, of her attraction for males, of her self-command and self-confidence; I find her amazingly attractive. Not that I would say anything, nor make any sort of move in her direction, not in that way. Despite my good sales abilities I am relatively shy: I am the small flower shaded by others when out and about, visiting the clubs and bars, shopping, in company; the little mouse with hardly a word to say; easily overseen, merely an additional shadow in the background. Today, however, I am soaked through to the skin, and the instant object of my supervisors’ attentions. With a frown she greets me wordlessly at the door, her eyes going from my tangled hair down, across my jacket, my skirt to my shoes, with their crumpled, soaked ankle socks. I can feel what she is going to say, anticipate the words of admonishment as I struggle out of my jacket and try to keep some form of smile on my face.
Her look, however, is completely different. I see the strictness caught in her eyes, the lines of concern – for the shop, not for me – forming across her otherwise perfectly smooth, unblemished forehead, the slight licking of her full ruby lips as she, undoubtedly forming the damning sentences in her mind as I wait, prepares to reprimand me. I try to smooth the wet creases in my blouse, her eyes following the movement of my hands and pausing momentarily, hovering, before coming back up to my face, catching my eyes and holding them. There is a slight smile on her lips now, one which causes a strange twinkling in her eyes, a dimple on her cheek. I am suddenly aware of my blouse clinging, that the wetness has possibly made it transparent and glance down, taking in the form and shape of my small, firm breasts and, highlighted through the thin fabric, the hard points of my nipples jutting out. I blush, don’t know whether to cover myself with my hands, to reach for my jacket and put it on once more, to turn and run as far away from this embarrassment as is possible.
She takes a small step forward; her eyes locked on my breasts, on my nipples and raises her hand. For a moment, for a split second, I imagine she is reaching to touch, but she places her hand gently on my shoulder, then guides me firmly, a half step behind me, through the still-closed store and into her office. This, I thought, is it: unemployment with no benefits; shame; poverty and homelessness. My emotions were torn between a sudden feeling of depression and a sense of anger at the unfairness of it all and then, as she turned and went back out of the office, confusion. I heard her voice, muffled through the office walls, as she spoke to the other two assistants on the shop floor but couldn’t make out any words, couldn’t fathom the meaning of what she was telling them. When she returned, closing the office door behind her, she had a new blouse, wrapped and obviously from one of the display racks, in one hand a hand towel and plastic bag in the other. She looked at me once more, smiled, placed a finger on her lips as if telling me to be quiet, and allowed her eyes to wander slowly over my bedraggled figure. Then, with a slight shake of her head, she laid the blouse and bag on her desk and stepped closer.
The palm of her hands slipped tenderly, perhaps by accident, across my breasts and hardened nipples before her fingers caught hold of the first button which, slowly and with utter concentration, she undid. Surprised, I looked up at her, into her face, but her eyes were elsewhere. Resisting the urge to take a step back, to rescue myself, bring myself to safety, I felt her fingers undo the second, the third, the fourth buttons on my blouse and then, more than a simple twinkle in her eyes now, the tugging as she pulled the soaked fabric out from my skirt, her arms reaching around my body, her hands briefly on my backside, her subtle scent filling my senses, the warmth of her body briefly pressed against mine, the gentleness of her breathing in my ear. She undid the final button, my blouse falling free from her hands, and took a half step backwards as if admiring her handiwork before, her eyes never leaving my body, she slipped her hands inside my blouse, around my waist, then slowly, tenderly, up and across my breasts to my shoulders. Then, for the first time, her eyes met mine, locked deep into my soul, as she slipped the sodden fabric across and off my shoulders, allowing it to fall, discarded, onto the carpet.
With the soft hand towel she carefully dried me, beginning with my hair, then my neck, shoulders, arms and, slowly, my breasts and stomach. She worked slowly, taking her time as if relishing the task. I could hear her quick, shallow breaths; see the intense pleasure in her eyes, in the form of her mouth, the way her tongue darted across her lips now and then. As she dried my back, rather than allowing me to turn round and face away from her, she came closer, wrapping her arms around me so that my bare breasts flattened against her, my aching nipples pushed into the fabric of her clothing and I could feel the fullness of her breasts, the firmness of her skin, breath in once more that luscious aroma of her body.
She took a step back once more and surveyed her work before, laying the towel back on her desk and shaking her head slightly, she glanced down at my shoes and socks. Her eyes locked into mine once more, just for the briefest of moments until I wrenched them away and watched her, slowly, moving her hips from side to side, she gripped her tight skirt and raised it almost to the waist. Open-mouthed I stared at her fine legs, at her black stockings, the fine lace stocking tops and the slight bulge of her white panties just peeking out as, her skirt as high as it would go, she squatted before me, open-legged, and began undoing the clasps of my shoes. Both open, she looked up once more, smiled and lifted first one leg then the other to remove shoes and socks, one hand on the shoe, the other caressing the back of my thighs as if to hold me steady.
She stood once more but made no move to push her skirt back down. Instead the new blouse was taken out of its packaging, shaken, and she helped me slip it on. As I made to fasten the buttons she pushed my hand lightly away: I understood; this was part of her work, not mine. The blouse hung loose around my body, far too long, more of a night shirt, and she adjusted it across my shoulders, closing it across my breasts so that it covered my nipples but no more. Then, placing her hands under the fresh white material and around my waist, she lowered herself once more, legs wide apart, and ran her fingers across my hips, round to my bottom and slowly along the elastic line of my panties. Looking up at me once more, our eyes meeting, she slipped the tips of her long, manicured fingers under the thin pantie-line and began to push them down. I felt her breath, soothing against my skin, as she leaned forward, resting my hand on her head to retain my balance, lifting first one leg and then the other as she slipped the flimsy, wet cotton off. She ran her hands back up my legs, resting them on my ass then, one hand still there, she reached across, took the towel once more and began drying my feet, my ankles, my legs, working slowly upwards, her shallow, fast breathing causing waves of warmth against my skin, right between my legs. I realized, as she pushed the towel between my thighs, that much of the wetness she was wiping away wasn’t caused by rainwater.
As she patted my bottom dry I looked down through half-closed eyes, seeing her face just inches away from me, wanting to place my hand back on the top of her head and push her forward, wanting to arch into her, wanting to feel her mouth pushing into me, her lips, her tongue. A dribble of wetness escaped me and began slipping down the inside of my thighs and, seeing it, she looked up, smiling, her perfect white teeth shining, her tongue flicking across them, across her lips. But she didn’t touch me between the legs at all: the towel came close, dangerously close, tantalizingly close, but no more than close. She dried my inner thighs, worked her way around carefully, coming close to the close-cropped pubic hair, to my pussy, and then moving away once more. My legs quivered, I could barely stand straight, barely hold myself still, considered thrusting my own hand, my own fingers between my legs and satisfying the urge. I forced myself to hold back; the anticipation was almost as delicious as I imagined the reality of her touch, at the right moment, in the right place, would be.
I sensed her stand up once more, my eyes closed and lost in new sensations, I didn’t trust myself to look at her, the office, anything. She moved one hand back across my waist to the small of my back and slipped it slowly down to stroke my ass before moving right to the middle, forcing a finger between my ass cheeks and pressing, first gently, then harder, on the small pucker of my ass. Her free hand moved across my stomach, I felt her fingers but no towel, long and cool, they moved downwards, between my legs. One hand gripped my ass tightly, the other stroked me between the legs, further exciting my clit, her fingers diving deep inside me suddenly, deftly, making me gasp and almost fall forward to lean against her, my face resting against her shoulder I threw my arms around her body and held on tight. As she plied me, as her fingers drove back and forth inside my inflamed pussy I felt her lips caressing, kissing my bare neck, biting and nibbling and I heard her voice whispering in my ear, saying that we would have to go to her car, that I couldn’t work in this state, that she had told the other assistants to cope alone for the rest of the day. As my stomach muscles began to tighten, as my legs began to give way, as my breathing fell into short, sharp gasps for air and the first throws of orgasm began to run up from between my legs, from her fingers through my pussy, through my body, I felt the sharp pressure of her teeth on my skin. This conversation would have to be continued elsewhere, she seemed to be telling me, away from here, and it wouldn’t, couldn’t, be a short one.
Love & Kisses, Viki.