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Steps To Awareness: Part 6 (Fiction)

Write here your dreams, your stories, your experiences of footsie or other situations where a foot had been used to seduce

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paradigm88
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:54 am

Steps To Awareness: Part 6 (Fiction)

Post by paradigm88 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:58 pm

It's been a long time since I've added an installment, but between moving an office and trying to play super-sub at the office, finding early-morning writing motivation has been a chore.

But here we go, at long last!

I'd had some of this written a long time ago, but after realizing this was going to be a very long installment, I split it into two parts, and did some work on the first part of the tale. This also allowed me to do a little more integrating with joshjack and his "Sidesteps" story. He and I have discussed a lot about our characters, but interestingly we didn't share a whole ton of plot specifics. I find it interesting how our stories sort of started to point in similar directions despite that (even if not every detail between the two storylines meshes).

Enjoy as always!

---

The next morning, Mallory awoke feeling excited but stressed. She had woken up a few times during the night, tossing and turning as thoughts of the interview flashed through her mind. She felt enthused and confident that she would fit in, but at the same time, she could not help but worry that something would catch her off-guard. At last, her alarm went off and Mallory got up to shower.

Mallory emerged from the shower wrapped in a towel and walked back to her closet. Mallory had never had a lot of money to spend on clothes, but she had worn the same size virtually since high school, and her style had been about the same, so she had a fairly full closet. And since everything she wore had to be appropriate for either school, work or church, she had no shortage of proper and conservative options for an interview.

In the shower, Mallory had contemplated one of her pretty patterned skirts, but she had decided she wanted something that carried more gravity. This was a bank office, after all. She had a black dress that was perfect for the occasion. It was something she usually saved for serious occasions, funerals and church events, but it could be an interview dress, too. She considered it, then wondered if it was just too dark and dreary. Surely, there had to be a way to be serious and professional, but also twenty-two.

Mallory found her cell phone and dialed Sarah’s number. The phone rang once, and Sarah picked up. “Morning, Mal,â€￾ she sang.

“Morning, Sarah,â€￾ Mallory said. “I need some advice.â€￾

“On the interview?â€￾

“On what to wear,â€￾ Mallory said. “I want to look super-professional. But my nicest professional dress is a black dress, and I feel like it’s…boring?â€￾

“Black is very somber,â€￾ Sarah said. “It’s an interview, not a funeral.â€￾

“My other option,â€￾ Mallory said, with one hand pawing through her closet, “is I have this pretty periwinkle dress.â€￾

“That sounds like a start,â€￾ Sarah said.

“It’s short-sleeved, knee-length, almost just like the black dress,â€￾ Mallory said, removing the periwinkle-blue dress from her closet. “I just don’t know if that’s too bright.â€￾

“You can tone it down,â€￾ Sarah said. “Maybe a black blazer or a cardigan over it, and a little black belt and black tights.â€￾

“I have a perfect cardigan,â€￾ Mallory said.

“I mean, I’m not afraid of colors and patterns,â€￾ Sarah said. “But it’s an interview and you need to feel confident. If you’re not comfortable in something bright, then go safe, and you can’t go wrong.â€￾

“What about shoes?â€￾ Mallory asked.

“If you go for the black tights,â€￾ Sarah said, “you could go with a two-inch heel. That’s professional and modest. But you’re still learning heels. So you’ll ultimately be uncomfortable walking around. You might be best to wear black flats. Do you have another pair?â€￾

“I think I do,â€￾ Mallory said, trying to remember if she had bought replacements for her old black flats that were ruined the day before. Black flats were sort of a Mallory staple, so she was pretty sure she had a new pair in a box deep in her closet.

“Worst case, I think you have some new black flats in the shoes I gave you,â€￾ Sarah said.

“Ooh, I’ll have to look,â€￾ Mallory said.

“But yeah, go flats, and black will look awesome with the periwinkle dress. You’ll look younger and as professional as ever.â€￾

“Should I go with nylons instead of tights?â€￾ Mallory asked.

“Not necessarily,â€￾ Sarah said. “Go with what makes you comfortable. You have to feel confident and comfortable or you’ll be out of your element.â€￾

“Thanks for your help, Sarah,â€￾ Mallory said.

“No problem, Mal,â€￾ Sarah replied. “Can we do dinner tonight maybe?â€￾

“Sure,â€￾ Mallory said. “I’ll text you later?â€￾

“Okay, talk to you then,â€￾ Sarah replied. “Good luck!â€￾

Mallory set her cell phone down. She appreciated being able to ask for Sarah’s honest advice. Sarah had the confidence and worldliness that Mallory felt like she lacked at times. Where Mallory felt uncertain, Sarah felt sure and composed.

Mallory pulled on a black camisole and took out a pair of black tights. She had found she preferred tights to nylons, because they were soft against her skin and felt less fragile than her sheerest nylons. She slipped her legs into the black tights, then slipped into the periwinkle dress. She zipped up the dress and cinched a thin leather belt around her waist. Mallory softly padded to her mirror, then turned around and headed back to her closet without looking. She felt incomplete.

Mallory found one of her black cardigans and tried it on over her dress. She found a black headband and slipped it into her hair, pulling her bangs back a bit. At last, she turned her attention to her shoe collection. Somewhere in the closet, she had a spare pair of basic black flats. She felt like she needed more, though.

Mallory felt inspired and looked in Sarah’s shoe bag from the night before. To her surprise, there was a pair of lovely black patent flats with big bows on the toes. Mallory set the shiny black flats on the floor and slipped her soft black feet into them. The shiny shoes contrasted with her black legs, and the bows made her feet look younger. Mallory took a few tentative steps toward the mirror. The shoes were too big, but not so dangerously loose that she feared slipping out of them.

Mallory finally studied her reflection. She saw herself composed and mature, with a couple little touches of her youth. She took a deep breath. She felt like she was ready, or at least as ready as she ever could be.

Mallory left her apartment early, and checked in with the receptionist for her interview. As she waited in the lobby, she looked down and examined her new shoes. It was hard to imagine Sarah had ever worn them; the patent leather was unscuffed and unmarked. Mallory had crossed one leg over the other, and her left shoe had slipped barely off her stockinged heel. Even though they were a little big, they were comfortable to walk in, more comfortable than her other black flats had been. Mallory could not imagine wearing them every day, though; she would be afraid to scuff the shiny leather.

“Miss Mandelson?â€￾ a woman called from around the corner.

Mallory uncrossed her legs, stood up and followed the voice. Around the corner was a smartly-dressed woman about her mother’s age. She was a bit taller than Mallory, with short dark hair, and wore a charcoal-striped pantsuit with black square-toed heels. “Miss Mandelson, I’m Denise Walsh,â€￾ she said, shaking Mallory’s hand.

“Pleased to meet you,â€￾ Mallory said. “You can call me Mallory.â€￾

“Right this way, Mallory,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, leading Mallory past a row of cubicles. “Katerina spoke very highly of you last night.â€￾

“I’m glad,â€￾ Mallory said, laughing nervously. “Katerina’s been my manager ever since I started.â€￾

“How long have you been at the branch?â€￾ Mrs. Walsh asked, leading Mallory into her office.

“Just about four years,â€￾ Mallory said. “I started when I was still a freshman in college.â€￾

“Oh, that’s longer than I realized,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, sitting down at her desk. “Do you have a copy of your résumé, by chance?â€￾

“I do,â€￾ Mallory said, opening her tote bag and removing two crisp pages from a folder inside. She handed them to Mrs. Walsh as she settled into a chair of her own and set the tote bag on the floor.

Mrs. Walsh took a moment to read over Mallory’s cover letter and résumé silently. Mallory looked on quietly, afraid to make so much as a squeak with her chair. All at once, Mallory felt unconfident. She worried that she had left something off her résumé, or that she had seemed too meek when they first shook hands. She worried that her dress was too short, her cardigan too casual, and as she realized her feet were just shy of touching the ground in her chair, that her shoes were too flat and too shiny. Mallory’s sore baby toe started aching a bit, and she wiggled her right foot in her shoe to pacify it.

“Four years is a long time these days,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, finally breaking the silence.

“Well,â€￾ Mallory said, “it’s been a great job to have while I finished my degree. And Katerina’s always been great to work with.â€￾

“We just don’t see a lot of résumés where someone’s worked the same job that long anymore,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “But obviously you’re looking for something more than that.â€￾

Mallory nodded. She was afraid to say the wrong thing, and simultaneously distracted by her sore right toe. As she wiggled her foot, her right shoe had come loose, and so she arched her right foot, letting the shiny patent black flat slide off her foot and onto the floor. Mallory curled her toes freely and felt relieved that the falling shoe had not made a sound. “I do like the bank,â€￾ she said, feeling more relaxed with one shoe off. “But I know I’m capable of more.â€￾

With one shoe off, Mallory felt strangely more comfortable and confident and found herself opening up more about her experiences and her goals. She explained her traditional upbringing, and how she wanted to find a career path before starting a family. Mrs. Walsh asked about her teller experiences, and Mallory shared some of the things she had learned behind the counter. Mallory tried to keep her left shoe on, but she still could not quite reach the floor, and so her left ballet flat popped from her heel, her stockinged toes remaining in the shoe as she arched her foot. She rubbed her right foot against her heel, wanting to slip the other shoe off altogether, but she kept her toes planted in her loose-fitting flat.

After a few more minutes of conversation, Mrs. Walsh stood up. “I hate to interrupt, but I need to get some water. Would you like some?â€￾ she asked.

“Oh, no thank you, I’m all set,â€￾ Mallory said.

Mrs. Walsh came around her desk to get a water bottle from the refrigerator at the back of the office. Mallory noticed that Mrs. Walsh’s black heels had disappeared, revealing black-socked toes beneath her pantsuit legs. “You’ll have to excuse me,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “I’m breaking in a new pair of shoes today, and they’ve been killing me all morning.â€￾

Mallory laughed, realizing this was a moment for her to connect. “If it makes you feel better,â€￾ she said, “I’ve only been wearing one shoe for a while.â€￾

“It’s hard being a professional woman sometimes,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, returning to her desk. “I bought these three-inch heels, but they’re too narrow and I haven’t had time to stretch them yet. So for now I’m just leaving them under the desk, if you don’t mind.â€￾

“I’ve only just started wearing heels,â€￾ Mallory said. “I wasn’t allowed to wear them growing up. But after a few days in them, I’m much happier sitting here in flats.â€￾

“Or a flat,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh added.

Mallory felt completely relaxed for a moment, curled her toes and arched her left foot, freeing her left foot from her flat. “Tights, actually,â€￾ she said, laughing.

“A girl after my own heart,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said.

Without either of her shoes, Mallory swung her legs back and forth, wiggling her toes and rubbing her feet together. The nervous energy in her legs and feet calmed her down, and she and Mrs. Walsh discussed the new job at length. There was a lot more opportunity in the bank office than there ever could be at the branch.

“The long and short of it is,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said at last, “it seems like you would fit perfectly here.â€￾

Mallory crossed her ankles, rubbing her feet together and clenching her toes. “It sounds like it,â€￾ she said. “Do you have a dress code here?â€￾

“To a point,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “We do have more executives coming through the office here, plus people from corporate. But that isn’t an everyday, every person sort of thing. So we try to stay business casual, and if we have a VIP coming in, we’ll caution everyone to step it up the day before.â€￾

“So pretty dresses and colors and patterns aren’t out of place,â€￾ Mallory said.

“Not at all,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “As long as it’s modest and workplace-appropriate, it’s welcome.â€￾

“Do we have to wear shoes?â€￾ Mallory asked, laughing. She was excitedly kicking her legs back and forth under the table, her toes occasionally brushing the bow atop her flats.

Mrs. Walsh laughed too. “Usually, I prefer to keep my stockinged feet to my own office,â€￾ she said.

“I used to,â€￾ Mallory said. “But at the branch, a couple of us started taking our shoes off when it’s quiet and there’s no one around. Plus I’ve had a sore toe the last couple days so this feels a lot better now.â€￾

“I can’t blame you, tellers stand so much,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “A lot of us like to wear flats to work, and keep a pair of heels under the desk for when it’s necessary. But by three in the afternoon, if you’re walking to the printer in your stocking feet, you’ll probably not be the only one.â€￾

“I think I could get used to that,â€￾ Mallory said. She stretched her feet to slip her flats back on, but as she folded her legs back under her chair, she felt the shoes pop off her heels, so she arched her toes and let the shoes fall to the floor again.

“I can imagine,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “Mallory, I’d like to make you an offer. Can you start Monday?â€￾

“Absolutely,â€￾ Mallory said. “Thank you!â€￾

“No, thank you,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “I can tell you’re going to be an excellent fit here.â€￾

“I hope so,â€￾ Mallory said. “What hours will I be working?â€￾

“Eight to five,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “Why?â€￾

“Well, I don’t mind keeping my teller’s job, too,â€￾ Mallory said. “That way if they need evening help or someone for Saturdays and Sundays, I’d be available for them.â€￾

“That should be fine,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “Just let Katerina know your availability so she can keep you on the schedule. I’m sure she’ll appreciate that.â€￾

“I will too,â€￾ Mallory said.

“Would you like to see your new desk?â€￾ Mrs. Walsh asked.

“Sure!â€￾ Mallory said excitedly. She slid her feet toward her shoes, but her toes brushed the carpet instead. Where were her shoes? She swung her feet in a wide circle under her table, her toes finally bumping her shoes deep under her chair. “I just have to put my shoes on,â€￾ she said, feeling her cheeks flush.

“If you don’t mind,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, walking around her desk, “I’m going to pass.â€￾

Mallory slid her feet back into her flats and stood up. “Maybe after a couple days I’ll feel more comfortable,â€￾ she said. “But if we bump into someone else, I’m just going to be totally embarrassed.â€￾

“If I can get away with it, surely you will,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, laughing as she led Mallory out of her office.

Mallory wanted to study her new workplace, but could not help but glance down at Mrs. Walsh’s black-socked feet peeking out from her pantsuit as they walked among the cubicles. Like Sarah, Mrs. Walsh felt at ease without her shoes on. For Mallory, it felt like there was a big step between walking around her branch shoeless and walking around here shoeless. She had yet to take that step yet, though maybe after working here a few days, it would feel more natural.

“This will be your cubicle,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, gesturing to an open space in the cubicle wall. “You’ll be close to all of your filing, the printer, and my office, of course.â€￾

Mallory followed Mrs. Walsh into the cubicle. It was professionally Spartan, the work surface bare save for a computer, keyboard and mouse, empty file racks to the left of the computer, vacant desk space to the right. It was so perfect it looked like an office from a catalog. But unlike any office space Mallory had ever seen, it was her own. “This is so cool,â€￾ Mallory said, realizing after she spoke how immature her words sounded.

“Go ahead, sit down,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, pulling out the desk chair.

Mallory sat down in her new chair, quickly realizing the chair was adjusted too tall for her feet to touch the floor. She looked under the cubicle and saw a small platform tucked way under the desk. “What’s that?â€￾ she asked.

“It’s a heated foot rest,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “Try it out.â€￾

Mallory’s shoes were already slipping from her heels, so she shook her feet slightly to slide the flats off completely. Now shoeless, she reached forward with her stockinged feet and pulled the foot rest slightly closer. She set her feet on the rest and adjusted herself in her chair. “Wow,â€￾ she said. “This is nice.â€￾

“Especially in winter,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “Most women here wear boots to the office and slippers around here, so they can use their foot rests.â€￾

“I can imagine,â€￾ Mallory said. She pushed the chair away from the desk and reflexively folded her right leg into the chair with her, sitting on her foot. She instantly felt more comfortable.

“You sit on your foot too,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “Lots of young women do that.â€￾

“It’s very comfortable,â€￾ Mallory said. “I can’t really explain it.â€￾ She spun in her chair, swaying her dangling left foot.

“Mallory, there’s a stack of paperwork for you to fill out,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “Would you like to fill it out right here?â€￾

“Sure,â€￾ Mallory said. “Should I come with you to get it?â€￾

“It’s just over here in a drawer,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said.

Mallory unfolded her right leg and stood up, following Mrs. Walsh down the row of file cabinets. It was only after she stepped from her cubicle into the aisle that she realized she felt carpet underfoot and not the soles of her shoes. Mrs. Walsh looked down and smiled as she picked a new-hire packet from one of the cabinets. “I’ll be in my office when you’re all done,â€￾ she said as she handed the packet to Mallory.

Mallory returned to her new cubicle and settled into her new chair, folding her right leg under her as she sat. She pulled her chair forward and reached with her left foot until she could feel the footrest. As she filled out the paperwork for her new job, she rubbed her left foot back and forth over the plastic nubs of the footrest, wiggling her right toes under her dress. After a few minutes, she unfolded her right leg, planting her stockinged foot on the footrest and feeling the plastic nubs under her sole. The footrest was soothing as she rubbed her feet back and forth.

Mallory finally finished the packet of paperwork, and pushed her chair back from the desk to stand up. She looked to the floor for her shoes, swinging her legs wide to catch each flat with her toes. She dragged them across the floor to bring them together in front of her, then stood up, reached down and picked up her shiny shoes. She still felt a bit uneasy, but took a few brave steps out of her cubicle and padded in tights to Mrs. Walsh’s office.

Mrs. Walsh looked up as Mallory walked in. “You’re done already,â€￾ she said. “And I see you’re becoming more comfortable.â€￾

Mallory laughed. “I’m trying,â€￾ she said.

“I’m glad,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “I sincerely think you’re going to fit right in here.â€￾

“I’m glad you feel that way,â€￾ Mallory said, sitting down and folding her stockinged feet back under the chair. She curled her toes and let her feet come to rest with the tops of her curled toes against the carpet.

“I was going back over your cover letter,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “You said something that caught my eye about role models.â€￾

Mallory knew the part Mrs. Walsh was talking about. “Yeah,â€￾ she said, her fingers caressing her shiny flats as if she were holding a kitten in her lap. “My family and I have always been at odds about what my future entails.â€￾

“How so?â€￾

“My mother never went to college,â€￾ Mallory said. “She graduated school, got married and started a family. The fact that I didn’t want to do the same was a big deal. College and a career were never part of their expectations.â€￾

“But they’re part of yours.â€￾

“They are,â€￾ Mallory said, feeling the balls of her feet brushing the carpet as her legs swayed back and forth rapidly.

“There’s a conference this Friday in Boston,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “I think you would get a lot out of it. Are you scheduled to work Friday?â€￾

“I am,â€￾ Mallory said.

“Katerina can find someone to cover for you,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, handing Mallory a single page from her desk. “It’s the Millennial Womens’ Career Advancement Symposium. For someone like you, I think it would be a great experience.â€￾

Mallory glanced over the flyer in front of her. “That sounds like fun,â€￾ Mallory said. “I think I’d love to go.â€￾

“Let me talk to Katerina,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said. “I really think you’ll find it worthwhile.â€￾

“Thank you,â€￾ Mallory said.

“In the meantime,â€￾ Mrs. Walsh said, “I’ll get this upstairs to HR and we’ll be all set for you to start here on Monday morning.â€￾ She stood up and extended her hand to Mallory.

“Thanks,â€￾ Mallory said, standing up and setting her shoes on the chair before shaking Mrs. Walsh’s hand. “I can’t wait!â€￾

Mallory slipped her shoes back on and walked back to her car, noticing with each step how the shiny shoes slid off her heels. They had not felt quite so slippy earlier, but Mallory found the feeling less distracting than soothing. She drove home feeling nervous and excited. She wanted to share her good news, but the only one she could tell was Sarah, and Sarah was working until dinnertime. Maybe she and Sarah could make a dinner date.

As soon as Mallory got home, she texted Sarah as she walked to her apartment. She unlocked her apartment door, walked in, and slipped her shiny flats off at the door, then set her things down on the kitchen counter. The cool tile floor felt soothing on her stockinged soles.

Mallory had a quick snack and curled up on the couch to read, but at last she heard her phone buzz. She jumped up from the couch and found her phone. Sure enough, Sarah was free for dinner. She texted her back to make dinner plans. They made plans to meet up around six o’clock. That would give Mallory some more reading time. She wondered if she should change for the date, but thought Sarah would enjoy seeing her gifted shoes in action.

Mallory set her book down, set an alarm on her phone, and stretched out on her couch for a short nap. She thought about her day so far, and as she kneaded the couch cushions with her stockinged feet, she smiled as she closed her eyes.

---

Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome!



paradigm88
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:54 am

Post by paradigm88 » Tue Oct 14, 2014 5:06 am

I don't imagine she did - if only because I don't think she could dream of affording it. I imagined Mallory taking the same path a friend of mine took. She grew up way off the beaten path, and faced with the prospect of going to school locally, becoming a school teacher and getting married and having kids by twenty-five, she decided to go for the unknown and go to school eight hours from home. To make it work, she took classes mostly at night (same education, cheaper!) and worked her butt off by day. Mallory's family has long pressured her to forego a career and start a family instead, so they aren't supporting her educational plans. She'd have to do pretty much the same to take care of her bills.

Boston has a bit of vanity to it - I'm from the northeast - but it's also a good fit for the world I imagined for the story. I picture most of the story within a suburban setting, with the added bonus of being cool enough in the fall for women to wear hose by default. At the same time, "Sidesteps" takes place around some kind of rail system (as Mallory rides the train to the symposium). Boston conveniently fits both requirements.

paradigm88
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:54 am

Post by paradigm88 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:21 am

To be honest, I'd never really planned for the story to take place there, either. I just started to write that paragraph and felt like a real location would legitimize the tale, as opposed to "there's a conference downtown" or "in the big city" using some nameless target. And Mallory is most certainly not a big-city girl. She's too naive and innocent (and maybe not wealthy enough) for a place like New York or DC, and too into nylons to be from the West Coast!

OceanWaves3947
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:19 am

Re: Steps To Awareness: Part 6 (Fiction)

Post by OceanWaves3947 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:52 pm

Since the symposium Mallory is attending is in Boston, that got me wondering: Where does this story take place? Where do Mallory Mandelson, Sarah, Katarina, Denise Walsh, et al. live? Since Mallory’s attending a symposium in Boston, it seems likely to me that it is somewhere in the United States, probably somewhere not far from Boston, Massachusetts, but I would love to know more specifically (the state and the city).

paradigm88
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:54 am

Re: Steps To Awareness: Part 6 (Fiction)

Post by paradigm88 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:06 am

Like my comments upthread said, there is no real city in mind. New England was a default setting and sort of a vanity choice; I'm originally from the area, and there's a nearby city with public rail systems that would play into the events of joshjack's collaborative story. The setting for the town itself is entirely fictional, but it's much smaller than any city in the area.

Also, the Northeast is generally cool enough to allow hose all year for the dedicated girl.

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