She sat quietly, still, fighting to control her nerves as she waited outside his office. His receptionist, immaculately dressed in a sharp charcoal grey pinstriped business skirt suit, her long legs leading to patent leather high heeled pumps that gave her an elegance to her movement as she had greeted Marie at the lift doors and shown her to the waiting area. This wait, although it seemed an eternity as the clock on the wall slowly ticked off the seconds, was the culmination of a much longer process that had begun six months ago with a speculative email, sent on a whim one night after one too many glasses of wine and several too many abortive dates with a succession of terribly nice but terribly boring men who only seemed interested in talking about themselves and had no real interest in her at all.
Marie was dressed according to his instructions, every item of clothing chosen for a specific reason. He had been very clear about that, everything he told her, everything they talked about, every conversation, every instruction had a purpose, even if she was not aware of it, even if they seemed terribly random and didn’t make much sense at the time. She had spent a long time putting together the outfit, following his instructions as closely as she could and her nerves were in part a desperate sense of needing his approval, needing to know she had done the right thing, made the right choices. She was very aware that she had put more thought into this one meeting than she had into most of her life decisions to this point, and the anxiety over getting it wrong was something she felt more strongly than she had thought possible.
Her shoes were red leather, highly polished, the heel fully six inches, far more than she was used to, being more comfortable in trainers, or when really dressed up, court shoes. She had practiced walking in them over the last two weeks since purchasing them but still felt as though she were walking on stilts, tottering, on the brink of falling. Her skirt came to mid thigh, far shorter than she was comfortable with and it forced her to sit with her knees together in a demure fashion. The matching suit jacket was a bolero style and tightly fitted, forcing her to sit more upright, her shoulders back, enhancing her breasts, the fitting of the jacket empasising them further still. From the onset of puberty Marie had been uncomfortable about her body and the way it had developed. She had high set, well shaped breasts that had developed early and more quickly than the other girls and they had a fullness that had led to her trying to hide them as much as possible, through loose clothing and poor posture.
Under the jacket, the red silk blouse felt warm and soft against the skin of her arms and torso, every time she moved it caressed her as tenderly as a lovers touch and raised goosebumps on her smooth flesh. Her underwear was a matching set, made to measure by a company who specialised in bespoke lingerie, a black half cup, balconette bra, lifting and cupping her breasts, giving her cleavage depth, and lending a swell to the creamy skin. Matching black panties trimmed with red lace, and a red and black suspender belt holding up sheer, black seamed stockings.
She felt deeply self conscious, so far removed from her normal attire of sweat pants, or jeans, t-shirts and heavy sweaters, trainers or comfortable shoes was her outfit. She sat, stiff and very aware of her body and her posture as the seconds ticked by. She thought back to her last act before leaving the house that morning. Looking in the mirror, something she avoided as much as possible, checking makeup that she didn’t normally wear, checking her hair that has normally combed with her fingers but today was pulled back into a neat plait to the right side of her head. Her eyeshadow emphasised the softness of her green eyes and the slight application of blusher gave a definition to her cheekbones that surprised her. The bright red lipstick made the most of her full lips and contrasted with the whiteness of her teeth when she smiled.
She barely recognised the beautifully groomed and dressed woman looking back at her from the mirror as she paused, checking that she had forgotten none of his instructions, running through the check list in her head as she took a deep breath and opened the front door, locking it after herself and depositing her keys in the black leather clutch purse as she set off to catch the bus in to the city centre. Another stipulation that he had put on her visit today was that she was to leave her car at home and travel by public transport, something that she almost never did. The walk to the bus stop, the wait at the shelter, the journey through the suburbs were almost too much as Marie became increasingly aware of the attention she was drawing from passers by and fellow travellers. Her life to this point had taught her to not stand out, to blend in with the crowd, to slip through life almost invisibly, yet her she was, sitting on a crowded bus, drawing stares from complete strangers.
Sitting in the waiting area she shuddered slightly, her mind overwhelmed by what she had experienced so far today, and barely able to think about what might be coming next. She looked at the clock behind the receptionsts desk for what felt like the thousands time and was almost compelled to ask the receptionist if it was working, so slowly was the time passing. The receptionist looked up from her computer screen and caught her eye, smiling gently, reassuring in her composure and sense and security. Marie tried to smile back, sure that what she was achieving was a kind of forced rictus of a grin. She lowered her eyes and clasped her hands together in her lap trying desperately to stop them shaking….