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Michelle was enjoying college life in the big city, being independent and getting along well with her roommates, Jill and Andy. She was a pretty girl with a curvy body, not as thin as a lot of women were in the city, she noticed, but she had a beautiful smile, charming appearance, bright green eyes and long, curly golden hair that nearly reached her waist. With a scholarship and a generous amount of savings from her parents, Michelle didn’t have to work or do anything but study, and study hard, as her parents would say, because they demanded a regular report of her grades with the expectation of straight As. Fortunately, Michelle was a bright student and a high achiever.
During her first year as a student and on her own, Michelle wanted to do more than study. She enjoyed a decent amount of spending cash, provided monthly from her family, and often ventured out with her roommates to pubs, parties and enjoyed shopping. While she stayed up late on some weekends, she never got too drunk, never got into trouble and although a few guys caught her eye, there was no boyfriend prospects on the horizon that she could see. Maybe it was time to find a part-time job, she thought.
“Hey, you know…and I hope you’re not offended by this…” Andy began, making a funny, contorted face that always made Michelle laugh. She looked at him puzzled, as they enjoyed coffee at their regular local cafe and hangout one afternoon.
“Go ahead and spit it out…” Michelle replied, anxiously smiling and leaning forward to hear what he wanted to say.
“…ok…you could really use a new makeover, the clothes, hair, shoes…you seem to wear a lot of frumpy things, you know?” At first Michelle smiled, then her face changed to a somber expression. She stared down at her coffee mug.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m just saying, as a friend, an honest one…you could use a little help, and you are beautiful, but just don’t know it yet.” That made her smile again, though only partially, as she continually peered into the contents of her mug.
“So, what you’re saying is that I don’t look good right now? I only wear what’s comfortable…and my hair? It’s healthy. I don’t dye it or do anything to damage it, so why change it? It’s fine as it is…” Andy bit his lip, not sure how to respond and had not expected Michelle to take his honesty in an offensive way.
“Forget I said it…you do look fine,” he said. “I think it’s just that you would look amazing in something new, that’s all. Please don’t take what I said the wrong way.” Michelle, thinking carefully about Andy’s response, decided to handle the exchange amicably and not let it worry her.
“That’s ok,” she said, grinning once again and looking into Andy’s eyes. He was a good friend, and roommate. His large physique and chocolate brown hair and eyes were kind and attractive. He was strong, yet gentle and thoughtful, so maybe he had a point? After they parted ways, Michelle gave a lot of thought to what Andy said that day. Being born and raised in a smaller, rural community didn’t give her the fashion-forward sense that city girls had. She had always had long hair and wore comfortable clothes, and although she was attractive, charming and made friends with almost everyone she met, there could always be room for improvement in the appearance department.
Over the following week, Michelle searched online for a part time job. Since money was not an object, she wasn’t concerned about the rate of pay, but rather something fun that would give her some experience in the working world. Her field of study was business administration, and she did notice a lot of girls wore fashionable clothes at school, and in the business world. Online job searches and help wanted signs didn’t yield anything of interest for the first week, until one day Michelle decided to window shopping at one of the large malls in the downtown core of the city. People moved swiftly through revolving doors, there were skylights and flashy ads, stores and promotions galore. There were lots of clothing stores and mannequins on display, showing the most recent fashions. Michelle’s eyes grew wide with fascination and awe, as though she had never seen so many options in one place before; a real overload to her senses. She marveled at the colours, textures, layers of fabrics. There were so many designer names and brands that Michelle could not keep track of them all, only recognizing some of them vaguely from television advertisements. How could she have avoided this mall all this time? As she was taking in all this new stimuli, she spotted a “help wanted” ad in the window of a boutique, delicately placed dangling off the hand of one of three mannequins, all wearing autumn sweaters and trendy jeans, as the fall season was just around the corner. Without a second thought, Michelle walked in.
A tall, slender woman in her late-twenties with chin-length chestnut hair approached her almost immediately as she entered.
“Welcome to Vivianne’s Vintage and Accessories boutique, we just received ankara eve gelen escort our new line in autumn fashions yesterday, is there anything I can help you find?” her voice was professional, yet warm and accommodating. Her eyes were hazel and she wore a purple velvet sleeveless dress and heels to match.
“Thank you, but I’m just looking,” Michelle said nervously, then as the lady turned to greet more potential customers, Michelle quickly spun around and said: “I’d like to apply for a job here.” Startled, the store’s sales clerk looked back at Michelle, who shyly bit her lip, anticipating the worst reaction..
“Really? That’s great. Do you have any experience?” she asked, seeming interested.
“Oh no, sorry, I haven’t worked in a store like this before, but I’m a full time student, and I learn quickly. I’ve only lived in the city a short while and would like to get some experience…”
“Well, we really do need someone right away…did you bring a resume?” Feeling awkward, Michelle shrugged and smiled.
“I didn’t bring one, but I’ll be happy to email it if you’d like.” The store clerk seemed pleased by Michelle’s enthusiasm and eagerness, though in taking a careful look at her appearance, it did not seem that she would be a good fit for such a specialized boutique.
“That would be fine, please send your resume…let me give you my card…” as the clerk turned to the customer service and sales counter near the back of the store, Michelle noticed that the woman’s hair was severely short in the back; layered and tapered unlike the longer hair that hung well below her chin in the front, and her bangs that could touch her nose and her swept to one side.
Spinning around on her heels, she handed Michelle her card. “Here you go, you’ll find the store’s email at the bottom beside the phone number.” Michelle thanked her and left the store. That evening, with the help of Jill, a good writer and very creative, she put together a simple resume. There wasn’t much to work with, as her work experience was limited, so Jill added some volunteer experience and hobbies to boost it’s appearance. Once everyone was in bed, later that evening, Michelle stared aimlessly at the computer at the new resume, now added as an attachment to the boutique she so desperately hoped to start working at. She held her finger over the send button, took a deep breath and clicked..
Three days went by and no response from the store. Oh well, thought Michelle, they were likely looking for someone with better fashion sense than me, which is understandable. She resumed her job search and after applying to work for a pet store, was called back the next day for a job interview. This pleased her very much. She was about to confirm her date and time of the interview when her cell phone rang.
“Hello, may I please speak with Michelle?” a lady asked politely.
“Yes, this is she.” She did not recognize the voice, could this be for another job she applied for?
“Oh hi, this is Cecilia, from Vivianne’s boutique? We met a few days ago when you came into the store, looking for a job.”
“Oh yes, I remember you,” Michelle said with excitement, barely able to hold back her joy.
“We’d like to try you out for a part time job here, if you’re still interested. You see… we did hire someone else, a student in fashion and design, and then found out they were a thief. I’m sorry about the short notice, but we really need someone right away. I remembered you because you seemed different…down to earth and kind. I spoke with the manager, and she thought I should try you.”
“Sure, I would be happy to start. I’m free every evening and weekends too.”
“Good. Can we expect you by 6 pm tomorrow evening? Oh, maybe come early, as we have some clothes for you to wear.”
“I will see you then.” They said good-bye and Michelle was ecstatic. Not only was she going to get a job, she may learn a thing or two about fashion at the same time.
After school the next evening, Michelle carefully selected a pair of black dress pants, black wedge heels and a light turquoise blouse, hoping this ensemble would impress her new employer. She was nervous and her hands shook a little while applying some rose tinted lip gloss, mascara and moisturizer. Within an hour she promptly entered the boutique exactly five minutes early.
“It’s good to see you here Michelle,” said Cecilia, the lady with the angled short black hair, now wearing a long red sweater dress that appeared to be cashmere. It was striking against her fair skin and arched eyebrows. She had green eyes and a paid of black tights and heels to match. “I’m happy you could arrive on such short notice, you’re really a lifesaver. All I need for you to do tonight is become familiar with the clothing line, the sales rack and how everything is arranged in the store. Feel free to ask me questions about any of the fashions; the more and quicker you learn, the better acquainted you become and better equipped to help gaziosmanpaşa escort our customers.”
That evening, Michelle learned about the new lines of fall fashions: the sweaters, jackets, boots and slacks. The dresses were mostly vintage, as were some of the other clothing, which peaked her interest. While Cecilia approved of Michelle’s attire the first evening, she quickly provided fashion ideas and loaned her some different styles to wear on the job. Plaid skirts, rich and thick mohair sweaters, velvet tights and knee high boots were all new to Michelle, but she was eager to please and wore whatever she was offered.
Several weeks into the job, Michelle had learned to manage the customer service counter, handle complaints, provide sound fashion advice and increase sales. Cecilia was very pleased. The owner of the store, Vivienne, an attractive middle aged lady with a long fox fur coat, dropped by to meet Michelle and provide input on her fashion. More classic vintage 50s blouses, pencil skirts, animal prints along with furry scarves and jewelry. Michelle became very well acquainted with all the variations and learned to co-ordinate the store’s mannequin displays, clothing racks and special displays each week throughout the remainder of the fall season and the winter.
Towards the middle of February, Michelle had already organized a new spring collection on her own. In a lavender floral print dress and dark purple heels, Michelle confidently admired her display work as a very attractive couple entered the store; a man and a woman in their mid-twenties. He was tall, slender yet muscular with sandy blond hair and sky blue eyes, wearing a charcoal suit. The woman was tall, slender with long black hair and green eyes that sparkled like emeralds. She wore a cream coloured blouse with a knee length burgundy skirt with black shiny knee high boots. Both of them wore ID badges clipped to their garments. They must work in the office tower beside the mall, thought Michelle. She approached them immediately.
“Good morning, can I help you two find something in particular? We just rolled out our new spring line of clothes,” she offered. The couple, initially facing away from her, spun towards Michelle and smiled.
“Thank you, we’re just looking,” the woman said, then turned towards a rack of blouses and sheer tops near the front of the store. The man had turned to look with his companion, but only momentarily; he quickly turned back to look at Michelle.
“This is a very nice boutique here,” he said, now separating from the woman and walking closer to Michelle. He looked into her eyes first, then slowly let his gaze glide down her curvy body, snuggly hugged by the lavender dress sprinkled with little budding flowers and leaves. His inspection made Michelle feel nervous, as it was unexpected and his review of her body and face was thorough.
“I’ll bet you get to try on lots of nice clothes, working here,” he said finally.
“Yes,” Michelle said, forcing a polite, yet shy smile.
“My co-worker Denise and I like this mall, and have passed by this boutique a number of times, so today we decided to drop in, how about that?”
“Well, I’m glad you did,” Michelle replied, then backing away with her head held up to show confidence and hide her nervousness and growing attraction to the man, she began to retreat towards the back of the store where the customer service desk was. “Please feel free to ask questions about anything in the store if you like.” She spoke as she did, feeling a little less obvious behind the big counter. She could see the man watching intently over Denise, his colleague, though he often turned to glance at Michelle. Their visit was brief, and they soon left without a purchase, waving a quick good-bye on their way out.
The next day, Michelle was again alone in the store, as it was the middle of the week and sales were usually not as strong as towards the weekend. The man from the day before re-entered the store, just around noon, and he was by himself. It must be lunch hour, though Michelle, growing hungry. A wave of excitement and nervousness washed over her as he approached the mannequin display and featured clothing racks in the front of the boutique.
“Hi again,” he said. “I thought I’d drop by and see you.” Very forward, isn’t he? Michelle thought. He turned his stare over to the three mannequins, all of them wearing sheer tops, slimming skirts and heels in different colours: blue, lavender and black. “Nice display” he said after a few minutes, returning his glance back to Michelle.
“Thank you, I arranged it myself,” she said. “Is there anything I can help you with today?”
“Yes,” he said. “I want to buy something….”
“Ok…,” she said, waiting for him to finish.
“…for you. Something that I pick out for you to wear, so that the next time I come into this store, you are wearing it. How about that?” Wow, is he ever bold, she thought.
“You mean…pick out my clothes? But I pick them out gölbaşı escort myself…I…” He swiftly lifted his hand and pressed a firm finger on her lips. She wanted to finish her sentence, but his motion sent arousing chills throughout her body and she quieted quickly.
“Let me do it for you, ok? You are a beautiful young lady you know, and most women I work with, my co-workers, are very business-like and not adventurous. I brought one of them with me in yesterday, Denise, but she’s like so many of them: attractive, professional, nice body, but not interested in trying something a bit different…” He stopped momentarily to look back at the mannequins.
“Look at them. Just….look at their posture, grace and how they can be so easily manipulated to adorn one outfit to the next without resistance.” Michelle quickly realized that he was referring to the mannequins, and with a quick tug of her sleeve, motioned for her to follow him to the front window display where they stood.
“The mannequins,” said Michelle. “That’s what you’re referring to…?”
“Yes,” he said. “I want a mannequin, to have someone who would let me dress them, change them, control what they wear, how they wear their hair as I see fit. Would you like to be my mannequin?” Michelle, feeling a little uneasy about this stranger and his apparent fascination with fashion and this display, did not respond.
“I’m sorry..,” he said quickly. “I should introduce myself. My name is Nathan, I work in the Finance department of an insurance firm in the bank tower next to the mall.” He laughed at that moment, loudly and boldly. “Here I am, a complete stranger, asking you to do something so…intimate and personal for me…” Michelle knew at that moment that her response would change her life in a significant way.
“Yes, I’ll do it…or…I’ll give it a try,” she said, then grinned to cover her concerns at this unusual proposal.
“Really?” he nearly shouted. A few more people walked into the store, so he quickly lowered his voice. “Seriously?” he whispered loudly.
“Yes, ok,” she said. Nathan shook her hand in an awkward gesture of agreement, as though they had just signed a contract, and left the store. A very handsome, forward, yet unusual man, she thought. His well defined, masculine features and tall, slender built were very attractive to Michelle. She wasn’t sure what was in store for her, but ready to try what seemed like an odd, yet harmless adventure.
For the remainder of the week, Nathan did not return to the store. Michelle sometimes doubted the entire bizarre proposal even took place, and carried on with her usual routine, though deeply in thought of the man, she didn’t allow it to interfere with her regular schedule. She had been working some days, in addition to evenings, though was able to keep up with her studies and hide her employment from her parents, who forbade her to work while in school.
The following Tuesday, Michelle was closing the store when Nathan appeared with a couple of shopping bags. She was happy to see him, though dismayed that he chose to arrive so late.
“We’re closing, I’m sorry,” she offered.
“No worries, I’ll wait for you outside the store, if that’s ok,” he said. What did he have planned? she wondered.
After closing the store, turning off the lights and locking the doors, she met him outside in the common area of the mall on a bench where he sat anxiously waiting for her. Without a word, he thrust a plastic shopping bag at her, nodding for her to take it. Michelle took the bag, wondering what he had bought. She sat undecided for a moment, holding the bag on her lap, awkwardly exchanging looks with him and smiling shyly.
“Well….?” he said finally, staring at her the whole time. “Look inside.” Michelle reached into the plastic coated shopping bag, fumbling past the tissue paper wrapping and felt something soft and furry. Slowly, she pulled out a black cashmere cardigan with tiny pearl buttons. A pleasant surprise. Reaching further, she found a pair of black fishnet knee-high stockings and a black pleated skirt.
“Wow,” she said. “Are these for me?”
“Yes they are. You’re going to wear them for me,” he stated, now in a firm voice. “Here,” he said, handing over the second bag. Inside, Michelle found a pair of black stilettos.
“Oh…,” she responded. “I don’t wear heels, not like these ones.” She looked back at him and he quickly shot her a look of disappointment.
“You’ll wear them, and you’ll like them, trust me,” he said. Michelle felt a little uneasy about this situation, but nodded in quiet agreement.
“Where would you like me to try them on?” she asked. “I…could find a public washroom…”
“Let’s go back into the store,” he suggested. “It’s closed, no one is in the change rooms.” Michelle again nodded in agreement and returned to the front door to unlock it. She knew that her manager and the owner would frown on doing such a thing, and although she was an easy-going person, she did not want to risk being caught. Once in the store, Nathan motioned for her to lock the door from the inside; she complied. The store felt eerie without much light. In an unpredictable move, Nathan grabbed Michelle’s elbow and took her to the back of the store and into the change rooms. Bright lights were switched on, making Michelle wince.
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