I stare at my reflection in the mirror, and see the hesitant look of a person stuck in limbo.
For all her coyness in saying that we have “many things to talk about,” Chris and I haven’t had any meaningful let’s talk moment since our… mutual discovery.
I like it that way. Honestly, just thinking about what she might say to me makes the steely expression on my face crack. I know how fucked-up this relationship has become over time, and I know whatever Chris has to say to me is not going to be pleasant. I’d rather avoid it.
Even still, I’m stuck in limbo, and in a way, she is, too.
We haven’t been physically intimate in a long time… until the foot incident on the sofa changed everything. But that doesn’t mean we’re back to having sex. It means I spend whatever time I have at home, rubbing and massaging my girlfriend’s feet, showering them in exploratory and eager kisses, all under her curious, scrutinising gaze.
We’re in that weird no-man’s land, where we’re not really sure what the nature of our relationship is. Hell, it occurs to me I haven’t even kissed her, lately. The only part of her my lips have touched, recently, is her feet.
I try to ignore the sudden colouring of my cheeks, or the tiny shiver that goes through me at the thought. The point is, the whole thing is weird. It’s awkward, and silent, and hesitant. But it’s a hell of a lot better than what we had before.
As I stare at my reflection, I consider that I’m in a limbo, too.
I’ve always been tough. Had to be. You don’t wade through an ocean of professional, toxic masculinity if you’re not tough. You don’t get to become a girl chef if you’re not made of steel. Maybe most importantly, you wouldn’t get to stay one for long.
That toughness hasn’t gone away, but… the shift between Chris and I is undeniable. No longer am I pinning her to the bed, teasing and tormenting her for an eternity, making her plead and then beg for it. No, the odd and unexpected physical intimacy we’re slowly rebuilding is one in which I suddenly feel almost… vulnerable.
What kind of top grovels at her girlfriend’s feet?
I shake my head, chasing the thoughts away, suppressing them as I always do. It’s time for me to head out. It’s a Saturday morning, a great time for the restaurant ever since we started offering brunch, and I’m covering that shift today.
Just thinking about it is making me feel energised. In the kitchen, there’s no doubt who’s boss. All the other cooks follow my snappy, sharp instructions to the letter. I make the machine function, feeling almost like a drill sergeant. There’s no room for doubt, hesitation, second-guessing, or talking back.
Work has tempered me. But it also distracts me. When my relationship with Chris first started its downward spiral, I resorted to spending more and more time at work, more and more evenings drinking with my colleagues. Drowning the thoughts, repressing all doubt, fortifying my resolve. Until… Until…
No. I won’t think about that now. I’m just going to head out, and have myself a regular, frantic, insane, gratifying work day. Keeping me too busy for negative thoughts to poison my mind.
Of course, it is an inconvenient reality of the layout of this apartment, that the couch sits close to the front door. It’s only as I leave the bathroom and start for the door that I realise the precise extent of this obstacle.
Chris is sitting on the sofa, snuggling under a blanket. She has her knees drawn against her chest, a coy smile on her face as she looks at me. I try to stiffen, telling myself not to look down, and for a moment, I’m almost successful. But then, movement automatically catches my sight.
Chris wiggles her toes, just poking from underneath the blanket.
God, I feel like a fucking pet being called over, or something, but when I mindlessly start licking my lips, I know the situation is well and truly serious.
“Going somewhere, Nicky?” Chris says, in a playful tone.
“To work,” I say, gulping. Trying – and not entirely succeeding – to sound in control.
“Oh, that’s such a shame,” she says in an exaggerated pout. “Can I have a short massage before you go?”
I find myself sweating, taking a hesitant step backwards. “I’ll be late…” I say, my voice trembling. It’s true, and punctuality at work is sacred for me, but it’s also a pathetically feeble rebuttal, one that sounds completely alien coming from me.
That seems to amuse Chris very much.
“Just five minutes, I promise,” she says smugly.
With a sigh, I lower my head, joining my girlfriend on the couch. A moment later, her feet land elegantly in my lap, and I consider how absurd it is that this is becoming a familiar and natural gesture to us.
Those thoughts soon halt, as I am once again confronted by the reality of just how… perfect her feet look. So petite and proportioned, with the arch and ankle so beautifully curved, the soles so soft and pristine. A part of me wonders why in hell I’m paying this much attention to feet, all of a sudden.
The other part wonders how come it’s taken me literal years to notice that my girlfriend’s feet are so fucking perfect.
I find myself rubbing them, kneading the muscles. I look up at Chris, and when our gazes meet, mine immediately lowers, which elicits a satisfied chuckle out of her. It’s weird, but… the mere act of doing this is like a pacifier, to me. I instantly feel less combative, less arrogant. This is a very humbling task, after all.
A task focused entirely on the other person’s needs and comfort.
Given all that’s happened between us, it almost feels like… penance? I don’t like the thought, I don’t think I’m the only one to blame for how things are going between us. And yet, that’s exactly how this feels. Like I’m apologising to her, not through words, but through deeds.
Until recently, I wouldn’t even have known where to start, with a foot massage. But now, I find my fingers expertly identifying and relieving every tension point in Chris’ beautiful feet. I relish the sight of her sitting back, eyes closed, lips slightly parted. Every sigh of relaxation is a sign of approval and encouragement, proof that I’m doing a good job for her.
I feel mesmerised as I softly rub and knead her feett with my fingertips. For a moment, the rest of the world recedes in the background. There’s nothing else, no one else exists. Just Chris and I, and this moment.
"Nicky, I have to say, I'm impressed. I never knew you had it in you to be so... gentle," she says, raising an eyebrow.
I blush at her comment, keeping my eyes fixed on her feet. I feel like my aggressive, in-charge tomboy image is beginning to crack, at least with her. When did I go from pulling hair, to rubbing feet? "I can be as gentle as I want," I mumble under my breath, but Chris doesn’t acknowledge my response.
“You seem to really like this,” she says, her gaze distant, almost lost in thought. “I wonder what lengths you’d go for, to keep doing this…”
My ears perk up at that, and my heart starts to beat a little faster. I really don’t like the sound of that. “What do you mean?”
“Oh, nothing,” she says nonchalantly. “Just thinking out loud. Remember when I said you have a lot to apologise for? Well, like I said, this is just the start. Don’t you forget it.”
I want to rebuke her for this, push back against the casual implication that it’s a completely one-sided affair. Somehow, though, my resentment never forms into words. I sit there, meekly tending at my girlfriend’s feet, while she looks on at me with a twinkle in her eye.
What is happening to me?
“A-hem,” Chris says, snapping me out of my reverie. “Your five minutes have passed, by the way.”
I stare up at her, in surprise. “What, already?”
Chris gives me a mocking grin. “Yes. Ten minutes ago.”
“Shit!” I say, and I almost get up from the sofa, but then… I check myself. Chris’ eyes meet mine, and there’s some anticipation in her look, much like there must be in mine. The air is suddenly charged, electric, even though I’m not exactly sure why.
I should be getting up. I should be rushing through the door, cursing like a sailor all the way, as I always do. As I always have.
Instead, I stay still, cradling my girlfriend’s feet in my hands, staring at her in muted confusion.
At last, she waves her hand, like a queen sending off a pestering advisor. “You may go,” she says. “You’re dismissed. We’ll talk more when you get back.”
I don’t know what’s worse, the humiliation of her comment, or the withdrawal of her feet from my lap. All of a sudden, the mundane doesn’t seem to have that much appeal, not when this feels so good. The energy I felt mere minutes ago has dissipated.
My cheeks are on fire, and my muscles weak, as I grab my coat and head out the door without looking back. I feel belittled and undermined, distracted and off my game, I really don’t feel like myself at all.
However, most ominously, I also feel something else.
I come home with the sad and pitiful eagerness of a dog.
For once, even work couldn’t distract me. All I could think about was Chris’ feet, sitting in my lap, her smirk, the confidence in her eyes. My inability to get up without her leave. Hell, I was late at work, which I never do, and yet all I can think about is getting home, planting my ass on that sofa again, and get to do more than just massage my girlfriend’s feet, this time.
This craving is not like me. It’s unbecoming. It makes me feel weak and desperate, and that’s not who I am at all, even though it does make my knees tremble, to think of Chris pushing the boundaries… discovering how far she can leverage this… it’s like being at the highest point of a rollercoaster, looking down, right before the descent begins.
Her words have been echoing inside my mind through the entire day.
You have a lot to apologise for.
This is just the start.
“I’m back!” I say as I rush through the door, feeling like a kid ready to unwrap a Christmas present.
I find Chris once again sitting on the sofa, barely acknowledging my return with a silent nod, before returning her attention to her phone. My eyes quickly inspect the sofa, and my eager smile dies on my face. Her feet are safely tucked under the blanket, away from view.
For a moment, I don’t know what to do. I shuffle in place, hesitating. Should I… bring it up? But that would be so fucking pathetic. How would I even phrase it? Hello there, almost-ex girlfriend! I’m back home and I can’t wait to worship your feet!
In the end, I settle for compromise. I crash on the couch, snuggling next to her. She doesn’t pull away, but she’s also not leaning into me, exactly. I hope she’ll get the idea eventually, and land her feet in my lap, like she always does.
“How has your day been?” She asks me.
On a regular day at this late stage of our relationship, this would represent the sum total of our verbal interactions. But now, it’s not the old awkwardness settling in, after the onset of silence. No, it’s a kind of anticipation.
Even so, the silence drags on and on. Chris is absorbed by her phone, ignoring me completely. That honestly agitates me. I thought we were making progress! I’ve been so accommodating, meek in ways that are completely unusual for me. Have I done something wrong? Again? Maybe she’s just playing mind games with me, but what if I’ve screwed up?
The disappointment is crushing - I’ve been psyching myself up for this all day, and being denied feels rough. But my sudden fear I might have done something wrong… that’s even worse.
“Chris,” I say at last, unable to control my anxiety any longer. “I was wondering if, uhm…”
“What?” She asks, suddenly turning to face me, batting her eyelashes innocently. Ah. So it is a power play. Somehow, I feel like indulging it is a really bad idea, and yet I can’t resist the pull. I know what awaits me on the other side of this conversation. I know how fucking thrilled it makes me feel.
“I wanted to ask you if,” I say, in a bashful whisper that makes me sound like a schoolgirl, “you maybe wanted a f-f-foot massage? And maybe, uh, I could also…”
I gulp, but Chris supplies no help. She merely looks at me, her appraising gaze pinning me in place. My cheeks are growing redder by the minute. So far, all our foot-centered interactions have been the result of unspoken agreements. Having to say this stuff out loud is a whole other experience.
“Kiss…” I say, my voice barely audible. “And you know, lick… and suck...”
“I think I get the idea,” Chris says at last, breaking into a satisfied giggle. I’m relieved that she seems in a good mood again and the expressionless mask is gone, but being played like a fiddle like this… it stings a little.
Not entirely in a bad way, though.
“I’ll let you touch them,” Chris says, with a mischievous glint in the eye. “And everything else you’ve said.”
“Great!” I say, my hands rushing to the blanket, to unearth the treasure waiting for me underneath. But Chris slaps my hands away.
I look at her in puzzlement, but before I can ask her what the problem is, she lifts one index finger in the air, as if to capture my attention.
“I’ll let you,” she continues, “on one condition.”
Unbidden, her words from this morning come back to me. I wonder to what lengths you’d go, she said. All of a sudden, that statement acquires a whole new meaning for me, one that gives me a sudden sense of vertigo.
We’ve mostly fooled around with our newly-discovered kink, so far. It’s been mostly physical. Outside from the occasional jab, and (literally) rubbing the new status quo in my face, Chris hasn’t really gone far in her exploration, and neither have I.
But this feels different. I don’t know how to describe it, exactly, but I have a feeling of impending loss of control. Takeover. It feels like the moment you start losing an arms’ wresting match, as your hand begins to inexorably descend towards the table.
“You’re cooking tonight,” Chris says. “And doing the dishes. And we’ll be watching a movie afterwards, and I want you sober for its entire duration. Got it?”
I frown, taken aback, feeling suddenly very defensive, particularly about the last point. The bottle of Don Papa I have recently got myself surely disagrees with that, but I know that pursuing that particular line of argument might lead to catastrophic results, so I go for a broader rebuttal.
“You said one condition,” I mutter under my breath. But that only makes Chris smile even more.
“Well, you’re right, I need to clarify. You get to be near my feet, on the one condition that you fulfill every task I’ve just laid out for you through that list!”
Her Cheshire cat smile, so self-satisfied at her own cleverness, is honestly a little infuriating. For a moment, I seriously weigh my options. How would I rather spend my evening – tasting rhum, or tasting feet? The mere act of performing this comparison makes me feel mortally embarrassed.
“Oh, there’s one more thing,” Chris says, her eyes alight with mischief. “I’ve spotted an absolutely beautiful pair of ankle boots online earlier, and well, I think I’m going to go ahead and get myself a treat. With your credit card, of course. I’m sure you don’t mind, do you, Nicky?”
I sit up at that, stiffening in sudden tension, heart beating faster. This, now, this I did not expect. I’m not comfortable with this. I don’t know what turn this thing is taking, exactly, but it’s markedly not what I’ve been fantasising about all day, or what I’m okay with.
It’s not about the money, not really. My pay’s good. It’s a matter of principle, personal finances are a serious deal, does she think she can take them over, or have leverage on them, just because I want to be near her feet?
She clearly does. Chris looks at me, feigning innocence. Her manipulation of me is so transparent, but in a way, I suppose it is also entirely dependent of my cooperation. All I need is to simply tell her off, say no. Cooking yes, I always do that anyway – the thought of paying someone to cook my own food is unfathomable to me, and Chris is hopeless at it, which leaves us with few other options.
Cleaning the dishes, yes. Staying sober tonight? Begrudgingly, yes.
But this? I could simply tell her to dream on, or to buy her ankle boots with her own damn money.
Why haven’t I?
I realise my stare is fixed on the blanket, precisely on the spot where her feet must be. Chris notices too, and she giggles at my obvious embarrassment. I can’t really explain the nature of this magnetism. All I know is that the road that’s led me here started out so innocently… but this battle of wills, in which I’m apparently incapable of even meeting my girlfriend’s gaze, doesn’t feel innocent anymore.
I gulp, pushing down the knot in my throat. I mean, I suppose I do earn a lot more than she does, and I didn’t get her a birthday present this year. Of course, she didn’t get me one either, neither of us wanted to buy a gift that could become a bad memory the moment our relationship finally drew its last breath. So I suppose I don’t really owe her a gift.
But… it’d be a good way to show I’m serious about turning page, right? Gifts are a good love language. Dishes, one night of sobriety, a gift… see, Chris? I can change. I’ll show you.
That’s how I rationalise it, anyway. On some level, I know the truth is I have lost all self-control. Before I know it, I find myself nodding.
“Good girl,” she says, in a sultry voice that seems to trickle like a shiver down the whole length of my spine. The moment her finger clicks on the pay button, I close my eyes for a second, trying to tell myself that this doesn’t mean anything. That something between us hasn’t permanently changed.
But now, at least, I can focus on my reward.
Chris is faster. I’ve scarcely started to open my eyes that one of her soles slams against my face, the sound of flesh slapping against flesh startling me. Once again, I find myself effortlessly pinned by her foot, my head turned sideways.
That makes my pussy quiver. It’s incredible, how quick the transformation is – all of a sudden I’m hyperventilating, I can feel the beating of my own heart, the rush of adrenaline flooding my extremities.
“My dear Nicky, it’s time you and I finally had a proper chat,” Chris says in the low, ushered voice of a predator that’s cornered her prey. I consider speaking up, pushing against the idea. I don’t want to talk about anything. Can’t we just enjoy this? Can’t we just have fun?
But before I can form the words, Chris’ other foot descends on my face, firmly pressing against my lips, forcibly shutting me up, her toes settling on either side of my nose.
“Ssshhh,” she says, rocking my head gently back and forth. “Shut up, Nicky. You don’t need to talk right now, leave that to me. Just listen. God knows you’ve talked more than enough over the past few months.”
The dismissive, casual cruelty in her voice makes me feel humiliated, slighted, belittled… and wet. So fucking wet.
“The list I’ve given you is just the start,” Chris says, using her feet to maneuver my face until our eyes meet again. “Tell me the truth, Nicky. Do you want to try and fix this dumpster fire? I mean, really fix it?”
I can’t avert my eyes, not with my head stuck like this, so easily mastered by her feet. It occurs to me that Chris is systematically removing every factor that would have derailed talks like this in the past.
I can’t shout, I can’t protest, I can’t deflect, I can’t slink away, or ignore her. She has me right where she wants me. I don’t want to have this conversation at all, but I don’t have a choice… and my body is loving that. Her ability to do this to me.
I feel like a wild animal, a fierce horse or something, being slowly reined in. Tamed. Brought to heel… literally, in my case.
I can’t answer verbally, of course. So I resort to a quiet mumble of agreement from beneath her feet, which has Chris smirk in delight.
“That’s a good girl,” she says, cooing. “Such a good girl. You’re never gonna pick a fight with me again, are you, Nicky? Never gonna shout again, never gonna push me around again. I know exactly how to put you in your place now, don’t I?”
To mark her words, she presses even harder on my lips, and my face screws up in pain and discomfort. She studies my reactions closely, biting her lower lip, excited, breathless. Can I blame her? She’s suddenly acquired so much power over me… I’m letting her treat me like a bitch.
“That’s how things are going to be from now on,” Chris says. “I'll give you one more chance, but there's a catch: I'm in charge now. I'm the boss. I'll make the rules, and you'll follow them. No questions asked."
I narrow my eyes at her, trying to show her my disapproval. I resent the idea that she is the one giving me one last chance, as opposed to this being a mutual effort at turning things around. As for her being the boss… well, it sounds hot, but…
I don’t know, and it isn’t just my injured pride talking. This is a fun fantasy, but I doubt Chris is just talking about the bedroom, right now.
I mumble louder, hoping she’ll release me, and let me speak. It’s ridiculous, of course, my hands are free, but she makes me feel so utterly conquered that I don’t even consider using them to free myself. After all, this is the position I wanted to be in, just maybe… not with this talk.
Her foot does withdraw from my mouth, and I gulp in air, ready to finally start participating in this conversation.
“Look, Chris, I don’t kn-”
My eyes widen in surprise at the sudden intrusion of her big toe, plunging into my mouth. Her eyes narrow, now, the disapproval clear on her face.
“I said, shut up,” Chris says, and that makes me tremble. I’ve never heard her use that tone with me… or with anyone. “Suck my toe and listen, for once in your life.”
I give a soft whimper, both at the humiliation of being shut up once more, and at her other foot, slowly descending down my body, resting down my thigh.
My protests forgotten, I now want her to slip it inside my pants. I want that more than anything.
Chris smirks, looking pleased with herself. "Good. I knew you'd come around. Now, the first thing on the list was no more arguing. Here comes the second: you’re not going to work yourself to death anymore. There’s no point to me, being with someone who barely has time to spend with me. And, lastly…” Her expression turns very, very serious. “No more alcohol. Not just tonight, Nicky. Starting today, you're sober."
That’s when the fun stops.
I squirm and struggle, making it clear to Chris that I’m serious, this time. Annoyance washes over her face, but she withdraws the toe from my lips. The other foot leaves my face as well, but I’m too worked up to focus on that right now. Chris has touched a point she shouldn’t have, and my defenses are up.
“I don’t have a problem,” I say. “Not really. You know that. Drinking isn’t my problem, it’s how I solve my problems.”
Chris rolls her eyes. “At best, it’s how you ignore them, Nicky. And I know you think you’re in control of this, but you’re really, really not. I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to have to interact with you when you’re drunk, not once.”
“That’s fine,” I tell her. “I can drink outside, with my colleagues.”
It takes me but a moment to realise I’ve made a terrible, terrible mistake. Chris leans closer to me, her eyes narrow, her lips set in a tight line.
“Yes,” she says, threateningly. “You can. But not with me as your girlfriend. Or do I need to remind you what happened, last time?”
I don’t need reminding. I look away, finding it hard to deny my own shame from her… or from myself. I’ve been trying to avoid that topic, so hard. But I don’t know if I can’t anymore.
“You cheated on me,” Chris says, trying to push past my last ring of defences. “With a man.”
I close my eyes, turning away from her, placing my face in my hands. It’s true. Nicole, the kitchen lesbian who chews male colleagues for breakfast. I lost my gold star one night, and that was the final straw that turned the decline of our relationship into an agony.
“Look, I did something stupid,” I say, turning to confront Chris once more. “I was confused, things with you were becoming a trainwreck, I was angry, I was horny…. I didn’t even like it, and I’d never do that again! I never would have in the first place. I only did it because I was…”
I stop myself at the last second, but it’s too late. Chris and I exchange a meaningful look. We both know what I was about to say.
That I cheated on her with Brian, from the restaurant, because I was drunker than a fucking sailor.
Chris nods, her eyes never leaving mine. “Exactly, Nicky. And that’s exactly why you’re never, ever getting drunk again. I know it’ll be a process, I know it will take a while to get there, but if you really want me to give you one last chance… then this is it. No more overworking, no more fighting, and no more drinking. And I’m in charge. The boss of you, the one who calls all the shots.”
She gestures to her feet. “Or you can say goodbye to these, and to me, forever. So, what’s it going to be, Nicky? Can you give up the toxicity in your life, for this?”
I find myself staring at Chris’ feet. It’s surreal, this is not how a heart to heart between lovers should take place: with me perving over her feet, even now. And yet, my obsession knows no bounds.
I suppose she’s asked the one question that really matters, hasn’t she?
Am I willing to give up my coping mechanisms? My domineering self? Control over every aspect of our daily lives?
Am I willing to give up all of that, for my beautiful girlfriend, and her feet I’ve become so completely obsessed with?
I muster the strength I need to tear my eyes away from Chris’ feet, and look her in the eye. She’s looking at me, expectantly, and I decide that at least this once, she deserves the truth. No filters, no defences, no deflecting. I’m going to give her the only honest answer I can give her.
“Chris,” I say, in a soft voice. “I don’t know.”
Silently, Chris withdraws her feet back under the blankets, a disappointed expression on her face as she turns away from me, and back to her phone. I get up from the sofa, leaving her to it, sensing that the conversation is at an end, for now. But she has one last, muttered parting shot for me, as I’m slinking towards the bedroom.
“Then figure it out.”