A Different Footing

Chapter 5 - Knife And Scalpel

by alectashadow

Tags: #cw:noncon #D/s #dom:female #f/f #humiliation #pov:bottom #sub:female #foot_fetish #foot_kissing #foot_worship #pre-existing_relationship #relationship_change #relationship_shift

Author’s note: just a quick trigger warning that this chapter includes depictions of maledom, specifically non-consensual M/f sexual acts. Stay safe, and enjoy the read!

I stare at my reflection in the mirror, and I no longer see Nicole.

Nicole is strong, powerful, intimidating. The wounded warrior. She’s vulnerable, but tough, and will never admit the former.

Nicole is cool, glass in hand, commiserating about the nature of existence before gulping down a shot of the good stuff. She will outdrink, outwork, and outfight most men. She rules the kitchen with an iron fist.

When it comes to pleasing girls, men can’t compete. Nicole can reduce women to mewling kittens, make them whimper and beg, until they submit to her in ways they would have never countenanced with a man.

Nicole has appetites, and needs. She cheats, and lies about it.

Nicole has a problem she won’t admit. A nice, fat salary that doesn’t quite fill that sense of emptiness inside. Nicole is angry. Sometimes sad.

But strong, like scar tissue, strong because it needs to be, stiff because it’s been wounded. And so what? Strength is strength, no matter where it comes from, and Nicole is strong.


The girl in my reflection doesn’t look like Nicole at all. Chris has patiently and methodically chiselled away all the rough edges, and what remains is this simpering girl, hair no longer up in a bun, dressed more like a waitress than a chef.

The girl in the mirror looks like a waitress. Not the particularly bright kind, either. Soft, pillowy lips, made to gently give way before a finger or a toe, and cradle it warmly. Round, big eyes, scared and somewhat glassy.

The lipstick makes her look like a dumb slut. The uncertain gait, her shrinking body posture, make her look like a fragile, daint little thing.

The girl in the mirror is just raw materials, patiently waiting for Chris to sculpt her to her liking.

Sobriety is not enough.

The girl in the mirror is not “one of the guys,” but also really not one of the girls either. This is the sort of girl that other girls giggle about. That they take advantage of, walk all over, with a subtle, experimental smile on their faces as they test the limits of her nonexistent boundaries.

As they bend her weak spine beneath their soles.

Atonement is not enough.

I see what Chris meant, now: one last change we need to make, she said, and I see it oh so clearly. One last, decisive incision of the scalpel, to remove all the unwanted parts, to leave behind a much prettier girl, a much happier girl, a much more useful girl.

After all, lesser is better, right? And for me to be lesser, the last root of my persona needs to be extirpated. I need to go to work like this, all bimbo’d up. Weak and seductive, docile and alluring, a girl too soft to lead, a girl who’s asking for it…

So that my colleagues will also, finally, look at me, and not see Nicole.

No, they’ll see what I see, when I stare at my reflection in the mirror.

They’ll see…



Things go wrong almost immediately.

In a kitchen like this, a kitchen of this level, stress is the norm. They’re competitive environments, and the tension is often palpable. We’re all tough. Me, being a girl, I’ve had to be the toughest of them all.

But the effect I’m having is something else entirely. I’m throwing off the equilibrium of our workplace. Tilting the balance, and against me, to boot. I see it in the way my colleagues – my subordinates - exchange hushed glances and suppressed whispers.

I’m losing my grip on them. I’m changing.

The nature of the change is important. Now, the sudden and unexpected sobriety, that they can easily understand, it’s not uncommon for people in my line of work to lapse in and out of vices. But for weeks now, I’ve been turning up at work looking more and more feminine, and, most damning of all, more and more submissive.

Meekness does not belong in a restaurant’s kitchen. A kitchen home, yes, you may associate it with servility, but not here. This is a place where cooks yell at one another as a matter of course.

Respect here is not freely given, especially not to the weak: it must be earned. We get antsy if we have nothing to do, hell, we get antsy if we’re not verbally berating someone, or being berated in turn.

It’s more than just letting go of stress. That rush of adrenaline, the conflict, it goes to our heads, we become addicted to it. I don’t think I could ever handle working in an environment where everyone’s just… nice to me. Nicole couldn’t, at least.

She’d be asking where’s the aggression, all the time. Which is part of the reason why Chris wants to annihilate this part of my old identity.

Unfortunately, that spells my professional doom. In order to function, these kitchens need a chain of command, so you either swim or drown. Look and act strong, and you will go far. Look weak, and you’ll go down.

That goes double for my particular role.

It’s not enough for a sous chef to be a great cook. You need to be tough, uncompromising, a drill sergeant. The chef needs to rely on you to keep the rest of the staff in line, to make sure that everyone knows their positions in the kitchen to such perfection that they could be blindfolded, and still not bump into one another.

To make sure that competing egos don’t stop the machine from functioning as intended.

There’s a reason I… no, there’s a reason Nicole was made sous chef. Outworking the competition, scaring them into submission after getting the promotion, putting them in their place for fun… that’s what Nicole is about. Was about.

It’s as much about keeping the kitchen in working order, as it is about being the queen bitch that can’t be hurt. The world-weary, stubborn lesbian gal that can perform toughness better than any man. That’s the reason why Nicole made for a great sous chef.

And that’s the same reason why I, Nicky, am currently making for an absolutely terrible one.

I know it in my heart, down to my very bones: I’m going to lose this job.

Thoroughly feminised girls with no confidence and a broken will can’t keep people in line. Girls whose faces act as footstools don’t just get to exercise authority. Especially not over competitive people.

People full of resentment from the years they’ve spent firmly under my thumb…

It’s hard to wrap your mind around the idea that your girlfriend wants you to lose your job. Hell, we’ve gone past her just wanting it, she’s orchestrating the demise of my career. In an indirect way, sure, but a nudge here, a push there… she knows what she’s doing.

My girlfriend is killing my career.

But Chris is no longer just my girlfriend, I suppose. Not really. I have unconditionally surrendered everything so that she wouldn’t dump me. If getting me fired is part of the price, so be it. If anything, it would let me spend much more time at her feet.

But getting me fired is not the only thing Chris wants. It’s not the thing that’s going to break me.

She wants… she wants…

“Those are some pretty knives.”

I hold my breath. The words hit my ears like the crack of thunder, the tipping point, the moment when the buildup ends, and the race to the bottom begins.

I look up at Mike, the chef de parties, who just spoke. He’s looking at my knife bag.

I thought I had more time, before things truly went downhill, that maybe I could get fired before Chris’ full plan for me got to fruition. But that was silly of me. She knows this environment, my colleagues. That’s why she designed my downfall the way she has.

I clutch my knife bag, possessively, pulling it closer to me. These are my babies, mine alone. The others wouldn’t treat them right, as I do. I sharpen them weekly on a whetstone, and won’t allow anyone to so much as touch them.

It’s not just knives in here. I’ve got plating spoons, tweezers, a fish scaler… but it’s the knives that matter. Nicole loves her knives.

But Nicky?

I was looking for my bird beak knife when Mike opened his mouth. Normally, he wouldn’t even dare, not out loud: he’d just grumble to himself when he thinks I’m out of earshot. He wanted this job, but he couldn’t keep up with me.

He’s never forgiven me. Bitter and resentful, he’s also always been intimidated by me – part of the reason why chef David tapped me for the role, and not him. I should reassert those boundaries, remind him of his place, shut him down with one single sharp comeback.

But I don’t, because that’s what Nicole would do. Instead, I slightly, almost imperceptibly flex downward, so as to appear smaller, less threatening, and reach for the most feminine voice I can find.

“I’m glad you think they’re pretty,” I murmur, feeling a deep sense of self-disgust at the weakness in my own voice. How weak. The only reason he felt bold enough to say this out loud, is because I’ve been making sure that everyone in this damn kitchen smells weakness from a mile away.

As per my conqueror’s wishes.

Chris has patiently, insidiously retrained me, reshaped me into an avatar of feminine feebleness. And now, for the first time, everyone else is seeing it too, unfiltered, out in the open. Mike has thrown his gauntlet, and with such a meek response on my part, this can only end one way…

No longer afraid, Mike steps closer and closer, until he’s right into my personal space.

“Back off,” I say, but I make it sound as unconvincing and weak as I can, and it comes easy to me. Chris has been patiently teaching me just how misplaced my confidence was. That I really am just a defenseless little mouse.

He reaches for my knife bag, and some old part of me, an ember that hasn’t been snuffed out yet, makes my hand reflexively dart forward, to stop him.

Mike grabs my wrist.

He does it with such sudden strength that I let out an involuntary yelp. Our eyes lock, conveying more than words ever could – his defiance, and the silent understanding that things are about to change. That I’m not going to be able to stop him.

The entire kitchen seems to converge around our standoff. My eyes travel from face to face, my vision blurry with tears, and then they stop on Tommy, our young commis. And I mean young, barely old enough to drink alcohol. Clean-shaven, babyfaced, a stick of a guy, very low on the totem pole.

He’s always had a healthy mix of respect and fear for m… for Nicole. Now, he observes my humbling with rapt fascination.

Mike lets go of my wrists, and starts rummaging through my bag.

“Woah man, she’s actually letting you do that?” Tommy says. “She’s letting you touch her knives? Hey, Lucia, come watch!”

My heart sinks. It’s bad enough for the cooks to be seeing this, but her? And yet, almost right away, the waitress’ blond head pokes into the kitchen, curious to see what all this racket is about.

My eyes meet hers, just for the briefest moment, and the look she throws me is one that sends a shiver down my spine. For a second, it almost looks like the smile Chris flashes at me when I worship her feet….

I’ve been an incredibly harsh taskmaster on Lucia, berating her for every fuckup, and she deserved all of it, because she’s mean. Not even the rest of the wait staff likes her. I always have high standards, but with her, I absolutely turned it up to 11.

She talks shit behind my back, and thinks I’m not aware… normally, I’d bite her head off for just looking at me wrong, so she’d never confront me openly.

But that was from Nicole. What is Nicky, to this waitress? If only she knew… all these years of tolerating my abuse, all she needed to do was show me her feet, and it would have gone away. I would have crumbled at her feet, would have been hers, like I now am my girlfriend’s.

That’s how insignificant I am.

Mike throws Tommy a pointed look. “She’s not letting me do anything,” he says gruffly, before pulling out one knife in particular. “And I’m going to do more than just touch.”

He starts pulling out every knife, every tool, one by one, a brazen pillaging that hurts me on a physical level. He starts passing them out, nonchalantly dispersing them among the staff, who are hesitant at first – but, seeing my lack of reaction, are quickly emboldened.

“Woah,” Tommy says again, as if not quite believing what he’s seeing. "you've certainly changed."

My chest tightens as I confront the unfamiliar sensation of yielding to a force I'd once easily quelled. I meet his gaze and find myself offering a faltering smile, an ingrained instinct to appease rather than assert.

"Y-yes," I reply, my voice wavering, "I have." The words feel alien on my lips, but they're necessary for the performance of submission I've been tasked with.

Tommy may be stunned, but Mike is smiling, and not the friendly sort of smile, either. There’s a glint of triumph in his eyes. It's clear he's eager to test the limits of my newfound meekness, his gaze like a microscope dissecting the remnants of my former self.

With trepidation, he decides to press further, attempting to provoke a response that will confirm my surrender. His eyes lock with mine, and he raises an eyebrow, as if verifying the authenticity of my newfound docility.

And that’s when he pulls out the knife.

The rest of the kitchen staff remains frozen, caught between disbelief and silent excitement. As for me, I can only stare in silent horror. I love all my knives, but not equally. This… the one Mike is turning over in his hands, angling against the light… is a knife with the word "sous" engraved on it.

Chef David gave it to me, to celebrate my hard-won promotion to this role. If he takes it away…when he takes it away…

He looks at me, then at the knife, then back at me. 

“Thanks for the gift,” he says, smirking. “It’s not the only thing I’ll be taking away from you… Nicky.”

“What fucking business do you have holding that? Give it back!”

David’s voice slices through the kitchen, snapping everyone to attention, like a battlefield commander’s. Even when he’s a good mood, he’s a big fellow, loud and bulky. Now, he looks furious.

But humiliating me must have given Mike some courage, because he straightens himself a little, and faces up to our chef. “She gave it to me.”

David’s response is merely to snort, and somehow, that breaks my heart. He gave me that knife. He believed in me.

He erroneously thought I deserved it.

I can see the smile of derision slowly curl and die on his face, as he takes in my lack of rebuttals, my meek demeanour, my broken composure… that, and the fact that I’m dressed like a slutty waitress, with glossy red lips that seem to say shut me up for good.

“Come with me, Nicole,” he manages at last, throwing sidelong glances at Mike all the while. “Let’s have a talk.”


We step out into the restaurant's garden, away from the prying eyes of the kitchen staff. The moment we’re well out of earshot, David seizes me by the arm, his grip unforgiving. So strong. It sends a shiver running through me.

I wonder if he felt that. And the mere idea that he might have, is enough to make me shiver again. I’m filled with a sense of foreboding… that my girlfriend’s plan truly is unfolding.

My owner’s plan.

"What’s this business with the bloody knife?” He asks me, looking in equal parts hurt, confused, and angry. “That’s Mike in there, for Christ’s sake, you eat his challenges for breakfast.”

My heart pounds in my chest, and a faint shadow of pride tries to rise within me. But it's weak, an ember of my former self smoldering beneath layers of submission.

Snuffed out under my girlfriend’s heel.

All I can offer is a half-hearted shrug. "I’m so sorry..."

I sound so lost. Like a girly girl who has no idea what she’s doing. That just makes his temper flare even further, his brow furrowing, his eyes narrowing. “Has he got something on you? Is he blackmailing you?”

“N-no,” I whimper, unable to look him in the eye, his fingers tightening around my arm.

"Listen, you pathetic excuse for a chef," he growls, his fingers tightening around my arm. I can feel his respect for me ebb, bleed out, fluid going down a drain, never to be seen again. It’s like the last vestige of my old self, crumbling – and my old world with it.

“Then what the fuck is going on?”

David's rage never bothered me too much. Like I said, yelling is par for the course in a kitchen like this, and we come to crave conflict… and I always strove to learn from him, to be as tough as he is. That’s why he chose me as his sous.  

But now… now it scares me. Now I know what it feels like, to be a small girl in a man’s world. How it feels like to want nothing more than to run to Chris, and ask her to protect me… except my protector is the one who put me on this course.

He snaps me out of my reverie.

His free hand grips my chin, pressing so hard against my jawbone that it hurts. My face feels so small and easily controllable, firmly directed by his strong, wiry hand. He pulls and twists, and at last, I’m forced to look into his eyes.

He takes a deep, long look. I know what he sees, because it’s the same thing I saw in the mirror earlier today. My gaze is no longer prideful; it's deferential, slavish, feminine. Broken.

He sees Nicky.

“What the hell’s happened to you?” He asks again, in a soft voice this time. “And I’m not just talking about the knife.”

I open and close my mouth, helplessly. I have no answers to give him… I know that if I sought help, if I tried to salvage his professional and personal respect, I would be going against my conqueror’s wishes. Chris was very clear on this.

But honestly, I’m not even sure it would make much of a difference. What can I tell him, that I’ve been enslaved by my girlfriend’s feet, and given her absolute control over my sobriety, my dress code, my finances, my body and mind, my very will?

How could he possibly respect me, after hearing that? Even I don’t respect myself.

"I'm sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…" I repeat, mumbling, my voice small and timid. Useless. Pathetic.

His eyes widen, as if only now he’s starting to comprehend the true extent of my transformation. How thoroughly Chris has feminised, conditioned, and domesticated me. How little fire remains within me. How vestigial my place in this hierarchy has now become.

“How can I trust you to keep the cooks in line, when you’re behaving like this? Damn it, you can’t even answer me!”

The fact that I remain silent, that I don’t even try to deflect his scathing question, just stand there taking it like a bitch, seems to infuriate him further. His fingers dig deeper against my jawbone. He’s gritting his teeth.

"I’ve had enough. I’m not your fucking shrink," he snaps. "You don’t want to talk? Don’t talk, then. What I’m seeing with my own eyes is plenty enough. You’ve lost your edge. You’re no use to me like this."

I feel tears welling up, and I make no effort to stop them. He needs to see me cry. That’s such a profoundly non-macho, girly thing to do. He needs to see that I’m not one of the guys, that I really am just a girl out of her depth.

I nod, my voice trembling as I acknowledge his diagnosis. "You’re right. I’m sorry…"

“Stop saying that!” He says, shouting this time, which makes me instinctually flinch away from him. Scared, he has me scared, I was never scared of other people before.

Oh, I was scared of many things. My problems, my loneliness, my pain. Chris dumping me. The possibility that I was a screwup, a toxic presence that’d poison every meaningful relationship I could ever have.

I don’t fear those things anymore. Pets need not worry about such things.

But I do fear so many people, now… and him.

David steps closer to me, his presence towering over my diminished form. He raises his hand, and for a moment, I expect a physical blow, but no sharp pain follows. Instead, he starts deftly unbuttoning my blouse.

I stare as if in a dream. Maybe I should panic, but it almost feels like I’m not even here. This is what Chris wanted, all along. For things to get to this point. I cheated on her with a man, right? So of course things need to come full circle.

Sobriety is not enough. Atonement is not enough. But this? Being simultaneously demoted and raped by my boss, who used to believe in me?

This might be enough for Chris. For my owner.

"Wait,” I say, perfunctorily, performatively. “What are you—"

But he doesn't allow me to finish. His fingers tighten around my chin once again, an iron grip that forces my mouth shut. “You had your chance to talk. Now, shut up. Shut THE FUCK up, Nicole. You don’t wanna use your mouth for talking? That’s okay. I know how you can use it instead.”

My head spins, vertigo threatening to overtake me, as his other hand pushes against my shoulders, hard. I wince in pain as my knees hit the dirt and pebbles beneath me, tearing at my black stockings in places, and I make sure he sees that.

Nicole always used to hide her pain. But Nicky? Nicky suffers to entertain others. That’s my new, selfless purpose.

I let out a small yelp of surprise as he fishes out his cock. It jumps at me, throbbing and veiny, so close to my face… too close, the smell hitting my nostrils, overpowering my sense of scent…

When I was still Nicole, when I cheated on Chris with a guy, it was a random dude I picked up at a bar. We were both intoxicated, and it was clumsy, and dumb, and dissatisfying. I was in control for most of it, though. I hated myself so much during it… and after. I didn’t even know why I was doing it.

No, I know exactly why I was doing it.

I was acting out, trying to be the tortured, complicated, fucked up persona I thought was my true identity. I got drunk and acted in pure self destruction, and somehow thought that if Chris really loved me, she would save me, and if she didn’t, well, me sleeping with a guy would be her punishment.

I was spiralling out of control, at the logical end of my misery, frustrated with everything in life that wasn’t work.

Except… Chris did save me, eventually. Just not in the way I anticipated. And she does love me… though maybe not in the way I would have once called love.

And so now, this is different.

It’s different, because I’m not in control as David unceremoniously shoves his dick into my mouth. No preliminaries, no sensuality, no talking of mutual pleasure. No expectations, either. He’s just taking out his rage on me, turning my mouth into his cockwarmer. It’s a lot more degrading, and rapey, but it feels… better.

Because I’m not doing it to act out. It’s still self-destruction, but not for its own sake. It’s for Chris.

She wants to end Nicole. And she’ll get exactly what she wants.

David is oblivious to my frantic elucubrations. I’m barely a participant in this, I just get to be overwhelmed by the rich taste of his cock in my mouth, the way it feels oddly soft and hard at once under my lips, the way it thrusts back and forth, raping my mouth.

He throws his head back, hissing and grunting. “Stupid kitchen slut,” he says, “you made me waste my time on you… fucking knew it was a man’s job… make it up to me, suck it. Take it. Fucking take it, and then get the fuck out of my sight. Out of my kitchen…”

And I do. I let him have his way with me, putty in his hands, accommodating, soft, yielding, open. My lips glide up and down his cock, my tongue pressed against its underside, his fists closed around my hair.

He doesn’t last long, which should be a relief for me, and yet almost feels disappointing, because I know that when this is over, it’s over. For real. He pulls back with a grunt, one strong hand tugging at my hair, the other furiously rubbing his dick.

I see it twitch and throb, and I close my eyes, ready to be branded as the utter, feminised failure I have become.

I’m a lesbian, I think, rather absurdly, as rope after rope of cum finally hits my face. But that’s not true anymore, is it? That was Nicole, and Chris has ended Nicole… and in the same process, created me.

With knife and scalpel, with love and sex, with mind and body, with foot and cock, she’s done it. She’s finally done it. She’s chiseled, excised, and sculpted, until all that’s left is, well… me.

And I…

I’m just Nicky.

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