By the Book

by doctorpluto

Tags: #dom:male #pov:bottom #sub:female #50s_housewives #clothing #domestic #housewife #magic_book #self_inflicted #stepfordization #stockings #subtle #urban_fantasy

After moving to a new town, Fiona finds a book that will change her marriage, and she can’t seem to stop reading!

Fiona dropped the massive cardboard box onto the floor with a loud clatter, breathing a sigh of relief as she was no longer hefting the weight of all their cooking utensils at once. Already, she was feeling sore. With an irritated groan, she went back out to get another heavy box, lugging it back inside their new house as Brad hauled his share of the cargo in. Why he insisted on bringing just about every pot and pan in their kitchen was beyond Fiona. She barely cooked, was he planning on learning how?

This whole move was his idea… he saw this house out in the sticks and suddenly their apartment wasn’t good enough. And so soon after he got that new job, too.

‘The things I do for love’, Fiona mumbled. She checked herself in the hall mirror, teasing and grooming her short brown hair back into shape. Then, she turned around to survey the property they had bought. This was what inspired Brad to pull up roots and drag her across the country to Connecticut. Though they had talked about it before, Fiona never took it seriously until she woke up to see everything packed up and ready to go.

The house itself was a two-story affair with ice-cream colored walls on the outside and the stereotypical white picket fence. It apparently wasn’t enough for Brad to move them out to the suburbs, their house had to look like it was summoned from a 1950s brochure, too.

At least the weather was nice out here. The area had mild winters and warm summers, with partially cloudy skies a consistent feature, a far cry from sun-baked Nevada. Fiona watched as Brad heaved another box inside, this one labeled as containing their electronics. He looked up at her with a warm smile, and Fiona couldn’t help but smile back.
Sure, he moved her away from their friends and family to a neighborhood that looked like it was made in a factory, most of the houses being different only in what color they were painted… but she couldn’t stay mad at that dimpled, blue-eyed smile of his.

He was dressed casually, jeans and a mustard color sweater over a white button-down shirt. His blonde hair was slicked back with the help of a generous dollop of mint-scented pomade. Fiona remembered their drive into town, all the weird looks they got from the locals. And curiously, all the men and women were dressed in a distinctly retro style. The men wore suits or casual outfits of slacks and button-up shirts, while the women wore elegant dresses in bright, cheery colors. The whole place looked like a neighborhood of giant doll houses.

Brad went back out to the van, giving Fiona a firm pat on the butt as he passed her. She winced, then giggled as she looked back at him. Something about this place was getting to them, maybe it was that clean east coast air. Fiona was then aware of a dull rumbling in her stomach, all this lugging boxes around was hungry work. And since all their cookware was still packed up, this meant takeout. She called it a break, and laid back on the couch with her phone in hand. Fiona dialed up the number to a local pizza place they’d passed on the way in and… no cell reception out here. With a huff, she tried another number. Again, no reception.

   “Figures, Brad hasn’t set up the wi-fi yet… cell reception is terrible out here.”

   Fiona sat back up, brushing some dust that had gotten on her jeans from the boxes. How appropriate that she’d have to get this done the old fashioned way. Fortunately, the kitchen had a red plastic landline phone on the wall. She went over to make the order, then she heard Brad call her from the other room.

“Honey, can you get that bookcase from the attic? I’m going to need it for my home office.”

Fiona rolled her eyes. So that’s what he was calling his man cave now. She wished this was a surprise for her; you give a man one promotion to management, and he thinks he’s playing in the big leagues of the corporate world.
   Still, that extra money going into their pockets was more than worth putting up with it. And besides, she was already helping him lug their junk around. What’s another bookcase?

Up the stairs Fiona went, taking the time to check out the upper story on her errand. The tour kept her and Brad mostly to the ground level. The floor had the same navy blue carpet as the lower story, the white square-framed windows giving her a good look down at the lawn, though the glass was in need of a spray and wipe. The carpet needed some vacuuming as well. Fiona’s expression soured as she realized this meant more chores for her and Brad to argue about doing.

What she noticed next was that everything up there, from the spare furniture to the old posters still hung up on the walls, looked like they were pulled from the 1950s, and in remarkably good shape as well. There was almost no sign of wear or decay, which made her question the house’s age all the more.

   Fiona made her way down the upstairs hallway, opening each door she came across and peeking inside. She found a spare bedroom, a room full of hunting gear and trophies, and finally: a storage room with a thin, lightweight looking bookcase to spare.

With a flick of the light switch , Fiona stepped inside, the floor creaking softly with her every step.  The bookcase was stocked with books in a variety of topics; Classic novels, the obligatory dictionary/atlas/bible pairing, even a set of encyclopedias.

   One book stood out to Fiona, though. It was a sleek and modern looking tome with a glossy purple cover that was starkly contrasting the dusty hardcovers next to it, a white silhouette of a woman in a retro-style dress on the front, and an author name that was so, so obviously a pseudonym.

The title read, in a stylish cursive font: “Housewife 101: A Guide For the Modern Woman - S.E. House”.

Fiona couldn’t help but laugh at it. It was just interesting enough to merit a quick browse. Just thumb through the pages, laugh at the sexist nonsense within, and she’d get right back to fetching Brad his bookcase. Hell, the book could even possibly have some good advice. Fiona opened it up and looked at it as she removed the books from the case and set them in a box for easy transport. The pages were smooth and of good quality paper, the typeface was a simple, elegant sans-serif font in black that was easy to read.

   ‘Chapter 1: Why The Housewife Matters’

‘The foundation of our society is the home.Your man works hard all day, but he can’t be truly productive unless they have a good wife to come home to, someone to care for him as he cares for you.
For this reason, your role as a housewife is just as important to the family as your husband’s career. It is vital to your husband’s health, as well as your own that your household is a loving and orderly environment. There is simply no replacement for the love of a wife or the care of a mother. Though you may think your role is small and limiting, you should know it is of the utmost importance. Be proud to be called a Housewife!’

Fiona rolled her eyes as she read this. How could anyone take this seriously? She thumbed through the next few pages, so far it was basic stuff. Every page had little illustrations, the one she was looking at was one of a happy young woman in a simple strapless summer dress seated beside her husband, who was wearing a simple black suit and tie. The couple was laughing, obviously in the middle of some charming-yet-banal conversation. For a moment, Fiona tried to imagine Brad and herself being like them, with some difficulty.

It wasn’t even that the housewife thing was particularly repellant to her, she was simply always too independent to ever settle down like that, on top of the fact she never even gave it serious thought. Besides, she liked working… Fiona just needed to find a new job and she was ready to make money for the household. Surely, this town had a place for a young woman with a business degree, right?

Turning her attention back to housework, she finished boxing up the old books, periodically glancing back at the housewife manual.   So far, it was mostly just the same spiel about the importance of being a homemaker, so Fiona flipped forward in search of something more interesting.

‘Chapter 2: Staying Fit in The Home: Posture and Exercise’

And it was a bunch of exercises. Fiona looked over at the full-body dressing mirror in the corner of the room, her reflection dimmed slightly by a thin layer of dust. Then, she looked back over the pictures and diagrams leading her step by step through ‘proper’ womanly exercises.

“What the hell,” She said, straightening herself out to follow the depicted routine. “Might as well get my exercise in for the day.”

Fiona kicked off her shoes, her sock feet rustling on the carpet as she went to take her place directly in front of the mirror, book in hand. With a deep breath, she began.

‘Tilt your chin down as you straighten your back, then rotate your hips around in a circular motion to limber up.’

Fiona’s back straightened, and at that moment she realized how slouched her posture was. How did she not see it until now? Still, it wasn’t too late to fix that… and the exercise was doing something, her back wasn’t aching quite so much from spending the morning hauling boxes inside. A turn of the page, and she was ready to see what more this little book could do for her.

‘Lift your right leg up, then bend your knee and straighten it out in the air, then do the same with your left leg, then repeat.’

Fiona did as instructed, holding the book out to better look at the picture,her other hand on her hip for support.

‘Let your movements form a rhythm and keep to it, this exercise will make your thighs strong and shapely. A good wife stays fit and looks good for her husband.’

Up and down... right then left...turn the page… Fiona felt herself getting into the zone, just like when she was at the gym. The pleasant burn of exercise was getting to her, she turned the page and was onto a different exercise. As instructed, she laid back and lifted her legs at the knee, lifting them higher than she was previously comfortable. Fiona could almost hear  a delicate, womanly voice in the back of her mind coaching her along, humming each word in perfect unison with the rhythm of her body’s movement.

‘Up...down...right...left...Looking good doesn’t just make your husband happy…’

  She turned the page again, then again. Fiona’s eyes scanned over the writing and illustrations, not so much reading anymore as just absorbing it, every instruction slipping past her critical mind and settling in deeper. She was mouthing the words she was hearing in her head out loud, just barely above a whisper, a sense of tranquility came over her as she lost herself in what she was doing…

...what was she doing? Fiona stepped back, shaking her head. Her jeans felt tighter around her thighs, her body ached slightly from the workout. How long had she been at it? Fiona looked down at the book, almost as if she expected an answer.

‘Chapter 4: Skirts and Stockings: Proper Attire for a Proper Wife’
‘A well put-together outfit can really bring out a woman’s natural beauty. Say yes to the dress and leave those jeans in the closet, it’s time to learn to dress right for your job. Not only will your husband appreciate your new look, you’ll be the envy of the other ladies!’

Fiona put a hand over her mouth, she didn’t even remember reading Chapter 3… though some part of her had already internalized the text. Curiouser still, Fiona looked at the outfit she was wearing in the mirror, her posture straightened and her lips open in a slight pout. Flannel shirt and too-tight jeans, bleh. She couldn’t quite understand why… but it just looked wrong on her. The colors were too dull, the outfit too plain… Fiona was drawn to a pair of large mahogany doors, opening them to reveal a closet packed with dresses and other accoutrements.

Her hand hesitated before grabbing the first thing that caught her eye, then another garment. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to try some of it on, would it? She gathered up an outfit and sat down on a green velvet couch, the cushions of which were ever so slightly overstuffed.

Off came the brick-red flannel shirt, she wriggled out of those constricting pants, she even discarded her underwear and socks into the pile. She could pick them up later when she did the laundry. Of course she’d do the laundry, it wouldn’t do to let Brad do women’s work when he was already busy… not that she cared either way.

First, Fiona put on the black lacy bra and panties she grabbed. As she slid the panties up her legs and let them snap in place around her hips, she marveled at just how well they fit her. Even the bra lifted and supported her bust in all the right ways, what were the odds?

Leaning back on the couch, she lifted her right leg up, sliding a single charcoal gray stocking on, gently coaxing the smooth, shiny nylon up to her thigh… then she changed legs, putting the other on. After a little tug-and-straighten to make sure both stockings matched, she sat up and set her feet on the carpet, taking a second to really appreciate the feel of that cool, silky fabric on her creamy, slender legs.

“Looking better already.” Fiona thought to herself as she stood, lifting up the dress and letting it slide over her body into place, she turned to face the mirror as she smoothed it out, turning side to side to check herself out. The knee-length dress was black with white polka dots, with a red sash around the waist further accentuating her thick hips… a good match for her brown hair.

Stepping into a pair of glossy black open-toe high heels, Fiona’s new look was complete. Leafing through the book, paying closer attention to the fashion tips, she took her old clothes and dropped them in a waste bin. They didn’t fight right, they didn’t look right. Commit to the new image, that’s what the book said.

Fiona spent some more time in front of the mirror, admiring how the dress was snug in all the right places, twirling and letting the delicate, glossy fabric flutter around her legs. The more she looked and really appreciated the outfit, the more she liked it. So what if it was a little retro? Retro was fashionable, and Brad would really enjoy seeing her in her new lingerie, she was doing it for him as well.

Then, the little voice that was silently yelling from the back corners of her mind was finally heard. When did she decide on this? Glancing back down at the book in her hand, Fiona was hit with the realization she’d been looking at it, consulting it, obeying it the entire time she was dolling herself up, she had completely lost track of time when she was supposed to…

Supposed to…

What was she up in that room for, again?

She sat back down on the couch, crossing her legs. “Get ahold of yourself, silly girl.” Fiona scolded herself, a giggle escaping her plump, red lips. When did she put on lipstick? When did any of this happen?

She felt a gnawing feeling in her gut, the same feeling one gets when something is just wrong in the way a bad dream felt wrong. Fiona didn’t want to look down at the book to see what chapter she was on, she had to snap out of it, she was stronger than this…

Of course she looked.

‘Chapter 6: Mantras and Mental Cleanliness’

‘Thinking too much can be bad for your mental and physical health. If you ever find yourself feeling anxious, just relax and repeat these simple mantras. Think of your mind like a bedroom, it’s better to keep it clean and tidy, empty of thoughts and ideas  that bother you.’

Fiona couldn’t stop herself. Every time she took her eyes off the page for even an instant, she was wracked with an overpowering curiosity. It wasn’t her choice anymore, she simply had  to see what the book said next, or it would bother her for the rest of the day. So she read the words, at first silently, then she whispered along, then she was reading out loud with no awareness of anything other than the text on the page and her all-consuming need to be taught.

‘I will relax. I will let my husband think for me.’

She felt the fleeting remnants of her outrage, she could think for herself!... But if that was true, why did she open the book if she didn’t want to learn, to eventually accept the truth of what was told to her?

‘My place is in the home, I shall not aspire beyond it.’

Fiona had a business degree, she had her career all planned out and… and yet she couldn’t remember what that plan was, did she even have a plan?

‘I love and obey my husband.’

‘Smile and nod, just smile and nod’

‘The man makes the rules, I make his dinner’

Gritting her teeth, she tried to find any hole in the mantras, any flaw in their logic she could use to tear them down… but she couldn’t. It was like taking apart the law of gravity. Silly girl, she was such a silly girl for trying.

‘A simple mind makes a happy soul’

‘My husband knows best’

‘Cooking, cleaning and companionship’

‘I’m proud to be a housewife’

When Fiona said that last one out loud, she felt something give way  inside her. It was like a weight had been taken off of her back. A smile spread over her lips, she repeated it and meant it this time:

“I’m proud to be a housewife.” Fiona declared, both to herself and to the world around her. Something clicked inside her head, and she enjoyed a moment of absolute crystal clarity.

Then, she heard the door open behind her. Fiona turned to see Brad looking at her, grinning in bemused surprise at his wife’s new apparel.

“Honey, what’s going on up here? “ He said, strolling over to her, taking her soft hands in his own, their fingers interlocking. “I was wondering what was up.”

Brad looked into Fiona’s green eyes, she was blushing. Her smile was bright and somewhat… spaced out.

“You look amazing, by the way.” He said, prompting a giggle from his wife. She leaned into his chest, he felt her warmth on him and he forgot for a moment about the bookcase.

“I wanted to look good for my husband. Just like a good wife should.” Fiona said, kissing Brad on the cheek, leaving a trace of her lipstick on his skin.

“Well, you’re doing a great job...” Brad said. “Now why don’t you go downstairs and make us some lunch?”

With another airy giggle and a “Yes, honey” Fiona was off, her heels click-clacking down the stairs. Brad picked up the book left on the floor and checked it over, that publisher logo looked familiar. Though Fiona’s behavior was unusual, he didn’t really understand why he was so concerned at first. What was he afraid of? Maybe it was just her way of adjusting to life in this town.

“That’s cute...” He said, tucking the book under his arm and leaving the room to join his wife downstairs. “I wonder if they have a book for husbands.” 


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