There were a lot of jobs that were worse than the one Leslie had, and she enjoyed her work in the niche lingerie store more than the average person. She liked people and she was more than experienced enough to man the curtained-off back room, able to offer personal recommendations to each coy woman who browsed the shelves. When it came to pleasure, Leslie knew what she was on about and her multitude of experience meant that she was a valued asset to the business. When people who knew her entered the store, furiously blushing to see a familiar face, she acted no differently. No such thing as discrimination existed. Whether they needed a bra fitting or a little something to help their ailing sex lives, Leslie was there to help. In her six years there, she had only come across the occasional pervert.
When Lucy turned up five minutes before Leslie’s lunch break on Tuesday, she put on her customer smile – bright and toothy, with plenty of eye twinkle. “Hi, stranger,” she said, leaning on the counter. “Fancy seeing you here.”
“Hi, Les,” Lucy said, glancing from side to side as though she was afraid someone might have seen her enter the store.
“What do you need? Or are you here for me?”
“A bit of both.” Lucy put her bag on the counter, holding it in both hands. She was a tiny woman, as petite as Cloe, whose naivety made her seem even smaller.
“Ok, well, start with me. I’m here after all. What’s your problem?”
“No, it’s not a problem,” Lucy said, smiling. “I’m pregnant.”
Leslie had to stop her jaw from dropping. She struggled to picture Lucy in any sort of sexual position, especially not one that would result in a baby. “Wow!” she stuttered at last. “Congratulations!”
“Thanks, but keep it on the down low. I only found out about an hour ago and I don’t want to jinx it, but I wanted you to know.” She was beaming, her cheeks pink with glee.
“That’s absolutely fantastic, Luce,” Leslie said. Ever since she had known her, Lucy had wanted to be a mother. “Have you told Mark?”
Lucy shook her head, a meek smile appearing. “That’s the other thing I need you for. As much as I hate to drag you into our sex life, I want to, you know, look sexy for him tonight, when he gets home from work.”
“I can certainly help you there.” Leslie grinned and joined her friend on the other side of the counter. “What sort of thing are you looking for?”
“Uh, demure. No leather. You know, just sweet but … hot.”
“I didn’t even know you have this side to you. Why don’t you bring out this Lucy more often?” She led Lucy to an array of lacy, girly corsets and suspenders.
“She’s very shy.” Lucy perused the various displays with interest, trailing her fingers along the silky bodices and fingering the lacy suspender belts.
“What sort of price are you going for?”
“Oh, I don’t know… you know what? Let’s push the boat out. Whatever looks best.”
“This Luce should definitely come out more,” Leslie said, sorting through the familiar racks until she had a variety of size sixes for her miniscule friend. “Try these on.” She thrust them into Lucy’s hands and directed her to the changing rooms. Work was her territory, and she had no shame in the job she did. “Holler if you need me.”
Lucy nodded and stepped into a cubicle before turning back. “Don’t tell anyone about this, will you?”
“Absolutely not. Your satisfaction is in my confidence. And if you need anything else,” she said, nodding to the discreet area at the back of the shop, “you know who to come to.”
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Leslie's Study of Femininity ✓ChickLit
•COMPLETE• Everyone tells Leslie she's one of the guys, so she sets out to prove that there are no rules to being a girl. --- watty award winner 'hq love award' 2014