Angie stepped into the changing booth, laying her purchase over the chair. Cheeks flushed with girlish pleasure, she shut out the busy hum of the showroom, reaching back to unzip her bright red sun-frock. A trim young girl with wavy blond hair trailing down past her shoulders, she smiled with the vaguely guilty expression of a child caught with her hand in the candy jar.
Dropping the dress down to her tiny waist, she began to shimmy it over the curve of her hips. A faint crescent touched her lips; the Fever had been raging through her system for more than three weeks now. It was like one of those tunes that spiraled endlessly around at the front of your mind, despite your firmest efforts to push it away. Well, the fire would be quenched today, her yearnings finally satisfied. She looked back into the mirror, admiring the lithe flow of her petite figure.
Like most girls her age, Angie loved wearing pretty underthings beneath her day clothes - it was a delicious secret she could hide from the rest of the world. Her brassiere was a pastel-pink wonderbra, thrusting her full, pert breasts up to form a deeply divided cleavage. One of the straps looped off her left shoulder; it was covered with a delicate white trim. Her flesh was as smooth as alabaster, having only the barest touch of a suntan.
Long hair hanging over her face in blond arabesques, she wriggled her bottom out of the dress's slim waistline, gradually exposing her scanty, high-cut briefs. They were a pair of pink satin bikini panties, decorated with tiny bows and white lace fringes. Gleaming like molten silver against her creamy skin, they looked as if they'd been airbrushed onto her body.
She stepped gingerly out of the dress, careful not to catch her stilettos on the red fabric. She'd ruined one too many expensive outfits with a careless turn of the heel. Hanging the frock over the door hook, she swept her hair back from her face, feeling a warm, moist blush rising through her tummy. Angie had good reason to feel excited. She'd found what she'd been looking for.
Stepping across the booth in her undies and high heels, she leaned forward to inspect her purchase. She'd spent close on a month browsing her way through Chamberlain's Westside, visiting every boutique and lingerie store in the Fashion Quarter, cruising her way around the plazas and the malls. Searching for just three shreds of intimate fantasy, remnants of a forgotten decadence.
Grinning a radiant smile, Angie picked up the dainty lace garter belt, marveling at its fragile and complicated beauty. A magical wisp of lace, lycra and shimmering liquid satin, it was as complex and as insubstantial as a dream. The suspenders trailed in long, ornate streamers of floral elastic. Stretching the straps between her lacquered fingertips, Angie felt a thrill of pure feminine allure strafe through her entire body.
She laid the garter belt back on the chair, imagining how it would look clipped around her waist, then picked up one of the stockings, smoothing it out with her left hand. The jet black denier whispered enticingly between her fingers. Sheer and gauzy and almost completely transparent, it was a genuine silk stocking, the kind with a reinforced toe and a seam down the back.
Angie squandered a few moments admiring its gossamer perfection. The barest touch raised gooseflesh along her arms and shoulders. It felt unspeakably feminine, a thing of dreams and unspoken desires. A long, delicious shiver raced the down length of her spine; the very thought of drawing that nebulous material along her thighs made her ache with anticipation.
Kicking off her high heels, Angie bent down to slide the stocking over her right foot. The naughty little-girl smile stole across her features again.
Garter belts and suspender stockings were rather difficult to come by these days.
You could still find exotic, sensual underwear around the "bohemian" districts and recycling centres, but the larger retailing chains seemed to stock only the most utilitarian garments. Pedestrian, plain, unimaginative. Some women referred to them as "Passion Killers", recalling the silk-ration shortages of the war years. Dull, colourless and boring.
Life had been depressingly monotone since the Conservatives returned to power.
The latest Swing to the Right had unleashed a torrent of traditional values, surpassing even the excesses of the Churchill years. Bigotry had sprouted across the country like a furious, virulent weed; these were dangerous times for those who wavered at the edge of "acceptability." Campaigns had been launched, witch-hunts mounted against the "pink stain". Diversity was being driven underground.
Naturally, there had been a backlash from liberals and civil liberty activists, but the movement had been swiftly and ruthlessly undermined. Protestors vanished into the shadows literally overnight, many had gone into hiding. Invisibility was the safest option: fear, isolation and loneliness was preferable to ridicule, harassment and burning crosses.
Fortunately, Angie had very little to worry about. She was already invisible. No one would have guessed, even for a second, that she had not been born female.
"Are you okay in there?"
Angie glanced around with a gasp, a vague blush touching her porcelain features. The door to her cubicle had been flung open, allowing the world outside a generous view of the booth's lavender interior. A tall, thirty-ish sales woman stood by the doorway, smiling in at her. Virtually paralyzed with surprise, Angie looked self-consciously into the showroom, frozen in the act of slipping her long, tapering leg into a silk stocking.
Embarrassment blossomed in the warm depths of her belly. Angie was young and strikingly beautiful; a willowy adolescent on the edge of maturity. Her eyes were twin pools of late November sky; huge and innocent and glowing with child-like wonder.
She crossed her hands modestly over her cleavage, stepping back from the open doorway.
"Oh, I'm sorry", the sales assistant apologized, brow furrowed in genuine concern, "did I startle you?" She was a tall, elegant woman with beaming, elfin face. Her ID tag read JEAN, the sort of name that sounded inexplicably appropriate when attached to women of her generation.
"No, no - not at all", Angie replied, her face reddening to the tone of a maraschino cherry, "just a little jumpy, I guess. I'm... I've been looking for..." her sentence trailed off into the endless limbo of the unfinished statement. It was ridiculous - ludicrous really - she still grew as coy as a ten year-old whenever she went shopping for underwear.
Jean stepped into the cubicle, absently forgetting to close the door behind her. Angie opened her mouth to say something, but couldn't quite get it out.
"Do you need a hand with that?" Jean asked, indicating the garter belt.
Angie blinked several times, almost flustered beyond words.
"Well, I... yes, I suppose so. I mean..."
The assistant nodded, her smile almost comically sympathetic: it's okay; I know exactly how you feel.
"They can be a little difficult, especially if this is your first time trying one on", Jean told her, picking up a handful of lace corsetry and stepping into the narrow confines of the changing space. Taking Angie gently by the shoulders, she turned the blushing young girl towards the mirror. She stood in her bra, panties and stockings, flushed to the tips of her eyebrows.
Jean passed the garter belt around Angie's waist and hooked it into place, her fingers moving with the expertise of long practice. Excitement poured over Angie's body like some thick warm fluid, her breathing quickened to swift, shallow spurts.
"It's sort of like putting on a bra, except lower down", the older woman was saying, "the tricky part is attaching the stockings".
Angie could only nod her assent, feeling the belt constricting her waistline by at least three inches. The satin was stretched taunt against her rosy flesh; the garters dangled against her bare thighs.
Out in the salesroom, heads were craning about on flexible stalks. It was Saturday morning, and this was the only store this side of the city to stock European underwear. Evidently half the population of Chamberlain was in the showroom at the moment, and every single one of them wanted a better look. Well, at least the saleswoman's presence was blocking their view for the most part.
Thank heavens for small mercies, Angie thought to herself, a tiny giggle rising to her lips. Taking a deep, calming breath, she pushed the laughter back into her belly, shifting her centre of balance to her left hip. Her eyes literally danced with feminine mischief. Her heart was pounding in her throat, she felt almost delirious with exhilaration.
"There, that's done", Jean said, turning the girl around by the elbows so they were standing virtually face-to-face, "now, let's get those garters hooked up. Could you step forward on your right leg for a moment?"
Angie thrust her knee slightly forward in the classic pose while Jean began adjusting the suspenders. She fumbled with the clasp for a few seconds, fussing over the garter-strap and drawing the stocking up a few inches. Translucent denier stretched against Angie's lean, white haunch.
Jean clucked under her breath, hitching up the stocking-top with some difficulty in the claustrophobic space of the changing booth. She released the clasp after a brief struggle, then straightened up with an oddly skeptical look on her face.
"Here; come out into the showroom", Jean said, taking Angie lightly by the wrist, "there's not enough space in here for the two of us".
A two second pause. Then:
Angie's cheeks flared like a pair of wild strawberries.
"Come on out", Jean repeated, smiling placidly, "it's a little too cramped in here. There's plenty of space in the showroom"
"The showroom?!" Angie gasped in surprise, "but...but I'm not... I'm not wearing anything". Her tummy swarmed with hummingbirds, a wave of panic surged through her entire nervous system. She felt herself stepping into her stilettos, her mind suddenly slipping into autopilot. Her lips parted in shock, eyes bulging from their sockets.
What was she doing?!
"Oh, don't worry about that", Jean replied amiably, leading her forward by the right hand, "we have pretty young girls like you in here all the time. It is a lingerie shop, after all". They were at the very threshold now: in a few seconds, Angela would be exhibiting her lingerie before the entire store.
But there are MEN out there, Angie tried to say, though the words never actually left her mouth. The store was literally crammed with ubiquitous males (or so she thought); husbands and fathers, silvermaned patriarchs in dark smoking jackets, little boys in baseball caps clinging to their mother's skirts. Angie strutted forward on her impossibly high heels, her head spinning with a mixture of shock, embarrassment and pure, breathless delight.
"...anyway, you need to see yourself in the three-way to get the full effect", Jean was prattling on, oblivious to the girl's crimson-faced reluctance, "those change-room mirrors just can't give you the distance you need for a full-length view".
I must be dreaming, she thought wildly as they stepped through the doorway into the brightly lit salesroom. Time seemed to pause as she was led towards the central display, weaving a trail through a small forest of gaping mouths and goggling eyes. The store was absolutely bristling with customers, and most of the clientele seemed to be of the masculine persuasion.
Angie's mind simply couldn't accept what was happening to her.
Although she'd harboured fantasies of this kind for years, she'd never - never in her wildest dreams - imagined she'd find herself parading her gleaming satin underpants before a roomful of startled (and somewhat admiring) onlookers. Her luscious, teenaged body was bursting with the ripening fruit of dawning sexuality. A rare, fine colour was stealing up her torso, tinting her red from chin to belly button.
This can't be happening, Angie thought once more as the crowd parted before her.
Angie could recall the days when the barest glimpse of garter would raise a storm of interest. Men would practically fall over each other at the sight of a girl adjusting her nylons in a store window. She'd been very young at the time – hadn't even entered kindergarten as far as she could recall – but her recollections were as sharp as crystal. She'd already started cross-dressing in secret, "borrowing" her older sisters' clothing when there was nobody about to supervise her. She was familiar with the lacy white underthings worn by her female siblings ("foundation garments," they'd called them back in those days), particularly the wide range of girdles, bustiers and sous-vêtement féminin they kept hidden in their bottom drawers.
Angie had often marveled at this intricate web of corsetry, fervently wishing she was big enough to try it on. Utterly mesmerized by all the snaps and clips and adjustable suspenders, she'd considered asking her mother when she'd be old enough to fit into a maidenform. It had seemed like a perfectly reasonable question at the time, but her nerve failed her at the last minute.
That was the main drawback to being trapped inside a male body. No matter how hard you believed you were actually a girl, there was no way you could possibly prove it. People tended to look at you funny when you asked the wrong kind of questions, even your own family.
Still, Angie was both smart and resourceful. Even at the age of five, she understood that she would grow and adapt to her situation, learning how to avoid trouble by fitting in and asking the right questions...
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