Shopping was never much of a chore for Danielle. After all, there wasn't that much she needed to buy in the way of clothes. That might change as she got older, of course, but as her reflection in the mirror inside the shoe shop reassured her, she still looked pretty good for a married woman in her mid-thirties. It might have been different if she and Paul had had kids, but that just wasn't going to be.
Danielle spun round on the shoes she was trying on. Her body otherwise naked from ankle upward: a fashion statement she'd persevered with ever since her teenage years. But at least she kept herself looking trim. She'd been shaving her crotch smooth from before she'd ever met Paul and she still found it slightly odd when she passed younger women with their pubic hair totally unshaven. Not even trimmed into shape. But Danielle couldn't answer for fashion. She'd probably have been much the same herself if she were younger. And her breasts were still comely and proud. Why should she want to hide them? Like so many of her friends did these days. Well, she'd wait until her breasts sagged or her stomach started jutting out before she started wearing clothes all the time.
She smiled at the shop assistant, who was holding the shoebox that until a moment ago had contained the shoes she was trying on. She was a young girl, probably only in her twenties, wearing just a plain orange tee shirt and some rather clumsy shoes that Danielle, for one, would never dream of wearing. And that crotch! So much hair! More than on the shop girl's head, where the hair was kept quite short. What Danielle wouldn't do to tidy up that light brown scruffy mess. At least, to trim the edges of it!
"What do you think of the shoes?" asked the girl.
"I really like them. They go well with my hair. Black." Danielle ran a long strand of hair through her fingers and let it fall gracefully onto her bare shoulder. "But I'm not sure about the fit. Next size down, perhaps?"
"Okay. Let's try it out."
So Danielle sat down on the low shoe-shop chair with her leg stretched out, while the shop assistant eased off her shoes and returned them to their box. She then pulled out the other shoes, and, using a shoehorn, gently fitted Danielle's elegant foot into a shoe while her customer watched from above.
And then, without warning and totally unexpectedly, the shop assistant leant forward towards Danielle's shaved crotch and gently placed her lips on Danielle's vulva. It was brief, gentle and dry. But when the shop assistant's head rose up with a bland smile, Danielle's sensitive lower lips retained a distinct and vivid memory of this moment of intimacy.
And that was that.
The shop assistant made no reference to her kiss on Danielle's oh! so private parts. She smiled in the same way as before, no wickedness in her expression at all, nothing to suggest a shared secret. The shoes she'd tried out were fine. Perfect, in fact. She'd heard that one's feet grew bigger as you grew older, but perhaps not yet. Danielle paid for the shoes by credit card, her hand somehow hotter and damper than it should be, and she was sure that the world could see a flush of deep red burning from her cheeks and shoulders. She took the card from the assistant, who acknowledged her smile with no hint of recognising the confusion in which her kiss had engulfed her naked customer.
Danielle had no recollection of the rest of her shopping trip. It vanished into a hazy swirl of forgetfulness. She must have somehow bought some wine and cake and a few magazines, because when she got back to her car on the third floor of the multi-storey car park, she had them in the plastic bags in addition to the one containing the shoebox with her new shoes. All the way back, she could feel the imprint of the shop assistant's lips on her crotch. She occasionally glanced at herself down there, to see whether on the bare, shaven skin there was any physical trace of the kiss. But of course there wasn't. And anyone watching her as she bent down to regard herself would have seen nothing out of the ordinary at all.
Her drive back home was uneventful, though she fancied she could still feel those lips between her legs as she shifted in and out of gear and steered her car along the suburban streets. Untypically she forgot to put on the radio, so she was almost alarmed when she parked the car in the drive to find that when she attempted to turn off the radio it was already switched off. What had she been thinking about? All Danielle could recall was a tape loop of that moment of unexpected tenderness playing and replaying itself in her mind.
The shop assistant was looming larger in her memory, but not all the particulars. Was her hair light brown or a dark blonde? Were her eyes green or blue? Did she wear earrings? Why was Danielle bothered by such fine points? There'd been no evidence that this was a prelude to further intimacy, of even the most innocent kind. And Danielle had no excuse to return to the shop in the near future to re-establish any contact. She had all the shoes she needed.
Danielle entered the hallway.
"Paul! Are you at home?" she cried.
"Yeah. I'm in the lounge!"