It was a slow day at the comic book store. Mark Dobler sat behind the counter, incredibly bored. Usually, there was a pretty good flow of customer traffic, due to the store's location just a couple of blocks from the Midwestern State University campus. Not today, though. The only other person in the store was an annoying guy named Theo.
Theo was the type to hang out in the store for hours, ranting about his latest comic book obsession or hatred. Mark enjoyed comics, but he couldn't stand the really hardcore fanatics. Mark knew that there was a world outside those four-color pages, a distinction guys like Theo didn't seem to comprehend. Still, Theo usually bought something eventually, so it wasn't worth it to kick him out of the store.
Theo had just started another tirade about why some superhero book now "sucked," though it used to be "cool," when the door opened, and Mark looked over to it, glad to see some other face. It turned out to be better than he expected. It was a woman.
Any female was a rare enough sight in a comic shop, but this one was pretty cute, to boot. She had a sort of shy, but sexy, librarian look. A girl who had brains and beauty, but just didn't realize how hot she really was. Mark could see her hotness immediately, but then again, he was always fond of girls of her type. As his eyes quickly scanned her attractive shape, he stopped when he came to her feet.
He would have assumed she would wear practical, but unremarkable shoes. Instead, she was barefoot, and she had no shoes in sight. Mark was immediately interested. He liked sexy librarians, but he really liked barefoot girls.
"Hi. Do you need help finding anything?" Mark called out.
"No. Just looking," she answered. She turned toward one of the racks, and started to scan the newest releases.
Mark desperately wanted to know more about this girl, but he didn't want to act like a creep or a weirdo. She was there to look at comics, not to get hit on. He tried to play it cool, but he couldn't help checking her out.
She had her back to him, but he could see that she was absent-mindedly wiggling her toes. He was riveted as she raised her left foot and rubbed the sole against her other leg, as if scratching a minor itch. She kept her knee crooked, her toes touching the floor, while leaving her sole fully displayed.
Mark couldn't tear his eyes away from that wrinkled sole, as he absorbed all the details of its smoothness and shapeliness. For all its aesthetic beauty, he could also see the wonderful toughness of her sole, and he loved the fact that there was a thin layer of dirt over the whole surface. This was a woman who went barefoot a lot.
He wondered if she was a member of the barefoot sorority. Mark had seen Beta Gammas around campus, and had even once made a clumsy attempt to hook up with one of them, but he'd never seen one in the store before. Mark started to get a little excited, but he had to keep it cool. He was at work, after all.
"Hey, you should kick her out for not wearing shoes," Theo whispered, snapping Mark out of his trance.
"Chill out, man. There's no law against it. We don't even have a sign," Mark growled, extremely annoyed with Theo at that moment. Theo sniffed indignantly, but headed over to the back issue bins without further comment.
The girl suddenly turned and walked toward the counter. Mark breathed a little heavy just from watching her gorgeous toes grip the floor as she silently padded over. She leaned on the counter and flashed a sheepish smile.
"Do you have anything, with less, um, testosterone?" she asked.
Damn, her face was great, too. She was no supermodel, she was just real, and as far as Mark was concerned she was absolutely stunning. To hell with what anyone else might think of her.
Mark thought fast, and took a chance. "I think we might have something. It's kind of 'adult', so we keep it behind the counter. Don't want the second graders or the soccer moms to see it."
Bending over, he rummaged through the pile of comics in the cabinet under the counter. Hopefully it hadn't been sold. Then he found it. Jackpot! He stood up and handed it to her with a triumphant smile. He secretly hoped he hadn't presumed too much.
"This is a pretty good book. The main character is female, and it's not macho superhero stuff," Mark made the pitch, then added, "Plus, she goes barefoot all the time, and it's a big part of the character. I, uh, noticed that you were barefoot, so I thought it might interest you."
She flashed an awesome smile, and Mark knew his gamble had paid off.
She looked at the cover, and then flipped through the book. "Mara, huh? Nice artwork. I'll take it," she said.
Mark rang it up and gave her her change. "There's some more volumes we can probably get if you like it."
"Cool. I'll keep that in mind," she answered. "You have a nice shop."
Mark watched the tough, mildly dirty and utterly gorgeous bare feet walk to the door. He stared at the door a long moment after she had gone.
"At least the dirty hippy bought something," Theo sneered from the back of the store. Mark ignored him. He turned to the computer to do some searching. He had to track down some copies of those other Mara books. He sure hoped she came back.
Lena Graves lay on her bed, her perpetually bare feet waving in the air behind her. She was eagerly reading the new comic she had bought.
The character of Mara was amazing. She was a real hardcore barefoot girl. Lena felt inspired. She gleefully rubbed her soles against each other, so happy she had given up shoes and socks completely.
There was knock at the door. Lena hopped up and opened it. It was Angie Drake and Michelle Burton, two of Lena's new friends from the Beta Gamma sorority. They were, of course, also constantly barefoot, like all the sorority members.
"Hey, Lena. We're going to catch a movie. You want to come?" Michelle asked.
"Sure, just give me a minute to change clothes," Lena said. She went to her closet and started to pick through her outfits. At least she didn't have to worry about matching shoes.
Angie noticed the Mara book lying on Lena's bed. "What're you reading?"
"Oh, it's this awesome comic about a barefoot girl adventurer in kind of a sci-fi fantasy world," Lena told her excitedly. "I'm only about halfway through, but it's pretty good."
"I didn't know you were into comics," Michelle said.
"Well, a little bit. I don't have boxes and boxes of them," Lena said, a little embarrassed.
"It's okay. There's nothing wrong with it," Michelle assured her. "You just never said anything about it before."
"Well, I guess it's kind of geeky, so I didn't mention it," Lena admitted.
"It's not that geeky. Actually, I think I'd like to borrow this Mara book after you're done, if you don't mind," Angie said.
"Oh, absolutely!" Lena grabbed a shirt from her closet and slipped it over her head. "Hey, can I ask you guys something?"
"Nope! Sorry," Michelle said, stifling a smile. "You're only allowed one question per day, and that was yours."
"I'm serious," Lena said, half-chuckling.
"Alright, shoot," Michelle conceded. She sat down on the edge of the bed. Dropping her hands down in front of her, she stuck her legs out, with her calloused heels resting on the carpet and her bare toes sticking up toward the ceiling. Angie picked up the Mara book to make room for herself and sat down with her.
"There was this really cute guy working at the comic shop. Do you think I should just ask him out, or should I drop hints to get him to ask me?"
"I would just ask him," Angie said. "Don't mess around. Just cut to the chase."
"I'm with Angie. Go for it," Michelle agreed.
"That's what I was thinking, too, but I've never actually asked a guy out before," Lena confessed.
"You know, a few weeks ago I would have been kind of shy about it, too," Angie said. "But since I joined Beta Gamma, I feel a lot more self-confident. Not just my feet are free now, but the rest of me is, too."
"I feel that way, too," Michelle said. "I mean, I've asked guys out before, but since I became a Beta Gamma, my confidence is way up."
"Remember a month ago, when both of us were afraid to even show our bare feet to other people?" Angie said.
"Yeah, now I hardly think anything of it," Lena chuckled.
"That's right, girl. If you can walk through the world barefoot, you can ask some guy out on a date," Michelle said.
"I'm going to do it!" Lena affirmed.
The next day, Mark was back behind the counter at the comic store. Every time the door opened, he eagerly hoped it would be the barefoot girl, but so far, no luck. At least Theo hadn't been around.
Mark had even had a dream about the barefoot girl last night, a very pleasant dream. He sighed as he thought about it. Then, the door opened again, and Mark looked over, bracing for disappointment.
Yes! It was her. She smiled and he smiled back. She was a little more dressed up today, nicely accentuating her curves. Most importantly, though, she was still barefoot.
"Hi, there. Welcome back. Did you enjoy that book?" Mark asked.
"Very much. Thanks for the recommendation," she said. She padded right over to the counter. Damn, those bare feet were nice!
"I went ahead and ordered the other Mara volumes, just in case you would want them. No obligation, of course," Mark said.
"Great. I'll take them," she said, batting her eyes. Was she flirting with him? Mark's pants started to feel tight again.
"Cool, uh, they'll be here in a couple of days," Mark managed to get out.
"Sounds good. My name's Lena, by the way. What's yours?" She leaned in closer to him, placing her elbows on the counter, and resting her chin on her hands.
"Mark," he said, keeping his cool. She had to be flirting with him. If this was another dream, he didn't want to wake up. "Lena's a nice name. I like it."
"Thanks. Mark's a good name, too. Can I ask you a question?" she said, coyly.
"Sure, go ahead."
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
"No, not currently."
"Well, then, would you like to go out with me this weekend?" she purred.
Mark was so thrilled, he nearly hit the ceiling. "Yeah, that sounds great," he
was able to say.
"Friday at seven okay with you?"
She reached into her pocket and pulled out a slip of paper. "Here's my number. Give me a call tonight."
"Will do," he confirmed.
"Talk to you then," she said, and headed for the door. Mark watched her go, fixated on those gorgeous soles.
After she was gone, he let out a deep breath. He was going out with Lena, the gorgeous barefoot girl, and she had put the moves on him! Could this week get any better?
Outside, Lena felt like she was ten feet tall. She had never been so bold with a guy before, and it had turned out great. And it was all thanks to the confidence her bare feet gave her. Life was good when a girl was free of shoes and socks!
Friday night, Lena looked herself over in the mirror. Angie and Michelle had helped her pick out a new outfit the day before; a lime green t-shirt style blouse, a lightweight black sweater and a knee length black skirt. Lena thought she looked pretty good.
For her feet, she had chosen some classy barefoot sandals, which were really just a strap which wrapped around the ankle, over the instep and looped over her second toe. The sole was left completely bare, as she wouldn't have it any other way.
Lena normally wouldn't have bothered with the barefoot sandals, but she didn't want anything to screw up this night, especially not some pushy restaurant manager or waiter. The strappy little things wouldn't fool anyone on close inspection, but they would satisfy a quick glance, which is all most people ever did.
Lena had also gone with an silver charm ankle bracelet on her left leg. The little toe rings with stars on them adorning the middle toe of each foot completed the look. Lena wiggled her toes with anticipation. She was all dressed up and had a place to go.
There was a knock at the door, right on time. Lena gleefully skipped to the door, but then got herself under control. She opened the door, leaning against the frame and smiling seductively. Mark did a double take. He had thought Lena was gorgeous the first time he saw her, but tonight she just looked amazing.
"Wow, you look great," he said. "Oh, um, these are for you." He handed her a bouquet of roses he had brought.
"Thank you! They're beautiful," she said. "By the way, you look pretty great yourself." Mark blushed a bit. He had taken a little effort to look sharp in a nice dress shirt and slacks, so he was glad she noticed. Lena put the roses in some water, then grabbed her little clutch purse.
"Ready to go?" she purred.
"Absolutely," he said. He offered her his arm, and she took it as they left the apartment. Tonight, Mark felt like the luckiest guy alive.
Dinner went well. The restaurant was a little pricey for Mark's budget, but you only got one chance at a first date, and he wanted it to be special.
After, dinner, Lena and Mark had ended up walking around the Midwestern State campus, just talking and enjoying each other's company.
"So, anyway, I'm doing the part-time student thing, and working at the comic shop. Next year, I'm hoping for a scholarship so I can take a few more classes," Mark explained.
"That's awesome. I'm sure you'll get it," Lena told him. She was really starting to like Mark a lot, and she sensed he was feeling the same way about her. "Hey, let's sit for a minute." She led him over to a little grassy hill. They sat directly on the grass, though Lena was careful not to let her skirt ride up too much. She didn't want to appear too forward, at least not yet.
She slipped off the barefoot sandals. "Don't need these anymore," she said, stuffing the straps in her purse. "I prefer the all bare look anyway."
"Yeah, me too," Mark agreed. "Um, I mean, because you have very nice feet."
"Thanks. I didn't used to think so, but they're starting to grow on me."
"So, I've been wondering, did you just start doing the barefoot thing when you joined the Beta Gammas, or did you do it before?"
"Oh, definitely before. I've always been a barefoot girl, though I appreciate it even more since joining Beta Gamma. I grew up on a farm, and we were country, but not redneck, if you know what I mean."
She continued. "My parents split up when I was pretty young, though my dad was around and always helped to support me. I lived with my mom on the farm, and it was great, because she didn't have to work. She had inherited a lot of farmland from my grandparents, and we just lived off the rent that other farmers paid to use it. That was perfect, because I think my mom hates shoes and socks more than anything. Anytime she has to wear them, it puts her in a bad mood."
Lena leaned back, putting her arms back to prop herself up. She stretched her legs out in front of her and crossed them at the ankles, unconsciously swinging her foot so that the silver charm of her anklet wouldn't get pinched in between.
"We were far enough south that even winters weren't too cold, and she didn't have to work, so she was pretty much barefoot all the time, all year round. I just kind of followed in Mom's footsteps. She couldn't stand shoes, so she wasn't going to make her daughter wear those things."
"Your mom sounds pretty cool," Mark said.
"Yeah, she's awesome. Whenever I would have friends over, she would say things like 'get those things off your feet and let them breathe' or 'if you wear shoes too much, your feet will rot off.'" Lena laughed, nostalgically. "Just about everybody ended up barefoot at our house, as you can probably imagine. I think that for Mom, even seeing other people wear shoes and socks made her uncomfortable, especially in her own house."
"That's funny," Mark said.
"Yeah, it is. So, anyway, I got to grow up pretty much shoe and sock free, except for school, of course. I just thought that was the life." Lena stopped then, looking off into the distance, as if rembering something that she would rather forget, but couldn't because it was too important. She took a deep breath, and then continued. "Then, when I was fourteen, Mom and I were in town on a Saturday, getting some groceries. I was just hanging out outside the store, barefoot of course, when this boy I kind of had a crush on rode up on his bike. He saw me, and said 'man, you really ought to cover up those ugly country feet.' I was devastated. You know, at that age, you're so sensitive to everything. So, after that, I tried to keep my feet covered up whenever I was around other people. I still went barefoot all the time at home, but I just got shy about my feet anywhere else."
"That's hard to believe, seeing you now," Mark laughed.
"I know, right? It was the Beta Gammas that got me over it. My friend, Angie, especially. Now I'm loving showing off my feet."
"I can tell. And by the way, that kid you had a crush on? He didn't know what the hell he was talking about."
Lena blushed a bit. "Thanks. I can tell you're a guy who appreciates feet."
"You could say that. I've just always had this thing about barefoot girls, especially the ones who do it in places where it's not 'normal.' A barefoot girl is strong, rebellious, sexy, innocent and vulnerable, all at the same time. It's a powerful mix," Mark explained. "They're a rare breed, and maybe that's why you're so special."
"What a wonderful thing to say," Lena told him. She decided to take a chance and leaned toward Mark, planting a passionate kiss directly on his mouth.
He didn't pull away. In fact, he laid back on the ground, pulling her with him.
They held the kiss for a long time. Lena's ever bare toes curled in delight.
A couple of weeks had passed, and Mark and Lena had spent most of their free time together since that first date. Today, they were in his apartment watching a movie. Lena lay on the couch, her feet in Mark's lap.
He gently stroked her feet, exploring every centimeter of their surface with his fingers. She closed her eyes in ecstasy. His touch felt so good. She felt something stirring throughout her body. Her eyes flew open. This was the day. She shifted her right foot away from his hand and began stroking his leg with her toes. He turned to her and their eyes locked. The gleam he saw in her beautiful orbs told him that something special was about to happen.
"What do you say we go to the bedroom?" Lena purred. Mark shot to his feet and helped her up. She hugged him, and wrapped her legs around his body.
"Have you done this before?" Lena breathed.
"A couple of times," Mark replied. He was no stud, but he had had a little success with women in his nineteen years.
"I haven't." She smiled. "But, I'm glad you're going to be my first."
They made sweet, passionate love. Just as with their first kiss, being with Mark now made Lena's toes curl in sweet, blissful delight once again.