The Accidental Fetish

San Franciscians are serious about their coffee. Erica learned that her very first week at work when one of her new coworkers caught her making a mug of instant coffee in the office kitchen. He rolled his eyes and laughed, advising her that a cup from the local micro-roast company would completely change her world. Hell, he said as he breezed past, even Starbucks would be an improvement over what she had!

But it took her months to finally work up the nerve to visit the place he recommended, down a narrow alley just a few blocks from her office. According to local gossip it was practically a temple to caffeine, its brews more sacred than the honeyed tears of angels. People apparently made pilgrimage to it from all over the city.

Sure enough, the moment Erica turned the corner she was faced with a line 30-people strong crammed into the alley, all well-dressed and equipped with the latest tech devices. The alley looked like a fashion shoot. Erica rubbed ineffectively at some wrinkles in her cotton skirt then slunk to the end of the line, avoiding meeting anyones eyes. She stared down at her battered phone while carefully shielding it from view, lest the other supplicants deemed her not trendy enough.

The line creeped ahead over the course of an hour. It seemed an unreasonable time to wait for coffee, but asking someone in line would undoubtedly show her ignorance, so she kept quiet. Perhaps they were waiting on the angels to weep more tears.

She finally looked up when she reached the front of the line, then glanced around in confusion. There was no coffee counter tucked away in a small storefront, as she had been told. Instead, there was an unmarked black door, guarded by a burly man in a vest.

She shuddered, pulling her sweater tighter around her shoulders as he looked her up and down. “You here for the sale?” he rumbled.

“I, um…no, I’m looking for Angel’s Point Coffee…?”

He stared at her for a moment, then his craggy face cracked in a smile. “No, I’m pretty sure you’re looking for us.”

She heard giggles from the line behind her. Her face flushed. “Oh no, I’m sorry, I must have the wrong street, I’ll just—”

The black door in front of her opened suddenly with a squeal of old hinges. A pair of women stumbled out, both clutching smooth paper bags patterned in red and black paisley. They chattered happily as they disappeared down the alley. The bouncer held the door, still smiling at Erica.

“If you’re looking for coffee, they’re two blocks down. But I really suggest you check this out. This sale only comes once a year.” He winked at her.

Her shoulders hunched, caught between the intensity of the bouncer’s gaze and the unseen stares of the people behind her in line. Part of her wanted to mutter something noncommittal and dash away, just like when she brought the wrong coffee to work.

But this time, something made her hesitate.

“Um…well I guess as long as I’m here I could take a look….,” she said, her voice small.

His grin broadened. “Excellent, milady. Watch your step on the stairs, it’s crowded down there.”

She stepped through the doorway. He closed it behind her.

She waited a moment for her eyes to adjust, then groped her way down a dim flight of stairs to emerge into a wide, low-ceilinged room. Red velvet curtains lined the walls, but most of the room was obscured by the crush of people. Women—and a few men—puttered around, sorting through bins and clothing racks scattered throughout the room. A low buzz of conversation drifted over the crowd.

With a brief thrill of surprise, Erica realized that many of the women were openly walking around in various states of undress.

“Good afternoon. This is your first time?” came a voice from behind her. It took Erica a few moments to realize the voice was addressing her. She turned.

A large woman of indeterminate middle-age stood before her, clutching a pink tape measure draped around her neck. Like the bouncer at the door, the woman looked Erica over, taking in her cardigan, her simple camisole, her faded cotton skirt, her sensible Mary Janes.

Erica stared at the woman in return, like one would stare at a newly-discovered species of animal. The woman’s hair was curled into perfect tresses, her makeup intense in a way that spoke of time and expense rather than trashiness. Although she was amply-proportioned, her body was squeezed into a stunning swoop of an hourglass by a smooth black corset. She also wore a skirt, but rather than hanging limply, it was gathered and bustled into terraces and curves of its own. At the base of it all, a pair of sharp-toed boots peeked out from under the skirt, balanced on heels thinner than chopsticks.

Erica glanced around. Most of the women in the store—and, shockingly, many of the men—seemed to be trying on outfits similar to the elegance of this woman.

“Well?” the woman urged through pursed purple lips, arching a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. Her voice held a shadow of an Eastern European accent.

“Um, no…. I mean, yes, but I wasn’t really intending on coming here, I was going for coffee and I just got in this line….”

The woman nodded and whipped the tape measure off of her neck. “Good,” she said simply, as if confused women stumbled in off the street every day. “We will try the basic line first.”

“Oh, I don’t—” The woman halted Erica’s protests by grabbing her shoulder and maneuvering her through the chattering crowd. She parked Erica in front of a full-length mirror nestled against the drapery on the wall. The woman wrapped her in the measuring tape, quickly tightening it around her lower ribcage, then snaking it away before Erica could even gasp in surprise.

“Good. We will start with the 22’s.”

Erica blinked uncomprehendingly. “Like…the records?”

The woman chuckled. “More like the guns. Now. Leave the top on, take off the sweater and your bra. I will be back.”

She disappeared into the crowd, leaving Erica gaping. Erica hesitantly slid out of her sweater, balling it up to shove into her purse. She looked around, fingering her bra strap through her shirt. Everyone in the room was engrossed in their own shopping, no one even glancing at the awkward girl by the wall. With that in mind, she unclasped the bra and, with a little shudder, maneuvered it off of her shoulders and out from under the top.

Before her anxiety could build to critical levels, the woman reappeared, clutching a folded corset in her manicured fingers. “Good. Now, turn.”

Erica turned away from the mirror. The woman reached around her. Erica caught a brief glimpse of black lace over cream satin before its wings enveloped her torso. The woman centered it then started working on the ribbons with a series of confident movements.

Erica stood frozen, arms held awkwardly away from her sides. She opened her mouth to ask what she should do, but instead gasped as the woman began tightening the ribbons with a series of jerks.

“Good,” she said, “This will take some adjusting.”

The garment’s embrace deepened, squeezing the breath out of her. Erica’s head reeled. She almost stumbled, but the woman’s firm grip on the laces held her in place. Erica’s back arced slightly, her ribcage fighting for space. The movement allowed air to rush into the tops of her lungs. The tidal rhythm of her breath begin to flow up and down rather than in and out. Her breath sputtered as she adjusted to this, rolling her shoulders back and open to create more space for her chest to rise.

The woman continued to work, drawing the bite of the laces further down her back. The swoops at the bottom of the garment cupped her hips, gripping them insistently as a lover. The drop in the front pressed against her abdomen, the steel fingers of the boning a supportive reassurance even as they forced her to hold things in. She surrendered to that pressure, letting her hips tilt forward.

“Good,” the woman finally announced. “Just a little more, then we will see the results!”

The woman jerked the corset a few more times, muttering thoughtfully to herself as she adjusted things to her liking. Erica’s eyes fluttered, her body overwhelmed with the new sensations. When the woman finally took her hands off the laces, Erica swayed. Her shoulders ached, wanting to slouch in on themselves to hide from the new position, the new experience. But the corset stood firmly in place, forcing her upright, exposing her and supporting her at the same time.

“Now,” the woman said with a pleased note in her voice, “Turn and see.”

Erica gulped then turned to the mirror.

Her first thought was to look behind her to see who else was standing there. The woman in the mirror was taller, with wide confident shoulders and a centered stance. Her chest heaved, making breasts to rise and fall dramatically in the exact way that romance novels always hinted at.

And the curves…. Erica reached down to run her hands along her waist, the tight boning of the corset firm against her skin like lacy armor. She turned to the side and gasped. Dark ribbon crosses cut down her spine, narrowing along the ribcage before flaring out at the bottom to allow for the swell of her rear.

Erica stood there for minutes, turning from side to side and stroking her waistline. The woman stood watching quietly, a soft smile on her face.

Finally, the woman broke the silence. “Well? What do you think?”

Erica froze, her mind racing. This wasn’t her. Did she really deserve to wear something like this? It seemed far more fitting for the confident, fashionable, half-naked ladies (and men) wandering the store. The sort of San Franciscians who wouldn’t take months to work up the nerve just to go out and get a damn cup of coffee.

The woman waited patiently while Erica stared into the mirror. Finally, Erica turned to her.

“Does…does it come in red?”

© 2013 Corvidae. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio: Corvidae is a scientist, a writer, and a bona-fide perv. She usually resides in California and occasionally blogs at

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