“Oh, there it goes again!” Melody cried in exasperation. She hauled up her designer-label purse and slid open the zipper. She fished around inside until she found the source of her irritation: a tiny, red, cellular phone.
This stupid phone, Melody thought, glaring at it. It rang again, three dulcet tones: ding-dong-ding. It had been doing that regularly since she bought it. Even now, standing in the wide corridor of the shopping mall, the darn thing would not stop ringing. It was annoying her so much that she was making a special trip to return it. She had every intention of giving that weird sales guy a piece of her mind too. She should have known the deal was too good to be true.
At first, Melody thought the new phone was awesome. It was really tiny, weighed like nothing, so she could wear it on her wrist, and came in this zingy cherry red colour. It had all the latest features: downloadable ring-tones, texting, built-in camera, and so many cool options she hadn’t figured them out yet. It even played tunes, like an I-pod or something.
They were practically giving them away, too. Some sort of promo for a new phone company. The last time Melody had been in the mall there was this new kiosk in the middle of the corridor, down near the megastore, and a guy in there pushing these totally rad cells.
“The phone is free, yours to keep,” the sales guy said. He was a young yob with glasses and a goatee that didn’t suit him. “Try it out. Local calls are free for the first two weeks. Unlimited air-time! Then you can decide if you want to sign on for any of our cell plans. But I know you’re going to love it, Melody.”
Melody didn’t like the sales guy much. He was looking her over way too heavy. He was a little free with calling her by her first name. But she liked the phone. The cell plans were all totally cheapsville too. Too lucky!
Melody had wanted a phone like this for a long time. She was almost the only girl in her circle of friends who didn’t have a sexy cell phone, or so it seemed to her. Sometimes she borrowed her Mom’s, but that was lame. Now she could be the one with the coolest phone!
As if to bring her back to reality, the tiny phone in her hands rang again: three soft notes like church bells in the distance. Melody glared at it. Why did it do that? She flipped open the phone. The touchpad lit up automatically. She put it to her ear. “Hello. Hello?”
There was no answer. “Hello? Hello already? Is anyone there?”
Silence. Melody stood there for a few moments, listening. There was no sound from the telephone but a faint hiss. After a few minutes she snapped the phone closed in annoyance. It was always doing this. She was really going to give that kiosk guy a blast. She dropped the phone back in her purse.
Melody marched down the corridor with renewed determination. A couple of teen boys turned to admire her jeans-clad ass as she walked along. She ignored them. She was too grumpy to be flirty right now.
When she had first got the little telephone, Melody had been delighted. It was so cool. She called up Meghan, her best friend, right there from the mall. The sound quality was amazing, specially given the thing was so small. Melody wasted no time customizing the ring tone too.
The default ring was this simple, three-note chime that was nice but boring. It reminded Melody of those big clock towers that chimed on the hour. Melody searched through the installed tones until she found one that was cool. It sounded like some guy laughing. That evening, after she had called every one of her friends to tell them about this rad new cell, she plugged it into her computer and downloaded a great ringtone. It was a hit song from the Abrasive Souls, like the best band in the universe, this week anyway.
The only problem with the telephone was that the default ringtone wouldn’t go away. That’s why she was taking it back. The phone was obviously defective.
Melody’s path took her down a familiar route. This was her favourite mall. She passed by one of the many shoe stores. She glanced at the shoes in the window. Melody was in her white Nikes.
A pair of shoes on display caught her eye. They were patent black T-straps, with square heels and round toes. Cute. A little dressier than what she usually wore. Melody practically lived in sport shoes.
She looked down at her feet. Her fashionable running shoes were new, and clean. The white matched the white of the belt on her fashion jeans. This was the kind of look she went with every day. She looked back at the shoes in the store window. They were so much prettier than what she was wearing. By contrast she almost felt sloppy. She was under-dressed to be out in public.
She bit her lip, considering. She had her charge card with her. Maybe she could try the pretty shoes on for a moment. To see how they fit, that’s all. She didn’t have to buy them. She stepped into the store.
Melody stepped back into the mall again about twenty minutes later. In fact she had not purchased the shoes she saw in the window. While she was in the store she had fallen in love with a pair of funky oak-look slip-ons with gold vamps and tall wedge heels. The thick soles looked great with her tight jeans, she decided. When Melody left the store she had gained a couple of inches in height and her old joggers in a bag.
She found herself smiling as she walked away. There was a certain satisfaction in having shopped well. The heels were a something of a change. Despite their solid cut, they made her walk seem more deliberate, even feminine. Melody liked that.
She felt so good about the new shoes that she forgot her irritation with the cell phone. The device in question promptly ruined her mood by ringing again. Melody fished it out of her purse and flipped it open. “Hello? Hello!” she snapped.
No one answered. She no longer expected that anyone would. She could hear nothing but the faint background hiss. Melody stood there for a long moment, listening. For a moment she imagined she could hear voices in the background hiss, far, far away. It was just static. Eventually she snapped the telephone shut and threw it back in her purse.
Almost immediately the telephone rang again. This time it was a squeaky rendition of a hit pop tune. That was the way it was supposed to sound.
“Hello?” she said, with the tiny phone by her ear. She tossed her long hair out of the way.
“Hey loser,” came Meghan’s voice. “Are you at home?”
“No, I’m at the Downing Street Mall. There’s something wrong with my new phone. I can’t make it ring like I want.”
“I thought you were going to use the mooing cow,” said Meghan’s voice.
“I did! And the laugh track; and like a couple of tunes I downloaded. But I still get these calls with a different ring, like, the one it came with.”
“Weird!” came Meghan’s voice. “Mine does the same thing. And when you answer there’s no one there, right?”
“Uh-huh. Trez irritating.” She considered her reflection in a store window as she spoke. What she saw was a slender, fit young woman with an impish face and a lithe figure. The form-fitting tank-top and jeans were flattering without looking deliberate. The new shoes looked good. They shaped her legs. You couldn’t really tell in these jeans though.
“ . . . to do?” said the voice in her ear.
“What? Oh, sorry, I zoned out there for a sec. I’m going to take the phone right back to the place I got it. I should have known it was too cheap to be any good.”
There was a long pause. “Meghan?”
“Oh, sorry. Lost you for a minute. I’m in my bedroom. Trying on things, you know?”
“Are you going to take your phone back too?”
“Yes. Probably tomorrow. I feel like shopping anyway. I really need some new skirts.” Another pause. “Say, Mel, do you still have that red-and-gold dress, the one you wore to that party last month at Jack’s?”
“Well of course. Why?”
“Could I borrow it some time?”
“Meg! You told me that dress was a foot too short and a size too small and bright enough to guide aeroplanes.”
“Welllll, yes, but . . . with the right accessories . . . it could be, you know, sexy. I really need something for my date with Don.”
“You said it made me look like a centrefold without the staple.”
“I know! I know! But can I like, borrow it tomorrow?”
“Sure.” You’ll never look as hot in it as I do though, she thought secretly.
They chatted for a few minutes more, then Melody rang off. Meghan seemed a bit distracted. Melody imagined her cute friend prancing about in her bedroom in nothing but underwear. She wondered briefly if she was doing something besides trying on clothes. She grinned. Then she went back to admiring her new shoes again.
Melody was a little surprised by how much she liked the shoes. They seemed to give her whole look a bit of lift. But these jeans weren’t—right. Everybody wore jeans. Melody wanted to stand out a little. Besides, this pair wasn’t even particularly tight, or low-riding or anything. True, they clung fondly to her backside, but she always wore jeans like that. Why had she paid good money for clothes so unflattering?
Maybe after she got rid of this irritating cell phone she would—The telephone interrupted her thought by warbling its three notes in her purse. Melody made an irritated noise. She dug out the little telephone she had just put away. “Hello?” she said, flipping it open.
There was no answer, or course. She held the phone to her ear and listened to the static. She could almost imagine a faint voice beneath it. She considered her reflection in a store window. She smoothed a hand down her jeans. She turned one ankle back and forth, admiring her shoes. After a while she got tired of listening to nothing and tossed the phone back in her purse.
She had come to a decision. These jeans had to go. They were plain boring. She charged off for a fashion store where she was sure they would have what she wanted.
She was right, too. It took only a few minutes to find exactly what she needed: a new denim miniskirt. This one was blue, with artful fading around the back to make it look worn and close-fitting. In fact, it was rather close-fitting: Melody had chosen the lower end of her usual size range, to guarantee a flattering fit around her derriere.
Now this is better, the shapely teen decided, studying herself in the store’s full-length mirror. Now everyone could see her pretty shoes and her legs. The skirt went well with her simple red top. Better yet, the skirt was on sale!
“The manager decided to price some selected items at half off,” the clerk attending her explained. She was a plump, pretty thing no older than Melody. “All the blue-jean minis are included in the sale.”
Melody glanced over at the slightly older woman who was apparently the manager. She was arranging clothing on a rack. One of the little red cell phones dangled from the belt of her tight designer jeans. Melody was delighted. Because of the manager’s good taste she could indulge herself with a new belt too. “We’ve been selling a lot of these outfits,” said the clerk.
Eventually, after checking out the accessories for a while, Melody continued on her original mission of returning her errant cell phone. She was having a hard time staying angry about it. She felt too cheerful. The new mini suited her mood. She was young and sexy and full of life and why shouldn’t everyone know it? Especially those two hot guys over there who were memorizing her legs as she went by. She was glad she was wearing a few inches of heel.
She was so taken with her new leggy look she forgot her track shoes in the store.
Maybe a lot of people were having trouble with these new cells, Melody wondered. She had passed a handsome young office worker a moment earlier. The woman was stylishly turned out in a red skirt-suit and matching red pumps, along with expensive gold jewellery. The skirt was a trifle short for a bank or something; in fact it was at least as short as Melody’s. She felt a little pang of jealousy at the sight of the woman’s nylon-encased legs.
The business woman had been standing still. She had one of those little red cell phones next to her ear, tucked under the neatly coiffed brown hair. She was listening to something without speaking. Her gaze was on the distant horizon. After a long moment she shook her head, snapped the phone shut and tossed it into the Givenchy handbag she was carrying. She looked around, as if considering something. The last Melody saw of her, she was walking into a lingerie shop.
Melody’s mother was a business woman too. She worked in insurance. She rarely wore skirts at all. She wouldn’t think much of Melody’s new skirt. Melody smiled at a man walking along with his wife or girlfriend. His eyes lingered on her tanned thighs, until his girlfriend elbowed him in the ribs. Melody decided her mom didn’t know anything.
Now that she noticed, there were quite a few woman in minis and such in the mall today, and not all Melody’s age. Lots of competition for the guys’ attention. Not that Melody wasn’t getting her fair share of admiring looks. Still, she wanted to stand out.
She was hardly surprised, a few minutes later, when her cell phone rang again. Resignedly, she pulled it out of her purse and put it to her ear. She didn’t even bother saying hello. Why bother, when there was never anyone calling? She listened to the static until she was sure there was no one on the line. She threw the little phone back in her purse.
Her attention was momentarily drawn to a couple of young women like herself, out shopping together. Both of them were giggling along in spike-heeled ankle-boots, packages from fashion outlets in both arms. One of the women was dressed in a stretchy miniskirt. Her legs were set off by silvery nylons with alternating light and dark horizontal rings. It was a bold look to wear on an ordinary shopping trip. She had a little red cell phone on a band around her wrist.
Melody watched them curiously. The style was too outre for her tastes. She looked down at her legs. They were well-turned to be sure, and nicely tanned from a summer at the beach. Like most of her friends, Melody shunned pantyhose in favour of bare legs. Now she felt under-dressed again.
There was a specialty shop for hosiery somewhere in the mall. Melody was pretty sure it wasn’t on this floor. She would have to walk a long way back to get rid of her dumb cell phone. Still, this was a fashion emergency. She turned around and headed for the escalators.
It was almost a half hour later when Melody walked out of LegLooks. She had a big package of hosiery in one hand and a big smile on her face. She couldn’t help it. She felt great. She looked hot and she knew it.
The bubbly brunette was still wearing her new mini and heels. In between she now sported a pair of high-fashion pantyhose, gossamer things with a gold sheen. They made her legs look terrific. The store clerk had told her so. So did the swivel-head reaction she got from the first man that walked by. Melody winked at him. She found an excuse to smooth down her new gold top. The man almost tripped over his own feet.
Melody hadn’t really intended to buy the new top. When she entered LegLooks she had been a little overwhelmed by all the different kinds of hosiery. A friendly sales clerk, Clarissa according to her name tag, had come to her rescue. Clarissa was a walking advertisement for the store’s wares: her legs below her side-slit black mini were decked in fine silk stockings with a black seam up the back.
Clarissa had assessed Melody’s outfit and immediately suggested the best legwear for her. In fact, she suggested a number of alternatives, with increasing enthusiasm. “Oh, look, here’s something else you should try,” she said, selecting yet another bit of microfibre from a rack. “These feel as lovely as they look.”
All the selections looked lovely to Melody. She was suddenly in love with sexy stockings and hot hose. She decided to wear the gold-tinted ones, but couldn’t resist buying a few others for later. Well, actually, rather more than a few; Clarissa was very persuasive. Melody thought her legs looked smashing in the seamed stockings and high-high heels.
“Oh, thank you,” Clarissa beamed, when Melody complimented her. “I got so tired of wearing pants. Stockings make my legs look so much better. I hardly bother wearing jeans any more. I—”
She was interrupted by three soft tones. Melody sighed and reached for her purse. It was Clarissa’s phone that was ringing though. Melody had already noticed it, hanging from a gold chain so it rested jauntily on her hip. She unclipped it, flipped it open, and pressed it against one ear. “Yes, this is Clarissa,” she said.
The conversation stopped there. Obviously there was no one on the phone. Didn’t any of these cells work right? Clarissa stood there for a long time, staring off into the distance. Melody watched her blink in slow motion. Eventually she shook her head and snapped the phone shut.
“It’s always doing that,” she commented, replacing it on its clip. While her hands were there she lifted the hem of her brief skirt and adjusted a stocking clip fondly. Her fingernails were the same red as the cell phone.
“Mine too,” Melody said. “Fact I came here today to give it back.”
“Good idea. They offered them to all of us who work here, part of the promo I suppose, but—oh, I just had a wonderful idea! She tottered over to a rack of garments. She turned it so Melody could see them. “Bodyshirts. Woven silk and microfibre. Unbelievably comfortable. They’re made to match the hose sets. They came in only this week.”
“Well, I don’t know,” Melody demurred. She had thought of getting herself something to replace the old tank top she was wearing. “Those look, well, really tight up top, you know?”
“Oh, but they’re beautiful, don’t you think? And very flattering. There’s built in chest support. They’re designed so they can be layered under a jacket or second top.” Her tone suggested she didn’t think much of this option.
Melody considered. The bodyshirt would fit like a tight jersey, showcasing her generous rack. What was so wrong with that? She had a great pair of tits, didn’t she? Time to give those babies the credit they deserved. “Let me try the gold one,” she said at last.
Clarissa smiled approvingly. Before she left she had talked Melody into buying three more.
Melody stood in the mall for a moment, considering where to go next. Paradoxically, her shopping impulses had put her farther away from the cell phone kiosk than when she came in. She would have to walk the entire length of the mall, and ascend one floor, to take the phone back. She didn’t mind too much. The mall was full of guys this time of day. Melody was in the mood to show off. She strolled down the wide corridor at a less hurried pace than before.
Her telephone rang twice in the next ten minutes. The first time was her mother calling. “Mel, where are you?” her voice said in Melody’s ear. “It’s almost dinner time.”
“I’m at the mall, mum. I have to take back this cellular phone. It doesn’t work right. And I’m doing a little shopping.”
“Well, don’t stay too late. I’m making dinner for you, and you have to work tomorrow.”
Melody frowned. She had a summer job at her mom’s office. Melody had finished college, but she was living at home until she saved enough for her own place. She sometimes wondered if that had been a wise decision.
“OK mum,” she said resignedly. “I’ll come right home after I return the phone, ‘K?”
Melody rang off. She scowled at the telephone as she tossed it back in her bag. Ever since the divorce her mother had become so serious. She glanced at her watch. She really should hurry along to dinner.
She noticed a couple of cute fellows, checking out her legs big time. She forgot about hurrying home. She dawdled a little to give them a good look. She knew she looked fine. The form-hugging bodyshirt emphasized the curve of her figure and the double swells of her boobs. The twin peaks of her nipples were probably visible through the fabric. Showing off was getting her a tad excited.
The second time the phone rang, it ding-dong-dinged three familiar tones. Automatically, Melody fished it out of her handbag, flipped it open, and put it to her ear. She listened patiently, though she knew there would be no one there. It did seem though, that if she listened very intently, she could almost hear that voice, far away in the background. She couldn’t make out what it was saying. After a while she gave up trying. She shut the phone and tossed it back in her purse. She went back to considering the ear-rings in the jewellery shop she was passing.
Melody’s intention to hurry along to the cell phone kiosk met another derailment almost immediately. She had walked no more than a few paces after the last empty phone call when she found herself passing a hairstyling shop. The place was busy. All three chairs were occupied. Three young stylists, dressed in the hip, trendy fashions that hairstylists seemed to favour, were cutting and clipping and fussing and chatting like lively worker bees attending their queens.
Melody watched for a moment. She had been thinking about getting her hair done. Maybe it was time to change her style. At the moment her long brown hair was falling loose down her back, constrained only by a lavender scrunchy. She didn’t want to take too much time, there was still something to attend to—what was it? Oh yes, the cell phone. She still had to take back the cell phone.
One of the clients seemed to be almost finished. The wait wouldn’t be too long. Decisively, she entered the shop and gave her name to the receptionist.
She was right, the wait wasn’t very long. Within a few minutes Melody was seated comfortably in one of the big chairs, a red apron across her lap, discussing hair styles with a cute stylist named Mandy.
“What kind of look were you going for?” Mandy asked, as she expertly combed out Melody’s thick tresses. She was a pixie-ish little thing, her own hair short and frosted at the up-curled ends. She was wearing a very brief yellow skirt along with sheer, dark nylons and low-heeled white boots. The other stylists were similarly attired. Foot traffic slowed in front of the shop.
“I want something different,” Melody said. “Something hot! I want to look like a movie star!” She giggled, and Mandy did too.
“Well, we could layer it, sort of bring this part over your forehead and highlight your face. I can give you a look like Dana Danforth.” She mentioned a popular teen movie actor. She giggled again, still combing.
“OK, let’s do it!” Melody declared. Her own enthusiasm surprised her a little. She had always been practical about her hair. Now the idea of a fancy do was getting her excited—and surprisingly, turned on. The stiffness of her nipples was joined by a pleasant tickle in her crotch. She was grateful for the apron.
Mandy said: “Honey, you are going to look so good when I am finished, you won’t recognize yourself.” She set to work with scissors and clippers. She had barely begun when Melody heard the distinctive three-tone sound of her little red phone. She looked around for her purse. Most of the other women in the shop dove for their phones too.
“Oh, it’s me,” Mandy said. Melody had already noticed the way she hung her cell phone at the bottom of her V-necked yellow sweater, like a racy brooch. It drew the eye to her half-exposed, red lace bra. She unclipped the phone and flipped it open. “Hi, this is Mandy,” she chirped.
She didn’t say anything else. She seemed to be listening to something. Melody glanced up at her. The petite stylist had a happy, far-away look on her face, like she was reliving a romantic evening with a hot boyfriend. Melody watched her perky breasts rise and fall with each slow, deep breath. Her crotch tingled. She decided to look somewhere else.
She turned to gaze out the window at the busy shopping mall. The after-work crowd was starting to thin as the supper hour approached. Melody watched a young blonde woman sitting on a bench with her knees crossed. Perhaps she was waiting for someone. She had a cup of coffee in one hand. She was wearing a tight-fitting crop-top and a pair of fashion jeans stuffed into shearling boots with laces up the front and a big fringe of fur around the top. Melody had seen boots like that in a couple of the stores. The thick wedge heels were more about showing off than walking.
At that moment the woman must have heard something because she dove into the big handbag beside her and retrieved a tiny red cell phone. She flipped it open and held it to one ear. Melody watched, amused. Did everybody have one of those things? She watched the pretty woman stare off into the distance while she listened to the telephone. Her free hand lightly stroked across her chest. The tingling in Melody’s nether parts grew stronger. She twitched in her chair. She could hear Mandy’s slow, regular breathing behind her. The shop was filled with the giggles and chatter of the other stylists and their clients.
It took the woman on the bench a long time to decide that there was no one to talk to on her cell phone. Eventually she folded it up and tossed it back in her handbag. She got to her feet. Swinging her handbag lazily, she ambled away down the corridor. She forgot her coffee.
“Well, no one there again,” Mandy said abruptly. Melody jumped. She had almost forgotten about the cute stylist. “These phones are great, but they get a lot of missed connections.” She gently refastened the red cell phone to the cleft of her sweater. One hand feathered across her breasts for a moment. She sighed.
“I’m going to take my phone back,” Melody observed. “Maybe you should too.”
“Yes, that’s what I—oh, I have a marvellous idea! You have such rich, lovely hair. Have you ever considered colouring it? Blonde I mean. You would look fantastic!” She ran Melody’s long hair through her fingers as she spoke.
Melody was taken aback. “Blonde! Oh no, I don’t think so. That’s kinda radical, you know? Let’s go with the cut we talked about.”
“Oh, but luv it would be sooooo beautiful on you,” Mandy insisted. “Give it a try, why don’t you?”
“Really, no. I haven’t got time.”
“Don’t worry, it hardly takes any time at all. Or, not so much if we get right on it. Please? I just know you’ll love it once you see yourself. You said you wanted something bright and different, right? This would fill the bill exactly. You can be hot, luv, hot!”
Melody was perplexed by the girl’s enthusiasm. “Look, Mandy, please I don’t want—oh for heaven’s sake!” This time it was her phone that was ringing. She recognized the three-tone melody. Mandy handed her purse to her. Melody fished out the cell phone and put it to her ear.
She didn’t even say anything. Of course there was no one at the other end. She listened for a long time, to be sure. Nothing but background hiss. What she had thought was a distant voice was probably a trick of the static. When she had satisfied herself that there was no one to talk to she snapped the phone shut.
Why was she looking at the ceiling? It took her a moment to realize that her chair back had been lowered, to give Mandy better access to a sink behind her. The hip stylist was carefully laving dye through her hair.
Melody giggled. Whoops! Had she really been listening to the phone for that long? Well, it looked like she was going to be blonde now. Cool. She giggled again, feeling unconcerned.
“Now you just relax there for a few minutes while that works in, ‘K luv?” Mandy cooed. “Want me to do your nails while you’re waiting?”
“Sure,” Melody replied easily. She hadn’t come in for a nail job but why not? She would get something that looked good with blonde hair. It wasn’t like she had somewhere else to go. Well, there was something about the phone, but whatever. Her mum would be a little miffed about Melody being late for dinner. None of that seemed to matter very much.
Melody was feeling very relaxed. She let her hand lie limp so Mandy could doll up her nails. The girl was sitting on a little wheeled stool beside Melody’s chair. If Melody turned her head a little she could see right down the sexy stylist’s V-necked sweater. Yum yum nice titties, she thought idly. She wondered if Mandy would work topless if she paid her extra. She giggled happily. The tingle in her own bra, and farther down, was delightfully distracting.
It was quite a while later when Melody finally wandered out of the style shop. She was transformed. Her formerly chocolate-brown hair was now dazzling blonde, artfully shaded darker around her face. It flowed like a golden waterfall down her back, curling and waving gently here and there.
Melody spent a good five minutes admiring herself in the shop mirror when Mandy was finished. Wow, she looked hot. She practised brushing back her hair with one hand. Her nails were polished, liquid red. Everyone in the shop said she looked adorable.
She left Mandy a big tip.