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  1. Here's another true story for my second post! This experience was and still is very special to me and I thought I would share. I can't remember the exact shoe size but I would guess around 5 1/2 - 6. This story takes place a little after my high school graduation. But to start, we have to go back just a little bit before my graduation to Memorial Day weekend. My family and I took a day trip down to the beach to go boating with a very close family friend of ours. I was there with my mom, my siblings, my aunt, and a close friend of my mom and aunts who's name is Donna. Donna was the lady who owned the boat and she also owned this little shop that's rights on the beach. The shop sold a variety of different things like tackle, fishing gear, boat supplies, food, snacks, drinks, beach toys, swimwear, and a bunch of other beach and aquatic related products. There was also a little restaurant inside. She ran the shop with her husband at the time and this other girl named Marianna who lived close by. Back to Memorial Day weekend. We get down to the beach and arrive at her store to find her and her husband there. Donna had invited us down to go boating and to have a cookout on the beach. When we arrived, her husband, Stan, stayed with the store and Donna took us out on her boat. Donna is not a very tall woman, probably about 5' 5" and had curly dark hair. She was in her late 40s at this point but was still very attractive, despite a few wrinkles. (but I find those attractive) She also had very large breasts and it was hard to look at her in her bathing suit without your eyes being sucked straight to her chest. Her boobs were very saggy but that turned me on even more. However, the whole time on the boat the thing I was staring at the most were her feet. Her feet were so adorable. They were very small and her soles were very mature. All her toes were about the same length and looked so "suckable". She also had some amazing wrinkles on the bottom of her feet, mostly because of her age, but I wanted to bury my face so deep into her feet. We had been on the boat for awhile and I didn't really talk too much to Donna. She would be having conversation with my mom and aunt and I was more focused on her feet in the black flip flops she was wearing. However at one point I had tuned into the conversation and caught the very end. I wasn't listening to the full chat so I'm not entirely sure as to exactly what they were discussing, but I very distinctly remember hearing Donna say "Oh yeah I absolutely love having my feet touched". Within about 4 seconds of hearing those words I felt an errection coming on and I quickly adjusted my seating to try and stop it from growing. The conversation ended pretty soon after that and they started talking about other stuff so I'm not too sure exactly how the conversation started, but those words stuck in my head for the rest of the day. The rest of the time on the boat I was imagining giving her a foot massage and rubbing my face all over her wrinkly, mature soles. I honestly wanted to tell her right then and there that I would touch her feet whenever she wanted. Later on that night after our cookout and right before we were about to head back home, Donna came up to me to ask me a question. She told me that Marianna was going to be out of the country for all of summer and there would be some very specific weeks during summer that she would need some extra help. She explained how there are always certain weeks during summer when the shop is very busy and instead of having to go through the whole process of hiring someone, she wanted to just bring in someone who she knew and pay then under the table. Of course, me thinking about her words on the boat earlier, I immediately agreed and told her whatever week she needed me I would be ready. She took down my cell phone number and told me she looked forward to it. By the middle of summer I had completely forgot about the whole ordeal, until one day when I got a text from Donna asking if I was still interested in helping out in the shop. Almost instantly, my mind jumps straight to Donna's feet and how she said she loved to have them touched. I responded quicker than lighting and told her I was ready to work. She told me that she lived in an apartment now and I would stay there with her. (She had lived in a house back during Memorial Day and originally told me I would stay in the guest bedroom there) I wasn't sure why she lived in an appartment now but I didn't care. All I could think about were those mature wrinkly feet and those adorable little toes. That Sunday night I was all packed and made the 2 hour drive down to the beach to start working Monday morning. The whole way down I tried to think of clever things to say and do to try and get to touch Donna's feet. I came up with a few decent schemes. Upon arriving at the apartment, I was surprised to only see her there. It had only been a few months but Donna looked very different. She seemed very stressed out and looked kind of sad in a way. I asked her where Stan was and she told me that her and Stan had just gotten a divorce. She mentioned how she wanted to get in touch with me sooner but had been dealing with the divorce and could only contact me now. The divorce was also why she lived in the apartment now. She then told me about how she needed a lot of extra help now because she no longer had Stan there to help in the shop. Thinking back on it, in the car on the way home from being there for Memorial Day I remembered my mother and aunt talking about how they both thought Donna and Stan were going to divorce soon. As Donna continued to tell me what had happened she began to cry. I didn't know what to do so I gave her a hug and tried to console her. She ended up crying in my arms for about 3-4. After she had dried her tears, she told me we had a big day ahead of us and I needed to get some sleep. Her apartment was only a single bedroom so I had to sleep on the couch but I was okay with that. Mostly because I wasn't too far from the door where all her shoes were. About an hour after Donna was asleep I made my way over to her shoe collection and began sniffing every pair I could see. The two stinkiest shoes there were a pair of red flats and some black toms. I brought one of each to the bathroom and alternated sniffing them while I masturbated. They smelled so good I came in about 2 minutes. The next day we woke up ridiculously early and headed to the shop to open up. I ran the cash register and helped cook some food while Donna handled everything else. (There were two Hispanic cooks there who worked in the little restaurant and only one of them could speak English. There were both amazing chefs and showed me how to work wonders when you are limited on supply's. Aside from that, Donna pretty much took care of everything. I watched her all day work so hard and constantly search for busy work like she had a manager scrutinizing her. I could tell she was just trying to keep her mind focused on work though. I figured. I might be able to use this as a golden opportunity. After a a very long day at the shop, we finally got to head back to Donna's apartment. There was only one shower so we had to take turns and I went first. When I was out I went into the living room to find Donna sitting on the couch drinking a glass of wine. I sat down next to her and began to make my move. I still remember this moment like it was yesterday. "Wow" I said, "you worked really hard today Miss Donna. I didn't realize you had to do all those tasks by yourself". She responded with "Well it happens when you add another persons responsibilities to yours (referring to her ex husbands old duties) but it's okay it helps me to keep my mind off things". "Yeah I guess that's a plus", I said. Donna followed with "It is. And plus, I love my little shop. Now that Stan is gone the store is really all I have". She took a sip of her wine and I paused for a moment because the conversation started to get a bit sad. After about 10 seconds of silence I said "Well I'm sure you're still extremely tired and worn out from today. Would you like a foot massage or anything?" Immediately her eyes got wide and she said "Oh please that would be lovely" with a slight tone of excitement. She chugged the rest of her wine, poured herself another glass, reclined back in the couch and placed both of her barefeet right into my lap. I took one glance at her mature soles and my dick instantly started getting hard. Unlike with Amanda, I didn't want her to see my boner because I was a little less sure of how she would react. Plus I was wearing athletic shorts and it would have been very noticeable. I grabbed her left foot and began to massage. The feeling of my thumbs pressing into her wrinkly, mature, sweaty feet was driving me crazy. It had only been about 10 seconds of me massing her and I was already having trouble resisting the urge to lift her foot up and lick all over her soles. I was squeezing my thighs together very hard to try and keep my penis in place. I was in heaven. I had always wanted to do things with an older women's foot and now that dream was coming true. I began to massage the right one and then after awhile I would alternate back and forth. For about the first five or so minutes we didn't talk much. She was scrolling through Facebook or something on her phone and I was sitting there trying not to show that this was the time of my life. After about five minutes she put her phone down, drank some more wine, and said "You know, I absolutely love having my feet massaged. I just love when my feet are touched". She then rested her head back on the arm of the couch and closed her eyes. Donna then said "Feel free to go as long as you want. I'm in no rush". And neither was I. I continued to massage her feet for another 15 minutes. She kept her eyes closed the whole time and didn't say much except for the occasional "Oooo that feels great" which made my dick even harder. After awhile of her having her head cocked back I decided to release the grip on my thighs and let my penis be free. It was getting so uncomfortable and she wasn't looking now anyways. I also used this time to stare intensely at her feet. Since she wasn't looking the whole 15 minutes of massaging, my eyes were fixed on her feet the whole entire time. I couldn't look away. They were just so beautiful I wanted to lick them so bad. I debated in my head for so long whether or not I should try and take things a step further or not. She seemed to really enjoy it and claimed to love having her feet touched so why wouldn't she want to have her toes sucked and her soles licked? I finally came to a decision and I waited patiently for her next occasion "that feels so good". After awhile she said it again "Oh yeah that feels great". This was about her 7th or 8th time saying it so I said back to her "You really do like having your feet touched don't you Miss Donna?" "Oh yeah", she started "ever since I was younger I've always loved massages and having my feet touched or played with". I then said "Well we can do this again tomorrow after work if you'd like. You have very pretty feet." "Do you think so?" She said as she sat up and opened her eyes. I wasn't expecting this and didn't have time react and hide my errection and before I knew it she was making direct eye contact with my throbbing hard penis poking up in my shorts. "Oh my" she said as she blushed and smirked. I quickly said "Oh ummmmm" as I stuffed my dick back in between my thighs as best as I could. I tried to act as if I was nervous even though I could tell by the look on her face that things were going to go how I wanted them to. I looked at her and we made a silent eye contact for about 4 seconds until she said "So I'm guess you have a foot fetish". With a slightly embarrassed tone of voice I responded with "Well, maybe just a little bit" followed by a wink. Donna then said "I could pretty much tell by the way you were rubbing my feet. It's okay honey you're lucky. Remember I love to have my feet touched". She gestured with her eyes for me to continue giving her the massage. This was exactly what I wanted to hear. Now I just had to find a way to get my tongue on her foot. I massaged for about a minute and a half, this time more smooth and seductively, and then I asked "So Miss Donna, when you say you love having your feet touched, what other kinds of ways do you like?" "Why", she responded "do you want to touch them in a different way?" Without saying a word I lifted up her left foot to my mouth and took a nice long suck on her big toe. My heart was pounding. Did I just go too far to soon? But what happened next changed me. Donna leaned her head back down on the arm of the chair, closed her eyes, and said "Carry on". Was as this a dream? I honestly could not believe this was actually happening to me. I looked at her foot and pressed it firmly into my face. I could feel all her wrinkles on my lips and nose I wanted to cum right in that moment. I then daringly placed my tongue on her heel and pressed it hard into her foot and licked all the way up the bottom of her mature foot. Before going any further I looked at her to see her reaction and found her lying there with a grin on her face looking content. I grabbed her other foot and buried my face right into both of her feet. I then proceeded to lick the bottoms of her feet and suck on her toes for about 5 minutes. I stopped for a second to say something to her but she quickly stood up and dragged me into her bedroom. Donna then pushed me onto her bed and pulled off my shorts and underwear without any warning. She hopped onto the bed and started to give me a footjob. This was my first and only footjob, even to this day. Surprisingly, unlike many other foot fetishists, I'm not very into footjobs and it took her awhile to make me cum from this. But after awhile I finally did cum all over her feet. She went to the bathroom to clean herself up and then came back and her and I proceeded to talk. She told me about how she was never into feet until her first boyfriend. The first guy she dated was the guy she lost her virginity to and she was very in love with him. He had a serious foot fetish and although she wasn't really into that, she would do foot related things for him because she wanted him to be happy. She told me that he loved foot jobs and after awhile of them doing stuff, she started to develop a love for having her feet touched. Unfortunately that guy broke her heart but she kept her love for her feet. She also told me about how she met her first husband in the library at college because she caught him checking out her feet and she seduced him with her feet. Stan also had a thing for feet, also one of the reasons they were married, but she said that he always told her that her feet "just weren't right" although he would still make love to them and lick and kiss them. This had nothing to do with why they divorced but it definitely didn't help. After she finished filling me in on all her past feet romances, she asked about my past experiences and also what I like to do best with feet. I told her about Amanda and some other girls (sorry no spoilers for future stories) and also that my favorite thing to do was to lick a girls feet while getting a handjob. She told me that she had seen that in porn but had never done it then immediately stuck her foot in my face. I assumed she wanted to do it so I began to passionately lick the bottom of her foot. I pressed my tounge so hard into her soles to make sure I felt every single wrinkle. Once she started giving the handjob I was in heaven. Since I had already had an orgasm tonight it was taking me awhile to cum and I told her it might take some time. She then did something I would have never guessed. "We're not telling your mom about this right?" she asked. "No way!" I said "this stays between you and me". Without a word she then got completely naked and sat down right on my penis. Yes. Miss Donna and I were having sex. Actual sex with a women close to 50. Could this day get any better? And I no longer had to sleep on the couch. Well the next day at work we eyeballed each other the whole time and rushed back to her apartment after closing and quickly began to make love. Of course there was also foreplay, especially foot related roleplay. And that continued every day until I had to drive back home. I told her that I would come down again soon and she told me that I had to. And two weeks later I went down for another week and we did the exact same thing again every single night. And the best part was, she had past the point where she could have children and I was able to cum inside of her without a condom. It was the perfect situation. Unfortunately, Miss Donna began feeling guilty after awhile. Not only was she having a romance with a kid who just graduated high school but with her close friends son. And this hit her eventually. I understand now that she was still a little bit of a wreck from the divorce and this was not normal behavior for her. We had a long talk about it on my last trip down to the beach and we decided to call it quits. I didn't exactly want to, to be honest I wanted to marry her, but it was for the best. Our final time having sex was magical and she let me have one last session with her feet. I have never licked a pair of feet as hard as I did this time and her feet were soaking wet with slobber. I still think about her almost every day and I masturbate to mental images of her considerably more than I do to porn. I currently barely watch porn because I have a such a huge mental library of experiences that turn me on way more than porn. Most of that is due to her. Sometime I still text her or call her because I can't get her out of my head. But we talk less and less as the days go by. Sorry for a not-too-happy ending but that's how the story goes and as much as I want to I can't change the situation. Hope you all enjoyed! More stories on the way very soon. Thanks
  2. Respecting Maryam Reaps the Rewards I'd been determined to make it alone in the big city and for the first sixth months I'd plodded along just fine. Sure, making it alone actually meant that my parents had put a deposit down on a house, but they were more than happy to help out their only daughter. I'd taken out a mortgage for the remainder. Things had been a bit tight from the day I signed the contract, but it was manageable. I was proud to be a homeowner. I had a steady, reliable job as an administrative assistant at a law firm and the mortgage repayments, as well as my household bills, were mathematically within my means. On paper I could manage the bills, but I was hopeless when it came to organising my finances. Rather than put money aside for the mortgage every payday; I'd party it up on the weekends. My salary would disappear as I plundered it on alcohol and recreational drugs. Nothing too illegal or dangerous, just irresponsible more than anything. I justified it to myself that I was still young and deserved to have fun, despite already being into my 30's. I realise now that I was merely burying my head in the sand, rather than accepting my carelessness and doing something about it while I still could. My mortgage payments began to slip and before long I was in arrears. Letter after letter arrived in the mail declaring final notice and demanding payment. I managed to fend it off, bit by bit, delaying the inevitable by another month each time. Still, even though I was on the brink of losing the house, it didn't stop me hitting the booze. My worries seemed to dissipate when I was on the end of a bottle. The shit hit the fan when I was laid off from my job. Work had dried up and my employer simply couldn't keep me on. I begged and pleaded and explained my financial situation with my boss. She was sympathetic, and hooked me up with a role at another firm. I was relieved, but it was short-lived: the salary was a lot less. There was no way I could keep the mortgage payments up. With all of my partying and reckless spending I hadn't put any money aside. My savings currently read as zilch. I approached my parents for help but rather than understanding, they were furious. They were living off of their pensions and had put up their savings for my deposit. Unsurprisingly, our relationship completely broke down. Inevitably, I had to declare bankruptcy and the house was repossessed. I'd squandered close to £10k of my parents' money through the deposit, not including all of the payments I'd made myself. I lost pretty much everything. There I was, the latest victim of the housing bubble. The bailiffs gave me a week to find a new place to live before they would change the locks so the race was on. I barely kept my job, but with nowhere to live that would surely be on the line too. I needed that income if I was to stand any chance of finding a new place. I'd most likely have to turn my eye to a smaller apartment, or even settle for a houseshare. Anything was better than the unimaginable alternative; the streets. My next problem was that with my bankruptcy and appalling credit rating, none of the estate agents would go near me. Private landlords weren't any good either as they all wanted months of rent upfront as a deposit, which I simply couldn't afford. I tried advert after advert, but was turned away every time. I was losing hope as the week disappeared when a new advert appeared in the window of the local cornershop. It was for a small room, housesharing with the landlady. The price was the cheapest so far and I didn't hesitate to phone and arrange a viewing. I arrived at the house right on time. It was rather large and in a nice area of the city. No doubt the landlady was wealthy to own such a place. So I was most surprised when she answered the door. Before me stood a young, middle-eastern girl, barely over 5 feet tall and petite. I wondered if she was the landlady's daughter, but she shook my hand and invited me in. I figured immediately that she was Muslim as she wore a headscarf and her skin was a light brown. Perhaps a judgment on my part, but I was ignorant when it came to these sort of things. The house interior similarly had a middle-eastern feel to it. The décor, furniture and paintings gave off the vibe of Persia. It was all very clean and tidy and I suspected I stood no chance when it came to the room being offered. The girl introduced herself as Maryam and said that she was the sole owner. She invited me to the living area and I was offered some Turkish tea, which I drank with delight. “I haven't long lived here,” she explained, in a very noticeable Arabic accent. “I've just started a new job in the city and emigrated here from Iran.” “I'm amazed at the size of your house. What do you for a living if you don't mind me asking?” My voice was laced with envy. “I work as an investment banker, mostly dealing with commodities for corporate hedge-funds. I did quite well back home and was headhunted by one of the larger banks here. Their offer was too good to turn down, so here I am.” I tried to ham up the friendliness. “How do you like it here so far?” “It's a lot colder than back home.” She smiled and shook her head. “But I'm settling in just fine. It's a bit lonely though. That's why I thought it might be nice to have someone else around the house.” That explained the price she was asking; clearly she was new to this and money wasn't really a concern to her. She was only a couple of years younger than myself but seemed to have her life pretty together; especially in comparison to my own. It would be somewhat humiliating to have a young, well-off landlady. The fact she was an immigrant and successful -whereas I grew up here and was a failure- made it even worse in my eyes. But I was desperate, and I saw no alternative. She seemed polite and nice enough, so perhaps I could make it work. “Have you had much interest?” I asked. “You're the first woman that's replied. All of the others have been men, and that's not really what I'm looking for. I can't live alone here with a man, my parents wouldn't approve. I should have made that clear in the advertisement really.” “Well, I can assure you I'm not a man,” I joked. Maryam laughed and I took that as a good sign. I felt that I could be honest with her and I went through my whole situation. She nodded along and seemed sympathetic. She was a bit worried with my track record, but liked me an was willing to give me a chance. She had reservations, but we talked through them, eventually culminating in her offering me the room, but with conditions that she expected to be met. The rent had to be paid on time every month, there would be no partying in the house and no stumbling in drunk in the early hours. I really liked the room and especially the area the place was in, and for the price she was asking it was a bargain. My only concern was that I could see an immediate personality and culture clash. She laid out a lot of smaller rules that she expected to be followed. Most revolved around common decency and cleanliness. Cleaning dishes after they were used, respecting privacy and not making any loud noises after a certain hour. That sort of thing. It all sounded fairly standard, but once I settled, I knew I'd return to my heavy partying, it was simply in my blood. From first impressions it seemed that Maryam was the complete opposite and very strict. I reasoned that if I kept my partying away from the home environment then things could work out. I accepted her offer and had moved in within a couple of days. Over the next weeks I learned a fair bit about my landlady, Maryam. She was indeed of Persian descent and had spent her whole life in Iran up until the past few months. Her features were exotic and quietly enticing. She spoke with an Arabic accent, though her English was fluent and of a high standard. A devout Muslim, her religion appeared to be a very important aspect of her daily life and she prayed multiple times a day. However, she appeared to be a workaholic and spent most of her time at the office. The evenings she would usually spend relaxing, often catching up on Arabic soap operas or quietly reading a book. Maryam's clothes were traditional, yet stylish and fashionable. Her hair was always hidden beneath a headscarf, which she informed me was called a hijab. She owned many, colourful and stylish in their own right and always sitting in perfect harmony with her choice of traditional dress. From her brown complexion and dark eyebrows, I figured her hair to be black, though I'd never seen it. By comparison, my choice of clothes were plain and boring. My physique was average, my height gangly and my hair an unappealing rusty red. We looked quite an odd pair to be housesharing. I'd made an extra effort to be on my best behaviour the first few weeks, particularly as Maryam seemed very conservative. Despite the differences in our backgrounds, we got along fairly well and I found her easy to talk to. I learned that her family was traditional and her parents had been trying to match her with a husband for years. Maryam was independent however, and though she embraced the traditional values of her family, she wasn't ready to settle down. For now, her career was her most important passion and she appeared to be very successful. She took her work very seriously. She'd wear a more professional suit to the office, though the hijab was ever present. The suits usually led down to high heeled pumps, but at home, her attire was more comfortable; sandals or slippers were the favoured choice. Everything was going along just fine. I was up to date with my rent and had respected all of Maryam's rules. She seemed happy enough with me as her lodger. That was until I returned a bit worse for wear from a work's social. I'd spent about 5 minutes trying to unlock the door with my keys, then collapsed against the wall while taking off my boots. I was loud and careless, knocking a potted plant over in the hallway and spilling a glass of water up the stairs. Maryam was stood in her bedroom doorway waiting for me, arms folded across her chest and a look of disapproval upon her exquisite face. She looked even prettier when she was stern and serious. “What sort of time do you call this, Katie?” She asked. I tried to steady myself against the wall, but swayed from side to side. “Are you drunk?” Maryam added. “Maybe a little bit,” I giggled. “I don't think this is at all funny. This is no way for a lady to behave.” “Oh come on,” I slurred. “We're not all boring. Try having a bit of fun some time, you might like it.” Maryam's face didn't stir from disapproval. “I'm really annoyed with you Katie,” she said. “I thought I was very clear about the rules here and you're showing me nothing but disrespect.” “Okay, I'm sorry. Look, I promise it won't happen again.” I tried to straighten myself up on two feet. “I think you moving in here may have been a bad idea.” With the threat of being kicked out on the streets, I suddenly sobered up a bit. I was still absolutely wasted, but I knew I was messing things up.“I didn't mean to upset you. I do respect you and your rules, I swear!” “You have a strange way of showing it.” Perhaps it was due to the alcohol, but I reacted in a way completely out of character. Usually I'd tell someone that was scolding me to piss off, but with everything I'd been through and lost, I felt desperate for Maryam to forgive me and give me another chance. I dropped to my knees and threw myself at Maryam's feet, wrapping my arms around her ankles. “Please Maryam.” My cheek rested against the top of her foot and I instinctively kissed the instep of the other. It was more fueled by my drunk desperation. “Please don't make me leave. I'll behave.” I kissed again. Maryam just stood there with her arms crossed. She seemed a bit caught off guard and unsure of what to do. As a result, she just watched in silence and let me kiss her foot for a few seconds. I offered little pecks all over the tops of her feet and toes, hoping to inspire some sympathy within her through my begging display. Her feet were pretty, pedicured and well taken care of but her nails were nude and without polish. I noted that she wore a gold chain around her left ankle, which I'd previously never noticed. There was little odour to her feet as my nose brushed above, as she'd likely showered not long before. I wasn't really considering how pathetic I must have looked. My mind was distorted by the alcohol and self-preservation was all that mattered. If it took kissing up to Maryam to be forgiven, then that's what I'd do. Maryam cleared her throat after a couple of minutes. “I suppose that's one way of showing me respect,” she said. “But better you get some sleep now. We'll talk about this more in the morning.” She pulled her foot from my lips and left me alone on the landing. I didn't realise it at that point, but through my drunken actions a precedent had been set that night. The next morning I felt terrible. My mouth was dry and my head throbbed. My memory was a bit hazy and distorted. I'd see flashes but nothing was making much sense. “Feeling a bit rough are we?” Maryam said as she waltzed in to the kitchen. She opened cupboards, took out bowls and glasses, wiped down pans and put them away, all with loud bangs and crashes. Clearly she was doing it on purpose. “I'm sorry about last night,” I said. “You already apologised. Or don't you remember?” She stared at me intently and waited for a reaction. When the memory came back to me, I blushed at the recollection. I'd kissed her feet and begged her to stay. How humiliating. “Anyway,” Maryam said. She seemed to sense my embarrassment and didn't prolong it any longer than necessary. “Rent is due. Do you have it for me?” I rubbed my head and groaned. I'd spent way more than I'd meant to the night before. “I'm a little short. Could I maybe have another week?” Maryam stared at me blankly. She blinked in disbelief. “Are you serious?” “I'm sorry,” I said. I looked over Maryam's shoulder at the wall in shame. I couldn't bear to meet her eyes and see the disappointment. Her elbows came to rest on the table, and her hands formed a bridge beneath her chin. “Do you not have my rent because you drank it all last night?” “I guess so,” I mumbled. My head was still throbbing, my tummy felt dodgy and I wanted nothing more than to creep off back to bed. “I think I made myself pretty clear what would happen if you let me down. I gave you a chance Katie and this is how you repay me?” “Please, Maryam. I'm sorry. I really do feel awful. How can I make it up to you?” “Well,” Maryam spoke. Her lips moved like she was about to say something else, but she bit her tongue and held back. “No, it doesn't matter.” “Come on, tell me what I can do please. Anything. Whatever it takes.” Maryam slipped her feet from her slippers and placed them on the breakfast bar, crossing her legs at the ankles. “You can start by showing me a little respect,” she said. She looked towards her feet and wiggled her toes invitingly, then her eyes met my own. There was hesitancy in them for the first time, and I suspected she was out of her comfort zone. She broke eye contact and continued in a whisper. “Just like you did last night. If you want an extension, you'll have to convince me.” I knew what that meant. My head was still pounding, but I didn't want to be on the streets. I clambered across the breakfast bar and placed my lips on Maryam's foot. “Please could I have another week to pay the rent, Maryam?” I asked. I looked up at her from beneath her foot and tried to sway her with a pair of adorable, puppy dog eyes she couldn't refuse. She seemed lost in her own enjoyment. “That's much better,” she cooed. “That's the way to show me respect.” I continued to place delicate pecks along the sole of her foot, all while looking up and keeping eye contact. She was rather pretty the more I thought about it, and my kisses along her sensitive feet seemed to soften her sharp facial features. The hijab only heightened her exotic beauty too, like an air of mystery; an unobtainable Persian beauty. She examined me curiously, appearing to revel in my subservience. Perhaps it was somewhat fitting that a good for nothing scrub like myself should kiss the feet of this independent, successful woman. Or maybe I was doing my bit to make up for all of the prejudice she'd no doubt encountered over here; there were plenty of ignorant idiots around. All sorts of weird justifications crossed my mind. Whatever the reason, Maryam just sat there and watched while I kissed. Eventually Maryam tired of my grovelling, maybe she was just joshing with me after all, and giving me a hard time for being a drunken fool. “Fine,” she said. She withdrew her feet and slipped them back into her slippers. “I'll give you another week to get it together, but that's all you're getting. If this happens again, you'll be out.” I made a concerted effort for the next few months to behave. When I did go out with my friends and got drunk; I crashed at one of their houses to avoid Maryam having to suffer my drunken stupor. I barely kept up to date with my rent, but for the time being, I was surviving. I would still slip up and break Maryam's rules, usually by accident. When it happened, I'd get a lecture and then she'd demand I showed her some respect. We both knew what that meant; I'd have to drop down on my knees and kiss her feet all over until she was satisfied. This occurred during whatever she happened to be doing at the time. Preparing us dinner, watching one of her soaps, reading a book, and on one occasion straight after a yoga class, which was the stinkiest and most punishing of ordeals. I think in some ways she got a rush from it; being able to have a local, white girl drop and kiss her feet whenever she demanded. But she never explicitly expressed it in that way. It was always focused around me showing her the respect she deserved. And there was always a reason for it; some rule that I'd broken. She never demanded it of me at random. I could have stood up for myself and refused; I didn't actually like humbling myself at her feet. But Maryam had a way of making me feel guilty for breaking her rules, as if I'd severely wronged her and her hospitality. Her personality was confident and her attitude composed. Kissing her feet felt like the appropriate way to right my mistakes. For some reason I never refused, so she grew comfortable enough to demand it whenever she didn't feel respected, which seemed to be often. It wasn't long before I messed up majorly once again. I'd gone out with a few friends, after one had said I could crash at their place. Unfortunately, she had hooked up with a guy and forgotten all about little old me. Drunken and all alone in the cold, I was left no choice but to head back home. I hoped I'd make it to bed without being caught, but I should have known better. It wasn't as late as I first thought, and I disturbed Maryam with my drunken buffoonery while she was at prayer before she slept. To say she was not amused would be putting it lightly. “How dare you come home in this state,” she fumed, while rising from her prayer mat. She would use the living room to pray as it offered the most space. I hiccuped. “I'm not that drunk,” I slurred. Maryam stomped over to me and looked up at my glassy eyes. She lifted up on to her tip-toes and took a whiff of my breath. “That's it,” she said. “I want you out by next weekend. I've had enough of this. I let it slide before because it was a one-off, but I'm not allowing this to become a regular thing. I bet you've squandered away all my rent tonight haven't you?” I couldn't stop myself laughing at her overreaction. “Probably. Anyway, I'm really tired and worse for wear. Could I go to bed and we'll talk about this in the morning?” “No, you've really disrespected me tonight, and I want to talk about it now.” I knew the drill by this point. I dropped to my knees and slumped to a heap at Maryam's feet. Before she could react, my lips were planted against her foot. She was being extra strict tonight, but I figured she was testing me. I knew what she wanted. It was humiliating, but it seemed to work and got me out of trouble every time. I didn't like or dislike doing it either way, her feet were usually clean. It was just sort of demeaning, but since it worked, I'd do it. As long as none of my friends found out. Anyway, I figured Maryam secretly enjoyed it when I kissed her feet, perhaps it was an empowerment thing. “No,” Maryam said from above my hunkering form. She kicked my face away “That's not going to cut it this time.” Drat. I was going to have to ride out the scolding head on. With my usual fail-safe, foot-kissing rejected, I was clueless when it came to appeasing her. My hazy, tipsy mind wasn't helping matters either. I couldn't think straight. Rather than trying to rectify the situation, I sprung to my feet and confronted her head on. “Who do you think you are talking to me like that?” “Your landlady,” she said, in a tone that highlighted my stupidity. “And you've let me down again with your behaviour. Look what happened with your house; you're on the same downward path again. You may be older, but you're not mature enough to manage your own money without blowing it all on frivolous things. Every month it's the same story. You need some order in your life.” “I'll spend my money how ever I like.” I was feeling bold with the alcohol flowing through my veins. “Not at the expense of my rent you won't. I'm actually amazed at how irresponsible you are. I want you out this weekend.” For such a small, petite girl, her presence and forceful confidence was tough to keep up with. It suddenly dawned on me that Maryam was being very serious. “No, please, Maryam. I don't want that. There must be a way we can fix this. I'm sorry. It's my fault I know. I'm just useless when it comes to money.” “I've heard all this before Katie. You've had enough chances.” “Please, anything. Tell me what it'll take for you to let me stay.” Maryam paused and was lost in thought for a second. “The only way I'll let you stay is if I have complete control over your finances, as you simply cannot be trusted to manage them yourself. I'm not having you thinking you can live here without paying your due and acting how ever you like.” “No way,” I said. “I'm not letting you spend my money. It's mine.” “I never said anything about spending it,” Maryam said. She gave me a look of contempt at the accusation. “I'll simply manage it for you as if you were one of my clients. Every month you can give me your paycheck, I'll deduct your rent and the rest I'll lock away in my safe. You can keep a small amount for day to day things, but anytime you want more than an agreed amount; you'll have to discuss it with me first and I'll decide whether it's a legitimate expense.” “I'm not a child. Why should I let you tell me how I can spend my own money?” I was blown away by her arrogance. “You're right, you're not a child. So it's about time you stopped acting like one. You're a grown woman, and frankly your behaviour is embarrassing.” “If I agree to this, what's stopping you from just spending it yourself or keeping it?” “Look, we'll sign a contract beforehand which states I am acting on your behalf as your financial adviser and I'll keep a record of everything. Every single penny will be recorded. I'll basically be giving you my professional services for free; if anything you should be grateful for the offer. This is just what you need. At the end of the month, I'll invest what ever is left for you.” “I just don't know,” I said. “I'm still not comfortable with the idea. Why would you do this? What's in it for you?” “You're pitiful Katie, and I feel sorry for you. Annoyed that you're constantly letting me down and disrespecting me, yes, but I feel sorry for you too. I want to help before you throw your life away. This will actually be really good for you,” Maryam said. “How do you know what's good for me though?” “Look at yourself. You're in your 30's and what do you have to show for it? Don't your parents care that you're wasting away your life? You'd never get away with this in Iran.” “Well, we're not in Iran.” I spat back. “No, but you're in my house. And while you're in my house you will obey my rules. Else, you can be on your way. So it's just your choice Katie. Either you agree to my suggestion and together we can get rid of these detrimental vices, or you can find somewhere else to live.” It irked me to be spoken to in such a way by a younger girl, especially a Muslim immigrant that didn't shy away from sharing her dim, self-righteous critique of my lifestyle. What gave her the right to tell me how I should live my life? “This is asking too much Maryam.” “Let's just try it and see how it goes,” she said. “When's your next paycheck?” “Next week.” I felt stupid with what I was about to say next as it confirmed everything she'd stated. “Umm, I'll need another week to pay your rent.” “See. I'm not even surprised. Then next week I want you to bring me your paycheck and we'll start from there. We'll give it a month's trial, and if things don't go as I expect, then I'll admit I'm wrong and you can take your money and move out. But if I'm right, we'll look at making it a long term arrangement. ” The next week rolled around and Maryam was waiting in the living room when I came home from work. She was sat up straight in the leather armchair with her feet firmly planted on the ground. She must have had the day off, as she was wearing a traditional Persian dress, sparkly and brightly coloured. Encompassing her head was her usual hijab, this time with a striped pattern. Her sandaled feet peeked out from beneath the silver hem of the dress; toes unpolished as was the norm. Her attire further hit home with what I was about to do, as if she'd deliberately dressed for the occasion. I was about to hand over control over my finances to my younger Muslim landlady; an Iranian immigrant. It was humiliating that it had come to this. What a kick in the teeth for my proud country, that one of its daughters needed a foreigner to manage her life. If my friends knew I'd never live it down. “Do you have it?” Maryam asked. I handed Maryam an envelope filled with my month's salary. It didn't even occur to me to remove some prior to handing it over. No doubt she would have counted it out and busted me anyway. Maryam took the cash, then pushed her sandals out from beneath her dress. “Kiss them,” she said. “Why?” I asked. I was ready to hand over my paycheck and sign her stupid contract, why did I need to humiliate myself too? I did it before because I had to and there was something in it for me. This was just her being spiteful. “Because I want you to,” Maryam said. Her toes drummed impatiently within her sandals. “I want you to show me you respect me and accept this is for your own good.” I sighed, sank to my knees and kissed each of her feet as she demanded. Being on my knees at Maryam's feet had become too much of a regularity. At times I felt like I was never anywhere else. To top it all off, she made me sign the contract on the floor right there between her sandaled feet. And that was it. Control of my finances had been handed over to my younger, Persian landlady. That fact brought a smile to her face and a grimace to my own. I quickly learned that Maryam was successful at her job because she was no fool. She tolerated little waste when it came to money. I'd figured that this whole contract deal would be a token gesture, and I'd be able to have access to my money as I pleased. Sure, Maryam would feel she was symbolically in control, but she couldn't stop me from taking what I wanted. It was my money after all. The first time I approached Maryam for cash was a rude awakening. Two of my friends had organised a weekend girls' night to Blackpool and I'd been invited along. In total, it was a couple of hundred pounds plus spending money on top. I told Maryam with excitement about the trip and expected her to hand over the money and wish me a good time. Instead, her face soured at the request. “I don't think that's a good idea at all,” she said. “What a complete waste of money that will be.” “What?” I said in shock. “It'll be amazing. A weekend to remember.” “A weekend you'll forget with the amount of alcohol you'll be shoving down your throat. No, Katie, it's not happening.” I was lost in silence for a moment, shocked that she had the audacity to tell me what I could and could not do with my own money. Finally the words came to me. “What makes you think you can stop me?” “We had an agreement, remember? And I intend to stick to it, however much you don't like it.” “Give me the key to the safe.” I reached out to Maryam and grabbed at her wrist. “Lay one finger on me and you'll be out of this house before the day is over.” Her words were confident, precisely chosen and carried weight. I grunted in frustration and slammed the door on the way to my room. The rest of the night I spent alone, sulking and wondering what I'd gotten myself into. That episode was repeated day after day over the next week. I'd ask Maryam for money so I could go and party or have fun and she'd flatly refuse. There was no give in her will at all and the more I seemed to rant and rave, the stronger her resolve would be. Eventually I tried a new tactic. I'd asked for some money one morning over breakfast. A few of my work colleagues were heading out before the weekend and had organised a bar crawl. I explained to Maryam that it was a social function and I deserved to have a little fun after working hard all week; she flatly refused as usual. While Maryam ate her muesli, I slipped beneath the table and began delicately kissing her bare feet. I heard her sigh above, before continuing eating. She never told me to stop, so I took that as a good sign. I traced my lips all over her toes, applied mild suction to her heels, and pecked along her arches. After a few minutes, I rose to my knees at Maryam's side and looked her in the eye. “With respect, Maryam, may I ask for a little money to enjoy myself tonight?” Maryam huffed, rolled her eyes and dropped her spoon in her cereal bowl. My groveling had worked but her response was to give me merely £20 of my money. I pleaded with her, explaining that it would barely last me two hours, but she was unmoved, stating that it was more than enough to have a good time and I should be grateful for it. When I started to argue and demand more, Maryam simply reminded me of our agreement and informed me I was welcome to take more money, but I should pack my bags too. I left for work that morning with the single £20 note in my purse. It was better than nothing I supposed. Unsurprisingly, I was home before 10pm that evening. My work colleagues thought I was a killjoy and carried on without me. I was borderline sober and bitter. Here I was at home on a Friday night and the party was carrying on without me. Maryam was on the sofa with her legs curled beneath her when I walked in. She looked up from the book she was reading. “You're back early,” she stated. I noted her mouth curled in the tiniest of smirks. “Well, I ran out of money,” I said while flopping down on the armchair opposite her. “I didn't have much of a choice. £20 isn't going to last long, is it?” “That's too bad, but at least you haven't come home in a state.” Maryam smiled, before returning her attention to her book. I fidgeted awkwardly in the chair. Truth be told, the night had ended prematurely, thanks to Maryam putting a limit on my funds. I felt like a child with an allowance. “My friends are still out partying,” I said. I avoided looking in Maryam's direction and focused my attention on the fireplace. “I was wondering if maybe I could have a bit more of my money and go out for a bit longer?” “I don't think that's a good idea, Katie,” Maryam said. Her attention never left her book. I wasn't drunk, but I'd had a few drinks and my inhibitions had been lowered. I'd tried to be respectful with Maryam since our arrangement had began, but my frustration had grown with her persistent strict control. “Why do you have to be such a bitch?” I said. Maryam looked up curiously from her book and raised her eyebrow. She didn't seem to lose any composure at my outburst. “Do you think talking to me like that is how to get your way?” “It's just, this isn't fair. It's my money and I should be able to spend it how I want.” My voice was more like a whine than the authoritative tone I was going for. “We've already established that you can't be trusted to do that, haven't we Katie?” Maryam always sounded so confident and assured. Despite being older than her, she always made me feel younger. “Could you at least think about it before you say no?” Maryam uncurled her legs from beneath her and stretched them out on the sofa. “Alright, that seems only fair. You can rub my feet while I think it over, then when I'm nice and relaxed you can politely ask me again and apologise for what you just called me. I'm not saying I'll say yes, but if you show me the proper respect, it might help your chances.” I'd already signed the paperwork, but I resented the control she had over me now my finances were in her hands. I believed her when she said she wouldn't steal from me, but I hadn't considered how she could control me by restricting my access to the bare minimum. I was a lot more pliable and obedient when desperate; perhaps that had been her motive all along. I sighed and knelt at the end of the sofa. While Maryam continued to read her book, I diligently massaged the soles of her feet. She had me right where she wanted me. Instead of out partying, I was spending my Friday night as her personal foot masseuse. After a half hour had passed of rubbing Maryam's feet. I figured enough time had passed to politely ask for what I wanted. I focused on her toes while I tentatively inquired. “I'm sorry for calling you a bitch Maryam. Please may I have a bit more money and join my friends?” Maryam settled back into the couch, and placed a cushion beneath her head. She turned the page of her book while simultaneously switching the foot in my hands. “I just don't know. I could let you go have your fun I suppose.” She closed her eyes as I applied extra pressure with my thumbs to her sole after hearing those hopeful words. “But I want you to help me move the furniture around tomorrow morning, and I know there will be no chance of that if you're hungover.” “Please ma'am,” I said while caressing the bottom of her foot. I figured she'd be happy if I addressed her in a more respectful manner. I leant forward and placed a kiss upon her sole, hoping that may help since she seemed to enjoy it. “I promise I won't stay out too late or get really drunk.” “Well,” Maryam said as I kissed her foot again. “You are being quite respectful right now.” I perked up at her praise. Maryam smiled. I suspected she liked seeing me suck up to her. It was probably quite a kick for her to have a local English girl at her feet. “Just keep rubbing while I think about it,” she said. She shifted on the couch and rested her other foot on my shoulder. “You need to start trusting that I know what's best for you. ” I continued to rub Maryam's feet in earnest, while occasionally offering a sporadic kiss, hoping to satisfy her and get what I wanted. It was taking a lot longer than I expected though, and with one eye on the clock above the fireplace, I noted the minutes were ticking away. Maryam appeared entirely engrossed in her book, barely offering me any acknowledgment as I slaved away at her feet. Before long an hour had passed and closing time at the bar was nearing. “So, can I get a bit more money then? The bar will be closed soon,” I asked. My hands were still wrapped around Maryam's tiny foot. My fingers had long ago began to ache, but I had fought through it. Maryam looked up from her book and glanced at the clock. “Sorry, that felt so good I completely lost track of the time.” She threw her book down on the table and stretched out. “It's probably too late for you to be going out now isn't it?” I wanted to throw her stupid book at her. She'd wasted almost two hours of my night mulling over whether I was going to get any more money. She could have just outright said no in the first place, not dangled a carrot in front of me so I'd rub her feet in hope. Maryam sat up and swung her legs around, so I was knelt between them. “What's wrong?” She asked. She looked down at me and raised her eyebrows at my silence. I was within my rights to voice my discontent, but I knew that would only result in me getting less money next time, if anything at all. It was quite a pickle I found myself in, but at least it would be over after the month's trial. “Nothing, Maryam,” I said. I was weak, so weak. I felt like such a putz. I couldn't hold her gaze as her eyes screamed victory. “Good.” She patted me on the head. “You've been a really good girl tonight. I'm proud of you. Get yourself to sleep and we can get started on the furniture nice and early tomorrow.” The rest of the month went the same way. By the fourth weekend, I didn't even bother to ask Maryam for money to go out drinking. She'd been very strict with my allowance. Other than for essentials such as food and transport, most of my requests were turned down on the grounds that they were spurious wants. I was allowed some money for entertainment, but it was restricted so that I wouldn't overindulge and step out of line. I was growing tired of having to ask Maryam for permission all of the time, just for simple things such as money to meet up with my friends. When my second paycheck came through, I was reluctant to hand it over to Maryam. I wanted the trial to be over as it had been an abject failure in my eyes. Surprisingly, she understood my opposition and was willing to talk it over. “I promised you a month's trial and I'm going to honour my word. I can tell you're not happy and you've found the last month tough, but I want you to think about what it was like for you before. You lost everything because of your irresponsibility. Do you want to go back to that?” “No, but I don't want to have no life either.” “You have a life. You've just been living within your means and in moderation this month. Of course there will be a sticking period because you're so used to getting your own way and living recklessly.” “But what's the point if I'm miserable all the time?” “Look at this,” Maryam said. She removed an envelope from her purse and placed it on the table between us. “This should cheer you up.” “What's that?” I asked. My tone was impatient and unimpressed. Maryam smiled and fished a wad of £20 notes from the envelope. She counted them out into a pile one by one. “You have almost £400 left this month. Does that surprise you?” “Really?” I was actually in shock. Perhaps having Maryam in charge of my finances wasn't such a bad thing after all. I never saved money, ever. I spent every paycheck partying it up on the weekends. “Really. I'm proud of you Katie. You've done really well and this was only the first month where you were going through an adjustment period. Imagine how much you'll save when you're all settled and more willing to follow my advice. I'm putting most of that into an investment for you. Over time I'll build up a portfolio in your name. And, since you've been so good, you can have a little bit to enjoy yourself tonight.” At that offer I perked up. Maybe this wasn't so bad after all. I usually felt regret after an expensive night of partying. At least in this way, I'd sort of earned it. “Look, it's all here.” Maryam slipped me a sheet of paper across the table and pointed at various parts. “There's your income. Here's an itemised record of all of your expenses and this right here is your surplus, disposable income.” “Right.” I looked it all over and it seemed to check out. Everything had been noted down. “Of course, thanks to me, you haven't disposed of any of it, but rather saved it. Look, I know it's been tough at times and you've been frustrated. But look what you've achieved. It was all worth it in the end wasn't it?” “I suppose so,” I said. “Are you ready to admit I was right about this then?” “Yes. You were right about this, Maryam.” “Ma'am,” she corrected. She had knowing smile on her face and I knew she was teasing me. I looked at the floor and went with it. “Yes, ma'am. You were right.” “Good, but I want you to say it while you kiss my feet,” she said. There was a playful smile on her face, but she wasn't making any moves to suggest her demand wasn't serious. “Like you've been doing to show me respect. But this time I want you to thank me for helping you while you do it. Since I'm not charging you for my professional services; I think it's only fair.” I knew she enjoyed it when I kissed her feet, that much was now clearly evident. I did as she wished and kissed her pretty feet profusely. “You were right ma'am, and thank you for helping me.” “I'm really enjoying you showing me respect like this.” She wiggled her toes beneath my lips. “I think this'll be a little ritual at the end of every month. You can thank me for all I've done for you, then present the next month's paycheck to me. I deserve your gratitude for what I've done for you after all.” “If that's what you want,” I said between kisses. “So, are we agreed that this arrangement is going to continue from now on? You're happy for me to manage your finances?” “Yes, for the time being.” “Good, but there's one more thing,” Maryam said. She held up a small key between her manicured fingers. “This is the key to the safe upstairs. I'm going to hold on to it. In fact, I'm going to wear it on my anklet so you can see it all the time and be reminded of who is in charge of your finances from now on.” I stopped my groveling and sat up. “Is there really any need for that?” I moaned. For once, Maryam let her laughter get the better of her. It wasn't often that her cool, professional exterior gave way. “Probably not, but it just felt fitting and the idea amused me.” I was feeling quite defensive at her taunting. “You don't have to laud it over me, you know? I appreciate you helping me and all. I'm even willing to let you boss me around if it's for my own good, but you don't have to tease and humiliate me in the process.” Maryam bit her lip and her eyes narrowed. She cocked her head slightly and looked me over through her analytical eyes. “No, look at you now; placid and reasonable. Humbling you is an effective way of keeping you in line. It's for your own good. I'll be wearing your key on my anklet, that's for sure.” And she did. The key jingled around on Maryam's anklet every time she walked around the house. She even wore it to work so that I couldn't sneakily access the safe while she was gone. It tormented me, but she was right, that key constantly reminded me that Maryam was the boss and in control. “There's something I wanted to ask you, ma'am.” I said to Maryam one weekend. She was busy working on her laptop computer and usually didn't like to be disturbed. “What is it?” She said, while never wavering her attention from the screen. “I need a little money for mother's day. I want to get my mother something nice.” With my head a lot clearer since I'd ditched the booze, I'd been thinking a lot about my parents and mending our relationship. “You know how to ask respectfully,” Maryam said nonchalantly. She continued to tap away on her laptop without looking up. By this point I was well trained and knew exactly how to ask Maryam for something. Seconds later my lips were on her feet. While I kissed her toes, the key on her anklet dangled right before my eyes. I could rip it straight off, push her aside and take everything in the safe. Maryam wouldn't be able to stop me physically, I was much larger and stronger. But something else stopped me. I knew deep inside somewhere that I needed Maryam's control. I just couldn't be trusted with my own money. Without Maryam's watchful eye, I'd have already spent the money on alcohol and drugs. This way, it was guaranteed it would be going on my mother's present. I gave her foot one final lingering kiss. “Please may I have some money for my mother's present, ma'am?” “Of course,” Maryam said while leaning down to clip the key from her anklet. “But I'll need to see receipts, okay?” “That won't be a problem.” Something crossed my mind as my eyes lingered on her toes. “How come you never paint your nails? Your toes would look so pretty with some polish.” “I did used to, but it's too much of a hassle. I have to remove it every time I pray and reapplying it all the time just became too much of a bother.” “I could do it for you,” I offered. I didn't really consider what I was offering. I meant it more as a one-off treat, but Maryam misinterpreted my intention. “I pray 5 times a day silly,” she said with a chuckle. “You'd be committing yourself to an awful lot of work. Maybe I'll just let you paint them before our monthly ritual.” “Sorry, I was just thinking aloud.” I looked up at her from my kneeling position and smiled. Maryam pat my head affectionately. “It's okay dear, it was a cute idea, but it wouldn't work. You could help me wash my feet before my prayers though? Now, that I would find useful. What better way is there to show you respect me as a Muslim woman than to help me prepare for prayer?” “Umm, well, I guess I could.” I was a little perplexed by the escalation. “I'll be praying soon actually. Why don't you fill up a bowl with some warm water and wait for me in the living room. I'll get your money for your mother's present and then we'll get started. I think £30 is enough for something nice and a card?” “Perfect, ma'am,” I said. Maryam closed her laptop and scampered off upstairs, almost excitedly. I made my way to the kitchen and filled a bowl with some soapy water at a warm temperature; hot enough to soothe but not singe. I took it to the living room and placed it at the foot of her armchair. I heard Maryam fidgeting around upstairs, and waited patiently on my knees. When Maryam returned, she took her seat and I helped her feet into the bowl. I spent a few minutes massaging her soles and toes beneath the water, and soothing her skin with soft, watery caresses. She looked on with approval, but let me do all of the work. I even had to lift her feet from the bowl and dry them with a towel. She intended for the whole ceremony to be my lone responsibility. Once her feet were dry, I left Maryam alone to pray. It felt intrusive to linger while she was at prayer. I knew how important to her religion was, and having rudely interrupted her at prayer in the past, I didn't wish to repeat the insult. Maryam must have enjoyed my foot-washing service and found it a convenience, as it became a regular expected responsibility of mine from that point forward. She didn't expect me to share her beliefs or attempt to force them on me, but in this way, I was able to show I respected them. As promised, at the close of the month, Maryam let me paint her toenails ready for the presenting of my paycheck ritual. By this point, I had no qualms handing it over. It wasn't as if I was giving it away; it was all still my money. Maryam just controlled my access to it. I knelt and applied the polish with precision, while Maryam sat above me in the armchair and watched one of her Arabic TV serials. I couldn't understand a word that was being said on screen, so I wasn't at all distracted from my task. Her feet rested regally on an antique Persian footstool while I diligently painted one toe after another. Maryam would routinely check on my progress and insist I repaint a nail if it wasn't to her standard. As with everything, Maryam's standards were high and she expected her wishes to be respected. When I was finished, Maryam paused the TV and surveyed my work with a pleased grin, showing off the perfect whiteness of her teeth. Teeth that contrasted smoothly with her light, chocolatey skin. She opened a file that she'd had ready on the armrest. “You'll be happy to know that once again I'm pleased with you this month.” She narrowed her eyes and looked more intently at the file, flicking back through a few of the pages “Actually, I think you've done even better than last month now I look at it. £550 you have left over. That's nigh on 50% of your take home salary. When you subtract your rent, you've spent hardly anything this month. But also, you've hardly hassled me for extras too. I think you've turned a corner. You should be proud of yourself, Katie.” I felt my face reddening. I actually was proud. Never in my life had I been left with that amount of money at the end of the month. At this rate, I'd be on the verge of paying my parents back the deposit I'd lost them within two years, something I'd thought was impossible. “This is just the start too,” Maryam said while offering me a huge smile. “Your investment is already performing well and seeing a return. I'll add this to your portfolio.” I was lost for a moment as I imagined how proud my parents would be. Maryam brought my daydream to an end. “Well? Do you have something you'd like to say?” “Thank you Maryam. Truly. I'm really grateful. You're actually turning my life around for the better.” “I'm glad you're finally seeing that. Now, show me how much respect you have for me.” By this stage, Maryam didn't hide how much she loved seeing me show her the respect she deserved. She never seemed to tire of my English lips on her Iranian feet. Perhaps it was a status thing for her. I kissed all over her dainty, pretty feet, just as she wanted. The red toenail polish only made me kiss all the more devotedly. Maryam sighed in satisfaction. She must have felt complete; worshipped, adored and most of all respected. She lifted her toes up until only her heels rested on the footstool. “Do you have your paycheck?” She asked. “Yes, ma'am,” I said, while leaning over to my purse on the table. “Place it beneath my feet,” she ordered, and once I did, she lowered her toes. There was something about seeing the pile of notes of my paycheck beneath Maryam's pedicured toes. It illustrated the dominance she now seemed to have over me. I leant forward and kissed the tops of her toes again, breathing in the papery scent of the cash, a mere inche below. I peeked up from my bowing position and caught Maryam's brown eyes intently watching, sandwiched between the folds of her hijab. I felt overwhelmed by the whole situation. Freely handing my cash over to this Muslim immigrant while kissing her feet and thanking her made me tingle all over. She'd been strategically training my mind for months to accept her authority and superior financial intellect, and finally, all resistance had evaporated. I was overcome by Maryam's control over me and felt compelled to show her I accepted it. I slipped her big toe into my mouth and sucked adoringly. Maryam immediately retracted her foot and sat upright. “What are you doing?” She said. I suddenly felt quite exposed and embarrassed. I'd acted in the moment without really considering what I was doing. This was beyond showing her respect, it was almost a lesbian come on. I immediately felt embarrassed and blushed. “I'm sorry,” I said. “I don't know what came over me.” “Well it felt nice,” she said. “But I think it's a bit inappropriate.” “I just thought it was another way to show you the respect you deserve.” She stroked my cheek with the sole of her foot and tickled my ear with her toe. “I'm pleased you're thinking of new ways to show me respect, but I think in this case it goes beyond that. It's more sexual than showing me my worth. You know what I think about sexual promiscuity outside marriage, don't you? I don't want you falling back into your bad habits.” “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cross that line.” “It's okay dear. I think I know why you thought it was a good idea. We have grown really close this year, and the trust has built between us. If you're wanting to be more intimate with me to show your respect, I have an idea.” At that, Maryam reached up and removed the pins from her hijab. She unraveled the fabric and let her hair fall freely around her shoulders. As I'd envisioned many a time, the strands were as dark as her eyebrows and much longer than I'd expected, reaching down past her breasts. I was surprised by just how much hair she could conceal beneath her headscarf. The way the black locks framed her face seemed to bring out the delicate softness of her brown skin even further. Her beauty took on a whole new level. I was mesmerised by this Iranian goddess. Seeing her in her full womanly form caught me off guard. It had been months, and this was the very first time she had allowed me the privilege of seeing her without her hijab. She noted my shock and softly giggled. “Go fetch my hairbrush,” she said. She ran her fingers through a few strands of hair and twisted the ends between the tips. “You can brush my hair while I finish watching my show.” One weekend I joined Maryam at the grocery store to do the shopping. She was a skilled cook and preferred to buy everything fresh. She usually went alone but on this occasion I'd decided to follow along since Maryam had promised that she'd teach me a bit about cooking. I'd survived on tinned spaghetti and ready meals when living alone, but in Maryam's home I'd never eaten better. She liked to cook for us both and show off her culinary skills. In return I'd always do the washing up. We went from aisle to aisle, filling the trolley with various items while Maryam sounded off meals they would suit. She led the way, a few steps in front, plucking items from the shelves while I followed close behind with the trolley. We'd just entered the condiment aisle when I heard a voice from behind me. “Where have you been lately?” The voice said. I immediately recognised who it was; Jessica, an old drinking buddy of mine. With Maryam's nurturing I'd gradually curbed my drinking to the point I barely saw some of my old friends. Friends I now knew were leading me astray. Jessica had been at the top of that list. She'd never been the same with me since I'd blown off the trip to Blackpool. If she'd known it was at Maryam's insistence, it could have lead to trouble. If she'd known I'd blown her off countless times since: to massage Maryam's feet, brush Maryam's hair and place my paycheck at Maryam's feet, I'd never hear the end of it. I'd be readily mocked by the devotion I seemingly had for my Muslim landlady. Friendliness seemed the best option. “Hey Jess. Sorry, I've just been so busy lately. I haven't had time to get with you guys. How's the others doing?” I tried to be civil, but I could tell Jessica wasn't listening. Jessica was a heavy smoker and drinker. Tattoos lined the length of her arms and her hair was slicked back and braided into a ponytail. Her personality was forceful and upfront, and I feared she'd say something offensive. It didn't take long for that to happen. She seemed to pay my explanation no mind, and instead directed her attention to Maryam. “Why are you hanging around with that Muslim cow?” Jessica asked, before I could steer the conversation elsewhere. I cringed at her words, especially as I feared Maryam was within earshot. Even phrased as a question it was obviously an insult. I saw Maryam pause as she took a jar of honey from the shelf, and turn her head slightly as if to listen for my reaction. Of course, her face was obscured behind her hijab so there was no inkling of her expression. Regardless, I feared the worst. I had an opportunity to stand up for both myself and Maryam. All I had to do was tell Jessica she was being rude and demand she apologise. I could prove to Maryam once and for all that she had my respect and I was a changed person. I failed miserably. Instead of putting Jessica right, I merely shrugged my shoulders. Jessica shook her head in disgust and trotted off towards the booze aisle. Maryam didn't say a word for the rest of the shopping trip, or while she drove us home. When we arrived, we both carted the shopping bags inside in silence, then Maryam put everything away while I hid in my room. I felt awful for what Jessica had said, but worse for saying nothing in return. Maryam hadn't said anything, but if she'd heard as I feared; there would be repercussions. After a few hours, she called out my name and summoned me to the living room. She was sat with her bare feet propped up and I assumed she wanted them massaged. I was somewhat relieved she wasn't going to grill me over the grocery store incident. I was wrong. “Lick the bottoms of my feet,” Maryam said. She folded her arms across her breasts and looked at me sternly. “Lick them?” I shuddered at the thought. Kissing them was one thing, but licking was totally demeaning. Also, how was sucking her toes wrong, but licking her feet okay? “Yes,” she said. Her face looked more determined than ever. “Lick my sweaty feet and show me some respect.” I was lost for words and unsure how to react. Maryam's stare was intense, and I felt compelled to obey her. I dropped to my knees and tentatively reached out my tongue until it made contact with the ball of her foot. Then closing my eyes, I winced and dragged the tip along the length of her sole. “Why didn't you correct that vulgar woman at the grocery store today? You think it's okay for your friends to talk about me like that?” I looked up into Maryam's eyes as my tongue ran along the length of her sole once again. From the intensity of her stare it was clear that she was annoyed. Even with her eyebrows screwed up in anger she looked lovely. I wish I was looking at her pretty face surrounded by her hair, as opposed to the hijab. “What is it with the women in this country?” Maryam said. She pushed her foot against my mouth and I licked further intently. “You walk around wearing next to nothing. You inebriate yourselves to the point of unconsciousness. Where is your class? I work hard, follow your laws, and treat people with dignity, yet I get nothing but disrespect in return. You think it's okay to mock my accent and insult my hijab?” Maryam seemed to be vexing. Just talking aloud and venting her frustrations. I appeased her anger by licking her soles and toes in silence. It didn't seem like my place to speak up and interrupt. Licking her feet was demeaning, but I felt bad for what had happened at the grocery store. Despite my reservations, I felt somewhat obligated to do as she said. I alternated between short delicate licks of her toes and long laps of her soles. I even slipped my tongue between her toes and dug into the crevices. Her feet gave off a light taste of salty sweat which I readily ate up. She seemed to have no problem with my tongue licking all over her toes, strange considering her opposition to my sucking of them. Perhaps she was too distracted by the insult she'd suffered to realise or to notice her hypocrisy; professing to treat people with dignity while making me lick her feet. “Well, next time you see your friend you can tell her that not only do you hang around with a Muslim cow, but you lick her feet too.” Maryam sneered down at me as I tongued her soles. Usually I'd see disappointment in her eyes when I'd done something she didn't like, but this was pure anger. It seemed Jessica had really riled her and she was taking it out on me. It was a side to Maryam I didn't like; a step too far. I averted my eyes and blushed at her words. I mean, she was only offering a commentary on exactly what was happening right now, but it made the absurdity of the situation really hit home when she said it aloud. I'd never licked anyone's feet before in my life. I found the idea entirely demeaning and disgusting. Yet here I was, willingly licking my Muslim landlady's feet to make up for something I didn't even say. I hadn't even agreed with Jessica, but I was the one paying the price for Maryam being disrespected. “I'm sorry,” she suddenly said. Her eyes betrayed her regret. “I crossed the line a bit there. I'm just disappointed that you didn't have the backbone to defend me, Katie.” I felt it best to just continue massaging Maryam's foot with the tip of my tongue, while her mood simmered down. She had done a lot for me, and I'd repaid her by letting my friend get away with disrespecting her in public. I felt awful. Maryam seemed to settle and ease up at the ministrations of my licking. She bounced her toes against my tongue in a more playful action. “I don't dislike you Katie and I don't make you do these things to be mean. You just need humbling once in a while, and put in your place. I'm the head of this house, and you need to respect that. I thought we were really making progress in getting your act together. If I let you step out of line, even the smallest amount, you'll be straight back down that road to the bottom you seem so intent on following. You know all of this is with the best intentions, right? ” “I do Maryam,” I said. I took an extra-long lick of her sole, from heel to toe. “I respect you as a Muslim woman. I'm sorry for my friend's behaviour, and I'm sorry for not correcting her.” “It's okay Katie,” she said. She dragged her foot along my outstretched tongue one more time. “I accept your apology, but don't let it happen again.” And I didn't. I learned another lesson in respecting Maryam that day. Before long, a year had passed. We were close. Maryam was confident and in control. Whereas I was submissive and attentive. I listened to her advice and followed her superior decision-making. Month after month I watched my capital rise under Maryam's stewardship. To celebrate the anniversary of our year living together, she'd cooked us a lovely Persian meal. After we'd finished eating, Maryam's tone turned serious. “Well, your tenancy is up,” she said. “The last 12 months have flown by, don't you think?” The whole experience of living with Maryam had been a bit of a whirlwind. I'd done and said things I'd never thought possible of myself. Behaved in ways I didn't realise my personality was capable of. Maryam had brought that out in me. I nodded at her respectfully. She rose from her seat, gave me a hug, kissed my forehead, then retreated slightly and looked into my eyes. “I'm so proud of you,” she said. She ruffled my hair. “You've grown up a lot and come such a long way. I'm proud of my little project.” She was controlling and strict, but she wasn't a tyrant. “Thank you for everything,” I said. “It's been a life-changing year, in more ways than one.” I'd long ago adopted an open and honest dialogue with her. “Your portfolio is just under £10k currently, and rising.” She slipped a file across the dinner table. “It's all in there, broken down and fairly easy to follow.” I glanced over the file, but I didn't need to look with much scrutiny; Maryam knew her stuff when it came to numbers. “I also have this for you too,” she said. She passed me another file. “It's a new tenancy agreement, this time for 2 years. You have a choice. I can cash in your investments and we can part ways. All of that money is yours and you can do with it what you please. If you do, I'm hoping that you'll be sensible with it.” “What's the other option?” I asked. It didn't occur to me that I'd brushed off the first option so readily. “You sign the new agreement and we continue as we've been going for another two years. I know that I can return a high yield on your investment. Things are only going to get better for you if you stick with me.” I thought things over. I hadn't touched a drop of alcohol in months. My partaking in the drug scene was but a distant memory. I was more energetic, determined and full of life. Even the partners at the law firm had commented on my improved attitude and work ethic, leading to a pay rise. My relationship with my parents was back on and I'd saved more money in the past year than I had in my entire life previously. And all of it had been thanks to Maryam. Sure, I had to kiss and lick her feet once in a while, and generally do as she said, but she did as much for me in return. There was no doubt in my mind that I was staying with her. Who knew where it would lead and how much wealth I would acquire with Maryam controlling every aspect of my finances for the forseeable future? I trusted her, and I would do whatever she deemed best for me. I signed the tenancy agreement and handed it to my landlady; my overseer. “Are you sure?” Maryam asked. She slipped her dainty foot from her sandal and offered it in my direction. Her pedicured toes looked so pretty; her nails gleaming a ruby red. “I got a pedicure to celebrate. Why don't you seal the deal with a kiss?” Did she know this is what I was going to choose? I hopped from my stool, knelt and kissed all over that beautiful, dominant foot. The foot that had turned my life around. For the better. “You'll be happy to know my parents will be visiting us soon. They're keen to see how I'm getting on over here. I'm sure you'll show my mother the same respect you show me, right?” I momentarily paused in my kissing to tell her what she wanted to hear. “Yes, ma'am, of course.” I'd seen photos of her mother and knew that she was a lot more conservative than Maryam, preferring to wear a niqab instead of a hijab. Respecting her would be a whole new experience in itself. “And I think it would be a good idea to invite your parents at some point,” Maryam continued. “I think they'll be impressed with how I've whipped you into shape. They might even suggest you convert,” she teased. I balked at that, but knew better than to voice my reservations. “Fetch a bowl of water,” Maryam said while she turned on her heel, leaving me prone on my knees in the kitchen kissing the air where her foot had just been. She called out from the living room. “I need you to remove this nail polish before I pray.”