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While accepting the full dress code seemed like the mature thing to do in the moment, Amelia regretted her decision a few minutes later.
It didn’t fully dawn on her until Ashley was handing her a pair of slightly worn black flats she had fished out from the Lost and Found. It wasn’t the fact that they were another girl’s shoes, though that certainly didn’t help. Instead, it was the matter of losing one of her most valued enhancements. Wearing heels and padded bras were the two biggest ways Amelia made up for the way she was totally screwed in the height and curves department. Changing into flats would drop her three full inches, all the way down to her natural height of five feet. Technically, she was a quarter of an inch taller than being five exactly, but that hardly made a difference.
Unfortunately, it was too late to back out. As a future teacher, Amelia knew it was better to stick to her word. There was also that casual use of ‘good girl’ that Ashley used on her, but the dark haired girl had already mentioned that she wasn’t supposed to give Amelia any special treatment. Was that a phrase they used around here? Hopefully it was an Ashley quirk, as Amelia didn’t like the idea of having to say it to anyone. It was awkward enough being called that.
Reluctantly, Amelia sat herself down on a nearby bench and undid the straps of her heels while keeping her legs and skirt positioned properly the whole time. Setting aside her expensive shoes, Amelia began putting on one of the flats that Ashley had found for her. It was tighter than she expected, even though Amelia’s feet were as small as the rest of her. She still put in the effort; she shoved her foot into the black shoe, only barely able to pull the heel over her ankle.
“Are there any others in there?” Amelia asked, wincing a little bit as she moved her foot around. The faded leather was beyond snug, and the back of the single flat was digging into the back of her foot too. “This is definitely too small.”
“Sorry, Amy. Not too many girls lose their shoes,” Ashley said, “Here, put the other one on. You’re going to be late for your aptitude test if you get hung up on every little thing this morning.”
“No buts. Come on, they’ll feel better after you walk around in them for a bit.”
“Okay . . .” Amelia muttered. She had already come so far for this job. It would suck if Ashley’s point came to pass, as being late for one thing would potentially cause her to be late to everything throughout the day.
Knowing what to expect this time, Amelia worked her other foot into the tight flat. Surprise, surprise, it was just as tight and uncomfortable as the first one. Listening to Ashley’s advice, Amelia stood up to take a few steps in the too-small shoes. The first thing she noticed, however, was not how bad the shoes felt. Instead, Amelia had to deal with the reality of how SHORT she was.
She couldn’t remember the last time she actually displayed her true height in public. Working out was the one time Amelia had to wear regular shoes, and her self consciousness about her size had led her to exercise alone for years now. Because of her social footwear, Amelia gradually built up a fantasy of how tall she was in comparison to friends and strangers alike. At least, that’s how it felt when standing next to Ashley and having that fantasy crumble. She had already been a few inches shorter than the academy student to begin with, but now the girl had at least half a foot on her!
Thankfully, Ashley didn’t seem like the teasing type. Ever the cordial front desk worker and now first day guide, Ashley was nothing but polite and friendly. “Perfect, Amy. You’ll fit in so much better with those on,” she said. Not batting an eye at their size difference, Ashley bent over and picked up the abandoned heels by the straps, “I can hold onto these for you. Oh, and I’ll also have to confiscate your phone and your purse.”
Amelia was still coming to grips with how small she suddenly was, as well as how the flats actually made her feel more off balance than slim heels did thanks to the way they tightly hugged and dug into her feet. And now Ashley was going to take her stuff.
The taller girl must have sensed her trepidation, or maybe just saw it written all over her face. “Relax, Amy,” Ashley said, with a light giggle, “You can have them back right after your test. I doubt you’d try to cheat, but it’s pretty standard procedure to restrict outside resources.”
“Oh,” Amelia said. She let out a breath she had been unintentionally holding for a few seconds after hearing the explanation. It made sense, though she still didn’t like the idea of handing a high school girl so many personal possessions. Her phone would be locked, of course, but her wallet was less protected. “I don’t really have anything in my purse. You can check, if you want.”
“Sorry, Ames,” Ashley said, “Rules are rules. But your things are in good hands, I promise. They’ll be locked away in the office. Oh, it’s almost time! Come on, this way.”
Once again rendered speechless by the student’s logic, Amelia found herself following her down another hallway. No, walking around in the flats didn’t help. Plus the shoes were already visibly broken in, so it’s not like time would help the fit. Not that she was planning on wearing them for any longer than necessary. As usual, she was in unfamiliar territory, and could hardly keep up with all the rules and regulations that Mrs. Thompson hadn’t taken the time to thoroughly explain.
“Okay, Amy!” Ashley exclaimed. She stopped just outside a closed door halfway down a hall that Amelia didn’t recognize in the slightest. At this point, she was so turned around from being led here and there. For once, she was grateful to be treated like a new student, as it meant no one was expecting her to know where to go.
With her lips pursed in the same small smile as when they first met, Ashley extended her hand to gesture that Amelia needed to hand over her things. “Ready for your test?
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Stories of Age/Time Transformation