The Protege


The Protégé

I could scarcely suppress my nervous anxiety as I approached the very large but rustic appearing house. It was set back a fair distance from the street, and semi secluded from the rest of the neighborhood by a tall stone wall with many trees and shrubs behind it, and an electric entrance gate. I was there for an interview with Rohan Bereau, who, although only in his late forties, was already almost universally regarded as the world’s greatest living painter, and was also acknowledged by most by the appellation, The Master. It had been the owner of our local art supply house, who, on one of my recent visits there, had pulled me aside and told me that he had been asked by Master Bereau to possibly find some potential female candidates to interview for a position to pose for him. If I was interested, the owner would pass my name on, and give me the time and date for such an interview.

I was an aspiring painter myself, but had recently come to sorry conclusion that, now in my mid thirties, I could no longer just barely survive as I had been, on an ongoing series of part time jobs as I tried to pursue my artistic dream. It was time to finally find a more financially secure and stable, if far less fulfilling, full time profession.

But this was an opportunity to not only meet The Master, a thrilling event in itself, but also, if by some miraculous chance I was actually chosen to pose for him, I might, just by observation, glean some of the secrets of his talents and techniques, to perhaps help develop my own. I sincerely believed, deep in my heart, that I also had talent and potential as an artist but that there was still so much that I had to learn and know. This was a possibility, however slim that I might be selected, which I felt that I couldn’t pass up.

I announced my name and purpose on the intercom at the gate, which then opened. I drove my greater than 100,000 mile, third hand used Subaru into the small parking area in front. I was met at the door by an elderly housekeeper, who, after a simple greeting, ushered me into a small waiting anteroom. I was instantly deflated. Sitting there quietly were five other applicants, all significantly younger and far prettier than me. Though slender and fit, I have always thought of myself as plain, although some found me somewhat attractive, but never enough to maintain any long term suitors. I was at a decided, and likely fatal, disadvantage here.

I sat for several hours as each of the five candidates before me were called in singly to be assessed. Each lasted roughly thirty minutes before the applicant would come out and depart without a word. Finally, I was the last one remaining to be summoned in. I entered through the door into a larger, well lit and airy work room. To my right was a comfortable appearing, armless straight back chair, next to it was a low lying, ornately cushioned divan. But my attention was immediately drawn to the center of the room, where, sitting on a stool next to, and slightly behind an easel that was angled away, was The Master, Rohan Bereau.

“Your name, please.” He asked simply.

“Ella Ellington, sir.” I answered quickly.

“I’m not a knight, Miss Ellington.” He retorted a bit brusquely.

“I’m sure you will be before long, Master.” I responded more politely. I thought I saw a ghost of a smile at that.

“Yes, well, shall we proceed then.” He was back to all business. “I do not paint nudes, Miss Ellington.” It wasn’t known that he did any type of portraiture at all. “But I would ask you to take off your shoes and socks, and sit on the chair there. And please try to remain as still as possible.”

Following that rather odd instruction, I was soon seated in the chair across from him, trying to remain as unmoving as I could. I didn’t know if I should smile, but decided against it. Pretty wouldn’t win me any prizes in this competition. Instead, I tried to appear as austere as I could affect. After about ten minutes he asked me to lie on my side on the divan with my head propped up by my arm. Motionless again, I remained in this position for another ten minutes or so before he asked me to stand. At least in this position he had me in shorter poses, first with one foot forward, then the other, then on the toes of one foot as if stepping forward or starting to run. It was hard to maintain for any length of time, but I persevered and he finally bade me to sit.

Throughout, his comments were sparing and business-like. As I sat there, I had no inkling as to his judgement.

“The sessions are five days a week, Monday to Friday, 1 to 5 pm. The pay is $100 per session, to be paid after each. This will possibly continue for quite some time, if that is a problem. You may wear whatever comfortable clothes that you wish, but you will always be barefoot when posing.” He paused. “Do you have any questions?”

There was only one thing at that moment I could think to ask. “Do I have the job?”

Again, a ghost of a smile.

“Yes, of course, Miss Ellington.”


I arrived at 12:45 the next Monday, leaving no chance that I might be late. We started promptly at one, and finished precisely at five each çukurambar escort session, when The Master would put down his paint brush and with a terse, “Goodnight, Miss Ellington” signaled that the session was ended. After putting my footwear back on for that day I would quietly depart. My pay was in cash in an envelope on the desk in the anteroom, and I would leave at the same time as the housekeeper, whom I learned also only worked during the day. The Master lived alone other than that. He had never wed, and there had never been even a rumor of any licentious behavior. It was commonly accepted, except by the most salacious, that his only Mistress was the Muse of his Art.

Each session was similar except for the variety and change in poses. Sometimes I would sit the entire time, and in others I would lie throughout on the divan, only changing positions when instructed. On days when he would have me stand, it would only be for part of the session, the rest either sitting or lying. Any verbal interaction we had was always polite but distant, and I never saw anything that he was creating on the canvas behind the easel.

This continued as such each day for the entire first month, through the second and well into the third. I was never given any indication how much longer it would continue, or if it would ever be any different. But on one Friday evening toward the end of the third month, as he finished the session as always by placing his brush down, he deviated from his routine by remaining silent. Adding to my confusion at that moment, he also appeared ruffled and unsettled.

“May I have an extra moment of your time, Miss Ellington?” he finally offered.

Perplexed by this unusual occurrence, I was still able to answer, “Yes, of course, Master Bereau.”

To my further consternation, he then seemed even more unsure of how to proceed. After an uncomfortable length of time,

“I have taken the liberty of adding another one hundred dollars to your pay envelope today,” he began, “in the hope that you might grant me a small favor.” He paused. “You may refuse, of course, if you feel that you are unable, but you may still keep the extra money” he hastened to add.

I honestly didn’t know what to say.

“A favor, Master Bereau?” I ventured timidly. “If it is in my power.” I further replied.

“I do believe it most certainly is.”

My heart began to pace a bit faster, though I was clearly intrigued.

“What favor then?” I was almost afraid to ask.

He now seemed even more out of sorts, but then as is bracing himself, he continued.

“That you allow me the gift…” He hesitated, and my heart raced even more. “… of kissing…”

My heart almost stopped.

“… your feet.”

Time itself then almost seemed to stop. This was something I could have never expected. I was stunned. But what shocked me even more, was that after several moments of silence, how calmly I answered.

“Yes. You may. Master Bereau.”

I could sense his disbelief, and relief, before he slowly rose from his stool and approached. He went down on his knees before me. Anxiously uncertain of how I was to proceed, my feet remained rooted to the floor. Undeterred, he bent forward, and all the way down to place his lips softly on the top of my right foot. He quickly removed them, but after a moment more, he moved to place them, gently again, at the base of my toes of my left foot. He let them linger there somewhat longer before straightening back up, but with his eyes still down.

I had been but a startled spectator for the first kiss, but with the second, strangely, I felt something most pleasant move within me.

He raised his eyes to look up at me.

“Thank you, Miss Ellington” he said quietly. His next words seemed more a question than a statement. “I will see you next Monday?”

Once again, I surprised myself at how calmly I gave my answer.

“Yes, of course, Master Bereau.”


My mind was a whirlwind though as I arrived home. What all had just transpired? The Master obviously had a fetish… a foot fetish. I was not some naïve schoolgirl who didn’t know what that was. But I only had the vaguest inkling of what it all might entail. So, being a child of the times, I did what came naturally. I went to the internet.

I was amazed at the copious amount of data about the topic that could be accessed there, unfortunately much of it pornographic. But there was also a treasure trove of more straight forward and enlightening information. I learned, to my great interest, that it was most often associated with forms of dominance and submission, occasionally with types of sadomasochism. This latter aspect I viewed with abhorrence. I could never inflict pain, either physical or mental, on anyone. It was also often used as humiliation, but sometimes it was just a simple act of reverence and adoration. Just where did Master Bereau fit in with all of this? And where, if at all, did I? I had entered into his employ with the hopes and goal of learning, even if just by observation, some of the creative magic of his art, and even in my wildest imaginings, demetevler escort that he might come to mentor me. But after all of these months I had not even achieved any of the first. Could this now be a possible pathway to those ends?

I cringed at such a consideration. What kind of person was I to even contemplate such? And yet… if it was to the benefit of all? I chided myself again. I had no idea if what had occurred would ever happen again. Still, I came to the conclusion that it was always best to be prepared, just in case. With that in mind I went back to the net for more selective absorption.

The session the following Monday ended with the usual, perfunctory and terse goodnight and dismissal. As it did so again on Tuesday, and then then Wednesday and Thursday. I had to admit to myself my disappointment, and even how foolish and embarrassed I felt. How could I have ever thought. And what must he now think of me. I was despondent.

But at the end of the next day’s session, I was dragged out of this doldrum as he deviated as before from his norm. This time, when he placed his brush down, he seemed more cautiously confident.

“I have taken the liberty once again Miss Ellington, to place an extra one hundred dollars in your envelope today, in the hopes that you might possibly indulge me as you most graciously did last week.”

No matter how incessantly I had rehearsed in my mind how I would act if this moment presented itself, perhaps it was the suddenness, or the pent up emotion roiling within me, but I was horrified at how brazenly I blurted out my response.

“I want more.”

I could instantly see his surprise… then disappointment… and finally resignation.

“Yes, of course… Would an additional one hundred on top of the first suffice?”

It was the unexpected implication of that question which caused me to surge off my seat to stand in anger and indignation.

“Do you think me a whore, Master Bereau?” I seethed. “Other than what I receive for my posing, I don’t want your money. Any of it. I want MORE.”

He was clearly taken aback. “What then?” he challenged weakly, as if trying to regain control of the narrative, which only sparked my fire more.

“I pose for you for hours on end, day after day, sitting, lying, and as for much of today, standing. Perfectly still. Strenuously unmoving. It’s hard… It’s exhausting…I’m tired…My FEET are tired.”

I gasped for breath before relentlessly moving on. “They need to be soothed, succored, massaged, until they’re completely refreshed, if you EVER want to earn the privilege of kissing them again.”

I stopped, suddenly horrified. Had I gone too far? Had I just destroyed everything, even what little I had? His face had been impassive throughout, and remained so for what seemed an eternity, before slowly devolving into what I could only describe as chagrin.

“Yes, of course, you’re right, Miss Ellington. Please sit.”

I did so numbly. Once again, he approached and went to his knees before me, looking down.

“May I?” he asked.

I lifted a foot into his hands, which he gently held as I thought I heard him whisper “Never unmoving.” He then began to knead, softly at first, then more vigorously, his thumbs pressing and rotating firmly into my heels, my arches, my entire sole, before rolling each of my toes luxuriously between his fingers. And he did this for both of my feet again, and again, and again. I sat there totally entranced, and realized that he was equally so, and I came to the utterly incomprehensible realization that he would not stop until I gave the word. It was unimaginably difficult, but I forced myself out of my reverie and practically panted,

“That was so very nice, Master Bereau. And my feet now feel fully relaxed.” I paused to be sure of myself. I proceeded.

“You have earned your kiss.”

After taking a long moment to collect himself, he leaned forward and lifted up my foot that he was holding, and caressed it lightly with his lips. He carefully put it back onto the floor, and then lifted my other foot up for the same veneration. Again, he offered me his gratitude, which I felt was so very strange, as I had been the beneficiary of such special service. He went on to continue in fervor,

“Please forgive me if you can, Miss Ellington, for my failure to recognize the duress I place on you by my work. I must believe that it should now become my duty, but only with your permission, if you would allow me to refresh you like this after all of our sessions.”

He waited pensively on his knees for my answer, of which there could only be one.

“Of course, Master Bereau. I believe that would be quite delightful.”


He remained true to his request. Our work sessions continued unchanged, with me posing as before, however he directed. But these were always now followed by his marvelous massages, and then his granted kiss. And while each and every one of his ministrations was heavenly, after a month I was no closer to my ultimate goal, and still had no clue about how to achieve it. During the entire time thus far in his employ demirtepe escort I had never yet seen any of his paintings while there. I knew the back of every canvas on the easel that he used, and became familiar enough with each one to know when it was changed to a new one, sometimes after a week, sometimes after several, obviously to move on to a new work, none of which was ever shared with me to see. If I could only observe even the tiniest example of his art as he was creating it, it might help propel my own to a greater level. This, of course, had been my cherished dream in taking this job, all as yet completely unattained.

It was this last thought though that gave me a seed of an idea. It was a risk, but I was growing desperate. The worst that could occur, I nervously tried to reassure myself, was that he would laugh at my audacious foolishness. It was the best possible outcome however, that gave me the courage to proceed, which, after days of planning it out in my mind, I did at the end of the following week.

After he had finished with his always chaste kiss on the tops of both of my feet, but before he could offer his usual verbal thank you, I made my all, or more likely nothing, play.

“Do you think my feet are nice, Master?”

He looked up at me as if it was the most ridiculous question ever posed.

“They’re beautiful, Miss Ellington” he insisted ardently.

“Thank you.” I replied, very relieved. “It pleases me that you feel so.” Now for the plunge. “But I know how they could be so much more so.”

“How?” he now seemed truly puzzled.

This was the moment.

“You are the world’s greatest painter, Master Bereau, I can hardly begin to imagine the brilliance that your talent would be able to create upon my toenails.”

I dared not breathe. Until his solemn visage began to form a smile. A broad one.

“I cannot think of a more inspiring canvas, Miss Ellington,” he affirmed. “May I be allowed to do so now?”

My smile was even brighter than his own.

“Yes, of course, Master Bereau.”

He got up from his knees to gather the necessary materials. As I had not been expecting to expose my toenails on the day of my initial interview, they had not been polished then. Given that I had then been hired, and with that particular stipulation that my feet be bare for my posing, I had assumed that they should remain unpainted since. And they had. That was about to change in the most spectacular way.

He returned to his knees before me, placing s small cushioned footstool in front and gently lifted both of my feet onto it. He then commenced his task by carefully filing each of my nails, smoothing away any rough edges and shaping them, before dabbing them all with warm water and patting them dry. He was now ready to manifest his magic in a most miraculous way.

He propped up a small palette with paints of multiple colors next to the footstool, and with the smallest of brushes began his work on the big toe of my right foot. I marveled as I observed the precision and surety of his strokes. I was thrilled even more by what they were creating as he progressed onto the others. Each nail was unique, but they all complimented each other to form a whole that was stunning. When he completed my right foot, he replicated the same on my left. He then lifted up my right foot in his hands to softly blow on the nails until they were dry, before proceeding to also do so on my left, before placing them both back on the stool as if on a pedestal.

The tableau on my toes took my breath away. My feet bore an absolute masterpiece. An original Bereau. It was astounding. And it was Mine.

“Master. You honor me.” I breathed, regaining my breath.

He smiled timidly. “It is my small, and I fear very inadequate attempt to contribute to perfection,” he said. “But if it pleases you, I’m humbled.”

“It most certainly does.” I proclaimed.

He paused as if in contemplation. “I’m also afraid that nature and time will unfortunately too soon have their way with it.” He looked down and then continued. “Before that occurs, I would plead for your permission to allow me to clear away these efforts weekly, and then strive to improve upon them each time after.”

It shook me to my core that The Master could possibly consider wiping away the glory that he had bestowed upon my toes. But he was right. Nature would eventually do so in a slower and more awful way. Now, though, I would instead get to revel each week in a new and more dazzling display. He waited pensively for my response.

“Yes, what a wonderful idea, Master Bereau”


And it was. The next Friday evening I watched in initial anguish as he painstakingly removed every vestige of his previous creation. This soon turned to joy however as he produced an even more extraordinary marvel. And he continued to do even more so in each succeeding week. My exhilaration with each new rendition grew more and more intoxicating, and it swelled within me entirely new, and previously unknown sensations and urgings. I didn’t know how to react, or what they all might mean. I only knew that suddenly I wanted more, I needed more. No longer wanting to just be a passive participant, the artist within me yearned to surge free in so many ways. Fantasies, never before imagined and unfathomable, began to run wild in my mind. Still, how could I even begin to hope. What could someone like me ever really, truly offer to someone like him. No… to Him.

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