Diane Vallere - Style & Error 00.5 - Just Kidding

Diane Vallere - Style & Error 00.5 - Just Kidding by Diane Vallere Read Free Book Online

Book: Diane Vallere - Style & Error 00.5 - Just Kidding by Diane Vallere Read Free Book Online
Authors: Diane Vallere
Tags: Mystery: Cozy - Humor - Fashion - New York City
In the beginning, there were shoes…
    It wasn’t the sort of thing I usually did, but the temptation was too great.
    There weren’t many people on the street at this hour, only a few trucks and taxis scattered around the street, and a few strangers getting their first cup of coffee like me. It was April in New York. Not a particularly pretty April, either. Dirty wet streets and an assortment of sidewalk grates dictated my morning attire: a pair of magenta yoga pants and a grey cashmere sweatshirt. My long brown hair was in ponytails under a faded Louis Vuitton bucket hat I’d bought from a street fair in Paris. It was a far cry from a fashion statement, but considering it was six-thirty in the morning, I figured nobody would notice. I was looking forward to spring: spring weather, spring fashion, spring shoes. Maybe that’s why I was so drawn to the shoes on the side of the street.
    Really, I was just being helpful.
    A stack of pristine white boxes sat on the curb. The top box had fallen off the stack and lay on its side. One shoe had fallen out from between layers of milky white tissue paper printed with the words Put Spring in Your Step in opaque white letters. The shoe itself was beautiful. It was a black strappy sandal with a delicate white leather poppy on the front. Tiny black beads of jet crystal were sewn to the inside of the flower. The sock lining was charcoal with a white pinstripe. The whimsical combination of patterns–pinstripe and poppy, put a smile on my face. I picked up the errant shoe with one hand and the box with another and nestled the shoe back between the tissue paper. It was the right thing to do.
    If I didn’t do it, it might get ruined. It might get dirty. It might get—
    It was my size.
    I balanced on my left foot and my right out of my own black New Balance sneaker. With a peek over each shoulder, I determined I was alone. The few other people on the street either were homeless or in need of their morning caffeine fix like me. Besides, it was New York City. Nobody really cared what I did as long as I didn’t interfere with them. And if I did, we’d exchange a bunch of curse words and a couple of lewd gestures and go off on our merry ways.
    I peeled my white sock off and slipped the sandal on my cold foot.
    “What are you doing back there?” said a deep male voice.
    I pulled the shoe off my foot and jammed it into the box, then turned to face the voice. A tall man stood by the side of the van. He had curly brown hair, a straight nose that put me in mind of Greek statues, and a row of teeth the color of sun-bleached linens. If my hand hadn’t been caught in the footwear cookie jar I might have relaxed and flirted a bit.
    “I was just trying to…put spring in my step.” I finished lamely.
    “You should take them,” he said.
    “No! Here,” I said, holding the shoes out to him. When he made no move to take the box, I put the lid back on and set the shoes on top of the stack. The lid didn’t close properly because I hadn’t put the shoe back properly. There was nothing proper about the whole scene. Balancing on one foot while the other avoided contact with the dirty streets of New York during shoe market was the cherry on top of the improper sundae. “I couldn’t help myself. I just wanted to try them on.”
    “Seriously, nobody’ll notice they’re gone.”  He moved forward and picked up the box, fixed the tissue paper over the shoes, and closed the lid the way it should have been done the first time. “It’ll be our secret.”  He extended the box to me.  
    I pushed it away. “I can’t. That’s somebody’s livelihood. It’s like stealing from,” I glanced down at the lid of the box, “Nick Taylor.” 
    Oh my God.
    Nick Taylor was my two o’clock appointment. I’m the designer shoe buyer for Bentley’s department store, and my reason for being on the dirty streets of New York at six forty-five in the morning, aside from getting my coffee, and an unexpected dose

Similar Books

Work Song

Ivan Doig

The Pike River Phantom

Betty Ren Wright

Night Hungers

Kathi S. Barton

I'm on the train!

Wendy Perriam