Diane Vallere - Style & Error 00.5 - Just Kidding

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

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
of embarrassment, was to walk the path of my market schedule so I’d know how to get to each appointment later today. I pride myself on my professionalism and my punctuality. I’m a bit of a planner, that way. “Don’t tell anybody, okay?” I said to the stock guy.
    “Don’t tell anybody what?  You didn’t do anything to tell,” he said. He slammed the back doors of the van and turned a lock. His windbreaker was caught in the hinges, yanking him backward when he tried to turn away. The jacket opened up and revealed a faded Rocky Balboa T-shirt.
    “Thanks,” I said, and hopped away from him so I could put my sock and sneaker back on and get out of there.
    “Mr. Taylor will be out in a minute,” said the college-age receptionist.
    “Thank you.” I wandered past the young woman to the wall of footwear that introduced me to the designer’s latest collection. The right foot of the strappy flower sandal with the white poppy on the front was perched on the wall just below hip level. I hadn’t had the chance to fully appreciate it before I’d been interrupted by the cute stock guy early that morning. I turned the sample over in my hand and ran my fingertips over the molded leather that comprised the flower, then jiggled the shoe to make the tiny jet beads move. The pinstriped sock lining was decorated with an embroidered white label:  Nick Taylor . I turned the shoe over. The sole was painted the palest shade of whisper pink. No doubt the color would wear off during the first wearing, but it didn’t matter. The man was a genius. Even if he was now—I checked my cell phone for the time—fourteen minutes late for our appointment.
    Inside the showroom, a few other buyers sat at a table with a white haired gentleman. His rimless reading glasses sat on the bridge of his nose and his sleeves were rolled up to expose tanned forearms and sun bleached arm hair. He took notes on a line sheet and flipped through a couple of swatches of leather. Genius at work.
    He was handsome in an older James Coburn kind of way, but youthfulness projected from his crinkling eyes and dimpled cheeks. As if he sensed I was watching him, he looked up at me. I smiled, hoping he’d realize that his last appointment had run into my time. He said something to the people in front of him, it sounded like Italian. Then he stood and walked over to me.
    “Mr. Taylor?  I’m Samantha Kidd. With Bentley’s department store,” I said, and held out my hand. He sandwiched it between his own instead of shaking it.
    “Ah, yes. You had a two o’clock. Sorry to keep you waiting.”
    I waved my hand toward the wall of samples. “No problem,” I lied, because it was a problem because it would now put me behind for my next two appointments but I wanted to be polite. I’d call the others to explain when I had a chance. “I’ve been admiring your collection.”
    He looked at the shoe in my hand. “You already have found a favorite?”
    “I’m afraid I have.”  I leaned in closer. “I’m a sample size. Do you mind if I try it on?”
    “Be my guest,” he answered.
    I slipped the sample on and, for the second time that day, admired how well it fit, how pretty it looked on my foot, and how desperately I wanted to own it. I moved to a mirrored wall and stood sideways, staring at my reflection. I’d chosen a black and white houndstooth jacket and matching pencil skirt, black turtleneck, and ropes of pearls for today. My patent leather pumps completed my outfit, but not as well as the sandal.
    Being a sample size and a shoe buyer had its perks and its drawbacks. I could easily slip on the samples, see how they looked and felt. Pre-market pedicures were a given. Fishnet stockings or tights were not. On a sixty-five degree day like today, another buyer probably would have worn pants, but the dirty streets of New York had stained too many hems in recent weeks.
    I admired the shoe. Let’s see, it’s a sample, so it won’t deliver to Bentley’s

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