The Shoe Fetishist's GuidebySexyJennaInk©
The Shoe Fetishist's Guide To The Galaxy
She sat with her head leaning against the cold glass of the window. It was raining. Soft pellets of liquid release rolled downward, downward, and out of sight. Normally, this would be relaxing weather for her: she would put on her favorite leopard-print fuzzy slippers, cuddle underneath her favorite red flannel blanket, and stare at her favorite collection of Van Gogh's artwork. Yes. Rainy days meant staring at sunflower fields with the dissonant sounds of Channel 12 in the background.
But no. Not today. Today as nature poured her wrath down onto the suburbs, Julia was curled up- not comfortably, but contently- in the passenger seat of her boyfriend's ratty old Impala. The Impala that he swore he would restore one day; yet it had been four years and that one day had yet to materialize. Either way. It was just a car, and she did not care all that much: cars were frivolous things. Well, that is, when you had four of them. Four cars was three cars too many.
"So," he cleared his throat and pounded his fists atop the blue steering wheel. "Are we going inside or what?"
Julia nodded in acquiescence but this was where her mind, body and spirit diverged. She knew, mentally, that she had to get out of the car and go out into the rain; she didn't want to; and she knew that she was being the best friend possible by doing so. Or, well, a friend. She was being a friend. Because friends go shopping for god awful, wretchedly uncomfortable high-heels of doom on rainy days. Because friends know it's important to not give their friends more to worry about three weeks before their weddings. That's just how friendship works and what friends do. At least, that is, for those of us with breasts. So Julia groaned and took the obligatory fifty or so steps away from the car and into the mall. She swallowed her annoyance and frustration, and simply sighed.
"What now?" he smiled and offered her hand a slight squeeze of support.
"I don't know," she pouted. "Fuck, Benji, I don't want to go shoe shopping today."
He took a step back, as though shot by a stray bullet in some turf warfare, and clutched his chest. His face lit with mirth as he giggled. "My god! I think I've been…shot. Did you just say….Jules, my god! You didn't say you…..don't want…..must…can't…."
Julia stood back, crossed her arms over her chest and tried her damnedest not to laugh hysterically. The point was to look stern. Fuck it! She knew she didn't look even remotely authoritative like this. She let her arms fall to her hips and she snorted. "Would you cut it out?"
Benji jumped up and offered her a mock salute. "Ay, ay, captain!"
"We need to find grotesque heels for this heinous affair," Julia directed, allowing her eyes to peruse the entrance to the mall quickly. Why she was even bothering to access the situation, she was not sure: she knew the mall like the, well, the fingers of her masturbatory hand. Ah, the mall. In this corridor, there was nothing but a video game emporium, some movie retailers, the food court, and Hot Topic. No, this portion of paradise would not do. She paused and turned to Benji.
He was chewing on his right index finger. "Yes, ma'am?" he glanced up and grinned sheepishly.
"Quit that!" Julia slapped his meaty, tattooed bicep and sighed. "We need to go towards Macy's, that's where all the good shoe stores are."
"You would know," he snorted.
Julia took two steps forward, heard her boyfriend's accusatory words, and spun around. "You know, you're not making this any easier!"
"Hey!" Benji smiled, changing the subject very quickly and side-stepping the seething Julia. He approached the corral of plastic tables and metal chairs known as the food court. "I wonder if Paul and Jenna are here!"
Julia almost laughed- almost- but then her stern frown reappeared. Today was business, not pleasure. She winced. "Very funny."
Benji pushed a chair back into place underneath its matching white table, and sighed. "Jules, what's gotten into you? You're in such a mood today."
"Don't even ask me if-"
"Are you PMSing?"
Yes, this was a man's answer to every female problem. If a woman had her foot run over by a car and was in tears, she was PMSing. If a woman lost her checkbook and went into hysterics, she was PMSing. And if a woman had to spend the last $100 to her name to buy a heinous pair of heels to wear to her friends' wedding and the thought made her want to commit murder, then well, certainly she was PMSing.
"Okay," Benji cleared his throat and grabbed Julia's hand. Peace offering. He would behave now. "Where are we going? Imelda, lead the way."
Julia ignored his obviously pathetic attempt at humor.
* * *
The boxes were piled three feet high. There were the purple strappy heels that just would not do; her bridesmaid's gown was blue. There had been three different pairs of lime green kitten heels that she had had to try on, just because. Those were no good either. A pair of silver open-toe sandals had seemed promising at first, but when she nearly took a nose-dive into the salesman's crotch, well. Those had become a hell no. And endless procession of Dyeables had followed: heels, flats, kitten heels, platforms, sandals, slip-ons, mules, and more. Nothing was inspiring.
And yet, somehow, she felt like she was coming off the high of a great orgasm. A multiple orgasm. For here she sat, in her favorite store in the entire galaxy, buried in boxes upon boxes of shoes glorious shoes. Surely, there would be no better way to die. Death by shoes. Yes, that was how she wanted to go when the time came.
Benji groaned. "Jules, have you seen anything remotely tolerable?"
Julia considered this. Well, yes, she had seen many tolerable treasures. There had been the knee-high stiletto hooker boots that she just knew would do wonders for their sex life; but somehow, she didn't think they'd be appropriate for the wedding. There was also the pair of patent leather mules that had sang her a beautiful aria of comfort when she slid her little toes into their soothing interior. But again, those could not attend the wedding either. She groaned and stared at her bare feet. "I want them all."
Benji groaned again, this time, tossing his head into his tattooed hands. "Jules, we've been here for two hours."
"There's still five more stores," Julia smiled with the realization. Yes. Perfect. Five more opportunities to find a new set of twins that would make her life positively radiant. And that's just how it had to be: the shoes had to be perfect. Her feet had to sing. Her life had to-
"Jules?" Benji laughed.
She glanced up from the pile of tissue paper wrappings and cardboard boxes. "Yes?"
"You look like you just had a giant orgasm!" Benji snorted. He stood up, stretched his arms just high enough to allow Julia a peak at the soft fuzz around his navel, and then he sighed loudly and yawned. "Jules, we better help them clean this shit up and then get to the next store. It's already three."
Julia nodded and allowed him to offer her a hand and bring her to her feet. Shoes. So many shoes. So many shoes, so little time.
* * *
"Explain to me what is wrong with that pair of shoes!" Benji demanded, staring down at the focus of attention: Julia's petite, size five feet.
She continued to parade around the store in the Prada heels, making soft mewing noises, sighs, moans, yips of delight. Clearly, getting the shoes off her little toes and back into the box was going to be somewhat of a fiasco. She looked like a queen as she pranced around the tiny store in the expensive heels. In fact, they were too expensive, she sighed. "I want these," she frowned. "They speak to me."
"Oh yeah?" Benji snorted from his seat on the leather sofa. "What do they say?"
Julia considered this for a moment as she stared at her figure in the full-length mirror. "These shoes make me look thinner."
Benji coughed and nearly choked on his own saliva. "You are on drugs, Jules. Shoes can't make you look thinner."
"Actually," came the all-too-familiar voice as the familiar male took a seat on the sofa beside Benji. "They can. If the angle of the heel is a perfect forty-five degrees, then it accents the musculature of the calf and gives the illusion of firmer, more shapely legs."
Julia turned and glanced at their visitor. "You're right!"
Benji glared at their third party addition. "Joel, what the fuck are you doing here?"
His younger twin shrugged. "I was in the mall looking for a new watch for mom, I saw Julia prancing around in the window of the store, and I thought I'd stop in and say hello."
"These shoes must have me!" Julia sighed wistfully.
Both men stared at the primping female. The heels in question were high: not stiletto, not quite platform, above and beyond anything that could be considered kitten. They made the 5' tall Julia easily a match for Benji's six extra inches. Still, she was shorter than Joel. He grinned. "I agree, Jules."
Julia walked over to the twins with a sad expression, tossed herself onto the couch, and sighed. "But it was not meant to be."
Benji turned to answer her dramatic outburst, but his brother cut him off. "Is she always like this when she shops for shoes?"
The elder twin pondered this and nodded. "Always."
"Jules?" Joel smiled, trying to be supportive. She looked outrightly depressed. "What's wrong?"
Julia kept her eyes locked on the shoes on her feet. She frowned. "These shoes cost more than a month's salary."
Joel leaned forward, delicately clasping Julia's petite foot and checking for signs of a tag. Nothing. She gestured toward the abandoned box in front of his feet. He lifted the cardboard and read aloud, "Three hundred eighty six dollars and ninety eight cents."
"They're on sale," Julia sniffled.
Benji's eyes went wide as he stood up and headed for the front of the store. "That's insane!" He paused then gestured out into the mall. "I have to piss. Stay with Joel."
Julia just nodded toward her comfortable feet. "I want to take you home with me, shoes," she spoke softly, petting the black leather as she cradled the left shoe in her arms. "I want to give you a good home, but I don't think it's meant to be."
Joel stared at her. Her brown eyes were awash with sadness. Her features detailed perfectly the anguish of shopping all day, finally finding the perfect item, and then having to put it back. She was being responsible and it was killing her. Nay, it was leading her toward the path of psychosis. She was sitting on the floor of the store, cradling a shoe like a baby, and speaking to it softly. As though it understood.
"I would have given you a nice home," Julia whispered softly. "We could have stayed up late, listening to The Beatsteaks and Wolfsheim. Oh, you would love Wolfsheim. We could dance all night to their music, you and I."
Joel shook his head and placed his small plastic bag onto the sofa. "Jules, if you really want the shoes, buy them."
"Can't," Julia stated softly, never glancing from the shoes in question. "Can't afford them."
"I'm certain Benji would buy you ten pairs if you asked," he smiled, patting her on the shoulder.
Julia shook her head, and her ponytail of soft brown hair bobbed. He noticed, for the first time, that she had delicate red highlights running across the crown of her head. Must be the lighting. He smiled. She looked like a child, cradling a beloved toy to her chest and mourning a separation.
"I'll buy them for you, Jules. Give them to me!"
Julia yanked the shoe away from him. "No, Joel. You can't!"
"It's not your responsibility to buy me shoes," Julia stated, matter-of-factly. She stood up and brushed the thighs of her jeans off. She was no more than a size two and at her height, she hardly looked menacing glaring down at him. "Besides, these shoes are way too expensive."
Joel laughed. "You said they were on sale."
"And that you want them."
"Then you should have them," he smiled as he reached for the box a second time.
Julia kicked the box slightly, sending it just out of his lengthy reach. She sighed. "Joel, I appreciate this but I don't think it's meant to be. Three hundred dollars is just too much money to spend on shoes."
Joel glanced up at her, curiously. "Not if you want them."
Julia analyzed his words and took a seat beside him on the couch. She looked exhausted suddenly. She frowned. "Joel, part of life is being responsible and knowing when to say no."
"And spending three hundred dollars on heels is not responsible. Especially when my bridesmaid's gown only cost me two hundred dollars. No one will even see these shoes underneath my dress," she reasoned aloud. Joel watched her try and convince herself. "It's pointless to spend all that money on shoes when I already have so many pair."
Benji reappeared in the doorway to the store, but a salesgirl raced over to steal his attention. Julia's eyes observed him gracefully fielding her ecstatic questions and overabundant words. Clearly, she had not been paying enough attention earlier when they had entered. Or maybe she had, and she was waiting for the correct opportunity to strike. Benji without Julia. Benji without a woman. Benji Madden, alone. Yes, clearly this salesgirl would be on her cell phone calling all of the neighborhood tonight.
Julia sighed. "I guess we will have to say goodbye," she offered in the direction of the discarded heels.
"I still think you should have Benji buy them," Joel mused, leaning back into the couch and yawning. "And quickly. I'm fucking starving." As if on cue, his stomach made a loud protest.
Julia stood up and stretched. "I'm not hungry."
* * *
Julia swallowed her mouthful of Diet Coke and glanced across the wooden table at her boyfriend. She did not want to continue shopping, no. "I've had enough," she emphasized. "Today sucked!"
"I don't see why it's such a big deal," Benji groaned. Yes, they had gone over this topic at least ten times throughout the course of dinner. Dinner, even. He and Joel had ordered heaping portions off the menu; Julia had ordered a Diet Coke. They had even argued about this, but to no avail. She was clearly heartbroken over the shoes. He frowned. "Julia, after dinner we are going back to that store and buying you those shoes."
"No," Julia protested into her straw.
"Jules!" Benji argued, his mouth full of vegetables. He didn't even bother to chew before he continued with his verbal onslaught. "You want those shoes, fine. We will get you those shoes."
"No," Julia yawned into her plastic cup.
"Jules!" Benji barked annoyed, slamming down his fork. He leaned back in the booth and groaned. "Please. I don't want to argue with you here." He gestured around him to the TGIF that they were seated at, South Corridor of the mall, right near Baker's Footwear. Julia loved their $5 sales.
She yawned again. "I just want to go home."
"I have to piss," Joel yawned with a nod. "Be right back, love birds."
"Neither of you has any manners," Julie sighed softly.
Benji's expression shifted and his hands remained jammed inside the pocket of his oversized Rancid hoodie. He looked annoyed. He was pissed. He bit his lip. "Julia, you're really making this uncomfortable for me."
"Why?" she questioned, staring off into space then back toward the bottom of her Diet Coke.
"You're making a big fucking deal out of nothing," he growled. Yes, now he was pissed. He stared at his baked potato and forgot his hunger. His blood was boiling. "I want to buy you the shoes."
He changed tactics. "Let me buy you the shoes?"
"No," Julia frowned. "Benj, you don't get it, do you?"
Benji shook his head and sat up straight in the booth. He reclaimed his fork and began shoving a piece of carrot around his plate in circles. He didn't understand it. Probably never would. He owned ten pairs of shoes, nine of which were sneakers and eight of which had been given to him for free. Shoes didn't matter. Shoes were not exciting. Tattoos, piercings, cars. Yes, those were exciting and worth collecting. But shoes? No. Shoes were a basic evil of life; not a pleasure.
"You can't buy me the shoes," Julia stated simply. "End of story."
* * *
Julia had not made life easy. She had slept through the entire length of the film. How someone could fall asleep during "Madagascar," Benji was not certain. He and Joel had laughed maniacally. It had been good. It felt good to laugh. The only down side had been when he would glance over to Julia, sleeping soundly beside him in her seat. She looked like a little porcelain doll. The thought made him mentally slap himself; knowing that if she could read his mind, she would do much more than that to punish him. I'm an independent woman, she would say. Don't pity me!
But it had been hard to watch her sleep, watch her eyelids flutter, and know that she was laying beside him dreaming of a little pair of Prada heels that he could easily afford for her. Joel had been correct: he would gladly buy her ten pairs. One pair in every color of the rainbow. But that was not Julia. Julia didn't take kindly to what she called "gifts of pity". Yes, she loved presents like anyone else. Her eyes would light up like Christmas morning when he brought her a surprise bouquet of flowers; or the newest CD by one of her favorite bands. But when Julia laid down the law and said no, she meant no. And that meant the shoes in question were off limits.
And fortunately- or unfortunately- as they passed the store en route to the car, Julia had glanced into the window to find her new friends gone. They had been removed from the display case, and in their place was emptiness. She had paused for a split second to mourn their loss, but had continued on and forced herself to smile. That was, until her cell phone had rang with the exciting- not sarcasm- news that Jenna wanted all the girls to have matching purses.
Matching purses. Yes. So now, not only did Julia need a pair of shoes; she needed a new purse to match those shoes. And her dress. And her shawl. And her flowers. And her hair. And poor Julia looked like she was going to cry. She tossed herself down onto a bench in the center of the corridor and sighed. There was a clear air of sniffle to the sigh, and she tossed her head into her hands. "Why did I agree to be in this stupid wedding anyway?"
Benji was speechless. He felt like a stooge as he tried to search for the words, but nothing came. Always right on the ball with his emotions, Joel was quickly able to pick up his twin's slack. He sat beside Julia and wrapped a protective around her shoulders. "Jules, relax. Just relax, okay? Take a deep breath."
Julia did as she was told. She glanced up at the pair, and Benji felt his heart break at the sight of her glassy, tear-stained eyes. Thank god for Joel. He smiled reassuringly and hugged Julia. "Julia, relax, okay? It's just a wedding. We're all going through it."
"Jenna and Paul are nervous. They don't know what they want or what they're doing. So they keep changing their minds." Joel paused and snorted. "Jules, don't sweat it. We all know they're crazy. Don't let them drive you crazy."
Julia nodded sadly. "But I don't have shoes…or a purse. I don't have money to get my hair done. I don't….have the money for this." Tears filled her eyes again.
Joel clutched to her tightly. "Julia, it's okay. Calm down, it's okay."
Benji took the seat on her right and nodded, agreeing with his twin. "Jules, it's alright. Everything will turn out okay."
"If you say so," Julia sniffled.
"Jules, remember when Rose and Gerard got married?" Joel laughed softly, placing an errant strand of hair behind Julia's ear. She nodded. "Remember how Rose blew her top when Jenna said that she refused to pay $30 for a tube of lipstick?" Julia snorted. "And it turned into this big cat fight and they didn't speak for a week?"