If the Shoe Fits (Meant To Be #1) - Julie Murphy Page 0,2

but after a few years, they’d faded into a soft bluish white. Cindy kept them tucked under her bed in the box they’d come in, along with her mother’s locket, hidden in the toe for safekeeping.

“She wore those shoes down the aisle and then kicked them off as soon as the ceremony began.” Simon smiled widely. “Your grandmother was not happy.”

Cindy didn’t know much about her grandparents except that on her Mom’s side they were pretty stuffy and thought that Simon was stealing her away from the comfortable lifestyle she deserved.

“But she also had a bunch of fancy work shoes squirreled away.”

Cindy swiveled back to face the television. “If I were allowed to wear high heels, I’d put them on every day even it meant wearing them on my hands.”

Simon snorted. “Good thing you’re not allowed to wear high heels.”

“Someday,” Cindy said, her attention drifting from her dad back to the dazzling women lined up on the television screen. “Someday.”

“Okay, wait,” I say. “This time I’ll sit on the suitcase and you try to latch it. Besides, I’m bigger than you by a lot.”

Sierra holds an arm out to me with a sigh, and I pull her to her feet. “Cin, we’ve already made three trips to the post office to ship shoes home. Don’t shoot the messenger here, but…you might have to part with some of—”

“Don’t! Don’t even say it, S!” I plop down onto the trunk with a defeated pout. “Is it such a crime to love shoes this much?” I ask. It sounds materialistic, I know, but each one of these shoes represents a moment in time for me. A pair I saved up for. A pair I bought for a date. For a wedding. A funeral…And even a few pairs I’ve crafted myself. Shoes aren’t just an obsession for me. They’re my life’s work. Or they were, at least.

Sierra squats down and makes another attempt on the latches before looking up to me, her thick black brows furrowed.

“Give it to me straight, doc,” I say.

“Three pairs,” she says. “If you can part with three pairs, you might actually make it to the airport on time and not miss your flight. And before I hear even a squeak about getting on the next flight, you can’t afford the change fees.”

The words afford and fees turn my spine into a rod. “Okay, okay, okay.” I stand up and flip the case open, running my fingers over each stiletto, sneaker, and wedge. Every last strap, ribbon, stud, and stone. Each of these shoes holds a story for me. It’s not like I just walked into a Saks and bought my first pair of Manolo Blahniks full price. This is years of scouring clearance basements, eBay, Poshmark, and even craigslist for everything from Steve Madden to LuMac to Gucci. And some of these are even more precious than that. Some of these are one of a kind. Cindy originals.

I hand Sierra my red patent leather Kate Spade kitten heels. “You always liked them best,” I tell her. “And really, I should have gone up a half size.”

She holds them to her chest, her eyes beginning to glisten. “I couldn’t,” she says. “But I will.”

I laugh and maybe even cry a little. When Dad died during my senior year of high school, I couldn’t imagine what my future might hold or if I would even have any future worth imagining at all. I nearly passed on coming to New York and just planned to take some community college classes until I could figure out my next move. All I wanted was anything that felt familiar or reminded me of Dad, but the only family I had back home was my stepmom and stepsisters. And then I met Sierra—this effortlessly cool girl from a huge Greek family who can find common ground with just about anyone. If it wasn’t for Sierra, I would have never made it in NYC. I don’t believe in fate, but if I did, having Sierra as my freshman roommate would be the closest thing to fate that I could imagine. Now, with graduation just last week, Sierra is family, and she’s the kind I chose. According to my dad, the family you choose is just as meaningful as the one you’re born with. If, after four years at Parsons School of Design, Sierra is the best thing I walk away with, it will have been worth it. (And after the disaster that was my last semester, that