In Her Shoes
"Baby," groaned the guy -- Ted? Tad? -- something like that -- and crushed his lips against the side of her neck, shoving her face against the wall of the toilet stall.
This is ridiculous, Maggie thought, as she felt him bunching her dress up around her hips. But she'd had five vodka-and-tonics over the course of the last hour and a half, and at this point was not in much of a position to call anything ridiculous. She wasn't even sure she could pronounce the word.
"You're so hot!" Ted or Tad exclaimed, discovering the thong that Maggie had purchased for the occasion.
"I want the thong. In red," she'd said.
"Flame," the salesgirl at Victoria's Secret had replied.
"Whatever," said Maggie. "Small," she added, "extra small if you have it." She gave the girl a quick scornful look to let her know that while she might not know red from flame, she, Maggie Feller, was not worried. She might not have finished college. She might not have a great job-or, okay, after last Thursday, any job at all. The sum total of her big-screen experience might be the three seconds that a sliver of her left hip was visible in Will Smith's second-to-last video. And she might be just barely bumping along while some people, like namely her sister, Rose, went whizzing through Ivy League colleges and straight into law schools, then into law firms and luxury apartments on Rittenhouse Square like they'd been shot down the water slide of life, but still, she, Maggie, had something of worth, something rare and precious, possessed by few, coveted by many-a terrific body. One hundred and six pounds stretched over five feet and six inches, all of it tanning-bed basted, toned, plucked, waxed, moisturized, deodorized, perfumed, perfect.
She had a tattoo of a daisy on the small of her back, the words "BORN TO BE BAD" tattooed around her left ankle, and a plump, pierced red heart reading "MOTHER" on her right bicep. (She'd thought about adding the date of her mother's death, but for some reason that tattoo had hurt more than the other two put together.) Maggie also had D-cup tits. Said tits had been a gift from a married boyfriend and were made of saline and plastic, but this didn't matter. "They're an investment in my future," Maggie had said, even as her father looked hurt and bewildered, and Sydelle the Stepmonster flared her nostrils, and her big sister, Rose, had asked, "Precisely what kind of future are you planning?" in that snotty voice of hers that made her sound like she was seventy instead of thirty. Maggie didn't listen. Maggie didn't care. She was twenty-eight years old now, at her tenth high school reunion, and she was the best-looking girl in the room.
All eyes had been on her as she strolled into the Cherry Hill Hilton in her clinging black spaghetti-strap cocktail dress and the Christian Louboutin stilettos she'd swiped from her sister's closet the weekend before. Rose might have let herself turn into a fat load -- a big sister in more ways than one -- but at least their feet were still the same size. Maggie could feel the heat of the gazes as she smiled, sashaying over to the bar, hips swaying like music, bangles chiming on her wrists, letting her former classmates get a good look at what they'd missed -- the girl they'd ignored, or mocked and called retarded, the one who'd shuffled down the high school hallways swimming in her father's oversized army jacket, cringing against the lockers. Well, Maggie had blossomed. Let them see, let them drool. Marissa Nussbaum and Kim Pratt and especially that bitch Samantha Bailey with her dishwater-blond hair and the fifteen pounds she'd packed on her hips since high school. All the cheerleaders, the ones who'd scorned her or looked right past her. Looked right through her. Let them just feast their eyes on her now or, better yet, let their wimpy, receding-hairlined husbands do the feasting.
"Oh, God!" moaned Ted the Tadpole, unbuckling his pants.
In the next stall, a toilet flushed.
Maggie wobbled on her heels as Ted-slash-Tad aimed and missed and aimed again, jabbing at her thighs and backside. It was like being bludgeoned with a blind snake, she thought, and snorted to herself, a noise that Ted evidently mistook for a groan of passion. "Oh, yeah, baby! You like that, huh?" he groaned, and started poking her even harder. Maggie stifled a yawn and looked down at herself, noting with pleasure that her thighs -- firmed from hours on the treadmill, smooth as plastic from a recent waxing -- did not so much as quiver, no matter how violent Ted's thrusts got. And her pedicure was perfect. She -- hadn't been sure about this particular shade of red -- not quite dark enough, she'd worried -- but it was the right choice, she thought, as she looked down at her toes, gleaming back up at her.
"Jesus CHRIST!" yelled Ted. His tone was one of commingled ecstasy and frustration, like a man who's seen a holy vision and isn't quite sure what it means. Maggie had met him at the bar, maybe half an hour after she'd arrived, and he was just what she had in mind -- tall, blond, built, not fat and balding like all the guys who'd been football gods and prom kings in high school. Smooth, too. He'd tipped the bartender five dollars for each round, even though it was an open bar, even though he didn't have to, and he'd told her what she wanted to hear.
"What do you do?" he'd asked, and she'd smiled at him. "I am a performer," she said. Which was true. For the past six months, she'd been a backup singer for a band called Whiskered Biscuit that did thrash-metal covers of 1970s disco classics. So far, they'd booked precisely one gig, as the market for thrash-metal renditions of "MacArthur Park" was not overwhelming, and Maggie knew that she was in the band only because the lead singer was hoping she'd sleep with him. But it was something -- a tiny toehold on her dream of being famous, of being a star.
"You weren't in any of my classes," he'd said, tracing his forefinger around and around her wrist. "I would have remembered you for sure." Maggie looked down, toying with one of her auburn ringlets, debating whether she should slide her sandal along his calf, or unpin her hair, letting her curls cascade down her back. No, she hadn't been in his classes. She'd been in the "special" classes, the "remedial" classes, the classes with the scrubs and the burnouts and the big-print textbooks that were a different shape -- slightly longer and thinner -- than any of the books the other kids carried. You could tuck those books under brown paper covers and shove them in your backpack, but the other kids always knew. Well, fuck them. Fuck all of them. Fuck all the pretty cheerleaders and the guys who'd been happy to fool around with her in the passenger seat of their parents' cars but wouldn't even say "Hi" to her in the halls the next Monday.
"Christ!" yelled Ted again. Maggie opened her mouth to tell him to keep it down, and threw up all over the floor -- a clear spill of vodka and tonic, she noted as if from a great distance, plus a few decomposing noodles. She'd had pasta when? Last night? She was trying to remember her last meal when he grabbed her hips and swung her around roughly so that she was facing the front of the stall, banging her hip against the toilet-paper dispenser in the process. "AGHH!" Ted announced, and came all over her back.
Maggie whirled to face him, moving as quickly as she could through the sloshing vodka/noodle mess on the floor. "Not the dress!" she said. And Ted stood there, blinking, his pants puddled around his knees, his hand still on his dick. He grinned foolishly at her. "That was great!" he said, and squinted at her face. "What was your name again?"
Fifteen miles away, Rose Feller had a secret -- a secret currently splayed flat on his back and snoring, a secret who had somehow managed to dislodge her fitted sheet and kick three pillows to the floor.
Rose propped herself up on her elbow and considered her lover by the glow of the streetlights that filtered through her blinds, smiling a sweet, secret smile, a smile none of her colleagues at the law firm of Lewis, Dommel, and Fenick would have recognized. This was what she had always wanted, what she'd spent her whole life secretly dreaming of -- a man who looked at her like she was the only woman in the room, in the world, the only woman who'd ever existed. And he was so handsome, even better looking without his clothes than in them. She wondered if she could take a picture. But the noise would wake him up. And who could she show it to?
Instead, Rose let her eyes take a tour of his body -- his strong legs, his broad shoulders, his mouth, half-open, the better to snore with. Rose turned on her side, away from him, drew up the blanket tight under her chin, and smiled, remembering.
They'd been working late on the Veeder matter, which was so boring that Rose could have wept, except the partner on the case was Jim Danvers, and she was so in love with him that she would have spent a week reviewing documents if it meant she'd be close enough to him to smell the good wool of his suit, the scent of his cologne. It got to be eight-o'clock, and then it got to be nine, and finally they sealed the last of the pages into the messenger's pouch and he looked at her with his movie-star smile and said, "Do you want to get a bite to eat?"
They went to the bar in the basement of Le Bec-Fin, where a glass of wine turned into a bottle, where the crowd dwindled and the candles burned down until it was midnight and they were alone and the conversation stuttered to a stop. While Rose was trying to figure out what to say next -- something about sports maybe? -- Jim reached for her hand and murmured, "Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?" Rose shook her head because, really, she had no idea. Nobody had ever told her she was beautiful, except her father, once, and that didn't really count. When she looked in the mirror, she saw nothing but an ordinary girl, a plain Jane, a grown-up bookworm with a decent wardrobe -- size fourteen, brown hair and brown eyes, thick, straight eyebrows and a chin that jutted forward slightly as if to say, You and what army?
Except she'd always harbored the secret hope that someday, somebody would tell her that she was beautiful, a man who'd slide her hair out of its ponytail, slip her glasses off her face, and look at her like she was Helen of Troy. It was one of the main reasons she'd never gotten contacts. And so she'd leaned forward, every fiber of her being quivering, staring at Jim, waiting for more of the words she'd always wanted to hear. But Jim Danvers just grabbed her hand, paid the bill, and whisked her out the door, up to her apartment, where he'd pulled off her shoes, shucked her skirt, kissed his way from her neck down her belly, and spent forty-five minutes doing things to her that she'd only dreamed of (and seen once on Sex and the City).
She shivered deliciously, pulling the comforter up to her chin. reminding herself that this could be trouble. Sleeping with a colleague went against her personal code of ethics (an easy code to maintain, she admitted, because she'd never had a colleague who'd wanted to sleep with her). More problematic, though -- relationships between partners and associates were explicitly forbidden by firm rules. Both of them could be disciplined if anyone found out. He'd get in trouble. She'd probably be asked to leave. And she'd have to find another job, start all over again-another round of interviews, boring half-days spent reciting the same answers to the same questions: Have you always wanted to be a lawyer? What areas of the law appeal to you the most? What kind of practice do you see yourself developing? How would you fit in with this firm?
Jim hadn't been like that. He interviewed her when she came to Lewis, Dommel, and Fenick. It was a beautiful September afternoon three months ago when she walked into the conference room, in her navy blue interview suit, with the folder full of firm PR clutched to her chest. After five years at Dillert McKeen she'd been looking for a change -- a slightly smaller firm that would give her more responsibilities. This was her third interview of the week, and her feet, in navy Ferragamo pumps, were killing her, but one look at Jim Danvers had banished all thoughts of aching feet and other firms. She'd been expecting a standard-issue partner -- fortyish, balding, bespectacled, carefully avuncular with potential female colleagues. And there was Jim, standing at the window, and when he turned to greet her, the late-afternoon light turned his blond hair into a golden crown. Not standard issue at all, and not fortyish, either -- maybe thirty-five, Rose thought, a baby partner, five years older than she was, and so handsome. That jaw! Those eyes! The tantalizing whiff of aftershave he left in his wake. He was the kind of guy who'd always been strictly off-limits to Rose as she'd toiled through high school, college, and law school, keeping her nose to the grindstone and her grades in the stratosphere. But when he'd smiled, she'd caught a glint of silver against his teeth. A retainer, she saw, her heart lifting, hope blossoming inside of her chest. So maybe he wasn't perfect. Maybe there was hope.
"Ms. Feller?" he asked, and she nodded, not trusting her voice. He smiled at her, crossed the room in three long steps, and took her hand in his.
It had started, for her, at that moment -- the sun behind him, his hand wrapped around hers, sending bolts of electricity shooting straight between her legs. She'd felt something she'd only read about, something she wasn't even sure that she believed in -- passion. Passion as hot and steamy as anything from her Harlequin romances, passion that stole the breath right out of her throat. She looked at the smooth skin of Jim Danvers's neck and wanted to lick it, right there in the conference room.
"I'm Jim Danvers," he said.
She cleared her throat. Her voice was breathy, husky, a wanton rasp. "I'm Rose." Shit. What was her last name again? "Feller. Rose Feller. Hi."
It had started so slowly between them -- the glance held a beat too long while waiting for the elevator, a hand that would linger at the small of her back, the way his eyes would seek her out in a crowd whenever the associates and partners wound up in a meeting together. Meanwhile, she gleaned whatever gossip she could. "Single," said her secretary. "Extremely single," said a paralegal. "Serial heartbreaker," whispered a first-year associate as she reapplied her lipstick in the ladies' room mirror. "And I hear he's good." Rose had blushed, washed her hands, and fled. She didn't want Jim to have a...
Meet Rose Feller. She's thirty years old and a high-powered attorney with a secret passion for romance novels. She has an exercise regime she's going to start next week, and she dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses, gaze into her eyes, and tell her that she's beautiful. She also dreams of getting her fantastically screwed-up little sister to get her life together.
Meet Rose's sister, Maggie. Twenty-eight years old, drop-dead gorgeous and only occasionally employed, Maggie sings backup in a band called Whiskered Biscuit. Although her dreams of big-screen stardom haven't progressed past her left hip's appearance in a Will Smith video, Maggie dreams of fame and fortune -- and of getting her dowdy big sister to stick to a skin-care regime.
These two women with nothing in common but a childhood tragedy, shared DNA, and the same size feet, are about to learn that their family is more different than they ever imagined, and that they're more alike than they'd ever believe. In Her Shoes -- Jennifer Weiner's follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut, Good in Bed -- observes Rose and Maggie, the brain and the beauty, as they make journeys of discovery that take them from the streets of Philadelphia to Ivy League libraries to a "retirement community for active seniors" in Boca Raton. Along the way, they'll encounter a wild cast of characters -- from a stepmother who's into recreational Botox to a small, disdainful pug with no name. They'll borrow shoes and clothes and boyfriends, and make peace with their most intimate enemies -- each other.
Funny and poignant, richly detailed and wrenchingly real, In Her Shoes will speak to anyone who has endured the bonds of big -- or little -- sisterhood, or longed for a life different from the one the world has dictated, and dreamed of trying something else on for size.
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Description du livre Pocket Books 03/01/2005, 2005. État : used-good. - GREAT BOOK IN GOOD OR BETTER CONDITION, NORMALLY SENT SAME DAY FROM WAREHOUSE. N° de réf. du libraire 7719-9781416502333
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Description du livre Pocket, 2005. État : Good. Repreint. N/A. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. N° de réf. du libraire GRP21678486
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Description du livre Pocket 2005 Paperback, 2005. État : Very Good. 464 pages. N° de réf. du libraire 192677
Description du livre Pocket Books, London UK, 2005. Paperback. État : Good. No Jacket. Unbroken spine. Light cover wear. Pages very lightly tanned ~aa00 Size: 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. N° de réf. du libraire 10822
Description du livre Pocket 2005 Paperback, 2005. État : Good. 464 pages. N° de réf. du libraire 268030
Description du livre Pocket Books 2005 Paperback, 2005. État : Near Mint. 464 pages. N° de réf. du libraire 519402