I had no idea what I was doing standing in the middle of a crowded food court listening to the blonde next to me babble on and on about nothing. I rarely frequented malls, especially malls in cities that were unfamiliar to me. I only went to the mall when I desperately needed clothes, the odd Christmas present, or to see if the music stores had any good CD's for sale. Other than that, I tried to avoid stores that streamed loud pop music, and smelled strongly of whatever overpriced cologne they were trying to market to young teens. Which is why I was shocked that I had made it this far, standing next to a girl I barely knew in line for a cinnamon bun and frappamochalattecino, or whatever the hell "designer" coffee they were currently pushing at the counter.
I sighed as I tried to bring myself back into the conversation but ended up zoning out again. The blonde was gabbing to me because my loud mouth brother, Emmett, had told her I was an amazing musician with a passion for blondes who was single. On the contrary, I was a mediocre musician who preferred brunettes, he had gotten the single thing right. Emmett had put me on the spot with the girl, telling her that I was, "so new to this town" that I, "didn't even know where the mall was." So, of course, she had jumped at the opportunity and me, being the way I was, couldn't find a way to say "no". So here I was, standing in line with a girl who had nothing in common with me while I could be moving into my new apartment on campus. I had come to the Mid-West college in an attempt to escape the giant city. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the city, but I longed for a college with smaller class sizes where I didn't have to worry about getting mugged while walking from my apartment to campus if I chose to have any night classes. This college was perfect, it had smaller classes, nicer apartments, a safer campus, but still had nice clubs if I missed the feeling of the big city. I also, unfortunately, had Emmett, who thought it was a perfect opportunity to expand his own horizons by switching schools. He also had told his parents that he could "keep a better eye on his little bro" by living on the same campus. Fortunately for me, Emmett had pledged a fraternity and now lived in the frat house while I had chosen to live in the apartments with a roommate that I still hadn't met. I could be meeting him right now but had, instead, been thrust into the situation with the blonde who was still babbling beside me, good God would she ever shut up?
"Edward? Are you okay?" She asked. I whipped my head to meet her, er, chest, unfortunately, and quickly averted my eyes to her face,
"Yeah, I'm fine, I'm just a little tired. You know, with all the moving in." I said trying to cut our mall trip short. It was nearing seven o'clock and the mall closed at nine, I wanted to be able to at least get to my apartment and hopefully catch my roommate.
"Where did you say you transferred from?" She asked. I gave her the best smile I could offer thought I knew very well I had told her at least five times,
"Out east. I was going to be a junior but decided to switch…I wasn't very happy to say the least." I told her. She nodded, clearly uninterested, I couldn't blame her, I was neither pink nor glittery, also I didn't vibrate constantly informing her she had a new text message, like the cell phone she held onto so tightly I would have sworn it as some vital piece of her anatomy.
We got our cinnamon buns, well she got a cinnamon bun I got a black coffee, and we sat at a table. She gave a little gasp,
"I'm going to run over to that store really quick, I think I see someone I know." She smacked her gum and rushed off. I let out a deep sigh and ran my hands through my messy bronze hair, I could tell it was going to be a very long night.
My stomach growled angrily as I zipped around the backroom shoving boxes of shoes back into their correct spots on the shelves. It hadn't taken me too long to memorize where most styles belonged and I was surprised that I was becoming quite good at putting the unsought shoes back in their correct locations in no time flat. The night had been particularly slow with only a couple of picky customers and a few people, who were clearly holding on to any strand of summer left, looking for last minutes flipflops. But now we were definitely dead, and with only two hours remaining until the mall closed I decided to take my dinner break and find something to eat,
"Aaron, I'm going to grab a bite…want anything?" I asked as I walked from the backroom onto the floor. Aaron looked up from cleaning his own shoes,
"That's fine Bella, nah I don't need anything." I nodded and grabbed my purse,
"I won't take too long, I promise." I gave him a smile and left the store beginning my short trek to the food court. I wasn't looking forward to moving into my new campus apartment all at once tomorrow but I had promised to cover a co-worker's shift tonight which had erased any chance I had of moving in that night. I was excited of starting life at a new college, my old college had made cry and didn't have everything I wanted, this college seemed promising and I was looking forward to it. I had struck gold when I had applied at the shoe store in the mall, it was a fun, low stress job that fit perfectly around my schedule. Finally, I was happy…for the most part.
I walked up the counter at the Great Steak and Potato Co. and ordered a wrap. I knew it would take awhile so I made my way to a table to wait. I hadn't sat down in five hours and desperately needed to. I should have known it was a bad idea to try and do two things at once, but anyone should have been able to walk while putting their wallet away, apparently I didn't fall under the category of "anyone". I tripped over someone's shoelaces and went flying to the sticky, disgusting, mall floor.
"Oh…gross." I groaned. The most amazing voice I had ever heard filled my ears,
"Fuck, I'm so sorry." He said. I had embarrassed myself in front of a guy, fantastic. I felt his strong arms around my shoulders as he lifted me to my feet. I hurriedly wiped of my black pants so the stains wouldn't set in,
"It's fine, I'm the clumsiest person you will…ever…meet." My sentence fell apart as my eyes met his. His eyes were a deep, deep green, his features were very intense and worried as he stare at me. His hair was very messy and bronze. He was amazingly handsome and I couldn't believe I had fallen completely flat in front of him. He chuckled warmly,
"No I really should learn how to tie my shoes." He put his hands in his pockets and his tongue snuck out, running nervously over his lips. I almost fell to the floor again,
"Those are some really old Nike's you should look into some Asics, maybe the Kayano or the Kinsei do you run a lot? It looks like you've destroyed the support in those." My mouth spouted off all the random things I could take in from my run in with his shoes. I felt so stupid but I really did notice feet and shoes a whole lot more since starting my job. This mystery man raised his eyebrows and let out a chuckle,
"Yeah, I do run, occasionally. You know a lot about shoes." He smiled at me, a unique, crooked, smile that made me swallow a lump in my throat,
"I work…here, at the shoe store down that way." I pointed in the direction of my store, "I apparently can't walk in shoes but I can certainly sell them." I said. He smiled at me and looked at his shoes,
"Well these are pretty old. Maybe I'll come check out what you have some time." He said, "I'm Edward by the way." Edward said. He extended his hand and I almost took it but a busty blonde bounced up to us and my mind immediately processed that they had to be a couple,
"Oh…oh, well, Edward my food is ready and I have to get back to the store…so um, I'm sorry, again about tripping…bye." I hurried back over to get my food,
"Wait! I didn't get your name." I thought I heard him say. I didn't care, I was thoroughly embarrassed, his girlfriend was beautiful and I was, now, covered in dirt from the mall floor. I grabbed my food and dashed back to the store ready for the night to end.
I was floored. She was beautiful, and I needed to know her name.