Introducing The Shoes
College life is lauded to be the most carefree and exciting time of anyone’s life. It’s time when students find friends for life, do incredibly stupid things, attend wilder than wild parties, have romances and of course, a tiny portion of the time is also dedicated to learning, exams and any other tortures they had to go through academically before finally getting their feet proverbially wet in the adult life.
Malcolm O’Connor, known to his friends, however few he had, as Mal, was a practical kind of guy. Or, if you asked some of his friends, he could be termed as the ‘wet blanket of propriety’ along with the rather unflattering nickname of ‘Saint Mal’. With a respectable height of 5.8 feet, dark brown hair, buzz cut hair and equally dark brown eyes, he could be termed as a poster-child for ordinary. Not too good looking so he could be termed as a catch but neither so shabby as to be tacked as a no-date material, not that Mal cared about that. Instead of that, the senior and soon-to-be graduate tried to immerse himself within reading the last batch of research papers on mineral processing. Studying metallurgy was a bitch more often than not, what with the insane workload and complexity of the subject, but Mal enjoyed its intricacies. After getting his degree, he hoped to work with Landson&Grawe Company, the premium authority on excavating and processing rare metal ores. Sighing, he rubbed the bridge of his nose as he looked around his room.
It was an attic room - tiny, and all in white, the only colored exception was polished, but worn dark brown wood floor with honey-colored table. The other offenders of this tiny discolored world were the deep gray bed frame and the vivid red and orange cover neatly straightened and tucked over the white of pillow and the blanket. The familiar sight of the small space should have been comforting to Mal – it was, after all, a place he has been studying and living in for three years already. But right now, this didn’t matter to him.
Dark brown eye escaped from the research papers to the phone on the desk, and Mal gulped. Should he or shouldn’t he? He swallowed as he felt a familiar heat to suffuse his cheeks.
‘It’s only a phone, stupid. What harm can it do?’ He berated himself, forcing his racing heart to calm down.
The problem was, it wasn’t just a phone. Or rather, the problem wasn’t that it was a phone, but what it contained. Mumbling out a curse, Mal eyed it again, and then he forced his attention, frayed as it was, to return back to the papers he absolutely had to go through. Professor Morrison would have his head if he caught him slacking like that and besides, he just didn’t have time for –
‘Love?’ His inner conscience mocked him.
“I give up.” Mal groaned to himself. Just one look, and then he would be back to studying. Scout’s honor and all that.
Long, slender fingers scrabbled to purchase the tiny device. It was a Nokia - of a rather ancient make, but for Mal’s needs it was alright. He didn’t use it for more than calls here and there, anyway.
And… His throat bobbed as he pressed the keys…
There she was, frozen in a picture, laughing in all her pink and blonde-haired glory, laughing at something with her friends, clad in off-metallic short-sleeved blouse with black mini skirt and black kitten heels. Mal’s eyes softened as he looked at the personified picture of happiness.
Anya Redfield, total sweetheart and the princess of the student campus. She was aiming to be a vet to help the animals, and despite her habit to wear punk-inspired clothes, she was rather kind and a real cutie. Mall had met her when she had accidentally bumped into him in the library when she had been searching for some book or another on anatomy of reptiles. Usually, Mal would have disregarded her, but her soft golden eyes and beautiful smile caught his attention like nothing else. He had barely managed not to make a fool out of himself when he pointed her to the correct aisle and then, he had escaped to his usual haunt, his mind filled with those eyes and the sweet smile she had graced him with. He also noted her to help an elderly grandma with her stack of the books and on another occasion, he saw her entertain a group of kids with telling a story. He wasn’t a stalker, honestly - they just…happened to cross paths on some occasions. Or rather, Mal had happened to be nearby his object of admiration by a sheer dumb luck.
But…Mal’s heart fell in dismay. He and Anya weren’t even in the same social circles - while she was rich daddy’s girl and in one of the best known cliques, Mal was a loner - even if he was rather brilliant when it came to working with metals, this was not a ‘cool point’ when concerning the crowds. And because he had to earn his keep, he didn’t really have much time for socializing with his year mates outside the classes and practicums. Still, Mal’s heart foolishly wanted the impossible.
To have those golden eyes sparkle at him, and those pink lips to kiss his own –
His daydreams were rudely interrupted by a loud banging on the door.
“Hoooney I’m hooome!”
Mal glared at the helpless door. He knew the owner of this caterwauling voice rather well. Ash Breckinridge, known to his pals, enemies and professors as Brick because of the incident in his junior year.
Sighing and giving to the inevitable, he stood up and went to open the door. The minute he unlocked the lock, he had been pushed aside rather unceremoniously as a colorful blur entered his room and plopped itself on his bed wiggling shamelessly on the red and orange spread and creasing it horrendously, making Mal cringe at the sight.
“Dude, ya gotta tell me why your bed is comfier than mine.” Brick continued to wiggle on the said bed for emphasis. He was of a African descendant but that didn’t stop him from swearing upside down that his noble ancestors were Mexicans for some reason. Mal glared at him. “Any reason why you interrupted my study time for?” He snapped back at him, but Brick was unrepentant.
Brick shrugged. “What, can’t a friend visit his bestest friend in the whole wide world?” He mocked, batting his heavily made eyes at Mal innocently. That was another thing of Brick’s. His totally weird mish-mash of clothing style. One day, you could see him trampling around, wearing skinny jeans and heavy-duty cowboy boots, another one he would parade all over the campus and through the university building in the glitzy golden and black mini skirt and cone heels to boot, but not matter if he wore male or female clothes, he always rocked his signature mane of dreadlocks with many silver and golden balls woven within, along with eye makeup in wild colors. This time he decided to go for the gold and sunset orange as to accent his warm chocolate orbs. He wore sleeveless white shirt was tied in a careless knot above his belly, accentuating his abdominal muscles and the light twinkling of the belly hoop. Mal’s head shook with amusement when he spotted his ‘best friend’ wearing pleated knee-length green tartan skirt and thick knitted white knee socks along with Mary Janes. He didn’t even want to know where Brick even got those shoes.
Brick’s lips pursed. “Ya know, this is going too far.” He declared imperiously. “I know for a fact that none of the professors are riding yer ass about tests or somethin’, so this time ya have no excuse not to get out with me and live a little.”
Mal eyed his crazy friend warily. “The last time I ‘lived a little’ - He made a mocking wiggling gesture with his fingers as to emphasize the last words – “We were arrested for indecent exposure, defacing the communal property and you still somehow managed to get that cop into a French lip-lock and get his number.” He finished with a long-suffering sigh.
“He rocked hot cakes.” Brick pouted at him. “And you know men in uniform are a weakness of mine. “
Mal snorted. “Yeah, like that soldier on a leave a week back. By the way, never, ever subject me to debating about the wonders of concealing powder again, you got that?”
Brick snorted as he crossed arms in front of his chest. “Amanda is a singularly wonderful being and I resent you for dissing the powers of concealing powders.” He announced snootily as he rolled up his eyes toward the ceiling dramatically. Shrugging, Mal retrieved two cans of beer from the tiny kitchenette and threw one to Brick who greedily snatched it from the air with a happy wide grin that Mal swore made his teeth sparkle even whiter as they were.
“Dude, a corona. You are total forgiven.” And lo and behold, happy, no-grudge Brick was back again.
Sometimes, Mal wondered just how was he even managing to stay a friend with the bi-polar oddity that was Brick. The man didn’t have any reservations with flirting and sleeping with either males and females, showing as he had his legs between two worlds so to speak. One minute he could cuss with the worst of the dudes at the football match, the other he could debate about merits and demerits of L’Oreal versus Revlon with the girls like nobody’s business. They had met in the high school, both of them excluded from usual cliques because of their weirdness - Mal because he was a stick in the mud for rules, and Brick because he was just totally crazy enough to not conform to anything and anyone. Their friendship was born in one dirty little alley when some idiots cornered Brick as to ‘teach him a lesson’ and Mal just happened to walk by and rain a divine retribution on their skulls. Since then, Brick was stuck to him like some weird ornament, but Mal didn’t really mind. Brick was a free spirit, dreaming of Woodstock, ruling the world, and fabulous gowns, while rocking his unusual choices of clothes and totally failing at Mario Kart. He was a fashion major with the minor in accounting for some reason and to Mal’s dismay, he often found himself as Brick’s tutor for the latter one, even if he didn’t know a whit about accounting to begin with. But Brick’s powers of persuasion were… persuasive.
“I wasn’t born yesterday, Brick.” He eyed his hedonistic friend carefully, as if he were a bomb to explode at any given moment.
“I didn’t say you were.” Brick replied back succinctly as he flopped himself on the bed, carelessly exposing his tights in the same movements. Mal just rolled his eyes at his friends’ eccentrics. “But ya, my man, need some hardcore fun and I have juuust the thing for ya!” He crowed, balancing the now empty tin can on the left pointer finger trying to get it to rotate around.
“No.” Mal’s answer was short.
“Malcolm O’Connor.” Brown eyes zeroed on him and Mal had to suppress a shiver.
Oh shit was right. When one Ash Breckinridge called you by your whole given name, you were in a serious trouble. Trouble with a capital T.
“I let you get off of that frat party and left you totally alone for the Winter Ball. This time, buddy, you are not getting outta it. You’re going with me and we will find you a good man to hit the sack with.”
Mal glared. “Again with your ‘good man’ bullshit. Did you ever think that I am not swinging that way?”
Brick sat up, glaring back. “Because my gaydar says so.” His perfectly manicured hand pointed at him imperiously. “And I am never wrong.”
Mal snorted. “Yeah, no, what about when we went to that Wal-Mart store and you said that this Santa Claus was totally hot fo – “
“This was a hangover speaking and you know it.” Brick hurriedly interrupted him, cheeks coloring a little at the memory. Mal smirked at him.
“Oh, the Great Ash Breckinridge admits he is wrong. The world is ending, hide the beer.” He intoned drolly as he made a mocking gesture toward Brick with his still unopened can of beer in his hand.
“Ya know, I hate you now. Why I ever thought to make you less of a hard-ass I will never know.”
“Because of my starling personality?” Mal smirked back, making Brick huff with exasperation as he threw the empty tin can into the trash bin with an unerring precision.
“That woulda been a lie and ya know it. Now if you finished trying to derail me, ya will get going to that masked ball. “ Mal opened his mouth to say no, but Brick already jumped up and snatched the phone from his table. “Hey, that’s mine!” He tried to snatch it back, but Brick effortlessly stalled him with a foot in his gut as he put his behind on the edge of the table while he perused the contents.
“Oh. Ooh. Oooh.” A dangerous grin flashed his way and Mal knew he was Doomed. Doomed with capital D and all that. “Brick, don’t do that to me, please.” He tried, sending his soon-to-be-torturer a begging look.
Brick hummed thoughtfully, licking his lips absent-mindedly.
“What if I told you that this lil’ sweetheart would be there too?”
Mal’s eyes widened with shock. 'Alya will be there?'
Hook, line and sinker.
Brick’s smirk widened.
He so loved getting Mal as his fashion victim.
Three hours later, Brick was one very happy camper. Mal, not so much.
“You know, this was not one of your brightest ideas.” He snapped at his madly grinning friend while shifting from one foot to another uncomfortably.
“You know, you will love me for it.” Brick returned unrepentantly while he eyed his masterpiece.
Mal scowled. Somehow, Brick talked him into wearing hot red leather miniskirt with a loosely flowing black blouse that glittered silver if the light hit it right, making it seem as if billions tiny stars were caught in the weave. He was also ‘gifted’ with choker as to hide his Adam’s apple. The choker was a wide strip of black velvet with embroidered red roses. The small pendant that hung from the middle of the choker was in the shape of a tiny red heart, settling right on Mal’s collarbone.
Mal’s hair was hidden underneath sleek brown wig, giving him an appearance of having a bob cut. Brick also made him wear make-up, softening the contours of his face, giving him an androgynous look and with the silver and black eye shadow opening up his eyes dramatically. Lips that were currently pulled into an uncomfortable snarl were painted deep red.
“You little shit, I will get you for that.” Mal threatened, staring at his amused soon-to-be-ex-best-friend darkly. He jumped a little when a sharp smack landed on his ass.
“You can try, darling. You can try.” Brick announced smugly. Mal gave him double middle finger, making him snicker.
“You would’ve made for a cute girl if you just lost your rude ways, sweetie-pie.” Brick smacked his lips, as if impressed, but Mal saw the mirth twinkling in those chocolate eyes.
“Watch where you sleep, Breckinridge. Because I guarantee you, I will come after you.” Mal seethed.
“Ooh, is that a promise?” Leering playfully, Brick perked up, sniggering. “Because I would love to have ya in the sack.”
“The only way you will have me in the sack is me bruising yours!” Mal barked back, prompting a new wave of hyena-like laughter from the screwball.
The little shit stain had gone all the way - Mal would never, ever looked at the wax the same way. Brick had subjected him to waxing, even his unmentionables ‘Oh, shut up, ya wuss, this is nothing –‘ and his primping procedure was nothing to sneeze at, either. Lotions, powders, and oh, the shame of all shames, he had been forced to abandon his trusty briefs for that sheer little piece called panties. Mal’s respect of women went sky-high after the beautifying torture he had been subjected to suffer under Brick’s expert hands. And made his grudge against him all the worse.
But looking objectively, Mal made for a decent, if flat-chested girl that was somewhat pretty. Mal’s only grace was that the ball was a masquerade ball, so none of the people here would remember his humiliation.
Probably. With Brick, one never could be sure.
“And for the grand finale - The Shoes!” Brick announced grandly, as if he were gifting him with the Jewel of India. Mal just sent him an unimpressed look as he tried to tug the mini skirt a little lower.
“The Shoes?” He asked, his voice filled with trepidation.
“The Shoes.” Brick affirmed, nodding decisively.
Mal’s dread depened. He bit his lip warily as he eyed his crazy friend in front of him.
Why was he feeling like he was about to be dropped into rabbit hole again?
“The red ones I’ve given you for your last birthday.”
“Oh. Hell. No.” Mal snapped back, his eyes wide.
“Oh. Hell. Yes.” Brick’s grin was merciless.
Brick’s gifts to Mal were… unique. It could be a fishing rod one time, then overly lacy shirt for men another one. But for the last birthday, Brick had gifted him with the crowning jewel of useless things he had ever gifted Mal with - a true blue pair of high-heeled, red-as-a-sin, bondage shoes with shiny black buckles. Mal had laughed the gift off in a good humor, and when Brick’s birthday rolled around he gifted him back with ten pairs of crotch-less panties just to be evil, and the pair of bondage shoes was shunted into the darkest, deepest part of his wardrobe, never to see the light of the day again.
“You know I can’t hold the balance in those damn monstrosities.” He tried to wheedle out of the Shoe Disaster, with all the capitals it included.
“I know you are a big fat liar on that issue. I still have the photos from when we were in the high school as you accidentally ran that High Heels Run our last year here.” Brick smiled like Cheshire Cat, dark eyes shining with suppressed mirth at the memories.
“I fucking had to run away from that damned dog and I just happened to have them on my feet!” Mal argued back, frowning when Brick outright ignored him in favor of his wardrobe.
“Yeah, running from a chihuahua of all things.” Brick drawled as he snooped through Mal’s wardrobe, cheekily shuffling his tartan-clad behind from time to time.
“I didn’t know that resisting being bitten and getting rabies was a federal crime.” Mal sniped back, peeved out. What? He loathed dogs, so sue him.
Didn’t help that the mutts in question apparently loathed him back, if their barking and chasing him was anything to get by. Give him a cat any day and he would be one ecstatically happy camper. The dogs with their barking, slobbering, fur shedding and chasing after him were his one true enemy as it were.
“But the fact is, you were running in those high-heels so your argument of having no balance in walking in them is invalid. Ah-hah! I knew you still had them!” Brick finally emerged from the closet, making a sound of triumph as he waggled the black and poisonously green-striped gift bag at Mal victoriously.
Brick fluttered off to make himself presentable, so Mal had remained in his room, glaring at the bane of his feet for the foreseeable evening.
Bondage shoes in red, with high black heel and red velvet, with shiny black buckles. They would have been an envy of any shoe-conscious girl, but alas, he was their sole owner.
Didn’t left shoe moved a bit?
Mal shook his head as he sighed. Carefully, he sat down on the bed, reminding himself to hold his knees together - it was bad enough he had a nice draft between his legs already, and he better get used to not offering any eyefuls of his lower half to any unsuspecting victims. His hands smoothed the red leather out while his eyes wandered back to the shoes in question.
And froze on them.
They were definitely differently placed than the last time he put them on his table.
And with Brick still having his beautifying routine in his shower cabin, Mal was sure that as absurd as it seemed to be, the shoes moved by themselves.
As strange as it seemed to be...
“Mal, old boy, the reports finally got to you.” He muttered to himself ruefully. “Because I could have sworn the shoes moved.”
So he nearly got shocked out of his panties when the shoes moved. Toward him, no less, as if they heard what he said.
Like Moved with a capital M.
“Aw, Marvin, she caught on us.” The… left shoe whined to the right.
“Shut it, Mel.” The right shoe’s voice was lower and more gruff, and Mal supposed if shoes has genders, this one was definitely male.
“W -W - What?” He managed to stutter while he backed away from the bedeviled shoes. “What the fuck are you?”
“Oooh, ain’t she a cutie.” The left shoe - Mel - cooed out. “Don’t worry, dearie, we’ll find you your Prince Charming in a jiffy!” Mel did a gleeful jiggle on the table’s surface, only to be slammed down by Mal’s hands. “Shut the fuck up, do you want to get me carted off into a nuthouse?” He hissed to the shoe, only to yelp as Marvin’s heel dug into the back of his hand harshly. “The fuck!?”
“Keep your dirty animal paws off of Mel.” The gruff voice threatened and Mal watched incredulously as the right’s shoe’s upper wrinkled into an very good imitation of a snarl.
Oh, that did it. Those devil shoes were going straight into the waste bin, no ifs, ands or buts. Sure, it may be a little hard to explain to Brick just why was a completely good pair of shoes missing just shy of five minutes before action, but Mal couldn’t exactly say that those particular bondage shoes sounded like a pair of nutters on crack, could he?
Swiftly, as to not lose his courage, he grabbed both of the shoes by their edges. “I will.” He agreed calmly. “Just let me throw you two to the waste bin, and we’ll say good riddance to each others company.”
“Waitwaitwait, don’t you want to get your Prince Charming? We could so totally help you to get him!” Mel’s voice rose frantically as Mal calmly strode to the kitchenette with determination of the soldier about to go in front of the firing squad.
“For your information - ” Mal muttered as he raised the lid of the waste basket “ - I am a guy.” He relished the outsoles parting from the toe and upper in a comical, shoe-jaw-dropping movement.
Then he let the shoes fall into the stinking abyss of banana peels, animal bones, waste papers and wasted tomato puree.
He let out a satisfied, blissed-out smile.
And wasn’t that feeling of freedom just grand.
“Where are your shoes?”
Of course, Brick just had to have the hellhound’s nose for Mal’s recent wrongdoing.
“They were three sizes too small.” Mal replied back curtly. “Now lemme go find my Doc Martens and we will – “
“Don’t you play cute with me, Malcolm O’Connor. Where. Are. The. Shoes.” Brick got straight into Mal’s face, brown eyes staring into brown ones in all of his 5.6 feet of tiger-striped mini dress with the wide black belt around his slender hips along with black colored high heels on his feet. Mal’s feet ached even if he just glanced at those contraptions of murder his soon-to-be-ex-best-friend was wearing on his feet. “I made sure that they were the right number. Now, where are they?”
Mal wisely kept mum.
Brick snorted. Mal was being his stubborn self again. “I see. Then you owe me that new Prada bag - you know, the orange one with golden flowers.” Last word being said, he turned around and marched into kitchenette.
“What!” Mal yelped as he chased after Brick. “Brick, you can’t! You know that this bag is worth more than half of my rent!”
“You should have thought of it when you hid the - “ Brick opened the lid of the wastebasket. “ – shoes.” He turned around, looked down and froze.” Oh. Oh dear. “ Mal clamped his mouth down and carefully backed away. Very, very carefully. Because Mount Mama Brick was about to - “WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT’S HOLY DID YOU DO TO THOSE PRECIOUS DARLINGS!?” He roared back at Mal, now in the full rage.
‘ - erupt.’ Mal’s mind voice feebly cautioned its owner, but it was already too late.
Brick was now on a full warpath. “You little son of a bitch. You know I am in my rights to deprive you of your balls for what you have done to those poor lil’ cuties?” The fuming man in a tiger-printed dress fairly cuddled the dirty, smelly and overall disgusting shoes to his non-existent bosom, while he looked at Mall with an accusing gaze.
“They didn’t like me?” Mal tried once again, his voice now very unsure and very, very humble.
But Brick already turned to the sink. “Don’t worry, lil’ darlings, Mama Brick will make it all right in a jiffy.” He cooed to the shoes, and Mal could’ve sworn the devil pair was practically preening in the man’s loving embrace.
Mal face palmed.
So much about him not wearing them.
And he had a sinking feeling that his little stash of money for the rainy days was about to face a veritable draught, courtesy of one Ash ‘Brick’ Breckinridge and his expensive tastes.