Serenity slept fitfully, true to her usual habits. Visions of faceless men drifted into her subconscious. Men that made her want to run, simultaneously towards them and away from them. She didn’t know in which direction, she just knew she had to run. She was running so much that her feet were hurting. Her feet really hurt.
Oh God, she had to stop running.
It took her a moment to fully come to and realise that the pain in her feet was real and was what had woken her. She rolled over carefully and looked down at herself, still naked except for the patent stilettos that now seemed to be almost a part of her own limbs.
Her mind drifted back to what had happened in the bar. What had the voice said? “Your precious heels will remind you of me and the pain you caused me, until you understand” She was still no closer to recognising the voice. The voice – the man – had seemed to know her though. Had she slept with him? The implication was there. It was true that she had had her fair share of one-night stands over the last 18 months or so, but she was sure she had never misled anyone about her intentions. She certainly didn’t remember deliberately causing anybody any pain.
Serenity spent most of the day in bed, only getting up for a cup of coffee around midday, and the occasional trip to the bathroom. She responded to her friends’ phonecalls with a curt text that only seemed to make them more worried, and their calls more urgent. She ignored them all, watched a little TV, downed half a bottle of vodka and went back to bed, where once again she had the same dreams of faceless men and searing pain.
It was a persistent knocking that woke her on the following day, a Sunday. Serenity buried her head under her pillow in the hope she wouldn’t have to answer, and willed them to go away.
The knocking didn’t stop, and a man’s voice called her name.
“Serenity? I know you’re in there. Answer the door. It’s Dave. From the bar?”
Serenity sat up. Dave? What the hell was he doing there, and, more to the point, how had he got her address?
As it became clear that he was not going anywhere, Serenity reluctantly got out of bed and limped her way to the door, throwing on a robe to half-cover her nakedness on the way. At the door she paused for a moment to try and overcome the searing pain that was still coming from her feet, and gather her thoughts.
“Dave?” she called through the door.”What are you doing here?”
“I bumped into Helen this morning. She told me she was worried about you, so I offered to stop by and check you were ok. She says you’re not answering your phone.”
“It’s ok, Dave… I’m…ok. Tell her not to worry about me.”
“You don’t really sound ok, Serenity. Can I come in?”
The tone of his voice told her that there was no way she was going to get rid of him easily. It seemed she had no choice but to let him in.
The Serenity that greeted Dave did not look like the Serenity he knew, or was used to seeing in the bar. That Serenity was vibrant, full of life, the centre of attention. The woman who stood in front of him looked smaller and more subdued. Her chocolate skin had a strange ashy grey quality about it, and her lips were pale and cracked. In his shock, he barely even registered that she only appeared to be wearing a jersey robe, half open down to her waist, only just clinging on to her modesty.
His surprise must have been obvious, for Serenity smiled ruefully. “Sorry, I’ve not got my face on. Come in.”
As she turned and led the way to the kitchen, he noticed that she appeared to be wearing the same heels she had worn the last time he had seen her on the previous Friday. The outline of her shapely arse was visible through the thin cloth of her dressing gown, and his groin twitched involuntarily with the effect her appearance always had on him.
It was obvious that she was limping, and he didn’t understand why she was still wearing the fierce-looking stilettos. They didn’t look comfortable at all.
“Yes please. But let me make it, you don’t look too good.”
Serenity leaned gratefully against the kitchen counter and pointed out where things were, taking the opportunity to take the weight off her throbbing feet.
“If you don’t mind me asking”, Dave finally said, “do you always wear your highest heels around the house?”
He was not prepared for the reaction this question prompted, which was that Serenity suddenly burst into floods of big, gut-wrenching sobs. He caught her as she half-crumpled, and carried her into the little living room, placing her gently on the sofa, and holding her somewhat awkwardly.
“Shhhh…it’s ok…it’s ok….”
He waited patiently for the sobs to subside, merely repeating gentle affirmations and stroking the side of her face with the lightest of touches.
When she was finally ready to look at him, the whole story poured out of her. The bar, the nightclub, the strange voice, and how she was now unable to remove her shoes, with the associated pain. Once she had finished, he moved down towards her foot, picking it up gently again.
Other than the traces of dried blood that she had obviously tried to wash off, the foot and the shoe looked normal to him. Pulling gently, however, he soon realised that what she had told him was true. There was no chance that her foot and her shoe were parting ways any time soon.
TO BE CONTINUED