Our eyes met as we stood in line to get into the dance club. He smiled.
“Wow Tracy, he’s cute.” My friend Tonya followed my gaze. “You should talk to him!”
“I don’t know; I didn’t come here to pick up a guy.” My shyness was overpowering me, and I lowered my eyes bashfully.
“Looks like he’s making the first move…” Tonya whispered and moved her eyes in his direction. I turned around and found myself face to face with him.
“Hi. I was wondering if you two want to stand with me and my friends. You’ll get in sooner.” His gorgeous light brown eyes were lined with the longest eyelashes I’d ever seen. He was smiling at me with perfect, white teeth. Tanya elbowed me back to reality.
“Um, yeah. Sounds good. Okay with you, Tonya?” Tonya nodded vigorously. “Lead the way.” I smiled at him.
“I’m Tom, and you are?” He put his hand behind my elbow, leading me to his spot in line.
“Tracy.” As I snuck a sideways peek at him and blushed to see he was still smiling at me.
“You have gorgeous blue eyes.” My blush deepened as he complimented me.
“Thank you.” Tonya had done my makeup tonight, and she did an excellent job of making my eyes stand out. My strawberry blonde hair was hanging in ringlets around my face.
I’m not a skinny girl, which adds to my shyness around men. Tonya, on the other hand, is a toothpick. She has short, spiky black hair and a tan complexion. She is definitely NOT shy around men.
“Look at that, we are next to go in.” Tonya said eagerly. Tom’s two friends were fighting for her attention, and she loved it.
We walked in, and I was surprised by the unique decor of the club. Most of the walls were black, but a few walls were a dramatic red. The ceiling was nearly twenty feet high with massive wooden beams framing it. There were three sets of white curtains that draped down from the center ceiling beam, stretching to the wall, and hanging down the length of the wall to the floor. The wood stage was breath-taking with intricate moldings across the front. Black wrought iron stretched up the sides and then blossomed across the ceiling like an ivy covered archway, and the ‘flowers’ covering it were dozens of colored spotlights. There were two huge bird cages hanging from the iron work on either side of the stage.
I was just inside the massive doors, staring in awe. ‘Anomaly’ was a suitable name for the club.
“Awesome, isn’t it? Haven’t you been here before?” Tom, still standing beside me, moved his hand to the small of my back.
“No, I haven’t. It is extraordinary.” We continued inside and found an empty table for the five of us.
Tom talked loudly over the music, “May I buy you a drink?”
“Sure. How about a Kahlua and Cream?” I turned to Tonya, “Why don’t we go to the restroom?” We stood and headed to the restrooms.
As we were washing our hands, Tonya began talking about how cute Tom’s friends were. She couldn’t decide which one she liked more. She said Sam was a little short, but he had a great sense of humor. She mused that if they slow danced, his head would rest on her chest. She liked Kyle too; he was the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. She said she couldn’t get past his dreamy green eyes.
I laughed, “You just met them; you don’t have to decide tonight.” Tonya always got too involved, too fast with men, and she was just coming off of a long relationship. Well, two months. That was long for Tonya.
“And what about Tom? He hasn’t taken his eyes off of you yet.” She teased me.
“I am only having one drink, and I guess I can dance with him. But that is the extent of my fun for the evening.” I answered as I dried my hands.
“That’s my Tracy – always in control.” She laughed as we left the restroom.
She was right. I didn’t like to be out of control. My mother had raised me by herself. She was a cop. She taught me to always be aware of my surroundings, and she taught me how to protect myself. She probably felt guilty about leaving me alone so much, but now I was alone all the time. Mom died last year, a drug user shot her when she knocked on his door. I sighed heavily. I wanted to be unpredictable for once.
I slung my purse across my body, took a deep breath, and grabbed Tom’s hand, “Let’s dance.” Tonya raised her eyebrows at me. I could tell that my spontaneous behavior both surprised and impressed her.
Tom and I danced to several songs in a row, and I noticed Tonya alternating between Sam and Kyle on the dance floor. The club played the newest alternative rock; fast, fun, and exciting music.
All the dancing made me thirsty, so we returned to the table. Sam informed me that Tonya had finished off my drink; she said it was getting watered down. I laughed, that sounded like Tonya.
Tom offered to buy me another drink, but I declined. I walked up to the bar with him and asked for a bottle of water. I figured I could keep it with me, even on the dance floor. When I turned around to face the dance floor, I almost dropped my water.
Tonya was in one of the bird cages on stage doing a pole dance for Kyle. She looked like she was about to fall down. I couldn’t believe that she could get that drunk in forty-five minutes.
Dozens of clubbers were surrounding the stage, rooting Tonya on. I wanted to drag her out of there.
“She looks like she is having fun.” Tom laughed.
“Guess you picked the wrong one, huh?” I said under my breath, not really meaning for him to hear me.
“I don’t think so.” He faced me. “I am having a really good time with you. I would like to have your phone number so I can see you again.”
I smiled meekly, blushed hotly, and reached into my purse. I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen. I handed him the paper with my email address on it. My mom had taught me how easy it was for someone to find out where you live just by having your phone number.
“I don’t always have my phone with me, but I check my email several times a day.” I explained as we went back to the table. I looked toward the stage; I wasn’t feeling comfortable with Tonya’s behavior. I took a step toward the stage to retrieve her, but just then, a slow song started. Tom led me out to the floor to dance, and Kyle pulled Tonya out of the cage and down to the dance floor. Feeling relieved that Tonya’s exhibition was over; I rested my head on Tom’s shoulder and closed my eyes. I was surprised how natural it felt dancing with him.
The DJ played three slow songs in a row. Tom and I didn’t talk while we danced. I locked my hands behind his neck. He was rubbing his hand up and down my back sending shivers through me. When the songs finished, Tom brushed a kiss across my cheek and whispered in my ear, “I am really glad we met tonight.”
As we walked back to the table, I couldn’t find Tonya. I looked on the dance floor and toward the bar, but I she wasn’t there.
“Did you see where Tonya and your friends went?” I asked Tom worriedly.
“No, I didn’t. I haven’t seen them since we started slow dancing.” He joined my search, looking around the club.
“I am going to go check the restroom.” I was worried about her; really worried. She looked really out of it when she was in that stupid cage.
She wasn’t in the restroom, so I headed back to the table.
“Tom, I have to go. I’m going to check and see if she took her car. If she did, I’ll take a cab home.” I explained hurriedly.
“I could give you a ride home.” Tom offered.
“No, that’s okay. I prefer to take a cab. Email me, okay?” I smiled at him and quickly kissed him on the cheek. I did like him, but I didn’t know him well enough to get into a car with him. I guess that comes with being a cop’s daughter.
Tonya had taken her car. That made me mad; she promised me she wouldn’t drive if she was drinking heavily. She was going to get a piece of my mind tomorrow.
I hailed a cab and headed home. I did have a good time and was fortunate to meet a nice guy. I never imagined that I would meet a nice guy at a bar.
As I paid the cab driver, I couldn’t stop worrying about Tonya. It wasn’t like her to leave without telling me; especially leaving me stranded.
I entered my two-story, brick apartment building and walked up to my apartment on the second floor. As I unlocked my door, I had a strange sensation that I was being watched. I looked around, but there was nobody in the hall. I quickly entered and shut the door behind me, locking it.
It was a great apartment, with an awesome view from the balcony. I kicked my shoes off right inside the door and quickly disrobed as I walked down the hallway to my bedroom. I tossed my clothes in the bathroom hamper and called Tonya’s cell phone. I left her a message to call me as soon as she got the message. Then I put on my nightgown and got into bed.
I was jolted out of a deep sleep by the sound of my door opening. Tonya had a key to my apartment, maybe she decided to crash here. I glanced at the clock; it was nearly two in the morning. I walked out of my bedroom and then stopped abruptly.
Tom was standing in my entryway staring at me.
I ran back toward my bedroom, but he tackled me. I could feel the carpet burning my skin as we skidded to a stop. He flipped me onto my back.
“What are you doing?” I gasped as he wrestled my arms down to the floor, holding them above my head.
“Oh, come on. Don’t act like you don’t want me. Didn’t we have fun tonight? How often do you capture the attention of a handsome man? You’re shy, and I paid attention to you. So why don’t you relax and enjoy this.” His smile never wavered, like he wasn’t insinuating that he was going to have me whether I wanted him to or not.
“How did you get in here? Where did you get that key?” I stopped struggling for the moment, saving my strength. I would try to keep him talking for a while and look for my chance to escape.
“I borrowed it from Tonya’s purse after I followed your cab. You almost saw me in the hallway when you unlocked your door.” His smile was very disturbing. So much for Mr. Nice Guy.
“If Tonya wouldn’t have taken your drink, this would have gone smoother. Instead, she ended up with a double dose of roofies. That’s why she was so out of it when she was dancing in that bird cage. Don’t worry though, Sam and Kyle are taking good care of her.” His eyes moved from my face, to my neck, and finally stopped on my chest. He looked back into my eyes and leaned in to kiss me, but I turned my head.
He tried to hold both my arms with one hand so he could turn my face toward him. As he was readjusting his hold, I brought my knee up into his groin. His eyes bulged, and he fell off to the side of me. He began cursing me as I crawled quickly toward the living room.
I grabbed the phone off the cradle, but before I could dial, Tom had picked me up and thrown me toward the couch. I felt a sharp pain in my back when it slammed into the oak coffee table. He yanked me up onto the couch and lay on top of me.
“I don’t want to hurt you, Tracy. Just relax.” He began kissing my neck. My eyes flew around the room. My hands were searching for anything I could use as a weapon. My hand grasped the only thing it could find, a jar candle that was sitting on the end table above my head. I hoped it would be heavy enough.
I brought the glass jar down on top of his head, and it broke into several large pieces. Then I pushed as hard as I could against his body. I took him off guard and was able to push him onto the floor. I jumped up, ignoring the pain shooting through my back. I ran as fast as I could down the hallway toward my bedroom.
I didn’t hear him following me, yet. I tripped as I got to my room, so I used my foot to slam the door shut. I reached up quickly to lock the door. I grabbed my cell phone, slipped into my closet, and shut the door. I was shaking violently.
Tom started banging on my door. “Come on Tracy. I just want us to have some fun. I promise you’ll like it.” His voice was cracking; he was having a hard time keeping his cool.
I dialed 911 as he kicked the bedroom door open. I heard the 911 dispatcher answer the call as Tom yanked the closet door open. I saw the knife in his hand. I pulled the trigger.
The police arrived five minutes later. I was still sitting in the closet holding my revolver.One of the officers took the gun from me and helped me up. The other officer was checking Tom for a pulse; there wasn’t one. I had shot him in the heart.
I told Officers Mallory and Daniels about Tonya, and they sent officers to her apartment. I hoped they would find her there.
I gave my statement to the police officers regarding the events of the evening. I couldn’t stop shaking; I had just killed a man that I was dancing with just a few hours earlier.
“He was such a nice guy. I had a lot of fun dancing with him. I can’t believe he was psychotic, and I couldn’t tell.” I shook my head in disbelief.
A few minutes later, the Officer Daniels let me know that Tonya was on her way to the hospital, and Sam and Kyle were arrested on the scene.
“Those two started talking as soon as the officers busted in on them.” Officer Daniels began to explain. “Seems like they have been preying on women nearly every weekend for the last few months. Thanks to you, those women may see justice done.” Officer Daniels held her hand out.
I shook her hand and asked, “Have they killed anyone before? Because, I think that Tom would have killed me if I hadn’t shot him.”
“We won’t know for sure until we have gotten their statements and found all the women they have assaulted. They will probably blame most of it on Tom, since he isn’t here to defend himself.” Officer Mallory stated, and then asked, “Would you like a ride to the hospital to see your friend?”
“If you wouldn’t mind, I would like that very much.” I attempted to smile at them, but I began sobbing instead.
Both officers put a hand on my shoulder until the sobbing subsided. I then followed them out to their squad car.
When I walked into her room, she smiled weakly. “So, you figured this out and sent the cavalry, huh?”
I nodded, “Tom attacked me in my apartment and told me what they were doing to you.” Tears were flowing down my face. “I’m so sorry. I should have tried harder to find you at the club.”
“Tracy, we had no way of knowing that they were a bunch of sex-crazed perverts.” Tonya was trying to comfort me, when she was the one lying in the hospital bed. “Did they arrest Tom, too?” She asked quietly, her voice was rough from getting her stomach pumped.
“No, he had a knife. I didn’t…I couldn’t…” I started sobbing again.
“What happened, Tracy? Did he hurt you?” Tonya grabbed my hand and peered intensely into my eyes.
“He came at me with a knife, but he didn’t hurt me. I shot him.” I wiped the tears away. “I killed him.” I met her gaze.
“That’s my Tracy – always in control. Even when life goes crazy.” She squeezed my hand and looked into my eyes, “Thank you.”
I leaned in and gave her a gentle hung. I pulled back and smiled through my tears, “What can I say? I’m a cop’s daughter.”
She smiled back, “Your mother would be proud of you.”