It was the first time Katy was going to Florian’s place and he had promised to cook dinner. The ominous third date. They’d bantered by text about steak tartar and snails. Frogs legs too. Forced jokes and eager, over-worked replies.
She thought he was charming.
Katy felt giddy as she ascended the escalator, then nervous as she searched for the right exit. He lived on the side with constant traffic and sirens, he’d said.
Out of the station, she took a minute to massage her hair at the roots to give it extra volume and reapplied her lip balm while dissolving a mint on her tongue. Florian’s flat was on the right. Her heartbeat skipped as she neared. The thought of his searching hands from their second date brought the flutter of trapped wings to her stomach. Butterflies with nowhere to go.
She’d prepared for all outcomes. Had shaved her legs, bought protection. Had worn matching lingerie. And something lucky too; her leather jacket with the koala brooch, paws anxiously clutching the bough of a tree.
You can’t prepare for everything of course. Katy hadn’t. She couldn’t have anticipated her change of heart. Or the twisted hand on her throat. Or the fact Florian didn’t understand the word “No”. As his hot breath steamed on her cheek, his sweat sour, she ripped the brooch off, tearing her jacket. With the bear clutched in her right hand she stabbed the pin into his back, drawing blood and sending him shooting away from her like a spring.
A clammer down the stairs, a sprint to the tube, her hand still clutching the brooch, the pin extended and spattered with small red beads. As the carriage doors shut she took a tissue from her pocket and wiped them clean away.