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        Charley hurried around the house to the front door, let himself in, snapped on the light, and ran across the room to the VCR. Erins tape was on top of the others on the cabinet. He popped it in and sat back on the couch, smiling in anticipation.
         The tape began to play.

         Erin, so pretty, smiling, coming in the door, exclaiming with delight over the house. "I envy you this haven." He fixing a drink for them. She sitting curled on the couch. He sitting across from her in the easy chair, getting up and setting a match to the kindling in the fireplace.
        "Dont bother to light a fire," shed told him. "I really must get back."
        Even for half an hour its worth it." Then hed turned on the stereo, muted, soft, and pleasant, the songs of the forties. "Our next date is going to be at the Rainbow Room," hed said. "You enjoy dancing as much as I do."
        Erin had laughed. "As I wrote when I answered your ad, I love to dance."
        Hed stood up, held out his arms. "How about now?" Then, as though struck by a thought, said, "Wait a minute. Lets do this right. What shoe size are you? Seven? Seven and a half?"
        "Seven and a half narrow."
        "Perfect. Believe it or not, I have a pair of evening slippers that should fit you. My sister asked me to pick up a pair she had ordered in that size. Like the good big brother I did as I was told. Then she phoned and told me to take them back. Shed found a pair she liked better."
        Erin had laughed with him. "Just like a kid sister."
        "Im not going to be bothered running around returning them."
        Hed gone up to the bedroom, opened the closet where boxes of new evening shoes were lined up on the shelf. Hed bought the ones hed chosen for her in a variety of sizes. Pink and silver. Open toes and backs. Heels as narrow as stilettos. A gossamer ankle strap. He reached for the pair that was seven and a half narrow and carried them down, still wrapped in tissue.
        "Try these on, Erin."
        Even then, she wasnt suspicious. "Theyre lovely."
        Hed knelt and slipped off her ankle-top leather boots, his hands impersonal. Shed said, "Oh, really, I dont think" Ignoring her protest, hed fastened the slippers on her feet. Then hed put his hand on her ankle, letting it linger just enough to begin to alert her. Hed stood up, gone over to the stereo. The cassette he had specially prepared was already in place. "Till There Was You" was the first song.
        He walked back to the couch and reached for Erins hands.
        The look hed been waiting for came into Erins eyes. That tiny first flicker of awareness that something wasnt quite right. She recognized the subtle change in his tone and manner.
        Erin was like the others. They all reacted the same way. Speaking too quickly, nervously. "I think I really had better start back. I have an early appointment tomorrow morning."
        "Just one dance."
        "All right." Her tone had been reluctant.
         When they began to dance, she seemed to relax. All the girls had been good dancers, but Erin was perfection. Hed felt disloyal thinking she might even be better than Nan. She was weightless in his arms. She was grace. But when the last notes of "Till There Was You" faded away, she stepped back. "Time to go."
        Then when he said, "Youre not going anywhere," Erin began to run. Like the others, she slipped and slid on the floor he had polished so lovingly. The dancing slippers became her enemy as she scurried to escape him, raced toward the door to find it bolted, pushed the panic button on the alarm system to learn it was a farce. It emitted a hollow maniacal laugh when touched, a little extra bit of irony that set most of them sobbing as he reached for their throats.
        Erin had been particularly satisfying. At the end she seemed to know it was useless to plead and in an animal burst of strength she fought him, clawing at the hands that gripped her slender neck. It was only when he twisted that heavy gold necklace around her throat and she began to lose consciousness that she had whispered, "Oh God, please help me, oh Daddy"
        When she was dead, he danced with her again. No resistance now in that lovely body. When the music stopped, he took off her left slipper and replaced it with her boot.

        The video ended as he carried her body down to the basement, where he laid her in the freezer and placed the other slipper and boot in the waiting shoe box.

Buy Loves Music, Loves To Dance by Mary Higgins Clark.