"Paul!" Erin yelled across the swirling mass of humanity, "Hold my bag for a minute will you. I need to take these shoes off."
Paul bravely pushed against the seething vortex of drunk and disorderly revellers and grabbed her red handbag. Why she would decide to take her shoes off when in the middle of the concourse along Circular Quay on Sydney Harbour during New Year's Eve, Paul had no idea. Maybe her shoes were slowing her down or the ridiculously long black high heels were painful, but whatever the reason, it was a stupid move.
Paul called out to his friends to meet up near the railway platform, a message that they clearly received with a wave of their hands. Erin though was now battling with the buckles on her shoes, her long red fake nails were getting in the road.
A police siren wailed nearby as Paul, not wanting to stand there with a handbag clasped in his palm any longer, called out to her, "Erin we'll meet you at the station, okay?"
Erin though didn't catch what he said and concentrating solely on not scratching her new shoes, held her hand up to him to halt, to hold on and wait, a move Paul misconstrued as an affirmative, the permission to leave.
Keen to pass the handbag to his sister Annie, Paul turned on his heels and headed to the station.
When Erin finally peeled her shoes off, and shrunk about three inches in height, Paul and her friends were nowhere to be seen. At only five foot two inches, the world that she could observe was little more than a great forest of party-goers looking for more booze and a better vantage point for the midnight fireworks.
Suddenly, she was alone. She had no phone, no wallet, no money, nothing but the fragment of clothes on her back. Panicking she firstly ran towards the bus stop where they'd got off, then towards the last pub that they were at, then to the pub that they all said they were going to, but they were nowhere to be seen. With the benefit of hindsight she realised she should have reversed her search and gone to the pub first. She had no idea what her friend's phone numbers were, they were all stored in her address book, there was no need to memorise anything.
This was what she'd been dreading. Being separated from her friends in a strange city and no feasible way of making her way back to her home in the country town of Wimageen, over 350 kilometres away.
She never really wanted to come to Sydney for the Christian fellowship forum that they were attending. They had all arrived late that evening and planned on going out for a few drinks before turning in at some hostel that Paul had booked. Paul took it upon himself to deliver all the bags to the hostel so Erin, nor anyone else, had any idea where the hostel even was, or what it was called.
For thirty minutes she stood outside an apartment block scanning the crowd for a familiar face. Hoping to get lucky, Erin lost count of the number of lads that approached her. As a petite brunette in a black mini skirt and red halter neck top, she certainly looked like a girl ready to party, not the representative of a Christian church.
She would chat amiably with the boys that had the Dutch courage to approach her, however when she would ask them if she could log onto Facebook on their phones, they all either didn't use it, said no, or in the case of two young fools, dressed in ridiculous homey gear, became abusive.
"What do you want my phone for, slut?" one of them asked as he staunched her. "Gonna ring your fucking pimp you stinking whore?!"
Shocked at their language Erin at first thought they were just mucking around, being idiotic in front of each other, but when one pushed her against the door of the apartment entry and demanded that she suck him off, she knew that this was going all wrong. One of them, with the word 'Love' tattooed on the left side of his neck and the word 'Hate' on the right, slipped his hand up her skirt and attempted to go the grope.
"Hey fuck off," she surprised herself by the use of such vulgar language, but it seemed appropriate for the moment. Using her shoes as a weapon she slapped at them with her heels, "Get off, fuck off, get off."
"Come on slut," one of them said, "Take us both and you can have our fucking phone."
Appalled at their behaviour Erin was having none of that and she did what she remembered from her self-defence courses, she kneed the bigger one in the balls.
He recoiled in pain and turned away but his mate reacted by turning sideways and wrapped his arm around her neck. Passersby just stared at their phones, seemingly oblivious to the abuse being meted out to the young girl.
"For that," the guy with his arm around her said, "There'll be no phone." Erin was pinned hard into the guys headlock and his mate had recovered enough to stand upright again.
"You dirty fucking slut," he said as he raised his hand to strike her. The blow though never reached her. His arm appeared to be held back by some magical power and the surprised expression on his face was priceless. After being forcibly swung around his head snapped back and he collapsed down behind a large pot plant.
Erin saw none of this until suddenly the man released her from the headlock and she collapsed down into a pool of liquid, the origin of which was very uncertain.
"What the fuck," was all the second accomplice could muster before he was flung to the ground and his stupid ugly face was smacked into the tiles.
"You alright love," a woman's voice said to her as she helped her to her feet.
"I..." she looked down at the offender and expected to see a man on top of him, what she saw though was a blonde haired woman, clad in a fairy costume and not much bigger than herself, using a belt to wrap around his wrists.
"Don't worry about those two anymore," the woman turned her to the one that was unconscious near the pot plant, a man dressed as a pirate was checking the offenders pulse with one hand and pulling his wallet out with the other. "We've taken care of them for you."
Erin couldn't help but begin to cry. In a flurry of tears and gurgled speech she told the attractive brunette woman, who was dressed as a nurse, all about the lost bag and how she was alone with no phone, money, cards or friends.
"I'm Kim," the woman said, "That there on that fellow is Amy and over here checking the unconscious guy is Dave."
"Wow," Erin said, "How did they do that?"
"We're all police officers," another male voice said as he wandered up to them. "Thankfully off-duty at the moment though, but we couldn't help ourselves."
"This is Detective Sergeant Banks," Kim said, "My partner."
"We saw what was happening from inside," Banks nodded towards the entrance way. "The girls insisted we take out these toe-rags."
"Thanks," Erin said and hugged herself into Kim's arms, "Thanks so much."
Amy waved up from the ground as two uniformed police officers and some paramedics appeared on the scene.
"So Erin, what are you thinking of doing now, considering your situation?" Kim asked as she pulled at her wet clothes, "I'm not really sure what this wet stuff actually is."
"I don't know," her desperate situation filled her soul again and a tear welled in her eyes. "I'm only in the city for a few days, I'm here as part of a church group and I know no one. I can't remember their phone numbers, I can't call my parents because they live four hours away, I have no money to hop on Facebook at one of those internet cafe things, I'm stuffed."
Erin began to shake and Kim wrapped her arms around the young girl, trying to comfort her as best she could. Erin felt a warmth emanate from Kim that made her feel instantly relaxed. She dug her face into Kim's neck and wept tears of relief. Kim, without even realising, kissed Erin gently on the forehead.
"Facebook?" Banks said "Normally I'd let you use mine, no problem, but all we have is this Nokia," he held up a simple Nokia 106. "This doesn't do anything other than ring or text people, so I'll call Phil up at the party and see if he has anything up there that you can use to contact your friends. If Phil's okay with it, maybe you can head upstairs with the girls and use a computer while we sort these guys out?"
Dave took Banks aside and they whispered and nodded to each other. Dave went over and showed his badge to the two young constables. After a quick chat, a few laughs and pats on backs, he returned. Banks searched for a number on the phone and as he held it to his ear he turned away from Erin.
"Normally I'd go down and help process these two, and although you and the rest of us will have to make a witness statement, we don't have to just right now," Dave said to Erin. "As you can imagine, they're flat out down at the station."
"So Erin," Banks said as he returned, "Phil has given us a green light to bring you up and he has a laptop in one of the rooms. So if you're willing and you'd like to come up, maybe clean up and hop on Facebook, you can sort everything out."
"Oh thank you," Erin said, "Thanks so much."
"Just so you know," Dave nodded over at a couple dressed as a priest and a nun, "It's kind of like a fancy dress we're going to, but, not..." he left the sentence hanging in the air.
"I'll speak to management and see if we can grab any CCTV footage," Banks interrupted, "I'll be right up."
"Come on Erin," Kim took her by the hand, "Let's get going shall we."
Once inside the apartment block, the world became silent. 'Opulent' was the word that first came to Erin's mind as she stepped onto the thick carpet that covered the hallway next to the elevators. The carpet pile felt like a lamb's fleece on her bare feet. She gazed down at the black shoes in her hand and cursed herself for ever taking them off.
In genuine awe, Erin uttered "Wow. This place is really nice."
"Wait until you see the room," Amy said. "It's truly amazing."
The elevator whispered open and the four of them piled in. Kim began sniffing around Erin's dress and lifted up the damp edge of her skirt.
"Sorry about this Erin, but I think that's piss."
"Oh gross," Erin said feeling instantly awful again. "I have to get this off."
Dave smiled and turned towards the youngster, "No complaints from me if you do."
"Dave!", Amy slapped him playfully on the arm, "Leave the innocent young girl alone."
Like a fart in a yoga class, Erin's thoughts escaped without any warning. "Not that innocent."
As a true officer of the law, Dave leapt on the opportunity to interrogate her further. "Really? A good little Christian girl? Tell us more."
Erin could have told them about how in one night, when drunk, she fucked two guys. Not both at once, but over the course of a very long drunken night. But that was an aberration she was determined to never repeat. She was in a bad space then. After her boyfriend of four years left her as soon as school finished, and took off with her friend Casey, she went looking for a revenge fuck. And fuck she did.
The party had started at a local pub where after downing several shots and a few glasses of bubbly, she hooked up with one of the barmen. He took her upstairs to a vacant room and they fucked without even removing their clothes. She pulled her panties off, lifted her skirt and got on all fours on the unmade single bed. For his part he simply dropped his pants and slid his fat cock into her. After only a few minutes he pulled his cock out, flipped her over, and shot a thick load of cum over her face. The rawness of fucking in such a wild way, in a venue close to her friends and others, excited Erin. She'd behaved badly, had succumbed for the first time in her life, to her baser instincts. When he pulled his pants up and turned away, with not a thank you ma'am muttered, she clambered off the bed and stared into the broken mirror above the yellow-stained sink. She barely recognised the cum soaked woman that gazed back at her, but she wasn't concerned about that, in fact, it turned her on. With the door still open she stripped naked and fingered herself to an orgasm like none before. As her body shook in delight her face fell against the mirror and she kissed her own reflection, licking the cum of the dirty glass.
After washing the jism off her face Erin searched fruitlessly for her panties, but they had been souvenired by the unnamed barman. Erin, rejoicing in her newly discovered sexuality, snuck back down to her, at the time, none-the-wiser drunk friends. Knickerless and horny Erin flirted with all her friends as they crowded into a taxi on the way to a party. At the party she approached an old friend Brad, who two years earlier had left her school to go to a private boarding school. Brad had certainly grown up in those two short years. But Brad wasn't discreet, not at all. After having her in the parental bedroom of the host, Brad told everyone. Then word got out about the quickie on the same night with the barman. He'd been brandishing her panties as a token of conquest, a spoil of passion, to all that entered the bar.
Her virtuous Christian reputation was in tatters. Friends shunned her, images of her panties appeared on social media. She immediately went into damage control and to compensate she steadfastly refused the accusations and threw herself into the fellowship even more.
Women sneered at her, men leered.
Even at Fellowship though she was tempted. At the church's Christmas party Paul's sister Annie planted a kiss firmly on Erin's lips, a move that both surprised and delighted Erin. Down at the river one hot summer afternoon, clad in a skimpy bikini, Annie tried it again, but Erin quickly turned away and told her that such a public space was not ideal. Small town living had taught Erin a lesson. Be discreet. There was no point in putting it out there if everyone was going to turn on you. When the time came, a stolen 15 minutes when Paul went out to pick up pizzas, it happened. Annie leapt on Erin and confessed her affections and told her how unjust it was that she'd been treated so poorly for acting no differently than many men. They kissed and fondled each other in the familiarity of her own home. It felt natural, it felt nice, but it couldn't happen in Wimageen, it was too small, too insular.
It was a story too long for an elevator ride so instead she tilted her head flirtingly to one side and gave Dave a quick glance up and down his torso. "Am I being questioned officer?"
Dave chuckled and also gave her the once over. Amy once more slapped him, but in the mirror of the elevator, she too gave Erin more than a cursory glance. Kim caught Amy's glance and winked at Amy, a wink that Erin caught in one of the multiple reflections. Before she could say anything though the elevator lurched to a stop and the doors sighed open. The distinct throbbing of party music filled the hallway.
"Here we go," Dave said, "The penthouse."
"Penthouse?" Erin said in awe, "I've never been in a penthouse."
"Well Erin," Kim came up behind Erin and held her by the waist. "Just be careful what you might see inside here," Kim nodded at the door, "It's still early but," she smiled at Amy, "It's not to everyone's tastes."
Somewhat bemused, Erin couldn't help but ask "What sort of party is this?"
"It's a fancy dress," Amy said and in a matter-of-fact police manner said, "But sometimes the dresses don't always stay on."
"Okay," Erin said in disbelief and was momentarily lost for words, "Right."
Dave pressed the doorbell and waved up at a security camera mounted above the door. As the door opened the volume of the music increased ten-fold. Erin had to laugh though because standing at the door was a man dressed in a maids outfit.
"Phil!" Dave laughed and pulled at the lace apron that Phil was wearing, "You lost the bet then I see."
"I sure did," Phil smiled and looked directly at Erin, "So this is the damsel in distress then?"
Erin waved at Phil but was suddenly struck once more into silence as she observed behind Phil, a topless woman dancing on a pole.
Phil followed her eyes and turned his head around, "You did tell her what sort of party this is, didn't you?" he asked Dave.
Dave shrugged and looked at Amy and Kim, "Sort of, I figured she wouldn't be here long."
Phil looked Erin up and down before leaning forward and examining her outfit, "What exactly is that on your clothes?'
"I think it's piss," Kim said, "and I think we need to come in."
"Shit, sorry," Phil apologised and stood aside. "The bathroom's down the hall and I'll bring you the laptop straight away."
The four of them bundled in and Kim took Erin by the hand, "Whatever you do," Kim said as she glanced towards the bar, "Don't look behind you."
"I won't," Erin laughed and held her hands up high, "I don't want to be corrupted now do I?"
"What would you like to do first? Wash or find your friends?" Kim asked as they entered a bedroom at the end of the hall. Scattered around the room were piles of clothes, clearly the collection of the guests that were partying down the hall.
"I think I'll contact them first and while I'm waiting, I'll have a shower."
"Brilliant thinking," Kim said and lifted up Erin's still damp skirt, "But what about these clothes?"
"Maybe I can rinse them off and put them in the dryer?"
"Righto," Kim said, "I'll go speak to Phil. Seriously though, seeing as you're a good church going lass, stay in this room."
Kim's exhortations for her to stay in the room were starting to have the opposite effect to what she had intended. Erin was becoming more and more intrigued by what type of party this was.
As Kim exited, Erin took a closer look at the clothing that was littered around the room. There were shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, underwear of both genders and even some masks hanging from the edge of a mirror. The room lacked any real signs of being lived in on a permanent basis, it was like it was just a large walk in robe with an ensuite bathroom.
The sink was large enough for her to wash her skirt and top in so she plugged the hole and ran it full of warm water.
"Hello," came a voice from the doorway. Erin peaked her head around the corner to find Phil standing there with a laptop in his arms. "Here's the laptop for you." Phil hadn't really paid that much attention to Erin when she came in, but now, in the isolation of the bedroom, he took the time to check her out. He liked what he saw.
"I have to say," he continued, "and please don't take this the wrong way, I don't for one minute excuse physical violence against women, but you can kind of understand why those guys tried it on you."
"Why would that be? Can't I wear whatever I like and be left alone."
"Well in theory yes, but there are a lot of completely stupid and dangerous men out there who have no respect for women, or their rights. You would have passed hundreds of men who had the decency not to say or do anything, those two dickheads had it coming."
Calming down, Erin sat on the edge of a chair that was covered in discarded clothing. "Do you have a clothes drier?" she asked, "I need to wash these."
"Sure," he answered, "There's a small laundry set up next to the bathroom just down the hall."
Erin flipped the screen of the laptop up and turned it on. "Thanks for this, it's a bit of a worry that we're so dependant on technology nowadays."
Phil took a quick peek down the hall and waved to someone. "Can I get you a drink or something to eat?"
"I'd love a drink, and I don't mind what."
"Excellent," Phil smiled at her, "Real French champagne it is."
The contrast between Phil and Dave and the two goons downstairs could not have been greater. The screen blinked to life and she quickly launched the browser. But as soon as she logged into Facebook, and saw the ten or so messages from Annie, a low battery warning came up and immediately afterwards the screen went blank.
"Oh for fuck's sake," she said to her reflection in the blank screen. "Whatever next."
Whatever next was a tap on the door and a topless woman in her forties brandishing an empty glass in one hand and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot in the other.
"Hi there, I'm Sharon," she poured the glass to the brim and handed it to an awestruck Erin.
"This night just keeps getting weirder and weirder," Erin closed the dead laptop, tossed it on the bed and knocked down half of the glass of bubbles. "The battery has died."
"Oh dear," Sharon said, "Amy told us of your situation. I'll get Phil to find the charger."
"Wait," Erin urgently said to the woman she found, despite the twenty plus years age difference, to be incredibly appealing. "Could I ask you something, something personal."
Sharon smiled and held the bottle up to Erin, "Ask away," she said.
"Is this a swingers party?"
Sharon chuckled and threw her head back in laughter. "Well, we weren't going to tell you because there are people here who you may recognise, but yes it is."
"I was beginning to think as much."
Sharon took the glass from Erin and took a sip for herself before handing it back. "We're all good friends who get together a few times a year and have a bit of a party."
"Don't people talk about it though? Doesn't everyone know?"
"Not at all darling," Sharon put her hand on Erin's knee, "The only people that know are all of us here. Put it this way, how, or why, could anyone here inform on someone else? We don't allow cameras or smartphones and we all have something to lose, like our careers, if we're ever discovered. That's why some choose to wear those masks when they enter," Sharon nodded at the masks hanging from the mirror. "We have no control over the security cameras downstairs."
"That's certainly not what happens in the country." The half a glass of champagne stirred Erin up and she told Sharon, a complete stranger, all about that fateful night in her hometown when she fucked two guys before then telling her all about Annie.
Sharon listened patiently, topping up Erin's glass as she emptied her thoughts about sex, relationships and small-town gossip into the room.
"That sort of shit doesn't happen here," Sharon said as she stood up. "I'll go get you that charger dear."
Emboldened by the alcohol, and by the knowledge that no one was there to judge her, Erin headed back into the bathroom, and without hesitation, stripped down to her panties and bra.
In reflective silence Erin dipped and dredged her clothes in the sink taking great pains to ensure that water didn't spill down onto the tiles. After a few tentative sniffs of the garment and rewashes, she was satisfied that all the urine was gone.
Wearing nothing but her bra and panties, Erin snuck over to the doorway to see if Phil was returning with the charger. A screen had been moved across the end of the hallway, obscuring the view of the main room of the penthouse from where the pulsing dance music was emanating.
The screen certainly blocked the view of the room, so much so she couldn't even catch someone's eye. Holding her damp clothing to her chest, Erin decided to leave the relative safety of the bedroom and make her way down to the laundry.
A thin shard of light from a partially opened door cut across the carpet, illuminating the passageway for her. As she passed the doorway, she couldn't help but glance in. She couldn't see who was making the distinct noise of two people having sex, but she was surprised she hadn't heard it earlier. The woman involved was incredibly vocal.
"Oh come on, fuck that pussy, fuck it, fuck it," the unseen woman shouted. Erin moved closer to the door and had moved it about one centimetre when from out of the corner of her eye she saw a figure round the screen and start to walk down the hallway.