Shadowy images, gray and menacing, haunted Lexi's sleep. The angry buzzing of the alarm was slow in penetrating. She dragged herself back from the frightening images that hid in her subconscious. A crack of thunder sent her scurrying back under the covers but just for a moment. She flung back the raspberry silk duvet and forced herself to focus on the neon green numbers of the alarm clock that glowed in the predawn gloom.
"Oh my God, it's 6:30!" Lexi groaned, shaking off the rest of her mental cobwebs and leaping out of bed. She almost tripped over Tucker, sleeping peacefully next to her bed. He raised his big brown head and looked at her soulfully, clearly not ready to rise and shine. "It's alright, big fella, you can go back to bed. Sorry to disturb your beauty sleep!"
Tucker yawned loudly and laid his head back down between his giant paws.
Lexi chuckled. She'd adopted Tucker from the local animal shelter three years ago. He was a mix of German Shepherd and some other undetermined, but undoubtedly large breed. He tipped the scales at a whopping 130 pounds, and was her constant companion and protector. She was grateful every day for his presence - he meant the world to her.
Fifteen minutes later, after a very hasty soap down, Lexi dragged a brush through her shoulder-length wheat-blonde hair and pulled it back into a sleek, low ponytail. She shed her towel and walked to her closet. Lexi paused a moment at the floor-length mirror and gave a frank appraisal of what she saw; 5'4" in her bare feet, people called her petite. She'd say she was short. Others had compared her blue eyes to the color of the ocean...stormy gray at times, Caribbean blue at others, depending on her mood and what she was wearing. She would much rather have brown eyes, and hardly saw the beauty of her own. She shrugged and shook her head. No sense worrying about what can't be changed . Lexi hurried into a Calvin Klein gray wool pantsuit and white silk blouse, blind to how the fine material luxuriously hugged her curves. When she went to put on her black leather loafers, they were nowhere to be found.
"Not again...TUCKER!" Lexi rushed out to the kitchen and looked around. Not in the garbage can. She ran into the living room and checked some of Tucker's other favorite hiding spots. Not in the large fichus next to the fireplace, and not in the fireplace, thank goodness. "Tucker, I really, really need my shoes...now, buddy!"
Tucker had padded out of the bedroom and tried to hide behind the couch but there was no concealing his bulk. She dragged him out of there to see if the shoes had been hidden underneath him. Nope.
Lexi's next stop was to check the dog bed and there she found the missing shoes, wedged into the corners and liberally covered in dog hair.
"Oh man, Tucker - I KNEW it! You are so lucky I'm late, pal, or you'd be out on your butt!"
Tucker gave her a playful bark and wiggled the entire lower half of his body, rearing up to plant his huge paws on her shoulders and go in for a big, sloppy kiss.
Lexi pushed him back down, laughed and swiped at her cheek with the back of her hand. She gave him her most stern Stay command, then a quick cuddle of apology, and headed back to her bedroom to find an alternative.
She rummaged through her closet, rejecting one pair after another. Today was a big day and she needed to find just the right pair. She finally reached up to the shelf above where she kept all her favorite things and pulled down a shoebox from her special stash.
Her Christian Loboutin Houndstooth Heel Sling backs would be perfect! Her eyes widened and she shivered with delight, pushing back the hot pink tissue paper and lifting one out ever so gingerly. Glossy black patent leather with suede uppers, they were amped up by a micro-houndstooth pattern running down the sky-high heel. She'd fallen in love with them and simply had to have t