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Beautiful With You Part Twelve
Chapter Twelve

A couple weeks passed and as October was reaching its end, everyone began decorating their houses for Halloween. It was the best time of year for Jade. She happily decorated her house and bought the stuff she’d need to make treats for the occasion. She was going to a costume party on Halloween night with Norman and wanted to bring some food of her own. Luckily, people he worked with weren’t going so that would be the night he didn’t have to hide her from anyone.

Norman came to visit her for a little bit while she was at work on Thursday afternoon. She was working at the café again and told her boss she’d appreciate being put there permanently. After what had happened a few weeks ago, she wanted to work in an area with a lot of witnesses where her stalker wouldn’t have a chance to catch her like he had before.

“What made you decide to make it permanent?” Norman asked. He leaned against the end of the counter while Jade moved on to help the next person in line.

“Didn’t I tell you what happened?” Jade asked. When he didn’t say anything she leaned in and lowered her voice so no one else would hear, “Well a couple weeks ago, some guy…I’m pretty sure he was the guy who was following me.”

His eyes widened and he leaned closer, “Did you see his face?”

“No,” she replied harshly so he would be quiet and let her finish, “I was in the back and he followed me there and grabbed me and told me he knew everything and that he knew how to hurt me. Like goddamn Halloween is the only thing I’ve gone to other than work and school for the past few weeks. I am terrified.”

Norman slammed his hands down on the counter, his eyes getting even wider with a combination of fear and rage, “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

“I don’t know,” Jade said, “I just didn’t. But I really wish I had you around more. I was so scared that day. I didn’t know what to do after that.”

Norman pulled out his phone and handed it to her. She just held it in her hands and looked at it, then looked up at him, then back down at the phone. He rolled his eyes and started laughing and started poking the screen, “Put your number into my phone. That way whenever you’re scared, I’ll be a message or a phone call away. Even if I can’t be there with you, I can try my best to calm you down.”

Jade grinned and hurried to put her number into his phone, “That makes me feel a lot better actually. You’re sweet.”

Norman grabbed her by the chin and kissed her. When he did, Jade felt something flicker out of the corner of her eye. They both looked out the window and assumed it was just the glare from the sun hitting them and they shrugged it off, “I’ll see you later Jade. I can’t wait to see your costume.”

“I’m excited too,” she replied, “And are you ever going to tell me what you’ll be dressed up as?”

“You’re not telling me what you’re doing so why should I?” he asked playfully. She nodded with a chuckle, “Fair enough. I guess I’ll just wait and be surprised.”

Norman took one final sip of his coffee before tossing it into the trash can, “I’ll see you.”

“What do you mean Frank invited you to his Halloween/Birthday party?” Richard said when Maya showed him the invitation.

“Well he asked me awhile ago to take him back and I haven’t answered him,” Maya mumbled as she put the invite back in her pocket and looked away, “I still wanna be friends with him Richard.”

“I understand that,” Richard said, “What I don’t understand is how you could possibly bring me to this thing. People will recognize me.”

“Easy solution!” Maya pulled out her phone and went onto google, “We just find a costume that has a mask. No one will recognize you and I’m sure you can fake an American accent.”

“What kind of mask were you thinking?” Richard sat down and prepared himself for whatever insane costume Maya was going to show him. Her face lit up and she showed him his disguise.

“Maya…” he turned the screen away from him and shook his head, “I would do a lot of things for you. I would walk through fire for you. But I will not wear a Batman costume.”

“And why not?!” Maya stomped her foot and showed Richard the picture again, “This is the only one that doesn’t look completely ridiculous. I want you to come with me and this is the only way for you to do that without being noticed.”

Richard looked at the picture again, his face scrunching up like he had a bad taste in his mouth. He finally groaned and pushed Maya’s phone away, “Alright I’ll do it! But I will not be happy about it.”

Maya dragged Richard to a Halloween store where she was sure they’d find a Batman costume. She still browsed through the store simply because she was trying to find a costume for herself too. She pointed to a Spiderman costume with a big smile on her face, “Check it out Richard! We can totally get this if the Batman one doesn’t work out!”

Richard grabbed her hand without a word and dragged her out of that aisle, “I’d rather get the batman costume quite honestly Maya.”

When they found what they were looking for, Maya waited outside patiently while Richard tried it on. She leaned against the wall tapping her foot impatiently, “Richard! How long is this going to take?”

“Well this is a hard costume to get on!” he said, grunting after every other word. There was about a minute of silence before he blurted out, “Oh ******** no!”

Some parents looked in her direction and frowned, holding their kids against them. Maya chuckled awkwardly and went into the dressing room with him. There he was with the Batman costume on. He stood there, fumbling to get the mask off before Maya could see it but it was too late so he just left it there. He stood there in the middle of the room and looked at himself in the mirror, “Maya, don’t make me go to that party like this. I mean, what adult men dresses up as Batman? Honestly.”

“We’re not getting the Batman costume because it’s cool!” Maya exclaimed. She smoothed out the wrinkles of the costume and put her hands on his masked face, “We’re getting it because it hides your face so no one has to know who you are. We’re living dangerously Richard. Didn’t I say the danger would be fun?”

Richard looked at himself in the mirror again and they both erupted into laughter. She kissed him and rested her hands on his shoulders. Richard wrapped his arms around Maya’s waist and pulled her against him, “I saw this pirate costume while you were looking for the Batman costume. I’d love to see you wear it.”

“Oh really?” she said, “It just so happens that was going to be what I dressed up as. You’re getting to know me rather quickly Richard.”

Audrey had gotten into the habit of being with Tom in his classroom while she did her art assignments. He’d sit and grade papers and glance at her once in a while. Sometimes he’d get distracted and stare at her longer than he had intended. She didn’t mind that they didn’t talk to each other much. Just near him was nice enough.

“Look,” Audrey leaned over to the side so Tom could see her finished painting, “What do you think?”

“I love it,” he said with a warm smile, “As always.”

Audrey gently picked it up and leaned it against the wall to dry. As she wiped her hands, she turned and caught Tom staring at her. But she didn’t mind. She just blushed and turned away, putting her focus back onto her paint stained hands, “Audrey, I was wondering…what your Halloween plans were?”

“I was going to hand out candy and just stay home,” Audrey shrugged, “Why?”

“A friend of mine is throwing this costume party,” he said, “I was thinking maybe you’d like to go with me?”

Audrey placed her hand towel on the stool she had been sitting on and smiled, “I’d love to go with you Tom.”

He let out a big sigh. It was almost like he had asked with the assumption she would tell him now. She sat on his lap and wrapped an arm around his neck, “Why’d you sigh like that? Did you think I was going to say no?”

“No,” he said, his breath a little heavier and little shakier, “I just get a little nervous around you. I know it’s stupid.”

Audrey laughed and gave him a quick kiss, “I don’t think it’s stupid. I think it’s cute! You’re a sweet man Tom.”

Tom threw his arms around Audrey’s waist and kissed her passionately like he never had before. Audrey hadn’t expected it but she got used to it quickly. She wasn’t at all certain about what was going to happen in the future, but she knew to not over think the future and to just enjoy the present moment with Tom.

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