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Beautiful With You Part Seventeen
Chapter Seventeen

The month of November quickly flew by. Jade was finally certain that whoever was stalking her was taking a holiday and didn’t come back for the rest of the month. She was able to eat Thanksgiving dinner with her family in peace. Maya managed to continue keeping Richard a secret and his weekend stays became more frequent and pretty soon every Friday evening after his last class he was coming straight to her house for the weekend. And Audrey was somehow able to lie right to Tom’s face for the next month. Eventually he did ask her if she heard from the people running this contest. They were out to lunch together when he asked her, “So, did you hear anything about that contest?”

Audrey’s drink went down the wrong tube and she coughed it up, wiping her chin as her soda fell from her chin, “Did I hear anything?”

“Well yeah,” he said, “They usually say something in December. Did you make it to the top five?”

Audrey set her glass down and cleared her throat, “Um, no. They e-mailed me and told me I didn’t make it.”

Tom dropped his fork and his jaw dropped, “Are you serious? You didn’t make it?”

“No,” Audrey shook her head, “It would’ve been nice to win but at least I get to stay here with you, right?”

Tom seemed more upset about it than she would’ve been but when she mentioned getting to stay with him he smiled and picked up his fork again, “You’re right. At least you get to stay here. You wouldn’t have done this on purpose. You tried and that’s all I care about.”

Audrey chuckled awkwardly and picked up her own fork, stabbing a crouton that sat on top of her salad and biting into it to avoid anymore conversation about it. She remembered what Maya had said about it, “Maybe he doesn’t have to find out,” and it sort of helped her force herself to not reveal that she lied.

“Maybe next year,” she said, “I can try again next year. It’s no big deal right?”

Tom grabbed her hand and smiled, which made her heart break even more, “Of course. There’s always next year. And I’ll help you again like I did this year. You know that right?”

“Of course,” she said, “I can always count on you Tom.”

Richard came over Friday evening after his last class as he always did. The first few days of winter were surprisingly cold. Richard came into Maya’s house and tossed his coat onto the couch, “It’s actually really cold outside.”

Maya looked up and laughed, “You think it’s cold? I love the wintertime but I just wish it would snow here.”

Richard sat down next to Maya and wrapped his arm around her shoulder, “No you don’t Maya. It’s colder than you think.”

“I know how cold snow is you dork!” Maya exclaimed, playfully punching Richard on the arm, “I’ve been in snow before. And I really liked it. I wish it would snow here.”

Richard stared off into space, lost in thought and then when he returned, he patted her on the shoulder and shrugged, “Well nothing we can do about it, right?”

Maya sighed, “Yeah I know. But it’s fun to dream isn’t it?”

Richard nodded and returned to his thoughts for a long time. He eventually got up and headed for the front door, “I’m gonna make a phone call. I shouldn’t be too long.”

“Alright,” Maya leaned over and made sure he couldn’t see her through the window. She shut the curtains and picked up the catalog she’d tossed under the couch when he walked in. Since November she’d been trying to think of an amazing Christmas present for him with no luck. She’d been buying a bunch of catalogs as Christmas came closer and closer. She continued flipping through, finding nothing but sweaters and Christmas ornaments. She couldn’t ask anyone for advice because that would involve her telling people about her relationship with Richard. And she couldn’t tell anyone. Not even Jade and Audrey and they were her two closest friends. She was able to branch out and look into more expensive items since she got some work at her favorite coffee shop which was the best luck she’d had that month. So she didn’t want to be cheap. She wanted this to be a present Richard wouldn’t forget. Maybe her standards were just too high. She turned to the final page and found an advertisement for personalizing stuff. You could have stuff customized and engraved. She didn’t know if that was cheesy or not but it was the best thing she’d found so far. She tore out the page, folded it and stuck it in her back pocket. She tossed it behind the couch just as Richard came back into the house.

“Sorry about that,” he said, “By the way, I’m not going to be able to stay the weekend. I can only stay tonight and then I have to leave in the morning. I have some errands to run.”

Maya threw her arms up and slammed them back down on her lap, “Richard! I had this really fun weekend planned for us!”

“I know Maya and I’m sorry!” he said, “We’ll have the time of our lives next weekend. I just need this weekend.”

Maya frowned and grabbed her book off the coffee table, “Sure. I can give you this weekend to…do whatever it is you’re gonna do.”

Jade had been at the mall all day long buying presents for her parents and her brother and Maya and Audrey and now she was moving on to the final present. She was trying to find the present for Norman. Now this was the hardest one she’d ever had to find and it was taking her all day. Maybe she was putting too much thought into this.

Jade left another store without a present for Norman and sat down on a bench, dropping the rest of her bags by her feet. She pulled a catalog out of her purse, hoping to find inspiration. She flipped through the pages and found pretty much nothing of interest. She dropped the catalog and looked at the store ahead of her. There were so many people inside of it but one person caught her attention. She couldn’t be totally sure but it looked like they were staring at her. She got up and grabbed her bags. She couldn’t believe that this stalker had come back. That was just impossible. She’d been having such a good time.

She went into another store that had people in every inch of it so she could easily hide. Jade stayed in this store for awhile. Her stalker had to have come and gone by now. She was about to leave when she found the perfect leather jacket hanging on a rack. What luck. Whoever was constantly following her and getting on her nerves had actually helped her find the perfect gift. She quickly bought it before some other person saw it and tried to fight her for it. It was getting dark by the time she finally got to leave the mall. She wanted to call Norman at this point just so she could hear his voice. But her hands were full and she couldn’t take her phone out of her purse. She just had to try and play his voice in her head. But it just wasn’t the same.

Jade tossed her presents into the backseat and was about to open the drivers door, but stopped to look around. She only did it for a second before realizing she was stupid for doing it and opened her door. She was about to climb in when something grabbed her shoulder and forced her down to the ground. Whoever it was had gone down with her and covered her mouth, “You think you could get rid of me forever? You can’t. And after I’m finished, you’re gonna wish you’d made different decisions. Don’t you remember? I know exactly how to hurt you. It’ll be a little Christmas present. From me to you.”

They let go of her and ran off into the street. She turned to try and catch a glimpse of who it was but it was too dark to see. All she could do was scramble into her car and lock it while she sobbed into the sleeves of her jacket. She didn’t even call Norman like she normally would’ve done. She just wanted this to be over.

La dee da! So, I decided to skip all the way to December because why drag on with fillers? Even though...Audrey's stories have basically been like 90% filler. Whoops. Awkward. Hahaha but here is a second update because when you're not writing poopy fillers, writing just becomes easier. Even though Jade's story seems kind of unrealistic. Oh well. That's what makes it fiction.

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