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Beautiful With You Part Twenty
Chapter 20

Jade and Norman didn’t see too much of each other the rest of the week. It wasn’t because she wanted it that way of course. It was just that they couldn’t even glance at each other without getting weird looks from everyone on campus. Even though she had gotten rid of pretty much all the pictures that had been plastered all over the place, there were still some people who saw them. Some of the people that had seen them were in her class and weren’t even paying attention to Norman. They just stared at her the whole time and whispered nasty things under their breath. She remembered about a month or two ago when Audrey had been chosen to work with Professor Brooks and people had started saying horrible things about her. Jade was getting it much worse because they had seen most of it in photographs. There were only four different ones to see but people still talked about it and glared at her the whole rest of the week. She was thankful for Saturday. She considered calling Norman for awhile but put it away. She’d been horribly embarrassed but she would pull through. He had been furious as well as embarrassed and his job was on the line if word reached the dean. She was just going to leave him alone for awhile until he cooled off.

Jade was sitting with her mom on that Saturday morning watching TV while they ate their breakfast. Jade’s Boston Terrier began barking frantically which let them know the mailman was here to drop off their mail. Jade had to grab her and calm her down while her mom went outside to get the mail. Jade returned to her bowl of cereal while her mother dumped the junk mail and tossed the catalogs aside to look at later, “Jade check this out. We got this in the mail. But it only has my name on it.”

“Probably junk,” Jade said. It was a big envelope with Clare Sullivan written boldly in black marker. Her mom shrugged and opened the envelope, “There’s a note inside. Whoever sent this is mentioning you.”

Jade drank the milk leftover from her cereal and wiped her mouth with her napkin, “What does it say?”

“I’ve been feeling a little concerned about your daughter Jade lately. Look at these and tell me if you agree,” Mrs. Sullivan read the letter and looked inside the envelope, her face losing color when she pulled out what was inside, “Jade who is this man you’re with?”

She dropped each picture one by one on Jade’s lap. There was a picture of them that first night they’d kissed. There was a picture of them at Jade’s work the day she’d put her number into his phone. The only way she could tell was because she did remember seeing a quick little flash of light that particular day and his phone was still in her hand in the photo. There was also the one of them at the Halloween party and of course the one everyone loves to remember, the one of them in his office, “Is this man your professor?”

“Mom, it’s not as bad as it looks,” Jade said, her voice getting a little shaky, “We’re both adults and-”

“Stop,” Mrs. Sullivan gestured to the pictures and repeated the question, slower this time, “Is. This. Man. Your. Professor?”

Jade tossed the pictures off her lap and nodded, covering her teary eyes, “Yes Mom. He’s Professor Winters.”

“Jade why would you do something like that?” her mom shouted, “What happened to David?! I thought you had gotten back together with him.”

“I dumped him Mom,” Jade grumbled, “He decided the music scene was more important than I was. It was nice to be with someone like Norman.”

“We’re on a first name basis,” her mom made a gagging sound and threw her arms up, “He could be your dad Jade!”

“But he’s not!” Jade shot back, “I’m eighteen now Mom. I’m an adult and so is he.”

Mrs. Sullivan took a deep breath and then motioned to the pictures again, trying to speak as calmly as she could, “Who took those?”

“I don’t know,” Jade said, “Some guy has been following me around lately and he must’ve taken those. I don’t know.”

“Wait back up,” her mom held up her hand to stop Jade from saying anything else, “What do you mean some guy was following you around?”

And Jade had to spill everything and she knew she’d opened up a whole new can of worms.

Richard had called Maya in the evening around dinnertime that he wouldn’t be at her house until it got dark. By the time Saturday had come, she’d become too excited and had actually demanded a few times that she get her present early and Richard had refused each time. He’d still been shaken up by everything he’d seen Monday but when the rest of the week went by and the dean hadn’t heard about it yet, he’d loosened up a little bit and everything was pretty much back to normal by Saturday. Once the sun went down, Richard was in front of her house honking his horn. She was also anxious to give him his pocket watch. She got into his car and let out a relieved sigh when she felt the heater hit her cold cheeks.

“Ok, before we go, I wanna give you your present,” Maya said. She handed him a little white box wrapped with bright red and green bows. Richard grabbed the box and unwrapped it, letting a gasp escape his lips as he pulled the pocket watch out, “Oh my god Maya. This is amazing.”

“Open it and look what’s engraved inside,” Richard did as she said and read what was engraved on it. He smiled as he read it again out loud, “Merry Christmas Richard, I love you with all my heart.”

Richard placed the pocket watch into his coat and leaned over, kissing her, “And I love you Maya. Which is why I want to hurry up and give you your present.”

As he pulled up his own driveway, Maya had realized she’d never actually been to his house before. He got out of the car and hurried to Maya’s side to help her out. He led her up to the porch and through the front door but would only let her get as far as the living room before stopping her, “I want you to wait here. I need to do some last minute things before I let you see it.”

“More last minute preparations?” Maya chuckled but did as he had asked and he disappeared. She paid attention to the sounds she was hearing to try and figure out what her gift was but all she heard was some lights come on. He ran back into the living room and stood behind her, grabbing her by the shoulders, “I want you to close your eyes.”

“Where are you taking me?” Maya asked as she closed her eyes. She felt Richard start to push her forward and she started walking, her arms reaching in front of her, “I had thought about what you had told me a week ago Maya.”

“What did I tell you?” Maya inquired, turning her head to the side even though she couldn’t even see. She stumbled a little when the ground she was walking on suddenly became softer, “What did you do Richard?”

“You’ll see in a second,” he said, kissing her cheek quickly before he added, “Open your eyes.”

Maya opened her eyes and almost fainted from what she was seeing. The entire place was decorated like Santa’s workshop. There was a fake Santa Claus surrounded by little elves and reindeer. There were bright lights and large lit up candy canes towering over her with fake snow falling on the ground, “You said you wanted it to snow, so I brought the snow to you.”

“Richard I can’t believe you did all this for me,” Maya whimpered, wiping her tears off her face with the back of her hands, “This is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me Richard. Thank you.”

Richard went back into the house and came back outside with two steaming mugs, “I don’t know if you like hot chocolate but I made some anyway,” he handed it to her and led her through his snow covered back yard and sat them down on a loveseat covered in Christmas lights. When they sat down, he wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer, “I’m glad you like this Maya.”

“Are you kidding? I love this,” Maya said, watching the fake snow fall with a smile so big it was starting to hurt her cheeks, “I just feel bad. This was such an amazing gift. You topped my present big time.”

“Maya, you could’ve given me a paper bag filled with nothing but dirt and I still would’ve loved it,” he said, kissing the top of her head, “I love you and everything you do. And I love this watch you gave me. No one has gotten me something like this before.”

She lifted her head so he’d kiss her lips instead of her head, tasting the hot chocolate on his tongue. He took her mug and put it on an end table next to him. They both fought to get each other on their back until Richard stopped, pressing his forehead against hers, “Do you want to go inside for a little while?”

“Are you sure we won’t get interrupted this time?” Maya said jokingly.

“I’m not gonna let anyone interrupt us this time,” He scooped her up into his arms and she wrapped her arms around his neck as he carried her into his bedroom, placing her gently down on his bed. He unbuttoned his coat as he closed the door, smirking naughtily. He joined her on his bed, tenderly pushing her down onto her back as he kissed her, “I won’t allow anyone to ruin this moment for us.”

Audrey’s hands shook a little while Tom drove them to this friend’s house for the Christmas party. She was trying to come up with a game plan. She didn’t want to make them leave too early but she wanted to get out of there before Tom had a chance to talk to his friend about the competition. She just knew this conversation was going to come up simply because Tom was so passionate about this contest and didn’t agree with this “decision” he thinks this guy made.

The Christmas party had the same kind of atmosphere as the Halloween party did except they were at his house instead of the gallery. There was a huge Christmas tree in his house and every inch of it had some kind of ornament or light on it and it had a giant star perched on the top. There was someone playing the piano in the corner of the living room and people were dressed formally drinking champagne. Audrey felt a little underdressed here.

“Is everything alright so far?” Tom asked quietly as he grabbed a glass of champagne for himself, “We can leave if you want.”

Audrey should’ve taken the chance to get the hell out of here but she hesitated and there was Tom’s friend waving him over. Tom grabbed Audrey’s hand, “Wait a minute. We can leave after I say hi to Benjamin.”

“Tom, you made it!” Benjamin said, shaking Tom’s hand. He looked at Audrey and shook her hand as well, “And it’s always a pleasure to see you Audrey.”

Audrey laughed nervously, “And you too sir.”

“I have to say Tom I’m surprised,” Benjamin said.

“And why is that?”

“Well, I’m so used to seeing your name come up in the yearly competition,” Benjamin explained, “I didn’t see you this year.”

“Oh, I told Audrey to take my name off,” Tom replied, receiving a confused stare from Benjamin, “Audrey said she wasn’t picked for the top five.”

Benjamin looked around for a second, searching his brain for Audrey’s name in the competition she hadn’t entered, “Tom, her name wasn’t anywhere on our list of participants.”

Tom paused and turned his head, staring at Audrey. She couldn’t tell what was going on in his head and she couldn’t tell if he was angry or hurt. All he said was, “Audrey, did you even enter that contest?”

Ahhhh yeah. I had to post a second time because I was truly ashamed of my last post. eek but anyways NOW SHITS GOING DOWN

And Maya got some booty. Shall I do my Got Some Booty Dance? razz

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