Halloween was on a Saturday, which was nice as it made planning and partying much easier without cheapening it up by moving it to the nearest weekend, but it also meant Sam had another match that day as well. He’d been lucky enough to completely recharge; Hope hadn’t been as angry as he thought she’d be, except for that first night after the match when he woke up to her standing over his bed with hair clippers buzzing and smiling in a way that caused Sam to remember to lock his door at night. But, then in the morning, she’d said nothing about it and gave him his power up when he asked for it.
So he was all charged up and ready to face Victoria today. He was a little worried because she’s been full of surprises and so far nobody had been able to break down one of her shields. But still the strategy was the same as it had been for all those he had faced in the top half of the rankings and that was to hit as hard and as fast as he possibly could, and not worrying about how much energy that would take. The not caring part was the thing that was really giving him the edge in these matches. Precisely measuring the amount of energy he used in a fight was too much work in the heat of battle, especially when all-out assaults had been working so far.
So, for yet another consecutive Saturday, he entered the combat cell. He glanced at the windows up top and was surprised to see less people than there had been last week; he figured they’d get more popular every time. But he put that out of his mind as Victoria entered through her door. She reminded him a lot of Hope, she was tall, although Hope was several inches taller, had the same build, skinny, and she also had red hair, although it was natural red rather than a variant human feature, and she had it cut above shoulder length, but she also sported a great many freckles on her face. She had a very determined look in her eyes; she was the highest ranked girl in class and had protected that place for almost two months. She wasn’t overly gung-ho about it, but enough people had heard her say she was fighting today to keep a woman in the top three. As if Sam didn’t have enough to worry about, now he was fighting a girl who was fighting for all woman-kind.
Long before any announcement came on the PA, she had put up a shield around herself, apparently she’d seen some of Sam’s fights and wasn’t going to be taken by surprise. The group figured that those spheres that were free flying would be weaker than those she kept contact with, so it would require him to bounce around his level of strength quickly until he got lucky. Unfortunately, none of them knew what would happen when you broke a shield. Of the heroes and PEERS in the public eye with force fields or bubbles, they all reacted in different ways. Some shattered like glass, some only weakened with each strike until they faded away, some reflected or exploded with equal force outward once they were compromised and they all presented unique issues to the attacker, so it would have been nice to know the details.
The buzzer sounded and Sam walked slowly forward. He increased his strength and punched at the force bubble, but as his hand reached the edge it retracted backwards in just the area he was punching at, so he’d hit nothing. Then he saw it trying to ‘grab’ him and he super charged his speed and got out of there. That’s when he saw arms, or tendrils coming off the bubble that had been trying to wrap him up. Nobody had known she has that kind of fine control, so far people had just seen her making them bigger or smaller.
He should still have the advantage of going faster than she could think, but he had wanted to avoid that because he still didn’t know how much strength he’d have to use to even break a bubble, and he’d need to commit more to that. As he was mentally trying to come up with a strategy, Victoria threw two spheres at him, even at normal speed he side-stepped them, but then they exploded as they passed. They created a loud distracting boom and a small force of wind hit his back. She’d must have made a large bubble and the condensed it down until the air inside was packed tightly enough to be dangerous.
As he was distracted by the spheres Victoria shot another arm out of her main sphere straight towards Sam, so he increased his speed and moved behind her. He decided to capitalize and headed straight for the sphere and then he swung at the bubble. In just the very last second before he swung he increased his strength to an insane level and hit the bubble. But it didn’t break; as much strength as he’d ever risked using and it didn’t break it. It did however launch Victoria and her shield across the cell at truly frightening speeds. It hit the wall on the other side of the cell at a speed that Sam would describe as ‘bug on wind shield’, and then she bounced off the wall and continued to go. Victoria was inside spinning in a strangely and what looked like a painful manner, it then hit a second wall and finally rolled to a stop.
Victoria was lying on the floor, but her sphere was still active. Then she began to stir and Sam debated if he should give another swing at the bubble. Obviously, last time it didn’t break because it wasn’t ‘planted’ in the floor and the force was redirected as motion, but it also caused Victoria pain, so it was a viable strategy. He ran forward again with super speed and waited until the last moment to do the strength again and then he struck.
This time it broke and the force of it breaking had thrown both Sam and Victoria away from each other. Sam was enhanced enough to handle the speed and strength he was using, so he was mostly fine as he rolled across the cell, but Victoria didn’t seem prepared for it as her head hit the floor with an incredibly audible smack and blood began to flow from the wound quickly. Sam ran to her as fast as he could and she did not look good. He really didn’t know what he was supposed to do here as the blood was now pooled around her head. Luckily, a senior healer came in through the door before Sam had to decide anything and he backed away as the healer cupped the back of Victoria’s head.
“So Allison, you ready to see the costume I found for you?” Hope asked her a few hours after they got back to the house after watching Sam’s match.
Allison panicked for a second as she’d forgotten Hope’s promise to find the right costume for her and Allison had just been planning on going as a zombie, she’d even bought some really cheap clothes at a second-hand store and ripped them up in a zombie like fashion. “That’s not necessary Hope, I’ve got a costume,” she said carefully.
“At least look at it before you decide. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t wear it,” Hope said, although Allison could feel her emotions and knew that wasn’t true. She’d just have to risk hurting Hope’s feelings, but she could at least look at it first.
They walked up the stairs and into Hope’s room, which was a disaster. Allison was pretty sure Hope had more clothes on her floor than Allison even owned, but her eyes quickly left the mess and focused on the sheet covering what was probably a mannequin. Hope stood next to it, grabbed the sheet and then in a quick flourish revealed it. Allison was stunned at first and quickly tried to take it all in. It was a dress, classic style, maybe 18th century, although she doubted it was historically accurate. The main fabric was purple with white details, it had a wide, poufy bottom, a corset, and a very deep neck line; it was beautiful and sexy. Allison wanted to try it on, but would she be willing to wear it tonight? She needed to decide as she looked at Hope’s expecting face. “I…love it!” She said with some false enthusiasm, but…all in all, she could probably wear it. She took the dress into Hope’s bathroom, which was a bigger mess than her room and tried to put it on, before she relieved she’d need some help, so she walk back out in her underwear and had Hope help get her into it and Hope started to lace up the back, tightening it a bit more than Allison thought was really needed. But finally, she got to the mirror and was stunned, it looked like it had been tailor-made for her, perfect height and width, and the neck line, while very low and showed a huge amount of cleavage, especially with the corset pushing everything up, it was somehow sexy without being overwhelming. She was staring at herself in the mirror and thought that she’d now have to do something with her hair. “Thank you Hope,” she said and hugged her friend tightly.
“It not a problem. Took a few calls to find the right size, but I got it. It’s just a rental though, so be careful so I don’t lose my deposit.”
“I will. Thanks again,” she said as she looked at herself in the mirror again.
“Good, now I have to go meet Jackson underground. It’s going to take a bit of work to get him ready. We’ll try not to be too late, I’ll text you so you can witness our entrance.”
The doorbell rang and Jennifer rushed to answer it, hoping it was Andy with her mysterious costume. But instead she opened the door to “trick or treat!” seven kids were outside the door, bags at the ready. Allison had been the only one to consider this possibility and had bought a bag of candy, now sitting in a bowl near the door. Of the seven kids, three of them were dressed as heroes, including a little girl wearing what she now recognized as a Coma costume.
“Oh! You’re all so cute!” she said dropping a piece of candy in each bag. “I love your Coma costume!” she said to the little girl as she got to her, and dropped two pieces in her bag.
“Thank you!” they said and retreated. Then Jennifer got her first look at the street and while not packed with kids, there was several groups going from house to house and one of them would be hitting hers within a few minutes. It was a surprisingly nice day for late October in the mid-west, although still windy (a constant in the ‘Windy City’) and a little on the chilly side, but it was clear and sunny out still.
“Who was at the door?” Tony asked coming from the dining room.
“Trick or treaters,” she said.
“Cool. So what’d you decide to go as?” Tony asked her.
“Don’t know, Andy is picking it out. You?”
“Why?” She asked.
“He’s king of the beasts, and I can change into all those animals.”
“Cleaver. But doesn’t Tarzan wear almost nothing? Won’t it be too cold?” She asked.
“I can handle it,” he said and as they were talking, a second group of young kids came to the door. As they were finishing with that group Jen saw the Jones’ car turn into the driveway and Sandy came to the door with a duffle bag.
“Hey Jen,” she said giving her a half hug, “I need to talk with James first, then I’ll send Andy your way.”
James was sitting at his desk doing some homework when Sandy knocked on his open door and walked in. He got up, shut the door behind her and gave her a long kiss. “Hi,” he finally said.
“Hello,” she said a little flustered. “I don’t have much time. It’s going to take Andy a few hours to get Jen ready, but I wanted to talk to you about some things tonight.”
“So, what’s Jen going as then?” James asked.
“I don’t want to ruin the surprise,” she smirked. “If it turns out the way Andy sees it in our head, and I don’t doubt it will, then you will definitely want to wait for the big reveal.” She said and then paused and looked a little uncomfortable. “So, Mandy is going to be first up and I’d like you to look out for her.”
“Can’t she take care of herself?” James asked.
“It’s not that…you see Mandy has a big crush on you and well I sort of promised her you’d give her a dance when we were teaming up against Candy to get everybody some time tonight. But, really I just want you to keep her entertained, otherwise she’ll just sit quietly in the corner until her turn is up.”
“And you won’t be jealous of me dancing with another woman?” James smiled.
“Not with my sisters. They wouldn’t betray me and neither would you, so I’m very secure with the arrangement.”
“Alright, I’ll keep her company. What’d you decide to go as?”
“Mandy decided on going as a doctor, because of her healing power, and I like the way it turned out, so I decided to use it as well and I think Andy and Candy are mostly using similar costumes too. I should go and give Andy her time now.”
“Wait, you sure you can’t spare a little time?” James asked and wiggled his eye-brows suggestively.
“I guess I have a few minutes,” she said and they fell onto his bed while making out.
“Hey Hot Stuff!” Andy said from the top of the stairs to get Jen’s attention. “You ready?”
“Yeah, I guess. What took so long?” She asked.
“I don’t know. For the last five minutes they just sat quietly; probably so I wouldn’t get any memories. Which probably meant I wouldn’t approve of them.”
“Oh, I see. I guess it’s best not to think about my girlfriend’s body being used by my friend and housemate, huh?” Jen said as she came up the stairs.
“Definitely. I’ve been putting everything Candy does with it out of my mind for years,” Andy said as they went into Jen’s room and she dropped the duffle bag onto her bed. Then she turned and kissed Jen. “Hi,” she said as a more proper greeting.
“Hello. So are you going to tell me what you’re doing?”
“No, I’d rather it still be a surprise until it all finished. Do you trust me?” Andy asked, staring into Jen’s eyes.
Jen took a deep breath and then said, “yes, I do.”
“Good,” Andy said and kissed her again. “Then, I need you to strip naked so I…can paint part of your costume.”
“What!? Why naked? Am I going to be showing a lot of skin?”
“Yes, kind of,” Andy said while pleading with her eyes to trust her.
Jen had to take another deep breath before she started to strip. She wasn’t really dressed right for it, but she tried to give Andy a bit of a sexy show as she was doing it. Until finally she was standing naked in the middle of her room.
“And I need for you to shave all your body hair, arms and legs, so the paint will adhere better,” Andy said.
Jen’s eyes got wider, “well, I don’t really have to ‘shave’. I worked this trick out some years ago. Watch,” she said and then her hands began to glow red from heat. Then she slowly passed it over her arm and it burned away the hair while leaving her fire-proof skin unharmed; it only took about five seconds to do a leg and it was as smooth as waxing.
“Wow, Candy would kill for the ability to do that that fast,” Andy said smiling.
“Definitely handy, although there is the burnt hair smell,” Jen said. Then Andy began pulling out a bunch of paints and brushes and even an airbrush. It was a lot more professional than Jen imagined her costume would be. Of course there was always the chance that Andy was a terrible artist and Jen would look like a train wreck, what would she say then?
“And, finally I want you to wear this blindfold until I’m done,” Andy said handing it to her. Jen took it and put it on without comment, she was way too committed now. Then Andy got to work. She was quick and professional, although she’d occasionally stop to show that she appreciated a part of Jen’s body, and she just so happen to appreciate all of it. So the whole thing was kind of exciting and pretty erotic; at least for the first hour, then Andy had to really start concentrating, as the brushes got smaller and the details came out.
Then finally after another two hours Andy pulled Jen over to stand in front of her mirror, “Alright, you ready?” Andy asked, nervousness strong in her voice.
“As I’ll ever be,” Jen said. Then Andy reached around and pulled the blindfold off and Jen got her first look at what Andy did, “Oh! My! God!” she said. She looked like she was on fire. Stylized flames in reds, orange, yellows and golds over every inch of her body. As she moved the light caught reflective paints and glitters and it looked like the fire was dancing across her skin. Every inch of her skin was covered except where the blindfold had been and each body part that moved looked like it was meant to as part of the fire as a whole. It was the most beautiful thing she’d probably ever seen and she just wanted to jump Andy to show how much she liked it, but stopped herself when she didn’t know if it would smear the paint. So Andy completed the hug to show it would stay in place. “I had no idea you could do something like this!”
“I love to paint and draw, but there hasn’t really been any time or reason to do anything with it here at college,” Andy said.
Jen looked back at her reflection. Her hair was still black which didn’t seem to fit very well and of course she was still naked and really, really hoped there was more to it, although it was so good…maybe she could go out like this, “please tell me there is more!” Andy smiled wickedly. “Please.”
“There actually is just a little more, but probably not as much as you’d like. Here put these on,” Andy said handing her something. They turned out to be underwear, but made of a sticky latex that fit perfectly smooth over her body. “It looks like skin, but will cover your modesty, and I’ll paint it to match, along with these that go over your nipples and we’ll finish by styling up your hair to look like fire,” Andy said. It was a good thing Jennifer was painted red, otherwise you’d see her blush from a mile away.
Jennifer had to take some more deep breaths, it was too much, or rather too little. She loved that Andy did this for her and she’d parade around all day for just her to look at, but could she really go to a party with all her classmates and friends like this? She finally looked back at Andy and saw that look in her eyes and she knew that she could. Andy had done this for her and it was beautiful and extremely sexy, but it wasn’t obscene. And the more she thought about it, the more excited she got; this is what Andy wanted to see and this is what she wanted to show her. “I love it,” she finally said once she was sure she was resolved.
After another forty minutes she was finally ready and Andy handed her the final piece, which were colored contacts and she once again returned to the mirror. It was incredible, she was living fire. She almost looked like a super, which would have been a problem if she wasn’t going to a Super party and she certainly wasn’t showing this to civilians. It was mesmerizing the way the light danced off her skin and she actually couldn’t wait to get on a dance floor with all the different colored lights and effects rolling over her body, making the whole thing come alive. “Now the question. So, Mandy is first up, then Sandy and then I’ll be third, so I won’t ‘be’ at the party until close to ten. Do you want to go sooner, or do you want to wait for me and we can make an entrance together?”
That was a good question. She’d been thinking she could have a buffer from the people looking at her by being on Andy’s arm, but hanging out alone at the party for two hours could get awkward and if Andy was only getting an hour, maybe she should too. “I don’t know,” she said. “Maybe, since I will be covering up until I get there, I’ll keep the coat on until you’re ready, then make the reveal. So I can enjoy the party without being too self-conscious.”
“Do whatever you like,” Andy said kissing her, “But I expect a dance with your costume in full view.”
“Definitely,” Jen said and kissed her back.
“Alright, I think you’re ready, I’m going to get into everyone’s costume and then change into Mandy. Otherwise, I’ll see about ten.”
“Okay, thank you Kitty,” Jen said.
Tony had taken over candy duty after Jennifer had went off to get ready and he’d been very liberal with his candy disruption so he was now out and had had to turn away a few groups, which would probably cost them an egging. The party started at eight, but nobody got to a party on time, unless you were someone like Mandy, who’d come down the stairs dressed as a doctor with James in tow, who’d dressed like a ninja in a pretty good costume, and the plastic sword actually added the effect, giving it a nice contrast. It had sounded like Mandy didn’t want to miss out on any of her hour.
Next Allison came down the stairs and was quite a sight. He wasn’t really a history buff, so he didn’t have an exact idea of what she was, but he had seen Gone With the Wind and would have said she could pass for Scarlett O’Hara with the way she’d done her hair. Even the way she’d walked down the stairs had reminded him of that movie. “Wow!” he said.
“Thank you Tony,” She said while laughing and blushing.
“Would you like me to walk with you there?” he asked, a gentlemanly persona trying to match her dress, coming out.
“That won’t be necessary, Bradley will be accompanying me,” she said, her voice actually getting a little southern twang to it, again probably the dress forcing a persona.
“Oh, okay. Well I should go get ready and you can watch for trick or treaters, although we’re out of candy.”
“No, I bought more than one bag,” she said and went to the kitchen and returned with it.
“Oh, that would have been nice to know,” Tony said as he retreated upstairs.
It was a good thing she’d grabbed the extra bag as a new group arrived at the door moments after Tony was out of sight. As she was finishing up with them, Sam came down the stairs in his costume; flip-flops, board shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, unbuttoned to show off his chest and abs, a pair of cheap green sunglasses on the top of his head and thick ‘sunscreen’ on the nose, so he looked every inch the beach bum that he was.
“Nice!” Allison said, “But seriously aren’t you going to freeze out there?”
“No. While it’s not something I need to do a lot, my power can keep me warm, and technically fed, if I need it.”
“All so you can show people your abs? Although I will admit they are spectacular abs,” Allison said, only partly joking.
“I know, right,” Sam said and flexed his stomach even more. “Your costume is not too bad either. Let me guess, Hope’s idea?”
“Yeah, but, I think she nailed it,” Allison said swishing the bottom back and forth.
“No arguments here or likely from any straight male.”
As they were laughing and talking about their costumes, Michael came down dressed as a knight. It was pretty elaborate, and while it was likely not a hard metal, it looked right and reflected light nicely off the greaves, gauntlets and pauldrons. The helmet was shaped into a crown design and he had a clean white tunic with a green dragon on it. And finally a realistic looking sword on his belt. Sam did a mock bow as he reached the bottom of the stairs. “Cool costume dude.”
“Thanks,” Michael said, “you too.” Michael was driving Tony, Sam and apparently Jen, so they talked for a while waiting for the other two, while another group of kids came to the door. Finally, both of them appeared in trench coats, Tony had a dreadlock wig, leather sandals and had used a bronzer or something on his skin and when prompted, opened his coat to reveal that he was indeed wearing only a leopard print loincloth. It was funny, but at the same time his lean frame that was gaining muscle actually helped pull off the effect.
Jen on the other hand refused to open her coat, but what you could see was impressive. Her skin was painted to look like fire and was incredibly detailed, her hair stood on end, dyed reds and oranges and yellows and looked like it was on fire and the contacts in her eyes were earie and beautiful. Everyone in the room really wanted to see what she had on under the coat.
The others finally left and Allison was alone, well, not really alone, as she could feel the emotions of Agent Shields downstairs, but they were seen so rarely, it was easy to forget about them. Bradley showed up ten minutes later and rang the doorbell. Allison opened the door to find him in tuxedo, and he greeted her in an English/Scottish accent, meaning he was probably James Bond. “You look wonderful,” he said.
“Thank you. You cut a nice figure in that tux as well,” she said.
“Shall we go?” he asked and held out his arm for her to take. The dress were definitely leading people to act like southern gentlemen; it was kind of nice.
James and Mandy found the warehouse and were directed where to park and then approached the door. The person at the door, James thought he might be a junior, asked for the password, which had been on the bulletin board outside the lifts all week. Once inside there was a coat check, neither of them had coats, but the person at the desk also insisted on taking their keys. Then finally they reached the party proper, the room was wide open, with a dance floor and DJ booth, lights and strobes and fog machines lines the edges, there was a buffet table with a pretty decent selection of food and treats and there was a truly impressively stocked bar. Further into the room were cheesy carnival game with Halloween themes, which even though James had just thought of them as cheesy, wanted to try his hand at. And then finally beyond that was the ‘haunted maze.’
Except for the juniors, they appeared to be the only ones there, but if Mandy noticed that fact, she didn’t let it bother her. She grabbed James’ hand and led him around the room. First to the food table, where she grabbed a couple sugar cookies and then they headed over to the games. There was a surprising number of them there. “Oh! James can you win me that bear?” Mandy asked pointing at a small stuffed bear dressed like a vampire.
“I suppose I can try,” James said. The game was a simple dart game, throwing a dart at a pumpkin shaped balloon. His martial arts training alone should allow him to throw it accurately enough. He walked up to the junior manning several booths, “So how’s this work? Do I pay money or something?”
“No, it’s all free.”
“So you could just ‘give’ me a prize then?”
“I could and I will if you want one, but it sort of defeats the purpose don’t you think? Same reason why you wouldn’t use powers to win, unless you’re a narcissist.”
“Good point,” James said, and looking at Mandy and he saw that she really did want him to ‘win’ it for her. He got three darts and was told he’d need to pop three to win the bear she wanted. He’d once seen an internet video about how they rigged each game, including this one, and sure enough the darts were blunt and looking at the balloons, they were underinflated. But, he’d also seen the part of the video that told how to win at some of them. The trick to this one was to throw the darts on an arc, so the force of gravity plus the throw put enough force behind it and you’d have a better chance of snagging a balloon on the way down. He drew the dart and easily popped one, then his second dart went through one and actually caught a second one, so he technically had three popped, but he threw the third one and got another balloon.
“Good job,” the junior said handing Mandy the bear.
“Thank you James!” Mandy said and quickly gave him a peck on the check, which James hadn’t been prepared for. He looked at her and saw her blushing. “Let’s do the haunted maze!” She said excitedly.
“Alright,” James said as she pulled him along. It was so strange to see a girl that looked and sounded exactly like his girlfriend, but acted nothing like her, and yet surprisingly he didn’t really ‘feel’ anything for her, which seemed strange considering she was perfectly pleasant and obviously attractive to him.
The maze started off pretty cheesy, cheap effects and sounds and plastic skeletons and spiders, but it began to subtly change. Soon the fog seemed to form into figures which seemed to reach out at them. Things moved around in the shadows and the walls seemed to be pulsing. James was pretty sure it was a couple supers, or maybe just one with some kind of fear power, but it was a beautiful mix of scary and mysterious, building the suspense. Then a creature ripped through the wall and charged them; Mandy let out a scream that could have broken an eardrum and James almost reflectively used an electric attack on it, but caught himself. He just had to remind himself that it would be unlikely that a deformed zombie werewolf would just happen to be stalking them in a ‘haunted maze’ and the thing did vanish into nothingness ten feet before it reached them.
He looked over to comfort Mandy, but she was gone. In her place was Sandy, “What happened?” he asked.
“She ‘ran’ away,” Sandy said.
“Is she coming back?” James asked.
“Not until we’re out of here, I don’t think.”
“Oh, well hi,” he said and kissed her.
“Hello. What’s this?” she asked holding up the vampire bear.
“Just a prize I won for Mandy.”
“Oh really, and did you happen to get one for your girlfriend too?” she asked, her eyes sharp and accusing. James was trying to stammer out an excuse, when Sandy’s face broke into a smile. “Ha! Got you!” She said laughing and pointing at his expression. “It’s sweet that you did that for my sister. Now you just need to get a gift for Andy so she’ll like you.”
“I think that one’s a lost cause,” James said as they finished up the maze. It seemed the werewolf was the climax of the whole thing, making the rest boring, but also a little suspenseful waiting for that other shoe to drop. They walked out the maze and headed back towards the party.
Sandy kissed him again, “okay, I’m sending Mandy back out again and I’ll see you in twenty minutes. Dance with her,” she said.
“Okay, see you soon,” he said and then led Mandy to the dance floor. While they were in the maze many more people had shown up, including what looked like several of his housemates. Tony’s costume was funny, considering how pale he usually is, and Michael was impressive. Jennifer was walking around in a long black coat, but what he could see was interesting. They got on the dance floor and started moving to the fast song; Mandy was an even more awkward dancer than him, which was saying a lot, but she was enjoying herself so he didn’t say anything. They danced around to the music until a slow song came on. It was awkward to get close enough, without being too close and Mandy didn’t seem to know what she wanted from the dance, but finally they were swaying to the music They ended up looking like middle schoolers at their first dance, but since Mandy didn’t seem to mind and James wasn’t crossing the ‘line,’ he didn’t dwell on it.
Once the song ended, Mandy’s turn was over, so James thanked her for the dance and said good-bye and Sandy took her place. “Hey,” James said kissing her. “Did she have fun?”
“I think so. I didn’t sense any regrets from her, so I’d say it was a success. Let’s go grab some drinks,” Sandy said leading them off the floor over to the bar.
Allison found them at the bar, “hey. Hope just texted, said her and Jackson are about to arrive and we’re going to want to watch her entrance.”
“Why?” James asked. “Isn’t she a slutty pirate or something?”
“That’s what she said, but she was lying about it,” Allison said and led them to a spot where they could watch the entrance. And it was worth watching the entrance; Hope was in a classic looking dress in various shades of yellow, with a large poufy bottom, and material over the upper arms, but leaving the shoulders, upper chest and back bare, and also she had yellow gloves going nearly all the way up her arms, and finally she had on a curly brown wig, or had dyed and styled her hair and her copper eyes were now blue. She was the perfect match for the ‘beauty,’ which meant Jackson was the ‘beast’.
And while Hope’s costume was good, Jackson’s was great. If James didn’t know it was Jackson, he would have sworn a shifter had put a dress coat on his other form. His frame was perfect for the concept, and the fur and prosthetics on the hands and feet were good, but it was the head piece that sold it. It matched the look from the movies, a sort of lion, demon, human mix, with a huge mane and horns. The face however was put together as good as any Hollywood effect and the classic blue suit fit the costume design perfectly.
They walked into the room with Hope draped on his arm and headed right to the dance floor without acknowledging anyone. They must have planned it ahead of time with DJ, because as soon as they hit the floor, the iconic song from that movie started playing and they began a beautiful dance that looked choreographed. People moved off the floor, either out of respect, or curiosity for the show, or because the song would be too strange to dance to, but soon they were the only ones on the floor ringed by a huge chunk of the HCP. The song ended and everyone in the crowd clapped and cheered loudly, and Hope and Jackson took a formal bow. Then another slow song started and couples filed onto the floor, including Sandy and James and Allison and Bradley.
They danced and drank and played some games for the rest of the hour; James even won Sandy a teddy bear dressed as a mummy. Jennifer was lurking around, getting antsy for Andy’s turn, although she did dance with a few guys and one girl while waiting, so she wasn’t just pouting in the corner, but she still hadn’t taken off her jacket. James asked Sandy what the big surprise was, but she refused to tell. “I guess it’s time to let Andy out,” Sandy said.
“Alright,” James said and swept her up in a big passionate kiss. Then they went to find Jennifer. They found her near the buffet table, “hey, I think…” James started, but was cut when all the lights in the warehouse went out, plunging it into total darkness. They all thought it was part of the show, even the horrific woman’s scream may have been a part of a prank, but when the back wall of the room exploded, sending debris into the crowd; that got people moving. James turned to Sandy and suddenly he felt the blade slide into his lower back.