page 23

Eventually (after maybe ten minutes) I found it in me to put myself together and head home.

As soon as I did I checked my phone, only to find at least a thousand missed calls from Bea.

She called again.

"Hey, Kat, you going trick or treating?"

I fingered the rabbit ears in my hands, laughing. I'd spotted them on the floor on my way out and I'd figured I'd return them to Sutton, whenever I saw him.

"I don't think so. I'm in a really bad mood."

"That's perfect!" she replied, "I mean, not perfect, but it'll cheer you up!"

"No. I just want to lie in bed for the next five hours with a cup of coffee and Pride and Prejudice."

"Did something happen with Raphael?" she asked, making me start.

"What? No!"

"You hesitated." she said plainly, waiting for me to fess up.

I sighed. 

"He found out that I had a bit of bruising from when his car hit me and freaked out."

"And what did you do?" 

"I watched him leave and went home." I admitted, "I don't know why he's so affected by the fact that I'm a bit beat up-"

Beatrice cut me off.

"-Kat, he cares about you!"

"No he doesn't." I shot back, "I'm just some way for him to spend the time between shoveling money and swimming in it ."

She sighed.

"You really don't know how to give the poor guy a chance." She paused before continuing, "You also need to loosen up. You're coming trick or treating with me."

She hung up, and I could do nothing but blink in surprise. Bea had done it again. But this time I'd be damned if I let myself lose control.

I made myself my coffee and sunk back into my bed, pulling the sheets around me and hoping that Bea would forget what she'd said.  

I picked up Pride and Prejudice and continued reading, feeling myself stiffen when my eyes fell upon a particular line.

I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.

Like that totally didn't sound familiar. 

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.

I didn't know why that happened to jump out at my eyes but I stared at it, continuing on and affirming that my brain was fried. It was probably only because I hadn't expected dancing to be in a classic book.

The doorbell rang some hours later and I realized that I'd ended up dozing with the book lying on my lap, quickly getting up and moving to answer.

Bea. 

She was in a somewhat racy Little Red Riding Hood costume, with a hand on her hip.

"You ready?"

I shrugged, and she looked at my ordinary clothes and tutted. She walked in, heading straight for my room. 

I followed her and cringed when she found the ears.

Bea promptly stuck them on my head and, fishing around in my closet, threw a tight white tanktop and matching short shorts on the bed.

"There. Get dressed, I'll do your makeup."

I couldn't find the energy to argue, but it did annoy me that she happened to choose the clothes I was on the verge of donating for lack of use. When I was done she sat me down on the bed and, pulling out some things from her picnic basket, worked away at my face for a few minutes. 

She moved back, studied me, and smiled.

"You lookin' fine, Kat. Grab your shoes and let's go." 

"I don't like this," I sighed, feeling uneasy, "I don't want to wander around late at night-"

Beatrice cut me off.

"-We won't walk around here, silly! We'll go up to the nice part of town, where they actually hand out good candy! And grab a pillowcase on your way out!"

"Whatever you say." I muttered, with Bea already at the door. 

I took out a pillowcase but, biting my lip, grabbed a small cylinder of pepper spray and dropped it in. Paid to be cautious.

The End

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