Last year I posted a deleted scene/flashback of Scott and Tori on Halloween. In this flashback we find out that Halloween is Tori’s favorite holiday.
I thought this would be a fun tradition to carry on this year, and post a little short story about their first Halloween together as a REAL couple in their new home.
This story would fit into the timeline in my upcoming book Burn For You between Chapters 4 & 5. I did my very best to not give spoilers for what is coming in that novel. (Yes, they get a dog in Chapter one of my upcoming novel, and my readers will learn ALL about Kahn there.)
For those that haven’t read, this gives you a little glimpse into the lives of Scott and Tori. After years of being friends with benefits (this story is in Chasing Fire) they finally have committed to each other. They’ve promised forever and are engaged (this story is told in Smoke and Mirrors) Burn For You will pick up right where we left off in Smoke and Mirrors. Scott and Tori happy, committed and starting their home and family.
So, without further explanation here it is:
Scott eyed Tori as she wandered downstairs, their German Shepherd, Kahn, hot on her heels. Only two weeks together and those two were best buds. Mainly because his bride to be spoiled him to no end.
“You’re up early,” he remarked. It wasn’t like her to wake up early, especially after the past week of her not feeling so swell. “You going back into the office today?”
“Nah. I’ve still got some leave so I’m gonna take a couple more days.” She ruffled her fingers through her disheveled platinum locks, shook her head and pattered into the kitchen as the dog followed.
“I can work from home today,” he hollered to her.
She was quiet for some time while he listened to the opening and shutting of the cabinet doors. “Good, I can use your help,” she shouted back as her mug hit the counter with a clank.
She emerged from the kitchen a few moments later, coffee in hand. “Me being down this past week has put us on a time crunch.”
Kahn came over to him and rested his head on Scott’s thigh. “Time crunch?” He gave the pooch a good rub on the head.
“Today is Halloween, goof.” When she got close to the sofa she reached out for him.
“Ah, I’d lost track of the date.” He grabbed her by the hand and gently pulled her down next to him.
“We need candy for trick-or-treaters, costumes—”
“Costumes? That sounds like a lot to put together last minute.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Maybe we should just kick the porch lights off and pretend we’re not home.”
She snapped her head in his direction and scowled as if he’d just suggested to a kid they cancel Christmas.
“I mean we already decorated the front of the house…” She’d done that before they were even finished unpacking boxes from the move. He knew that Halloween was her favorite holiday, and he obliged to her whims. It took hours for them to get it just like she envisioned when there were so many things higher on his priority list. They decked their porch out in skeletons, spiderwebs, bats and they even had tombstones littering their yard.
“I will not be those kind of Halloween people.” She sucked in a breath then lifted her mug to her mouth. “My mom always tried to pull that kind of shit and it pissed me the hell off,” she mumbled behind the mug before taking a sip. Finally after a long swallow she lifted her chin and set her mug down. “I want us to be the Halloween house. The house that people talk about in the neighborhood.”
He snorted and rolled his eyes. “I think we’ve got that covered already.” Between him doing yard work in his prosthetic blade and his blind bride-to-be coming and going with her cane, they’d drawn plenty of stares from rubberneck neighbors. A few had introduced themselves, but many whispered and kept their distance. This was par for the course in their world. People feared the unfamiliar. Some teens in the neighborhood had taken to pranking them. They loved to ring the bell to see how long it would take for them to get to the door, only to run at the last minute. It just solidified the fact to Scott that teenagers were awful creatures.
“Which is exactly why we need to make a show.” A wicked smile morphed on her face.
“What evil idea do you have brewing in that sneaky brain?”
She threw her head back and cackled like a madwoman. “The neighbors want something to talk about, let’s give them something to talk about.”
* * *
They spent the day running all over town to gather the items on her list. Shopping included a trip to the thrift store where they’d purchased a used dress for her, and a suit and tie for him that she planned to rip to shreds and trash.
“Do you really think this is a wise idea? To freak out the people in the neighborhood?” He pulled the big bottle of faux blood out of the package and set it on the kitchen counter with the other makeup items they’d purchased. “I mean, fuck those awful teenagers, but what about the younger kids?”
“Listen, you big softie.” She crossed her arms and turned to him. “Getting scared as a kid is a rite of passage on Halloween. Also, parents aren’t idiots. Our lawn already looks like a graveyard, so it gives fair warning. If their kids are too freaked out, they’ll just pass us on by.”
A knock came at the door, followed by a bark from Kahn.
“That’s Keith!” Tori clapped her hands and jumped up and down. “Come in!” She shouted.
The door creaked open and Keith popped in, with Jonathan, his latest fling behind him. Kahn emitted a snarky, low growl.
“Kahn hush!” Scott snapped at the dog who lay on the floor obediently.
“Oh shut the fuck up you beast.” Keith reciprocated with his own snarl back at the dog and a middle finger after he shut the door. “Why does he hate me so much?”
“Because you won’t pet him in fear you’ll get fur on your pristine pants.” Scott chuckled looking at Keith’s very tight, white, skinny jeans.
“I love the yard. You two really go all out for Halloween,” Jonathan said as they wandered into the kitchen. “Amazing kitchen!” He eyed the large kitchen with the white cabinetry and ran his fingers over the double-door stainless-steel fridge. “I can’t wait to get to work in here!” He pulled items out from paper sacks.
“Have at it Jonathan. My kitchen is now yours!” Tori grinned and turned in Keith’s direction. “Did you get ahold of your friend at the theatre, Keith?”
“Yup. Got what you ordered.” He dug into his messenger bag and pulled out several vials of what looked like fluid.
“Woah. What’s this?” Scott picked up the vial and eyed it.
Keith laughed and jostled his shoulder. “Look at you examining it like its heroin or something.”
Scott read the vial that had Theatrical Lenses imprinted on it and raised a brow. “Contact lenses?”
“Scott you’ll get the zombie, icy ones and our little blind bat gets the creepy as hell black ones…”
He cringed at the thought of something going into his eye. He couldn’t even do eye drops. He placed the vial down and caught Jonathan quietly holding back his giggles.
“Oh put on your big-boy pants and suck it up buttercup.” Tori patted his back. “What about Kahn’s costume? Can you hand sew some items on it for me quick?”
Scott held his hands up. “Wait. What? We’re dressing the dog now? Is that what the stupid dog sweatshirt was for?” He just figured that was to keep him warm. She spoiled that dog rotten.
“An un-dead family need a zombie dog.” She shrugged. “That’s also why I got the huge bone.”
“What are we doing with the bone?” Scott assumed that ginormous bone was to keep him occupied while they handed out candy.
“We’re sticking it into one of your sneakers for him to chomp on, of course.” Tori threw her head back and laughed like a crazy person. “You’ll be going sans-prosthetic tonight, babe.” She patted his shoulder.
She had the sickest, most twisted sense of humor. He scratched his brow and mumbled. “We aren’t just going to scare the neighbors, we’re going to traumatize them.”
* * *
Two hours later after having makeup slathered all over his face Scott sat on a chair in their bathroom, growing impatient.
“Ok. You have to stop blinking every time I get near your eye,” Keith huffed after trying to get the contact in his eye the millionth time.
“I got them in just fine, babe.” She turned to him and blinked a few times. She looked positively terrifying. Keith had done a phenomenal job with her makeup and Scott was seriously impressed. The way he drew the black lines from her lips made the corner of the mouth extend into what looked like a fully slashed open cheek. The contacts she was wearing were something Keith called “sclera” lenses. Whatever they were, they were all-black, freaky as hell and covered her entire eyeball. That haunting look added with dripping black and red lines her lids was horrifying. He shivered a bit looking at her.
“I’m sorry, but that’s an unfair comparison. She can’t see it coming for her. I see something coming for my eye, I blink!” Scott barked back. They’d been at this for thirty minutes and they’d only managed to get one contact in. “Just let me try it myself!”
“But I don’t want you to see my masterpiece until I’m finished!” Keith whined. “Come on, you’ve been through getting your leg blown to bits. I assume you’re tough enough for this.”
“Fine.” He took a deep breath and leaned back, tilting his head to the ceiling. He zoned out and thought about the boring contracts at work sitting on his hard drive, anything to get his mind off the fact a finger was coming toward his eye.
As soon as Keith neared him again though, his natural reflex took over and he once again blinked.
“Oh for fucks sake. You promised!” Keith stomped his foot.
“I’m sorry.” He shook his head and could only laugh. Finally Scott cheated and turned to look at himself in the mirror. “Holy. Fucking. Shit.”
“I told you not to look!” Keith scolded him. “We still haven’t got the contacts in!”
“Dude, this is excellent even with just the one in!” He tilted his jaw side to side, admiring Keith’s handiwork.
His skin was a blanch shade of reddish-purple, and his eyes were huge, dark circles perfectly blended into the skin. Lines were drawn on his face to give the impression of veins underneath the paper-thin looking skin, and his lips were blackened. Keith had sprayed his hair and beard full of grey to give it a dulling, dying look. The one eye that had the contact in was a whitish-blue with a small, black pupil.
“Fuck it. I’ve got a contingency plan. I give up on the other lens.” Keith waved his hands. He then turned and opened the linen cabinet that had their medicine on the top two shelves. “Oh, come on, tell me you’ve got some gauze in here.”
“Top shelf left-hand side there is a tackle box that’s a first aid kit,” Tori chimed as she tucked her hair up under a wig cap.
“Leave it to Scott Fucking Harris to use a tackle box as a first aid kit.” Keith chuckled.
Just then Jonathan came into the room. “Any luck with the lenses?”
“No.” Tori frowned, as she slipped on a pair of grey tights over her lacy, black underwear. Even with the gory makeup the site of her prancing in next to nothing made him a little stiff. He adjusted himself.
“Are you seriously getting an erection?” Keith huffed as he walked back over, gauze in hand.
“I can’t help it. She’s hot.” He shrugged.
“Not my cup of tea.” Jonathan set a large bowl on the counter then wrapped his arms around Keith from behind. “But she does have a pretty decent rack, for a girl.” He winked at Scott who could only chuckle inwardly that Tori was practically naked in front of three men—two of whom her smoking hot body was totally lost on.
“Yeah, yeah. Vic’s tits are a work of art.” Keith rolled his eyes.
“What’s in the bowl?” Scott nodded to the counter.
Keith yanked his chin toward him. “Hold still.” Keith wrapped his head in the gauze, covering one eye.
“Jello eyeballs.” Jonathan flashed a pearly-white grin and held them out for him to see.
Scott belly laughed looking at the bowl full of eyeballs. “So fucking gross.”
“Which just helps my plan here!” Keith cackled. “With her all black orb’s and you patched up, this works perfect!”
“Seriously, you don’t think this is all too much?” Scott looked down at his residual leg poking out from under the ripped pants. Keith had bloodied it up and added some bite marks. The scarring and stump alone was probably enough to frighten small children.
“Nah.” They all chimed in unison.
“Babe, this isn’t any scarier than the stuff people see when they walk into the Halloween store.” She waved her hand.
“What about you two?” Tori asked as Keith as he dabbed some faux blood to the eye covered in gauze. “You two should get zombiefied with us.”
“We’ve had our costumes ready for weeks now.” Jonathan chimed. “Ya, know for the big party.”
Scott winced. Jonathan was not supposed to mention that. Keith shot him a shut-the-hell-up look.
Tori stopped dead in her tracks and turned to him. “What party? Do you mean Natalie’s party? As in my boss Nat?”
“I…I…I’m not sure.” Jonathan grimaced and rubbed the top of his shaved head. His brown eyes pleaded with Scott and Keith for help.
“I didn’t’ think she was having it this year…” The wig clutched in her grasp fell to the ground as she swallowed hard. “Guess I wasn’t invited.” She reached to the ground and swiped her hand across the floor, looking for the lost wig.
“Here, baby.” Scott picked it up and handed it to her and helped her slip it on.
“Vic, Nat was just worried about you, she didn’t know if you’d be up for it this year.” Keith rubbed her shoulders. “You’ve been through a lot, and she didn’t want to pressure you.”
“No, what she didn’t want was the embarrassment of having me there after the bad press I gave them. God forbid I have any other embarrassing mishaps in front of her hoity-toity DC friends.” Tori stood and straightened her wig. “I should consider myself I’m lucky I’ve still got a job.”
“Vic, you know that’s not true. She gave you the entire private event area for your exhibition next month and—”
“Just stop.” She held up her trembling hand. “Scott, did you know about this?”
Scott reached out and clasped it in his grasp, rubbing it. “I didn’t want to upset you. I’m sorry, baby.”
She lifted her chin, and a silence fell over the room, and he waited on her backlash. Finally, she lifted her chin and spoke. “I’m not gonna let this get under my skin. This is my first Halloween in our home. I don’t need her fancy, snobby party. I’ve got all I need right here.” She squeezed his hand tight. “Now, where is my fur baby? Kahn!” She whistled, and the dog came charging into the bathroom.
Scott laughed as the dog ran into the room, breaking the tension. “Holy shit babe, he looks fantastic.” Keith had given him a dog onesie and sewn and open rib-cage to the side, covered in blood. “He looks like one of those damn hellhounds from Resident Evil. It’s epic.”
She reached down, and felt the side of the costume, taking it in. “Perfect. Just what I wanted.” A grin morphed on her face as Kahn gave her cheek a good lick.
“Don’t let him lick you, Vic!” Keith shrieked. “He’ll fuck up that makeup.”
“Well, then let’s give him Scott’s leg.” She made air quotes with her fingers as she said the word leg.
* * *
Before the guys took off Scott made Keith snap some photos of their little family—him, Tori and Kahn—on the front porch. Then they said their goodbyes and took off.
He exhaled as he slumped down onto the porch swing, and his crutch hit the deck with a thud. “Dammit, I forgot the bowl of candy…”
“I’ve got it. You’re in worse shape than me right now.” She chuckled and disappeared into the house.
It was true. With only one crummy wooden crutch—she wouldn’t let him use the metal one—and only one eye he could barely see out of, he was feeling very disabled at the moment.
His phone chimed in his pocket and he yanked it out. Keith had quickly texted all the photos to him. He grinned wide looking at the megawatt grin on his girl’s face. All the agony of the exhausting day was worth it to see that smile. Honestly, this was the best damn costume he’d ever had. The certifiably looked dead and decomposing. The lack of his leg helped…a lot. He posted them quick on Facebook and tagged Tori. His mom was gonna have a fit when she saw them. He was never allowed to wear gory costumes growing up. He chuckled at how irked she’d be as he tucked his phone back into his pocket.
He laughed louder as he looked down and saw Kahn chomping on the leg bone shoved into his sneaker. It was positively gruesome.
Tori came back out with the bowl of candy in hand and sat next to him.
“Now what?” he asked.
“Now we wait and see who’s brave enough to come to the creepy house.” She smirked and rifled through the bowl, unwrapped a piece of candy and popped it into her mouth, looking quite satisfied.
They sat there quietly for a few moments as the street lights flickered on. In the distance he could see their first wave of trick-or-treaters heading down the sidewalk. “We have our first.” He nudged her in the side.
“About thirteen.” That was his best guess based on the height. “There’s a big group of them. I think it’s the teenagers.” The ones that loved to Ding-Dong-Ditch them.
“Perfect. Follow my lead.” She plopped the bowl of candy in his lap and exchanged it in her for the bowl full of Jello-eyeballs sitting on the patio table next to her. Scott stifled his snicker watching her zombie walk across the porch, dragging a foot behind her.
Whispers came from the kids and one pushed their pack leader out toward her.
“Trick Or Treat!” the boldest one chimed through his vampire teeth as they walked up. Tori slowly extended her arm with the bowl. The kid went to dig his hand in and froze.
“My eyes!” Tori moaned and clawed under her left eye with her free hand.
The teenager looked over his shoulder at the kids cowering behind him. His eyes shifted to Kahn mowing on the “leg bone” and that’s when the kid squealed and jumped back a few feet.
Scott stood and leaned into his crutch, grabbed the bowl of candy with his free hand, and groaned as he limped over, offering the candy.
The kids all exchanged side-eyes debating if the candy was worth it. Scott grunted and nudged the bowl closer to them and flashed a wicked grin.
A smug grin morphed on the kids face and their eyes locked in mutual respect for the payback prank. The kid jutted out his chin. “Sweet costumes, dude.” The kid palmed the candy and shoved it into his bag. The others shoulders relaxed and followed suit, then they turned and left.
“Holy shit, did you see that?” Scott could hear their whispers as they ran down the sidewalk. “Those people are crazy!” He grinned in satisfaction at the street-cred he just earned with the kids.
After the kids were gone they sat back down. A wide grin was plastered on Tori’s face.
“You seem happy.” He patted her thigh.
She swallowed. “Stoooopp.”
“What?” He feigned ignorance.
“That whole droop in your voice. Just don’t.” She shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about my boss, and the fact I wasn’t invited to her party. I don’t want tonight to be about worry over me. I’m glad I wasn’t invited. Honestly. There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be than right here, on our front porch, with you, scaring kids.” She reached up and touched his cheek, then grimaced. “Ew, your skin feels nasty.” She giggled and rubbed the smudged makeup between her fingertips
“Yeah, I’d kiss ya, but you’re pretty nasty yourself, woman.”
They both erupted in laughter. His heart swelled with adoration for this amazing, strong woman that he was going to spend forever with. Every day he fell harder, deeper and more in love with her.
“Aw fuck it. I love your nasty ass.” He leaned in and kissed her.