I was awakened, not by my phone going off, but by the sudden emptiness I felt. It was hard to believe that over these past few days I had grown accustomed to sharing my bed with Jinxx. Without him, the bed seemed so...vast. I turned to my side so I could drape my hand over the empty side of the bed where he normally slept. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. Yup, it still smelled like him, sea mist and soap. I sat up, from the foot of the bed, Chrome and Sebastian blinked sleepily at me, I held their gaze until Chrome gave a mixture between a purr and a meow, and walked over to me, she shoved her warm furry head under my chin and purred loudly, Sebastian watched us, until for the first time since he arrived, he walked over and curled up on my lap, his chest rising and falling as his purrs reverberated through my blanket. I petted his thick fur tentatively. Outside, the sun was just beginning to peak, the horizon was the color of lavender, smeared with tangerine and rose colored clouds. It seemed this would be perfect day, or it would be, if I had woken up with Jinxx by my side.
Sighing, I kicked off the blanket and walked to my closet. Today was the costume party, but I had nothing to wear! Hands on my hips, I looked at the racks of clothing, but nothing seemed to scream "elegant but creepy", looks like I'll have to do some last minute shopping... I thought as I turned away from my closet and walked out of my room to go downstairs and feed the cats. Another thing I noticed, it was so quiet. The silence only made me notice Jinxx's absence even more. I sighed again, god I was like a lovesick middle-school girl. I sat alone at the granite counter eating a bowl of cereal, behind me I could hear the cats crunching their food.
"Ohhh..." I groaned and let my head thump on the granite. "Jinxx, I miss you." I whispered to myself.
By now, it was eight in the morning, I was walking around LA looking for something decent to wear. I didn't want to shop at a Halloween store though, instead, I was looking through department stores, from the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of gold. Across the street, I saw what I was looking for. I ran to the nearest stoplight and waited to cross, then, sprinting into the store, I managed to gasp at the lady in the Italian pantsuit who was arranging the clothes.
"H-how much, is that!" She stared at me, her perfectly plucked eyebrows furrowing at the center, deciding if I had the money to pay.
I held up my platinum credit card. She smiled instantly and led me to the window so I could buy the treasure I'd just discovered. I walked out of the store with my arms clutching the bags full clothes I'd been scammed into buying. I only wanted the item at the window, but most of the bags were full of suits and shirts. How that had happened, I had no idea. Still, I wasn't done. I made a quick stop to drop off my bags, and continued my search. I walked for another few hours, before I was satisfied. I hopped back into my car, played some Michael Jackson, and tried to ignore the fact that Jinxx hadn't texted me all day, then again, I couldn't blame him. Sammi was probably watching his every move, or had thrown his phone against the wall in an angry fit. I shook my head, and sung along with MJ's voice.
"Hmm. Hmm. Hmm." I Hummed as I set everything out on my bed. I had officially come up with the greatest outfit ever. It wasn't so much a costume, as it was something that belonged in a masquerade from the old times, but it was perfect, I had tweaked it a little, but not much. I checked my clock. Still had a few hours before I had to get ready, so I did what any California guy would do, I packed a bag, strapped my surfboard to the roof of my car, and drove to the beach. It was literally a perfect beach day. The sun was bright, the water was clear, and the waves were huge! I stripped down to my cargo shorts, earning a few giggles from some girls who were sunbathing nearby. I ignored them and carried my board to the water, I laid myself down, and paddled out to see, it felt nice to feel my muscles flexing as I fought the current, the rocking of the waves, lulling the anxiety I had been feeling all day.
Ahead of my, I could see a huge wave building up, I stroked my arms through the eater, no way was I going to miss this beauty! My shoulder began to burn, but I was close enough now, that the wave was pulling me into it, I got to my feet and balanced on the board. All around was the color of blue-green, the sound of roaring water, and the spray of salty waters splashing into my face. I gave a holler of joy as I rode the wave. Occasionally tipping my weight to make me swerve in different directions. At last, it began to curve over, and I was in a tunnel of blue. This was my favorite part of surfing, the sun beamed through the water, you felt the wind blow your hair away from your face, and the sudden calm as you stretched out your hand to touch the glassy smooth wall of water. It was exhilarating! I broke through the other side and let myself fall of my board, then surfaced, laughing from deep in my stomach. I hadn't felt this great since yesterday when I was with Jinxx. I swam back to the beach to dry off.
"Hi," I soft voice said. "I'm Natalie." I opened and eye, from my spot on the sand, all I could see were long legs leading up to a red bikini bottom.
"Hey, I'm Ash." I answered politely. Then closed my eye again.
"I saw you out on the waves today." She knelt down, obviously she hadn't gotten the hint. "You were awesome!" She giggled.
Looks like she wasn't going to go away. "Really? Thanks!" I propped myself up on my elbows and looked at her. She wasn't ugly, far from it actually. Her hair was brown with red highlights from spending time in the sun, shocking blue eyes framed with long lashes observed me, her full lips were turned up in a smile, exposing perfect teeth. She had a long slender neck and ample breasts with a slim waist. She was hot, and she knew it, Too bad I wasn't interested.
"So...you wanna go out and get some drinks sometime?" She batted her lashes as me, blushing slightly as the words left her mouth.
"Um, sorry Natalie. I bet you're a really great person, but I'm spoken for."
"Well, what she doesn't know won't hurt her." She leaned down close to me, so that I could smell the coconut lotion, it was so strong I began to feel nauseated.
"Sorry. I'm not that type of guy." I stood up and grabbed my stuff. "It was nice meeting you Natalie, but I gotta go." She remained sitting on the sand as I walked away.
I looked at myself in the mirror. Oh yes. I was looking quite dashing! Smirking at my reflection, I adjusted my vest. The gold thread accenting the red fabric in swirling patterns. Sorry for being a narcissist, but damn I was looking good. My hair was straightened to a sleek shine, it fell just past my shoulders. A white button-up shirt with gold cufflinks lay under the crimson and gold vest I had bought downtown earlier that day. Tight black jeans showed off my long, athletic legs, and lastly, dark brown musketeer topped it off. Well, not exactly, the crowning piece to it all was the half-face mask I'd seen at a local goth shop. It covered my eyes and nose, but left the rest of my face exposed. It was red at the center that gradually turned to black at the edges, and was also decorated with gold patterns around the eyes, swirling, complex, lines around the rest of it. It was perfect.
By the time I arrived, it was dark. Silver stars were scattered throughout the sky, and a full moon illuminated the gardens, in which I was led to by a man dressed as a butler. There was a huge crowd of people, dressed from Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, to The Joker and Harley Quinn. Eerily sung lullabies gave the gardens a gloomy air. And the night-blooming flowers brought everything together. I walked through the crowd, nodding in acknowledgment to people I didn't know, accepting praise from people I did, and giving out a compliment or two. But there was only one person I was interested in finding. Unfortunately, he wasn't anywhere to be found. So I took a champagne glass from the refreshment table, and walked to a shadowy tree, and just observed.
A lilting female voice began another lullaby. "Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree tops." Her voice was beautiful, but it sent chills up my spine.
"When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And down will come baby, cradle and all."
Sheesh, I had never heard a lullaby sung like that! To my surprise, she continued to sing. "Rock-a-bye, baby, thy cradle is green; Father’s a nobleman, mother’s a queen;And Betty’s a lady, and wears a gold ring;And Johnny’s a drummer, and drums for the king."
Honestly, there was something deeply disturbing about those lyrics. I rubbed my arms in attempt to get rid of the goosebumps. Suddenly, there was a collective gasp, I looked around, I didn't have to search long to see who it was. Sammi was dressed beautifully, her golden hair, curled to perfection. Eyes half closed, mouth painted a dark, almost black, blue. Her already pale skin, looking as if it were made of moonlight. She wore a blue and black corset with silver curls. Her skirt swished side to side, showing the lack lace underneath. Black ballet shoes accented her long legs. She was stunning, but it wasn't her that I was staring at. No. Beside her, in a matching dark blue tailcoat suit. His top hat and mask hid his eyes, but still, he seemed to emit this pulsing light that Sammi would never project.
Jinxx led Sammi down the stairs, holding one of her hands daintily. When the reached the dance floor, Sammi lifted her heads above her head and danced around Jinxx. Painting beautiful lines with her body. Jinxx stood still, watching her ever move with his mouth in a grim line. When she stopped, Sammi took a bow as people clapped. To anyone else, she appeared normal, beautiful. But I could see the coldness in her, she was an ice princess. I sighed and walked away from the crowd. I didn't want to see this, not now.
I walked for several minutes until I came upon a gazebo. Climbing Clotilde flowers had wrapped themselves around the beams. An intoxicating smell coming from their light pink centers. I leaned against the framework and took a sip from my champagne before setting it down. I wasn't in the mood to drink. Instead, I walked across the wooden floor and looked at the scenery. Whoever owned the house must have been filthy, stinking, dirty rich to have gardens like this! They were gorgeous.
"Ahem!" Someone cleared their throat, making me jump.
"Oh, sorry! I was just leav--" The words died in my throat.
Standing at the stairs was Jinxx. Hands behind his back, too far away for me to read his expression. Not that I'd be able to, seeing as he was hiding behind a mask. He walked up the remaining steps and stood in the center of the floor. I closed the distance between us and looked at him. Behind the mask, I could see his eyes glowing like sapphires, a smile on his lips.
"May I have this dance?" He extended his hand to me.
Breathless, I nodded. As he pulled me against him, the woman's voice began another song. He soft, lilting voice surrounding us.
Come little children, come with me. Safe and happy you will be. Away from your homes, now let us run. With Hypno, you'll have so much fun.
Oh, little children, please don't cry. Hypno wouldn't hurt a fly.Be free, be free be free to play. Come down in my cave with me to stay.
Oh, little children, please don't squirm. Those ropes, I know, will hold you firm. Hypno tells you this is true. But sadly, Hypno lied to you.
As we waltzed back and forth across the floor of the gazebo, I swear everything was perfect. It was just like him. This was totally cheesy, but it was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me. If we could stay this way forever I'd be eternally happy. Yeah I know. This was so cliché, but hey, when life give you clichés, you kiss the man you love under the gazebo with the moonlight shining off his skin.
Oh, little children, you mustn't leave. Your families for you will grieve. Their minds will unravel at the seams. Allowing me to haunt their dreams.
But surely, all of you must know. That it is time for you to go. Oh, little children, you weren't clever. Now you shall stay with me forever
As the last notes blew away in the wind, Jinxx and I pulled apart. He held up a palm, I met his hand, and linked our fingers together. Despite being shorter than me, he made me feel so small. I looked into his eyes, tipped his chin up, and covered his mouth with my own. I felt a shiver go through me when his tongue grazed my bottom lip, but I held my ground, he wasn't getting me so easily.
When we finally pulled apart, I just had to ask. "Jinxx, what will happen after tonight?"
He looked at me with such intensity, such passion, it seemed to fill me with strength. "Us." He said simple. "We're going to happen Ash. You and me."