It was the night before Halloween and my plan for the next night was to order an extra large pizza, grab a bottle of cheap wine and have a scary movie marathon on the couch with my cat. In fact, I was on my way to the nearest Redbox when my cell rang. It was my best friend, Sarah.

"Hey!! What are you doing tomorrow night?" she shouted.

I pulled the phone away from my ear and winced. "Domino's, Arbor Mist and Romero," I replied flatly.

"Oh my God, Kelli. Really? It's been 5 years since you've done anything for Halloween. It used to be your fave. I say we hit up Bourbon Street and have a blast!"

She was always so bubbly, it was hard to say no. I sat in the parking lot thinking. I used to love Halloween. My husband, Lorne and I would always dress up, decorate, bake, and throw a huge party after we went down to the French Quarter festivities.

"HELLLOOOOOO!!" I snapped out of my daydream and stammered, "I-I don't know. It's been so long and I have no costume. I don't know if I can."

Sarah laughed, "Ok I will pick you up at 8!"

I didn't have time to argue before she hung up. I sighed and drove back home. I gathered all of my old Halloween stuff from the basement and started looking for a costume. I was almost to the bottom of the last box when I picked up a picture of Lorne at the Vampire Ball 5 years ago. It was taken just hours before he left to take his friend home. Just hours before he taken from me. My eyes burned with tears and I threw the photo back in the box with the rest of the memories. Rummaging through my cabinets I managed to find my sleeping pills. I hadn't needed them as much lately, but it was still nice to have them around.

I woke up to my cat purring loudly and kneading on my back. "Happy Halloween, Scarlet," I whispered as I pet her. I got up, ate breakfast, did some gardening and waited for some trick or treaters. I passed out candy for a few hours and then realized Sarah would be there soon to pick me up. I still had no clue what to wear so I just grabbed a black dress and some heels and threw them on. Sarah was there right on time and was surprised to see me wearing something so drab.

"Honey. That's it?" she frowned as she pulled me into my bedroom.

She looked through my closet as I sat on the edge of my bed sulking. She pulled a box from the top shelf and carefully opened it.

"Oh my God, Kelli. This is amazing. You have to wear this tonight." I

looked over at her and smiled through tears. "It's beautiful isn't it? Swarovski Crystals and all."

Sarah came over to me and placed the bat shaped mask over my eyes and tied the silky ribbons in the back.

"Lorne bought it for me in the French Quarter to wear to our party that night," I said quietly. Sarah put her hands on my shoulders and kissed me on the head. "Well, I think he would have loved it on you. It looks beautiful."

She was right. He would have loved it, though he told me he wanted to see me in nothing but the mask before the party started. Still, I decided to wear it.

We got to the club, met up with a few more friends and ordered some drinks. As the night went on I started to loosen up and remembered why I love Halloween so much. Sarah and I were dancing and out of the corner of my eye I saw a man in a hooded cloak and a black mask staring at me. I tried to ignore him, but it seemed that no matter where I went, he followed, just lingering. Still, I tried to ignore it.

I decided to go upstairs to the balcony and look out over the street festivities. There was a band marching down the street with hundreds of people dancing behind them. I turned to set my drink down and the mysterious man was next to me. I jumped back, startled.

"I didn't mean to scare you," he said, his voice muffled by his mask. "You look so familiar to me. Your mask, too. Did you get it here?"

I hesitated, looking at his broad shoulders and his dark eyes. "It was a gift," I spit out. He turned from me toward the street, watching the crowd.

"Can I buy you a drink?" he offered as I took the last sip of my Hurricane. I smiled and nodded. We walked past Sarah and I motioned to her that we were going to another spot. We went to a bar that was lit only by candles, a pianist against the back wall and wooden tables and seats. I slid to the corner, my back against the cold concrete wall. Soon we were sitting closer to each other and his gloved hand was on mine.

I was nervous, but the excitement and the alcohol was having a strange effect on me.

I smiled at my enigmatic date and reached up to remove his mask. He put his hand on mine and shook his head. His other hand fell to my thigh. He slid it up slowly, pausing as he reached the hem of my skirt. I uncrossed my legs and pulled him closer to me. I lifted my arms around his hooded neck and leaned back, feeling his fingers, so strong, but so cold, trailing my thigh, then my waiting moisture.

He plunged deep inside, filling me. As I reached climax, he whispered in my ear, "I'm glad you wore the mask. I couldn't come until you did."

He pulled his fingers out gently as I attempted to regain my composure. Caught up in my desire it took me a moment to realize that I recognized his voice. My head spun from the realization and I felt so exhausted. I opened my eyes and was looking down at one of the burned out candles on the table.

"Kelli!" I turned quickly to see Sarah standing next to the table. "Are you ok? I saw you on the balcony, but figured you were up there to be alone. Then when you left by yourself I got worried, so I followed you. Then I saw you sitting here alone and you looked like you were going to pass out. I'm rambling, sorry," she said with a sigh.

I untied my mask, took it off my damp face and whispered, "I wasn't alone."

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