"Have you decided what you're going to be yet?" Cassie asked. She still picked at her salad with the plastic fork, but mostly she was finished with it and just pushing the dregs around the tortilla bowl, which she'd chipped a couple bites from. It was a Saturday morning in early October and they'd stopped for a bite at a little café after hitting the gym. Ellen had only been joining her at the gym for a couple months, but she was proud her friend was sticking with it, even if she thought Ellen was protesting too much. Most women Cassie knew would kill to have a curvy body like Ellen's, especially the way her breasts swelled to d-cups after the baby! Cassie, just a large b-cup herself, was certainly jealous. Still, ever since her baby was born last spring Ellen complained that her body wasn't bouncing back the way she hoped.
"Yeah, I figured it out a couple months ago. I'm going to be June Cleaver. I've got the heels, of course, and pearls. I just need to find a good fifties style dress. Feel like hitting some vintage stores?" Ellen said.
"Sure. We'll find something appropriate. You should carry around a tray of cookies."
"I thought of the cookie sheet, but I think I'm going to carry Jell-O shots on it instead."
"You're sure to be the hit of the party then!"
"What are you going to be?"
"I've been thinking about this for months and I just kept drawing a blank."
"That's not like you. You've always got the best costume."
"But it's hard to think of something I like that's remotely original. I don't really feel like going the slutty route like everyone else this year, either."
"That will disappoint your fans." Ellen had been teasing her about the attention some of her costumes drew for years, not that Cassie thought any of her costumes were over the top. She was comfortable with her body, but she wasn't the type to run around half naked either.
Their group of friends had been having these Halloween parties since they were teenagers and they were all in their late twenties now. Cassie had always been a flirt and had no problem admitting she loved the attention, even more so now that she was engaged. It is important to know you're still desirable. Luckily her fiancé was not the jealous type, not that he had any room to complain. Don had just as many female friends as she did guy friends.
"Maybe not. I think everyone will have fun with my idea."
"I thought you said you were drawing a blank."
"I was," Cassie replied. "And then I realized that was my costume."
"I don't get it."
"I'm going to be a blank canvas and I'll let people do their art on me. I'm going to have little brushes and a little box of paints."
"You're just going to let people paint you? Uh, Cassie, are you saying..."
She could see where Ellen was going. "I'm not going to be naked! Jeez!"
"Well, you said you were going to let people paint you."
"I've got two costume options. I can go safe and wear one of those white painters' coveralls that zip up the front, but if it's too baggy it's going to be hard for people to really decorate it. The other option is to wear a unitard. I found some white ones on the Internet. I'm not sure I want to be walking around all night in a unitard, though."
"At least you could get away with it if you wanted to. I understand how you feel though, you might as well be walking around naked in one of those things! How does Don feel about it?"
"Oh, he doesn't care. He loved it when I was Catwoman." That was a memorable costume, but somehow a skintight white unitard seemed more daring than the black vinyl cat suit she'd worn.
"I bet. He probably likes it that all the guys are drooling over you and he's the one who gets to take you home."
Cassie suspected her friend was right, although saying all the guys were drooling over her was an exaggeration. Cassie was pretty she knew, but not in a flashy, look at me kind of way. She rarely wore make-up and didn't tan because the sun just gave her freckles. She'd always been complimented on her cool blue eyes. Her shoulder length blonde hair was in a ponytail as often as not and she was really a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl when she wasn't dressed for work. She worked hard to keep her five-foot-six figure slim because it seemed like every errant order of fries showed, but she didn't dress to flaunt it like some of their girlfriends. Today she'd changed into a faded, comfortable pair of jeans, boots and a dark blue Phillies t-shirt after showering at the gym. She really was the quintessential girl-next-door and Cassie was proud that one of the reasons the guys liked her was because they thought she was cool, because she was approachable.
"You're crazy," Cassie demurred. "There are always a lot of girls there way hotter than I am." She thought of their friend Sonja, a smoky brunette. Sonja was hot. The first time Don met Sonja he couldn't stop staring and Cassie couldn't blame him. She couldn't wait to see what Sonja was going to dress up as this year.
"Just remember there's going to be strangers this time, so maybe the coverall is a better idea."
"That's right; Frank said he was going to invite people from work."
Way back when, their Halloween parties had just been their small group of friends and it floated from house, or apartment, to house. Over the years new friends and spouses joined in the fun; nowadays there were close to thirty people. Frank bought a big new house this year and insisted on hosting the party since he wanted to show off his new digs. Since he had so much room he warned his group of friends he was inviting people from work. His thinking was that some of their group was still single and what better way to make things fun than to throw some new people into the mix. Besides, everyone in their group who could possibly date each other already had. Cassie shuddered to think how many of her friends she'd hooked up with over the years. The fact that Don knew all about their incestuous little circle and didn't mind was just one of the reasons she loved him so much. Cassie thought the more the merrier, but she knew some of their friends resented the intrusion.
"You could be right," Cassie agreed. Parading around in a unitard, essentially naked, with a bunch of strangers around might not be a good idea. She was sold on going with the coverall.
When she got home that evening Cassie ran her idea past Don and he liked it, even though he pointed out that letting her perverted friends attack her with paintbrushes might not be a good idea. "It's a good thing I'll have you there to protect me then," she said.
The party was actually the night after Halloween, which fell on a Friday. That allowed their friends with children to do the trick or treat thing with their kids and then have their own grown-up night. Cassie had gone to a hobby shop and bought small jars of paint that fit into a box she wore on a belt. She was sure she would get sick of lugging the box of paints around and it would be set aside before the night was even halfway through. Maybe by then she would be covered and wouldn't have to worry about it.
Cassie pulled her hair up and tucked it into a white ball cap so she wouldn't get paint in it and was zipping up when Don found her in the bedroom. He'd been down the hall applying make-up and she thought he wanted help with his wig. Don was going as Captain Jack Sparrow and had gone all out with the costume. He even had a fake beard with the beads dangling from it.
"Hon, I've got a problem. Work just called and the whole orange line is down. They're calling everyone in to work on it." Don was an engineer with the local transit company.
"That sucks. Do you have any idea how long it will be? We can go late."
"It's going to take hours to get the whole system back online. There's no point in waiting for me. You're not going to be mad if you have to go on without me, are you?"
"We'll, I don't know who's going to keep the perverts from drawing crazy things on me," she joked. She pulled Don into her arms and gave him a long kiss. She knew he was looking forward to this party just as much as she was. "Of course I'm not mad. Just come on out as soon as you can."
"I promise I will. Have a good time for both of us, okay?"
"If you insist!"
It turned out Don didn't even have time to get out of his make-up, so he threw his costume into the back of his car and took off for the depot. Cassie could only imagine the comments he was going to get from all the macho men he worked with. She left a few minutes later, after setting her GPS to Frank's address.
Frank's house turned out to be one of those McMansions that developers throw up on a postage stamp sized piece of land. The house was beautiful, three stories high, with a big open entryway and a great room in the back, but it seemed that you could almost lean out of the window and touch your next door neighbor. If Cassie ever moved out of the city, it would be out to some old farmhouse on a big piece of land where she could plant and maybe even have some animals. She just wasn't the cookie cutter conformity type.
.... There is more of this story ...