A Halloween Surprise
by Judith Freudenthal
1998

Natalie entered the lounge to grab a snack from the vending machine and heard some of the lab techs gossiping about how they thought everyone was going to dress for the upcoming Halloween costume party.

"I bet Dr. Lambert will come as something bland," one of the newer techs said.

Natalie quickly ducked out of sight, hurt by what she heard but curious to hear what they thought.

"I remember the year she came as the dissected corpse. Her guts were exposed to world."

"Yeah, but she hasn't done anything remarkable since. One year Detective Knight went as the Phantom and she was Christine."

Natalie headed back to her desk, her snack forgotten. she thought with a very wicked grin.

 

Two nights later she slipped into her long black dress, leaving the jacket behind this time and applied her newly purchased make-up. She slipped on her stilettos, hoping she could walk in them all night, checked her outfit in the mirror, smiling as it met with her approval.

 

Natalie arrived at Nick's loft, makeup bag in hand. She opened the elevator door and saw Nick's jaw hit the ground as his eyes nearly popped out of his head.

"Natalie?" Nick asked unsure who stood before him. The heartbeat was familiar but that was where the resemblance stopped.

"You like?" She asked her eyes twinkling mischievously as a wicked grin spread across her face.

"I thought....." Nick was too stunned by the sight before him.

"I heard some of the lab techs gossiping about how my costumes are always so bland, with the exception of the year I was the corpse...."

"And you thought you'd teach them not to underestimate you," Nick said finishing her thought. It was then that he spotted her bag. "What's in there?"

"Your costume."

When he saw her expression grow even more wicked he nearly bolted upstairs. "No way."

"Come on," she teased as she approached him. "It'll be fun."

A part of him wanted to do it, just to show his fellow officers that he wasn't always 'Mr. GQ', that he did have a sense of humor.

"Okay. If you can do it, I can too."

"Do you need help with the make-up?"

"I think I can handle it."

Before long Nick had changed and was applying the last of his makeup. He turned to Natalie for her approval, since the costume was her idea.

She smiled wickedly. "Perfect."

"Nat, we might not hear the end of it for a while."

"I'm counting on it."

 

Nick and Natalie arrived at the Raven, which had been rented out for the night. Someone in the two departments thought the decor was perfect for a Halloween party.

Janette had found the idea of people from both the police department and the coroner's office dressing up for Halloween something too potentially amusing to pass up, especially since she would get to see what silly costume Nick wore. Janette figured that Natalie had probably picked it out for him.

"Nat, if you really want to make an impact, go in first. I'll follow in a minute."

"Okay."

Natalie entered the club garnering stares as everyone tried to figure out who was behind the make-up. She was loving every second of it and was trying really hard not to smile.

Janette studied the black haired woman, knowing that something was familiar, but couldn't figure it out. She saw the very pale face with heavy black eyeliner around her eyes and the black lipstick. She had a silver nose ring in the side of her nose, one through her eyebrow and a silver stud through her lower lip. She wore several silver earrings on each ear. Her plain, long, black dress added to her general look. The abundance of ornate silver jewelry added to the serious Goth look she conveyed.

Natalie nearly burst out laughing as Janette's eyes went wide and she nearly choked on her blood wine as she figured out the "mystery" woman. The coroner headed for the bar owner.

"What do you think?"

"Very different." Janette couldn't miss the mischievous twinkle in Natalie's eyes. "A whole new look for you." She sensed her vampiric sibling and looked towards the door, nearly dropping her glass when she saw him. "Your work?"

"My idea, his artwork."

"Very interesting."

Once again the crowd tried to figure out who the dark stranger before them was.

Janette studied the dark makeup highlighting his already pale face, noticing that he had matching silver piercings, with the addition of several silver earrings. The dark black outfit he wore was much different than his usual. The ornate silver necklace only added to his Goth appearance.

Nick approached the two ladies in his life. "Well.... what do you think?"

"I think it suits you both," Janette teased, earning a wicked grin from them. She didn't care for that look, but enjoyed seeing her two friends dressed up for the occasion.

"Time to mingle," Nat said as she headed out to eavesdrop on the gossip, curious to know what her friends and coworkers thought of her make-over.

Nick followed her, equally curious.

 

They spotted Don and Myra Schanke over near the dance floor and approached. Natalie nearly laughed out loud at Don's vampire costume because he had what could almost have been walrus tusks for fangs, a painted on widow's peak, and a very Dracula like suit and cape. Myra's was more subtle. She too had the fangs and a long black dress instead of the suit and cape.

Myra and Don were trying to figure out who the Goth creatures were as they approached.

"Who might you two be?" Don asked, still trying to figure it out. He knew there was something familiar about the two who stood before him, but couldn't figure it out, which frustrated him to no end.

"Nice costumes," Myra said. "Who's idea?" She hoped their voices would give them away.

Natalie just pointed to herself, having way too much fun to give away her identity. She waved at them as she and Nick moved on, wanting to wander around a bit before her identity came out.

Natalie couldn't wait to see her coworker's expressions as they learned who was hiding behind the Goth make-up.

The Goth duo approached Grace, trying to keep serious as she studied them. "Very Halloweenish," Grace said, hoping for a response.

Neither of the duo spoke as they moved on.

Cohen was also surprised by the duo's outfit, having no clue who it was.

After Natalie and Nick had mingled for about an hour, making sure that all of their coworkers had gotten a good look at them, they headed back for the Schankes'.

"Hi guys," Natalie said, loving their friend's stunned looks. Don nearly dropped his glass out of shock.

"Nicely done," Don said recovering.

"Did you two do your own makeup?" Myra asked.

"Yes. It took some convincing to get him to go along with me."

"What made you think of this, Natalie?"

"I wanted to do something really wild this year."

"How did you talk Nick into it?"

"I showed up at his loft fully dressed and made up. It took a little effort to convince him."

"Didn't those hurt?" Don motioned to her piercings.

"Nope," Nat grinned wickedly. A moment later she pulled off one of her earrings to show him it was fake, then replaced it. "The others are glued on. I'm not crazy enough to do it for real." She loved the sighs of relief coming from her two friends.

"Partner, you too?"

"Yeah," Nick said, lying. He didn't think the glue would hold so he had actually pierced himself, knowing that the holes would close as soon as the jewelry was removed, leaving no mark behind. He remembered Natalie's slight wincing as he had completed each piercing.

Grace approached the foursome. "Schanke, have you seen Natalie or Nick?"

"Hi," Nat said loving how Grace nearly jumped back a foot due to sheer startlement.

"Don't tell me this was your idea?" Grace asked Natalie.

"Yup. I even talked Nick into joining me."

"Nick, how'd she do that?"

"By showing up fully costumed and convincing me it would be fun."

"Natalie, is the dye permanent?"

"No, it will wash out in about a week."

"That's good. I like your natural color better," Grace said.

"Me too. Grace, I love your costume," Natalie said, giving her friend's alien outfit a thorough examination. Her eyes asked if she could touch the makeup, pleased when Grace subtly nodded. Natalie carefully touched Grace's ears, noticing how they came to a graceful point at the top. "It feels real. It looks so natural." She noticed how her friend's eyebrows. They were different, going up towards her forehead as they went out from the center of her face.

"Did you make your costume?" Myra asked, finding the flowing pastel dress, with the regal looking robe to be rather flattering on the larger woman.

"I had a friend make the costume for me. The ears are foam latex and are attached with spirit gum."

"You did a great job blending in the seams. They're invisible."

"You look like you fell off a movie set," Don said.

"Natalie, you have to tell me where you got the idea for your costume."

"I've seen them here and there, and when it came time to pick my costume I couldn't resist." She saw their curious looks, "no, I've never been to a Goth club before. Or dressed like this."

Her friends believed her, knowing this wasn't her style at all.

"How do people wear these things?" Natalie said, the "piercings" beginning to get to her.

Grace noticed Natalie's nails which were the color of dried blood along the edges and silver over most of the nail and took hold of her friend's hand. "Where on earth did you find that color? They look like you just ripped someone's heart out."

"The drug store. I used a light coat of sliver on the top to give it that little extra oomph. You like?" Natalie grinned wickedly.

"It makes it look like your nails are made of steel, and you forgot to wash all the blood off them," Myra said.

The five of them continued talking for a while.

 

By the end of the evening, Natalie and Nick's identity was still pretty much a secret, at least until the costume contest winners were announced. The winners had to go up onto the stage at the end of the dance floor.

"The first place winner is, there's a tie, Dr. Natalie Lambert and Detective Nick Knight," Captain Cohen announced, surprised when the two Goth people climbed onto the stage, Natalie first, then Nick.

Natalie loved the stunned reaction as her coworkers realized they had talked to her and not recognized her. A huge grin spread across her face as the room suddenly became quiet enough to hear a pin drop. She knew there would be a lot of gossip about her and Nick's costumes, especially since they seemed to be the last thing anyone would've thought of them doing as a costume.

"Second place goes to Grace Balthazar."

Natalie hugged her friend after she took her place on stage.

The winners had their picture taken. The pictures would be in their office's newsletter, probably posted on the bulletin board and a copy given to them as a momento.

 

The next night Natalie went into work, looking completely normal, except for the black hair. She had contemplated wearing either the nose ring or the eyebrow stud into work, but didn't when she remembered how much the glue had itched her brow and how the ring had pinched her nose all night. Besides, that would've started a whole other batch of gossip. Natalie loved their reactions as they noticed she showed almost no signs of the previous night.

She snuck into the lounge later in her shift, wanting to hear the gossip.

"Can you believe it? Who would've thought Dr. Lambert had it in her." One of the lab techs said.

"Do you think it was her idea?"

"I heard it was. I also heard she had to convince Knight to join her."

"Were the piercings real? If not, how'd she fake them?"

"I didn't see any evidence tonight. I had a good chance to look while handing her a file."

Natalie smiled and left.

 

At the precinct Nick was eavesdropping on the conversations around him, enjoying hearing the gossip. He had redyed his hair that night because it was supposed to last a week, not the one night it took for the vampiric part of him to completely absorb it.

"Can you believe Lambert and Knight? Who would've believed they'd ever come as a couple of Goth freaks."

"Do you think any of the piercings were real?"

"I didn't notice any evidence, but I haven't had a really good look.

 

That morning Nat dropped by the loft to pick up her makeup bag and see what Nick had overheard.

They swapped stories, amused at the reaction of their coworkers, before settling down to watch a movie.

the end.

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