Tonight was Halloween eve; otherwise known around here as O’Reilly’s famous annual monster bash, apparently. My stomach fluttered thinking about seeing Noah the handsome bartender again. He was a tall drink of water with all the southern charm to boot. I’d have to be dead not to be smitten.
When Kara picked me up in her compact EV, I barely recognized her beneath an elaborate red and black vampire ensemble with voluminous curled hair framing her gorgeous face. Clearly, she hadn’t been kidding about playing into the tavern’s unofficial motto by going all out.
“You make one sexy witch!” she exclaimed. “I knew that would be the right choice for you. Let’s go break some hearts!”
It didn’t take long to drive into town, but it took a little longer to find parking. Apparently, everyone in town was at O’Reilly’s tonight, and the small parking lot was packed, pushing traffic and parking onto the main street. It looked like we were in for a bit of walking, and I prayed my heels would be kind tonight.
Linking arms, we headed toward the sound of music and laughter as the sun set on this eerie but exciting night. Call me crazy, but I swore I could feel a bit of magic in the air. I just couldn’t be sure if it was good or bad, but I was hoping whatever it was, this night would be memorable.
“Wait, hold that pose!” I instructed Noah, framing the perfect shot on my camera and then snapping away. We were taking advantage of the vibrant fall scenery at a park on the outskirts of town I’d been wanting to photograph since I’d come through on my first night to meet up with Kara.
Ever since Noah had suggested I take his picture, I hadn’t stopped thinking about it. So when he had asked me to spend this sunny Saturday together, I hadn’t hesitated to bring my camera along. Since he’d been so supportive of my photography goals, I didn’t think he’d mind—and he hadn’t. Capturing Noah’s good-natured personality and the colorful landscape was hardly a challenge. Instead, it was a blast. Not only was he insanely photogenic, but his charm and character oozed from every picture. A girl could almost be jealous. The man didn’t possess a single bad angle!
“Let me see!” Noah said, bounding over to peek at the preview on my Nikon. I laughed as I scrolled through the shots of him climbing trees, admiring the foliage, and grinning cheesily at me. He was a total goofball, and I loved every second of my time with him.
“These are awesome, Al. You have a great eye,” he praised, giving my hand an affectionate squeeze. I smiled up at him, feeling that now familiar, fluttery happiness I always did when we were together, which, these days, had been near constant. There wasn’t a day that went by that didn’t have Noah in it. I’d even decided to stick around a while longer and stay with Kara, taking up her spare bedroom at her insistence, and at this point, even thinking about returning home seemed abominable.
I didn’t want to leave at all, and thoughts of giving up everything and moving here were starting to take over.
Things had been going amazingly between Noah and me since meeting at O’Reilly’s Halloween bash a few weeks back. We both wanted to take it slow, but I knew this creative, funny guy was someone special. And the possibility of pursuing my dream of photography with Noah’s endless support only made me more smitten.
Eventually, we collapsed onto a quilt beneath a canopy of red and gold leaves, munching the snacks we’d packed. Noah had even brought a thermos of rich homemade hot apple cider. He was so thoughtful, I couldn’t stop smiling inside. If ever God had made a perfect man, Noah was it.