In the middleHalloween was very low key this year, so much so that we almost missed it in a sugary coma. I lost the toss and wound up giving out candy. We left the gates open and lit up the point like fireworks and all of the children seemed to think big house=big treat but no, small handfuls of treats were given out, as per always. Some kids were so cute! SO cute. Some were shy. One very bold Ninja Turtle turned the knob and walked into the foyer unannounced and alone, leaving his surprised parents down on the front walk.
Under a cold black sky
He's lucky he was cute. And he said Thank you.
Eventually I moved out to the front yard to spare the kids in their awkward costumes the walk up two flights of steps. Caleb was across the driveway, sitting on his steps with a bowl of candy beside him. He was dressed as Doctor Strange and I laughed out loud when I saw that because other than the usual nonsense around here that we indulge in every day (top hats and fairy wings, mostly) no one had planned to formally dress up this year. Even Ruth and Henry had to be convinced to go out. Henry's still under the weather too, and Ruth went to a friend's house. So a costume was a surprise to see.
We pooled our candy, sharing the duty until the steady stream of Trick or Treaters slowed to a non-existent trickle and then Caleb invited me in for an Irish coffee.
I took the offer. I figured we were being civilized. I figured I would drink it and come home before Lochlan noticed I was gone and I'd be able to fall asleep easily instead of spending my nights wide awake and haunted and I completely forgot it was Halloween and that means, like on most holidays, that Caleb starts out great and spirals into ruthless evil the moment I blink.
He never disappoints, glancing a solid kiss off my forehead before speaking softly into my ear.
Should I call Ben to join us?
Ben and I are taking a short break while he focuses on recovery. You know this because you pretty much singlehandedly engineered it. So I don't think that would be good idea. But you can call Lochlan. I bet he'd like a drink.
Caleb's face changes to confusion.
Oh, you meant something else, did you? I play dumb. It's not hard.
I'm not calling Pyro.
No, that wouldn't work, would it. You know something? I think I'd like a raincheck.
What are you doing, Bridget? Are you shutting me out?
He comes over and looks down into my eyes, waiting for whatever it is I have no idea, I don't know what to say. Yes? Yes would make sense but what if I need him? What about Henry? What about everything we've done? What about my unspeakable future, shrouded in a swirling circuit of snow under glass? No? No makes sense until I change my mind. But this is not a competition. It never was. As amazing as Caleb is, he was always too old, too composed, too perfect, too serious. And now here we are standing in his kitchen and he's in a superhero costume and he's trying to dip the earth in solid gold if that's what I want and all I can think of is my very own Ferris Wheel. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He could buy me one. He could buy me a hundred.
Stop making it so easy.
The shock of his answer propelled me off the edge of the counter and I pushed into him so he would move and I went to the door.
If that's all it would take, consider it done, Princess.
You know what it would take. A ride isn't part of the request.
I wonder if Loch knows he will always come in second to Jake.
He doesn't come in second. I just want to say goodbye properly.
That isn't true, Bridget. I thought he taught you not to lie.
On the contrary. He taught me how to be convincing so we...so I would never get caught.
I think that means I just caught you.
That's only wishful thinking. Goodnight, Doctor Strange.
I was almost home free until he called from the top of the steps. I'll hold on to that raincheck for you, Princess, you never know when you're going to want to cash it in.