Halloween was not Charlotte’s favourite holiday. In fact, she hated it.
Sam loved Halloween. She wasn’t sure why; something about costumes, she supposed, though she suspected he also liked the themed drinks. Either way, she was inevitably dragged to various Halloween parties with his friends every year.
This year was different. This year, Sam had spent the entire month of October complaining about some training camp in Clyvesdale that he had to go to, that happened to be over the weekend of Halloween. Which meant that Charlotte was alone for four days during Halloween. She’d complained about it at the office, too, that she had to be alone for so long, but she'd also said she was happy that she didn’t have to go to any Halloween parties.
So it shouldn’t have surprised her when Ted texted her late Saturday morning. Since Sam isn’t home, wanna come with me to a haunted house? It did surprise her.
I’m not a big fan of haunted houses, she replied. She looked at it for a second. We can do something else, though.
What did you have in mind? ‘Gross’ was a word that came to mind to describe Ted, but Charlotte disagreed. He was always respectful, he was just blunt and a little distant. She didn’t really mind; it was better than Sam, who never said what he meant.
She didn’t know what she had in mind, but she didn’t resent his implication. Maybe we can just watch a movie?
Sounds good. I’ll be there in 20. Charlotte saw the text tick in, almost immediately, and smiled. She’d have to tidy up the apartment, maybe change her clothes. Ted wouldn’t notice, she supposed, but it wasn’t really for his sake, anyway.
Exactly 19 minutes later, the doorbell rang. Charlotte went to open. “Hi Ted, come on in. Want coffee?”
“Sounds nice.” He looked at her strangely for a few seconds, then offered a smile. “I’ll be right there.”
“Of course.” She smiled back and headed to the kitchen.
He came out a minute later. “I know you don’t like Halloween, but I still wanna watch Halloweentown , since that’s what I normally do, so you’re joining me.”
“Ted…” She sighed. “I’m not good with horror movies.
“ Halloweentown isn’t a horror movie.”
She was pretty sure he was lying, so she just handed him his coffee and smiled. “Alright. But only because it’s you.”
Ted rolled his eyes at her, but her also leaned in to kiss her.
They went to the living room and sat on the couch. Ted sat on one end and threw his legs up, which Charlotte would normally reprimand him for, but in that moment, she didn’t really care. Instead, she settled herself between his legs, leaning against his chest. He put one arm around her and reached for the remote with the other. “ Halloweentown ,” he said. “While it’s still light out. We can watch something else afterwards.”
“Alright Ted.” Charlotte balanced her coffee on her knee for a moment to switch her grip so that she could reach up and hold Ted’s hand. “Find it, then.”
He did. It wasn’t a horror movie; Charlotte almost enjoyed it. It was still to Halloween-y for her taste, though, so when Ted let her pick the next movie, she picked a romantic drama she’d watched a million times.
They got about halfway through it before Ted got bored and focused on her instead, and she was happy to let him. She wouldn’t admit, not even to herself, that she’d chosen a movie she knew he’d get bored of and that she would be okay with ignoring. She wasn’t complaining about the coincidence.
They had sex on the couch, which happened too often, and Charlotte always felt slightly guilty about it afterwards, knowing how often Sam slept there. Then again, she supposed, the bed had been a wedding present and probably should make her feel worse. It didn’t.
Charlotte was tempted to pull him to the bedroom and just fuck, but she also knew that, if she did, he’d leave after that. After sleeping together for two years, she knew how it worked.
So instead, she laid next to him with her head on his chest and pretended to be asleep. It took a minute, but he put his arms around her and kissed her on the forehead. “Charlotte? Time to get up.”
She smiled a little to herself. “Won’t you stay for dinner?”
He sighed, but kissed her forehead again. “I will, don’t worry. But it’s still time to get up, I’m getting hungry.”
She got up and looked at him for a second. “Sure. I’ll get started.” She picked up her clothes and began to get dressed.
“Let’s just order something.” Ted stood up and grabbed her wrist. “Watch another movie.”
There was a strange sort of vulnerability in his eyes, just then. Charlotte pulled him in for a kiss. “Sure.”
He stayed the night. She hadn’t expected him to, not really, but she was grateful he did.
It was the first time in a long time she’d felt like someone’s girlfriend.