Hitting the pause button on my television remote control, I stood, cursing silently to myself.
This year, I’d made the mistake of leaving my front room light on, highlighting the two pumpkins, which I’d sat and hand carved, alone mind you, only days previously. They sat on the windowsill, grinning ghoulishly. The lights were practically a beacon to the small trick-or-treaters wandering about the streets – knock on my door, I’ll give you free sweets.
Double checking that my channel four true crime documentary was indeed paused and waiting for my return, I shuffled out of my living room in my fluffy sliders, grabbed the big bowl of sweets that I’d stashed next to my set of keys and unlocked the door.
“Trick or treat!” A small voice exclaimed before I’d even gotten the door completely open.
I felt the corners of my lips curl up in a smile, as I peered down at the source of the little voice. A boy in a red and blue Spiderman costume looked back up at me, his black tote bag clutched between his hands.
“Well, Mr Spiderman,” I said, bending my knees even though they protested, so I could be face to face with him. “How’s saving the world going tonight?”
Unsure of what to say back to me, the small boy’s eyes shot left nervously, looking at his companion that I hadn’t noticed before.
Noticing my mouth had fallen open, I snapped it shut rather quickly, hoping the man in the Batman costume hadn’t seen. From where I was still kneeling on the floor, he was impressively tall. But I knew he’d still tower a few inches over me, even when I stood to my own full height.
“It’s been braw, hasn’t it?” Replied Batman, answering for what appeared to be his small son.
Call me crazy, but even his voice sounded handsome. It was enough to make me swallow back a moan… either that or I desperately needed to get some…
The boy nodded, eyes flicking between his dad and the strange woman holding the bowl of sweets.
“But it’s hard work saving the world, ye ken,” continued Batman, looking down at me. “Sae we were hoping we could have some sweeties tae help us along.”
I couldn’t see his face for the black mask covering it, but the tone in his voice sounded a lot like Batman was smiling.
“Oh, well of course,” I played along, much to the amusement of the little boy who giggled. “Will two handfuls of sweeties do it?”
A silent, but enthusiastic nod was all I got in answer.
“Here you go then.” I held the sides of the bowl steady with each hand, staring down at the assortment of sweets I’d picked up from the supermarket last week. “Two big handfuls as a thank you for all the hard work you do, Spiderman.”
Gleefully, the boy grabbed a handful, stuffing them inside his bag, and then went in for another.
“What do ye say tae the bonny lass?” Batman prompted his son. I heard the boy say a quiet ‘thank ye’ but I was too focused on my heart doing a weird sort of dance inside my chest.
Pull yourself together, Claire.
“You’re very welcome,” I said, smiling at both of them. “Be careful saving the world out there, all right?”
Shyly Spiderman nodded, taking a hold of his dad’s outstretched hand.
Perhaps it was the mask covering his face, or even the dark street, playing tricks with my eyes, but I could have sworn Batman opened his mouth to say something.
But if he was going to say something, his words were drowned out by another group of trick-or-treaters. This one containing at least six different brightly dressed children, hyped up on sugar, and their guardian.
“Trick or treat!” They announced, small voices bounding of each other as they spoke at different times.
I deliberately made a fuss out of each child, talking to them about their chosen costume, and allowing them a handful of sweets from the bowl.
Once they’d cleared out, thank ye’s resounding in my ears, I looked up, eyes searching. But Batman and Spiderman were long gone. I shrugged to myself, catching sight of my cat, lounging about the bottom stair, as I closed the front door and turned the key in the lock.
“No need to look at me like that,” I chided half heartedly, scratching his head as I walked by on my way back into my cozy living room.
Hitting the play button, I tucked my legs up onto the sofa, throwing a soft blanket over myself and returning my attention back to the policemen currently raiding a home in London.
I wasn’t quite sure how long had passed since my door had last been knocked on, but by the pitch blackness outside, and the horror movies that were beginning to pop up on my television guide, I knew it must be getting late. Much too late for the small children trick-or-treaters.
In the kitchen I poured myself a glass of decadent red wine, and then snuggled back on the sofa to enjoy a little bit of reality tv before I went to bed.
My glass was halfway empty when I heard the door.
Hesitant to answer the door at this time of night, I swept my now-drawn curtains to the side, attempting to peek through the window. My outside light had turned itself on, motion activated to alarm me if somebody stood too close to my home, but all I could make out was a tall figure.
Cautiously, I made my way to the hallway, snatching up my keys to use as a weapon, and then flicking open the letter box on my side.
“Who is it?” I called, hoping I sounded menacing.
Whoever it was on the other side of the door flipped open the letter box too. Now I could see a set of handsome blue eyes staring back at me.
“It’s Batman, lass, well my name’s Jamie actually but…” When I didn’t answer straight away, he carried on talking. “I was here with my nephew before? He was dressed as Spiderman? Ye made a joke about--”
I was already unlocking the door before he could finish, opening it just enough to poke my head out of, but nothing more.
“It’s very late, Mr Batman.” I spoke clearly, ignoring my heart, which was beating at what felt like a million times a minute. Mr Batman was even more attractive than I’d originally thought, and that wasn’t just the red wine talking.
His black spandex suit was pulled tight, stretching over every inch of his body; broad shoulders, muscled arms, thick thighs. And without the mask I could also appreciate his chiseled face, and the mop of red hair on his head.
I swallowed, getting rid of the excess saliva that had pooled in my mouth.
“I ken it is.” He wrapped a hand around the back of his neck, looking a bit sheepish. “But--”
“Is there something you want, Mr Batman? It’s just I’ve got a glass of wine to finish drinking, and a bed to get to before work in the morning.”
I dunno where assertive me was coming from… but I liked her.
“Aye actually,” he nodded, “I do want something.”
I raised an eyebrow in silent question.
“Yer name, yer number and the chance tae take ye oot on a date.”
I pretended to think about it, although I knew I didn’t really need to think that hard.
“Will you wear the Batman outfit on our date?” I asked, opening the door a tad more.
The side of his mouth cocked up in a smirk. “If ye want I will.”
“Mhmm,” I hummed, leaning against the door jam. “I’ll see how I feel closer to the time. It’s nice to meet you Mr Batman, I’m Claire.”