Almost ten years later...
There are certain traditions that Maggie has with her kids that she, as a child, silently always wanted with her own parents. And one of those things that Maggie does every year is sit at the kitchen table with them and help them carve their pumpkins for Halloween.
Alex covers every inch of the table with newspapers and each kid claims their chair, their pumpkin in front of them and Alex takes a couple pictures of the event but for the most part, she leaves them alone because this is a memory that the kids should have with their mama. This year, Jamie is with them and at the farmer’s market booth at the festival, they bought her a small orange pumpkin and Maggie cuts into that one first as Zola stands next to the chair she is sitting in, holding the baby in her arms.
“Mama carves the best pumpkins, Jamie,” Zola boasts to her baby sister proudly and Maggie grins as she finishes the circle at the top and then grabbing hold of the small stem, she pries it up away from the pumpkin, both she and Zola leaning in to look inside. “Your hands are too big for this one,” she notes.
“Get over here, Sam,” Maggie beckons, pushing her chair away from the table and the boy eagerly scrambles up on Maggie’s lap and instantly thrusts his small hand into the pumpkin, laughing as the cold ‘pumpkin guts’, as Zola called them, squishes between his fingers as he pulls a fistful out and drops it onto the newspaper. “Clean it all up in there, Sammy. We want Jamie’s first pumpkin to be perfect,” Maggie says and Sam nods, shoving his hand inside of the pumpkin again.
“Done!” Sam exclaims and Maggie picks up the pumpkin, looking in, seeing it scooped clean. “Good?” He asks almost on bated breath.
“Very good,” Maggie grins and Sam sighs with relief before taking the pumpkin back and holding it up in front of Jamie, still being held in Zola’s arms.
The baby blinks at the strange orange object being held in front of her face and then scrunches her face up, closing her eyes, turning her head towards Zola’s neck.
Sam frowns, looking back at Maggie. “She doesn’t like Halloween!” He gasps and Maggie almost laughs at the flabbergasted look on her son’s face. “She can not be a Danvers-Sawyer!”
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is playing on the television as Alex puts the finishing touches on Sam’s costume as the boy sits next to her, watching the cartoon.
Already, the sun is setting outside and soon, trick-or-treating will begin. Maggie has yet to come home from work but she will be there soon. She has never missed a year of taking the kids trick-or-treating ever since Zola was old enough to go.
“Ta-da!” Zola exclaims, leaping into the living room and then stepping aside as Gertrude trots in behind her. Alex takes one look at the dog and starts laughing. Zola grins. “I know! It’s amazing!”
“Gertrude’s a cow!” Sam laughs, pointing to the old dog that now has a pink inflated balloon taped between her back legs like an udder.
“Zola, what are you doing?” Alex asks, still laughing.
“I told you, mom. Gertrude needed a costume,” Zola says, bending down and wrapping her arms around the dog’s neck.
“I’m home!” Maggie announces, coming into the house, closing the door behind her.
“Mama!” Sam exclaims, sliding off of the couch and running to her like he always does, Maggie stooping down and swinging him up in her arms. “Hi, mama.”
“Hey, Sammy,” Maggie smiles but it instantly fades when she sees Gertrude standing in front of her, the dog wagging her tail. “What the hell is between Gertie’s legs?”
Zola giggles. “Mama, Gertrude needs a-”
“Stop, poor Gertie” Maggie says, shaking her head before she could finish that sentence. She then looks at Alex, who is biting on her bottom lip, trying her hardest to keep from laughing. “You all know how I feel about animal costumes.”
Alex has to look away from her, putting a hand over her mouth though Maggie can see her shoulders shaking silently with her laughter. A tiny cough comes from the bassinet on the coffee table and Alex stands up, setting Sam’s costume carefully aside before bending down and lifting Jamie up gently in her arms.
Maggie bends down, putting Sam back on his feet and the boy scampers back into the living room, throwing himself up on the couch and proceeding to watch the cartoon. Zola follows him, sitting down in the armchair, and Gertrude trots after Maggie as she follows Alex into the kitchen, Jamie still cradled in her arms.
“Maggie,” Alex says, trying to frown but a smile breaking through as she reaches down between Gertrude’s legs and pulls the pink balloon away. Maggie only shakes her head.
“I’m attempting to make your chili recipe,” Alex points to the crock-pot on the counter. “It’s supposed to be cold tonight and you know the kids are going to keep you out the entire two hours.”
“Hey,” Maggie says finally and Alex looks at her. “I haven’t said hi to you yet,” she reminds her and Alex smiles seconds before her hands are on her cheeks and she is kissing her.
“What do you think?” Alex asks as she slips Sam’s costume on over his head – a white sheet with black shaped circles stitched onto it all over the place, an exact replica of the ghost costume Charlie Brown wears.
“It’s perfect!” Sam exclaims, staring at his reflection in the full-length mirror in Maggie and Alex’s bedroom.
Alex nods, smiling. “I’m quite proud of myself,” she admits. She adjusts the sheet slightly. “And you can see through the eye holes?”
“Yep!” The boy nods excitedly. “I love Charlie Brown.”
She smiles. “I know you do. I’m just relieved this turned out.” Remaining kneeling on the floor next to Sam, she turns her head towards the open bedroom door.
“Hey, Alex,” Maggie says, coming into the bedroom, holding her third bowl of chili. “Am I taking Jamie with me tonight?”
Alex stands up, reaching out, wiping away a dribble of chili on her chin with her thumb. “Do we really want her out there for two hours in the cold?” She asks and then smiles as Maggie scoops up another helping of chili, bringing it to her mouth and she parts her mouth, letting her feed it to her. “I think I might need her to help me pass out candy.”
“Jamie can’t come,” Sam jumps in and even though he is still wearing his ghost bed sheet over his face, both Maggie and Alex can hear him frown. “She doesn’t like Halloween. Only if you like Halloween can you come trick-or-treating.”
“Sammy, she’s only a week old,” Alex says gently. “She has no idea what Halloween is.”
“Yeah, you were an idiot too when you were born,” Zola says suddenly, coming into the bedroom, dressed in her costume.
“I was not an idiot,” Sam argues.
“You were. All you did was eat and cry and crap.”
“Zo-zo,” Maggie sighs before sitting on the edge of the bed, continuing to eat her chili.
“It’s true, mama!” She exclaims and then looks back at Sam. “You were a baby . Babies don’t know anything.”
“No one is an idiot,” Alex frowns at them and then turns Zola around, helping her tie the white surgical face mask around her head to join the dark blue children scrubs she is wearing. “Not too tight?”
“It’s good,” Zola nods.
“Okay. Time for the rules,” Maggie says, handing Alex her bowl and she sits down next to her, helping herself to the rest of the chili.
Sam sighs. “We know the rules.”
“They’re the same every year,” Zola agrees, sighing as well.
“And yet, at least one of you breaks at least two of them every year,” Maggie smirks. “This is our first year in this neighborhood, we just moved in and I don’t want any of the neighbors to know quite yet how savage you all are.”
Alex smiles, almost laughing, her mouth full of chili, but she quickly swallows and stands up the instant she hears Jamie beginning to cry from her nursery across the hall.
“You want me to get her?” Maggie asks, taking the bowl back from her.
Alex shakes her head. “She probably just needs a diaper change and I want to get her into her costume. These two still need to go over the rules.”
She leaves the bedroom, smiling back at Maggie over her shoulder as she can feel her eyes watching her ass through her jeans and Maggie smirks, not one to deny checking Alex out.
“Mama,” Sam says impatiently. “Can we go now? I want to go get some candy.”
“First, the rules.” Maggie leans forward, straightening the bed-sheet over Sam’s head. “One. No rushing ahead. We wait until you both have gotten your candy and are back on the sidewalk.”
“Sam is always so slow though,” Zola whines and Sam pouts.
“Number two!” Maggie says louder, reaching out and grabbing Sam before the boy can retaliate, wrapping an arm around his waist and hauling him up onto her lap. “No fighting. You,” she points back and forth between Zola and Sam, “Got into three separate wrestling matches last year on random peoples’ front yards and we are not doing that again. Number three, Sam, no eating candy on the way.”
“But it’s so good!” The boy exclaims.
“No eating candy on the way,” Maggie repeats firmly. “You wait until we get back here and your mom can inspect it all before you eat any of it.”
Sam sighs heavily but doesn’t argue further.
“Number four, Zola,” she says, now looking at her oldest. “Don’t scare your brother this year.” Zola instantly opens her mouth to argue but she gives her a firm stare. “I mean it.”
“She doesn’t scare me,” Sam frowns.
Zola smiles. “You cried last year when I told you the story about the ghost hitchhiker-”
“Stop,” Maggie says in her warning tone. “Just… both of you, behave. For once. It’s Halloween. Tonight’s all about being someone you normally aren’t.”
Trick-or-treating for their neighborhood starts at six-thirty and goes until eight-thirty and Alex always takes pictures of them before they leave. Jamie has been changed into a baby costume, now dressed like a pumpkin, and Maggie holds her as Alex proceeds to blind them with the flash of her iPhone.
“ Mommy !” Sam says impatiently after about the tenth picture.
“Alright, alright,” Alex smiles. “Go on.” She goes and takes Jamie back from Maggie, holding the baby with one arm and slides her other arm around Maggie’s neck. “Have fun,” she says and Maggie’s hands slide onto her hips before kissing her. “Please bring everyone back in one piece.”
“I make no promises,” she smirks before kissing her again. “Are you and Jamie going to be alright here alone?”
Alex smiles at her, loving how still after all of these years, she is always so protective of her. “I have Gertrude here to protect me. I’m just going to be passing out candy anyway.”
“I know,” Maggie nods. “I just-”
“Mama!” Sam exclaims, now at the front door. “Come on!”
Maggie cups Alex’s cheeks in her hands and gives her one more kiss before pressing a kiss to Jamie’s forehead. “Alright. We’ll be back.”
“I would certainly hope so,” she laughs.
“Wow,” Alex murmurs to herself as each of her children claims a piece of floor in the living room and overturns their pillowcases, a seemingly endless stream of candy dumping out into small mountains. “All of this… in two hours?” She looks at Maggie who is holding Jamie, now changed out of her costume into a onesie, ready for bed.
“It’s the neighborhood, I guess. There are a lot of kids in this neighborhood and everyone has the money to buy a lot of candy,” Maggie shrugs, remembering she has a Mr. Goodbar in her pocket, and pulling it out, she manages to unwrap it while still holding Jamie in her arms.
“Wait, mama!” Zola exclaims. “Mom has to check it first.”
Maggie frowns and Sam and Zola both grin at her as Alex stifles a laugh.
“That is one of the rules, Mags,” Alex gently reminds her.
Maggie sighs heavily but hands the chocolate bar to Alex who looks over it quickly before holding it out for her to take back, now laughing. Maggie though bends her head down and takes a bite out of it, leaving it between her fingers.
“You have the rest,” she says but Alex shakes her head.
“No candy for me this year.” She smiles as Maggie frowns. “I just had a baby and I need to lose the weight.”
Maggie takes a step back and looks her up and down, her eyes dragging over her body. “You’re kidding, right?” She asks but Alex only shrugs before turning back towards the kids.
Zola is choosing all of the Reese’s peanut butter cups – her favorite – and is setting them aside, while Sam falls face down into his pile with a contented sigh, rolling onto his back, the wrappers crinkling underneath him.
He gives another contented sigh, smiling. “I love Halloween.”
“Alright. Everyone, pick two pieces that you want for tonight and then, we can watch Hocus Pocus and I’ll go through the rest of your candy,” Alex says, kneeling down on the floor in the middle of the two piles.
Zola immediately holds out two peanut butter cups and Alex nods, seeing that they are securely wrapped. But when Sam stands in front of her with a large grin and four different chocolate bars in his hands, she gives him a dubious look.
“Sam, hold up two fingers,” she says and he does, almost giggling. “And how many are you holding?”
“Please, mommy? I just want these,” Sam pleads.
“You will never go to sleep tonight if I let you eat all of those,” Alex shakes her head.
“Mama?” Sam tries his luck, giving her best Sawyer smile, complete with a pair of dimples, at Maggie.
“Nice try,” Maggie smirks before shifting Jamie in her arms and then heading towards the kitchen to get herself a glass of water. “Your mom and I want you to get to bed sometime tonight. We have our own Halloween celebration.”
Zola laughs at Sam’s confused expression.
“That means they want to have sex,” she says.
“ Zola !” Alex gasps, blushing a deep red.
“What’s sex?” Sam asks, still confused.
“Something much better than candy,” Maggie answers.
“ Maggie !” Alex exclaims.
The street is quiet and dark. A soft wind is blowing, rustling the yellow golden leaves on the trees and the candles, still lit in the carved pumpkins on their front porch, flicker.
The kids are upstairs, asleep or drifting off, and after she changes into a pair of yoga pants and one of her long sleeved tee-shirts, Alex checks in on all of them again, covering Zola again with the covers she had kicked off and slowly easing Sam back onto the bed as he dangerously neared the edge. Jamie is sleeping deeply as well and Alex watches her for a moment, making sure her small body is warm enough under the yellow fleece blanket. She then rests a hand on the baby’s stomach, smiling faintly to herself, feeling her hand rise and fall with each breath Jamie took.
Downstairs, Maggie is sitting on the couch in the living room, wearing sweatpants and a white tee-shirt, watching The Exorcist on Netflix and eating yet another bowl of chili. A small pile of crumpled up Mr. Goodbar wrappers are on the coffee table in front of her next to where her feet are propped up. Every year, knowing that the chocolate nut candy bars are her favorite, the kids would always give her every one they got during their trick-or-treating and Maggie was rarely able to practice self-control in regards to it.
Alex smiles as she slides next to her, tucking her legs underneath herself. “How many bowls is that for you now?” She asks.
“I think… my fifth. Maybe,” she smirks. “You got better than me, making it.”
Alex smiles and slips her arm around Maggie’s shoulders and presses her lips to her cheek. “I feel strange.”
“Why?” Maggie leans forward, sliding the bowl onto the coffee table before lying down on the couch, pulling Alex on top of her. “Are you feeling alright?”
“Oh, yes. I’m fine,” Alex reassured her, resting her head on her shoulder, her eyes fixated on the movie, feeling Maggie’s fingers brush across the exposed patch of skin at the small of her back between her shirt and pants. “This is the first Halloween since we got married that I haven’t been able to dress up for you.”
Maggie smirks. “If you feel that bad about it, you can dress up for me in five weeks.”
Alex smiles, almost laughs, and closing her eyes, she nuzzles her face in the side of her wife’s neck. “We still have Christmas Eve…”
“Now that’s a holiday I can get behind,” Maggie says and Alex does laugh this time, making her smile and wrap her arms tightly around her. “Anything that has you in a Mrs. Claus outfit is definitely a holiday worth celebrating.”
“Oh, stop it. You love Halloween,” Alex says. “It’s all about you and the kids and they love having this with you.”
Maggie is quiet but Alex can hear her smile and she closes her eyes again, nestling her body more comfortably on top of hers, feeling each breath she takes, her body rising with hers and then falling again. Maggie’s fingertips push her shirt up slightly and trails up her spine, the softest moan escaping from between her lips.
“Mags?” She says quietly.
“Just because we can’t have sex yet doesn’t mean we can’t do other things,” she whispers, tilting her lips up to her ear.
Maggie’s hand rests on her back between her shoulder blades, keeping her body pressed tightly on top of hers . “And what would those things be?” She manages to ask.
Alex smiles and then brushes her lips across her jawline. “Want to make out?” She asks and Maggie laughs slightly, her arms binding tightly around her body.
“Oh, hell yeah,” she nods and then Alex lifts her head, still smiling, as she presses her lips against Maggie’s, her hands instantly lifting to frame her face, her fingers tangling in her hair, her mouth opening against hers and their tongues slowly beginning to tangle. “This making out thing might be the biggest tease,” Maggie murmurs against her lips.
“Do you want to stop?” Alex asks, sliding her lips down from hers, over her chin and then down to her throat, pressing soft kisses on the side of her neck.
Maggie exhales a shaky breath. “I didn’t say that,” she says and Alex laughs softly before continuing to drop kisses on her neck, moving back up towards her mouth. “Wait, Danvers.”
Alex instantly lifts her head, looking down at her. “Stopping?”
“No. I just want to do something.”
Maggie puts her hands on Alex’s hips and pushes her gently up, moving her body so she can get up and Alex lays down on her side, her back pressed against the back couch cushions and she watches with amusement as her wife begins turning off all of the lights until soon, the only light in the room is provided by the white glow of the television screen. Maggie then slides back onto the couch, laying down on her side, facing her, and she leans over, kissing her firmly on the lips, her hand sliding through her hair onto the back of her head while Alex slides her leg over both of hers, their bodies molding closely together.
“What was that all about?” Alex murmurs against her lips.
“Two people making out on Halloween? It has to be in the dark to a scary movie,” she says and then kisses her deeply, her laughter turning into a moan, Maggie pressing her body completely against hers.
“See?” Alex asks in a breathless whisper as Maggie takes her turn now to start kissing her neck. “Halloween isn’t so bad.”