ONE - 2010
About three dozen pumpkins on the porch. Ten skeletons. A hundred mason jar candles. Three fucking ghost statues. If there was an award for ’most overboard Halloween decoration’, Enjolras’ mother would surely win it. They’d moved in two weeks ago, and their house was already a tourist attraction.
„Very pumpkin. Much spoop,” Courf had said when he’d emailed his old friends a photo.
„Those skeletons are anatomically incorrect,” Ferre had added. „But you can’t go wrong with that much pumpkin.”
Enjolras himself was tempted to organize a rally against the commercial holiday of candy corn and unnecessarily sexy costumes. At his new school he’d already earned himself detention for a speech held on a cafeteria tabletop; he wasn’t afraid of earning it again. He’d designed flyers and planned further speeches and had all necessary arguments prepared should he find himself in a fight.
At the moment, though, it was other things he needed to concentrate on.
Namely, the pumpkin pie they were attempting to bake.
And the can of pumpkin that needed to be opened.
The unfortunate consequence of moving houses is that certain items always get lost. And even though they’d only moved from the city centre to the suburbs, a whole array of things had been declared missing, including a pair of sneakers Enjolras had been particularly fond of and a porcelain figurine he didn’t miss at all. And now the can opener.
„Go ask a neighbor for one,” his mother eventually sighed. Enjolras took in the sight of the kitchen, with all cupboards open and four drawers upturned. A paper skeleton lay draped over a chair and the kitchen counter pumpkin had landed in the sink. It was a sorry sight. Enjolras supposed it was inevitable that he should meet the neighbors.
Of the two families, the left one seemed friendlier. All he knew about either of them was that the left hand house had lots of flowers and the right hand one kept turkeys and other constantly screeching fowls, and the choice was fairly obvious.
He stood before their door for almost twenty seconds after ringing the bell.
He probably looked remarkably stupid standing with a jumbo can of pumpkin in his hand and he thought of heading over the turkey family instead, but then he heard the shuffling of slippers on stone and the door was swung open.
„Pizza?” the guy murmured, and then he rubbed his eyes and blinked. „Sorry, I thought it was pizza. Hey.”
Enjolras did his best to appear friendly, even though the guy seemed dangerously disoriented.
„Hey. Umm, it’s Enjolras. From next door.”
„Grantaire. Which next door? Regular next door or Halloween next door?”
„Halloween next door.”
Grantaire just stared, first at Enjolras, then at the can of pumpkin in his hand.
„Yeah, I should’ve guessed. You seem pretty pumpkinsexual.” He grinned. „Come in. We’ve got pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake bars, and if I don’t fall a asleep, I can even whip up a pumpkin spice latte for you.”
„No, thanks... I, err, just wanted to ask for you to open this can of pumpkin. We lost our can opener while moving and-”
„Dude, just accept it. It’s the payment I require for letting you unleash even more pumpkin on the neighborhood.”
„But-” Nobody left Enjolras speechless. Nobody. Sixteen years had given him more than enough time to equip himself with a most fearless, unstoppable attitude few people could boast of, and if he didn’t know how to respond, it was probably because he was asleep. But the local teenage insomniac had apparently shut him up.
Because who was Enjolras to refuse a free homemade pumpkin spice latte?
Grantaire didn’t end up falling asleep in the kitchen, though he dumped a suspiciously large (and bordering on gross) amount of pumpkin puree into the coffee, and forced no less than seven big slices of pumpkin desserts onto Enjolras’ plate. He prepared to say no, but once again: who was he to refuse free dessert?
„So, you’re not a big fan of Halloween, either?” he asked between bites, eyeing the slightly disgusted look the guy regularly directed towards the can of pumpkin.
Grantaire raised an eyebrow.
Enjolras stuffed a slice of pumpkin bread into his mouth. He chewed under Grantaire’s scrutiny for what seemed like the longest twenty seconds of his life, then finally swallowed.
„I hate Halloween. I only like pumpkin.”
Grantaire suddenly seemed wide awake.
„You hate Halloween and you like pumpkin? Dude, that’s fucked up.”
„It’s fucked up that I dislike a capitalistic holiday and like a perfectly delicious vegetable?”
„Perfectly evil vegetable.”
„Perfectly delicious vegetable,” Enjolras said, drawing his eyebrows together and preparing himself for a fight; but then he noticed the still unopened can of pumpkin sitting on the coffee table. „Would you please open my can?”
„No. Pumpkin is the spawn of the devil,” Grantaire declared, and Enjolras could hear Courf’s heart breaking from across the city. „And besides, how can you not like skeletons? And ghosts? And dressing up? I mean, being pumpkinsexual is lame on its own, but hating Halloween, that’s like... jeez, want some 4 dollar wine? I need to digest what you just told me.”
Grantaire padded over to the kitchen and Enjolras gaped because no way a high schooler was casually keeping alcohol in the fridge. His surprise must have been written on his face because Grantaire chuckled.
„Everybody’s gathered at Auntie Eulalie’s and they’re not coming back till midnight. I pretended to be unwakeable.”
Smart bastard, Enjolras thought. The biggest perk of having spent his entire life far from his birth town of San Fransisco was the distance of the relatives, and he was glad he got to spend almost all holidays with his mother, who, despite her general enthusiasm for decorating, was pretty cool. And sometimes Ferre and Courf came to spend the holiday at his house, or they drove up to Cape Cod with Ferre’s family, who had a smaller mansion there. He supposed if his life were any other way, he too would end up sitting home alone drinking contraband wine and waiting for the pizza guy to arrive.
His phone started ringing and Enjolras jumped. It was his mother, of course, and she wanted to know why he was taking so long with the can. Did they not have can openers, either? Should she make apple pie instead?
„Gotta go, Mom’s waiting. Would you please open my can?”
„If I must. God, I hate pumpkin.”
Enjolras supposed he was going to start another long rant; but he had been the fiercest kid on the debate team in his old school. So he decided to shut him up.
„Hey, Mom forced a plastic skeleton into my room and I hate its shit-eating capitalistic grin. Want it? In exchange for the sacrifice you’re making? I can have my pumpkin then and you can have your Halloween.
„Sure. But only if I can pack your mom some pumpkin bread.”
TWO - 2011
„So, how do I look?”
Grantaire’s jaw dropped. The school’s Halloween party was usually astoundingly horrible. But his next door neighbor (and since recently, boyfriend) was about to give tradition a good old kick in the arse and Grantaire couldn’t have been happier. Senior year was going to be awesome.
Because Enjolras, sweet, pro-pumpkin, anti-Halloween Enjolras, had decided to make an attack on the holiday he judged over-commercialized and sexist, and his plan was one Grantaire inevitably found himself loving: Enjolras had dressed up as a sexy nun and was ready for a fight.
„Ah-khm... you look... hot.” He felt himself going red. Because yeah, Grantaire loved the plan, because he got to see Enjolras in stilettos and short skirts and lipstick, but also... he got to see Enjolras in stilettos and short skirts and lipstick. And it was very distracting. „You look like you could destroy Halloween with a stomp of your high heels,” he added.
Enjolras tugged at the décolletage of his costume and gave his dangerously red lips one last pout, then took Grantaire’s offered arm.
They somehow managed to make it down the stairs - despite the weeks of praticing, the stairs were still dangerous territory in heels - then headed for Enjolras’ van. Grantaire took the driver’s seat, Enjolras called shotgun.
„I wonder how much detention you’ll get,” he said, rolling out of the garage.
„I wonder how much pumpkin pie I can steal before they kick us out.” Enjolras stared at himself in a pocket mirror, and raised his eyebrows. „I look really hot in this lipstick. I should wear it more often.”
„You look hot in almost anything, Apollo.”
„I’ll dress up as a pumpkin, see how you like me then.”
„Well then, I’m afraid I’ll end up wanting to kiss a pumpkin. I’ll turn pumpkinsexual, too. Good God.” He made a disgusted face and Enjolras laughed even louder and they pulled up at Bossuet’s house and Bossuet and Chetta and Joly were already waiting for them, dressed up in horrific witch and sorcerer costumes they’d ordered from Amazon and blinged out with several tubes of glitter. Grantaire doubted Enjolras’ van would ever be rid of that much sparkle. They next picked up Bahorel and Feuilly (Error 404 - Costume Not Found sharpied onto white shirts), and the van was sooned filled with excited chattering and laughter.
The school’s sports hall was decorated with paper pumpkins and paper skeletons. They all stumbled in grinning, joined by a vampire-turned Éponine, and Grantaire gave Enjolras a peck on the lips before he released the blonde’s arms.
And the show started.
Enjolras had planned his performance meticulously. He’d practiced for weeks in either his or his boyfriend’s room and Grantaire now watched him turn from giggling teenager into femme, er, homme fatal as he headed towards the snacks table, hips swaying in a way that could’ve been considered porn. Grantaire would’ve sweared Enjolras had hidden a fan somewhere in the room, just so his blonde hair and short skirt could flutter perfectly - wasn’t this shit supposed to impossible when considering the laws of physics?
And heads were turning. First a football player whistled at Enjolras, then stopped dead when he realized who it was. Then Mrs Humboldt started punching Mrs Clarick’s arm, begging for her to look, and by the time the graceful figure reached the bowl of punch, half the hall was staring at him.
„Mr Enjolras,” the principal began, but he was cut off.
„This is the sort of costume they advertize for women,” Enjolras began his speech, but he too was cut off.
Because Mrs Clarick had fainted.
And the Halloween party had descended into chaos.
Grantaire would later realize that it actually wasn’t more than about thirty people actively shouting, but at the time it seemed as if the entire school had gone mad. The principle had first started screaming at Enjolras, and Enjolras had then started screaming at the principle, and then Musichetta had also started screaming at the principle, and Bahorel had punched some guy, and that guy had punched Bahorel back, and then Bossuet had also gotten punched by some guy, and Joly had started sneezing, and Grantaire had also decided to join the fight and-
They sat in the Musain, stuffing their face with cold croissants, and Bahorel and Bossuet and Grantaire were being given ice by Mme Houcheloup. Musichetta was downing a glass of rosé. Feuilly was rebraiding Éponine’s hair, and Joly, blessed Joly, had bought a jar of jam and was spreading it on croissant after croissant for them.
„Well this went awry,” Enjolras observed. He’d been buried in his phone, but now lifted his blue eyes onto his friends.
„That’s Texas for you,” said Bahorel.
And Enjolras grinned.
„Don’t worry, Ferre has invited all of us to Cape Cod next year. And since you’ve been warned a year in advance... don’t you dare spend your next Halloween elsewhere.”
CHAPTER 3 - 2012
Enjolras’ van, as large and ugly as it was, didn’t prove itself big enough to fit in itself a friend group as numerous as the ABC, as they’d taken to calling themselves. Enjolras’ and Grantaire’s friends had inevitably become friends themselves, and then they’d met Jehan Prouvaire, the doe-eyed poet who’d left several dozen revolutionary poems on the walls in both the girls’ and boys’ bathrooms (the moment he’d heard of the kid, Enjolras had known they’d become friends), and Courf had found a freckled boy named Marius, who’d ended up dating a girl named Cosette sometime during the summer break.
It was with a rented bus they’d made the journey across America.
They arrived at Ferre’s mansion in the following afternoon, and Enjolras couldn’t help but sigh when he saw the familiar bricks and the geraniums lining the windows. He had so many wonderful memories linking him to this place that wasn’t even his. And now the entire ABC would spend Halloween there together and Enjolras didn’t believe he could feel happier.
But of course, thirteen college freshmen unleashed upon the quaint mansion on the Cape is never going to end well.
He was dressed as Saint-Just. Louis Antoine de Saint-Just. He hadn’t been joking. Holy fuck.
Enjolras gripped Ferre’s shoulder to steady himself as his eyes wandered down Grantaire’s figure, resplendent in full eighteenth century costume. Yeah, his fave had always been Robespierre. But Saint-Just had always been the hotter one of the two... and Grantaire was dressed like a dead French revolutionary and Enjolras was preparing to faint. He wasn’t ready for this sort of shit.
„You alright, Enj?” asked Ferre.
„Sure,” he murmured. „Perfectly not fine.” He stared at Grantaire, who was tipping his head backwards to down his beer, long neck arching and adam’s apple bobbing. Ferre followed his gaze. „He even has a fucking cockade. And tight pants. And a fitted jacked. Good God.”
„I never thought you were so into dead revolutionaries.”
„I didn’t, either. What do I do?”
„Well, you could’ve dressed like nun again, like last year. That would already have become a solution of a sorts.” Indeed, Grantaire had later confessed his thoughts on last year’s costume, and it had made Enjolras blush, and it made him blush again to think of the consequences it would already be having.
But there was no sexy nun costume.
„I trash-canned it,” he said with a sigh.
Enjolras looked down at this year’s costume, a tacky zombie he hadn’t put too much effort into. Discoloured converses he’d dug up from the bottom of his high school PE kit. Torn jeans, offered by Feuilly. 1950s jacket, a donation of Grantaire’s grandpa. And a zombie mask he’d picked up for two dollars. Pretty lame and guaranteedly useless to catch Grantaire’s attention.
Who was now giving an impassioned speech, like Enjolras himself often did, and like the revolutionary probably had back in the day.
He’ll never be able to look at Saint-Just’s biography the same again.
„You could always be a naked zombie,” Ferre eventually said, and then Enjolras realized it was not water but vodka in his glass, and that not even his wisest friend would be of any help tonight. He had to take matters into his own hands.
It took barely five minutes to race upstairs to where his suitcase was spewing clothes and change into his favourite red jacket. Grantaire always had coloured pencils lying around; he drew himself a cockade and pinned it on with a paper clip. It would do.
Grantaire was still arguing with Joly, about pumpkins, and the argument was every bit as good-hearted and stereotypical as Enjolras expected. Of course, Grantaire was preaching vehemently against the vegetable.
„But you can’t deny it looks awesome,” Joly was saying. „Especially if you decorate it. I once saw a pumpkin carved as Oscar Wilde’s face and I literally screamed.”
„That doesn’t change the fact that they’re disgustingly orange and pulpy and I don’t see why anyone would willing touch them. They stink like poop.”
„I guess you could say they’re... spoopy.”
Grantaire obviously couldn’t decide whether to groan or laugh, so he just flung a Dorito in his friend’s direction and reached for his beer to clear his throat for a new round of arguing. This was the moment Enjolras chose to slink behind his boyfriend and wrap his arms around his waist.
„Boo,” he whispered.
„Boo,” Grantaire chuckled. „I thought you were a zombie.”
„I was a zombie. Now I’m a ghost. Shapeshifting is the way to go.”
Grantaire grinned and turned around in his boyfriend’s arms.
„Well I think you purposefully shifted into a red-jacketed god because you saw me dressed as Saint-Just.”
„Well I think you’re correct.” And though he could see the disgustingly mocking shine of Grantaire’s eyes, Enjolras was preparing to lean in for a kiss when he saw it from the corner of his eyes. In the shadows. Almost hidden by Cosette and Marius’ awkward slow-dance. Ferre and Courf. Making out.
And perhaps it was that one beer in him. Or the shock of Grantaire dressing up as a french revolutionary. Or maybe just the sheer surprise of seeing one of his childhood friends pinning the other against a wall.
But Enjolras gave in to his instincts and screeched.
Everybody went quiet. Nicki Minaj went on rapping in the backround, but Feuilly turned the volume down. All eyes turned to him, wrapped around Grantaire who was staring at him in shock, and he felt himself going red, but his own eyes were still fixed on Ferre and Courf’s corner. Where the two boys were still pinned against the wall, albeit they were both looking at Enjolras.
One by one all eyes started following Enjolras’ gaze, and Enjolras himself struggled to find the words as Courf started laughing.
„Well, it really was about time to be discovered.”
„Congratulations?” the blonde blurted out. Joy was fast replacing the shock.
„What do you mean ’congratulations’?” Bahorel shouted. „This needs to be celebrated properly. Ferre, Courf, continue making out. Feuilly, fix the cake. Jehan, write something pretty.” He scrunched his eyebrows. Then he grinned. „Chetta, I think I saw champagne in the fridge. Bring it in, would you?”
Enjolras glanced at Ferre and Courf, who had indeed resumed their kissing, then let his eyes wander around the rest of the members of the ABC. They were more than his friends, they were family, and as he snuggled up to Grantaire, he couldn’t help but feel a warmth spreading in his chest. This was where he wanted to be.
„Hey,” Grantaire whispered. „Wanna shift into a naked guy once the party’s over?”
FOUR - 2013
It was a dark and stormy night and Grantaire was almost giggling at how cliché it was. Lightning flickering in the distance. Clouds hanging heavy in what little light remained of the day. Rain pattering on the roof.
The smell of freshly baked pie wafted up from the kitchen, and hot chocolate, too, and Grantaire snuggled up even closer to his boyfriend.
It was bliss.
They were hiding inside a blanket fort, built from all the fluffiest materials they could find. Éponine had bought a furry red blanket in a thrift shop and she’d ended up trading it for a two-pound box of chocolates; Grantaire couldn’t have imagined a better affair. He pulled the blanket closer around them, and chuckled at Enjolras’s pleased muttering. Now, in his mother’s house, cozy and warm, not even Enjolras grumbled about the army of over-the-top Halloween decorations covering every square inch of the house.
The door creaked.
„Boys?” Enjolras’ mother called, sticking her head into the room. „I’m heading over to Pam’s. I made some apple pie and pumpkin pie, too, so you could choose. It’s in the oven.”
„I’ll bring it up,” Enjolras muttered, shushing his boyfriend and unwrapping himself from their three fluffy blankets. He wriggled out from the fort and cursed when faced with lamplight. Grantaire heard his mother scolding him jokingly, and he couldn’t help but fall back into his pillows with a sign of contentment.
And his stomach growled, despite having gobbled up a bag of cinnamon caramels barely half an hour before.
Indeed, Enjolras’ mother made the best apple pie. Probably the best pumpkin pie, too, but that Grantaire didn’t intend to find out. He could already feel the taste of the flaky, buttery crust in his mouth, the soft, tart apples complimenting the sweetness of the cinnamon, and his stomach was actively rumbling by the time he heard the soft padding of his boyfriend’s feet on the floorboards.
„Incoming pie,” Enjolras said, ducking into the blanket fort with two plates, slices of pie heaped onto both.
„If we’re eating it at this rate, your mom will be baking at the speed of twelve pies a day.”
Enjolras stopped, plate of pie only a couple of inches away from Grantaire’s outstretched arm, and grinned back at his boyfriend.
„I can still take it back to the kitchen,” he said, and almost lost his balance when Grantaire decided to make a leap for the plate of apple pie. „Though, it appears, you’re not sorry for making mother spend all day in the kitchen.”
„I’ve already told her I’d help with the dishes.” He didn’t wait for an answer. The pie looked as it always had, tender-crusted with the apples arranged into a flower shape in a way his own mother had never had the patience for. It was still warm from the oven, and rivers of melting caramel ice cream cascaded down the slices. If this wasn’t the food of the gods, Grantaire didn’t know what was. So he took a fork from Enjolras and proceeded to devour it.
And the lights flickered.
Then everything went dark.
„Oh crap,” Enjolras murmured.
„Maybe it’s a poltergeist,” said Grantaire. „We’re both going to die.”
„Shut up. I’ll go check the power. I think it’s just the storm.”
„You think. But maybe it’s not.” Enjolras sighed and probably attempted to give Grantaire’s shoulder a playful shove; whatever his intentions, he ended up knocking out one of the fort’s walls and they ended up under a heavy heap of blankets and pillows. „See? The fight for our lives has begun.”
„I’m just simply blind, okay?”
Enjolras somehow managed to free himself from the captivity of their once-fort and scramble out into the room and from there to the corridore.
„Stay safe, darling!” Grantaire cried. „And if you die-”
„I’M NOT GOING TO DIE!”
„I will follow you.”
Enjolras murmured something Grantaire couldn’t hear, and he was left alone under a pile of blankets and pillows with two and a half soggy slices of pie and melted ice cream trickling down an arm and probably onto the floor. This is going to end in a shitload of cleaning up tomorrow.
And then he got an idea.
After all, it was Halloween.
He couldn’t be sure it would work, but hey, Enjolras was one protective boyfriend, as snarky as he could sometimes be.
So Grantaire felt his way out of the fort and beneath his boyfriend’s bed. And screamed.
„Grantaire?” cried Enjolras. Then when he didn’t reply, again: „Grantaire?”
The stairs were once again creaking as Enjolras jogged up them.
„Are you playing a joke on me?” he asked, sounding almost fearless, and Grantaire almost didn’t catch the waver in his voice as it trailed off. „Ghosts aren’t real. You’re just trying to prank me.”
But he had resolved to stay silent, lurking under the bed, and Enjolras finally decided to open the door. A flashlight was shone around the room. He called his boyfriend’s name once again, and Grantaire had to fight the urge to laugh when his tone finally descended into something akin to panic. Ah, what a dark and stormy night can do to the fearless leader!
Enjolras stepped over to the blanket fort, but of course, Grantaire wasn’t there. The flashlight was flicked around once again.
„Grantaire?” the blonde cried, and now he didn’t even bother to conceal his panic. He started pacing up and down the room, flashlight whizzing wild in every direction, and then he stepped beside the bed.
And Grantaire grabbed his leg.
If last year’s scream had been loud, then Grantaire didn’t know the words for this. Deafening, maybe? Yes, deafening. And despite the ringing his ears, he couldn’t hold back the laughter erupting from him and Enjolras was now quiet.
And was probably doing the death stare in the bed’s direction.
„Grantaire,” he said, voice threatening and definitely more terrifying than any ghost.
Grantaire emerged from beneath the bed, still grinning.
„I thought you weren’t scared of ghosts.”
„I only said that they didn’t exist.”
„So you’re scared of something that doesn’t exist?”
Enjolras pouted, but the anger was gone from his eyes. Instead he shuffled up to Grantaire and wrapped his arms around him tight.
„You scared me.”
Grantaire’s hands wandered up his boyfriend’s back, rubbing soothing circles.
„I give you carte blanche to retaliate. Anytime, any day of the year.”
„That’s the least you can do.”
And they stayed embraced for a while, just standing their beside the bed, wrapped in each other’s arms. Rain pattered on the window and thunder rolled in the distance. It was a dark and stormy night, a night of fear and horror, but to them, Halloween was now a day of love.
„I love you,” said Enjolras.
„I know,” said Grantaire, and prepared himself to be shoved.
FIVE - 2014
„I’m so glad you guys came,” said Cosette, and hugged them both.
„Hrmph,” said Enjolras, and dusted flour off his new poncho.
The Fauchelevent house seemed like a castle after the long confinement to their college dorm rooms. Enjolras would’ve been lying if he’d said he didn’t miss the joys of living comfortably; but this place was more than just comfortable. It was-
„Heaven,” said Grantaire, and toppled into an enormous heap of colourful beanbags.
In truth, they hadn’t come to sit around, but rather to bake cookies and sweet breads for the charity event Cosette’s father was organizing on Feuilly’s suggestion. The Fauchelevent kitchen, unlike the dorms armed with capricious microwaves and the occasional crockpot, was fully equipped for the task. A pan of cookies was already baking in an oven, and pie dough was rolled out into a dish. Enjolras felt delighted at the vast expanse of counter space. He sat down his four cans of pumpkin beside the sink and grinned at Cosette.
„Ready to go!”
He’d never been a cook but he’d always loved charity events. Especially if not only his friends were there to help, but he also knew the event was guaranteed to actually help those in need. The Fauchelevent foundation was the leading supporter of homeless women in the town.
Slowly the rest of the ABC filed in, too, bringing various ingredients and recipes, and Bahorel even supplied a box of colourful little pumpkins and squashes for decoration.
„Grew in grandma’s backyard. So many that she didn’t know what to do with them all.”
Grantaire snorted and Enjolras glared him down.
„So... let’s start baking?” Cosette suggested.
It soon became apparent that despite their good intentions, some people just weren’t meant for the kitchen. Bossuet found the only two rotten eggs in the entirety of the six cartons they bought, and was banished to sit in the corner to joke with Joly and Grantaire, who were on dishwashing duty. Enjolras himself, despite his enthusiasm, was revealed to have approximately zero talent for baking anything other than frozen pizza.
„Go help decorate the garden,” Cosette eventually told him. He was soon joined by Jehan.
There were already a bunch of volunteers there, setting up tents and arranging chairs, and they headed over to a group of people trying unsuccessfully to hang Halloween lights on the front porch.
Enjolras grinned. Helping bake was a fine prospect, but organising things? That was his speciality.
He knew the event was going to be awesome.
Enjolras wasn’t even mad that Grantaire had ended up sharpie-ing dead faces onto each and every mini-pumpkin Bahorel had brought. They actually looked quite whimsical in the spooky wonderland the garden had become.
He loaded his tray with an oversized loaf of pumpkin bread and a bunch of choc chip cookies. The guests were already gathering, and so were the donations, and Enjolras was already looking forward to the news of hearing the success of the event and all the help the homeless women will be receiving. The bread and the cookies were placed on a black-cat printed tablecloth and he was preparing to head back for another tray when Grantaire came up to him.
„Wanna head out somewhere after this is all over?”
In truth, he was a little tired after all the minor catastrophes he’d witnessed that morning; a little rest would’ve suited him just fine. But Grantaire had always taken him on the most amazing dates and so he agreed.
And almost regretted it the moment the van stopped at the cemetary.
„We’re gonna look at graves?” he asked, failing to hide the disappointment in voice.
„Maybe,” said Grantaire, and took Enjolras’ hand. He was covered in flour and food coloring and smelled vaguely of dish soap, and Enjolras supposed he didn’t look much better. This was a most curious date, though, and he supposed it didn’t quite matter anymore.
Grantaire led through a weave of graves toward the back of the cemetary, where Enjolras had never been before and where he’d never expected to ever find himself. It was a quiet corner; here lay the dead from a hundred years back, beneath crumbling stones enterwined by ivy and in the light of the moon, the place seemed almost as romantic as creepy. Enjolras shivered. Grantaire tugged at his arm.
„C’mon. We’re not there yet.”
Before long they reached the fence surrounding the cemetary, and Enjolras half expected Grantaire to climb it, but then he saw it: a little grove of trees where no graves lay, and in its centre, a stone bench from times long past.
„It’s actually quite beautiful,” he said.
„I know, I used to come here as an angsty teenager.”
„Even when I’d already moved in next door?”
„Even then. I have a drawing of you sitting on the bench. I wanted to see if it was accurate.”
„I think it were more accurate if you’d drawn yourself beside me,” said Enjolras, and sat down, pulling Grantaire down next to him. He let his head fall onto his boyfriend’s shoulder. „I’m tired,” he murmured. And indeed, in the darkness, the breeze twisting its way between the trees appeared to be a lullaby. His eyelids were growing heavy and a hand came up to caress his cheek, but he was already falling asleep.
His last memory from that day was the kiss Grantaire placed upon the top of his head.
PLUS ONE - 2015
Cold winds blew that night and the salty sea air best resembled a bunch of needles prickling his skin. Grantaire pulled his coat tighter around himself.
This was Venice: the city of art, of tourists, and of wide carts being pushed to and fro on narrow streets, and Grantaire contemplated the sense in his decision to spend half a year of his university studies in Europe, where the art was indeed stunning, but the people were quite crazy. Even now, in the dead middle of the night, when nobody but the most insane wandered the streets, chaos was afoot.
„Holy crap,” he muttered, burying himself deeper into his scarf as he listened to some neighbors scream at each other across a narrow alleyway, for causes Grantaire’s limited Italian wasn’t near sufficient to unerstand.
Yes, Italians were loud. He’d thought it a mere exaggeration before. Now he didn’t.
And unfortunately, the two opponents both lived mere feet from Grantaire’s second floor room in the youth hostel he was staying at. He climbed the stairs sighing.
His room was surprisingly large and comfortable for its price, albeit cold. He let himself fall back onto his bed, slightly dizzy from the wine he’d gotten at one of the few pubs still open, and willed himself to go to sleep; but oh, those neighbors were loud! A woman had joined them, crying for what Grantaire assumed was peace and quiet, and he wasn’t surprised that her screaming wasn’t leading to either of those two requests.
2:18 am, the clock on the bedside table read. Was going to sleep even worth it at this time? But for God’s sake, he was on vacation! Grantaire thought his head would split if the screaming didn’t stop.
He decided to call Enjolras instead.
His laptop booted up within seconds, and Grantaire felt almost wide awake as he logged into Skype and clicked on his boyfriend’s name.
„Hey,” said Enjolras, a little blurry and a little surprised. „Aren’t you supposed to be asleep? It’s like 3 in the morning over there.”
„2:20,” said Grantaire. „The neighbors are arguing and there’s like three feet and a very thin wall separating me from them.”
„I just want to sleep.”
Enjolras went silent. He looked a tad tired too, circles beneath his blue eyes and eyelids heavy; he’d probably been carving pumpkins with Ferre and Courf, or maybe playing video games over at Joly’s.
„How’s it over there in the land of freedom?”
„We literally spoke like six hours ago.”
„A lot can happen in six hours. Our first meeting lasted for like half. One, tops.”
„And we argued about pumpkins all the way through.”
Now Grantaire was grinning too, unable to help it.
„We were so little then. You always wore your hair in a bun even though it wasn’t in style and you got into fights with everyone who decided to pick on you.”
„And you used to hide wine in the fridge when your parents weren’t home and call me pumpkinsexual. And you had awful slippers.”
„What’s wrong with those slippers? They were very comfortable slippers.”
„Grantaire, they were Simpsons slippers.”
„Okay, sure, they weren’t cool. But you still were pumpkinsexual.”
„I just really liked pumpkin,” said Enjolras, rolling his eyes. „I still really like pumpkin. Do they like pumpkin over there in Europe? They don’t seem to be all that much about Halloween.”
„Nah, you’d love it here. I mean, sure, not everything’s pumpkin spice, but can buy pumpkin pretty cheap. And - wait for it - they don’t even decorate. Can you imagine that? All these narrow streets and creepy alleyways, an entire city specialised on masks, plus chilly winds racing in between the houses, and they don’t even bother to hang up lights or dress up. I think it’s quite a waste.”
„So it is, thank God,” grinned Enjolras.
„Or maybe they already have monsters swimming in the canals. How cool would that be?”
Grantaire’s mind started racing, thinking of all the monsters that could possibly inhabit a city like the Serenissima.
„You know, I think Venice already has zombies. I mean, they keep all their dead on a seperate island, so there must be something going on here that we don’t know of. And vampires? Italy must be full of vampires. Sure, the garlic may be a problem, and the churches, too, but maybe that’s why they have the Carnival? So that all the vampires can gather and enjoy the sunlight without getting burned to ashes?” Enjolras burst out laughing, and Grantaire couldn’t help himself either. „I may or may not be a tad tired,” he admitted.
„No,” said Enjolras. „Keep saying dumb stuff. That’s part of why I love you.”
Grantaire felt himself overcome with love for the man from whom he was separated by an ocean.
„I’m afraid I’ve run out of ideas.”
„You never run out of ideas when you’re arguing with me.”
„But now I’m not arguing with you. It’s Halloween. Our Valentine’s day.”
Enjolras scrunched his nose.
„Both holidays are pretty over-commercialized and-”
„Oh do shut up. I wish I could kiss you now.”
„Two more months,” smiled Enjolras. „And you’ll be home.”
„I will,” said Grantaire, and imagined the street on which he’d grown up, all the flowers in their yard and all the mischief he and Joly and Bossuet had made there; the time they’d lost Joly’s cane at a fun fair and the time Enjolras and his mother had moved in next door and had immediately decorated their property with way too many pumpkins and plastic ghosts, and how the three of them had made fun of the new neighbors in Grantaire’s room. How he’d told them how cute the pumpkin-loving blonde boy had turned out to be cute. He thought he would probably marry Enjolras there in the park opposite their houses, once they graduated from college.
„What our you thinking of?”
„Our past. Our future. How I love you.”
„I love you too.”
Grantaire was silent for a few moments; and he realized, it truly was silence.
„You know, the neighbors have seemed to settled their disagreement.”
„Go get some sleep, Grantaire.”
„And next Halloween... you’re going to carve a pumpkin with me.”
„No. They stink.”
Enjolras pouted and made puppy eyes, and really, who was Grantaire to refuse that? Really, who was Grantaire to refuse Enjolras anything?
„Okay, for you. But don’t think I won’t mock you all the while.”
Come say hi on tumblr: sleepwalkingintoinfinity.tumblr.com ^^