Pairings/Characters: Kristen Bouchard, David Acosta, Ben Shakir
Genres: Drama, Holiday
Summary: Kristen realizes that her life has changed forever. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Date Of Completion: May 15, 2020
Date Of Posting: June 12, 2020
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Robert King and Michelle King do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 863
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Was in full bloom,
But after the Apple,
It became all gloom.
“I’ve got to tell you, this was the weirdest Halloween ever.”
It was a few days after the holiday and Kristen and David sat in a coffee shop a few blocks from Saint Sebastian’s, where David lived. David looked tired with shadows under his eyes and Kristen knew that she was a mirror image.
David smiled ruefully. “I agree.”
Kristen sipped her coffee. It was busy in the little neighborhood coffee shop here in the middle of the morning. The interior was painted yellow in keeping with the name Six Chicks Café. Six female friends had pooled their resources and opened this place a few years ago. Eggs were a specialty, along with pastries baked on the premises. You could get an apple turnover with your eggs and bacon if you wanted.
Halloween decorations were still up in the shop, and Kristen half-expected trick-or-treaters to show up at her door tonight. Halloween was still clinging to her like black-and-orange streamers or wisps of evening fog.
Fog from a bog, Kristen thought with a touch of hysteria.
David rubbed his eyes with the heel of his hand. “Exorcism always takes a lot out of you. You okay?”
“Oh, sure. Full of pep and vigor, that’s me.”
David smiled at her sarcastic tone. He rested his chin on his hand. “Halloweens were never like this.”
“Tell me about it.” Kristen took another sip of coffee. She needed its strong, bracing effect. “Halloween used to be the Horribles Parade at school and trick-or-treating at night like Charlie Brown and the gang.”
“So were you Lucy or Pigpen?”
Kristen chuckled. “Probably Violet. I liked to give Halloween parties, but when I felt crabby, Lucy would do.”
“I liked dressing up as Batman.”
“Wonder Woman for me, or Supergirl. I was also fond of the good, old-fashioned Witch, and one year I was Lily Munster.”
“How charming,” David teased.
Kristen took a bite of her apple turnover. “Listen, my mother used to cook like Lily, cackling over a bubbling cauldron and serving up eye of newt and lizard tongue, or whatever she learned to cook when she was in the commune.”
“Your mother sounds like a free spirit.”
“If the spirits are free, she’s there.”
David snickered. “Sounds like you’re channeling crabby Lucy now.”
Kristen signaled their waitress for a refill of coffee. The middle-aged woman hustled over and refilled their cups.
“Thanks, Myra,” said Kristen.
“A pleasure.” She went over to the next table. The yellow-and-white uniform went with the theme of the place.
“At least the exorcism was a success,” said David.
“How many have you attended?”
“Halloween night was a half-dozen.”
“Good grief, Charlie Brown!”
“Ha, ha.” David carefully sipped his hot coffee. “Halloween takes on a whole new meaning since joining up with Ben and me, doesn’t it?”
“You do have a gift for understatement.”
David laughed. “Ben will be able to break away from his ghost-busting TV show soon. We’ll have another assignment before you know it.”
They enjoyed their coffee and turnovers in companionable silence. Kristen was certainly appreciative. Routine, mundane life seemed to be rarer these days. Even now she could feel the oddness of their recent experiences still drifting around her, whispering just out of earshot.
“Do you ever get used to it?” she asked.
“Get used to what?”
She gestured aimlessly. “This strangeness.” Granted, the café looked like it was decorated in Early Deviled Egg, but she meant something else.
Kristen was gratified to see that David knew exactly what she meant. He took a bite of his lemon turnover and chewed thoughtfully.
“I’m not sure if you ever get used to it. You learn to treasure the mundane moments when you can.”
Kristen nodded. “So it’s not just Halloween spooking me?”
David’s eyes sparkled. “Welcome to the Vatican Squad.”
“Ha, ha.” Kristen looked around the coffee shop. “It’s all so normal.”
“Life can be.”
“But not for us.”
“It can be. Just not like it used to be.”
David sipped his coffee. “Awareness.”
“As in more awareness of what could be out there.”
Kristen felt a shiver go down her spine. “Kinda like Eve and the apple.”
“Once you’ve tasted fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, you can never go back to innocence again.”
David nodded. “Ignorance is bliss, but we’re not ignorant anymore.”
David broke off a piece of his turnover. “Getting your eyes opened increases knowledge but sure is hell on the nerves.”
Kristen thought of Leland Townsend, Eric McCrystal (a murderous little boy), the mysterious little girl from Halloween night and the exorcism.
The world is a very strange place these days.
Kristen lifted her coffee cup. “To the apple.” She looked at her surroundings. “Or maybe to the egg.”
David copied her. “To the apple.” He grinned. “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”
They clicked coffee cups while Ben entered the shop and they happily waved him over to their table.
Time for a new assignment.
This story can also be read on AO3.