**Happy Halloween! Play safe and enjoy the hell out of it. And in the meantime, enjoy this fic about former lovers meeting again in a haunted house.**
Every year it was the same thing; cheesy theatrics, unimaginative soundtrack, and lame monsters. But I couldn’t resist the draw of the haunted house. It had been a staple of my October since I was a small child, when those kind of things scared the fuck out of me. I loved being scared, and despite the fact that this place no longer did it for me, it still popped up in the same place every October and I still went with the same giddy anticipation I once had.
This year I was by myself. It was the first time I hadn’t had a parent, friend, or boyfriend with me. Last year it had been Liam, and it had been my favorite year ever. We’d gone in squealing and screaming, pretending we were terrified just so we could hang onto each other. The sex when we finally got back to his place had been off the charts hot. But then only a week later, there’d been the big fight over the accidental tattoo and we’d parted ways.
There was a part of me that still hurt over that.
But a year had gone by and I was determined to put it behind me. I bought my ticket and stood in line behind a gaggle of teenage girls. It only took a few minutes for the line to move forward and I was left just outside, listening to the screams, howls, and squeals. I couldn’t help the smile. Though Halloween technically wasn’t until the next day, this was what the holiday was all about.
At least for me.
The bored looking teenager managing the door finally motioned me in and I crept over the threshold. A familiar sense of anticipation warred with just a tiny bit of fear in my gut. Things were going to be jumping out at me and I knew I would startle. I just hoped I didn’t laugh. That had gotten me kicked out two years ago. Or was it three?
I shook my head. It didn’t matter. The fun of it was in the getting scared, and I slowly walked down the dimly lit hallway, the fake fog rolling at my feet as creaks, bangs, and howling wind played. A wisp of cobweb stroke along my arm and made me shiver. I couldn’t help jerking back from the sensation. A nervous chuckle as the cobweb clung, and a cold draft skittered up my spine. I took a deep breath, but I only made it three steps before a low, sinister sounding voice spoke near my ear.
“I knew you’d come.”
My scream was cut off by a hand clapping against my mouth as another grabbed my bicep and yanked. I hand no choice but to stumble sideways through a hidden door, my heart pounding so hard I was sure it would break free from my chest. I fought off my captor, anger welling up, and whirled to face him.
He pushed back the hood on his grim reaper cloak the moment I turned. Liam. Looking as edible as ever despite the white and black makeup on his face. It might have hidden who he was, but I knew those features intimately, had mapped them with fingers, lips, and tongue. I knew that proud stubborn chin, and that silky black hair that fell to his collar. For a moment, I was swept away in nostalgia, of remembering how it had been between us.
A teenage scream broke me out of my reverie and I scowled even as I leaned against the wall.
“You have an explanation for accosting me in the haunted house?” I asked. I kept my voice low in deference to what was happening on the other side of the door, but with each passing second my anger grew.
Liam shrugged, and by the tilt of his head, I knew he was blushing even though I couldn’t see it through the makeup. “You wouldn’t take my calls. And then you changed your number. I didn’t want to show up and be all creepy at your apartment. But we never ran into each other and so, when I saw they were hiring for the haunted house, I figured it was my last chance.”
“Because that’s not creepy at all.” My voice was full of sarcasm.
Liam gave a chuckle, and his expression said I was right. He took a step closer anyway, but I was glad he thought better of reaching out to touch.
“Yeah, well. I knew you’d eventually show up here. I thought maybe we could at least talk.”
Despite the makeup, he was still my Liam. And despite the setting, despite the bangs, clangs, howls, just looking at him, being in the same space as him, relaxed something in me. The six months before the “incident” had been so good. I knew then we’d both walked away too quickly. But was ambushing me in a haunted house the way to start again?
“Cy?” Liam’s voice was tentative, questioning. Suddenly he sounded young, like the night we’d first kissed, and I couldn’t help the grin.
“I’ll meet you on the other side,” I said softly, and a horrific scream cut the air. I grinned uncontrollably. “I’ll wait for you to be done for the night.”
“Fuck the job,” he whispered fervently. He leaned forward to kiss me, and only remembered at the last second that his face was covered in grease paint. “I only took it so I’d have a chance of seeing you. I don’t need it.”
He grabbed my hand and started tugging. But he was going in the opposite direction, away from the haunted out and out through a side door. I planted my feet. Liam looked back at me with a question in those deep brown eyes.
I took a step back toward the screaming and howling, and Liam immediately understood what I wanted. He pulled the hood back up, once again obscuring his face, then took my hand and led me back into the hall.
I screamed. I jumped. I clung to Liam with my entire body, pressing closer every change I got, whenever something grabbed at me. I’d been right. This was what Halloween was all about.