Adrian had been waiting at the party for an hour for Carter to show up.
Normally, waiting on someone to show to a party that was already packed with friends wasn’t that big of a deal, except this wasn’t that kind of party. Adrian had been spending the previous three hours dreading Lindy Jamieson’s inaugural Halloween house party/irresponsible teenage rave, because Lindy Jamieson was not one of his friends, her friends were not his friends, and her idea of party music was scalped from the Foggy Dew’s Greatest Hits of 2012.
But Maria had wanted to go, and Adrian owed her, so he went with her and didn’t complain about it. “We need to make an appearance, at least,” She had huffed while painting on Adrian’s whiskers. “Unless you want to be the weirdo who stood up Lindy Jamieson.”
“I’m fully willing to be that weirdo, Maria.” Adrian said, staring her directly into the eye.
“Well, I’m not,” she said, and put a big smudge of black on Adrian’s nose. “We’re going.”
Adrian nodded and said yes, that he would go, but he still couldn’t help himself. He fished out his phone when they were walking over, texting Carter rapidly.
Do you know where Lindy Jamison lives if so come and save me asap
THIS IS IMPORTANT I NEED YOU TO FUFILL YOUR DUTY.
Sure I’m just getting into my costume give me a bit xx
That had been an hour ago. Adrian was done making his small talk rounds once over, and was starting to feel like drinking was the only thing that was going to get him through this event.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Maria gliding up to him, her witch hat whacking at the orange and black streamers dipping down from the ceiling. “I thought you said that they were going to show up?” she said, handing Adrian a red cup of something unknown.
“I thought so, too.” He said, staring into the living room and watching a sexy cop and a sexy firefighter gyrating. He sniffed the drink. “What’s this?”
“I dunno, candy corn vodka?”
“Delicious,” Adrian said, completely deadpan.
Forty minutes later, Carter still wasn’t there yet.
I’m in the downstairs bathroom, Adrian texted in desperation. Save me from Jason Derulo.
Adrian turned off his screen and leaned against the shower, letting his eyes close. He could feel his head spin a bit, like he had been drinking too fast and he had eaten too little. He figured he should probably drink some water before he cemented his future in hangover land.
Then there was a knock.
Adrian squinted his eyes open, listening to the distant thump of music upstairs, when Carter burst into the bathroom.
“Look dude,” he said, brandishing a bowl forward as he lurched inside. “Jason made these Twizzlers soaked in Bacardi over the weekend, you should try one. I think I’m already halfway gone.”
There was something on his head, Adrian could determine that. Something ratty and orange, sitting askew on his head like a jauntily-set hat that was uncovered from the bottom of the shower drain. But that wasn’t the only thing that was different. Adrian had to assume that he was wearing a child’s size costume, that this couldn’t be the actual final form of this outfit. The skirt poufed out just below Carter’s ribcage, and the sleeves were unused and bunched around his armpits in graceful defeat. Around his neck he had fastened a bit of pink fabric (a scarf, maybe?) that looked like it was choking him.
Adrian stared down at the bowl of liquefied twizzlers, then at Carter’s partially ginger head, and decided that he probably wasn’t drunk enough after all.
“Carter, what the hell are you wearing?”
Carter looked down at the outfit, yanked up firmly around his armpits, his wig swaying on his head, then looked back up, his expression completely deadpan.
“Uh, Anna from Frozen?” he said.
“I see,” said Adrian. He took a steady, full mouth sip of the candy corn vodka, maintaining eye contact with Carter the entire time. “Why not Elsa?”
“Of course he is.”
Carter cracked a sort of lopsided smile, scooching forward into the bathroom. Behind him, Adrian could distantly hear 2 Chainz being introduced for his sequence.
“I’m gonna guess you’re a cat,” Carter said, tugging on one of Adrian’s fuzzy ears.
Adrian glanced away. “Shitty hipster cat, more like,” he grumbled.
“It’s cute on you.”
Adrian felt his face set itself on fire. He tried very hard to keep his expression neutral as he glanced back over at Carter. He was grinning, of course, the idiot.
“T-thanks,” Adrian coughed out.
Carter beamed in that stupid, completely honest way that he did, his teeth poking out and his eyes shining like they were made of glass. He jerked his head to the side. “Wanna go upstairs?”
Somehow, going upstairs back to the party didn’t seem like such a bad idea right now.
The food table had been restocked since Adrian had isolated himself, the spread now including appetizers, Doritos party mix, cookies and bowls and bowls of candy. Adrian drunkenly chewed on a spider cupcake while watching Carter fill the pocket of his jeans with Skittles when he thought nobody was looking. They sat around the food table, chatting idly until Jason joined them, gliding up in his own Queen Elsa costume that was clearly designed for an eight year old, complete with synthetic wig.
“You two look like sisters,” Adrian said, taking a hefty swig of his drink.
“Thanks, we match~” said Jason, tossing aside his glittery gauze cape which had briefly caught itself on the wiry hairs of his goatee. He glanced around the kitchen, whistling. “Damn, I haven’t been in this kitchen in ages. Love what they’ve done with the place.”
“You’ve been here before?” Adrian asked, genuinely surprised.
“Oh yeah, me and Lindy go way back,” Jason said. He was leaning over the stove, peering at the elements. “Ooh, they have gas now.”
“JASON!” someone shrieked, and it took a minute for Adrian to realize they weren’t listening to an encore of Talk Dirty to Me.
“I heard my name!” Jason announced, spinning around.
In the doorway to the kitchen appeared Lindy, which was the moment that Adrian distantly realized this this was the first time that he had seen her all night. She was dressed as a dead cheerleader, waving her pompoms in Jason’s direction as she stormed forward.
“Why are you here?” she shrieked up into his face.
“What, you don’t want a Halloween visit from Elsa, the princess of Disney’s latest hit film, Frozen?” Jason said, waving his hands dramatically. Adrian sidled slightly closer to Carter, fearing that Lindy’s fury sparks might land on him.
“Nope!” said Lindy. She was pushing Jason out of the kitchen, shoving him outside.
“But Lindy-“ Jason protested.
“NO way in hell!” Lindy shrieked. My parents aren’t home, and the last time they were here you burnt down the kitchen! OUT!”
“Just gimmie the Twizzlers-“
Jason shrugged, then stood on his tiptoes above the small staring crowd. “Come sister, we must take our leave of this place. Let us go crash the next sick rave.”
Carter glanced between Jason, then Adrian, then shrugged. Then he leaned forwards, putting his arm on Adrian’s shoulder, whispering in his ear close enough that his breath tickled Adrian’s neck.
“Meet me outside,” he said softly.
Then he was ducking away, slipping through the crowd and following Jason out of the party.
“Right,” Adrian muttered to nobody, five minutes later when his brain was functional again.
Adrian and Maria met Jason and Carter under a streetlamp on the road, outside of Lindy’s house. Both of them were sitting on the curb, passing a flask between them and giggling loudly as Adrian and Maria approached. With a pang of relief, Adrian could see that somewhere between the party and here, Carter had lost his ratty wig to the elements.
“My cousin,” Jason explained, whipping around as they approached, his synthetic braid smacking his face. “She’s a bit salty.”
“I can tell,” Maria said, struggling to keep a straight face. She had been more than happy to leave, grabbing her shoes as before the Pussycat Dolls could engage them on the house speakers. She was standing between them, perfectly put together in her witch outfit, giving the Disney princesses a raised eyebrow.
“So now that we got kicked out of the Halloween party, what’s your plan?” she asked.
Jason didn’t turn around. He was staring forward, his eyes glazed. In the distance, Adrian could hear the sounds of small children trick-or-treating from house to house.
“We go back in there and get the Twizzlers,” Jason said solemnly.
“No,” Maria and Adrian said in unison. Jason turned to Carter, who just put up his hands. “Do you think they’ll let me back in?” he said.
Jason sighed, slumping against his elbows on the sidewalk. “Well then what are we going to do?”
Carter just shrugged. “What do you want to do?”
Jason glanced up at Adrian and Maria, standing behind him like silent monoliths, like he was waiting for them to respond with their answer.
Adrian thought about that for a minute. He tilted his head. “I dunno,” he said. “Cause some chaos?”
They ended up on walking through the neighborhood. It was dark and cold, like every Halloween, and crawling with parents escorting around their small children. They saw a rainbow of costumes hidden under heavy jackets, from ghosts to witches to Lego men and fairy princesses. At one point Jason attempted to drunkenly high five an Elsa and Anna pair on the basis of costume solidarity before their mother swooped in and shooed him away.
“You need to stop before we get the cops called on us,” Adrian said, flipping his phone out. It still wasn’t that late yet. “What is your grand plan anyway?”
“School,” said Jason.
“School,” Carter replied solemnly.
Maria stared at both of them. “Is there something I’m missing?” she asked. “You guys never want to go to school, but on Halloween?”
Adrian got it. “Yeah, that’s the point, right?” he said. “Because nobody else is there for a good reason.”
Adrian had figured that explosives were on the menu by the time they got to the school.
“Let it go,” Jason sang off-key as the first firecracker was lobbed into the elementary school parking lot. It sat there before exploding in a great blast that echoed around like a gunshot, a swath of smoke billowing up. Maria shrieked, covering her ears as Adrian stared into the blast radius, wondering how it all came to this.
“You want to do the next one?” Jason shouted out to anyone who still had their eardrums.
“I dunno,” Carter shouted a bit too loudly. “Don’t think I’m sober enough for explosives.”
“Here, I bought some sparklers,” he said, holding out one to Carter. “Don’t throw it at me.”
Carter took the sparkler and lit it on fire, waving it around lazily as it created patterns in the air. Drawing a star, writing his name. His face glowed in the light, eyes shining against the sparks.
“I wonder what would happen if I ate it,” said Carter.
“Alright, alright. Lemme try,” Maria said, moving forward, and Adrian could feel himself fading. His head was still fuzzy, his movements exaggerated and loose, his thought process fast and stupid. He wandered off the parking lot, heading down the grassy slope that led to the soccer pitch, shoes sliding against the grass. He flopped on the grass, staring up at the glittery expanse of stars in the sky, and distantly wondered if he had always been this small.
He had no idea how long he had been lying there when Carter’s face appeared in his field of vision, poking overhead.
“Hey,” Adrian said, smiling stupidly, his eyes focusing slowly on Carter’s face.
“Hey,” Carter said. “You look drunk.”
“Mm,” said Adrian, closing his eyes. “I am.”
“Think I should take you home?”
“You can take me wherever you want, Carter.”
“Yep, It’s time,” Carter said. Adrian felt dully as his hands were moved together, heard Carter tell him to stand up and to keep a hold on him. And then his feet were off the ground, he was leaning against something soft and warm and prickly with crinoline and glitter, and the world was moving in a slow motion under him.
Adrian inhaled deeply, breathing in his scent that seemed to sink down deep inside, and brushed his nose against soft skin.
He distantly heard Carter rumble under him. It sounded like a laugh. “Just let me know when you’re gonna hurl,” he murmured.
Adrian felt himself drifting, lulling off to sleep in the cold and dark, hearing the sound of voices that were distant, not the one that was under him, around him. Murmuring into the dark.
This was written for Patreon’s October 2015 subscribers. Enjoy everyone!