It was the sun crewing through the cracks in the blinds that woke Rose. No matter which way she turned in the bed she couldn’t escape the brightness and her body’s response to it, she groaned and went to bury her head in the warmth and comfort of her partners arms but found the bed empty instead.
Groping around blindly she slowly cracked open one eye and discovered that yes, she was in bed alone. Which was strange because she certainly did not start the night that way,
“Red?” she called blearily, voice still thick with sleep, “where’d you go?”
There was no response from the room which clearly meant that Red Harvest had left or was at least out of hearing range. Rose frowned and sat up in the bed pushing stray strands of long red hair out of her face. She reached over to the nightstand where she’d left her phone charging and checked the time. Still much too early for her liking but at least there was a message from Red explaining where he’d gone.
‘Went for a run around the block. If I’m not back when you wake up’
With everything in a state of constant flux these days it had been hard for Red Harvest to maintain a consistent work out schedule in a gym. Certainly it had been hard to do a lot of things this year, no one had thought that when they all got together to celebrate new years in the big house that three months later they’d return to quarantine from a deadly virus.
Even then the hope was that the virus would die out or that a vaccine would become available. No one really thought that things would become as bad as they had gotten. Rose had continued teaching ballet, Red kept his shifts at the gym and things were strange yes but not entirety terrible.
That was until people started dying. The news reporting daily death tolls and infection rates skyrocketing as states did or didn’t go into lockdown. As for the strange little found family Rose belonged to, Jack and Goodnight both insisted that everyone come back to the big house and stay there until such times as it was safe to be apart again.
So now here they were. Halloween. Still in the big house. Still hearing about daily death and infection rates.
Rose pushed those thoughts from her mind. If she didn’t then she’d spend all day checking her phone and silently panicking. It was bad enough that Eliza was still working considering her profession, no one needed the extra stress right now.
It was her stomach that decided Rose should get up. The smell of coffee and food from downstairs becoming unavoidable, so she pulled on something ‘presentable’ and padded downstairs to see who else was awake.
“Rosemary! It’s not like you to be awake this early” Jack smiled as she enters the kitchen, “but here since you’re awake have some coffee. Breakfast won’t be long”
Rose took a seat at the long table next to a blonde figure who was already reading the morning paper, something Goodnight still insisted on getting even though anything anyone really wanted to know was able to be googled.
Cassandra glanced up at the redhead and then went back to her paper, sliding a plate of biscuits over to the other woman as Rose sat down beside her,
“Thanks” Rose mumbled still trying to rouse herself completely, “world still on fire?”
“Yup” Cass replied, “they’re warning people not to let their kids out trick or treating”
“The usual stuff? Razor blades in candy apples? Or those totally real people giving edibles out to kids”
“Oh yeah those people” Cass rolled her eyes, “no it’s more to do with y’know the plague”
Rose nodded and sipped her coffee. It made sense of course to put things like that in the paper but also at the same time she would have imagined it to be something of common sense these days not to let your children go door to door and put their grubby little paws all over things that didn’t belong to them in the first place.
“Terrible times we’re living in” Jack said, “I’m just glad you girls are safe here”
Neither Cass or Rose chose to argue with him. They’d argued enough about technically being safe in their own apartments but Jack and Goodnight had wanted the ‘family’ together so here they were.
More people filtered into the kitchen as the morning went on, taking seats at the table and pouring themselves coffee or taking the orange juice from the fridge.
Rose couldn’t help but think about the previous year she’d spent living in the big house, it had been Halloween and she’d convinced the group at large to go out for the occasion. The girls had spent the day prepping and getting ready, sharing make up and hair tools and helping one and other into costume while the boys stood around drinking beer and complained about the time it took the girls to get ready.
They’d found a party in what used to be a textile factory but was then an empty warehouse. The music had been loud, the drinks were cheap, it was a great evening and they’d stayed out until dawn without realising.
This year of course everything was different. There would be no parties. No costumes. No staying out until dawn and creeping back into the house trying to avoid being heard. Of course it was still October 31st, All Hallows’ Eve, Samhain, Halloween in essence but it still felt like just another day rolled into all the others.
Later that evening after spending the day in bed with Red Harvest, Rose made her way back downstairs where she bumped into Eliza coming back in from her shift,
“Something like that. I’m exhausted but I’m glad to be home. What about you?” Eliza collapsed into the couch and kicked off her shoes
“What about me?” Rose asked, she wasn’t the one who’s been working non stop to save lives. Far from it in reality
“You look a little worn out. Hell everyone does” Eliza said, “I guess everyone’s a little burned out by this whole thing”
“Yeah. You can say that again” Rose nodded, “remember back in March when we were talking about how ‘when this is all over’ and what we’d do”
Eliza laughed and nodded her head, they’d all been looking forward to the end of whatever was going on and made plans for autumn and winter when they’d be free to do everything they couldn’t before.
“I feel like we could all use something to blow off steam. Just something to take our minds off what’s going on” Eliza says massaging her tired feet
“Yeah. Yeah. I know just what you mean” Rose agreed. Eliza’s words had sparked an idea in her head about just how to break up the monotony of quarantine life, “why don’t you go and take a bath, there’s tons of hot water and I’m sure you could use it”
“Ohh that’s an idea and a half” Eliza agreed, “maybe I can get josh to give me a foot massage as well”
Rose laughed and helped Eliza off the couch again, her body having locked up at finally being able to rest for a moment after such a gruelling shift.
Once Eliza had gone and Rose was alone again she began to put her brilliant plan into action and moved through the house rummaging for the things she needed. A large white sheet, some blankets, snacks, everything for a family movie night. Now all she needed was the family.
Rounding up said family was easy enough, very one was glued to their phones these days so a message in the house group chat was enough to bring everyone down.
Upon seeing the set up in the living room Cassandra immediately manoeuvred herself to the most advantageous spot along with Billy,
“What movies did you pick?” Cass asked grabbing a handful of popcorn and offering some to Billy
“The spookiest ones I could find” Rose grins, “I figured we could use a break and this was the best way I could think of to give us that break”
There was a murmur of agreement although there was a moment of hesitation from Clémentina who didn’t enjoy the idea of a horror movie night as much as everyone else but when Vasquez vowed to protect his love from anything that would go bump in the night she had her fears quelled and took a spot on the couch along with the other couples and settled in.
Later in the evening Goodnight came by to check on the group and successfully gave them the fright of their lives during a particularly tense moment in the movie they’d been watching.
Goodnight chuckled to himself as he walked off, he would have been lying if he’d said he wasn’t worried about the kids during all this but it was nice to see them getting together like this. After all in his own humble opinion, family was the key to surviving all of this and he was never more glad to have his family under one roof. They’d get through this awful plague and they’d do it together.