Trick or Treats
“Aw…That was such a nice costume. I think it’s the best princess I’ve seen yet.” Danni waved good-bye as she stole a glance over to her shoulder. “You don’t have to look so glum, Garrett.”
“I’m not glum. I’m just…” she paused searching for the right wording. “I’m trying to figure out why Dr. McMurray hates me.”
“No one hates you, least not the Department Chief of Surgery,” Danni chastised. “I think he likes you.”
“Hmpf! This is sure some way of showing it.”
“He’s trying to teach you a lesson.”
“Some lesson, a trauma surgeon and a flight nurse wasting their talents handing out candy.”
“And presenting it with all the care and concern a trauma center ambassador should exude.” Danni smiled sweetly. “You should be proud to have been picked. I know that I am. Besides, you look pretty hot in that flight suit, Gar.”
“Hot? Warm maybe but not…”
“The other kind of hot, Gar. You know…hot.” Danni smirked. “Sexy.”
Garrett grabbed a handful of the material and shook it. “In this olive drab, baggy assed thing? You have got to be kidding me. I think we’d better be getting you an appointment with an optometrist.”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Danni turned her attention to the small group of children coming up the driveway to the ER door. “Oh look, another group of trick or treaters. Why don’t you help me hand this candy out? Come on, Gar, give it a try at least.”
“Trick or Treat!” The disjointed voices of five children sang out as they held their bags open for a treat.
“What wonderful costumes. You’re the first vampire I’ve seen tonight.” Danni shielded her neck in mock fright before dropping a candy bar into his bag. “And you,” she pointed to smallest child of the group. “I love your clown suit.”
“Honk! Honk!” The child sounded the horn in her hand and shuffled the huge shoes in a dance.
Danni laughed as she deposited candy into the clown’s sack. “Oh, that’s good but you better be careful not to fall. I’m afraid if you do, you might have to come back to see us and I can almost assure you that it won’t be a treat. Right, Gar?”
Begrudgingly Garrett plastered a smile on her face and dug into the bag of goodies with both hands. “She’s right. Let’s make the most of it now. Here you go. Lot’s of treats for you,” she deposited a handful into the child’s pillow case he was using for a bag then repeated the process for the other two. “And you…and you.”
When the last one had received their graciously allotted booty, their smiles matched the uplifting sound of their spirits.
“Happy Halloween!” They yelled out as they quickly scurried off.
Danni watched in aghast at the depletion of their candy supply by almost half. “Garrett! What are you doing?”
“Giving out candy,” she said innocently.
“That’s not the…”
“I know it’s not the proper procedure, but it will get this over with sooner than later.” Garrett rubbed her palms together dusted them off. “And why do we,” Garrett pointed between herself and Danni, “have to be the Trauma Center’s poster children again? Isn’t there anybody else that could…” she trailed off seeing the pout form on Danni’s face. Garrett sucked in a deep breath then let it out slowly in realization. “You asked for this, didn’t you?”
Danni mustered a subtle nod.
“I see.” Garrett weighed her options. “Okay, I guess it’s not that bad.” She looked around in the awkward silence for something, anything to make the situation better. “I think the best part of Halloween is…”
“When it’s over?” Danni muttered under her breath.
“No, actually I think it’s sorting out all of the candy afterward. Like a pirate taking stock of his booty after plundering a ship or raiding a town.”
Danni’s senses were peaked. “You dressed up and trick or treated?”
“Yes! Even I had a childhood. Besides, I had to take my little brother around. He used to lobby for all the peanut butter kisses weeks ahead of time. It used to drive my parents crazy,” Garrett trailed off, stepping into the shadows.
Seeing the pained look on Garrett’s face, Danni attempted to get her mind on something else. “So what was your favorite candy?”
Danni nodded as she stepped closer to Garrett.
“That’s easy, Mallow Cups.”
“I should have figured it.”
“Why do you say that?”
“They’re hard on the outside and soft marshmallow on the inside.” Danni smiled. “Kind of like you, Gar, once you let someone get to know you.”
Garrett wasn’t sure how to respond; instead she offered up a question of her own. “What about you? What was your favorite candy?”
“You’re going to laugh.”
“No, I won’t.”
“Bit O’ Honey.” She watched the smile spread across Garrett’s face. “I know, I’m such a chocolate hound now but back then, I’d kill for one of those little golden bars. See, I told you you’d laugh.”
“Really, I’m not.”
“Then what’s the smile for?”
Garrett hesitantly touched Danni’s hair. “It suits you, more than you’ll ever know.”
The moment lingered as both women were rendered speechless. Their gazes locked on each other as the world around them diminished.
“That’s sweet, Gar.” Danni drew nearer. “I guess our cravings say a lot about us.”
“I guess they do.”
Garrett leaned in ever so gently meeting Danni’s lips in a kiss, eliciting a groan.
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought, too.” Garrett pulled away and surveyed the far end of the driveway. “Don’t look now, but here comes some more.”
“I’m all for more,” Danni said huskily.
“Kids, Danni. More kids coming up the drive. I believe this is the trick to our little treat.”
“Oh!” She reluctantly came back the world around her as she followed Garrett’s line of sight. “Yeah, kids. It looks like there are eight or ten of them.” She looked into the container of candy she was holding and calculated how long it would last. Too long. After stealing a gaze in Garrett’s direction, Danni stepped forward meeting the masquerading children half way. “My goodness, I think this bunch has the best costumes of all. Don’t you, Garrett?”
“I do believe that it’s your call.”
“Hmmm…” Danni mused over the group of eagerly awaiting children. “No, I can’t decide. I think it might be a tie.”
“A tie?” squeaked a costumed mouse.
A Jack Sparrow look-a-like stepped forward and inquired, “What do we win?”
“Oh! Do we get a prize?” A child behind a Scream mask shrieked.
“Who’s the winner?” A chorus of excited voices each took their turn to add their own distinctive pitch and assumptions into the night air.
“Who is it?” Queried a Ninja Turtle.
“Is it me?” A child dressed like Winnie-the-Pooh asked.
“It’s me,” proclaimed a clunky looking Transformer.
“No, it’s me. I’m the winner,” a rock star looking tyke stated as he dramatically strummed his guitar.
Danni paused before making her decree, scanning each of their young faces. “It’s all of you.”
“There you go.” Garret came to her aid. “Everyone’s a winner here tonight. Now…form a line.”
Equal shares of candy were dumped into each sack as Danni cooed over the costumes while Garrett kept the line moving.
“And this is for you.” Danni shook the last of the candy out if its container.
The child turned to Garrett. “And you, too. Happy Halloween!”
“It will be now.” Garrett’s gaze met Danni’s as she called out to the retreating figures. “Stay safe and we’ll see you next year.”
“Yeah, see you again next year,” Danni said in reflex before slowly turning toward Garrett. “Did you mean that, Gar?”
“What…for them to stay safe? Sure, I did.”
“I meant the part about seeing them next year.”
“Oh, that part.”
Garrett nodded, “With all my heart.”
“Thank you, Gar.” Danni beamed with delight.
“Don’t mention it. Besides, no one would believe you anyway.”
“What, that you have a soft spot for Halloween?”
“No, I have a soft spot for you.”
“Well, that’s good to know since we’re out of candy.” Danni held the container upside down and shook it. “What do you say we call it a night and head home?”
“What a shame, I was just getting into judging the costumes.” Garrett looked around rather nonchalantly for any sign of more children in the area. “But it looks like I’m out of luck.”
“I have a few costumes at home.” Danni tugged on Garrett’s sleeve and started walking toward the ER doors.
“You do?” Garrett hastened after her.
“Oh yeah,” Danni said reassuringly. “There’s one in particular that I think you’ll enjoy.” She paused for affect. “It’s my version of Lady Godiva.”
Garrett stopped dead in her tracks. “You have a horse?”
“No,” she smiled coyly. “But I can ride you, can’t I?”
Garrett’s mouth dropped open. “I…I…” she started yammering.
Danni stopped short when the doors opened to reveal the ER Charge Nurse for the night. “Hello, Mom.” She watched as Karen quickly took in the scene. “Nice night for dressing up.”
“Or not,” Garrett finally mustered a thread of a thought as she walked through the doorway. “I’ll get the keys to the car, Danni.” She took off, side-stepping Karen on her way out. “Hi,” the clipped greeting was said in time with her steps.
“Hi.” Karen motioned toward Garrett after she passed by. “What’s wrong with her? Didn’t you let her have any candy?”
Danni pondered her words carefully. “You might say she’s a bit on overload.”
“Sugar high,” Karen muttered. “I thought you would be handing out candy longer than this. What did she do, eat most of it?”
“Not even a lick,” Danni didn’t leave Garrett out of her sight, “Well, not yet at least. Sorry, Mom. Gotta go. Don’t want to miss my ride. See you later.” She said, hurrying after Garrett.
“Bye.” Karen left out an exasperated breath. “You’d think somebody lit a fire under them the way they took off out of here.” Turning to see the pair exchange subtle glances of one another, she snickered. “What do you know, maybe there is a fire burning there after all. I’ll have to remember to tell Dr. McMurray that he was right. We will need more candy next year.”