Sweet Tweats

By Colleen


Author’s Note: The physical descriptions of the two lead characters may remind you of two others we all know and love, but all characters in the story are from my own imagination. 

This story is an original work and is copyrighted by the author. Copyright 2016.

Feedback can be sent to khall828@earthlink.net


A round of applause went up from the crowd lining the sidewalk, as another float passed by.  Pulled by a tractor, the flatbed carried a really huge pumpkin, weighing well over a thousand pounds. Surrounding the overgrown orange gourd, were preschoolers dressed as smaller pumpkins. They smiled and waved to the onlookers, having nothing but fun.

The next John Deer rolled into view, hauling a trailer full of dancing ghosts, followed by a trail of bicycles with costumed riders.  The colorful parade marching down Main Street was just the beginning of the annual Halloween Festival. Just about the entire mid-western town of Boonville always turned out for the day long festivities. But with a population of just over two thousand, that wasn’t unexpected.

The tightknit, farming community placed all holidays in high regard, with Halloween and Christmas being at the top of the list.

Halloween was a week away, but this beautiful, autumn Saturday would be host to parades and picnics, games, contests, and musical performances.

“Look at the dancing scarecrow Mom,” a child said, while laughing at his comical antics.

“I see him baby,” the girl’s mother said. “Uncle Dan used to dance like that, didn’t he?”

“Yeah, he was funny. I miss him…and everybody back home.”

Lexi Grayson knelt down, straightening her daughter Lucy’s long, windblown hair. “I know sweetheart. We will go back to visit them sometime, but we live here now with grandma and grandpa. You like living on the farm, don’t you?”

The six year old’s dark head bobbed up and down. “I like all the animals. And there’s lots of room to play. And you said I could get a kitten now that we live here.”

“Yes, I did.” Lexi turned the conversation back. “And I know you love grandpa and grandma.”

“I do. But…”

Lexi lifted the suddenly drooping chin. “But what baby?”

“I don’t like my new school,” little Lucy mumbled.

Mom pulled her in for a big hug. “I know. But it’s only been a few weeks. It’ll get better I promise.”

“But nobody likes me.”

“They just don’t know you that well yet. But you will have friends’ sweetie. I talked to your teacher, and she really likes you. But do you know who loves you?”

“You do!” Mother and daughter shared another big hug.

The parade was winding down, and the crowd was dispersing to other activities. Lexi looked up and noticed that they happened to be standing in front of a shop called Sweet Tweats. Even though she had yet to visit this particular establishment, she could tell by the name, and by the big window decorated with colorful candies and fancy cookies, what they would find inside. “How about we go in here and get a treat for after lunch.”

The little bell, on the door, rang as they stepped inside. The store was much bigger on the inside than it looked from the outside. Currently decorated in appropriate orange and black, although there was some yellow and purple added in.

The pair stared wide eyed as they took in the sights and the smells. Cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, warm apple, and a dozen other scents made for very happy noses. The sweet shop was divided into three large areas. On a display pedestal, in the middle of the store, stood a haunted house made from gingerbread, and hauntingly decorated in various candies. On lower shelves surrounding the sweet house were jars and jars of hard and soft candies for sale. The right side of the shop was an ice cream parlor, featuring twenty flavors of the creamy confection, complete with just as many topping choices.

In the back of the store was an area with tables and chairs, where customers could relax and enjoy their sweets and beverages.

To the left, was a long glass case, currently being accessed by the cute, blonde shop owner.  Artfully arranged, behind the glass, were trays of cookies, brownies, cupcakes, donuts, pies, more baked candies, and full sized cakes. The blonde woman was removing one of those cakes for a customer. She looked up, and her gaze landed on the new visitor.

Lexi looked back. “Wow!” she muttered. Everything was eye catching…and mouthwatering.

Lucy had run over to see the gingerbread display. Lexi, reluctantly pulled her gaze away, and joined her daughter. At six, Lucy was curious about everything new that she encountered. She excitedly pointed out all the little details of the edible haunted house. “Look at the little ghosts in the windows Mommy.”

“I see them honey. Do you see the tiny mice hiding inside the pumpkins?”

“Oh, they’re so cute. I wonder what’s in the back.” Little Lucy ran around to check it out.

Even though the shop was quite full of buying customers, the owner left the selling to her employees, and stepped from behind the counter, approaching the mesmerized mother and daughter. “Hello,” she greeted joyfully. ” I’m Shalane Sweet.  Is there anything I can help you with?”

Lexi rose to her full height, and again locked eyes with the blonde, whose green eyes were totaling bewitching. For a moment all speech stuck in her throat. “I…am…Lexi…Grayson. Yes…that’s my name.” She giggled at her own behavior.

“Well, it’s so nice to meet you,” Shalane said. “You must be new in town. I don’t recall seeing you around before.”

“Yes, my daughter and I just arrived recently, to stay with my parents for a while.”

“John and May Grayson?” Upon the positive nod, Shalane continued. “There are lovely people.”

Lucy returned to her mother’s side, and shyly took her mother’s hand. “Well, we think so,” Lexi said. “This is my daughter Lucy.”

Shalane smiled brightly. “Aren’t you a cutie,” she said. “It will be my pleasure getting to know you…and your mother. I bet I know what you might like.” The happy blonde produced a brightly swirled lollipop, and offered it to the girl.

Lucy peeked up at her mother for permission. Lexi nodded. The dark haired girl took the treat and pocketed it for later. “Thank you,” she said sullenly.

Lexi lazily played with the girl’s hair. “She’s still a little sad about leaving our old hometown.”

“Yeah, that can be tough.” A thought came to Shalane. “I know someone who would like to meet you.” She stood and called out. “Izzy!”

It took just a few seconds for a bubbly, blonde girl to skip out from the back room. Stopping in front of her mother, the child introduced herself. “I’m Izzy Sweet,” she announced proudly.

Shalane loved her daughter’s energy. “Sweetie, this is Lexi Grayson and her daughter Lucy.”

Izzy gave a little wave, even though she was right in front of the other child. ”Hi. I’m six years old, how old are you?”

Lucy was a little surprised that this girl was actually talking to her. She brightened a little. “I’m six years old too.” She pulled the lolli from her jacket pocket. “You’re mom gave me this.”

“Those are so good,” Izzy said.

“I have to wait until after lunch to eat it.”

“Yeah, I always do too.”

Shalane and Lexi shared a smile at their girls’ conversation.

“I’m playing with my dolls in the back,” Izzy said. “Do you want to play with me?” Only then did she look up to her mother for permission. “Can we Mom?”

“Well, if Lucy wants to, and if her mom says okay, you may go and play for a little while.” Shalane reinforced the offer. “I have a living area in the back, she will be safe, I promise.”

Lexi was just a little reluctant, but thought it might be good for her daughter. She knelt down and asked. “Would you like to go and play with Izzy?”

Her daughter glanced over at the smiling, little blonde. She finally nodded yes.

“Okay, Lexi said. “I’ll be right here waiting for you.” She gave the girl a kiss on the cheek and sent her off to play.

“Can I offer you a cup of coffee?” Shalane asked Lucy’s mother.

“Well, it does smell great, but then so does everything in here. But, yes I’d enjoy a cup. Would you join me?”

Shalane didn’t need any time to consider. “Absolutely,” she said. “Grab a table, and I’ll be right back.”

Lexi had a seat, and continued to take in the sights around her. Holiday music was playing, and the familiar, beginning notes of Thriller began. Lexi remembered doing the dance with a group of friends in her high school talent contest. They had come in second place.

Shalane returned with a tray and the coffee. “I know it’s close to lunch,” she said with a small guilty smile, “but I thought we could share one of my donuts.”

The doughy sweet, was cut evenly in two. Lexi fixed up her coffee and took her half of the donut. After a sip of the dark brew, Lexi took a bite, loving the taste. “Mmmm…is that apple cider?” she asked.

The blonde head nodded excitedly. “Yes. Most people guess apple, but they don’t get the cider. You must have sophisticated taste buds,” she laughed.

“I don’t know…I just like to eat.”

“Don’t we all.” Shalane didn’t want to be nosey, but she did want to know more about this woman. “Do you think you’ll be staying here long?” she asked.

“I’m sure we will,” Lexi said, after a moment’s thought. “Lucy needs to get to know her grandparents better. We both need to do some healing. Mom and Dad could never stop bragging about this town. They’ve been here for sixteen years.”

“They have one of the biggest farms around. I know they employ at least ten of the townsfolk, and supply a large amount of crops to the farmer’s market.”

“I know, he loves it,” Lexi said, “but I worry that he’s working too hard.”

“Maybe he’ll pass the farm onto you.”

Lexi laughed out loud. “I wouldn’t begin to know how to run his operation. Not that I won’t help any way I can. Speaking of the farmer’s market, I have been thinking I can at least handle that…especially since there’s only one more for the season.”

Shalane smiled beautifully. “There is that. But it’ll get you prepared for next year. It should be a good growing season.”

“Have you seen a physic? Or maybe you are one.”

“Nope, Farmer’s Almanac.”

The ladies continued to chat for another hour, as at least twenty customers passed in and out of the store with their purchases. With every word, Lexi felt the pull of this enchanting woman. “I haven’t been to town often, perhaps…if you have the time, you could show me around…maybe point out some good places to eat.”

Shalane’s smile was beguiling. “I think that could be arranged.”

The girls finally came from the back room, holding hands, already fast friends. Lucy was all smiles. “Mommy, can Izzy come to the picnic with us, and we can play games all day. She’s my best friend.”

Lexi pulled her girl in for a hug. “I’m very happy to hear that honey.” Now it was Lexi’s turn to defer. “That would be fine with me, but it’s really up to Izzy’s mom.”

Three sets of beseeching eyes landed upon Shalane Sweet. “Well, what can I say, with those expressions. It’s a great idea. In fact, would you mind if I come along too?”

Now it was Lexi’s turn to grin happily. “I’d love to have you…along for the fun. Our picnic basket is in the car; we can drive over to the park.”

“Fine,” Shalane said. “Give me a few minutes to put some things together, and we’ll be ready.”

“Okay.” Lexi took both girls by the hand. “The three of us will wait out front for you.”

“Hurry Mom,” Izzy yelled as they headed for the door.

*    *    *

The girls were rolling down the small embankment, giggling loudly. The low hills and flatlands all around them were dotted with other picnicking townsfolk. They had chosen a spot under a tree, still wearing most of its fall colors.

The four had shared a fine meal of chicken and biscuit sandwiches, sweet baked beans, and macaroni and cheese.  Shalane’s final contribution to the meal was a dessert of her seasonal best sellers, pumpkin cream rolls and apple pecan pie bars.

“You are gonna be so bad for my waistline, baker lady,” Lexi mumbled. After stuffing herself silly with lunch, and three desserts, she was sprawled out on a blue checked blanket, letting her food digest. The grass beneath them had been freshly cut, for the final time of the year, in preparation for the city wide celebration. The autumn sun was shining brightly, but there was enough wind to call it chilly, not sweater weather just yet, but cold enough for long sleeves or jackets.  

A red leaf wafted down from high above, landing on Lexi’s stomach “I wonder who ordered us this absolutely perfect weather,” she asked, oblivious to the flora on her body.

Shalane was sitting next to the reclining brunette, packing away the lunch leftovers, what little there was, anyway. “I guess it was someone who wanted everyone to have a beautiful day.”

Lexi opened her sparkling blue eyes, and watched her new friend, whose golden hair was haloed by the sun. “Well, I know that my day is turning out to be spectacular,” she said.

Shalane turned, a smile painting her with a happy face. “And it’s barely just begun.”

Lexi’s breath caught at the blonde’s shining beauty, but she agreed. “I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”

“Maybe we…”

“Mommy,” Lucy said, as she came running over with her ever present, new pal by her side. “Can we put on our costumes now, so we can go play the Halloween games?”

Shalane looked at her watch. “Yeah, they’ll be starting in about fifteen minutes. It’ll take us longer than that to get them dressed, and walk over to the other side of the park.”

Lexi groaned from her spot on the ground. “That means I gotta get up. And I’m so comfortable.”

Lucy stood in front of her mother, looking down. “Come on Mommy, don’t be lazy.”

“Come on girls,” Shalane said, as she got to her feet. “Everybody grab an arm and pull.”

Having more strength than the two six year olds, Shalane accidently pulled a little too hard, throwing Lexi off balance. The tall woman threw her arms around Shalane to keep from knocking her down.

“Whoa!” Lexi said, without removing her arms. “I didn’t hurt you did I?”

“Oh no,” Shalane told her. “Pain is not what I’m feeling.”

Lexi grinned slyly. “Well, thank you for the hand up.”

“My pleasure.”

Both mothers suddenly realized there were two sets of young eyes watching them. “Sorry girls,” Shalane said. “What did you want?”

“To put on our costumes,” Izzy said emphatically.

“Okay, let’s do it then. Head over to the car, and we’ll be right behind you.”

The youngsters skipped off together, while the ladies gathered up the blanket and food basket. “Did you feel what I just felt?” Lexi asked.

“Baby, I felt something intense ever since I first saw you walk in the front door.”

Lexi took her hand. “I guess we have some stuff to talk about.”

Shalane’s blonde hair blew in around her face, as she charmingly tipped her head. “We do, but today is for the girls. We will get together really soon for that conversation…and a whole lot more.” With a wink of her twinkling emerald eye, she squeezed the hand in hers.

Lucy stepped out of the bathroom wearing her brilliant costume. Lexi was still inside, and Izzy had run off to get a balloon. Shalane took in the girl’s surprising attire, and smiled. Lucy wore orange and green stripped tights, with practical sneakers on her feet. On her upper body, she wore a purple and yellow bodice with a multicolored tutu of tulle around her waist. And the tutu shimmered with sequins.

“I’m a good witch,” she announced.

“I would say you are,” Shalane said. “That’s a wonderful costume.”

“I can do magic,” the girl added.

Shalane knelt down on one knee, and straightened a slightly crooked sleeve. “What magic can you do sweetie?”

Lucy giggled. “Mommy said I can make candy disappear.”

Shalane laughed with the girl, loving her new, gleeful personality. Such a change from the girl she met that morning. “I bet you can. Izzy’s pretty good at that too.”

“Is she a good witch too?”

Shalane ran her tongue around the inside of her jaw, before she answered. “She must be.”

Lexi stepped from the bathroom with an orange and black item in her hand. “Luce, you forgot…” The girl ran off when Izzy approached them, holding two yellow balloons. “…your hat.”

Shalane took the crooked chapeau. “Why don’t you wear it,” she said, placing the hat upon the tall woman’s head. “Till, she comes back.”

“Do you think it’s my color?” Lexi jokingly asked.

The little, colorful witch, her head now properly adorned, and her buddy, dressed as Robin Hood, headed for the first game they wanted to play. Some pumpkin bowling got them a fancy pencil and eraser to use in school. The lucky moms were told to carry the first of their many prizes to come. Luckily, Lexi thought ahead to bring a backpack for just such a purpose, and offered to carry little Izzy’s treasures too. Shalane thanked the tall woman. The pockets of her jacket already held several secret items.

 A turn at the spider toss, netted them each a plastic ring to wear the rest of the day. Then they played a grave yard obstacle course game, little monster duck pond, spooky spinning wheel and mummy bean bag toss. Lucy won a big prize at the creepy cake walk. But they would come back and pick it up at the end of the day.

“I hope you’ll like my cake,” Shalane said.

“I’m sure we will,” Lexi said. “I’m guessing you donated all of the prizes at that booth.”

“Not all of them, but quite a few. Where to now girls?”

Moms waited, as the girls stood in line to get their faces painted. When it was done, Izzy was wearing feathers down the side of her face, and Lucy had a colorful mask painted around her eyes, that matched her costume.

After a few more games, the moms needed a little break from all the standing and walking. They had a seat on a bench by the scarousel, and watched as the girls had a spin…or two…or three. Lucy had a big grin on her face, and appeared to be laughing out loud as she rode side by side with her friend. Lexi realized she hadn’t seen a sad look on her girl’s face all day. “Your daughter is magic,” Lexi said to Shalane. “She’s really brought Lucy out of her shell, and made her life happier in just one day.”

Shalane giggled softly. “I would have to agree, my Izzy is magical. But sometimes it just takes that one good friend to change your life.” Somehow Shalane knew she was also talking about the woman at her side.

Trekking back to the main party area, the girls ran to the large hay maze, pulling their mothers behind them. “Come play with us Mommy!” Lucy shouted excitedly.

Getting lost in a maze was half the fun, and all four had lots of fun. At one point, Lexi wasn’t watching where she was going, and ran directly into a very sturdy straw bale dead end. Shalane came around the corner, and saw the dark haired woman shaking off the effects of her collision.

“Are you okay?” the candy shop owner asked with real concern.

“Yeah,” Lexi huffed. “I never knew a maze could be so dangerous.”

“You just can’t stay off the ground today,” Shalane joked.

Lexi looked up, shading her eyes from the bright sun, with one hand. Once again she was momentarily mesmerized, thinking that Shalane’s face actually appeared to be glowing. Lexi blinked, and everything returned to normal, beautiful, but normal. She extended her arm. “Care to help me up again.”

Shalane gave a good tug, and the tall woman jumped to her feet. This time, neither woman was in danger of falling, but they still ended up in a light embrace, both wearing a charming smile. They heard the girls giggling nearby, so there was no big hurry to let go. As the hug continued, Lexi told her, “I think you are so beautiful.”

“Thank you,” Shalane answered humbly. “It’s all done with smoke and mirrors.”

“Well, believe me, the mirrors love you.”

A small voice suddenly echoed off the wind. “We know the way Mom, let’s go.”

“We have some bossy children don’t we?” Lexi said, lightly. “Do you realize we’ve been in here over an hour? I bet the girls don’t. And there is a lot more they’ll want to do. I hope we find the exit soon.”

“You go find them,” Shalane said. “I need to get a pebble out of my shoe.”

“Okay. Don’t get lost again.”

Two turns and Lexi caught up with the girls. “We need to get serious here ladies. Time is slipping away.”

“I found it!”

Lexi jumped as the voice sounded near her ear. “Wow!”

The children laughed out loud. “She scared you Mommy.”

“She startled me,” Lexi corrected, indignantly. The girls gave her quizzical looks. “I’ll explain the difference later. What did you say Shalane?”

“I found the way to the exit.” She pointed behind her. “It’s this way.”

“But…that’s where the dead end is.”

“No,” Shalane deflected. “That was more to the left. Follow me, I’ll show you.”

A confused Lexi looked all around as Shalane walked them to the exit. I know this is where I fell, she thought to herself.  She even spied some peanut shells on the ground that had fallen out of her pocket. But looking forward, where before had been a tall stack of hay bales, the way was now clear, with a big exit sign. Weird.

“You coming?” Shalane asked.

Lexi gave one last bewildered look around. “Uh yeah.”

“Don’t they ever run out of steam?” Shalane asked, tiredly.

Her equally pooped friend yawned around her answer. “I think that would be a no…or at least rarely.”

They watched as the girls jumped up and down in a bounce house. Shalane looked on disgustedly at the top of the house. A traditional Halloween witch was standing in front of a big black cauldron, cooking up some evil concoction. Green skin. Really. At least it made her laugh as the ridiculous character bobbed and danced, as half a dozen kids played loudly inside.

The sun was dipping into the western sky, and playtime was, gratefully, coming to an end. The two six year olds had done just about everything there was to do at this Halloween festival. It had been a perfect day. And although she was very tired, Lexi was sorry that Shalane would be leaving her side very soon.

Shalane fished a small package from her pocket. Unwrapping it, she handed a cookie to her friend. “How about a sugar boost.”

“OOOO. I know we shouldn’t, but your treats are so delicious.” Lexi took a bite out of the big chocolate and caramel cookie, savoring its soft texture and smooth blending of flavors. And how in the world did she manage to warm it up. The final bite landed happily into her stomach. “I don’t suppose you have a nice glass of cold milk on you, huh?”

Welllll. Shalane took a deep breath. No, I better not. “Sorry,” she said. “I could probably hunt down a bottle of water for you.”

“Thanks, but that’s okay. It’s not quite the same. I’ve been meaning to ask you about the name of your shop. Sweet, I obviously get, but why the odd spelling of treats?”

“Well, sweet treats was too ordinary, so I added the w. It’s…a…it means something personal to the family.”

“I’ll say it stands for wondrous. Did you invent all of those unique baked goods?”

Shalane gave a small laugh. “Oh no. I have added my share, but there has been a special book of recipes handed down through the women of my family for generations.”

“Are you grooming Izzy for the kitchen?”

“Oh, yes. She loves to help me, and she has some really…unique suggestions. How does a cinnamon and licorice Danish with lemon icing, sound?”

Lexi made a face.  “I think that one needs a little work. But at least she’s creative.”

“I don’t know if any amount of work could save that. I’m having a hard time convincing her, just because you like something doesn’t mean it would taste good in combination.”

“But wouldn’t you love to be that innocent again?” Lexi asked wistfully.

“I like to think I am,” Shalane teased.

Lexi turned to her, and smiled. “I hope you’re not too innocent.”

“For you, never,” Shalane said with a wink. She glanced at her watch. “Come on girls. If you want to do the trick or treating we need to get going.”

The group trekked along the treating trail, through a forested area of the park. Carved and lighted jack o lanterns lined the pathway from one table to the next. The woods, on this evening were filled with pirates and dragons, super heroes and princesses, werewolves, zombies, and dozens of other characters born from the imagination of children.

The girls were soon hefting bags filled with fruit, snacks and candy. After hitting the last table, the moms suggested that the day of activities was coming to an end. With only a few grumbles, the girls agreed. Mostly, they didn’t want to leave each other. But with the suggestion of future play dates, and a promised sleepover really soon, the girls were happy once again.

The foursome started off for the car, until something caught Lucy’s eye. “Mommy look at the horses!” she shouted excitedly. In teams of two, the stout Clydesdales were hitched to wagons.

“Climb aboard ladies,” one of the friendly wagon drivers said. “We’re about to go for a hayride.”

Lucy jumped up and down. “Can we Mommy, can we please?”

Izzy echoed the request.

Lexi and Shalane looked at each other with veiled misery in their eyes. “At least we get to sit down,” the blonde said tiredly.

Lexi hated to deny her daughter anything, especially while she was adjusting to her new home. “Okay,” she agreed. “Let’s climb aboard then.”

Settling into the front corner, moms and daughters nestled themselves down into the thick bed of hay.  The girls whispered something to each other, then each reached out to hug their respective mothers. “Thanks Mommy, for coming here. I had so much fun today.”

Lexi kissed her daughter’s dark head. “I’m glad you had fun baby. And I’m glad you’re happier now.”

Izzy added a kiss to her mother’s cheek along with her thank you for all she got to do during the Halloween festival.

The girls settled back, and each grabbed a fistful of hay and tossed it on each other as the wagon started to roll off on their adventure.

Shalane leaned over and said, “We have a couple of great daughters, don’t we?”

Lexi nodded. “I think we’ve done pretty well. And I am really proud of her.”

Shalane saw the glistening blue eyes, as Lexi watched her daughter playing. “Are you okay?” Shalane asked.

Lexi quickly wicked away a single tear that had escaped. “Yeah,” she said with a rough whisper. “I just…I almost lost her when she was a baby. Just to think of my life without her…” She felt a comforting squeeze on her arm.

“She’s here,” Shalane said. “She’s beautiful and healthy. That’s what’s important. And she seems very happy.”

“She is now.” Lexi said, turning to Shalane. She brought the blonde’s hand to her lips, bestowing a kiss. “Thank you.”

The wagon rocked and rolled as it traveled over the uneven ground, and the wheels clacked loudly as it crossed a wooden bridge, and onto a farm field, already cleared for the season. It was just about dark, and the eeriness of the ride was ramping up.  As the wagon neared another wooded area, some screams filled the night. Then it was quiet again. The driver halted the eight legged team, but the sound of hoof beats could still be heard. And getting louder every second. The youngsters clung to each other, waiting to see what was going to happen next.

“Take it easy girls, this all just pretend. Nothing is going to hurt you.”

Lexi’s words were comforting, but these sophisticated girls knew the truth. Being scared was sometimes fun.

Suddenly, a horse galloped from the tree line, heading for the stalled wagon. The headless rider raised his decapitated noggin, held tightly in his hand, shaking it in anger. The girls screamed, but then giggled as the headless horseman rode on to scare the next wagon full of people, wanting to be in on the fun.

Their wagon started off again, heading back to the park.

Just about five minutes later, Shalane nudged Lexi with an elbow.  She silently guided Lexi’s attention to their daughters. The steam had finally run out. The pair was slumped against each other, nodding off, lulled by the movement of the ride.

Luckily, the car wasn’t too far away from where the wagon had unloaded. Both girls were fading quickly, and both parents nixed the request for anymore candy. Lexi did make one quick stop at the restroom.

When she returned to the group, Shalane handed her a box with her shop logo on the top.

“What’s this?” Lexi asked.

“Your prize from the cake walk.”

“Oh, I almost forgot. But how did you get it?  That was all the back across the park. I wasn’t in the bathroom that long.”

“I…um…Mary, who was running the game, was going by with the unclaimed cakes and I got it from her.”

“Oh, thanks. Hmmm, I wonder what flavor this is?”

Shalane took a quick peek inside the box, easily remembering which kind it was from the ghost decorations on top. “That would be my boonana, chocolate chip with milk chocolate frosting. You wouldn’t happen to like boonana cake would you?”

“Absolutely. I’ll say again, if it’s your creation, I know I’ll love it.”

“Moooooom.” This time it was Izzy, who turned the word into a complaining moan.

Each mother practically had to carry their half asleep daughter to the car.  But with the children, and everything else finally tucked properly into Lexi’s car, the group headed off to take Shalane and Izzy’s home.

A small, stone covered cottage, set back in a forest was were Shalane and her daughter lived.

Lexi pulled into the drive, stepped out of her car and opened the door for Shalane. Taking her hand, Lexi turned to look at the home. “How charming is this,” she said, “did the seven dwarfs come with?”

Shalane tipped her head to one side. “No, but Hansel and Gretel are nearby, and red’s granny is just over the river.”

Lexi laughed. “That’s good.” She gave the house another perusal. “It’s just the two of you here,” she said as they walked up onto the porch.

“Izzy, me and Miss Boo.” Shalane pointed to the window, where a black cat had appeared. “My parents have a similar house, about a mile down the road,” she added.

“It really is great. And don’t get me wrong, but isn’t it just a little small, even for two of you.”

Shalane hid her smile in the shadow of the porch. “It’s…deceiving. It’s much bigger inside than it looks. Why don’t you and Lucy come over on Halloween, after trick or treating of course. There’s a fire pit out back and we can do s’mores”

“I think we would like that a lot,” Lexi said. Her expression turned thoughtful. “I really am glad I met you today.”

“So am I,” Shalane agreed. “Before we go on from here, there’s something important I need to tell you about myself.”

Lexi took a step closer. “There’s a lot of important things I want to know about you. And there are a lot of things I want you to know about me.”

“Of course…but I just…”

“I mentioned earlier that I had some healing to do, and above all I could use a friend…but I really hope we can be much more. We did a lot of flirting today…and that was fun, but I really am attracted to you…all of you.”

“I am very attracted to you too.”

“I’m glad.” Lexi leaned closer. “Can I come and see you at the shop tomorrow.”

“I’ll have the coffee waiting. But I need…”

Under the ghostly glow of a cloud shrouded moon, they shared their first sweet kiss.

I’ll tell her later that I’m a witch.

The End