Hey again, guys. I know I haven't posted anything new in a really long time; it's because I've been really busy with the start of school and all. Apparently junior year is "the year colleges look at most," so my parents are really cracking down on me. Anyway, I finally found some time to write. And, since I'm extremely excited about Halloween (Yeah, I know it's a bit early) I wanted to write something about it. I dunno, I just really love this time of year.

So this is a (very long) one shot. It's pretty cliched and it's probably been done before, but whatever, I had fun writing it. As for the title, it's only partially relevant but I couldn't really think of anything else. Here goes.

Jake took off running again for the millionth time in the past hour and a half. If I lost him now, it would be impossible to ever find him. All traces of the sun had left a while ago, and now that it was dark, more and more people were starting to crowd the streets. I rubbed my forehead in frustration, taking off after him. "Jake! Jacob!"

The boy turned around to look at me. "What?" he whined, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Jake, kiddo…" I began, pushing his Red Power-rangers mask up so I could see his face.

"I'm not a kiddo," my cousin reminded me. "I'm seven."

"Right. It keeps slipping my mind," I humored him. He had turned seven a week and a half ago, and he wasn't letting anyone forget it. I knelt down so I was eye-level with him. "Jake, all-mighty seven-year-old…"

The joke apparently went right over his head. He nodded to show that he was listening.

"Do you remember what my mother said to me before we left the house, sweetie?"

He thought for a moment, creasing his forehead. Then Jake nodded excitedly. "Yeah! Aunt Debbie said you'd be punished if you lost me!"

I shook my head and put my hands on his shoulders. "No, Jake… Not exactly. You've got the right idea, though. Aunt Debbie said, 'God help me, Taylor, if you lose him, you will never see any four walls again besides the ones that make up your bedroom. I will make sure that you are grounded until your honeymoon.' Do you remember that, Jake?"
"Yes," he said.

"Okay. Good. So please, please, stop-"

"running off," he finished, rolling his eyes. I had told him that roughly two-dozen times already, and I knew he was growing tired of hearing it. You'd think he'd stop taking off like a chipmunk that had overdosed on caffeine, then.

I began my speech about how "there's plenty of time left to get more candy" and "Halloween didn't end for another few hours," but Jake had already pulled down his mask again and was heading for the next house.

I sighed once more and put my hands in the front pocket of my sweatshirt, hiding them from the cold. Then I picked up my speed and, once again, chased after my little cousin.

Jake was standing at the bottom of a walkway when I caught up. He was staring in admiration at the house in front of us, his eyes as wide as the carved-out pumpkins that lined the stoop. "Woah…" he murmured.

It was easily the most decorated house on the block-- Maybe in the entire neighborhood. There were orange strings of lights, tombstones covering the lawn, spider-webs all over the bushes… It looked incredible.

I took Jake's hand, despite his squirming to get me to let go, and we went up to the porch of the house. My little cousin rang the doorbell. With his matching Power-Rangers pillowcase in his hand, he bounced on his heels in anticipation.

The door creaked open slowly, revealing someone dressed up as a zombie. His clothes were all ripped up and he had stitches drawn on his face in costume make-up. His hair, which was brown and somewhat short, was deliberately messed up so it looked disheveled.

I squinted, trying to make out his face in the dark lighting. "Brandon?" I questioned.

His head snapped up straight from the tilted, zombie-like way it had been lolling. "Taylor?" He almost dropped the bowl of candy in his hands.

I laughed. "Wow… Nice costume," I said, looking once again at his torn jeans and suit-jacket.

He shrugged. "My mom gets kind of into it, as if you couldn't already tell by the house," Brandon told me. Then he paused and furrowed his eyebrows. "Are you mocking me? Because, in all fairness, Miss DeVito, you're out trick-or-treating yourself…"

Grinning, I shook my head and placed my hand on Jake's shoulder. "Nah, I'm out because of this one." I pushed the mask up onto his forehead again. "This is my little cousin, Jake. And no, I'm not mocking you," I added as an afterthought.

"I'm not little," Jake murmured.

From over my cousin's shoulder, I raised an eyebrow at Brandon. He caught my gaze for a second and smirked, but his attention flickered to Jake. "No, of course not, Jake. And you know what?"


"Big kids like you get real candy-bars. Not that not-so-fun fun-sized stuff," Brandon said, handing him a chocolate bar.

Jake's eyes lit up, as if the chocolate Brandon just gave him was equivalent to the night's worth of trick or treating that he already had in his pillowcase. He looked up at me. "Can I have it now?" he begged. "Please Tay?"

"Knock yourself out, kiddo." I immediately regretted my choice of words, thinking that Jake would reprimand me once again for the "kiddo" comment, but he was already too preoccupied with unwrapping his candy.

"So where's your costume?" Brandon asked me, crossing his arms and leaning on the doorframe.

"Heh. Nah, I'm just here to supervise," I replied, tilting my head in Jake's direction once again.

"So what? It's Halloween!"

I shrugged. "I wouldn't have had anything to wear, anyway."

Brandon scoffed playfully. "Lame excuse," he commented.

Hearing children's voices approaching from the pathway behind us, I took Jake's hand and stepped aside. The mob of about six kids stood at the doorway with their bags open and yelled, "Trick or Treat" in unison. Brandon resumed his zombie-act and gave them all candy.

I had met Brandon a year before when we were both juniors. We ended up in a lot of the same classes together, and he usually got the seat directly in front of me since his last name is Callahan and mine is DeVito. We essentially started talking, however, when we were placed in the same Chemistry lab group for a few months.

People knew Brandon, which was more than could be said for me. But he wasn't popular, and he wasn't exactly the definition of "cool." He was well-known because he was a really nice guy, and people respected him for that.

When the horde of kids finally took off, excitedly jumping the porch stairs, Brandon turned to us again. "So what're your plans for the night, then?"

"I dunno," I replied. "I figured I'd take him up toward Westbury Road. We've already been through most of the south side of the neighborhood."

Brandon grinned. "Sounds like fun."


He tilted his head to the side, seemingly thinking about something. "Hey, my mom just took an apple pie out of the oven… It should be cool in a couple minutes; you guys wanna come in for a bit and have some?"

"Aw, that's nice of you Brandon, but we really don't want to intrude," I said, feeling my face go a little red. "Thanks, anyway, though."

"You really wouldn't be intruding, though. Honestly. I invited you." Brandon raised his eyebrow, as if tempting me to say yes. "C'mon, what do you say?"

I glanced down at Jake. He had finished his candy bar and the look on his face was that of impatience. My cousin was telling me with his eyes to reject Brandon's offer.

"Ah, I'd really like to, but…" I put my hand on Jake's head, intentionally making his mask go askew. "Think the boss here wants to get a move-on."

Brandon laughed. "Alright. No problem," he said, pushing himself off of the door-frame. "Have fun, Jake." He then turned to me. "Happy Halloween," he said casually, grinning. Brandon opened my hand and put a candy bar in my palm.

"Thanks." I smiled at him.

As my cousin and I went down the porch steps and headed toward the street again, Brandon waved and went to shut his door.

A thought suddenly struck me. I put my hand on Jake's shoulder to stop him for a second and whirled around to face the house again. "Hey, Brandon!"

"Hm?" He opened the door again and stuck his head out.

"Why don't you come with us?"

He laughed, averting his gaze to the ground. "Nah, trick-or-treating's not really my thing."

"Oh, and you suppose it's mine? C'mon… I thought you got all into this holiday."

Brandon looked up and pursed his mouth to the side, apparently debating his decision. "Yeah, alright. I'll go."

"Awesome," I replied, beaming at him.

"Lemme just go grab some stuff really quick and tell my parent's to hold down the fort while I'm gone."

I grinned. "Because I'm sure this place could just not function without you for a few hours."

He let out a sarcastic laugh. "You'd be surprised at how often my dad 'forgets' to answer the doorbell on Halloween. He hates this holiday almost as much as the rest of my family loves it." Brandon held up a finger, indicating that he'd be right back. Then he disappeared from the doorway.

"So what's in the knapsack?" I asked, looking sideways at Brandon as he stood next to me. Jake had just gone up to a new house and Brandon and I were waiting out by the street.

The three of us were slowly but surely making our way toward the north side of town. Jake had insisted upon going up to ring the doorbells alone, because he was "seven years old and not a kid anymore." I reluctantly agreed, but told him to make sure he came right back to Brandon and I afterwards. Jake rolled his eyes at my being paranoid. It wasn't that I didn't trust him, it was just that I would have rathered keep my hide in one piece past Thanksgiving.

"Oh! I almost forgot…" Brandon replied. He let the bag slide off his shoulder and he placed it on the concrete, searching through his belongings. Brandon pulled out an over-sized football jersey and a black thick-point marker.

"You've gotta be kidding me," I said, smirking.

"Nuh uh," he told me. "It was the best costume I could grab within a 30-second period." Brandon held the blue jersey up. When he saw my facial expression, he said, "Aw, c'mon, Taylor. It's Halloween."

I sighed and nodded, unzipping my sweatshirt. Even though the jersey would have probably fit on over it, I would have felt confined and uncomfortable. "Fine, but you're holding this in your backpack," I informed him, trading him my sweatshirt.

Brandon nodded. "Alright," he said, rolling it into a ball before he stuffed it into the bag.

I slipped the Jersey over my black tank top and shook my hair free of the neckline. It was big on me, just as I had thought it would be (the sleeves went down to my elbows and the shirt reached the middle of my thighs) but the jersey wasn't swimming on me. It was comfortably loose, and it had a faint scent of laundry detergent and cologne. It smelled good.

"Alright. Now for the eye black," Brandon said, uncapping the marker.

I rolled my eyes but grinned. "This is ridiculous."

"What? Without it you just look like you borrowed my jersey."

"I did just borrow your jersey."

"Hush," Brandon told me. He put his hand lightly under my chin and tilted it upwards to keep my head steady. He began to lightly sketch the black lines right under my eyes.

As he filled in the lines more darkly, his hand went up to the side of my face. I felt my cheeks beginning to go red from a combination of his touch and his stare. I lowered my gaze, my eyes fixed on the piles of leaves at our feet.

"There," he said. He recapped the marker and tossed it into the knapsack just as Jake came strolling down the driveway.

"You're a football player!" my cousin exclaimed excitedly. Brandon picked up his bag and the three of us began walking to the next house.

"Yep, thanks to Brandon." I stuck my tongue out at him from above Jake's head. Brandon sneered back at me.

"You'd be a bad football player, Tay. You'd get run over and squashed," Jake informed me. Brandon stifled a laugh.

"Thanks for the newsflash, buddy." I put my hand on Jake's head and ruffled the blonde hair underneath his mask.

"I dunno," Brandon said pensively. "I think she kinda makes a pretty cute football player…" He caught my gaze and a boyish smirk flickered across his mouth. My eyes went wide before they went quizzical, and then I looked away from Brandon altogether. I'm pretty sure I heard Jake let out a muttered, "blegh," sound, but I was too embarrassed to think much of it.

After two more hours of endless houses, nonstop walking and the same routine over and over again, the three of us finally found ourselves on the north side of the neighborhood, up by Westbury Road.

"Alright, Jake," I said, stopping in front of a large corner house. I almost had to yell to be heard over the horde of kids laughing and running every which way; We were up by the main streets now, and it was the densest part of the neighborhood. "Let's do this one last house and then we've gotta start heading home, okay?"

Jake groaned but reluctantly nodded. Then he started up the long driveway and joined the rest of the kids on their way to the front door.

I leaned with my back against the bark of a tree and exhaled, watching my breath form in a cloud around my mouth. The air was beginning to get colder. A shiver went through my body and I stuck my hands in the pockets of my jeans.

Brandon looked over and shot me a crooked smile, putting his hands into his pockets as well. "Cold?" he asked.

I shrugged. "Yeah, but I don't mind it so much. I love weather like this."

He walked closer to me, kicking at the piles of dried, brown leaves. They crunched as he trod on them. "How come?" he questioned, leaning against the tree opposite from mine.

I shrugged again. "I dunno… I just…" My voice halted as I tried to think of a reason. The moon was shining through the few remaining leaves on the trees above us, casting slivers of white light onto the ground. "It's refreshing, I guess."

Brandon didn't say anything, but he furrowed his eyebrows, as if waiting for me to further explain myself.

"Well, take a deep breath."

He did as I told him, and when he let go of it the cloud of mist from his exhale hung in the cold air.

"Smell that?"

Brandon raised his shoulder and shook his head slowly, indicating that he didn't know what I was going on about. "It just smells like air," he commented.

I rolled my eyes, but a smile pulled at the corner of my mouth. "No…" I replied, stretching out the word. "It smells like air and leaves and smoke and pumpkins and shaving cream. That's probably my favorite smell in the world."

He laughed. "Your favorite smell is the smell of oxygen, dead leaves, stuff burning and old men?"

I sighed in mock frustration and let my head fall backwards against the rough bark of the tree. "I give up." A yawn escaped my mouth and I rubbed my eyes, realizing how tired I was. And we still had to walk all the way back to our end of the neighborhood.

I heard Brandon let out a short laugh and I raised my head to find out why.

"You smeared your face," he explained.


"The eye black… You just smeared it."

"Oh," I replied stupidly, my hand going up to my face. "I forgot I had it on." I brushed my fingers along my cheeks where I thought the marker was, but it wasn't doing any good when I couldn't see what I was doing.

"You just made it worse," he laughed. "Here, lemme help."

Brandon pushed off the tree and crossed the sidewalk. He made me stand up straight as he rubbed his thumb along my face, trying to wipe off the marker. When that didn't work, he hooked his thumb underneath the collar of his shirt and brought it up to my cheek. Brandon rubbed at the marker, using his t-shirt as a washcloth. The kids running back and forth across the lawn and the street paid no attention to us.

"There." He smiled and let the shirt fall away from my face.

I shyly smiled back and dropped my gaze to the floor. "Thanks," I told him. It took me a second to realize that, although he wasn't cleaning marker off my cheek anymore, Brandon's hand was, once again, still resting on the side of my face.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and tried to ignore the butterflies in my stomach, knowing that if I gave into them I'd start to appear nervous.

"Not that I have any reason to be nervous," I assured myself. "Because Brandon is my friend. Brandon's my friend and he's keeping me company while I'm stuck taking my little cousin trick-or-treating. It's not that I'm not enjoying myself, because I am. But I feel absolutely nothing toward Brandon." The more I tried to mentally talk myself out of this dilemma, the more nervous I got.

"I'm absolutely not blushing because he's standing so close to me," I told myself. "And I honestly don't care that I'm wearing his jersey and it smells really good, just like he goes. I do not care that his hand is on my face, it does not make me feel safe, and I do not, under any circumstances, have the overwhelming urge right now to—"

"Taylor?" he whispered.

"Hm?" My head snapped up at the sound of his voice.

"Are you okay?" Brandon asked.

It took all my strength just to force myself to nod.

"Are you sure?" His words were barely even audible now; I could hear them only because our faces were inches apart. This time, though, I didn't bother shaking my head. Our eyes were locked and I felt too nervous to even blink.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a red blob walk past us, heading down the block. I instinctively pulled away from Brandon and stepped past him into the middle of the sidewalk.

"Hey… Where do you think you're going, kiddo?" I called after Jake. I tried to make my voice sound as normal as possible, but it still quivered a little.

The red Power Ranger turned around to look at me, but he didn't give me any hell for calling him "kiddo" again. He just stared at me with his head tilted to the side. I took a few steps toward him. "What did I tell you about walking away from us, huh? I told you to meet Brandon and me back at the end of the driveway whenever you're done at a house…"

Jake, once again, didn't say anything. He just stared at me through his mask.

Brandon stepped onto the sidewalk beside me. "You alright, buddy?" he asked, bending down so he was at Jake's height.

Jake took a step backwards. "I'm not allowed to talk to strangers," he murmured, but his voice was slightly muffled from the mask.

"Brandon isn't a stranger, Jake," I said, furrowing my eyebrows. "He's my friend from school, remember? Don't you remember walking with him for the past twenty blocks?"

My little cousin just stared at me. I assumed he was just trying to be difficult, so I sighed and grabbed his hand. "Let's just get home," I mumbled, holding onto him as we started across the street.

The second I began to pull him along, he started bawling. Jake tried to twist out of my grasp as he screamed and cried, causing such a scene that people were starting to look at us.

"Jake! Cut it out," I tried to yell over his wailing. "What's wrong with you?!" I bent down and took off his mask, figuring I'd try to calm him down.

When I lifted the Power Rangers mask, however, I didn't see Jake's wide brown eyes and his blonde hair. Instead, I was met with a completely different face altogether. The kid had bright red hair, blue eyes and pale freckled skin. And he looked very upset.

I screamed from the initial shock and stumbled back. In turn, the kid screamed again and cried louder. He plopped down off to the side of the street and sobbed into his knees.

A woman rushed over to the boy and knelt down, cradling him in her arms. She had the same red hair and freckles.

"Brian! Brian, what's wrong? Mommy's here, sweetheart… What's wrong?"

The little boy rubbed his teary eyes with one hand and pointed to Brandon and I with the other. However, nothing escaped his throat except for choked sobs.

"What did you do to my son!?" she demanded. She stood up, grasped onto her child's hand, and began walking angrily towards Brandon and me.

I wasn't worried about her, though. Another, much more terrible, thought had just entered my mind.

If that wasn't my cousin, my cousin could be anywhere.

"Jake," I whispered. Brandon heard me and his eyes went wide. Without explaining anything to the furious mother, we both took off in opposite directions, searching frantically for my cousin.

First we searched the driveway of the house he had last trick-or-treated at. When we didn't find him there, we hurried back to the street, hysterically asking people if they'd seen a little boy dressed as a red Power Ranger. They all shook their heads negatively.

I put my hand up to my forehead, trying desperately hard not to panic. I was feeling suddenly dizzy, though, and there was a hollow feeling lurking in the pit of my stomach.

"Brandon… Brandon we have to find him. Oh God, what if he's hurt? What if someone took him…? I can't believe I took my eye of him, I—"

Brandon put his hands on my shoulders to steady me. "Taylor, calm down," he said, but his voice sounded just as flustered as mine had. "We're gonna find him, okay? We'll… We'll split up, alright? Do you have your cell phone on you?"

I shook my head. It had gone dead that afternoon, and I hadn't had time to charge it so I just left it at home.

Brandon's eyes darkened as he thought for a second. "Alright… You go this way and I'll go that way. If we find him, we'll meet up at the Church over on Lincoln. We'll both check there every so often to see if either one of us has him, okay?"

I nodded, trying extremely hard to push away the tears welling in my eyes.

"Alright, let's go. We'll find him, Taylor, don't worry, okay?" Brandon repeated.

Brandon and I both spun around and ran in opposite directions. We pushed through the crowds on the sidewalk and called Jake's name as we went.

I sat on the curb with my face in my hands and fought back tears. They were the uncontrollable kind; the kind that rose to your throat and made you feel choked when you were scared beyond belief.

It had been almost an hour of fruitless searching. I had checked back at the church roughly seven times, but there had been no sign of Jake or Brandon.

It was getting late. The swarms of kids on the street had begun to thin out as more and more went back home. The moon that had been bright just a little while ago had groups of mist-like clouds moving it front of it. The hollow feeling in my stomach became even worse upon realizing that, in the increasing darkness, it would be even harder to find my cousin. When the thought of never finding him entered my brain, I had sunk down on the curb, not knowing what else to do.

Every once in a while I'd hear the footsteps of the last few remaining people on the streets, but I didn't take my head out of my hands to look at them. I didn't care what a pitiful sight I was, sitting on the cold concrete and trying desperately hard not to start sobbing.

I must've been sitting there about ten minutes when two sets of footsteps sounded on the asphalt, but the noise barely registered in the back of my mind. I suddenly had the feeling that someone was staring at me, though, and I realized that the footsteps had been approaching me when they suddenly ceased. Raising my head from my arms, I saw two pairs of legs. One pair was wearing ripped-up blue jeans and the other legs (much smaller) had on red Power-Rangers pants.

With a sharp intake of breath, I looked up and my eyes fell on Brandon's face. He looked exhausted and stressed as he held my cousin's hand, but there was still a tired smile on his face. My eyes flickered to the seven-year-old standing beside him.

"Jake!" I bawled, springing to my feet. I took my cousin in my arms, raised him off the ground and squeezed the ever-loving tar out of him. Even though he squirmed and thrashed, I didn't let go right away. Only after the multiple of exclamations of, "Taylor, you are crushing my bones," did I let him down.

Then I proceeded to kneel down to his level, point my finger in his face, and look as intimidating as I possibly could. "Jacob Anthony DeVito, you will never do that to me again. Do you understand me?" I stressed my words as clearly as I could.

The little blonde boy rolled his eyes without looking the slightest bit frightened. "Now you sound like my mommy, Taylor," he groaned.

Under normal circumstances, I probably would have reprimanded him again, but I figured the three of us had already been through enough trauma for one night. I was just happy that my cousin was back, in my presence, unharmed and unscathed.

I got to my feet again and awkwardly put my hands in my back pockets, trying to think of something to say to the guy who ultimately saved my skin that night.

"Brandon," I began, my eyes searching the leaf-covered blacktop. "I can't thank you enough for…"

He shook his head. "Don't mention it, Taylor. I really didn't do anything. I found him just by chance, sitting near the entrance to Brady Park. Apparently he'd been looking for us, too, and he'd gotten himself even more lost when—"

I launched myself at Brandon, cutting off his words. My arms held tightly around his neck and I squeezed him as hard as I could. "Thank you so much, Brandon." I put my forehead against his shoulder and stayed like that for a while.

He laughed softy and hugged me back, pressing his lips against the top of my head. "You're welcome," he replied.

I stared absentmindedly at my kitchen counter. My hand was anchored around the handle of a coffee-mug, and every once in a while I'd raise it to my mouth to take a sip.

My feet hurt, I had a massive headache, and I was almost too tired to keep my eyes open. The clock above the stove read 11:27 and I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep, but I didn't think I had enough energy to make it up the stairs. Besides; my mother had told me to answer the door for any last trick-or-treaters.

I had just gotten home no more than fifteen minutes ago. Brandon had insisted on walking us, saying that the last thing he wanted was for us to get egged. When we'd made it to my front stoop, I asked Brandon if he wanted a ride home, but he declined, saying that he'd be just fine walking. I nodded and thanked him once again. Then I took off his football jersey and handed it back to him.

Brandon had caught my eye as if he had wanted to say something else, but I didn't ask him what it was. My eyes flickered to my little cousin, squirming impatiently as he waited for me to open the door. He had been complaining the whole way home that he was thirsty and tired. I fished my key out of my back pocket, gave Brandon a quick hug goodbye, and waved as I stepped inside.

My mother had come down from her bedroom when she heard the front door open. She found Jake and me in the kitchen, him sitting at the counter while I poured him a glass of juice.

"Hi, kids. How was trick-or-treating?" She'd asked.

As I placed the glass of orange juice in front of Jake, I shot him a look, warning him to bite his tongue. By the way he avoided his aunt's gaze and replied with a quick, "good," I could tell that he wasn't planning on spilling to anyone about the mishap. He knew fully well that, although I'd get most of the heat because he had been my responsibility, Jake still would've gotten in trouble for running off in the first place.

"Good," my mother repeated. "I just got off the phone with your mom, Jake. How about I take you home once you finish your juice? You must be really tired, sweetheart…"

My cousin had nodded as a yawn escaped his mouth. He looked absolutely beat, and I didn't blame him. After emptying his glass, Jake had grabbed his pillowcase full of candy and gotten into my family's car so my mother could take him back to his house.

The doorbell rang, breaking me out of my inattentive stare. I painfully got back on my feet and shuffled towards the front door, grabbing the bowl of candy on the way over.

I braced myself for a mob of rowdy teenagers covered in shaving cream, since the little kids had gone home hours ago, but I instead opened the door to a single, much more casual, "Trick or Treat."

Brandon was standing there with an adorable smirk on his face and my sweatshirt in his arms. "You forgot this in my bag," he said, pushing it towards me.

"Aw, thank you," I said, taking it from him and tossing it onto the armchair off to the side of the doorway. "You didn't have to walk it all the way back here. You were probably already halfway home," I figured.

He shrugged. "Nah, it's no big deal."

Refusing to let conversation fall into another awkward silence filled with dodged glances, I held the bowl of candy up. "You want something?" I asked.

Brandon laughed and casually scratched the back of his head. "Nah, thanks," he said. "I'm sure my little sister got tons; I'll just steal some of hers when I get home," he joked.

"Aw, C'mon… My mom's gonna be mad if we don't get rid of it. She always complains about how she'll eat it if it's the house. And besides," I reminded him. "You did say trick or treat."

He good-humoredly rolled his eyes. "Alright, fine."

I beamed triumphantly. "What'll it be, then?" I asked, looking down at the candy left in the bowl. I dug through it with my fingers, trying to read the wrappers in the dim lighting. "We've got Tootsie rolls, lollipops, crunch bars and caramel."

Brandon shrugged a shoulder, sticking his hands deep in his pockets. "Actually, I was kind of hoping for something else…" He stared down at his feet.

"Oh?" I asked. "What's that?"

When I'd first asked the question, I honestly didn't know the answer. When Brandon looked up, however, and his eyes met mine, it clicked. I froze completely and tried to speak, but my words caught in my throat.

Brandon took a step towards me and lightly pressed his lips against mine. My eyes initially went wide from shock, but they finally fell shut as I relaxed into him.

When both of us pulled away, Brandon muttered a quick, "Happy Halloween" and spun around to face the street. He jumped the one step that made up my stoop and headed towards his house.

I stood motionless in my doorway with my head tilted slightly to the side, watching him walk away. Brandon still had his hands in his pockets. He stared at his feet moving over the slabs of concrete sidewalk. I could hear his shoes crunching over dead leaves. He glanced over his shoulder at me for a split second, grinned at the elementariness of the entire situation, and turned back around.

I finally shook my head free of the frozen daze I'd been in. I went back into my house and shut out the cold autumn air, all the while thinking about how the whole night had been just as elementary. The trick-or-treating, the thrown-together costume, the innocent flirting and, to finish it off, the naive little kiss on the lips.

A feeling of carefree happiness flooded into me. Biting my lip, I grinned as I sauntered up the stairs toward my bedroom.

So all in one night, I had chased after a seven-year-old, run into my ex-lab partner and acquaintance, developed an admittedly large crush on said acquaintance, lost my little cousin, had a mental breakdown, found him again, and had one of the sweetest kisses I'd ever received.

All things considered, it wasn't such a bad Halloween.

The End.

Yep. So nothing too complicated, nothing you guys haven't read before. This plot was just floating in my head for a few days and I figured I'd better write something with a whole bunch of fluff before I went nuts from lack of writing anything in forever.

Comments, feedback, or constructive criticism would be really great, if you could :)

Thanks for reading!