With the exception of Zoe they were soon laughing about the incident.
“You should’ve seen your face,” Lani laughed with Rita. “Your eyes were like,” and she contorted her features so her eyes bugged out while she gasped and clutched the kerchief around Rita’s neck.
Zoe refused to walk ahead of them and clung to Travis at the next few houses, dragging him to the door while the girls waited on the sidewalk.
“How much longer do you think this is going to take?” Maggie asked, her arms crossed over her chest, her hands tucked into her armpits.
“Weren’t you the one who was all excited to be spending time with Travis?” Lani pointed out.
Maggie didn’t have a chance to respond because Zoe came running back towards them crying. She moved to go past the group but Rita reached out an arm and caught her.
“Thanks for that,” Travis said as he came up a moment latter with Zoe’s plastic pumpkin in one arm and a handful of candy that had fallen out of it in the other.
“What happened?” Rita asked, kneeling in front of Zoe and directing the question at her.
The girl was crying too much to make out anything coherent.
“Her tiara is missing,” Travis explained. “Do any of you remember where she had it last? She wants to go back and look for it.”
“Well, it can’t be too far,” Rita assured Zoe who was slowly beginning to calm down. “Why don’t the rest of you go on ahead and I’ll walk back and look for it?” she suggested. “I can find it and run to catch back up when I do.”
“You can’t go alone,” Maggie objected. “We all go or none of us do and frankly, I’m ready to call it a night.”
“No way,” Lani chimed in. “I’m not done yet.”
“Well I’m going back to the house where it’s warm,” Maggie insisted, turning to go back the way they came.
“It’s actually quicker to get back if you keep going,” Travis explained, hiding his amusement as Maggie turned around again, her exasperation building.
“This is ridiculous. I’ll find your tiara, Zoe,” Rita said before hurriedly retracing their steps.
It was getting late and most of the trick-or-treaters were finishing up. A few houses had turned off their lights and were closing up for the evening.
She spotted the red glow of the front door where the dummy had come flying at her and Zoe—the girl’s tiara must have fallen off there when she’d jumped in surprise. Easing her way back to the driveway, she kept an eye out for the movement that would indicate the dummy’s return. Spotting and nabbing the plastic tiara, she sighed with relief and headed back to the sidewalk.
Something reached out and grabbed her by the arm, causing her to scream.
Travis laughed before wrapping an arm around her and pulling her close.
“Relax. Zoe wanted me to make sure you were okay.”