Apologies, candy, and a quite handsome Vampire
It hurts knowing that you’re going to be on your own. The only thing I could do was lie in bed, staring up at the ceiling, and avoid everyone. I lost two pounds from my diet of water and no food; only maybe eighteen or twenty pounds to go and those girls would stop bothering me. I still had that empty feeling inside, and I didn’t attempt to solve it.
Scott was beginning to worry. Being my brother, he already guessed something was wrong and confronted me several times about it. I did my best to convince him that I was alright, and he always left with a look saying that he didn’t buy what I was saying. I felt guilty, lying to my dad and brother, avoiding Gerard and the guys…
Gerard. What he said hurt. I didn’t think that he was capable of anger and snapping at me. But then again, I was the cause. I was always the cause of trouble, aren’t I? I didn’t want him to be angry with me, but how could I tell him about Brandon?
It was Halloween, and I while my father took my brother and sister out for costume shopping, I was reduced to sitting on my bed sketching and listening to The Used. Scott was in his room next to mine, playing video games with his friend, Max, who came over. I sang to myself as All That I’ve Got came on, and shaded in a tree and exchanged my color pencil for a darker brown. I colored in the wrong spot, and tried to erase it. Much to my dislike, color pencil marks don’t erase. I sighed, and ripped it out of my sketch book, crumpled it into a paper ball, and started a new page.
The doorbell rang, snapping me out of the process of drawing a new tree.
“Willow, get the door!” Scott shouted from his room, not wanting to be bothered from the game he was playing.
I groaned, sticking my pencil in the messy bun on my head. I got up and went downstairs with my sketchbook in hand. The doorbell rang a couple more times as I padded across the floor to it. I opened the door by a few inches and peeked out shyly, and my eyebrows rose to my hairline. I groaned mentally, and opened the door fully.
Gerard stood there, a sheepish look on his face. “Uh… hi.”
I gave him an awkward wave, wondering what he was doing here on my Saturday.
“Listen…” He said, looking at me with a sincere face. “I’m sorry for getting angry and snapping at you the other day. I… I was just worried; we all are. Mikey, Frank, Bob... We miss having you around, and if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay because you’re entitled to your privacy… I just want you to know that you’re not alone, okay? I’ll be here any time you wanna talk…”
He looked down at his beaten black Converse. The fact that he took the time to come to my house and apologize made that empty feeling inside fill up… but only by a fraction. I smiled at him, and stepped forward and gave him a hug. He was taken back and slowly raised his arms to wrap them around me.
“We good?” He asked, and I nodded. I felt him smile and hug me tighter. “Awesome!”
We pulled apart, and he bit his lip and scratched at his hair. “Anyway… today is Frank’s birthday. We’re gonna dress up and trick-or-treat… probably scare little kids. I was wondering if… y’know, maybe you wanna come?”
I chewed on my bottom lip as I thought about his invite. I’ve never hung out with anyone outside of school.
What’re you talking about? I thought to myself. You never even had friends to hang out with!
As I was contemplating, somebody came up behind me and said, “She’d love to go with you guys!”
I squeaked from fright, and turned around to see Scott behind me. Gerard chuckled lightly from the sound I made, and I started to blush.
Scott stuck his hand out for Gerard to shake. “I’m Scott, Willow’s older brother.”
“Gerard,” He grinned, shaking his hand.
“Ahh,” Scott smirked. “So you’re this Gerard I’ve heard about. Nice to meet ya’, man; you treatin’ my sis right?”
Gerard chuckled. “’Bout right. I gotta get going; I’ll pick you up around seven, kay?”
I nodded, giving him a big smile. He smiled and waved to me goodbye and headed to his car. I closed the door and sighed. I looked up to see Scott with a big smirk on his face, and Max was sitting on the stairs with the same stupid smirk as him.
“Stop smiling like that,” I grumbled, brushing past them to the kitchen and they followed. “You’ll scare children.”
“So that was Gerard?” Scott said.
“Drop it, Scott,” I said, pulling out a carton of cinnamon egg-nog from the fridge. “I know where this is going.”
“Does little Willow fancy this boy of black locks?” Max cooed in a fake British accent.
I threw an apple at him and he caught it in his hand, taking a bite out of it. Max was like Scott’s twin; it scared me from how alike they could be. They were both in the exchange program when Mom died. He was just as protective of me as Scott.
I gave him a strange look. “Uh, no.”
“I can see you two together,” Scott said, causing me to choke on my egg-nog.
“Where the hell did you get that from?” I asked.
“From the hug you two had!” He said.
“Why would you judge a friendly hug?”
“That wasn’t a friendly hug,” Max said, and pulled Scott into a hug where his arms squished him like a constrictor. “This is a friendly hug.”
“Well, how would I know? He’s the first friend I’ve ever made!”
“Aww! Then that makes it extra special,” Max said, pinching my cheeks the way my aunts would. “You two are meant to be!”
I slapped his hands away from my face and walked away from the kitchen. They followed me up the stairs and to my room.
“Are you gonna get ready or what?” Scott asked, jumping on the balls of his feet.
“Seriously, you two are like girls or something,” I groaned. “And I guess.”
“Well, you got three hours,” Max said. “Go make yourself pretty!”
“Are you guys gonna help me?”
“NO!” They both shouted and ran to Scott’s room.
I threw a pillow at them as they ran, yelling, “JERKS!”
I was applying a thin layer of black eyeliner and gray eye shadow. After taking a shower and doing my hair, I realized that I didn’t even have a costume. I didn’t even plan to get one since I had my heart set out on staying home.
I dug through my closet, pulling out my drawers, and looking under my bed. I finally found the old pair of kitty ears, furry black mittens, and tail piece I wore for Halloween when I was nine years old. I threw on a pair of black skinny shoes, black Vans, and a black hoodie. I quickly drew some whiskers on my cheeks and a dot of pink lipstick on my nose to resemble a cat. I looked in the mirror and shrugged. I didn’t look much of a cat, but it was good enough.
It was two minutes to seven, and that was when the doorbell rang. I shoved my phone in my hoodie pocket, and said goodbye to Scott and Max. My father took the twins trick-or-treating, and he was okay with me going out. In fact, he was thrilled at how I made friends.
I opened the door, and nearly gaped at the sight of Gerard. He was dressed as a vampire; he had the cape, the blood red and black vest, and teeth. He looked… dashing. His tussled black hair fell into his eyes as he grinned at me. I gave him a little wave, but I figured I looked ridiculous with the furry mitten on my hand.
“Ready to go?” He asked, his words getting a little stuck from his tongue hitting against the fake plastic in his mouth.
I nodded, giving him a little smile, and shut the door behind me as I followed him to his car. He had the heating on and Black Flag’s “Room 13” was playing at a low volume. He started the car and drove down a road I wasn’t familiar with. We neared a part of Belleville I haven’t been to before; the homes were a little older and smaller, but were all nice. Little kids held their parents’ hands as they went from door to door getting candy. We pulled up by a two story house that was brown with a gray trim.
“The guys are all inside my place,” Gerard told me, getting out of the car.
I stepped out of the car, feeling the rush of the cool night air hit my face. I walked close behind Gerard as he walked up the pathway of his home. He opened the door, motioning for me to go inside first, and followed. His home had this cozy feel to it, and was a little dark despite all the lamps. The walls were lined with framed pictures of two young boys—who I guessed to be Gerard and Mikey—and some pictures with Al Paccino and actors from the Godfather movie. I could hear laughing from the living room, and tensed up a little. What if I spoiled the guys’ mood? I mean, I’ve been avoiding them… they could be angry with me.
“Hey, guys!” Gerard called, entering the living room with me close behind. “Guess who’s here!”
I stepped out shyly from behind him to meet the shocked faces’ of the boys. After they all started grinning and Frank ran towards me and tackled me to the ground.
“WILLOW!” He shouted, hugging me tightly. “You’re here! Did you bring me a present?”
I giggled, and shook my head. He pouted and Gerard pulled him off me and helped me up. “You’re going to kill her, Frank.”
He giggled childishly and pounced around in his costume. They all good costumes; Mikey was a scarecrow, Bob was a lion with a furry mane, Ray was Darth Vader, and Frank was, well… Frankenstein.
“Hey, look you and Bob are cats!” Frank laughed.
Bob glared at him. “I’m a lion, Frank.”
“You’re both cats, deal with it,” He said, and Bob sighed.
“Costume’s pretty cool,” Mikey smiled.
“You’re like our little kitty!” Frank squealed, and hugged me tightly while I blushed brightly.
“You even have kitty paws!”
“Can we go now?” Ray whined. “It’s hot in this mask!”
“Alright, alright, let’s go!” Gerard said. “We have old people to scare.”
They all filed out the door and I followed behind them quietly. Frank led the way, marching proudly in his costume and down the street.
“You really do look great.” I jumped a little, and didn’t realize Gerard was behind me. He smiled down at me and my cheeks turned pink and I looked away with a smile.
They turned to the first house on the street, Frank running madly and frightening a few children. He rang the doorbell, and old woman answered with a bowl of candy.
“Trick-or- treat!” Frank squealed, and he and the guys held out pillow cases to be filled with the treats. I stood behind them quietly.
“Aren’t all of you a little too old for Halloween?” She asked as she gave a mini Hershey’s to each of them.
“Pfft, no!” Frank said, and then he ran down the sidewalk screaming, “CANDY!!!”
The rest of the boys ran after him, scaring parents and little kids. I stood at the old woman’s pathway, and she smiled kindly at me.
“Would you like a piece of candy, sweetheart?” She asked. I hesitated; I didn’t even have anything to hold candy in, but then she took my hand and placed it in my palm. “Happy Halloween!”
I smiled, and walked down the sidewalk. Gerard was waiting for me with a grin on his face.
“You’re too cute, you know that?”
I blushed, and gave him a questioning look. He only shook his head a laughed lightly while we followed the guys. I unwrapped the Hershey’s and broke it in half; I nudged Gerard in the arm and he turned to look at me. I offered him the piece of chocolate, and he smiled at me and took it.
“Okay, how about this,” He said. “At the end of the night, we put your candy in my bag and split the profits.”
I chewed on my lip and shook my head. He rolled his eyes and said, “Too bad, you’re getting half.”
I sighed, and in the distance we heard Frank yell, “GERARD, THEY LEFT THE BOWL OUTSIDE! IT’S LOADED WITH FUCKING CANDY!”
He grinned and grabbed me by the hand and ran down the street. I smiled to myself; he really wanted that candy.
For two hours, we trick-or-treated for the free candy at every door. I put my candy in Gerard’s pillow case, and it started to sag at the ground as we walked. They all chased around young children and middle schoolers, scaring them to the point where they all ran home. Frank nearly caused the death of an elderly man when he jumped out to scare him. Ray started giving him a lecture on why it was rude to scare old men. Gerard held my hand most of the time so I could keep up with them; I was slow and my feet ached from running to catch up with their pace.
“Hey, freaks!” Someone yelled, and we all turned around. I shrank back behind Gerard. It was Brandon and the same two friends that were with him when he threatened me. They were dressed as zombies and wore their letterman jackets. “Fancy seeing you loser lot trick-or treating.”
The boys glared them down and Gerard said, “What the fuck do you want?”
“Oh, nothing,” He said slyly. “Just getting free candy from old people, and talking to losers like you.” He went up to Mikey and picked at the piece of his Scarecrow costume; the boy didn’t even flinch. “What a shit costume, four-eyes.”
Mikey, surprisingly not backing down, glared at him and snorted. “And what a shit name for an insult. Honestly, I’ve heard grandmothers say smarter shit!”
Brandon was about to grab him by the collar when Gerard stepped in and growled, “Touch him, and I’ll send your fucking ass out of here.”
Brandon narrowed his eyes at him, all dark and menacing. He glanced up at me, shivering and small as I stood behind the boys.
Please don’t hurt them, I thought, Please, God, don’t let him hurt them.
Brandon pushed Gerard aside, as if he were a bug, and walked up to me. “Well, well, if it ain’t little Willow.” He leaned his face close to mine, and I cowered. “How you been doing, sweetie? I see you’ve been hanging with these emos despite what I told you. I thought you were mine!” He grabbed me by the elbow and pulled me closer while I tried to pull away.
“Leave her the fuck alone, Brandon!” Gerard seethed, and pushed him away and stood in front of me. “Touch her and you’re dead!”
“You can say shit to us all you want,” Bob said, “but you fucking touch her, and we’ll rip you apart!”
The boys agreed with them as Brandon and his goons glared us down. He brushed passed us, and purposely bumped into my shoulder very hard. I stood there shaking a little, thinking about how close he was to hurting them there and then. But he was outnumbered, three to five, but who could say that he’d come back any day with the entire football team to attack the guys? Gerard took my hand gently and I calmed down a little.
“Are you okay?” He asked me and I nodded. Turning to the boys he said, “Let’s go home.”
We went back to Gerard and Mikey’s place, and all the boys collapsed on the floor and stuffing their faces with unnecessary sugar. I sat next Gerard as he emptied the case full of candy and started to shove my share towards me. I scrunched my nose, and pushed it back towards him.
“This is yours, okay?” He smiled at me. “Fair and square.”
I sighed, knowing better than to argue with him.