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Patterns of Warmth,17 - Of Treats and Tricks

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H5O* H5O* H5O* H5O* H5O


"It's perfect. Both are perfect and just what Charlie wanted for Halloween. And if C.J. wants to practically copy him ... now I'm ready. I really appreciate you doing all of this, Ma."

"Glad to help! I'm dying to meet my newest grand-baby in person, too!" Danny's mother was practically oozing joy over the phone.

"Well, he's not really a baby but I'm sure he's going to love you to pieces," Danny said. He was serious too. C.J. was already chomping at the bit to meet his newest grandparents. Thanksgiving couldn't come fast enough for any of them.

He grinned down at the near-matching pair of Halloween costumes in the box his mother had sent to his office from New Jersey. Secrecy had been key just a few days before Halloween. Charlie could be a terrible snoop and Danny had wanted to surprise him as much as C.J.

"Yeah, these are just great."

He couldn't help feeling smug as he held up the child-size Fortnite Drift Twofer Costume. With Steve's blessings, he'd contacted his mother to help with pulling together her grandson's costumes. Charlie in particular had been dead-set on dressing up like his favorite online video game character. When both he and Steve had struck out locally, they'd jumped at the next, best option: asking grandma.

And Grandma Williams had come through in spades. The costume she'd found for Charlie first, was spot-on perfect. The Kitsune mask, impressive. Even Danny was amazed and that was a tough thing to accomplish when it came to Halloween. With his mother's help, Charlie would be a young replica of his favorite inter-dimensional traveler. However in typical Williams' fashion, she'd also pulled off the impossible by finding something along the same lines for C.J.

"C.J.'s going to love this, Ma," Danny gushed as he unpackaged the second costume. "We couldn't get anything like these around here." Also from Fortnite, the Raptor costume was a nice surprise and his mother was a gem for coming up with something her newest adopted grandson might like. "How did you even know to look for something like this?"

"I'm not oblivious to using the internet, Danny. Besides, the kids at the Halloween store were more than happy to help me find something," his mother explained. "It was easy once I found the Drift costume. I just stayed on that path and assumed C.J. would want to wear something along the same lines as Charlie." There was a pause on her side and then her tone of voice changed. Partly sad, partly angry because she knew C.J.'s back story, she repeated what they'd all so recently learned.

"I can't believe he's never gone trick or treating before ... "

"Yeah," Danny murmured under his breath. It was sad - sobering really. C.J.'s past was riddled with inconsistencies. No birthday celebrations. Only the rare Christmas treat from what he and Steve could grasp. As for Halloween? Non-existent.

Truth be told, it wasn't exactly Danny's favorite holiday either even if Steve reveled in it. They were already arguing over the allowable movies in the house with Steve pouting over the inappropriateness of Chucky in Child's Play. But neither parent could quite define how they felt about C.J. never having had a chance to go trick or treating. In short, they were sure going to remedy that childhood gaffe and in style.

"He was so confused," Danny admitted. "So overwhelmed, that he didn't even know what to choose or say he might want to be ... and now this? This will fix everything!"

"I hope so," his mother chimed in. "He deserves to have some good old-fashioned fun."

"That he does," Danny added. "Having his own costume - and a cool one like this - will nudge him along."

It was astonishing really to learn that C.J. hadn't an opinion about Halloween. The blank stare? The hesitancy about even choosing a make-believe character? Charlie's exuberance had only confused C.J. more. Half-scared of some costume ideas and partly-intrigued by others, C.J. had wound up shrugging it all off. It was mind-boggling that the little boy didn't have an opinion because he'd never been taken trick or treating. Ever. He'd never dressed up before or gone to a Halloween party at school. He'd never rung a doorbell and gotten candy in a plastic pumpkin-shaped pail like any of the other kids his age.

Not once in his entire young life. He'd missed so much during his early, chaotic years that Danny had changed his own usual ambivalent attitude to dig in harder about the fun his youngest needed to experience.

So in the end, Danny had rightly assumed that some gentle adult guidance was needed. And now with his mother's help, all of it was about to change. C.J. was going to have one of the coolest costumes on the block. He'd also have more candy than he'd know what to do with. Danny and Steve were going to make sure of that, too.

"Pictures!" His mother demanded just before they ended their call. "I'd like to see some pictures!"

"You bet, Ma," Danny replied happily as their call ended. "Get ready for your phone to get blown up!"

Alone in his office, Danny grinned as he held C.J.'s costume up in front of him, pleased beyond words that his mother had thought of everything.

Yeah, this was going to be the best Halloween ever.

~ to be continued ~