“So, remind me again why I agreed to do this,” Luke said as he struggled to maintain his balance on the six foot tall ladder and fastened another section of spiderweb garland to the eaves of their home.
“Carrie looked at you with those big brown eyes and gave you that cute pout. Believe me, I know all about it because I get it from both of you.”
“Yeah, well you love it.” Luke said. “And why am I the only one climbing a ladder? You know, you could always get up here and help me.”
“Oh no you don't!” Noah said, an amused grin on his face, “I'm not falling for that. I clearly remember our reunion eight years ago when you finally came to LA. You told me, and I quote, 'If I ever catch you on another ladder I will cut your balls off! Noah, I'm not going through the whole near death and blindness bit again, so keep your ass on the ground!' So, since we both love to 'play ball', I don't think it would be a very good idea for me to climb a ladder and risk losing my balls. Besides, as long as you're the one on the ladder, it gives me a great unobstructed view of your ass! That's always a good thing.”
“Yeah, I guess you're right,” Luke said with a chuckle, clearly amused at Noah's attempt to imitate him as well as his sexual comment. “I am quite fond of that part of your anatomy, so I'd kind of like for you to keep them. And anytime you're admiring my ass is time well spent. But I still can't believe we're decorating the whole house for Halloween!”
It had all started a few days earlier when their six year old daughter, Carrie, had been watching television. She saw a commercial for a party store advertising their vast array of Halloween products. When Carrie saw how the store had used the items to decorate their model house, she decided they had to do the same thing to their real one.
One gaze from those big brown eyes, so much like her Papa's, and Luke and Noah were both defeated. The three of them had traveled to the party store and practically bought every one of their streamers, garland, and other scary and not so scary Halloween decorations.
Now Luke was trying his best to make his daughter happy while an amused Noah looked on.
“You'd better hurry,” Noah told him. “Jenny will be here with her in a few minutes, and you know we promised her we'd take her to the pumpkin patch this afternoon. Then we have to carve the pumpkins!”
Luke groaned. “I'm seriously over this holiday already,” he grumbled. “I love that little girl, but she can be a master manipulator.”
“Yep, just like her Papa,” Noah laughed, earning himself a glare from his husband.
“Just hush and hand me that witch, Mr. Smartass,” Luke growled. “Once I get it up here, I think I'll have the outside done. We can work on the inside together later. Maybe this weekend.”
It only took a few more minutes until the green-faced witch was firmly attached above the garland, and Luke carefully climbed down. His feet had barely touched the ground when the sound of a little girl's voice caused both men to smile.
“Daddy, Papa!” Carrie yelled, breaking away from her babysitter's grasp and running at breakneck speed down the sidewalk toward the two of them. “Me and Jeremy had a race and I beat him!”
“It's Jeremy and I,” Luke gently corrected her, kneeling down to be at her eye level. “And I'm proud of you! You're such a fast runner!”
“Daddy, are we going to the pumpkin patch?” she asked, turning her attention to Noah. “I want to get a big one!”
“Yes, we're going in a few minutes,” Noah promised her, the love radiating from his eyes. “Papa and I were just talking about that. How do you like the Halloween decorations? Didn't Papa do a good job?”
“Yeah!” she practically screamed. “That witch is scary!”
“It looks great, guys,” Jenny said, finally approaching them. “She's talked about nothing but Halloween all day. I've never seen anyone so excited.”
“That's because she not only has a massive sweet tooth, but an active imagination as well. She got them from Luke. Halloween is the one night she gets to satisfy both!”
“I can't wait to see her costume,” Jenny laughed. “She won't tell me what it is. Just that it's a secret, and that she was getting a real movie costume this year. I guess it pays to be the daughter of one of Hollywood's top directors.”
“It also pays to be his husband,” Luke said. “He's getting our costumes from wardrobe as well. One less thing for me to worry about!”
Noah grinned at Luke, then turned back to Jenny. “Ignore him,” he told her. “He's just grumpy because he had to do most of the decorating himself. But it's his own fault since he won't let me on a ladder. Only one of us is allowed to climb, so he gets to do it all!”
Jenny had already heard the story several times, so she just laughed and shook her head. Luke and Noah were two of her favorite people, and she loved listening to their easy banter. The day the employment agency sent her to meet the soon-to-be parents of what would be come a precious, yet precocious little girl, was one of the best days of her life. She honestly couldn't imagine her life without the Snyder family in it.
Half an hour later Luke, Noah, and Carrie were at the pumpkin patch. There were pumpkins as far as the eye could see. Big ones, small ones, medium-sized ones, even tiny miniature pumpkins that Luke couldn't even begin to imagine how you would carve them.
Luke and Noah walked along, Carrie sitting on her daddy's shoulders, her hands gripping his chin for support, as they waited for her to spot the perfect specimen.
“That one!” she shrieked suddenly, causing Noah to cringe. “It's so big and pretty!”
Sure enough, she was pointing to one of the biggest on the lot. “And that one and that one!” she continued, pointed wildly and bouncing on Noah's shoulders in excitement. “We have to get them!”
Luke laughed at her enthusiasm and waved one of the employees over to make their purchases. It had at least been quick and painless to find them. Now the real job began. Now it was time to go home and carve them. He wasn't exactly looking forward to that.
“Oh sugar!” Luke yelped for the third time in less than an hour. “I cut my fu...my finger again!” he said, barely managing to stop himself from cursing in front of their inquisitive daughter.
“Let me see,” Noah said, abandoning his own masterpiece and quickly moving to stand beside Luke. He gently took Luke's hand in his and inspected his husband's finger. “It's not bad. Just a little nick. Here, I'll make it better.” He brought Luke's hand to his mouth and tenderly kissed the sore area. “There, all better!” he said with a smile.
Luke smiled in return. “Thanks. I'm not cut out for this. I know I was raised on a farm, but Dad always carved the pumpkins. This is the first year I've ever done this! I mean, last year we used those plastic ones!”
“You're doing fine,” Noah reassured him. Just cut along the outline you drew, and try not to cut your finger off. I have plans for them and the rest of you later tonight!”
The two men shared a naughty grin before continuing with their work.
Finally, the pumpkins were carved, the insides removed, and the battery operated candles inserted. Carrie was bouncing so hard, she reminded them of a pogo stick. “Hurry!” she yelled. “I want to see them before bedtime!”
The three of them went onto the porch and set the three pumpkins on the ledge. Luke reached into each one and flipped the switch, turning the candles on. The toothy grins and evil looking eyes immediately lit up, causing excited squeals to come from the youngest member of the family.
They're creepy!” she giggled. “I like them!”
“They do look pretty good,” Luke agreed. “Ok, baby girl, it's time for bed. Tell Daddy good night, and then it's off to take a bath.”
She pouted for a few seconds, but after seeing the stern look on Luke's face, she knew he was serious and would not relent. She ran into Noah's arms and hugged him tight.
“Good Night, Daddy,” she said, “I love you.”
“Love you too, Princess. You have sweet dreams.”
As he watched his husband and daughter walk into the house, Noah knew he was the luckiest man in the world.
Halloween night finally arrived. The three of them left the house, and walked hand-in-hand down the sidewalk. Every person they encountered had a hard time keeping a straight face when they saw them. Even Jenny had stood, doubled over, for a good ten minutes before she left after helping Carrie get dressed.
“I don't know why everyone is laughing,” Noah said. “I think we look pretty good!”
“Yeah, I do too,” Luke said, his own mouth twitching with a suppressed laugh. “I don't see anything funny about us at all!”
They came to the first house, and walked up the concrete path to the doorway. The two of them held back, letting Carrie be the one to ring the doorbell and yell her “Trick or Treat” greeting.
When the door opened, their neighbor first smiled gently at the adorable little girl in a blue and white gingham dress, holding a basket containing a stuffed dog, then burst into laughter as she saw Carrie's parents.
“Well, I have to admit, I never thought I'd live to see this!” she said. “Dorothy, you are very pretty, and Toto here is extremely well behaved, but that's the wildest scarecrow and lion I've ever seen!”
Luke grinned, the painted whiskers on his face disappearing into his deep dimples. Noah on the other hand, was too busy scratching his neck where the fake straw was making him itch.
“I'll just be glad when this night is over,” he grumbled. “I know I promised I'd wear this one since you did the decorating, but it's pure torture!”
Luke couldn't hold back his laughter as he turned to Noah. “And just think, Christmas is coming too! There's no telling what our little con artist is going to talk us into for that holiday!”