"Leslie, I knew this was a bad idea..."
Ann had refrained from saying anything about their little predicament for the past ten minutes, not really sure how to bring it up. The October night is particularly black, and all the corn melds together in the dark around them. She's not too proud to admit that she held Leslie's hand tighter than when they first stepped into the maze, appreciating both the warmth and having a lifeline with someone in the darkness.
"I was so sure that I left the M&M's back the way we came," Leslie said in quiet frustration and, even if Ann couldn't see she could only be grimacing. Her grip tightened.
"You mean back when a bunch of kids were behind us?" Ann said with a laugh. "Though really, their parents should know better than to let their children eat chocolate off of the ground. Especially around here--"
Leslie stopped in her tracks, turning around to face her.
"Ann, this is not the time for your beautiful mouth to say such mean things about Pawnee," she whispered, a little harsher than her compliment's tone. Groaning, Leslie shook her head. "I'm sorry. I know, I know!"
"Steamroller," Ann punctuated by pressing a finger in Leslie's chest. "Councilwoman Steamroller, I'm gonna need you to turn around and roll us on out of this place without your special trail back home. I am getting so cold and there is a bottle of wine with our names on it."
"Does this help?" then she stood side-by-side with Ann and her arm went around her waist at her lower back. Pulling them closer, comfortable and already warmer, Ann sighed her content. "Better, right? I know, it's definitely better. It's always better when we go out like this! It's been so long since we had a real date..."
It was true, but thinking about those dates that had gone very well was what led to their issue.
"Right, it's only--" Leslie took out her phone and made a disgusted sound at the clock staring back at her. "It's almost midnight."
Keeping quiet about how Leslie may have forgotten about the line of candies leading back from the entrance only got harder. At first, the only thing that mattered was completing the maze in less than half an hour, but neither could help but stop and enjoy the fresh air, the isolation, or time with each other. Ever since winning that election, Leslie's spare time shrank into good morning kisses, getting home tired, and maybe catching twenty minutes at the end of the day for them.
Taking one too many dead ends didn't help either, now that finishing the maze would be faster than trying to backtrack. They only ran into one person on the rest of their travail to escape the now exhausting trail. More accurately, he seemed to be following them. He was dressed in all black with a slicked fringe, too early to be a costume, and seemed to be following them to the finish line.
"Leslie, keep cool, but April's friend Orin is behind us," Ann confided, all the creepy stories very fresh in her mind despite never really having met the guy.
"Oh God, is this it?"
"No, but I think I heard people just around that other corner and I can see some light--"
"That's not what I mean, Ann," Leslie muttered, voice grim and hand suddenly clammy.
"Oh come on, he can't be that bad!" she laughed and turned only to find the lanky boy barely inches from her face. He didn't move, say or word, or even change his facial expression whatsoever, but something told Ann to clutch Leslie's hand and say quietly, "OK, go. Go, go, go."
They sprinted for the corner, turning to see the field of black interrupted by flashlights cutting across the grass just outside of the maze. That bottle of wine sounded better with every footstep. Back into the darkness the couple stared, trying to see if Orin ever emerged. To their confused relief and mild concern, he never did.