DISCLAIMER: Do I own Red Eye? Why no, I don't. That honor belongs to Carl Ellsworth, Wes Craven, and Dreamworks. Don't sue, mmkay?
RATING: M for langage and sexual situations.

SUMMARY: Lisa and Cynthia need a change of pace. Hijinks ensue.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Last Saturday I stayed in bed til 2 pm reading Chelsea Handler's My Horizontal Life. It's a memoir that will make you laugh out loud and possibly even wet yourself, so that's $14 well spent. I blatantly stole the whole costume party/stuck in a window bit, but the rest is mine. Sorry I haven't been updating It's Not the Fall that Kills You. It's not dead, I swear!


About a month after Jackson Rippner conveniently (or rather inconveniently - depending on how you looked at it) disappeared from the hospital while in police custody, I lost my job at the Lux.

My thrilling and heroic story of thwarting an evil terrorist had made the news. National media outlets were camped outside my dad's house, my apartment, and the hotel, all desperately trying to get an interview, even a quote, something, anything, for just one little sound-bite. I felt like a turtle, hunching my shoulders and ducking my head, holding a newspaper in front of my face as I ran from my front door to my car, or from my car to the front door of the Lux.

Diana Salas from the Lux's H.R. department flew down from New York to terminate me herself.

She called me into my boss' office and very kindly told me that, although the company admired my quick thinking and applauded my courageous efforts to save Deputy Director Keefe and his family, my cooperation (however temporary) with a terrorist had caused millions of dollars in damages to the Lux Atlantic and my presence on the premises was causing a disruption to business.

Not wanting to seem completely heartless, the company offered me a severance package of six months pay with benefits.

"You can finish out the day, if you like," Diana said warmly, her hand on mine and her eyes portraying the perfect blend of compassion and benevolence. I was sure it was a look she had perfected for this very situation. A look that made it impossible for me to tell her to take that severance package and shove it up her ass without seeming disingenuous.

So it was either clean out my desk right then and get the walk of shame over with, or put it off until 5 o'clock that night.

I've got a great bullshit-smile, but I didn't think even I could keep it up for ten hours.

Bob, my boss - scratch that - ex-boss, helped me gather my things and carried the box containing my framed awards, photos, and my potted succulents, out to the car. "I'm so sorry, Lisa. Corporate is making a huge mistake. I told them that. Well, be sure to put me down as a reference on your resume. You'll get nothing but glowing recommendations from me, I promise."

"Thanks, Bob." I offered him a tight-lipped smile. It was all I could muster and the guy looked like he was about to cry.

When I got home, there was a voicemail from some producer named Leslie at Harpo Productions. Oprah wanted to fly me to Chicago to be on her show. I called Leslie back and said, "Thanks, but no thanks."

No flying. Not ever.


Cynthia's shift was just beginning when mine was supposed to end. I knew that as soon as she got to work and heard about my dismissal, she'd be calling.

The phone rang at 5:23.

"Oh my god, Lise! Oh my god! I can't believe they would do this! After all you've done for this hotel, for this company... And they want me to take over your job! I can't handle that kind of responsibility! I can't! I'll have a nervous breakdown! I think I should quit. Do you want me to quit? Solidarity, and all that...

I told her she'd do fine and there was no reason for both of us to be jobless, but I appreciated her support.

"Do you want me to come over after I get off? I could pick up a couple pints of Ben and Jerry's..."

"It'll be after 3 a.m. by the time you're out of there. I'll be in bed..." I knew I'd be up, but wasn't really in the mood for company.

"Well, if you're not, call me. I'll come right over."

"You're a sweetheart. I've gotta go, my dad's calling on the other line."

"Oh, okay. Well, I'll talk to you soon."

"All right. G'night, Cynthia."

"'Night, Lisa."

I hung up and pulled the covers back over my head.


A month later, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

My dad called at least five times a day to check on me. How was the job search coming? Did I want him to contact that friend of his that had an opening in his company? Did I want him to come by and install the surround sound system for my TV that he bought for me out of the blue and was still in the box and unopened? Should he call that security company and get quotes on a membership for me?

It wasn't, and no, no, and no.

He wanted me to move back in with him. I honestly considered it for about five seconds. It might be nice not having to feel the need to sleep curled up with a field hockey stick. But then I realized that having your dad hovering around you like a Jewish mother could really put a damper on a girl's depressive couch-surfing time.

"It's fine, Dad. I'm fine. Everything's fine."

It wasn't, of course. Of course it wasn't. I was becoming a jittery recluse and I'd put on fifteen pounds. But that's what happens when you guzzle coffee by the pot, only eat delivery pizza, stop jogging, and stay up all night watching infomercials and Cheaters because you're too scared to fall asleep and you're sure that it's only a matter of time before a certain blue-eyed terrorist breaks into your home and stabs you to death while you sleep.

Cynthia wasn't fairing much better, either.

"I don't know how you did this for so long, Lisa. I hate this job! I've asked Bob to find someone else and let me have my old position back, but he keeps putting off hiring anyone! And my mom... God! I invited her and dad to dinner to meet Jim and you should have seen what she wore! That skirt would have been too short for a streetwalker! And she wouldn't stop flirting with him and touching his arm! 'Oh, Jim, you're so funny!' He wasn't trying to be funny! There's nothing funny about tax law! Any normal person could see how uncomfortable she was making him. God, she always does this! And then when I call her on it, she gets all offended and hurt and starts crying, like I'm being unreasonable because I don't want her walking around in a string-bikini in front of my boyfriend!"

I had heard the string-bikini story before. Cynthia, a pretty but shy teenager, hadn't had her first boyfriend until she was a week away from turning eighteen. She invited him to her birthday party, which was being held at her house. It was a pool party with a Hawaiian theme. It was the perfect place to have it: Cynthia's parents had a huge house and a huge pool with a faux-waterfall and faux-lagoon to go along with it. It was a catered affair. There were twinkle lights and tan, buff performers with washboard abs juggling flaming torches. And Cynthia's mom, made up like Ginger from Gilligan's Island, decided to make her grand entrance and debut her new double D's in a gold lame string-bikini just as everyone was singing Happy Birthday to her daughter. The eyes of the boys of her graduating class, Cynthia's boyfriend included, hardly left Mrs. Connelly's chest the remainder of the night and Cynthia tried her best to ignore the disgusted looks from the girls. And that wouldn't be the last time Cynthia's mom would feel the need to compete with her daughter for a little male attention.

So a week later, it turned out that Cynthia's fears weren't entirely unfounded. Jim broke up with her. I guess having your girlfriend's creepy cougar mother hit on you makes you wonder what you're getting yourself into.

"Bring some more Ben and Jerry's when you come," I told her. "I haven't been able to get to the store yet." Actually, I hadn't been to the grocery store in a month. That would have required leaving the couch.

"Sure thing," she sniffled. "I'll pick up a movie, too. Love Story?"

"Ah, a perfect movie for wallowing."


She arrived about an hour later. I let her in and took the grocery bag from her arms. "Come on in," I said. I turned and carried the ice cream into the kitchen. When I came back out, she was still standing in the doorway, frowning, a vague look of disgust on her face.

"Lisa, what's that smell?"

I frowned, sniffed the air. "What smell?"

She took a tentative step into the apartment. "Seriously, you don't smell that? When's the last time you cleaned this place up?" she asked, surveying the empty pizza boxes and dirty dishes.

I shuffled over to the coffee table and began picking up the trash. "Sorry," I said, trying not to sound too offended. "I would have cleaned up if I'd had more time..."

She came over to take some of the dirty dishes from my arms. She leaned in close and then recoiled, a look of shock on her face. "When's the last time you showered, for that matter?"

My jaw dropped. "I shower!" I shouted in protest, but then remembered I hadn't showered in two days. I frowned. "Hey, I've had a lot on my plate lately, okay?"

"Says the girl with no clean plates!"

I gave her a withering glare. "Oh, ha, ha. You're a riot."

She put the stack of dirty plates down. "Lisa," she said very seriously, putting her hands on my shoulders. "Sweetie, you stink."

Again, my jaw dropped. "I do not!"

"You do."

She turned me around and prodded me in the direction of the bathroom. "You're going to take a shower right this minute. A long one. Do not pass 'Go,' do not collect two-hundred dollars. Into the bathroom. Now." She shoved me in, turned on the light, and closed the door behind me. I blinked furiously in the harsh light of the five super-bright light bulbs above the bathroom mirror. When I could see again, I surveyed my greasy hair in an unkempt bun on the top of my head and the wrinkled, stained Muppets t-shirt and matching draw-string pajama bottoms I'd been wearing for two days.

Oh, Jesus. Cynthia was right. I looked like that kid Pigpen from Peanuts. I probably smelled like him, too.

I shuddered in disgust and stripped.

Forty-five minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom in a cloud of steam, my skin lobster-red from hot water and a good scrubbing, and my now floral-scented hair twisted up in a towel. I fingered the tie of my robe and shuffled into the living room.

I heard the dishwasher kick on in the kitchen. Cynthia, bless her heart, had cleaned up the living room, too. I was mortified.

She appeared in the doorway of the kitchen, two bowls of Chunky Monkey in her hands. "Well? How do you feel?" she asked.

"Better," I said sheepishly. "Thanks."

She sat down next to me on the couch, offered me a bowl.

"So... I think you might be a little depressed, Lise," she said, conversationally.

I sighed. "I think you might be right."


We watched Love Story, cried for Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal, and discussed our futures. We decided since we were both twenty-six and hated our job, and lack of a job, respectively, as well as Miami, it was time to broaden our horizons.

"How does California sound to you?" Cynthia asked. "Lots of hotels..."

I groaned. "Yay. Another thankless job."

"...AND California has no clingy, over-protective fathers," she said, referring to mine, "OR competitive, lushy mothers," she said, referring to hers.

"They have earthquakes," I said. "The whole state could break off and fall into the ocean at any moment."

"We could stay here and get blown away by a hurricane."

"But it's always sunny," I pointed out. "You hate the sun."

"Yeah, but there's, like, zero humidity. Think of our hair!"

I paused to think for a moment, then sighed. "California, here we come."

Cynthia clapped her hands and told me to pack a bag.

Two weeks later, we loaded up her teal Ford Taurus and off we went.


Dad was definitely not happy that I'd up and moved about as far away from him as I could and still remain on the same continent. I got an earful from him, and who could blame him? Still, I could tell he was relieved when I told him that Cynthia and I were sharing a nice, three-bedroom apartment in the valley, that we were gainfully employed, that I had taken up yoga, and that I was even dipping my toes in the dating pool again. No one had really caught my eye (Well, that's not true. L.A. was filled with beautiful people, just low on substance), and some of the dates had been downright disastrous, but the point was, I was trying.

Cynthia had taken a job as a production assistant at one of the studios. A masochistic move on her part, I told her, but she didn't believe me. The only good thing about the job - it certainly wasn't the pay - was that she got to meet a lot of people, and soon we had a circle of friends. I got a job at the Beverly Hills Hilton (surprise, surprise), catering to the whims of celebrities and executives from the film, TV, and music industries. It could be awful, but I'm not going to lie, it could also be rewarding. I was often put on the guest list at many a celeb's birthday bash, or a band's CD party - not because I'd formed some deep, abiding friendships with them - but because I was seen as a trust-worthy and aesthetically pleasing employee, and in this city, a celebrity's value is measured by the size of their entourage and the number of rich and/or pretty people who flocked to their parties. I certainly didn't have to twist Cynthia's arm to come with me - she loved every minute of it.

Six months in, though, while getting a date was easy, I realized I was having the same date over and over. The guys all looked the same: tan, perfectly white, even teeth (which I was starting to find unnatural and disturbing), nice bodies (Okay, I didn't mind that so much.), and professionally mussed hair. They were all mind-numbingly dull in that every blessed one of them was either an actor, a singer, an entertainment lawyer, a model, a producer, or had aspirations to be one or all of those things... and they certainly loved talking about themselves. So while there was never a lull in the conversation, I often found myself bored to tears.

I was starting to come to the conclusion that there were no interesting men in the entire city.

I found myself thinking that very thing on Valentine's Day.

It fell on my day off, so I had spent the day in bed with my life partner, Nelson Mandela. Not the former South African president, but a regal Siamese who strangely resembled him. Shortly after we moved into the apartment, he had adopted Cynthia and me. Nelson changed my mind about cats. I had always considered myself a dog-person, finding cats emotionally withholding - unless you had food. Nelson wasn't like that at all. He was always affectionate and often hilarious. I'd never seen a cat so dog-like. Nelson loved playing in water and he loved chasing his tail.

Nelson's only vices were Cheetos and whipped cream. He knew the ktcshhhhhhhhhhh sound that the whipped cream made as it sprayed out of the aerosol can and he knew the sound of the Cheetos bag crinkling. Those sounds would throw him into a tizzy of mewling cries and dancing on his hind legs, his front paws patting against our thighs as he begged. When the Cheetos were gone, we'd slice open the bag and let him lick it a little. Or we'd give him a spoonful of the thick, white cream and listen to him purr like a chainsaw as he delicately lapped it up.

So anyway, it was Valentine's Day and I was cuddled up with Nelson Mandela watching a romantic movie marathon on TBS Superstation. Something with Matthew McConaughey, who I used to adore, until the whole naked bongo-playing incident and the interview where he proudly proclaimed he never wore deodorant. Gross. But in this movie, however, Matthew did not appear to be hygienically challenged. In fact, he had just saved the hapless heroine from a nasty spill. I had never seen this movie, but I knew that event would predictably lead to a magical first kiss. Give me a frickin' break. I had to wonder how these people who write romantic comedies could sleep at night.

The phone rang. It was my friend Kenya calling to tell me she'd gotten us all an invite to a costume party that night and my attendance was mandatory.

"I don't wanna go."

"Bitch, your skinny ass is going. It's at a warehouse downtown and it's a fundraiser to help children with disabilities."

I had no desire to leave my bed, but I had to pull through for the kids. "We're meeting at the Compound to preparty," Kenya continued.

The Compound was the apartment building where our friend Lydia lived with all her degenerate neighbors. It was kind of a Melrose Place-type building, minus the pool and the six-figure incomes. It was a fun place to hang out and party, but not a fun place to wake up. Lydia and all of her neighbors had slept with each other at one time or another. The place had become an official lazy Susan.

"Wait! I don't have a costume."

"Go rent one."

"I can't," I said. "Bobby and Whitney's E! True Hollywood Story is on in ten minutes."

"Bitch!" Kenya swore. "I will make you a damn costume if I have to!"

I laughed and hung up.

Ten minutes later, Kenya called back to tell me her cousin Jen had an extra genie costume with a bustier that would look hot.

"The pants are see-through, so wear full panties," she warned.

"Thanks for the heads-up."

"Tell Cynthia to be over there by eight. We'll all get ready there."


Parking at Lydia's was always a nightmare, so I called our friend Holden who lived around the corner and parked in his driveway. Holden is like one of the girls. He's a sweet guy, but his major flaw is that he has a severe case of ADD. He's the type of person who asks you a question and then interrupts the answer with another question. This can be very annoying, especially if you are a woman and upset - which has resulted in many dramatic break-up scenes with his girlfriends involving clothes and furniture being thrown off balconies. Holden doesn't mind being yelled at, so I guess that helps release the anger related to him not listening in the first place.

Holden didn't know about the party, probably because he wasn't paying attention when he got invited, so I invited him again. He didn't have a costume either, so I told him to wear one of his wet suits. Holden owns his own beachwear company, where he sells everything from scuba suits to surfboards.

When we got to Lydia's place, all four girls were already dressed. Lydia was a sexy schoolgirl, Kenya was a sexy cop, Cynthia was a sexy cat, and Jen was the green M&M.

The genie costume was really cute and fit me perfectly. As soon as Jen saw it on me I caught a look on her face that said, "Take that off, I'm wearing it."

"Lisa," Jen said. "I have an idea. You can be the M&M!"

Fuck, I thought. Jen was about six inches shorter than me and smaller boned, too. I didn't even know if I'd fit into that M&M.

"Umm, that's okay," I said. "You keep it. You like chocolate more."

"I insist," she said, grinning like one of those crazed cheerleaders after they've been hurled into the air. "And anyway, the genie's my costume in the first place. I brought it for you."


"Bitch, are you for real?"

My eyes bugged out for a second because I thought I'd just had the mother of all Freudian slips.

But it was Kenya, arms crossed, all six feet of her glowering at her cousin. "You just mad 'cuz my girl is killin' in that outfit and you look like an Oompa Loompa."

"What's your problem, Kenya? Lisa doesn't have a problem with it, do you, Lisa?"

Kenya and Jen have a bit of a love/hate relationship. Mostly hate. Their moms are sisters and very close, but also very different and very competitive. That competitiveness was obviously passed down to Jen, but it's always grated on Kenya. But when Kenya gets mad, she doesn't back down, either. She gets "ghetto" on your ass - her words, not mine. At six feet tall, she's slim, but muscular, with legs like a racehorse. Jen's practically half her size and though I might like to see Kenya pick her up and launch her out the window like a javelin, I didn't want to be the cause of a family feud and ruin the evening.

"It's fine," I said.

"See? It's fine," Jen said to Kenya.

"'Cuz Lisa's too classy to tell you you're being a snotty 'lil bitch, Jennifer. But I'm not."

Jen rolled her eyes. "That's for sure."

Kenya lunged toward her and I placed a hand on her chest to hold her back at the same that Lydia grabbed her around the middle. "Bitch, I will slap the black offa you!" Kenya threatened.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Everyone needs to chill out!" Lydia shouted.

"It's fine, Kenya, really. It's just a costume," I smiled and gave a little laugh to try to lighten her up.

Kenya threw up her hands. "Whateva. I'm going downstairs." She pointed one long, manicured nail at Jen. "Ho, you can find ya own ride to the party, okay?

I put on the cursed M&M suit. The top part was the shape of a pumpkin and formed a perfect green sphere around my body. It came with matching white tights that I wore over my underwear. There were black ballet slippers which were slightly too small, but they'd do. The only thing was that, as I'd feared, the costume was made for a shorter person. The bottom fell about four inches past the curve of my ass, which meant I would have to be very careful all night. No bending over, no stooping. If I dropped my purse, I was s.o.l.

"I need your panties," Jen said while checking herself out in the full-length mirror. You could see right through her genie pants, and she was wearing a leopard thong.

I looked around to see who she was addressing. Her eyes met mine in the mirror.

You've got to be fucking kidding me.

"I'm not giving you my panties," I said.

"You need to give me them. I can't wear this outfit with a thong," Jen insisted.

Bitch, I thought. You should have thought of that before you made me change! I was ready to call Kenya back up there to kick her ass.

"Fine!" I huffed as I peeled everything off and put the tights back on.

"Lise, don't you want some underwear?" Lydia asked. "You can have a pair of mine."

"No, I'll be fine." I wasn't in the business of wearing other people's underwear, clean or not (and certainly not Lydia's) and could not believe Jen was willing to wear mine.

"Do you want the green paint for your face?" Jen asked.

"No thanks," I said, shooting her a dirty look.

There's a fine line between being easygoing and being taken advantage of, and allowing someone to paint my face green would have been the latter.

"What's the matter? You look adorable," Jen said in the same voice you'd use talking to a girl who was going to her prom in a full-body cast. With head-gear.


The party had potential, but I never got into the swing of things due to my somber mood. Holden and I sat in a corner and made fun of people's costumes, and when we tired of that, I started making fun of Holden, who was sweating so profusely that he had taken down the top half of his scuba suit and was now topless.

At the end of the party, Lydia told us that we were all going to after-hours at some guy in a Batman suit's apartment. The only selling point was that the apartment was in Santa Monica, located conveniently around the corner from Lydia's. Kenya gave us a peace-out. She was going home to her hubby, who was an EMT, and was finally home from his shift. Cynthia wasn't feeling well, so Kenya took her home.

The super-fun after-party turned out to be super-lame. Everyone just sat around drinking and listening to music. I wandered into Batman's bedroom and found a Nintendo box attached to his TV. I hadn't seen one of those things in years! The excitement I felt at that moment could be paralleled only by No Doubt releasing another album.

I was on level four of Super Mario Brothers when Lydia came in and told me that she thought Jen and Batman were going to hook up.

"Poor guy," I lamented. "You wanna go?"

"Yeah, let's go. You wanna sleep at my place?" she asked.

Holden, Lydia, and I called a cab. We were all a little too sloshed to drive. Jen stayed behind. We got dropped off at the Compound. I told Holden I'd come by in the morning for my car. He waved goodbye and headed off down the street to his apartment.

People were still up at the Compound, partying in the courtyard, loud music blaring from someone's apartment.

"I'm going to bed," I told Lydia. "Give me your keys."

She looked through her purse for an amount of time that I knew could only result in her not having them.

"Shit," she said. "I think I left them at Batman's." She didn't seem concerned in the slightest. "Oh, well. We'll figure something out."

Just then, Lydia's neighbor Gary moseyed over in his cowboy costume to say hi. He tipped his five-gallon hat and asked what was wrong.

"Lydia lost her keys and I need to sleep," I groaned

"My door's open. Just go crash. I'll take the sofa."

"Thanks," I said, utterly grateful. I wanted to be done with this craptastic day. Not knowing Gary, or his hygiene very well, I elected to keep on my M&M costume. I passed out and remember feeling Lydia crawl into bed some time later that night.

At around six that morning, I awoke to noises that could only be associated with coitus. They were coming from the bathroom. Suddenly, there were loud crashes of what I presume were toiletries falling to the floor.

"Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh my god! Gary! Yes! Right there! No, up more... Oh my GOD!" yelled Lydia.

Though I couldn't see myself, I know I had that same look on my face that Macaulay Culkin had in Home Alone when he realizes that his parents have forgotten him.

I rolled out of bed, fell on the floor, and crawled out the door, keeping my head down like I was dodging enemy fire. I hadn't walked two steps out the door before I realized I needed my cell phone, purse, and shoes. I tried the door. Locked. I knocked, but no one answered, of course. They were too busy making the beast with two backs.

I looked around for some sign of life and quickly realized I must have taken my contacts out at some point. Everything beyond twenty feet was blurry. Oh, this was not good. I paced back and forth, trying to think of what I should do, when I remembered my car was only blocks away at Holden's.

Should I walk the five blocks to Holden's in my M&M costume? I knocked on Gary's door again, but to no avail. I could still hear Lydia moaning away, the whore, and thought I might be physically sick. Hearing your friend moaning someone's name during sex is about as disturbing as hearing your parents. Don't ask me how I know that.

There was no other choice. The longer I waited, the more people would be out and about and see me in my ridiculous outfit. I ran down the stairs and sprinted up the sidewalk towards Holden's. I stubbed my toe almost immediately, which slowed me to a brisk limp.

What I could barely make out as a woman walking her dog toward me crossed to the other side of the street upon seeing me. A guy in a passing car slowed down and yelled out the window, "Rough night?"

It was one thing to be seen wandering around in an M&M costume on Halloween or maybe even the day after, but this was February. This was humiliating.

To make it worse, with every step, the costume kept riding up above my butt and I kept having to hold it down with one hand behind my back. Also? This M&M really had to pee.

When I arrived at Holden's, I started chucking rocks at his sliding glass door. "Holden!" I tried in a stage whisper. I tried a shout. "Holden!"

"Keep it down!" one of his neighbors yelled, then came out onto his balcony. "Lady..."

"Oh." He paused, taking me in. "How would you like it if I called the police?"

That was it. I'd had enough.

"Oh, please, go ahead," I said, voice dripping with sarcasm. "You'll tell them, what? That there's a crazy M&M outside?"

The neighbor shook his head and went back inside.

After what seemed like a year and a ridiculous number of cars drove by for that time of day, Holden finally came out, rubbing his eyes. As soon as he saw me, he burst out laughing.

"Can you just please come down and get me?" I begged. More laughing. Now he was doubled over on his balcony, his face turning red.

"You know what, asshole? Can you laugh at me after I come inside instead of while I'm standing on a street corner?

Holden went inside, only to come back out thirty seconds later with a camera. After his third snapshot of me at my worst, another neighbor appeared on a balcony. "Oh here we go again. Can't you and your girlfriends just give it a rest?"

That snapped Holden out of it. He went back inside and came down a few seconds later and opened the door for me. "I'm not his girlfriend!" I shouted up to the neighbor.

When the door swung open, I flew up the stairs and into his apartment, making a mad dash for the bathroom. I sat down on the toilet with a sigh of relief. I think I must have peed for five minutes straight. I washed my hands and face and examined my backside in the mirror. Yep, those damn tights were giving me a rash.

I needed to be in my bed, at my house - NOW. I had been through enough humiliation for one day. "Take me home," I ordered Holden when I finally exited the bathroom.

We got to my apartment around 8:15. I asked Holden to wait, just in case I couldn't rouse Cynthia to let me in. I knocked, then pounded. "Cynthia!" I shouted. It was no use. She probably wasn't even home.

Well, there was always the kitchen window. Cynthia said she had done it once, so I thought how hard can it be?

I made my way around the side of the building. The window was higher than I had remembered. I looked around nervously. I had never done this before. I knew it was possible because Cynthia had done it, but then again, she'd had help.

Instead of going to get Holden, I tried on my own. It was unlocked, but I needed to hoist myself up in order to squeeze through. Halfway through, my M&M costume got stuck. The wiring that kept the M&M's shape wouldn't budge. Either I had to take it off my head, or climb back down. If I took it off, I knew I could get in - I was already halfway there. So I squirmed out of the costume.

That's when I heard the distinct sound of our backyard gate opening and shutting. There was the sound of approaching footsteps and then they stopped. Here I was in tights, ballet flats, a bra, and no underwear, hanging out of my kitchen window with my head in my sink.

I heard a snort, followed by a guffaw. I could tell someone was trying to laugh very quietly through their hand.

I kicked my feet out, hoping to catch whoever was standing behind me in the head. "Holden, I swear to God, if you take a picture..."

"It's not Holden," said a voice that was definitely not Holden's.


Shit. Shit. Shit.

Please tell me this is not happening.

To be continued...