For reasons no one was really sure of, everyone’s response was to look to see how Ewan took this information. His response was to drain his mug and drop it from a centimeter above the table. Ewan raised his eyebrows and swallowed. “A costume party. We’re going to a home-made costume party.”
Thys nodded. “You all did an excellent job on your last assignment- which was quite difficult so that your next venture is more of a reward.”
His eyes narrowed when he smiled, Nanami noted for the thousandth time. She raised a hand. “Do we have something specific to do at the party?”
Thys smiled broader, making his eyes almost vanish. “Just dress up, eat the refreshments, and have a good time!”
Nanami made a list of the three things, ignoring Ethan and Laura’s shared eye-roll. They just didn’t take things seriously enough, that was their problem. How could they expect to have a good time if they didn’t take note of it? She stood up respectfully as Thys left, and then vanished to her room to build a costume. This plan was followed by the other four teens, with significantly less respect.
Adam knocked at her door an hour later. “Do you need any help?”
“Don’t come in!”
“We leave in twenty minutes.”
“I said don’t come in!”
His generous offer rejected, Adam waited more or less impatiently for everyone to appear. He’d found cowboy boots and a hat at the back of his closet. Together with tight jeans, a blue plaid shirt and a neckerchief, it didn’t make a half-bad costume, if he did say so himself. He checked in the mirror and settled his hat on dirty blonde hair. The shirt matched his eyes. Yeah, not half-bad, on that short of notice. Adam adjusted his hat again as Ethan emerged. “We need costumes.”
“I’m wearing my costume.” Ethan opened a can of soda. His tone was curt.
The cowboy by the door took stock. White button-up shirt tucked into high-waisted black pants, pens in the front pocket of the shirt, hair slicked back, and- “Glasses aren’t a costume.”
“They are not my costume.”
“You look normal!”
Ethan raised his eyebrows and then grinned suddenly. “I’m a perfect nerd.” He sat down on the other side of the little living room. So Adam didn’t get his ironic costume choice. That was clearly Adam’s problem, not his. He drank more of his soda, and choked when Laura appeared; blonde, blue-eyed and iridescent.
“Is it alright?” She sounded slightly worried, and tugged on the bottom hem of her transparent “dress-” which had probably started life as a nightgown. “It was hard to get a full coverage of glitter, and it kept collecting in the bathing suit, I had to powder myself in the nude.” She winked at Ethan, who grinned back.
“It looks great. Full coverage.” He reached out and adjusted the panty-hose, bent-hanger and glitter-glue wings sewn to the back of her transparent-nightgown-over-white-bikini combo. “You were askew. There. Very creative!”
She turned on her toes and sparkled in all directions. “Thank you!” She and Ethan both smirked over Adam, who was averting his eyes and oozing disapproval. “Will there be food at the party?”
“Should be.” Nanami tucked her notebook away in her sleeve, which stretched to the floor, and glided over. “All good parties have food.”
Her three compatriots stared at the girl in a kimono, her face painted white. Nanami glared back at them. “Gei only means art, and I know how to dance, all right? It’s just like dressing as a ballerina, only in furisode instead of a tutu, because I have the outfit!!”
Her defense of the costume went unnoticed. The teenagers were too shellshocked by the fact that the girl who lived in sweatshirts and cargo pants had a waist and a figure, and dress which showed them off. Ethan kept checking her face to make sure the features were right. “Uh. No, that’s. Great. No issue.”
Laura smiled sweetly and wiggled her shoulders so her wings fell correctly. Light refracted around the living room. “I think it looks fine!”
Nanami smiled back, red-painted lips curving dangerously. “Your opinion warms my heart.”
Laura smoothed the front of her outfit. “It should!”
Nanami’s furious retort was cut off by Ewan falling loudly out of his door. He straightened up with a clatter of chains. “What’re you looking at?”
Ethan straightened out of his chair and cleared his throat. “Ewan, did you cut two holes in a sheet, and then put that over your head?”
Ewan’s expression had to be inferred through the sheet, but it was fairly obvious from this body language. “What does it look like, nerd?” He tugged at the spiked collar around his neck.
“Oh, it looks exactly like you did that.” Ethan nodded. “Good job. Classic costume.”
Ewan wrapped a length of inch-thick chain around his hand. “Shut up.”
“I was just saying!” Ethan winked at Laura and pulled on his runners. “Did you carry chain for a costume, or was that for other reasons?”
“It’s a belt, get your idiot glasses checked.” Ewan clanked over to the door. He’d hung every piece of chain jewelry he owned off his pants. This caused considerable strain on the pants. “Can we leave now?”
“Fine, let’s go.” Adam stood up and adjusted his hat. “We need to take the train and a Zeppelin to make it there in time, I have the timetables…”
Ewan had flipped him the finger and exited, closely followed by Nanami, Laura and Ethan, in that order. Adam sighed long-sufferingly and followed, consulting the invitation again. “Natalie Whipple’s Halloween Party,” it read. At least he knew where they were going!