THE ONE WHERE EVERYONE FINDS OUT ABOUT SKYLAR AND RAYMOND
Fake cobwebs were hanging off the ceiling, all five fog machines were billowing down the halls and Monster Mash was blaring from the ballroom. Basically, everything was perfect.
Skylar was pretty sure there had never been a more awesome Halloween party than this one, and she was actually glad she had agreed they should host it. She turned back to her co-conspirator and continued their plotting.
“As I was saying, Raymond, we have to get Trevor and Donovan apart, and that will never happen if stupid Connie Conners is hanging all over them. What we need to do is find a distraction for her.”
Raymond twirled his fake pistol around and put it back in his holster. “Um, it’s Captain Mal tonight, just so you know.” Honestly, he would have thought that was obvious, but this was Skylar, so…
“And like the brilliant Captain, I just happen to have a fantastic plan.”
“Oh, really? And what plan would that be Captain Whatever.”
“Captain Mal. And my brilliant plan involves killing two birds with one stone. We just need to use Parker to get rid of Connie and we’re golden!”
“How are we going to do that? There’s no way that snobby, goody-two-shoes is going to hang out with Parker, of all people. And he’s too busy drooling over Jessica to notice anyone else.”
“Don’t worry about Parker…I’ll take care of him! All you’ve gotta do is convince Connie that Parker wants to join one of her prissy, little church groups and she won’t leave him alone for the rest of the night!”
Skylar was silent a moment and then she slowly nodded. “Yes. I actually think that might work. Okay, I’ll see what I can do.”
Just then the doorbell rang, and Androcles swept by them in his Obi-Wan Kenobi costume. Jessica Miller was the first one in, dressed as Katniss Everdeen, complete with braided hair and bow and arrows. Next came Raymond’s best friend, Morgan, whose Zoë Washburne ensemble perfectly complemented Raymond’s costume, while attempting to make a clear statement that they were in no way a couple.
“Well,” Raymond said, jumping up from his chair, “that’s my cue. Gotta go hang out with someone who actually understands a good costume when they see one.”
Skylar rolled her eyes. “Whatever, go have fun with your girlfriend; just don’t forget the plan Captain Loser.”
“She’s not… you know what, whatever.” He waved her off and strode over to Morgan.
“Whoa…” Morgan said, looking up and turning a full circle, “This is seriously where you live now?”
“Yeah, crazy, right?” Raymond answered, leading her towards the hallway. “Let’s go get some punch, and on the way, I’ll fill you in on The Job.”
She nodded solemnly. “Oh, yes, Operation Infiltrate Debate Team. I’ll follow you, Captain!”
Meanwhile, Skylar had made her way over to meet Jessica and the two were oohhhing and ahhhing over each other’s costumes.
“Wow, this party is totally awesome!” Jessica said, looking around in awe.
Skylar shrugged and began steering Jessica towards the ballroom. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool. But this isn’t the half of it…come on, I’ll show you where the real party is.” She pulled Jessica with her, craning her neck around the whole way as she searched for Connie.
In the ballroom the dance floor they had rented was already filled with classmates, and ACDC’s Highway to Hell was blaring from the speakers set up all around. Skylar was pretty sure that Connie would not be caught dead in here. She had to go find her, quickly, and without Jessica knowing.
Just then, Highway to Hell ended and Rihanna’s Disturbia started to play. “Oooh! I love this song!” Jessica yelled over the music, “come on, let’s dance!
“You go ahead!” Skylar yelled back, “I’ve gotta go say hi to some of the newcomers…I’ll be right back!” She pointed over to a small figure dressed as Rapunzel who was twirling around the dance floor like she was attending some fancy ball. “Um, go keep Renata company. And maybe show her how to dance…”
Skylar hurried out of the ballroom and headed towards the main living room where the food had been set up. Once inside, she finally spotted her target: Connie Conners. The girl was, of course, latched onto the arm of Donovan Matthews, and they were both talking to the dreamiest guy alive, Trevor Lockharte.
Skylar choked back her momentary panic at the sight of Trevor’s stunning smile and tapped Connie’s arm. “Hi, Connie! Oh my God, you look just gorgeous! I love your costume! Has anyone ever told you how amazing you look in white? It’s such a pure, color, don’t you think? It makes me think of church. And speaking of, did you hear that Parker Moore has been super interested in your church group? You should totally go talk to him about it!”
“Umm…” Connie looked a little confused. “Thank you? Who? Who are you talking about?”
“Parker Moore! You know, that redheaded guy. I heard from this friend of mine who totally hangs out with Parker’s friend Jackson that Parker was dying to get into your group, but I guess he thinks he needs an invitation from you or something? I think he’s too shy to just ask though…”
“He wants to join Purity Power?”
Skylar hesitated for a moment…that was Connie Connor’s church group? “Uh..yeah!”
“But isn’t he the guy that’s always hitting on girls in the hall?”
Skylar tried not to flinch, “You know…I think he’s ready to change his ways. In fact, I heard from a friend of a friend that they actually heard him say he just does that as a front because he’s too embarrassed to admit he wants to stay pure.”
Connie actually looked excited. “Really? Wow, I had no idea. But that’s what I’m here for, as mentor and president of the PP, to bring lost sheep into our herd!”
Skylar nodded and tried to hide her own excitement over her victory. “Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure you can go find him, like, right now! Not that I really know where he is or anything…it’s not like I really know the guy, but I’m pretty sure I might have spotted him out on the balcony.”
“Wonderful!” and just like magic, Connie was out of the room, and Skylar had the opening she had been waiting for.
“Hey! Hey, Parker!” Raymond pushed his way out onto the balcony, “you’re never going to guess what I just heard!”
“Jessica Miller is looking for me?” Parker’s face lit up. His friend Jackson gave him a long, somewhat concerned look.
“No…sorry. But the next best thing! Another chick is looking for you! Connie Connors, man. She is totally inaccessible, you know. Word by the punch bowl is, she totally has the hots for you.”
“Um,” Jackson spoke up, “Connie? You’re telling us that Connie has the hots for Parker? I’m pretty sure she’s with Donovan.”
“That’s just it! She really wants to be with Parker, but she doesn’t want to break up with Donovan when she doesn’t know if Parker likes her!”
“But…what about Jessica?” Parker asked.
“Dude!” Raymond practically yelled, “what better way to make her jealous, right? Just go talk to Connie for a little while and Jessica will see that she might miss out!”
Parker looked at him, full of hope. “Really? You think?”
Raymond nodded rapidly and clapped him on the shoulder. “Oh yeah, totally, man. That’s how girls think.”
“Oh, yes,” Morgan said from beside Raymond, “as a girl I can confirm this obviously true fact. No go! hurry, hurry now!”
“Okay!” Parker grinned, “I’ve always wanted to get one over on that Donovan jerk anyway!” He turned to Jackson, “come on! Let’s go find Connie!”
Raymond didn’t quite like the skeptical look he was getting from Jackson as they headed off in search of Connie, but he figured as long as Parker bought it, it didn’t really matter all that much. And now he would be able to go find Donovan and convince him how much the debate team really needed his skills and services.
Skylar was standing awkwardly now with Trevor and Donovan, both of whom seemed much more interested in talking about football than talking with her. Where the hell was Raymond? He needed to come get Donovan so she could have Trevor all to herself!
“Oh yeah,” she tried to break into the conversation, “I just love that one guy that plays for the Dallas Cowboys.”
Trevor looked at her in confusion. “You like the Cowboys?”
She nodded and pointed to her cheerleader costume. “Oh, sure! So much! I watch the games and stuff all the time.”
He smiled and turned his attention to her. “Awesome! I had no idea. So what did you think about the ref’s call in the fourth quarter at that last Buccaneer’s match?”
Skylar swallowed hard as scrambled to remember anything at all about stupid football. “Oh, well. You know. I’m sure I felt how everyone felt about it!” Finally, Raymond came into the room with Morgan. “Oh my God! Thriller!” she squealed as it came booming from the ballroom, “you should totally come dance with me!” she grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the door before he could have a chance to say no.
Things couldn’t have gone any better, and now she was out on the dance floor with Trevor freaking Lockharte. Jessica and some guy from drama class had joined them and they were all laughing and trying to do the Thriller dance.
And then, the unthinkable happened. Two guys pushed through the crowd of dancing bodies and made their way over to Skylar’s group, and she realized all too late that it was Parker and his stupid friend, Jackson.
Her first thought was one of outrage as she realized that they were dressed as Dr. Evil and Scott Evil. How dare Parker even try to be one of Seth Green’s amazing characters? How dare he!!! But then her rage turned to horror as he swiftly ignored Jessica and started actually trying to talk to her.
“Hey Skylar!” Parker yelled way too loudly, “the party turned out totally awesome didn’t it?”
“Of course it did! I planned it!” She was already pulling her little group away from him, “Trevor, I’m thirsty! Is anyone else thirsty? It is so hot in here…come on, let’s go get something to drink.”
“I’m thirsty!” Parker said.
“Not you, freak!” Skylar hurried away with her friends, throwing one last look over her shoulder to see Jackson, standing next to Parker, smirking and miming the infamous “Dr. Evil laugh”.
Raymond and Morgan glanced at each other triumphantly, and then turned back to Donovan. This was going too perfectly. As head of the debate team, Donovan had the last word on who made it in, and Raymond was pretty sure he was going to say yes any minute now.
“You know, I just love how you won the last match for the school, Donovan,” Raymond was saying, “not too many people can pull off such a brilliant combination of wit, humor and logic in such an intense situation, but you’re the man!”
Raymond’s blood went cold at the sound of Parker’s voice.
“Hey, buddy! I think we need some more ice. Do you remember where we were storing it? And what is up with Skylar? So not a team player tonight. Oh, and Connie? Total bust, man.”
Raymond closed his eyes and just tried to breathe. “Um. Ice is usually kept in the freezer. You might want to check there. Why are you asking me? Or telling me anything at all? Why are you here?”
Donovan frowned and looked at Parker. “Yeah, and what was that about my girlfriend?”
“Oh!” Parker answered, “Jackson and I thought it wouldn’t be good if we ran out of ice and he suggested I come ask you about it. I think you were taking care of that earlier when we were setting everything up.”
Donovan turned to Raymond. “Do you know him or something?”
“Uh, we live together,” Parker just wouldn’t shut up.
“If by ‘live together’ you mean we have a few classes together!” Raymond said quickly.
“Oh, I feel that way too,” Morgan broke in with a nervous laugh, “we spend so much time at school we might as well live there, right?”
Parker appeared confused. “We have classes together? I had no idea!”
“Aren’t you guys different grades?” Jackson asked, his voice full of malicious insinuation.
Raymond’s attention snapped to Jackson. Clearly this was an enemy he had underestimated.
Donovan glanced around the group and seemed rather uncomfortable. “Okay, this is getting a little weird. I’m going to go find Connie and Trevor. Raymond, maybe we’ll talk some other time about the team. Or something. Bye Prancer!” And then he was gone, and with him, Raymond’s dreams of being accepted into the debate team.
He needed to talk to Skylar! How had this happened? Parker’s friends weren’t supposed to be smart! that was a given! Raymond pushed past the two of them, Morgan right behind him.
“Where are you going?” She asked.
“I have to find Skylar! We have to regroup…form another plan, something!” There had to be some way to salvage the night.
He hurried out into the hallway, passing Ophelia, who was showing off her ridiculously fake vampire fangs to a group of girls. Oh, she just thought she was so clever didn’t she?
He finally found Skylar just outside the ballroom, and the look on her face told him that things had gone just about as well for her as they had for him. “Jackson!” she yelled.
“I know! Come on, we have to come up with another plan. But not here, they could find us at any moment.” He looked around until the coat closet caught his eye, “this way!”
“Seriously?” Skylar squealed as Raymond pulled her into the closet.
“Do you want him to spot us?”
“No, of course not. But just don’t get too close, because, ewww.”
Raymond sighed, “Then this will have to work. What are we going to do about him?”
Juan was relieved that no one seemed to require him to leave his room for the night. After his terrifying excursion to the party store, he’d had enough excitement to last the rest of his life–however long that might be…
The one upside to the costume the children had forced him into was the lovely, new and improved utility belt. This one had pockets and everything and Juan was sure he could manage to carry at least three more safety precautions with him everywhere now. And the cape seemed like it might be beneficial out in the direct sunlight as well! The body armor was also a plus, and he had always wanted to wear a mask.
All in all, combined with his pepper spray, Juan felt very safe indeed…until the unthinkable happened, and his door violently burst open.
They’ve found me! They have finally come for me!!!! I have to fight! If I want to live, I have to fight them off!!
He stared in horror at the girl standing in the doorway. From her braided hair to her bow and arrows, she just screamed sure death for him.
“I WANT TO LIVE!!!!” he cried, lunging forward. Courage bolstered by his new outfit, he pulled out the pepper spray and pointed it directly at her sinister face.
“Okay, this is brilliant!” Skylar cackled.
“It’s foolproof!” Raymond agreed, noting that Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell was playing. Ha! They were watching Jackson now, that’s for sure! And he’d better be watching his back.
All of the sudden, someone screamed bloody murder. “Oh my God, is that Jessica?” Skylar whispered. “Oh please tell me Parker didn’t find her!” The two of them burst out of the closet…and then stopped dead in their tracks.
At least a hundred of their classmates were standing just outside the closet gawking at them. Skylar glanced around frantically, trying to figure out just what the hell was going on.
“Ohhhh, finally!” Jackson said, stepping out into view at the front of the crowd. “Here’s the two love-birds now!”
Laughter broke out and Melissa Johnson took a step forward. “Skylar and Raymond sitting in a tree!” she sang, and then broke out into a fit of giggles.
Skylar and Raymond looked at each other in horror. Maybe they could just convince everyone that nothing had happened in the closet. Maybe, everyone would just forget about the whole thing by Monday.
Or, maybe, they would forever be known as “Skymond” and Skylar’s life really was officially ruined.