Even though the music is loud, Shelly's high-pitched voice cuts right through. Someone is singing: "Every breath you take ... every step you take ... I'll be watching you"--probably in Shelly's honor.

"There you are, Pierce. I knew I'd find you! What were you doing below? Waiting for me? Did you find the Jacuzzi in my dad's room?" Shelly titters. "Before we do that, you owe me a dance." She grabs Pierce's arm and tries to pull him up the last few steps.

"Shelly ..." Pierce says firmly as he peels her fingers off of his arm one at a time. She's wearing a strapless sheer black gown that sure wasn't in the cabin back at school. It has a slit up one leg that goes practically to her waist and she is tottering in six-inch heels.

"Yes, Pierce?"

Pierce steps out of the narrow doorway. I am right behind him, and we're still holding hands.

When Shelly sees my head pop up behind Pierce, her eyes turn into big round O's of horror. When she sees we're holding hands, her jaw drops like a viperfish. It's not her most attractive look.

"Waverly?" She finally is able to spit out my name.

Pierce squeezes past Shelly and leads me and Pickles on to the deck. He squeezes my hand, and Pickles comes up on my other side clutching her wand and looking like a fairy badass. Well, as badass as a person can look in pink tulle.

I could've sworn we came up the same steps we took down from the back deck, but we are now in the front, right in the heart of the party. There is so much going on, I can't even take it all in. It's like being at the boardwalk with Carla, except instead of bumper cars and roller coasters, there are fairies dive-bombing their classmates and gods retaliating with sharp, silvery flashes of lightning. It even smells like the boardwalk-like corn dogs and cotton candy and coconut oil. My stomach growls. I realize I haven't eaten since lunch. Wait, what am I doing? Focus! Shelly first, corn dog with loads of mustard later.

"You look ..." Shelly begins, but somehow can't find the words. I catch glimpses of her thoughts (I know it's rude, but we're talking about Shelly here), and let me tell you, she is not happy about my new outfit. "You look ..."

"She looks damned amazing," says Cupid, sauntering over, sipping something out of a coconut shell. Instead of the toga, he's wearing Hawaiian print Bermuda shorts and an orange polo shirt with a little "bow and arrow" emblem where there is usually an alligator. He is also wearing green rubber boots and a bow tie. I'm flattered by his assessment of my look. I really am, but the compliment needs to be put into perspective. I don't think Cupid is the world's greatest fashion authority.

Shelly glares at Cupid, then regains her composure, and puts on her fake smile. "Yeah, I guess it's better than that mustard-stained debate team sweatshirt she had on earlier. Not like my dress. My dad got it for me as a surprise from Paris. It's one-of-a-kind couture!" She boasts haughtily, but Cupid rolls his eyes.

"I don't care how much it costs; Waverly still looks stunning and far better than you."

"Go to Hades," Shelly says.

"I would, but last time I saw him, he told me something like 'never again enter my domain or I'll spear you to a rock with your own arrow for all eternity.'"

"I meant ..." Shelly begins.

"Look, Cupid, I really need to talk to Shelly. I'm glad you like the dress. Pickles, er, made, zapped, enchanted, well, it's from Pickles," I say. "She's amazing."

"Thanks, Wave," she says.

"You're welcome Pickles, but, as I was saying, Cupid, Shelly and I have some THINGS to discuss."

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