"Welcome back ladies," Cupid says. "I trust you found the facilities to your liking?"

"Yes, Cupid. All is well in your god-sized bathroom."

"Good to know. And for the record, the bathroom isn't the only thing god-sized around here," Cupid grins and does his lecherous eyebrow wiggle.


"Could've fooled me," Shelly says. "We all saw the naked statue of you out front."

Score Shelly!

Cupid turns as red as the roses in his garden. Actually, the redder he gets, the paler the roses look, like he's stealing their color. "I was a baby."

"Of course," says Shelly.

"I suppose you're an expert. And, Zeus knows, I do prefer someone with experience."

Shelly's eyes flash, and her fists clench. I better change the subject before we have an all-out brawl. "Much as I hate to interrupt this "conversation" you and Shelly are having, we have something really important to talk to all of you about."

"Of course. Everyone sit. That's good. We'll get to your little problem in just a moment. We're almost done with the party planning."

"This is more important than party planning," I say. I really don't think I can focus on celebrating when so many friends of mine are at risk.

"Do not question a god, Waverly. Trust me. This party will be one of the most important events in your life."

"But ..."

"Enough. Now, the party." Cupid waves his hand and a scroll appears, hanging in the air with no one holding it. "Let me see. I will enquire about using that old warehouse as the venue for the party. There will be a costume contest with Gaia, Iridessa, and Crumpet as judges. Gaia will absolutely hate doing it so all the more reason to pick her," Cupid chuckles and then snorts. "Sorry, that is going to be terribly amusing. And, Iridessa, will judge even though she has no taste and no sense of humor. And Crumpet always judges."

"Er ... Cupid, why would you appoint a costume judge who has no sense of humor and no taste?" I ask.

"Because I'm already on her bad list, and if she doesn't get to judge she'll turn me into a frog. Again. Fairies are always stuck in the past. They have the absolute worst imaginations. Sorry Lily-Bella, Pickles. You guys aren't like her."

"It's okay, Cupid. I pretty much agree. Archaic spells. Ancient rules."

"Lily-Bella and Fintan will be in charge of decorations. Remember what I said Lily-Bella."

"No pink," Lily-Bella nods her head.

"Good. And Fintan, remember, lots of pyrotechnics, but let's try not to blow up anything, or anyone, important."

Fintan frowns. "I'll try," he says. "But can't promise. Sometimes when I'm around, stuff explodes."

"I have the utmost confidence in you old chap. Now, let's see. Oh, yes. The haunted house. Originally Pierce was going to organize it, as scaring people to death is more in the vampire sphere of expertise, but well ..." He looks at me. "Sorry, Wave."

"It's okay," I croak, a little lump building in my throat.

"Would you and Pickles be in charge of the haunted house?"

"Sure," I say.

"Yeah," Pickles says, but she looks at me nervously.

"That's okay, Pickles. I've been to the haunted house at the pier a hundred times. We'll figure it out together."

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