I had to laugh at the pouty look on Gavin's face as Elizabeth handed the plain cider to him. I made a mental note to thank her later.
In the corner, Wes was doing his best to annoy Varghona. As I approached, I heard her calmly ask, "How would you like to spend the evening stuffed in a bass drum?"
"Only if you're in there with me," he replied, waggling his eyebrows salaciously. She groaned and turned her back to him.
"Well, do you know any stuff by the Starboys?" he asked.
"Augie's Municipal Band?"
"No!" I answered for Varghona, horrified at the thought. Stepping closer, I pointed Wes toward the bobbing barrels. "See those apples?" He nodded. "Go learn to juggle."
Varghona grinned as the handsome pilot hopped over to grab a handful of fruit. "Maybe that wasn't such a hot idea."
"You just told Wes that it's OK to throw stuff."
"Oh, Sithspit. I..." my voice trailed off.
"What?" She followed my gaze.
"Is that Wedge?7quot; Mental note #2-- thank Elizabeth for suggesting the Robin Hood costume. I sighed contentedly. "Thank the Goddess for men in tights."
Near the door, the sound of hooting and clapping filled the air. The object of amusement was at the center of a circle of pilots, so I slipped through the guys to have a look, and promptly fell on my butt. Ton Phanan grinned down at me and waved his shepherdess' staff.
"Don't you know it's rude to laugh at a lady?"
"Sorry, Bo-Peep," I choked, taking in his blue gingham dress and the blonde braided wig that didn't match his beard and mustache. "Are you wearing petticoats?" I peeked under his skirt, and he gave a fake squeal, slapping my hand away.
"So where's your sheep?" I asked.
"Wagging their tails in a pasture somewhere. I considered bringing one, but I didn't think you'd want to clean up after it."
"Um, no. Good thinking." Phanan reached down and hauled me to my feet.
"So," he looked me up and down, "how drunk do you have to be before you'll dance for us?"
A frantic shriek prevented me from answering. Everyone jumped and ran toward the hallway... all except Kell, who leaned his chair back and looked smug.
"Looks like someone found the first surprise."
An angry gray Twi'lek stalked into the ballroom and tossed down an armful of colorful objects. I peered closer and started cracking up. Kell and Runt had taken bright plastic Slinkys and attached Furby heads to them, then shoved them in a coat closet, Nawara glared at me, his red eyes burning. "You put them up to this?"
"Relax, Nawara." I poured him a cup of cider. "It's a haunted house. You
never know what'll happen."
Continued in Part Five