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“Todd, I swear to God, if we’re late for this gala because you can’t tie your bowtie again, I’m going to kill you,” she yelled from the bathroom where she applied her Mexican sugar skull makeup.
Todd sat on the couch leaned forward with his elbows on his knees trying to tie his bowtie in the reflection of her iPad Pro while looking at an instructional YouTube video on his phone. He could feel the beads of sweat forming on his forehead. His concern about his tie paled in comparison to his concerns about the sweat on his brow ruining his sugar skull makeup that she had put on an hour before.
“Do I even need to wear a tie to this?” he asked seconds later. “No one will even know it’s me with this ridiculous makeup on.”
He could sense her frustration from the bathroom while also wondering if she could hear him over whichever remix she was playing from her Soundcloud account. But just when he thought his comments would be ignored, she chimed in, “Todd, don’t even start with me. We’ve gone over this a million times.”
“If anything, you’re getting off easy. Katie is making Finn wear a stupid animal costume under his tux because they’re being Beauty and The Beast – do you want to keep complaining?”
He sighs again before mumbling, “That sounds better than wearing makeup.”
“What did you just say?” she snapped, still not peeking her head out from the bathroom.
“Nothing, babe,” Todd responded, “I think I’ve figured my tie out.”
Emerging from the bathroom with her full face of makeup on, she walked in her underwear into the living room where her black dress rested on the love seat. Pulling it over her hips and adjusting it the mirror behind their couch, she looked over her shoulder and said, “Can you zip this up for me?”
Todd arose from the couch and zipped it up while she held her hair in her hand not to get it caught in the zipper. When she turned around and asked how she looked, Todd went in to give her a kiss only to be stopped and told, “No, you’re going to mess up our makeup – will you call an Ubez?”
She took her thumb and fixed the smudged makeup on his neck so it wouldn’t get on his tuxedo shirt’s collar.
“You look so good, baby,” she complimented him. “We look so James Bond Spectre opening scene that it’s not even funny.”
“Way more high-end than Finn and Katie’s stupid Disney costumes, that’s for sure,” she thought to herself while pouring a glass of wine to bring in the Uber.
Todd looked down at his phone and said, “He’s only a couple minutes away, so we can probably go down to the lobby.”
As they made their way to the elevator, Todd checked his texts to see when the other guys were going to arrive at the gala. No one had responded, so he figured they were either already there, on their way, or going through the same motions to get ready as he just endured for the past two hours.
When the elevator doors opened, their apartment’s doorman commented, “Very nice, you two,” as she walked by without saying a word. Todd gave a two-fingered wave and salute before directing her towards the Toyota Corolla parked to the right of the apartment’s entrance.
As they got in, she immediately asked the driver to turn down the air-conditioning for fear of their makeup running due to sweating. When he obliged, she further asked, “Can you turn this song up? I fucking love Halsey.”
“But I liked her before ‘Closer,'” she clarified with Todd who looked out the window wondering why he was wearing makeup in public.
Upon arriving at the five-star hotel where the gala was taking place, they noticed that the hotel had spared no details when preparing for this event. After all, they couldn’t charge $125 per ticket and not decorate the entrance with spiderwebs and pumpkins.
When Todd emerged from the Uber, he held the door open for her while saying, “Thanks, Jeff, appreciate the ride.”
“Okay, how do I look?” she asked him standing on the sidewalk just outside the entrance.
“You look great, babe,” he clarified with her. “Do you know if Katie and Finn are here?”
“Yeah,” she responded while walking towards the door. “They’re inside.”
When they entered the hotel, it was dark – everything was covered in fake cobwebs and “Monster Mash” played on the speakers while hotel employees were dressed like zombies. The first fifty feet before entering the ballroom were an overdone haunted house that she (nor Todd) wanted nothing to do with. Entering the ballroom, Todd immediately saw Finn at the bar talking to someone he didn’t recognize.
“Alright,” Todd pointed out, “Let’s head over there, I see Finn.”
She stopped in her tracks – “Why is Finn’s face painted like a sugar skull?” she wondered to herself. “Wait,” she said to Todd, “Is that… is that Katie?”
Katie was sitting at a table just in front of the bar talking to Alex, both of their faces painted nearly identically to her’s.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” she asked Todd while they approached the group. “She completely fucking copied my costume. I swear to G–…”
She was interrupted by Katie spotting her from across the room.
“Hey girl!” Katie exclaimed. “You look so good.”
“You too,” she half-heartedly responded. “What happened to your Beauty and The Beast costume or whatever?” she asked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Katie responded, “I’ve just wanted to do this one for a while and now we’re like a hashtag skull squad, am I right?”
“Right…” she said with no inflection in her voice. “Let’s get a drink, I barely got to pre-game because I was busy all day and had to throw this costume together last minute.”
She approached the bar where Todd was talking to Finn. As both girls came up, both guys extended their arms and wrapped them around their shoulders asking what they needed from the open bar. “Champagne?” Todd inquired, to which both girls responded approvingly.
From a distance, people began filing into the ballroom as the lights dimmed. They maintained their position at the bar while the room remained just half-full for fear of how difficult it would be to get a drink once the sold out event filled up.
They stood talking about what Todd and Finn had planned for John’s bachelor party when Todd felt a tap on his shoulder. Todd turned his upper body to see who it was.
“Todd?” a Phantom of the Opera-masked girl said. “Is that you?”
Todd hesitated before she removed her mask and he immediately recognized her and went in for an excited hug.
Just to his right, she turned to Katie and asked “Who the fuck is that?” .