Kate was awakened by the sounds of her cell phone ringing on Saturday morning. She glanced at the clock on it. 9:30 am. "Is a little sleep too much to ask for?" she moaned. But she answered it. It was Leah. If unanswered, her "dear friend" would continue to call her back at five minute intervals until she did pick up. The reasoning behind this being that if Kate were awake, she would get tired of trying to ignore it, and if she were asleep, it would wake her up eventually. And turning the cell of didn't work, either. Leah knew her home number by heart.

Groaning, Kate answered the call. "Lee?" she asked, rubbing her eyes and sitting up. "It's like, nine-thirty."

"Oh, I know," Leah said cheerfully. "But it's Saturday."

"Which means I can make use of my free time and sleep in," Kate pointed out, a trifle testily. "As should you be doing."

"Blah blah blah," Leah muttered. "Anyways, want to come shopping with me and Ally? We're getting Halloween stuff today. You don't have a rehearsal, do you?"

"No, they're on Sundays," Kate answered. With a sigh, she added "What time are you guys going?"

"I'll pick you up at eleven?"

"Fine, see you then." Kate hung up, shoved the phone back in its charger, mumbling about stupid best friends who were morning people, and stumbled into the bathroom for her shower. An hour and a half later she stood outside her front door, clad in tan capris, a white t-shirt with pink and brown flowers, and some flip flops, a purse under one arm. Leah pulled up in her family's Honda, and the three girls sped off towards the enormous costume store located just outside of town. It had all manner of costumes-new ones, vintage ones, specially made ones that people had tired of and sold, and pre-made ones of mainly polyester. It was one of the girls' favorite stores.

The three climbed out of the car and headed into the store, where the costume trying on game began. Ally strutted across the aisle clad in a flapper dress of bright, glittery red, complete with a feathered and beaded headband and red four-inch heels. Leah twirled around in a southern belle gown, dipping curtseys and twirling her parasol at passing customers, many of whom eyed her with extreme bewilderment. Ally had to drag her away before she started reciting Gone With the Wind. It had not been one of her better ideas, Kate thought, to show her best friends one of her favorite movies. While Ally had pronounced it "Not bad for such a long movie", Leah had become enamored of it, and purchased a special edition of the movie, an annotated copy of the novel, the movie companion book, a poster, and a Scarlet O'Hara Barbie. Yes, showing it to Leah had been a very, very bad idea indeed.

Kate, meanwhile, discovered the ball gowns, and spent a blissful hour trying on dresses dating back to Tudor England, at least. She purchased a Tudor era gown in rose and gold, with slashed sleeves, for a mere $23, a great bargain, and made a mental note to go as Mary Boleyn or Jane Seymour for the next Halloween. A pair of elbow length gloves were also added to her costume stash, and she had to be prevented from spending most of the rest of her cash on a blue and gold silk embroidered Napoleonic gown with real gold threads. Seeing as she already owned three Empire-waisted gowns, a Spencer, and a parasol, her friends pointed out, she did not need another Regency or Napoleonic era costume. Kate reluctantly agreed.

After the first hour and a half of random costume trying on and purchasing, the girls settled down to business. Ally selected a knee-length dress made of real buckskin, with a fringed edge and red beading alone the neckline, some red-beaded moccasins, and a headband beaded in red and blue for her Pocahontas costume. Leah found a fringed purple, red, and blue silk skirt with enormous yellow silk flowers embroidered on it, a loose, v-necked white blouse with billowy sleeves, two black lace shawls (one for her waist and one for her shoulders), and a red silk scarf for her hair. A trip to the jewelry aisles revealed gigantic gold hoop earrings, a multi-stranded gold necklace, and sixteen gold bangles, and Leah the gypsy was complete.

Kate, meanwhile, struck gold in the movie reproductions section of the store. She came upon a version of Giselle's pink gown that she wore as an animated heroine in Andalasia, complete with pink silk slippers embroidered with roses, and a headband of pink and white silk flowers. The purchase was made, and the girls headed out to lunch.

Over subs at the sandwich area of the foodcourt in a nearby mall, the subject of the costumes that the guys would be wearing came up. Paul, Ally told them gleefully, was going as a highwayman, with knee-britches, a white billowy shirt and cravat, a belt with pistols and a sword, knee high brown leather boots, and a little black mask.

"I'll bet he looks pretty darn sexy as a highwayman," Leah commented, smiling at the thought of her boyfriend in costume.

"Eew, God, he's my brother, Lee," Ally muttered. "Tone it down, mmkay? PG, perhaps?"

"What, hand holding and a discreet kiss on the lips when no one is looking?" Leah riposted. "Not likely, Al. Keep dreaming, though."

Ally stuck out her tongue and changed the subject. "Jesse's gonna be Romeo, and he's actually wearing tights…" They paused to snicker, then moved on. Jesse was an actor, and they loved to see him in the entertaining costumes that the directors put him in for shows. He had been Puck, Benedick, and Caliban so far, and the costumes had never disappointed.

"What's Jay wearing?" Leah asked, sneaking a subtle glance at Kate, who showed no noticeable interested, possibly because she was at present engaged in removing a stray piece of lettuce from her sub.

"No idea," Ally said. "He won't tell. Says he wants to make sure it's good enough for a party."

"Hmm…" Leah said softly. Good enough for Kate, perhaps?

"What're Willow and Ana wearing?" Kate broke in, noticing the look on her friend's face. "Bet they've got pretty good costumes, right?" Willow and Jesse were Kate's cousins, and as theater mad as she was, and always had incredible Halloween costumes. Ana, while not big on drama, was a history lover, and thus had many costume reproductions in her closet.

"Ana's wearing her Isabella of Castile dress-the one she got last month at that vintage place in Spain," Leah said, "and I thought you said Willow told you hers?"

Kate bit her lip, trying to remember. "She did," she said slowly. "I'm gonna think of it in a moment, I know…" she trailed of, considering. "She's going to go as…she borrowed it from the High School Drama closet…Cleopatra! That's it."

"Pretty sweet," Leah said.

"Indeed," Ally agreed, sipping her sprite. "Wish Jay'd tell Paul what he was going as, though. I want to know."

Kate almost opened her mouth to second the comment, then turned it into a yawn just in time. "I'm kinda tired, you guys," she said. "Mind if we go back home and watch some movies? I've got Casablanca and The 27 Dresses as early birthday gifts from my grandparents the other day."

"Sounds good to me," Ally said. "You up for it, Leah?"

"Popcorn and gummy bears?" Leah asked.

"And cocoa," Kate confirmed.

"I'm in."