Mrs Smith came downstairs with a stony expression frozen on her sour old face. She had seen that boy Aiden slink downstairs a while ago and move around the kitchen collecting pastry things, then he had disappeared into the hallway temporarily, and finally gone upstairs again. Suspicious, she had followed him up to see what the kids were up to. She didn't mind that the teenagers had taken themselves off - this was an adult party, and their parents were fools to bring them in the first place. But what she had seen upstairs had only compounded her fears.
'Well?' Lydia's mother hissed.
Mrs Smith joined her husband. The entire group of assembled adults had dropped all pretence of enjoying each other's company and conversation. Most of them had stopped what they were doing to follow this new string of events that had just begun to unfold.
'What's happ'nin'?' said a particularly sloshed Mr Barclay.
Lydia's mother shot him a rather withering expression, pursed her lips and asked again. 'What is going on?'
'Well,' said Mrs Smith. 'I went up there to use the bathroom and I saw a lot of... clothing on the floor. And then I heard noises coming from the guest bedroom - laughing mostly, whispering. And it sounds like they've put some sort of horrible goth music on.'
'Hang on a minute,' said a woman in a hideous-looking peach dress. 'That's my son you're talking about.'
'Well, don't you agree?' Lydia's mother snapped. 'Isn't his music just the most appaling pile of rubbish you've ever heard?'
'How dare you!' The peach woman was smiling with anger, and a blonde curl had escaped that astounding hairdo of hers.
Mrs Smith calmed the arguing pair with a flapping of her arms. 'That's not the worst part, listen. They've got that music on loud, god knows, but there's... well, they're making a lot of noise in there.' She pretended to laugh. 'It sounds like they're jumping up and down on the bed.'
Lydia's father snorted into his glass of orange juice - the only drink that was left. 'Yeah. Sure.'
'Where the hell is my daughter?' Lydia's mother said in a strangled voice. 'If you don't get Lyddy down here right now I'll go and get her myself! They could be doing anything up there; taking drugs, having some kind of orgy, drinking blood, God only knows!'
The other guests looked on in interest. The evening had suddenly become rather entertaining. Most of them were hanging on to see if Lydia's mother would actually strom up there and seize the drippy-looking girl they'd glimpsed earlier. A lot of them were interested in what the drippy-looking girl was up to right now, and whether she'd bring it down with her so they could all have a look.
'Calm down, calm down,' said Mr Smith, accidentally sloshing what was left of his drink on Lydia's mother's shoes. She reacted by shrieking loudly, bending down to make sure they hadn't been stained, and then hitting Mr Smith across the face. Mr Smith stumbled back, tripping over the stuck-out heel of a nameless guest, and crashed onto the table. A few nibbles went flying.
'Why don't we just go home and you can phone us when Lydia's ready to be picked up?' Lydia's father suggested as Smith's wife helped him to his feet. 'That way, everybody's happy.'
'I'm not happy!' Lydia's mother screeched.
'Please, Myra, let's not make a scene.' He turned to the Smiths. 'We'll just leave the kids with you, if that's alright, and I assure you we will be back to deal with them in a few hours.'
Much to the disappointment of the guests and to the fury of Lydia's mother, they left and stomped out onto the street, back to their car.