Already in the process of wiping yet more remnants of a chocolate bar from her lips, Kimberly entered her apartment living room to find a handful of her closest friends staring at her, eyes pitiful.
Kimberly broke it. "'Sup, guys?" she said through a gloopy mouthful of chocolate.
Her friends gave each other significant looks. Michael, her best friend since kindergarten and grade-A karaoke singer, stepped forward.
"Kim. Kimmy," he said, voice wavering.
"Come on," Staysha urged from her spot on the couch, sipping on what was probably her third glass of red wine.
"I know, I know," Michael said back. He opened his mouth to speak, but hesitated.
"What is it?" Kimberly asked, swallowing the last of the chocolate.
Michael sucked in a breath, and now with a voice more firm, but still not looking her in the eye, he said, "This is an intervention."
There was a moment of silence. Then Kimberly burst out laughing. "Please!" she said through her disbelieving laughter, "We all know that if anyone needs an intervention here, it's Staysha," she pointed at her with a chocolate residue caked finger. "Girl drinks like a sailor on the moon!"
Staysha scoffed and downed her glass of wine. One of the other guests in the back, a man they called Napoleon, said "That doesn't even make sense. Sailor on the moon. Common sign of a hyperactive mind."
"You know what I mean," Kimberly said. "She drinks all the wine anyone buys. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's my rosé she's slurping down."
In silent, yet defiant, shame, Staysha slid the wine bottle on the coffee table behind her back.
"This isn't about Staysha. Or alcohol," Michael blurted. "It's about you. And chocolate."
Nods of agreement from the crowd.
Kimberly laughed again, but it was a different sort of laugh; one of disbelief, one to cover up a sudden nervousness that was taking control. A long, drawn out "Whaaaaat?" was all she was able to muster.
"We..." Michael looked back at those gathered for support, then back to Kimberly. "We think - we know - you're... a chocoholic."
At the accusation, Kimberly rankled. She couldn't believe her ears. "I don't even like chocolate that much," she protested.
"Alcoholics don't claim they like alcohol," said Sim, Staysha's girlfriend. She was seated on the couch beside her and making eyes at the empty wine glass her partner was fondling.
"But I don't - I don't like..." Kimberly stammered.
"You're eating chocolate bars all day, Kimberly. How many do you have in your purse right now?" Michael said, finally letting the thoughts that'd been building up for months, perhaps years, spill forth.
Kimberly glanced at her purse, then said, tight-lipped, "I don't see how that's important."
"Evasion. Common addict behavior," Napoleon chimed in.
"Chocolate's changed you," Michael said. "You get all wild and hyper... make bad jokes. It's - it's hard to be around you. And there's the crash and you're just..." he shuddered. "Crabby," he said. "Just crabby."
Kimberly was silent, staring at a stain in the hardwood floor.
"It'd be one thing if you stuck with something good. Like Godiva or Toblerone or something," Michael was getting teary-eyed now. "But you'll take anything you can get. When you started on Hershey's I got worried, but I didn't think it was that bad, you know, but then you, you," he covered his mouth with a fist, fighting back a sob. And then he burst out, "But Almond Joys?! What is wrong with you?!"
Michael descended into a puddle of tears. Napoleon grudgingly came out of his corner to offer his friend a consoling pat on the back. "Nobody likes Almond Joys..." Michael whimpered.
"We're very concerned about you, Kimmy-cat," Staysha slurred. "Very fucking concerned."
Kimberly brought her hand to her mouth, moved, tears welling, threatening to spill over the edges of her eyelids. "I had no idea."
"There, there," Napoleon soothed Michael.
"I'm so sorry," Kimberly said. "I'm so sorry."
"First step's admitting you have a problem," Sim piped up.
"I'd call tonight a success," said Napoleon.
"I'm so lucky to have you all as my friends," Kimberly said. She opened up her purse, then turned it upside down, dumping its contents all over the ground. Chocolate bars with a cornucopia of brand labels scattered on the hardwood floor, along with a bag of Reese's Pieces and a few half-empty cartons of Milk Duds.
"I can give it up," Kimberly said, voice catching. "I'm giving it up."
Michael stood up, leaning on Napoleon for support. "I'm... we're... proud of you," he said, wiping one last tear from his eye.
Kimberly and Michael locked eyes. Kimberly couldn't hold herself back any longer. "Oh, you guys!" she cried, rushing forward for a hug.
All of her friends circled around her in one grand group hug. Kimberly had a hard road ahead of her, but with the support of her friends, she could learn to live a chocolate free life.
In the middle of the group hug, Sim said, "Okay, but for real; Staysha drinks too much."
The friends all laughed.
Sim's face was hard. "No. Really. It's a problem."
Staysha pitched over and vomited all over everyone's feet. Screams.