(Also Part 1 of the Challenge Arc)

Last time out, Milo and Melissa celebrated their first Halloween and Christmas together! Now...their first New Year's, with perhaps their first New Year's kiss! ROLL IT!

December 31, 2009 - today marked the end of a decade and the beginning of another. For Milo and Melissa, it was their first New Year's as best friends and after taking down Lieutenant certainly wouldn't be the last. Tonight was New Year's Eve, meaning it was all you can eat snacks, staying up until midnight...and DICK CLARK'S NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST! Tonight's lineup included Jennifer Lopez, Daughtry, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, The Black Eyed Peas, Orianthi, Robin Thicke, Colbie Caillat, Keri Hillson and David Guetta. For Milo and Melissa, it was the ultimate test of their youthful energy. They would need every bit of it if they wanted to stay up until midnight to watch the famous Times Square Ball Drop!

"So 'Liss...what's this about a ball drop tonight?" Milo asked his best friend.

"It's a tradition that has spanned more than a century, Milo," Melissa answered. "Every year since 1907, a lighted ball has dropped atop Times Square in New York to signal the start of the new year and since 2000, the ball has been adorned with nearly 3,000 crystal triangles, with a few hundred being replaced every year to create a sparkling mosaic and a shining symbol of hope for the year to come."

"That's deep, 'Liss. You get that all by yourself?"

"No. Read it all online."

What would later become the standard 'Milolissa sleepover' pizza order came just as 'Jeopardy!' began - 2 pepperoni pizzas and 2 cheese pizzas. Milo and Melissa ended up playing against Melissa's parents along with the episode...and ended up ahead with 16,400 to Mr. and Mrs. Chase's 11,200 heading into Final Jeopardy! with the category of Advertising Mascots. The clue:

This advertising icon who debuted in the 1950s is known as Pron-Tito in Spanish-speaking countries.

"Who is Speedy?" Melissa responded to the clue.

This shocked her parents.

"Holy cow, she's right!" Mrs. Chase remarked.

"How could a 6 year old girl know about advertising that was out before you and I were even on the scene?" Mr. Chase asked his wife, who could only shrug her shoulders.

Of course, Milo and Melissa went all in, doubling their score. Mr. and Mrs. Chase had guessed 'Who is the Nestle Quik Bunny?', which was wrong and cost them only 2,000 points.

"When Melissa's of age...we gotta get her on 'Jeopardy!'" Melissa's mom remarked as 'Wheel of Fortune' started.

Milo, as he will do (and so will Melissa now), laughed whenever someone was unfortunate enough to land on that dreaded Bankrupt space on the wheel. He thinks the sound the wedge makes is funny and who could really blame him? Certainly not Melissa! After 'Wheel' came the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons with 'New Year's Rockin 'Eve' to follow! They flipped to the Bulls/Pistons game midway through the 2nd quarter with the Bulls ahead by 8. Rodney Stuckey and Derrick Rose tied with 22 points, but it was Joakim Noah's 21 rebounds that helped lead the Bulls to a 98-87 win right as Milo and Melissa changed into their pajamas and settled in for what would quickly become their favorite holiday special - 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve'!

"Man, I want to be there so badly!" Melissa said to Milo as she got a look at the Times Square crowd on the TV.

"Melissa, I promise...some year we'll be in Times Square for New Year's - just you and me," Milo told his ginger best friend.

"You mean it, Milo?"

"I do, Melissa...and I won't break a promise to a friend."

Melissa's parents gushed at Milo promising to fulfill Melissa's dream. Suddenly, Mr. Chase got a text from Milo's dad, who he's known since middle school and now works with him to ensure safety after a fire or medical call. It read:

Richard, my friend...

I heard from Milo about how your daughter has dreamed of going to Times Square for New Year's and I think I've got an idea. Let's have them shoot for getting straight A's on their report cards, but as parents...let's give them more of a challenge. How about we make it straight A's on their report cards throughout elementary school?

Lieutenant Chase read the text and smiled, answering back...'Martin, you're a devious one. I guess that's one thing about you that hasn't changed since we were kids. I'll tell them.'

"Milo, I just got a text from your dad," Lieutenant Chase notified the jinxed boy. "Melissa, this involves you too."

This got the duo's attention.

"Now, your mom and I couldn't help but fawn over how Milo promised that you and him would be in Times Square for New Year's Eve. That alone makes me understand that Milo's a loyal friend to you, Melissa."

"Best friends forever, dad!" Melissa corrected.

"All that aside, Milo's dad may have heard about your dream to be a part of all that, so he and I are issuing a challenge to the both of you."

"A challenge?" Milo and Melissa asked.

"The challenge is that you have to get straight A's on your report cards from now until you graduate elementary school."

"Now that IS a challenge...that's my dad for you," Milo remarked.

"Your dad hasn't changed at all, Milo," Mr. Chase said calmly to the school jinx before issuing the rest of the challenge. "Anyway, what that means is that every report card you two get from now until June of 2014 has to have straight A's on it. Got it?"

"GOT IT!" Milo and Melissa confirmed.

"Good. I'll be checking with Milo's dad to see how you two are progressing. two need 5 years of straight A's on your report cards. Do that and TWO families are headed to Times Square for New Year's!"

"COOL!" Milo and Melissa said in unison before grabbing some snacks and heading back to the living room. The duo made it a point to stray away from any spicy foods because of the New Year's tradition of kissing someone special at midnight. Let's just say Milo and Melissa already have their New Year's kisses lined up.

11:40 PM - everyone from Daughtry to Bieber, Selena Gomez and even Fergie had taken the stage. Now it was time for the highlighting act of the night: Jennifer Lopez. During her performance, Melissa caught sight of something that didn't sit well with her.

"What is that J. Lo is wearing?" Melissa asked.

"I have no idea...but I know you would probably wear it better when we get older," Milo quipped, earning him a tickle assault from Melissa.

"Knock it off, Milo! You're making me blush right now!" Melissa said to Milo, giggling as she tickled him. Milo retaliated, tickling Melissa back. This would continue until Jennifer Lopez's performance wrapped up. Unbeknownst to them, Mrs. Chase had already snapped a pic of the duo tickle-fighting and placed it in the 'Milolissa Forever' scrapbook.

11:55 PM - 5 minutes until 2010. Milo, Melissa, Richard and Pepper were all gathered around the TV to watch the iconic Times Square Ball slide down the flagpole and ring in not just a new year, but a brand new decade. Once again, Melissa had borrowed her mom's cinnamon lip gloss to use on Milo once the big 2010 sign lit up. As Ryan Seacrest talked with the performers of the night, Milo and Melissa snuggled up to each other.

"Melissa...I have no idea what this new year or this new decade will bring. But I do know that I want to go through it all with you..." Milo whispered in Melissa's ear.

"I feel the same way, Milo," Melissa answered, raising her glass of orange soda. "To a new year..."

" a new decade and to best friends," Milo added as the duo tapped their glasses together just as the ball began to drop.

"Here we go! Last minute of 2009!" Melissa called out. "This was a great year for you and me, Milo."

"We never thought that we'd become friends, let alone best friends...but sometimes things happen that you don't expect and I'm glad everything led me to you."

"Same here, Milo..." Melissa told Milo sweetly as her lips inched closer to his. When the countdown got to 10, she took Milo's head in her hands and tilted it so that it lined up with her waiting, cinnamon-scented lips. At 5, she opened her mouth slightly and pulled Milo close. At 1, Melissa crashed into Milo, colliding her lips with his just as the giant 2010 sign lit up on TV. Milo didn't resist, kissing Melissa back as Mr. Chase was the one who snapped the pics this time and put them into the 'Milolissa Forever' scrapbook.

"Happy New Year, Milo..." Melissa whispered.

"Happy New Year, Melissa..." Milo answered, kissing Melissa once more. "It's tradition, isn't it?"

With 2010 now in full swing and the crowds dispersing from Times Square, Milo and Melissa quickly headed for bed, eager to start a brand new year. With one more peck on the cheek by Melissa, Milo fell into a contented slumber with Melissa following suit soon after.

'It's tradition, isn't it? To kiss someone at midnight on New Year's?' Melissa thought to herself as she fell asleep.

If only you knew what would be in store for you and Milo once you hit middle school, Melissa.

Anyway, this is also going to be the start of a big story arc in this story! So try and keep up! I'll see you next time out and remember...


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