Get this mutt off of me!” screamed Jessica Wakefield.
“Sorry, honey,” said Ned Wakefield, apologetically. “Prince Albert, heel!”
The labrador waddled back to Ned. Jessica threw him a foul look, and then turned back to her parents.
“It’s so good to be back here, Dad,” she said. “I can’t believe it’s been so long.”
“We can’t believe it either, Jess,” said Ned, shaking his dark-locked head.
“We thought you were going to stay in New York forever,” said Alice.
Jessica supressed a rare twinge of guilt. She had, of course, made plenty of movies in L.A., just a few hours away by car, but had never dropped in on her family. She prefered to have them visit her in her Manhattan apartment. And so she had told them that they never actually made movies is Los Angeles; any place that looked like L.A. was actually part of Toronto. Ned and Alice, eager to believe that their daughter hadn’t turned her back on her home, didn’t doubt this.
“So,” said Ned. “What are you going to do today, Jess? You want to drop by Fowler Crest and see Lila?”
Jessica’s face brightened. She hadn’t seen her best friend Lila Fowler in months.
“I might just do that, Dad,” she smiled. “But first, I want to hit the mall. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Lisette’s. I wonder if I’ll be able to afford that aqua satin halter-neck and matching over-sized vinyl belt now?” She threw back her head and laughed in a manner that could almost be described as…evil.
Evil. Like Jessica Wakefield’s true nature.
Jessica had always been a little…selfish. Some might say spoiled. Some might say ruthless. Some might say a big hypocritical tart. During her tempestuous teenage years, Jessica had tormented fellow students, driving at least one, Annie Whitman, to attempted suicide. She had despised Annie for dating lots of different boys, failing to see the similarities between the town bike and herself. She had also bullied a girl called Robin Wilson, but justified that one to herself by the fact that the bullying had caused Robin to lose a lot of weight. And time and time again, she had taken advantage of her twin.
Jessica smiled to herself, remembering her twin’s gullibility. Liz had never refused Jessica’s demands, whether it meant compromising all her beliefs by parading down a catwalk in a beauty pageant, or spending the summer looking after a spoiled brat in Malibu. Whatever Jessica wanted, Jessica got, and the only words of recrimination she ever heard were the wistful ones, “Oh, Jess…”
But words meant nothing to Jessica. They couldn’t hurt her. If Elizabeth had beaten her at her own game a little more often – she’d tried it once, an action which led to Jessica being thrown into the pool, and for a while Jessica had feared that her twin was becoming as devious as she herself – if only she’d kept that up, Jessica might have thought twice about fucking her around. But Elizabeth had stayed loyal to her evil sister; all it took were a few tears, and then Elizabeth would say “oh Jess, I can never stay angry at you for long.”
No one could. It was why Jessica Wakefield had become such a star. And such a dangerous bitch.
Elizabeth sighed. She had been trying to work on her novel, but she couldn’t concentrate. She kept feeling an urge to wear eye-catching black silk stirrup pants and an oversized shirt, accessorised with a hot pink scarf. “Jess must be in Lisettes,” she thought sadly. “If only I were there too. Or if only she were here…” She gazed at the calender on her desk. How the years had flown, how they had trickled through her fingers. It was ten years since she’d left Sweet Valley High. Ten long years, sometimes exciting, sometimes dull. Ten years.
Suddenly, she had an idea. The perfect idea.
It was time for a Class Reunion.
She gazed at the calender, a smile forming on her lips. It was the perfect plan. She could go home, see Jess, see her old friends.
And Enid. That vile hag.
Elizabeth shook her head. She shouldn’t think bad thoughts about anyone. Not even about the friend who had betrayed her so horribly. Maybe it would be good to see her again. To see her with Todd. To see the two of them. To see the two of them together. Maybe she could close the door on her tragic past. Maybe…maybe she could even learn to love again.
She shook her head. She had no time for self pity now. She had to get organizing. She felt more excited than she had in months. There was so much to do! And it would be so much fun. She couldn’t wait to see the olfd gang again. She wondered had they changed much. Would Bruce Patman still be cruel and arrogant, moving with the grace of a young lion? Would Olivia Davidson, her old pal, still be the artsy poet she was as a teen? Would Winston still be something of a clown? She couldn’t wait to find out.
Slowly she walked to the window that overlooked a gracious Georgian square. Yes, the newspapers were right: rain was falling all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the roof of the spanish-tiled kitchen and higher up in the house, against the windows of the room where Elizabeth sat. Maybe it was falling, too, upon every part of the Wakefield house where her family were relaxing. Maybe it lay in puddles in the patio and around the pool. Elizabeth’s soul swooned slowly as she heard the rain falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.