Well, it's back.
The sun rose slowly over the hills which surrounded the small southern California town of Sweet Valley, bathing the beach, the boutiques, the quaint downtown area and the Spanish-style ranch houses in its golden light.
Sweet Valley was at peace.
A year had passed since demented heiress Lila Fowler had unleashed her reign of terror on her townmates. Driven to madness by the escape of her downtrodden husband, Winston, Lila and her genetically modified monkey Boo Boo had taken over the town. For a while she had ruled it with a bejeweled fist. Old rivalries had been put aside while Lila’s former classmates joined forces and battled against the crazed despot. Eventually, Lila had been defeated, and spent some months in a mental institution before being released, rehabilitated. Now she lived peacefully in her vast mansion.
Those who had struggled against Lila’s tyranny had almost forgotten the drama of the previous summer. Her old friend, Jessica Wakefield, had long returned to her jetsetting lifestyle. One of the most successful actresses in the world, Jessica’s sojourn in Sweet Valley had reminded her that there was more to life that private jets and penthouse apartments- things like waving a flame-thrower at a grotesque millionairess in a hot pink Chanel suit. But as soon as she had she defeated Lila and shaken the dust of Sweet Valley from her perfectly shod feet, Jessica had forgotten the hard lessons she’d learned.
Her twin sister Elizabeth, however, would never forget. It had been Elizabeth’s idea to organise a Sweet Valley High class reunion, an event which had brought all her old friends back to their home town, which enabled them to band together and fight Lila. Elizabeth didn’t want to admit to herself that if it hadn’t been for her reunion, Winston would never have met up with his old love, Maria, and found the courage to escape from Lila’s icy clutches. This was the event which provoked Lila’s murderous rage. But still.
Elizabeth, like Sweet Valley, felt at peace these days. Her return to Sweet Valley after years of self-imposed exile had brought her back together with her old love, Jeffrey French. The pair had fallen madly in love, and Elizabeth found that she was finally able to forgive her other old boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, and her former best friend, Enid Rollins. On the day of their high school graduation over ten years ago, Elizabeth had caught the pair in a passionate embrace in the offices of the Oracle, the SVH newspaper. To make things even worse, they were embracing on Elizabeth’s precious typewriter. Elizabeth had fled without telling anyone what had happened, not returning to Sweet Valley for a decade. Little did she know that Todd and Enid had been so tormented with guilt that they too had fled rather than face the wrath of the townsfolk, who would surely turn on anyone who hurt the most popular girl in Sweet Valley.
But then, they came back. Right back. Back to Sweet Valley.
When her old friends had revealed themselves to her, Elizabeth had been appalled. She had hoped never to see them again. But, just as she had repeatedly forgiven Jessica for behaving like a total psycho when they were in school, so she managed to forgive the two people who had betrayed her so many years ago. Now Todd and Enid were happily married, and living in a cosy Sweet Valley suburb..
Elizabeth and Jeffrey were still madly in love. Elizabeth was a famous journalist whose incisive style (“Are Brad P and Jennifer A ready for the patter of little feet? Signs point to yes!”) had made her own of the most respected writers in the world. Her cosy study was filled with her trophies and awards. Jeffrey was a famous photographer, and they were the toast of the fashionable media world.
The sun shone through the window of Elizabeth’s chic apartment as she padded down to the kitchen and made herself a cup of coffee. It was a sunny day in Sweet Valley. Everything was perfect.
A few miles across town, Alice Wakefield was staring at herself in the mirror, her face a mask of horror. For years the stylish interior designer had been proud of herself for looking more like the twins’ sister than their mother. But now the formerly youthful Alice saw something which chilled her to her very soul.
Some people might say that a woman in her 50s should have first seen a wrinkle twenty years ago. Some people might say that a woman in her 50s who still looked like her daughters was a little.....creepy.
And those people would be right.
“No!” whispered Alice, staring at the fine line running from her nose to the corner of her mouth. “No! It can’t be!” She turned around and stared at the curious portrait of a scruffy old woman which for some mysterious reason hung in Alice’s private study. “It can’t be!”
TO BE CONTINUED