Cara Walker stared at the poster on the wall of the library foyer.
DID YOU LEAVE SWEET BALLEY HIGH TEN YEARS AGO? WELL, COME MEET YOUR OLD CLASSMATES AT THE GRAND REUNION! Contact Elizabeth Wakefield at liz@ interference.com
Cara read it again and again. Could it be true? Were all her old friends coming back to Sweet Valley? Even though she’d long lost touch with just about all of them, she hoped that they were. She was happy with Roger, of course she was – she didn’t even mind being a stepparent to Teddy, Roger’s obnoxious now teenage-son. But sometimes she longed to hang out with people of her own age. Maybe the reunion was just what she needed.
And maybe Jessica would forgive her.
Cara didn’t think that Jessica cared so much about her brother. It was more her sense of haughty pride. She had engineered the match between Steven and Cara, and she felt Cara’s rejection of her brother as a personal insult. She looked again at the poster, noting the date at the bottom. The reunion was only a couple of days away! Taking out pen and paper from her purse, Cara scribbled down Liz’s email address and the date of the reunion.
This was one party she wasn’t going to miss.
Elizabeth Wakefield took a deep breath as the plane touched down in Sweet Valley airport. Her sister had offered to send the Hershey Bar across to Dublin to collect her, but Elizabeth had refused the extravagant offer.
First class was fine by her.
And now, she was here. She was home. She was back in Sweet Valley, the scene of all her greatest joys – and greatest sorrow.
Todd and Enid…
She wondered would she see them. Would they still be together, flaunting their torturous love? Would they be married? Would they – would they have children?
She guessed she’d soon find out.
With a sigh, Elizabeth gathered her hand luggage and moved towards the back of the plane. A few minutes later, her feet touched sweet Valley tarmac. She was truly home.
Her parents were waiting to meet her. It was a joyous reunion. Ned and Alice had wondered what tragedy and driven their daughter away from the town she loved so much, but she had always refused to tell them, reassuring them, however, that it didn’t involve anything illegal or violent. No, the only wounds Elizabeth had suffered were on her heart. And her soul.
But ten years was a long time. And she realised just how long as the Wakefields drove through the quiet sunny streets. Things had changed in Sweet Valley. Not a lot, but enough to remind Elizabeth that everything in the world hadn’t just stopped the day her heart did.
The car soon pulled up at the cosy split-level ranch house that was the Wakefield home. Elizabeth’s heart soared as she got out the car, and for a few moments she forgot all about her secret sorrow. She was just glad to be home, with her family and –
“Hey, Prince Albert!”
The lovable labrador waddled over to her and rolled over at her feet. Strangely enough, he was only annoying when Jessica was around. Elizabeth dropped to her knees and rubbed the dog’s stomach. Then she looked up.
“Hey, Mom, where’s Jess? I thought she’d be here to greet me,” she said.
Her mother smiled.
“Go inside, dear,” she said.
The cosy sitting room of the Wakefield residence was dim when Elizabeth entered. The drapes were drawn across the large picture window. Liz was just reaching for the light switch when….
A horde of voices rang out, startling the jet-lagged Liz. There was Jessica, looking great in a hot-pink off the shoulder gown, accessoriesed with a luminous green chiffon scarf. She was beaming at her sister with a warmth that seemed actually human.
“Welcome home, Lizzie,” she said, wrapping her toned arms around her sister in an affectionate hug. “The gang’s all here!”
There was Ken Matthews, once Sweet Valley High’s greatest football player, now a national football star. With him was his wife, Terri, who managed his fnacy successful team. There was the artsy Olivia Davidson, wearing her usual indian cotton print dress, a paintbrush stuck in her frizzy hair, a smile on her face. DeeDee Gordon, Bill Chase, Patty Ayala, Aaron Dallas – they were all there.
But two familiar faces were missing.
Todd and Enid. Of course.
In the joy of reunion, Elizabeth almost forgot her sorrows again. She was chatting to Olivia and sipping a glass of wine when she felt a tap on hershoulder. She looked around to see a handsome blonde young man wearing a buttondown shirt, chinos and deck shoes. Her favourite look. And once, her favourite boy.
Elizabeth’s face lit up at the sight of her old love. Once the two had been inseperable. They’d got together after Todd had moved to Vermont. But once Todd’s family returned to Sweet Valley, Elziabeth had tossed Jeffrey aside like a used candy bar wrapper.
But now it seemed like he was willing to forgive and forget.
“Liz, it’s great to see you,” he said with a warm smile. “It’s been so long. I can’t believe you haven’t been home.”
“I had a few things I needed to sort out, Jeffrey,” Elizabeth said.
“Well, I hope you’ve sorted them out,” siad Jeffrey kindly. “For your sake.”
“You know, I’m not sure I have. But I figured the only way to do it was to come back here. And I’m so glad I did. It’s so good to see you again.”
“We had good times together, Liz,” said Jeffrey. “You broke my heart. But I forgive you.”
“Thankyou,” said Elizabeth sincerely. The stereo began to play some Pat Benetar.
“May I have this dance?” asked Jeffrey, his voice low and husky.
Elizabeth stared at him. She felt a strange feeling in her heart – as if a tiny chick were hatching out of an egg and stretching its fluffy wings and crying “chirp! Chirp!”
Elizabeth wakefield hadn’t felt like this since Todd. She’d gone on a couple of dates over the years, but really her heart and her loins still belonged to Todd. Not that she’d ever let him go near the latter, but that was just as well, she thought, when she thought of what he’d done to her heart. But now she felt the faint stirrings of lust. And they were stirring in the direction of Jeffrey French.
“I’d love to dance,” she said, her voice’s husky tones matching Jeffrey’s own.
“Okay then,” he said with a smile, and then he swept her off her feet.
The attractive blonde couple flew around their room, their movements in perfect harmony. Other couples stopped and stared at the graceful pair, who seemed to define the term “poetry in motion.”
Finally, the strains of ‘Love is Battlefield’ died away.
The crazy, beautiful dance was over. Breathless, Jeffrey and Elizabeth stared into each other’s eyes.
“Liz, I thought you were gone forever,” said Jeffrey, his eyes never leaving hers.
“I was,” said Elizabeth softly. “But now I’m back.”
To be continued...