Winston Egbert poured a cup of herbal tea and smiled across the breakfast table at his lovely wife.
“Are you happy, Maria?” he said softly.
“Of course, Winston,” said Maria Santelli.
“I can’t believe it’s a whole year since we rediscovered our love,” said Winston. The former Sweet Valley High class clown was as gangly as ever, but since he escaped Lila’s clutches, there was a new air of confidence about him. For several years he had lived in terror of his haughty ex-wife, who kept him a virtual prisoner in her luxury mansion. Denied the opportunity to pursue his own career, Winston had been totally dependent on Lila. He had always regretted abandoning Maria, his high school sweetheart, in favour of the glamorous doyenne of Fowler Crest. But it wasn’t until he had encountered his old love at a party in the Wakefield house that he had plucked up the courage to defy his grotesque wife. The ensuing conflict had almost claimed his life, but Winston had survived, and now he and Maria were probably the happiest couple in town. They had married as soon as his divorce from Lila was final, and had lived in marital bliss ever since.
If only the dreams would stop.
Lately Winston had been haunted by dreams in which his former wife appeared to him looking for help. This wasn’t the plastic surgery-ravaged Lila of her later years. No, it was the fresh-faced Lila of Sweet Valley High. And she needed him.
“I’m so sorry, Winnie,” she would plead, gazing at him from the bucket seat of her lime green Triumph. “Please, rescue me. I need you!” She would stretch out her arms in supplication - and then Winston would wake up, gasping for breath.
But in the sunny kitchen, it was easy to forget the tragic terrors of the night. Winston shook his head to dispell the memories of his dream.
“What are you thinking about?” asked Maria. “You look a little dazed.”
“Nothing,” said Winston. He took Maria’s hand, and kissed it. “Absolutely nothing.”
Enid Rollins-Wilkins sang a merry song as she pottered about the kitchen of the luxurious ranch house she shared with her husband Todd. She was feeling good and, she knew, she was looking great. The years spent in hiding after her betrayal of Elizabeth had been surprisingly kind to the attractive young woman with the reddish-brown curls. Having been forced to constantly wear a hat and sunglasses wherever she went for fear of being recognised by a former Sweet Valley resident, her skin was fresh and clear. Hours spent developing golden tans had taken their toll on many of her former classmates, many of whom regretted the fact that they had spent their entire teenage years prancing about the Sweet Valley beach in the hot California tan with only SPF4 sunscreen to protect their skin from the harsh rays.
“I wonder how Alice Wakefield has managed to keep her youthful good looks?” Enid mused as she poured out some cereal. “She looks more like the twins’ sister than their mother.”
Just then, Todd entered the bright kitchen. The former basketball star had also aged well, and was now the couch of the Sweet Valley team.
“Hey, sweetie,” he said, dropping a kiss on Enid’s curly head. “Looking good!”
“Thanks, Todd!” Enid laughed. “Cereal?”
“You bet!” said Todd. He helped himself. “You know, Enid, life is pretty great these days, isn’t it?”
“It sure is,” Enid agreed. Thank God Elizabeth had forgiven her, and thank God Elizabeth was so happy with Jeffrey. Against all odds, and possibly logic, the two couples had become firm friends once more. Enid knew that she and Elizabeth might never regain their former closeness. But they both wanted to try.
Todd was also glad that Elizabeth had forgiven him for the dreadful way he had behaved. He was glad she was with Jeffrey now. He remembered how Jeffrey had once been his rival for Elizabeth’s love, back when he had returned from Vermont to Sweet Valley. Jeffrey and Elizabeth were dating, but one look at Todd was enough to make Elizabeth realise that he was the man for her. And then they had been reunited...it had been the happiest day of his life. “Oh Elizabeth,” he thought, eating a spoonful of Cheerios. “Why was I so foolish? Why did I hurt you so?”
“Todd?” He started at the sound of his wife’s voice. “Todd, why are you crying?”
“What?” said Todd. “Uh, allergies.” He wiped his eyes. But Todd was allergic to nothing - except his bittersweet memories.