Winston Egbert’s face grew pale as he realised to whom Jessica was talking.
Lila. His former wife. And former jailer.
Winston shuddered as he remembered the dreadful life he had led under Lila’s control. Trapped in her mansion, seeing no one but the silent servants. With Maria’s help, Winston had moved on from those dark times, but one of the things that enabled him to sleep at night was the knowledge that Lila was unlikely to reappear.
“Perhaps those dreams of Lila were an omen!” thought the terrified former class clown.
Maria glanced at her spouse. She could guess how he was feeling.
“Don’t worry, Winnie,” she whispered. “I’ll protect you.” And although Winston smiled back at her, his fear hadn’t subsided. He looked at Jessica, chatting happily to an apparently enthusiastic Lila. And he shivered as Maria squeezed his hand.
* * * * * *
Across the room, two other highschool sweethearts were standing side by side. Todd and Elizabeth were aware of a new electricity between them, a spark even brighter than the murderous gleam that had once shone in Boo Boo’s eyes. Elizabeth felt as if her heart were ablaze. Could it be that Todd really was the one for her? After his dreadful betrayal, Elizabeth had thought they’d never even be friends again. But now they were on friendly terms.
And maybe more.
“I love Jeffrey!” Elizabeth told herself. She looked across the room at where her beloved boyfriend chatted with Guy Chesney, keyboard player for America’s hottest band, the Droids. Her heart raced at the sight of his thick blonde hair, dazzling green eyes and strong, athletic build. After a year of being madly in love once more, she had even let him unbutton her blouse - but no more. Elizabeth wasn’t that kind of girl.
But she felt she could be - for Todd.
How could this be? How could she love Jeffrey and yet feel this dangerous passion for the former Sweet Valley High basketball star? Elizabeth was torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool. A fool for love. And she had a strange feeling that Todd felt the same way. Suddenly, Todd spoke.
“Hey Liz,” he said. “I was wondering if...”
“Hey, you guys!” Enid strolled up, a smile on her pretty face. Her sequined peach-coloured sweater-dress sparkled as she kissed Todd on the cheek. “Sorry I was gone so long - I was talking to Robin Wilson out by the pool. Did I miss anything?”
“Oh, just Jess announcing that she’s going to run for president,” said Elizabeth drily. Enid laughed, but stopped when she realised that her old friend was serious.
“Wow,” she said. “Um, that’s amazing.”
“It sure is,” said Todd. But he was looking into Elizabeth’s eyes.
* * * * * *
From the seclusion of the darkened hallway, Alice Wakefield was watching the party. All those happy, laughing people. So attractive. So young. Well, not that young. The twins and their friends were all in their late 20s now. They were all grown up.
“I’m not old enough to have grown up children!” Alice growled crazily to herself. She crept away to her study and switched on the light. Her perfect reflection stared at her from a gilt mirror on the desk.
“I’ve always looked more like their sister,” Alice muttered. “Always! Well, ever since they were teenagers, anyway. But now...now everything is going wrong!” She had found a grey hair in her golden locks this morning. And was that a laughter line under her eye? “There must be something I can do....something I haven’t tried before! Something in....the Book.”
Quickly Alice went to the bookshelf. There were all her books on interior design, many of which were devoted to Spanish-style ranch houses. Alice quickly found the biggest and cheesiest-looking of the lot. The letters on the glossy dustjacket said “Peach and Gold Wallpaper - A Celebration”. But inside were no delightful photographs of Alice Wakefield’s favourite decorating schemes. As Alice removed the dustjacket, the book’s real cover was revealed.
It was a book of magic. A book of darkness A book of ill omen.
It explained a lot about the Wakefield family.
“Now,” said Alice. “Let’s see what we can find under “twins”.....