Elizabeth’s head was whirling as she and Jeffrey sat in a secluded corner of the Wakefield’s garden. She had never dreamt, when this day began, that it would end with her falling in love. But it looked like it had, and she had.
In love again.
With Jeffrey French.
She could barely understand it herself. But she couldn’t deny it. She’d fallen in love. And it looked like Jeffrey felt the same way. He gazed at his old love with a tenderness that reminded Elizabeth of days gone by.
Maybe I should have stayed with him back then, she thought. If I had, I’d never have witnessed that horrible sight in the Oracle Office. And her mind raced, thinking of how different her life could have been.
Her feverish dreams of the past were interrupted by Jeffrey.
“Hey,” he said. “Penny for your thoughts?”
“I was just thinking,” she said softly. “Of how badly I treated you. And how wrong I was.”
Jeffrey smiled, and his face was full of love.
“Well, we’re together now,’ said the former Sweet Valley soccer star. “And I’m not gonig to let you go again.”
And he placed his lips on hers in a tender kiss.
Elizabeth responded passionately, hr body pressing against his lean frame. Jeffrey’s arms wrapped around her, and his hands traced erotic patterns on her back. Elizabeth moaned softly.
Then she felt Jeffrey’s hands reach under her blouse, and edge up towards her bra strap. Shocked, she pulled away.
“I’m sorry, Jeffrey,” she said. “I just don’t think we’re ready to tkae our relationship to that level.”
Jeffrey nodded, his handsome tan face flushing with embarrassment.
“I’m sorry, Liz, I shouldn’t have pushed you so far,” he said apologetically.
“It’s okay,” said Elizabeth, gently. “Maybe we should go back inside.”
“I think you’re right,” said Jeffrey. “Come on, Liz, let’s go inside.”
Winston Egbert stood in the centre of the room, his face hot, his mind awhirl. What was he doing? Why hadn’t he followed out Lila when she commanded?
Had the worm turned? Had Winston finally rebelled? He barely knew himself. He just knew that he could smell something new in the air of that packed room.
The sweet smell of....freedom?
Maria Santelli was trying to talk to Patty Ayala, but her thoughts were elsewhere.
It had been so long since she had seen him. Since Prom Night. She and Winston had arrived together - but they left seperately, Maria alone, Winston with his new lover, Lila.
Winston had always been unlucky in love. Maria had been his first girlfriend. And when Lila turned on her considerable charms, Winston had let himself be tempted. Maria had discovered the pair in a passionate embrace by a post-prom campfire. She had fled, horrified, and avoided Winston for the rest of the summer. he had called her many times, begging for forgiveness, but Maria had refused. She was a dignified girl, and the public humiliation had hurt her badly. She wouldn’t fall for Winston again.
Soon after his alst tearful phone call, she heard that he and Lila were going out. Shortly afterwards, they were wed. Maria had gone to college in a faraway town, where she now lived, and although she had been back to Sweet Valley to visit her family and other old friends, she had carefull avoided Winston.
It wasn’t hard to do that. Rumour had it that Lila kept her husband under her close guard, and it seemed that that was the case. No one ever saw Winston, although the increasingly odd looking Lila was sometimes seen at Sweet Valley’s fanciest restaurants and designer boutiques. Winston, however, was never out in public, although it appeared he had some sort of token job in Lila’s business. For severla years, Maria had been glad that her former love was leading what was obviously a bizarre and probably unpleasant life, but gradually she came to feel sorry for him.
And now she’d seen him again, her old feelings came flooding back.
She was remembering the night she and Winston had got together - ironically enough, she thought with a rueful smile, it had been in a party at Lila’s house - when a tap on her shoulder disturbed her thoughts.
“May I have this dance?” said a familiar voice. Maria’s heart soared.
“Winston!” she cried. “I thought you’d gone with Lila.”
“I couldn’t,” said the former class clown. “I couldn’t do it. Maria, I hate her! Our marriage is a loveless charade. She ensnared me with her charms at the beginning, and before I knew what was happening I’d given up my plans for college and got married to her! As time went on, I felt so demoralised I couldn’t even consider escaping from her. But now I’ve seen you again, I know I want to live. Whether you want me or not, Maria, I’m leaving Lila!”
With a whoop of joy, Maria embraced her old paramour, who swept her into his arms for a giddy dance. All eyes were on the handsome pair, whose skillful steps showed that Winston had grown more graceful over the years.
Suddenly the music stopped, and a cold wind rushed through the room.
All eyes turned to see the terrifying figure of an enraged Lila Fowler standing in the doorway, the plug of the stereo clutched in her glittering hands.
“What is the meaning of this?” she shrieked, and all who heard her voice shuddered. “Winston! Why do you...you dance with this floozy? Are you some sort of performing monkey?” Her voice became taunting. “Dance, monkey, dance! Where’s your waistcoat and tiny hat?”
Her already grotesque face contorted still further into a hideous mask of rage, Lila advanced towards the cowering couple.
“Winston,” she growled, in a voice that seemed to belong to some demonic monster, “you’re coming home with me. NOW!”
Winston quailed before this vile creature, but when he spoke his voice was firm.
“No, Lila,” he said. “I’m not.”
To be continued