Catch up this way. And now your memory is refreshed, let's go back.
A new day in Sweet Valley.
In her sunny little apartment, Elizabeth Wakefield sighed as she got out of bed. It had been a long night. Fighting her new feelings for Todd – and fighting her growing apathy towards Jeffrey. Puzzling over Jessica’s latest meglomaniacal scheme. Wondering what was causing that strange sulphourous odour wafting from her mother’s study.
Thinking about Todd.
Todd Wilkins. Still the most beautiful words in the English language. Elizabeth had tried to think of Jeffrey instead, but when she pictured the handsome blonde photographer, his face kept changing into that of the brown-eyed Sweet Valley High basketball coach. It was as if she were under some sort of spell.
“Or is it that I was under a spell for years, and have only now awakened to my true feelings?” she thought.
But that was last night, and today was a new day. And Elizabeth had work to do. As the most celebrated journalist in California, she had a legion of fans who must not be disappointed. They needed her gritty take on the world of celebrity gossip (‘Are Vinnie V and Jenny A the hottest new couple in tinsel town?”).
And she would never let them down. Elizabeth never let anyone down.
She was the dependable twin.
High in the hills of Sweet Valley’s most prestigious neighbourhood, Lila Fowler saw something she hadn’t seen in a long, long time.
Jessica’s call had been just what the troubled heiress needed. A call back to a life she had thought was as dead as Boo Boo, her winged simian warrior. She would be Jessica’s partner in crime – no!Not crime! She’d turned her back on crime forever, since the moment Boo Boo’s body had spiraled down to earth, slain by a shot from Winston Egbert’s crossbow. It had been the deciding moment in the battle of Sweet Valley. The moment she knew she could never take over the world.
But now she had a second chance. At life, not world domination. Although the whole world domination thing was part of the appeal, she had to admit. But this was also a chance to atone for what she had done.
To make amends.
* * * * * *
“Oh, here you are, sweetie.”
Maria Santelli’s voice was full of concern. She’d woken early to find that her husband Winston had vanished from their matrimonial bed. Usually the former class clown of Sweet Valley high prefered to stay in bed as long as possible at the weekends. But not this morning.
Not now that he knew that Lila was back.
He was sitting in the sunny kitchen, an untouched cup of coffee sitting before him on the polished table.
“I’m sorry, Maria, I don’t know what to do,” he said, running a hand through his messy black hair. “I’ve been having these….these dreams. About Lila. And now she’s back. I can’t help feeling something bad is going to happen.”
Maria smiled kindly at her troubled spouse.
“Honey, the only way something bad is going to happen is if Jessica and Lila win the presidential election. And the election is in two weeks. I don’t think much of their chances, do you?”
Winston tried to return her smile. But behind his feeble grin lurked a terror. More than anyone else, he knew that whatever Lila wanted, Lila got.
And perhaps what she wanted was…..revenge.
• * * * * *
Jessica Wakefield greeted her mother with a cheerful wave as she strutted into the Wakefield’s spanish-tiled kitchen. Despite the excitement of the night before, Jessica was looking good – and feeling great. Clad in a distinctive lime green chiffon off-the-shoulder blouse and white spandex miniskirt, she was, as ever, the epitome of style. Her mother, however, wasn’t looking so good. Jessica couldn’t put her finger on it, but Alice Wakefield seemed somehow….faded? Tired? What was the word she was looking for?
Alice Wakefield knew the word. It was echoing in her head, like the tolling of a great bell in an empty cathedral.
OLD! bonged the bell. OLD! OLD! OOOOOOLD!
“Noooooooooooo!” cried Alice, and ran out of the kitchen.
“Mom?” said Jessica. “You okay?” But her mother didn’t come back. Jessica shrugged her shoulders and helped herself to a delicious pancake. Whatever was wrong with her mother, it hadn’t affected her ability to cook a delicious breakfast for her family. And Jessica needed a good start to the day. She had to begin her campaign.
• * * * *
Just a few hours later, the streets of Sweet Valley were bedecked in Wakefield/Fowler posters. The twins stood in the town square and gazed at the brightly coloured banners and flags which Jessica’s minions, clad in their distinctive hot pink jumpsuits, had placed all over the town.
“I’ve got to hand it to you, Jess,” said Elizabeth. “You work fast. But I have, um, a reservation.”
Jessica laughed and tossed her flowing gold locks over one shoulder.
“Let me have it, Lizzie,” she said.
“Well,” said Elizabeth carefully. “I just wonder is it a good idea to make Lila your vice president. After all, it’s only a year since she nearly destroyed the town in her quest for world domination. People remember these things.”
“Oh, please, Liz,” scoffed Jessica. “No one cares about that stuff any more. And it’s so good for Lila. She’s leaving her room for the first time today. In fact – oh my God – there she is!”
A glittering lime green Triumph was zooming down the main street of Sweet Valley and screeched to a halt in front of the Wakefield twins. A strange figure was at the wheel. Her hair pushed up into a beehive do and her bizarre features almost covered by a pair of over-sized sunglasses, Lila Fowler was making her first public appearance since her disastrous misadventure of the previous summer. And she was doing so in style.
“Hi, twins,” she said, alighting from her trademark vehicle. “Good work, Jess!”
Jessica rushed over and hugged her freakish friend.
“Oh, Li, it’s so good to see you!” she cried. “And look at the posters! Aren’t they fabulous?”
“They sure are,”Lila agreed. The posters showed Jessica at her most glamorous, lounging by the pool of her Hollywood home in a red satin negligee. Below that was a photo of Lila looking slightly more normal than usual, sitting on her throne-like bed. THE DREAM TEAM read the large pink letters. VOTE WAKEFIELD AND FOWLER FOR A MORE GLAMOROUS AMERICA.
But as Elizabeth watched the would-be leaders of the free world embrace, she wondered if the dream would perhaps turn out to be more of….a nightmare.