“Re…Regina?” whispered Bruce, his voice ragged with yearning.
“Yes, Bruce,” said Regina, a radiant smile enhancing her already beautiful features. “It is I. I have returned. A decade has passed since my untimely demise following a single snort of cocaine at Molly Hecht’s house. And I have been granted the chance to walk among mortals once more.”
“Oh, Regina,” said Bruce, tears filling his eyes. As they welled up and coursed down his rugged cheeks, he realised that the tears he had been shedding for that fickle jade Jessica Wakefield were mere counterfeit rhinestones in comparison with these tearful diamonds. “I’ve missed you so.”
“And I you, Bruce,” said Regina. “And I you.”
Bruce rose to his feet and walked towards her. The glow had faded, but he hardly dared touch her. What if this was a mirage, a mere dream? So many nights after Regina’s death, he had dreamt that she had returned. At least, when he wasn't dreaming about the girl for whom he'd left her, Amy Sutton. But every time he reached out a hand to touch her, she faded away.
But this time, when he stretched out a hand, Regina took it and drew him close. And he wasn’t dreaming when their lips met in a tender yet passionate kiss.
At last, they drew apart.
“Oh Regina,” said Bruce. “How long can you stay? Please say it’s….forever.”
But Regina shook her head.
“I’m afraid not,” she said. “I have been given a mere two weeks to revisit my old world, and then I must return to the heavens. Unless…”
“Yes?” said Bruce eagerly.
“There is…a dark magic,” said Regina slowly, “that I have heard can restore the dead. But to work it one must be a necromancer. And you, my love, are no necromancer. Nor would I want you to be.”
“A necromancer?” said Bruce. “I don’t even know what that is! But I know that we can’t find one in Sweet Valley. Oh Regina! I’ve found you again, only to lose you!”
And as the tears fell from Bruce’s warm brown eyes, they were joined by the angelic tears of Regina Morrow.
• * * * * *
“Elizabeth!” cried Alice Wakefield. In her shock, she nearly dropped the basket of wickedness which hung from one youthful arm. “What are you doing here?”
“I just asked you the same question,” said Elizabeth, frowning. “I’m here with Olivia. She’s buying some essential oils. But what are you doing….and with all that stuff?”
Alice’s blue eyes – were those laughter lines around her perfect peepers? - looked around nervously, as if seeking an escape.
“I was just browsing,” she said lightly. “This store is really crazy, isn’t it? Look at this!” She took a bottle from her basket which was labeled “eye of newt”. Elizabeth shuddered. “I though they’d be good for a Halloween party.”
“Mom, it won’t be Halloween for months,” said Elizabeth.
“To tell you the truth, honey, I don’t think the store will stay in business that long,” said Alice in a confidential tone. “It’s always half empty – at least, it looks it when I go past on my way to the bakery next door. So I thought I’d stock up! You know how crazy your dad gets about Halloween!”
Elizabeth relaxed. “It is his favourite holiday,” she grinned. “Oh, Olivia’s waving at me. I gotta go.”
“Are you joining us for dinner tonight?” asked Alice.
“Sure thing,” said Elizabeth. “As long as newt’s eyes aren’t on the menu!”
“They’re not,” laughed Alice, waving goodbye to her daughter as Elizabeth joined Olivia and left the store. “At least,” she added in an undertone, “not tonight.”
* * * * * * *
“Thanks so much for making me a part of your campaign, Jess.”
Lila Fowler was sincere. She hadn’t felt so alive in months – not since her defeat in the battle of Sweet Valley. And she was determined to show her friend how much she appreciated Jessica’s forgiveness.
“It’s nothing, Li,” said Jessica. “I needed a VP with your fashion sense.”
Lila preened. She knew she looked good. She was wearing a crimson sweater-vest over a black and gold catsuit. High heeled red sandals completed the exotic outfit.
“And,” Jessica went on, “your organisational skills. You were one of the greatest businesswomen in America before your, um, before last summer. And you still are!”
Lila really did wish to change her ways. Although she still mourned Boo Boo, she had no desire to return to her life of deranged warfare. And yet, Jessica’s praise seemed to awaken something within her.
A lust for power. And glory. A lust for strutting through the mall wearing pink stirrup-pants. Even, perhaps, a lust for genetically modified animals. Not that sort of lust, obviously. A non-sexual lust.
A non-sexual lust for her old life.
Come on, how much damage could one winged-monkey do now she’d reformed?
She smiled at Jessica.
“We’re going to win this election, Jessica. And then, we’ll rule the world!”
“You said it, Lila,” said Jessica. “It’ll be the most stylish White House in history!”