Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sweet Valley Freshman Year #1 - Welcome To High School

Disclaimer: Sweet Valley and all related characters, places, ect. are trademarks of their respective owners. I do not own anything, and I am in no way affiliated with Francine or the collective Sweet Valley series. I wish I was, though, because that would be AWESOME!!!! All of this is written in the name of FUN (as opposed to making a profit) and it is for entertainment purposes ONLY. Any resemblance to actual persons or places, living or dead, is entire unintentional and should be taken as such. With that said, let's begin...

The year is 1997 and everybody's favorite perfect size 4 twins are about to begin the biggest (and scariest!) adventure of their lives- their first days at Sweet Valley High! Welcome to high school.

Chapter One
Jessica Wakefield stared at her reflection in the full-length mirror and sighed. Her twin sister Elizabeth knocked on the bathroom room door for what seemed like the hundred and thirty-seventh time, but Jessica ignored her. This was the most important day of her entire life, and she wasn't about to let anything stand in the way of looking absolutely perfect. She twirled gracefully, admiring the way her SVH cheer skirt swung around her tan legs and the way her long sun-streaked blonde hair flowed around her shoulders. She smiled at herself and applied yet another layer of lipgloss. "Jess, I need to shower. I'm meeting Amy in twenty minutes and you've been in there for an hour," Elizabeth called from the hallway, "I'm coming in." Elizabeth opened the bathroom door and stared at her twin. "Wow," she gasped, "You look amazing." Jessica smiled again and shimmied her hips back and forth, still admiring her reflection. "I can't believe you made the varsity squad," Elizabeth marveled, still staring at Jessica, "High school hasn't even started yet and you're already taking it by storm."
Jessica felt a sense of satisfaction hearing those kind words from her sister. Elizabeth was always the one people praised and admired, always the perfect twin, always the smart, sensible one, but today was Jessica's day. She had practiced all summer, waking up at six AM to train with the SVH cheerleaders, running three miles a day, spending hours bouncing up and down on the Wakefield's trampoline, and it had finally paid off. She had focused on one goal and one goal only longer and harder than she had even focused before, and her hard work had not been in vain. She had been chosen for the SVH varsity cheerleading squad. Usually, SVH Freshmen were automatically put on the junior varsity squad, but this year was different. Three of the Juniors on the varsity squad had transferred to Big Mesa over the summer and, to fill their empty spots, the squad had decided to hold open auditions at the end of summer. Jessica was the only one of her friends chosen, and she had spent the last week of the summer on cloud nine. Not only was she the only Freshman on the squad, the varsity team competed at the national level and that meant that Jessica would be joining them in the regional competition the following weekend.
"Mom said to tell you she can't pick you up from practice today," Elizabeth said, interrupting Jessica's thoughts, "She also said to come directly home tonight because she has a surprise for us." Jessica's eyes lit up, "What kind of surprise?" Elizabeth shrugged and stepped into the shower. Jessica smiled again, her fabulous day was getting even better. "I bet she bought us a car, since we're in high school now and we need our freedom," Jessica said, twisting her long blonde hair into a high ponytail and securing it with a bright red SVH ribbon. "We're fourteen, Jess, we can't even take driver's ED for another semester," Elizabeth reminded her. Jessica's smile did not fade. Being four minutes younger than her twin, Jessica was used to Elizabeth's practical nature. She grabbed her purse off of the bathroom counter and skipped out the door, forgetting about Elizabeth as she hit the light switch and closed the door. "JESSICA!" Elizabeth screamed from the shower, and Jessica heard a loud crash as her twin attempted to escape the shower in the complete darkness. "Sorry, Lizzie!" She called as she continued to skip downstairs.
Elizabeth sat outside Bob's Books and looked at her wristwatch for what felt like the thousandth time. Only five minutes had gone by, but she was on edge and getting more nervous by the second. She had done the unthinkable- she had lied to her twin. This was not how Elizabeth operated, and she felt incredibly guilty that she had been lied to Jessica about meeting Amy. She had been lying a lot lately, almost the entire summer, but her guilt was so great that she had decided to put an end to it that day. Jessica had been so distracted by all of her cheerleading stuff that she had failed to notice the change in Elizabeth, and her parents had also been very busy with their work lately- Ned on a big criminal case and Alice designing the new wing of Fowler Crest- so nobody had any idea that practical and perfect Elizabeth Wakefield was living a double life.
Elizabeth sighed, still staring at her watch, and braced herself for what was about to happen. She looked up and saw Lila Fowler heading her way. "Jessica!" Lila took a seat next to her on the bench, "I thought you had practice today." Elizabeth glanced down at the hot pink tube dress and sparkly silver shoes that she had borrowed from Jessica's closet and smiled inwardly. "Tomorrow," she corrected Lila, wishing that Lila would leave so she didn't have to worry about her realizing that she was actually Elizabeth. "Kendall's is having a sale," Lila continued, "I guess they don't want us starting high school wearing clothes from Junior High." Her eyes scanned Elizabeth's outfit critically. Elizabeth suddenly saw the person she had been waiting for and she stood up to greet him. He returned her warm hug and twisted his fingers into her newly-curled blonde hair, pulling her close to him and kissing her, making her heart do backflips. "I'll leave you two alone," Lila said, waving casually as she picked up the small bag she was carrying, "See you tonight, Jess." Elizabeth was too busy kissing to respond, but she glowed inwardly at Lila's farewell. She had fooled Lila yet again, and Lila was the toughest of all Jessica's friends, so the rest would be easy.
"Wakefield! Jump higher! Knees up!" Janet Howell screamed at Jessica as she paced back and forth across the practice field, watching her squad practice. Janet was an eleventh grader, and captain of the varsity squad. She and Jessica had been in the Unicorn Club together back in middle school and, as far as Jessica was concerned, she was still as bossy and demanding as she had been back then. She ran the squad much like she once ran the Unicorn Club and, as a result, SVH had never lost a national competition in her two years as captain. She was determined to win her third championship this year. Jessica obediently raised her knees on her next jump, and felt a sharp pain shoot through her left foot as it connected with the chin of Nicole Marrion, who was standing beside her about to lift a sophomore girl onto her shoulders. Nicole fell to the ground and the sophomore girl fell on top of her. Jessica sank to the ground with tears in her eyes, holding her stinging ankle and wincing as she heard Nicole hit the ground. Nicole began to scream very loudly, making Jessica forget all about her foot. Janet rushed over and stood before Nicole with her hands on her hips. "Marrion, you were out of formation," Janet said sternly, ignoring the tears streaming down Nicole's face and the blood slowly trickling down from her chin. "She's hurt, Janet," Jessica said, looking around for help, "Somebody get somebody!" Janet sighed and turned her back, "Take a break. Get her off the field. Wakefield, run laps." The school nurse pushed through the crowd of concerned cheerleaders and began to tend to the fallen, while Jessica ran to the track the circled the field and began to run, despising Janet with every muscle in her body. This practice was supposed to be two hours long, but Janet had been shouting at them and making them practice the same routine for almost four hours now, and Jessica was exhausted. Her chest ached and her sides felt like she had been kicked, not to mention that her ankle was already starting to swell and her legs felt like jelly. "It will be worth it," she chanted repeatedly to herself as she ran lap after lap.
On the field, paramedics were loading Nicole onto a stretcher and Jessica caught a glimpse of her tear-streaked face as they wheeled her off of the field. Janet watched, disinterested, and went back to work. She blew her whistle and shouted to Jessica to get back in line as she pressed the button on her portable CD player. Loud dance music blared from the speakers and Jessica groaned inwardly as she joined her teammates in forming a kick line across the field. "On beat," Janet ordered, dancing along with the music (specially chosen by her, of course), "Daniels, I said on beat." She emphasized the last two words with authoritative stomps and stared at the poor senior who was nearly collapsing from the heat and general exhaustion. Jessica kicked higher, in perfect step to the beat, and executed a perfect turn before splitting off and shimmying along the sideline with her red and white poms fully extended. Janet stared coldly at her from her place on the sideline, "Wakefield, watch those knees!" Jessica kicked even higher, imagining that each kick was connecting with Janet's face.
Elizabeth sat in the front seat of her mystery man's car and looked out the window. Miller's Point was largely deserted at this early hour, so she and her boyfriend had almost total privacy. The only other people around were two high school kids that Elizabeth didn't know, but her date had waved to them as he pulled his father's Henessy Viper into a parking spot on the opposite side of the overlook. Elizabeth thought to herself how cool it was to be dating a guy in high school who had his learner's permit and a father that allowed him to freely use his vehicles, even if she was lying about her true identity to be with him. It was just so complicated, and being Jessica was so much easier because people expected Jessica to date flashy boys such as this one. But that wasn't the real reason why Elizabeth had spent the summer dressing as Jessica and hanging out with Jessica's friends while Jessica hid from the world in the Wakefield backyard. Jessica was so dedicated to her cheering, and Elizabeth was proud of her for making the squad, but deep down Elizabeth had another secret- she was lonely. With Jessica so distracted, Amy in the process of moving away forever, and Maria away at acting camp for the entire summer, Elizabeth had come to realize that she was the only one with nothing to do and no friends to speak of.
"Jessica," her date interrupted her thoughts, "Wake up." Elizabeth smiled her most dazzling smile and eyed her boyfriend with a little sparkle in her eye. "Sorry," she said, leaning closer to the boy she had fallen in love with, "I guess I'm just distracted.
Elizabeth sighed and retreated back into her thoughts as her date began to kiss her neck. She thought back to the beginning of summer and the incident that had brought her to this current situation...

Chapter Two
(The beginning of summer)
Elizabeth woke from her sleep as the sunlight streamed into the window of her blue and cream bedroom. She looked at the alarm clock beside her bed and was shocked to see that it was past nine. Outside she could hear the springs of the trampoline bouncing as Jessica bounced high into the air and executed a perfect full twist with a front flip. Elizabeth watched her twin for a minute and reflected on how much Jessica had changed during their eighth grade year. When faced with the threat of having to repeat eighth grade after a disastrous first semester, Jessica had managed to prioritize her life (with help from Elizabeth, of course) and pass with flying colors. She had had to cut out some of her extracurricular activities, but Elizabeth had also done likewise to devote more time to her writing, which had paid off in the form of Elizabeth winning an essay contest and a trip to Washington DC to read her essay at a large 4th of July celebration for visiting dignitaries from all over the world. She was extremely excited for her upcoming trip, even if Jessica was staying home to practice. She wouldn't be totally alone, however, her aunt and uncle were in the process of moving from San Diego to DC and she would be flying there with them and her cousins, Robin and Stacey.
Elizabeth brushed her teeth and pulled her hair into a neat ponytail, securing the front with a pair of blue rhinestone barrettes, and slipped into her bathing suit before walking through the patio doors out to the Wakefield's in-ground pool. "Hi, Lizzie!" Jess called as Elizabeth climbed onto the diving board and executed a perfect swan dive into the refreshingly cool water. Elizabeth rose to the surface and swam to a raft that Steven had left floating in the water. She climbed aboard and stretched out on the warm plastic, letting the wonderful California sunshine soak into her already golden skin. "Nice one, Jess!" she called back to her sister as Jessica did a double back flip, "Come jump in the pool!" Jessica shook her head and continued to bounce, "I have to practice this or Janet will make me run double laps tomorrow at the mini-camp." Elizabeth was pleased that her sister was so focused on making the squad, but at the same time she felt her sister was going overboard. Tryouts were months away, but Janet Howell was working with the incoming class as well as both the varsity and junior varsity squads to ensure that every cheerleader was ready for cheerleading camp the following week. Jessica had been packing for a month already, and Elizabeth had never seen her so excited in her entire fourteen years on the planet.
"I think I'm going to the mall today," Elizabeth said, paddling the raft to the edge of the pool, "Do you need anything for camp? I need some stuff for my trip, too." Jessica shook her head as she climbed off the trampoline and began to stretch in the grass. "I have to work on the dance number, plus get my running in before practice," Jessica sighed, extending her right leg behind her head. It was Elizabeth's turn to shake her head as she climbed out of the pool and wrapped a towel around herself. Jessica started her dance music and Elizabeth slid the patio door shut to drown her out.
Upstairs, Elizabeth opened her closet doors and gasped in horror. Her typically neat closet was in absolute disarray, and her wardrobe seemed to have shrunk to half its normal size. "Jessica," she fumed, sliding the doors closed. She went into her sister's room and looked at the six suitcases that Jessica had borrowed from each member of the family, and shoot her head at the mess. "Some things never change," she mused, observing the clothing, makeup, and various accessories spilling out of the luggage. She made her way to Jessica's closet, hoping to recover something of hers, but all she found were Jessica's cast offs. She decided to get back at Jessica and picked out a black sparkly mini skirt with a matching top that still had the tags on it. Jessica had bought the outfit for a party at Lila's the week before but had never worn it because her parents had intercepted the credit card bill and were forcing her to return the outfit. Elizabeth slipped into Jessica's never-been-worn outfit and slid her feet into a pair of black strappy sandals as she tore off the sales tags. She glanced in the mirror and realized that the outfit was actually really cute on her. Of course, it had looked amazing on Jessica and Elizabeth had wanted to try it on for herself, but Jessica had beaten her to it in the store, so of course Elizabeth surrendered. Still looking in the mirror, Elizabeth pulled her barettes and ponytail out and shook her head, letting her hair fall naturally around her shoulders. "This will do, I guess," she whispered, "It's only a quick mall trip, what harm could it do?"
Elizabeth walked briskly through the Sweet Valley Mall, heading for the bookstore. A low whistle came from behind her and she swirled around to see who was making that offensive noise. Bruce Patman and Aaron Dallas were sitting on the edge of the fountain in the center of the mall. "Nice, Jess," Aaron called to her, "Looking hot!" Elizabeth looked around for her twin and then felt silly when she realized that Aaron was looking directly at her. "He thinks I'm Jessica," she thought with a smile as she turned and continued on her way, tossing her hair over her shoulder in true Jessica fashion. "Wait up!" Aaron called, running in her direction, "Do you want to go to a movie?" Elizabeth smiled, still enjoying her moment of trickery, it was fun to be someone else from time to time. "Sorry, I'm meeting Lila," Elizabeth said as she walked quickly away.
Elizabeth finished shopping and walked to the bus stop outside of the mall. She checked her watch and saw that it was past 4, which meant that she had missed the last bus home. She called her father from the payphone, but he was at the office. Mrs. Wakefield was out of town, shopping for tiles for the guest bathroom at Fowler Crest, and Steven was at lacrosse practice, so Elizabeth began the long walk home. She had bought too much, she soon realized, and carrying her four large bags the entire two mile walk home was going to be impossible. All of a sudden, she felt a drop of water hit her cheek and she looked up at the sky. Dark clouds loomed overhead and thunder rumbled in the distance. She shuddered at the thought of the oncoming storm and continued to walk as fast as she could. She made it a block before tripping over the storm drain in the middle of the street. All of her bags scattered, and she fell to her knees, twisting her ankle on Jessica's strappy sandals.
She struggled to get into a sitting position and, when she did, headlights came around the corner and she was blinded by the glare. The rain was pouring down now, and she desperately tried to stand to avoid the oncoming vehicle. Her struggle was unsuccessful and suddenly the vehicle was bearing down on her. She shielded her eyes and braced for the collision with her life flashing before her eyes, when she was abruptly picked up from the spot where she was sure she was going to die. She felt strong arms carry her out of the road and she clung to her savior's neck, trying to shield her eyes from the rain.
Elizabeth felt herself being set down onto the plush leather seat of a familiar vehicle. She had never ridden in this vehicle personally, but she had seen its owner proudly showing it off since the day he received it from his father as a gift for passing his learner's permit test. It was a silver Jaguar, and every teenager in Sweet Valley knew the car and was envious of it. She wiped her face on a beach towel that was sitting on the seat. "Watch the leather," her hero said as he loaded her bags into the large, roomy backseat. His voice was kind, she observed, lacking its usual note of pretension, and when her eyes met his, he smiled brightly at her.
"I'll take you home," hero-man said, turning the key in the ignition. Elizabeth thanked him for his generosity and was about to thank him for saving her life when he turned to face her again. "Jessica," he began, pushing her wet hair out of her eyes, "Can I tell you a secret?" Elizabeth smiled at him again, noticing even in her state of shock that he had beautiful deep brown eyes and perfectly straight white teeth. She was so caught up in the moment that she failed to notice that he was calling her by the wrong name. "I have the biggest crush on you," he confessed, "Ever since middle school I've wanted to do this.." He leaned over and kissed her deeply, taking her breath away for the first time in her life.
Elizabeth had never admitted it to anyone, not even her own twin, but she also had a huge crush on him as well, so she kissed back, forgetting the rest of the world for a moment as she did so. "He thinks I'm Jessica," she thought after a moment, "But he's kissing me!" This would normally bother Elizabeth, but for some reason it did not affect her in the slightest at that moment. All that mattered was that he was kissing her the way he had in so many of her dreams. He pulled away after several long moments and looked at her with a satisfied look on his handsome face. "Now that we got that out of the way," he said, "Let's go have some real fun. There's a beach party in Palasades tonight and I want you to be my date. Will you, Jessica?" "Yes," Elizabeth replied, too taken aback to correct him, "I would love to be your date, Bruce."

Chapter Three
(Present Day)
Elizabeth pulled away from Bruce and pulled the hem of her dress back into its rightful place as she sat up straight. "I have to tell you something," she said, smoothing her hair into place, "I'm just going to say it because I'm so sick of lying to you." Bruce sat up straight as well and glared hard at her as she continued. "I'm Elizabeth," she finally blurted out. She sighed, feeling the weight slide off her shoulders. "Umm...okay," Bruce said, confused, "So I haven't been hooking up with Jessica?" "It's complicated," Elizabeth said, "I wanted to be with you so badly, but when you confessed your feelings for Jess, thinking I was her, I just got so caught up in the lies. I wanted to tell you, but being Jessica in secret was just so much fun...and I had nothing better to do, no friends of my own, so you were my everything." Bruce raised his hand to silence her. "You've been lying to me and playing me for a fool for three months," he seethed, still glaring, "I LOVED you, Jess- I mean Liz- I mean whoever the hell you are..." Elizabeth slouched down in her seat, wishing she could just disappear. She knew she had been wrong to lie to Bruce, but she had been so in love with him and being with him had filled a huge void in her life over the summer. She had been pushed to the point of desperation in her loneliness and it looked like everything was set to blow up in her face.
Jessica sat on the large overstuffed sofa in her father's den with ice packs on both ankles and a hot pack on both knees. She absently flipped through the TV channels, trying to reacquaint herself with all of the TV she had missed during her summer away at cheer camp. She was furious with Janet, and all she wanted was a sympathetic shoulder to cry on and a listening ear to vent to. Elizabeth was late coming home, so when Jessica heard the phone ring she jumped up eagerly, momentarily forgetting her injuries, worrying that Elizabeth had been in some sort of accident. When she saw that the Call ID was saying "Fowler Crest", she grabbed the phone eagerly. Since returning from cheer camp two days prior, Janet had held three long practices and Jessica had not had the chance to see or even contact any of her friends, including Lila.
Lila was calling to discuss her newest mall purchases. "Did you ever go to Kendall's like I suggested?" Lila asked Jessica after a lengthy description of the contents of her bags. Jessica was confused, "What are you talking about, Lila? Your cheer Nazi of a cousin kept me at practice for five hours today, just like every single day since I've been back." "But I saw you at the mall earlier, "Lila insisted. "That wasn't me," Jessica told her, "I was at school all morning, and most of the afternoon. Elizabeth did go to the mall today though, are you sure it wasn't her?" "Kissing Bruce Patman?" Lila retorted, "Unlikely. And you were wearing that hideously outdated pink dress of yours, with last year's sandals, so don't lie to me, Wakefield. Next you're going to tell me that Liz was at my party on Friday night...You know, that party where you and Bruce hooked up in my pool house all evening long, with the door locked and the shades drawn..." Jessica gasped, "I didn't get home until after midnight on Friday. I went right to bed, Liz was out somewhere when I came home." Lila and Jessica let out a collective gasp, realizing that something was amiss.
"Your sister is up to something," Lila finally said after a long pause, "But what? And why? Impersonating you at my party, hooking up with Bruce..." "How many people know about 'me' and Bruce?" Jessica asked, twirling her hair around her finger with an angry sparkle in her blue-green eyes. "You, or rather your twin, showed up at my party with Bruce as your date," Lila informed her, "But the pool house incident was kept under wraps. You-I mean, Elizabeth, swore me to secrecy, and unlike your twin, I can be trusted." Jessica chewed her bottom lip, trying to sort things out. She heard a key turn in the lock and instinctively knew that Elizabeth was home at last. "I'm about to get to the bottom of this," she told Lila, quickly hanging up the phone. "LIZZIE!" she screamed, "GET YOUR BUTT IN HERE!" Elizabeth appeared in the doorway a moment later and, upon seeing the hurt look on her sister's face, she sat down to console her. Elizabeth raised her hand to give Jessica a reassuring shoulder pat, but Jessica stopped her with a hard glare that was even more intense than Bruce's. "Explain to me why Lila thought I was making out with Bruce Patman in her pool house last weekend," Jessica ordered.
Elizabeth knew that the time had come. She had expected this to blow up in her face ever since she had started seeing Bruce at the beginning of the summer, that was why she had insisted that they keep their relationship a secret. Bruce had agreed, enjoying the hotness of their secret rendezvous and the overall thrill of sneaking around. It had all been fabulous, until the previous weekend when Bruce had insisted on taking her to Lila's end of summer blowout as his date. She had panicked, fearing it was going to boil over at that point, but she had kept her cool in the end, pulling off a twin-switch that even Jessica would have been proud of. She had known that it would come to this, but she had not cared. Being with Bruce had been the high point of her summer, even if she had had to lie millions of times in the process. She thanked heaven that Bruce was so unobservant and self-centered that he had not even bothered to notice that Jessica was, in fact, away for the entire summer at cheer camp. That was the beauty of high school, Elizabeth realized, different social circles made it easier for people to get lost in the crowd. Elizabeth turned to face her twin directly, tears starting to flow from her blue-green eyes as she spoke, "It all started three months ago when Bruce saved my life. You had stolen most of my clothes for cheer camp, so I borrowed something of yours, and I guess he thought I was you. He told me he was in love with me- well, you, I guess..." Jessica stared at her twin with a confused expression on her face, but her anger had started to fade as Elizabeth cried. "Jessica, I'm in love with him," Elizabeth confessed, "I have been for years, but he wanted YOU. They always want you, Jess, boys have no interest in boring, practical Elizabeth. So I just gave Bruce what he wanted. Nobody knew about any of this until Lila's party, and by then I was so caught up in my lies that I HAD to pretend to be you." Jessica stopped her, "That is possibly the weirdest thing that you have ever done, Lizzie. I would expect this from me but you're just so...practical. But I'm having a really hard time being mad at you because this seems like an impressive scheme, and you thought you were being so clever hiding that crush from me, but you can't fool me. We're twins, Lizzie, I can read your mind, and I knew it! I knew you were in love with Bruce. Give me a little credit sometimes, would you?" Jessica let out a dramatic sigh, but she smiled at Elizabeth, forgiving her twin on the spot.
The main reason that Jessica forgave Elizabeth was that Jessica often stole Elizabeth's identity, and Elizabeth was still unaware of some of her greatest switches. She figured that Elizabeth was entitled to make a few mistakes, and she was secretly very impressed that her sister had managed to fool Bruce Patman for an entire summer. Jessica was not a fan of Bruce, she found him to be arrogant and stuck-up, but she was a fan of her sister's happiness. Jessica's happy spirit faded as Elizabeth went on to tell her that Bruce had been furious when he found out. He had kicked her out of the car without another word and driven off, leaving Elizabeth to walk the three miles back to the Wakefield's Spanish-style split level rambler. Elizabeth had felt like a complete idiot and a total loser on the way home, so Jessica felt that her sister had already been sufficiently punished.
Later that evening, the Wakefield family gathered around the dinner table in their brightly-lit kitchen. Mr. Wakefield passed the mashed potatoes to Elizabeth and handed the basket of rolls to Steven as Mrs. Wakefield adressed her children, "So about that news I mentioned earlier... Your aunt and uncle have been assigned to Australia for the next couple months to do some work at the American embassy. They want your cousin Robin to finish high school here in America, so she's transferring from her school in Washington DC to Sweet Valley High." Jessica and Elizabeth cheered up at this revelation. "It gets even better," Mr. W. chimed in, "Since Robin is only sixteen, she's going to need a guardian while she's here...and we've volunteered!" Jessica and Elizabeth jumped up and hugged each other, happiness radiating from their sun-kissed faces. Steven groaned and pretended to bash his head against the wall, "Not this again." Elizabeth and Jessica were still jumping up and down, and their excitement turned to pure ecstasy when their mom continued, "She'll be flying in from DC next weekend, so we thought you girls could throw her a welcoming party!"
Dinner was a lively event that evening. Jessica and Elizabeth spent the entire meal making plans for Robin. "Girls, Robin will be here for months," Mrs. W. reminded them, "Try not to wear her out right away." Mr. W. winked at his daughters as he rose from the table and retreated to his study. Steven grabbed his car keys and went outside to wash his car, complaining the entire way.

Chapter Four
Elizabeth was fast asleep when a noise outside her bedroom window woke her. Someone was breaking in! She ran for the bathroom door, about to scream for Jessica, but Bruce stopped her as he climbed through the window. "Liz," he whispered, sitting on her rumpled bed, "We need to talk." Elizabeth looked at him sadly, but she couldn't help admiring how hot he was, especially in the silver moonlight. He continued, "You played me, Wakefield. I expected this to happen, Jessica is known for these types of things, but when I realized it was you, I was impressed, I must admit. I never expected Elizabeth Wakefield to get the best of me, but you did." Elizabeth sank down beside him, bracing for more heartbreak as he went on, "I thought about this until my brain felt like it was about to explode, and then I realized something. I am in love with you, Elizabeth, and this summer has been the most incredible summer of my life because of you." He leaned in to kiss her, but she backed away. "I lied to you, Bruce," she said, "I don't deserve you." Bruce silenced her by putting his lips to hers and pulling her body to his. "Forgotten," he mumbled, twisting his fingers into her messy bed-hair as he began to kiss her neck, slowly working his way down to her shoulders...
Jessica awoke a few minutes later. She heard strange noises coming from Elizabeth's room so she tiptoed down the hall to investigate. She pulled open the door to Elizabeth's room and gasped when she saw a shirtless Bruce Patman sitting on Elizabeth's bed. His lips were pressed hard against Elizabeth's and they were both glistening with sweat in the heat of the late summer night. Jessica flipped on the light. "BUSTED!" she exclaimed, delighting in the way the Bruce scrambled toward the window, trying to put his shirt back on as he went. "Bye, Bruce," Jessica called cheerfully as he slid out of the open window and on to the lower roof of the garage. She turned to Elizabeth, "Well, it seems that Bruce has done that before. What a graceful exit." She flopped down next to her sister, "Who are you, Lizzie? What happened to my dependable, perfect big sister while I was gone?" Elizabeth looked embarassed, "He came to apologize, honest, Jess. It just kind of turned into that." "And how many times has it 'just kind of turned into that'?" Jessica demanded, somewhat put off by the fact that she had caught her sister in bed with a boy. Elizabeth was strangely silent, afraid to tell the truth, but also having vowed never to lie to Jessica again. "A few times," she admitted sheepishly, "But we haven't..." She trailed off and looked at Jessica, "Had sex." "Well, good thing I came in then," Jessica said, "Because it looked like you were about to." With that, Jessica stood and left Elizabeth alone with that salacious thought.
"So Elizabeth was pretending to be you so Bruce would date her," Lila mused from her spot on the SVH bleachers the following morning. "Not just DATE," Jessica corrected her as she went through her pre-practice warmup routine, "From what I saw last night, this has escalated beyond a few walks around Secca Lakes and shakes at the Dairi Burger." Lila's jaw dropped, "ELIZABETH and BRUCE had SEX?!" Jessica silenced her before anyone could overhear. "She claims she hasn't," Jessica told her friend, "But who knows if anything that girl says is the truth anymore." Janet chose that moment to interrupt by blowing her whistle loudly from right behind Jessica. "Wakefield! Formation, NOW!" she barked, "Lila, this is a closed practice, cheerleaders ONLY!" Lila huffed indignantly as she tossed her head in displeasure. "Jess is right, Janet," Lila said coldly to her cousin, "You are a total cheer Nazi." Janet's face turned bright red as she stalked away.
Jessica sighed as Janet walked her through the routine for what seemed like the thirty-seventh time that day. "Step, step, arms up, jump, turn, step, kick..." Jessica chanted along with Janet, rolling her eyes with every move. "Close," Janet said as she finished the walkthrough, "Now start again, and DO NOT roll your eyes, or you will be doing more laps. Step, step, turn..." Jessica continued to dance through the routine until Janet was satisfied. "Tumbling passes," Janet ordered as Jessica ended her dance with a perfect split. Jessica groaned in protest, but Janet didn't hear her. "This is killing me," Jessica thought bitterly as she made a mental note to strange Lila for passing along the "cheer Nazi" comment.
Elizabeth sat in the passenger seat of Bruce's father's Viper, again observing the scenery at Miller's Point. She and Bruce had the overlook to themselves that morning, and they were taking full advantage of the privacy. Bruce sat in the driver's seat, shirtless again per Elizabeth's request, and stared through the windshield at Secca Lake glistening in the valley below. Dark clouds were rolling in overhead, but Bruce didn't notice. His thoughts were elsewhere and, as they started to wander, he turned to admire Elizabeth beside him. They had gone for a swim earlier, and she was still wearing her bikini, which he now knew belonged to Jessica. It was metallic silver and Bruce had seen it many times over the course of the summer, but he doubted that her parents knew of its existence. There wasn't much to it, he thought, just a couple strings and some small scraps of fabric, but it drove him absolutely crazy.
Elizabeth shivered as a cold breeze blew through the car, Bruce put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer. "Can we go somewhere else?" she whispered into his muscular chest, "Somewhere more private and less cold?" Bruce's eyes lit up at the suggestion, and he thought of the large indoor hot tub at Patman Manor. "My parents are on vacation," he reminded Elizabeth as he ran his hand down her back, feeling the goosebumps as another cold breeze blew past. "Perfect," Elizabeth said, smiling that smile that Bruce had fallen in love with.

Chapter Five
Jessica ran into Elizabeth's room and jumped on her bed. "Wake up, Lizzie!" she shouted in her sister's ear, "Today's the day!" Elizabeth sat up sleepily as Jessica pulled on her arms, trying to force Elizabeth out of her nice warm bed. "It's Monday," Elizabeth said sleepily, "Big deal." "Yes," Jessica confirmed, rising to her feet again and admiring her reflection in Elizabeth's mirror, "But that's not all!" Elizabeth took note of the fact that Jessica was again in her cheerleading uniform. "Our first day of high school!" Jessica gushed, twirling around to admire her cheer skirt. Elizabeth looked at her alarm clock. It was just after six AM. "Let me sleep for another hour," Elizabeth said, turning to go back to bed. Jessica stared at her twin and thought about the fact that Elizabeth was always the first one awake in the Wakefield house, especially on the first day of school. Jessica was usually the last one awake, and more often than not Elizabeth was the one pulling her out of bed. "I just don't understand her these days," Jessica thought as she headed for the staircase.
As soon as she was sure Jessica was gone, Elizabeth tiptoed to her closet and quietly slid her door open. Bruce pounced on her immediately, playfully knocking her to the floor and pinning her to the ground. He kissed her hard and she retaliated, kissing him even harder. His hands were suddenly everywhere and she felt her pajama top sliding up, buttons popping open as it went over her head and onto the floor. Bruce's bare chest brushed against hers as he began to kiss her neck. In an instant, her bedroom door opened and Jessica was in her doorway again. "Oh, my god," Jessica gasped as she turned and ran from the room. "Why does she always do that?" Bruce asked as he strolled casually to the window, "I'll see you downstairs."
Elizabeth dressed in a hurry and ran downstairs in search of Jessica. She found her sister in the kitchen, shoveling a spoonful of cereal into her mouth. "I've got you for life now, Lizzie," Jessica gloated as she continued to shovel her cereal, "I've always wondered what it would be like to be the good twin. I guess now I know." Elizabeth felt her heart skip a beat. "Please don't tell," she begged her twin. Jessica smiled a smile that chilled Elizabeth's blood, "I might not know who you are anymore, but you do know me, Lizzie. I'd never tell on you, but someday I'm going to need a favor and you'll have to break away from Bruce long enough to help me out." "Ouch," Elizabeth said coldly, "Blackmailing your own sister." "Who's blackmailing who?" Mr. W. asked as he strolled into the kitchen with the morning paper under his arm. "Oh, nobody yet," Jessica replied with a sweet smile, "But I might have to start soon. That Janet Howell is evil, Dad. I swear." She smiled at Elizabeth as she collected her purse and gym bag. "See you at school, Lizzie," she called cheerfully as she skipped out the door. "Wow, Jessica leaving for school before Elizabeth," Mr. W. marveled, "I never though I'd see that happen. I guess some of your good influence is finally rubbing off on your sister. I've never seen her so dedicated to anything in her life. She takes cheerleading as seriously as you take your writing." He poured himself a cup of coffee before kissing Elizabeth's forehead and heading out the door.
Elizabeth sat silently at the table. Steven was also on his way to practice, so he and Jessica were going to school together, and her mother had left early that morning for another out of town shopping trip, so Elizabeth was alone in the house for the first time since Jessica returned from camp. She decided to go for a quick swim because the sun was finally shining through the clouds and the pool looked so inviting. She went back upstairs and looked through her dresser for a swimsuit. Having no success, she decided to again borrow one of Jessica's. She went into the bathroom and saw Jessica's favorite purple bikini lying on the counter, abandoned after Janet had called and demanded Jessica drop everything for an emergency early-morning practice session. Without thinking twice, she slipped into it and headed back downstairs to the oh-so-inviting pool.
"T-minus three hours, ladies," Janet said as the SVH cheerleading squads gathered on the football field, "At nine AM sharp we will be performing for the entire school. Everything we've been working for comes down to this pep rally. Junior Varsity, you're up." Jessica watched from the bleachers as Mandy Miller and Ellen Riteman tumbled across the field with happy smiles on their faces. Mandy stumbled slightly as she landed a back handspring and Ellen reached out a hand to help her regain her balance. Jenny Andrews was a half count behind the rest of the squad as they transitioned into their dance routine, but to Jessica's surprise, their captain seemed oblivious to the mistakes. They finished their routine, with a few more mistakes, and ran off the field so Varsity could take their places. Jessica's part began with a hard tumbling pass, complete with a full front twist. She ran it perfectly with a flawless precision and smiled brightly as she landed perfectly still on her feet. "Wakefield!" Janet yelled, "Terrible! Do it again. Jump higher, run faster, and tuck that belly in. You look sloppy." Jessica felt her face flush bright red as the tears started to roll down her cheeks, but she returned to her position and began to start again.
After two and a half hours of brutal practicing, Jessica sank to her knees beside the water cooler. She struggled to catch her breath as blackness flashed before her eyes. Nicole Marrion flopped down beside her and handed her a water bottle. Jessica downed it quickly, feeling better as she enjoyed her first break of the day. "The best thing about today is that we're performing early," Nicole said, also trying to catch her breath, "So Janet can't make us practice this afternoon." Jessica smiled at the thought of a free afternoon, "Janet is evil. Somebody needs to teach her a lesson. She was never this bossy back in middle school." "She's been Varsity captain since Freshman year," Nicole told her, "And she gets bitchier every year." As if on cue, Janet marched over and blew her whistle. "Did I tell you to take a break?" Janet demanded to know, scowling, she answered her own question, "No. Laps, ten minutes. Then I want you in full uniform, back here and ready to go. We're on in thirty. Go!" She blew her whistle as she walked away and Jessica stuck her tongue out at Janet's back.
Elizabeth grabbed the edge of the pool and pulled herself out of the water, shivering. She stood on the Spanish tiled patio at looked up at the sky. What had started as a sunny Sweet Valley morning has suddenly turned back to the dark storm clouds that had been looming overhead for the last several days. Bruce appeared behind her, jarring her from her thoughts as he wrapped a towel around her shoulders. She playfully pushed him into the pool in retaliation for scaring her. He landed with a loud splash, fully unprepared, and her heart jumped as he started to sink to the bottom. "BRUCE!" Elizabeth screamed, diving in after him. She swam to him and grabbed his motionless body. He was too heavy and she couldn't grasp him properly. She helplessly watched as he slid from her shaking hands and sank to the bottom. Suddenly, his eyes popped open and her sprang out of the water, scaring her yet again. "Gotcha," he said with his usual cocky smile as he threw his arms around her. Elizabeth was upset with him for scaring her, so she broke away from his grasp. "I'm going to shower," she announced. Bruce raised an eyebrow and started to follow her. "There's a spout on the side of the garage," she told him, "Hose yourself off." She tied the strings of Jessica's bikini top into a tight knot, noticing that they had somehow come untied during her attempt to rescue Bruce.
The patio door was locked, so Elizabeth walked around to the front door. She tried to turn the knob, but it wouldn't budge. She was locked out! "Great," she muttered sarcastically to herself, "Late for school, locked out, and wearing a bikini." Her misery increased as the sky opened up overhead and rain began to pour down heavily.

Chapter Six
Jessica stood in the SVH gymnasium and scanned the crowd. The sudden storm had forced to pep rally crowd inside and the new location was not working well for Jessica. The basketball court was smaller than the football field, so Jessica frantically tried to recalculate the distances in her head as two hundred high school students stomped their feet on the metal bleachers. Jessica did not see Elizabeth in the crowd and that worried but she quickly pushed all thoughts out of her head as Principal Cooper introduced their squad. The basketball court had been waxed the day before, so Jessica carefully navigated through her routine at a slightly slower pace. She executed her moves with a perfect precision through the tumbling and cheer portions, but as she was moving into her dance position beside Janet at center court, she felt her right foot slide on the slippery floor as she kicked her left foot high into the air. She struggled to recover and felt her left foot connect with something as she jumped. Janet let out a pained shriek and crumbled to her knees in the center of the court. Blood flowed from her nose onto her perfectly starched white uniform. "You bitch!" she hissed as Jessica clumsily landed beside her, "You kicked my dose." Jessica laughed at Janet's nasal voice, unable to help herself. It had been an accident, of course, but she doubted Janet would believe her and immediately regretted laughing. She looked down at the court, afraid to meet anyone's eye, and saw that her brand new white sneakers were covered in Janet's blood. Her stomach turned as the smell of the blood reached her nose, and she felt her mouth water as her stomach jump forward into her throat. Covering her hand with her mouth, she ran off the court and managed to make it to the locker room door before losing control and vomiting into a trash can. Behind her, she heard cries of disgust and a few laughs as the entire school watched her run into the locker room.
Elizabeth curled up under a blanket in the lavish living room at Patman Manor. Bruce's housekeeper had put her soaking wet swimsuit in the dryer, so she was currently wearing one of Bruce's SVH t-shirts and a pair of gym shorts as she warmed herself by the roaring fire. Unable to get into her house, Bruce had taken her back to the familiar comforts of Patman Manor, where she had taken a hot bath before setting into her current position. Feeling exhausted from her lack of sleep, she stared at the flames and watched them jump back and forth inside the grand fireplace. Her thoughts slipped away from her as she closed her eyes and laid back on the comfortable sofa that probably cost more than all the furniture in her house combined. She closed her eyes and was soon fast asleep.
She awoke several hours later in a strange bed. It was extremely large and quite comfortable, but she was unsure where she was in her semi-conscious state. Opening her eyes fully and sitting up, she realized that she was in Bruce's bedroom. She had been to his house several times over the summer, but this was her first time in his bedroom. That thought unnerved her slightly and she climbed out of the large bed. As she walked towards the door, she caught sight of her wristwatch. It was well after noon and she realized with a start that she had missed the entire school day. She ran downstairs, searching for Bruce, and finally located him in the screening room. He was watching an episode of Breaker High* on the large television but he turned as she entered the room. "Morning," he cracked, playfully slapping her butt. "How did I get upstairs?" Elizabeth asked, still confused as to how she ended up in Bruce's bed. "The maid needed to vacuum the living room," he explained, pulling her into his lap, "And I guess I kept you up too late last night because you were out cold, so I carried you upstairs. You're welcome for that, by the way." He flashed her his cocky grin. Elizabeth didn't want to interrupt the moment or spoil Bruce's jovial mood, but the guilt of missing the entire school day was weighing on her. "I have to go," she whined, "Jessica is going to kill me. I can't believe I missed my first day of high school." "Nobody important even bothers to show up on the first day," Bruce said, still smiling his cocky grin, "And you had no choice but to stay home. What were you going to do, Liz? Show up in your bathing suit?" Bruce smoothed Elizabeth's bedhead and kissed the top of her head. "I'm sure Jessica has done worse things," he assured her, "Skipping school one time won't ruin your chances of getting into a good college or being valedictorian or whatever it is that you're so worried about." Elizabeth sighed, "I guess you're right, but I really do need to go home." "I'll drive you," Bruce promised, pulling her closer and kissing her again, this time on the mouth, "Soon."
Jessica threw her gym bag onto the marble floor in the Fowler's foyer. She unzipped the zipper and looked through her bag frantically. "It's missing!" she exclaimed, "My favorite purple bikini is gone! Somebody stole my favorite bathing suit! Lila, could this day get any worse?" "It's probably in your bedroom somewhere," Lila said, "Buried under that mountain of clothing that you call your bed. Luckily, I own more than one bathing suit and I just happen to have last season's castoffs right here." She reached into the large hall closet and produced a large red bag marked "Clothes 4 Poor People". "This should do," Lila said at last, tossing Jessica a black one piece that still had sales tags on it, "It's an improvement over that ratty old thing." Jessica put it on happily, noticing as she pulled the tags off that it had cost more than she received each month for her allowance. Lila could be generous when it suited her, and Jessica was happy that Lila had chosen today to be charitable.
Lila pulled Jessica out through the sliding glass doors to the Greecian-style patio that surrounded her Olympic-sized pool. The plush white lounge chairs that surrounded the pool looked especially appealing to Jessica, tired as she was from her horrible day, so she flopped into the nearest one and closed her eyes. Lila laid in the chair next to her and the girls were almost asleep when a familiar laugh pierced through the silent afternoon air. "I know that laugh," Lila said with a devious smile, rising from her near-slumber, "I think we found your sister, Jess." Lila glanced toward the high rock retaining wall that separated her estate from Patman Manor. "Let's go investigate," Lila urged, "It might be interesting." Lila crept stealthily to the wall and peered through a crack. She surpressed a laugh. "I found your bikini, Jess," Lila whispered, "Well, half of it anyways!" Jessica pushed her aside and looked on in horror as Bruce rubbed tanning oil onto her sister's back. Elizabeth was laying facedown on a lounge chair, but Jessica could clearly see that her top was laying discarded on the Hawaiian lava rock tile that surrounded Bruce's lagoon-esque swimming pool.
A voice from behind interrupted their spying. "Hello, girls," Mrs. Wakefield said brightly, walking out onto the Fowler's patio with her arms full of wallpaper sample books. "What on Earth are you doing?" she asked. Jessica was at a loss for words, still shocked by Elizabeth's behavior, but Lila jumped to her rescue. "We're studying the rocks for our geography homework," she said. "It's so nice to see you girls taking an interest in your school work," Mrs. W. said, "I'm sure your sister is doing the same thing at home. How was your first day?" She had unknowingly hit a raw nerve and Jessica felt her elevated spirits crash back down as she told her mother about the pep rally incident. Jessica had spent her first day of high school being gawked at by everyone, and laughed at by most. Everywhere she had gone, someone had pointed out that she was "that Freshman that threw up" or "that girl that kicked Janet". People had whispered about her during all of her classes, and the worst part was that Elizabeth had not been there to share it with. Jessica had wanted desperately to hug her twin, and she wanted Elizabeth to reassure her that it would all blow over by the next day. Jessica did not mention this to her mother, but she vowed to confront her twin later that evening.
Mrs. W. listened sympathetically, still juggling her load of books. "I'm sure tomorrow will be better," she said as Jessica finished. She opened her mouth to speak again, but Elizabeth's laughter interrupted them, followed by a loud splash. "Is that Elizabeth?" Mrs. W. asked, abandoning her books and peeking through another crack in the wall. "Jessica," Mrs. W said, slightly shocked, "Why is your sister swimming in the Patman's pool?" Jessica stole a quick glance through the wall. Luckily, Elizabeth had replaced her top before diving into the pool, but that did not help her cause as she was currently making out with Bruce under the large waterfall that flowed into the pool. "Isn't that your bathing suit?" Mrs. W. asked, "I think I'm going to have to go have a talk with your sister." Jessica felt a surge of dread as her mother turned the large latch on the service gate that connected the two properties.

Chapter Seven
"Nice job, Jess," Elizabeth said later that evening as she and Jessica began doing the task of washing all of the family's dinner dishes, "Mom and Dad grounded me for the rest of the week." These were the first words that she had spoken to Jessica all day, so Jessica didn't even bother to respond. Mrs. Wakefield had gone into the Patman's yard and suggested that Elizabeth join her and Jessica on a ride back to their house. Once home, they had been greeted by a furious Mr. Wakefield. Principal Cooper had called him at work to discuss Elizabeth's truancy. Both parents had then proceeded to give the girls a stern lecture about skipping school. Jessica had argued that she didn't deserve to be punished, her horrible day was punishment enough, but her father had declared her guilty of aiding and abetting Elizabeth's truancy, so she had lost her phone privileges for the rest of the evening and now both girls had to do Steven's share of the chores because he was studying with Joe Howell after dinner. Jessica was now faced with having to plan Robin's welcoming party all by herself, which she resented, and she was made even more angry by the fact that Elizabeth was mad at her for allowing their mother to catch her with Bruce.
"You could have stopped her," Elizabeth was saying as she pressed the button to start the dishwasher, "Jess, she gave me 'The Talk' again. She wouldn't listen when I said it was just a kiss. It was horrible." Jessica laughed at this and finally turned to her sister, "Horrible? Really, Lizzie? You spend the day making out with Bruce Patman like you have nothing better to do! I spent the day getting TORTURED! Not that you would know, because YOU WEREN'T THERE! I had a hell day, Liz, and you say yours was horrible?! Do I care? No!" Jessica was yelling at this point, madder than she had ever been in her life. Elizabeth was supposed to ALWAYS be there for her, especially at times like this, and she had failed Jessica AGAIN. Jessica wasn't at all sad when Elizabeth threw down her dish towel and stalked out of the room. "I should have told Mom and Dad about this morning," she thought to herself as she finished the cleaning, "Elizabeth deserves that." She turned to go tell her parents, but then she remembered that Elizabeth had kept many of her secrets, even the bad ones. She hadn't broken a promise to Jessica ever in their lives, and Jessica had broken several, but Elizabeth always forgave her, so Jessica decided to keep her knowledge to herself, at least for the time being.
Elizabeth climbed out of her bedroom window as the moon shone brightly overhead. Tonight was a special night so she was breaking the rules and sneaking out to meet Bruce. They had been planning this night for weeks and it had finally arrived. She and Bruce had pent the night together twice before, the last time being the previous night. The first time had been when she had returned from her three-week trip to Washington DC (she had been keeping up with her Jessica charade at the time, so they had slept in Jessica's bed). Tonight, however, was not like the previous nights. It was their three month anniversary, and Elizabeth had a very special present for Bruce. She climbed onto the lower roof of the garage and swung down into Bruce's waiting arms. "I see you dressed for the occasion," she joked, observing his choice of an all-black ensemble, complete with a hat to match. "We're breaking the rules," he replied, "So I decided to attack in stealth-mode. I even brought a getaway car." She laughed at her version of a conspicuous vehicle- a brand new Porsche truck with heavily tinted windows. "The 'one-Hank-one' license plates are a dead giveaway," Elizabeth pointed out as she climbed into the truck, "But your dad does have good taste in vehicles." Bruce laughed as they stole away into the dark night, the powerful truck rapidly picking up speed.
Upstairs, Jessica watched the dark street from her bedroom window. She watched Elizabeth climb into the truck with a sinking heart. "I don't even know my own sister anymore," she thought sadly as she headed into the bathroom that connected her room to Elizabeth's. As she reached out to start the shower, she heard her mother's footsteps coming up the stairs, followed by her mother knocking on Elizabeth's door. Jessica thought about letting her mother open the door to Elizabeth's empty room, but she decided against that. Elizabeth would have covered for her, so Jessica decided that she would cover for Elizabeth one last time. She grabbed Elizabeth's robe off of the hook near the door and quickly pulled her hair into a ponytail. Leaving the shower running, she quietly opened the door to Elizabeth's room just as her mother was opening the hallway door. Jessica quickly hopped into Elizabeth's bed and pretended to be asleep. Mrs. Wakefield turned on the light and sat down on the bed. "Elizabeth," she whispered softly, "Sorry to wake you, honey, but I feel bad about what happened today. I'm sorry your father was so harsh, but we didn't know what to do! You've never lied to us before, Elizabeth, especially about boys." Jessica braced herself for another lecture, but her mother surprised her by saying, "I think we just need to get used to the idea that our sweet, sensible Elizabeth is growing up. You're in high school now, and you're starting to notice boys, and that scares me, honey. I think your father and I would feel better about all of this if we got to know Bruce a little better. Since you two are 'an item' now, maybe you should invite him over for dinner tomorrow night." Jessica willed herself not to laugh at her mother's outdated terminology, smiling brightly at her mother instead.
Jessica's mind whirled with all the possible scenarios involving Bruce eating a meal with the Wakefields. He was used to caviar and lobsters being served to him by a team of servants in his fancy dining room. She doubted that Bruce had ever been inside a kitchen, and the mere thought of him having to help set the table or wash dishes gave her a strange, sick thrill. "This is sure to be a disaster," Jessica thought, "Especially if Mom and Dad decide to give him 'The Talk', and I know they're planning to do exactly that." She continued to smile sweetly at her mother before saying, "That's a wonderful idea, Mom! I'm sure Bruce would love to come over. He's been dying to meet you guys, and he even said we can't go on our first date before he does!" Jessica glowed inside, thrilled with her spectacular performance. "Payback's a bitch, Lizzie," she thought as her mother kissed her goodnight and left the room.

Chapter Eight
"You!" Jessica said accusingly as Elizabeth crawled through her bedroom window the next morning, "I cannot believe you did that, Elizabeth! I thought you'd be gone a couple hours at the most, but you stayed out ALL NIGHT! I was so worried, Lizzie, I almost woke up Mom and Dad! What were you doing? I covered for you, despite you being an absolute witch to me last night, so I demand to know what you did last night!" Jessica sat up in Elizabeth's bed, where she had fallen asleep after several hours of worrying about her sister, she waited for an explanation.
Elizabeth gave her twin a quick hug, relieved that her absence had gone unnoticed. "Thank you, Jessica," she said, "I'm sorry I blamed you for getting me in trouble, and I'm sorry you had to cover for me. Can we talk about this at lunch? I need to shower. It is my first day of high school, after all." Elizabeth hugged Jessica one more time and ran into the bathroom. Jessica stared after her, furious that her twin had dismissed her so easily. Jessica had practically risked her own life to cover for Elizabeth, and she had been worried sick when her twin failed to return. She had known something wasn't seriously wrong, but she was upset that Elizabeth was still keeping secrets from her. "We used to share everything," Jessica thought sadly, sneaking back into her own bedroom, "Now all Elizabeth does is use me to cover while she goes out and does god-knows-what with Bruce..."
Jessica was most upset by the fact that Elizabeth has brushed her off so easily with only a lame 'thank you' and a hug, she missed the days when Elizabeth was dating Todd Wilkins and every single date, kiss, ect. was described to her in detail as soon as it happened. "Elizabeth is acting like a real brat," Jessica thought, "She's lying and sneaking out and not caring about the consequences at all. If Mom and Dad catch her sneaking out, I'll probably get blamed for it, like they blamed me for her skipping school yesterday." With that thought in her mind, Jessica decided that she needed to pay Elizabeth back for her recent selfish actions, and she realized that she hadn't even had the chance to tell Elizabeth that their parents wanted to have dinner with Bruce that night. "I'll help her out and invite him myself," she decided, "But I'll forget to mention dinner...or my parents, so he'll come over expecting some 'alone time'." She smiled to herself, imagining her parents catching Elizabeth and Bruce alone together. Sure, Jessica could technically be punished as well for failing to stop them, but it wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as what could potentially happen to Elizabeth. "Mom and Dad will ground her for the rest of the year," Jessica thought, "And then maybe I'll actually be able to see her!" Above all else, Jessica missed her sister terribly, and right now having Elizabeth confined to the next room seemed like the perfect solution to that problem. "Operation: Lizzie Lockdown begins now!" Jessica whispered quietly to herself.
Throwing on a pair of jeans and a black sweater, Jessica searched her room for her cordless phone. She found it sticking out of her gym bag and was happy to see that it was still charged despite being lost in her mess for several days. "Maybe while she's grounded Elizabeth can find time to 'help' me clean my room," she thought with a smile. Still smiling, she dialed Bruce's cellular phone. He answered on the first ring. "Hello, Bruce," she purred, knowing that Bruce could not tell her and Elizabeth apart on the phone, "I know you just left, but I can't stop thinking about you!" Bruce was pleased by this and he offered to pick her up for school. She readily agreed and hung up quickly, knowing that her father was downstairs waiting to take Elizabeth to school. "Since Elizabeth won't tell me what's going on, I'll have to go straight to the source," she thought, skipping downstairs to wait for Bruce.
Elizabeth stood under the running shower with tears streaming down her face. No matter how hard she scrubbed, she could not help buy feel dirty. The previous night had been amazing, and she did in fact love Bruce very much, but she couldn't help feeling that she had gone too far. Having sex with Bruce had seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but now she wasn't so sure that she had made the right choice. Bruce claimed he was in love with her, but he had yet to actually tell her that he loved her. She was also put off by the fact that, despite having dated all summer long, he had yet to introduce her to any of his friends as his girlfriend. Sure, him thinking that she was Jessica had complicated that, but it had been several days since she had set him straight, and he had yet to even ask her on a proper date. All of their time together was spent at Miller's Point or in Bruce's empty house, and she was starting to wonder if he was just using her. "Will he break up with me now that I've slept with him?" she asked herself, stepping out of the steamy shower.
She stared at her reflection in the steamed-up mirror and wondered if Jessica had noticed the difference in her. Her lack of virginity felt painfully obvious to her, and she felt as if a different person entirely was staring at her from the other side of the mirror. The whole world had changed overnight and Elizabeth's mind was a mess of emotion, fears, and questions. Did Bruce really love her? Had things gone too far? Was Elizabeth really ready to be a sexual being? She had never been more confused in her life and all she wanted at that moment was to find Jessica and share this with her sister. Jessica was usually the more experienced twin, and Elizabeth was sure that her sister could help her sort things out.
She dressed quickly and went downstairs, intending to go find Jessica. Sadly, she discovered her twin had already left, claiming that she had an early practice. Her parents had also left, leaving Steven with the responsibility of driving Elizabeth to school. She found him in the kitchen, eating a large stack of blueberry pancakes. He mumbled a hello and she sat next to him to eat her own breakfast in silence.
"Last night was so hot," Jessica gushed, struggling to sound like a lovestruck Elizabeth as she rode to school in the passenger seat of Bruce's Jaguar. "Yes," Bruce agreed, "Yes, it was." He leaned over to kiss her and, thinking quickly, Jessica dodged him by reaching up to flip out her sun visor. Quickly applying lipgloss, she apologized and said, "First day of school. I have to look perfect!" "Okay, Jessica," he replied. She dropped her lipgloss and stared at him, sure that her cover had been blown. She relaxed when she saw that he was joking. "I'm skipping again today," he told her, "Want to join me? Sex is better than school..." Jessica felt her jaw start to drop at this revelation, but she quickly composed herself, not about to let Bruce catch onto her scheme. She smiled at him despite her shock, "Sorry, my parents will kill me if I miss school again. But they're going out tonight, it's their bridge night. So maybe you should come over after school, and we'll go from there..." "What about Jessica?" Bruce asked. "She's so busy with her cheerleading that I doubt she even remembers that she has a twin," Jessica said sadly, "So who cares?" With that, Jessica kissed Bruce quickly on the cheek, trying not to vomit as she did so, and opened his car door. 'See you tonight!" she called to him as she walked across the parking lot to the doors of Sweet Valley High.
"Elizabeth had SEX!" she thought to herself as she pushed the heavy doors open, "Before I did! And she didn't even TELL me about it!" This made her head hurt almost as badly as her heart. "We always swore we would tell each other everything!" she continued to think, trying desperately to sort things out in her mind. She felt betrayed, knowing that her own sister had kept this very important secret from her. "She could have told me!" Jessica was getting angry now, imagining all the reasons why her twin had decided to keep this from her.
As she walked down the brightly lit hallway to her locker, she could feel people staring at her. She heard them whispering about her, and as she approached a group of junior boys she heard them make disgusting vomit sounds amidst their laughter. They whistled at her, and one of them yelled something that she didn't quite hear. Two girls standing next to her locker jumped out of her way as she approached. "Look out!" one of them shrieked, "She might be contagious!" They broke into loud giggles as they walked away. Staring at the floor and wanting to melt into the ugly brown linoleum, she opened her locker to reveal a nasty surprise. A flood of chunky brown and white goo spilled out, covering her new purple flats and the surrounding floor. Horrified, she screamed as she saw that all of her cheerleading stuff had been thrown onto the floor of her locker. It was now covered in the nasty goo, and it was ruined. A group of boys ran by and flung more of the disgusting fake vomit concoction at her. Some of it hit her and splashed onto her clothes and into her hair. The tears started to flow as she ran into a nearby restroom, realizing a second too late that it was a boys' restroom, and it was full!
Quickly turning around she ran back into the hallway, hearing the boys in the restroom still screaming at her. Of course, it seemed as if the entire student body had assembled to watch her ordeal. She heard even more laughter and insults being thrown her way as she started to run. Covered in what she would later discover was a mixture of oatmeal, bacon grease, and shaving cream, she ran at full speed and did not stop until she was halfway home. Unable to run anymore, she collapsed under a large apple tree and cried until she could no longer make tears.

Chapter Nine
Elizabeth sat beside the calm waters of the Wakefield swimming pool later that afternoon. She had come directly home from school and was attempting to catch up on her homework. The sun's powerful rays shone down on her and she marveled at how perfect the afternoon was. "Finally, day without rain!" she thought happily, finishing her chapter for English class and pulling out an article that was assigned to her social studies class. She was somewhat worried by the fact that she had not seen Jessica, or Bruce, all day long, but she had put her worrying aside and dove headfirst into her pile of schoolwork. Jessica had been home when she arrived, Elizabeth had seen her book bag on the kitchen counter, but her bedroom door was closed so Elizabeth assumed that her twin was taking a nap. "She's probably exhausted from practice," Elizabeth thought to herself.
She had not expected to see Bruce at school, he had told her he was skipping the entire week, and the strange feelings were still circling in her head, but she had managed to hold herself together so she could enjoy her first day of school. She had seen many of her friends and the day had been very exciting overall, but she wished that she had seen Jessica at some point. Elizabeth had decided during the day that she wanted to share everything with her twin, and she couldn't wait until Jessica woke up so she could tell her about it. Talking to Jessica about the things that were bothering her usually helped, Elizabeth knew. She was feeling less worried, though, by the time she arrived home, and sitting by the pool was definitely helping to ease her mind. "I wonder if Jessica's day was as great as mine," she thought, abandoning her homework and turning towards the patio door. Unable to contain herself any longer, she decided that Jessica had slept long enough and she decided to wake her. She was in the process of opening the sliding glass door when she heard the latch on the backyard gate screech. Bruce popped the gate open and strolled casually into her yard.
She was suddenly overcome with a flood of emotion when she saw him. Thousands of thought ran through her mind as she smiled at him, but most of all she was happy. She had missed Bruce all day long, and now here he was. She remembered that it was Wednesday, her parent's bridge night, so she quickly invited him in. Steven was at a college prep course, and Jessica had yet to wake up, so Elizabeth decided to take advantage of the situation. "Jessica's asleep," she whispered as she grabbed Bruce and pulled him to her. They stood in the kitchen, embracing as she stood on her tiptoes and began to kiss him. "I missed you today," she whispered as he untied her top and threw it to the floor. He didn't respond, he was too busy kissing her as she pulled him upstairs into her bedroom.
Once the door was safely closed behind them, Elizabeth let all her worries and inhibitions slide away from her. She laid next to Bruce on her bed, letting him continue to kiss her. His hands were moving everywhere on her body, and she wasn't stopping him. It felt good, she realized, happy that Bruce obviously still wanted to be with her. They were in the heat of the moment when she heard her father's Jeep pulling into the driveway. "Oh no!" she whispered, jumping out of bed in a flash, "Get dressed! Quick!"
Following her own advice, she quickly pulled on a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt. "Elizabeth! Jessica!" her father called out, "We brought dinner!" "I thought I saw Bruce's car outside!" Mrs. Wakefield called cheerfully up the stairs, "Is he here already?" Elizabeth's jaw dropped. Her parents had been expecting Bruce? She was shocked and trying to make sense of this when Jessica appeared in her bedroom doorway. "He's upstairs with us!" Jessica called back to her mother, smiling at her sister with an evil gleam in her blue-green eyes. Elizabeth's heart raced and her blood boiled. Somehow, Jessica had known that her parents weren't going out that night, and she had somehow set up a dinner with Bruce and her parents behind Elizabeth's back. "What have you done, Jessica?" Elizabeth hissed, hearing her mother climbing the stairs to her room, "Are you trying to get me in trouble?" Jessica merely smiled and turned to leave the room. While making her exit, she grabbed Bruce's pants off of Elizabeth's desk. "Here," she said, tossing them into Bruce's lap, "Wouldn't want you two to get caught!" She laughed, chilling Elizabeth's blood. Bruce quickly dressed and, without a second to spare, Mrs. Wakefield opened the door.
"Hello, Bruce," Mrs. Wakefield said cheerfully as she walked into Elizabeth's room and sat down on the unmade bed. Elizabeth winced slightly, thinking of what she and Bruce had been doing only moments earlier, and hoping that her mother failed to notice their flushed cheeks and racing pulses. "We're so happy you could join us," Mrs. Wakefield continued, "But I see we all have to have a little talk. Ned and I don't allow boys in the girls' bedrooms when we're not home..." She began to administer yet another 'Talk', this time to both Bruce and Elizabeth. As Elizabeth listened, more embarrassed than she had ever been in her life, she imagined ways to strangle Jessica for her obvious set-up.
After Elizabeth was suitably embarrassed by her mother's lecture, Mrs. Wakefield suggested that they all go downstairs for a meal. Bruce looked very put-off and somewhat disgusted by the lecture, but he politely agreed to join the family for their dinner. Downstairs, he looked on in confusion as Mr. Wakefield reached into the paper bag he was holding and began to pull out several large white cartons full of Chinese food. "He's never had takeout before," Elizabeth realized, forgetting the earlier awkward moment and managing a small smile at this realization.
"Girls, please set the table," Mr. Wakefield said, "Bruce and I need to have a little talk in the den." Mrs. Wakefield also excused herself, citing a need to make a call to a client.
"You set us up!" Elizabeth jumped on Jessica as soon as they were alone, "You knew Mom and Dad would be home, and you probably invited Bruce over too!" "I did," Jessica readily admitted to both, "But I'm too good of a sister to actually let Mom catch you having sex with Bruce! I just wanted to scare you, Lizzie. You know, a little payback for me having to cover for you all night long last night! And for not telling me that you actually had sex with him." Jessica looked hurt as she finished speaking, but Elizabeth was extremely mad that her own sister had set her up. "She wanted me to get caught with Bruce," Elizabeth thought angrily, "My own sister tried to get me in even more trouble!"
Jessica tried desperately to explain how sad she was over the fact that Elizabeth had kept secrets from her. She was also very hurt by the fact that Elizabeth had been ignoring her lately. They had always been so close, and it seemed now that they had really drifted away from each other over the course of the summer. Jessica missed her twin terribly, and she thought that if Elizabeth was forced to spend time away from Bruce, then she would have a chance to spend some much-needed time with her sister. Elizabeth was her best friend, and Jessica really needed her right now but her heart sank even further as Elizabeth spoke at last.
"Why are you doing this?" Elizabeth practically screamed at Jessica, "Why are you trying to ruin this? I love him, and now he probably hates me because of this little stunt you pulled. Jessica Wakefield always has to be the center of attention! You're just a jealous bitch! I have a boyfriend, and you don't, and you're trying to ruin it for me just like you've ruined everything in our lives! Plus, everyone at school is laughing at you, NOT at me! Everybody hates you, Jessica!" Jessica's mouth dropped open in shock as she dropped the plate that she was holding. "Elizabeth Wakefield, that is the meanest thing you have ever said!" Jessica said, "I don't even know who you are anymore!" "Go to hell," Elizabeth replied.
"That was...awkward," Elizabeth remarked to Bruce after the meal. Her parents had retreated into the living room to watch the evening news, and Jessica had left before everyone else had finished eating, claiming she needed to go to Lila's to work on plans for Robin's party that weekend. Elizabeth didn't mind being stuck cleaning up the mess, she was used to it. Bruce sat at the kitchen counter, watching her as she cleaned. "Eating food from a paper bag and helping you clean up?" Bruce asked. "You're hardly helping," she pointed out as she loaded the dishwasher, "As usual..." "Why are you so snappy tonight?" Bruce asked, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist, "I'm the one who should be complaining. Today alone, I find out that you guys pulled yet another twin switch on me, but I still have no idea why Jessica did that. Then, I finally get to see you, and your parents come barging in to give me a sex talk... Then I had to sit through dinner- from a sack!- while your dad stares me down and your sister glares at me across the table without saying a word. After all of that, I'm expected to perform the tasks of a domestic, which I must say I made a valiant attempt at doing." Elizabeth couldn't resist a laugh. Bruce's tone was light, so she knew he wasn't angry with her. She smiled, remembering how his "valiant attempt" had included putting the leftovers into the refrigerator. He had misunderstood and stacked everything from the table- including the plates and silverware- into a messy pile before shoving it all onto one shelf. While Elizabeth was cleaning that up, he had "helped" by filling the sink with dishwater. But he had used an entire bottle of soap and allowed the water to run over the top. Waterfalls of soapy white suds had flowed onto the Spanish-tiled floor, creating a huge mess that had taken Elizabeth nearly twenty minutes to clean.
"I'm sorry," Elizabeth whispered, "Please don't hate me." Bruce laughed, "I don't hate you, Elizabeth. In fact, I sort you." She pulled back, amazed that he had finally said it outright. His words drained all of the anger that she was feeling towards Jessica, and she focused solely on his deep brown eyes as she pulled him quietly out onto the patio, stopping to put the mop back into the kitchen closet. She sat beside the pool and he joined her. They stared up at the starry sky. Storm clouds were rolling in yet again, threatening to steal the beauty of the starlit night, but Elizabeth was too taken with the overall beauty of everything to notice.
Bruce kissed her again, and she let him. He kept it short, lest they be caught and given yet another sex lecture, and she appreciated it. They talked as they sat, not about the day, but rather happier subjects- like the stars and the upcoming Homecoming dance, as well as Robin's party that weekend. Bruce promised to be her date to both, and this cheered her up some. Eventually, Bruce had to leave when Mr. Wakefield flashed the backyard lights, signaling for Elizabeth to come inside. He gave her another quick kiss and stole off into the darkness of the night. The storm clouds were heavier now, and the stars were almost completely blacked out. Elizabeth looked up as she walked towards the house and a sudden feeling overcame her. It seemed as if a thousand small needles were being driven into her chest, making her heart pound and making it difficult for her to breathe. She had felt this sensation before and she knew what it meant right away. "Jessica's in trouble!" she thought, a split second before Jessica's voice sounded in her head. "Help me, Lizzie!" Jessica screamed inside her sister's head.
Jessica walked down the dark street with tears spilling over her cheeks for what felt like the hundred and thirty-seventh time that day. Holding herself together through dinner had been next to impossible. She had wanted to scream at Elizabeth across the table, but at the same time she had felt like she was about to burst into tears. "Elizabeth's right," she thought sadly, "Everybody hates me. Even Lila won't answer my calls." She walked to the gates of Fowler Crest and considered ringing the bell, but she knew Lila would just ignore her so she kept walking. She walked aimlessly down Lila's street, not knowing where she was going. "My own sister doesn't want anything to do with me, school is horrible, Janet is going to torture me at practice tomorrow..." She then remembered her ruined cheerleading uniforms and started to cry harder, realizing that Janet would probably kick her off of the squad entirely.
Blinded by her own tears, she turned down a street with no houses or street lights. Apartment buildings with abandoned toys and lawn chairs on the front lawns cast a dark shadow over everything. The sky overhead was very dark, she realized, and the only light on the street came from a neon bar sign advertising "Kelly's Bar". The street was badly cracked and full of potholes in addition to being strewn with all kinds of various trash. She stopped walking, realizing that she had no idea where she was. She wasn't sure how long or far she had walked, and now she was completely lost, which terrified her. There were no payphones in sight, and she realized that she could not call her parents for help even if she found one. They thought she was safely at Lila's. Scared and alone, she began to cry harder as the thunder began to roar and the rain started to fall. Shaking, Jessica ran into an alley and searched for cover.
The only place that offered any protection was a small awning attached to the auto shop behind Kelly's Bar. She stood under it, shivering as the cold winds blew past, splashing her as they blew. Lightening flashed before her and she jumped back, her foot hitting a puddle of water and causing her to slip. She fell on her backside and struggled against the winds in an effort to regain her footing. "I wish I could just blow away," she thought as she watched her tears mix with the heavy down pouring of rain water.

Chapter Ten
"But Jessica NEEDS me!" Elizabeth whined to her parents as she tried desperately to convince them to let her leave the house, "I just know she does! Really, I'm telling the truth!" She had been arguing with them for over twenty minutes now and her parents refused to give in and let her leave the house. They wanted to discuss her relationship with Bruce some more, but she was starting to get frantic. The feeling hadn't gone away, so she knew Jessica was in serious trouble. "You're still grounded," her father told her sternly, "So leaving is out of the question, Elizabeth." "I need to go!" she complained, "Dad, please!" "Jessica still has an hour before curfew," her mother said gently, "Now, we've tried calling Lila, but there was no answer. I'm sure the girls just went out for some ice cream or to the party supply store."
Elizabeth was very upset that her parents weren't taking her seriously. They weren't worried about Jessica, Jessica had been very well-behaved lately, while Elizabeth had taken on the role of the black sheep of the family. "They probably think I'm going out to meet Bruce," she thought bitterly as she realized this was a lost cause. She stalked up the stairs to her room and flopped angrily down on her bed. Unable to help her sister and getting more worried by the second, Elizabeth began to cry. She wished desperately that Jessica hadn't left the house. All she wanted to do at that moment was go into Jessica's room and hug her twin while she apologized. "I've been such a bad sister," she thought miserably as she swore to herself that, if Jessica made it home safely, she would change for the better. Jessica could be a challenge sometimes, and she often got Elizabeth into trouble, but that didn't change the fact that she was Elizabeth's sister- the only one she had. Elizabeth thought about how much she loved her twin, and all of the memories and secrets that the two of them had shared, and promised herself that she would never, ever let things between them get so bad ever again. "No more lies," Elizabeth promised out loud, "A break from Bruce, whatever I have to do to get my sister back!" Her heart began to pound even harder as she heard the downstairs phone ring.
Her mother's choked sobs echoed through the quiet of the house. "Elizabeth," Mr. Wakefield called from outside her bedroom door, a few long moments later, "Come downstairs now, please!" She obeyed and walked downstairs to where her father was comforting her mother. "Your sister's been in an accident!" Mrs. Wakefield cried as Elizabeth sat beside them, "She's in the hospital!"

Will Jessica survive? Will Elizabeth's parents ever trust her again? Will Robin ever get her welcoming party? Find out in book #2!!!

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