When Lila Met Stacey: Chapter 3

5 Sep
NB: If you missed chapters 1 and 2, go here

Jessica and the Bad Luck Mystery

At 9am on Monday morning, there was a knock on the door of Elizabeth’s office.

“Come in,” she said shortly. It was Karen Brewer.

“Um,” said the fifteen-year-old, “I found this on the weekend. Is it yours?” She timidly handed over Elizabeth’s black Iphone.

“Oh thank-you!” said Elizabeth gratefully, her spirits lifting. “I’ve looked everywhere for this – stupid old absent-minded me!”

Karen was positively radiating from the praise. Elizabeth caught her eye and she looked quickly at the floor, blushing.

“Well, see you then,” mumbled the petite blonde, teetering out of the room on her navy pumps. That was gigundoly close – she hoped her face hadn’t given anything away.

How strange, thought Elizabeth, gazing after the little girl. She picked up her phone and instantly typed in Jessica’s number. Without a landline and with Todd out all weekend, she’d been completely isolated! Jessica answered on the first ring:

“Lizzie? Oh Lizzie I thought you were dead! I nearly got on the first train to Stoneybrook on Friday but Lila wouldn’t let me! Oh Lizzie – have you heard the terrible news?”

Elizabeth smiled to hear the familiar hysterics. “Settle, drama queen,” she commanded. “What’s going on?”

“M..Margo,” said Jessica. “The Evil twin – she answered your phone on Friday!”

Elizabeth went stark white. “It can’t be – Margo was shot by her identical twin sister, Nora in your very bedroom, nine Christmases ago!”

“That didn’t stop her before!” retorted Jessica. “You know she’s already survived a carotid artery laceration! We thought she was dead that New Years when she was pushed through the Fowler’s glass house – but she still managed to hijack the ambulance and kill the paramedics, only to come back and try to murder us the following Christmas. I heard that voice Lizzie! It was her!”

“Sh…” whispered Eizabeth. Being four minutes older, it was her job to provide the voice of reason. “I think I know what happened – there’s a Margo doing work experience at the News. She probably found the phone after I lost it last week. No harm done!”

She could hear Jessica breathing on the other end. “I don’t know, Lizzie…” she thought it over, sounding unconvinced. “I’m just glad you’re alive.”

“What else is going on?” Liz pressed. “I don’t mean to rush you, but I promised Tina I’d have my “Eyes and Ears” column done by 5.”

“Steven’s sleeping with a nineteen-year-old,” Jess replied glumly.  “My life sucks. I have a dead-end job, I can barely make rent, I haven’t had a date in 137 days, I have only three friends in this world and one of them can’t even be bothered to speak to me!” She hung up the phone, in tears.

Elizabeth sighed and dropped her phone on the tidy desk. Although she missed her sister’s vibrant personality, Jessica’s theatrics were one thing she could go without on a Monday morning. She read over her “Eyes and Ears” piece, just three short lines creating a blip on the otherwise blank screen:

Local mayor candidate spotted smooching Basher’s batting coach – is it a home run or just a political pitch?

Road toll hits 11 this week – red-headed serial pest dubbed “The Walking Disaster” thought to be behind the latest casualty.

Barrett mother loses custody, Richard Spier apologizes after client’s case notes turn up in freezer

Elizabeth dropped her head in her hands. This was stupid – she could’ve done a better job on her sixth grade paper! Although she was impressing Tina, the fluffy articles were professionally unsatisfying. Why was it that just when things were picking up, they always took a turn for the worse?

An eerie feeling crept over her, as though she were being watched. Elizabeth shivered and reached for her jacket. She’d have to speak to Shannon about changing the default air con settings. The cold settled on her skin like a blanket. Her worries were far from over.

* * *

Margo peered over her desk through to the adjoining room, a glint in her dark eyes. Elizabeth was tapping away at the keyboard, her posture erect and her blonde hair pulled neatly back in a pair of beige barettes. Margo chewed on a black fingernail, watching intently as her senior reached for a cropped black cardi and pulled it on, her eyes still glued to the screen.

Everything about Elizabeth Wakefield was irritatingly in place – from her perfect little beige chinos to her coral blouse, to the way her aqua eyes widened when she was listening to the voice on the other end of the phone. Margo was no stranger to opposition- she’d taken down Natalie Springer earlier this year when the dweeb had blabbed about her having a pack of smokes. And it was thanks to Margo that the whole middle school thought Suzi Barrett was a slut. Margo fixed her steely gaze on Elizabeth Wakefield, a plan forming in her mind. “It ain’t over, Wakefield,” she whispered.

* * *

At lunch time, Elizabeth strolled down High Street alone. Mallory was working on her novel, Mary-Anne had mumbled some excuse about not being allowed out at lunch and Todd hadn’t visited her today. She assumed he was holed up at that awful middle school, helping out that ditzy teacher, Laine with something. It always amazed Elizabeth how some people made it through university.

She wandered past Dr Johannsen’s clinic, feeling sorry for the poor, sick people. Once an esteemed candy striper at Fowler Memorial Hospital, she knew all about disease.

“Liz!” she heard someone say, “Elizabeth Wakefield!” She turned toward the voice. There, at the waiting room door stood a tall young man in a white lab coat. A black stethoscope was slung around his neck, and his dark eyes were framed by a pair of OPSM glasses. Ten years had filled out his jeans and given him a decent set of biceps, but the whimsical smile and unaffected way he ran down the steps to greet her were unmistakable.

“Winston!” cried Elizabeth. She threw her arms around her old friend. “Or is that Dr Egbert?”

Winston smiled warmly. “I’m finishing off my physician training at Stoneybrook hospital, and I help out Dr J at her clinic on Mondays. But what in god’s name brought you to Connecticut? Are you the only Wakefield making the move?” It was a well-known fact that Winston had been in love with Jessica through school.

“I am,” Elizabeth replied. “Todd and I would love to see you sometime – when are you around?”

Winston ran a hand through his thick, wavy hair. “Actually, I’m off to Switzerland at the end of the week.”

“Switzerland?” Elizabeth looked impressed

“It’s on the cutting edge of medicine at the moment,” Winston informed her. “I mean, they’ve been doing bionic ear implants for over a decade.” He bowed his head respectfully, and Elizabeth knew he was thinking of their deceased friend, Regina Morrow.

“And they have a miracle cure for temporary paralysis, especially when induced by jumping off a balcony after a puff of a PCP-laced cigarette. They can cure MS there, too. And I think Mandy Miller went there to get her cancer fixed.”

Elizabeth smiled and squeezed Winston’s hand. It was nice to see things working out so well for her old friend. She glanced down at his left hand, noticing the plain gold band on his ring finger.

“Denise?” she asked expectantly.

“Yeah,” he told her. “Married her the day after graduation. Of course, you were too busy slumming it in London to show.”

Elizabeth looked apologetic.

“It’s ok.” He rested a hand on her shoulder. “Anyway – gotta fly: a guy who was temporarily blinded after a car crash is coming in. Apparently he saw the sun set yesterday, though, so fingers crossed. Take care, Liz.” He dashed up the steps, nearly tripping over his size-11 feet. Elizabeth sighed and trudged back toward her office. It was nice to know that some things never changed.

***

Jessica straightened the hem of her olive-green leather skirt and grabbed the coffees off the Starbuck’s counter – a regular cappuccino for her, and a skim decaf latte, sugar-free, for Stacey. The blonde barrista winked at her.

“Bad day?” he asked sympathetically. Jessica absently brushed her skirt, which was covered in bits of red cotton. Working for a living was definitely harder than it looked, especially when Lila had decided to jet off to Mauritius for the week.

“I’ll say,” she grumbled.

The barrista smiled. His blue eyes were warm and gentle, and flecked with gold, and his sandy blonde hair set off his tan. “This is going to sound like a weird question,” he said, “But is there any chance you’re from California?”

Jessica looked surprised. What had given it away – her smooth, even tan or her toned, slender figure? “Yes, from Sweet Valley!” she replied, excitedly. She calmed herself down – Jessica Wakefield always played hard to get. Even when a total babe was clearly trying to pick her up.

“Me too,” he grinned at her, flashing his brilliant white teeth. “And I know a fellow Californian when I see one. Which is why I took it upon myself to make your coffee on skim. We Californians have to keep up the health of the nation, now, don’t we?”

Jessica grinned at his rhetorical question, suddenly remembering what it felt like to be wanted. “I’m Jessica,” she said extending a hand.

“Jessica,” he repeated, his gaze unwavering. He took her hand with mock chivalry. “I’m Travis. Say, would a nice Californian girl like you appreciate a meal at the Russian Tea Room tomorrow night?”

“I think I could slip it into the schedule,” Jessica purred.

“Great,” he said with a grin. “I’ll pick you up at 8.”

* * *

Moments later, Jessica rejoined Stacey on the sidewalk, a new spring in her strut. A glimmer of the old Jessica was returning, and she hoped this time it was for good!

“Good coffee?” Stacey teased. “You haven’t stopped smiling since you handed over the $8.40.”

“Just another Californian in New York,” said Jessica, beaming. “He’s taking me out for dinner tomorrow.”

Stacey looked concerned. She knew she’d seen the barrista before but couldn’t for the life of her remember where. “Just be careful, Jess,” she warned. “New York guys are different.”  Something about the guy’s perfect tan and cheesy grin was bothering her.

“Stop being such a downer, McGill,” ordered Jessica. She swatted her friend with the serviette.

“I just have a bad feeling Jess – but you can do what you want. So long as you–”

“­–Have fun and be careful!” they chimed in unison.

* * *

Travis whistled as he wiped off the milk frother, tossing the teatowel over his shoulder. Jesus, that had been easy. And blondie was every bit as dumb as she’d looked when he’d seen through the window the other day, jamming up her overlocker in “Wakefield Designs.” How she’d thought he could pick her as a Californian on first look was pretty amusing. Of course, he’d already done a quick google search and found her archived in the “Miss Teen Sweet Valley” website. And then there was that newspaper article from ten years ago about her spiking her twin’s drink and letting her cop some murder charge, not to mention a very sultry picture of her with that ex-soapie star, Brandon someone.

He tossed back his head and laughed. In his fourteen years of womanizing, Travis was yet to put a foot wrong. Blondie would be putty in his hands.

What will Jessica’s newest flirtation bring?

What is Margo Pike hiding?

And where has Trusty Boyfriend Todd REALLY been?

Find out in next weeks installment of When Lila Met Stacey, Chapter 4 “Beware the Babysitter”

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5 Responses to “When Lila Met Stacey: Chapter 3”

  1. tooimpurenangel September 5, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    Love it! Liz and Winston’s meeting was brilliant. I have to ask though, didn’t Margo get stabbed by Nora because Nora thought she was Jessica? I could be misremembering=)

  2. winstonegbert September 5, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Yeah, you’re right – Liz was the one with the gun [she stole it from a cop], and Nora came good with the dagger. Which is a relief, because a gun shot would totally ruin Alice’s interior design.

    PS – I knid of went more snarky on this one, but the next chapter is LOTS more gruesome. As in, Margo lives up to her reputation.

    • tooimpurenangel September 5, 2010 at 10:06 am #

      LOL. That’s right! *sigh* those wacky SVPD cops couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag.

      YAY! More Margo! *does happy dance*

  3. Zoe September 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm #

    My patience is wearing thin… must have chapter 4…must have chapter 4…must have chapter 4… hehe. Can’t get enough!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Suzanne, The Plans They Made Put An End To You or SVH # 10 Too Good to Be True « WHAT WINSTON SAW - October 4, 2010

    […] in New York, Jessica has lunch at the Russian Tea Room with the Devlins. [oh YAY! They do that in my book as well!] and Jessica comments that Mrs Devlin doesn’t eat anything and that its little wonder […]

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