When Lila Met Stacey CHAPTER 5 Mary Anne and the Trouble With Twins

13 Sep

CHAPTER 5 Mary Anne and the

Trouble With Twins

Get excited….everyone’s fave character is making an entrance!

Go to chapters 1 – 4

Logan Bruno had just switched off Mary Anne’s night light when he heard the soft crunching of tyres over the gravel driveway.

“Shit!” he yelped, jumping off the wooden bed. He fumbled around in the dark for his shirt, almost tripping over the frilly pink bedspread. Surely Richard and Sharon couldn’t be home already?!

“What’s up, babe?” drawled Mary Anne. She rolled over and pulled the sheet up to cover herself. Logan leaped over to the window, frantically zipping up his Wranglers, and a yellow taxi came into view.

Out jumped a slender blonde in a fuchsia evening gown. Logan let out a low whistle. This was better than he’d anticipated. Had Mary Anne phoned a friend?. He knew what a tigger* tiger  she could be when the lights went down, but this was almost too good to be true. The girl turned to face the upstairs window, the midnight shadows flickering across her dimpled cheeks. Her eyes were red and puffy and smudges of mascara were running down her cheeks, but the aqua eyes and tanned skin were unmistakable.

“Elizabeth!” Logan groaned.

“Jesus Christ!” cursed Mary Anne. Trust Elizabeth to show up again and turn an Almost Perfect Date Night into a Disaster of Alan Gray Proportions. Kristy barging in with great ideas was bad enough. But the hide of this Californian chick was unbearable – she’d somehow gotten it into her judgmental head that Mary Anne had no friends, no brain and no life. Mary Anne sighed. She had plenty of friends, and even a step-sister, Dawn, who’d actually worked with Miss Priss back in Sweet Valley. She’d be damned if Elizabeth found out about that connection. Mary Anne couldn’t count the number of excuses she’d made to avoid hanging out with Elizabeth and boring-as-butter Todd since their awful date at the Burger Bite. She’d even faked stomach craps that night to avoid going bowling with them. Mary Anne smiled at the memory, recalling the look of shock on Elizabeth’s face when she’d mentioned period pain- apparently they didn’t menstruate in Sweet Valley. The expected knock sounded at the door.

Mary Anne looked at Logan quizzically, as if to say, “Should we leave it?” The knock repeated itself, louder this time, followed by a tearful sob,

“Let me in, Mary Anne.”

“It’s open,” called Logan wearily. He suddenly wished bratty Jenny Prezzioso was still here so Elizabeth would have another mission before she got to the stairs.

“Mary Anne!” called Elizabeth. “Can you hear me?”

Mary Anne huffily threw on a pink terry-toweling robe and gave Logan A Look. Just because she was shy in public didn’t mean she had to be a pushover. Especially after nine on a weeknight. She trudged downstairs to greet the emotional journalist, trying to replace her expression of annoyance with one of concern. She held out her hand with a sigh, and Elizabeth took it gratefully, still gasping for breath.

“Is it Todd?” asked Mary Anne, her brow furrowed. “Y-yes,” Elizabeth choked on the words. “He’s in love with Laine,”

Mary Anne exhaled. So the rumours were true! She looked at her colleagues’ anguished face and instantly her expression softened. She knew what it felt like to come off second best – like the time Logan had cheated on her with Cokie Mason in the 9th grade. Although Elizabeth was finally getting her come-uppance, nobody deserved to be trampled on like that. Especially by Laine Cummings, ex-New York super-snob. It probably couldn’t hurt to let Elizabeth stay the night, Mary Anne reasoned. It was just one time, after all. She stole a look at the clock: it was 12:20 already, and Elizabeth was most likely an early riser. She could put her in Dawn’s old bed in the guest room for the time being. Her dad probably wouldn’t mind – he’d mellowed a fair bit lately under Sharon’s hydroponic influence.

“Honey,” she called to Logan, whose inside-out t-shirt was shielded by the shadows on the staircase. “Will you fetch some linen from the pantry?” Mary Anne turned to Elizabeth. “You can have the guest room,” she said warmly. “Now, how about some hot cocoa so you can get some rest?”

***

Jessica passed a wholemeal bagel to Lila and a grapefruit to Stacey, who were standing next to her on the subway. It was a sunny Saturday morning in New York, and she was hitting the shops with her two best friends. Jessica sighed and stole a sideways glance at Stacey, who looked incredible, as usual, in a purple shirtwaist top over flowered leggings, her cowboy [Cowgirl? Cow-woman?] boots, a purple hair ornament made from shoelaces, and long dangly silver earrings. Jessica felt ordinary by comparison, in an oversized white shirt of Travis’ he’d left the night before, teamed with a pair of ruched leather tights and silver ankle boots.

“Where’s Travis?” Lila piped up, with the hard-hitting questions as always.

“He said he was meeting his friend Tom for brunch,” followed Jessica’s curt reply. Although she hated to admit it, Travis’ hasty exit from her apartment this morning had left her feeling more than a little rejected. He could have at least stayed for some of her blueberry pancakes, especially given what they’d gotten up to the night before.

“Tom..or Tina?” Lila said haughtily, and Stacey giggled. Jessica rolled her eyes. It was no news to her that her friends neither trusted nor approved of her latest fling, but they could at least try being a little more supportive.

“So where should we go first?” Jessica said brightly, trying to change the conversation. “Bloomingdales?”

“Oh please, Jess,” Lila sniffed. “That minefield? And on a Saturday? We should head down to the boutique strip on 4th.” Stacey nodded in agreement, rustling around in her Guess chain bag for her phone, which was giving off a noisy polyphonic tone. Lila and Jessica groaned in unison at the familiar alarm.

“Stacey!” scolded Lila. “When are you going to learn it’s NOT okay to do your 10am insulin injections on a train?! You look like a fricking junkie.” Stacey ignored her and slid the needle into her flat stomach with a grin. Lila reminded her so much of her friend Laine it wasn’t even funny. The train rolled into the underground station and Lila grabbed Jessica’s hand.

“C’mon,” she urged. Jessica was so out of it today. Five minutes later, the trio was strolling down Fourth Avenue, when Jessica stopped suddenly, her face aghast. “Earth to Jessica!” Lila waved a manicured hand in front of her friend, who was staring into a ritzy-looking shop-front.

“Style Masons,” read Stacey slowly. “I’ve heard of that! The owner is this bitch called Cokie Mason who I went to school with!”

Jessica pointed a shaky finger at the mannequin in the window. Her face was white. “That’s my jacket!” She raged. “And my leather body con skirt!” She marched into the store before Lila and Stacey could restrain her. “I want the manager, now!”

“Here I am,” came a saccharine voice from behind her. “How can I be of assistance?” Jessica recognized her instantly – it was the woman who’d let herself into the shop last Thursday. Cokie.

“You stole my outfits, you whore!” Screamed Jessica. “You were the one taking pictures in my shop the other day! How dare you!”

Cokie smiled. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, sweetie,” she took a pause. “ I don’t even recognize you, not that I’m used to taking fashion advice from people dressed like penguins.”

Lila snorted.

“It’s a copyright issue!” Jessica’s nostrils were flaring as she continued to yell at Cokie. “My dad does copyright law and he can sue your ass! That is my jacket and my skirt!” She motioned toward the window.

Cokie sneered and stuck out her bottom lip. “Those items in the window are seasonal basics. Maybe if you were more creative you’d come up with something less than mediocre.”

The insult stuck in Jessica’s ribs like a knife. Mediocre? She looked at her friends imploringly, a tear forming in the recesses of her blue-green eyes. Stacey bit her lip. Security would be on them like Annie Whitman before long. She clutched her friend’s slim arm and guided her out, glaring at her middle-school enemy over her shoulder.

“It’s okay, Jess,” Lila was saying. “I’ll get Daddy to send over some designs from Milan.” Jessica shook her head. Lila would never understand. Here was the one thing she was good at, the one time where she could outdo perfect, over-achieving Elizabeth and now she’d been completely shot down. For once, she didn’t want the easy way out. For once, she would prove them wrong – after all, Jessica Wakefield NEVER shied away from a challenge. She threw her Prada bag over her shoulder and fixed her gaze ahead. This meant war.

* * *

Todd Wilkins shoved a stack of paper into the staffroom photocopier on Monday morning. What a weekend! Since Elizabeth had disappeared on him like that on Thursday night, he’d barely had a wink of sleep. He’d tried her mobile, her parent’s house, Jessica, and even Enid Rollins, but so far nobody knew where she’d taken off to.

“Todd?” it was Laine, poking her head around the door of the deputy’s office. Man, she had to stop looking so good on a Monday morning. “Andrew Brewer’s giving me shit again. Can you watch him while I do playground duty?” She flashed him that brilliant smile, and confidently strode away. She was unbelievably attractive, he thought, admiring the way the pencil skirt accentuated her slim hips. He shook his head violently, instantly regretting the disloyal thought. What was he thinking? Elizabeth could be anywhere and he was having these inappropriate fantasies about the geography teacher. On the photocopier.

“Aargh! Stop it!” He hollered aloud. He heard a snicker behind him. He turned slowly, a blush creeping at his cheeks. It was Andrew Brewer, 7th grade horror. “Sit down and keep quiet!” he ordered. Geez those kids from divorced Stoneybrookites could be shockers.

“Mr Wilkins and Miss Cummings,” sang Andrew softly, under his breath. He cracked up. Todd marched out of the staffroom, slamming the wooden door behind him. Then something made him turn, and catch his breath. There she was, in the courtyard, bent over one of the picnic tables to scold a group of eight graders. Laine, he breathed. Elizabeth had until Friday to make her return, or else – it was on.

* * *

Stacey flicked over to NYC news on Saturday afternoon. She couldn’t stop thinking about that slut, Cokie Mason, or her poor friend Jessica. There must be something she could do! She’d been trying to come up with a plan all afternoon, a super idea like the ones her friend Kristy used to have. Her head was fuzzy – hopefully it wasn’t another hypoglycemic attack coming on. She needed an assistant…. someone who was stylish yet original, who could work as part of a team but who didn’t have the brains to lead. Someone who’d be sitting at home doing nothing on the average weekday. Stacey’s ice-blue eyes lit up. Perfect! She grabbed her cordless phone and punched in the numbers. “Pick up, pick uuuup!” she pleaded. “Hello?” came the familiar voice on the other end. Stacey thought she could hear a baby wailing in the background. “Claud?”

“Oh my god, Stacey! Can you hold for a tick?” The phone clattered about and there were muffled voices in the background followed by a bellowing “Honey!”

“Stace? I cant believe you rang, this is awesome! What’s up?” She was chomping on ring dings or something.

“Claudia,” Stacey exhaled slowly. “I really need your help with something.”

* * *

On a humid Saturday evening, on a plane bound for Sweet Valley, a raven-haired sixteen-year-old flicked through a stack of printed pages, too tired to sleep. She felt a momentary twinge of guilt at nicking off with her parent’s frequent flyer’s to score a seat in business class, but then remembered her sister’s nonchalant “See ya” when she’d told them she’d be disappearing for a day or so. Like they cared. She shuffled to the next page, printed straight from her latest google search. Thank god for Elizabeth’s high profile nation-wide, she thought – it was making this job a walk in the park. A motorcycle accident and subsequent seven-week coma. A kidnapping by some crazy hospital orderly who apparently didn’t lay a hand on her. Busting crime with the Sweet Valley News. Busting crime with the London Times. Being attacked by a werewolf. Being held at knifepoint by a guy called John Marin whom her father had sentenced. Saving lives in an earthquake. A DUI after killing her sister’s boyfriend. Margo flipped over the page. There was a model-esque picture of Elizabeth with her identical twin, Jessica, every bit as beautiful and sought after.

“Half of a whole,” she mused aloud. There were pictures of her parents, too, a lawyer and an interior designer known as Ned and Alice. Not to mention her total hunk of a brother. All of them wealthy, attractive and popular. And all of them totally within reach. Her thoughts turned to Karen Brewer, bound and gagged in the storeroom at the news. Sure, she’d been a pretty loyal follower of late, but that didn’t mean she could be trusted to keep her big mouth shut.

“This seat taken?” Margo looked up. A 6-foot, muscular Adonis was standing before her, looking incredibly slick in a tweed jacket and black, well-fitting trousers. His dark hair was well-cut away from his handsome face, and his mouth was curved into something between a flirtatious smile and a sneer. He would’ve been in his late twenties, but had the air of someone who’d seen the world a million times over and had it completely figured out. Someone Margo would like to have as an accomplice. The man extended a lean, tanned forearm as he slipped into the adjoining seat. “I’m Bruce,” he drawled. “Bruce Patman.”

*Freudian slip

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3 Responses to “When Lila Met Stacey CHAPTER 5 Mary Anne and the Trouble With Twins”

  1. tooimpurenangel September 13, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    This just keeps getting better and better!

  2. Kidd September 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I wish this was the real SVC! Please please please, keep writing more of this.

  3. Daniella September 16, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Love this! Can’t wait to see Claudia get involved. And yay for Bruce and Margo meeting up!

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