When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 17 “Annie Whitman Strikes Back”

18 Nov
Twenty-six year-old Jessica Wakefield chewed nervously on the phone cord as she waited for an answer.
“Pick up, pick up,” she prayed aloud. The ringing continued.
“C’mon, answer the phone, Easy Annie!”
“Easy Annie?” barked a voice on the other end. “Who is this?”
“Annie!” Jessica put on her sweetest voice. That had been way close! “It’s Jessica Wakefield. Listen I’m calling for a favour.”
“A favour?” There was a long silence.
“Y-yes,” Jessica hesitated.
“Lemme get this straight – ” Annie demanded incredulously, “You kicked me off the cheer-squad in junior year, told the entire school I was a slut – despite quadrupling my tally of conquests yourself – and then forced me to OD on Vidocin. And now you have the hide to call me after a decade FOR A FAVOUR!?”
Jessica took a deep breath and calmed herself. There was no point getting angry. “It’s been a long time—-“ she began.
“Unbelievable!” Annie interrupted. “You Wakefields think the world revolves around you, don’t you!?”
“Annie,” Jessica tried to calm her. “It’s for Lila, not me. She needs your help.”
“Lila Fowler?!” Annie screeched with rage. There was a loud clatter followed by the monotonous beep of a dead line. She’d hung up!
Jessica sighed and dropped the phone onto the receiver. It was no use trying to bargain with a tart, anyway.
It had seemed like a great idea – prostituting Easy Annie to John Pfeifer in Lila’s place. Sure, Annie wasn’t beautiful in the conventional way that Lila was, but with a clever disguise, surely the pyromaniac would fall for it. And then Lila would be off the hook, and Magenta Galaxy would have a new home.

Rumour has it that Courtney Cox posed
for this portrait of Easy Annie

“Jess?” Lila’s thin voice diffused into the room from her sofa. “Any luck?”
“She wouldn’t even let me ask!” Jessica called, shaking her head. “Like  an extra favour would’ve made a difference to her, anyway,” she grumbled, shaking her head.
She turned to Stacey MacGill and Nicholas Morrow, who were feeding each other diet peanut butter across the kitchen table.
“Would you guys get a room?”
Nicholas cleared his throat. “Uh, actually Jess, I was just about to offer to help you out.” He tenderly wiped a peanut fragment from Stacey’s cheek.
“Well?” Jessica demanded. “What could you possibly do?”
Nicholas smiled. He was used to Jessica getting in a huff when she didn’t get her own way.
“For starters, my mom called last night, and she’s offered you her old warehouse for Magenta Galaxy”.
Skye Morrow was an ex-Ingenue model and clothes designer.
Jessica crossed her arms, unable to resist a smile. This was good – very good. It still didn’t solve the problem of Pyromaniac Pfeifer, though.
“And John? How are you planning on taking him down?”
Nicholas flashed her a handsome smile. He was such a hunk, Jessica couldn’t help noticing.
“The old fashioned way,” he whispered, fixing his slate-gray eyes on Jessica. “A duel.”
* * *

Alice Wakefield tiptoed into the Spanish-tiled bathroom, wearing only a pale blue shirt of Hank’s and a pair of cotton socks. She gave herself a quick once over in the enormous mirror and popped a mint into her mouth. Her pixie-style cut had that rumpled, just-out-of-bed look, and she couldn’t help but think she looked more like the twins’ older sister than their mother. Especially Elizabeth – since that all-consuming assignment had come up at the ’News, her eldest daughter was looking positively haggard.
Alice sauntered back into the bedroom of the penthouse suite, admiring the off-white walls and art deco manchester. She felt a twinge of guilt about lying to Ned and her children once again, but she shook herself free of the thought. After all, it wasn’t exactly the first time these shenanigans had eventuated – she remembered with a lusty smile her “business trip” to Chicago one sweltering summer almost a decade ago. It was Ned’s fault, she reasoned, for being such a dumb-ass. How he’d believed that she and Hank – a businessman – could be co-workers on a design project was unbelievable. For a laywer, his sleuthing skills sucked. Maybe if he paid more attention to her instead of the ten kinds of law he practiced, she wouldn’t need a bit on the side with Henry Wilson Patman.
Alice sighed and glanced at Hank’s Rolex on the bedside table. She considered giving one of the twins a quick call back home – once when she’d gone on a trip like this, an evil doppelganger had come to Sweet Valley to steal Elizabeth’s identity.  Ned had been with her then, Alice recalled, so she’d had to sneak in a quickie with Hank in the conference room at lunch.
She dropped the watch back on the table and crawled into back into the four-postered king bed. The kids would be fine, she rationalized, flashing Hank a seductive smile. Absolutely fine.
* * *
Margo wandered up the steps of the Wakefields split-level house. Game time, she thought with an ironic smile.
She glanced down at her outfit one last time – a floral cap-sleeved tee, three-quarter length denim skirt and neutral ballet flats. Terrific. All she had to do was fool Steven, and the secret diary she’d been eyeing on Elizabeth’s desk from across the road was hers!
She rapped anxiously at the door, and heard footsteps trudging down the carpeted stairs. Should she start on volume one, two or three? she wondered absently.
The door sailed open, and on the steps stood…
“Steven!?” Margo’s jaw dropped. Instead of the handsome-looking Adonis she’d stalked on facebook, she was greeted by a bearded, gaunt-looking figure, his eyes red-rimmed and puffy.
The five o’clock shadow was bad enough, but Margo decided the Bieber-hair was Steven Wakefield’s worst feature.
“Liz,” he grunted, his eyes barely leaving the floor.
“Uh- hey,” she mumbled. She pushed past him and made for Liz’s bedroom, taking the stairs two at a time.
“Wait –” he called after her. “Weren’t you already…”
Margo froze in her tracks, her back to him. “What?” she snapped.
“Never mind.” She heard the swishing of denim on the leather couch, and the annoying blare of a TV informercial. She was off the hook!
Margo bounded into Elizabeth’s bedroom, and stopped still.
“Jess?” Elizabeth looked up from her desk, which was covered by piles of paper. Margo felt her heart quicken. Elizabeth was home?
“Uh, hey Liz.” Play along, play along, she urged herself.
“Wha-” Elizabeth looked bewildered. “Jessica’s in New York, with Lila and Stacey and the Morrows.” She stood up from her leather director’s chair.
Margo tried not to snicker – she was wearing Karen-Brewer style reading glasses! Focus, she warned herself.
“You’re not Jessica,” seethed Elizabeth, peering into Margo’s face.  Margo panicked. Time to fess up.
“No,” she whispered. “No, I’m Margo.”
“Margo,” Elizabeth whispered. Her eyes were filled with fear. She retreated back against the wall. “N….no,” she stammered.
Margo stopped still. Okay, so they looked mildly similar. But there were plenty of blondes in SoCal. What was her deal?
“Noooo!” wailed Elizabeth.
Margo rolled her eyes. What the fuck was wrong with her?
“ It’s Margo Pike, SHS student from the News,” she repeated herself. Ring a bell? She thought sarcastically.
“I’ve dyed my hair, that’s all.”
Elizabeth visibly relaxed. She held a hand to her chest. “Oh, just you,” she panted. “Jesus, you look like me.” She crashed onto the bed. “I’d never noticed.”
Margo smiled. “Probably your new glasses,” she suggested helpfully. “I was just in the neighbourhood and wanted to say hi.”
* * *
Margo, Elizabeth stared at the sixteen-year-old in her doorway. A thousand bitter memories flooded her mind…the Jungle Prom, the jeep crash, the bitter feud with her twin, and then the girl with the raven hair, her glittering knife slicing through the air…
She forced herself to stay calm. It’s Margo Pike, she reminded herself. Just an innocent school girl. The look-a-like thing was just a coincidence, she reasoned. It happened all the time here, like Tricia Martin and her three doppelgangers. There was only a small gene pool in Sweet Valley, after all.
“So, uh, what are you doing here?” she asked conversationally. Was it just her or was Margo looking around the room for something?
“Uh, business,” the girl responded.
See? Elizabeth reminded herself. The girl had her head screwed on. She hadn’t remembered giving Margo her address, though. Funny that.
“Well, see ya then,” Margo called. She hurried down the stairs.
“B—Bye!” Elizaebth called after her. That was just too weird.
She turned back to the pile of documents mounting on her desk. She had just two days before Tina needed this report. Her flights to Stoneybrook were booked, Karen had saved her a seat for the final week of the court case, and she was pretty sure that John Marin was keeping Collins’ cell warm. Now, if she could just pull something spectacular out of her hat, he’d be in the clink forever. Elizabeth shuddered involuntarily. She just hoped she’d make it out of Sweet Valley alive.
* * *
Margo clinked her champagne glass with Bruce’s as their private jet rolled off the runway.
“To New York!” she cheered.
“New York,” he echoed with a sexy grin. When Hank had found out about his son’s courtship with “Elizabeth Wakefield”, he’d been more than happy to loan the couple his apartment on the Upper East Side.
Elizabeth is toast, thought Margo, giggling at the memory of the idiot journalist. She was so easy to manipulate! Margo was grateful she’d inherited her mother’s skill of being able to look exactly like someone else and then like herself again. Liz been a cinch to fool, alright, but now they were off to New York to trick her better – and probably smarter – half. Jessica was the most important one to fool after all, given that twins shared some kind of pyschic bond. But this time, Margo would be playing the finest role of her life: Elizabeth.
“Whatcha thinking?” Bruce interrupted her thoughts with a sly hand inching up her tanned thigh.
“Just about our killer plan,” rasped Margo. With an emphasis on the “killer” , she added silently.
Bruce fumbled in his pocket for something.
“Killer is right,” he whispered. “Elizabeth.”
Margo grinned at her handsome soon-to-be-fiancee, admiring his chiseled jaw with her ocean-coloured eyes.
Enid and Amy were dead, and Elizabeth would be next. She hoped her doppelganger would find the little present she’d left in the driveway on her way out.
Margo stole a sideways glance at Bruce, who was looking uncharacteristically pale as he gnawed a fingernail.
“What’s up?” She whispered. “I won’t throw up until were at least 900 feet, I promise.”
“N…nothing.” He stammered. It’s just the..the gulls. I swear they’re after me.”*
“The birds?” Margo cackled. “Harden the fuck up, Bruce.”
Bruce squeezed his eyes shut and slumped back in his business class seat. Margo took out a sick bag and downed the last of her champagne with a sardonic smile.
“Margo Forever!” she cried as they soared into the clouds.
* * *
“Your duel begins…Now!” Jessica stepped forward and waved her yellow neck-tie in the air, her arms splayed out. She hoped she looked as cute as Cha Cha in Grease.
Nicholas Morrow cracked his knuckles and moved toward his opponent.
“I’m a get you, man,” he sneered at the pyromaniac.
“Oh yeah?” returned Pfeifer, stepping forward. “Get this!” He lunged in with the right hook.
Nicholas dodged it and karate kicked Pfeifer in the balls. “Score One!” He punched his fist in the air.
Little did they know that the mysterious “computer magnate” job he’d held in his teens involved 20 hours a week of martial arts training. Pfeifer was a goner.
“Go Nicholas!” screeched his diabetic girlfriend from the sides.
“Go Nick!” Lila bellowed, even louder.
He delivered an uppercut with precision to his opponent’s jaw, and followed it up with a swift knee in the groin.
“Had enough? Had enough?” Sneered Nicholas.
“Come on, baby!” It was that Cokie Mason whore, from across the alley.
“Nicholas – my hero!” Lila’s impassioned cry spurred him on. He punched Pfeifer squarely in the jaw and knocked him onto the concrete, two front teeth sticking hideously into his cheek.
“Ew!” cried Jessica.
“John!” Cokie rushed over frantically. He was out cold.
Jessica, Stacey, Claudia and Lila rushed over to Nicholas and hugged him, jumping up and down.
“Not even a scratch!” Stacey purred, pinching his handsome cheek. She flashed him a dazzling grin. “You are my hero!”
Nicholas glanced at Lila.
“Thank you,” she mouthed, sincere gratitude in her eyes. Nothing could have possessed her to sleep with Pfeifer, not after their dreadful past. But Nicholas had solved that problem, and his wealthy family had come good with a new office for Magenta Galaxy to operate from. And knowing the Morrows, it would be awesome – like Lila’s family, they spared no expense.
I always wondered what Nicholas’ mysterious “computer magnate” job involved…
Lila watched jealously as Stacey linked a track-marked arm into Nick’s. He was smart, handsome, and incredibly rich  – and now he’d saved her life from this terrorist! She watched wistfully as the computer magnate pecked Stacey on the cheek. Why had she not noticed him before? Lila clutched her Burberry trench around her shoulder as they made their way toward Xenon. Lila Fowler knew what she wanted now, and when that happened, nobody would get in her way. Especially Stacey McGill.
How far will Lila go to get her man?
Will Jessica fall prey to Margo Pike?
And what will go down in the Collins case?
Find out in Chapter 18, Magna Edition
“The Boyfriend War” or “That Fatal Night”

* Check out SVT Super Ed  #7 re Bruce’s bird angst

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2 Responses to “When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 17 “Annie Whitman Strikes Back””

  1. Sam November 18, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    Awesome as usual. Love the Grease reference and of course any mention of Bruce’s feathery phobia!

  2. Jenn November 21, 2010 at 5:31 am #

    A duel.

    I love you.

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