When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 21: “The Evil Twins”

23 Dec

It is with just a hint of sadness that I close the curtain on “When Lila Met Stacey”, a labour of love that has occupied the best part of the past four months.  And what more fitting way to go out than with a Christmas-themed Magna Edition on my favourite day of year.

When you get to the end of this chapter, you will understand why there is nowhere else for us to go. [Then again, this is Sweet Valley, where even carotid artery lacerations and falling fridges don’t equate to fatality….just a thought]

Maybe it will get published in the Oracle someday. Or, if I’m super lucky, the Sweet Valley Tribune. Merry Christmas, or should I say, Happy Horrordays

THE EVIL TWINS

“Steven? Can you zip me?” Twenty-six year old Jessica Wakefield called to her handsome brother as she painted on one final layer of mascara. She stepped back from the mirror to gauge the full effect, admiring the way her pink ballgown showed off her athletic, sized-six figure.

Steven hurried into the bathroom shared by his younger twin sisters, and let out a long, low whistle. “You look amazing, Jess,” he whispered, bending his muscular body over the garment.

“Are you ready?” It was Elizabeth, from her bedroom. “It’s almost seven.”

Jessica turned to Steven and rolled her eyes. Ten years on and still Elizabeth didn’t understand the concept of fashionable lateness. Jessica, meanwhile, never wore a wristwatch and believed that no party started until she’d arrived. However, Lila had sent her a “hurry up” text half an hour ago – apparently Nicholas Morrow had bailed. Jessica could only assume he was still grieving over Stacey McGill’s untimely death, which had been almost an entire week ago!

Jessica met her twin on the stairs with a grin. They were dressed the same tonight – although Jessica knew that being exactly one pound lighter, she had the edge.

“Take those barrettes out,” Jessica ordered. “We’re supposed to be identical – it’s cuter.”

Elizabeth reluctantly obliged and smoothed the hem of her magenta skirt.

“Ben! Sam!” she bellowed at their dates, who were seated patiently downstairs.

“Fire up the jeep!”

As the twins descended the stairs, a faint rumble of thunder sounded across the Californian sky. An involuntary shudder wracked Jessica’s slim body, and she stole a glance at her twin. Elizabeth met her gaze, her blue-green eyes widened in fear. Jessica clutched a hand to her heart as the conniption washed over her, trying to ignore the growing premonition that she would be lucky to escape this Christmas alive.

* * *

Lila Fowler glanced nervously around the ballroom. She hoped no-one would notice she was stag tonight. So far, so good – but only the dorky guests had already arrived.

“Great party Lila!” Winston Egbert appeared at her side, flanked by his wife Denise.

“Cool it, Egghead,” Lila snapped. She still couldn’t believe that the former class clown had snagged such a beauty.

“I mean, the canapés are awesome! You did so well, pulling this together all by yourself.”

Lila glowered at her former classmate and excused herself. Winston still had the subtlety of Caroline Pearce – but at least some things never changed.

She motioned to the caterers for another round of champagne, and watched as the Droids set up their equipment on the purpose-built stage.

Claudia Kishi was working her way through the chocolate éclairs, and her dweeby plus-one Kristy was actually building a tower out of croutons. Lila shook her head in disgust – the girl looked about eighteen years old, and had clearly missed the memo that jeans were not in the dress code.

“Nice party Lila,” Bruce sauntered over to the hostess, a smirk on his face. “Fowler Crest doesn’t appear too shabby tonight. Or maybe it’s just my Christmas spirit?”

“Bruce, Elizabeth,” Lila greeted the couple curtly. She arched an eyebrow thoughtfully. “Attending to father’s wishes, I see.”

“At least my father cares about me.” Bruce challenged. “Elizabeth knows the deal, don’t you my dear?”

Bruce and Elizabeth exchanged a knowing smile.

“Let me take your purse,” Lila offered graciously. “Maybe you should stuff those barrettes in there while I’m at it.”

“No!” Elizabeth shot back. “I mean, no, thank-you Lila.”

Lila watched as her former boyfriend slipped away with Jessica’s boring twin.

Funny, she’d thought Elizabeth was dating that Sam character from Stoneybrook.

Lila sauntered over to the bar. “Another Moet,” she demanded. “And fill it right up, this time.”

* * *

Margo clutched Bruce’s hand as they dashed up the stairs. The Wakefield twins had just arrived, with Mallory’s ex in tow. It was time for the next Elizabeth to lie low.

Margo smoothed her pink chiffon ball-gown and shoved open the door of Lila’s enormous wardrobe. She paused to take in a deep, ragged breath. Soon, she’d have a room just like it.

“Wait for me in here,” Bruce ordered. “I’ll take the Jungle Prom Juice.” He rifled through Margo’s bag and produced the deadly vial. “Unless you want a quickie in Lila’s walk-in?” he murmured in a husky voice. Margo swatted his arm in annoyance.

“Who’s calling the shots?” she demanded, and Bruce looked away sheepishly.

There was no time for play tonight. Christmas night was about a new start – the end of Margo Pike and the beginning of the new Elizabeth Wakefield.

“Take care, Bruce,” Margo rasped. “Meet me by the pool-house at ten.”

* * *

Elizabeth Wakefield wandered over to the bar, hand in hand with Sam Thomas. She shot a look at her date – he was so miserable tonight! Elizabeth shook her head. She couldn’t understand why anyone would be sad at Christmas – it was the most joyous time of year, after all.

“Hi Kristy!” she greeted the Stoneybrook mayor as they passed the hors d’ourves table. “Merry Christmas!”

“Hello,” the politician answered coolly. Elizabeth bit her lip. She knew she’d outstayed her invitation at Kristy’s stepfather’s mansion – but ever since the Todd saga had blown up she’d been without a home. Surely Kristy would be happy that she was dating her elder brother?

“Are you alright?” Elizabeth asked the shorter girl uncertainly. “Have I done something?”

“It’s not always about you, you know,” Kristy glared, crossing her arms across her flat chest. “I lost one of my best friends last week, not that grieving is anything your Valley people know about. And Sam loved her, he loved her, dammit!”

Elizabeth turned to face her boyfriend, ignoring the gathering crowd of partygoers who were turning to stare. Sam’s face had turned beet red, and he was gazing uncomfortably at an invisible spot on the floor.

“Is this true Sam?” Elizabeth challenged, trying to meet Sam’s gaze. “Is it?”

An awkward silence followed. Finally Sam’s bloodshot eyes raised to meet her own.

A single tear coalesced in the corner of his eye. Elizabeth dropped his hand. For once, nothing needed to be said. And once again, she was all alone.

* * *

Mary Anne Spier set down her apple cider vinegar on the white linen tablecloth and clutched her stomach. That was four in ten now, she’d been timing it on the Fowler’s antique grandfather clock.

“Don’t you like it?” Dawn tried not to look offended. “Why –“

Mary-Anne gasped as a puddle of clear liquid appeared on the floor. “Logan, heeeeelp!” she cried as she began to slip. She grabbed the edge of the tablecloth, barely noticing as an entire Doulton dinner-set crashed to the floor.

Logan wrapped his arm around his girlfriend’s waist.

“We gotta get you outta here!” He drawled in his soft Kentucky accent. “Is there a doctor in the mansion?”

Winston Egbert appeared at their side in an instant, almost tripping over his size eleven feet.

“Denise – grab my orange VW from across the street.” He hollered. “To Joshua Fowler Memorial Hospital!”

* * *

“Here, let me get you a drink,” Bruce Patman put on his best sympathetic expression and covered Elizabeth’s shaking hand with his large manly one.

This was working out even better than he’d planned. When Margo had told him that Elizabeth’s new boyfriend had had a thing for Stacey, he’d known it was the final nail in the coffin. And man, she was playing right into his hands. There was nothing Bruce dug more than a damsel in distress.

He furtively slipped a dash of Jungle Prom Juice into Elizabeth’s drink.

“Here you go,” he smiled warmly, handing her the champagne flute.

“Thanks, Bruce,” she sniffed feebly. “I don’t know if I’m in the mood for drinking, though.”

“Don’t be silly,” he soothed. “The best way to get over a loser like that is to loosen up with the Patman.”

Elizabeth cast a melancholy glace at the yellow liquid, and Bruce almost felt sorry for her.

“Go on, drink it,” he added with a hiss.

Elizabeth held the crystal glass to her trembling lips. Finally, she took a big gulp, guzzling the champagne in one.

“Alriiiiight!” Bruce beamed, resisting the urge to slap her on the arse.

Elizabeth glanced up at Bruce, and hiccupped.

“More,” she whispered. It was almost a question.

“What’s that?!” Bruce grinned.

“I said, more!” Elizabeth slurred, a smile spreading across her face.

* * *

Lila Fowler scanned the crowded ballroom. There was still no sign of Nicholas – but at least her guests were enjoying the party. Even Elizabeth Wakefield was getting on the drink with Bruce – and she’d finally removed those pesky barrettes.

Lila watched, half in horror, as Elizabeth twirled clumsily around the floor, making vulgar thrusting movements with her sized six pelvis.

Just observing this complete lack of class was making her nauseous! She hadn’t seen Elizabeth like this since senior year.

Jessica, meanwhile, was working the room, chatting to Claudia and a bunch of people Lila didn’t even know. Lila wondered for a moment if she should have settled on a brighter dress for the event – then remembered seeing Jessica’s ball-gown on the sale rack at Lisette’s.

“Cheap,” she muttered.

Eve was busy cleaning up what remained of George Fowler’s Royal Doulton tea-set after that pregnant girl had slipped in her own waters. Thank heavens it was only the back-up china!

Lila watched on as Elizabeth stumbled onto her pool-deck, arm in arm with Bruce.

She turned back toward the dance floor, as the Droids belted out another classic. For a second she could have sworn she saw Elizabeth darting past the stage again, this time with those fugly pearl barrettes fastening her blonde locks.

“My eyes are playing tricks on me,” Lila mumbled, casting down her champagne. “Mixing Moet and Bollinger – I should know better.”

* * *

Margo slipped the barrettes out from her shoulder-length blonde hair and slung her arm over the pool-house barrier

“Patience,” she whispered to herself. The moment would soon be here – months of planning, and snooping, and studying would now make way for her inevitable triumph. She ran a finger along the sharp-edged butcher’s knife concealed in her leather garter belt. Margo’s time was approaching – but first, there was once last twin switch to pull.

A sardonic smile played on Margo’s lips as Bruce dragged a barely articulate Elizabeth through the pool-house door.

“Hey sis,” she murmured, roughing up Elizabeth’s hair. “Had enough?” She met Bruce’s gaze, and he nodded, a look of pain momentarily flickering across his brown eyes.

Margo drew in her breath and slid the knife out of its holster, admiring the way the blue light of the pool glinted coldly on its surface.

Margo raised the knife high in the air, ready for the kill.

“Stop right there, Margo Pike!”

Margo froze. She recognized that whiny, know-all voice.

Margo turned, in a violent rage. Standing before her in a matching magenta ball-gown, her blonde hair trimmed to shoulder length and her glasses replaced with blue-green contacts, was Karen Brewer.

“You’re not Jessica,” whispered Karen.

“That’s right,” Margo rasped, a glint in her eye. “I’m Elizabeth.”

Karen smiled. “Whatever, Margo. You do a gigundoly good impression, though. And did you get those contacts from OPSM? They are a pretty awesome shade,” Karen continued. “Not quite the same as the twins’ though. And the barrettes you had on before – awesome. Although you had the fake pair from Merry Go-Round. Elizabeth buys hers at Belairs – they’re fresh water pearls.”

Karen turned her head to either side, revealing a pair of pearl-encrusted barrettes.

Margo gasped. Was this kid for real?

“My Dad got them for me for Christmas,” Karen went on. “But a snakeskin purse? Really, Margo? Elizabeth only takes satin on nights out.”

Margo turned the knife toward Karen, her hands shaking with fear and rage. She wasn’t about to be duped by this little brat.

Karen shrugged and dipped her hand into her strapless bra, producing a steely black handgun.

Margo’s eyes widened and her pulse quickened, as fine beads of sweat broke out across her forehead. She raised her hands in surrender.

Karen pointed the gun at her former classmate. “I know you killed Stacey,” she uttered menacingly.

“Fine,” Margo whispered hoarsely. “Tell me what you want and I’ll do it.”

Karen lowered the gun. “You can be Jessica,” she offered. “Consolation prize. But I will be Elizabeth.”

Margo nodded. “Okay,” she whispered. “But let me finish her, my way.” She glanced up at Bruce, who had a delirious Elizabeth around the waist. She was barely conscious after that whole flask of grain alcohol.

Margo took the knife and finished her quickly, painlessly, cutting the carotid artery lengthwise like Enid’s book had said.

It was without the melodrama and the struggle she’d anticipated, but nevertheless it was done. She stole a glance inside, where Karen had led Jessica behind the stage and delivered the final bullet, the gunshot concealed by the thumping bass of Max Dellon and The Droids.

“Bruce, honey, you’ll take care of this?” Margo asked expectantly, dropping Elizabeth’s lifeless body into her boyfriend’s arms.

Margo smiled as Karen joined them on the deck, just as the first dawn light appeared over the horizon. “Welcome to the family, Elizabeth,” she whispered.

Karen smiled triumphantly. “Merry Christmas, Jessica,” she replied, her eyes shining through the tears.

That was our last installment of WLMS, for the time being. Our final Christmas Countdown recap will be posted in time for the New Year. [No prizes for guessing which will be #1]. In other news, I’m off to the neonatal intensive care unit to meet my brand new nieces – identical twin girls born four minutes apart. No bullshit. Mum is reportedly doing well, but I’m not sure she’ll look young enough to pass as their sister. They’re yet to receive middle names, so I’m off to vouch for Margo and Nora.

Merry Christmas, wherever you are.

Winston

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6 Responses to “When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 21: “The Evil Twins””

  1. zoe December 23, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    Awesome twist! Magic Jungle Prom Juice! Huzzah! I’m going to miss this parody sooo much, Winnie. Will you plz bring back the outfit recaps to replace it?

  2. winstonegbert December 23, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    We shot the “Evil Twin” outfits yesterday! There were too many to put in the book recap so I’ll post them separately the following week.

    Glad you have enjoyed WLMS.

    • sophie December 24, 2010 at 9:31 am #

      I can’t wait for that!

  3. Sam December 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    A bloody good ending, i did wince a bit though, and was hoping Karen would get it, but i liked it all the same.

    I hope you do more of this stuff, i really enjoyed reading these stories(mainly whilst pretending to work) so please keep it up!! 🙂

    ps. if it’s a ‘no’ to Nora and Margo, how about Marilyn and Carolyn?

  4. Daniella December 24, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    So sad to see it end! But the ending was brilliant. Karen is actually the perfect person to replace Elizabeth. Equally irritating, I think.

    Merry Christmas!

    And I hope your nieces get out of the NICU soon and that all is well 🙂

  5. Totally Sweet Valley January 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    And so ends the most brilliant literary series since the original BSC and SV books! 😦 That was pretty awesome, I must say.

    Congrats on the nieces, I only got one for Christmas this year, and shes not a Margo or a Nora …or a Jess or Liz 😦 Hope all is well with them 🙂

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