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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.

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When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 20: “Special Christmas” or “The Baby-Sitter’s Christmas Vacation.”

17 Dec

Let the Church bells sound for the penultimate chapter of “When Lila Met Stacey”

“Hold still!” 17-year-old Margo Pike barked at her boyfriend Bruce Patman as she fiddled with the lapels of his jacket. It was Christmas morning and the couple was preparing for a traditional breakfast feast with Bruce’s family.

Bruce pouted and turned front-on to his antique full-length mirror. He looked incredibly studly this morning, thought Margo, a feeling of pride surging through her chest.

“I don’t know about this tie, Margs,” he said critically, squinting his coffee-coloured eyes. “It’s a little too….festive.”

“Well it’s a special occasion,” Margo snapped back. In more ways than one, she added silently.

“Do you have the supplies?” Bruce urged in a hushed tone, as though reading her mind.

Margo turned toward the mahogany dresser and began rifling through the top drawer.

“All present and correct,” she rasped, flinging the items onto Bruce’s four-post bed. The magic jungle prom juice glistened in its crystal vial, and her butchers knife caught the morning light filtering through the window, casting a jovial Christmas glitter across the nightstand.

Margo turned toward the handsome heir. “I’m going to need your utmost concentration, Bruce,” she leveled with him, her aqua eyes piercing his own with a steely gaze.

“Forget about Alice boning your Dad, forget Amy Slutton and Stacey McGill. All that matters now is that on the stroke of midnight, our diabolical plan succeeds and I become–”

“Elizabeth Wakefield.” He finished for her. “And then we can talk about the threesome with Jessica?”

“And then we can have an orgy with the entire fucking babysitters club,” she confirmed.

“Merry Christmas, Elizabeth,” Bruce whispered.

“Merry Christmas Bruce,” Margo rasped.

* * *

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When Lila Met Stacey, Chapter 19: MAGNA EDITION “GOODBYE STACEY, GOODBYE”

5 Dec

The soulful drone of a church organ filled the massive cathedral, a somber reminder that Christmas Eve was devoid of its cheer this time around. 25-year-old Claudia Kishi felt a tear roll down her alabaster cheek as the mahogany coffin came into view. Her best friend, Stacey McGill, had been brutally knifed in Jessica Wakefield’s apartment just two nights before. For the life of her, Claudia still couldn’t believe who – or what – could commit such an evil crime. Stacey was one of the most awesome girls who’d ever lived: She was queen of Stoneybrook Middle School, a doting babysitter, and a mathematical genius. The flock of Stoneyrbookites who’d turned out was a testimony to that fact. To her right was the entire Pike family: Mallory was casting a withering glare at Jessica Wakefield and her current squeeze, Ben Hobart. Mrs Pike was doing some sort of head count among her offspring, and gnawing on her bottom lip as though something were amiss. Come to think of it, Margo wasn’t in attendance, Claudia noticed absently. Kristy Thomas, Bart Taylor, Dawn Schafer, and Logan Bruno were propping up a heavily pregnant Mary-Anne Spier in the seat adjacent.

“Who’s that?” Lila Fowler, who was standing next to her in the pew, pointed at an attractive African-American twenty-something.

“That’s Jessi Ramsey,” Claudia responded. “Did you know, Jessi is black?”

“No shit, Sherlock,” Lila muttered drily, rolling her eyes.

A few rows along, Charlotte Johannsen was draped over Steven Wakefield, and Shannon Kilbourne was filling the gap beside them. Directly in front of them was a whole row of ex-sitting charges: Hayley and Matt Braddock, Buddy, Marnie and Suzie Barrett, Amanda and Max Delaney, the Perkins, the Arnold twins, and even Jenny Prezzioso.

Richard Spier and Watson Brewer filed in with their wives, and Karen Brewer slowly and purposefully sauntered in after them, pausing to kneel beside the altar. Claudia resisted a giggle – her former sitting charge and Kristy’s step-sister was wearing a long black velvet gown and a matching veil with a wire fascinator. Trust Karen Brewer to treat today like a fucking wedding. Claudia watched on as Karen gracefully slipped into a seat beside her brothers – Andrew Brewer was throwing spitballs at David Michael, and Charlie was snoozing. Jade let out a cry from her pram and Claudia bent down, stuffing a gummi bear in her mouth to silence her.

She averted her gaze to the elaborate ceiling, and in every wooden carving she saw a memory of Stacey – the fun, the fights, everything from kid-kits to diabetic comas to holidays at Camp Mowhawk and Shadow Lake. The memories were all that remained – Stacey McGill was no more.

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Chapter 18 MAGNA EDITION THE BOYFRIEND WAR, OR, THAT FATAL NIGHT

26 Nov

What Lila Fowler wants, she gets. Stacey McGill really should remember that.

26-year-old Elizabeth Wakefield tiptoed down the front steps of her parent’s house on Calico Drive, sneaking a glance at the silver wristwatch on her left arm.

6:58, it read. She would be in plenty of time for her flight back to Stoneybrook, to witness the final few days of court in what was widely dubbed, “The Collins Debacle”.

Her father, Ned, an esteemed lawyer in Southern California, had flown there a few days ago to give Richard Spier a few pointers on representing the defendant. But no matter which way she looked at it, Elizabeth realized that her former English teacher would be behind bars for a very long time. Elizabeth tucked her Macbook Pro under her arm, a feeling of pride surging through her chest as she thought of the brilliant piece of investigative journalism she’d written on the case. It would be front page of the Stoneybrook News, for sure! A small victory in light of the past few horrible months, she mused. She wheeled her suitcase along the gravel drive, and perched herself under her favourite oak tree to await the hire car that would deliver her to Sweet Valley airport.

A cool mist settled on her bare skin, and Elizabeth shivered, drawing her woolen cardigan around her shoulders. The sun was just peeking over the horizon, marking the first day of December. Sweet Valley was being bombarded with the usual Yuletide commercialism – everywhere from Lisettes to The Shady Lady was having a sale or a ham raffle. Even Dyan Sutton couldn’t resist playing “Deck the Halls” as she delivered her end-of-year sports wrap on WXSV. Elizabeth normally loved celebrating Christmas – but this year, her heart wasn’t in it. The festivities seemed removed from her, somehow. In just a few short months, she’d traded her hometown, her successful newspaper job and her family for a bunch of strangers in icy Connecticut. Her long-time boyfriend Todd had left her for the first harlot he’d laid eyes on outside of California, and she was lucky to see her identical twin, Jessica, once a month. Her trusty friend Enid was missing and feared dead, and her new fling, Sam Thomas, had barely called all week.

Elizabeth sighed, vowing to stop feeling sorry for herself. She drew her knees to her chin as another cool draught wafted over her. Elizabeth sniffed the air, suddenly aware of the overpowering odour of flesh. She fought back a wave of nausea as the smell infiltrated her nostrils. It was the smell of death. Elizabeth stood up quickly ran toward the garage. Then it caught her eye – a limp, lifeless carcass on a patch of grass in front of her.

“Prince Albert!” She yelped at the creature, which was showing about as many signs of life as Lois Waller’s hair. “Wake up! Prince Albert!”

The dog didn’t stir. Elizabeth bent down and threw her arms around the animal, her salty tears mingling with the blood draining from his neck.

She fiddled with its collar through blurry eyes, noticing a small piece of green and red cardboard attached to the leather. A gift tag. She turned it over, fearing the worst. In handwritten red scrawl on the back read the ominous warning: “Wreck the Halls With Bloody Bodies.”

Elizabeth stood suddenly, just as the Happy Cabbie pulled into the driveway. An involuntary shudder coursed through her body. Someone, something was out to get her and everyone she loved. She had to hightail it out of Sweet Valley, and fast. Elizabeth grabbed her luggage and lunged into the hire car, slamming the door.

She had a feeling the worst was yet to come.

* * *

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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.”
* * *

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When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 16: The Wakefield Legacy, the Untold Story

11 Nov

Margo Pike strolled onto the eastern deck of Sweet Valley Country Club on Sunday afternoon, relishing the warm Californian sun on her bare legs. It had been a bold move going out in public as Elizabeth today, but so far it had been worth it. It was her seventeenth birthday, after all, and Bruce was spoiling her rotten! She took a sip of her cosmopolitan and wondered for a second whether anyone in the Pike family had noticed her absence yet. It was getting on for a month, after all. Nah, she thought bitterly, a sardonic sneer momentarily crossing her attractive face. Margo turned her attention back to the court, where Bruce was servng his cousin an absolute walloping. She hoped that word of Bruce’s date with “Elizabeth” would reach Hank’s ears before too long. But he was apparently in Chicago on a business trip for a couple of weeks.

“Jessica! Jess!”

A whiny voice called her attention, and she turned to see a willowy blonde skipping toward her.

Amy Sutton, Margo groaned inwardly. She’d already pegged the girl as a slut from her yearbook shots and her facebook profile.

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When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 14 SUPER EDITION “Mary Anne and Too Many Babies” or “The Morning After”

28 Oct

Claudia Kishi-Lee slumped across the wooden table, absently doodling in the margins of her sketch book. It was Day One of Mission: Rebuilding Magenta Galaxy, but her heart was still full of sorrow. She wished Mimi were here now, to make her a cup of green tea and tell her everything was going to be alright. But Mimi was gone, and everything was a schomozzle. shamozell. A Big Mess.

Claudia glanced down at her outfit. She’d dressed in dark colours for the somber occasion: Grey-and-white striped leggings underneath a black turtleneck, with flat patent leather boots and grey marle scarf slung across her shoulders. The tears weeping from her almond-shaped eyes were cleverly disguised by a pair of Jackie O sunglasses, and her favourite comfy knit beret sat atop her glossy black plait.

The BSC ghosties must've had a field day concocting outfits like this

She grabbed a Hershey bar off the centre of the table and looked across at her friends. Jessica, normally the bubby leader of their company, looked haggard and pale, the dark circles under her eyes a testimony to the fact that she’d barely slept since Monday’s inferno. And Lila was thumbing through the latest Vogue, but even Claudia could tell she wasn’t reading it.

Claudia picked up the felt-tipped pen with a sigh. It was time to rally the troops.

Wear to Start, she wrote on top of a fresh page.

“W. H. E. R. E,” Lila spelled, without looking up.

“Where do we start?” Jessica mumbled, absently picking at an Oreo. “We have nothing.”

“We have something,” Lila said pointedly.

“What’s that?” Claudia looked dumbfounded.

“We have money. We’ve got Alan, Ben, my parents…”

“What’s the use of money,” argued Jessica, “When we don’t know how to use it?”

Claudia set down the pen. Jessica was right – after all, Lila’s finances were still controlled by her father, and Jessica couldn’t organize a budget if her life depended on it. And as for Claudia – her arithmetic skills were almost as bad as her spelling.

Just then, Claudia’s kitchen door swung open, and in burst Stacey, looking flustered yet striking in a pale yellow trench coat.

“I came as soon as I heard!” She cried. “And I brought someone with me.”

A tall, attractive man with a crop of dark hair and slate-blue eyes entered the kitchen.

“This is Nicholas Morrow.”

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