Sweet Valley High #19: Showdown
The Wakefield twins are doing the dishes after a family brunch on a Sunday and discussing a pool party that Lila Fowler is throwing later that day. You see, she has a new boyfriend and as Elizabeth notes, "she probably invented this whole pool party just to lure him over to her house and show him off to everyone". That's exactly what Lila is up to, but Elizabeth laughs "good-naturedly" after saying as much, because she's a wonderful person you see, and wasn't being bitchy because that's just not possible. She's honesty personified, after all.
Jessica, however, is already on a mission to steal Lila's new boyfriend, without even having met him. Lila screwed Jess over at the end of the last book by only getting her a D in the term paper she wrote for her after losing a bet and Jessica swore she'd get back at her. Although even if none of that had previously gone down, I expect Jess would still try to poach this dude anyway. ♫ That's what frenemies are forrrr... ♫
So everyone is at Lila's mansion and hanging out by the pool, Elizabeth and her "lithe, tanned body" are making out with Todd and his "lean, muscular build" because they're both just SO FREAKING SEXY, Nicholas Morrow and Winston Egbert are having doggy paddle race in the pool and Olivia Davidson is playing her guitar under a tree somewhere like the goddamn hippy she is.
Lila's new beau eventually shows up and his name is Jack, he's super handsome and wears Lacoste shirts and Top-Siders (which I had to Google and appear to essentially be Dubarry shoes). When Jessica spots him, she leaps into action, whipping off her robe to reveal a tiny turquoise bikini and backflips into the pool like a fucking pro. She then calls Lila and Jack to join her and notes that Lila's shiny black bikini is as skimpy as hers and that "Lila's trim figure was almost as good" as Jessica's. Almost. All the money in the world can't buy those sexy Wakefield genetics, Fowler!
Jack charms everyone at the party, but doesn't really talk about himself and gets all squirrelly and flustered when Nicholas Morrow says he looks familiar and tries to figure out if they've met before. Jessica eventually gets Jack to herself when Lila has to answer the phone (it's the servants' day off, you see) and tells him to give her a call sometime. They're in the Fowler mansion foyer and there's no pen or paper nearby, so Jess grabs a book of matches, strikes one, blows it out and writes her number on the inside of the cardboard cover with it. It's a small detail but I love it, because Jessica appears to be the MacGyver of hooking up with cute boys.
However, it turns out that Jack is actually a construction worker, which makes Jessica back off for a while, because ew, Jessica Wakefield couldn't possibly be seen with a mere manual labourer. She might get poor on her. You'd think Lila would have a similar attitude, but she reckons there's more to Jack that he's not telling her. Later on, when all the guests have gone home, her suspicions are confirmed when Jack tells her that his father is a very powerful man and was trying to run his life for him, so he left home to see if he could make it on his own. They arrange to meet up the following Friday, as Jack can't go out during the week, what with work and all.
"I'd love to." Lila's smile was as genuine as the diamond pendant hanging around her neck.
SHE'S EXTREMELY WEALTHY, YOU SEE. IN CASE THE EARLIER MENTION OF SERVANTS DIDN'T GIVE IT AWAY.
Lila promises not to tell anyone Jack's secret, but that night when she's alone in her room with her pale blue princess phone, she simply can't resist confiding in Cara Walker, so naturally the next day at Sweet Valley High, everyone thinks Jack is a runaway prince or something.
At lunch, Lila mentions that Jack is taking her out that Friday night and Jessica is furious, because all it should take is her saying hello to give a dude a permanent boner, so what the hell is up with Jack? By the by, Lila has a "butter and caviar sandwich" with her for lunch because OF COURSE SHE DOES. She also mentions that her father is angry with her for having a party while he was away and all his fancy cufflinks and tie pins have mysteriously gone missing. HMMM. WHO COULD POSSIBLY BE RESPONSIBLE?
During the week, Jack calls Jessica and arranges to meet up with her on Wednesday night, because no-one is impervious to the sight of Jessica Wakefield in a bikini. Elizabeth isn't so sure about Jack though, she has a funny feeling about him and wonders what kind of a guy "would date two girls at one time". Jack and Jessica go for a romantic walk on the beach and Jessica is already convinced that she's in love.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth has taken over editing The Oracle, while Penny Ayala is out sick with mono. A mystery photographer has been taking hilarious candid pictures and leaving them outside the office, so Liz brings them with her when she calls over to Penny's house to discuss the upcoming issue. Penny's little sister Tina answers the door and when Liz introduces herself, Tina replies:
"I know". Tina grinned. "Everyone at Sweet Valley High has heard of you and Jessica."
It's all quite eye-rolly. But then I realised that while the Wakefields would probably be the kind of teenagers that are famous on Instagram and have Tumblr blogs dedicated to them and their perfect hair, they're most likely well-known due to the near-death motorbike crash, the kidnapping incident, the bar fights and the false rape accusations. I assume.
While Penny and Liz discuss the articles for the paper, they mention one that Robin Wilson has written about the flying lessons she's been taking. Penny is impressed with Robin's writing and had no idea that Robin wrote so well. What follows is...odd.
"She used to write all the time" Elizabeth explained, "before she lost all that weight. Remember? When she was the butt of everyone's jokes instead of the girl all the boys want to date?"
HEY REMEMBER WHEN ROBIN WAS SO FAT AND DISGUSTING THAT THE VERY APPEARANCE OF HER NAME WAS SWIFTLY FOLLOWED BY A MENTION OF HER FAT ARMS OR HER IMMEDIATELY EATING AN ENTIRE CHEESECAKE?
Well, it turns out that she was good at writing, as well as cheesecake-eating, but now that she's skinny and hot, she doesn't need no stinkin' creativity! WRITING IS FOR FATTIES.
Jessica hasn't told anyone that she went on a date with Jack and she's been avoiding Lila because she can't bear to hear her going on about Jack like he's all hers. Lila is meeting him that Friday for a date and Jessica is convinced he's going to finish with her, so she's none too pleased when it turns out that they hung out all weekend and are the talk of the school.
|Jessica looks like she's about to BATE the head off Lila, possibly using her weirdly massive jawline as a weapon. Lila looks lovely and perfectly stuck-up.|
However, Jack calls a few days later and arranges to meet Jessica for another midweek date. Liz asks Jessica if he's explained what's going on with Lila yet, which sends Jess into a huff until they descend into a tickle fight for some reason. The doorbell rings and Jessica is horrified that Todd is calling over to sniff some glue with Liz, no wait, STUDY, I meant study with Liz, because he might find out that Jack is seeing Jessica. It turns out that both boys are waiting outside as they arrived at the same time, so Jessica's secret is out. Jack is all charming and handsome as per usual, but Elizabeth notices that his eyes are red and when she makes a lame French joke, he doesn't get it, despite previously saying that he was fluent in French. VERY SUSPECT.
Jessica's wallet goes missing during the date and Jack convinces her she must have left it at home. He also insists that he and Lila are just friends and promises that he'll make that clear to Lila that weekend. Jessica is satisfied with this so they go make out at Miller's Point, where all the Sweet Valley teenagers go to have sex in their cars.
On Thursday night, Elizabeth is finishing off the issue of The Oracle that she's been working on, and runs into Tina Ayala in the corridor outside. It turns out that Tina is the one who's been taking the great photos and leaving them under the office door, because she didn't think her older sister Penny would take her seriously or some such nonsense. This whole subplot is really just a means for Elizabeth to see a particular photo that Tina took out on the airfield. And it's a photo of Robin Wilson (you know, used to be a big giant fat girl? Ate a lot of ham?) and George Warren (Enid's boyfriend) "locked in a heated embrace!"
Meanwhile, Jack has no intention of breaking up with Lila and they spend their next date drinking wine in the Fowlers' outdoor sculpture garden like a pair of forty year olds.
"Mmm," Jack said, swirling the wine in his glass and savoring its bouquet, "this wine is almost as exquisite as you are. But not quite."
This dude is meant to be like seventeen or eighteen. I'm not buying it. No teenager is that into wine. They should be drinking alcopops and they know it.
Anyway, they say that they love each other and end up getting engaged, but it has to be a secret because Jack doesn't want his father to find out where he is. By the way, Lila doesn't even know this guy's last name.
Elizabeth decides to confront George and Robin about their shenanigans, so she drives out to the airfield on the afternoon that the flying class are getting their pilots licenses. After the ceremony, Elizabeth approaches them and they end up explaining that they've fallen in love and never meant for any of it to happen like this. George says that he's planning on telling Enid that night after bringing her up for a spin in the plane and Robin says she's already ended things with her boyfriend, Allen.
Lila is supposed to be meeting Jack for a special celebration that night, but she's got the flu and has to cancel. So Jack arranges to meet up with Jessica instead and tells her that he's levelled with Lila, prompting Jessica to come into Elizabeth's room to gloat about her victory.
"I mean why would any guy want to spend time with Lila, when he could spend it with me?" She ran her fingers through her hair in an imitation of a femme fatale.
"Ah, yes, my dear, you are so bee-you-tee-ful, they are breaking down the front door just to get a glimpse of you. In fact, you are almost as bee-you-tee-ful as me." Elizabeth mimicked Jessica's femme fatale imitation perfectly.
Then they both collapse into giggles over how beautiful they both are. They're just so relatable.
Jessica and Jack go for pizza and run into Nicholas Morrow and a friend of his called David. Jack gets all weird again when he spots the two of them and scares Jessica a bit with how angry he suddenly becomes. He reels it back in and when they've finished he practically runs out of the place after paying the bill. Jessica stops to say hi to Nicholas on her way out and then agrees to go back to Jack's place with him, thinking she might find out more about him.
Nicholas tells his friend that he thinks he knows Jack from somewhere and eventually they both figure out that he previously went to school with them and got kicked out for robbing a girl he was dating at knifepoint. As in, he robbed her at knifepoint. He wasn't dating her at knifepoint. That would be extremely difficult. YOU LOOK LOVELY! HERE ARE SOME FLOWERS, BITCH!
Nicholas and David drive to the Wakefields' house, hoping that someone there might know where Jessica and Jack are headed to next. On the way there, David explains that Jack's family died in a boating accident and afterwards Jack started doing drugs and making up stories about how rich and powerful his family are and would steal stuff to keep himself well dressed and looking like a rich kid, but would fly off the handle if anyone asked too many questions.
They find Elizabeth and fill her in on what's happening, so they all rush off to find Jessica before it's to late. After checking a bunch of places, Elizabeth calls Lila to find out Jack's address and ends up having to tell her all about how Jessica has also been seeing him and about Jack's lies and violent tendencies. Elizabeth eventually gets the address after some shrieking and a horrified cry or two from Lila.
Meanwhile, Jessica is poking around in Jack's bathroom, looking for some clues about his background, as his apartment isn't giving her anything.
She'd never been in an apartment quite this gloomy before.
I have to wonder if she's ever actually been in an apartment before at all, though. It seems like only poor and/or shady people live in apartments in Sweet Valley. Anyway, she finds a box filled with "all kinds of drugs" (I kinda love how vague that is) under the sink and figures that this must be the reason for Jack's strange behaviour. Instead of making her excuses and leaving, Jessica bursts into the living room, brandishing the box and demanding to know what's going on. She catches Jack rooting through her bag and realises that he took her wallet and stole Mr. Fowler's cufflinks. Jack loses the rag, lunges at Jessica and starts choking her.
Elizabeth, David and Nicholas arrive just in time and break down the door, only by then Jack has a knife and they all end up in a mad tussle. Jessica manages to break free and CHEERLEADER-KICKS THE KNIFE OUT OF JACK'S HAND. It's actually kind of amazing.
And the game was finally up for Sweet Valley's mystery prince.
And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those pesky kids.
This one is not particularly hilarious, in fact it sounds kinda nice:
Jessica stood in the middle of Elizabeth's cream-coloured bedroom and modeled a slinky, royal blue dress. It fell softly to just below her knees, with a slit up both sides to mid-thigh.
It also sounds a bit slutty, which makes no sense as it's meant to belong to Elizabeth and she usually dresses like a Victorian babysitter. It seems like Jessica is the only one who wears Elizabeth's sexy clothes.
Things I counted:
Number of pages: 150
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 9
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 6