Authors: Francine Pascal
It wasn't fair, Jessica raged, tears streaming down her face. Enid was going to the fall dance with Ronnie, and she was sure to be named queen. Ronnie was so blind with love that he'd swing a million votes her way.
Jessica sighed. She just
to win. If she were queen, Bruce Patman would finally notice her. She'd never wanted anything so badly in her entire life. She'd do anything to make it happen.
Out of the corner of one wet eye, Jessica glimpsed a piece of paper sticking out from under the bed. It looked like a letter.
"Dear Enid," she read with a sudden voracious interest. A smile crept slowly across her features as a plan shaped itself in her mind.
NEW YORK *TORONTO * LONDON * SYDNEY * AUCKLAND
RL 6, age 12 and up
A Bantam Book
Sweet Valley High® is a registered trademark of Francine Pascal Conceived by Francine Pascal Produced by Daniel Weiss Associates, Inc. 33 West 17th Street New York, NY 10011 Cover art by James Mathewuse
All rights reserved. Copyright
by Francine Pascal. Cover art copyright © 1991 by Daniel Weiss Associates, Inc. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information address: Bantam Books
If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as "unsold and destroyed" to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this "stripped book."
Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada
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PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
OPM 35 34
"My very own sister! How could she do such a hideous thing to me?" Jessica Wakefield fumed.
She shimmied into the dress she was wearing for her date with Tom McKay. Her best friend, Cara Walker, zipped her up, then stepped back and sighed. Jessica was, as usual, too gorgeous for words. Her sun-colored hair shimmered about tanned shoulders left bare by the silky Hawaiian print sun dress that perfectly complemented her blue-green eyes. A bewitching smile on her lovely oval face usually completed the picture of perfection. The only trouble was, she wasn't smiling right now.
"Look at me," Jessica ranted. "I'm an absolute mess! I haven't been able to do a single thing with my hair since this afternoon." She tossed
her head in disgust, even though every golden strand seemed to be in place. "Can you imagine-- being dunked with every stitch on? How positively humiliating!"
She shuddered at the memory. She'd been tricked--and by her very own twin sister, Elizabeth, who practically always shielded Jessica above and beyond the call of sisterly duty. It was almost too much to be believed. Jessica had been tossed, fully clothed, into the Sweet Valley High pool, the students' annual playful punishment for the author of the "Eyes and Ears" gossip column of the school paper. However, it was Elizabeth who was the columnist, but she'd engineered a mix-up in identity, a trick she'd picked up, no doubt, from Jessica herself.
Cara giggled. "I don't know. I thought you looked kind of cute. Even though you probably deserved to look like a drowned rat. You know, you really
have it coming after what you told me you pulled on Liz."
Jessica cut her dead with a glare. "You're lucky we're at your house instead of mine, or I'd really let you have it." Deep down, though, she knew she'd deserved it, too.
"Oh, come on, Jess, you know you really did look kind of sexy. Like Bo Derek in that beach scene in
A smile pulled at the corners of Jessica's mouth, and the harder she tried to keep a straight
face, the worse it got. Finally she collapsed, laughing, onto Cara's bed.
"I did, didn't 1? Even so, it
humiliating being set up like that." A thought occurred to her, and she clapped a hand over her mouth, sobering instantly. "Oh, Cara, I hope Bruce didn't see me. I'd die!"
She'd been in love with Bruce Patman since her freshman year. He was, the most desirable guy in school. Besides being movie-star handsome, he was fabulously rich and drove a terrific black Porsche.
"Just keep thinking of how you'll feel when you're queen of the fall dance," Cara cajoled as she stood in front of the mirror, combing out her own shiny dark hair. "Bruce will be so blinded by your beauty he won't remember anything else."
Jessica wondered if even Cara knew just how badly she wanted that crown. The dance was two weeks away, and she could hardly wait. Bruce had been nominated for king, and it seemed a cinch he would win. None of the other nominees even came close. If she won, too, it would mean reigning at Brace's side for many of the school-related activities during the semester. It would mean that, finally, Bruce would have to notice her--and, naturally, fall in love with her.
Winning that crown meant everything to her. And when Jessica Wakefield set out to get
something, she let nothing and no one stand in her way. Usually it wasn't hard to get what she wanted. With her bewitching looks and beguiling ways, few people ever realized they'd been had by Jessica until it was too late.
Elizabeth Wakefield stared down at the shattered remains of the measuring cup her best friend, Enid Rollins, had just dropped.
"Oh, Liz, I'm sorry!" Enid cried, her eyes filling with tears. "I don't know what happened. It--it just slipped out of my hands!"
Elizabeth hugged her best friend, forgetting the fact that they were both covered in chocolate-chip cookie batter. Enid Rollins was spending the night at the Wakefields', and Elizabeth had initiated Project C.C. Cookie in the hope it would distract Enid from whatever it was she'd been so jumpy about all evening. Actually, Elizabeth had been noticing a nervous edge to Enid's behavior ever since she'd started going with Ronnie Edwards about two months earlier, but she hadn't wanted to pry. She figured Enid would tell her what was bothering her when she was ready. She didn't believe that being best friends with someone entitled her to pry into her friend's private business. But Enid had been in tears when she arrived, too upset even to talk, and things had gone downhill from there. This had gone too far.
"Forget the stupid cup," Elizabeth said. "What's
Enid? You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but just remember I'm your friend. I'm here to help if you need it."
Enid covered her face with her hands. Elizabeth noticed that they were trembling. "Oh, Liz, I'm so afraid!"
"Of losing Ronnie. If he knew the truth about me, he'd hate me. Absolutely
"How could he possibly hate you?" Elizabeth asked. "The only truth is that you're a fantastic person."
Enid shook her head. "You don't know, Liz. I've even been afraid to tell you. I didn't want you to hate me, either."
"I could never hate you, Enid."
"Maybe not, but I just know Ronnie would if he found out."
"OK, what's this terrible secret?" Elizabeth smiled in an attempt to lighten Enid's misery. "You're really a cat burglar, right? Straight-A student by day, jewel thief by night."
"Come on, Liz, it's not funny." Enid refused to be consoled. A tear trickled down one chocolate-smudged cheek.
"I'm sorry," Elizabeth said. "Really I am. It's just that I can't believe anything you did could be as terrible as all that."
Enid took a deep, shaky breath, then blurted, "Try a police record, then."
"You?" In spite of herself, Elizabeth couldn't help being shocked.
"Yeah, me. Oh, I know what you're thinking. Straight-as-an-arrow Enid. But I wasn't always so straight."
Enid haltingly poured out to her best friend the story that had burdened her for so long. Two years earlier, when her parents were getting divorced, she'd gone a little crazy. She was angry, hurt, upset. She'd drifted in with a bad crowd and gotten involved with a boy named George Warren. They'd gone from drinking to drugs--trying just about everything that came their way.
The situation came to a nightmarish climax the afternoon Enid and George went joyriding in George's GTO--stoned out of their minds-- and struck a little boy who was playing near the road. For Enid the whole world stopped moving at that moment. She climbed out of the car as if in slow motion, her knees rubbery. Forever frozen in her memory was the sight of that tiny figure crumpled on the pavement, the horrifying sound of the scream of his mother as she came racing out of her house. Enid stood there as if paralyzed. A voice that didn't seem to be coming from her kept saying, over and over, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Luckily, the boy wasn't seriously injured. He'd suffered a broken arm and a mild concussion. Enid and George were arrested, but placed
on six months' probation and signed into a drug counseling program at Juvenile Hall. Enid emerged from the experience a different person. She'd been shocked into seeing the roller-coaster ride of self-destruction she'd been on, and she'd set about putting her feet on solid ground. She was straight now, with grades to match. She hadn't seen George in two years, since his parents had sent him away to a strict private boarding school.
The whole time she'd been telling her story, Enid was staring down at the kitchen counter, unable to meet Elizabeth's gaze. Now she looked up into a pair of blue-green eyes shining with sympathy. Enid had always thought Elizabeth was pretty--though in a less flashy way than her identical twin sister Jessica--but it was a sparkle that went beyond her all-American good looks, the perfect white teeth, the spun-sunshine hair. Elizabeth was a person who
She was the first person in whom Enid had been able to confide her terrible secret. Somehow, deep down, she must have known that Elizabeth wouldn't condemn her.
"I'm glad you told me," Elizabeth said. "But it doesn't change a thing. You're still my best friend, and I
think you're a fantastic person. Even more fantastic than ever, now that I know what you've been through."
Enid was crying openly now, the tears pouring down her face. Part of it was the sheer relief of
being able to unburden herself at last, but mostly she was still in agony over the fear of what would happen if the one person she
want to know should find out.
She forced a quavery smile. "Tell that to Ronnie. I'll bet he wouldn't think I was so terrific if he knew I'd been lying to him all this time."
"You haven't exactly lied to him," Elizabeth pointed out.
"I haven't exactly told the truth, either."
"Come on, Enid, it's not the most hideous secret in the world, no matter how bad it must have seemed at the time. Besides, it was two years ago--that's practically prehistoric by now."
"Easy for you to say. You don't have any skeletons in your closet."
"If I did, Jessica would've borrowed them." Elizabeth couldn't suppress a tiny smile, thinking of her twin's charming little habit of foraging in her closet whenever she ran out of her own things to wear.
"You wouldn't think it was so funny if you were in danger of losing Todd," Enid insisted.
"I know if it were me, I'd tell Todd, If Ronnie really loves you, he'll understand."
"Oh, Liz, you just don't know!"
Sighing, Enid sank down in the kitchen chair by the window that overlooked the patio. She stared mournfully out over the glassy surface of the lighted pool, shimmering sapphire against
the backdrop of darkness. The exact blue of Ronnie's eyes, Enid noted.
"Ronnie's not like Todd," Enid explained. "He expects one hundred percent of my attention. If he knew about George ..." She stopped, biting her lip.
"What about George? You said yourself you haven't seen him in a couple of years."
"It's true I haven't actually
him. But"-- she released a deep sigh--"we write to each other. It's not what you think. I mean, there's nothing going on between us. We're just friends. I started writing to George because he was so mixed-up and unhappy. I wanted him to know it didn't have to be that way forever."
"I think it's nice that you're helping George," Elizabeth said. "There's no reason Ronnie should be jealous over a few friendly letters."
Enid groaned. "You're talking about someone who turns green if I look sideways at another guy by accident. Last week he caught me going over a homework assignment with a guy in my history class. I thought he was going to blow a fuse!"
A tiny alarm went off inside Elizabeth. "But if you explained it just the way you did to me ..."
"He still wouldn't understand." Enid slumped forward against the table, burying her face in her arms. "I just know I'm going to lose him!"
Elizabeth laid a comforting hand on Enid's
shoulder. "Look at it this way. Nobody knows about these letters except you and me, right?"
"So what's got you suddenly so afraid Ronnie will find out?"
"It's George," Enid explained. "In his last letter he said he's coming back to Sweet Valley for a visit in less than two weeks. He's come back before, but this time he wants to see me,"
Up in Elizabeth's room Enid dug a sheaf of letters out of her overnight bag. "I brought them along, hoping I'd have the nerve to tell you," she said sheepishly, handing them over to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth read the one on top--George's most recent letter:
As you know, I've been keeping pretty busy with exams. They really sock it to us here, which I didn't like at first, but now I'm glad they do. I guess I've been pretty much of a goof-off all my life, so I've had a lot of catching up to do. Studying isn't exactly my idea of having a good time, but in a funny way it really kind of grows on you. I feel better about everything in general, as you know from my other letters. I used to be angry all the time, blaming my parents
and everyone else for what was wrong with my life, but I think who I was really mad at was me. I don't want to sound weird or anything, but you helped me see that more than anyone, Enid. You'll never know how much your letters meant to me. I don't mind admitting to you that it was pretty depressing here at first. This is definitely
Disneyland. But I won't be here much longer--only until the end of the semester when I'll finally have enough credits to graduate--and the future is looking pretty good. I'm glad to hear things are going so well for you, too. Your last letter was definitely an upper (the only kind I go for these days). I'd really like to see you when I come home this time, but I'll understand if you'd rather not.
P.S. Thanks again for the brownies you sent on my birthday. They disappeared in about two seconds, but they were good while they lasted.
P.P.S. Say hi to my buddy Winston for me.
"I don't know what to do," Enid said when Elizabeth had put the letter down. "I don't want to stop being George's friend, but I
see him. Ronnie would take it all wrong."
"I should think Ronnie would be glad to know how loyal you are to people you care about."
Enid shook her head with stubborn insistence. "It would be the ultimate end. He'd be furious. I'd lose him." She clutched at Elizabeth's arm. "Liz, you've got to promise me you won't tell anyone about the letters. Swear you won't!"
"Cross my heart, hope to die."
Solemnly Elizabeth placed her palm against the nearest thick book at hand, which just happened to be her dictionary. Being a writer, she was never very far from it. Of course, she didn't consider herself an Ernest Hemingway. Not yet, anyway. Right now most of the writing she did was for Sweet Valley High's
for which she was author of the "Eyes and Ears" column.