Title: Jessica vs Elizabeth
“Oh, Lizzie, isn’t it romantic?” Jessica squealed.
Elizabeth gaped at her twin. “They’re expecting us to kill each other.”
“Yes, but we get new clothes and we’re paired with a boy!”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: I am going to post this, unbeta’d as it gets written for NaNoWriMo2017. I will post a clean, edited (hopefully coherent) version when it is finished, but if you want to see the raw, error-laden process of my word-vomit, here it is.
Lois was amused at the amount of girls wearing three ugly dresses stitched together badly.
“Lois, you are cool, but I cannot wait for this trend to pass,” Lila said, as Leslie Forsythe scurried past wearing green, orange and luminous yellow. She gave her a friendly wave, and Leslie looked shocked, but waved back.
“We’re taking ugly back, Lila. Get used to it,” Lois replied.
Lila buried her face in her hands and groaned. “Did you see Valley Fashions is now stocking the ‘Lois Dress’?”
Melissa laughed. “Is being enlightened hurting you?”
“Not me, just my wardrobe. Thank god I can still import from Europe.”
With Sweet Valley being the way that it was, everything had exploded quickly and then resolved itself – even without Elizabeth Wakefield to push her nose into everything. Hank Patman and George Fowler had been arrested for their part in trying to kill Lois after she won. Ned Wakefield had changed disciplines once more from real estate to litigation and was going to defend them.
Lila was now living with the McCormicks. Well, actually, they were living with her in her palatial estate. She hadn’t had to pretend to be Melissa’s cousin (and that was a bonus, because nobody could agree on what her name should be. They had all agreed it should rhyme with her real name, so that she would respond to it, but they only came up with Kyla, which Lila didn’t like) because her father was quickly arrested.
Lila had announced she was alive – she proclaimed it a miracle down to faulty suicide berries. Ned had approached her, saying she could probably sue the berry makers for failing to produce a suicide berry that adequately worked. Lila had thought about it for a second, but remembered she was gloriously rich (an upgrade from fabulously – Melissa had bet everything on Lois winning), and really didn’t need a Wakefield in her life in any way, shape or form.
“Has the Lois dress not reached Paris yet?” Lois asked.
“No. Please don’t hit Europe. I just want one dress all in one colour, all in one design,” Lila said.
“Actually,” Melissa said. “That would be nice. The kids in the shelter hate that their clothes are all multiple bits sewn together. They’re wearing high fashion and they feel like they’re wearing old patched clothes. They’re grateful, but I think it’s damaging their self-esteem.”
Lila sat up. “See! Think of the homeless, Lois! Stop being so trend-setting!”
Lois rolled her eyes. “I’ve only worn a three-dress twice in my life. You know what Sweet Valley’s like. They get all obsessed. Honestly, Lila, it’s down to you to do something fabulous to get their attention.”
Lila nodded. The fashion tide had turned. Lois had hoped for a more inclusive Sweet Valley, but that was never going to happen. Instead, people now bullied kids for being too slender, not wearing glasses, being of average height, or eating salads. It frustrated Lois, but she was working on it. Lila had been called a “two-eyed twig” more than once in the past week, but she got off lighter than anyone who hadn’t been in the games. (Glasses were in. The bigger, the better.)
“Well, Valentine’s day is coming soon, for the fourth time this year,” Lila said thoughtfully. “We have a dance coming up. We should do a fundraiser for the shelter, and if we have a really cool theme, maybe it will distract everyone from the three-dress?”
Lois stuck her hand in the air. “Anyone in favour of Lila not coming up with the theme?”
Melissa’s hand shot up.
“Oh, ha ha, you guys are so funny,” Lila groused and took a sip of her soda. “I’ve learned – I have to run my ideas past you two now before I get funding. Fine, Melissa, what do you think the theme should be?”
“Where did that door come from?” Melissa said.
“Where did that door…?” Lila repeated doubtfully. “Is that like a metaphor or something?” It was very annoying having friends that were smart. Sometimes they would say things that she just didn’t get. She parsed it out. “Oh! Like, where did this opportunity come from? Count your blessings? That sort of thing?”
Melissa grabbed her arm. “No, where did that door come from?” She pointed to the middle of the lunchroom.
There was a big black double door. It apparently led nowhere, but something about it gave Lila a sense of unease. Beside her, Lois knocked the food off her knife and fork and held them tightly.
Suddenly it flew open and the Wakefield twins strode through, followed by the rest of the tributes from the Hunger Games.
“What is going on?” Lila mumbled.
“We’re back!” Jessica said, beaming around the room.
“You’re dead,” Lila said.
“Yes. And I said we’re back. Keep up, Lila.”
Winston pushed through the throngs of people and came to an awkward halt by the Unicorner. Lila leapt to her feet and threw her arms around him. “Winston! I’m so glad to see you!”
“She’s a hugger now,” Lois explained. “Melissa taught her how.”
Lila stepped back, blushing a little. It suddenly occurred to her that Winston was a boy, and hugging a boy was something different. Then again, Winston was something different too. Her world view had shifted in the past couple of weeks, and now she found herself looking at the tall gangling boy with the blush-red ears with fondness and admiration.
“Have a seat, you’re a Unicorn now,” Lila said quickly to cover their blushes.
Lois held up a hand – still clutching a fork. “Hi, Winston, it’s great to see you, but could you please explain how you’re here? I’m really glad you’re not dead, but it’s a bit confusing.”
“Oh, we went to hell–”
“Hell? But you’re a good person!” Melissa said.
“Yeah. Loophole. If you think about kittens or puppies or rainbows – things like that – you go to heaven. I was too busy thinking ‘Ow, I’ve been stabbed’ to think of cute animals,” Winston replied. “But Ellen did.”
“Oh, that was me,” Lois said. “I sent Ellen to heaven?”
Lila shrugged. “I suppose it’s a good a reason as any for her not to be in Sweet Valley High.”
Winston nodded. “Anyway, if you arrive in Hell with VIPs – the twins, of course, Hell was very happy to have them – the entire party can come back.”
“Well, that seems awfully convenient,” Lois said. “It’s almost as if the ghostwriter wanted to have her cake and eat it too.”
“Yes, now she can write a sequel, and set it in this universe if she wants to,” Melissa said.
“Can you lame-brains stop breaking the fourth wall and get out of the Unicorner?” Janet snapped. “This is for the elite only.”
Lila glared at her cousin. “Sorry, Janet. Things have changed. The Unicorns are a socially responsible group – we sponsor the Sweet Valley Homeless Shelter, membership is open to all, and we don’t stand for bullying here.”
Lois turned to Winston. “Why did it take a week to get back – you all died last week, over a span of three days?”
Winston sighed. “We had to wait for the twins to arrive – don’t you know that nothing happens without them? After that, there was a lot of paperwork for twenty-one dead people to return to their lives.”
“Who cares about stupid paperwork!” Janet screeched. “How dare you destroy my club!”
“It’s not your club, it’s mine and Lois’!” Lila snapped back.
“How dare you be in a music video for Johnny Buck!” Jessica pushed her way past Janet and glared at Lois.
Lois shrugged. “He likes me. His fiancé is really nice too. They invited the new Unicorn club to the wedding.”
“But you’re the bridesmaid!” Jessica exploded. “You’ll look terrible in a pretty dress, your fat will ooze out of every part of it!”
“Get stuffed, you two-eyed twig!” Sophia stepped up between them. “Leave Lois alone, she’s our hero!”
Jessica glanced around the group. “What’s a two-eyed twig?”
“Slender people who don’t wear glasses get bullied now,” Lois said with a wince. “I’m still working on it. I’d really like it if nobody got bullied, but it’s Sweet Valley, and miracles cannot be wrought.”
“Did anyone shut the door?” Winston asked. “Who was last through the door?”
But for the most part, the tributes had dispersed, they headed off to see their friends.
Elizabeth pushed her way past Janet and Jessica. “Who is Ro$ey and why can’t she spell her name? Where can I find her? I need to kill her.”
Lois stood up, face to face with Elizabeth – and despite the fact they were the same height, it felt to Lila like Lois loomed over Elizabeth. “She’s called Rosey, she’s a lovely person and the reason there’s a dollar sign in her signature is because she and Johnny Buck have been dating for three years and they’re going to get married. It was a secret message to me that they were both supporting me. And if you go near her, I will rip out your spleen and wear it as a hat.”
Lila leaned closer. “And you know what will happen then? Everyone will start wearing spleens as hats. Lois is incredibly popular right now. Seventeen and Ingénue are both fighting over who gets to put her on their cover first.”
Jessica and Janet both looked astounded at the news. “That can’t be possible.”
“People are betting on who she’s going to take as her date to the Valentine dance,” Lila added. She wasn’t sure if that was true or not, but it would make Jessica and Janet explode with rage. She smirked as she came up with another fury-generating lie. “Johnny Buck has a very cute cousin our age. He keeps saying he should introduce them.”
Lois gave her an indulgent but exasperated look.
“Guys, the door – it’s still open!” Winston yelled.
There was a great rumbling from the middle of the room, and suddenly out poured a horde of monsters, vampires, zombies and demons. They surged into the room, and started attacking.
A vampire grabbed Patrick Morris. He fought weakly against it. “No! I just got back! Flowers! Bunnies! Kittens!” Everything else he tried to say was cut off as the vampire chomped down on his neck.
A zombie dragged itself over to Denny Jacobson. “Denny! Nooooooooooo!” Janet screamed and ran towards them to fight for her man (whether he wanted her to or not).
Elizabeth let out a menacing howl and dove at the monsters.
“Lila,” Lois said calmly. “I think I need my flame-thrower.”
Note: If you think I’m actually going to write the proposed sequel… no. Super no. This was fun, but I’m so tapped out. I hope you liked it. I’m sorry if you didn’t. If you thought it got a bit silly… well, yes, it was. But there are several book plotlines that are frankly ridiculous, so this felt like a natural step forward since it was parody. About the ending? There were several ideas that floated around: it’s all a joke (like April Fool!); Elizabeth stops everything with an impassioned plea to the gamemakers and the viewers; same as, but with twist ending, Elizabeth is so far gone she kills everyone to teach them a lesson… all of them focussed on Elizabeth, who I just don’t care about, so this is what I went with.
Special shout out to Raven and Rosey, who have been my personal cheerleaders throughout NaNo.
Super shout out to Raven, who wrote “Buck the Odds (Holla Holla Lois Waller)”.