Prom Baby! – Word count: 3,183

Elizabeth guided the Jeep into another spot and Jessica flung open the door, jumping out before Elizabeth could even put the car in park. She ran off to catch up with Robin.

“Hey, Liz!”

As Elizabeth stepped out of the Jeep, she turned to see her best friend, Enid Rollins, running across the parking lot toward her. Enid was average-looking at best and had a meth problem she liked to keep on the down low, but her personality was just boring enough to make Elizabeth seem exciting by comparison.

“Good morning, Enid,” Elizabeth greeted her friend warmly.

“I thought we could maybe sit together at the assembly,” Enid said hopefully.

“Oh, well, I … uh, I might have to make a presentation at the assembly,” Elizabeth said. “So I’ll probably be sitting on stage.”

“Do you need me to keep an eye on your books or anything, then? I’ll watch them for you during the assembly,” Enid offered quickly.

“I’ll just put them in my locker, thanks,” Elizabeth said. “Hey, Enid, Hugh goes to Big Mesa. Do you think he’ll help me find some students to interview about the teen pregnancy pact? I’m thinking about running something in The Oracle.”

“Oh, Elizabeth, that’s a great idea. I’m sure Hugh will be happy to help you out with anything you need. I’ll ask him today after school when I call about my, uh, weekly shipment,” Enid said. Hugh Grayson was Enid’s boyfriend and drug dealer.

“Thanks so much, Enid,” Elizabeth said. “Listen, I have to find Mr. Cooper before the assembly, so I’ll catch up with you later, OK?” She hurried off in the direction of the principal’s office before Enid could reply.

Elizabeth knocked on the heavy wooden door of Mr. Cooper’s office. “Mr. Cooper?” she called. “It’s Elizabeth Wakefield. May I come in?”

“Of course,” Mr. Cooper replied. Elizabeth swung open the door and entered the principal’s office. “You’re a Wakefield twin; you know you don’t need my permission to enter any area of Sweet Valley High.”

Elizabeth set her books down on the corner of Mr. Cooper’s desk. “There is something I wanted to talk to you about before this morning’s assembly,” she said.

“Whatever you’re about to ask me, the answer is yes,” Mr. Cooper said. “Unless you’re interested in outing Mr. Collins as a dirty old man. I need to keep that a secret from the school board.”

“What? No,” Elizabeth said, confused. “There’s nothing wrong with Mr. Collins. He’s a great teacher. He always gives me one-on-one attention.”

Mr. Collins was the most popular teacher at Sweet Valley High. His popularity was generally attributed to the fact that he looked like a young Robert Redford, but it was really because he was always willing to lend some sympathetic words and a back rub to any student going through a rough time – well, any female student going through a rough time.

“Let me run my idea by you first-” Elizabeth tried to continue, but Mr. Cooper cut her off.

“I already told you, Elizabeth, whatever you want to do is all right with me.”

“Well, Jessica and I just thought-”

Mr. Cooper leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on the desk. “Oh, Jessica’s involved as well? Then I’m even more certain it’s a brilliant idea.” He looked down at his watch and tapped the face of it. “The assembly’s about to start in a few minutes, Elizabeth. Why don’t you head down to the auditorium?”

Elizabeth nodded and backed out of Mr. Cooper’s office. It looked like the prom would be happening, after all!


* * *


“We’re going to work hard to make this the best prom Sweet Valley High has ever seen!” Elizabeth promised the crowd of students in the auditorium. “Jessica and I have come up with a theme we know you all will love.”

“Actually, Liz, I came up with the theme all by myself,” Jessica corrected her loudly from the audience. She stood up and waved to the students around her before sitting back down.

“She’s right,” Elizabeth said. “Jessica came up with the theme, all by herself.” She paused dramatically. “The theme for this year’s junior prom will be teen pregnancy.”

Elizabeth was expecting a better reaction than the lukewarm round of applause that greeted her announcement. Apparently, so was Jessica.

“Let’s try this again, people!” she snapped, coming up out of her seat. “THE THEME FOR THIS YEAR’S JUNIOR PROM WILL BE TEEN PREGNANCY.”

This time, the students cheered with appropriate enthusiasm, although Elizabeth did notice Olivia Davidson and Penny Ayala exchange a frightened glance as they clapped.

“Thank you, Elizabeth – and Jessica,” Mr. Cooper said, stepping up to the podium. “The prom theme just happens to complement a new course we are offering here at Sweet Valley High. I’ve asked Mr. Collins to speak to you about the new course, which will be mandatory for all female students. Mr. Collins, could you come up here, please?”

Mr. Collins made his way up to the stage, winking at several of the more attractive girls in the junior class as he went. He gave Elizabeth a special leer as he walked past.

“As I’m sure many of you have heard, Big Mesa High School currently has a huge problem with teen pregnancy,” Mr. Collins began. “It’s probably because only poor white trash who suck at sports attend Big Mesa, but just in case, I’m going to be teaching a course on reproduction to all of our female students.” He held up his hands as groans filled the room. “I know, I know, you’re thinking that the last thing you need is more homework. But trust me when I say this homework will be fun.”

In the back of the auditorium, Tom McKay’s hand shot up.

“Tom, do you have a question?” Mr. Collins asked.

“I know you said the class is only for female students, Mr. Collins, but I’d really like to take it, if that’s all right with you,” Tom said.

Mr. Collins sighed and pressed a finger to his temple in exasperation. “Tom, the boys don’t have to take the class because babies aren’t really a man problem, all right?”

Tom nodded in understanding, but Elizabeth noticed he looked disappointed.

“Starting tomorrow, all female students will report to my classroom after first period,” Mr. Collins said. “And now, since our assembly is over, you kids are done for the day. Everyone can head home.”

Elizabeth caught up with Jessica on their way out of the auditorium. Jessica was, as usual, with her best friend, Lila Fowler. Lila was one of Sweet Valley High’s wealthiest students. Her father was a suave computer geek who had made millions off one of his technological inventions. Elizabeth didn’t care much for Lila, and Lila couldn’t care less what Elizabeth thought of her.

“Jess, I think I’m going to head down to The Oracle office for a bit to work on my Eyes and Ears column for the week,” Elizabeth said. “Do you think you could stick around and give me a ride home?”

“No,” Jessica said, reaching into the pocket of Elizabeth’s matronly blazer and snatching out the keys to the Jeep. “Lila and I are going to the mall.”

“Can’t you just take Lila’s car?” Elizabeth asked.

“Have you seen Lila’s car? It’s a lime-green Triumph,” Jessica said. “Lime. Green.”

“I don’t let poor people ride in my car, anyway,” Lila said. “They leave an odor.”




“What is one supposed to wear to a teen pregnancy prom, anyway?” Lila asked, flipping through a rack of sequined dresses at Lisette’s. “I’m telling you right now, I’m NOT wearing maternity clothes.”

“I was thinking something in soft pastels – maybe pink or blue,” Jessica said. She pulled a light yellow dress off the sale rack, then threw it on the floor in disgust.

“Pastels look horrible on me,” Lila complained.

Jessica tossed her expertly feathered hair over one shoulder. “Pastels look great on me,” she said. “So does practically everything else.”

Lila, who kept a heated rivalry going with her best friend, smirked. “Too bad you can only shop on the sale rack. The selection is horrible.”

Jessica flipped through more dresses and smiled sweetly at Lila. “Speaking of horrible selections, who are you going to take to the prom? It’s too bad John Pfeifer isn’t available.”

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11 2009

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