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Prom Baby! – Word count: 18,291

“OK, got it,” Amy said. “It’s a bit dusty. I don’t think we’ve ever had a teen pregnancy in Sweet Valley before.” Amy sneezed. “It’s from the 1950s, so I’m not sure how much good it will do.”

“I’m sure it will be fine,” Elizabeth said encouragingly.

Amy began to read in a halting, monotone voice. “So you just found out you’re going to be an unwed mother? What to do? Luckily, the woman of today has several options. You can fall down the stairs, or take a knitting needle–”

“Amy, stop,” Elizabeth said, cringing. “I’m not going to hurt my baby. There’s something else I have to tell you. I think my baby is the second coming of Christ.”

“Oh, OK,” Amy said. “Hold on, let me check.” Elizabeth could hear her flipping through pages. “No, Elisabeth, there’s nothing in here about immaculate conception.”

“Nothing?” Elizabeth said.

“No, nothing,” Amy replied. “Sorry, I can’t help you.”

“Well, thanks anyway,” Elizabeth said. “See you in school tomorrow–”

“You go to Sweet Valley High? I knew it!” Amy said.

“No, no, I – I go to Palisades High,” Elizabeth said.

“They’re a bunch of assholes, too,” Amy said. “Well, thanks for calling Project Youth.”

“Thank you for your help,” Elizabeth said. She hung up the phone with a sigh. As she did, she heard the doorbell ring. “I wonder who that could be?”

She opened the front door to find a deliveryman holding a huge box. “Package for Miss Jessica Wakefield,” he said. “I’m going to need you to sign for it.”

“Right, of course,” said Elizabeth, signing the clipboard resting on top of the box. She took the box from the deliveryman and started to swing the door shut with her foot, but he stopped her by holding it open.

“There are several more boxes,” he said.

“Oh, OK,” Elizabeth said, setting down the box in the front hallway. She peered at the writing on the side. “Live specimens – keep refrigerated? What is this stuff?”

The deliveryman shrugged. “I don’t know, lady. I just drop it off.” He headed back to his truck and used a small hand truck to unload a stack of boxes.

“Is that it?” Elizabeth asked as he wheeled them into the house.

The man let out a strangled laugh. “Lady, I got a truck full of boxes for Jessica Wakefield. Is that you?”

“No, that’s my twin sister,” Elizabeth muttered. “I wonder what she’s up to this time.”


* * *


Jessica arrived home from cheerleading practice to find the front hallway was full of boxes from the sperm bank.

“Liz?” she called, opening the front door as far as it would go. Looking around it, she saw it was blocked by several boxes, stacked five feet high.

“In the kitchen, Jess,” Elizabeth called back. “I’m making dinner, even though it’s supposed to be your night.”

“Oh,” said Jessica, slipping through the barely opened door and shutting it behind her with relief. “I see my packages came.”

“What is all this stuff, Jessica?” Elizabeth asked as her sister came into the kitchen and grabbed a container of yogurt out of the fridge. She watched incredulously as her twin popped open the lid and tipped the yogurt back into her mouth as if it were a cheap lite beer and she were at a frat party.

“It’s nothing,” Jessica said, strawberry yogurt dripping out the sides of her mouth. “I told you, I was ordering some beauty products.”

“Those aren’t beauty products,” Elizabeth said, gesturing toward the hallway with a wooden spoon. “Beauty products don’t come in boxes with the words ‘live specimen – keep refrigerated’ on them.”

“It’s a new line. From … France,” Jessica said. “Lila highly recommended it.”

“And how did you afford all this stuff, Jess? You stopped giving 5 dollar hand jobs behind Kelly’s Bar months ago,” Elizabeth said.

“It was giving me carpal tunnel,” Jessica complained. “And do you know how many hand jobs it would take just to save up for a new outfit at Lisette’s?”

“You lack of dedication is really appalling, Jessica. Take this teen pregnancy prom, for example. It was your idea, too, and yet I can barely get you to lift a finger to help me with it,” Elizabeth said.

“Hey, all I have to do is show up and be crowned prom queen,” Jessica said hotly. “I’m working very, very hard to make that happen!”

“I have half a mind to try to win the title of prom queen for myself,” Elizabeth said, her eyes now blazing with anger. “After all the work I’ve put in, I deserve it.”

“Work? What work?” Jessica argued. “All you do is delegate responsibility to your little helpers, like Enid and Todd and Nicholas Morrow, who for some reason will do anything you say, even though he’s way too old to be going to the prom or hanging out with high school students!”

“It’s not my fault I choose genuinely nice, helpful people to be my friends,” Elizabeth snapped. “Maybe you should try it sometime.”

“Look, I happen to like people with a lot of money,” Jessica said. “I can’t help it if I have more refined taste than you.”

Elizabeth laughed bitterly. “Jessica, you and I both know our choice of friends isn’t what this is about.”

“You’re damn right that’s not what this is about.” Jessica threw her yogurt cup, now licked clean, into the trash. “This is about how you’re always trying to ruin my life. I can tell you right now what’s going to happen. On Saturday night, you’re going to walk up on that stage and squirt a baby out of your cooch in front of the whole school, and rather than be horrified, everyone’s going to love you for it.”

“You think that’s what I want?” Elizabeth gasped. “This whole idea to get everyone knocked up was your idea!”

“It’s a competition with Big Mesa!” Jessica cried. “You know what assholes they are.”

“Good afternoon, girls,” said Mrs. Wakefield, coming into the kitchen just in time to see Jessica aim a kick at her sister’s stomach and miss. “How was school today?”

“Fine,” Elizabeth muttered, looking down. She didn’t want to tell her mother about the article in Big Mesa’s school paper, or the fact that Mr. Collins was avoiding her.

“Really shitty, Mom,” Jessica said, grabbing an apple out of the fruit bowl on the counter. “Some kids from Big Mesa spray painted a bunch of cars in the parking lot.”

“Oh, is that why it says ‘5 Dolla Whore’ on the back of the Jeep?” Mrs. Wakefield asked, flipping through a stack of mail.

Jessica nodded. “And they wrote ‘Low Sperm Count’ on Bruce’s Porsche,” she said.

“Well, that’s surprising,” Mrs. Wakefield said. “Hank had a very high sperm count. Of course, Bruce does wear tight pants.”

“Gross, Mom,” Jessica said. She made a face.

“Well, don’t think I haven’t checked him out once or twice,” Mrs. Wakefield said, gazing off into the distance with a faraway look in her eyes. “He looks just like his father. I wonder if he’s into cougars?”

“I’m sure he is, Mom,” Elizabeth said warmly. “Bruce will fuck anything that moves.”

“Anyway, what are all these boxes in the hallway, Jessica?” her mother asked. “You need to find somewhere else to store them.”

“They’re just those beauty products I ordered,” Jessica said.

“Well, go put them in the garage for now,” Mrs. Wakefield said. Jessica turned to Elizabeth.

“All right, all right,” Elizabeth said, sighing. “I’ll move all the boxes just as soon as I get this meatloaf into the oven.”

Mr. Wakefield walked into the kitchen, fresh from a day in court. “Hey, girls,” he said affectionately. “Elizabeth, Todd just pulled up outside. Why does it say ‘Locker Room Homo’ on the back of his BMW?”

“No reason,” Elizabeth said, hurriedly shoving the meatloaf into the oven so she could go greet Todd.

“It’s those Big Mesa jerks,” Jessica was saying to her father as Elizabeth left the room.

“Todd!” Elizabeth exclaimed as she flung open the front door as far as it would go, boxes allowing. “I didn’t expect to see you tonight!”

“I need to talk to you,” he said, glancing around. “Can I come in?”

“Of course,” Elizabeth said, as Todd squeezed through the opening.

“What are all these boxes?” he asked.

“Something Jessica ordered,” Elizabeth said. “That reminds me, I’ve got to move them into the garage. Can you give me a hand?”

“I guess so,” said Todd. He picked up a box and struggled under the weight. “These are heavy.”

“I know,” Elizabeth said, dragging one over to the garage door. “So what did you want to talk to me about?”

“The prom, actually,” he said. “Elizabeth, will you go to the prom with me? As my beard, I mean. I’m saving all of the really steamy dances for Ken.”

“I’d love to,” Elizabeth said. She wiped a bead of sweat from her brow and shoved her box into the corner of the garage.

“There’s one other thing,” Todd said, glancing down at Elizabeth’s slightly swollen stomach. “I – I want to be prom queen.”

“You want to be prom queen?” Elizabeth asked, dumbfounded. “But Sweet Valley hasn’t seen such blatant disregard for gender roles since Winston tried out for the cheerleading squad in middle school!”

“I know, it practically tore the town apart,” Todd said. “But I have to try, Elizabeth. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted!”

“Well, then, you have my support,” Elizabeth said, patting him on the shoulder.

“Thanks, Elizabeth. And, well, there’s just one more thing.”

“What’s that?” she asked.

“I’m going to need a baby if I want to be queen of the teen pregnancy prom,” he said. “And I was just wondering – would you be a surrogate for me and Ken?”

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11 2009

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