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Prom Baby! – Word count: 22,205

“I heard there’s some shit going down at Big Mesa tonight,” Steven said, pulling out the chair next to Elizabeth and flopping into it. “Boy, that long drive’s really got me beat.”
“There is some shit going down at Big Mesa tonight,” Mrs. Wakefield said excitedly. “And I think you should go. Make sure you take Elizabeth with you.”
“How do you know about the Big Mesa raid?” Elizabeth asked.
“Word travels fast when you sleep with high school girls,” said Steven, who was in a long-distance relationship with Cara Walker, who had been in the twins’ junior class at Sweet Valley High. She had since moved to London, but as Cara was a notorious gossip, she somehow managed to still know all the intricacies of life at Sweet Valley High and relay them to Steven.
“Did you hear that those Big Mesa girls called me uptight?” Jessica asked, her mouth full. “Me?”
“Well, they obviously confused you with Elizabeth,” Steven said, looking over at her. “Jesus, Elizabeth, what happened to you?”
“N-nothing,” Elizabeth stammered, self-consciously holding her history book in front of her stomach.
“Have you been on the Jessica Wakefield diet plan? You’re huge!” he said.
“She’s just been wearing her clothes a bit too tight lately,” Mrs. Wakefield said. “Don’t worry, she and I have had a little talk, and everything is just fine.”
“Yeah, it’s all an illusion,” Jessica said sarcastically.
“Now, kids, aren’t you going to be late for your brawl?” Mrs. Wakefield asked, checking her watch. “You father will be home any minute now, and we don’t want you to be late.”
“Come on, girls,” Steven said, standing up and yawning. “Let’s go kick some Big Mesa ass.”

* * *

By the time Steven and the twins pulled up in downtown Big Mesa, a mob of Sweet Valley High students had gathered, waving torches and pitchforks. Elizabeth searched through the crowd, hoping to find Todd or Enid, someone who could help her stop this madness before someone got hurt. Or before Jess finds a new boyfriend in the next five minutes and someone gets killed, she thought grimly.
Todd was nowhere to be found. Elizabeth could only assume he was off with Bruce, dumping GHB into Big Mesa’s water supply.
“Well, what the fuck are we waiting for?” Jessica yelled. “Start pulling hair and slapping bitches!”
Once again, Elizabeth’s eyes scanned the crowd. The only people she could see were from Sweet Valley High. “Um, Jessica?” she began.
“What?” Jessica snapped, whirling on her.
“Nothing,” Elizabeth said, casting her eyes downward.
“Jessica, I don’t see anyone from Big Mesa,” Lila said, leaning against a lamppost and examining her fingernails as if she were terribly bored.
Bruce and Todd ran up from behind Elizabeth. “It’s done,” Todd said breathlessly. “We spiked their water supply.”
“Any minute now, they should be losing consciousness,” Bruce said. “Don’t start grazing their breasts until you’re absolutely sure they’re out of it. I’ve had a lot of close calls.”
“And then what?” Elizabeth asked bitterly. “We just start busting into houses and punching people? And how do we know they’re even going to consume this contaminated water right now?”
Jessica and Bruce looked at each other. “We just know,” Jessica said with false bravado.
“And now we wait,” Ken said ominously.
For four hours, the Sweet Valley High students waited around Big Mesa, but not once did they see or hear any signs of life in the town. Could Bruce and Todd have poisoned them? Elizabeth worried. Maybe everyone in Big Mesa is already dead! Or they’re asleep. It is after 10 o’clock.
Elizabeth hunkered down in a doorway and bunched her jacket up under her head as a makeshift pillow. She had to close her eyes for just a brief moment. She was so tired, so very, very tired.
“Seriously, Elizabeth, what is this shit?” the angel asked.
“What is what shit?” Elizabeth asked, sitting up. All around her, Elizabeth’s classmates from Sweet Valley High were asleep, their bodies stretched out on benches and sidewalks and parking spaces.
“I ask you to bear the second coming of Christ – at great personal expense, I might add, seeing as no one told me you were a big ol’ slut – and this is how you do it? By charging headfirst into a high school brawl?”
“I was brought here against my will,” Elizabeth said. “I wasn’t even driving the Jeep!”
“Elizabeth, the whole world is counting on you,” the angel said. “You’d better shape up.”
“But I can only devote my unnecessary advice to so many people in a day,” Elizabeth protested. “A small town like Sweet Valley is just the right size. I can’t be responsible for the whole world, as well.”
“I don’t need you to give advice,” the angel growled. “I just need you to give birth.”
“Yeah, about that…” Elizabeth began.
“Elizabeth,” the angel said, taking her hands, “you and your baby are the only ones who can bring peace to Sweet Valley. Find a way to end this war between your school and Big Mesa; otherwise the end times will be at hand.”
“End times?” Elizabeth said.
“Yes, the end times,” the angel snapped. “I sometimes really question why we picked you.”

Elizabeth awoke with a start. The concrete beneath her was cold, and the sun was just beginning to rise over Big Mesa. The sidewalk near her was littered with sleeping Sweet Valley High students. Elizabeth gathered up her jacket and crawled over to Jessica.
“Jess, wake up,” Elizabeth said, shaking her sister’s shoulder.
“Ugh, just five more minutes,” Jessica mumbled, rolling over.
“We don’t have five more minutes,” Elizabeth said. “It’s already morning.”
Jessica opened one eye. “Did we do it? Is everyone in Big Mesa dead?”
Elizabeth gasped. “Was that the objective?”
“Not really,” Jessica said. “But it would be a nice added bonus.”
“Jessica, it’s urgent that we make peace with the students from Big Mesa,” Elizabeth said. “Sure, we have our differences, but we can’t go on like this. The future of the world depends on it.”
“God, Elizabeth, you really blow things out of proportion,” Jessica said, yawning.
“I’m not blowing things out of proportion,” Elizabeth said. “I’m telling you, I’ve had a dream. A vision. My baby is going to save the world.”
“Well, my baby is going to be a star,” Jessica said. She rested her forehead on her arms, using them to prop her up from the cold ground. “And it’s going to be way better than yours.”
“Your baby?” Elizabeth said, a chill running through her. The intuition she possessed when it came to her twin kicked in. “You’re pregnant as well?”
“Well, of course I’m pregnant,” Jessica snapped. “What do you think I was doing with Mom’s turkey baster last night?”
“Basting turkey,” Elizabeth confessed.
“It’s somewhere between the early ’80s and the mid-90s,” Jessica said. “Today’s woman doesn’t need a man to get pregnant.”
“No, Jessica,” Elizabeth said softly. “Not you, too.”
“Why do you always have to be such a hater?” Jessica said, propping herself up on one elbow. “When the likes of Lynne Henry, Abbie Richardson and Jade Wu have a better chance of becoming prom queen than I do, it calls for drastic measures!”
“Actually, I’m not so sure Lynne, Abbie and Jade are your biggest competition,” Elizabeth said, her gaze finding Todd, who was spooning with Ken on a park bench.
“God damn it, Elizabeth!” Jessica screeched, waking up several minor characters around them. “I get it. You’re my biggest competition. You’re always my biggest competition.”
“It’s not me–” Elizabeth began, but Jessica was already on a tirade, and there was no slowing her down.
“Do you remember when we were in the womb?” Jessica spat. “You were the one rationing – no, hoarding is more like it – all the nutrients, and I was left to starve. When I wanted to get out of that godforsaken place, you kept me in for four more minutes!”
“I don’t remember being in the womb, Jess,” Elizabeth said. “No one does. Now you’re just making shit up.”
“That’s right, don’t believe anything Jessica says because she’s stupid,” Jessica said bitterly. “Is that it?”
“Well, you are pretty dumb,” Elizabeth said. “And a liar.”
Jessica stood up and dusted off her miniskirt. “I don’t need to listen to this,” she snapped. “I’m going back to Sweet Valley. And I’m not giving you a ride.”
“Jessica, wait,” Elizabeth called, but Jessica had already left her, alone and kneeling on the sidewalk.

* * *

Elizabeth wiped a bead of sweat from her brow and continued her walk back to Sweet Valley. I can’t believe Jessica left me here, she thought. And everyone else I know. You’d think someone would have room to give a pregnant lady a ride – especially when the pregnant lady is a Wakefield twin!
Despite the day’s cold start, now that the sun had climbed high into the sky, it was uncomfortably warm. She hadn’t seen anyone on her way out of Big Mesa; not even a car had passed her on the road. She trudged along, painfully slowly and absorbed in her thoughts of what the angel had told her. Now she had a large burden to bear; ending the feud between Sweet Valley and Big Mesa once and for all.
She had walked for several more miles when she spotted a car speeding toward her. Elizabeth held a hand over her eyes to shade them from the glare of the sun and squinted. As it drew closer, she realized it was Enid’s beaten-down ride.
“Elizabeth!” Enid called, screeching to a stop next to her. “You’ve got to get back to Sweet Valley as soon as you can!”
“I’m trying,” Elizabeth said. “My feet are so swollen, I can barely walk. And I feel like I’m about to tip over.”
Enid leaned over and cracked open the passenger-side door for Elizabeth.
“Where were you last night, anyway?” Elizabeth asked Enid as she got into the car.
“Nobody told me where we were meeting up for the fight,” Enid explained, pulling a U-turn and heading back toward Sweet Valley. “That’s OK, though. I worked on my scrapbook some more.”
“I thought you were going to quit working on the scrapbook,” Elizabeth said, glancing at her friend out of the corner of her eye. A slow blush was creeping into Enid’s cheeks.
“It’s just that when I’m all cracked out, I need something to do with my hands or I’ll go crazy,” Enid confessed. “Anyway, the reason I came looking for you is that there’s trouble in Sweet Valley!”
Elizabeth’s heart jumped into her throat. “What kind of trouble?”
“Well, you know how last night, when you all went to fight Big Mesa, there wasn’t anyone around? That’s because they were all in Sweet Valley, waiting to ambush us!”
“Oh, no!” Elizabeth exclaimed.

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11 2009

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