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Prom Baby! – Word count: 28,176

“I don’t care about what Lila read in Ingenue. I don’t care about Lila Fowler, period,” Elizabeth said. “Unless she has some sort of psychological problem, physical handicap or family issue I can give her advice on.”
Jessica snorted. “Lila has psychological problems and family issues up the wazoo,” she said. “Oh, and I’m pretty sure inverted nipples count as a physical handicap.”

* * *

“Eva?” Lila called, struggling downstairs with the baby in her arms. “Eva?”
But the Fowlers’ housekeeper was nowhere to be found. Lila even looked in the small walk-in closet that served as Eva’s room, but when she pulled the cord for the light, all that was illuminated by the lone, bare lightbulb was a dirty mattress on the floor.
“Where could she be?” Lila muttered. “I really want to go to the beach. Without this little brat.”
The baby giggled and grabbed a fistful of Lila’s perfectly straightened hair. She screamed and somehow managed to unwind his tightly coiled fist from her locks.
“I really need to get rid of you,” Lila said, but the baby just smiled and laughed at her. “You are pretty cute,” she reluctantly admitted.
Who would have thought me, Lila Fowler, the girl with the biggest stick up her ass – no, wait, that’s Elizabeth Wakefield – would actually think a baby was cute? she thought. And an ethnic one at that.
But still, a merchandise fuck-up was a merchandise fuck-up, and he’d have to be sent back. Lila just hoped her father could straighten this mess out before the big prom.
Just then, a knock sounded at the front door. Lila whirled around like a lab rat caught in a maze, looking for somewhere to hide the baby. “Just a second,” she called in a shaky, high-pitched voice she barely recognized as her own. The baby giggled as Lila spun him around. “This isn’t a game!” she hissed. “I seriously can’t let anyone see you!”
The guest bathroom across the foyer would have to do. She nestled the baby into a basket piled high with plush, perfectly folded towels and shoved the basket into the cupboard under the sink.
“Jessica!” Lila exclaimed, as she opened the door. “What are you doing here?”
“Just wanted to stop by on my way to the beach,” Jessica said, craning her neck to see around Lila.
“I thought we were going to meet there,” Lila said through clenched teeth.
“Oh, were we?” Jessica said absentmindedly, knocking Lila aside and barging through the front door. “So, where’s the baby?”
“Eva – Eva took him out to the park,” Lila said. “It’s such a nice day, I figured he needed some fresh air.”
“Really?” Jessica said, feigning disappointment. “I was hoping to see him.” She sniffed the air. “It kind of smells like poop in here.”
“Well, that’s because the toilet is, uh, broken. I’m going to have Eva fix it as soon as she gets home,” Lila said quickly.
“Eva is a gourmet cook, superstar nanny and she fixes toilets, too?” Jessica said.
“Jessica, she’s Mexican,” Lila said.
“Well, Rosa’s Mexican, and she can’t do any of those things,” Jessica said. “We wouldn’t have asked her to join Pi Beta Alpha if she was a common plumber or something.”
“Of course Rosa can’t do any of those things now,” Lila said. “She’s tied down with eight children.”
“Shh!” Jessica interrupted. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what? I didn’t hear anything,” Lila said loudly.
“It’s like a gurgling sound,” Jessica said, pointing toward the guest bathroom. “It’s coming from over there.”
“That’s the toilet,” Lila lied smoothly. “I told you it was broken.”
“So, are you ready for the beach or what?” Jessica asked. “I can’t wait to show off my new maternity bikini.”
“Yeah, I need to change first, though,” Lila said. “Why don’t you come upstairs and help me pick out a bathing suit?”
Jessica waved her hand. “I’ve seen all of your bathing suits, Lila, and I think they’re pretty fug.”
“Oh, come on, I’m having trouble deciding,” Lila said, grabbing her friend by the arm and leading her upstairs.
Lila threw open the doors of her enormous walk-in closet and flipped through hangers full of bathing suits before settling on a dark purple string bikini that accentuated her small waist. If she was practically the only non-preggo at Sweet Valley High, she was going to show off her best assets, Lila decided.
Once Lila was all changed and ready to go, she grabbed her beach bag and the girls headed for Jessica’s Jeep. On their way out, Lila paused briefly to listen for sounds coming from the guest bathroom. All was quiet. He’s probably just sleeping, Lila thought.

* * *

Lila lay back on her huge beach blanket and let the sun warm her body. She tugged down her bikini top so it was dangerously close to showing off a bit of areola.
“Isn’t this great?” Jessica asked, pushing her sunglasses farther up her nose. “I haven’t been to the beach in forever.”
“Mmm-hmm,” Lila agreed. “Do you think your stretch marks will tan?”
“Of course they will,” Jessica said, rubbing tanning oil into her baby bump. “I’m sure my baby will come out nice and tan, too.”
“Or with its brains fried,” Lila said dryly.
“Very funny,” Jessica said testily. “What about your baby? Do babies from Africa tan?”
Lila shrugged. “Let’s not talk about my baby right now,” she said. “I’m taking the afternoon off.”
“Fine,” Jessica pouted, looking out across the beach. Maria and Winston were goofing around in the water, splashing each other and laughing. Maria’s stomach was huge. Olivia and Penny were playing frisbee farther down the beach, their heavy stomachs getting in the way of each throw. “Do you think we’ll all pop at the same time?”
“What, Jessica?” Lila asked with a sigh, opening her eyes.
“I said, do you think we’ll all pop at the same time?”
“Pop what?” Lila said.
“Pop out our babies,” Jessica said. “Duh.”
Lila scowled. “You have babies on the brain. Just shut up about it for once.”
“Looking good, Lila,” said a voice behind them. “Wish I could say the same for you, Jessica.”
“Why don’t you shut the hell up, Bruce,” Jessica said, her head whipping around.
“What?” Bruce said with a grin. “I see you’re catching up to your sister in the weight department.”
Lila shuddered. “I see you’re wearing your Speedo again.”
“I see you’ve stuffed a pair of socks down there,” Jessica added.
“This is all me, baby,” Bruce said, gesturing to his crotch. “I even manscaped, just for you. Or for any other ladies that happen to want a piece of this.”
“You missed the top of your asscrack,” Lila said, peering up at him.
“Oh, no way, dude,” Bruce said, turning around to check out his own ass. “I’m going to kill Roger!”
“Roger waxes your crack?” Jessica said, wrinkling her nose.
“Not very well, apparently,” Bruce muttered.
Suddenly, they heard a loud scream farther down the beach. “Oh, what now?” Lila said, annoyed, as she sat up and squinted into the sun, looking for the source of the scream.
“It’s Big Mesa!” Bruce yelled, running down the beach.
Hundreds of Big Mesa students – many of them heavily pregnant – had swarmed the Sweet Valley beach. Two of the boys were holding Ken by the arms while a third punched him in the stomach. The screams were coming from Todd, who, despite his love of punching people, was rooted to the spot with fear.
“Stop, man, I’m blind!” Ken yelled. “I’m blind!”
Jessica jumped up and looked to her right, where a Big Mesa girl with heavy blue eyeshadow was tugging on Caroline Pierce’s red hair. And Jessica could only watch in horror as a short, squat girl produced a razor blade from her weave and started slashing wildly at Jean West.
Jessica ran toward the girl with the razor blade. “Come on, Lila!”
“No, thanks,” Lila called back. “I’m still working on my tan.”
As she ran across the sand, Jessica tripped and fell down face-first, catching herself with her hands. A shadow fell across her.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t star cheerleader Jessica Wakefield.”
Jessica looked up and right into the face of the skanky ho that had first called her uptight at the Sweet Valley Mall.
“I’ll rip out your cheap plastic hair, you little slut!” Jessica yelled, launching herself up onto her feet and grasping at the girl’s head.
Laughing, the girl ducked out of her way. For someone who was about to drop a kid, she sure was spry, Jessica thought with anger.
“I see you managed to find someone to get you pregnant,” the girl snarled. “Who was it, that nerd with the glasses?”
“Fuck you,” Jessica said, aiming a fist at the girl’s face. This time, she connected, her knuckles plowing into the girl’s cheek.
“You bitch!” the girl yelled. She pulled at Jessica’s bikini top, but Jessica somehow managed to keep it from falling down. Thanks to Bruce, I’ve had lots of practice keeping my breasts covered, Jessica said, silently grateful one of her classmates was notorious at trying to untie girls’ bikini tops.
All around her, Jessica was dimly aware of the sounds of fighting. Winston was howling like a wounded animal, and she could hear the struggles of a Big Mesa football player Bruce was holding underwater. She could even hear Lila loudly snoring.
And then, as quickly as it began, the fight was over. The Big Mesa students were retreating, some of them badly wounded. “That’s right, go back to your shitty beach in your own shitty town!” Jessica yelled after the girl she had been brawling with.
The girl turned and gave Jessica an icy stare. Her lips curved upward in a frightening smile. “Don’t worry, Jessica,” she said. “We’ll be back. When’s the prom, again? Saturday?”

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11 2009

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