Prom Baby! – Word count: 39,462

“Elizabeth, you did it!” Mr. Collins said, picking up Elizabeth and twirling her around in an inappropriate fashion. “I don’t know how you came up with the religious angle, but it worked perfectly!”
He moved in as if to kiss his star student, but was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder from Mr. Wakefield.
“Mr. Collins, as your attorney, I would strongly advise you not to kiss a 16-year-old girl in the same courtroom where you were just acquitted of child molestation.”


On Saturday morning, Lila packed up the baby in his stroller and took him to Lisette’s to find the perfect outfit for his debut at the Sweet Valley High prom.
“We need to come up with a name for you,” she cooed to the little boy, who smiled widely in response. “Something perfect. Something … rich.”
She pushed the stroller between the aisles of clothing, but Lisette’s didn’t seem to stock any baby clothes.
“Excuse me,” Lila said sharply to one of the saleswomen, a long-necked and snooty looking woman in her 60s. “Where are your baby clothes?”
“Baby clothes?” the woman said, a snide grin creeping across her face. “We don’t carry baby clothes.”
“Since when?” Lila demanded. “I shop here every week, and I know I’ve seen baby clothes before.”
“We have never carried baby clothes,” the woman said haughtily. “Now, I suggest you take that – thing – and get out of here before he touches a 1,500-dollar dress with his grubby little hands.”
“Do you know who I am?” Lila demanded, getting up in the woman’s face. “Do you know who I fucking am?”
“I really don’t care,” the woman said. One of her co-workers, who had been watching the tail end of the exchange, came over and urgently whispered something in her ear. The woman’s expression quickly changed from one of superiority to one of embarrassment. “Oh, you’re George Fowler’s daughter,” she gushed. “I’m terribly sorry about our little … misunderstanding.” She took Lila’s arm and guided her away from the stroller. “I’ll help you pick out a dress, on the house. It’s the Sweet Valley High prom this weekend, isn’t it? Oh, but I must be mistaken – surely a Fowler wouldn’t attend a public school. You must go to Lovett Academy?”
Lila wrestled her arm away from the crusty old bitch. “I don’t need your help,” she said nastily. “Besides, I already have my prom dress – and it’s from Bibi’s.”
The woman gasped. “But, Miss Fowler–”
“Now, if you’ll excuse me,” Lila said, grabbing the stroller, “I’ll be going over to Bibi’s to see if they can dress my son for his big debut.”

* * *

“Everything’s all set,” Elizabeth said, taping up the last of the pink and blue streamers in the gym. “Thanks for your help, Jessica.”
Jessica, who was seated on the bleachers as she had been all afternoon, just shrugged. “It was nothing, Liz. I just told you what to do.”
“Are you excited for the big night?” Elizabeth asked, sitting next to her twin and flinging an arm over her shoulders.
“I guess so,” Jessica said, pointedly removing Elizabeth’s arm.
“Why are you suddenly acting all emo?” Elizabeth demanded. “You live for this kind of shit.”
“I’m not emo,” Jessica snapped. “I’m hormonal.”
“I guess that’s to be expected,” Elizabeth said. “It’s normal to have some crazy emotions during pregnancy.”
“Do you think this kid is really going to come out tonight? I don’t think I can stand being size 8 much longer,” Jessica said, frowning.
Elizabeth shrugged. “It looks like we’ll all be giving birth tonight, but remember, everyone is different. Just because the books said we’d all be due by the next big dance, it doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen.”
“I just feel so fat, you know?” Jessica said. She reached into her purse for a chocolate bar and unwrapped it, pausing slightly to examine it before shoving the whole thing in her mouth.
“It won’t be for very much longer,” Elizabeth said, soothing her sister. “And anyway, think about what else we have to look forward to tonight: You being crowned prom queen and the unprecedented slaughter of hundreds of Big Mesa students!”
“You’re right!” Jessica said, immediately brightening up. “I totally forgot!”
“How could you have forgotten?” Elizabeth asked with a laugh. “The details of the plot to kill everyone in Big Mesa were your idea!”
Jessica grinned. “Well, you did come to the right place,” she said.
“So,” Elizabeth said, wresting her notebook from her cleavage, which had by now grown to unbelievably large proportions, “let’s go over this checklist one last time. Decorations?”
“Check,” Jessica said coolly.
“And The Droids are all set for tonight, right?”
“I guess so,” Jessica answered.
“Birthing supplies?”
“Tickets?” Elizabeth asked, scribbling in her notebook.
“Sold out,” Jessica replied in a bored tone. “Winston and Maria will be taking them at the door, blah, blah, blah. Everything’s all set for tonight. Can we get home already? I’m only going to have six hours to get ready, and that’s cutting it close.”
“OK, hang on a sec, Jess. There are only a couple more items to go over.” Elizabeth made some more notes. “Crown for the prom queen?”
“Crown for me, you mean,” Jessica said. “I’m planning on just wearing it over here.”
“Jessica,” Elizabeth said, looking up from her notes and frowning at her sister, “it would be really kind of us to at least give the appearance that a non-Wakefield has a shot at winning the title.”
“Don’t push me, Liz,” Jessica said warningly.
“One more thing. Explosive devices?”
Jessica nodded firmly. “All armed and ready,” she said.
For once, Elizabeth looked anxious. “What if they don’t work?” she fretted.
“They have to work,” Jessica said. “I got Randy Mason to build them for me, and he’s a computer geek.”
“How did you convince him to do that?” Elizabeth asked.
Jessica rolled her eyes. “Have you ever heard of flashing your boobs?”
“Remember, as soon as you’re crowned prom queen at 10 o’clock, we have to get everyone from Sweet Valley High out of the gym,” Elizabeth said. “Don’t leave anyone behind.”
“What about the babies, do they count?” Jessica asked. “To be honest, I haven’t really thought much about what I’m going to do with mine after prom is over.”
“Of course the babies count,” Elizabeth said. “Jessica, you really should have thought this through. Having a baby is not like having a puppy. We can neglect Prince Albert and he somehow manages to pop up every few months when it’s convenient to the story. You can’t do that with a baby.”

* * *

Elizabeth sprayed a little bit of perfume on her wrists, adjusted her barrettes and stepped back to admire herself in the mirror. She looked perfect. The baby blue lace and high neck really set off her eyes.
As she was hurrying downstairs, the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it,” she called.
“Todd!” she said, opening the door. “Come on in.”
“Thanks, Elizabeth,” he said, presenting her with a single red rose. As he stepped into the house, Elizabeth noticed someone else was lurking in the shadows – Ken. And he was holding a tiny infant.
“Ken?” Elizabeth asked, confused. “Are you taking Jessica to the dance?”
“No,” Todd answered for Ken. “He’s taking us to the dance.”
“What do you mean?” Elizabeth asked. “And whose baby is that?”
“We’re going as a triad,” Ken said, stepping into the Wakefields’ foyer. “If that’s all right with you.”
“Of course,” Elizabeth said.
“The baby is ours – mine and Ken’s,” Todd said, beaming. “Her name is Hannah.”
“But how? Mr. Collins never covered same-sex reproduction,” Elizabeth said, furrowing her brow. “Maybe we just never got around to studying it.”
“Dana Larson agreed to be a surrogate for us,” Todd explained. “She gave birth this morning.” He took the baby from Ken. “And now I have an even better chance of becoming prom queen!”
“That’s really great,” Elizabeth said sincerely. “Congratulations, you guys.”
“Thank you,” Ken said, blushing slightly.
“Does Jessica need a ride?” Todd asked.
Elizabeth shook her head. “Not unless you want to wait 45 more minutes to leave for the prom. She’s nowhere near ready.”
They trooped out to Todd’s BMW and Todd strapped Hannah into her seat. On the way to the prom, she quickly fell asleep.
“Remember, you guys, after Jess – I mean, Todd – is crowned queen, get the hell out of the gym,” Elizabeth said. “And make sure Hannah is with you. Shit’s about to get real with Big Mesa.”
“Got it,” Ken said.
Inside, the gym was lit with a soft glow that emanated from the seven-foot-tall fetus Olivia had constructed out of paper mache and Christmas lights. “It’s beautiful,” Elizabeth breathed, taking in the full effect.
“You did a great job, Elizabeth,” Ken said. “You might give Todd a run for his money in the battle for prom queen!”
“Oh, no,” Elizabeth softly protested. “I’m withdrawing from the race.”
“Without Jessica getting you secretly plastered?” Todd asked, surprised.
“Let’s just say we made a deal,” Elizabeth answered. “Here, give Hannah to me. You and Ken should go dance your first dance!”
“Are you sure?” Todd asked.
“Yes,” Elizabeth said, taking the baby from him. “Go! Have fun!”
“Make sure you take good care of her,” Todd said. He reluctantly let go of his new daughter. “She really likes to be rocked. And if she starts crying, come and get me right away.”
Elizabeth gave him a withering look. “Todd, go dance!”
Turning away from the dance floor, Elizabeth watched The Droids onstage, Dana working herself into an energetic frenzy that didn’t seem to match the sluggishness of a sea of pregnant teenagers swaying on the dance floor. It was hard to believe she’d given birth to Hannah just that morning. Maybe that part won’t be so bad after all, Elizabeth thought, still not comprehending how something Hannah’s size could drop out of her hoo-ha.
“Elizabeth! Elizabeth!” Lila shouted over the music. Elizabeth turned to see where Lila was.
“Lila!” she called, raising a hand in greeting.
“Have you seen Jessica yet?” Lila asked. In her hands, she was holding a cute little boy with a big smile.
“I don’t think she’s here yet,” Elizabeth said. She bounced Hannah to the beat of the music. “So, that’s the little boy you adopted?”
“Yes,” Lila said proudly. “Rich. Well, actually Richard, but you know how much I love money, so isn’t that the cutest nickname?”
“Sure,” Elizabeth said.
“Well, you’re still size eight, so I know that baby’s not yours,” Lila sniffed.
“No, she’s Todd’s. And Ken’s,” Elizabeth said, glancing at The Droids’ lead singer. “And, Dana’s as well, I guess.”

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11 2009

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