Post-coital Tristesse — Word Count: 37,608

“Mr. Collins?” Elizabeth cried.

Mr. Collins looked up at her, startled. And around him peeked Jessica.

“Jessica?” Elizabeth exclaimed. I was wrong, she thought grimly. Things just got a lot worse. She jumped up off of Bruce’s lap and ran toward her sister, not believing that it really was her.

“Um, hey there, Liz,” Jessica said with a nervous laugh. She ducked back behind Mr. Collins as if she were using him for a shield.

“Put some clothes on!” Elizabeth cried, scrambling to get around Mr. Collins, who held his arms around Jessica protectively.

“Shut up, Liz,” Jessica said through clenched teeth. “You’re making a scene.”

I’m making a scene?” Elizabeth repeated. “I’m the one who’s making a scene? You’re the one flashing your cooch to everyone in sight!”

“And we all appreciate it, Elizabeth,” Mr. Collins said gently.

Elizabeth cast a helpless glance in Bruce’s direction, but he was staring past her, directly at Jessica’s ass.

“How could you, Jessica?” Elizabeth said, choking back sobs. “Of all the things…”

Bruce laughed. “You mean, you didn’t know she was working here?”

“Yeah, everyone knows Gemini,” Winston chimed in.

“Gemini?” Elizabeth asked angrily.

“Well, every stripper needs a stripper name, Elizabeth,” Jessica said, rolling her eyes. “Duh.”

“And why do you look like me?” Elizabeth asked angrily.

“It’s because you guys are identical twins,” Lila supplied helpfully.

“I know that,” Elizabeth snapped. “What I mean, Jessica, is why are you wearing barrettes? You never wear barrettes.”

“Dancing is hard work,” Jessica said smoothly. “It helps keep my hair out of my eyes.”

“Jessica really does work hard,” Mr. Collins said, giving Jessica a proud smile. “You should see her work the pole.”

“I’d like to see her work my pole,” Bruce said, reaching over a stripper’s ass to give his cousinbro a high five.

“She does that really well, too,” Mr. Collins said, nodding to Bruce.

“You’re pretending to be me, aren’t you?” Elizabeth asked, her voice rising. “You pretended to be me on the phone with Stan this morning, and now you’re pretending to be me so that Mr. Collins will give you a good grade in English!”

“Um, this isn’t high school any more, Liz,” Jessica said in a tone that implied she thought her sister was unbelievably stupid. “This is real life. I don’t work for good grades — I work for cash money.”

“I do tip very well,” Mr. Collins said, holding out a ten-dollar bill to Elizabeth, who waved it away in disgust.

Jessica shrugged. “If you won’t take it, I will,” she said, reaching around Mr. Collins to snatch the money.

“Seriously, I wouldn’t waste that much on a Wakefield,” Bruce commented. “Neither one of them’s worth it.”

Elizabeth’s mouth dropped open. “Bruce, I thought we were BFFs!” she cried.

“Question: If we’re BFFs, does that mean I can still get in your pants?” he asked.

“Uh, yeah,” Jessica butted in. “Obviously.”

Lila nodded in agreement. “Liz, I know you don’t like to come out and say it, but you’re totally easy,” she said. “We’ve known it since you started cheating on Todd every five minutes when we were in high school.”

“I never cheated on Todd!” Elizabeth said emphatically. She felt as if she were being attacked. “Never!”

“What about all those times in the office at The Oracle?” Mr. Collins said. “I think they all count.”

“And I’m pretty sure you fucked that werewolf or whatever,” Jessica piped up. “In London.”

“I know where that was,” Elizabeth snapped.

“Don’t forget Devon Whitelaw,” Lila said. “I still can’t believe you were seduced by a bunch of stupid chemistry tricks.” She rolled her eyes. “You’re such a nerd.”

“Better you than me,” Winston interrupted, grinning at Elizabeth as he stuffed yet another dollar bill into one of the strippers’ thongs.

Elizabeth closed her eyes and tried to gain her composure, but it was getting more and more difficult. She felt a familiar arm slip around her shoulder.

“What’s wrong, Elizabeth?” Mr. Collins asked gently. Elizabeth tried to ignore his body pressing closer and closer against her, but she could already feel the tears welling up in her eyes.

“It’s just— it’s just—” she began, but she wasn’t able to finish before the tears were running down her cheeks.

“Is it because your sister’s a whore?” Mr. Collins asked. “I know that’s a tough situation to be in.”

“That’s partly it,” Elizabeth said, sniffling. She opened her eyes and looked into Mr. Collins’ concerned face.

“It’s probably because you’re also dating the Sweet Valley date rapist,” Jessica said, coming around to give her sister an awkward half-naked hug.

“Hey, watch it,” Bruce growled, snatching back the dollar he had been about to throw in Jessica’s direction.

“I still don’t think Bruce is the Sweet Valley date rapist,” Elizabeth said. “But I will admit that the accusations against him have messed with my head a little bit.”

“Is it because I’m now a hipster douchebag who won’t give you the time of day?” Winston asked, not making any attempt to move from his seat to envelope Elizabeth in yet another hug.

“I do miss you, Winston,” Elizabeth said sincerely. “We used to have so much fun together.”

Winston responded by snorting loudly.

“I think you’re upset because you got caught doing perverted stuff,” Lila said, her nose stuck high in the air. “We all knew you weren’t as innocent as you let on.”

Elizabeth shook her head. “No, I swear I had no idea the Unicorn Club was this type of establishment,” she said, blushing. “Although I am embarrassed to be here.”

“Are you upset that you have to share me with Jessica in our triad arrangement?” Stan asked hopefully.

Elizabeth shuddered, a cold chill running from the top of her head all the way down her spine. “Oh, god no,” she said with a grimace.

“Roger, do you have anything you want to say?” Mr. Collins prompted.

“Huh? What?” Roger asked quickly, tearing his eyes away from the supple ass gyrating six to twelve inches from his face.

“I said, do you have anything you want to say to Elizabeth?” Mr. Collins prodded.

“Uh, no, not really,” Roger said, resuming his activity.

Elizabeth once more gave Bruce a hopeful look. Say something, Bruce, she silently willed him. For some strange reason I don’t understand, everyone here will listen to whatever you have to say, even though you’re a total asshole — unless it’s to deny that you’re the Sweet Valley date rapist. In that case, no one will believe you. But if you tell everyone what you really know about me — just the good parts — they’ll all believe you and we can pretend this whole entire awkward moment never even happened.

“Well, I’ve got something I want to say,” Bruce said, locking eyes with Elizabeth and standing up. She could feel her breath catch in her chest as she waited for him to speak.

Behind her, Elizabeth heard a loud noise. It sounded like something between a shriek of joy and a cat in heat. She could see Bruce’s eyes widen in surprise as he fixed them on a point beyond Elizabeth. What on earth is that? she wondered as she spun around to face whatever was there.

“Enid?” she whispered. Her onetime best friend had a maniacal look in her eye, and Elizabeth didn’t like it one bit.

* * *

“Ken! Ken, come back here!” Todd yelled, trying his best to run after Ken, who was rapidly walking back to his car. Todd was having a hard time trying to keep up with athletic Ken. He doubled over, holding his side, and tried to catch his breath.

I have to make it to him, Todd thought. I have to push on. I fucked things up with Elizabeth, and I’m not going to make the same mistake with Ken. Straightening up, he watched with despair as Ken opened the door to his Toyota and started up the engine. In a matter of seconds, he was gone, peeling out of the parking lot with a loud screech.

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04 2011

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