As the man got into the car, Enid again looked at his face, this time, recognition dawning on her. “Oh, I know you!” she said, giggling.
The man smiled at Enid as he reached behind her seat and pulled out a paper cup and a bottle of wine. He poured the wine into the paper cup and added a small pill. “The wine is a 1945 Merlot. The date rape drug is a 1995 roofie,” he said, handing her the cup. “It was an excellent year.”
Enid accepted the cup and pounded back the wine. “You’re Bruce Patman,” she said, wiping her chin with the back of her hand.
“Something like that,” he said, turning the key in the ignition as Enid slipped into darkness.
Elizabeth smoothed down her linen suit. She was confident her first day would be perfect. How could it not be perfect? Elizabeth thought. I’ll be working with some of my best friends in the whole world. And I am a Wakefield twin.
“Jessica, hurry up,” she called up the stairs. “I don’t want to be late for my first day.”
As she waited for her twin, Elizabeth busied herself by setting the table for breakfast. Much as the twins’ mother used to when the girls were in school, Elizabeth had prepared a large meal of pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Jessica wandered into the kitchen, bleary eyed. Her hear was sticking up in fifteen different directions. “I can’t believe you’re making me actually drive you to work,” she mumbled, sitting down and piling food onto her plate.
“You know we only have one car, Jess,” Elizabeth said, setting a mug of steaming-hot coffee in front of Jessica. She poured herself a mug and sat across from her twin.
“Ugh, so lame,” Jessica said, biting into a piece of bacon. “Aren’t you going to eat anything?”
Elizabeth shook her head quickly. “No, I’m too excited to eat,” she said. “Or maybe too nervous. I can’t tell.”
“What is there to be nervous about?” Jessica said. She took a big gulp of her coffee and washed it down with a huge chunk of maple syrup-covered french toast. “It’s only Bruce.”
Elizabeth shrugged. “It’s not Bruce I’m worried about,” she said. “It’s the whole date rape thing.”
“If you want, I’ll give you my rape whistle,” Jessica offered.
“I’m not afraid Bruce is going to date rape me,” Elizabeth said. “I’m afraid everyone in town is going to believe all the rumors. I just know he’s innocent!”
Jessica rolled her eyes. “You honestly believe that?”
“Yes, Jessica, I do,” Elizabeth said, annoyed. “Why is it so hard to believe that Bruce isn’t a date rapist?”
Jessica choked on her waffle. “You’re joking, right?” she asked, laughing. “Good one, Liz.”
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes. “Jessica, this isn’t funny! Bruce could go to jail.” She stood up, and walked over to the sink, dumping the remnants of her coffee down the drain. Elizabeth looked at the clock on the microwave. “Come on, Jessica. If we don’t leave in the next five minutes, I’m going to be late for work.”
Jessica tipped back the last of her orange juice and grabbed a piece of toast for the road. “Fine,” she said. “Let’s go.”
Outside, the sun was shining on the beginnings of a beautiful day. Elizabeth used her hand to shade her eyes from the glare as they walked to the Jeep. Across the courtyard, she could see a figure stumbling down the sidewalk. Is that Enid? Elizabeth asked herself. Damn, she looks rough.
As Enid drew closer, Elizabeth could see her curly hair was wild and her shirt was hanging off one shoulder. One side of it was tucked into her unbuttoned jeans. She was also missing a shoe.
“Elizabeth?” Enid slurred. “Is that — is that you?”
Jessica and Elizabeth exchanged a meaningful glance. “She’s a total crackie,” Jessica whispered to her twin.
Elizabeth hurried over to her friend. “Enid? Are you all right?” she asked.
“I’m OK now,” Enid said dreamily, staring up at Elizabeth’s face. Her eyes half closed and she took another step, stumbling and falling into Elizabeth’s arms. Elizabeth caught her friend and gently set her down on the sidewalk.
She crouched down to look Enid in the eye. “Enid, what’s happened to you?” Elizabeth asked.
“I was on a — on a date,” Enid said. She pulled a lighter and a pack of cigarettes out of her pocket and struggled to light one.
“Enid, that’s wonderful,” Elizabeth said sincerely. “I’m so glad you finally found someone.”
Jessica stood nearby, her arms crossed over her chest. She tapped one foot impatiently. “Nice to see you again, crackie,” she said snidely. “Come on, Elizabeth. You don’t want to be late, do you?”
“Late for what?” Enid said, coughing. “Are you going on a date?” She giggled.
“No, Enid,” Elizabeth said, pulling her friend to her feet. “It’s 8 o’clock in the morning. I’m on my way to work.”
“Oh, work,” Enid said knowingly. She giggled again. “Got to write all those — all those news stories, huh?”
Elizabeth shook her head sadly. “No, Enid, I’m not working at the Sweet Valley News anymore,” she said. “I’m starting my first day at Bruce’s company, Patman Canning.”
“Ohhhh,” Enid said. “I know him. I went on a date with him once!”
Elizabeth nodded solemnly. “I’m sure you did, Enid,” she said. “He used to date lots and lots of women. And his standards weren’t always so high.”
Enid giggled. “Wait, did I say once? I meant last — last night,” she said. “I hardly remember it, though. I don’t — I don’t even know how I got here.”
Shocked, Elizabeth looked up at her twin, who raised an eyebrow. “Now do you believe me about Bruce?” Jessica asked.
Enid sat down again and slumped over onto the sidewalk, laughing and closing her eyes. A few seconds later, she was loudly snoring.
“I just don’t know, Jess,” Elizabeth whispered. “You said yourself that Enid’s a crackie. her word could be very unreliable. Besides, Bruce is usually attracted to women who are prettier than Enid.”
“Who cares?” Jessica said, exasperated. “Just leave her here. We have to go.”
“Jessica!” Elizabeth said. “We can’t just leave her here! What will the homeowners association say about a crackhead sleeping on the sidewalk?”
“So they’ll fine us,” Jessica said, grabbing her twin’s arm and pulling her away from Enid’s sleeping figure. “Big deal.”
As Elizabeth was pulled away from her friend, she turned over her shoulder to give Enid one last look. Could Bruce really have date raped Enid? Elizabeth thought sadly. Now I don’t know what to think.
* * *
“Do you really have to go back to work?” Lila asked, flipping through a rack of evening gowns at Lisette’s. “Can’t you just skip out on it?”
“Mr. Collins said he would be there,” Jessica replied, pulling a lime green catsuit off the rack and holding it up against her body. She looked in one of the mirrors lining the walls of the store. “I make my most money when Mr. Collins comes into the club. And I’m going to need as much money as I can get my hands on if I want a new car.”
“I thought you were blowing Stan for money,” Lila answered, shoving a strapless black dress back onto the rack. “Wasn’t that your grand plan?”
Jessica shook her head. “It’s the strangest thing,” she said. “He won’t return any of my calls.”
“What?” Lila asked, spinning around and clutching her chest in mock horror. “A man won’t return a call from one of the Wakefield twins?”
“He will, soon enough,” Jessica snapped. “I may just have to pretend I’m Elizabeth, that’s all.”
“It’s so strange,” Lila mused. “You’re the hotter twin by far — obviously — but for some reason, every man you meet wants you to act like you’re Elizabeth.”
“Not every man,” Jessica said hotly. “Just the majority of them.”
“Whatever,” Lila said. She pulled an expensive-looking purple taffeta gown off the rack and threw it on top of Marshall, who was serving as the girls’ shopping cart for the day. “Oh, darling, don’t drool on that,” Lila admonished him. “Jess, wipe off his chin, will you?”
Jessica waited until her friend’s back was turned and wiped off Marshall’s chin with the hem of the purple taffeta gown, then threw the catsuit on top.
“So, have you talked to Marshall the fifth — uh, Stan — recently?” Jessica asked, trying to sound casual. She pretended to carefully examine the price tag on a hot pink minidress.
“No,” Lila said, wheeling Marshall around to another rack of extravagant dresses. “Why would I?”
“Just wondering,” Jessica said. “It’s just that we all had such a wonderful time on our date last weekend, and I was wondering if he’d said anything to you about it, that’s all.”
Lila shook her head. “No, I haven’t talked to him lately,” she said. “But I’m sure you’ll be seeing him soon.” Sooner than you think, bitch! Lila thought with a smirk.
* * *