Sure enough, at the next turn, there was Ken’s Toyota wrapped around a tree, smoke pouring out from under its hood. Todd slammed on the brakes, bringing his car to a stop in the middle of the road and jumping out.
He ran toward Ken’s car, the sharp pellets of rain pelting his face. Please be OK, Ken, he hoped. Please be all right.
Todd could feel the heat of the engine fire as he approached the Toyota. Throwing up one arm to shield his face, Todd moved cautiously toward the car. Any second now, this thing could blow sky high, he thought as he choked on the acrid smoke. It filled his lungs, making it impossible to breathe.
Reaching the driver’s side door, Todd hesitated for a split second before yanking it open. Ken was slumped over the steering wheel, his eyes closed and his face pale.
“No!” Todd screamed, coughing.
I have to get Ken out of here, he realized. I’m his only hope.
Panting, Todd grabbed Ken by the collar and pulled with all his might. Ken barely budged. “Come on, Ken,” he growled, bracing himself and once again pulling. The heat from the flames was now getting unbearable. Todd staggered back and gulped in a bit of fresh air before making one last attempt to get Ken out of the smoking car. This time, Ken came free, falling out of the car. Todd dragged him a few feet away from the car just as it blew up. He jumped on top of Ken to shield his body from the explosion.
Underneath him, Ken moaned and stirred.
“Ken, can you hear me?” Todd asked frantically, grabbing Ken by the chin. “Ken, it’s me, Todd.”
Ken coughed and struggled to sit up, his eyes fluttering open. “Todd?” he asked, squinting.
“It’s all right,” Todd reassured him, stroking his cheek. “I’m here now.”
“Todd?” Ken asked again, staring vacantly at Todd. “Oh my god, I’m blind!”
Todd gasped. “Oh, Ken, you can’t be blind!” he cried.
“It happened once before,” Ken said grimly. “I’m sure it can happen again.”
“No, I mean, I don’t think I can date a blind guy,” Todd said. “That seems like an awful lot to put up with.”
“Oh,” Ken said, crestfallen. He sighed loudly. “I guess you really do love Elizabeth more than me, then.”
“No, that’s not it,” Todd said softly, once again caressing Ken’s cheek. “Sure, I could be with Elizabeth — I could promise her a loveless, sexless marriage. I could promise that she’d never cry again.”
Ken nodded, looking down at the ground, even though he couldn’t see it.
“But that’s not what I want,” Todd said. “Ken Matthews, I want you.”
“Really?” Ken asked, looking up at Todd, even though he couldn’t see him.
“Really,” Todd confirmed. “And if you’re blind, well, I guess that’s something I’ll just have to get used to.”
“Oh, Todd,” Ken said, groping in Todd’s general direction until he found him. The two of them embraced warmly.
Suddenly, Ken pulled back. “I’m not blind anymore!” he cried.
Todd smiled. It was the best thing that had happened to him all day.
Jessica couldn’t hear a thing. She struggled to keep Enid in her grasp. She saw Elizabeth and Lila’s mouths open in screams, but they barely registered in her ringing ears.
What is Roger doing? she wondered. He’s really gone off the deep end!
Dragging Enid behind her, Jessica slowly made her way toward the door. She realized it would be faster if she just dropped Enid, but she’d gotten an excellent grip on the bitch’s hair and she wasn’t about to let go now.
As Jessica’s hearing slowly came back, she faintly heard a new sound: sirens. Elizabeth must have heard them, too, because she mouthed the word “police” to Jessica.
“Duh,” Jessica mouthed back, rolling her eyes.
Mr. Collins looked from side to side for an escape. “I can’t let the cops get me again,” he yelled at Elizabeth.
“Mr. Collins, there’s nowhere to go!” Elizabeth cried frantically.
“Who fucking cares?” Jessica yelled. “All I’m interested in is seeing them arrest this crazy bitch!”
“I’ve already been arrested once today!” Enid yelled back. “They can’t keep me in jail!”
“Shut up,” Jessica hissed, pulling on Enid’s hair one more time for good measure.
Just then, two cops busted into the VIP lounge, their guns drawn and pointed at Roger. They ordered him to drop his weapon, and Roger immediately tossed it onto the floor and threw his hands up in the air. One of the officers grabbed Roger and cuffed his hands behind his back.
The police officers moved cautiously around the room, making sure no one else was armed. When they were satisfied it was safe, they turned their attention to Jessica and Enid.
“What’s this?” one of them said, a sneer on his lip. “Ho fight?”
“Of course not,” Jessica snapped. “Only one of us is a ho.”
“Hey, isn’t this Enid Rollins?” one of the officers asked, leaning down to examine Enid’s face.
“Yes, it is,” Elizabeth volunteered.
The police officer shook his head as if he were extremely disappointed in Enid. “First you abandon your kids, now you’re getting into fights at the strip club,” he said. Then he added in an aside to Enid, “Not that I blame you. This one’s stacked!”
“Thank you,” Jessica said, flashing the police offer her best Jessica Wakefield grin. “Now are you going to arrest this bitch?”
The police officer shrugged. “It’s an awful lot of paperwork,” he began. “And, as you may have guessed by our slow response to the whole Sweet Valley date rapist thing, we’re not really concerned with the safety of women in this town.”
“I’ll say,” Lila said, rolling her eyes. “We were all practically killed just now.”
“Lila?” Elizabeth said, pointing to a spot behind Lila. “Speaking of killing, is Stan all right?”
Lila turned around to see Stan slumped in a chair. They had all forgotten about him. “God, I hope not,” Lila said. She cautiously took hold of Stan’s wrist and felt for a pulse. “He’s alive,” she announced. “He’s just been sleeping through this whole thing.”
“How could he have slept through this?” Jessica demanded. “I was fighting another woman — topless!”
Lila rolled her eyes. “He’s an old guy, Jess. If you want to gold dig, you’ve just got to get used to these things.”
“Ugh,” Jessica pouted. “But I’m used to lots of attention!”
Lila laughed and tossed her glossy brown hair over her shoulder. “Wake up, Jessica! Haven’t you noticed that it’s Elizabeth who’s been getting all the attention lately?”
The two police officers exchanged glances. “Clearly, we’ve lost control of this situation,” one of them said. “We’ll just be on our way. You folks have a nice afternoon.”
“Wait a minute!” Enid screamed. “Get this bitch off of me!”
In response, Jessica yanked on Enid’s hair. “Shut up,” she hissed.
The other police officer threw his hands up in the air and slowly backed away. “Hey, now, I’m not getting on Gemini’s bad side. I regularly frequent the Unicorn Club,” he said.
Enid sighed loudly in frustration, but the sound of it was lost in a commotion coming from the door to the VIP lounge.
A third police officer entered the lounge — with a handcuffed Bruce in tow. “Look!” the officer exclaimed. “I caught the Sweet Valley date rapist!”