So, I realize that it’s been several months since I left you all on the edge of your seats, anxiously awaiting the reveal of Enid’s Big Bag Secret and how Jessica will use it to screw her over. I apologize – really, I do!
We open at Cara Walker’s house, where Jessica is lamenting how hideously ugly she is as “her sun-colored hair shimmered about tanned shoulders left bare by the silky Hawaiian print sun dress that perfectly complemented her blue-green eyes.” She may be getting ready for a date with Tom McKay, but her heart REALLY beats for only one man: Bruce Patman. After all, he is 1) movie-star handsome, 2) fabulously rich, and 3) drives a bitchin’ black Porsche. (SPOILER ALERT! I believe it is revealed in a later book that Bruce’s license plate reads PATMAN, or PATMAN1, or some such variation.) Jessica will just die if she is not crowned Queen of the Fall Dance, because Bruce is a shoo-in to be named King.
While Jessica is preparing for her evening out, Elizabeth and Enid are at Casa de Wakefield (complete with Spanish-tiled kitchen) making chocolate chip cookies. Elizabeth is extremely concerned because Enid has been crying all night, and Enid has been acting strangely ever since taking up with the brooding Ronnie Edwards 2 months prior. Elizabeth uses her Oracle-sharpened investigation skills to get Enid to reveal her big secret (which Enid fears will cause Ronnie to hate her!)
Are you ready?
Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn Enid Rollins has a POLICE RECORD! That’s right… Goody Two-Shoes had a run-in with the po-po. Two years prior, filled with teenage angst, she took up with a Bad Crowd (and a Bad Boy named George Warren) and started doing drugs. One afternoon she and George got stoned out of their minds, hopped in his GTO, and promptly mowed over a little boy. Enid was scared straight after probation and turned into the goody-goody we know and love, while George and his GTO got shipped off to reform school.
Ronnie has a temper, though, and would be less than thrilled with Enid if he were to discover her secret past and the fact that she and George are pen pals. Enid produces a whole sheaf of illicit love letters to show Liz, and in a frenetic, giggle-filled debate over whether Enid snores or not (I wish I was kidding), neither of them notices as one of the letters falls to the floor.
I trust, gentle reader, that you already know where this is going. During one of her daily visits to rifle through Elizabeth’s belongings, Jessica finds the letter. (Choice quote: “It’s like the time we took all those bennies, and before we know it we were cooking along in the GTO doing eighty or ninety…”) Because she is a sociopath, she makes a photocopy of the letter and gives it to Ronnie. Ronnie then takes Enid to “park” (translation: Get. It. ON!) and when she tells him to hit the brakes, he counters with something along the lines of, “You never told Georgie-Boy to hit the brakes!”
Ronnie dumps Enid. Enid blames Liz. Because she is a sociopath (and partially because Bruce is supposedly dating a 19-year-old), Jessica asks Ronnie to the dance.
Lila Fowler, Voice of Reason: “The girl he’s taking to the dance is nineteen, for heaven’s sake… I can’t believe anyone that ancient would want to hang out at a high school dance.” WORD, girlfriend.
Meanwhile, SVH’s young, beautiful French teacher Nora Dalton gets dumped by Lila Fowler’s father, because she is supposedly having an affair with Ken Matthews, star SVH football quarterback. Rumors are rampant all over town and she is suspended. Ahh, the 80′s – a simpler time, when rumors about teachers sleeping with students made it into school newspaper gossip columns.
Back at the Wakefields, it’s the day of the Big Dance. The twins have to clean their rooms, and Liz finds the letter that Enid left behind. She finally figures out that it must have been Jessica who spilled the beans to Ronnie. Enid goes to Ms. Dalton’s house for some unknown reason and Ms. Dalton gives her the courage to show her face at the dance. While she is getting ready, the doorbell rings…. who could it be???
Of course, it’s George. And he’s super-sexy and devastatingly charming blah blah blah they’re in love and he just happens to have an orchid corsage to slip on her wrist.
Enid and Liz make up. Jessica is crowned Queen, but to her HORROR, nerdy Winston Egbert is crowned King! Now she will have to attend the Big Disco Dance in three weeks with him! (Do they have giant, elaborate balls every month in this town? I remember in my school we had shitty dances where you paid $6 bucks at the door, or $5 with a canned good. We never had a Big Disco Dance.)
But when all hope seemed to be lost for Jessica, Bruce “swept her with a long look that sent an electric shock tingling up her spine”. Will they pop a whole bunch of bennies and drive off into the sunset in his Porsche? Find out in Playing with Fire, SVH #3!
“Not many outsiders knew what went on in the smoky confines of Max Dellon’s basement, where they held their practice sessions.” Okay, it’s called smoking pot. And then lighting incense in an attempt to hide the evidence.
“Her knees went weak as warm Jell-O, and her heart thundered in her ears.” This was Jessica, being deeply affected by Bruce Patman as he was “loping toward the staircase, looking impossibly gorgeous, as usual, in a pair of off-white cords and a heather-blue sweater that matched his eyes”. My question here: Why warm Jell-O? It’s not as if cold Jell-O has the consistency of granite. And don’t get me started on men wearing off-white corduroys. In Southern California. Sigh.