ANYWAY. Let's jump back into the Sweet Valley timeline, after that summer bike trip tangent.
Sweet Valley High #22: Too Much In Love
It's dinner time at Casa Wakefield, and Ned and Alice are going to be out of town for a few days, as Ned is working on a big case and there's another lawyer in Mexico City who has a bunch of documents there that he needs and apparently there's no such thing as the postal service in this universe. The twins convince their parents that they can take care of themselves while they're away and certainly don't need a babysitter. Ned and Alice agree to let them stay home on their own, after all it's not as if either of them have ever been kidnapped, or tried to run away from home, or got into a near-fatal motorbike accident, or ended up abandoned in a forest at night, wearing nothing but a bikini after being almost sexually assaulted by a college dude.
Elizabeth is in charge of organising an upcoming school talent show and calls up DeeDee Gordon to ask if she'll design the sets for the background of each act. However, DeeDee is all squirrelly and weird and won't commit to doing it until she talks to her boyfriend Bill about it first. Elizabeth is puzzled by her reaction, as Bill has nothing to do with the show and DeeDee is usually super excited about design projects. Elizabeth mentions it to Patty Gilbert, DeeDee's BFF, "a beautiful black girl with short, dark hair and large, sparkling brown eyes." Oh my god! It's only taken 22 books to introduce a person of colour, other than Penny Ayala. DIVERSITY! Apparently, Patty is "one of the most popular, talented girls in her class", although how popular can she really be, if this is the first we've heard of her, HMM? Anyway, Patty has also noticed a change in DeeDee and tells Liz that she'll get her to commit to doing the set design.
It turns out that DeeDee is being all strange and insecure because her parents split up and her mother told her it was because she and DeeDee's father didn't make enough time for each other in their relationship and then things just fell apart. As a result, DeeDee has gotten super clingy with Bill and has abandoned all her other interests, like the art classes she was attending. She turns up at his house unannounced, freaks out if he doesn't seek her out to say hello before homeroom and waits around outside the boys locker room for him to finish swimming practice.
Meanwhile, poor Bill is feeling smothered by the sudden change in his girlfriend and feels like he's spending all his free time smoothing things over with DeeDee because she keeps getting upset at how busy he is. We discover that DeeDee is also acting this way because her art teacher had told her about her own divorce and how her ex has remarried a plain and unthreatening woman, who had no career or other pursuits to distract her. Teachers are always confiding in their students in this town and it's really pretty weird.
They're supposed to have a double date with Patty and her boyfriend from out of town on Friday night, but Bill ends up qualifying for regionals (like Glee! But with swimming!), and instead of just going out with her friends and meeting up with Bill later on, DeeDee drags Patty and her boyfriend to the swim meet. She then proceeds to make a holy show of herself when Bill wins, running down the steps to the pool, screaming his name and throwing her arms around him, mortifying the poor fella.
With the Wakefield parents out of the way for the week, Jessica immediately starts planning a massive house party and enlists Lila Fowler to help her, as the key to an excellent party is down to the guest list, apparently. Lila is seeing a college guy called Drake, and decides to invite him and some of his mates along to liven things up. So that's definitely going to go well.
That weekend, Bill is supposed to meet DeeDee on Saturday night, but he has the day to himself and has arranged to go see an old movie with fellow film buff Dana Larson that afternoon. He feels guiltily relieved to get a break from his newly overbearing girlfriend and hasn't told her about his cinema plans, as it would only upset her. Unfortunately, as they're leaving the cinema, they run into Jessica and Cara out shopping for the day. Never one to miss an opportunity to ruin someone's day, Jessica tells DeeDee about Bill's trip to the movies, making it sound like DeeDee has something to be worried about, even though she knows full well he and Dana are just friends. For all her suntanned, "All American" good looks and winning smile, Jessica is essentially a cruel person. You see, Bill had the nerve to go and hook up with DeeDee instead of Jessica, like fourteen books ago, but nothing holds a grudge like Jessica Wakefield's vagina.
|These are supposed to be sixteen year old kids! DeeDee looks positively middle aged! Real Housewives of Sweet Valley howareya. Also, Bill looks like an Eighties Aryan villain of some sort. That's a sinister jawline if ever I saw one.|
Just then Elizabeth walked into the lounge, "DeeDee!" she said, startled. "What's wrong? You look terrible!"
Fucking hell Liz, put the boot in anyway.
Elizabeth tells DeeDee to try talking to Bill again when they've both calmed down. She does so, but Bill says he needs more time. "He just wasn't ready to be shackled again." Ouch. Without Bill to pester, and with her self-esteem at an all-time low, DeeDee starts plaguing Elizabeth looking for help and advice with the sets for the talent show. Elizabeth already has loads to do and DeeDee is driving her cracked, so she and Patty come up with a plan to help DeeDee realise that she can do this, get her confidence back and take her mind off Bill in the process.
Elizabeth calls DeeDee and tells her that she's sick and can't come into school and asks DeeDee to take over setting up the show. After a chaotic organisation meeting where everything seems to be going wrong, DeeDee eventually gets into the swing of things, sorts out all the problems that have sprung up and starts to enjoy design work again. She has a chat with her mother, who explains that the divorce happened because she and her father had become different people and it wasn't because she had her own interests. DeeDee ends up throwing herself into the work and becomes so busy that when Bill calls one evening she doesn't even come to the phone because she's painting and in the zone.
The night of Jessica's free gaff party arrives and it's all going rather well, until Drake and his friends show up "reeking of beer" and end up taking the party up more notches than Jessica is ready for. The neighbours complain about the noise and two cops show up at the door, looking for someone over the age of eighteen who can take responsibility for the party, when Steven materialises out of a nearby hedge.
"I'm over eighteen," a familiar voice said behind Sergeant Malone. The next minute Steven Wakefield stepped out of the shadows.
As the Wakefield kids survey the damage after the party, they discover that a floor plan for a big important job their mother is working on has had beer spilled all over it and it was the only copy. (Although if it's actually that important then it seems pretty unlikely that it's the only copy, but whatever.) Jessica rushes over to DeeDee the next morning to see if she can replicate the drawings somehow. She apologises profusely for trying to sabotage her and Bill and DeeDee is way, WAY too nice to her.
"You don't have to apologise just to get me to help you."
Ehh, YES SHE FUCKING DOES. And the only reason she actually IS apologising is because she needs a favour, you can be sure she wouldn't bother her perfect size-six hole otherwise. DeeDee comes back to the house with her and redraws the plans in half an hour (HA!) just in time for the Wakefield parents to arrive home. Jessica ends up having to tell them about the party anyway though, because a fancy crystal vase got smashed. After being angry with her for all of four seconds, Ned and Alice forgive her and Jessica continues to lead her consequence-free life, despite being a terrible person.
The talent show goes really well and DeeDee gets a big round of applause for all her hard work. She's back to her old, confident self and she and Bill make up during the show, now that she's an independent woman (throw your hands up at me).
Olivia Davidson was the first entrant in the show. She played a love song on her guitar, and she sang in a sweet, clear voice that made tears come to DeeDee's eyes.
Fucking Olivia and her fucking guitar. I swear to god.
Eventually it's Todd's turn, but instead of doing a stand-up routine like he said he was going to, he goes all Buzz Killington and recites a Christina Rossetti poem about sorrow and death, because it turns out that he's moving away from Sweet Valley and is apparently a massive diva. He breaks the news to Elizabeth afterwards and we end with them holding each other and crying. CLIFFHANGER!
There were no outfit description in this one at all, which quite frankly just isn't on. So I'm going with the little intro we got for Dana Larson, who is always a delight.
She was a tall, pretty girl with a short, New Wave haircut, a dynamic smile, and a funky, offbeat wardrobe.
YES. TELL US MORE PLEASE.
Things I counted:
Number of pages:153
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 9
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 4
References to people crying: 26 (It's mostly DeeDee. She does a LOT of crying.)