WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT
I started reading Sweet Valley High at age ten. A new book came out every month, and I purchased it with my allowance. By the time I stopped, I had over a hundred SVH books. I donated them, with permission from her parents, to one of the older girls I had babysat. She was ten at the time.
A few years ago I stumbled upon the Sweet Valley High: Ten Years Later book. This was supposedly written by Francine Pascal, unlike the SVH series which had been created but not written by her (the pseudonym “Kate Williams” was used by many different ghostwriters).
Yes, I had always thought Elizabeth and Todd were a bit boring, but they were good together. They fit. Todd and Jessica? Elizabeth and Bruce? Not so much.
Last week I found the Confidential compilation of six books. I read it and finished at 3am. I was so angry, I wrote the second piece below.
This morning, after thinking a bit more, I wrote the first piece.
The first is what might have happened if SVH were real. The second is a more realistic SVH ending. I think you’ll see why I switched the order.
“…is Annie Whitman.”
There was a moment of stunned silence, but before Annie could get a word out, the crowd was on her. “No!” Annie cried, meaning that what Bruce had said was wrong. It was a mistake. But the crowd either didn’t hear, understand, or care. Her hair was pulled, punches and kicks quickly bringing her to the ground.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth found herself in Bruce’s office. Inside the safe, to which she knew the combination, was one of his father’s guns. Tears streamed down her face, but there was really no other option. She’d given up her journalism career, the only one she’d ever wanted, digging to get the truth to exonerate Bruce. She’d done it because she loved him. She’d trusted in her friendship with Annie and been stabbed in the back. And she’d lost Bruce. Jessica, her twin had Todd and, while she was over Todd, the betrayal added to the overwhelming weight she felt pushing her down. She’d always been there for her friends, her family, even strangers making up lies about her boyfriend. It had all been for nothing.
Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, Bruce, realizing his mistake, had followed her. But he wasn’t fast enough because he walked into the study just as a loud bang went off. Elizabeth had placed the gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger.
Quickly, Bruce ran to her side and pulled her bloody body towards him. “Oh, Liz, baby, no, no, it was a mistake, ” he cried into her chest. But it was too late.
A second shot rang out and Bruce Patman lay dead next to his true love, Elizabeth Wakefield.
Outside, Annie’s corpse was barely recognizable. Even so, when word spread about Elizabeth and Bruce, the crowd decended on her once more. Easy Annie had really done it this time, they felt.
When Jessica found her twin dead, she sealed herself in the Patman mansion and refused to let anyone touch the bodies of Bruce and Elizabeth. She took to calling her son Jake, “Todd”, which was his father’s name, and eventually lost visitation with Jake.
Todd had tried to reason with Jessica after that fateful day, but she couldn’t stand the sight of him. Todd, and anything related to Todd, reminded her too much of Elizabeth. It reminded her of how she had broken one of the most sacred rules of sisterly love — not dating, marrying, or having a child with your sister’s longtime boyfriend. In what was perhaps the last shred of the old Jessica, she placed the blame on Todd, forgetting her own role in the tryst.
Aaron and Steven had one more child. A girl they adopted — they had been scared off of surrogates — and named, “Elizabeth”, after Steven’s favorite sister.
Lila and Ken had a girl who was more of a self-centered bitch than Lila herself.
Missy, who had always thought that she and Bruce would wind up together, developed an addiction to fast food and pills. A combination of the two killed her less than five years later.
Eventually life began to get back to normal in Sweet Valley. But the story of the Wakefield twins and Bruce Patman became a story adults whispered. Children would dare each other to ring the doorbell of the Patman mansion because sometimes you could see a curtain move aside and a once beautiful face, now ravaged by time and madness could be seen peering out.
“… is Annie Whitman.”
Bruce finished, searching the crowd for Annie. His eyes brushed passed Elizabeth Wakefield, the woman he truly loved, the woman who had abandoned him from the start. His heart pounded as his eyes paused on Elizabeth. She was crying and it tore at him.
Annie stood still. It would be so easy. Easy. That word echoed in her mind. Easy Annie, her old nickname. She looked at Elizabeth and saw how much she loved Bruce. How Bruce had paused and was staring at Elizabeth.
Annie took a deep breath. She could have what she’d always wanted — she could have Bruce Patman — but she wouldn’t have his love. Not really.
“Bruce,” Annie spoke, loud and clear. “You don’t love me. You love Elizabeth.”
The hurt look that crossed his handsome face was impossible to miss.
Annie continued, “And she loves you. She’s the one who found all of the information. She kept digging, kept looking for the facts. She took a trip to Kentucky to find the truth about Robin, I mean, Mona. She promised us all to secrecy.”
Everyone in the huge crowd was looking from Bruce to Annie to Elizabeth. But Annie only noticed that Bruce and Elizabeth were looking at her.
“Is it… is it true?” Bruce sounded unsure. Elizabeth, the woman he had loved for years, the woman who had doubted and left him when he needed her most.
Annie looked at Elizabeth, one of her oldest and closest friends. Elizabeth was looking at Bruce.
“Yes,” Annie answered for Elizabeth.
“Yes,” Jessica, Elizabeth’s twin chimed in.
“Yes,” Aaron, brother-in-law to Elizabeth, who had helped her uncover the truth about Bruce said. He smiled and pulled Steven, his husband and older brother to the twins closer. Their baby daughter made a happy sound from her spot in Steven’s arms, being held by one daddy and hugged by the other.
“Liz?” Bruce asked, hopefully.
Tears were streaming down Elizabeth’s face. She loved Bruce, heart and soul. She was too choked up to answer, so she simply nodded. Bruce walked over to Elizabeth.
“You’re not going to just forgive her for what she–” Missy tried to block Bruce from reaching Elizabeth.
Bruce pushed past Missy and reached for Elizabeth. He pulled her in for a kiss, but not before saying, “Missy, shut up.”
And then his arms were around Elizabeth and they kissed.
“You know, it’s going to take some time before I can trust your love for me,” Bruce whispered against Elizabeth’s cheek.
“I know,” Elizabeth nodded, her face against his. “And I’m sorry.”
“I love you, Elizabeth Wakefield, ” Bruce said, wiping away her tears.
“And I love you, Bruce Patman, ” Elizabeth murmered before he kissed her again. Their relationship would take time to heal, they both knew that. But they were willing to give it how ever long it needed.
“Don’t ever leave me again.”
“I won’t, ” Elizabeth promised. And she never did.