You guys, I was looking up this book to find out the publication date, but THE EPISODE came up. If you go to about minute 2, you’ll get to see someone’s vision of Ronnie and Enid was brought to life. Ronnie is not how I picture him at all…
SHAMELESS PATREON PLUG. If somehow we make it to our our goal of $200 a month, I would be very open to recapping these Sweet Valley High episodes because they are clearly everything. EVERYTHING. In exciting news, we reached our first goal, which means Matthew and I are looking into what useful customisations we could make on the blog ourselves or what new theme we may have to purchase to improve the reading experience (AKA making it easier for people to binge-read a specific book).
Sweet Valley High, Secrets Chapter 7:
Back at school, everyone is still talking about the alleged affair between Ms. Dalton and Ken Matthews. I’m intrigued by how much attention this rumor has gotten in this book so far, and I wonder if it’s actually going to wind up being important. Either Jessica is somehow behind all of this or Ken Matthews is going to become a Main Character.
“I don’t buy it for one minute,” Elizabeth told Caroline Pearce, a member of Pi Beta Alpha sorority, after first period as they stood outside the French classroom. They were waiting for Ms. Dalton to arrive and unlock the door.
Elizabeth couldn’t remember her ever having been late before. But then everything about Ms. Dalton had seemed not quite right this past week. In class she was nervous and distracted. Elizabeth had noticed dark circles under her eyes, as if she hadn’t been sleeping well.
Hearing harmful rumors about yourself are known to be terrible for sleep. I think there have been some really interesting studies around that.
Elizabeth adds that Ms. Dalton is the bomb dot com, and it doesn’t add up that she’d be after a teenage boy. She’s right, on paper this doesn’t add up, but maybe there is more to this “Ken” fellow than meets the eye. I wouldn’t know because his word count is very low at this point.
Caroline presents an important viewpoint:
“Ken Matthews isn’t exactly a kid,” Caroline countered, primly tossing her impossibly neat red hair. Aside from Cara, she was probably the biggest gossip around— and the one person Jessica and Elizabeth could agree on disliking. “Besides, everyone knows she’s tutoring him. The question is, what is she tutoring him in?”
This seems like exactly the kind of shrewd person that Jessica would want to be friends with. Caroline is asking all the right questions – tutoring often leads to boning, so we the people have a right to know what Ken is being tutored in. Is it the ways of love? The secrets of a woman’s body? Or French?
Another new character, Olivia, leverages complex science to add authority to her argument:
“It’s the law of human nature,” put in Olivia Davidson, who worked with Elizabeth on the paper and was known for her liberal views on every subject from nuclear war to organic food. She was especially big these days on women’s rights. “A woman doesn’t reach her peak until she’s in her thirties. Men are practically burned out by then. So it makes sense, really, when you think about it. Though I still can’t imagine Ms. Dalton and Ken.”
This certainly explains why Ms. Dalton may have turned her nose up at a man in his thirties, but why not try a man in his twenties? If the rumors turn out to be true, then we can only conclude that Ken must have some irresistible, rugged charms that no woman in her right mind could say no to.
“I talked to someone in Ms. Dalton’s first-period French class who told me Ms. Dalton seemed upset, like she was on the verge of tears or something.”
“Maybe someone in her family just died,” suggested Lois, a shaggy-haired girl with oversized glasses which kept slipping down her nose as she talked.
Stop introducing new people into this conversation! All these new gossip-hungry students keep coming out of the woodwork. They’re not even adding interesting things to the discussion. Really, Lois? Someone in her family just died? Or maybe she’s heard that everyone thinks she’s sleeping with a student. If you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras, Lois.
The clown car of gossips opens to reveal yet another passenger:
Guy Chesney, keyboard player for The Droids, skidded to a stop before them, whipping out a grubby pad and a pencil stub that looked as if it had been chewed by a pack of rats. His impish brown eyes were lit up with mischief. “I’m taking a poll,” he said. “So far it’s only one out of three in Ms. Dalton’s favor. Goes to show, people always want to believe the worst. Me, I thrive on rumors.”
Elizabeth wonders if anyone has just asked Ms. Dalton if there’s any truth to all of this. Thankfully, Caroline points out how absurd this is. Are they meant to just stroll into Ms. Dalton’s classroom and expect her to be like, “Yep, I’m boinking a student,” if that’s the case? I think not.
Ms. Dalton shows up for class. It’s about time, Dalton.
She seemed more subdued than usual, and she was wearing a pair of very dark sunglasses—something Elizabeth had never seen her do before. A ripple of uneasiness edged its way up her spine. Suppose, just suppose, it were true. . . .
She’s definitely guilty if she’s wearing sunglasses! You know how I know this? Because it’s never a good sign when someone is wearing sunglasses indoors, especially when that someone is a teacher.
Ms. Dalton froze as she entered the classroom. Someone had scrawled on the blackboard in large block letters:
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT A FRENCH KISS IS, ASK KEN MATTHEWS
This is clever because she is a French teacher who might be kissing a student, and french kissing is also a thing. Whoever wrote this has a bright and promising career in comedy.
Ms. Dalton runs out of class crying. It’s not clear what happens after this and if the teens are deprived of an education because we jump ahead to Elizabeth trying to catch up with Enid after third period. It’s never a good idea to try to have a heartfelt conversation with an estranged friend between classes, there just will never be enough time to resolve the conflict before the bell rings.
“Enid, you’re my best friend. I would never betray you. You have to believe me. I swear I didn’t tell anyone about those letters.”
“The next thing you’ll be telling me is that your room is bugged.”
THAT’S WHAT I SAID! I actually think this should have been her conclusion before assuming that her best friend and the nicest person at Sweet Valley High would betray her that way. Jessica definitely would bug the room!
Elizabeth offers to talk to Ronnie to sort everything out, but Enid isn’t buying what Elizabeth is selling here. Even though what she’s selling is everlasting friendship and loyalty.
By lunchtime it was all over school that Ronnie and Enid had broken up and that Elizabeth had something to do with it. Between Ms. Dalton and Enid, the gossip mongers of Sweet Valley High were in heaven.
YOU PEOPLE ARE ANIMALS!
Jessica tries to console her sister, and she even offers to talk to Enid on behalf of Elizabeth. I have never heard a more suspicious idea in my life, and at first Elizabeth sees things my way…until Jessica is offended that anyone could be suspicious of her offer!
Jessica pretended to be hurt. “Jeez! Excuse me for breathing! I was only trying to help—you don’t have to bite my head off. I just hate seeing you this way, Lizzie. And also, maybe because I’m the tiniest bit sorry for Enid. It really is awful the way Ronnie’s been treating her.”
“Would you really talk to Enid?” Elizabeth felt her initial skepticism begin to melt beneath the warmth of Jessica’s generosity.
This is unbelievable. Elizabeth, for shame. Haven’t you met your life? How can you not see that this is all part of Jessica’s game. This is just like on Scandal when everyone is a piece of shit all the time, like Cyrus Beam for instance. Cyrus will come in and be like, “SIR, MR. PRESIDENT, I AM YOUR HUMBLE SERVANT AND FRIEND.” And everyone is like, “Awww, Cy, we love you!” And then he tries to have them all ruined for good. Always. Stop acting surprised and falling for this nonsense, people!
The chapter ends with Jessica running off to go talk to Enid. I bet this interaction will lead to more terrible misunderstandings, which is crazy because it should lead to Enid immediately figuring out that Jessica is behind all of this.