Sweet Valley Confidential: Chapter 6
In this week’s Jessica chapter, we resume the exciting adventure of Jessica and Todd feeling sorry for themselves.
“Is Elizabeth coming [to the birthday party]?”
“Are you kidding? Like, there’s no way. Not with us there.”
Maybe the reason they don’t have friends anymore is really just because they’re super boring now.
“Maybe one day she’ll forgive us. That would be like Elizabeth.”
“You still care for her, don’t you?”
It was a question Jessica had asked many times in these last months
To her fiance who was previously engaged to her identical twin? Yeah, I’d imagine I’d have a few questions.
Todd answers that Elizabeth is “someone you can’t stop loving”, which Jessica agrees with, and then awkwardly segues into this chapter’s tangentially related flashback.
She had never faced anything of this magnitude without Elizabeth’s comfort and good counsel. Eight months ago in France […] the only one she called was Elizabeth. […] She remembered the strength that conversation gave her.
Man, you can really see the seams stitching this book together. “Today’s flashback is brought to you by strength gained from a conversation. It was the most important conversation that ever happened, obviously, and is very much like what’s happening here now.”
Thankfully, Jessica’s narration of her adventures in France is just as ridiculous and inane as you would hope.
I click off my cell phone, or as the French insist, le portable
Wait, wait, wait. Jessica. You’re telling me that in France, the French insist on speaking in French?
Boy, and here I was doubting Jessica was actually ever in France. Good thing we got that little detail that French was spoken. My mental picture is complete!
So what was Jessica’s life actually like then? Let’s learn a little something about this marriage with this Regan guy already!
Why anyone whose magnificent blue-and-white 149-foot yacht is sitting glistening in the dazzlin sunshine of the Cote d’Azur, stocked with an ever-obliging crew of ten and a doting husband, wouldn’t feel safe and loved already was a question peculiar to me. But that’s the way it is.
Ok, so Jessica’s got wealth and means confused with love and comfort. This isn’t the most surprising thing we’ve ever read. I’m a little amused that “ever-obliging crew of ten” was a necessary detail on her list of reasons why she should feel loved, anyway. Classic Jessica! So what’s the problem, Jessica?
I love the parties and the private planes and yachts and all that stuff. Like, who wouldn’t? But his friends are all too boring, and I know they don’t like me. […] We don’t want to do the same things.
Okay, but how boring is he in comparison to, oh, I don’t know, Twitter?
Even updating Twitter would be more exciting, if only I had something interested to say.
Shit, he’s even losing out against Twitter! What a great modern example of how people talk ten years after Sweet Valley High!
I can’t shit on this too much, though, because at least Sweet Valley High gets the one thing that Fifty Shades, Crossfire, Twilight, and any given Maddox Brother novel don’t: feeling trapped by a possessive partner isn’t romantic, it’s terrifying.
I know he loves me, but it’s too much. In the beginning all that attention was delicious, but now it feels more like he’s obsessed, and it’s suffocating. I mean, he’s every place I turn. And like I feel a bit of an edge, that same edge that was so exciting when I first met him. Now it feels like almost dangerous. […] He could be very jealous, with dangerous hints of physicality.
Also, in case you’re keeping track of all that “like” stuff we talked about in chapter 4: drink, drink.
She gives a couple examples of times of how Regan would react disproportionately and insecurely to little things, like “harmless flirting, just me being me” at charity affairs. Or, my favorite example:
It so wasn’t my fault that the [boat] captain was gorgeous and happened to be steering the boat with nothing in front of him but empty sea and my topless body. For hours. What was I supposed to do? That’s where the sun was.
Jessica explains that Elizabeth picked up on all this right away (because she “sensed it like an old brain warning”, which I guess is an expression now), but Elizabeth of course couldn’t know about how great it was for Jessica to get away from Todd. But, alas, it isn’t working out.
No, it so isn’t working for me.
There was no real reason to include that last quote. Just remember that when actually reading this book, you get a lot of sentences like that.
Jessica plans her escape, deciding to come up with a story that she’s going to go shopping early the next morning, but actually go to the airport. But Regan surprises her by also waking up early to go on the trip with her! At the store, Jessica pulls a Twilight:
I’m trying to figure out like how to get away from him (drink) long enough to catch a taxi to the airport. The best possibility is the ladies’ room.
So how would you write this scene where Jessica leaves her emotionally abusive, sometimes physically abusive husband? Perhaps you’re thinking… a series of wacky mishaps? Because we get this scene where:
- Jessica gets into a cab, tries in vain to communicate “take me to the airport” to the cab driver, who apparently has never heard the English word for “airport” ever in his line of work.
- But then he then can’t move because of a car parked in front of them! So Jessica tries to communicate in her terrible French again to get the driver in front of them to move his car forward.
- But then the driver in her cab doesn’t get that he can drive around the other car now? For some reason?
- But then the first car’s passengers arrive, and take forever getting into the car! Oy vey!
It’s… tonally confusing. To say the least. Maybe I sound like I’m being harsh, but seriously, I have no idea whether this scene where she’s abandoning her husband is supposed to be tense or comedic, and Jessica is literally pretending to be an airplane.
“Plane!” I add the wings with my arms.
Jessica eventually gets to the airport and gets on a plane, terrified her husband will catch her and with no idea what he’ll do if he does. Good thing we properly set the mood with all those wacky jokes about trying to get a cab! But she finds some comfort in how she’ll soon be back “in the arms of my sister, the safest place in the world”. Until the flashback ends.
But not anymore.
Maybe you don’t get why. Well, Sweet Valley Confidential‘s got you covered, just in case you haven’t actually read a single word of the previous five chapters.
Now Jessica was just like everyone else; the uniqueness of the twinship was gone.
I’m not saying stories can’t make up words if it turns out to be the most effective way to get a point across, but I kind of think we got this one by now.