My Sister the Vampire Book 3: Re-Vamped! (Chapter 6)
Ivy looked her up and down. "Don't you think it's a little risky to try and switch for lunch with your parents?" she whispered. "Besides, I would never wear black pants and black flats like that – it looks far too businesslike."
"I'm not trying to be you," Olivia seethed through clenched teeth. "My mom's making us all go Goth in your honor!"
Ivy started laughing. "If you think I look funny," Olivia huffed, "wait till you see my parents!"
She led Ivy to the dining room, where her mom had set the table. "Despite it being weeks ago, we're pretending it's Halloween," said Olivia glumly. Her mom had draped the table with a black tablecloth on which she'd ironed white applique skulls. In the center of the table was a candle, and there were cheesy napkins with jacko'- lanterns on them from a costume party they'd had when Olivia was like six.
"Ivy's here," Olivia called in a loud voice.
Ivy looked around, clearly confused that Olivia's parents were nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly there was a creaking noise, and just outside the French doors that opened onto the patio, the basement cellar door was flung open.
Out climbed Olivia's dad dressed in black leather pants, a dark purple button-down shirt, and a black tie with glow-in-the-dark eyeballs on it. His breath looked like clouds of smoke in the cold December air.
"Is your father wearing eyeliner?" Ivy whispered. Olivia nodded, speechless with horror.
"Deadly to see you, Ivy," her father said haltingly as he opened the French doors and came in.
"Hi, Mr. Abbott." Ivy smiled. "Nice pants."
Suddenly a few notes of eerie classical music boomed through the house, so loud that Olivia and Ivy both put their hands to their ears.
Somebody turned down the volume abruptly, and then smoke started pouring out of the cellar. "Dry ice," Olivia's father said proudly.
A pale hand emerged, quivering, from the cellar. Then Olivia's mom floated up the steps in a shredded black dress and bunny ears that she'd spray-painted black. She was wearing heavy black makeup: eyeliner, mascara, lipstick – the works. She was even wearing gray blush, which made her look sort of dead.
"Welcome to the Abbott haunted house," Olivia said under her breath.
Her mom entered the dining room. "Greetings, Ivy!" she said dramatically – in a British accent for no apparent reason.
Ivy giggled and curtsied, which only made things worse.
They all sat down to lunch, and Olivia's mom proudly served up the Beef Ghoulash she'd made.
It smelled really gross, so Olivia tried not to breathe through her nose at all. Her mom had made "blood" (tomato) soup specially for her, so she stuck to that and helped herself to the blackened blue potato salad.
"So, Ivy, Olivia tells us you live in quite a . . . pad?" Olivia's dad attempted. Olivia's mom shook her head disapprovingly at him.
"Quite a house?" he tried.
"One as nightmarish as you can do better than that, Steve," Olivia's mom challenged.
"Quite a . . . crypt?" he said tentatively.
Her mom nodded approvingly, and Olivia put her head in her hands.
Ivy grinned. "Our house is one of the oldest in Franklin Grove," she answered.
Olivia couldn't believe that her sister actually seemed to be enjoying herself. She decided to try and steer the conversation away from Gothrelated topics, so that, just maybe, her parents would stop embarrassing her.
"You know, Ivy was once a cheerleader," Olivia said brightly.
"Really?" Olivia's mom asked eagerly, her regular perky self showing through for a moment.
Ivy nodded. "It's true," she confirmed. And as she told Mr. and Mrs. Abbott all about it, Olivia hoped she'd hit on the one subject her parents couldn't possibly turn Goth.
Olivia's dad cleared his throat. "Go on, Audrey," he said encouragingly. "Let your darkness shine!"
"Well, actually," Olivia's mom began, "when we were decorating today, a little Goth cheer happened to come into my head."
Olivia groaned. "Please, no!"
Ivy elbowed her sister and said, "I'd love to hear it."
Olivia shot her a death squint as her parents stood up and moved to the side of the table. Her mom struck some sort of zombie pose, her dad did the same, and Olivia wished the floor would open up and swallow her.
"We are Gothic. We are dark!" Olivia's mom moved jerkily as she chanted and struck a new zombie pose when she stopped.
"We are Gothic in the park!" Mr. Abbott chimed in.
Olivia rolled her eyes.Then her parents started chanting together.
"See us brood and see us prowl.We will scare you with our growl! Grrr, grr, grr!"
Ivy clapped loudly. "I'd love to see Olivia and the squad do that one," she said, grinning.
Olivia's mom looked hopeful as she sat back down at the table.
"Maybe you could teach it to me later," Olivia said wearily.
After what seemed like hours, everybody finished eating and Olivia jumped to her feet. "I'll clear the table," she volunteered.
"I'll help," Ivy offered.
Olivia's mom started to protest, but Olivia said, "Have a seat, Elvira!"
"It's customary in Goth culture for the twin girls to clear the dishes," Ivy added with a smile.
"I guess we could get used to that," Olivia's mom responded, grinning at her husband.
Once they'd made it into the kitchen, Olivia set the plates down and turned to look at her sister.
"Are you freaking out?" she blurted. "Because I'm freaking out!"
"No," Ivy answered. "Why?"
"You don't think this is strange behavior for parents?" Olivia demanded.
"Olivia, my father won't even meet you!" Ivy said. "At least your parents are trying. Besides, if you think you're embarrassed by your parents, you should have seen Brendan at the mall last night when his dad showed up."
Olivia put down the sponge. "You met Brendan's father?"
Ivy nodded. "He wants you and me to come over to their house for lunch tomorrow. Apparently, Mr. Daniels has been dying to talk to us.
Can you come?"
"Sure!" Olivia said, rinsing a plate. "Do you really think he might be able to prove I have some vamp in me?"
Ivy glanced nervously toward the doorway to make sure no one was around. "You can't say anything like that tomorrow at the Daniels', Olivia. If Brendan's parents find out that I told you, who knows what might happen?"
How are we supposed to talk about anything with Brendan's father, Olivia thought, if we're not allowed to talk about anything? At the same time, she knew her sister was right.
Olivia was drying the last dish when she realized she was dreading returning to the dining room, where her parents were still posing as Goths. "Would it be okay if I didn't go shopping with you and my mom?" Olivia asked Ivy tentatively. "You don't want to go shopping?" Ivy marveled.
"I can't take any more of my mom's weirdness," Olivia admitted. "I could stay here and do more research on the Internet – like, looking up twins in Owl Creek."
"Okay," Ivy agreed. "I've never had a mother before. It'll suck to have one to myself for a whole afternoon."
"Let's get manicures!" Olivia's mom said to Ivy excitedly as they descended the escalator. There was a new nail place called Cute-icles on the ground floor.
"Why not?" Ivy said gamely. "I've never had a manicure before."
"But you have such beautiful hands!" Audrey exclaimed as they stepped off the escalator.
Now this is what I need a mother for, Ivy thought as Audrey pulled her along enthusiastically.
"What color are you getting?" Audrey asked her, staring down at the tray of bottles.
Ivy looked at all the different colors. "I think I'll go for Midnight Maroon."
"That's what I was going to pick!" Olivia's mom squealed. "The girls in bridge club are going to be so shocked."
When they were done at the nail salon, they flitted from store to store, trying on funny earrings and stuff. At Spins Records, Audrey asked Ivy to play her "what the Goth kids are listening to," and then proceeded to seriously rock out at a listening station to the new Final Fangtasy album, doing a zombie dance in the aisle. Now I know where Olivia gets her bubbliness from, thought Ivy.
After that they went to Dungeon Clothing, where Olivia's mom noticed Ivy admiring a top and made her try it on. Peeking out from behind the dressing room curtain, Ivy spied Audrey waiting for her to emerge. For a moment, she tried to pretend that she really was her mother.
This is what it's like, she thought, to go shopping with your mom.
Ivy stepped out from behind the curtain and cleared her throat. Audrey sprang up from her seat and looked her up and down. "That looks deadly awesome!"
Ivy couldn't help smiling at Audrey's mangled speech. "You think so?" she said, turning around and looking herself over in the mirror. The top really was drop-dead – it was like a black spiderweb stretched over a shimmery gray satin camisole – but it didn't seem to fit quite right. Audrey held a finger up and rummaged through her purse. Finding some safety pins, she stood behind Ivy and took a handful of fabric. "Hold still," she said and popped two pins in. It was as if the top was transformed by a magic spell before Ivy's eyes. It hung perfectly. "H-how did you do that?" Ivy stammered.
"Olivia says I'm a domestic goddess," Audrey replied proudly.
Moms totally suck! thought Ivy.
A little while later, she and Audrey were sharing a table in the food court.
"So tell me about your father," Audrey asked, sipping a Diet Coke daintily so she wouldn't smudge her latest application of Ivy's lipstick. Ivy put down her burger and stared at her plate.
"Don't you get along with him?" Audrey pressed.
"I usually do," Ivy admitted. "I mean, I love him. He's always been amazing. But it's hard not to be mad at him lately."
"Because I don't want to move to Europe," Ivy answered glumly.
Audrey nodded sympathetically. "I remember when Steve told me he needed to move to Franklin Grove for work."
"What did you do?" Ivy asked.
"I cried," Audrey recalled. "And Olivia, well . . . she wouldn't come out of her room for a week. It was awful."
"Then what happened?" asked Ivy.
"Now I can't imagine living anywhere else," Audrey said, smiling. She reached out and put her hand on Ivy's. "You'll be all right," she said.
"Nothing can break the bond you and Olivia share. Not even an ocean."
Ivy nodded bravely.
Suddenly Audrey glanced at her watch and her face fell. "Oh, my goodness, how time flies!"
As they drove out of the parking lot a little while later, she offered to take Ivy home. Ivy was about to accept when Audrey added brightly, "I could meet your father."
"I just remembered," Ivy improvised. "I promised Olivia before we left that I'd meet her back at your house . . . so that she could walk me home . . . for the exercise."
"You're sure I shouldn't just drive you?" Audrey said, clearly disappointed.
"Maybe another day," Ivy said as cheerily as she could.
Olivia was actually relieved to have an excuse to get out of the house. Just the sound of her mother's voice squealing "way deadly!" to Ivy upon their return from the mall made her want to scream.
"How'd your research into our parents go?"
Ivy asked as they strolled past the cemetery on the way to Ivy's house.
"Pathetically," Olivia answered. "You know how many sets of twins there are from Owl Creek?"
"I can think of at least one," said Ivy.
"Three," Olivia said. "Aside from us, there's Eddie and Freddie, who now run a pizza parlor in Chicago, and a brother and sister figure skating Roller Derby team.Want to guess what the skaters call themselves?"
Ivy made a face. "I thought we were a strange pair."
"The Slippery Sliders," Olivia revealed.
"I couldn't find any mention of us – or even a birth announcement for twin girls," Olivia lamented. It's hard not to be discouraged when every path we explore leads nowhere, she thought.
Ivy nodded sadly, almost like she could hear Olivia's thoughts. Then she stopped. "Did I show you the top your mom got me?"
When Olivia shook her head, Ivy reached into her knapsack and pulled out a low-cut, supercute spiderweb thingy. She held it up in front of her and batted her thick black eyelashes.
Olivia gaped. "My mom wouldn't let me out of the house in a shirt like that!"
"Well, she was like a vamp in a bloodbath today," Ivy said matter-of-factly. "You should have seen her doing the zombie in the middle of Spins."
Olivia covered her eyes with her hands. "I always thought my dad was the embarrassing one. Anyway," she continued, determined to be mature about it, "I'm glad you two had a good time."
Ivy nodded. Olivia looked at her. "Didn't you?"
"Of course," Ivy said quietly. "She was utterly great, and I . . . well, I kind of found out what it was like to have a mom." She kicked the pavement with the tip of her boot. "But Audrey's not my mom," she went on. "She's yours.You're really lucky, Olivia," she finished in a whisper.
Olivia felt tears spring to her eyes. Yeah, I am, she thought. She wrapped Ivy's arm in her hands and, together, they climbed Ivy's long driveway in silence.
"Dad!" Ivy called, unlocking the enormous front door. "Olivia's here!" Her voice echoed through the stone corridors. "Dad?"
Olivia followed Ivy to the kitchen. There, on the stone counter, lay a note.
"'Darling,'" Ivy read aloud, "'I got your message, but I had to go out. Regards to your friend Olivia.'"
"'Your friend'?" Olivia repeated incredulously.
Ivy threw her bag on the countertop. "I can't believe it. He's purposely avoiding you because you're human!" she seethed. "Well, at least we can do some more investigating into our real parents on the VVV."
Olivia hadn't seen her sister so mad. She shook her head. "I think we've had enough of parents for one week," she said."Why don't we have some fun? Call Sophia and see if she can come over."
A half hour later, the three of them were hanging out in the living room, doing impressions of the Beasts, when they were surprised by the pipe- organ doorbell ringing. Ivy ran to get it, and Olivia and Sophia followed.
"Oh, hi, Georgia," Olivia heard Ivy say as she pulled open the front door.
"Goooood afternoon, Madame Ivy," a voice purred.
"Holy water!" Sophia whispered to Olivia. "It's Georgia Huntingdon, the editor of Vamp!"
Olivia took a step to the side so she could get a better look, but all she could make out over Ivy's shoulder was a puff of white hair.
"My dad isn't here," Ivy was saying.
"She's planning a story about a crypt that Ivy's father's working on," Sophia whispered.
"That's so cool!" Olivia squealed.
"Cool?" the voice inquired. "Did someone say 'coooool'?"
Ivy stepped aside, and Olivia finally got a good look at Georgia Huntingdon. Wow! she thought.
The woman wore a luxurious emerald-green fulllength silk coat, with jeweled buttons. She was also wearing bright red lipstick that punctuated her pale face like a smear of blood. Her hair was stark white, a beehive of curls piled atop her head and held in place with an emerald bat hairpin. Olivia couldn't tell whether she was thirty or three hundred, but she was the most stylish person she had ever seen.
"Cooool," Georgia Huntingdon purred, smiling at Olivia and revealing perfect teeth, "is about to be the new hot."
"But like I said," Ivy told her apologetically, closing the door to the cold, "my father's not home right now."
"Oh, I'm not here for Charles," replied Georgia. "I'm here for you. And your sister. I'm putting you two on the cover of Vamp."
Sophia gave an involuntary scream of excitement.
Ivy seemed too stunned to speak. Georgia Huntingdon brushed past her and walked up to Olivia. She extended a cool, firm hand. "Georgia Huntingdon, Vamp magazine."
"Nice to meet you," Olivia replied, shaking hands.
"Does the look on your face tell me you are unfamiliar with Vamp?" Georgia asked.
"We are a high-fashion monthly, catering to vaaaaaa – "
Vampires! Olivia thought.
" – rious Goth tastemakers," Georgia finished, smiling coyly. She studied Olivia's face carefully, as if trying to detect whether Olivia had noticed her slipup.
Olivia decided to play dumb, since no one was supposed to know she was in on the vampire secret. "Sorry, I don't read your magazine," she said, wrinkling her nose. "I'm not really into heavy metal."
Georgia laughed uproariously. "Chaaarming," she cooed. Olivia exchanged a secret look with Ivy, who nodded approvingly. It seemed Georgia had bought her innocent act.
"I'm sure your father wouldn't mind me doing a shoot right here right now?" Georgia half asked, half told Ivy as she looked around the hallway. "It wouldn't be the first time we've photographed in this house."
Ivy shrugged speechlessly.
"Excellent!" exclaimed Georgia. "Shall we begin?" She pulled open the front door. "Kitty! Kong!" she called.
A pale woman in a dark business suit and angular glasses appeared at the front door with a clipboard.
She entered and surveyed the room, silently greeting everyone with a professional smile.
That must be Kitty, thought Olivia. Behind Kitty, a bald man with huge muscles and a tight black top appeared with an armful of camera equipment. And that must be Kong!
Georgia beckoned to the girls as Kitty and Kong began scurrying around. "I am sorry for the short notice, but we are on a verrrrry tight deadline," she said. "The magazine comes out on Wednesday, and I only just learned of your story – but it's much too big to leave for the next issue. Don't you agree?" Suddenly her eyes fell on Sophia.
"Who are you? A trrrriplet?" she said, rolling her "r" mercilessly. Then she gave a full-throated laugh.
"My name's Sophia Hewitt," Sophia said, shaking Georgia's hand firmly. "As an aspiring photographer myself, I am a huge fan of your magazine, Ms. Huntingdon."
"Oh?" Georgia said. "Then how would you like to assist Kong today?"
Sophia tried to speak, but all she could do was wiggle around excitedly. It was like she'd been turned into a jellyfish.
"Go on," Georgia smiled, waving her away to where the muscle-bound photographer was unpacking some lights across the room.
As Sophia went to help Kong, Kitty appeared, pushing an enormous rack of clothes with each hand – one filled with dresses in shimmering dark shades, the other with lighter and brighter ones. On the second rack, Olivia immediately noticed an ivory satin sleeveless cowl-necked gown that looked like something Marilyn Monroe would have worn. She reached to look at the label. "Is this a real Margot Chenille?" she gasped. "Of course!" exclaimed Georgia.
Ivy fingered a sequined black flapper dress with a fringed bottom. "How do we know what will fit?"
"It all will," Georgia answered with an obvious gesture, "because Kitty has only selected the latest fashions in your size."
Olivia and Ivy exchanged excited looks – Olivia could tell her sister was nervous about all the attention, as usual, but they were both total fashion hounds.
For the first shot, Kitty had draped a pale sash of silk dramatically over a chaise longue in the foyer. After consulting with Kong, Sophia helped pick the sisters' outfits. For Olivia, they chose a bright pink Coco Loco cocktail dress with a formfitting sleeveless top, while Ivy wore a midnightblue off-the-shoulder number from Before Dawn.
This is so fun! Olivia thought, carefully walking to the chaise in her specially selected, superhigh heels.
"Olivia," Kong's deep voice boomed from behind his camera, "I want you to make a face like you are blowing the biggest bubble gum bubble ever." Olivia puffed up her cheeks and widened her eyes. "Bigger!" Kong commanded. "Bigger!" Olivia felt like her face was going to pop off.
"Now, Ivy, pretend to pop your sister's bubble," Kong instructed.
"Yessss!" Olivia heard Georgia hiss approvingly as Kong's flash started popping.
After a few minutes, Georgia clapped her hands briskly. "The camera looooves you," she said. "Time for the next outfit!" and whisked them away to change.
Next, Olivia and Ivy put on matching tight satin dresses, except Olivia's was white while Ivy's was black. The dresses had this really cool thing happening, like they were being peeled back layer by layer as they rose up the body, from tons of fabric on the bottom to just a thin layer on top.
Ivy looked gorgeous. I guess since we're identical twins, Olivia realized happily, that means I look gorgeous, too!
Georgia led them to an alcove off the front hall, where there was a grand piano. "Could there be a more perfect backdrop?" she enthused. "The caption will read: 'Ivy and Olivia, ebony and ivory, make music together!'" Sophia directed Ivy to sit at the keyboard, while Kong had Olivia take off her shoes and sit on top of the piano.
Kong told Olivia to pose like a lounge singer, while Ivy pretended to play the piano. They finished with both girls standing atop the piano, holding their high-heeled shoes in their hands and shouting the words to "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night." Georgia and her crew looked ecstatic.
Then Olivia changed into a luxurious burgundy satin ball gown, while Ivy slipped into a dark green one that trailed onto the stone floor, and they posed next to one of the balusters at the bottom of the main staircase. Olivia felt just like a character in the Count Vira novels she loved so much.
Kong handed the camera to Sophia to let her take some pictures.
"More drama! More passion!" Sophia called enthusiastically.
Ivy stood beside Olivia on the bottom stair, one hand on the balustrade and the other on her hip, while Olivia tried to accentuate her cheekbones for the camera.
After Sophia gave the camera back, Olivia saw her whispering in Kong's ear. Then Kong waved Georgia over and Sophia continued whispering to the two of them. Kong's bald head bobbed enthusiastically on his enormous shoulders.
"Young lady," Olivia heard Georgia say at last, "when you are of working age, you will call me."
Then she turned away. "Kitty!" she called, "I want every drop of makeup off these girls."
Once their faces were completely clean, Kitty told Olivia and Ivy to follow her to the guest bathroom on the second floor. Olivia thought it was so they could change again, but when she got there, Kong and Sophia were setting up lights.
Sophia came over. "This is going to be killer," she said. She gestured to a tall, ornate oval mirror that leaned up against one wall. "We're going to shoot you so you're looking at yourselves in the mirror. Except you won't be able to see the camera in the shot."
"You can do that?" Ivy wondered.
"I read about it in a book," Sophia said under her breath."We have to get the angle exactly right."
A few minutes later, Olivia and Ivy were posing next to each other, Olivia in a simple white shift dress and Ivy in a simple black one. Olivia stared at the reflection of herself and her sister.Their skin tones were different, of course, and their eye color, but otherwise they looked, well . . . identical.
"Olivia?" Ivy murmured.
"Yeah?" said Olivia, trying not to break the pose which Kong had just carefully orchestrated. "I think I see my reflection," Ivy whispered, "and it's you!"