Steven & Billie
All right, so Billie's up the stick. Which means her and Steven were doin' the nastay. The mattress mambo. The horizontal cha-cha. The baloney pony. Wait, what's going on? Oh, yeah. Billie informs us that she and Steven are juniors, and have been living together for a few months. Which we all know is not true at all. Fail #1, ghostwriters!!!
Anyway, she's pretty bummed, because she has to give up her newfound love of guitar to pursue law school. She's at the music school, trying to find her guitar teacher so that she can quit the class. We also learn that Billie won the Batista competition (it's a BFD, apparently), and now she has a scholarship to study in Spain for a semester with Senora Batista, a famous classical guitarist. She runs into Chas Brezinski (who reminds me of Chazz Michaels
), who has long, dark brown hair pulled into a ponytail and is wearing jeans with a chambray shirt. Denim on denim? Gross. Anyway, he's totes dreamy and plays guitar and is basically the John Mayer of SVU. Apparently Steven was jealous because Billie was practicing with Chas for the competition.
While they're talking about how they're just friends, Billie kind of blurts out that she's pregnant. She admits that she's happy to have a baby, and she loves Steven, but she's bummed about missing out on the trip to Spain. The two of them start talking, and Chas tells her that she should consider all of her options. Then he sends her to the teen health clinic to meet with his sister Tracy.
At the same time, Steven is meeting with Professor Grady about wanting to go to summer school. Professor Grady (PG, as he will be known going forward) is Steven's adviser and someone that Steven really looks up to. Steven also blurts out that he's going to be a daddy. PG says that his first kid was unplanned, and when Steven asks if he regrets being a professor instead of an actual lawyer, PG admits that he does. He goes on to say that even though he has regrets about his professional life, he wouldn't change having his family for anything in the world. This makes Steven feel better.
That afternoon, Jessica comes to Steven's apartment, and when Steven answers in an apron, Jessica calls him Mr. Mom. He is not amused. I am, because now I picture Steven like this:
Anywhoo, Jessica's there to hit Steven up for cash. She's starting a clothing business (more on that later), and needs an initial investment. Steven can't give it to her, and she pouts because she thinks Steven thinks she's irresponsible. No, it's because he has to care for a bebeh. Steven tells her that Billie's preggo her eggo and they're getting married asap, and oh, by the way, please don't tell your sister. Does he know nothing of Jessica? Jessica's happy, and she also wants to be in the wedding. At least we know she won't try to steal the groom this time
Billie is at the teen health clinic. Chas's sister Tracy asks her how she's feeling, and Billie's angry, happy, sad, betrayed...Tracy says it sounds like she's pregnant. Tracy calls in a doctor named Nan, and there's an odd exchange:
A woman came in and smiled at Billie. She was about Billie's mother's age, and she wore a white coat and a stethoscope around her neck.
"You're a doctor!" Billie exclaimed.
I don't get it. I don't know if they've met before, if Billie has never seen a doctor before, if Billie is just confirming that the woman is, in fact, a doctor, and not an impersonator. Who knows. Anyway, it turns out that Nan had a baby and gave her up for adoption. She wants Billie to know all of her options. Another counselor named Jill has now come in. Jill had an abortion, and they keep calling it a D and C. According to wikipedia
, this is an older method of doing abortions, and is mainly something that is done after miscarriages. ANYWAY, Billie is unsure of what Steven would say about a D and C, and the women keep saying, "It's your body" over and over. It's a little weird, and almost seems like they're pushing her to get an abortion. Billie is more confused than ever.
Steven is still cooking. He's making Billie's favorite dinner and realizes he forgot dark chocolate. As he's about to run out to get it, Billie's parents show up. They're going on some archaelogical dig in Mexico, and on the drive down they've stopped at the apartment, then they're staying at the Wakefields overnight. Steven invites them to wait for Billie to get home.
Billie is at a group therapy meeting at the clinic. She's completely confused, and Tracy tells her she should feel better talking to Steven now that she's so informed. Billie decides to walk AN HOUR home instead of waiting to use the phone and call Steven for a ride. Good thing there's no crime in Sweet Valley, or I'd be worried something bad could happen on her walk home.
Steven is anxious about where Billie is, and her parents finally decide they need to get to the Wakefield's because it's getting so late. Steven convinces them to stay an extra night because he wants to go down for dinner and tell everyone about the marriage and the baby.
Billie is not pleased with this decision. She's pissed that Steven's making all of these decisions without him, and Steven calmly points out that if Billie had been there, he wouldn't have had to make a decision by himself. Billie doesn't want to tell anyone until they make a decision, and Steven thought they already had. Steven gets really upset and says that he doesn't want his baby aborted, and Billie yells that while the baby's in her body, it's her
baby. I'm just going to keep it light and bite my tongue, but Billie has been drinking the Kool-Aid and starts to get a little irrational. Anyway, Steven gets really dejected and wants to know if Billie cares about his opinion at all. They talk it out, and Steven promises to give Billie a fantastic happy life, and she agrees to marry him. And have his baby. Sweet.
Billie and Steven are at the Wakefield's for dinner, and they announce their engagement and pregnancy in a one-two punch. The Winkler's are not pleased. Even Alice thinks theyre being unrealistic. Steven says that he'll work nights, Billie will tutor nights (I'm assuming they'll hire a baby-sitter, but Steven is a Wakefield, so who knows), and they'll go to class in the summer and during the day. Ned agrees to keep paying Steven's tuition and giving him an allowance, and Alice is going to take on more clients to try and give them some money (even though taking on more clients meant spending "less time on her friends and her many interests." Which would be...cleaning, ignoring her children's downward spirals into depression and insanity, and going to day spas?). Billie's dad had to take a pay cut at work because his company downsized, but they'll try to help out as much as they can.
On the way back to their apartment, Billie mentions that Alice is planning the wedding. This is possibly the most involved she will ever be in her children's lives. They're going to get married in two and a half weeks at the Wakefield ranch. Billie also wants the twins to be her maids of honor, and she wants Jessica's company to make the dresses.
Steven goes into the doughnut shop and sees Lila, Bruce, Denise, Winston, Isabella, and Danny sleeping all over the place. Elizabeth and Jessica come in to have breakfast, and Steven starts to announce to Liz that Billie's pregnant, but he figures out that Jessica already told her. Shocking. Elizabeth also told Tom. Steven decides that since "everybody" knows, he'll tell the doughnut crew. He also thinks that Bruce, Lila, and Winston are like siblings to him, and he can't imagine getting married without them present. What. The. Fuck. That is just the weirdest thing I've ever heard. I know that Lila and Steven had their little fling
, but when did he interact with Bruce and Winston?! Whatever.
Now we're at the Wakefield's, and Alice is being a Monster-in-Law. All of the Wakefields are going insane, and Jessica and Alice end up fighting about whether or not the maid-of-honor dresses should be melon. Billie locks herself in the bathroom and has a panic attack about becoming in-laws with the Wakefields. I can sympathize. She also fantastizes about her kid turning out like Jessica or Elizabeth. The Jessica girl is goth and carries a bazooka. The Elizabeth girl is a total control freak who calls Billie a bad mother.
Steven and Tom are out shopping for candles and other supplies, and Tom is trying to persuade Steven to go home. Steven keeps trying to come up with excuses not to go back to the house. He has fantasies about his kid, too, but they're less amusing than Billie's. In one, his kid sticks his arm in a hornet's nest, and in the other his kid got all Fs. Elizabeth calls wherever they are (generic soda fountain or the Dairi Burger...the DB isn't name checked, so who knows), and tells Steven to get his sweet ass back to the house and get his pregnant fiancee out of their bathroom.
Billie and Steven share their fears, cry, hug, and leave the bathroom. The next morning, Alice and Jessica are yelling at each other because Jessica has to go back to SVU to find out what's going on with her company. Billie and Steven are brushing their teeth in the bathroom, and think they're resigned to spending their lives in a bathroom.
They finally make it back to their apartment, and Billie gets a congratulatory letter about the scholarship. She drops the letter on the floor in the living room and starts crying, locking herself in the bedroom. Steven finds the letter and goes out to make a Spanish meal for her. It's really cute, actually. He promises to take her to Spain someday.
Steven has an opportunity to interview for a paid internship at Ned's law firm, so he's supa psyched, but really nervous. At the same time, Jessica comes over to tell Billie that she can't find Val and Mike, so they probably can't make the maid-of-honor dresses. Jessica's upset that everything in her life is so uncertain, and tells Billie that she's lucky that all of the major decisions have been made in her life. Billie goes back to the beginning, and thinks that every major decision has
been made...by Steven!!!
Steven goes to the Wakefield's after his interview, and Alice informs him that the firm wants him to come in for a second interview. Whooot!! Alice asks what kind of service they want, and Steven says it doesn't matter, so he asks Alice to at least call Billie and let her know that Alice will be interviewing people to perform the ceremony.
Steven gets back to the apartment, and tells Billie that they have to decide on the ceremony, and whatever she wants is fine. That also goes for the cake, music, and flowers. Billie flips the fuck out and says that she hasn't chosen anything!!! Billie just completely loses her shit and starts saying that she wants to marry Steven someday, but she doesn't want her life to be over, and she feels trapped. Steven's upset because he's going to have to take an internship in TAX AND PROBATE instead of corporate law. Quelle horror!!! He finally tells her that if she wants to get an abortion, put the baby up for adoption, or get married, that's fine with him, but he's not going to be her punching bag. Then he gets in the shower, and Billie collapses and starts bleeding.
Billie miscarries, and Steven blames himself because of the stress he put on her during the fight. He brings Billie home, and is really distant because he's blaming himself. Billie knows it's not his fault, but she feels like he's pulling away, and she really wants him to say that he still wants to get married. He doesn't. She suggests some time apart, and he tells her that whatever she wants is fine. He leaves to get her soup, and Billie cries. Will they get married? Find out in #19: Here Comes the Bride!!!Jessica
So Jessica is driving everyone nuts by being super clingy since her boyfriend Louis Miles died. He drove his car off a cliff to kill his ex-wife because she was crazy and tried to kill Jessica (fyi, that's the book I really wanted to recap, but I can't find it). You'd think she'd be used to her boyfriends dying
by now, but here we are. She also recently had a job at Taylor's department store (which was acquired by Fowler Enterprises), but it was terrible and she was able to leave with her dignity in tact. She had dignity left? Hmm. Anyway, she met a woman there named Val Tripler who has an idea for a line of washable silk separates, and Val wants Jessica to be her partner.
After Steven tells her he can't loan her the start-up capital, Jessica takes her business plan to a bank to try and get a loan. The banker tells her she needs to put up the Jeep as collateral. All she needs is for Elizabeth to co-sign!!!! Jessica is thrilled, her sister will totally say yes. Elizabeth wins me over by saying, "I love you. I feel for you. I'm here for you. But the answer is no." Lila overhears, and says that she has extra money to invest.
They decide to do a fashion show at the doughnut shop, and the Thetas will organize it. The whole time Isabella, Denise, Lila, and Jessica are planning this out, Elizabeth is hilariously trying to yell things like, "Has anybody ever heard the expression 'neither a borrower nor a lender be'?" and telling Jessica to run it by Steven and Ned first. This is when Jessica spills the beans about Billie. There's a long pause where Elizabeth takes this in, and I'm disappointed that the ghostwriter didn't take advantage and call it a pregnant pause. Sigh.
Anyway, Elizabeth goes on and on about how it's going to ruin Lila and Jessica's friendship if they go in business together, blah, blah, blah, sanctimonious, why don't you believe in me, blah. Then we learn that Lila's dad gave her some cash to invest, and that all of the count's money is still tied up in court for some reason or other. So this is basically all the money Lila has right now. Interesting.
Val and Jessica are at the warehouse they've leased. Val has ordered cutting tables, sewing machines, paid a pattern maker, and hired the Stitch Sisters to do the sewing. Jessica will be the sales rep, and Val will run production. Jessica is worried that people will say no, and Val makes a comment about Jessica never taking no for an answer. Turns out Val knows Mike McAllery (formerly paralyzed abusive husband, now charming cad who lives below Steven and Billie). Val is telling Jessica about delivery dates, and she pulls out a piece of paper with notes written on it. The paper is from the "McAllery" notepad Jessica bought for Mike!!! Val and Mike are having teh sex!!! Oh noes!!! But Jessica doesn't care. She experienced real love with Louis. She's focusing on her career, dammit!!!
Jessica is kicking ass and taking orders. She feels like a real businesswoman! She strolls into the warehouse and tells Val that they should order more fabric. Val is on the phone, and it turns out that the fabric is stuck in customs. I have worked in all fields of retail, and this is very common, which Val intelligently points out. As she's explaining this, Lila comes running in and says she needs her money back. She's being sued by a man that Jessica knocked down when she was running out of the doughnut shop to make it into Taylor's on time. Lila is panicked because the girls can't get her money back to her. Lila is broke.
Jessica and Elizabeth are in their dorm room, and Elizabeth commends Jessica for becoming more responsible. Jessica explains about Lila, and says that most of Lila's money went into the fabric. Elizabeth asks Jessica if she's sure Val used the money to buy fabric. Jessica is pissed off that Elizabeth keeps questioning her business skillzz.
Jessica is home to help plan the wedding, and she's getting nervous about what's going on at the studio. She's been trying to get a hold of Val all day, and there's still no answer. Lila calls to inform Jessica that the Thetas want to start doing fittings for the fashion show, and that they've sold tons of tickets for the show. The proceeds are going to the battered women's shelter, and if Val doesn't come through, Lila is convinced that her and Jessica will go to jail for defrauding people. LOLZ. Jessica has to get back to SVU, and Alice is being a total bitch about it. She thinks Jessica's irresponsible, and Jessica really doesn't give a shit. She takes off.
She gets to the studio, and it's empty and smells musty, so she knows no one has been there for a few days. Lila comes over to look around, and Jessica finds the file for the company Val ordered the fabric from. She calls and finds out that the warehouse burned down, but they can get their money back. And Val was already there to get it. Guess who's out of town? Val and Mike!!!
Lila wants to run away to Mexico. Jessica asks what they'd do for money, and Lila says she'll just pawn off her jewelry. I bet Jessica won't sell her lavaliere, though. All of a sudden Mike and Val come into the studio!! They went to Dallas and bought some more fabric. Yay!!! Jessica calls the Thetas to come for fittings an hour before the show starts. Jessica is sad that Mike and Val are together.
The night of the show, all of the Thetas are in the warehouse. It is a clusterfuck and a half. Elizabeth tells Jessica that the doughnut shop is packed, and Jessica starts to cry because she's so relieved. The show is a huge success, and Lila and Jessica don't have to flee the country!! Sweet!Elizabeth and Tom
Elizabeth feels bad because Jessica has been around a lot lately, and it's been a strain on her and Tom's relationship. They're super lovey-dovey and it's gross. A few days later, they're making out and Tom says, "Oh, baby." Elizabeth freaks out and pushes him off of her. Tom says he's fine if Elizabeth wants to take things slow, but he does have the blue balls. Then Elizabeth tells him that Billie's pregnant even though her and Steven were careful. Tom moves away from her. I laugh.
There's a whole misunderstanding where Tom is talking about how happy married couples are, and he fake proposes to Elizabeth. She thinks he's serious, and he thinks she's serious. It goes so far that Tom buys her a big ass emerald ring surrounded in diamonds, and Elizabeth tells Jessica that she's engaged. Jessica tells her that she says, "I'm engaged," like most people would say, "I have mono." Jessica's a wise one when she wants to be. Tom and Elizabeth call off their faux-engagement, but Tom keeps the ring. Look at how well that worked out for Brandon Walsh!!Lila, Bruce, Winston, Denise, Danny, Isabella, and the Doughnut Shop of Awesomeness
I totally saved the best for last. So Lila got a job at Taylor's and got fired (literally thrown out by the security guards), which is even funnier considering her dad owns it. Her dad is really patronizing and tells her that she's just not made out for the workforce. Winston gets the funniest line in the whole book when he says, "Wow!!! I wish I was rich enough to be considered unfit for the workforce!!" Bruce (who Winston observes has become much more likeable since he started dating Lila, and Lila has also increased in awesomeness) realizes that retro is in, and buys Lila a doughnut shop. As you do. Bruce doesn't tell his uncle (who is his trustee) because his uncle disapproves of Bruce buying huge gifts for Lila, and Lila didn't tell George because she wants her dad to find out by seeing her in a national magazine that touts her awesomeness and how she excels at philanthropy.
Also: Lila has the Stitch Sisters make her three identical skintight pink dresses with her name stitched on them, so she can always wear one. I tried to find a picture of the girl in the pink dress from "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead," but I couldn't. So imagine that without the stethoscope necklace and hat. It's even more fun if you imagine Lila doing the little turn that the nurse does in the fashion show.
Anyway, the proceeds of the shop go to the battered women's shelter, and Lila also gives them free doughnuts. But she's been letting all te customers eat doughnuts for free. Bruce is pissed, because they have to pay the lawyer (because of the lawsuit from the guy Jessica knocked down) and neither of them have any money. Oh, to be a teenage millionaire with all of your money tied up in a trust fund. Also, isn't it customary to take possession of the trust when you turn 18? I saw it on "90210," so it must be true. Lila and Bruce go back and forth, and when she takes a deep breath to gear up to scream at Bruce, the seams on her dress bust. Bruce suggests eating fewer doughnuts. Lila is not pleased.
The doughnut train comes to a grinding halt when Lila comes in to find Winston, Denise, Danny, and Isabella having a doughnut eating contest (judged by Alexandra Rollins and her BF!!! Sadly, Alex doesn't have a speaking role in this book). Lila puts her foot down and says she wants them to pay for all of those doughnuts, PLUS the ones they've already eaten. At the same time, the two employees quit because Lila can't afford to pay them. So Winston, Denise, Danny, and Isabella have to work their debt off. Danny and Isabella will cook, while Winston and Denise will trail Clyde Pelmer (who's suing Lila and Bruce) to find out if he's for reals. Lila also makes Bruce take out the garbage and buy supplies.
Winston and Denise trail Clyde. They go to his house and see him dancing through the window, but can't do anything about it. Winston falls off the wall he's standing on to spy on Clyde, and gets attacked by dogs. They rip his pants. One of the dogs hangs onto his pant leg and won't come off even when Winston shakes his leg
. It's just about as funny as it sounds.
The doughnuts Danny and Isabella make are hard as rocks. Lila throws one at Danny and when he ducks, it breaks a mirror. This is because Bruce bought baking soda instead of baking powder. Lila is pissed. She throws a doughnut at Bruce. The six of them are up all night, but they finally make some edible doughnuts.
Lila has Winston watching the coffee urn, and he gets distracted making a doughnut wedding cake. It's not really clear if this is for an actual wedding or just for fun. I think it's just for fun. I wonder if Lila's doughnuts are better than Krispy Kreme.
The urn explodes and all of the dishes break. Lila adds this to their tab.
Winston and Denise are trailing Clyde to his lawyer's office. Winston slams on his brakes and Denise fakes whiplash. I don't know why he had to slam on the brakes for her to do this...I think Winston's a bit of a sadist and gets off on seeing Denise rubbing her neck in pain. The lawyer explains to them that whiplash is hard to prove, but it's even harder to disprove. Winston asks if Denise can try on a neck brace, and the lawyer gets Clyde to take his off. This leads to Winston taking photos of Clyde sans neck brace, and a chase ensues. Then they drop the camera and the lawyer destroys the film. Lila's gonna have Winston's balls made into a charm bracelet.
Meanwhile, Lila's being really nasty to Danny...she calls him an idiot, and when he says, "If you call me one more name, I'll..." Lila says, "You'll what? Pay me what you owe me?" FTW!!! Bruce tells her that if she's not careful, someone will write a book about the doughnut shop that will make Upton Sinclair look like an amateur. And we thought Bruce was highbrow when he read Charles Dickens!! Indeed.
Danny and Isabella finally have enough, and they quit. Bruce tries to convince them to stay by empathizing about how he's sick of Lila, too, but they need their friends' help. At this point, Denise and Winston come in and tell her the news, and she starts screaming and throwing things. Everyone walks out. Bruce chases them down the street to beg them to stay. While he's running, Lila and Bruce's lawyer comes up to him and tells him that since Lila's the sole proprietor, Lila's the only one liable. Bruce walks into the doughnut shop and Lila starts screeching, "How could you leave me like that!!!" Bruce throws down his apron and walks out. For once, I can't say I blame him. If I was getting shit thrown at me all day, I would be out of there, too.
Winston, Isabella, Denise, and Danny hilariously picket outside the shop, carrying signs with big slashes through pictures of doughnuts. Even more hilariously, a man comes in to inform Lila that her gas and electricity bill is overdue, and adds that he's a union man himself, so he normally wouldn't cross a picket line, but he needs her to pay up. This storyline is just full of win.
Lila goes to Winston's dorm room to meet with the four of them, and she starts begging. Denise informs Lila that it's really not a big deal to them whether her shop stays open or not. Lila tells the girls that if she can't keep the shop open, the Thetas can't have the fashion show there, and her and Jessica might go to jail. Or Mexico. They finally agree to come back after making Lila admit that opening the shop wasn't about charity, it was about earning respect. Lila also says, "I'm not a philanthropist. And I'm not a very nice person. But I'm not a monster, either." I love Lila.
The fashion show goes off without a hitch. Kind of. Bruce shows up and no one will let him in, so Isabella sneaks him in the back. All the girls start yelling, "Peeping Tom!!!" and Bruce gets embarassed. But it's not Bruce!!! It's pervy Clyde!!! Winston gets all kinds of pictures of him running around. Bruce is thrilled! He grabs an apron and goes to tell Lila the good news. Then he apologizes and asks Lila to forgive him. She says no. I'm sad because I heart Bruce and Lila together (well, college Bruce...not skeevy date-rapey paper cup Bruce).