Disclaimer: Ann M. loves Amsterdam.
While I don't own The Baby-Sitters Club series or its characters, I do own this story and the words and ideas expressed throughout. No part of this story should be reproduced anywhere without my permission. If you don't understand why thenI suggest you read this site's Terms of Service, specifically sections nine and ten.
Rating: T (PG-13) for prostitution, hand jobs, penis pumps, love carrots, Mallory Pike blow up dolls, and other sexual situations.
Summary: When the Kilbourne family inherits a house in Amsterdam, the BSC goes along for a two week vacation in the city of windmills, tulips, and the red-light district.
Author Notes: For all those scratching their heads, Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands, which is a country in Europe. (Think Holland, people).
Why would anyone decide to write a Super Special about Amsterdam? Well, back in December, I posted on a message board about the differences between the Dutch-version and the American-version of the BSC series. In the Dutch-version, the Stacey character moves to Amsterdam. I made the comment that if there's a Super Special out there called Amsterdam! Amsterdam! then I want to read it. Shortly after, I received an e-mail from emerald-doll, which basically said, "Amsterdam! Amsterdam! must be written."
And so, Amsterdam! Amsterdam! owes its life to emerald-doll.
My younger sisters and I have always joked about someday inheriting the estate of an eccentric long-lost relative. Tiffany fantasizes about a sprawling country manor with enormous gardens full of fountains and statues and fertile soil. Maria dreams of a beach house in Malibu, right next-door to some famous movie stars. Me, I'd like to inherit a ski lodge in Tahoe or a private island in the Caribbean. However, we agree that a Ferrari or some diamonds would be just as exciting.
Let me pause here and introduce myself. My name is Shannon Louisa Kilbourne. I am thirteen years old and live in the beautiful town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut. My sisters, Tiffany (age eleven), Maria (age eight), and I attend a private school called Stoneybrook Day School (or SDS). We live in a really nice neighborhood. It's sort of ritzy. Okay, the truth is, our family is pretty rich. I don't want to brag or anything. There's a lot more to me than my parents' bank account.
For one thing, I'm a very, very good student. I'm also involved in quite a few activities - french club, astronomy club, honor society. I've done some school plays, too, and numerous other things. I love to keep busy. Unfortunately, I don't have time for much else. Including the Baby-Sitters Club.
The Baby-Sitters Club was started by my friend and neighbor, Kristy Thomas. She's the president. The club meets three times a week from five-thirty to six. During that time, parents can call and reach seven experienced baby-sitters. The other girls in the club are: Claudia Kishi, Stacey McGill, Mary Anne Spier, Abby Stevenson, Mallory Pike, and Jessi Ramsey. I'm an associate member, which means I don't attend meetings. I take jobs when no one else is available. For awhile, I was a full-fledged member and attended meetings regularly. Then, I got busy with school and Abby joined the club. Now, I'm an associate member again. Sometimes, I still attend meetings when I have the time. But, I hardly ever have the time!
It turns out my friends in the Baby-Sitters Club have had the same fantasies as my sisters and I. Stacey has even imagined uncovering the will of a great-great grandmother revealing her to be an exiled princess! No one really expects such dreams to come true though. Sometimes, it's just fun to pretend.
That's what I always told myself, at least. Until three weeks ago.
It was an ordinary Thursday evening in late-June. My family was finishing dinner (for once, Dad was home in time to eat with us) when the telephone rang. Mom went into the den to answer it. When she came back fifteen minutes later her cheeks were tear-streaked.
"Kathy, what's wrong?" Dad asked, alarmed, jumping out of his chair.
"My cousin Saskia is dead!" Mom exclaimed.
Tiffany and Maria looked at me, confused. Obviously, they had never heard Mom speak of her cousin, Saskia Verbruggen. Actually, I don't think Mom had spoken about her to anyone for several years. They had a falling out, but I don't know the details. What I did know is this: Mom and Saskia were first cousins, who grew up together in Amsterdam (that's in Europe). Mom was six years old when her parents immigrated to the U.S. Mom went back to Amsterdam every summer though. Mom spent July in Amsterdam, then Saskia came to the U.S. for the month of August. This continued until they finished college. Then, Mom married and Saskia opened her own business (a travel agency, I think). Saskia visited a couple times when I was little, then the Big Fight happened.
Now, Saskia had died without her and Mom ever making amends. I felt terrible for Mom.
Dad escorted Mom into the den with Tiffany and Maria following at their heels. I went into the kitchen to make Mom a cup of warm, comforting peppermint tea. When I brought the cup into the den, Mom was explaining to Tiffany and Maria about Cousin Saskia. Mom took the tea, smiled gratefully, and sipped it slowly, several tears falling from her eyes. Maria sniffed on the couch. She was probably more upset about Mom being upset than about the death of a second cousin she had never known. Death can be confusing for kids.
"When's the funeral?" I asked, gently.
Mom dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. "That's the worst part, Shanny. There's already been a funeral. It was a month ago!" Mom blew her nose, then dabbed at her eyes again with a clean tissue. "We don't have any family left on your granddad's side. It was just me and Saskia. Of course, we hadn't spoken in seven years, thanks to that ridiculous fight. Her friends buried her and settled most of her affairs. Except for one."
Tiffany and I exchanged a Look. Had we inherited something? Something BIG?
"And, what would that be, dear?" Dad asked.
"Saskia left us the house," Mom replied. "Well, the family house. It's very old. My gosh, at least two hundred years. It sits on the Leliegracht, one of Amsterdam's smaller canals. Verbruggenhuis, it's called. Now, I'm the last Verbruggen."
While Mom wiped her eyes and Dad consoled her, Tiffany, Maria, and I exchanged guilty glances and fought back the urge to squeal in celebration. What wicked, unfeeling girls we were! But, the excitement was beyond our control. We had inherited a house! A house in Amsterdam!