Amy paused on the threshold of the library, very cautiously, in case the walls of books would fly up and overwhelm her. She had the odd impression that they would surround her in fluttering leaves, and she would emerge from a paper chrysalis looking like –
Jade-green eyes glanced up at her, a mouth innocent of lipstick puckered unlovingly at one corner, and a curly head dropped back over her book.
Some perverse spirit made Amy cross to the table and drop her books on the table. "Hi, Enid!" She pitched her voice deliberately too loud and cheery for the library, knowing it would make the other girl wince.
"Hello, Amy." Enid's voice was cool and unfriendly, and she kept her eyes on the page in front of her. Amy could feel her temper rising. It wasn't as though she liked Enid, but a nerd like that had no right to snub a cheerleader and Pi Beta Alpha member. Of course, Enid was PBA, too, but only because she'd hung onto Elizabeth's coat tails like the clingy, pathetic loser she was. "Did you miss your way to the mall?"
"Actually, I'm looking for Liz," Amy said, purely because she missed the way the very tip of Enid's cheekbones would prick with pink when she was jealous. The first few weeks after she'd returned to Sweet Valley had been fun. "I have so much to say to her. And I kind of thought she'd be with you, given the smothering stranglehold you have on the poor girl."
"She's at Casey's Place, if you're looking for her."
"Eating ice cream all alone, or sharing an ice cream soda with her precious boyfriend? Such a romantic couple, so loving…" Amy clasped her hands dramatically, and watched the pink darken to red and spread.
"She's with Maria," Enid said evenly.
"Liz ditched you for the new best friend, has she?" Amy dropped into a seat and rolled her eyes with mock-sympathy. "Well, I know what that feels like." There was more bitterness in her tone than she intended. It wasn't that she wanted Liz, even though the conviction that Liz still held her to blame for Regina's death stung. It was simply that being rejected for Enid's sake was insupportably humiliating.
"Why aren't you playing second-best shadow to the evil twin?" Enid's voice was still steady, but Amy felt a flush of triumph. She'd at least manage to prick Enid into pettiness.
"She's at the mall." Some flicker of honesty, or maybe a desire for sympathy, made her add, "With Lila."
Oh? What the hell did that mean, oh? Amy picked up one of Enid's pencils and started drilling it into the desk, despite Enid's glare. She felt a wave of something close to hatred for the other girl. Lila and Jess had filled her in on the gossip. Enid had been a wild child; she's been boozing and drugging and making it in the backseat at Kelly's while Amy and Liz had been all earnest and tomboyish and concerned with nothing but the school paper. Not that Amy thought Enid should go back to being a cheap tart, precisely, but it was a bit much to go around looking like that. Button-down shirt, buttoned up to her neck, and Amy was willing to bet she was wearing shapeless chinos under that desk, and sensible shoes. She dressed midway between a Christian virgin and a lesbian.
Now, that was a thought. Amy prodded at it, a little reluctantly. Enid was so very, very devoted to Elizabeth, after all…
"They're chasing boys, I expect. Not that you'd understand that, poor darling."
She wasn't sure if she'd hit a tender spot. Certainly Enid flushed darker, but that didn't necessarily mean any more than that she thought Amy was suggesting she was too unattractive for boyfriends.
Enid pulled another book towards her, and began, very pointedly, to take notes. "Speaking of boy-chasing, shouldn't you be out stalking Tom about now? I hear he hasn't called the police on you yet."
Amy twisted the pencil between her palms, back and forth, watching the lead-marked indent it was making on the table. She reflected that there was no one in the entire world she hated and despised as much as she hated and despised Enid Rollins. "I have a very nice boyfriend, thank you, Enid. His name's Barry. And the last time I saw Tom, he was trying to swallow your precious cousin's tongue."
The last bit slipped out without Amy quite meaning it to be spoken aloud. She'd always been that way, she realised too late, inclined to let her tongue trip on merrily without her brain engaging. Lila and Jessica were always making fun of her tendency to blabber, and being discreet was the very hardest thing about working at the help line. And now Enid was ominously silent, and Barry would never forgive her – Tom was his best friend, and when she'd gone to him spilling over with excitement and just the teensiest bit of vindictiveness over the news, and just a little spite because tom had rejected her so thoroughly, he had been far more harsh with her than Barry had ever been before. It was just like the help line, he'd said, Tom needed the space to work things out without gossip or teasing. Amy still felt an unpleasant squirm in her stomach at the memory. It wasn't that they'd fought, precisely. Amy knew Barry was gentle and thoughtful and considerate and all the things she wasn't, but he was very good at keeping at the illusion that she was as nice as he was. This was the first time Barry had allowed Amy to feel like what she knew, deep inside, she was; a shallow, chattering bimbo without better feelings or kindness.
Exactly what Enid Rollins made it all too obvious Amy was in her clear, unfriendly green eyes.
Enid was still silent, and it occurred to Amy, through the depths of her resentment and shame, that there had been no outcry objection or outrage. She looked up at Enid, who sighed and put her pen down. The golden Sweet Valley light streaming in from the window lit Enid's loose, frizzy curls up like a glowing halo. Amy was torn between reluctant admiration and wondering, with more than a little irritation, if Enid had ever heard of conditioner and gel. Or even a comb. Still, those messy, unfashionable curls did look nice to touch…
She was pulled out from her reverie by a sharp, intent gaze that was disconcertingly like Ms. Dalton's when Amy had forgotten her homework again. Not that it was surprising that Enid would imitate Ms Dalton; she had the most pathetically obvious crush on the teacher. What did take Amy back a little was that she reacted in the same way to that gaze from Enid as she did from Ms Dalton, blushing and looking away guiltily.
"How many people have you told?"
Amy caught herself stuttering. "Only you. And Barry, but I think he knew already. Did – did you?"
Enid fixed her gaze, no longer accusing, on the window, and her eyes were meltingly soft and pretty, not hard with dislike as they always were when she looked at Amy. An oddly wistful touch of longing brushed against Amy's heart at the thought. Did she look at Elizabeth like that? No wonder Liz liked her so much. "I know Jake's g-gay." She stumbled a little over the word, to Amy's interest. "And I know he and Tom became really good friends, really fast. And that they had some kind of a bad fight… and that Tom asked me for Jake's address." Her lower lip pushed out, just a little. "I wish Jake trusted me enough to tell me. But I guess… I guess I didn't handle things very well."
"Freaked, did you?" Amy shrugged. "You know, Enid, sometimes an extreme reaction to news like that can mean you have worries about facing up to your own sexuality. There's some pamphlets at the centre that…" She'd fallen into telephone counseling mode purely automatically, but the colour draining from Enid's face brought her up sharply. There had been that girl on the phone the other night that she'd told something similar… But Enid knew Amy worked… but it hadn't been her usual night on the line, had it? She'd been covering for Barry… Enid could have found out the times Amy was on quite easily, though the twins.
Amy hesitated, torn between her training and her very real desire to press her advantage. "Don't look so upset, Enid." Through her confusion her voice was soft with condescending pity. "Liz is very understanding. You should try telling her how you feel -"
Enid pushed her chair back so hard that it clattered to one side, but for once in her life Enid didn't seem to worry about making noise in a library. Amy watched her retreat, then sighed and set the chair to rights. Enid had left all her books and her possessions… She wouldn't come back for them unless she thought Amy had left, Amy decided. She'd hang miserably around the front.
Amy stacked the books that seemed to belong to Enid into Enid's satchel, not really caring that there was a real possibility she was filching books from the library, shoved the pens and pencils pell-mell on top, and slung Enid's purse over her shoulder.
She found Enid leaning against the trunk of a tree near the entrance, eyes closed.
"Here. You forgot your things." Amy dropped them at her feet.
Enid opened her eyes, but said nothing.
"For God's sake, Enid, it's not that important! No one cares! You might as well get over yourself." Guilt made Amy's voice sharp. She'd wanted to lash out at Enid, but the sight of her, shaking and all too obvious hurt, wasn't as much fun as she'd imagined. If it had been Jessica, if it had been Elizabeth, if it had been anyone in the sorority but Enid, Amy would have simply put her arms around her and offered to ease the trembling with a milkshake and fries, but somehow she couldn't make the move on this particular girl. Enid would only shove her away, anyway, and even this fragile peace would be lost.
"Easy for you to say." Enid swallowed, her throat moving delicately with the action. "Look at Jake and Tom. Worrying all the time that someone will notice, for a bimbo like you to spread gossip."
Amy heard the insult, but ignored it. Barry said she wasn't a gossip anyway, just interested in people, and Amy preferred that version of herself. "It shouldn't be that way."
"It doesn't have to. Look, Enid, it's no big deal. I used to practice kissing with Elizabeth myself in junior high."
"Oh, great. Want to twist the wound a little bit more?"
Amy stared at her, then started to giggle despite herself. "Sorry. I forgot."
Amy thought for a second, then leaned forward and kissed Enid. It was more of a businesslike kiss than she would have liked, but nerves and embarrassment made her almost brusque. At least it was a kiss, square on the lips and unquestionable in intent.
Enid stared at her with wide green eyes, colour suffusing her translucent skin. "What is this? You're trapping me and then running to Elizabeth?"
Amy rolled her eyes, feeling far more in control. Enid was such a hopeless nerd. And the defensive questions had come just a little too late, Enid's tongue stumbling just a little. That was a thought, too… There was a small glow of excitement, fluttering and pulsing, somewhere inside her. She felt powerful; Enid was so vulnerable. Such a dork, Amy reflected, something close to affection in the thought.
"Look, I tell Liz, you tell Caroline, and both our lives are over. So shut up and kiss me, okay?" She ran a finger up Enid's jaw, tracing across to her lips, dipping between their soft full curves, and repressing a grin of triumph when Enid's lips parted for just a second, just a tiny moment that might have been a caress. Amy pressed closer, looking straight into Enid's eyes, letting her share the knowledge that in a moment it would be Amy's tongue Enid would be allowing into her mouth.
"And you're a dyke being hit on by a blonde cheerleader and not kissing her back. Which one of us is crazy?" Amy was wriggling even closer now, close enough to feel the cotton of Enid's demure top through the lycra and lace of her own, the curve of her breasts pressing against her own.
"We're around the back of the library. Anyone could see," said Enid, with some smugness over apparently having won the craziness debate surfacing through the red cheeks and the way Amy could feel only too well her body was heaving.
"That's true," admitted Amy, and moved as if to pull away. Then she dived in for the kiss, properly this time, her lips forcing Enid's apart and her tongue pushing deep into her mouth.
Enid made a strangled sound and then there were hands in Amy's hair, lips pulling frantically at her own, her tongue being sucked deeply and wetly as if Enid was trying to swallow her down. Amy raised an experimental hand and lifted it to cup Enid's breast in the way boys were always too respectful, too nice to do to her, and Enid only moaned and kissed harder in response as Amy shaped and squeezed. Of course, Amy remembered, if rumour was true Enid had gone round the block a few times while the rest of them had been writing boys' names in their notebooks. She probably knew one or two things…
She broke away as suddenly as she'd kissed the other girl, reflecting on the craziness of what she was planning. Barry was her first real boyfriend after the mess that had been Peter, and she really liked him, she did; he was so serious, so intelligent, so nice -- just like Enid, really. Just like beautiful, unobtainable Liz. Ridiculous that Amy always fell for the clean cut types. She hadn't cheated on him once, not really, only flirted, and here she was frantically trying to work out places to go with her worst enemy.
Perhaps he'd understand, she told herself, as Enid pulled her back into another kiss, soft and wet. Well, no, he wouldn't. But then, he knew she'd never been a bad girl. She was Amy, who had gone after half of the perfect school couple and let Regina wind up dead…
Poor Barry. He didn't really realize that Amy was, deep down, a terrible, worthless person, that even compassionate Liz discarded like old rubbish. Enid did, and maybe that would make things easier, in the long run.
She yanked her mouth from Enid's almost brutally. "We'd better go back to my place."
"Won't people…" Enid seemed a little dazed.
Amy shrugged. "They'll assume I blackmailed you into doing my English essay or something. Come on."
Enid followed docilely when she tugged, and Amy wanted to dance. An illicit affair, a lovely secret she couldn't share with even Jessica or Lila, being as wicked as she was made out to be… And Enid, prettily wracked with guilt. Fabulous.
Enid was looking unhappily at her when she shut the bedroom door. "You're not who I want, you know."
"I know." Amy brushed her lips against Enid's, remembering being twelve, lying on her bed, giggling and flushed and being best friends in the entire world, until she'd left and Enid had come along and then Todd had stolen both their places. "It doesn't matter."
"Liz," Enid whispered, hopelessly.
"Yes," Amy breathed, and lost the word against her mouth.
They were both bad girls, after all, Amy told herself, as Enid's mouth opened against hers and hands ran hungrily up the back of her thighs. The only difference was that Enid tried to forget it.
Amy planned on regularly reminding her.