I've always loved the Sweet Valley series despite it's many, many flaws and I especially loved (and still do!) the characters of Bruce and Lila who always seemed to be on an entirely different level of awesomeness compared to the rest of the characters. They were the only characters that seemed to have a backbone and who never tried to be someone other than who they were. I was thrilled to read about their relationship in Sweet Valley University and dismayed to hear that it was dismissed as a "fling" in Sweet Valley Confidential, which it clearly wasn't. Writing this story is part of my effort to give their relationship the epic story that it deserved, but never got. I'll hopefully be uploading a new chapter every 1-2 weeks. Please leave reviews!
Chapter 1: The Old and The New
"Would you like some Bolivian chocolate cake?" Lila quite rudely extended the tray she was carrying to the gentleman in front of her and his wife. He raised his eyebrows at her unexpected decorum and cautiously took a piece of cake. He and his wife quickly walked away. Lila rolled her eyes. She honestly didn't care about what anyone from this party thought about her. They weren't "her type" of people. The party was part of one of the many charity fundraisers that the Patman family threw every year. Her family and the Patmans dined and catered to two different sectors of the elite in Sweet Valley. The guest probably recognized her, but they weren't concerned enough with the Fowler family to care.
She looked down at her uniform that she had reluctantly put on after Bruce reminded her that she had promised to fulfill every part of her side of the bargain that they had made. She regretted that she had ever made the bet with Bruce, although she would never admit that to him. She had known Bruce her entire life and she should have known better. Making bets with him was like making a deal with the devil. Especially when the bet was concerned with horse racing, which Bruce was an expert at. He had always been able to bet on the right horse and one day, he bragged about it so much that Lila called him out on it since no one else had. Lila said that she was placing her bet on ROCKET, a horse that she knew would win. Lila actually didn't know anything about ROCKET's potential as a race horse and had picked a random horse to bet on. However, she couldn't let Bruce brag indefinitely; she was the only one with enough money and nerve to challenge him and keep him in his place.
She looked over to where Bruce was standing. He was talking animatedly with some of the guests. They were obviously hanging on to his every word. She had to hand it to him. Bruce knew how to talk the talk of the upper class in Sweet Valley. Why wouldn't he? He, like Lila, had been rich his entire life; he knew no other way of being. They both had practically been born with silver spoons in their mouths. Both their families, however, were as different as night and day and had despised each other deeply for as long as Lila could remember. Her family, the Fowlers , wanted to make way for the new industries that were beginning to establish their roots in Sweet Valley and that would help to modernize the city. The Patman's, Bruce's family, however, wanted to stick to the old industries that were at the heart of Sweet Valley as a way to preserve the old way of living and the city's naturally rich history. Throughout Lila's life she remembered with great vividness the moments when the two families clashed over everything from properties to ideologies to money. During such times, "feuding times" as she liked to call them, Bruce and her were not allowed to even speak a word to each other or to even acknowledge each other. Lila and Bruce would always honor such rules since they both were extremely loyal to their families. And besides, it wasn't like they spoke a whole lot to each other regularly. In fact, she treated every day as if their families were feuding. The less they spoke to each other or saw each other, the better. She knew with absolutely certainly that Bruce felt the exact same way.
However, Bruce and Lila's hatred of each other extended beyond their families' hatred of each other. It was personal. There were so many things that she hatred about him: his arrogance, the way that he flaunted his wealth, his womanizing ways, and the way he always knew how to upset her regardless of the situation. People often remarked about how similar they both were, but Lila could never see it.
Bruce's haughty voice interrupted her thoughts. "Remember, Lila," he said, "service with a smile." He gave her one of his wide smiles to show her what he meant.
"I'll serve this crap however I like," she said faking a really broad smile that turned into a frown. He's not even worth my time, Lila thought. She turned around and started to pass slices of cake to other guests.
"Hey," Bruce said following her, much to her dismay. "All I'm saying is that you've been frowning all night. Don't think I haven't noticed. That's certainly not how we like to serve our guests." Bruce waved his finger at her as if he was scolding her for not grasping an important lesson.
"I was frowning because I was thinking of you and your stupid bet and how I have to wear this stupid outfit at this tacky get together that you call a party."
"My, my aren't we feisy tonight!" Bruce said enthusiastically. Lila could see the delight in his eyes. He absolutely loved annoying her and took perverse joy in seeing her anger get the best of her. He gave her one of his wolfish grins, which generally gave women the strong impression that he was charming and sexy, but Lila just thought that it made him look stupid and arrogant. Lila prided herself for being immune to all his charms. She knew all his moves and the air of mystery that women always said he had had burned out long ago for Lila.
"You went into the bet fully aware of the terms of our bargain," Bruce continued in a serious tone. "So don't you dare complain."
"Fine. However, your stupid bargain said nothing about smiling being compulsory for the task. And I most certainly don't have to like it either." With that said, Lila marched away from him and headed towards the kitchen to refill her plate. She looked back and saw Bruce frowning in her direction. He snatched a glass of wine from a tray nearby and before the servant could tell him that he wasn't old enough to drink, he gave the servant a look that dared him to speak. The servant quickly shut his mouth and walked away. Bruce drank the entire glass in one gulp, slammed the empty glass on a nearby table and stalked off angrily to talk to other guests, shaking his head as he went. Lila smiled. Satisfaction and joy spread through her. Annoying Bruce was always so difficult to do, but the rewards were great when it did happen. And even though the indignation wasn't too hard to build up, it was a lot of work. She grabbed a glass of wine from a nearby counter that seemed clean and drowned it in one gulp, just as Bruce had done moments before. She didn't feel tipsy since she had been exposed to wines since the age of 12, even though at that age, she was only allowed small sips every now and then. While most of her classmates at Sweet Valley High were completely ignorant of the different types of wines, she knew every major wine that was produced in every major country in the world. She knew which wines were the finest and most expensive and could detect even the most subtle differences between two very similar wines.
"Excuse me, miss. Are you old enough to drink?" Lila turned around to reply to the voice that had spoken to her. She was going to tell him exactly who she was, but when she turned around, she encountered the most beautiful hazel eyes she had ever seen. He had sandy blonde hair and perfect, even complexion. He looked about her age.
"Uh..." Lila struggled to find the words that she had intended to say.
He smiled and looked at Lila's uniform, an expression of delight suddenly spreading across his face. "Do you work for Chris' Catering too? I'm sorry, I thought you were one of those snobbish guests that are at this party. They're a bit unbearable. But now I see that you're just one of us. My name is Kent Matthews, by the way." He extended his hand and Lila looked at it uncertainly. She was partly thrown off by his criticism of rich people and partly mesmerized by his eyes and smile.
"I promise I won't tell anyone about the drink," he said, sensing her hesitancy.
Lila shook his hand and felt a warmth spread through her. She felt a smile form on her face. "My name is Katherine. It's nice to meet you. I was just taking a break. It's exhausting serving these people," she said giving an exaggerated sigh that she hoped was convincing.
"Yeah, tell me about it." His gaze moved to the clock that was behind Lila. "Well, my shift is actually over. I'll see you around." He looked at her once more and smiled broadly. "I was nice meeting you, Katherine."
"You too," Lila said quietly as she watched him exit through the back door of the kitchen.
What was that about, she thought to herself. Why did she just lie about who she was to Kent? She hadn't been thinking clearly and she certainly didn't want to turn him off by revealing who she was. If he was disgusted by the Patman family's wealth, she couldn't imagine how he would react to her family's wealth which was far greater. Nevertheless, Lila felt guilty for lying to someone like Kent who was clearly so nice. She promised herself that she would tell him who she really was the next time that she saw him. Lila suddenly realized that she didn't have his phone number or any other way to contact him. She rushed outside and felt the night air whip across her face. She didn't see him anywhere. She remained where she was for a couple of minutes longer in case she caught a glimpse of his car, but no car came or went.