Elizabeth Oliver was not the type of girl to enjoy going to summer camp. Some girls might have jumped at the chance, at the idea of a whole summer to be spent out in the boondocks (as she sarcastically called them), but Elizabeth thought of it scornfully, and all the more as her plane landed in Los Angeles.
Now it wasn't all bad; it couldn't be. It was, after all, an acting camp, and Elizabeth planned on becoming a world-renowned actress as soon as she was old enough. She imagined that she'd be one of the more talented actresses there. After all, not many 'developing young females' had Beck Oliver as a father and an acting mentor.
Her father, of course, was the one who had signed her up for this. He had enthusiastically read off the list of activities, going on about how this would prepare her for acting in the 'real world' (had she been living in a fake one till now?). Elizabeth wasn't convinced; quite a few of her father's great ideas had backfired on him. She didn't expect this one to be any different.
No amount of begging had changed his mind. Not even when he heard about the grand role she could land as Rosalind in Shakespeare's As You Like It ("You're only thirteen, Liz. That's a bit young to be playing Rosalind anyway.") or when she told him that Thomas Johnston would move on to some other girl during the summer ("He doesn't seem like the good sort of boy anyway; you're better off without him."). Her father, she had realized, was completely and utterly clueless about the multiple trials of thirteen-year-old girls. She was pretty sure he was clueless about a lot of things, in fact.
And so here she was, tugging her suitcase through the Los Angeles International Airport and searching for the person who was meant to pick up all the camp girls who were flying in and take them to the camp. Apparently this camp was fairly renowned, not that she cared anyway; the whole living in cabins took away the thrill of world-renowned. Honestly, if they were that exclusive and, well, expensive, they should have enough money to buy like, mansions for each camper.
A synthetically redheaded woman was standing to the side, away from the throng of people, waving a sign that said Camp Hollywood. That seemed right, Elizabeth thought, if a bit uncreative, but this was Hollywood, after all. Creativity wasn't one of their strong points – at least, in her opinion. There was nothing new under the sun in Hollywood.
"Excuse me," Elizabeth said to the lady in a coldly polite manner. "My name's Elizabeth Oliver, am I in the right location?"
"Oh, you're Elizabeth?" the lady said, her eyes widening exponentially. "Oh my – I mean, yes, you're in the right location! Yes, of course. It's so very nice to meet you – my name's Cat Valentine. I've known your parents for actual ages – "
"You know my mum?" Elizabeth questioned, surprised. She, in fact, had never known her mother, or maybe she had, but it had been so long that Elizabeth couldn't remember her as more than a distant figure in her memory. It was hardly fair that this unknown lady should get to know her mother when she never could.
For as long as she could remember, it had been Elizabeth and her father. It was her father that had held her hand during long walks in the park. It was her father who sat in the first row at her first production, clapping so hard he drowned out the other applause. It was her father who got her a puppy when she was ten and beamed when it climbed into her lap. It had always been her and her father, and they had always been so very close. But lately he hadn't been around much. He was working on an especially big production, or so he said – sometimes, not often, but sometimes, she had her doubts.
She knew nothing of her mother, aside from a picture she'd found one day, lying on her father's desk. It had been ripped down the middle, but her side was still clear – jet black hair, bright blue eyes, much like Elizabeth's own. It was odd how much she looked like her mum (though her tanned skin and her black-highlighted-brown hair were all her father) and her father often said that she acted like her mum as well. It was as if the memories were painful for him; he did not speak of her often.
The redheaded woman laughed, snapping her out of her thoughts. "Of course! And your dad, he's a very talented man. We're so pleased to have you, Elizabeth! Oh! I think that girl's supposed to be going here; let me grab her – " And then she was off, launching her tiny self at some poor, unsuspecting teenage girl and dragging her back to Elizabeth. "Stay right here," she commanded. "I'm going to find everyone else, and then we'll be off to the camp, all right?"
"Of course," Elizabeth said, exchanging a dubious look with the other girl, who seemed foreign as well – Swedish, perhaps? German? The two of them stood for a second in silence before Elizabeth snorted and turned off. It seemed she had been right; this was going to be a very interesting summer.
Abigail 'Abbie' West tugged down on the rim of her black baseball camp, wishing it would fall further down and cover her face. It seemed that ninety percent of the girls on the bus were the dramatic type, their faces painted with blush, mascara, and eyeshadow as they swooped around from girl to girl. She, on the other hand, wore minimal makeup, though of course her mother probably wore enough for the entire bus. It just wasn't her thing, just like acting wasn't her thing. But here she was anyway – on the bus to a camp for dramatic arts.
Her plane from New York City was one of the first to arrive, much to her dismay, and so she'd been put on the first bus to the camp – or, as she preferred to call it, the camp of drama in every sense of the world. It had been her mom's friend's suggestion – Auntie Cat, Abbie called her, and as amazing as Auntie Cat was, she kind of hated her for giving her mom the idea to ship her off to acting camp. She'd told her mom a million times that she wasn't interested in acting, and a million times her mother hadn't listened. Her mother had always been like that, though – hard to handle – and she didn't have a husband to keep her grounded, either. Not anymore. Abbie's father had left ages ago, and she hardly knew him at all.
Abbie sighed as the bus pulled to a stop. All the girls rushed off the bus in one collective heap, but Abbie stayed behind, leaning back against the bus seat. Another girl a couple rows up turned to grin at her. "Not into the whole trample everyone in an attempt to get off thing, huh?"
"Nope," Abbie said, popping the 'p'. "I'm not in any rush to get off, either. In fact, for all I care, the bus could go in reverse and take me back home."
"Snarky," the girl observed, standing up out of her seat. "I like it. The name's Miranda James, and you are?"
"Abbie," Abbie replied, smiling slightly (but not fully – she was, after all, still making up her mind about this girl). "Abbie West. I'm not an actress, by the way."
"I'm not either," Miranda told her with a laugh, letting her dark hair spill into her face. "I'm an artist, and by artist, I mean visual arts, not dumb dramatic arts. I'm into, like, drawing and that sort of stuff, but my mom thinks that I need to broaden my horizons and that sort of thing."
"I enjoy singing," Abbie admitted. "But I'm horrible at acting and all of that. I much prefer sports, which is why I shouldn't even be here in the first place."
Miranda laughed again. "Hopefully they'll put us in the same cabin, then; we can form a band of misfit toys or whatever." She sauntered off the bus with a grin, motioning for Abbie to follow – which, of course, she did. It was nice to have someone else there with the same mindset.
A lady with sharp features was positioned in the middle of the cluster of girls, frowning down at her clipboard as she barked out cabin assignments. "Layla Daniels! Cabin 12! Amanda Dereks! Cabin 13! Kacey Donaldson! Cabin 19!"
"Good, she's nowhere near my name," Abbie said with a relieved sigh. "Though it'd be kinda cool to get in trouble on like, the first day at camp. Give me a reputation, you know." She grinned over at Miranda, who returned her smile.
"We could be the baddest girls at camp," Miranda replied, putting her hands on her hips. "Bad as in bad, and bad as in bad at acting."
"Too true." Abbie rolled her eyes.
It turned out that the two girls were (thankfully) in the same cabin, Cabin 13 (of course, the unluckiest cabin of all), along with three other girls named Amanda, Jaylyn, and Kate. Kate was a diva; she was positioned by the mirror when Abbie and Miranda walked in, her bag of makeup positioned beside her, moaning about her hair and how her eye makeup was smudged just the slightest bit and oh, the world was going to fall out of orbit and a comet was going to hit the earth, didn't they know! Jaylyn and Amanda were more on the normal side, though, thankfully, and Jaylyn turned out to be a fairly avid athlete as well, which was good since it meant Abbie would have someone to practice with – when she wasn't learning how to act, that was. Like anyone could teach her!
When her mom first found out she wasn't interested in acting, she was shocked, saying something along the lines of "How are you our child?" – something that she quickly retracted when Abbie inquired about it. Was her father an actor as well, she wondered? She knew nothing of him aside from a torn old photograph she'd recovered from the trashcan. But hey, maybe this acting camp or whatever could help her to find out more about her dad, something she'd wanted for ages. Amazing as her mom was, she couldn't exactly throw football with her in the backyard or teach her to hunt or any of that father stuff.
"Hey, Abbie," Amanda said, pulling her out of her thoughts. "We're going outside to take a tour or whatever, wanna come?"
"Yeah, fine," Abbie said, plastering a smile on her face. "I'll be out in a second, just gotta pull on my shoes." She waved them off and stared at the ground for a second, collecting herself, before bounding out the door. "Okay, let's go!"
"Hey, Elizabeth, have you got a sister?"
The words were spoken by one of Elizabeth's cabinmates, a simple but pleasant girl named Amelia with a crop of flaming red hair. Confused, Elizabeth shook her head, which caused Amelia to continue. "Oh, because I saw this girl over at the table for Cabin 13, and she literally looked so much like you. I mean, if her hair wasn't cut shorter than yours, I might have mistaken her for you!"
"Aw, you must be exaggerating," Elizabeth said, her tone slightly patronizing. "I must assure you that I'm one of a kind."
"Then I'll show you." Amelia stood up and grabbed Elizabeth's hand, pulling her off towards the table that Cabin 13 was seated at. The rest of the confused cabin followed her, giggling and whispering about how Amelia had gone crazy. (Theater types, Elizabeth knew, were volatile; they tended to be quite fickle when it came to loyalties.)
But once they arrived at Cabin 13's table, it became quite clear that Amelia was not, in fact, crazy. The girl sitting on the left side of the table was actually the spitting image of Elizabeth, from her bright blue eyes to her dark hair, highlighted with occasional streaks of brown, to her skin that seemed to be a creamy shade of russet brown. Elizabeth's eyes widened, and she took a step back just as the other girl's eyes met her own. It was like looking into the mirror, like looking at yourself in a video – except this girl wasn't her, that much was clear from the purple baseball cap sitting on her head and the tiny ponytail sticking out of the hole in the back. This girl was someone else entirely.
"Who is that?" Elizabeth whispered, eyes darting back and forth.
"You don't know her?" another cabinmate, a girl named Alice, asked in surprise. "I mean, she looks just like you! I should think you would know her!"
"Please," Elizabeth replied, but her voice faltered the slightest bit. "We look nothing alike, and anyway I've never seen her before in my life." That much, at least, was true; Elizabeth had no recollection of ever meeting a girl that looked just like herself. The similarity was scary, really; it was almost as if they were… No. There was no way. She shook her head.
"Hey, Cabin 17!" called the girl boldly, standing up to face them. "Are you guys just gonna stand there and stare at us, or are you going to go back to your table – you know, over there?"
"Oh, sorry," Elizabeth said calmly, whilst her cabinmates started to mutter angrily amongst themselves. "We were just discussing how best to tell you about the mashed potatoes all over your cheeks. I suggest you use a napkin, though of course that shirt would work as well. It's just about the same color as those ugly mashed potatoes."
"Well, I say you should just go back to your side of the room with the rest of your groupies," the girl, the eerily similar girl, retorted. "You guys can go talk about how your lives are over because you used the same shade of lipgloss, oh em gee!"
"Hey, Elizabeth!" the ditziest girl in Elizabeth's cabin, a girl named Emily, called with a grin. "Don't you think that girl looks so much like you? It's crazy! Your name is Abbie, right?" When the dumbfounded girl nodded, she went on. "Abbie and Elizabeth! You're practically the same person!"
"Um, no," Elizabeth said quickly, frowning at her lookalike. "The only person that Abigail looks like is the Bride of Frankenstein." Then she turned on her heel to stomp back to her table, leaving the other girl humiliated and confused – much to her delight. Elizabeth Oliver was not one to be showed up. Quickly, the rest of her table followed, all of them chattering about how well Elizabeth had done and how funny it was that she had humiliated Abbie. Admittedly, Elizabeth felt sort of bad, but well, Abbie had started it, after all. And besides – all's fair in love and war, right?
As they sat down at the table, Emily muttered, "I swear, she looks like you. I didn't mean to insult you or anything, but you've got to be blind not to see how alike you are!"
"Then maybe I've gone blind from looking at her face," Elizabeth muttered hotly. This situation was weird, for a lack of better words, and she honestly wasn't sure what she was meant to do about it. She'd never seen that other girl before in her life! How come they looked exactly alike?
But then she came marching over, arms folded across her chest. "I don't know who you think you are," she huffed, "but you've got no right to be talking to me and my friends like that. It's not like you're the most attractive person here – in fact, you wouldn't even make the top twenty – and – who died and made you queen of earth?"
"No one," Elizabeth replied coolly, keeping her temper (unlike the other girl), "but you're about to." And then, with the smoothest of moves, she picked up her cup and dumped the contents of it over the Abbie's head. She stood there, a smug smile plastered on her face, as water dripped down Abbie's face. It was, she thought, a good thing that Abbie had refrained from wearing makeup, because it would have been dripping all down her face. Abbie's mouth hung open as she stared at Elizabeth, her eyes wide with something that resembled hurt.
"Better close your mouth before the smell attracts flies," Elizabeth said, igniting laughter all around her. She was glad that the counselors had slipped out for a moment to get dessert; it was honestly the perfect timing. Sure, Abbie could tell, but who would believe her? She grinned as she sat back down, because she was victorious, and there was nothing Abbie West could do to stop her.
Revenge. This Elizabeth chick had set off a spark in Abbie, and the one thing on her mind was getting vengeance on her. She had embarrassed her in front of the whole camp, humiliated her, practically, and so it was time that Abbie did the same.
Back home, Abbie was a fantastic prankster, and so almost as soon as she got back to the cabin she began to formulate a plan. The other girls crowded around, throwing in suggestions and ideas, and Abbie scribbled them down on a piece of paper. Even now she was still seething with anger. Who did this Elizabeth chick think she was? Did she know who she was dealing with? Abbie was the daughter of Jade freaking West, and she had learned a lot from living with her mother for thirteen years. This Elizabeth chick had nothing on her.
"She's just jealous," Miranda consoled Abbie as she scribbled furiously across the paper. "Because you're pretty and cool and she's just a big jerk. Like, ew. No one even likes her."
"The girls in her cabin do," Abbie pointed out, "and in a war like this, if you're not with us, you're against us. So this plan involves not only revenge on Elizabeth, but also revenge on her cabin, because apparently what she did to me was so freaking hilarious."
"Gotcha." Miranda beamed. "This plan sounds like it's getting better by the minute."
And so, that was how the girls of Cabin 13 (save for Kate, who insisted that she needed her 'beauty sleep' and would not be participating in any sort of childish pranks, thank you very much) ended up creeping down to Cabin 17 in the middle of the night, arms filled with various kinds of sticky substances, string, toilet paper, and shaving cream, all scavenged from various people's bags. They were giggling amongst themselves, then 'shh'-ing each other, hoping that they would not be caught. Even if they hadn't done anything (yet), it was a bit suspicious to be caught creeping around after hours with a whole bunch of random substances, and it was a mishap best avoided.
Once they got to the cabin, all of the girls got to work immediately, stringing toilet paper and string everywhere, surrounding the girls with honey and shaving cream and whatever else they had stashed in their arms. It was a long and tiring process, but once they got done the girls were satisfied and pleased with their work.
"Hopefully once the Head of Camp sees this mess she'll kick them all out for sure," Abbie said, crossing her arms across her chest. Then, after a second – "Okay, I don't wish they'd get kicked out of camp, actually. But it would be funny if they got in trouble, and once they figure it out it'll be even funnier to see their reactions, you know?"
"Yes." Miranda covered her hands with her mouth. "Please, we already know this is going to be amazing. I mean, honestly – thanks to our fearless leader."
With a subtle grin, Abbie nodded and cleared out of the cabin. The rest of her cabin followed close behind, smiling as they surreptitiously closed the door behind them and then crept back to their own cabin to snuggle up in their beds and dream of what was to come, of screaming young teenage girls and angry camp directors, of vengeance plots and beverages being dumped on people's heads.
They woke up after just a few hours, too excited to sleep any longer. Quickly, they all stepped into their clothes for the day and tossed away their pajamas, then clambered out the door to stand outside. Once they were in the soft green grass, they all peered down the strip of road until they could see Cabin 13. They clutched each other's hands as they waited and waited and then…
"Argh!" A strangled scream. The camp director, clothed in her uniform and standing just outside of Cabin 15, looked particularly bewildered, and all the more as even more screams resounded from the cabin. Exchanging worried glances, the camp director and one of the counselors rushed off into the cabin, and the girls of Cabin 17 weren't far behind. They hesitated outside the door as collective mutters and screams were heard outside, and then the camp director barged in, and –
"AHHHH!" the camp director yelled as a large bucket of ice cold water was dumped directly onto her head. The girls from 17 exchanged guilty looks; the director had most assuredly not been the target of their shenanigans, and a surge of nervousness shot through Abbie. There was no way she could trace it back to her, right? She couldn't! Abbie had done tons of pranks before, successful ones; why should she be in trouble now? It just wasn't right –
"You!" The snotty British accent belonged to the obnoxious Elizabeth chick. "You did this! Don't even try to deny it; everyone knows you've been jealous of me from like your first day here."
"Jealous of you!" Abbie scoffed. "As if! It's not my fault you're a frigid witch. You were the one that started this whole thing by being rude to me for no real reason and comparing me to the bride of Frankenstein when everyone knows we look just alike. So really you were insulting yourself as well – how does that feel, Mrs. Frankenstein?"
"At least I've got common sense!" Elizabeth yelled.
"Right, you sure look it, standing there with shaving cream all in your hair and that disgusting scowl on your face while I'm the one who's perfectly clean," Abbie taunted, putting her hands on her hips. She had always had a mean temper, one of the few things she had, in fact, inherited from her mother.
"We'll see about that," Elizabeth growled, and then suddenly she was tackling Abbie. After that it was a bunch of scratching and clawing and pain; Abbie tended to block out most of it. Next thing she knew the two girls were being dragged apart by the camp director and she was squawking in their ears about decorum and being young ladies and shouldn't they know better, really?
Once Abbie's ears had stopped bleeding and the pain had faded away, she heard something along the lines of, "You two really ought to know better. Really – you're thirteen years of age, and you're acting like two five-year-old boys! But you know what they say, the punishment should fit the crime." Then one of her wickedly thin wrists was closing around Abbie's and the other around Elizabeth's, and the two girls were being dragged off. Abbie and Elizabeth exchanged worried glances; honestly, as much as they didn't get along, this was still worrying, like, extremely worrying.
The whole camp, of course, followed them. Cabin 13 was right behind Abbie, and Cabin 17 was right behind Elizabeth. The whole camp seemed enthralled by the performance; being drama students, they had a certain taste for such things. Abbie, on the other hand, felt completely and utterly embarrassed. She had made a spectacle of herself on more than one occasion, made people embarrassed to know her, really, but she had never gotten in so much trouble. As Jade West's daughter, she had a certain knack for getting herself out of tight spots. This, though, was one tight spot she knew she wouldn't be able to wriggle herself out of.
Beside her, Elizabeth looked equally as uncomfortable, and all the more as the director marched the two girls up the hill. The camp, still walking in perfect lines behind them, trailed on. "Where are we going?" Abbie mouthed to Elizabeth, but Elizabeth just shook her head. I don't know.
The walk up was exhausting, and once they got to the very top, the camp director shooed the rest of the camp away. "Since you girls have decided that you are such bitter enemies, I do believe that a punishment to do with that is in order. The two of you will be spending a lot of time together from now on right here." She pushed back the brush to reveal a small, cozy cabin, hidden away from the large expanse of the camp. "You will be placed in solitary confinement, though it won't be exactly solitary, since you'll have each other – but you know. You will be spending the majority of the day together, aside from acting lessons that are split by level, and you will sleep in here together. Either you will find a way to get along – or you will punish yourselves far better than I ever could." The wicked smirk that stretched across the woman's face showed that she had put thought into this plan, and Abbie had to admit that it was a good one – a plan worthy of her mom, in fact.
"But," both girls began, but they were silenced by the director. "Ta ta," she said with a smile and a wave of her skinny fingers, and then she was disappearing back down the hill.
"Well, this is just great," Abbie mumbled, shooting the other girl an angry frown. "Now we're stuck in here for like, the rest of camp only because you're a jerk."
"I'm a jerk?" Elizabeth hissed, turning around to raise an eyebrow at the other girl. "Might I remind you that it was you who sabotaged our cabin and – you know what? I'm not going to do this."
"Not going to do what?" Abbie questioned, slightly confused.
"Fight with you. If we're going to be stuck in here for ages upon ages, we might as well just make the best of it. Why don't we just, um, start over? Or at least try to?" Elizabeth sighed and tilted her head up to meet Abbie's eyes. "Hi there. My name's Elizabeth Oliver."
After that, things were much easier for the two girls. They bickered upon occasion, but for two girls so close in age and with many differences and also many similarities in personality, it was to be expected. But one day, as they sat on Elizabeth's bed with a packet of Fig Newtons resting between them, the subject of parentage came up.
"I live with my dad," Elizabeth mumbled, glancing up at Abbie. "It's always been like that. I've never really had a mum, you know. I've always sort of wanted one, but unfortunately they don't auction them off on eBay. But my dad's great, honestly; he always entertains me and he's quite the great actor as well, which, for a girl like me, is fairly nice. And you?"
"I've only got a mom, or, as I guess you would say, mum." Abbie laughed. "She's a bit hard to handle – well, really, she's off the handle. We live in an apartment in New York, and she's actually doing pretty well with acting jobs and scriptwriting and singing, all sorts of stuff, but she's basically the craziest woman I think I've ever met. I've only ever seen a picture of my dad, though."
"She sounds lovely. Your mum, I mean," Elizabeth said dreamily. When Abbie stared at her weirdly, she laughed. "I can't help it. When you've never had a mum, any mum sounds perfectly lovely."
"I get it," Abbie told her forlornly. "And your dad sounds, um, perfectly lovely too. Hey, what's your birthday?"
"Random much?" Elizabeth asked sarcastically, but then she followed it up with "February 3rd, and you?"
"Same," Abbie said thoughtfully, popping a Fig Newton into her mouth and then frowning (presumably, Elizabeth thought, because the package was empty). "You know, all of this is sort of weird, don't you think? Well anyway, I'm going to get like a popsicle or something – how about you, do you want to come? If proper ladies like you even eat popsicles or whatever."
"Shut up," Elizabeth said, and then her eyes widened. "Shut up!" She took off for the door after Abbie, running as fast as her feet could take her. "Abbie, get back here!"
"But I'm hungry still," Abbie moaned, clutching her stomach.
"Do you only think about your stomach?" Elizabeth chided. "And how could you think about your stomach at a time like this!"
"At a time like what?" Abbie questioned, raising a curious eyebrow.
But everything had fallen into place for Elizabeth. Quickly, she began, "Don't you think it's curious how we look exactly the same, save for your shorter hair? And our birthdays, they're the exact same day! And you've never met your dad, and I've never met my mum – think about it, Abigail! It's really not that hard; are you so simple-minded?"
At last, Abbie's eyes widened. "You don't think - ?"
"How could I not!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "You said you've got a picture of your dad, correct? Well, get it out, because I've got a picture of my mom, and we can compare and see if…" She trailed off, but her voice had already conveyed her excitement, she knew. Quickly, she dashed over and grabbed the half-photograph of her mum, squeezing it tightly in the palm of her hand. Something big was about to happen – or it wasn't.
"On the count of three," Elizabeth said in an undertone. "One, two, three."
On three they both pulled out the pictures from behind their backs and pushed them together.
The two picture pieces fit perfectly.
A/N: This is a redo of my old fic "Counterpart", in case you haven't noticed. I didn't really enjoy the way I characterized Abbie and Elizabeth and I hope they seem stronger this time around. I also hope the writing has improved at least a little bit. I'm deleting the old one, sorry to every (any?) one who enjoyed it. But I hope you enjoy this one as well! Please read and review if you get the chance.