Sweet Valley High #73: Regina’s Legacy
The Big Deal: Ugh, nothing.
Liz has joined the school’s new photography club (and is relieved when Jeffrey doesn’t join because of conflicts with soccer). The club decides to do a huge photo essay about life at Sweet Valley High. After all the recent division and tension, these kids think a mural is just the kind of gift the school could use to bring everyone back together. These are strange kids. I would say something sarcastic about how I’m sure a collage of crappy pictures will make Andy feel better about getting his ass kicked just because he’s black, but Andy is actually in the photography club and thinks it’s a great idea. I’m probably just old and jaded. They decide to keep the project a secret until it’s finished, then giggle conspiratorially when people ask them why they’re taking pictures of stupid things like Winston balancing a lunch tray on his head. Jim Roberts’ girlfriend Shelley gets annoyed and suspicious when Jim won’t show her his pictures.
Mrs. Morrow comes by the Wakefields’ house because she has something of Regina’s that she wants to give to Liz. It’s a camera. What a convenient gift, what with Liz joining the photography club and all. Liz takes Prince Albert the dog to a secluded beach to take pictures. She sees three men running along the shore and thinks they look strange because they’re not dressed for the beach. She takes a picture of them, and one of the men sees her and runs in her direction. When he gets near, he tries to take the camera away from her. Prince Albert attacks the man so Liz can get away. Once she and the dog are safely in the car, Liz thinks the man must have been insane.
A few days later, Jessica and Lila are driving to the mall. They realize they’re being followed, but the guy is really cute so they pull over. The guy thinks Jessica is Liz and apologizes for his friend’s behavior on the beach. He introduces himself as Chad and flirts a little bit before asking Jessica for the picture she took. Jessica tells him it’s in the darkroom at the high school and gives him her number and tells him to call her in a few days. She has no idea what he’s talking about, but figures she can just ask Liz for the picture and give it to Chad. She tries to tell Liz about it when she gets home, but Liz is too busy getting ready to go to Todd’s for dinner to pay any attention to her.
After dinner, Todd and Liz see something on the news about some drug ring hearing in Washington. Apparently, a man named Ron Hunter was supposed to give evidence and drop some names, but he clammed up. There’s a picture of Hunter on the television, and Liz freaks out when she realizes he looks just like one of the men she saw on the beach. Liz and Todd examine the photograph, and Liz is convinced the writing on the man’s shirt could be a clue. Unfortunately, they can’t make it out, so they decide to go to the darkroom after school the next day and enlarge the picture. I guess Liz has been carrying the picture and the negative around in her purse all this time, and it’s a good thing, too, because when she gets to school the next day, the darkroom has been vandalized and ransacked. Liz knows it was the guys from the beach looking for her picture, but she can’t figure out how they knew where to look.
Meanwhile, the photography club has been so intent on keeping their stupid photo mural a secret that their personal relationships have started to suffer. Nicholas Morrow doesn’t like that Andrea Slade keeps taking pictures of other guys, and Shelley Novak is pissed at Jim for never telling her what he’s doing. Jim is supposed to meet Shelley at the Dairi Burger at four-thirty, but cleaning up the ruined darkroom takes a couple hours. He gets to the Dairi Burger just in time to see Shelley leaving with Greg Hilliard, a guy she had a crush on before she met Jim. Kids, it’s just a photography project. It’s not worth losing your girlfriends and boyfriends over.
Chad calls Jessica and asks her out, but tells her not to forget the picture. Jessica tears Liz’s room apart looking for it, but can’t find it. While she’s doing that, Todd and Liz are using Amy Sutton’s father’s studio to enlarge the photo enough to see that the man’s shirt says “Rick’s Place.” They look in a phone book and find out it’s a restaurant in Big Mesa. Todd takes Liz home to change before they head out to Rick’s Place, and Liz freaks out because her room has been ransacked. She doesn’t want to call the police because nothing has been stolen. Oh, I hate you. If you think someone has broken into your house, you call the police, whether anything has been stolen or not. I mean, I know it was just Jessica, but Liz doesn’t know that.
Chad takes Jessica bowling. She is not happy about it. She gets a little happier when they finish their game and Chad says he’s going to take her to a restaurant in Big Mesa. Todd and Liz are surprised when the blond man from the photograph shows up at Rick’s Place with Jessica. Chad and Jessica don’t see them, so they’re able to watch them. When they see Chad grab Jessica’s arm and drag her out of the restaurant, they follow. Jessica sees them from Chad’s car and points to her cheerleading jacket, but Liz can’t figure out why. Todd chases Chad’s car, but gets pulled over for speeding. Liz cries to the cop that her sister is being kidnapped, and the cop asks where Jessica and Chad might be heading. Liz finally figures out that Jessica was trying to tell her they were going to the high school.
At the school, the cops get Chad and everyone goes to the police station to hear what he has to say. Chad was part of the big drug ring in Washington, and Ron Hunter used to be part of his gang. When Ron turned traitor, they kidnapped him and put his twin brother, Rich, on the stand instead. Blah, blah, I don’t care. The police tell Liz she’s done a great service to her country, and Liz pats herself on the back for indirectly finding justice for Regina’s death by exposing a drug ring.
Everyone loves the photo essay mural and all the problems it’s caused have disappeared.
Elizabeth had decided on her special angle for the mural just that morning: she would photograph Sweet Valley High teachers doing what they did best. Ms. Dalton had been her first subject.
A Ms. Dalton sighting! So she’s still around, we just haven’t seen her in a really long time.
My camera and me, Elizabeth thought. Then she corrected herself. Regina’s camera and me. It looked as if together they had accomplished some pretty important work.
Whatever, you haven’t even thought of Regina in at least fifty pages.
The Cover: Is she angry? Sad? Suspicious? Nauseous? Your guess is as good as mine.