Sweet Valley High #132: Once Upon a Time
The Big Deal: Going away party for the twins at Lila’s, big trip to France
The school year has ended and the twins are off to France to be au pairs for the summer. They’ll be watching the kids of some royal couple, the de Saint-Maries. The night before they leave, Lila throws a big bon voyage bash. Jessica is bored and anxious to just be in France already. Liz isn’t looking forward to being away from Todd for a month and she pulls him away from the party for some alone time. Todd tells her he wants them to see other people for the summer. Liz, who prefers cheating to breaking up, is totally pissed and leaves the party in tears.
The twins arrive in France and get on a train. On what turns out to be the longest train ride ever, Liz sulks while Jessica talks to a cute guy, Jacques, and his father, Louis. Jacques claims his father is the duke of Norveaux, and Jessica is suitably impressed. By the time the men get off the train, Jacques and Jessica are in love and making out. Jacques gives her a huge emerald before he leaves, and promises to come visit her at the de Saint-Maries’ castle. A little while later, a countess on the train starts screaming that one of her gems is missing. The countess is horrible and mean and thinks the twins are scum because they’re not royalty. Unfortunately, the countess and her daughter are also going to be spending the summer with the de Saint-Maries.
The twins’ first day on the job, little Pierre runs into the hedge maze and Liz goes after him. She gets lost for a while, but finally finds the kid peeking through the hedges at Prince Laurent, his half-brother, who is having a little fencing practice in front of a cottage. Prince Laurent de Saint-Marie is eighteen years old and he dreams of meeting a beautiful blond girl with blue eyes and a heart of gold. How convenient. Liz checks him out through the hedges, then Pierre leads her out of the maze. Liz yells at Jessica for letting Pierre run off and the twins start shouting at each other in front of everyone. They decide they can’t work together anymore, so they split the days into shifts so only one of them is with the children at a time.
A letter from Todd comes for Liz, but Jessica burns it before Liz can see it. Damn, I really wanted to know what he had to say for himself. Then Jessica talks to Anna, another servant, and asks what she knows about the duke of Norveaux. Anna says there’s no such thing and Jessica is disillusioned. She can’t believe some guy she didn’t even know would lie to her.
Liz goes to take a walk before dinner one day and gets lost in the hedge maze again. Idiot. It starts to rain and by the time she finds the cottage on the other side, she’s totally soaked and freezing. Prince Laurent lets her in and they spend the entire night talking. When Liz gets back to the castle the next morning, Jessica is so happy to see her that she declares their fight over. Until the next week when Liz skips out on baby-sitting duties to go horseback riding with Laurent. The prince takes her to some romantic spot and tells her he had a dream about her before they met. Liz thinks that’s totally cool because she’d had a dream about him on the plane ride over. They make out.
Back at the castle, Jessica puts the kids to bed and goes up to the tiny attic bedroom she’s disappointed to call her own. Someone grabs her and puts a hand over her mouth. She struggles and squirms, but then a “sexy voice” tells her to be still. She turns around and is overjoyed to see Jacques. She thinks it’s a little weird that he lied about being a duke’s son, and that he sneaked into the castle like a creeper, and that he was going through her bureau, but she makes out with him anyway.
“I just can’t wait to get out of Sweet Valley,” Jessica explained. “I feel like I’ve been dancing with the same ten cute guys my whole life.”
And I feel like I’ve been reading about it my whole life.
Jessica had traveled in the past, and she had even spent some time in England as an intern at the London Times. But still, it seemed strange to be in the midst of a non-English-speaking crowd.
This whole book, the twins act like they’ve never been to France before.
Jessica frowned. She had hoped they would eat with the royal family at the regal dinner table that they had passed.
Why would you assume something like that? You’re the baby-sitter.
“I was dating a guy named Cameron, but it didn’t work out.”
Just in case you were wondering about the relationship Jessica spent the last three books desperately pursuing, it “fizzled out” because Cameron had to travel on business all the time.
The Cover: Jessica, take off that stupid beret and the dumb scarf. You are not really French and your shoes are totally wrong for that outfit. Liz, you just keep on rockin’ your barrettes and floral luggage.