My Sister the Vampire Book 2: Fangtastic! (Chapter 3)

After school, Ivy stalked the halls with her note- book, trying to find the right quote for Serena Star. It was clear that Serena wanted something Goth, so Ivy was hoping for some tidbit that would seem really grave but was actually absolutely harmless. She talked to a sixth- grader whose cousin had got a tattoo of a skull on her ankle; a janitor who swore that spilled black nail polish could not be removed from school floors using any known cleaning solu- tions or polish removers; and the librarian, who told her that books with black covers were taken out less often than those with colorful ones.

None of it was what she needed.

She was trudging along, feeling utterly hope- less, when she spotted one of the Beasts, Ricky Slitherman, rush out of a side door. No matter what I come up with, Ivy thought angrily, Garrick and his friends will still be flapping their coffin lids. She decided to follow Ricky outside.

When she emerged into the sunlight, Ivy saw Ricky heading toward the football field.When she got over there, she discovered that the Devils were only fifteen yards from the opposing team's end zone. The bleachers were pulsing with cheering people. Ivy peeked underneath them, thinking that that was where the Beasts were most likely to lurk, but there was no one there.

She was just walking around to the front of the bleachers to scan the crowd when she caught sight of Olivia, cheering on the sidelines. Her sis- ter was standing atop another girl's shoulders with her hands on her hips and her face aglow with a natural smile. Olivia pumped her fist in the air and did a flip off the girls' shoulders. Two spotters on the squad caught her, and the crowd went crazy.

Ivy couldn't help going wild with everyone else, clapping and hooting loudly for her sister. Olivia seriously sucked–there was no doubt that she was the best cheerleader on the squad. Especially compared to Charlotte Brown, who looked desperate for attention beside her.

Charlotte's face was plastered with a smile and her eyes were so wide that she looked like a car- toon smiley face. She was jumping up and down like a rag doll, throwing little waves and winks high up into the crowd. Ivy shuddered. It was seriously embarrassing.

Apparently, Charlotte couldn't even bear to turn her back on the crowd when the cheer called for her to spin around. She rushed her move, immediately refocusing her gaze high into the bleachers and tossing off another cloying wave.

Ivy followed Charlotte's gaze and saw . . . the Beasts, sitting by themselves in the top row of the bleachers. Dylan Soyle had a huge video camera hoisted onto his shoulder, and he was pointing it down at Charlotte, while Garrick whispered in his ear.

Ivy remembered that the people in media studies were making movies; the Beasts must be at work on their project.

What's their topic? Ivy wondered. Extra-annoying cheerleaders?

Without thinking, she marched to the top of the bleachers and stood in front of their camera, blocking its lens with the back of her notebook.

"Hey!" Dylan cried, pulling his face away from the eyepiece.

"Turn it off," Ivy commanded icily.

"You're interfering with an important movie shoot!" Garrick Stephens said.

"Turn . . . it . . . off," Ivy repeated, narrowing her eyes into a death squint.

There was a long silence before Dylan glumly put down the camera.

"What do you want?" whined Garrick.

"I want you to climb back in your coffins and stay there!" Ivy snapped. "You're putting us all in danger."

"It's just a video camera," Kyle said. "It's not like a, uh, wooden stake or anything."

Ivy rolled her eyes. "It's not your camera I'm worried about," she snapped. "It's Serena Star's.

At this rate, she'll be onto the vampire commu- nity in no time. You idiots are digging all our graves."

Garrick shook his head. "You're so misguided, Vega," he said condescendingly, using the same word Serena Star had used about him on the news. "Serena Star's not interested in all of us. She's interested in me."

"Yeah." Ricky guffawed. "I think she wants to be Garrick's personal donor." All the boys laughed.

"Serena Star is more likely to eat you alive," Ivy seethed. "You guys better start watching what you say."

"Can I help it if the bunny ladies love me?" Garrick shrugged. He gestured to the cheerlead- ers. "For example, look at Charlotte Brown, the star of my movie."

Ivy spun around to see Charlotte glaring at her and waving her hands. "Get out of the way!" Ivy could imagine her screaming. "You're blocking my scene!"

Ivy turned back to face the Beasts and found that Dylan was filming again. "You want a wooden stake?" she said with disgust. "Here!" She flung her pencil angrily at Garrick–who shrieked and threw up his arms to shield him- self–then spun around and stalked away.

After the game, Olivia and Camilla sat on the school's front steps, waiting for Olivia's mom to pick them up. All the TV news vans were gone, and the setting sun cast an orange glow over everything.

"We killed them!" Camilla said happily. "Forty- six to three must be a record. Could you believe it when their lineman ran into the wrong end zone? Maybe our film project should be about embarrassing sports defeats."

Olivia grinned. "I think the Willowton Badgers have had enough humiliation for one year, with- out us making a movie about how bad they are."

Camilla laughed.

"Hey, didn't you get a new cat?" Olivia asked.

"You mean Captain Whiskers?" said Camilla.

Olivia nodded. "Maybe we could do something about him? I could imagine a cool documentary about what the world's really like for a cat."

"As far as I can tell," Camilla said, "it's mostly sleeping and scratching."

"Sounds like my uncle Morris," Olivia joked.

At that moment, her mom pulled up. "Hello, girls!" she called excitedly out the window, as Camilla and Olivia grabbed their bags and dashed down the steps.

"Hi, Mrs. Abbott," Camilla said, climbing into the back of the car.

"Hey, Mom," said Olivia, as she slid into the passenger seat.

Olivia's mom didn't drive away. Instead, she wiggled her fingers on the steering wheel and looked at Olivia out of the corner of her eye. Suddenly, she held out her hand. "Pinch me!" she said.

Olivia stared at her. "Why?"

"Fine," Olivia's mom said. "I'll pinch myself." She grabbed a piece of her arm between thumb and forefinger. "Ouch!" she cried. Then she grinned. "It's not a dream!" she squealed ecstati- cally.

"Mom," Olivia said, feeling confused, "what's going on?"

"My great-aunt Edna died!" her mom replied, clapping with delight.

Oh, my gosh! Olivia thought in shock; she'd never even heard of a Great-aunt Edna before. My mother has lost her mind! She glanced at Camilla, who looked even more confused than Olivia felt, then turned back and said, "And you're excited about this?"

Her mom gave her a stern look. "Who do you think I am?" she said. "That morbid boy that Serena Star is investigating? Of course I'm not excited about the death of a relative. But Great- aunt Edna was one hundred and two! She led an extraordinary life, and I know that it would give her great joy to see me so excited about what she's left me."

"She left you something?" Olivia asked. "You mean like an inheritance?"

Camilla stuck her head between the front seats. "What was so extraordinary about Great- aunt Edna?" she asked.

Mrs. Abbott gave Olivia a pointed look before turning to Camilla and saying, "Thank you for asking, Camilla." Then she shifted the car into gear and pulled away from the curb.

"It's quite a story!" she went on as she drove. "You see, Edna lived in New York City in the nineteen twenties. She was a maid in the house- hold of an Italian duke. The duke was in New York searching for an American wife among the city's high society. Have you girls ever heard of Napoleon Rochester?"

"Wasn't he superrich?" Olivia asked.

"Yes," Camilla said eagerly.

Mrs. Abbott nodded. "The duke was engaged to one of Rochester's daughters. But then, much to the shock of New York society and the duke's own family, he suddenly broke off his engage- ment!"

"Why?" Olivia asked.

"Because," said her mother, "he was in love with someone else. Someone from more humble origins . . ."

"You mean Great-aunt Edna?" Olivia guessed.

Her mom nodded. "She was only eighteen years old when he whisked her off to Italy," she said wistfully. "She'd never been more than ten blocks from home before."

"Wow!" Camilla murmured.

"The duke lavished her with gifts, and they lived happily ever after," Mrs. Abbott declared cheerfully.

Olivia was impressed. "Did you ever meet her?" she asked.

"Only once," her mom replied. "When I was about seven and living in Florida, Edna and the duke were touring the Florida Keys and they came to visit Grandma and Grandpa."

"What was she like?" Camilla asked.

"She was the most glamorous person I'd ever seen," Olivia's mom replied. "She had this sparkly jeweled necklace that she let me try on, and I pre- tended I was a princess. And they . . . well, it was clear how much the two of them adored each other." The car came to a stoplight, and she turned to Olivia. "And that," her mom finished, "is the story of Great-aunt Edna!"

"She sounds amazing," Olivia said. "I'm sorry I never got to meet her."

"Me, too," her mother told her. "But at least she left me some things that will help us remem- ber her."

"So what did she leave you?" Olivia asked.

Mrs. Abbott sniffed, and Olivia realized that her mom's eyes were welling up. "The diamond and ruby necklace that she let me try on as a little girl."

"No way!" Olivia gasped.

"There's more." Her mother smiled, wiping a tear from her cheek with the back of her hand. "She left me a jeweled ostrich-feather fan and a jewelry box with a secret compartment full of love letters written between her and the duke."

Olivia turned around to look at Camilla and saw that her friend's mouth was hanging open. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" she asked.

"Uh-huh." Camilla grinned. "Looks like our film project is an old-fashioned love story!"