My Sister the Vampire Book 3: Re-Vamped! (Chapter 11)
She covered her eyes with her hands, peeking out between her fingers.
Out of the corner of her eyes she registered that she was surrounded by purple velvet and absentmindedly started rubbing her toe against it. Then she saw a black-lacquered edge, which made her think of Mr. Vega's decorating. She lazily turned her head from side to side. I slept pretty well, she thought with a yawn, considering I'm in a coffin.
The pale, gaunt face of Valencia Deborg appeared above her. The vampire's lips were moving, but for a second Olivia couldn't work out what she was saying. "Olivia Abbott," she finally made out, "you have passed the First Test, the Test of Darkness."
Olivia sat upright and clapped like she'd just finished a cheer. She looked around to catch her sister's eye, but Ms. Deborg was the only person there.
"Once you have changed, report to the upstairs landing," Ms. Deborg said sternly before sweeping out of the room.
Olivia rushed to wash her face, brush her teeth, and throw on her clothes. She raced down the hall to the stairs, expecting to see Ivy. Instead, Mr. Boros was standing there alone.
"Good morning," he said. The few remaining hairs on his head were sticking out at all angles and he was wearing the same rumpled suit he'd worn yesterday. Olivia figured he must have slept in an extra coffin in the attic or something.
Olivia followed him down the stairs to the breakfast room, where Valencia Deborg was ready, wearing a fresh dark-red and purple kimono and holding a tall glass filled with pink frothy liquid. "Your breakfast."
Olivia's heart jumped. It's the memory-erasure concoction! "But I thought I passed!" she sputtered.
Ms. Deborg frowned. "You would rather have Marshmallow Platelets?"
"No," Olivia said, "but I don't want to drink a memory-loss smoothie, either."
Ms. Deborg and Mr. Boros both looked at her cluelessly.
"Oh!" Mr. Boros said finally. "She thinks . . . No, no, young lady, this is a real strawberry smoothie. Made especially for you."
"Really?" Olivia peered into the glass.
"Cross my neck and hope to die," Ms. Deborg pledged without smiling.
Sitting down, Olivia took a tentative sip. It was superdelicious. All at once she realized she was ravenous and began gulping through the straw.
Halfway through, she started to get a brain freeze headache that made her take a break.
"Where's Ivy?" she wondered aloud.
Mr. Boros and Ms. Deborg exchanged glances.
"She's not here," Mr. Boros said.
"Where'd she go?" Olivia asked.
"How should we know?" Ms. Deborg answered blankly.
Olivia ducked her head to finish her smoothie.
That's strange, she thought. Ivy promised she'd stay close by. Maybe she's working on one of those contingency plans of hers, like preparing an escape route out a second-floor window.
After her smoothie, Ms. Deborg presented Olivia with a piece of toast with red jam. As Olivia ate it, she started to get nervous for her next test.
Don't worry, she told herself. Ivy will definitely be back for that. She ate her toast more and more slowly until just a few bites were left. She didn't want to finish it until her sister showed up.
Finally, Ms. Deborg took the plate away and gestured for Olivia to follow her and Mr. Boros.They led her back up to the second floor and down the hall to Mr.Vega's study.
As the vampire officials proceeded into the room ahead of her, Olivia could see Mr. Vega waiting in the corner next to the enormous globe. She froze in the doorway and scanned the rest of the room. Ivy wasn't there. She planted her feet. "I want to know where Ivy is," she demanded.
Ms. Deborg glared down at her. "I told you; we don't know where she is."
"I don't believe you," Olivia said. Everybody just stared at her.
Ivy's father cleared his throat. "Ivy mentioned that she was going out with Brendan for the morning. She said she'd be back in time for the Third Test." He looked away.
Ms. Deborg ruffled an enormous kimono sleeve and a sleek black watch appeared on her slender wrist. She looked at it impatiently. "We must proceed with the Second Test at once."
Olivia shook her head. "Ivy promised she'd stay with me. She wouldn't break a promise like that."
"Are you saying you are unwilling to proceed?" Mr. Boros asked sternly.
Olivia hesitated. Ivy swore she'd be here, she thought, and she's not.What if they've done something to her?
"I guess I am." Olivia gulped. "At least, I am until Ivy shows up."
There was silence. Then Olivia thought she saw the slightest hint of a smile appear on Mr. Vega's face.
"Olivia Abbott," Ms. Deborg announced, "you have passed the Second Test, the Test of Faith."
"Huh?" Olivia said. Mr. Boros slipped out of the room and returned with Ivy, who looked more frustrated than a cheerleader who had fallen during a tumbling routine.
"They wouldn't let me in!" Ivy shook Mr. Boros off and ran up to Olivia. "Are you okay?"
"I'm okay," Olivia said. "Are you okay?"
"Uh-huh," Ivy answered.
"I was so worried!" Olivia told her.
Ivy nodded in agreement. "What happened?"
"I passed the Second Test." Olivia shrugged.
"The Test of Faith," Mr. Boros said in his nasal voice, "is passed when the applicant shows complete faith in the vampire who vouched for her."
"I knew something was wrong," Olivia began, "because you said – "
"I wouldn't leave your side for a second." Ivy grinned. She and Olivia high-fived. "Only one more nail to seal this coffin!" Ivy said excitedly.
"The Third, and final,Test," Ms. Deborg said solemnly, "is the Test of Blood."
Olivia clutched her stomach. The thought of drinking blood totally made her want to puke.
"You mean I have to drink . . . ?" She couldn't even bring herself to finish the question.
"That would be a Test of Fortitude, wouldn't it?" Ms. Deborg deadpanned.
"Of course we'd never make a human drink blood," assured Mr. Boros. "No, no, the Test of Blood merely refers to your blood, Olivia."
"What?" Olivia croaked.
Valencia ruffled a sleeve, revealing a huge ruby ring that glinted on her finger. She approached Olivia and pressed the sides of the enormous ring.The ruby popped open to reveal what looked like the sharp point of a thumbtack. Ms. Deborg extended her other hand, palm up, expectantly.
Olivia took a step backward. "What do I have to do?"
Instead of answering, Ms. Deborg curled the tips of her fingers invitingly.
Olivia reached behind her back and gripped Ivy's hand for moral support. Then she shut her eyes tight and reached out with her free hand. She felt Valencia Deborg's cool fingers close around her index finger.
"What's happening?" she whispered, terrified.
"Don't hurt her!" Ivy cried.
But then nothing happened. Mr. Boros cleared his throat meaningfully a few times, and eventually Olivia realized that he was trying to get her attention. She forced herself to open her eyes and saw that he was holding up a yellowed piece of parchment inches from her face. Its borders were filled with elaborate, spiky designs, and in the center was a poem written in fancy black script.
"The applicant will read the Blood Oath," he declared.
Olivia took a deep breath before starting to read aloud.
"'Their Night is my Night.
Their Blood is my Blood.
Their Secret is my Secret.
This Oath is my Coffin.'"
Underneath the words, where a line for her signature might be, was a small blank circle.
Valencia Deborg looked at her meaningfully, still grasping Olivia's index finger in one hand as she held up her needle-tipped ring in the other.
Olivia saw that Ivy was smiling proudly. Sort of surprisingly, so was Ivy's father. Olivia nodded bravely at Ms. Deborg as Mr. Boros positioned the paper underneath her hand.
The vampire touched her ring to the tip of Olivia's finger. Olivia winced, and a drop of blood bloomed like a tiny rose. She let it drip off her finger, and it landed with a tiny splatter in the middle of the parchment circle.
"Olivia Abbott has passed all three tests in her initiation," Ms. Deborg pronounced. "The Blood Secret is hers to keep."
Olivia and Ivy shared the biggest hug ever, and everybody started clapping – even Ivy's father and Valencia Deborg. Then the vampire officials led them all downstairs to the living room, where Olivia was shocked to find Sophia, Brendan, Bethany, and Mr. and Mrs. Daniels. They all erupted into applause the moment Olivia walked into the room.
"Bravo!" Brendan shouted. "A-positive, Olivia!"
Bethany hooted like a crazed owl.
Olivia just stood there, beaming.
"Everyone who knows you know the secret is in this room," Ivy whispered in her ear.
Sophia started snapping pictures like crazy. Ivy tried to step away, but Sophia begged her to stay there and try to act natural. "I'm hoping Vamp magazine will want these pictures for their 'Stalking the Undead' celebrity candid column!"
she said excitedly.
Valencia Deborg stepped into the center of the room and held up her slender hands. "As you've guessed, Olivia Abbott has successfully completed the sacred rites of initiation. She is officially sanctioned into our community by the Vampire Round Table."
"And by ASHH as well," Mr. Boros piped up from near the door.
Everybody started clapping again, and then they all sang this bizarre song in some weird language that sounded like "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow" played backward. Olivia swayed to the music, feeling simultaneously awed and bemused by the whole display.
Ivy was so happy and relieved that her sister had passed the tests, she almost felt like wearing pink!
Everyone was milling around Olivia, congratulating her and joking around. Meanwhile, Ivy's father appeared, holding a silver tray loaded with crystal flutes of deep red A neg. He handed them out, until the only one left had a pink-and-white polka-dotted cocktail umbrella sticking out of it.
"For Olivia," he said, holding out the tray, "some cranberry juice. The little umbrella was to keep the glasses from getting mixed up."
Ivy's heart cracked open like a coffin at dawn.
Maybe he's finally starting to accept Olivia now that she's an honorary vamp, she thought.
A few minutes later, Ivy spied her father sitting alone in the corner, sipping his cocktail. She crept over to Olivia and gently tugged her away from Mr. and Mrs. Daniels.
"You should go talk to my dad," Ivy said. "I think he's finally started to see you for who you really are."
Her sister approached him tentatively. "Thanks so much for the party, Mr. Vega," Ivy heard her say.
Her father looked up, startled, as if Olivia had woken him from a dream. He stood up abruptly, nearly knocking Olivia's glass from her hand, and a bit of cranberry juice sloshed over the edge of the glass and onto the floor.
"I'm so sorry," he blurted. "I have to . . ." He shot a desperate look in Ivy's direction but immediately looked away. "Please excuse me." And with that, he rushed from the room.
Olivia shrugged at Ivy disappointedly before kneeling to wipe up the cranberry juice with her napkin.
Ivy sighed. Her father still couldn't deal with Olivia, and he was probably still mad at Ivy for breaking into ASHH. But that was all dirt and worms compared to the way he'd been acting.
Why can't he understand that I deserve to find out about my real parents? she thought. Why can't he make more of an effort with my blood sister?
Ivy walked into the kitchen, half looking for her father. Her dad wasn't in there, but she did notice that he'd put a tray of tiny pastries filled with ground meat in the oven. She was opening the oven to check on them when Brendan's parents came into the kitchen with Bethany.
"I'm gonna be the most popular girl at Franklin Grove Elementary once everyone finds out that I go to parties with Ivy and Olivia, the two coolest girls ever!" Bethany chattered.
"They'll probably want to do a piece on me in Vamp!" She sucked in her cheeks like she was posing for a fashion shoot. Meanwhile, Mrs. Daniels reached into her purse and pulled out a little white bottle.
"Time for your VitaVamp, sweetheart," she said.
"Ew!" Bethany said.
"You can have it in your A neg," her mother told her, splitting the capsule in two and letting the black powder drop into the glass, where it fizzed lightly before dissolving.
"It tastes worse than broccoli!" Bethany protested.
"Don't you want to grow up to be a strong vampire?" Ivy tried.
"No," Bethany answered. "I want to grow up to be a cheerleader like Olivia."
They all laughed.
Mr. Daniels stroked his chin. "Ivy, do you think I might have one of those cocktail umbrellas?"
"Sure," said Ivy, picking one out of the box on the counter and handing it over.
"That's just like Olivia's!" Bethany squealed.
"Can I have one? Please can I have one?"
"You may if you're willing to drink up your A neg," said Mr. Daniels.
"Okay!" Bethany agreed.
Brendan's dad dropped the umbrella in the glass, and his mom handed it over to Bethany, who sipped at it demurely. "Totally yummy!" she declared and skipped out of the kitchen.
Olivia was sitting on the black leather living room couch with Brendan, talking about their social studies teacher Ms. Starling's strange obsession with the guillotine, when Bethany bounded over.
"Olivia, darling," she said like a high society diva, "you look absolutely marvelous." Olivia giggled.
"Bethany," called Mrs. Daniels with a smile, "why don't you tell Olivia about the latest fashion at your school?"
"Let me guess," Olivia said. "Dressing up like opposite twins?"
"No way," Bethany sang. "That's soooo last week." She gingerly put down her glass on the coffee table next to Olivia's. "The latest is to dress half Goth" – Bethany held out one hand, on which all of her fingernails were painted black – "and half bunny!" She held out her other hand to reveal that the nails were all pink.
Olivia nodded, impressed. Then she had an idea. "You could even try alternating nails – black, pink, black, pink, black."
"Oh, my gosh!" Bethany gasped. "You are a total genius! I'm going to do that, like, the moment I get home!"
"Oh, really?" Mrs. Daniels said skeptically.
"Please, Mom, can I?" Bethany pleaded.
Olivia suddenly realized she hadn't seen her sister in a while. "Have either of you seen Ivy?" she asked.
"In the kitchen," Mrs. Daniels answered.
Olivia seized the opportunity to grab her flute of cranberry juice off the table and head off to check on her sister. As she walked, she sipped at her drink. In all honesty, it wasn't very good cranberry juice – it tasted sort of like overcooked broccoli – but she was parched. She took a big gulp so she wouldn't have to taste it.
Ivy was just finishing laying finger foods on a square black tray.
"Hey." Olivia smiled, but as she said it the whole room seemed to go crooked. She put a hand on the counter to steady herself.
"Are you all right?" Ivy asked.
"I don't know," Olivia replied, "but there seems to be two of you." And my legs feel like Jell-O, she thought.
Both of the Ivys she could see rushed over and helped Olivia into a chair. Olivia blinked hard. "Still seeing double?" Ivy asked.
"No," Olivia croaked. "Now there's three of you."
Suddenly, three Bethanys appeared in the doorway. Each one was holding Olivia's drink with its polka-dotted umbrella.
"That's my drink," Olivia said, realizing that she was thirstier than ever.
"Olivia," Ivy said slowly, "you're already holding your drink."
"Uh-oh," said all the Bethanys.
"Bethany," requested Ivy in an urgent voice, "can you go get Sophia?"
"But – "
"Now!" Ivy said.
"Not so loud." Olivia winced. All these voices were hurting her head.
"Olivia," Ivy said, and there were four of her now. "Listen to me.Your drink got switched with Bethany's."
"You mean I drank blood?" Olivia heard herself say dumbly.
"Among other things," Ivy told her.
Suddenly the voice that was supposed to be her own started talking and Olivia couldn't stop it. "Am I growing fangs? Am I a bat? Do I get my own coffin?" Each question echoed the moment it was spoken, and soon it seemed like a bunch of people who sounded just like her were talking over one another inside her head.
Then, for some reason, all those Olivias started laughing hysterically.
As far as Ivy knew, drinking A neg shouldn't really have any effect on a human other than grossing them out. So it must have been Bethany's VitaVamp that was making her sister act like it was a full moon.
Ivy noticed that Mrs. Daniels had left the vitamin bottle on the counter, and she snatched it up to scan the label. "'Warning,'" she read. "'Not for human use. If ingested by a human, dizziness, nausea, and hallucinations may result for up to eight hours.'"
Ivy went and knelt beside her sister, whose laughter had given way to a dreamy song about bunny rabbits. "Good news, Olivia," Ivy said.
"Worst-case scenario: you'll hallucinate for the rest of the day."
Olivia stopped singing and nodded. "Your kitchen is sparkly," she said happily. Then she sprang to her feet and started spinning with her head flung back.
"Are you okay?" Ivy asked nervously.
"I'm great!" Olivia squealed. She clawed at the air until she found Ivy's arm. "Let's go back to the party!"
With a jolt, Ivy realized that that was the worst idea since the wooden stake. Olivia can't go back in there, she thought. What if the secretary of human affairs for the Vampire Round Table and the top ASHH agent see her like this and have second thoughts? She had to get Olivia to the basement until she was acting like a human again.
Ivy looked toward the doorway desperately.
She needed Sophia's help if she was going to successfully transport her sister downstairs.
"Olivia?" Ivy said.
Olivia looked all around. "I hear someone calling my name!" she whispered in wonderment.
"Olivia," Ivy repeated, sitting her back down in her chair, "I need you to stay right here for a second. Okay?"
"Okeydoke," chirped Olivia, planting her hands in her lap like a kindergartner.
Ivy darted back toward the living room. Just outside the door, she bumped smack into Sophia.
"What did you say to Bethany?" Sophia asked.
"She said you yelled at her."
Ivy shook her head. "It's Olivia," she whispered.
"She drank Bethany's drink by accident. It had VitaVamp in it!"
Sophia's eyes widened. "Did she barf?"
"Worse," Ivy said. "She's temporarily lost her mind! You have to help me get her to my room!"
She dragged Sophia after her to the kitchen.
Olivia's chair was sitting there empty, and all at once Ivy's chest felt like somebody had shoveled it full of coal. "Olivia?" she called. No answer. She said a little prayer and looked in the broom closet, but the only thing in there was the broom.
"Where is she?" said Sophia.
"I lost her," Ivy gulped. She ran to the front hall, uncertain where she should look next.
Sophia followed closely.
"Shhh!" Sophia said suddenly. "I hear something."
Ivy froze, listening intently. From upstairs, she heard the faint sounds of her sister singing loopily.
She bounded up the front stairs with Sophia right behind her. Olivia was prancing around the second floor hallway, her hands over her head.
"Olivia!" Ivy called in a whisper.
"I'm a bunny!" Olivia whispered and then turned and wiggled her backside. "Hop! Hop! Hop!" she said, and bounced away.
"Olivia!" Ivy called again, chasing her.
Ivy and Sophia had almost caught up to her when Olivia suddenly stopped in front of the open door of Ivy's father's study, mesmerized by something inside. Ivy lunged for her, but Olivia hopped away at the last moment, and Ivy ended up belly flopping onto the floor.
Ouch! Ivy winced. Raising herself to her knees, she glanced inside the study.
Her father was standing rigidly behind his desk, his hands flat on its surface. He almost looked pink. Ivy quickly got to her feet.
"Ivy," her father said, his voice shaking, "this floor is no place for your guests to horse around!"
"Olivia isn't a guest," Ivy snapped. "She's my sister." She felt like screaming, Why is it so hard for you to accept her? but she knew she'd better take Olivia away before her father realized what kind of shape she was in. She marched down the hall to Olivia and gently took her arm. "Come on."
"But my ring's there," Olivia mumbled, nodding toward the study.
Ivy glanced down at her sister's hand and was relieved to see that her emerald ring was still securely on her finger. "It's right here," she said quietly. Sophia got on the other side of Olivia, and together they started guiding her slowly back down the hallway. Ivy didn't even look at her father as they passed his study again.
They were finally making their way down the main staircase when Ivy saw Mr. Daniels charging up the steps toward them. For a split second, Ivy considered trying to make a three-legged run for it. Instead she just shot a resigned look over Olivia's shoulder at Sophia.
"Bethany told me what happened," Mr. Daniels said, reaching up to Olivia's face and pulling open one of her eyelids with his thumb. "You have hair like Einstein." Olivia giggled. "Let's get her to the kitchen," Mr. Daniels said professionally. "Ivy, if you'll help me find the ingredients, we should be able to create an antidote."
Now why can't my dad be more like Brendan's?
Ivy thought gratefully.
In Ivy's front foyer, Olivia was saying good-bye to the last of the guests. Except for the half hour or so when apparently she'd been completely embarrassing, it had been a super party.Valencia Deborg solemnly produced a tiny V-shaped pin from one of her sleeves and pinned it to Olivia's sweatshirt before sweeping out the door. Mr. Boros pumped her hand proudly. As for the Danielses, she felt like she'd known them forever.
Mrs. Daniels hoped she'd agree to babysit for Bethany and promised to be in charge of the veggie burgers in future.
Still, something kept niggling at the back of Olivia's mind. It felt like there was something she'd been meaning to say since the moment she'd returned to her senses, but she just couldn't remember what it was.
Sophia came up and gave her a hug. "Remind me to bring VitaVamp to your next party," she teased. "You can be the entertainment."
"Thanks," Olivia said sheepishly.
Soon it was just Olivia and Ivy, plus Ivy's dad, who was looming back by the staircase. Olivia glanced at her watch; her parents were expecting her home in twenty minutes.
"I guess I'd better get going, too," she said to her sister.
Ivy nodded. Olivia turned toward the stairs.
"Thank you for everything, Mr.Vega."
"You're welcome, Olivia," he said expressionlessly.
For a split second, Olivia caught his dark eyes, and in a flash, she remembered what it was that she had seen when she was under the influence of Bethany's pill.
He turned to ascend the stairs, and the moment he was out of sight, Olivia pulled her sister close.
"Your father was looking at a wooden box in his study."
Ivy shrugged. "My dad has lots of wooden boxes."
"But this one had our symbol on it," Olivia said, raising her hand to show Ivy her ring.
"Olivia," Ivy said, rolling her eyes, "you were imagining things.You were out of it."
"I saw it, Ivy," Olivia said firmly. "I know I did.
I walked past the study, and he was sitting at his desk with this box open in front of him. He was reading something. And I saw – I remember it totally – our symbol was carved on the box's lid!"
Ivy bit her lip. "But why would my dad have something with our symbol on it?"
Olivia shook her head after a moment. "I don't know," she admitted.
Ivy sighed. "He did seem freaked out when he realized we were up there," she recalled.
"Something strange is going on," Olivia decided, and she could tell that her sister didn't need any convincing. "We need to find that box, Ivy."
"Well, there's nothing we can do with my dad around," Ivy said thoughtfully. "But he's going out tomorrow morning. Can you come back first thing?"
Olivia nodded. She hugged her sister tight before setting off for home. Ivy's long driveway descended toward the street like a giant question mark – and Olivia couldn't help feeling that tomorrow, when she walked back up it the other way, she'd arrive at some answers at last.