My Sister the Vampire Book 3: Re-Vamped! (Chapter 9)
"Code black." They grinned before darting away. Olivia knew from secret meetings during the Serena Star affair that that meant she should meet them in the science hall bathroom immediately.
She quickly slammed her locker shut and followed them down the hall.
"With smiles like those, you two are a disgrace to Goths everywhere," Olivia teased as the bath- room door swung shut behind her. "What's up?"
Ivy bent down to make sure all the stalls were empty. When she gave a thumbs-up, Sophia reached into her black cat backpack and pulled out a magazine. She held it out to Olivia with both hands.
It was the new issue of Vamp. And she was on the cover! The picture was of Ivy and Olivia, looking into each other's eyes in the ornate mirror in Ivy's guest bathroom. The headline read, TWINS TO DIE FOR.
"If anyone in our community didn't suspect you knew our secret before," Sophia said proudly, "they sure will now. But nothing swings public opinion like the cover of Vamp."
Olivia grabbed the magazine and flipped it open. She landed right in the middle of a series of glossy pictures of her and her sister, each coupled with a little paragraph of text.
"It's eight pages long," Ivy enthused, and she and Sophia gathered around Olivia so they could all look at the same time.
There was Ivy playing the piano, while Olivia sat on top of it.
"That was such a killer idea," Sophia murmured.
There was Ivy in her cocktail dress, trying to pop a huge round pink bubble gum bubble that had been photoshopped in over Olivia's mouth. "So cool!" said Olivia.
And there they were in front of the stairs, looking totally glammed out in their burgundy and green gowns. The last spread was the grand finale: a collage of artsy black-and-white photos of the twins together in the mirror.
"'Ivy Vega and Olivia Abbott share a bond that only blood sisters can,'" Ivy read over Olivia's shoulder. "'They laugh at each other's jokes and cry at each other's hardships. Now that they have discovered each other, they are, in a word, inseparable.'"
"Awww!" Olivia gushed. She took over reading.
"'These remarkable young women have something to teach us all,'" she intoned, "'about what is possible between humans and vampires.
For when there is no fear, there can be love – despite all differences.'" On the verge of tears, Olivia looked up again and saw that her sister's eyes were filling up, too.
There was only one paragraph left, but Olivia couldn't go on. Sophia gently took the magazine from her hands.
"'In a matter of weeks,'" Sophia read carefully, "'Ivy will move to Europe with her father. Having only just found each other, she and her twin shall be torn asunder yet again. But now, even distance is not enough to keep them apart'" – Sophia paused dramatically – "'for they are twins for eternity.'"
Olivia and her sister gave each other a huge hug.
"I'm going to miss you so much," Olivia whispered.
"I can't wait to make my father read this." Ivy sniffled defiantly. "Georgia sent me a full set of photos, as a souvenir to hang in my new room."
"And Kong sent me a full set of photos for my portfolio," Sophia added.
"So I can keep this copy?" asked Olivia.
"No," Sophia said abruptly, taking the magazine back. She reached into her bag and pulled out a much thinner issue. "This one's for you. Special delivery from Georgia Huntingdon."
"What's the difference?" Olivia asked.
"No references to you know what," Sophia answered. Olivia flipped it open, and saw that the only article inside was the one about her and her sister – and even there, lots of text had been deleted.
Olivia frowned. "Can't I have a regular one? I promise I won't show anyone."
Ivy shook her head. "Yours is better."
"There's a reason we call our periodicals the 'black papers,'" Sophia explained. "They're printed on special paper with special ink, so the moment they're exposed to sunlight, the pages turn completely black. And even if they never see the light of day, they blacken in a week anyway."
At least the final spread of Olivia and her sister in the mirror remained intact. They'd only changed one line so it simply said, "These remarkable young women have something to teach us all about what is possible."
I'll treasure this for as long as I live, Olivia thought happily.
The issues of Vamp concealed again, Olivia followed Ivy and Sophia out of the bathroom. They were hurrying to first-period class when Olivia saw two sixth-grade girls charging toward them, arm in arm. One was dressed all in pink and the other was totally clad in black, but in every other way, their outfits were identical.
The one in pink cried out in excitement when she spotted Ivy and Olivia. "Me and my best friend, Marta, planned our outfits," she said, her braces glinting as she spoke, "so we could be twin opposites, just like you! I'm Olivia."
"And I'm Ivy!" her black-clad friend squealed.
Olivia didn't even get a chance to respond before her sister dragged her away down the hall.
"And people think I'm a bloodsucker," Ivy said, clearly weirded out by their cultish look-alikes.
"Well, I think it's fun," Olivia said proudly.
Sophia just shook her head in disbelief.
Suddenly Olivia heard a familiar voice calling her name. She spun around to see Camilla chasing them down the hall, waving a newspaper in the air above her blond curls.
"Have you two seen this?" Camilla cried, thrusting the newspaper at them.
"What?" Olivia and Ivy asked at the same time.
"You made the front page of the Gazette!"
Camilla announced. "They reprinted Toby's article from the Scribe word for word!"
Camilla handed them each a copy of the local newspaper – and sure enough, there were the matching pictures of Ivy and Olivia that had appeared in the school paper the previous week.
"I almost tackled my dad for it when I saw it this morning over the breakfast table," Camilla panted.
"Where'd you get the second copy?" Ivy asked.
Camilla blushed. "I begged my next door neighbor for it, in case you both needed one."
"Thanks," said Ivy, sounding genuinely touched.
"You're the best, Camilla," Olivia said with a grin, gazing down at the front page of the Gazette.
"Who would have thought," she marveled, "that so many people would be interested in our story?"
"Not me," Ivy groaned.
Later, at lunch, Olivia and Ivy were sitting with Brendan, Sophia, and Camilla, surrounded by a mob of people holding out newspapers and begging for autographs. Ivy looked like she wanted to crawl under the table.
Suddenly Charlotte Brown pushed in front of everyone else – except she didn't want an autograph.
"I don't see what all the fuss is about," she huffed. "I mean, it's just the Gazette. It's not like Teen Style or anything."
Ivy rolled her eyes, and Olivia just smiled to herself as she signed a seventh-grade jock's newspaper, thinking, Oh yeah? You should see our glamour shots in Vamp!
Then Toby Decker came up, carrying a tray with two towering ice cream sundaes that he'd made at the dessert bar. He looked so excited – after all, it was his story the Gazette had reprinted. "You two gave me the biggest scoop of my life!" he exclaimed, setting a sundae down in front of each of them. "The least I could do is give you yours!"
"Thanks,Toby," Olivia and Ivy said.
Both their mouths were full of ice cream when Sophia snapped a picture. "Who knows what publication this might end up in?" she said excitedly.
Ivy was glad to walk into the library with Olivia after school, to research their biological parents on the regular Internet. At least in here, she thought, people will have to shut their boxes about us for a second.
It was like the whole school had gone batty. It was strange enough when the Scribe came out, but now it seemed like everyone was idolizing them. Vera had come up to Ivy and Olivia at the beginning of science, and Ivy had expected a fight. Instead, Vera just smiled sheepishly, apologized for the way she'd been acting, and asked for their autographs like everyone else.
Fame is like blood, Ivy thought. Everybody wants a sip.
She and Olivia sat down next to each other at a computer in the corner of the library. Olivia started by doing a search for "Lazar," and a bunch of results came up: A noble history of Covasna, Transylvanian aristocracy, the Lazar mines. Olivia clicked through a bunch of them, but mostly all she found was brief, cryptic mentions.
In fact, apart from the fact that the Lazar family had made their fortune in mining, the girls didn't find out anything they didn't already know.
And they didn't find any pictures.
"There's an old saying in our community," Ivy said. "'There's only one thing more secretive than a vampire: a vampire aristocrat.'"
"Apparently," said Olivia. Next, they tried searching "Susannah Kendall Owl Creek," but nothing came up.
"Didn't the ASHH file say she was from Massachusetts?" Ivy recalled.
Olivia typed "Susannah Kendall Andover," and one link appeared. Ivy held her breath as the screen filled with a black-and-white newspaper photo of a woman in a patterned, V-necked blouse framed by lustrous, shoulder-length hair, laughing warmly at something off to the side. Her eyes sparkled. At the top of the page was a newspaper headline: LOCAL, SUSANNAH KENDALL, 34, DIES IN TRAGIC ACCIDENT. It was the same as the one they'd found in the ASHH files – except at ASHH, the article had been clipped without the photograph.
"There she is," Olivia whispered.
"She has our nose," noted Ivy.
"And our eyebrows," Olivia agreed. "I'm going to pay to print out two copies, one for each of us. Okay?"
"Thanks," Ivy said simply, and then she was alone in front of the screen. Susannah Kendall of Andover died suddenly in a tragic accident yesterday, the article began. She was 34.
Ivy was still thinking about that when her sister returned. Olivia sat down and quietly read aloud from one of the printouts in her hand.
"'Susannah was a warm, fun, and generous soul, always opening her heart to others. Blessed with a sharp wit and a keen mind, she made an impression on all who met her.'"
Olivia struggled to read the last line of the article. "'Susannah will be sorely missed.'" She dragged her eyes away from the paper at last. "That's it." She shrugged. "No mention of a husband. No mention of us."
"They were in hiding," Ivy said simply. For a moment, neither she nor her sister said anything. I never knew I lost my real mom, Ivy was thinking. I only knew my dad found me, and that made everything okay.
"I feel so lucky my parents adopted me," Olivia echoed aloud.
"I guess," Ivy said slowly, "we both ended up right where we belonged."
"It's nice to know where we came from, though," admitted Olivia, a small smile breaking across her face.
Ivy nodded. "And, now that we know Susannah was our mom and Karl Lazar was our dad, we know you definitely had a vampire parent," she pointed out. "All the Veras of the world won't be able to complain about you knowing the secret."
Olivia glanced over her shoulder to make sure no one was eavesdropping. "Does that mean I have to start shopping at BloodMart?" she joked.
A few minutes later, they were just leaving school when Ivy saw her father pacing ominously at the bottom of the deserted steps. He was clearly waiting for them.
When he saw them coming, he charged up, meeting them halfway. "Is it true that the two of you broke into the offices of ASHH?" he demanded angrily.
Ivy and Olivia exchanged panicked looks, which immediately gave them away.
"How could you, Ivy?" her father said, his voice filled with disappointment.
"How could I what?" Ivy snapped. "How could I want to know about my real parents? Olivia and I have a right to know!"
"You took a human into a restricted area!" her father said. "Did it fail to occur to you that there would be security cameras capturing your every move?" His voice dropped to an urgent whisper.
"The Vampire Round Table came to our house today. Olivia is being called for an initiation!"
Ivy froze. "A what?"
"A ritual," he explained, "to test whether she is worthy of the Blood Secret."
"Uh-oh," Olivia said under her breath.
"But why?" Ivy gasped.
"Why?" her father repeated in exasperation.
"Because, between the article in Vamp and the footage of Olivia at ASHH, they have deduced that there has been a violation of the First Law of the Night!"
"Is she going to be hurt?" Ivy asked.
"Hurt?" cried Olivia.
"I don't know exactly," Ivy's father answered with a shake of his head, his anger suddenly faltering.
"But what does she have to do?" Ivy pressed.
"I know that there are three trials she must pass," her dad answered. "Olivia," he asked, "do you think your parents will allow you to sleep at our house on Friday night?"
"I think so," Olivia said. "Why?"
"That is the appointed date and time for your initiation."
"But that only gives her one night to prepare!"
Her father studied Olivia's face. "The best and only way to prepare," he said solemnly, "is for you to be ready to bare your true soul."
"What if she doesn't pass?" Ivy asked in a small voice.
He peered down at her, and Ivy couldn't tell whether his eyes were filled with hope or hopelessness.
"If it is meant to be," he said in a resigned voice as he turned away to descend the steps, "then it shall be."