Oh my darkness!’ Ivy Vega collapsed on to her front doorstep with a moan. Resting her elbows on the knees of her black combat trousers, she sighed. ‘I have never been so happy to be finished with a party.’
‘Wasn’t it wonderful, though?’ said her twin sister, Olivia Abbott, who sat down beside her. They were identical, apart from the fact that Olivia was grinning happily, and favoured clothes like the bright pink skirt she was now rearranging.
Oh, and also the fact that Olivia was human, while Ivy was a vampire.
‘I couldn’t believe how perfectly it all went!’ Olivia said.
‘Are you kidding?’ Ivy snorted. ‘Groomzilla was in charge, remember? Nothing was going to go wrong.’
Yesterday, their dad had married Lillian Margolis, the glamorous vampire movie director. The twins had met her just a year earlier, when a huge Hollywood movie had come to film in tiny Franklin Grove. Ivy couldn’t have been happier for her dad – Lillian was the perfect addition to their family – but the memory of his frantic wedding preparation was enough to make her shudder.
How many weeks had it taken her dad to settle on exactly the right trim for the place cards at the reception tables? Ivy winced at the memory. I think I’d rather eat garlic than ever have to see another wedding invitation ever again!
It was no wonder she was exhausted now! Ivy shook her head at her sister. ‘How can you still be so perky? You may live in a different house, but I know you didn’t escape that much prep work.’
‘And it all paid off, every bit of it.’ Olivia swayed side to side, smiling dreamily. ‘Wasn’t it just the most romantic day ever? All those gorgeous colours – do you remember that peach and silver swag?’
‘Remember it?’ Ivy let out a groan. ‘I have nightmares about it! They accidentally delivered the wrong colour the first time round. Dad almost fainted from shock when he saw them. He ended up leaning against the wall, saying that he actually hoped he had gone colour-blind. If I hadn’t threatened to tip Strawberry HemoGlobules on to my bridesmaid’s dress, I’m not sure he would have snapped out of it!’
‘He really came good in the end, though, didn’t he?’ Olivia stretched out her legs, her pink toenail polish sparkling in the sunlight. ‘I can’t think of a better wedding planner. Even the peonies on the tables matched the colour scheme!’
Ivy felt her left eyelid begin to twitch dangerously. She wasn’t sure she could take any more wedding talk – especially now that the actual wedding was over. Calm down, she told herself. This nightmare can’t go on forever!
‘Yes indeed,’ she said dryly. ‘I may never stop swooning over the memories of the . . . “awesome” colour scheme.’
‘Oh, come on.’ Laughing, Olivia dug her in the ribs. ‘It was a day to remember! Even you have to admit that’s true.’
‘Well . . .’ Ivy sighed. ‘OK . . . It did kind of suck. In the good way. Kinda.’
‘See?’ Olivia beamed. ‘You had fu-u-u-u-un . . .’ Her last word broke off into a wide yawn.
‘Aha!’ Ivy shot upright and pointed triumphantly. ‘I knew it. You’re exhausted too!’
Olivia yawned again, not even trying to stifle it this time. ‘OK, you’re right. I never imagined that being a bridesmaid would be such hard work.’
‘You’re telling me.’ Ivy shook her head as she picked up all the confetti that had fallen from her hair on to her combat trousers. ‘Is this stuff made out of glue, or something? I’ve showered twice this morning, and I still haven’t got it all out!’
‘Aww.’ Olivia grabbed her arm, forcing her to look up. ‘Did you ever think you’d see that?’
Ivy blinked, then blinked again as she looked where her twin was pointing. On the pavement in front of them, their dad, their new stepmom and their grandparents were all negotiating the ‘awkward goodbye’. Their grandparents would soon be heading back to Transylvania, home of the elite, upper-class vampire society.
‘Wow,’ Ivy breathed. ‘Is that really Dad?’
Charles Vega normally looked really uncomfortable around any type of ‘goodbye’ – but not today! He was beaming as Lillian smiled serenely at his side.
Olivia shook her head. ‘Lillian has really had an effect on him. I guess love can work miracles.’
Under Ivy’s disbelieving gaze, Charles stepped forward and, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, pulled his parents into a hug.
Ivy’s mouth dropped open. She was still staring, dumbstruck, when her dad turned around.
‘Come on, girls,’ he said. ‘Say goodbye to your grandparents!’
Ivy jumped up. That, I can do! She and Olivia rushed together down the stairs to give their grandparents big hugs of their own.
As Olivia hugged their grandfather, Ivy buried her face into her grandmother’s shoulder. The Countess stroked her hair, and Ivy could have somersaulted for joy.
I’m so glad she’s finally forgiven me.
Her grandparents had pleaded with Ivy to attend Wallachia Academy, an elite vampire finishing school in Transylvania. Ivy had gone along and tried her very best to fit in with the other students, but in the end she’d had to abandon the snooty academy – she’d missed her home too much. Her grandparents had both been appalled – and for a while, Ivy had really feared she’d lost her grandmother’s love for good.
‘I am really, truly proud of you,’ the Countess whispered into Ivy’s ear.