‘You must be like water . . . running water . . .’
Ivy Vega clamped one hand over her mouth to hold back a snicker. I can’t let myself laugh, she told herself. It’s not fair!
Mr Abbott was sleeping in the front seat of the Vegas’ car after a red-eye flight from London. Unfortunately, he was having a deep conversation with a martial arts student – in his sleep.
‘Flowww,’ he mumbled. His chin sagged over his bright orange ‘I London’ T-shirt, muffling his words. ‘. . . like a waaaterfall . . .’
‘If there was a prize for Most Jet-Lagged Man in the World,’ Ivy whispered to her twin, ‘he would have to win!’
Olivia Abbott stifled a giggle, her blue eyes bright. ‘No competition!’ she whispered back. ‘Do you think we should we call the Guinness Book of World Records ?’
‘Well . . .’ Ivy eyed the London Eye ferris wheel pictured on Olivia’s babydoll T-shirt and grinned. With a quick side-glance at their bio-dad in the driving seat of the car, she lowered her voice. ‘Maybe I should call a few gossip magazines first!’
Olivia rolled her eyes. ‘What are you talking about?’
‘Ahem?’ Letting a grin spread across her face, Ivy pointed to the heart that had been drawn in pink ink around one of the pods on the ferris wheel on Olivia’s shirt. ‘Does that or does that not say JC + OA ?’
Olivia’s cheeks flushed pink. Still, her lips curved into a tiny smile. ‘So?’
‘So-o-o . . .’ Ivy drawled, and nudged her twin. ‘I’m guessing that someone had a romantic moment with her boyfriend on the London Eye. And since that boyfriend just happens to be a major movie star, I’m betting the magazines would be fascinated to hear that.’
‘Oh, shush, you!’ Olivia batted at Ivy’s shoulder, but she couldn’t hide her smile.
Ivy batted right back at her, laughing with delight.
Olivia’s tourist T-shirt was one more reminder of just how far away she had been – but now that she was home, everything finally felt right again to Ivy. From the grin on Olivia’s face – and the heart she’d drawn on her T-shirt! – it looked like everything was going right for Olivia, too.
Ivy’s sister gave an impatient bounce as she turned to look at her adoptive parents, who were snoring loudly in the backseat. ‘I can’t believe they’re both sleeping. I have never felt so awake!’
Ivy rolled her eyes. ‘Tell me about it. You’ve been fidgeting ever since you got here!’ But her smile was affectionate as she gazed at her twin.
The Abbotts had flown to London a week ago so that Olivia could film scenes for the upcoming Hollywood film Eternal Sunset. Now Olivia should have been crashing, after being up all night on the plane ride home. But between the hectic filming schedule she had just gone through, her crazy levels of jet lag, and her giddy happiness over her reunion with Jackson, she was acting exactly like a bumble bee that had rolled in sugar. Ivy had never seen her twin so hyper.
‘Ooh! I almost forgot!’ Olivia let out a squeak of excitement, diving down to grab the bag from between her glittering pink tennis shoes. ‘I have gifts ! I got you guys so many souvenirs.’
‘Just wait!’ Laughing, Ivy put one hand on her twin’s arm. ‘It’s too cramped in here for gift-giving. Plus, Dad’s busy driving, and your parents are out like lights. Why don’t you hand them out when we get home to Undertaker Hill?’
‘You’re right. Of course you’re right.’ Nodding firmly, Olivia gave another little bounce. ‘We should build suspense. That way, we’ll all enjoy the pay-off even more when it comes!’
‘Is this movie-talk?’ Ivy raised her eyebrows, thinking of Olivia’s cinema-obsessed best friend Camilla. ‘I think you’re the first of us to get fluent in Camilla-ese!’
Before Olivia could reply, her adoptive father lurched forwards in his seat.
Still asleep, he bellowed, ‘Forget shape and structure! They have no meaning he-ahhhhhzzz . . .’
His last word was swallowed by an enormous snore as his head fell back against the seat.
Ivy and Olivia both had to cover their mouths to hold back their giggles. Even Charles Vega, in the front of the car, looked as if he was choking back a laugh.
‘Welcome home,’ Ivy whispered to her sister, giving her a hug.
Back at Ivy’s house, her dad and stepmom, Lillian, laid out a light breakfast for the returning trio. Even cereal and toast didn’t seem to be enough to fight the jet lag, though. Mrs Abbott had to excuse herself to go upstairs after less than five minutes.
‘I need to splash some water on my face,’ she said. ‘Maybe that’ll wake me up.’
‘Of course,’ Lillian said. ‘Please make yourself at home.’ As Mrs Abbott walked out of the room, Lillian turned to Olivia and Mr Abbott. ‘Won’t you two tell me about your flight?’
‘Well . . .’ Olivia began. Then she stopped, as Mr Abbott’s head suddenly lolled forwards.
Ivy gasped as he began to fall face first into his cereal bowl . . .
. . . Only to catch himself just in time. He jerked back as he grunted awake, sending his silver spoon flying through the air, too high and fast for any human to catch.
But none of the Vegas were human.
Charles Vega’s hand flashed up with vampire speed and snatched the spoon from mid-air.
Uh-oh. Ivy stared at her father. That was a mistake. A real human couldn’t have done that!
Next to Charles, Lillian was visibly wincing, while Olivia looked just as alarmed as Ivy felt. Talk about a vampire giveaway! Even Charles seemed to realise his mistake. He gave the spoon in his hand a stern glance, looking as annoyed as if he’d found a shoe in his closet that wasn’t perfectly polished.