The Author as a Lesbian - Season 5
1. Episode One
Disclaimer: All recognizable
characters are owned by Glenn Eichler and MTV; no infringement is intended, and
no money is being made.
Daria sat down on the bench of the cell. "Damn, they should have at least given me a kiss after that search."
Jane smirked. "What, just months after we're married and already thinking of adultery?" She giggled, and Jen joined her.
"Uh-huh." Daria rolled her eyes. "At least they have us in the juvenile part of the jail, though I don't know how they're going to reconcile that with prosecuting us with what is, essentially, an adult-only crime."
"You mean, as minors, we pretty much have to do what our parents say?" Jen didn't seem to be that impressed.
"Well, they, to an extent, are responsible for us, so, yeah." Daria ran her fingers through her long hair. "It gets more complicated because we're seventeen, over the age of sexual consent, below the nominal age of majority in Maryland, and that this ordinance - law - is so horribly written."
"When did you get a copy of it?"
"Mom read it to me over the phone, before we came back. Do you know that it makes it illegal to have more than one person of the same gender residing in the same room?"
"Yeah, so?" Jen was puzzled.
"Well, among other things, they didn't say that it didn't apply to related persons, so, oops, pretty much every child in a low-income family with more than one kid is going to be rounded up and put away, because they don't have enough rooms. Oh, and then that's going to cause a problem with the jail, because they aren't going to have enough room to put every one in their own cell and the people writing this law didn't exempt jails. Oh, yeah, Grove Hills, Fielding and the University are going to lose about half of their enrollment, because their students can't afford places outside the campuses, and it'll be illegal to put any more of them in their current dorms." Daria sighed. "And that's just the surface."
Jen shook her head. "And that's without getting into the fact that we're lovers and married."
Daria snorted. "Oh, that's where they didn't need help. There's a Federal law, called the Edmunds Act, that makes polygamy illegal, and almost every state disallows gay marriage, although that's changing."
Jane narrowed her eyes. "If that's so, then why are we in here?"
"Because though it might be illegal, co-habitation is not something that law enforcement, well, enforces the ban on unless they are pretty much forced to," Daria said. "It's like, 'who really cares?' Well, of course, until someone needs a lever on someone else."
Jen leaned back. "So we're using this to get our argument out in a place that they can't hush it up?"
"Got it in one."
"Tom, I'm so worried. She's in jail...they all are." Quinn's eyes were full of tears as she nibbled at her cheeseless pizza.
Tom sighed. "I know, Quinn. But what you have to remember is that this is something that was cooked up between Daria, my Dad, and your mom." He sighed...if she hadn't been gay, what a girl! "More to the part, we all agreed to it."
"I know. It's just - you can't predict everything. What if they put her with some big Bertha?" She and Tom looked into each other's eyes for almost half a minute before bursting into giggles. Holding up her hand , she said, "I know. She'd have Bertha outmaneuvered five minutes after they were locked in together." Looking up, her face had calmed. "But, seriously, it's something that we can't control."
"I know, Quinn," Tom said, taking her hand and kissing it. "But all that we can do is to do what we can do. And at this point, for me, it's showing up and supporting them. Speaking of that, are their dresses ready?"
Quinn's smile brightened the room, causing some...reactions in Tom. "Oh, yes! The Judge won't know what hit him - it's a perfect mesh of innocent and matronly, in their best colors..."
Tom smiled. At least someone wouldn't be nervous.
Helen Morgendorffer looked at her colleagues as she finished up her call with the D.A. Jim Vitale, taking lead in the matter because the people involved were so close to the firm; the oddly named Bill Tweed, the firm's criminal specialist; and the tall, thin, Ann Freeman, their constitutional scholar. "We'll be there, Jack," she said, just before she hung up.
"Well?" Jim Vitale asked, impatiently.
"It's set up. Jack's a sharp cookie, I'm pretty certain that he knows that we're angling to win on appeal. Truth to tell, from some asides he made, he wants us to challenge this law."
"Well, of course." Everyone turned to look at Ann. "Besides the fact that it doesn't work within the Maryland Constitution, it's just a horribly written law. They're probably hoping that we get it stricken before someone sues them on the basis of it." Seeing everyone look at her, she said, "Jail cells, more than one person of the same gender per cell, ring a bell?"
"The county of Lawndale vs Morgendorffer, Lane, and Burns, parties please step forward." The girls and Bill Tweed stepped up.
The judge looked over the documents. "Breaking our spanking new regulation against cohabitation, are we?" The D.A. nodded. "How do you plead?"
Bill stepped forward. "Your Honor, my clients plead not guilty."
"Does anyone have an objection to ROR?"
"No, your Honor."
"No, your Honor."
"Defendants are ROR, trial to begin next Monday, 9 am. Next!"
The amigas were in the party room, along with Quinn, Tom, Charles, Jodie, Brittany, Kevin, and Tiffany, enjoying their first pizzas since the arraignment. Their laughter died away as they noticed Sandi and Winner at the door. "Yes?" Daria said, her voice the monotone that she had brought to Lawndale.
"May we join you?" The question could have sounded haughty; despite Sandi's rough voice, it came across as tentative.
Everyone looked at Daria, and she pondered for a moment. What the hell, hate is for when you want to kill them all. "You're both welcome to join us, Sandi," she finally replied.
Sandi turned to Winner, who was carrying a pie and their drinks. "Put them on that table, and sit down." She walked up to Quinn, and knelt in front of her, taking her hand. "Quinn, I wanted to tell you how sorry I am about the things that I did, and that I tried to do to you. There was no excuse for it. Can you forgive me?"
"Oh, Sandi...we were kids, and I took control of myself. There's nothing to forgive, except for that last prank, and I think that it was its own punishment, so I forgive you for it. But," and here Sandi's head jerked up, "I think that there's someone you do need to apologize to." Quinn pointed at Daria.
Sandi walked over to Daria. As she was about to kneel, Daria waved her hand. "We're good. I get and receive worse on a daily basis. But you did try and hit Jennifer, as well as get her suspended. I think that would require an apology."
Sandi nodded, and turned to Jen, before kneeling. "Jennifer - "
Jen took her hand, and squeezed it. "Save it. I just have two questions. Are you sorry for what you did?" Sandi, her eyes filled with tears, nodded. "Good. And did you take my advice?" Another nod, with her eyes flashing over to Winner, and her face blushing. Jen smiled. "Then I think we're good."
Some kid hit a Spiral song on the jukebox, and the party got started.
2. Episode Two (sex, ff, BDSM)
A/N:Just to make
everything clear, this episode is almost entirely made up of two women
indulging in BDSM; in addition, several things that would be part of a normal
BDSM relationship (one just starting up) are pictured as either rushed, in
scene, or absent when they shouldn't be. Realize that it's a subplot in a
When they got to Sandi's room, Winner hugged her. "I'm so proud of you, Sandi."
Sandi patted her arms. "Well, Win-ner, one of the things that you've taught me is that, if I expect to lead, I have to follow my own rules. I was wrong to treat them that way, especially when I couldn't control myself."
Winner nodded. "So, what did you think of our...time, earlier?"
Sandi sat down and held out her leg. "Remove my boots." Her face turned thoughtful. "It was a wonderful experience," she said, her fingers stroking through Winner's hair as she removed her footwear. "The socks, as well." She leaned back a bit. "As to, whether I'm a lesbo or not? I don't know." She sighed. "There are many men that still excite me, but I can't deny," Winner had taken off Sandi's socks, and Sandi had, gently, stroked Winner's face with her feet; "that being with you excites me, as well. Kiss and lick them." She started to sigh as Winner did just that, and her toes curled when they were licked and sucked.
After a brief, but pussy-wetting time, she withdrew her feet and put them on the ground, then gently took Winner's face in her hands, kissed her, then said, "Stand up, and take everything off but your heels." She sat back and admired, going so far as to slide a finger into her pussy, as Winner slowly started dancing and taking off pieces of her clothing, one at a time. When she stopped, her breathing heavy and her nipples hard, Sandi stood up and stroked her cheek, reached into her purse, pulled out a leather collar, and handed it to her.
Winner's eyes went wide as she fastened the collar around her neck, and even wider when Sandi handed her an open padlock without a key. When she took the lock in her hand, Sandi showed her the key in her own. They stared into each other's eyes when Winner closed the lock with a click.
"Sit," Sandi said as she patted the bed beside her. Winner did, with her hands clasped together. "Since you offered yourself to help me out, I've done as much reading as I could on the subject in this little time. Win-ner," she said, looking into her eyes, "I respect and care for you more than you will ever know, for saving me when I was about to break. Do you understand?" Winner nodded, and Sandi kissed her forehead. Now, go and get into your highest heels." While she was gone, Sandi quickly slipped out of her pants and panties, and put a skirt on. Just as she had finished, Winner knocked on the door, and came back in, when she opened the door, in 4-inch heels. Sandi quickly brought the leash from behind her back and attached it to Winner's collar, then stepped back, still holding the leash. "You're such a pretty cunt," she said. "Kneel."
With still widened eyes, Winner did. Sandi reached over and pulled out the scrunchy for her ponytail. Winner's hair fanned out, and her bangs moved a bit toward the center of her forehead. Sandi walked around her, changing hands on the leash, until she stood in front of her again. "What are you?"
Winner swallowed hard. "I'm a cunt," she whispered.
"You're a pretty cunt. I don't associate with ugly people."
She smiled slightly. "I'm a pretty cunt." Winner blushed.
"Yes, you are. Whose are you?"
"Yours, Sandi." Seeing Sandi crossing her arms, raising her eyebrow, and tapping her toe, Winner hastily added, "I'm Sandi's pretty cunt."
"Very good." Running her fingers through Winner's long, thick, hair, she said, "This is how I expect to see you when it's just us two in the house. Do you understand, cunt?" Sandi watched her dilated eyes as she nodded, then, grabbing her by the hair, pulled her head back and kissed her, with her other hand reaching down and twisting her nipples, one at a time. Sandi then looked down at the floor, seeing a small puddle of fluid, and smiled, pulling Winner where she was lying face down on the bed, while still kneeling on the floor.
"Mmmm," she said, running her fingers over Winner's wet labia and then bringing them to her mouth for a taste. "You taste exquisite, Win-ner." She went over to a drawer and, getting some rope from it, she tied Winner's wrists together, then to the headboard. Coming back to the foot of the bed, she brushed the hair out of her girl's eyes. "Can you keep quiet, Winner?"
"Yes," the girl whispered.
"I'm going to give you twenty swats. If you can keep quiet, then I'll make you come before you pay for your pleasure. If not, then not only will I start over, and not only will I make sure that you will stay quiet, but you will have to earn your ...excitement." Winner nodded.
*SWAT* *SWAT* Sandi started on Winner's buttocks, but soon moved to her inner thighs, covered with her juices, while holding the girl's hair, each strike growing harder.
Winner managed to hold off until the seventeenth swat, where she couldn't hold back a small whimper. The strokes stopped, and through her tears, Winner saw Sandi's face. "I'm disappointed in you, Win-ner. You told me that you could keep quiet." Sandi shrugged. "Oh, well." She went to another drawer and got out a red rubber ball on a strap. "Open up, dear." When Winner did, she inserted the ball in Winner's mouth, and buckled the strap behind her head. "Win-ner, since you can't say red, grunt three times if everything needs to stop. Do you understand?" Winner nodded.
Straddling Winner while facing her bottom, Sandi grabbed Winner's hair and pulled her head back, while raining blows all over her vagina; with the last three, she leaned forward, using Winner's hair as a balance, and landed three swats right on her clitoris. Sandi then dismounted, and helped Winner turn over on to her back, with her hair matted to her chest and breasts. She walked over, and got another item out of her drawer. Reaching around Winner's head, she unbuckled the gag. "How are you doing, cunt?" she asked..
"Oh, god, Sandi, please let me come..." Winner said, before Sandi put another gag into her mouth, this on an inflatable, and pumped it up. Soon Winner couldn't move her jaws, and, looking up, saw a rather large dildo sticking out of her mouth. Sandi got a tube of lubrication out, and stroked the phallus coming out of Winner's mouth. She smiled, and then, in one movement, straddled Winner's head and came down all the way on the dildo.
For the next fifteen minutes, Sandi rode the cock coming out of Winner's mouth, sometimes stroking her own nipples and clit, sometimes stroking, and sometimes pinching , Winner's nipples and clit. Finally, Sandi got off the gag, let it deflate, and pulled it out of Winner's mouth. Before she put her pussy over Winner's mouth, she looked down and said, "We're only going to do this ten minutes more. Whenever you make me come, I'll start on you."
Winner moved her aching jaw and tongue, licking everywhere she could, but especially on Sandi's clit. Enough hits on that, and Sandi's fluids were filling her mouth, and she leaned over and started licking Winner's cunt. Having been on the edge for almost a half hour, Winner started coming, very hard, almost immediately. When she came back to the world, Sandi had undone her bindings, patted her dry, and was cuddling her. Winner kissed her cheek before drifting off to sleep.
Quinn unbuckled herself as Tom parked them up at the bluff. They had been making out here for a while, ever since Tom had found that she had turned 16. She smiled, and they started necking once again.
Only this time, things were different. While they were kissing, Tom took her hand, and placed it on the large bulge in his jeans. She broke the kiss, and looked into his eyes "Tom..." she said.
"I think it's time we progressed a little in our relationship, Quinn." He looked at her, and reacted quickly to her expression. "Oh! Not that, not yet. I don't think that either of us is ready for a possible child, just yet." He stroked her hair. "But we're adults, Quinn, we can consent." He worked the seat, and leaned way back. "I'm not going to make you do anything that you don't want, but I'm in this for the long run." He ran his thumb across her cheek. "Are you willing to try being a bit more intimate?"
"Oh - okay," she said, her voice barely over a whisper.
Tom smiled as he unzipped his pants, and pushed them down his legs. "This is young Thomas," he said, capturing her hand and putting it on his cock. "He loves it when you hold him gently, and stroke him up and down." He grinned when she started to do that. After a few minutes, he smiled. "If you do that too much more, he's going to give you a wonderful treat." Quinn grinned back at him, and stroked him faster, while he rand his hand down her hair and back. Finally, when he was about to come, he said, "Open your mouth!" When she did, he pulled it over his cock, coming in her where she could swallow. After he was finished, he brought her up to him, and kissed her. "How did you like it?"
"I liked stroking him. The come?" She waggled her hand. "So-so."
He kissed her again. "It's an acquired taste."
Daria spent more than ten minutes each, saying goodbye to her wives for the night. "Damn, I wish we could still be together."
Jane shook her head. "We all know why we don't want to force that for this week."
Jen grinned. "Just think, one week where we're not the ones getting the most."
3. Episode Three
it!" Jane swore as her fingers slipped - again! - on the buttons of
her dress. Her shaking fingers went searching for button and hole, when Daria
appeared in front of her, and did the buttoning for her. She quickly and gently
kissed her wife. "Thanks, amiga," she whispered, as she stood
back and looked at Daria.
Daria. Nobody would recognize the girl who had dropped into O'Neill's self-esteem class and this woman as the same person. An inch and a half taller, her breasts straining a B cup - and those were just the growth issues. Her gorgeous hair flowing down her back, an inch above her waist, her wearing contacts - and comfortable with it. Today she was wearing a green pantsuit designed and made by Quinn, something you wouldn't have caught her dead doing back then, and a shiny black cane. And none of these held a candle to the smile that she had on her face, showing her to be relaxed and truly happy. "My darling Daria, we're going to have to set some time aside for me to paint you," she sighed quietly.
Apparently not quietly enough. "M-Maybe after we get done with all of this?" Jennifer said. She seemed to be just as nervous as Jane had been, though why, Jane wasn't sure. Her and Daria's wife remained one of the most beautiful girls in school, who, even with everyone knowing that they were together, still attracted date requests. From the stoner boys, but - still. For this hearing, her lovely blonde hair was swept into a low ponytail before dropping down to her bottom, showing the face that Jane treasured. She, too, was wearing one of Quinn's creations, this one a royal blue knee-length skirt and jacket with a white blouse. Jane pitied anyone on the jury today. She knew that she couldn't refuse her blonde wife, dressed like that and wanting something.
She glanced in the mirror. Not too bad, even if she did say so, herself. The earrings were off, for today, but she was wearing four-inch heeled boots, with her skirt and jacket red over a black blouse. Her hair was cut and set to perfection. Stacy had helped with her makeup, bringing out her blue eyes while doing their best, Stacy had assured her, to show her as an, "innocent little girl." Well, if anyone could make them look innocent... She grinned.
"It's going to be all right," Daria said in a warm voice. "We're going to go in there, tell the truth, be convicted, get time to clear up our affairs, and appeal. Then we'll go home." She took both of her wives' hands and squeezed them. "Now to the Amiga-mobile!"
Garry Akers and his assistant, Mike, were in the gallery when they caught sight of the whores, holding hands as they made their way to the defense table. "They aren't even trying to hide their sin, those painted jezebels!" he sniggered. "This is going to be the easiest win we'll ever have!"
Mike grinned back at him. "What do you think that they do when they're in that - one - bed?"
"Well, a lot less for a goodly long while, unless the judge puts them in the same cell, since we made the sentence at least nine months," Garry smiled. "And during all that time, other churches will be coming to us, asking how to set the rules up with their flocks." They turned back to the show.
Just before they sat down, the D.A. approached them. He held out his hand. "Hi, Bill," he said.
"Jack," Bill replied as they shook. "I don't know if you've met my clients, Daria Morgendorffer, Jane Lane, and Jennifer Burns?" Each held out her hand as they were named, and Jack shook them.
"I'm pleased to have such lovely ladies in our courtroom, today." Jack acted as if he were pondering, but came to a decision. "Would it be better for your appeal if I described the law at length, or not?" Seeing Bill's surprised eyes, he said, "Oh, come on! It's obvious that you're angling for an appeal and striking the law down. I've got enough evidence to convict them six ways from Sunday. But it's not only an unconstitutional law, it's a bad law...we just want it off the books before someone tries to empty out half the jail. Plus," Jack laid his finger on the side of his nose, while looking at Angier Sloane, who was in the gallery, and who nodded.
"Jack?" He turned to see Daria looking at him. "Are you taking money to decide things in our favor?"
He smiled at her. "Not at all. You're an American citizen, entitled to a speedy trial. Can I help it if someone wants to give me a bonus for doing what I already would have?"
Jane looked over and saw the empty jury box. "Where's the jury?"
Daria smiled at her. "There isn't going to be one. Since it's to our advantage to be convicted here, we didn't insist on one."
"Darn! I wanted to hear, 'Members of the jury, how say you?' and everything like that," Jane said while snapping her fingers.
Quietly, Daria reminded her wives, "Just so that we each get on record that we are wives, and got married together last spring." They both nodded, and looked up to the judge's bench, as the door behind it opened and closed, admitting the judge.
"Oye! Oye!" the bailiff called. "The county court of Lawndale County, Maryland, Judge Viola Carney, presiding, all having business before the court, draw near!" He said, in an aside to the judge, "First case is County of Lawndale v. Morgendorffer, Lane, and Burns."
"Well, let's get to it," Judge Carney said.
Thirty minutes later, the opening statements had been made, and the D.A. had run through his witnesses - mostly police officers describing the arrest, though he also had called Priscilla, to show how they had received the information. Now it was Bill Tweed's turn. "I call Daria Morgendorffer."
Daria slowly walked up to the stand, was sworn in. "What is your name?"
"And why do you think that you're here?"
"Because someone passed a stupid law against cohabitation while I was at an art colony's summer program with one of my wives, and the police arrested us when we got home."
"Hold it, wives?"
"Yes" Daria said patiently. "I married Jane Lane and Jennifer Burns in a Wiccan ceremony last spring, and we've been living together at my house for over a year."
"But you know that Maryland supports neither same-sex marriage, nor multiple-partner marriages."
"Yes, we're waiting for the law to catch up." She narrowed her eyes at him. "You asked me if we were wives, not if it was legal."
In the gallery, Garry Akers was slapping Mike's knee. "This is so much better than I thought we'd have!"
Bill asked his last question. "Did you know about the law before you came back?"
"My mother had called me when they passed it."
Jane's testimony was substantially the same, though she had learned of the law from Daria. When Jennifer came up to the bench, the judge told her, "That's a lovely dress. Where did you get it?"
Jen smiled. "Daria's sister designed and made it. Quinn Morgendorffer." Her testimony went on, the only substantial difference being that she had been arrested when the police knocked on the garage door.
After she sat back down, the lawyers made their closing arguments, Bill's marred because all that he could say was, "This law is unconstitutional." Once they finished, Judge Carney tapped her gavel.
"Having heard all of the evidence in this trial, I am forced to find the defendants guilty." She looked at the three girls who stood, watching her. "Due to the sentencing standards that were set up with the ordinance itself, I am constrained to hand down a sentence of nine months for each defendant, as well as a one dollar fine and court costs."
Bill Tweed stood. "If it please the court, could my clients have two weeks to get their affairs in order and to start an appeal?"
Judge Carney looked over at the D.A. "Any objections?"
"No, Your Honor."
"So ruled. This court stands in recess." She tapped her gavel, and rose, disappearing behind the door to her chambers.
4. Episode Four
A/N: I make
statements about Christianity in this chapter. While, I, as Daria, refuse to
say exactly which religion my beliefs have led me to, I simply use Christianity
because I am most familiar with the rabid edge of it. All major religions have
similar edges, and people who wish to use religion to get away with things,
rather than drawing on their beliefs to make them better. I'm not poking
specifically at your beliefs, whatever they may be.
Just before they reached the doors to the court building, Jim Vitale and Angier Sloane peeled off. "We'll take the documentation to Annapolis and get started on the appeal," Angier said. "We'll let you take the harder job." He winked at the girls as they went out a side door.
Daria stopped and looked at her wives, adjusting their jackets and brushing off imaginary lint. "All right, guys, this is one of the reasons we did things this way." She took their hands, and nodded to her mother and Bill Tweed, who opened the doors to the cacophony of reporters and camerapeople waiting just outside. They stepped out into the sunlight and to the top of the steps, where police were keeping them from interfering in the court's normal functioning.
They had barely stopped when a woman's shrill voice called out, "So did they convict you?"
Jane and Jen both smirked as they turned to Daria. "Of course they convicted us. We were more than one person of the same gender residing in the same room. We were always going to be convicted."
Another voice called out, "If that's so, why didn't you plead guilty, or enter a plea agreement for a lighter sentence?"
Jane spoke up. "Because the law's wrong. It's not only a bad law, it's unconstitutional, by both Maryland's laws and those of the United States."
"Make no mistake," Jen said with her eyes wet, after she had tapped Jane's shoulder. "This is a bad law. To start with, it was crafted out of hate." She looked at her wives. "The people that crafted this ordinance did so, aiming it straight at me and the two women that I love. They tried to make it so that, if we wouldn't toe their line of how we should love and live, that we would have to leave, to get out from where they had just recently come to be." A tear made its way down her cheek. "But they've miscalculated. They didn't expect to go up against competition on the level of my loves." She ended by hugging Daria tightly.
"As my wives have said, this law is contrary to the constitutions of the state and Union." Daria hugged both of her wives. "But it's also a horribly written law." She looked around at the various newspeople. "As it stands, not only will any of you who have multiple children of the same gender sleeping in one room, have to find other accommodations, or face having those children being shipped off to jail, the jails themselves, as well as any dormitories, boarding schools, anywhere you can conceive more than one person sleeping together, unless its a male and female sleeping together, you risk being arrested."
Jane snarked, "I think that that's why the county and we got this over in half a day. Everyone with brains wants this law off the books."
A woman held up her hand. When Daria pointed at her, she said, "Anne Sterling, Christianity Today. How do you feel, being so outspoken, about your sin and what it will eventually bring you?"
Daria raised her eyebrow. "I'm sorry, are you talking about the fact that I'm a lesbian, that I have more than one spouse, or both?"
"Um, both!" the woman said.
"Well," Daria said, "If I were a Christian, and you do not have the authority to decide or judge my beliefs, I would say, 'What sin?' Lesbianism is not prohibited in the Bible, while male homosexuality is - though I think most people would agree that the entire set of rules that it is a part of were pointed at making a small nation in a sparsely populated time an actual player - something that is not relevant now. That's why most of the rules are ignored by most Christians. Except for that one, because gay men make you feel 'ooky.'" Daria looked over the gathered reporters, silently taking notes. "And because you don't want to be accused of not holding women equal, well, that and the idea that lesbians are somehow sex fiends who just need a man to set them straight," she said parenthetically, "many Christians decide to take time away from dealing with their own problems to try and control women.
"Now, as to the multiple spouses, anyone who has even made a cursory read of the Bible knows that it has been allowed before, in some of the most holy men that were recorded. David? Solomon? Jacob? All had more than one wife that he loved. The only reason that it died out was when Paul, whose interest was more creating a viable church than anything else, including strict adherence to previous scripture, decided to institute the 'one man, one woman,' rule." Daria took a breath in. "All of these things I could tell you, if I were a Christian. But you do not have the right to inquire as to my beliefs. I will tell you, before I ever decided to act on my feelings for women, I saw how gay and lesbian people were treated. I didn't want that, but my feelings would be denied, and my conclusion was that whatever God or lack thereof I believe in would not give me these overriding feelings if they were wrong." She looked at the reporter. "Does that answer your question, Ms. Sterling?"
The amigas, the Spiral, Helen and Jake were all together in the Morgendorffer living room. "Now, G-town has picked up the option for Spiral's next two CDs. We need to know if you want to have an advance, or simply get paid as the money comes in?" Seeing no real leaning either way, she continued. "We can deal with that later. Now, the semi-bad news. If the conviction stands, the girls will be unavailable for most of a year." She took in a breath. "That may affect your releases, and will affect your practicing and concerts."
"It's cool, Mrs. M," Jesse said.
"Yeah." Trent smiled. "They've helped put us where we are. We'll work around their problems. I've already got some ideas for the next album...'Behind Bars.'"
"That's a great idea, Trent," Daria said. "A lot of act's sales go up when they're jailed for what people think are the wrong reasons."
Jen smiled. "And I can make recordings when you visit, both singing and talking."
Jake smiled. "Then we'll keep the lines open to G-town."
Principal DeMartino looked across his desk at the amigas. "Let me make this clear. Whatever this school can do to assist you in keeping up with your studies during this time, we will." He his a buzzer, and told the secretary to send their teachers in. "We will attempt to have enough tests administered here, but if we can't, there will be standardized tests at the end of the year." He sat back in his chair.
Ms Ruiz went up to Daria. "I want you to write a piece about this whole thing, from wherever you feel is the right starting point, to the end of the judicial process. We'll go over it when you come back."
Claire DeFoe smiled gently at Jane. "You need to work on your pastels. Try and stretch yourself by illustrating the courtroom scenes."
Mr. Johnson smiled at them. I think that I've caught on where you all are headed. I've got a project for you three. Tell me the fiscal consequences of getting what you want."
Slowly the other teachers discussed what they were looking for. Finally, the amigas stood to go.
"Well, this bites!" said Jane.
"Why is that?" Daria was amused.
"Even in jail we can't get away from homework!"
5. Episode Five
A/N: This episode has
an appearance by Fred Phelps, of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas,
infamy. I have tried to portray him as objectively as possible, if you feel
that I have not, let me know, and we'll work on it. Separately, the n-word is
used. Stay cool.
"Please come to drive me to school," Quinn begged into the phone. "Oh, thanks." She hung up and started to get dressed and made up, ignoring the crowd outside the house.
Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rang, and when Quinn answered it, Tom was there. "Are you ready?" he asked.
"Just a minute," she said as she grabbed her purse. "Ready!"
Before he opened the door again, he said, "Not that I'm not willing to take you, but why didn't you have your parents drive you? Why me?"
"Tom!" Quinn smiled when she gently slapped his arm. "Do you actually think I could survive having my parents drive me when I'm over 16?" She crossed her arms. "Daria, I can work with. Dad," she shivered, "no. Unfortunately, with Daria in jail..."
"Well, lets see if we can get through the crowd to my car." Tom opened the door for her and, after locking it, closed it behind them. They were both struck by the loud and raucous mob on the lawn just outside. Mixed in with the reporters and protesters (many of who were carrying posters saying close paraphrases of, "God hates lezzies," and, "Jail the Lezzies!"), were several police officers, trying to keep the tide back.
Quinn went over to the nearest of these, and said, "Officer? I'm a resident of this home, and these people are trespassing. I would like them to leave, and I'm sure that my mother, Helen Morgendorffer, would be happy to press charges if they refuse to leave. If you need to, I can call her, so that you can talk to her." He nodded, and she walked over to an old man, with a sign in his hands that said, "Death to Lezzies and Fags!"
She walked up to him, and said, "Who do you think you are? I can tell you aren't anything that would require you to do anything like, dress."
He looked down at her and sneered. "My name's Fred Phelps, little girl, and you'd better learn to respect your elders, especially one of the Elect!"
Quinn crossed her arms, looking bored. "Oh, that's who you are. You're that guy who can't follow rules to save his life." As his mouth dropped open, she continued. "When you were a lawyer, you felt so emasculated by a strong woman that you had to harangue her instead of trying to find the truth, and then you lied, and it cost you your right to practice law. Then you set up a church when nobody that had any brains would have you, and you claim to be of a sect that won't have you...and you ignore the teachings of He who you profess to believe in." She walked a couple of steps away before turning. "Oh, yes. You claim to believe in an Elect. Why do you think that God, who knows what each of us will do in our lives, would choose you?" Shifting her attention to the police officer, she added, "Please make sure that they stay on the sidewalk. You know, I'm sure that that's our property as well, and the sidewalk is the only easement."
At this point, the newspeople surged forth, trying to ask questions. Quinn stopped and held up her hands. "Guys!" The reporters settled down. "I have to get to school. If you come by this evening, I'm sure that my mom will take time to talk to you." And with that, they made their way to Tom's car.
As Charles was escorting Jodie from his car to school, they started to see eggs breaking all around them. Looking up, they saw several large men, all sporting mustaches and beards, continuing to lob the eggs at them. "Nigger-lover!" one of them cried.
Charles put his arm around Jodie. "Yeah, I am. Got a problem with it?" And with that they turned and headed in to school.
While they were walking, Jodie looked at him and asked, "You really do...?"
Charles stopped, turned her, and in the middle of a hallway, tilted up her chin and kissed her softly, running his hands over her hair. "Yes, I love you, Jodie Landon. Got a problem with that?"
"Not at all, Charles," she replied, before kissing him back.
Winner kept a tight grip on Sandi's hand as they walked out the door. Rocks, eggs, and rotten fruit had been thrown at the house, and when they had opened the door, "Lezzies go home," was on a banner between the porch columns. It took a few moments, but they were finally on the walk. "Don't worry about this," Sandi said, turning to her lover. "This is just a bunch of people who can't muster up the courage to confront a couple of teenaged girls."
Winner hugged Sandi. "I know. It's just..."
"That you worry if they would hurt us if they could." She shrugged. "They might. But we just have to be better than they are. And I will not let them hurt you." With that, they began the three-block walk to school.
Daria, Jane and Jen were all concentrating on their schoolwork at one of the tables in the juvenile center. Daria was working on her 'history,' Jane working with the picture of the D.A., and Jen was putting together the basis for their Economics report. Every once in a while one of them would pick up another's hand and kiss it, as they all had been assigned to different cells. The door buzzed open, and a guard came through it. "Morgendorffer, Burns, Lane." After reading their names, he simply said, "Follow me," turned, and went back through the door, holding it for them as they walked through.
In a few minutes, buzzing through several doors, they finally came to an open door to a conference room. "Go inside and sit down," the guard said. "Your lawyer will be joining you shortly. Should you attempt to leave this room before instructed to, you'll have to serve a week in solitary."
"Is that supposed to be a warning, or an enticement?" Daria asked. "The way these two jabber on..." She winked at her wives.
"Oh, I don't think you want to go there, miss woman of words," snarked Jane.
"Ladies...Could you save this until you're seated?"
"Oh, all right," Jen smiled. "Girls, hush!"
"Yes, ma'am!" they chorused, and then they all sat down. The guard closed the door,
"So," Jane asked, "You think that they're letting us go?"
"It's the only reason that I can see, Lane." At that point, Jim Vitale, Helen Morgendorffer, and a man whose badge proclaimed him a U.S. Marshal entered.
Once everyone was seated, Jim Vitale began to speak. "We were almost unbelievably lucky. We got a hearing within a week, and a decision in another." He took a deep breath. "Angier's connections were a lot of help. And the initial mandate from the court was good, too. They ruled that, since Maryland has laws against discrimination in housing, the ordinance was null and void. You all will be home for at least a week."
Smiles broke out on Jane and Jen's faces. Daria, however, watching her mother's face. held up her hand. "What's the catch? How has someone managed to screw us?"
"I can help with that." The Marshal sat up straighter. "In the process of looking over your testimony, the Court could not ignore the fact that you called each other your 'wives,' and claimed to have married both the others on the stand. As officers of the court, the judges and bailiff forwarded the testimony to the Federal District court, who instructed me to come here."
Daria, once again, spoke up first. "And what was your purpose in coming here?"
"Well, once you're released from county custody, I'm to arrest you all for polygamy."
6. Episode Six
A/N: I'm depicting
Savannah Guthrie, a real person. Besides pushing back her personal timeline to
make it coincide with the story's, I'm attempting to portray her as she is. If
I fail at this, I invite everyone to let me know.
The girls were quiet as the Marshal escorted them to the van, and drove them (with Helen and their lawyers following in their own vehicle) to the District Court in Baltimore, only holding each other's hands and squeezing them gently as they looked at each other. Soon, the two-hour journey was over, and they were being escorted into an interrogation room, where Helen and her team joined them. "Please make sure that all recording devices are turned off," Helen asked the Marshal as he closed the door. Once he had, she turned back to the girls. "All right. We're going to arraignment in a few hours. Is there anything that you girls need?"
"As a matter of fact, Mom, there is. Are Jake and the other parents on the way?" Daria looked calmly at Helen.
"Yes, they are." Helen narrowed her eyes. "Do they need to be?"
"I really think that they do, Mom."
In about half an hour, Jake, Frank Burns, and the Lanes (who had, oddly enough, both been home when Helen called) were ushered into the interrogation room, and seats were found for everyone. Once they were settled, Daria spoke up.
"Bill, do you have the paperwork that we talked about?" Mr. Tweed nodded, and pulled several sets of paperwork from his attache case, handing one to each of the girls, who checked their paperwork and signed it. After she had completed hers, Daria looked, first at Helen, then at Jake. "This paperwork is what I gave you a couple of years ago - a petition for the emancipation of a teenager." Her eyes looked suspiciously wet when she said, "Please don't think that I'm giving them to you for the same reason as before."
Jane got up and hugged both of her parents. "You all gave me the desire and talent to pursue my dreams in art, and a roof over my head to do it in. I love you, and I will always love you."
"This has nothing to do with what happened at home, Dad," Jen reached over and hugged him from the side. "It's just...we're getting to a critical part of this whole thing." Laying her head on his arm and chest, she said in a slightly muffled voice, "We have got to be seen as adults."
"She's right." Everyone looked back at Daria. "There are two major reasons that we want to push these through." She took a breath. "The first, and by far the most important fact, is that we don't want any penalties or fines that we have incurred to fall to you to pay."
Jen continued. "Yeah. This is something that we decided that we wanted, and we went and set it into motion. If it succeeds, it's going to help us out. But if we fail, we don't want the boomerang to hit you guys."
"And then we have the other reason," Jane said, smirking just a bit. "When we appear in front of these courts in the near future, it'll look a lot better for what we want if we're seen as independent young women, rather than half-grown girls."
Showing a small smile, Daria said, "Not that we're not going to play the 'young girl' card. Whatever works."
Jane looked into her mother's eyes and asked softly, "So will you support us in becoming adults a few months early?"
Amanda shared a look with Vincent, then turned back to her daughter. "You're a butterfly, honey. We'll support you in whatever you need to do."
Stroking his daughter's hair, Frank Burns said, "Whatever you need, sweetpea."
Helen and Jake got up, and motioned Daria to come to them, where they enveloped her in their hug, with Jake and Helen sharing looks above Daria's head. When the hug loosened, Helen held Daria at arm's length. "You don't know how much I want to keep you my baby, and not just for the next few months." She sighed. "But I understand why you want this, and though we might have made different decisions, we'll sign." With a smile, she added, "But don't you think that just because you're an 'adult,' that you're not our daughter! We're behind you, no matter what!"
Catherine C. Blake came in and sat down on her bench, after being announced. She started looking through the paperwork for the case. Minor girls accused of polygamy? Her eyebrow rose. The amount of these cases she got, the last one had been at least two years ago - and minors! She continued looking, and saw the three emancipation documents. The ink on the judge's signature was still fresh. She shook her head. Something was very odd here. She looked up, and any possibility that this case would miss the news channels went out the windows. Just barely still in high school, and what her nephews described as hawties. Oh, joy. Maybe they'd take the lesser sentence? She tapped her gavel.
"The case of the United States versus Morgendorffer, Lane, and Burns, parties, come forward." When they had seated themselves at the defense table, she briefly read over the particulars. "Your clients are being charged with polygamy, Counselor," she said to Bill Tweed. "How do they plead?"
"Not guilty, Your Honor," he replied.
"I see," she said. "You understand that the only reason that you're before me is that the Maryland Court of Appeals, in overturning their conviction of a local ordinance, discovered evidence in their testimony that constituted prima facie evidence of polygamy, which they felt compelled to send to the Attorney General's office for the District of Maryland, and that showed up in my court?" She shook her head. "If your clients wish to disavow their testimony in the previous case, they will find me a very lenient judge as far as perjury sentencing goes."
Mr. Tweed smiled and shook his head. "Your Honor, I'm sure that you are a very fair and equitable judge, but as our defense will be based on our contention that the law is unconstitutional in one or more ways, your more than generous offer would be refused. However, if we could prevail upon you for ROR, the absolute soonest time for a trial, and, should they be found guilty, to wait to begin the sentence until they have finished high school?"
"I think that we can accommodate you, Mr. Tweed," the jurist replied. "However, we will expect similar indulgence with respect to our...controlling of media in the courtroom." She tapped her gavel. "So ordered!"
"I'm Savannah Guthrie, and this is Today. We're here with three young women who have been entangled in our justice system for seemingly innocuous remarks. With me are Daria Morgendorffer, Jane Lane, and Jennifer Burns. Good Morning." She smiled. "You are all looking lovely this morning."
The amigas replied with some form of "morning." Daria spoke up, saying, "Thank you. My sister, Quinn Morgendorffer, designed and made these dresses."
"Daria, you seem to be the ringleader of this group -"
"Only on certain issues, such as this, where my expertise as a writer makes me the go-to woman. On other things, Jane or Jennifer would be the person to talk to. For example, on anything connected to art, I step back." The camera showed where Jane had been sketching the entire time. When Daria cleared her throat, she looked up, smiled, and showed a museum-quality sketch of Savannah.
"Sorry, my assignment for keeping up in school is to do pastels of all my court events. It means I need to keep up on other media." She pulled out a spray can from her messenger bag and fixed the sketch. "Would you like it?"
Savannah's jaw dropped. Considering the quality of the work, and the fact that the girl was only in her mid-teens, she was being offered a work worth possibly a million or more, in a decade or so. "Thank you, it's beautiful. But we're really here to discuss the criminal case you girls have found yourselves in. Daria, would you like to educate our viewers on what happened?"
As this was the exact purpose for which they had set up the interview, Daria could hardly say no. "Certainly. Boiled down to its barest essentials, while Jane and myself were spending the summer working on our painting and writing skills, respectively, and Jen was touring with Mystic Spiral- " seeing the confusion on Savannah's face, she quickly explained. "A grunge-rock band; Jen and Jane's brother are the lead vocals, they're looking at going national in a couple of years. Anyway, when all of us were absent from our hometown, a group of people with somewhat extreme religious viewpoints passed a law making it illegal to have more than one person of the same gender sleeping in the same room." Again seeing Savannah's expression, she nodded. "Exactly. Not only overridden by state laws, it was just a poster child for a horribly written law." She put her hands on her knees. "I mean, really! You can't craft a law that would make it illegal to take the people that you had just arrested and put them into jail? We went to trial and were convicted, but during the trial, it came out that we three had married each other in a Wiccan ceremony last spring. When the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled, the law was struck down, but they had to forward the evidence to the federal court for their action. They decided to press charges, and that's where we stand."
"From my understanding, you three have been offered a substantial reduction in sentence if you would just recant your words - " Savannah began, only to be interrupted by Jen.
"Never going to happen." She ran her fingers through her hair, pushing it all behind her back as she sat up and looked directly at the anchor. "This is something that you, the courts, and every other person in America needs to understand. What we said under oath was that we were married. We didn't lie. This," she pointed to Jane," is my wife, and this," she pointed to Daria, is my wife, and no matter what words they say, no matter if they take us and put us in separate cells for life, never letting us communicate, they cannot change that. It will not make my love drop one iota. All that we are trying to do now is to help the United States catch up." Her wives nodded.
Savannah raised an eyebrow. "But you understand that the law that you're being prosecuted under, the Edmunds Act, has been challenged several times, and more than once under the Constitutional amendment that I believe is your primary avenue of attack." She took a breath. "It has never been challenged successfully."
Daria spoke up. "Of course not. The great majority of the time that it's been in force, half of the people that it supposedly served were considered second-class citizens and not educated. Even the last time that it was challenged, in 1972, most of the Justices of the Supreme Court had spent almost all their lives in such conditions. Of course, the Edmunds Act has never been applied with any degree of fairness - it, like any act based on one religion's views above another, has simply been used as a tool to control masses of people. That is why the First Amendment, and the free exercise clause exist - the founding fathers had been through it and had their fill. They just never realized that they would have people in the Justice's chairs who would prefer to let men of the cloth become powerful, rather than strictly interpreting the Constitution."
"And this is Savannah Guthrie, for Today."
7. Episode Seven
Daria, Jen, Jane,
and Quinn, in Daria's SUV, followed Helen home (she had had Jake bring the SUV
when it was likely that the girls would be released), with Quinn keeping up a
stream of chatter going.
"-and thank you so much about mentioning my name on TV, I've already gotten several calls to make dresses. Oh, when we get home, there's going to be all kinds of people around. That Fred Phelps jerk was there the last time we had to leave the house - but he didn't talk to me. I think he's afraid that I'll do the same thing I did to him the first time he tried to talk to me -"
"And what was that, Quinn?" Daria's voice cut in.
"Well, duh! I took a hint from you, and looked him up before I talked to him, and described him without lying, to his face. He wasn't very happy."
"Um, Quinn?" Jen asked. "You say there's a mob waiting for us? Is there going to be trouble?"
"Oh, noo Jen," Quinn said with a smile. "There are enough police and reporters there, that nobody's going to set foot outside of the area that they're supposed to be in. The police are really nice. One of them told me that this was a lot better than cruising the high school."
"I see," said Daria, as she turned on to their street. There was a crowd of people on both sides of the street, reaching over two houses away from the Morgendorffer's, on the near side anyway. As they pulled closer, Daria could see that it was not just one crowd, but two, no, three - the one, on the sidewalk, walked back and forth carrying signs such as, "God hates fags," and "Return this Nation to God." The other, standing right on the curb, in front of where their motorcycles were parked, were women who all wore leather jackets that proclaimed them, "Dykes on Bikes." On the other side of the street, there was a group who all wore an equal sign. Upon seeing them, a middle-aged woman from their number crossed the street.
When they had stopped and opened the doors, a cheer rose from across the street and in front of the bikes. Daria sighed. "Well, we'd better get this over with." She took her wives' hands in her own, and walked to the end of the driveway. When the noise finally died down, she said, "Can we help you?"
"Die in hell, whore!" was heard from the middle of the crowd, and after a bit of pushing, the man that Quinn knew as Fred Phelps made his way to their side. "You will burn when you pass from this plane, whore. God hates you, and he will throw you into the pit to be destroyed, for you are an abomination!"
Daria looked at him and then, smirking, said, "And he will do the same to you, too, Freddie. Or is that not a mixed-cloth shirt that you're wearing?" Deliberately turning her back on him, she faced the two women from the other contingent. "And you two?"
The lady in the leather jacket said, "I'm Glenne McElhinney, we're part of the Dykes on Bikes. We heard what you were trying to do, saw that you had these assholes protesting you, and a lot of us," she waved her arm over her fellow motorcycle-riders, "managed to get time off from work and all, so that we could protect you and your house from Freddie and his mob."
"But -" was all that Daria could say before she was cut off by the other woman.
"Don't denigrate their gift, or your own importance," she said quietly. "I'm Elizabeth Birch, and I head the Human Rights Campaign." She looked directly into Daria's eyes. "Whether or not the public knows it, anyone in the fight is aware of what you're trying to do." Her voice dropped lower, almost to a whisper. "If you win, they win. Do you know how much it means for them to be able to marry the person that they love? So take the protection, and be thankful for it."
Daria closed her eyes and let out a breath. When she was finished, she squeezed her wives' hands, and asked, "Would you two like to come in for some coffee?"
When they all had sat down in the living room, cups in hand, Daria started off. "I don't want to sound ungrateful of your support, but, while we're willing to listen and learn from you, we are going to handle this in our own way."
"Fair enough," Elizabeth nodded. "Is there anything that you believe that you need?"
"Nope," Jane said. "Right now all that we need, is provided. We have the trial, we have the arguments, we have the lawyers, we have the people with connections to grease the wheels."
"Ah, and if you lose one or more of those things?"
"I think that we'll manage," Daria said with her Mona Lisa smile. "But I have a question to ask of you, Elizabeth. What will the HRC do when -"
"Very well, if we win, and a large part of what what your organization has been working for - you have?" Seeing their confused looks, Daria continued. "Look, something happens with organizations that are put together to address some kind of wrong. Either they accomplish what they're designed for quickly - well, that, or get squashed just as quickly - or they stay around for years, even decades. And when they stick around, they never approach the solution of the problem, past a certain point. My opinion is that some group of people in the middle to upper levels of the organization do what they can to ensure that the problem isn't solved, and their jobs aren't lost, while people still send in money."
"That's an interesting theory. How does it apply to this situation?"
Jane smiled. "That's easy. She's asking what you've done to plan around the possibility in the HRC, so that if we ask you for anything, we won't get backstabbed because someone in the middle was protecting his job."
Elizabeth frowned, and then smiled. "Well, we aren't the United States Human Rights Campaign. What we'll do is announce that, should we get what we want here, we'll move the fight overseas. When it gets to that point, we'll build some compensations and penalties into things, where it will benefit them to work toward it."
"Fair enough." And with that, the girls bid the women goodbye, to collapse onto their bed.
Later that evening, in another part of town, several men gathered in a windowless room. One of them, recognized as Garry Akers, looked at the rest, and asked, "When are the people going to rise up? Your men have come in, and all that it has done has been to attract the opposition's forces."
Amid the murmurs of the other two, one of his compatriots, a dark haired man, said, "Have no fear. Already she relies on me. At the appropriate point, just when she thinks that she has her goal in her hand, I shall withdraw my own, and she shall fall into the pit of iniquity." He looked around. "And by that time, I expect to have those contracts in my hand!" They all nodded.
Judge Blake looked at the gathered throng in the gallery and sighed. She tapped her gavel, and when the murmuring died down, she said, "United States v. Morgendorffer, Lane, and Burns." She looked over at the D.A. "Is the prosecution ready?" He nodded. "And the Defense?" Bill Tweed nodded. She looked at the prosecutor again, "You can begin when you wish, counselor."
The Prosecutor stood up, and said, "We will prove that the defendants violated the terms of the Edmund Act, by proclaiming under oath that they were married and by unlawfully cohabiting." He sat down.
Bill stood up. "To save time, we will stipulate every article of fact that the prosecution has brought up. However, we feel that the laws that we would be convicted under are Unconstitutional, including violating the free exercise clause, and inappropriately drawing on the 'necessary and proper' clause." He sat down.
Judge Blake looked from one lawyer to the other. "You're saying that you agree that all the facts can and should be admitted, and that they are all correct?" They both agreed. "And that the facts constitute a violation of the laws as now written?" They both agreed again. "Very well. At this level, I'm not empowered to interpret the constitutionality of laws. I'm forced to make a summary decision for the plaintiff, and forward the case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals." She looked at the amigas. "Defendants stand." Once they had, she looked at them. "Should your appeals not be successful, I'll expect to see you, no more than two weeks after your high school graduation, at the nearest federal penitentiary for a sentence of no more than forty months." She tapped her gavel. "Next case!"
8. Episode Eight
World," property of the estate of Scatman John, no infringement intended.
"Daria?" Jane asked from where she was cuddled up to her wife, in the garage room which they now paid a dollar a month to rent.
"Yes, Jane?" Daria answered in a sleepy voice.
Daria turned over and kissed Jane's forehead. "Of what?"
"That things are going to go wrong, that we'll lose, that we'll spend years apart in prison, and then we won't be able to get into college, and get good work, and -" she was stopped by a kiss from her wife.
"Listen to me, Jane Lane. Everything will be just fine." She stroked Jane's hair. "I think that we will win everything that we're looking for. But, even if we don't," and she kissed Jane. "Even if we don't, we still will be able to get into almost any school we care to. As far as that goes, there will be schools who will want us to go, just because we've had this case. And as for afterwards...Jane, have you heard the saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity?" Jane nodded into Daria's embrace. "Well, it's not quite true, but as long as you keep making yourself a better artist, there are going to be people who will pay you a lot of money for your art, both because you're so good, and because you were in this fight." She kissed Jane again. "So don't worry. I won't say that there is no downside, but the downside here is minimal compared to the upside. Okay?"
Jane nodded. "Okay," and drifted off to sleep.
The amigas gathered around the Morgendorffer breakfast table, listening to Helen. "Girls, your case is in an...odd place right now. Most cases that start out in a Federal District Court, that are appealed, end up in the Supreme Court, if allowed. I suspect that the judge in this case wanted it to be heard by someone who could rule on the constitutionality of things." She looked at each of them. "What we've done, in addition to having Bill putting the case in front of the Court of Appeals, is have Ann put it in front of the Supreme Court's cert pool - and Angier knows whose palms to grease to get us the four votes we need."
"Why do we need this in front of the Supreme Court?" Jen asked. "I thought that this Court of Appeals could decide on the constitutionality of things?"
"They can - but on the other hand, they are not the highest law in the land, and until the case has been heard by the Supreme Court, there's always the chance that someone else will go further, and wipe away all of your hard work. So, even if we win, it's at best a holding action."
"It's not a win unless it's in the Supreme Court?" asked Daria.
"Exactly." Helen nodded
It was at that point that Jake rushed in. "Girls! Helen!" he all but shouted. "I've got great news!" Everyone turned to look at him.
"You've managed to corner the market on habañero peppers?" asked Daria.
"No, but almost as good. I was talking with G-town, and they wanted to take advantage of the notoriety that you girls have generated by holding a benefit for your legal fund! They figure that the exposure that both they and Mystic Spiral get will more than offset whatever they donate or lose out on for this one event."
"When do they expect us to play?" Jen asked. "And, for that matter, where?"
"Next Saturday," said Jake. "And the Fox dance hall."
"What, the one that holds three thousand people at once?"
"That's the one. As a matter of fact, so that they could have access, ABC and NBC covered the hall rental."
"So when were you going to tell the band?" Jen asked with narrowed eyes.
"I just got off the phone with Trent, and I'm telling you now."
"Relax, honey." Jane smiled at her wife. "This is a good thing." She pulled her earlobe. "I need to make The Spiral a new banner."
The hall was packed full. It seemed like there were representatives of every lesbian, bi, gay or transgendered group in Maryland in attendance, as well as a scattering of other dignitaries. Between the receipts for the tickets, and the amount that had been donated separately, the girls had been able to add more than $50,000 to their defense fund. G-Town and the networks weren't unhappy, either - all of the available CDs had been sold, and the ratings for the broadcast remained high.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," Trent's voice could be heard from every corner of the Fox dance hall. "While we love playing our own music, we decided that we would sing this one song, to point to Daria, Jane and Jen's issues, and to see where they want to go. With a big 'thank you' to the late Scatman John, let's all go - to Scatman's World!" With that, Trent started to play some scat, before singing-
"I'm calling out from Scatland
I'm calling out from Scatman's world.
If you wanna break free you better listen to me.
You got to learn how to see in your fantasy.
Jen walked up to the microphone.
Everybody's talkin' something very shockin' just to
Keep on blockin' what they're feelin' inside
But listen to me brother, you just keep on walkin' 'cause
You and me and sister ain't got nothin' to hide.
She and Trent joined together.
Scatman, fat man, black and white and brown man
Tell me 'bout the color of your soul.
If part of your solution isn't ending the pollution
Then I don't want to hear your stories told.
I want to welcome you to Scatman's world
The Spiral played the bridge, then Jen's clear voice sang out.
I'm calling out from Scatland
I'm calling out from Scatman's world.
If you wanna break free you better listen to me.
You got to learn how to see in your fantasy
Trent picked it up.
Everyone's born to compete as he chooses
But how can someone win if winning means that someone loses.
I sit and see and wonder what it's like to be in touch.
No wonder all my brothers and my sisters need a crutch.
I want to be a human being not a human not a human doing.
I couldn't keep that pace up if I tried.
The source of my intention really isn't crime prevention.
My intention is prevention of the lie (yeah)
Welcome to the Scatman's world
As the song continued, Daria caught Quinn and Jodie's attention, and had they and their dates follow her into a soundproofed room. Once the door was closed, she turned to her friends and said, "I wanted to thank you and your parents for the help they've offered so far on this case. Having said that, I want to talk to you about contingency planning." After she had explained what she needed, they all sat back in shock. Tom was the first to recover.
"Well, Daria, I don't know how likely it's going to be," he started.
"Neither do I," she cut him off. "But this isn't a fantasy or game for me and my wives. Can you do it?"
He looked at Quinn, Charles, and Jodie. They nodded. "We can, and we will," said Tom.
The Spiral had just finished a set when Helen Morgendorffer was helped up on stage, and walked up to the microphone. "I just wanted everyone to know that the Court of Appeals has decided that they are not the correct venue for hearing the appeal. They've given jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, and we're within shouting distance of getting a writ of certiorari!" After the applause wound down, she continued. "We all want to thank you for coming, so please, have fun!" At that, The Spiral stepped back on stage.
9. Episode Nine
Disclaimer: Rush Limbaugh is
a real person, every effort has been made to portray him faithfully, should he
not be, please contact me and we'll try and work it out.
"And we're back for another day of the Rush Limbaugh Show, brought to you by the EiB network." Rush smiled and then spoke into the mic. "Today we're broadcasting from 'the Zon,' a bar in Lawndale, Maryland, the town where the three girls who are trying to advance the Homosexual Agenda are from. The doors to the bar are open, and for the length of our broadcast, anyone who wants to voice an opinion can come in. We'll also be taking phone calls, as usual." He turned to his producer, who nodded. "First caller, you're on the air."
"Oh, Rush, can I just say mega-dittos?" the caller said in a worshipful voice. "I mean, we need to get this country back to the foundation of faith in God that it was built on. These girls are just trying to tear down our walls of Jericho!"
"Ma'am, I couldn't agree more. We are in dire need of..."
"...and that's what I think that we should do." Rush looked up at the clock. "Well, it looks like we've come to our fifteen minute break, we'll be back after our commercials." He looked down at his table and focused on some paperwork while sipping his Snapple™. Three minutes later, he spoke into his mic. "And welcome back to the Rush Limbaugh Show." He was about to go on when he heard some voices to his right.
"Oh, look, a talking monkey."
"Naw, no monkey can get that big, it's a talking whale."
"Wait, aren't whales supposed to be intelligent?"
As all of this was loud enough to be picked up on the outer mics, Rush looked over and saw three teenage girls with their arms crossed, looking at him. "Can I help you ladies?" He motioned to the microphone set up near them. "If you'd speak there, everyone can hear you." As they moved over, he asked, "So, what are your names?" With the looks they gave him, that may not have been the best icebreaker.
"I'd think that you'd know," the shortest of them said. "You've been beating your gums about me and my wives for the last few weeks, and if we're to believe you, you came to our town because of us."
Glancing at a sheet one of his crew had just slid in front of him, he smiled. "Ah. So you're Daria Morgendorffer, Jane Lane, and Jennifer Burns?"
"That's right, although it must be embarrassing to have to have the names of the people you've focused your show on be given to you," the auburn- haired girl said. "We're well aware that it's your show, but we have a deal for you." He thought about motioning for a cut, but then he saw the wide grins on the girls' faces.
"Darn!" the brunette said, fishing a bill out of her pocket. "I figured for sure that he'd want to do a back-alley deal." She handed it to Daria.
"We don't have to do back-alley deals. We're conservatives," he said, just in time to see all three girls break down in giggles.
Finally Daria managed to calm down, and looked at him. "Here's our deal. You've got a three hour show, that ends up at just above two, due to commercials, right?"
"Yes," he said. "We do need time to thank our sponsors."
She waved her hand. "We don't care about that. I was making sure of the time." She took a breath. "What we would propose is that, of the rest of your show, we get no less than forty minutes to speak, not including commercials, you get the same, and the rest of the time, well, who uses it, uses it. That means that whenever someone reaches," she looked up at the producer, "sixty-five minutes, that they have to sit and listen for the rest of the show." She smiled. "And no callers today." She pointed to Jen, who held up two fancy timepieces. "Jen and one of your staff will watch the time. Do we have a deal?"
Rush thought. With the restrictions that they proposed, he didn't have his normal avenues for controlling a guest unobtrusively. But, heck, they were teenagers. "Sounds good." He turned to his producer. "Linda, give them an updated max time, and have one of our interns keep it."
After getting an intern, and making sure he knew how to work the timepiece, she said, "Sixty-two minutes."
He turned back to the girls and said, "So, Miss Morgendorffer, -" when he was interrupted.
"Excuse me. That would be Mrs. Morgendorffer. The courts and I have agreed that we are married. Whether illegally or not is up in the air. What my last name will be if we win is up in the air, as well, but I am married, and that makes me Mrs. Daria Morgendorffer."
He grinned. "You're definitely trying to shake things up, aren't you, Mrs. Morgendorffer? Advancing the homosexual agenda, getting your fifteen minutes, this must all be a dream to you." Hearing a snort, he looked at the brunette, what was her name, Jane? covering her mouth. "Did you want to say something?"
"I was just laughing at how much you don't know Daria. The only 'agenda,' she wants to advance is her own, and I know for a fact that she hates all the publicity and being judged on her face and voice, rather than what's in her mind." She stopped as Daria put her hand on her wife's shoulder.
"While Jane was a bit too excited, she had the basics right." Daria gently kissed Jane's cheek. "I really don't like people deciding what I can or cannot do, or the veracity of my arguments, on how I look." She looked at him. "Two years ago, I, by design, looked decidedly 'plain.' Now, -"
"Because you realized that you were gay, you look better?" Rush chuckled.
"Not at all. I realized that I was gay three years ago. I didn't want to be, mind you, because I did my homework, and saw how gay people, especially teenagers, were treated. I've been unbelievably lucky to be very seldom harassed because of my orientation. I look better because my wives, even though they loved me the way I looked back then, wanted me to look better for them. So, for them I got contacts. For them, I-"
"Spent a fortune on dresses?" Rush grinned again. "I'm not into haut coture, but my wife spends many thousands of dollars on dresses like that."
Daria blushed. "Well, thank you! Or at least my sister, Quinn Morgendorffer, thanks you. She designed and made all of our dresses." She cleared her throat. "And, yes, my wives are the reason I wear my sister's dresses." She looked at him. "This 'agenda,' has nothing to do with it. It has everything to do with our wanting to legally live our lives the way the Constitution guarantees - free of interference from others."
"You say that you don't want interference from others, but then you interfere, yourself, by destroying the institution of marriage." Rush broke in. "How do you reconcile the two?"
Daria frowned slightly. "Without specifically talking about me, let's look at that. If I'm a member of whatever faith that you subscribe to-"
"United Methodist, in my case, but go on."
"If I'm a United Methodist, then I already believe in your version of marriage, so nothing I do along those lines will destroy it, right?"
Rush pondered. "Well, I can think of a few situations...but I get your point."
"If I'm not a United Methodist, why would any ideas that I have on marriage destroy it?"
"Because we share marriage with a lot of other Judeo-Christian religions!"
"But all you do is move the bar farther away. If they are those Judeo-Christian religions, then their ideas of marriage already match yours, although I can think of a few that are simply 'going along to get along.' If they aren't, how are your different ideas being destroyed?"
"And, Rush, if you expect people to respect your religion, you have to respect theirs. Which means, if you want school prayer, there had better be prayer by every sect represented, because all of them chipped in for the school. And if that means Satanists(which I am not), then it includes them."
Rush looked at the clock and sighed in relief. He had run out of time fifteen minutes ago, and this...teenager had been taking him to task ever since. They were finally winding up, though. "And that's all the time we have today for the Rush Limbaugh Show. We'll see you all tomorrow." He nodded to the girls, stood up, and walked behind the set.
"Do you think we changed his mind?" asked Jen.
"Not a chance," Daria said. "He has too much money wrapped up in being the way that he is."
Daria sat at the breakfast table across from Helen. "And ever since I talked with them, Mom, I've just got this niggling feeling in the back of my head that I haven't covered myself, somewhere. Now here's where I am." She went on to tell Helen just what measures she'd taken. "Got any comments?"
"Well, more cases than I care to think about have gotten derailed by support being pulled. What you've done sounds good, but there's something a bit more direct that you can do. You see..."
After she was finished, Daria smiled. "Thanks, mom. That was something of a blind spot."
Daria sat with Jim Vitale, Ann Freeman, and Bill Tweed. "Thank you all for coming. I called you here to address what I hope will remain a hypothetical situation. I know that you all support our position. I also know that you don't work for free. What I'm here to do is to firm up exactly where the money is coming from." After explaining the issues and her solutions, she closed her folder. "And that's what I've got. Any questions?" There being none, everyone got up and filed out.
10. Episode Ten
Jim Vitale stood
and addressed the group around the conference table: Helen and Daria
Morgendorffer, Bill Tweed, Ann Freeman, Angier Sloane, Charles Ruttheimer II,
and Andrew Landon. "I've just received word that the Court of Appeals has
considered our case, and they felt that, because of the issues involved, that
the Supreme Court should rule on this appeal. They have sent it to the Court
for review, and we're waiting to see if they'll issue a cert."
"What's a cert?" Andrew Landon looked puzzled.
Ann smiled. "It's a writ of certiorari, what the Supreme Court uses to indicate that they'll hear a case." She paused. "They aren't common. About one in seventy petitions are granted certs. We feel," Ann blushed slightly, "well, I feel, and the rest of the team agrees with me, that the constitutional issues involved will attract a cert from the court - but we are exercising every avenue and connection that we have to raise the likelihood of it happening. Should you have any ideas, we'd love to hear them."
Nobody answered her. "All right," Jim Vitale said, "I'll let you know if we hear any more. Thank you for coming."
When they got back to their garage apartment, all of the girls collapsed on the bed. Jane ran her fingers through Daria's hair. "You know, I always thought that my senior year was going to be spent avoiding as much work as possible. But here we are, not only doing all our schoolwork, but putting so much effort into this court case." She kissed Daria's head. "Baby, have I told you how much I love this longer hair?"
"Yes, yes you have, Jane." Daria was doing exactly the same thing to Jen, except she also spent some time massaging her shoulders. Leaning forward and nibbling Jen's earlobe, she let the smirk she wore show through in her voice. "I don't know where I might have gotten the idea." She kissed Jen's neck, then turned her head back to receive a kiss from Jane. "I'm glad that you've been keeping up. It'll be great when we make the move to Boston."
"But-" Jane was a bit flabbergasted.
"But what if we lose? Like I said before, we'll still get in at Raft and BFAC. Reaching under Jen's shirt while talking, she continued. "By the way, have you filled out your application?"
"Oh, yeah, I mailed it in just after Christmas break."
Jen turned over and kissed Daria. "I just hope that if we lose, it won't kill the Spiral."
Smiling and kissing along her blonde wife's throat, Daria replied. They're better with you, hon. But they'd still make plenty with us doing their lyrics and them publicizing our being there."
Unbuttoning Daria's blouse, Jennifer said, softly, "No more discussion."
Trent dropped by the next day, after school. "Hey, Janey, Hey Daria, Hey, Jen," he said as he sat down.
"Hey, Trent," they said individually. It had been a long day, with the CCC taking turns making sure that they were aware that at least one segment of the school didn't want them there. Finally, Daria had gone to Principal DeMartino, and the problem had been dealt with (for that day, at least).
"So, Trent, how's the band working with the new lyrics?" Daria asked.
"They're mixing good with the music." Trent smiled. "We're gonna be glad that Jen's back with us, so that we can record some more."
"If you can clear a couple hours a night, we can work now," Jen said. "But - school and this stupid case comes first." Seeing her wives' expressions, she held up her hand. "Not that our argument's stupid, but that we have to fight, just to be us." She briefly held her head in her hands, then ran her fingers through her hair as she leaned back. "Ah, well, nothing important comes without work."
"Yeah." Trent looked uncertain. "Janey, did you know if Mom had a lot of people she knew around here?"
"Not so many that I notice her going to see them, or them coming to see her, when she's in town," Jane replied. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, when all these news people started running around town, some people started trashing the yard - they took down the sculpture and the gazebo - I started noticing people standing on the street and sidewalk with cellphones. I introduced myself, and they said that they were friends of mom." He shrugged. "The yard's looking better."
"Trent, did they say, 'friends of your mom,' or 'Friends of Amanda?'" Jane raised her eyebrow.
"Now that you mention it, they said, 'Friends of Amanda.' Weird," he said, looking down.
"Don't worry about it, Trent," Daria said. "There's a lot of people who call themselves 'Friends of Amanda.' They're usually people who've met your mom and like her, and want to cover her when she's concentrating on her art."
"Oh," said Trent. "Cool."
It started, as most catastrophes do, rather innocently. The amigas were out, just about to get in their SUV to go to school. One of their, by now, regular hecklers, holding a sign, motioned over to Jen. "Hey, blondie!"
She motioned to Daria and Jane, and walked over to him. "Can I help you?"
He gave her a wide grin. "Yeah, why aren't you somewhere making dinner for your man, like you're supposed to be?"
Jennifer shook her head. Even without his thing about making dinner in the morning, this bozo is just too stupid! "Well," she said gently, "I guess that I haven't found a man who's as intelligent and loving as my wives."
Apparently, that wasn't the right thing to say. "Wives? WIVES?!?" He reared back and slapped her so hard that she crumpled down on the ground, writhing and holding her cheek. He ripped the sign from the board it had been stapled to, screaming, "Women don't have wives!" He then started hitting Jennifer hard with the 2"x2" board, yelling, "Spare the rod and spoil the child!"
He had managed to connect with Jen's ribs twice, once causing her to squeal in pain, when his eyes caught on fire. Daria saw what happened, and had sprinted over, spraying pepper spray into the heckler's eyes while kicking hard at his shins. "Stay away from my wife!" she cried. But just as everyone thought that might be the end of it, Daria put her weight on her weak knee, and fell to the ground, where some of the hecklers kicked her to make sure that she stayed down.
Jane had arrived, at most, a second after Daria did, and watched her go down. She backed up a step, and reached into her jacket pocket. "Hold it right there!" she yelled, as she gestured to the protesters who had advanced onto the lawn. "I have a weapon here." Her face became completely flushed. "Now. You. Are. Going. To. Get. Back. On. The. Walk."
The protesters, not knowing what she had, put their hands up and backed onto the sidewalk. Jane said, "So why did you decide you wanted to attack my wives at our home?"
"It wasn't us! It was Brother Jarvis!" someone said, pointing to the man writhing on the ground, rubbing his eyes and crying."
"It wasn't just him," Jane replied, as she could hear sirens coming, a few streets away. "Or my other wife wouldn't be holding her ribs AND knee." As the sirens approached, she said, "Hey, we'll heal. But if you don't give them up, you won't be able to protest here any more." As the police cruiser came to the curb, the people pointed at several others. Jane gave a nasty smile, pulled her hand -holding a cell phone- out of her jacket, and said into it, "Did you get all that?" With the answer, she disconnected, and rushed to her wives' sides.
By that time, the ambulance that the officer had called arrived, and Jane was reduced to holding their hands as they were taken to the hospital.
Helen was sitting in the waiting room beside Frank Burns, waiting for their girls to get out of surgery, when her phone rang. Seeing that it was from the firm, she almost ignored it - but she finally picked up. "This is Helen Morgendorffer. If this isn't an emergency, and not your idea of an emergency, but mine, heads will roll when I get back!"
"Helen!" the voice on the other end said. "This is Jim Vitale! The Court issued a cert!" He took a moment to hold himself in, but then almost yelled, "We're arguing before the Supreme Court!"
11. Episode Eleven
A/N: I understand
that this is just a fanfic, and just for fun, but if you want to know why equal
treatment for our LBGT (and poly) citizens is important, look here.
Helen turned to Frank Burns. "That was Jim Vitale. The girls' case is going in front of the Supreme Court." She pursed her lips. "And can I say just how much I don't care right now? God, I hope she'll be all right." She looked up to Frank. "And Jen, too, of course."
Frank tilted his face up, but Helen didn't really think that he was looking at her. His gaze was fixed far, far beyond her, and Helen, despite having seen it before in her commune days, only now recognized what she saw as a thousand yard stare. He shook his head, closed his eyes and looked down for a moment; sighed, and raised his head once more. Helen relaxed a bit. His eyes might be full of tears, but at least he was looking at her, rather than the distance. "At this point, all we can do is trust that the doctors will take care of them," he said. His fists clenched the chair arms tightly. "We have done everything that we can to...take care of...these idiots?"
"Yes, we have," she said, patting his arm. "Abe Horowitz is starting a civil suit against both their attackers and the Westboro Baptist Church as a whole, who fosters this hate disguised as faith." Her reassuring smile slipped into a shark-like grin for a moment, before resuming its soft outlines. "Jane holds both of the girls' power of attorney, and she gave the green light." She looked down, momentarily, at her hands, clasped with the fingers intertwined. "I think she did it because we're likely to get a quick settlement from this - the WBC wants to be able to picket again, so they'll pay out the nose - and, as long as the people who actually hurt Jennifer and Daria are in jail, she doesn't care who's protesting." A wry grin returned to her face. "I'm forced to agree with her."
"Because we're moving into the endgame part of this whole mess," she said. "Whatever these morons try to do with public opinion, it won't have enough effect in the next two weeks to sway the Court. That's the important thing. And once the Court has made its decision, one of two things will have happened. Either the Court will have agreed with the girls, in which case there will be much bigger fish to fry, to try and stop something that they won't be able to stop for at least another twenty years - and that," she said with a smile, "will be a job of work for them, giving that many people that much time to show that it works. Either that, or the Court will have ruled against them, in which case they'll be in prison for the next one and a half to three and a half years, and I can assure you that they won't care who's standing in front of our house during that time.
"So," she said, "We - they - have no compunction about taking their money for something useless, when they've hurt our girls."
"How do you manage it?" he said, and Helen, looking into his eyes, knew that he wasn't talking about the legal ramifications. "How do you set aside all your worry, and being afraid that they'll get into another mess - one that they can't get out of, and that you can't help them with?"
Helen put her hand on his shoulder. "Frank, all I can tell you is that, by some strange roll of the dice, my daughter grew up as a very intelligent, self-sufficient young woman. She has also been far more social, and more importantly, happier, since she met Jane and your daughter. I have had to accept that she knows what she's doing, and that if she put herself in harm's way, it's to protect someone without whom she wouldn't be the same person. As someone once said, 'There are things worth risking, and sometimes giving, everything for.'" She looked up at the ceiling. "I've had to accept it, but, damn, it still hurts when I have to be here, waiting on her to be fixed up!" She was about to go on, but an orderly came in to tell them that their daughters were in recovery.
Daria opened her eyes, seeing - the ceiling in this case - perfectly well. Oh, gee, didn't take my contacts out again. She started to roll over and get out of bed, but twin shooting pains from her sides and knee reminded her that that was a bad thing to do, and that brought up the memory of just why they were that way, the anesthetic, and everything. But that meant - "Jen?" she forced out in a low, hoarse whisper.
Apparently not too low. "Are you up, kiddo?" Jake said, gently clasping her hand. Then his face froze for a moment, and he reached out and got a glass of water with a bent straw. "Want some?" he asked, and smiled when Daria nodded. After she had drained well over half the glass, she laid back a bit.
"How's Jen, Dad?"
His smile slipped a bit. "She's right over there," he said, pointing to her left. "She had a mild concussion - you know how those are like , and that bastard broke three of her ribs, and there was some internal damage. Damned lousy..." He stopped, took a deep breath, and continued. "Jane's with her, she only got out of surgery ten minutes ago."
Daria nodded. She had wondered why her wife wasn't there. There was one other question. "The - bastards?"
"All in jail. Besides the criminal charges, one of the lawyers at your mother's firm managed to hammer out a big settlement with them." Looking at her expression, he explained. "Jane said it was okay, and they wanted to keep protesting." He smiled. "With this, and the money from all the rest of the times that you've been a target," his smile slipped, "You should be set up for quite a few years to come." His lips firmed. "Kiddo, even if it gets you money, could you please stop getting in these situations? It really scares me."
Daria reached out her arm, ignoring the slight pain, and patted his arm. "I don't try to get into them, Dad. It's just," and she had to blink back a tear, "Someone was hurting Jen."
"I know, kiddo. I know."
Daria looked out the window of the SUV she was riding in. After the attack, both her mom and the U.S. Marshals had ganged up on her and forced her to accept security, at least until the case was done. She could hear Helen talking. "Daria, you're not only a defendant in a case, you're a symbol. There are going to be a lot of people who think that they can get rid of the issue by getting rid of you. So you girls are going to accept the security!" She scowled. Can't do anything about that until this is over. Catching sight of the Capitol in the distance, she sighed. At least the trip was almost done.
"Would you mind double checking, please?" Daria said through almost-gritted teeth. "Two rooms for Daria Morgendorffer, payment arranged under Grace, Sloane, and Page?" The front desk person's face looked odd to Daria, first concentrating, then triumphant, then confused.
"Um, I think I see what happened here. I don't understand why, but a reservation was made under those particulars by GSP's travel office two weeks ago, then they canceled it this morning; they even gave up the deposit. The rooms are still available if you'd like to be responsible for the payment."
Bemused, Daria handed over the card that Helen had set up for the amigas for emergencies - Gee, I'm glad I don't have to go to the ATM! - and motioned that she'd be a few steps to the side. She dialed a number that she knew by heart, and got the expected answer. "Hello, you have reached Grace, Sloane, and Page, How may I direct your call?"
"I'd like to speak to Angier Sloane, please."
"And who may I say is calling?"
"Tell him it's...Daria." The ends of her mouth turned up in a cruel grin. "Tell him it's about the baby."
The voice on the other end of the line was hushed. "I...I'll see what I can do." The phone went to hold Muzak.
In about three minutes, during which the girls and guards got their room keys, the phone was picked up on the other side. "Daria!" Angier said, his smile evident in his voice. "Do you have to ruin my reputation with my staff?"
"I wasn't sure if I would have been able to get through, otherwise." Daria took a breath. "What is this about canceling these reservations?"
This time, his voice was much less exuberant. "Just what you think it is, Daria. We're pulling out. Grace, Sloane, and Page are no longer supporting your case."
Daria's voice was in the monotone which had been the norm before she had met her wives. "I see. Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you supporting us for your own reasons, which had little to do with us, the fact that your costs would be lower if we won being the primary one?"
"Absolutely. And I still believe that." He paused. "The problem with that is that it's a tide that lifts all boats. Everyone gets better, more efficient. The path that I'm taking now benefits the firm, myself, and my family."
"And what path is that?"
"You know that bunch of hate groups giving you trouble? I've got iron-clad contracts where all of their business will be going through GSP for the next five years. It isn't even contingent on you losing, just on us not supporting you, so good luck, kid."
"Well, thank you for being honest with me, Mr. Sloane." Daria's tone remained flat. "You'll forgive me if I don't wish you luck in your endeavors."
"I understand, kid. Good-bye." Rather than replying, Daria simply turned the phone off.
"Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!" Daria growled, looking around at her group.. "All right, let's get to our rooms."
As they made their way up, one of the guards spoke to her. "Bad news?"
Daria snorted. "Just that our major supporter cut his ties to us." At that point, they reached the rooms. "C'mon in."
When they sat down, he continued. "But don't you have plenty of money?"
She looked at him. "Sure." She shook her head. "It's just that I really didn't think that I was going to have to do this." She pulled out her phone again, and dialed. "Mom? Angier pulled the rug, so I guess it's plan B." She listened for a few moments. "Yes, I'm going to call them right after we finish." "Yes, him, too. Punish not and all that." I know. That's why I'm not any more angry than I am. Imagine if we'd found out walking into the Courthouse...or after the briefs were read." "Love you, too, Mom."
She disconnected and dialed another number. "Charles? Angier pulled his support, so it looks like I'm going to have to call on your and Jodie's dads." "I know, but we have time to do something about it, so it's not a total loss." "Then you'd better give us invitations to the wedding!" "Bye, Charles."
One more number. "Tom? Remember what we talked about? Well, your dad was Brutus. I really need, and Quinn needs, those briefs." "Thanks, Tom." She hung up and turned to the guard. "We had been depending on Angier to have his colleagues prepare amici curiae briefs supporting our position. While the lack of them wouldn't kill us, having them there, and supporting us, makes the Court feel a lot better about making major changes based on one case, as we're asking for. Ever since a month or so back, I'd had this feeling that we might be missing something. Today, the shoe dropped." She stood up. "Well, I hate to be a bad hostess, but I think that we really need to get some sleep. Good night, Marshal." She held out her hand, which he took.
"Good night, Mrs. Morgendorffer."
12. Episode Twelve
Disclaimer: This chapter
depicts the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, real people. I attempt to
depict them as they are, should anyone disagree with this, let me know and
we'll try and work through it. Also, the definition of right and wrong is
paraphrased from tanstaafl's 101st, by permission.
The intermittent buzzing of the alarm clock caused Jane to reach out and try to turn it off. Unfortunately, besides the fact that they had all been up late worrying, she was the one farthest away from it, and her arm hit both of her wives' shoulders. "Damn," she said quietly.
Apparently not quietly enough. "Crap," Daria said, yawning and stretching in a way that would have had Jane smiling, if today wasn't, well, today. She swung over until she was sitting on the bed, and put her brace on as she headed to the bathroom. Jane picked up the phone and ordered room service.
Later, when they had all dressed, and were finishing their cereal, Jen spoke up. "Are we ready?"
Daria nodded. "I checked with Tom and Charles while you were in the shower, and their contacts had been ready, and the briefs were sent yesterday. Mom says that Ann will meet us at the Courthouse steps."
Jane smiled. "I called Quinn to see how she was doing. Did you know that she and Stacy decided to stand in line so that they could be sure of seeing this in person?"
Daria growled, "She probably just wanted to be able to say she was there, ten years from now." Then she looked up at her wives, smiled and winked. "I'm glad that we went with her choice of dresses."
Jen was about to make a comment when a knock came on the door. When she got up and opened it, the lead Marshal poked his head in. "Ladies, we need to go."
The amigas were shocked to find the steps of the Supreme Court building well overcrowded with reporters, protesters, and a line of people apparently just curious to see what was happening. After they found Ann, all of the women were surrounded (to their relief) by the Marshals and escorted, Daria being helped by Jane, to the courtroom on the second floor, where they sat at the petitioner's table. All of the girls' eyes were wide, and Ann said, with a smirk, "It's still not to late to have me make that speech."
Daria shook her head. "No, I definitely have to be the one. All of the briefs are in, so we don't mention those?"
"Well, the general advice is to assume that the Justices have read the briefs."
"All right. Not a problem. Now will these refugees from Hogwarts just get in here?" Daria smiled.
As if on cue, the doors behind the Justice's seats opened, and the Chief Justice, along with the Associate Justices, walked into the room and sat down. After a few moments looking at paperwork, Chief Justice Rehnquist looked up and said, "Morgendorffer, Lane, and Burns v. United States?" After all the parties affirmed this, he said, "all right, time for oral arguments. Petitioners?"
Daria got up and, using her cane, made her way to the podium, where she set her speech. "Miss?" asked Justice Rehnquist. "If you need to, you certainly can make your argument from your seat."
"I think I can stand on one leg long enough, Mr. Chief Justice," Daria said with a smile. "I'll try to ask for one before I collapse." This prompted a round of chuckles. Daria cleared her throat and began.
"Mr. Chief Justice, Justices Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsberg, and Breyer:
My name is Daria Morgendorffer. I am seventeen years old, and I live, for the moment, in Lawndale, Maryland. I am a very introverted person, normally, so you can imagine my surprise when almost two years ago, I fell in love with not one but two of the most wonderful people on the planet. Strangely enough, and for reasons I can't fathom, they not only fell in love with each other, but with me, as well. The result of that fact is why this case is before you today."
"Pardon me," Justice Stevens said. "You're saying that you aren't even a lawyer, and you still feel yourself qualified to argue before the Supreme Court?"
Daria blushed slightly. "Yes. I don't feel qualified to argue anywhere else, mind you. In almost every other court, a counsel is required to know all the applicable laws, the facts, and how they fit together. Since laws may be very narrowly focused, a lawyer has to have very broad knowledge. But we're here in the Supreme Court. Almost anything argued in front of you has to do with the Constitution as it is amended. Not the law, but the rules about what laws we can make, and how we can enforce them. If a person of average intelligence needs a lawyer to understand those rules, then please rule against us, and I and my wives will do our time and then leave the country."
Slightly blushing himself, the Chief Justice shook his head. "Please continue, Ms. Morgendorffer."
Daria cleared her throat. "A good friend of mine once told me of her definitions of right and wrong. There are two types, she said. The first was murder, rape, assault - in short, anything that causes harm to others. I've heard it described as, '‘your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose,' and that's as good a way as any to describe it. There doesn't seem to be much argument about this type of wrong, or that society, in order to protect itself from these wrongs, is allowed to go along that path itself.
"The other type of wrong includes things that a person decides is right or wrong for themselves. These are particular choices which many groups try to force upon other people. But that is a wrong of the first sort - these 'wrongs' are not wrong because they harm someone, but because someone doesn't like them. As an individual, you have the right to say, 'This is wrong for me,' and not to do it. You even have the right to try and convince others that something is wrong and that they should not do it. But the moment that you try and coerce someone, to say, 'You cannot do this, not because it harms someone, but because it makes me say, 'Ooo, ick,' then you do an absolute wrong against that person. And when you have groups, or society as a whole, determine those kinds of rights and wrongs for everyone then you have lost your freedom.
"I could find no fault with that description, and have since taken it to be my own. When I found myself in the relationship that I am in, and likely will remain in for the rest of my time on Earth, I looked to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, to see if it supported my view of things. I was surprised, since I knew that many states denied marriage to gay persons, to find that it backed me to the hilt.
"First, look at the Tenth Amendment. All powers not specifically given to the government are reserved to the people, either in themselves, or in their elected representatives - the states. The only interpretation of this Amendment that makes any sense at all is that the government is supposed to work for the people, not the other way around.
"Then look at the First Amendment, especially the first clause. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Can it be said more clearly? No government, from the Federal on down to our City Council, may tell us what to believe, or, as long as we are not harming others, may stop us from doing what we believe to be right. And should you believe that to be simply my interpretation, I invite you to look at the writings of the framers of the Constitution, and the times that they were in. These men had seen many instances of state-established religions, and of states that were theocracies. They had seen examples of it following us over here in the New World, and they were sick of it. Many of these men held deep convictions as to who the Divine was, and what rules He or She would have us follow. Yet they all got behind this clause. They believed that a citizen had the right to choose what was right for himself.
"And the Fourteenth. No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. That means, since some citizens are able to marry other consenting citizens that they believe it is not wrong to love, as long as it does not cause harm, that everyone has to."
She looked up. "I'm not saying that our Founders were perfect, because they weren't. And other groups, certainly many religious ones, weren't either - because the desire to control people is endemic to many people. The Edmunds Act is an example of such a desire. It was aimed dead center at the Mormon Church which at that time, had control of the then-Utah Territory. It prohibited polygamy, but many people who were arrested under this Act were so, not because they were actively polygamous, but because they believed that it was right. It did not require that the targets be actually married, and even though there were many people technically in violation of this Act, none were arrested - at first - other than Mormons. There is no other way to honestly interpret the actions of the government and court of the time than that they were trying to put on a leash on the Mormons. I am not a Mormon, but that is repugnant to me.
"You may say, and correctly, that later courts have affirmed this Act and others that support it. I would like to point out, Justices O'Connor, Thomas, and Ginsberg, that these affirmations were made in times when women and minorities were viewed as second-class citizens, at best. Certainly the authors of this Act viewed them in that light. Over 1,300 men were convicted for violating this Act. Not one woman was, because, obviously, they were the victims in this, not being able to make their own minds up. Just as, not ten years earlier, the southern states went to war because, 'Them darkies can't run their own lives, they don't got the sense!' I say that we live in a world where any adult has access to the information needed to make a reasonable decision on matters like these, and that the government is prohibited from making it for them.
"A point may be brought up that the government has a valid interest in promoting marriages, to promote the welfare of children. I'll even agree - to a point. The government has an interest in protecting its children and promoting their welfare; however, that does not carry over to promoting marriage, especially in the manner that this government has done. If the lawmakers truly wished to promote the children's welfare, they would support multi-person unions. That is, instead of, as is all too common today, having two adults working full time to make ends meet, and paying a stranger to watch over their children, they could have two, three, or more working full time, while one or more parents stayed home to watch the children, be there when they got home from school, watched while they played, and so forth. The children would have a parent, or possibly a grandparent, there when they got home.
"Also, this would lead to more stability and parity in people's lives. With a union not necessarily dissolving with one member's death or divorce, family units would become more stable, and more prosperous on average. Resources would be conserved, and without forcing anyone to do anything.
"To answer those who would charge that this would destroy marriage, I would simply answer that no, it would just get it out of the hands of the government, and into the hands of the various religions, where it belongs. Any faith would be able to restrict marriage to those under its control. However, anyone would be able to enter into a union agreement, to provide for any children of a union. All government would control would be people's responsibilities to their children, and the automatic privileges that they would grant for that. The churches, mosques, synagogues, and covens would take responsibility for the individual's soul.
"Honored Justices, I understand that to support me would mean instituting sweeping changes in the way that we view our world, and how we treat each other. This would be, at the very least, inconvenient for the government. But isn't your mandate to choose what is right, and not what is convenient?"
I thank you for your indulgence, and I reserve the remainder of my time."
While they were listening to the U.S. Attorney's argument, which boiled down to, "Not only have we always done it this way, but the law that we got from the English always did it this way," Daria took the hands of her wives and squeezed them, whispering reassurances in their ears. At length, the opposition had finished, and Ann got up.
"Mr. Chief Justice, Justices Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Ginsberg, and Breyer:
Should you agree with my Colleague's opinion, I would like you to return my hoop skirt, along with taking my voting registration card away, providing me with slaves - oh, sorry, I mean providing my husband with them. Every bit of progress that we've made has been by stopping, 'doing things the way that we've always done.' That simply cannot be a controlling factor in the decisions that we make - that you make. My understanding is that you interpret the Constitution, which, to both my and Daria's understanding, is filled with clauses that protect the minority from having to do things their way when it hurts no one." She sat down.
The Chief Justice tapped his gavel. "Oral arguments having been heard, we'll now go into deliberation. The Court thanks both parties for their efforts." With that, the Justices stood and walked out through the back.
13. Episode Thirteen
another fine mess you've gotten us in," snarked Jane.
"Hey, we all decided that it was worth the risks." Daria stood, with her hands on her hips. "We knew the odds were against it happening, but the reward, if we succeeded, more than outweighed them."
"What's wrong?" Jen asked, having just entered the room.
"Oh, the usual. Jane's crying over milk that isn't only spilt, but has dried and gone way past its expiration date."
"Ah." Jen kissed her wife softly. "Jane, you have to get over it. We decided that if the situation changed, it was worth it. Unfortunately, the situation changed." She stuck out her tongue. "I didn't see you coming up with anything better."
"But we're going to have to deal with it for years!" protested Jane, who then slumped her shoulders. "Aw, hell, I know, I agreed, too. I just hate the whole thing. Especially having to wear that day-glo orange." She shrugged. At least we had it arranged so that we can graduate high school, first."
"There is that," agreed Jen. "How's the review for your math final going?"
Jane sighed. "About as well as your painting."
"All right, let's see where you are."
As her wives worked on their classes, Daria booted up her computer, opened her word processor, and started typing:
The Author as a Lesbian
Although I have known that I was homosexual since the summer before my ninth grade in school, my story really began when I moved to Lawndale, Maryland; I enrolled in Lawndale High School, and was put in a self-esteem class that I didn't need with a fellow student who was soon to become my first real friend - Jane Lane. When Timothy O'Neill, the instructor of the class,...
Daria stood in a very small cluster on the football field with Jane, Jen, Jodie, Charles, Brittany, and Kevin surrounding her. Frankly, she was surprised that both Brittany and Kevin were graduating along with them, but they had both scraped by, and would be attending Great Prairie State next year, Kevin on a football scholarship. He had come by earlier that week to thank her. "Daria, thanks...if you hadn't shown me how life's like football, I don't think I would have passed, once they took away the byes." She shook her head at the memory.
"All of you," she said, "I wanted to thank you for helping...us, in the troubles we've been having. No matter how much your efforts eventually benefited us, what really helped was that we three knew we had people behind us that were for us, not just a cause. It gave us a place we knew was safe."
"That wasn't a problem, Daria." Jodie smiled at her. "Especially since the bigots had made it clear that they were going to come after us next." She squeezed Charles' hand. "I just wish that there were some way we could help with the trip you're going to have to make tomorrow." She looked at Charles.
"Hey, Jo, we were all aware of the chances when we set this up, especially the last few days. Sometimes you have to pay the piper."
"Don't remind me," Daria grumbled. Just then the PA called out for the students to get into their assigned seats. Once everyone was seated, Principal DeMartino walked up to the podium.
"Students, faculty, family, and honored guests. We have reached the end of another school year at Lawndale High, and I am happy to report that almost ninety-five percent of our senior class has graduated, as opposed to the fifty percent of last year." He shuffled his notes. "This is gratifying to any faculty, but most especially to one that has had as much recent turnover as ours." He waited for the quiet applause to settle down, and continued. "Certain members of our senior class were under exceptional pressure, as they were in a situation that amounted to a living civics lesson. I am pleased to announce that Jane Lane and Jennifer Burns both performed well over their average last year, and Daria Morgendorffer is our Salutatorian. We'd like them to tell us a bit about their experiences. Ms. Morgendorffer, Ms. Lane, and Ms. Burns?" He stepped aside from the podium.
The girls made their way up, and Daria started. "Good afternoon, Lawndale. I would like to say that we found the U.S. Justice system to be absolutely fair and unbiased, uncorrupted and incorruptible. I'd like to, but I can't. It's none of these things, and the only thing that makes up for its shortcomings is that usually the corruption deals with how fast the wheels turn, the bias is almost always in implementing too little change, and that it's occasionally unfair in the favor of the little guy."
"Over the past year, we've met a lot of different people," Jane spoke into the microphone. ""There were quite a few who wanted to control everything we, and everyone else did. There were some who wanted to follow wherever we led, but most people just wanted everyone to be able to live their lives. Well, that, and be the subject of a Jane Lane painting!" Everyone chuckled.
"One thing that we all have discovered," Jen said, "is that if you think that something's wrong, that you're being treated wrongly, you have to fight for your rights and to be treated the way you deserve. Even if you lose, you'll end up better off than you were."
Daria took the mic back. "And so we thank you very much, for your forbearance and support during the late insanity. And we hope that Lawndale High continues its upward trend in almost all subjects." With that, they sat back down.
After all of the students had received their diplomas, they tossed their mortars into the air while the audience (which included the Morgendorffers, Vincent, Amanda, and Trent Lane, Frank Burns, Stacy Rowe, Sandi Griffin, and Winner Lassiter (with Fluffy in a carrier, wearing a matching collar)) gave a standing ovation for the next ten minutes.
The next day, a black van was waiting outside the Morgendorffer household. As the girls came out, one of their escorts called out, "No purses, nothing is needed except for your ID." The amigas turned back into the house and left their purses inside, then slowly made their way into the van. They were driven all of the way into DC, where they stopped at what appeared to be a huge office building, where the van drove into the underground parking lot and stopped. Their escort opened the door, and led them into a dressing room, where a new escort, this one female took them over. She directed them into a shower.
"Sorry, it's procedure," she said when they grumbled about it. They all took about ten minutes in the shower, then they returned to the dressing room, where they dried off, and were given day-glo orange clothing with large black numbers stenciled on them. Strangely enough, the clothes fit, and they were able to stand under a blow dryer enough for their hair to dry. Once that was done, they were led into a room with bright lights and cameras set up.
Jane looked at Daria, who seemed resigned to it all. Then she looked at Jennifer, who seemed to be glaring at someone. She followed her wife's gaze to the elder Charles Ruttheimer, who stood with a smarmier grin then his son ever had. She looked down at her, Daria's, and Jen's bikinis made up in 'prison chic,' and said to her wives, "Are you sure it would have been worse to drop his support and lose the case?"
Mom," Daria said into her phone. " You're going to be getting on
Storrow Drive. When you see the exit for Copley Square, take it." They
were all a bit tired from the trip, over eight hours long at this point, to
move where they were going to stay for at least the next four years. "Now
there's a little split to get onto Clarendon, and it's going to do a 90-degree
right turn. Follow us." They were just about equidistant from Raft and BFAC,
and very close to the downtown club and concert scene. "Yep, another right
on Beacon...We're on this street, but we'll be going one street over in a bit,
because the parking's in the back."
She grinned and snarked, "I think that's why it's called Back Street." They pulled up to the lights on Fairfield. "A right at this light, and then a left on Back Street." They drove a couple of blocks, and then Daria hit the garage remote control. Four-ten Beacon Street, home sweet home for the next few years." She got out and motioned Helen into one of the open spaces nearby.
Helen got out and stretched. "Daria, did you have to choose a place so far away?" When Daria looked over, her mother was smirking. "It's a wonderful location, dear."
"And it looks even better from the front," Jane chimed in.
"So you bought a condominium in this building?" Jake asked, as Daria unlocked the back door.
"Well, not exactly," Jennifer said, as she brought up the rear of the line.
"We're going to go on the 'garden room' floor, first, to go through the building and see the front," Daria explained as she led the way through an empty floor, to another door, out of the building, and up another set of steps. There were outside steps up to the next floor, but the Morgendorffer clan was craning their necks to see the building that their scion was going to be living in.
Daria stumped up the stairs to the first-floor door, unlocked it, and walked in. When everyone was in, she closed and locked the door, turned around, and said to her family, "Welcome to Casa Burns."
Helen gave her a tight smile. "It's lovely, Daria. But which floor is yours?"
"Um, all of them, Mom."
"All of them! That must have cost you...Daria Morgen-" She broke off when her daughter wagged her finger with a Mona Lisa smile. "Sorry dear, but the civil union ceremony's not for three more weeks, yet, so you're still Daria Morgendorffer, not Daria Lane yet." They had rolled dice to see whose name would be on the marriage, since nobody wanted to sign their names 'X Morgendorffer-Lane-Burns.' It ended up with Jennifer's name on the marriage, and Jane's on the surname. It was fewer letters, anyway. Helen continued. "And Boston real estate isn't cheap. We're talking multiple millions here."
"About nine and a half, with another three and a half spoken for to keep up with taxes." Daria calmly agreed with her mother. "It pretty much taps out the settlement you made with the Westboro Baptist Church, after taxes. There's about two million left." She led the way to the elevator, and when everyone got in, hit the button to the kitchen, while she kept speaking. "However, we did use all of that money for that, and none of our college money, and we have enough to cover food, utilities, and reasonable redecorating for a good, long while." They got out, and walked into a kitchen bigger than the entire ground floor was in Lawndale. Everyone found seats.
"But...that was going to keep you girls covered indefinitely." Helen's mouth was a firm line.
"And it does, now, Mom," said Daria patiently. "The house is paid for. It's up to date and up to code as far as electric, plumbing, appliances, that sort of thing is. "We've got the taxes on it covered. We all plan on being in Boston for the next several years, and if and when we leave, real estate is usually a solid investment. Heck, it's even good as far as you're concerned, because the BSFD is only several blocks away, so Quinn can stay here when she graduates."
"And, Helen," Jane said, "that's without one fact that you seem to be overlooking. All of us are just at the beginning of our careers, where the recognition we have from winning our case before the Supreme Court can only help us. Do you think that a publisher will turn down Daria's first book, when it's obvious that it'll be a best seller, at least among the gay, lesbian, and polyamorous segment of the US?" She shook her head. "That's somewhere around thirty million people. Even if only a quarter of them buy a book, that's seven and a half million. Believe me, that's the definition of a best seller. "You've already seen what happened when Mystic Spiral asked for help for us."
Jennifer spoke up. "And it'll be the same with Jane's work. Remember that reporter from Today? She treated Jane's sketch like it was gold, and that's before a lot of this happened."
"Also, Mom, this place is a lot more secure than somewhere out in the suburbs would be. There's only a few ways in and out, and the walls are thick brick." Daria stood up. "Come on out here." They all stepped outside to see the reflection of the sunset on the Charles River. "You don't think that Jane will get inspired here?"
Although they had had a Wiccan marriage, a "handfasting," all of their parents had felt that, if they could, it would be better to have an "official" wedding, along with their civil union. Daria remembered the wailing and gnashing of teeth when the various religions were told that, no, they could not control who could marry who, except in their own sects; and that, only so long as the individuals concerned stayed in their sects. Millions of gay men and women had lined up to be married, as soon as the decision had been announced; it seemed that the poly groups were waiting on them.
So they had found a sect whose precepts they could all agree on, and who had no problem marrying a clan. Quinn had designed their dresses, and then gone over to the BSFD, both to show them her work and ask for advice. As long as her grades were kept up, she was now assured of a place there, next year. They decided, together, and not without some trepidation on each woman's part, that they would invite a certain amount of press to their home, as they knew that part of what had tipped the scales of justice was the fact that over half of those polled were not opposed to joinings such as theirs, at least in one part or another.
And now here they were, Daria mused, in her sheer green dress on the roof of the building that she and her wives owned. Jane was in her customary red, and Jen in her blue, each holding two half-rings in their hands, and waiting impatiently until the minister told them that they could say the words. Suddenly, he was in front of Daria. "Daria Morgendorffer," he said, "do you consent to take Jane Lane and Jennifer Burns, in the bonds of Holy Matrimony, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, until death parts you?" Daria was shaking so hard that it was a problem getting the words out, but she managed.
The minister smiled gently at her, took one of the half-rings from the box in one of her hands, and placed it in her other hand. He then led her over to Jennifer. Beautiful, gorgeous Jennifer, her smile brighter than the sun. "Put the half-ring on her finger and say, "With this ring, I thee wed." Holding his palm under her hand while she put the ring on Jennifer's left ring finger, he smiled when he heard Daria's voice:
"With this ring, I thee wed, baby."
Jennifer's voice was calmer, but her hand was just as shaky: "With this ring, I thee wed."
The minister brought Daria over to Jane. Daria was still shaking, then she looked into Jane's eyes, and immediately calmed down. There was nothing there that would ever betray her, or let her betray herself. They shared smiles, as they shared rings.
"With this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed."
Finally, Jane and Jennifer turned to each other, each putting their remaining half-ring on the other's finger, so that each young woman now had a ring half made of each of her wives' rings, and they said the words:
"With this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed."
With that, the minister turned to the family, and the press. "By the power vested in me by the State of Massachusetts and the United States government, I now pronounce you wife, wife, and wife. Ladies, you may kiss the brides!" While they were taking care of this portion of the ceremony, he held up his hands. "Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, Mrs. Daria Lane, Mrs. Jane Lane, and Mrs. Jennifer Lane, the Burns family!"
With that, the families, as well as friends including Tom, Charles, Jodie, and the Spiral, came forward to hug the brides. Helen, Amanda, and Frank were first, but everyone had a hug and a word for the girls. "You done good, girl," Amy whispered into Daria's ear.
""I don't like the thought of losing you, Janey," said Trent, decked out in a tuxedo.
"You won't, you goof. Where do you think a fifth of your band's going to be on her off time?"
"As long as you're happy, sweetpea." Frank murmured into his daughter's ear.
"I am, Dad. I really am."
Then came all the pictures, not only by the normal wedding photographer, but by the various press agencies. At the end, there was one shot the girls insisted on. Each separated the folds of their right arm, and pressed their forearms together.
The word "Love," was there for all to see.
So there it is, done. A little under seventy chapters/episodes, in just under six months. An average of about two and a half days per episode of around 1500 words. Quite a bit of this was a joy to write, while some of it was just hard slogging. Nobody agreed with me fully on how this was supposed to go, but that's okay. It got to the end, and followed the rules I laid out when I started - that the only substantive change was that of Daria knowing beforehand that she was a lesbian, and having the choices she made feed back into her and other's characters. There were at least two and possibly more items that were written into this fic that could be seen as making additional changes. Those would be the college fair, and the sewing machine. I consider them to be part of any normal universe, and so believe that the rule wasn't broken.
Having said that, how far it deviated from canon was simply insane. When I came to this work, I did not see what a balance point "See Jane Run," was. As a writer, it's both good and bad. For the good side, for almost no effort, you can throw about 90% of canon on its ear. You can wipe out almost all of the faculty and a good 3/4 of the students of Lawndale High, plus, any parents in support roles (like the PTA) with almost no effort. The bad side is that you have to make sure that these hammer-blows are laid down with care, simply because so little can cause so much to happen. If you, as a writer, work around this point, it will pay to look at the entire environment and see what you want to do.
As you can tell, all the strings are not neatly tied up in a bow. There's room to work, and the girls are now at an actual address in an actual city, that will support someone trying to flesh out the story. That just will not be me for a goodly long while. Should you want to expand this fic, drop me a line, and we'll see where your vision is pointing you.