Chapter 3: Lawndale Hell
Lillian and Amy both left on Saturday. Both were invited to come back for Christmas and accepted. Jane came over that night for some bad movies and commentary. Quinn asked if she could join them after her date ended. When Jane arrived Jake let her in and pointed to the kitchen. Dorian and Helen were discussing their upcoming meeting with the Lawndale High staff. Through the entrance, Jane could hear the stress level rising in Dorian's voice. Wait.. that's not stress, it's fear. Jane followed Jake into the room. Dorian's face was pale and he looked slightly shaken. Helen walked up to Dorian and gave him a hug before he left the kitchen. Jane followed, but was stopped by Helen.
"Jane...he's having a real hard time tonight. He's worried about school on Monday. We have a 7 a.m. meeting with Ms. Li and all of the teachers. Maybe you can talk to him."
"Okay. Mrs. M... can I go with you on Monday? That might help a little." Jane looked up at Helen.
"Sure.. Dorian could use the support. That may even help the teachers to see that if you can handle what is going on, so should they." Helen paused and put her hand on Jane's shoulder. "Dorian told me you broke up with Tom. I'm sorry."
"Thanks. Yeah.. it hurts.. but.." Jane unconsciously turned to the living room. "I think it's going to be okay.'
Helen looked at her and smiled. "It will be." They left the kitchen. Jane walked towards the couch.
Dorian turned around when he heard them walk into the room. Helen watched as Dorian's eyes never moved from Jane. Helen began to wonder how Dorian felt about Jane. Helen went towards the stairs.
"I will be upstairs working on some briefs. Your dad went to go buy some Christmas decorations. So if you need anything, let me know."
"Mom, can I order a pizza later? I really don't feel like eating any leftovers tonight."
"Sure thing." Helen left the room.
Jane watched as Dorian slumped back into the couch. He sat silently with his hands over his face. Jane slowly moved until she was beside him. She reached for one of his hands and placed it in hers. He tried to pull it away but her grip tightened. He let out a long sigh and placed his other hand on the arm rest.
"I should have called you and cancelled. I'm not very good company tonight."
"Your mom is worried about you. I am too."
"When my dad comes home, I going to talk to him about going to Buxton Ridge." Dorian stared at the wall, afraid to make eye contact with Jane.
Jane felt as though the wind had been knocked out of her. "Don't."
"Why not Jane? People are going to be trashing me not realizing they are talking to me. They'll be relieved that 'the misery chick' is finally out of Lawndale. Not to mention Ms. Barch and Mr. O'Neil.. she's probably going to skin me alive while he's going to want to get all touchy-feely. I don't want to have to deal with that Jane. What am I going to do?"
"Let me help you...the only class we won't be together is gym. If we tell Jodie and Mack, then he can give you a hand in that class. They can help me and Quinn keep the wolves at bay. I'm going to be with you at the meeting with our teachers Monday. I need my amigo, just like I needed my amiga. Dorian - please, please don't leave me." Jane's voice broke.
Dorian squeezed her hand. Jane leaned against him. "I need you too-- you and Quinn. It's going to be up to both of you to stop me from beating my head against a locker if it gets too bad."
"So.. what are you going to do the first time you get hit on?" Jane tried to lighten the mood.
"Oh man...that's the last thing I want to think about." Dorian groaned.
"Nothing.. 'cause I'm telling everyone you two are dating." Quinn said as she joined them.
"WHAT?!" Dorian and Jane said in unison.
"You're not wanting to get hit on right? Then the best thing to do is set the two of you up as a couple - a brainy couple. Then both of you will be left alone."
"Do you really think that will work?" Dorian asked.
Quinn nodded. "But it won't if you refuse to act the part. So when you're walking to class together, hold hands. As you leave school, put your arm around her waist. You won't have to kiss her. I can tell people that before she moved, Daria asked Jane to keep an eye on us and you just hit it off."
"That sounds crazy enough to work. You don't mind me holding your hand here, but what about at school. I know you're a private person. I broke up with Tom so it's not like I'm cheating on him. What do you think?" Maybe I should tell you how I feel, then you might not see it as an act.
Dorian stared at the two of them. "This isn't right. I am asking you to lie all over again Jane. I can't do that."
"Dorian, what if it's not an act or a lie?" Jane whispered.
Dorian stared at Jane. "Jane--?"
Jane looked Dorian straight in the eye and gathered her courage. "I think I'm falling for you. That's why I broke up with Tom. Give me a chance."
Dorian could see the hope in Jane's eyes. He thought back on the night he carried her up to his room and the way she held her cheek after he kissed it on Thanksgiving. "I'm not ready for a physical relationship Jane, but I do care for you greatly. I don't want our friendship being destroyed because we rushed into a relationship."
"Then we can go as slow as you need to. I just know that when you hold me.. I feel safe. I like that feeling--I like it a lot."
"I like holding you too." Dorian's voice strained. "Are you sure you want to give this a try?" Why am I hoping soo much that she will say yes? Have I always felt this way about her?
Jane smiled and nodded. "I want to at your pace."
"Okay then.. I guess it won't have to be an act." Dorian put his arm around Jane.
Quinn was happy for the two of them. "Dorian.. I know you don't like having to lie, but we are going to bend the truth if we don't want five million questions. Now - I'm telling everyone you are my brother. Only if asked I will say that you were going to a private school while Daria lived with us. Now that she is living with Amy, you decided to come back home. Trust your little sister on this one."
"I am. Are you going to be with us when I go meet with the teachers Monday morning? I really wouldn't mind if you came." Dorian mumbled.
Lawndale Hell (Part 2)
Sunday morning, Dorian and Helen continued to discuss the meeting the following morning. Dorian asked if Quinn could come with them as well as Jane. Helen liked the idea. A united front would be best. Dorian ended the conversation as Quinn came downstairs. After breakfast, Dorian helped Jake decorate the outside of the house. Jane jogged by and froze in place. Dorian was covered in Christmas lights that had fallen out of Jake's hands. Jane's laughter caused Quinn to go outside. She joined Jane on the sidewalk.
"And me without my camera." Jane wiped a tear from her eye.
Quinn ran back inside. A few moments later, Quinn came running out, camera in hand. After taking several shots, Jane gave the camera back. Quinn promised copies once she got it developed. They then went over and helped him get out of the endless pile of wiring. Dorian and Jane decided it would be best if they worked on the upper lights while Jake decorated the shrubs and lawn. They were finished after a couple of hours. Jake handed them some money for pizza. At first, Dorian was going to call and have it delivered. Jane and Quinn stopped him. After much convincing, he agreed to go to Pizza King with them. Jane ran back home to shower and change.
Quinn sent Dorian to do the same. Instead, he spent several minutes pacing. What if some of my fellow classmates are there? I really don't want to face them until I have to. How am I going to act the first time one of them asks me who I am? He heard a knock on his door. He opened it, hoping it was Quinn so he could bribe her into staying here. Jane was standing in the doorway. He was still in his dirt covered clothes.
"You owe me five Quinn." Jane laughed. "I shouldn't take it from her though.. that was a sucker bet."
"Let me guess you told her I would be up here trying to figure out a way out of this."
"Yep. Like I said sucker bet. Actually.. while we had a minute.. about last night.." Jane looked at her feet. "Are you sure you're okay with this? I know you're still running the show up there Daria." She tapped the side of his head.
"Jane.. did you have any feelings for me before this?"
"Other than friendship.. no. Then again I wasn't the one who was turned into a guy. Why didn't I think about that before now." Jane kicked the side of the bed. "You liked guys before this. Are you ever going to be able to truly see me as anything more than a friend?"
Dorian stared at Jane. "I don't know if I ever really had those emotions. Other than the crush I had on Trent, but a crush was all it was. I never felt that about you while I was Daria. Since I became Dorian, however.. I've caught myself having those thoughts. So, to answer your question.. I think so. If we go slow like we talked about, I'll be able to deal with it better." Dorian put one arm around her. "I meant what I said last night. I really do enjoy holding you."
Jane smiled. "I like being held by you. Let's really give this a try. Now.. go get ready. Maybe meeting some of our classmates in a neutral setting will help you deal with Monday better."
Dorian left his room. Jane went downstairs to collect her bet from Quinn. About fifteen minutes later, Dorian joined them. Jake and Helen were relieved to see that Dorian was going someplace other than a jog around the neighborhood. Dorian was still uncertain that this was a good idea. As the three walked, Jane noticed Dorian becoming tenser. They stopped a couple of times so that Dorian could calm down. As they approached Pizza King, they scanned the parking lot. They recognized several cars. Dorian fought the urge to turn around and run away. Quinn immediately grabbed one of his hands and made Jane grab the other. They almost had to drag him through the parking lot.
Dorian stood a few feet from the door. Jane tightened her grip on his hand. He changed his grip so that their fingers could intertwine. He took a quick breath and opened the door. Quinn bounded in first. She saw Stacy and Tiffany waiting at a table. Stacy looked up and waved. Before they could speak, Stacy saw Jane entering hand in hand with Dorian. Stacy nudged Tiffany to get her attention. Quinn turned and smirked.
"Hey Quinn.. was that your cousin's friend you came in with?"
"Her...boyfriend's...cute." Tiffany replied.
"Yeah he is. Quinn, do you know who he is?"
"Does Quinn know who Stacy?" Sandi asked as she came up behind Quinn.
"The really cute guy that came in with Jane."
Quinn looked at her three friends. "Yes, I do. That's my brother Dorian. Would you like to meet him?"
Stacy and Tiffany quickly stood up. Sandi huffed and followed the others. Quinn made her way to the other side of the restaurant. Dorian sat next to Jane in the booth. Jane looked up from her slice and saw Quinn coming their way.
"Warning.. fashion fiends dead ahead."
Dorian nodded. As the fashion club stopped at the booth, both he and Jane had to stifle laughs. Stacy began to nervously bounce and struggle to breathe. Tiffany looked like a deer caught in headlights. Sandi for a moment was speechless. This alone caused Quinn to silently giggle. This is too good to be true.
"Dorian.. these are the members of the fashion club I told you about. Sandi, Stacy, Tiffany.. this is my brother Dorian and his girlfriend Jane."
"Hi." Stacy squeaked and gave a quick nervous wave."
"Umm.. hi. Nice to meet you." He answered in a low monotone voice.
"Quinn.. you never told us you had a brother."
"He's been going to a school for brains. He moved back home last weekend. Starting tomorrow, he'll be going to Lanwdale High with us."
"What about your cousin.. Daria or whatever." Sandi asked with a hint of smugness on her voice.
Dorian was about to say something when Quinn spoke up. "Sandi, Daria wasn't my cousin she was my sister. She moved in with my aunt Amy so that she could go to Dorian's old school." Quinn smiled at Dorian. He nodded back, impressed on how she handled the situation.
"Oh, well at least he has a slightly higher fashion sense than she did." Sandi replied.
"Yeah.. he cleans up nicely. Why don't we leave these two alone so we can discuss winter break fashions." Quinn made the group turn around and head back to their table.
Stacy looked back Dorian "It was nice to meet you."
Jane waited until they were out of sight before she started laughing. "Did you see the look on their faces? I am sooo going to have to paint that later."
Dorian grinned. He was still thinking about how Quinn took care of Sandi. She finally admitted that I was her sister and it only took me going through a sex change to do it. Jane could see the look of pride in Dorian's eyes.
"You know she always cared about you...even though she never showed it." Jane whispered.
"I wasn't good at showing it either."
They continued eating their pizza. After a few minutes, Dorian got up to refill their drinks. Brittany and Kevin had just sat down when Dorian walked by. Brittany's eyes followed him from the soda machine back to the booth. She saw Jane stand up and let him back in. She grabbed Kevin's arm and walked over toward Jane's booth. Dorian and Jane were both enjoying a slice when they heard a high pitched voice call out.
"Hey Jane." Brittany looked at the two sitting down. "Where's Daria?"
"Babe.. Jane's here with her dude. She wouldn't want Daria around for that." Kevin said from behind her.
"Hi Brittany.. Kevin," Jane growled. "Daria moved in with her aunt. This is her brother Dorian." Jane looked over at him
"Daria moved? I'm sorry Jane. She was okay for a brain and all. She really helped me out a lot in art class." Brittany said.
"Yeah and she got me my first passing grade in science. So, you're Daria's brother? You should try out for football...that way all the hot girls will notice you."
Dorian saw Jane scowl at the comment. Dorian put his arm around her and gently squeezed her shoulder. Brittany elbowed Kevin in the stomach.
"Dorian already has a babe." Brittany pointed to Jane.
"Whoa.. so you're like Jane's boyfriend? But I thought you were Daria's brother.. isn't that like cheating or something?"
Dorian looked at him and shook his head. "Yes, I'm Jane's boyfriend. No.. it's not cheating and no.. I don't want to play football. I want to get out of high school with as many brain cells unharmed as possible."
"Good luck with that." A voice said from behind Kevin.
"Hey Mack Daddy.. check it out. Jane's dating Daria's brother."
"Kevin.. quit calling me that. Jane's dating who?"
Jodie and Mack were making their way around Kevin and Brittany. Jane waved at the two new comers.
"Hey Jodie, Mack.. care to join us?" Jane pointed at the other seat. Jane flashed them a "get them out of here" look and Jodie understood.
"Hey Mack, doesn't the Steelers game start in fifteen minutes?" Jodie asked.
"Oh man.. I don't want to miss the game. The Pigskin Channel won't rerun it for weeks. C'mon babe.. we have to go." Kevin said trying to pull Brittany away.
Brittany leaned over to Jane. "You two look good together. When you talk to Daria, tell I said hi." Brittany turned around and she and Kevin left.
"Thank you." Jane mumbled.
Jodie and Mack laughed. They turned to Dorian. "Now, did I misunderstand Kevin or did he say you were Daria's brother?" Mack asked.
"I'm Dorian Morgendorffer. I'm not exactly Daria's brother."
"Oh so are you a cousin or an uncle or something?" Jodie joined in.
"Something seems appropriate." Dorian mumbled.
Jodie and Mack both raised an eyebrow. Jane looked at Dorian. He shifted in the booth for a moment. Then he looked them in the eye.
"Who are you?" Jodie's voice strengthened.
Dorian cleared his throat. "Is the confidentiality agreement I had you sign on the way to Grove Hills still in effect?"
Jodie blinked for a moment. She remembered when Daria said that in her parents car on the drive up to Grove Hills. How in the hell does he know that? Unless.. No... No.. She looked carefully at Dorian's eyes and face. He gave her one of Daria's Mona-Lisa half smiles. Jodie's eyes widened as the realization hit her.
"D-D-Daria? Is that you? What happened?!?"
Mack realizing what Jodie had just said dropped his slice of pizza. Jane chuckled.
"I would have done the same thing if I had a slice of pizza with me the night this all occurred."
Dorian was about to tell them about last Saturday when Quinn arrived at the table. She could see from the looks on Jodie and Mack's faces that they knew who Dorian really was. Jane slid over so Quinn could sit down.
"Good.. I was hoping he was going to tell you two."
"I haven't told them everything yet." Dorian replied.
Dorian explained to them about the curse. After about an hour, Jodie and Mack looked like they had been hit by tractors. After regaining her senses, Jodie shook her head.
"That's.. that's just wow. Seriously though, are you okay?" Jodie's concern showed.
"I'm fine. Mentally, I'm still Daria. I have all of my intelligence and memories are in tact."
"And the Daria moving thing is the cover story?"
"Right...outside of this booth, the only other people who know about this are other members of my family and the teachers at Lawndale High."
"Ms. Barch is going to blow a gasket." Jodie smirked.
Dorian groaned. "Don't remind me. We have a meeting with them before school starts tomorrow."
"Now I take that Jane being your girlfriend is also a cover story to keep other students at bay." Jodie glanced at the two of them. Dorian still had his arm around Jane's shoulder. "Or maybe not."
"We've decided to give a relationship a try. Just don't expect any wedding invitations anytime soon." Jane shot Dorian an evil grin.
Jodie and Mack laughed. "Okay.. now that I feel the urge to clean my brain with some bleach, we better get going. If there is anything you need, just let us know. We'll make sure your cover story sticks. See you tomorrow."
Jodie and Mack got up and left. A feeling of relief washed over Dorian. He was glad that the two didn't go running off. Dorian, Jane and Quinn left Pizza King a few minutes later. They returned home and told Helen and Jake about what the events that occurred at Pizza King. Helen knew that Dorian had taken a huge risk telling Jodie and Mack and was happy that it paid off. She told Jane that she wanted a copy of the painting Jane was going to do of the fashion club's reaction.
As Jane was leaving, she turned to Dorian. "You know.. you have yet to come over to my house since you changed. You can listen to band practice. Besides, I need to give you the picture you wanted."
"Mom, Dad.. I'm going to Jane's. I'll be home in a little bit."
Helen thought about it for a minute. "Is anybody else home?"
"Yeah.. Trent and his band are practicing Mrs. M. We're going to go listen."
"Oh okay.. have fun." Helen walked back to the kitchen.
Dorian and Jane walked out the front door. "What was that about? They never asked if anyone was home before."
"I wasn't a guy before either. Two seventeen year-olds.. in a house alone ... think about it Jane. I wouldn't doubt it if my mom is calling your house right now to confirm that Trent's there."
"Damn you're right, sorry. If you want to go back home, I would understand."
Dorian shook his head. "You said you were done with the painting. Besides, I left my Melody Powers notebook at your house and you're not the only one whose muse is calling."
Jane announced to Trent that she was home and that Dorian was with her. They went downstairs, after a quick introduction, they went to Jane's room. She painted while Dorian wrote. After a couple of hours, she moved away from her easel. Dorian looked up and laughed. Jane had remembered their facial expressions perfectly. He particularly enjoyed the eye roll Quinn was giving the others. Dorian grabbed his notebook and his painting. He headed towards her door. As she opened it, he reminded her to be at his house at 6:40. She gave a thumbs up.
Dorian went home and found a nail long enough to tack through the padding. He hung the painting up and smiled. Spending the rest of the night in listless slumber, Dorian woke up at 6:00. He quickly showered and went into the kitchen. His brain was still shutdown while he made himself two toasts and grabbed two aspirins. Quinn and Helen joined him a few minutes later. At 6:35, Jane arrived. She handed Helen a Polaroid picture. The Morgendorffer matriarch started laughing as she put it inside of her briefcase. After a last minute pep talk call from Amy, the group got in Helen's SUV and headed to Lawndale high.
Dorian stood beside Helen and stared at the front door of Lawndale High. He felt his stomach start to tighten. You can do this Morgendorffer. You have been walking through this front door for over a year now. Helen put her hand on his shoulder and gave a slight squeeze. He turned to Jane and Quinn who gave him a supportive smile. He looked over at his mom and nodded. Dorian swung open the door. The group walked towards Ms. Li's office.
Ms. Li looked at her watch. The Morgendorffers were due at any moment. Thinking about the conversation she had with Helen a few days earlier, Angela took out both sets of permanent records she had been keeping since Daria first arrived at the beginning of her sophomore year. She quickly scanned them to make sure the grades were identical, then began to contemplate about to do with the soon to come windfall of this even occurring. Her thoughts were broken by a knock on the door. She went up to the door to see Helen Morgendorffer on the other side. Ms. Li moved to allow Helen inside. The two sat in front of each other in silence. Helen laid her briefcase on the floor.
"Ms. Li as we discussed on the phone 'Code Dorian' has happened. Needless to say it has been a great shock and struggle for all of us. Even though the transformation itself was a nightmare, Daria has started to adjust very well to her new life as Dorian. He has received complete support from not only us but from Jane Lane as well. We expect the same from you and your teaching staff as well."
"I can promise you that we plan on helping Dorian out in any way we can. Now about the financial end of our agreement..."
Helen lifted up her briefcase and opens it. She pulls out a check. "Here is half of what was agreed upon. The other half will be given at the end of the school year provided that neither you nor any of the teachers contact the press in any way, shape or form. As long as they stay quiet, you will stay the only school in the district running in the green and still have some aside for more security. If for any reason the press finds out about what happened and tries to make Dorian's life a living hell and it gets traced back to anyone here, I promise you that your funding will go up in smoke." Ms. Li could see the flames burning in Helen's eyes.
"I understand Mrs. Morgendorffer." Ms. Li hands Mrs. Morgendorffer Daria's permanent records. She then shows Helen Dorian's records. "As you can see, the grades match down to the decimals. The other file is yours to keep. Now, let's talk about Dorian for a moment. I want to set him up a meeting with Mrs. Manson."
"That won't be necessary as you will soon see. As I said before, Dorian is doing very well with this and I don't want anything to change that."
"Very well then. I would like to meet Dorian before we go see the teachers."
Helen got up and walked to the outer office door. She signaled for Dorian to come inside. Jane gave his hand a tight squeeze. Helen looked at her and gave her an 'it's going to be okay' smile. Dorian straightened out his shirt and followed his mother inside. Ms. Li was looking down at her desk when he and Helen walked in.
"I'm surprised that the bomb sniffing dogs let us into school this early." Dorian remarked trying to break the ice. His monotone voice almost cracked.
Ms. Li stifled a small laugh. As she looked up, her mouth dropped. Dorian stood at about 5'6". He was athletic looking. Although he wore Daria's signature colors, his clothes were more stylish. He wore a smaller version of Clark Kent's glasses which suited his face. Although he still had Daria's cynicism, Ms Li could tell he wasn't as abrasive as Daria was.
Ms. Li nodded in agreement. "They must be sleepy. They got fed right before you came here. Now your mother has informed me that you do not want a meeting with Mrs. Manson...is that correct?"
"Yes. I'm not going to lie to you and say that this isn't beyond weird but my family and Jane have helped me out a lot."
"Your mother told us that Ms. Lane is handling everything very well. Outside of your family and Jane.. who else knows about this?"
"Jane's older brother Trent, you and the teachers. Two other students know as well... Jodie Landon and Mack McKenzie. They are helping us get our cover story pushed."
"I see. What exactly is your cover story?"
"Daria moved in with her aunt Amy so that she could attend the private school I was going to. I'm their brother Dorian who just left that same school. Quinn came up with that while we were talking to the fashion club. Kevin and Brittany have also been told the story. So far, everyone is buying it."
"Good. Now I have talked your teachers. They promise to not mention any of this to the press or other wise. The last thing we would need to do is cast a negative on Laaaawwnnnndalale high. Do you have any questions for me?"
""Yes. Has Ms. Barch said anything to you yet?"
Ms. Li shook her head. "No.. why does she concern you?"
"She hates every male student in her class. I was making A's before. My mother informed me of the duplicate set of my records. I just want to make sure my grades in her class are the same."
"I will have a discussion with her to make sure she doesn't give you a hard time. Are you ready to meet with your teachers?"
Dorian stood up. "As ready as I'll ever be." Dorian opened the door for his mom and Ms. Li to exit. Jane and Quinn moved out of the way so that everyone could enter the hallway. Ms. Li watched as Jane took Dorian's hand as they walked together. They are handling this very well indeed. I will have to keep an eye on them two.
Inside the teachers' lounge, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. DeMartino, Ms. Defoe, Mr. O'Neil, Ms. Morris, Coach Smith and Ms. Barch were sitting in nervous anticipation. None of them expected that 'Code Dorian' could actually happen. Now that they were in a room together, they each talked about how they reacted to Ms. Li's phone call a few days earlier. The only one who remained silent was Ms. Barch. Not even Mr. O'Neil could get her to talk. Ms. Barch stared at the door, waiting to see what evil her best student had been turned into.
Ms. Li was the first to enter the teachers' lounge. As Ms. Li spoke, Janet Barch continued to sit in the back corner of the room. I can't believe that Ms. Li is actually buying this crock of bs. A curse? That's a fucking joke if I ever heard one. When Ms. Li told them about the financial windfall the school had received because of this, Ms. Barch growled. That's why Ms. Li is helping cover up whatever happened to Daria. Money talks and to her money screams. Her thoughts were broken when Ms. Li cleared her throat. The two women glared at each other.
"I expect Dorian to be treated the same way that Daria was. He remembers everything from before. Other than the gender change, the biggest difference is he is not as abrasive as Daria was."
Ms. Barch gave a slight nod as if agreeing with the principal. Of course he's going to act differently, he isn't Daria. The Morgendorffers are playing some kind of sick game and Daria is just a pawn. She then saw Ms. Li open the door and let Helen Morgendorffer inside. Ms. Barch's face hardened as the mother of her favorite student began talking about Daria's change to Dorian. The story has been rehearsed to perfection. Oh.. so Daria is staying with an aunt...yeah right. Aunty straightjacket maybe. I wonder where they shipped her off to. She listened as her co-workers asked the lawyer a tremendous amount of questions. Helen answered them without pause or hitch. I had heard she was a good attorney, now I see why. She has an answer for everything, and they are buying it hook, line and damn sinker. We are all educated people. They can't be falling for this crap can they? They are acting worse than Kevin Thompson on a bad day.
After Helen finished, some of the teachers asked to speak to Jane and Quinn before speaking to Dorian. Helen went and got the two but stayed in the room. Ms. Barch watched as the two students sat down. How much did it cost the Morgendorffers to get Jane to betray her best friend? Or what kind of threat are they hanging over her? They probably just gave Quinn one of their credit cards for the day to buy her silence. Ms. Barch paused for a moment to listen to the two girls. When Jane was asked a question about just Daria, she answered with a touch of sadness in her voice. She knows what really happened. I have to take them down.. for not only Daria but for Jane as well. As an evil grin came over her face, Ms. Barch realized that everyone was staring at her.
"Do you have any questions for Ms. Lane or Ms. Morgendorffer?"
Ms. Barch shook her head. Ms. Li squinted her eyes at the science teacher. I better have a word with her after this meeting. After a couple more questions, Jane and Quinn were excused. Ms. Barch watched them leave. She was now waiting like the others to see this "Dorian Morgendorffer".
Dorian was leaning against the wall facing the lounge door. Jane and Quinn walked over to him. They gave him a quick rehash of what went on in the room. Dorian asked how the teachers were handling this. Jane told him about the cold silence they received from Ms. Barch. Dorian winced. Dorian heard the door open and Ms. Li pointed at him. He swallowed hard before entering the room.
When Dorian walked into the room, the teachers mouths dropped. He could feel the nervousness coming over him. He glanced around the room. He saw the shock come over everyone's face.. everyone but Ms. Barch. She sat expressionless. He felt his body tense up. After several moments of uneasy silence, he decided to break the ice.
"I felt the urge to say surprise but that would feel a little redundant." Dorian smirked.
The comment got a small laugh from the group. The only one who didn't react was Ms. Barch. So, this is who they got to replace Daria. They couldn't find someone who was at least the same height. He has to be a good 5 inches taller than Daria was. She looked him over carefully as he stood in front of them. Well, his facial features look a little like Helen and Quinn. Maybe he is a cousin or something. They must be paying him and his family a pretty penny to go along with this. I bet he knows where Daria is at too. Mr. DeMartino asked about an incident that happened on Daria first day of class. Dorian answered it using the exact same words he had over a year ago. Mr. DeMartino smiled and nodded. Dorian then began to give little examples that helped the group through their shock.
The whole time Dorian talked, Ms. Barch's anger rose. Of course he would know all this stuff. They have had a week to train him and pump him full of answers. That's why they got Jane involved so early in the process. She spent more time with Daria than anyone else. Don't worry Daria, somehow I will find out what really occurred. I can't touch him grade wise but he won't be walking out of this school in one piece.
Dorian kept looking over at his science teacher. I wish I could tell what she is thinking, but I know it isn't good. Dorian tried to focus on his other teachers. Even Mr. O'Neil seemed a little bit calmer than Dorian had expected. The funny part of the whole meeting was how well he got along with his new gym teacher. Ms. Li looked at the clock. The doors would be opening in ten minutes. She decided that the meeting would have to end. She reminded the teachers that nothing that was said in the room was allowed to leave it. As the teachers walked past him, they welcomed him back to school. Ms. Barch stayed in her seat. Ms. Li approached her.
"If I find out that you have been giving any of the Morgendorffers or Ms. Lane a hard time in class, the punishment will be severe."
"Don't worry.. I won't do anything that will hurt your precious funding." Ms. Barch said through her gritted teeth.
Ms. Li gave her a cold nod and left. Ms. Barch stood up and walked up to Dorian and Helen. They could see the anger in her eyes. She stared at both of them with fiery eyes.
"Daria..hmmm" Ms. Barch snorted as she walked out of the room.
Dorian, Jane and Quinn split up to head to their first classes. Dorian and Jane walked into Mr. DeMartino's history class. Several students were already on the room. Better make this look believable. He went up to the teacher, who nodded and pointed to the desk next to Jane. A couple of students noticed where Dorian was sitting. Jane smiled as he made his way to his seat. He read the note she had placed on his desk.
GOOD IDEA. DIDN'T THINK ABOUT THAT.
A couple of minutes later, Kevin and Brittany walked in along with Jodie and Mack. Brittany looked over at him and waved. Jodie and Mack grinned as they sat down in front of Jane and Dorian. A few moments later, the bell rang. Mr. DeMartino closed the door and made his way to the front of his desk.
"Class.. we have a NEW STUDENT here today. Dorian Morgendorffer. Dorian - raise your right hand."
Great... welcome to Lawndale Hell all over again. Dorian reluctantly raised his right hand.
"Well Dorian as long as you have your hand raised. Before our break last week, we were discussing the Amendments of the US Constitution. Perhaps you think its UNFAIR to be asked a question on your first day of class."
"Excuse me?" Deja Vu. Dorian waited for the question.
"Dorian can you concisely and unemotionally sum up for us the Eighteenth Amendment?"
"The Eighteenth Amendment made it illegal to make, purchase or transport
intoxicating liquors in the United States. Mobsters around the country rejoiced that the government decided to help subsidize their incomes."
A crooked smile came over Mr. DeMartino's face. That's Daria alright.
"Very good Dorian.. almost suspiciously good." He continued on with the rest of the lesson. After the bell rang, Jane and Dorian followed Jodie and Mack out of the room.
"One down.. six more to go." Dorian mumbled.
Math class was long and boring. On their way to the lockers, Dorian and Jane passed the fashion club. Quinn smirked and gave her brother a quick wave. Stacy and Tiffany kept looking back as they followed Sandi and Quinn. Gym class was next. Jane and Jodie headed to the girl's locker room while Mack led Dorian to the guys. After the coach handed Dorian his new gym uniform and lock, he headed to change. Coach Smith introduced him. The other guys in the room barely acknowledged his existence. Maybe this won't be so bad after all.
While the girls were being subjected to another round of 'agility training', the guys were having sanctioned football practice. I'd rather be doing splits and cartwheels instead of this. About halfway through class, they switched from football to running laps. He found the track to be much more relaxing. He kept a steady pace, trying to not focus on anything but the sound of his feet hitting the ground. He heard the coach's whistle signifying a return to the locker room. Then it hit him. Oh shit... We have to take showers. Great.. I'm still not used to seeing myself naked and now I will have to deal with seeing forty other guys naked. Mack sensed Dorian's discomfort. He waited for Dorian before heading to the showers. Dorian focused on the wall straight ahead of him. He turned into the last stall. Mack went into the stall next to his. Mack and he carried on a general conversation which seemed to help Dorian calm down. Mack seemed to appreciate having someone else to talk to other than Kevin. He turned off the water and quickly dried off before wrapping the towel around his waist. He quickly made it back to his locker to change. After the class ended, he met up with Jane in the hallway.
"So how was football practice?"
"Worse than agility training." Dorian sighed.
Jane stifled a laugh. Then she noticed his damp hair. " And your first shower in public?"
Dorian blushed. "I think that's going to take some adjusting to. Three classes down, four to go."
Next was art class. Ms. Defoe left Dorian alone to focus on helping Brittany and watching Jane work. After art, they headed to the cafeteria. Jodie and Mack joined them at the table. Economics was next followed by English and then last was science. Even though everyone was talking around him, all he could hear and see was the evil in Ms. Barch's face and voice. His thoughts were broken by Jane snapping her finger and pointing at the clock. There was only five minutes left of lunch. Dorian's plate was untouched. He ate a few bites and threw the rest away. A look of concern fell over Jane's face. Dorian shrugged it off.
Economics went by rather uneventfully. She talked to them about a upcoming project. As long as I don't get partnered with Kevin again, I'll be fine. As Jane and Dorian entered English, Mr. O'Neil pulled Dorian to the side.
"I know you must be feeling very confused right now. I just wanted you to know if you ever need anything, feel free to ask. My door is open open."
Dorian stared at him. And your mouth is always full of hot air. Yeah, you can do something for me. Talk to your bulldog of a girlfriend. "I'll keep that in mind. Thanks." Dorian headed for his seat.
Jane gave Dorian a quick smirk as he rolled his eyes. As class began, Mr. O'Neil began his discussion on Hamlet. He caught himself a couple of times wanting to call Dorian Daria, but he would quickly correct himself. At the end of class, Mr. O'Neil gave Dorian a thumbs up. Jane could barely suppress her laughter. Dorian walked out of the class and shook his head.
The final class of the day was Ms. Barch's science class. Dorian could feel the acid building in his stomach. As he walked into class, he could feel the icy stare of the teacher on him. When he arrived at his old lab table, Mr. Barch made him move. Jodie and Jane now sat together while Dorian sat with Mack at his. Dorian expected the worst. Instead, Ms. Barch continued her silent treatment towards not only him but the entire classroom. Even the girls in class started to feel uncomfortable. Every time he would look at her she would have the same dead stare that she had that morning. When the final bell rang she squinted at him in disgust.
As they made their way out of school, Jane and Jodie commented on Ms. Barch's behavior. Even Mack was creeped out. They waited for Dorian to comment but he remained quiet. Dorian was still trying to figure out what Ms. Barch had planned for him. Mack offered them a ride to Jane's house. As they pulled out of the parking lot, Dorian stared back at the building. One day down, a year and a half to until freedom.