Chapter 5: Mountain of Truth (Part 1)
Dorian sat quietly at his desk. He stared down at the blank pages of the notebook and sighed. The images of the scene at the bridal shop played in his mind. Seeing that had caused Dorian to distance himself from Jane the following day. Jane for her part, didn't understand what was going on and was wanting answers. The fact that Dorian wasn't giving any did not help the situation. The mix of the two resulted in the argument they had while walking home from school. They didn't speak to each other the rest of the way.
Dorian stood up and paced around the room. I just had to jog by that bridal shop. It's only been three weeks since I became Dorian. How can Jane be handling this so well? Because she wasn't the one turned into a guy. I am still having problems getting used to standing up to pee. Dorian's steps became faster. I mean yes, I am starting to have some feelings for Jane but are they hormones kicking in or actual emotions? Dorian began to think about that afternoon's fight. Jane had asked him why he hadn't talked to her very much since Monday. When he shrugged the question off, she became upset. I couldn't tell her. She doesn't know I was even there. That was a private moment that I wasn't meant to see, but I did and now it is driving me insane. Dorian stopped walking and smacked his head. No wonder she was mad. She didn't know I was staring through the shop window. I had been acting like a jerk towards her and it wasn't even her fault. She wasn't the one who made the comment.. Kristen was. I need to apologize and soon. I may not know exactly how I feel for her but I do know that I need Jane in my life especially now more than ever. Dorian went to grab his phone, but heard a knock on his bedroom door. He opened it to see Jane on the other side. He invited her inside.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you this afternoon," Jane mumbled while staring at her feet.
"I deserved it. Look, I'm the one who owes you an apology. I shouldn't have been acting like a clod and given you a reason to be mad at me. Forgive me?"
Jane looked at Dorian and smiled. "Yes..but only because I want someone to carry my pizza tray to our table."
Dorian fought off the urge to chuckle. He pulled Jane into a warm embrace. Jane leaned her head against his shoulder. He gave her a gentle squeeze.
"I really am sorry. It's just that I've really been struggling the past couple of days," Dorian sighed.
Jane broke off the embrace and sat down on Dorian's bed and rested her head against the padding of the wall. She patted at a spot next to her. Dorian joined her. She grabbed the pillow from the top of the bed and placed it on her lap. She directed his head to rest on the pillow. Dorian laid down staring up at the ceiling. Jane started brushing her fingers through his hair. She looked down and stared at his eyes. For a moment, she could have sworn she saw Daria in them.
"Hey Daria...I know you're in there...talk to me."
Dorian closed his eyes. "I know it seems that I am getting adjusted to the change, but I'm not. I'm having a hard time with things like showering in gym class and seeing myself in a mirror. Then there is dealing with Lawndale High in general. Between the looks I get from the girls in school and Kevin constantly bugging me about joining the football team, I feel like I am going insane."
You're not the only one who is unhappy about the way girls at school look at you. "It's about time you said something. I was beginning to worry about you. I thought you would freak out in the middle of class one day. I'm amazed that you don't come home ever day and curl up in a ball babbling."
Dorian laughed. He opened his eyes and turned his head towards Jane. She was looking at him with a slight grin on her face. He studied Jane. "You know you're very beautiful from this angle," the blush hit his face the instant he heard the words come out of his mouth.
Jane stopped stroking his hair. He went to sit up, but she stopped him. He buried his head in his hand. She tried to move his hands but he resisted. They both went silent for a moment.
"I would have never said that to you before," he groaned.
"Did you mean it?"
"What?" Dorian moved his hands down.
"When you said that.. did you mean it?"
"Yes." His eyes enlarged slightly as the truth hit him. I guess those feelings are more than just hormones.
The next day in school, they were sitting in English class. Christmas break was in a few short days and Dorian couldn't wait for the break. Mr.O'Neill was leaning against his desk. He was holding a sheet of paper in his hands.
"Class, in my hands I hold a piece of paper which has the potential to open up a world of positive experiences."
Dorian looked up at him. "Mandatory home schooling legislation?"
" A sign up sheet for an overnight hill trek.. an excellent opportunity to understand the primal struggle for survival we made it through together in "The Call Of The Wild". We will leave Saturday morning and return Sunday afternoon."
Jane leaned towards Dorian, "Hmmm..Twenty-four consecutive hours with our classmates. Are you going to go?"
"I have a feeling my parents will make me go to keep an eye on Quinn. Why..do you want to go?"
"Not really I had a bad experience on that hill when I was with the Girl Scouts. We kept marching and singing and marching and singing about some freak named John Jacob Jingleheimer somebody. However Trent is going to be in Freemont with Spiral so I will have nothing better to do."
Dorian turned to her, "You were a Girl Scout?"
"Not after the deprogramming."
The Morgendorffers were gathered around the dining room table. Quinn was ordering the stuff she wanted to take on the hiking trip. Dorian went over to the kitchen counter and turned on the television. He listened to Quinn as she commented on some of the products listed in the catalogue. I knew my parents were going to make me go. Intimacy retreat? Ewwwwww. Dorian shuddered at the last thought. A few moments later, Quinn handed him the catalogue.
Dorian flipped through the book. He choose a heavy jacket, first-aid kit and a new sleeping bag. He would let Jane use it and if he could fit into his old one. He knew hers was not in good condition, especially if the weather became bad. He gave the catalogue to his mom. Helen placed the order for overnight delivery.
"Hey dad.. can I borrow your camping backpack?" Dorian asked as he shut off the television.
"Sure thing kiddo.. it's in the garage."
Dorian headed for the garage. He pulled out the oversized backpack and went to his room. He leaned it against his desk while he made a short checklist of what he wanted to put in it. Rather be safe than sorry. Who knows what Ms. Li has got planned. A few minutes later, he heard a knock on his door. He opened it. Quinn and Jane came into the room. They looked at the backpack.
"See.. I told you he went off the deep-end." Quinn smirked.
"Look who's talking Miss Let's Order Half of the Catalogue For A One Day Trip."
"I didn't order half...only a third," Quinn pouted.
"Still.. I know you want to impress your friends, but you don't need to bring all that stuff with you. You're only going to be able to change once or twice at best. Besides, that will give you more to show-off once we are done with Christmas break."
"Ughhh.. okay.. I won't bring all of it. But if it hurts my standing with the fashion club, I'm going to paint your toenails in the middle of the night and send the picture of it to Jane." Quinn left the room.
Jane sat on the bed. She kept looking down at his feet. Finally, she busted into laughter. He turns to her in curiosity.
"I'm picturing your toenails in a neon green or high-glo pink nail color. Neither would match your skin tone at all."
"Very funny Lane. My parents still have that bridesmaid's dress and a very big back yard. So do what do I owe the honor of this visit?"
"Trent's not home and my muse has decided to take the night off. I decided to come over here. Then you're mom handed me this catalogue thingy and told me to pick out a jacket and some clothes for this trip. She had that motherly look in her eyes. I wasn't about to argue with her. I take it you were right about your parents wanting you to go and keep an eye on Quinn."
"Yep. They want to go on an intimacy retreat while we are gone."
"Ooookay. I don't even want to know."
Thursday went by quickly. Everyone was talking about their plans for Christmas break and the upcoming trip. While running around the track, Dorian began to think about what to get Jane for Christmas. I want to get her something to show her how much I appreciate her sticking with me through all of this. I'm going to need some help. Maybe I can get Lillian and Amy to give me some ideas. They are going to be here Monday. I can also see if Quinn would be willing to scout out information for me. Christmas is on Friday, so I'll have plenty of time. He was so lost in thought, he didn't hear the coach's whistle to hit the showers.
Dorian wasn't the only one who was wanting to use Quinn for information. Jane approached Quinn outside of the cafeteria before lunch. They had a few moments before Dorian arrived. Quinn agreed to find out what Dorian wanted for Christmas. Jane thanked her. They separated when they saw him walking their way.
Friday as Dorian and Jane were walking home, a delivery driver pulled up to Dorian's house. After Dorian signed for them, the delivery driver then proceeded to wheel three big boxes out of his van. Dorian opened the door to allow the driver to bring the boxes inside. A few minutes later, Dorian began opening the boxes and checking the invoice. Jane would call out an item and he would search the boxes to find it. He then would separate everything into piles--one for Jane, one for himself and however many it would take for Quinn. An hour later, Dorian and Jane confirmed that everything that was ordered had arrived. Dorian took his and Jane's piles up to his room. Dorian then asked Jane to go home and bring back anything else she was bringing with her on the trip.
Dorian brought Quinn's piles into her room. When she arrived home a few minutes later, she began to start packing. Keeping her brother's words about how much to bring in her head, she proceeded to fill just one giant shoulder bag. She went over to his room and asked if there was anything else she should bring beside clothes. She showed him the canteen. He told her to go ahead and fill it. He mentioned a flashlight and some kind of snack. She grabbed the rice cakes. She looked at her bag and nodded in satisfaction.
Jane came back about twenty minutes later carrying a small bag and a sketchbook. Dorian took the oversized backpack and placed it on his bed. He opened it to see one of the pup tents and two canteens still inside. Better fill these before I forget about it. He ran down to the kitchen and came back with two full canteens. Not bothering to get rid of the tent, Dorian proceeded to pack his and Jane's stuff into the backpack. He went downstairs and returned with a flashlight, a box of poptarts and some beef jerky. He was able to fit one of the sleeping bags inside. He had Jane help him strap the other one to the top. After he was through loading everything, Dorian lifted the backpack and placed it on his shoulders. He was surprised at how light it felt. Okay, so maybe the working out I've been doing is paying off. He turned to Jane who had a goofy grin on her face.
"You look so cute carrying that around. I'm gonna make you a sign for around your neck that says 'Designated Pack Mule'."
Dorian woke up early the next morning to help Jake load up the car. Ut-oh.. dad's humming show tunes. I am sooo glad I'm not gonna be near them tonight. Dorian went back upstairs to wake Quinn and Jane up. He knocked on the guest bedroom door. He could hear footsteps make their way across the floor. Much to his surprise, Jane was awake and ready to go. Dorian then headed for Quinn's room. He saw her door was open but the bathroom door was closed. Good thing I took my shower early. He yelled through the door that breakfast would be ready in ten minutes. He and Jane headed downstairs.
"Remind me to thank your mom for letting me stay here last night. I would have never gotten up if I had been home. Trent usually wakes me up when he slams the front door after coming home from practice."
"Will do. So, care to place bets on how quickly Mr. O"Neill will get on Mr. De Martino's nerves?"
"Hmmm.. I say we don't get out of the school parking lot," Jane smirked.
"Damnit.. you took my wager. I'll say... two blocks after we leave the parking lot."
Helen and Quinn made it downstairs. After breakfast, the group headed for the school. Dorian saw the luxury bus that was going to be used. At least they have bathrooms. Maybe the windows on it will work. Dorian helped Jake get his backpack and Quinn's bag from the trunk. Helen rolled down her window.
"All right kids. Your father and I will be at the Big River Cabins just a couple of miles from your campsite if you need anything."
"Unless it's money. Bye," Jake said as he closed the driver's door.
Dorian, Jane and Quinn walked over to the bus. Quinn saw the rest of the fashion club and headed inside. Jane stayed with Dorian as he loaded their belongings into the luggage carrier on the side of the bus. Dorian rubbed his ear when Mr.DeMartino turned on the megaphone in his hand.
"GOOD Morning STUDENTS. PLEASE be so GRACIOUS as to HAUL your MILK fed BUTTOCKS onto the BUS."
Ms. Barch watched Dorian as he carefully placed Quinn's bag in the carrier. As she closed the carrier door, she glared at him and Jane. "Hurry up you two.. you don't want to get left behind."
Jane trying to lighten the mood, "You mean that's an option?"
Ms. Barch's eyes narrowed. "Oh sure, being left behind seems like a cute idea to you now, but when it happens to you after twenty-two years of squandering your good looks and womanly charms, you might not find it so amusing to be abandoned. Then again, I guess he could have just made me disappear without a trace," She growled the last sentence as she stared directly at Dorian.
Jane grabbed Dorian's arm and led him to the bus door. Jane could feel the anger in Dorian rise. "Calm down.. she is just bitter. What's that old saying.. 'tis better to have loved and lost."
"If you know a good hit man," Dorian grumbled.
Jane picked a seat towards the back of the bus. She made Dorian get in first. He slid himself to wedge into corner where the seat met the wall. Visions of taking Ms. Barch's head and ramming it against a tree filled his head. His thoughts of rage were broken when he felt Jane lean against him. He took off his jacket and balled it up so Jane could use it as a pillow.
Stacy and Quinn were sitting in the seat across from them. Sandi and Tiffany sitting in front of Stacy and Quinn. Stacy watched the Dorian put his arm around Jane and smile.
"Your brother really likes that art chick," Stacy sighed.
"Her name is Jane. Yes he does," Quinn smiled.
"He is too cute to allow himself to be seen with her," Sandi commented.
Quinn bit her lip. "Like I said before-- Dorian doesn't care about his looks. As for Jane, he thinks she is beautiful and for the first time in a long time maybe even ever.. he is happy and that is the only thing I care about."
"Quinn, you sound like you've started to hang out with her. Do I need to start questioning whether or not you belong in the fashion club?"
"Of course, I am getting to know her. She's dating my brother. You know how you three have told me how much you like the outfits Dorian wears?" Quinn waited for the others to nod, "Well she helped pick them out. She's an artist... she has a good eye for colors."
"Oh, I see, well then why couldn't she help your sister?" Sandi replied.
"Daria wants to be known for her brains, not her looks," Quinn stared down Sandi. Sandi huffed as she turned around in her seat.
Dorian was oblivious to the exchange going on in the seat across from his. He sat quietly, watching Jane sleep against him. I wonder why Ms. Li hasn't said anything to us? I guess she really couldn't considering Brittany is making out with Kevin and Jodie fell asleep on Mack. He caught himself stroking Jane's hair. I knew you got up too early this morning. He gave a slight yawn and closed his eyes. He was awoken by Jane tapping by his shoulder.
"Come on.. we are about to park. You might want to put this back on." Jane handed him back his jacket.
Once the bus stopped, Dorian stood up and slipped the jacket back on. As he got off the bus, he headed to where the items were being unloaded from the luggage area. He lifted the back pack and placed it on his shoulders. As he and Jane were about to join the others, he stared up at the quickly clouding sky. This does not look good at all. He was so focused on the weather, he didn't hear Mr. O'Neill call out to Quinn's little entourage.
"..and finally Jamie, Joey, Jeffy..you'll be in charge of in transporting field supplies. And let's all be respectful of this unspoiled wilderness okay. Remember.. we're in God's high school now." Mr.O'Neill reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his inhaler.
Jamie, Joey and Jeffy each grabbed a bag. They watched as Quinn headed to grab her shoulder bag. They dropped the bags they were carrying behind the bus and walked over to her.
"Can I carry that for you Quinn?" Jeffy asked.
"No I want to carry it!" Joey said as he pushed Jeffy.
"I get to carry Quinn's bag," Jamie said as he tackled the other two to the ground.
Dorian watched as the three beat each other up. Dorian walked over to the group. He sighed as he grabbed Quinn's bag. I should just strap on a feed bag. He tried to get the other three guy's attention.
"Hey.. Joey, Jeffy.. Jerry..come on.. we're heading out," Dorian said as he walked towards Jane.
Joey, Jeffy and Jamie finally stopped after a couple of minutes. Once they realized they were alone, they saw the beginning of the hiking trail. They headed for it, leaving the field supplies behind.
Dorian and Jane watched as Mr.O'Neill almost collapsed. Between his allergies flaring up and the weight of the video equiptment Ms. Li had him carrying, Mr. O'Neill had no shot of making it up the mountain without help. From in front of him, Dorian could hear Ms. Li whining about some summit shot to impress some idiot executives from some sporting goods company. Should have known that this was some kind of money making scheme. Extreme Sports Mania WorldWide Inc... what were they smoking when they came up with that company name? I bet their company logo is a broken leg attached with a ski on the end. Dorian was only slightly surprised when Ms. Barch tied a rope around Mr. O'Neill's waist and then pulled him up.
"I guess she has a soft spot for at least one male on this planet. I kinda feel sorry though for Mr. O'Neill though. We all knows who wears the pants in that relationship and I doubt he looks all that good in a dress," Jane whispered into Dorian's ear.
Dorian let out a light laugh and stopped. The warmth of Jane's breath against his ear caused him to blush. He heard Jane as she tried to stifle a laugh. He turned to see her staring at him with a smirk on her face. Damn hormones. They stopped at a clearing that was about an hour away from the campsite. They had been hiking for almost four hours. Jane nudged Dorian. They watched Mr.DeMartino as he towed Ms. Barch and Mr.O'Neill. Dorian took one more look up at the sky. Jane saw the concern on his face.
"What's wrong?" Jane asked.
"We need to get moving and fast if we want to get to camp before the weather gets bad."
Ms. Li turned to him, "Don't worry, we'll reach base camp soon as long as there are no more surprises."
That is when Dorian felt the first few flakes of snow fall on his face. Everyone else started to look up.
"Surprise," Dorian sighed.
After a quick check to make sure everyone was accounted for, they continued towards the camp. Mr.DeMartino tried to convince Mr.O'Neill not to go back down the trail looking for his second inhaler. Ms. Barch walked up behind Mr. O"Neill and hit him on the back of the head. Mr.O'Neill went back to the group, rubbing the back of his head. They arrived at the campsite forty-five minutes later. Mr. DeMartino stayed outside to gather firewood. Ms. Barch and Ms. Li led everyone else inside.
Dorain sat Quinn's bag down on the bed next to her. She gave him a slight punch on the arm. He rubbed his arm and gave her a slight smile. He noticed the other members of the fashion club react to when he smiled. He was not the only one who noticed their reaction. Jane walked over and led him away from the group. I can't believe Jane is jealous over the fashion club. Dorian sat the backpack down. He looked over at Jane. She lowered her head and stared at the floor. They sat in silence for a couple of minutes.
"I'm sorry. I just didn't like the way Stacy and Sandi were looking at you," Jane sighed.
"It's okay.. but you have to remember, they are friends with my sister."
Mr. DeMartino walked in with a stack of firewood. A couple of moments later - Joey, Jeffy and Jamie walked into the cabin empty-handed. Jodie and Mr. O' Neill looked over at them in confusion.
"Weren't you three in charge of carrying the field supplies. Where are they?"
"Back at the buses," Jeffy answered sheepily.
"Why are the supplies at the buses?" Jodie's anger was beginning to show.
"Well, we started fighting over who was going to carry Quinn's bag. Then we realized that not only was her bag gone, but so was everyone else. So we tried to catch up but never did."
"OF COURSE HER BAG WAS GONE YOU MORONS.. HER BROTHER CARRIED IT! DID SHE ASK ONE OF YOU TO CARRY IT?" Jodie was yelling.
"Um.. no," Jamie replied.
The other students and some of the teachers began to gather around the three guys.
Jane whispered to Dorian, "Looks like we're in for a lynching.. and me without my camera damnit."
Jodie looked out the window. The snow was coming down fast and heavy. She looked at her watch. It was almost 5:30 and already starting to get darker and colder. "We need some people we can trust to get the field supplies here to us," She turned to the teachers.
Ms. Li looked at Mr. DeMartino. "Pick out who you want to go with you back to the buses. Then haul your asses back here ASAP!"
Mr. DeMartino surveyed the room. Before he could speak, Ms. Barch approached him. An evil grin came over her face. "Why don't you ask Dorian to go.. he's already shown he can haul stuff up this mountain with no problem."
Ok.. we are looking at at least another four hours with out food. We can get water out of the bathroom sink I guess," Jodie sighed.
"Hang on a sec," Dorian opened his backpack. He pulled one of the canteens and the beef jerky. "It ain't much but it's better than nothing."
"Wait, I have this too." Quinn took out her canteen and the rice cakes.
"Way to think ahead Mr. and Ms. Morgendroffer, Ms. Barch - see if you can get a fire going. Mr. DeMartino - who's going with you to get supplies?"
"Mr.MORGENDORFFER and Mr.MCKENZIE follow me," Mr. DeMartino signaled to the door.
Jane squeezed Dorian's hand. She stood up. "Mr.DeMartino.. I want to come to." Ms Barch gave her a look that could have scared the dead.
"So do I.. Brittany's not speaking to me and she hasn't even told me thank you for the flowers I gave her!" Kevin whined.
"FINE, but STICK with ME.. NOW let's head BACK to the BUS." Mr. DeMartino growled.
"Dorian.. I want to come to," Quinn stated.
"No, you stay here. Get warmed up by the fire and talk with your friends. We'll be back in no time."
Dorian grabbed his backpack. He still had the pop tarts, another canteen and a flashlight in it. Jane gave him a puzzled look.
"With the way this trip is going so far, rather be safe than sorry," He grumbled.
The group assembled outside the front door. The four students followed Mr. DeMartino's fast and steady pace. The temperature was dropping and the snowfall was increasing. They remained pretty quiet, it was hard to hear with the wind blowing the way it was. Despite the weather problems, the group made it back to the bus area in a little under two hours.
The bus was parked in a tiny paved lot. Dorian, Kevin and Mack walk towards the back of the bus. As he neared the bus, Mr. DeMartino slipped on a patch of ice. Out of reflex, he grabbed the closest thing to him to try to stop from falling. Unfortunately for Jane, it was her. Dorian heard her scream. He watched as Jane fell and Mr. DeMartino slipped and landed so hard against the bus, the impact echoed. Dorian, Mack and Kevin carefully made their way to Jane and Mr. DeMartino.
Dorian could see the tears forming in Jane's eyes. She was holding her right ankle. Mr. DeMartino was awake but wincing in pain against the bus tire.
"Mr. DeMartino.. can we get inside the bus?"
"I don't think so, the driver has the key and he's at the lodge about three miles from here. I'm not going to be going far.. my back hurts too much."
"I think my ankle is sprained. I didn't hear anything snap. The wind got knocked out of me."
Dorian lifted her and leaned her against the bus tire. There is no way in hell they are making it back up that mountain. This is bad. Then he remembered the tent. He took his backpack off and reached for the tent and his flashlight. He handed the flashlight to Mack. Mr. DeMartino turned his light on. Kevin helped Dorian put the tent together. Dorian opened the supply bags. He pulled out three dinners, two canteens and a thermal blanket. After Dorian set up the sleeping bags, Mack and Kevin helped Mr. DeMartino get into the tent. Dorian carefully picked up Jane and placed her in the tent. He took off her boot. He found the first aid kit. He filled the ice bag with snow and placed it under her ankle. She winced at first but then relaxed. He came out of the tent.
"They can't be left alone for too long. Mack, will you tell Ms. Li what happened? I'm going to stay with them in case they need something. Think you'll be able to get the supplies up to camp?"
"We should be fine once we get through with the first big incline. That will be the hard part. Once we get past that, we're good."
"Hold on a minute before you leave," Dorian crawled back into the tent.
"Mr. DeMartino, do you need anything?"
"NO Mr. Morgendorffer.. I'm fine for right now. Do what you think is right." He handed Dorian his flashlight.
Dorian turned to Jane. "Mack and Kevin need help getting the supplies up the first incline. Then, I'll come right back. I promise. I'll be gone for about an hour. Okay?"
Jane nodded. Dorian gave her a quick hug before stepping back out of the tent. Mr. DeMartino stared at Jane. She was already to look worried.
Dorian grabbed one of the bags. "I'll carry one until we get over the incline. Then I'm heading back here. It's already almost eight. If we hurry, you two can make it back to camp by ten."
Dorian, Kevin and Mack began their hike up the trail. The snow had stopped falling and the sky began to clear. The extra light from above made seeing easier. Dorian began to quicken the pace. The big incline was a struggle and slowed them down. They reached the halfway point in forty minutes. Dorian handed his bag to Mack.
"We can handle it from here. Go take care of Jane and Mr. DeMartino.," Mack smiled.
"Thanks Kevin for helping me get the tent up."
"Anything to help Mr. DeMartino. See you tomorrow Dorian. Come on Mack Daddy.. let's go." Kevin elbowed Mack.
"Quit calling me that!" Mack growled.
Dorian turned around and headed back down the mountain. I hope Jane is doing okay. I hated leaving her, but the other students needed the food and blankets. I've got to check on Mr.DeMartino too. He's going to be stiff in the morning. Dorian began to slow down and tire. Must stay focused. He made it back to the tent in thirty minutes. He unzipped the flap and entered. He could see Mr. DeMartino asleep. Then, he saw a pair of blue eyes staring at him and a set of red lips smiling.
"How are you feeling?" Dorian asked.
"The ankle is still sore, but it's better than it was."
He carefully lifted her ankle and removed the ice pack. He grabbed an elastic bandage from the kit. Jane watched as Dorian gently wrapped the bandage around her ankle. He then took a set of his sweats out and folded them into a tight stack and placed her ankle on it. He then took one of his shirts and placed the foot inside so it could stay warm. He then covered the rest of her with the thermal blanket.
"There.. that should help. How long has he been asleep?"
"About twenty five minutes. He was able to get up and head out of the tent for a few minutes. Then he came back in, ate one of the pouches and fell asleep."
"I didn't even think to ask you if you needed to use the restroom or anything. There is a port-o-potty at the end of the parking lot."
"I better. I don't want you to have to get up in the middle of the night."
Dorian took Jane's foot out of the shirt and slid her boot back on it. He lifted her out of the tent and to the restroom. He handed her the flashlight. A few minutes later, Jane opened the door. Dorian handed her some snow to wash her hands with. She stood on one leg while she rubbed the snow in her hands. She then playfully tried to wipe her hands off on Dorian's coat, but began to lose her balance. This time Dorian was there to catch her. She looked up at his face. Her blue eyes were reflecting the moon off of them. Dorian moved her bangs out of her face. He tightened his embrace.
"I was worried about you," he whispered.
"So was I. Thank you for taking care of me." Jane rested her head on his shoulder. "Dorian... I love you."
Dorian stood motionless. Three words. What shreds of sanity I've held onto during all of this destroyed by three words. Dorian turned his head to face Jane. He could see tears forming in her eyes. She buried her head into his shoulder blade.
"Don't cry," Dorian whispered.
"You hate me now.. don't you."
"No. It's just.."
"I know. Daria. Dorian, you once asked me how I saw you. If I saw you as Dorian or as Daria. Now I need to know.. Daria will you ever let Dorian see me as anything more than your best friend? Just once, look at me and see me through his eyes. Daria..could you ever feel the same about me?"
Dorian lifted Jane off his arm. He studied her. "Look at me through his eyes." What if I like what I see? Does that mean I've always had these feelings for her? She's beautiful and those eyes...those eyes could melt the sun. I never thought like that about her before. He took his thumb and wiped a tear off her cheek. Her skin is so soft. I hate seeing her upset. She's been my beacon through this dark sea I've been forced to sail on. I would be miserable without her in my life. I guess I can feel the same way Jane. He continued to hold his hand against her cheek. Jane closed her eyes and leaned her head against his palm.
Jane opened her eyes in shock when she felt Dorian's lips press against hers. She started to resist, the began to return the kiss in full. After their lips broke apart, her blue eyes fixed on his face. Jane's breath began to fog up Dorian's glasses. She lifted them off of his face as their lips met again. After the second kiss, Dorian said four words that made time stand still.
"I love you too."
Jane tightened her embrace around his waist. Dorian watched as the happiest smile he had ever seen come over her face. They stood wanting to stay in that moment forever. After a couple of minutes, Jane began to shiver. Dorian put his glasses back on and picked Jane up.
"Let's get you back to the tent and hope that Mr. DeMartino is still asleep."
Jane curled into Dorian. He opened up the tent and helped Jane with her boot. He pulled out his other two sets of clothes and made them into a pillow for Jane. He looked at his watch. It was almost eleven and he hadn't eaten since breakfast. He opened his dinner pack and pulled out his canteen. After finishing the meal, he took out a pack of the pop tarts and two aspirin and handed them to Jane.
"Here- eat those so you can take the aspirin. I'll be right back."
Dorian left the tent and headed to the porta potty. When he returned, Jane was about to eat the second pop tart. She broke it in half and offered him some. He accepted it. After she finished eating, Jane took the two aspirin and a big drink out of the canteen. She let out a long yawn. Dorian flashed his light over at Mr. DeMartino one last time. He was sound asleep. Jane wrapped her arms around Dorian. Dorian kissed her forehead.
"You need to get some rest," he whispered.
"You too. I don't see how you're still awake with everything you did today." Jane patted the tent floor behind Dorian, "Damn, it's freezing. How can you sit on that?"
"It's not easy."
Jane slid over on the completely unzipped sleeping bag. She kept tugging on him until he relented and laid down on the bag. She offered him some of the blanket but he refused. He did accept one of his outfit pillows. He lowered his head. Jane placed her head against his shoulder blade. Dorian began to rub the back of her neck until her breath began to even out.
"Goodnight Jane," Dorian sighed.
Unbeknownst to them, Mr. DeMartino had woken up and watched the scene play out. He was going to say something at first, but decided against it when Dorian refused the blanket. He watched as Dorian finally closed his eyes. Mr. DeMartino smiled as he remembered what it was like to be young and in love.
Mr. DeMartino woke up at two in the morning. His back was hurting. He groaned as he tried to sit up. Dorian turned his head towards his teacher.
"Do you need any help Mr. DeMartino?"
"Mr. Morgendorffer how long have you been awake?"
"All night. I didn't want to fall asleep in case one of you needed help."
"You mean if Jane needs your assistance. Dorian, I have to admit.. I was skeptical at first over the whole change thing, however, I see soo much of Daria in you.. I knew I was wrong."
"How do you think I feel? I went to bed that night as Daria..and after night of complete and utter hell.. I became Dorian."
"May I ask.. what was it like.. changing like that?"
Dorian sat there for a moment. He hadn't talked to anyone about that night. He gently moved Jane over and sat up. He looked down at the floor of the tent.
"It was a nightmare that I thought would never end. At first, I was freezing. Then came the pain....the pain was unbelievable. I passed out several times from it. I could feel my body stretching. Then came the convulsions. It felt like I had sweated out half of my body weight. When I wasn't passed out, I was screaming, praying for it to end or for my parents to kill me. My dad stayed with me pretty much the whole time. Towards the end, Jane and Trent showed up. They have no clue how much I needed them there." Damn, it actually felt good talking about it.
"I was just glad to see that this didn't change your intellectual side. I would have really missed your sarcastic edge. Don't worry.. noone else will know about this conversation."
"Thanks. I greatly appreciate that. Now if I could only get Ms. Barch off my back."
"Good luck with that, she's been driving me insane for years. You know, I think I will take you up on your offer."
Dorian opened the tent door and helped Mr. DeMartino to his feet. Mr. DeMartino shook Dorian's hand. Dorian went back inside the tent and sat back down next to Jane. He watched and waited for Mr. DeMartino to arrive back at the tent. A few minutes later, Mr. DeMartino returned, laid back down and fell back asleep. Dorian continued to watch over the two.
It was almost nine when both Jane and Mr. DeMartino woke up. They looked at Dorian. His eyes were bloodshot, his face drained. He handed each of them a pack of pop tarts and a couple of aspirin. Dorian put Jane's boot back on her foot and let her lean on him as they walked to the restroom. As they returned, the bus driver was being dropped off and was opening the bus. Mr. DeMartino began to take apart the tent and load Dorian's stuff back into the backpack. Once the bus driver said it was okay for them to enter, Mr. DeMartino ordered Dorian to get some sleep. Dorian didn't hear him. His eyes were closed within moments of sitting down. Mr. DeMartino had left the blanket out. Jane covered Dorian with it.
It was a little after noon when the other students and teachers arrived at the bus. They saw Mr. DeMartino slowly step off the bus. He stopped them before they could enter. They could see the pain in his eyes.
"LISTEN up students. THE FIRST one of you who WAKES UP Dorian will NOT be ENJOYING their CHRISTMAS vacation because THEY will be writing ME a TEN THOUSAND WORD ESSAY on the GREAT DEPRESSION. Do I MAKE myself CLEAR!"
Quinn was the first person on the bus. She rushed to find Dorian curled up asleep with Jane sitting close to him with her leg sticking out. Quinn knelt down beside them.
"How's your ankle?" Quinn whispered.
"It hurts a lot. Your brother did a good job taking care of it though. He put ice on it, then wrapped it up."
"I'll ask my parents to bring you to get checked out. I see you thanked him for a job well done too." Quinn gave a slight giggle.
"What do you mean...oops." That's when Jane noticed her lipstick on his cheek. She quickly wiped it off.
The trip back to school was quiet. Mr. DeMartino told Ms. Li, Ms. Barch and Mr. O"Neill about how Dorain stayed up the entire night to make sure that he and Jane were okay. Mack and Kevin had already told them about Dorian carrying one of the bags halfway back up. When they pulled into the school's parking lot. Jane woke Dorian up. He was still exhausted. Dorian and Quinn wrapped an arm around Jane and led her off the bus and into their mother's SUV. Ms. Li and Mr. DeMartino told Helen and Jake about what happened on the trip. They offered to give Mr. DeMartino a ride to the hospital but he refused. All four of the adults turned and looked inside the SUV. Dorian was sound asleep with Jane nestled against him and her foot being propped up by Quinn's lap. Jane looked up at Dorian's face and then to Quinn.
"Why do I have a feeling something else happened," Quinn said while watching Jane.
A look of happiness came over Jane's face as her smile widened. "Quinn, he told me he loved me."
"I guess this trip was worth it," Quinn remarked as Helen and Jake returned to the car.
Jane was wheeled out of the hospital. After Jake pulled up, the nurse handed Jane her crutches. Dorian gently placed her in the backseat. They drove her to her house. Jane told Quinn where everything was in her room. Trent would not be home until Wednesday so Helen offered to let her stay with them. When they arrived back at the Morgendorffer house, Helen ordered pizza to be delivered. While they waited for the pizza, Jane used the downstairs bathroom and shower. Then Helen brought pillows and a blanket for Jane to use. After dinner, Dorian went upstairs to shower and change. He came back down the stairs to watch television with Jane and Quinn. He fell asleep on the couch next to Jane's. After Quinn went upstairs , Jane grabbed her crutches and hobbled over to Dorian. She bent down and softly kissed him on the cheek.
"Sweet dreams Dorian," Jane whispered. I hope they're of me.