My take-on on Jane and Co’s adventures in the art colony. I tried to keep it clean but there’re some hints at sex and violence, so – PG-13.
PS: This story isn’t a part of my “SLA” series, though the situations may look familiar. This is a separate story.
Daria (and associated characters and locations) is copyright © 1997-2000 MTV Networks.
This story is copyright © 2002 by Bacner (firstname.lastname@example.org) and has been written for personal enjoyment. No infringement of the above rights is intended.
Jane was walking through Lawndale High’s corridor. Students were cleaning out lockers, Daria was catching-up to her. That Jane didn’t want. After the messy effects with Tom, the last thing Jane wanted was her friend’s company.
Her friend’s? Jane wasn’t sure that she wanted to stay friends with Daria. Actually, she was confused. Daria was her number one friend in LH, literally, and now Jane wasn’t sure that she wanted to go back to being a “Friendless loser”, to quote Sandi Griffin. But the whole betrayal-over-Tom thing hurt her feelings too. “I think I'm finally finding out how it feels like to be a Lane,” Daria spoke from behind Jane, shaking her out of her reverie.
“That can't be, since it's only afternoon and you're already out of bed,” Jane shook her head.
“I mean the lack of tiresome parental involvement. Mine have been so busy they completely forgotten to force me in some dumb summer activity. I'm turning into you.”
“Well, you've got so much else of mine, you might as well take my identity,” Jane said, rather bitterly.
“Take a joke, Daria.” Jane said, even though it was obvious to both of them that that wasn't a joke. “Anyway, Que Ironico: you don't have summer plans, I do.”
“Ironico is not a word,” Daria pointed-out. Jane ignored that, though made a note not to use this word around smarter people.
“This old commune mate of my mother's runs an artist's colony. I've been accepted into their summer program.”
“That's great,” Daria said in her flattest voice ever.
“That sounds sincere,” Jane said that in mock-sincere tone herself.
“Why didn't you say anything?”
“I didn't want to jinx it. Two months of painting and sculpting my heart out in a collage town in the middle of nowhere. Starting this weekend.”
“Does this collage town have a name, or do you do you just
turn left at the kid with the tractor?” Daria asked, somewhat unhappy.
“Cheer up Daria. Without me around you'll have that much more time for your budding social life,” Jane said, knowing that that would hurt anyone, even Daria.
Allison Markowitz turned around. “Oh goody, it’s the Sandman,” she said in a flattest tone she could ever use.
“Hey! Don't speak of me that way!” snapped Even Miller, his sandy-coloured hair sticking-up indignantly, like a hedgehog’s prickles.
“Well, how would you like me to speak to you?” Allison said. “Slowly and without any short words?”
Evan seethed. “Look, it’s unfair. You went-out with another guy every other week, while I just went-out with this girl, and-“
“You forgot the anecdote. To break a wedding, it’s easier to kill one woman once, than one man each week.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m not up-to-date with your North Battleford humour.”
“Score one for you,” Allison almost said. Ever since her family had moved from Saskatchewan to Michigan, she and Evan Miller were hanging around each other a lot. However, their relationship wasn’t much, since Allison was hanging around with each new guy (or girl) about every other week, and Evan was more of a friend of Allison’s brother than Allison’s boyfriend.
That, however, didn’t mean that he and Allison weren’t above a roll in the bed, especially when Allison’s parents weren’t around. Allison’s brother didn't really give a damn about whom Allison was seeing – he was funny that way. Not that Allison minded that. Her brother was strong enough, and mean enough, to rearrange her facial features – literally. His type of work did grant him that sort of physical power.
“Forget it!” Allison spoke instead. “I'm flying to Massachusetts this summer, and nothing’s going to stop me! We're through!”
“Aw, come on, Allison. Even a joy dynamo like you needs some genuine feelings and stability in your life!”
Allison almost snarled. “Only my brother can call me a dynamo, Evan,” she said. “You are not him. Therefore, adieu! We’ll speak more after this summer ends.”
Jane was moving books from her locker into her backpack, when Daria walked up to her. “I think we should talk.”
“Ok. We are now talking,” Jane declared.
“About the Tom thing.”
“That I don't want to talk about.”
“If you're still upset about it, we should deal with it now.
Especially since we won't be seeing each other all summer.”
“You don't get it, do you? I don't want to talk about it, I don't want to think about it. I told you: I'm not mad at you about Tom, now let it freaking go, ok?” Please do so Daria. I'm really not want to talk about this “Tom” issue. Please?
“Can I at least take you out for a good luck-pizza before you leap in your big art-adventure?”
Tempting, but no. “Daria, I said: Let it go.” Jane walked off, and Daria didn’t try to follow her this time.
“Hey, Allison, what are you thinking?”
“Brother dear, I’m about to go on the Michigan-North Carolina air flight, and you're finally starting to ask me questions?”
“’Tis customary. Mom and grandma are busy, and I was told by my betters,” Alan Markowitz snorted at that word, indicating his true opinion of these betters, “that I should indulge more in the enlightening art of conversation-making.”
“Cut this out! This is no 19th century England or whatever it is that you’re imitating!”
“Sorry. Seriously though, I've talked with Evan.”
“I can imagine how that went.”
“You cut this out! I'm no evil overlord, who kills all those who displease him.”
“No, you’re just evil, period.”
“Well, what you have, you have,” Alan shrugged. “Seriously though, Evan’s right. Even a sex dynamo like you must have-“
“You cut it out! I'm a big girl, I can take care of myself!”
“Like the time you took care of Brian’s Cardinals?”
Allison exhaled. “That was low.”
“So sorry. Anyways, do try to find someone at your art colony or whatever you’re going, please?”
“If you’re going to start to spew about what the tarot cards said about my future.”
“Good. I see I made it stick in your mind.”
Allison glared. “Good-bye, dear brother. See you this fall.”
“Have a nice trip.”
Jane stood at the front gate of the art colony. A blanket tied to a gate said: “Ashfield - a community for the arts”.
Jane looked around. It doesn’t get more primal and despair-y than this, she thought. Daria would’ve liked it here – if she was into arts. Then she shook her head, took her suitcase, and so her mother’s friend Margaret walking over to her.
“You're Jane?” Marge asked.
“Yeah. Don't you remember me?”
“Oh, it was so long,” Marge shook her head. “I mean, I married Frank later, and in the wedding and all…”
Jane groaned. Marge Simmins – or whatever her last name was now, she got married, after all – was as big as a flake as her parents were. And it was under her management that this art colony was supposed to prosper and flourish?
Jane took a double-take of the surrounding her North Carolinian country-side. After a six-hour drive, her powers of observation were blunted, and everything required a double-take – until, at least, Jane took a good night’s sleep. A ride from Massachusetts to NC took a lot out of a person.
The surrounding view took some of the scanty wind out of Jane’s sails. Lot of countryside was covered in secondary growth, and a lot of things were actually somewhat run down.
At that point in time, Jane got aware that Marge was telling her something. Undergoing a monumental effort, she tuned in. “I got a postcard from your mother. Boy, do I envy her in Death Valley.”
“Can you believe there are some people who wouldn't want to go there in July?” Jane rasped.
“I know. Here we are.”
Marge opened the door. Inside, four girls are sitting on chairs, ladders and the ground. “I'm not saying fauvism didn't have its place, but now it looks just like so many black velvet junk at the swap meet,” one of them said.
“That's not fair. You can't evaluate the work outside the context of its time,” another girl argued.
“You can if it's good,” the first girl pressed on.
Marge cleared her throat. “Everyone, I'd like you to meet your new housemate Jane. Jane, Caroline, Jett, Anaïs and Paris.”
There were assorted hey's by Jane and other four girls.
“Enjoy. I'll see you later,” Marge said and left.
“Thanks,” said Jane.
“Nice haircut,” two of the girls said.
“Colour is not something you just fling around like a dog marking its territory,” the first girl interrupted the newcomer.
Jane sighed. Apparently, not all here was bliss.
“Hoo-boy!” Allison exclaimed, looking around. “Sweet land of liberty, this isn’t. More like Australian outback, I'll wager.”
Allison was standing in the colony’s parking lot, taking-in her surroundings. There was some activity going-on around her, not an anthill bustle, but something approaching a bumblebee’s nest. Nobody had time for Allison, apparently.
“Let’s see,” Allison muttered to herself. “What does my brother dearest do when he’s ignored? He takes his own place where he likes. At worst, it’ll cause a halt in the flow of things and bring him to his correct spot in life. Dammit! Now I am speaking in flowery language! I really need a good lay. Stat.”
“Excuse me? Why are you talking to yourself?” a young boy – a couple of years younger than Allison stopped and looked at her.
“There’s a cardinal behind you,” Allison said flatly. “Hey kid, do you know to which dorm I should go?”
“Ah, you should ask Marge. She runs things around here.”
“And where is she?”
“I don’ t know,” the boy shrugged.
“Then help me find her!”
The boy gulped. “Um, okay.”
Allison and her guide found the Marge woman near some other dorm, from which came four or five bright and clear-sounding teenage girl voices, arguing about fauvism or similar topic.
“Alan?” Marge turned to Allison’s guide.
“No, I’m Eric.”
“Yes, well, Eric, what do you want?”
“There’s a newcomer here,” Eric started to explain; Allison didn't heed him, she was listening-in to voices, those clear and bright teenage girl voices, and inside of her fortified a feeling, that perhaps it was time to go back to Sapphonics, now that her brother was no longer around to look disapproving and to hold her on a short leash.
“…and her name is Allison,” Alan-Eric was saying.
“Yes, thank you, Carl,” Marge said, looking oblivious. “Eh, why is she smiling?”
“Oh, I'm just thinking about fauvism,” Allison quickly said.
“You too? Oh dear. Ever since Vincent had published this article about Henri Matisse and the man’s use of fauvist techniques, everybody is simply talking about it, is fauvism worth reviving or not? Mayhaps I should organize a debate club or something.”
“Carl here could help,” Allison offered.
“Yeah… hey! My name’s Eric, not Carl!”
“Yes, of course. Well, let me show you to your dorm, Edna.”
“Oh dear,” Allison groaned. The owner of the colony obviously had a problem with names.
Once Marge left, Jane looked around, and found the other four girls looking back at her. “Yes?” spoke one of them.
It was then that Jane realized that the atmosphere inside her dorm wasn’t all-that-friendly. Fauvism was just a fraction of it. And what’s worse, she knew about what article Marge and others were talking about. But this was neither here nor there. “So where do I put my bags?” she asked instead.
“Over there, near to Caroline,” the girl said.
“And Caroline is-?” Jane pressed-on.
“That would be me,” said the girl with a slight German appearance. “Next to me is Jett, and those two bozos” – the two slightly older girls – “are Anaïs and Paris.”
“That’s their real names?” Jane said incredulously. The one named Paris almost snickered – a nasty type of snicker, that is. The one named Anaïs however scowled. “Look who’s talking – Miss Jane Doe Lane.”
“Well, better Jane Doe than a name obviously visualized in the clouds of opium!” Jane bristled.
“You take that back you little b**ch!” Anaïs yelled.
“Actually, she’s right,” the girl named Jett spoke to Anaïs. “Only somebody as drugged out of your mind as you would agree with Paris that fauvism’s cool. Fauvism actually sucks!”
Anaïs looked over to Jett. “No, my dear Jett,” she said in a catty tone. “Fauvism doesn’t suck. You, however, most certainly do – right under the swallowing part of your Mexican license!”
Jett’s eyes bulged, and Paris didn't choose any better time to say something in Spanish language. The next moment all dissolved into chaos.
“Ms. Simmins?” Allison slowly told the older woman. “My name’s Allison, and I've chartered a cabin here, not a bunk in a dorm, remember?”
Marge looked shortly blank, then nodded. “Oh yes, Allison March, right?”
“Yes-yes, something like that,” Marge said briefly. “You're cabin is near the Silver Lake. Number 27.”
“Great,” nodded Allison.
At this moment in time noises started to come from the dorm next to them. “What’s that?” she asked.
“Nothing, just an argument turned bad,” Marge waved her hand absent-mindedly. “Now Allison, come, you must tell me your views about fauvism.”
Allison inwardly groaned. Just into what she has gotten herself into to?
Jane didn't have a very good night. Her roomies just went on and on harping about fauvism and various French art tendencies. They didn’t even bother to learn one another’s names, and Jane didn’t feel pressured to give them hers, either. She didn't have a good enough sleep, and now she was in the art colony’s auditorium, listening to someone who apparently made it. “When I unveiled paper plate-genocide in 1991, it was enhailed as intrigued, provocative, even brilliant. And not just by me.” The artist laughed. “No, we all know critics tend to get carried away, but what was I thinking when I created a work that seems to have turned of both seminal and
“’I can't believe I'm getting away with it’?” Jane muttered. That man was obviously an idiot. And was the girl next to her looking at her funny? After last night’s debate turned ugly, Jane was a bit paranoid, and lonely.
I can’t believe he has got away with that! Allison was thinking. Seminal? Semiotic? Is this some sort of a synonym for ‘idiotic’?
Feeling bored, Allison looked around. The previous day has taken her toll on her too. After listening to Marge talk about people often using a different name for every one of them every time, Allison got stuck in a dorm with a couple of obviously steadies, and even she knew better than to try and wedge between that sort of a couple.
Unfortunately, that didn’t solve Allison’s problem: where was she going to get some? Everybody knew that the best place to get a relationship in the terms of “passionate” and “fun” would be at an art camp. Especially at one that is run by a director who can’t remember a name.
Unfortunately, currently Allison was stuck at an auditorium, listening to a very important jackass in the word of science praise his oats – sorry, art. “Seminal? Semiotic? What’s he talking about?” Allison muttered.
“’I can't believe I'm getting away with it’?” somebody muttered next to her. Allison looked and felt something.
The world stopped.
Allison smiled and fell in love.
“Excuse me, mister Dotson?” spoke one of Jane’s roomies.
The artist almost smiled. “Please, Paris isn't it? Call me Daniel.”
“Daniel, I just want to say I think you're the greatest living artist of our time.”
“And not just because I have no taste,” Jane muttered. Obviously, this girl didn't know much about Gauguin or van Gogh, no matter what she claimed to know of them last night.
“I was wondering, where do you get your inspiration?” spoke another student, this one a boy.
“My alimony bills,” a girl whispered to Jane.
Jane turned around. The speaker was a couple of years older than her, resembling vaguely Trent. Maybe it was the tattoos or something like that. And meanwhile the artist Daniel droned-on. “I don't sit around and wait for inspiration. I grab it, in the glint of the sun on a frozen peak, in the pain of an arthritic's hobble, in a lover's whisper in the dark.” For some reason, he looked at Paris when he said the last line. “So, I'd have to say my inspiration comes from life itself.”
“Woa...” the audience was obviously impressed, and Daniel decided to make it a wrap. “Well, that's enough for the old windbag's rambling from today. We'll pick up here tomorrow.
He walked off amidst an applause.
Jane sighed, and turned back to her new neighbour, to promote their acquaintance. It was still better than Daniel’s crap.
It wouldn’t be totally honest to say that Allison’s heart had skipped a beat for a moment, but some internal awkwardness was obviously there. However, Allison was used over getting awkward situations, and so she managed to say nonchalantly. “Hi, I'm Allison.”
“Jane,” the other girl shook Allison’s hand.
“Our mister Dotson is really something isn't he?” Allison continued to press her advantage.
“Well, he certainly doesn't let substance get in the way of
self-congratulatory yap,” Jane admitted.
“At least we'll not have to worry about him intimidating us with his talent,” Allison said.
There was a pause. “So where are you from?” Jane said. “Not a local, are you?”
“Well, I currently leave- I mean, live in Michigan, but I was born in Canadian prairies.”
“Lucky you. I lived in a small town in Massachusetts all my life, and wouldn’t be here, if mom didn't know Marge here.”
“Marge? The same Marge who called me Edna, Lisa, and a couple of other names? You sure she didn't get your mom mixed-up with someone else?”
Jane shrugged. “Far it’ll be for me to look a gift horse in its’ mouth. I wanted to get away from home this summer, and since I didn't want to experience Death Canyon with mom and Summer (that’s my oldest sister), my mother arranged me here via her connections with Marge. You?”
“I've heard about this place from a couple of my brother’s friends. They said that it was very good for them and their muse or something?”
“Their muse? One for two? They share it or something?”
Allison shrugged. “Bugger me if I can visualize that construction, but Sunrise and Dove are like inseparable and everything, so one muse may be enough for them.”
“Sunrise and Dove? They're what, neo-hippies?” Jane asked, remembering some tales of Daria’s about her parents’ friends.
“Conspiracy nuts. They believe that world is coming to an end, and so all those who use their names in vain get dragged into Hell. Names have powers, they say.”
“And do they really look the part?”
Allison shrugged. “Dove’s thick enough for five of me, Sunrise is on depressants or something – you tell me.”
Jane almost laughed. “You're funny. Come on, let’s get out of this cephalid coliseum, and have a bit to eat in my dorm.”
When Jane and her new friend Allison entered the dorm (Jane’s roomies were fortuitously absent,) Jane went over to her baggage, and pulled-out a large-ish bag of provisions that she’d secured beforehand. Living with Trent made Jane highly conscious of food, and so she didn't go into a summer-long trip in another state food-less.
When Jane turned around, Allison’s face bore the funniest expression Jane ever saw, if funny meant weird. However that look vanished, and was replaced with a look of honest purplexion so quickly, so Jane wondered if she hadn't imagined the whole thing.
“What’s this?” Allison asked.
“Food. Dig in?”
“Why not go to the colony’s cafeteria or whatever it is called?”
“Nah. I don't think I want to be involved in another discussion about fauvism for a while.”
“But Jane, what about your integrity with the whole? What about your complexity as a human? What about your feeling of social belongingness?” I've got to get us into public before I shake her cute little butt – right after I propose to her, heart and soul.
Jane blinked. “You know such long words? Wow. I thought you were like my brother, barely two words between naps. Turns out, you’re like Daria.”
Jane paused. The whole situation seemed somehow odd and yet somehow right. Maybe going public was a good idea after all. It would certainly help her evade the whole messy topic of Daria and Tom.
‘Allison, you sweet-talker, you,” Jane said. “Let’s go outside and eat.”
In the art colony’s cafeteria, the members of the camp were eating. On one of the tables are Anaïs, Paris and another guy, that looked vaguely familiar to Jane and Allison. Jane and Allison, upon entering, noticed them and went towards, talking.
“I can't believe I let you talk me into this,” Jane said.
“You can't eat in your room forever. Why go to an artist's colony if you're not going to mingle with your fellow artists?” Allison argued.
“That's like saying why go to an penal colony if you're not going to mingle with your fellow...” Jane began and quickly dropped-off, realizing where she was heading. “I think I'll stop there.” Still, it’s true enough, Jane thought. Aside from Allison, everybody here sucks as much as they did back in Lawndale. Still, I shouldn’t try to embarrass Allison. She’s good company, and it’s highly unlikely I'll find anyone better here, unless Daria has a creative side of which I’m unaware.
“Come on, I know they'll warm up to you if you give them a chance,” Allison said, not believing this one bit.
“Are we by any chance conversing across parallel dimensions?” Jane said wryly.
“I'll bet you dinner I'm right,” Allison said, mentally saying bye-bye to her food. Still, all’s fair in love and war…
“You're on, sucker,” Jane smiled. This was going to be the easiest meal won yet.
They walked to a table.
“Mind if we join you?” Allison said
“Not at all,” spoke one of the present, whose name was Anaïs, and who was one of Jane’s roomies.
“How's everyone liking the colony so far?” Allison went on making the conversation.
“I love it, it's so.. freeing,” Anaïs said.
“And Daniel, that man is brilliant,” spoke the guy. Allison and Jane recognized him. One of Daniel’s male groupies, he was, it seemed.
“He said my white on white painting was a stroke of inspiration,” spoke the other girl.
“I'll bet you two have explored all sorts of strokes together,” the guy said. The girl blushed, while Anaïs laughed. “Oh, well. I suppose genius does have its prerogatives,” the guy continued, but Jane interrupted him with:
“Well I don't know if Daniel's a genius.”
“No offence, Jane, but aren't you still in high school? How much can you know about art at this point?” spoke the blushing girl.
Allison was familiar with Jane only for a short time, but even she by now saw that the girl, whose name, Allison vaguely, remembered, was Paris, made a faux-pas, to say lightly. “Paris. We all had to submit a portfolio to be accepted here. I'd say
Jane knows quite a bit about art,” Allison said, playing white knight, or at least an art-smart version of Xena.
Paris didn't look convinced one bit, but even she knew better than to pick-up an argument with Allison. “I'm sure you're right. I apologize. You guys ready to go?” she turned to her friends.
“See you later.”
Paris and her friends left. Jane turned towards Allison with visible irritation in her eyes. “Gee, that was fun, but in the future let's save time and just roll around on gravel,” she told the older girl.
“Sorry about that. I guess I owe you one,” Allison shrugged.
Jane paused. Somehow, Allison didn't seem to be too upset about losing, or maybe it was just her. “You owe me dinner,” she reminded her.
Something odd is going-on here, Jane said silently to herself. “Is it just me, or is Allison’s attitude can best be described as ‘courting’? And am I talking to myself outloud again? Great.”
Actually, things were far more mediocre, as far as Jane could see. The art colony such only a little less than the Lanes’ family reunion (which stank more than a pile of sea-gull droppings), but no less than Lawndale High. In fact, as time went, Jane slowly began to think that she didn't have it all bad at the old LH. Li and her staff may be incompetents when put before Daria, or Upchuck, or Jodie, or a number of other smart students, but at least they tried to keep their school in order. Here, Jane and Allison have left the colony’s grounds a couple of hours ago, and no one tried to stop them, or, for that matter, saw them off. “Then again, why should I be worried? It’s broad daylight, no maniac or monster will appear at this hour here,” Jane spoke to herself, waiting for Allison to appear. “Still, if I was into doing art this summer, I would’ve done more productive at home. Trent, at least, isn't full of it, as others here. Although, Allison isn't full of it either.”
“Come to think of it, Jane, I’m here. Let’s go.”
“Inside! Into the ““Hungry Palette”!”
Inside “Hungry Palette” all was pretty-much artwork-oriented. Jane, whose dictionary was rather influenced by Trent and the Mystik Spiral, decided to classify it as ‘a viprarium, but a clean one.’ The food was as of a regular diner – soup, sandwiches… Allison took Jane over to a prepared table, where a bottle of wine was waiting for them a-la appetizer.
“Want some?” Allison spoke.
Jane paused, then shrugged. “What the Hell. A single glass wouldn’t hurt.”
And a single glass didn't hurt indeed! However, it was quickly followed by its’ fellow glasses, and before long both girls (neither of whom had too good a head for alcohol), were spilling their guts to each other. “God, I envy you, Jane,” Allison said. “To have all that talent and focus at your age.
“Oh, come on,” Jane said somewhat drunkenly.
“I wish I could be in high school again, knowing what I know now,” Allison continued to wax poetic.
“A little perspective and you could sidestep all the torture, huh?” Jane said, a bit testily. She never liked short-cuts, and after her experience with Evan and the buys’ (and other guys) of the racing team in school, she liked them even less.
“No,” Allison admitted, but Jane interrupted her, caught in her own drunken revelation:
“Hell, I'd trade places with you in a minute. You're doing exactly what I want to: Making it on your own as an artist.”
“Trying to anyway,” Allison admitted. Her career was far from solar, even with the fear of her brother’s wrath pushing her, preventing her from procrastination, and giving her an extra edge.
“Hey, you'll do it,” Jane said firmly.
“So will you,” Allison replied, taking the wine. “A little more?”
“You and your future, me and my so-called carrier. I guess we each have something the other would love to have,” Allison said, as she filled Jane’s and her drinking glasses. “Here – to us!”
“To us!” Jane echoed. “To us!”
At that moment in time, soup was brought over. “Not much,” Jane noticed.
“Hey, we’re the hungry artists! We're not supposed to be choosy!”
“Some of us aren't so hungry and desperate to chose soup,” Jane said mock-haughtily. “Some of us like pizza.”
Allison’s eyes just skimmed over Jane’s body, and the younger girl felt once again very peculiar: flustered and hot? Must be all this alcohol. Or my period went haywire. Or something. “You looking at my slim and shapely body, hah?” God, that went wrong. Lay off the wine, Lane.
“Aha.” Did she guess my game?
“Well, me and Daria actually like to have pizza every other day...” Damn.
Jane paused. Well, now or never. “A friend.”
“Just a friend?”
“Not just a friend. A real friend. My first true friend, so to speak. Or at least in the past.”
“Why not now? Left you for a guy?”
“That doesn't begin to cover it, Alli,” Jane sighed, and almost sobbing from an alcohol overdose, began to lay her heart out to an absolute stranger. (Keep in mind that this was her first contact with really serious alcohol.)
By the time she was finished, Allison looked as if she’d been shocked by a club. “Well, this is very sad Jane, but maybe this Tom fellow wasn't right for you in the first place?”
“He wasn’t,” Jane sighed. “It's just that… I didn’t have any good luck with guys.”
“But your figure! It’s a knockout!” Oops.
Jane, however, was gone down too far Memory Lane to notice Allison’s little slip of the tongue. “Yeah, well, you don't know high school. If you’re not into sports or into popularity, you’re nothing. And if you got ideas - you’re a brain. Nobody likes smart chicks. Everybody likes Brittany the blow-up doll. Life sucks.”
“Don't worry Jane, I’m sure that the right person is waiting for you,” Allison said in a heartfelt tone.
“Thanks.” And Jane pitched forwards face first into her dish of mashed potatoes.
The dream world released her, Jane Lane, from its’ tenacious clutches most reluctantly. Jane’s head got filled with chimeras, gargoyles, sphinxes and griffins – and all amidst a palm rosette design. Lack of sleep from last night and alcohol overdose from this afternoon did the work of no less than three soporific pills dissolved in tea.
But all things end, even Jane’s dream. Jane opened her eyes, and saw that she was back in a dorm, on a bunk bed. Allison was nearby, working on something with pastels. “Where- where am I?” Jane said, or rather – croaked.
“In my cabin,” Allison said. “I didn't think we should go to yours.”
“Good idea,” Jane said. Her feud with Paris was in such a state that if Allison brought Jane over to her cabin, Jane may’ve ended up as Noah did after the flood – lying naked to the general amusement of the nearby. Speaking of naked… “You could’ve undressed me, I suppose,” Jane said. “We're all girls here.”
Isn't that the fact. “Sorry Jane, but I wasn’t thinking too straight herself. And then I saw my pastels, and an idea hit.”
“Really?” Jane asked, intrigued. “Can I see?”
“These pastels are great,” Jane said in a while. The sketch actually deposed her as the fairy tale’s Sleeping Beauty, complete with the medieval get-up and a crystal coffin in which to lie. “But why’d you chose me?”
“I told you, an idea hit.”
“Oh yeah. Well, uh, where am I?”
“At my cabin. Well, it isn't really mine, there’s a couple of others living here, but-“
“Weren't we missed? No, wait, this came out wrong. I mean, did we miss anything?”
“In this chaos carnival? Jane, this place is semi-absurd. You do whatever you want, as long as it isn't public copulation.” Oops.
“Well, chalk one above my high school,” Jane sighed. “Oh well, let’s not be sad.”
“As long as your idea of happiness doesn't end with a bottle, I’m game. Eh, speaking of bottles, courtesy of “Happy Palette”-“
“Keep it,” Jane hastily said.
It was some time later. Jane and Allison are sitting on the ground going through a sketchbook of Allison’s. Jane had really liked most of Allison’s sketches, and was mentally noting to try some of them for herself. Allison, however, was not too enthusiastic. “Thanks, I wish the gallery-owners felt the same way.”
“They're nuts,” Jane said sincerely. Allison was really onto something here.
“I knew you'd get what I'm trying to do. Top that off?”
“No,” Jane said with regret, as she closed the book and handed it to Allison. “I'd better call it a night. I get cranky if I don't get my usual twelve hours.” Of course, I just slept for three or four, but something is wrong here and it drives me nuts. Unless I figure out what, I can’t stay.
Allison paused. Now’s the time. Heads or tails, sink or swim. I got to come out. Well, technically I did come out, but this is different, oh great. I’m rumbling. “Come on, It's still early. I'm sure we can find something to do to amuse ourselves.”
Jane didn't stop walking for the door. “Well, that's where the whole sleeping part factors in.” She did a rather fake yawn. “I'll see you tomorrow. I'm exhausted.” Right after I slept for several hours in your bed. Your nuts, Lane. You're worthy to keep Paris and Anaïs company.
Allison grabbed Jane’s arm in fear. “I can't let you walk home in your condition. I'll have to insist that you lie down.” Smooth, Markowitz, real smooth. Miss Evan much?
“No, really, I'm fine.”
“I promise not to kick you out of bed in the morning. Well, unless you're snoring,” Allison plunged in.
For a second, Jane remained oblivious. “Thanks, but I..” And then realization hit, just what was wrong here. It was everything and nothing, a Ms. Barch dream. “O, God.” She slowly backed off. Allison’s gay and been courting me the whole day. O God. I’m straight, damn it! Hadn't I suffered enough with Tom, God? Hey, is anybody up there? A damsel in distress down here yelling for help!
“What's the matter? I'm not your type?” Allison said with a sinking feeling in her stomach.
“Uhm, Allison? I'm straight,” Jane said, her tongue feeling thick and wooden in her mouth.
“Yeah, right. I don't think so.”
“I'm not gay,” Jane insisted fervently. She couldn’t be! No Lane on her side of the family was, although there were plenty of doubts about Wind.
Allison laughed a laughter of a person who sees his possessions going up in smoke. “Where have I heard that before? Wait a minute, is this your first time with a girl? Well, no wonder you're nervous.” She took a step forward.
Jane, naturally, took one back. “Allison, read my lips: I like guys.” I do! God, do you hear me? I'm straight! This isn’t funny! I’m straight! God, do you hear me? I’m straight!
“AND hanging out with bisexuals in their bedrooms after they buy you dinner.” God, what am I saying? I brought her here! God, what am I saying?
“Hey, I didn't know you were bi, and the dinner thing was settling a bet.” Jane replied, sounding shallow in her own ears.
“Sure, settling a bet. I'm sorry baby, but I never hit on straight
chicks.” Until now. Maybe you are gay.
“Listen, you've been really nice to my and all, and I really appreciate it, but I'm not interested in women.”
“You mean you're not ready to admit it.”
Jane’s nerve broke. “I got to go.” Jane walked out with as much dignity as she could muster, feeling Allison’s eyes bore into her back. As soon as she was out of sight, Jane broke into a run, and got to her cabin in record time, all the time her thoughts going-on via turmoil in her head.
“Hey, baby Lane, where we’ve you been? You’ve been missed so much by Ms. Margaret the mental pachyderm,” Paris sneered.
Jane didn't say anything. She just looked into Paris’ eyes and went straight to her bed. Paris, however, looked as if she was handed a live electric eel. “What’s wrong?” Anaïs asked her.
“Nothing! Baby had a tantrum,” Paris snapped, and turned away from Jane. She still hadn't forgiven the younger woman for last night.
Jane sighed. Even her fledgling feud with Paris was way secondary considering her newest misadventure. I pray to God to heal my heart’s wounds from losing Tom, and what do I get? Allison. Who's a great artist, and a good friend, and… has a crush on me. A genuine crush. Why couldn’t she have a penis on top of all those merits? Then… I would be all over her, or him, or whatever… God, what’s wrong with me! If she had a penis, I’d get pregnant. Here, I can have all without a pregnancy, and here I'm bitching about it!.. But I’m not gay! I think so, and Allison was probably just trying to get into my pants... Yeah, right. Given the morals and manners in this place, anything short of public copulation will pass unnoticed. And… and I was unconscious for a while, and there I am – with my maidenly honour intact. No, I’ve got to set my record straight – tomorrow.
When the door slammed behind Jane, Allison slowly got up and went to her bed. Well, “went” was an exaggeration maybe; it would be more truthful to say that Allison Markowitz staggered over to her bed and the fell down into it, completely drained of energy and feelings: Jane Lane was gone.
Damn me! I am a sexual dynamo! I can’t wait to get intimate with whoever I want! And I really liked Jane!.. And I was sure that she returned my feelings! Or maybe she’s just confused? Anyways, how am I going to straighten that mess? Maybe… maybe, maybe I should forget all about it and stuff. Yes, maybe I should just forget…
It was several days later, and Jane once again was in the art colony’s hall. A few other people were painting – Allison wasn’t among them. Apparently, Allison was just as avoiding Jane as it was vice versa. Maybe it was just the wine talking for the both of us, Jane thought, as she glanced over to Paris, Anaïs and Daniel. Daniel was completely ignoring Paris, and instead went straight for Anaïs.
“Excellent! The brushwork is very confident and I like the strained, almost antagonistic relationship of the colour. Really, you remind me of myself when I was young.”
“Oh, Daniel. You're not that old?” Anaïs chirped. Next to her, Paris quietly seethed.
“Well, I'm certainly young at heart.”
“Not to mention delusional of mind,” Jane muttered. You certainly couldn't see that blatant display of sexual courting back in the old LH. Gods, she was missing her school? What was wrong with her? Jane shook her head and walked away from her now-completed work. It was a cubic painting of a woman trapped inside a safe.
“Jane? Haven't seen you around.”
“Oh, you know, the solitary artist,” Jane tried to joke, but realized she couldn’t do it. “Look, I got to be honest. That whole thing that happened between.. I mean, didn't happen. Well, it kind of confused me.”
“Me too. Maybe I was hoping a little too hard and saw something that isn't there.” Oh God. And Daniel is soon going to be here, and she’ll see us – God why are you doing this to me?
“But you said you never make a mistake in that.. uhm.. area?” Jane said, feeling oddly disappointed. You're not gay Lane, stop it!
“There's a first time for everything.” Oh yeah.
Allison held-out her hand. “Still want to be friends?”
Allison paused. “Maybe we'll skip the hug.” And then she and Jane saw Daniel.
“Uh-oh, don't look now, but it's Toulouse le Dreck,” the younger girl muttered, as Daniel walked up to Allison.
“Ready?” he asked.
“I'll wait for you in the car,” Allison replied, instinctively slipping into her average mode – and her brother wasn’t there to shake her out of it.
“You're seeing HIM?!” Jane yelled, feeling strangely offended.
“He's not so bad once you get to know him,” Allison replied, her excuse shallow in her own ears.
“You said he went through more students than tubes of paint. You can't possibly think he gives a damn about you?”
No, I can’t and I don’t, Jane. But since you're not there, I got to ease my pain. “Who's looking for romance? I just want to have a little fun.”
“And if it's with someone who can introduce you to a few gallery owners, that's not so bad either, hey? I think I'm beginning to see how the art world works.”
Okay, I'm not going to let this slide, light of my life or not. “God, high school. It's all such a big deal with you guys. You take
everything so seriously.”
“Like someone telling you that you give up gay vibes lust because they're trying to get into your pants?” Jane indignantly yelled. “You know something, Allison? You can just f*ck off!”
Allison’s face turned pale. “For a virgin, you got quite a store off know, Jane. Or are you-? Have you been and Tom doing it after all?”
Now it was Jane’s turn to pale. Wordlessly, she slapped the older girl.
Allison slowly, incredulously even, touched the red spot. Then she turned around and ran-off.
Jane wordlessly entered her dorm and fell on the bunk. Her brain hurt. She wanted to be alone. Behind her, the door slammed. Paris and Anaïs were back, and they weren’t too happy themselves, or at least, Anaïs wasn’t. Apparently, Allison’s flirtations with Daniel didn't sit well in Jane’s craw alone.
“Aw, look at the reject!” she exclaimed, ignoring Paris’ warning look. “What’s the matter? Your lover ditch-“
Jane got up, took-off one of her boots and swung. Anaïs went down with a THUMP!
“Ouch!” Paris exclaimed, sitting on her bunk bed, her hands in the air. “Want to talk about it?”
“Yes. No. Not to you.”
Jane shrugged. “Because. Why the sudden interest?”
Paris paused. “’Cause I know her?”
“You do? From where?”
“From Toledo. That’s a city in Ohio. I was seeing the local historical sites and I ran-in into her and her family.”
“Oh? What are they like?”
“You wouldn't believe me. Allison’s brother looks like one of those medieval pirates complete with a scarred face, her grandmother used to prostitute on street corners or so I presume, and her mother’s gay. Completely gay. And so, the only normal person there was her brother – or half-brother, whatever. Apparently, Allison is a sexual dynamo and can go through bed-mates like a razor through wet tissue.”
“Thanks for the imagery,” Jane sighed. “But it’s not about Allison alone; I’m there too. I mean… I need to think this out.”
“Need an audience?”
“Nah, thanks. Not yet. Besides, I think you should do something about Anaïs.”
“Me? You hit her! Marge may not be the sharpest shovel in the barrel, but even she’ll realize that something’s fishy if Anaïs lying-around like this.”
“All right, what do you suggest we do, oh great guru? And by the way? The guy who made that article about Matisse and fauvism? That’s my dad.”
“Great,” Allison muttered, falling onto her bed. “I was looking for empty sex, but that empty? What does Daniel has to occupy the space between his ears and to prevent it turning into a hot-air balloon? Saw-dust?”
“I'll take it the date didn't went well?” a sarcastic voice spoke from the corner.
Allison turned around. “Who are you?”
“A friend of your brother’s.”
“Oh, you must be Ann,” Allison thoughtfully said.
“Yeah, but just call me Paris.”
“Why are you here?”
“It’s about Jane.”
“What about her?”
“She decked one of our roommates with a boot across the mouth,” Paris explained, “just for a hint connecting you, her, and Daniel Dotson.”
“And you care about this because-?”
“I don't want to move, period. I know Anaïs, you’d need an iron spike to take her down for good – and I’m guessing that Jane will use anything but that to take her down. I do not need to live in a dorm-sized war-zone!”
“Well, you can always move.”
“Where to? Here? Why won't you let Jane in instead?”
“You know, you are one of my brother’s friends. What’s your “codename”? Elaphe?”
“It’s irrelevant,” Ann-Paris-Elaphe shook her head. “Seriously though, what is it between the two of you?”
“I don’t know!” Allison wailed. “I thought I loved her and all, but-“
“Excuse me?” Jane exclaimed, bursting-in. When Paris left to supposedly talk to Allison, Jane couldn’t help but follow – her curiosity was too piqued and all. And when she heard Allison’s ridiculous claim that she, Allison, loved her, Jane – she couldn't keep quiet no longer.
The result was quite interesting: Allison looked like a lightning-struck tree, Paris just looked placidly at her, rubbing her new rufous-and-tan tattoo design. “My work here is done,” she placidly said. “Cheerio.” She quickly left.
“Now I really know that she’s one of my brother’s friends,” Allison muttered.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jane asked. “Nevermind,” she hastily interrupted herself. “Allison, what do you mean, you love me?”
“Jane, have you ever seen somebody who have struck you like a thunderbolt? You don't know that they know you, and they seem totally clueless, but-“
Jane’s eyes grew round. “No, no, and no! I mean, yes, I've seen such things happening, and by now I meant karma.”
“What about it?”
“Nevermind. Just a bit of a family situation that you’ve reminded me off. Look, Allison I'm not saying that I’m gay, but I’m not saying anything to counter it either; I’m just saying that maybe…” she paused, thinking, “that we, uh, won't have to have sex soon? Not that I don't want to, and not that you’re not attractive, but…” Jane paused. “Why am I lying on your lap?”
“I'm not complaining,” Allison quickly said.
“I surmised that,” Jane said, blinking. “I mean- look, I'm just a kid in some things. Anaïs would probably have something demeaning to say, but-“
“Want to move-in with me? Nobody will be complaining.”
“Nah, I can handle Anaïs, Caroline and Jett aren’t against me, and Paris is seemingly warming-up to me.”
“I should warn you about her,” Allison said. “She’s one of my brother’s friends, it seems.”
“Oh? What about him?”
“It’s a long story – are you comfy?”
Jane jerked-up, remembering again her precarious position. “Karma,” she muttered dejectedly.
“What about it?”
“Allison, just ignore this comment and tell me about your brother.”
“Your wish is my command.”
It was several days later. Jane was sitting on her bed, which by now looked a lot like Trent's room, only the records were replaced by drawings. She was spending a lot of time here, due to the fact that she still wasn't the most sociable person on campus, despite the assistance of Allison – and Paris.
“Hey. Call,” yelled Caroline – or Jett. Jane rose an eyebrow and picked-up the phone. “Hello?”
“Hope you don't mind that I called,” Daria’s flat voice came from the other end.
“Daria!” Jane exclaimed, with just a hint of a smile tugging at her lips.
“How are things going?”
“Fine! Fine, fine, couldn't be better,” Jane quickly said, trying not to give too much away.
“Only in a mind-numbingly pretentious kind of way.” Daria, you may be a genius, but you’re also a rather old-fashioned type of a girl, yes you are.
“Do you think, uhm, a familiar face might cheer you up?”
“What do you mean? Like floating in space over the bed saying my name repeatedly in a creepy voice?” Jane couldn’t help but make a joke.
“Look, I don't really feel like any visitors right now, it's nothing
personal.” Other than my budding sex life, it seems.
“Wait..” Daria now sensed that things were somewhat off in the great tune of Jane’s life. Well, not great, but at least not mediocre anymore.
“I don't want to talk about it, ok? Nothing you could say can change that.”
There was a pause for a second, then – “I'll pay you,” Daria’s reply came through. That caused a chuckle, if nothing else.
“Trent was going to stop by on his way to a gig. Maybe you could hitch a ride. They can always use an extra person to push,” Jane admitted. Apparently, summer in the Morgendorffers’ home wasn't going smoothly, either.
“Thanks. See you soon.”
“Guess what I got to say is – ditto.”
Back in Michigan, the phone rang. “Who is it?” Alan Markowitz’ level voice sounded on the other end.
“Hey brother, Elaphe says high.”
“Allison, listen. What did you do now?”
“Fallen in love?”
“Who’s the lucky guy.”
“Alan! It’s not a guy!”
“Oh. Want to talk to mom then? She’ll probably have lots of advice.”
“Not now! Later. Besides, you’re the man of the house, at least technically.”
“In short, what’s the problem now?”
“Look, I kind of owe Elaphe and all, so can you take her on a date? She’s been dropping all sorts of hints lately that I owe her – a lot, and that’s sort of the truth…”
“That’s definitely Ann. Or, sorry, Paris. Can you put her on?”
“She doesn’t know about this. At least, she isn’t here.”
“Oh, in this case I'll be over here shortly, and we’ll all have a talk. A good one.”
Allison looked unhappy. “Well, you’re older, do what you should do. Bye.”
It was several days later, at visitation day. Jane and Daria were looking at Jane's paintings. To an uninitiated, they looked hideous. But Daria was initiated, and to her they looked quite tolerable. Jane herself was another story. “Some day the curators will look back at these and say they're from my "art colony suck"-period.”
“Curators?” Daria re-asked her friend.
“Criminologists?” Jane joked.
“You know, when it comes to art, you and Link have a lot in common. I'd introduce you, if he didn't loathe every fibre of my being,” Daria said sadly. Jane, who was initiated into the Link-situation nodded wisely.
“This Link situation really bothers you, huh?”
“Serves me right for breaking my cardinal rule of trying to reach out to a lost soul.”
“Any kid who looks to you for nurturing is more than just lost.”
“Gee, thanks,” Daria said, clearly angry. Jane decided that it was time to back-pedal a bit. But then she wouldn’t be Jane.
“Hey. I call them like I see them,” she said.
“Call who?” Daria asked.
Jane looked vaguely pained. “Believe me, you don't want to know.”
Allison nervously sat on the edge of the colony’s compound. Why was she feeling nervous? “’Cause my brother’s around,” she muttered. “My brother and his friend.”
Allison now fully knew the situation between her brother and Paris. Paris wanted him, period. Not that she couldn’t symphasize with her either – her brother was a good enough catch and, apparently, not averse to Paris’ attentions either. But for Allison herself, Paris was a bit discerning. She never liked Paris before, and she now disliked her even more. A slight noise caught her attention and made her turn to the right. A couple of people were standing there, talking to each other.
Driven for the by curiosity, Allison went in that direction.
The Mystik Spiral’s gig was inside a place called Club Glamour – something that was obviously a misnomer. Jane could swear that at least half the customers’ she and Daria had seen on some crime news – a fact that she almost immediately shared with Daria. “The guys here are a lot better looking in person than on their wanted posters.”
“Now I understand why people go to the bathroom in groups,” Daria agreed. It lessened the possibility of getting mugged.
“Don't worry. I promise not to meet a new boyfriend and leave you alone between sets. I've learned my lesson,” Jane said dryly.
“Oookayyy.. Speaking of Tom, I guess you've heard we broke up,” Daria said uneasily.
“I don't read the papers, remember?” Jane said, trying to hide her surprise.
“I thought Trent might have said something,” Daria was apparently surprised as well.
“Questions? Comments?” Daria pressed on.
“Please tell me you're not trying to get my sympathy after blowing me off for my NOW ex-boyfriend,” Jane said, deciding to battle with her friend now.
“You mean He blew YOU off for ME, although if you recall, that's not the way it happened.” Daria was armed and ready.
“No! I mean YOU blew ME off for HIM! You wanted to go out with him, regardless what it did to our friendship,” Jane yelled, finally getting the truth out into the open.
“Hey! You stopped talking to me, remember? After you broke up with him AND said you didn't care if I dated him.”
“And you believed me?” Jane said incredulously.
“I'm confused. What are we fighting about here?”
“We're fighting about YOU, Daria Morgendorffer! Being dumb enough to think a boyfriend is worth screwing up a really good friendship for,” Jane paused and added, in a more sensitive tone. “A really important friendship.”
“.. I'm sorry if I did that,” Daria finally said with genuine feelings. “Uhm.. I really missed you this summer.”
“Well, I really missed you too,” Jane admitted. “Only don't ask me to sleep over.”
“Nothing,” Jane shook her head, unwilling to there. “O hey, Trent? I meant to tell you; you guys have a gig tonight.”
“You'll better start soon, or you'll miss you next break,” Daria added.
“Unless you take your next break now,” Jane continued.
“In which case you'd better take it on stage. They'll never think for looking for you there,” Daria went on.
“And while you're up there, maybe you could play something? O wait, that's what they're paying you for, never mind,” Jane finished.
Trent just stared and said: “You guys are weird.”
“So what did you miss most about me? It was it my "joie de vive", wasn't it?” Jane asked, turning back to Daria.
“If you really want to know, it was you damn aura,” Daria replied.
“Wow, you did spend the summer with Mr. O'Neill,” Jane said, not thrilled to hear more about auras and such things.
“I mean your aura of confidence. I drifted through summer in a perpetual identity crisis questioning everything I said and did.”
Jane blinked. That sounded not unlike her. “That funny, cause I...”
“And I kept thinking about you up here doing your paintings, making your jokes, being Jane Lane,” Daria continued, ignoring her friend’s interruptions.
“Being Jane Lane is what I do best,” Jane said with much more certainty.
“Precisely. You know exactly who you are and nobody's ever going to con you into thinking you don't. I wish I had you around just as a role model.”
“You know, you're absolutely right about me,” Jane almost smiled
“Gee, shall I attempt further heights of ego-inflation?” Daria asked wryly.
“Please do,” Jane replied.
Meanwhile, the Mystik Spiral got on the stage, with Trent in the lead: “Hey, we're Mystic Spiral. And this one's for Daria and Jane.”
“I hope it's not "You Are So Beautiful",” Daria groaned.
“O, please, make it "Close to You",” Jane sarcastically muttered.
And the Mystik Spiral started to play:
TRENT: When the aliens come,
when the dead-weights hum,
when the bombers bomb,
&JESSE: we'll still be freakin' friends.
When the whip comes down,
when the they nuke the town,
when dead clowns can't clown,
&JESSE: we'll still be freakin' friends.
Freakin' friends, freakin' friends,
till we come to bad ends, we're freakin' friends.
Freakin' friends, freakin' friends,
till we come to bad ends, we're freakin' friends.
Freakin' friends, freakin' friends,
till we come to bad ends, we're freakin' friends.
“Well, Paris?” Alan Markowitz asked flatly. Standing in a jumble of moon-light and tree-shadows, the tall man looked… well, Allison didn’t want to think how he looked. At all.
“Well what?” Paris didn’t flinch. “Why are you here, Alan?”
“My sister called. She said that you were getting busy in her life.”
“I was merely fixing it for her.”
“And for which we’re extremely grateful. What do you want, Paris?”
“When did I want anything?”
“Ever since that event with Constantine the Red.”
“Well gee, I’m sorry Mr. “King Snake”, but don’t you think that you can accuse me, being more than hip-deep in it yourself-“
“What’s hip-deep for a horse, is way over-the-head for a chicken,” Alan interrupted the girl’s rant.
“I'm not a chicken, Al,” Paris shook her head. “But you as a stallion – that has art possibilities!”
“You always were more than a little bit artsy,” Alan said sadly. “I'm going to miss you.”
Paris’ eyes widened in fear. “No!”
“She’s right,” Allison quickly said, stepping forward. “Back to your old tricks, eh Alan?”
Both of the others turned their heads towards them. “Allison,” Alan shook in his gravely tone. “This doesn’t concern you.”
“Oh yes it does!” Allison snapped. “What’s okay for mom’s girlfriend, isn’t okay for you! And Paris – if you knew our family as good as you claim to, you should’ve known better than confronting my brother just like that! I mean, mom told me what he does to people who piss him off.”
Alan exclaimed. “Mom has a big mouth.”
“Can I go?” Paris said.
“No,” brother and sister shook their heads. “What do you exactly want, Paris?”
Paris froze, look Alan exactly in the eye and spoke in a new, quiet tone. “My heart back. Please?”
Allison froze herself, unbelieving what she was hearing.
And Alan could only say: “What?”
It was the next day. Jane was showing Daria off. “I just couldn't get past all that upper-crustiness. I felt like the poor cousin in a Henry James novel. You know, someone to be tolerated till
she gets run over by a horse and buggy.”
“Yeah, the Sloanes defiantly come from the land of the muffies, but it's not like they're jerks or anything. I just ignored the money and concentrated on the incredibly well-stocked refrigerator.”
“Yeah. Look, why don't you just come back with us?” Daria said simply.
Jane froze. That offer was more than tempting. But – she couldn’t. Not with the whole Allison thing that was going-on.
“I don't know. Some kind of dumb-ass notion about seeing this through, I guess. Anyway, it's just another two weeks, and than we'll back at school.” She paused, starting to get confused. “... Wait, what's my point?”
“That life sucks no matter what. So don't be fooled by location
changes,” Daria said flatly.
“You really should write fortune cookies,” Jane replied dryly.
“Call me when you get back,” Daria said.
“All right freakin' friend.” Jane started to walk away, then stopped. “Uhm, I don't believe I'm about to say this, but you should give Tom another shot. He's not a bad guy and you could use the recreation.”
Daria couldn't believe her ears. “Uhm, what about the whole "You stabbed me in the back, how could you?"-thing?”
Jane looked just a little surprised. “I think I really am over that. As opposed to when I said I was over it, but I was really still under it.”
“Yeah, right,” Daria said.
“Seriously. Give it some thought on the way back.”
“I don't think so.”
“Or, converse with the band. The choice is yours,” Jane said, wondering what Trent thought about Tom-Daria pairing.
“Jane, hi. How’s your friend?”
“Safely off. Remind me to tell you never to go to this club – it’s a real dump… Got any family members visiting you.”
“Hey Jane, Allison,” Paris’ voice, surprisingly soft, sounded from behind them.
The two girls turned around. There stood Paris, leaning against Alan Markowitz’, looking… content.
“Have I missed something?” Jane asked the older girl.
“This is my brother,” Allison replied instead
“Really? I thought that this was Odin, the All-Father,” Jane said wryly.
Alan snorted bemusedly. “So you’re Jane Lane, hah? Well, you’re a good kid, so listen to my advice, okay?”
“My sister’s head may not always be on her shoulders, but her heart’s always in the right place. Try to hang-out to each other, you two, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it work.”
Allison groaned and hid her face in her hands. Jane just stared, feeling startled, to say the least.
“It seems that my job here is done,” Alan smiled. “Wish us luck kids, we’re off to get married. Cheers.”
It was a long time later, on a road in Lawndale Jane and Daria were walking through it.
“So, I got through to Link after all. And all it cost me was a
generous period of self-doubt followed by a bracing sting of self-hatred,” Daria was saying.
“See? Not every human is a manipulative opportunistic letch. Or, at least, that's what I'm told,” Jane admitted.
“You didn't make any friends at that art colony, did you?”
“No. Well, except this one girl, until she got fresh,” Jane lied, knowing that the truth will not be something to Daria’s liking.
Daria abruptly stopped. “You're not kidding.”
“As much as I'd like to gain you sour perspective on the whole sordid incident, it's going to have to wait. I think there's someone looking for you,” Jane said quickly, as Tom's car pulled-up in a new car. “Wow! Nice car. Where's Jeeves?”
“I killed him for his uniform,” Tom said wryly. “How are you doing?”
“I'm okay,” Jane said. “She's pretty okay too.”
“Yeah, I know that,” Tom said not feeling too comfortable. “Hey, Daria.”
“Hey,” Daria replied.
“Want to go for a ride?”
“Actually, we were just...” Daria began, but Jane interrupted:
“Saying goodbye. I'll call you later.”
Daria didn't have any other choice but to step into Tom’s car.
The phone rang. “Who is it?” she asked.
“Well, it’s me.”
“Hey. What are the news on the home front?”
“Depressing. Mom’s not happy that Alan got married, and Mona’s remarks do not help the situation either.”
“Um, who’s Mona’s?”
“Mom’s well, technically,-“
“I see, I guess Paris was right when she described your family to me.”
“Do you two look the same?”
“No, mom looks more like an aged-down Willow from Buffy.”
“You watch that show?”
“Mona sometimes does. She’s not too bad, considering-“
“Look, I've been thinking. We did have a good time together, didn't we?”
“Well, we made Anaïs happy by leaving her alone with Dotson, we made Paris and my brother happy, and we weren’t too miserable ourselves. So yeah, I agree with you. What’s your point?”
On the other end of the phone line, Allison could feel Jane steeling yourself for the question. “Jane, you still there?”
And on the other end of the phone line Jane replied like on her last reserves of power:
“So what are you doing next summer?”
Fauvism - a relatively short-lived movement in French painting (from about 1898 to about 1908) that revolutionized the concept of colour in modern art. The Fauves rejected the impressionist palette of soft, shimmering tones in favour of the violent colours used by the postimpressionists Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh for expressive emphasis. They achieved a poetic energy through vigorous line, simplified yet dramatic surface pattern, and intense colour.
Matisse, Henri - French artist, leader of the Fauve group, regarded as one of the great formative figures in 20th-century art, a master of the use of colour and form to convey emotional expression.
Jane’s new acquaintances at the art colony – well, why not? Allison obviously didn’t awake one day and decide to be gay – obviously she had to have some reason why to do so. Jane’s dorm mates – I’m not really good at leaving characters as blanks, so I did my versions of it. Maybe I'll even do some stories about them – who knows?
My works – this is not a part of my “SLA” continuum, as I've indicated in the beginning. Though some characters and situations may appear similar, this is a separate story.