Is It Fall Yet?
: All recognizable characters are owned by Glenn Eichler and MTV; no infringement is intended, and no money is being made.
Pastor Akers held up his hands, and the murmuring in the sanctuary stopped. "Brothers! Sisters!" He looked around at everyone focusing on him. "We have been patient, we have quietly remonstrated to these witches. We have asked the police to do their duty, and remove these abominations from our community. What response have we gotten? 'Let your God wreak vengeance upon us,' and 'they aren't breaking the law.' " He picked up his glass of water and took a sip. "They may not be breaking Man's law, but they are certainly breaking God's. The question is, what are we, the community of God, going to do about it?"
He waited until the muttering had died down, then in a level voice, said, "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. But He often works through human tools. Why can't we, those of us who know best how He thinks, be His tools in this? And our first act is well within the laws of this land." He went on to describe what they would do.
After the service, he plopped down in his office chair, and looked at his associate pastor. "So, whaddya think, Mike?"
"I think that by this time next year, we'll be the 'religious people' to go to for this area, and attendance and tithing will double, conservatively. And we'll have that little witch out of Priscilla's high school, so she can spread the word better."
Garry Akers did nothing but lean back and sport a huge grin.
Daria finished putting the last of their supplies into the cabin, and turned to kiss Jane, who had just brought her last load. "So what do you think we should do?"
Jane smiled as she tugged on Daria's hair. "Much as I'd love to continue what we were discussing in the car, I think that we probably should participate in what this 'community' is supposedly for. Let's head to their dining hall."
Daria was slightly shocked to see the man who had advised her to take this program waiting for her at the door to the dining hall. "Daria!" he exclaimed. "I'm so happy to see you. I've seen some of your work." He looked over at her companion. "You're her friend...wait a moment, Jan? Jane?"
"Very good!" Jane smiled. "I'm here for the art side." She shook her head. "They seem to think that I'm good enough. Plus the director knows my mom."
"Charles Woods, this is my wife, Jane Lane. Jane, I believe you met him when I did."
Mr. Woods seemed a bit hornswoggled. "Lane...director..." he looked up. "Are your parents Vincent and Amanda Lane?"
Jane seemed to be taken aback. "Yes...why?"
"Because half of the staff are Friends of Amanda."
Daria raised her eyebrow. "It sounds as if you are capitalizing those words."
Mr. Woods blushed slightly. "I was. Would you mind if we sat down, and we could discuss this over dinner?"
When they had filled their trays and sat down, Mr Woods had motioned for another teacher to them, and had introduced her as Yi Ze Li, who was in charge of realistic painting. "Jane, your mother and father have connected with almost every group of creative people in the States, and quite a few overseas. I'm sure that you're aware that, well, she's a very lovely person who causes almost everyone to like her immediately, but if it isn't about her art, her mind drifts away from almost everything, including her safety and people close to her." He looked down. "So, many years ago, a group of us got together and decided that we'd watch out for her when she couldn't watch out for herself. We call ourselves, of course, Friends of Amanda."
"The things you learn about your parents," Jane said with a wry grin. "And you're both 'Friends of Amanda'?"
Mr. Woods nodded. "As I said, half the staff is." He gave a slight smile. "I'd venture to say that the Friends of Amanda numbers in the tens of thousands. If you go to any meeting of creative people, all you have to do is ask, and there will likely be someone - or several someones - who will help her. Or you."
"Wow," said Daria, "You didn't know that you were art royalty, Jane?"
Yi Ze Li, who had told them to "just call me Li," chuckled at this. "No...This has nothing to do with her work as an artist. She'll have to find her own way there. But as a daughter of Amanda, she'll be able to get help, maybe a place to stay, or a ticket home, almost everywhere."
"That's comforting." Jane smiled.
"Please don't tell your mother about it," Mr. Woods said. "We don't want to embarrass her with it, we just want to be a safety net."
"She won't hear about it from us," Daria said. She turned to Jane. "You know, the way she reacted, I think my mom is a Friend of Amanda." Turning back to Mr. Woods, she said, "The way that she accepted us three when we came out to her, I believe that Jane, myself, and our wife Jen would all like to become Friends of Amanda."
Mr. Woods raised his eyebrow. "A third wife?"
Jane smiled. "That's the way we feel. We made it formal before we came here, and we're just waiting for the laws to catch up. What do we have to do to become these Friends?"
"You've done it," he said, smiling. "You made the decision, and told current Friends about it. Now, if she needs help in Lawndale,"
"- Or in Boston, when we graduate," Jane smiled.
"Someone might contact you." He shook his head. "In any case, that wasn't what I wanted to talk to you about. Daria, I've seen examples of your journalism. You're very good, as you should know, getting two commercial bylines before your senior year. Now, this Melody Powers that you've submitted. Do you plan on putting your stories together for a novel?"
Daria steepled her fingers. "I'm not sure. I had originally written them as short stories to be read." She blushed slightly. "They seemed to go over well."
"Well, with a little work, you might be able to polish them and make it a salable novel. In fact, that's one of the things that I'd like you to do over the summer. Some of the other things would be to attend a workshop on finding the right agent and publisher, as well as the classes you've chosen concerning genre work."
Daria nodded. "I think that we can work something out."
"And you, Jane," Li said, "you're amazing, and not just for your age, in your impressionist paintings. But something that a lot of customers want is realism in their paintings. They want a flower to look like a flower. I think it might be of benefit to you to try for higher realism during your time here, if for no other reason than to prove that you can do it."
Jane chewed on her lip. "You know, I can see your point. Getting more weapons to attack any one work isn't a bad thing." She paused. "Okay."
Charles and Jodie, along with Sandi and Winner, were in line to see a movie when they heard a voice behind them. "You'll get yours." They all turned around in surprise, and it was Priscilla.
"What?" Charles asked.
"You'll all get yours. Supporting those witches. You know the Bible says that you shouldn't suffer a witch to live! And the way they live together." Priscilla shuddered. "It's an abomination!" She looked very closely at Sandi and Winner, before stalking off into the night.
Jane sat back in shock. To think that this poser had managed, not only to have accepted, but to be considered important, this bunch of props thrown together? She smirked. But he hadn't managed to sell it, had he? Or it wouldn't be there.
She couldn't stop herself, when someone asked the "artist" about his inspiration, she muttered, "His alimony." This seemed to amused the girl sitting next to her, who snorted quietly. They looked at each other and winked.
Later, when one of the girls told him that she thought he was the country's greatest living artist, the girl muttered back, "Who's trying to get in who's pants, here?" Jane had to cover her mouth. When they finally had 'Enough of the old windbag's ramblings for today,' Jane couldn't hold it in.
She cracked up. Once her chuckles had subsided, she held out her hand. "Jane,"
"Allison." The taller girl took the hand. "What a guy."
"Well, at least we know the purpose of this class...to provide our good Mr. Dotson with dates."
"At least we won't have a problem if we mix up our works with his. Ours will have talent behind them."
Daria held up her hand. "What happens when we have to report on something that affects us personally?"
The teacher paused for a moment. "Have you had such an experience?"
Daria crossed her arms. "Unfortunately."
"How did you deal with it?"
"Not well. I cried all the time that I was putting words to paper."
The teacher nodded. "That's one way. Perhaps a better way is to compartmentalize the experience while you are reporting, then experience it afterwards." She sighed. "You have to let the feelings out, or they'll break you. How you do that is up to you."
Jane and Daria approached a table half-full of artists at the dining hall. "Mind if we join you?" Jane asked.
"Sure," one of the girls, whose name was Paris, said. They then continued their discussion on the class. "Daniel? That man's a genius. He said my white on white painting was a stroke of inspiration."
"I don't know that I'd say he was a genius," Jane said.
"No offense, Jane, but aren't you still in high school? How much can you know about art at this point?" Jane started, but felt Daria's hand on her arm.
"I'm sorry, you said that your name is Paris?" The short-haired blonde nodded. "No offense, Paris, but have you sold any of your work?" The girl shook her head. Daria smiled. "Then how much more can you know about art than Jane, who has sold several works for multiple thousands of dollars each?"
Paris appeared to be crestfallen. "You're right, I'm sorry, we're all supposed to be professionals here." She looked at her other companions. "Are we done?" They all stood up and walked away.
"Eh, I guess they were looking for someone to feel better than," said Jane.
"Not going to be you, as far as painting." Daria squeezed Jane's hand. "And even though I was pushing it, calling two, several, they did have to go through a corporate buying process. More than one person had to okay your album covers."
Jane nodded. "I hate say it, but I am learning things here. Li is showing me lots of techniques for realism."
"And I think that I'll have my first book ready for an agent or publisher by the time we're done here."
"Plus, two weeks, and we have Jen!" They both smiled widely.
I wait for you, in this hollow,
My mate, so true, where you go I'll follow.
And then Trent came up to the mic. "That was 'My Love,' and we're Mystic Spiral. If we run out of CDs, you can get more on the website. We've had a good time, but it's time for us to head to our next gig."
After they came offstage, Jen was on her phone. "Hi, babes. Yeah, still gonna be there Friday. Oh? What?" Her face suddenly went flat. "She WHAT? And what did Daria do?" She let out a breath. "All right. I take it that you don't need me until Friday? Okay. Love you, babes." With that she hung up. "Bitch."
Trent, busy packing his guitar, looked up. "Trouble?"
"Some skank tried to hit on Jane, hard."
Allison gave an inward smile. Her plan to seduce Jane was working well. First, a bet of dinner where she didn't lose, either way. Now at dinner, she was feeding the pretty girl wine like water, along with double entendres. Finally, a trip to her bedroom to look at her pastels, and-
The door to the Hungry Pallette slammed open, and Daria stormed in, stomping directly up to the table with the two girls.
Jane raised her head. "Hi, Daria." She smiled. "All-i-son's been showing me how wine tastes." She continued in a sing-song voice. "And she's been checking me out..."
Daria bent down next to her. "We'll get you home soon, Jane."
Allison stirred. "If I could interrupt -"
Daria turned and glared at her. "No, you may not. Not only are you hitting on my wife, which you could have found out if you had had eyes," and here she showed the matching rings on their left hands, "but you are plying an underage girl with alcohol. If you don't want me to deal with you as you deserve to be, you'll cover the check and get out of here, before I finish with Jane."
Allison stood over a foot taller than Daria, and wasn't skinny, to boot. But something warned her. She dropped a bill on the table, and walked away.
"Wow, now I know why I shouldn't drink much," Jane groaned as she held her head in her hands. "Bless you," she said as Daria handed her a big glass of water and two aspirin. When she had finished them, she looked up at her wife. "Why was she pushing all the wine on me?"
"Well, Jane, it appears that someone besides Jen, me, and Evan think that you're beautiful." Daria kissed Jane's forehead. "And, also, you weren't direct enough when you told Allison about us."
"You did tell her about us?" Seeing no response, Daria raised an eyebrow.
"It never came up! She never saw us together!" Jane held her head. "I screwed up, didn't I?"
"Not horribly. We'll just have to make sure that she's very aware, especially Friday." Daria cuddled up to Jane and kissed her deeply.
The director of Elections for Lawndale County looked up as he heard the "thump" on his desk. "Yes?" he said.
The man in front of him said, gruffly, "We have a petition to make it unlawful for dykes to live in groups of more than two in the county, and another to have the election in two weeks. We have all the requisite signatures." Some forged when their owners wouldn't agree to do as the Lord commanded
, he thought but did not add.
"I see." The director started thumbing through the documents. "We'll have to check your signatures and your math, but if you have what you say, then we can have the election then." He wondered why Angier Sloane wanted these idiots to have such an easy time of it, but, far be it from him...
The band arrived early Friday, and dropped Jennifer off before heading to their hotel. It was the better part of an hour before the girls got past their greetings, and after another half-hour (for showers), they decided to go through the day together, alternating classes. Their first class was Dotson's; while they were walking to it, instead of Daria being in the middle, as usual, Jane was. When they saw Allison, Jen pulled out her lockblade and started cleaning her fingernails with it. Jane spoke up. "Allison, I'd like you to meet my wife, Jen Burns, and you already have met my wife, Daria Morgendorffer."
Allison raised her eyebrow. "Both?"
Jen nodded. "We love each other." Her eyes narrowed. "Speaking of, you are aware that you pulled a bonehead play, right?"
Allison met those eyes for a moment, then looked at the ground. "Yeah." She looked back up at the girls. "I'm sorry, Jane, I did things that I shouldn't have."
"That's all right, I hadn't told you about my girls."
Daria put her hand on Allison's arm. "It's not all right, and for more reasons then Jane said. It's not much of a step to putting ruffies in her wine."
"So we won't hear about any problem with that?"
Allison blushed. "No."
The rest of the day was enjoyable, with Jen "ooh-ing," and "ahh-ing" at the right times. They went to the concert; Daria and Jane danced right in front of their wife, and afterwards, they all cuddled on the floor, there being no other place that would hold them.
Sandi and Winner were walking through Cashman's when they happened upon Brooke. The brunette looked shocked to see her former president. "Sandi! I was so sorry to hear about your parents!"
"Not sorry enough to actually come to the funeral," Sandi muttered, before saying, "Thank you for your good wishes, Brooke."
She was about to move past her when Brooke exclaimed, "Oh, my God! You're one of those wicked women!"
Sandi stood stock still. "Would you care to ex-plain yourself, Brooke dear?"
"I don't know how I didn't see it before! All you do is run around with other girls! You're one of those lesbos!"
Sandi gripped her fists so hard that her knuckles were white. "Brooke, you are mistaken. I have in the past spent time with boys, and will in the future. Intimate time. I am not a - a lesbo. Since you obviously don't have the fashion sense to spot one, you may consider yourself on permanent sabbatical from the Fashion Club." She turned to Winner. "Come on, Winner, we're going home."
When Jennifer had left, Daria pulled Jane out to a high meadow where students seldom went. "Jane," she said as they sat down - Jane at her easel and Daria at her journal - "I have a feeling that this is going to be the last bit of peace for us for a while. You see, while Jen was packing up, I got a phone call from Quinn. It seems that Priscilla's church has tried to outlaw us, and they're going to have an election before we get back."
"Is that legal?"
think it is, anyway, and we have our own reasons for wanting it this way. But what it means is that all hell is going to break loose when we get back. So I wanted this one day of peace." She nuzzled Jane's neck, and kissed her earlobe. "Any objections?"
"None at all. Oh, did I tell you that Li bought three of my paintings?"
"You didn't. Did I tell you I sent the Melody Powers contract home for Mom to check and sign Thursday?"
And with that, the two girls leaned back in the grass.
When they got home, Sandi said to Winner, "my room." Once they arrived, she turned and told Winner, "Kneel."
Winner did so, but a "Why?" escaped her lips, especially when she saw Sandi pull off her jeans and panties.
Grabbing Winner's pony tail and pulling her between her legs, Sandi said, "If I'm going to have the name of a lesbo, I certainly am going to try it to see if I like it!"
The girls were exhausted as they drove home from Ashfield. It had been rewarding, but the hardest kind of work, and now, there was nothing that either of them wanted to do, other than going home and cuddling with Jen, who had gotten home the week before. As they drove onto their street, they saw a pair of police cruisers parked by the curb. Intrigued, they turned into the driveway. As they got out of their SUV, an officer approached Daria, while another approached Jane.
"Do you live in that garage with Jane Lane and Jennifer Burns?"
"Ye-e-ss. Why is it your business?" She could see Jane being similarly interrogated.
"Turn around. Daria Morgendorffer, I'm placing you under arrest for violation of County Ordinance 123.45, multiple occupants of a single room of the same gender prohibited. You have the right to remain silent..." He droned on as he cuffed her, and she saw Jane and Jen cuffed, as well. This is such a wonderful day.