Tigresses – Part 1
By Dr T
Story summary: We all know what happened in 'Dye! Dye! My Darling.' In the end, the experience probably strengthened Daria and Jane's friendship (despite the storms of that summer) and helped Daria mature to where she was at the end of 'Boxing Daria' and 'Is it College Yet?' Still, given the dynamics of the various characters of the show, was that course the only possible series of events? And, if not, how might that next summer have been different for Daria and Jane? Could things have worked out even better?
Part 1 – Dying Jane
Jane has an idea, which gives Daria and Tom very different ideas.
Daria looked at the very realistic portrait of Jane with striped hair. "Um, very nice." She gave her friend a sly glance. "Of course, it could be a cry for help."
Tom pretended to frown. "I'd have to go with... both."
Jane genuinely frowned in returned. "Don't you get it? The lady or the tiger? Now you don't have to choose!"
"Does this mean you'll be ordering pizza with entrails from now on?" Daria asked.
Jane's frowned deepened, not at Daria's snarky comment, which was not unexpected, but at Tom's silent snicker at it. "This is going to be my new look," Jane stated firmly, before rounding on Daria. "And you're assisting in the procedure."
Tom was equally surprised. "You're not serious!"
Jane's fierce look gave the other two a glimpse of her inner-tiger, and Tom at least was worried. Sensing weakness, Jane turned on him first. "What do you mean? I thought you liked it!"
"As a painting, it's brilliant," Tom stated firmly. Like Daria had long ago, he was learning to compliment Jane's work first. "As an actual look. . . ." Sensing yet another argument, ('Why am I putting up with all these tantrums' Tom fleetingly thought) he glanced at Jane's alarm clock. "I told you I couldn't stay long. Look, you do what you want, because you always do, but please leave the kiwi lip gloss and especially the teddy bear backpack out of any new look this time." Tom escaped, for once having had the last word.
Truly angry, even more at Tom's rapid retreat than his words, Jane turned and glared at Daria.
Daria raised her hands and made a 'down, girl' motion. "I know you aren't going to use this to try and 'go conventional' or anything like that." Daria paused and again looked at the painting, thinking hard. There were at least two ways to go. Daria decided to try subtle for once instead of going straight to stubborn. If she had to, she could use that as a fall-back position "It could actually look as good on you in reality as it does in the painting; maybe better."
That surprised Jane; she knew Daria was not one for easy compliments. She had expected Daria's reaction to have been a statement of refusal to help, which she would normally just gloss over and then simply drag her to the store to look for blonde hair dye (Jane knew she did not want to bleach her hair). Jane also knew, from Daria's body language, that she could have gotten the protesting smaller teen to come along without actual physical force, but that mild persuasion would still be needed. After she got Daria out of the house and in a public setting, however, Daria would also be less fussy. Still, Daria's reaction had not been what Jane had expected, so, for once, Jane also decided not to be so impulsive. "Then what is your objection?" She frowned, thinking of the way Daria and Tom had been acting. "From what you just said, it can't be because you don't want me looking hot."
Daria knew her friend, and had been steeling herself to drag her feet, hopefully only metaphorically, about any trip to a store for hair dye. She also knew that if Jane could get her actually to the store, it would be harder to argue, or rather reason, with her. Daria again therefore took a moment of thought to marshal her arguments, then saying, "Okay, three things. First, I said that I agree that the painting is excellent, and that look could be as good in reality as it is in the painting."
Daria threw out her first major concern. "But, have you ever done any sort of actual dye work with hair?"
"No," Jane had to admit. "But how hard could it be?"
"I don't know," Daria admitted.
"You just grab a hunk of hair and paint! You aren't an artist, but you learned how to wield a decent brush in art class."
"What if it takes more than that to make it look good? Remember, I said I don't know anything about this, and it seems you don't know much more."
Jane was about to go into a rant when what Daria had said really sunk in. It was not easy for Daria to admit not knowing something. She would admit to not being able to do things, but rarely to not knowing how they were done.
"You want to do this, and I am willing to help," Daria stated, improvising a plan and easing some of Jane's concerns at the same time. "I will even 'grab a hunk of hair and paint' if you think that will work. If we do that, we'd better get some black dye as well, just in case it isn't as easy as you think." Seeing Jane's expression, reflecting many doubts, Daria's normal 'non-expression' suddenly looked anguished, which in turn disturbed Jane's confidence. "Jane! I would NEVER do anything to deliberately hurt you!"
"I know. . . ." Jane said in a small voice.
"So, we don't know what we're doing; in fact, we don't know if what you did in the painting can even be done by amateurs on actual hair!"
Jane, as stubborn in her own way as her friend, disliked the fact that Daria was likely correct, so she merely said, "Go on."
It was clear Daria disliked her next point. "As much as I hate to say it, Quinn would at least know if it's feasible."
Jane flashed back to when Quinn had stayed at the Lanes'. "You want me to ask the Posturing Princess in Pink for her opinion? Or worse, for a favor?" Jane shuddered.
Daria took a deep breath, and said, "No. No, I will ask for the favor. Bring the painting and we'll see if she's home."
Jane thought a moment, and then realized that, in the end, she would get her way in some fashion. This might be the easiest way; Daria on a mission was almost impossible to stop, and in effect Daria had pledged to help do her hair, one way or another. Jane stooped to pick up the painting, but then stopped and asked, "You said there were three things."
Daria's shoulders drooped. It was clear she had hoped Jane wouldn't mention that. "Why are you really doing this?" she asked, not meeting Jane's eyes.
"What do you mean?" Jane replied, in a very uncertain voice.
Daria looked up and glared for a moment. "Jane?" she demanded sternly.
"Okay, I well. . . ." Jane trailed off.
"Don't do it for Tom. He liked the painting well enough, but it didn't sound like he would like you actually looking like this."
Jane looked uncertain.
"Are you two doing okay?"
Jane dropped onto her bed. "Physically, yes. But . . . hell, we're growing apart." Jane looked Daria in the eye. "No matter what you say, I still think he's becoming more interested in you than he is in me. And don't pretend you aren't interested in having a guy interested in you. If those two cousins of Upchuck's hadn't revealed that fatal flaw, we were both going to go at least on a date, and we both secretly hoped for more. And, if Ted hadn't been the weirdo he turned out to be, you would have liked dating him, wouldn't you?"
Daria looked down and mumbled a "maybe." Before Jane could more than take a breath to say something about Trent, Daria looked up and glared at her. "Don't go there. You know that's over, too."
"I know," Jane acknowledged. "But admit it, if I weren't dating Tom, and you knew him as well as you do now, you'd like to date him, wouldn't you?" Seeing the mulish expression forming, Jane said, "Please, Daria, for our friendship, please be honest."
Daria took a deep breath. "Okay, if I somehow knew Tom as well as I do now, but without his having dated you, I can see where I might be interested. Maybe. But. . . ."
"I know, I know, I am in the picture. And I am not blaming you. . . ."
"Not even a little? Now it's your turn to be honest," Daria warned.
"Not even a little," Jane said. Seeing the glare, however, she went on, "I did, and I was wrong to. If there is any fault, it's Tom's, and if he doesn't do anything about it, it's not even his."
Daria pointed at the painting. "Don't do it for Tom. Do it if you want to play with your image, or as an artistic statement, or just because you want to. Then it could be great or at least fun for you, but don't do it for him."
"You mean it would be dumb to do that for Tom, sort of like getting my belly-button pierced?"
"One more crack like that, and I'll bleach a Pepé Le Pew stripe in your hair," Daria warned.
Jane stood up and grabbed the painting. Things were still a little stressed between the two friends, but that last threat had the jesting tone that Jane had been missing recently.
Arriving at the Morgendorffer home, the pair found the Fashion Club finishing watching a show on Fashion Vision and eating carrot sticks. Helen and Jake were spending the Sunday afternoon and evening at one of their 'workshops' and neither daughter had sought further information. That their mother had only worked for four hours that morning on her 'important case' before dragging their father out of the house showed she was not to be questioned on this.
Daria sent Jane on up to her room and expertly culled Quinn from the fashion flock and herded her into the dining room. "What?" Quinn demanded.
"A favor," Daria said simply.
Quinn looked suspicious. "What kind?"
"I am asking you for a personal favor, maybe more than one, and I am asking for Jane. I would like to keep this friendly."
Quinn considered this. She had learned to read her sister moderately well over the past few months. It had taken several years of trying to ignore or bully Daria before the overall futility of either had finally hit her. She still was embarrassed by Daria, but not as much as she had been, and as Quinn got older, she even, on rare occasions, appreciated her sister. A favor was just that, although of course prices were negotiable if the favor was agreed upon. A favor could be refused without retaliation, if refused with a bit of respect. The threat was in tone of the final sentence – if the favor was agreed to but not acted upon in good faith, Daria's revenge would normally be harsh but appropriate. In this case, if Quinn agreed to this favor and Quinn reneged upon it or somehow fouled this up, Daria's revenge would probably scar her for life.
"First, I need to ask you a few things."
"Number one, I would like your honest opinion of something Jane painted." Daria showed Quinn the painting.
"Interesting look," Quinn said simply. "I doubt you would care if I thought it was also painted well."
"It is painted very well, and your agreeing shows you have learned something in art," Daria replied. "Second, could that effect be done well in real life?"
Quinn considered for over a minute, and then said, "Yes, but not easily. To make it look decent, the layering would have to be done carefully, and if you didn't use the right kind of dye on Jane's dry hair, it would be orange, not any shade of blonde."
"Do you think I could do it?"
Quinn just managed to restrain a snort of disbelief, which Daria caught but did not react badly to, since Quinn had caught herself.
"So that's a 'no'?"
"Do you really think you could?" Quinn asked, surprised.
"To be honest, no," Daria replied. "That's why we're here."
"I see," Quinn replied. She pondered a moment, and then pointed out, "I doubt if you take much notice, but botched dye and bleach jobs break up more friendships among the girls at school than anything other than competition over the same boys. Don't do anything this complicated on your little art friend unless you're really mad at her."
"I'm not going to if I can help it," Daria said firmly.
"If you do, and you do botch it, be careful if you help her dye it back," Quinn warned. "Sometimes dyes don't interact well, and it could make things worse. Remember Brittany and her grey hair?"
Daria winced at that, but plowed on. "Now, would you and your 'little Club' be willing to do it right, and if not, would you at least tell me where Jane could have it done right?"
Quinn disregarded the 'little Club' crack, knowing it was a return volley for the 'little art friend' comment. "Maybe. Price?" She had also learned to try to get Daria to make a first offer.
"First, if you do an honest job and it doesn't come out the way Jane wants it, you dye it back and nothing will be said, and no retribution." The price to be paid for a deliberately botched was not mentioned, and Quinn knew she wouldn't want to know it ahead of time. She remembered learning with terrified amazement in those few weeks at Highland High before moving to Lawndale that even the Highland seniors, even the gang members, held Daria in frightened respect for some of the things she had done to those two mutants she had sometimes hung around the previous year. "Second, if others compliment Jane on it, we will make certain everyone knows who did such a good job." What would be said if it wasn't done well did not have to be mentioned. "Oh, and no mentions of other make-overs, for either of us."
"How about no pressure for make-overs, and nothing done without permission?" Quinn knew that more was impossible for her friends and her.
"That's fair," Daria acknowledged.
"Third?" Quinn asked, believing there should be more for this high-risk favor.
"Two large pizzas, one tonight and aren't you four having some big make-up event this week?"
"The blush-a-thon, tomorrow night and Tuesday," Quinn agreed. "I need to ask Mom if we can have it here. Pizza would be good afterwards."
"Considering that today was the first time in over two weeks she's had less than a fifteen hour day, never mind a day off, you'd better ask her tonight. And yes, I'll up the offer to three large pizzas; one tonight, one tomorrow night and Tuesday."
"I'll remember to Mom tonight," Quinn assured her sister. Her eyes narrowed. "What kind of pizza?" Quinn had also learned she needed to close all loopholes, not that she always could.
Daria shrugged. "You four will be the ones eating them. However you like 'em."
"And who will be paying?" Daria might order the pizza, but that did not automatically mean she would pay for it.
"I will," Daria confirmed. "Jane wants my help. I know I can't actually do it, and I managed to get her to let me help this way."
Quinn did not really like Jane, but she did appreciate the relationship she and her sister had. "And any other expenses?"
"Jane buys the dye. What else do you want?"
"If they agree, you need to get us each two one liter bottles of this really fashionable mineral water. . . ."
"For you to remember to say 'thank you'."
Daria almost smiled. "Agreed. Write down what you want on the pizzas if they agree."
"Agreed." Quinn picked up the painting and turned to leave.
Quinn turned back. "Yes?"
Jane was happy when Daria returned from getting pizza. Sitting through the application of the dye, with the debating chatter of the fashion foursome grating on her nerves, had been bad enough, but Daria had stayed nearby and had provided counter-commentary. During the waiting process, however, Daria had taken off to get the pizza and mineral water (and either Ultra or Volt cola as well as pizza for herself and Jane, of course). Now that Daria was back, it was time for the unveiling.
"Thaaaat's niiiiice," Tiffany intoned.
Stacy, who had done much of the actual work, with a fair amount of assistance from Quinn, started to hyperventilate as Jane looked in the mirrors she, Daria, and Quinn were holding.
"Like, I think it came out nicely," Sandi commented.
"It's not exactly what I had in mind," Jane stated. She ignored the worried mutter of "oh, God!" from Stacy as she tilted her head around. She had agreed to a slightly more strawberry-blonde dye than she had envisioned, but overall. . . ."
"Still, it does look good," Jane admitted. She tilted her head yet again. "Damn good, actually."
Stacy managed a weak, still-slightly worried smile.
"I agree it doesn't quite match the painting, but it looks good on you," Daria agreed. She turned to the fashion club. "Thank you," she said sincerely.
"Yeah," Jane said, putting down the hand mirror she had been using to examine the various reflections, "thank you. I really appreciate your help."
Sandi's posture somehow managed to straighten up even more than usual. She was about to manage a somewhat sarcastic response when she realized that these two, as unfashionable as they were, would be seniors next year, and seemed to be friends with Jodie (a power behind the scenes at school), and Brittany (who might be something of an airhead, but who was a very popular and influential airhead). "You're welcome," she said in her usual tone, adding, "Helping with fashion is like, our calling."
"As further thanks, your pizza and mineral water, just as you ordered it, are in the kitchen. Come on, Tigress, I got pizza and Ultra cola for us."
"Entrails, like you promised?" Jane teased. Only Quinn of the other four heard that, and she paused slightly to hear the rest of the possibly disgusting exchange.
"Just plain, sorry. I'm going to be a little short this week. And no short jokes!"
Quinn smiled thoughtfully, and wondered if she would short change herself – put herself to that much trouble – for any of the other three fashion club members. She thought she would, but she admitted to herself that she wasn't a hundred percent certain.
She moved to the large pizza box (the medium was no doubt for Jane and Daria), and saw Daria had even set out plates. Opening the lid, she saw Daria had indeed gotten them not only a cheeseless pizza, but the veggie supreme (with no jalapenos) she had asked for. There had been no weaseling, no loop holes. Quinn was happy this had indeed been a fair exchange.
"Thank you for the pizza!" Stacy piped up, and the other fashion club members echoed their thanks.
The next evening, Daria was approaching home just after 6:00 o'clock. Jane's hair had gained some minor comments and compliments, which, as far as Daria was really concerned, showed that her classmates and other students simply had no lives. Still, she was glad that most of the reactions had been positive. (No one was certain what Kevin's slack-jawed reaction meant, since he had not for a time believed that Jane was really Jane.)
As the blush-a-thon was scheduled well into the evening hours (Helen would be at work until late, while Jake was having dinner with clients) and Jane had a date with Tom, Daria had spent most of the time after school doing research in the public library, stopping at Cluster Burger for a basic burger combo. She was hurrying so she could order the fashion club pizza.
To Daria's surprise, Tom's old Pinto pulled up to her just before she crossed onto her family's property. "Short date?" she enquired, leaning towards the open window.
"No date. Can we talk?" Tom asked.
Confused, Daria opened the door and climbed in. "I thought you and Jane had a date?" Daria repeated.
"Had," Tom answered. "You do know what she did to herself, right?"
"Yes," Daria replied simply.
"Look, you didn't like it when she went 'conventional' either, remember?" Tom retorted. "Make-overs!" he snorted in contempt. "I like Jane, but I thought she knew who she was. I know she wants to be an artist. . . ."
"She is an artist," Daria retorted.
"No, she's a very talented high school student who does art," Tom retorted. "She's not an artist yet, any more than I'm a philosopher or you're a writer. We're interested in those things, and hope to pursue them to some degree, at least in college, but we aren't there yet. And, like we talked about at the parade. . . ."
"I don't really want to talk about that, or this for that matter," Daria retorted. "If you're really this dissatisfied with Jane, you need to talk to her and resolve things one way or another."
"True, which is why I wanted to talk to you."
Daria was confused. "Huh? Did you want to talk about Jane with me?"
"Not really," Tom answered.
"Oh." Daria was still confused. "Then what did you want?"
"I wanted to talk about our situation, of course."
"I don't know what you mean!" Daria was starting to panic. "We have no situation. Leave me alone, I gotta go."
Daria tried to turn around in the car seat, but before she did, Tom pleaded, "Wait! Why is everyone so mad at me? Jane was, and now you are!"
Daria's mild panic quickly turned to anger. "Why? Why? Because I moved to this town and I knew immediately I'd be a total outcast. And in the one moment of good luck I've had in my entire life, I met another outcast who I could really be friends with and not have to feel completely alone. And then you came along and screwed the whole thing up!"
Tom replied with just as much heat. "And all I did was meet a girl I thought was cool and I went out with her for a while! We've started to get bored with each other. It happens all the time. It's nobody's fault."
"Oh, really?" Daria retorted. "Would you still be bored with her if I weren't around?"
"Yes, although it might have taken me longer to recognize it," Tom answered. "More to the point, she's bored with me, too. It hasn't got anything to do with you."
"Good thing, too! Because I'm not interested in you, and I'd be stabbing my friend in the back if I even considered it!"
"Exactly. And what kind of a jerk would that make me?"
"All right then," Tom said, thinking Daria was playing the same game he was.
"Okay th. . . ." Daria was taken by surprise when Tom leaned over and kissed her.
This was the first time that Daria had ever been kissed on the lips; her first romantic kiss. All thought fled for a moment, as her libido broke through the restraints she had imprisoned it.
Daria returned the kiss and the embrace, and then realization flooded back into her brain. She pushed Tom off, saying, "Dammit! Dammit, dammit, dammit!"
"I liked it, too."
Daria was enraged, "That's not funny!" Tom didn't know it, but he was lucky Daria no longer always remembered to carry the pepper spray that had been a basic accessory in Highland.
Daria backed out of the car, keeping an eye on Tom the whole time. "I apologize for getting carried away," she said. "I suggest you never do that to me again." 'Despite the fact I really liked it,' she added to herself.
"Certainly not without permission," Tom agreed.
The two parted. Tom saw Daria hurry to her house, and only then started the car. He hadn't planned on kissing Daria, but was glad he had. He would give her a few days to realize that he and Jane had broken up, and then call her Thursday night. Hopefully she would agree to a date.
Meanwhile, inside the house, Daria called Pizza Prince and ordered the pizza for the fashion club. Quinn looked up from the notes the four were making about the various blushes they were testing. "That girl called."
"I'm not surprised," Daria said. "I'm leaving the money for the pizza, plus a tip, here. I need to see Jane."
"Whatever," Quinn said. She glanced over and saw that Daria had indeed left the right amount. "Thanks for ordering it."
The four went back to their 'research.'
"Hey, Dar. . . ." Trent stopped and leaned forward to really examine the figure before him. "Oh, I see Tom stopped by to see you." Trent was shocked at the look of terror that statement created in Daria's eyes. For a moment, he thought Daria was going to flee, but then the small teen steeled herself and moved towards the steps to go upstairs as if they were leading her to the gallows.
Daria met Jane coming down the stairs. Seeing the odd look on her friend's face, Jane said, "If that look's because Tom broke up with me, you don't need to look so tragic."
"Tom . . . Tom broke up with you?" Relief, or at least partial relief, flooded through Daria.
"Yeah, the bastard. . . . Daria, what's wrong?" Daria hadn't looked that ill in some time.
"Jane," Daria said, managing to steel herself again – an action which made both Jane (who was now all the way down the stairs) and Trent brace themselves in return, "Tom kissed me tonight."
"Whoa!" was Trent's response.
"What? How? When? Where?" Jane demanded.
"He . . . he stopped me just before the house, as I was going to back to order Quinn her pizza," Daria explained in a frightened voice. "He said he wanted to talk, and I thought he wanted to talk about you."
"And?" Jane demanded.
"He said, well, he didn't want to talk much, and then he kissed me!"
"Did you kick him in the 'nads, or at least pepper spray him?" Jane demanded. When Daria merely flushed, Jane demanded, "You mean you kissed him back!"
"No! Well, it took me a moment to realize. . . ."
Daria collapsed on the bottom stair from guilt and terror, her arms raised as if to ward off a blow as well as to hide her face. Daria was actually shivering in fear, much as she had at Axl's when she'd been pierced. Trent meanwhile, had leaned over and whispered to his sister even as Daria started to collapse, "Remember what you told me; she's had no physical affection. Her first kiss, like this? Like, trauma and confusion."
Jane looked at the cowering figure at her feet, and Trent whispered, "She needs support, understanding, and above all, affection. Can't be me; there'd be like, too many complications." Trent gave Jane a little nudge and went to the basement.
Daria's world collapsed around her; she knew in her heart that returning Tom's kiss, even though it had been only a few seconds, had damned her in the eyes of Jane, of Trent, and of course of herself. She had given in to her primal urges. As far as she was concerned, for those brief seconds, she had been little better than the two morons back in Highland whose life had been based on hormones and pyromania. If she had not trained herself over the years to contain her emotions, Daria would have been in tears.
Daria flinched as hands touched her, and then she was shocked when instead of pushing her out of the house (even in this state, she knew neither Lane would hit her) those hands turned her away from the wall and towards a protective embrace. Daria was in no condition to resist, although she did not assist the process. She felt the finger under her chin, but her eyes were so unfocused she could not see what was happening. Then all she felt were lips upon hers and the arms holding her tight.
For a few seconds, Daria again melted into an unexpected kiss.
When the pressure on her lips lessened, Daria backed off, and was only slightly surprised to see that it was Jane who was holding her. 'Damn,' Jane thought, 'Trent was right. The poor kid was just turned into goo by me, and Tom is one hell of a kisser.' What she said, however, was, "I understand why you're upset. I'm not angry at you; Tom caught you by surprise. If you need to hear it, I forgive you."
Daria couldn't help herself; her arms went around Jane and she buried her face in Jane's shoulder.
Jane was only a little surprised. Daria had obviously had as emotional day as she had had herself, and Jane knew Daria was far less experienced than she was in dealing with these kinds and levels of emotions. Daria wasn't really crying – her shoulders and breathing hinted that she was, but there was no sound, and Jane was fairly sure there were no actual tears. Daria had trained herself so well to bury so many of her emotions that even this small reaction was startling, but it was also sad because it was so obviously contained. No wonder she had been easy prey for Tom.
Jane surprised herself by stroking Daria's long hair, but it seemed to sooth Daria, and felt nice to Jane at the same time.
After a few minutes, Daria released Jane and Jane allowed her to sit up straight. Daria's eyes were a little red and puffy, but there had been no actual tears. "I'm sorry," she told Jane. "I'm sorry if I haven't been a very good friend over this whole Tom thing, especially at the end."
Jane took a hold of Daria's hand and admitted, "Well, as much as I hate to say it, because he is a damn good kisser, and his parents' keep an amazingly well-stocked refrigerator, you and he do make more sense as a couple than he and I did."
Daria shook her head. "If anything, what happened today shows me that I am not ready to date anyone, at least not in a serious way."
"Not anyone?" Jane teased.
Daria managed a smirk. "I'm not gay, and neither are you."
"Aw, and I had such plans," Jane teased.
Daria took Jane by both hands, making Jane blink in surprise. "I do, well, you know, care about you, but not that way."
Jane relaxed. "I know, and I apologize for kissing you, but you looked like you needed it as much as you needed the hug."
"I did," Daria admitted, more to herself than to Jane. "Thank you. As far as I'm concerned, that was my first real kiss." She stood, still holding the now-blushing Jane's hand. Jane stood as well, and the two hugged again.
Daria and Jane turned and looked at Trent. "You can see why Tom and I didn't work out," Jane said, "and why Daria and Tom just couldn't."
"And why I felt so bad for letting him kiss me," Daria added as Jane put her arm around Daria's shoulders.
"Yeah, thanks for bringing us together," Jane put in, as Daria put her arm around Jane's waist. Daria forced herself to smile, put her head on Jane's shoulder and sighed wistfully.
"Ha ha. I know you two are not gay." Trent shook his head. "What you two are, though, is just plain weird."
"No, we aren't," Daria said, letting go of Jane, who let go as well. "If anything, we're becoming normal."
"Yeah, like I said, weird."
That Thursday night, Daria was seated at her computer, sorting through poetry and stories. It turned out Jane had been half thinking about applying to an art colony run by a friend of her mother's, which had summer programs, mostly for college students and other starting artists but also on occasion for a few select older high school students. Along with a wide-range of art classes, there were also creative writing and screen writing programs. Daria's mother, who had not yet had time to even think about finding summer activities for either daughter, was happy to give Daria permission to apply, providing she applied to some other programs, just in case this one did not pan out.
It turned out there was a similar, although less prestigious, program ran by Lawndale State, and so Daria was somewhat confident of at least getting into that, preventing who could guess what her mother might compel her to do over the summer otherwise.
The phone ringing startled her. Her mother was still working long days on a case, Quinn was on a date (or possibly two), and her father had settled down for a night flipping through sports channels with a small pitcher of martinis, so Daria answered. "Hello? . . . Hi, Tom. . . . . . . . . . What? No, no thank you. I don't think I'm ready. . . . Yes, I am a bit upset with you, but that's not the main reason I'm saying no. . . . Maybe. . . . Maybe means maybe. I tell you what, if you're still interested in late August, say, a week or so before school starts, give me a call, and we'll see. . . . I hope you have a good summer as well."
Daria hung up the phone and turned back to her computer. She smiled slightly, and went back to work.
Some dialog from Dye! Dye! My Darling! and concepts from Is it Fall Yet?