Set-Up: Daria and Jane's relationship has been dealt a major blow by an outside force. Can a phone call from an old friend save their relationship before it is lost forever?
Legal: Daria and Jane are owned by Glenn Eisher/MTV
Undefeated was originally written in
The phone rang several times through the quiet house. The painter, covered head to toe in shades of green, looked up from her canvas. She carefully sat her brush and palette down. There was not a phone in her studio room.
"Hey Daria.. can you get that?" Jane winced once she uttered the sentence. Knowing there would be no response, Jane made her way into the living room. She sighed for a moment before answering.
"Hey Jane. Is Daria around?"
"Sorry Jodie, she is at Fiction Addiction for a book signing today."
"Darn, I wanted to tell you both the good news."
"Do you want to wait until she gets home to tell me? She should be back sometime after nine."
"Sure.. just call me when she gets in. Make sure to turn on the speakerphone. I want you both to hear it."
"Will do - If Daria can stand being in the same room as me. Talk to you later." Jane hung up.
Jane didn't want to tell Jodie the complete truth. Daria was at a book signing. She would be home sometime around nine. What wasn't said was that Daria would be heading to the converted basement apartment rather than the regular residence. Jane poured herself a cup of coffee. She sat back down on the couch and stared at Daria and her's wedding photo. The smile on Daria's face showed her true love for Jane. It was a smile that Daria still flashed five years later--until that night two months ago.
That night, Daria's smile died. Picking up the frame, Jane held it against her as her mind drifted back on the events of the past two months.
Trent and Jesse's new band just signed a recording deal. It wasn't with one of the bigger labels but it didn't matter. Their feet were in the door. A week later, they threw a concert party at the Zon to share their achievement with their friends and families. Daria could not attend because she was flying to New York to finalize a new publishing deal. As the concert went on, Jane sat in her usual corner booth. Jane noticed a familiar face heading her way smiling. It was Jesse's younger brother Danny. Carrying two drinks, he sat next to Jane. They listened to the band for several minutes.
"Don't they sound great?" Danny handed her one of the drinks.
"Success will do that for you." Jane accepted the glass. "A toast to our brothers-- may they not sleep on our couches for at least six months." They clinked glasses. Jane quickly downed the soda.
About a half an hour later, Jane felt dizzy and light headed. Trent went to check on her and offered her a ride home. Danny volunteered instead so that Trent could start the next set. Trent reluctantly gave Danny the address. As Danny drove, Jane grew more tired. Everything was getting fuzzy. Danny was barely able to get her into the house and bedroom before she passed out. The last thing Jane had remembered was being helped out of the car.
Daria had arrived home at two in the morning. She had received a cryptic text message and booked the first flight home from New York. As she opened the bedroom door, Daria stared mortified. Jane was laying naked with Danny's head resting upon her chest. As tears flowed from her eyes, Daria took the wedding ring off her finger and placed it on the nightstand. She headed down to her basement office and cried herself to sleep.
The next morning, Jane woke up alone, naked, and confused. She turned to see Daria's ring. Quickly throwing on a nightshirt, Jane ran through the house calling Daria's name. Daria's luggage was still at the door but her car was gone. Jane called Daria's cell phone over a hundred times. Then she called Trent, who rushed to her house. Jane was in a daze over what had occurred. Why was Daria angry? Why did Daria come home early? More importantly, how did I get home from that party? Trent provided the answer to the last question, but couldn't fill in the rest. Daria didn't come back for three days. When she arrived, she moved her clothes and some of her basic needs into the basement office. Over the next week, the basement was converted into a mini apartment.
It took Trent and Jesse three weeks to track down Danny. By the time the whole truth was revealed, Daria's wall of seclusion was up and almost completely fortified. The truth sickened everyone involved. Danny had been paid to make it look like Jane had slept with him so that Daria would be shattered. Before Trent could knock his teeth out, Danny quickly explained the set up.
Danny had ran into one of his former classmates, Sandi Griffin at Cranberry Commons. After a casual conversation, she took him out to the parking lot for an offer he couldn't turn down. Sandi offered him $10,000 if he would make it look that Jane was cheating on Daria. Putting a drug in the soda that he gave her at the Zon, Danny then made sure he was the one that drove her home. After Jane passed out, he quickly undressed her. Hearing Daria's car pull into the garage, he placed his head on Jane's chest and pretended to be asleep. He left about an hour after Daria "caught" them and headed to Sandi's to get paid, with a picture of Daria's ring on the stand as proof. Danny talked about Sandi's wicked laugh as she wrote the check out. Ashamed of what he did, he went into a week long drug binge to try to erase the pain. He assured Jane that they never came close to having any kind of physical activities together. Jane stood up and proceeded to kick him in the nuts with one of her steel-toed Doc Martens. Daria remained quiet and left the room before Danny could compose himself.
The reason for Sandi's actions was even more insane. While in couples therapy, her husband, Charles, had admitted to having a crush on Daria back in high school. A crush that he never told anyone, not even Daria, about. The thought of her husband having feelings for Quinn's "cousin" enraged her. That was when she came up with her plan to defeat Daria once and for all. When Jane snapped back into reality, the frame was covered in tears.
So far, Sandi's plan was working. Even with Daria finding out the truth, she could not be in the same room as Jane. Staying in the basement for hours on end, Daria rarely spoke to anyone. Originally turning down the book signing for that day, Daria listened to Quinn and Mack for hours before being convinced to take do it. For her part; Quinn, after finding out what Sandi had done, decided to have a little revenge of her own. Quinn called Charles and told him about what Sandi had done. After the bank confirmed that the check had been cashed, he left Sandi and started divorce proceedings.
Daria arrived home around ten. The crowd at the store was larger than she or her agent had expected. Turning on the lights, Daria was surprised to see a folded note on her desk. At first, she was going to ignore it but changed her mind. Unfolding the paper, she brought it closer to her tired eyes.
Jodie called. She wants us to call her back when you get home regardless of time. It sounded very important.
Daria grabbed the note to throw it away. Then she reread it. For Jane to even leave it-- the news had to be serious. It also meant that she and Jane would be in the same room for the first time in weeks. Walking up the stairs leading into the kitchen, Daria drew in a long breath and slowly exhaled. Jane was making herself a cup of tea and offered Daria one. Saying nothing, Daria headed for the living room with Jane followed shortly behind. Lying down on the couch, Daria began rubbing her eyes. Jane could see the exhaustion on her face as she sat down in the adjacent recliner. Slowly, Daria dialed Jodie's number.
"Hi Daria. Hi Jane."
"How did the book signing go?" Jodie asked.
"Very well. I stayed until every last book was signed."
"That's great. Jane -- when is your next big show?"
"In about a month-- it's here though so I don't have to worry about traveling."
"Wonderful, I will try to catch it. So are you both sitting down?"
"Jane is. I am lying down." Daria yawned.
"Tiffany and I are getting married!"
Jane had to sit her cup down to avoid spewing tea everywhere. "You and Tiffany? As in Tiffany Blum-Deckler? I didn't even know you two were dating?"
"Yeah-- she and I have been dating for a little over a year now. We kept our relationship on the down low due to our families. Last night I said screw them and asked her to marry me and she said yes!"
"Congratulations Jodie. Have you set a date yet?"
"No. That was why I wanted you to talk to the both of you. I want-no-I need your help planning this. Even though I was in that bridal thing in school, I have no clue about how to set up a wedding, how to pick colors, so on so forth. Also- I have a question for you Daria."
"Fire away." Her monotone voice was beginning to fade.
"I know you swore to never wear another bridesmaid's dress after your cousin and then Quinn's wedding, but would you be my maid of honor?"
"I guess one more time wouldn't kill me I hope. Sure."
"Great. Tiffany asked Stacy to be hers. Jane-- will you be our ring bearer?"
"Thanks you two. This means alot to us."
Jane and Jodie began talking about possible colors. Yawning once more, Daria closed her eyes. After several minutes, Jane turned to Daria and found her asleep. She lifted the phone off the receiver.
"Jodie, I hate to cut this short, but Daria is really tired."
"Can you hand her the phone for just a moment."
"Okay." Jane lightly tapped Daria's shoulder. Daria slowly came to. "Jodie wants to speak to just you for a minute."
Daria put the phone up to her ear. "Yes Jodie. How can I help you?"
"Daria - I know what that bitch Sandi did to you and Jane. I was appalled when Quinn told me. Now listen to me, because she tried to hurt you really bad, but what you and Jane have is special. Do not let that nut job destroy the happiness you and Jane have worked so hard to build. I know you, whether you want me to or not, and your walls are pretty set right now. If you lay that final stone in place, then that means you let that psycho in high heels defeat you. Don't go down without a fight. If you don't want to fight for yourself, fight for Jane - she is just as much a victim as yourself."
Jodie's words cut through Daria's conscience. They hit Daria hard; not because of their tone, but because they were the truth. "Thanks Jodie. I needed that."
"I love you and Jane. Not in the same way as I love Tiffany but in a sisterly way. Can I speak to Jane one more time?"
"Sure." Daria handed the phone back to Jane and re-closed her eyes.
"Can I call you tomorrow to start figuring all this out?"
"As long as its not too early."
"By the way -- I know what Sandi did. Don't worry Jane. Daria still loves you. Trust me."
Pulling Daria's ring out of her pocket, Jane turned to look back at her wife. "I hope you are right Jodie."
"I have faith you two will make it. Talk to you tomorrow. Goodnight."
"Night." Jane hung up the phone.
Jane sat back down in the recliner watching Daria sleep. She missed Daria's breath against her body. Walking into their bedroom, Jane grabbed a pillow and a blanket, and carefully took off Daria's glasses and placed them on the coffee table. Gently lifting Daria's head, Jane slid the pillow under it. Then, she draped the blanket over Daria. Standing up, Jane looked down at her wife for a few minutes more. Bending down, she kissed Daria's cheek, leaving a slight hint of her red lipstick.
"Goodnight Daria ... I love you." Jane headed for the bedroom. Sliding Daria's ring on her finger, Jane fell asleep.
Daria's mind was working overtime. She was dreaming of a boxing ring. Sandi was in one corner with herself in the opposite one. Daria could hear the muffled sounds of boos and cheers and the fighters were introduced. As they met in the middle of the ring, the referee was going over the rules and tried to make them touch gloves. Sandi pulled back and headed for her corner waiting for the bell to sound. When the bell clanged, Sandi charged at Daria and hit her repeatedly, each blow hurting more than the the previous one. Daria tried to dodge and block a few to no avail. Then a left hook came out of nowhere and sent Daria to the canvas. The referee sent Sandi to a neutral corner. She began to raise her hands in victory. As the referee started his count, Daria turned and saw Jodie.
"You have to get up Daria. Don't let her beat you. You are stronger than she is and smarter than she could ever wish to be. NOW GET UP AND KICK HER ASS!"
The referee was still counting. "Three....four...."
"If you know what's good for you you'll stay down. How Charles could ever have had a crush on you is beyond me. You were a nothing then, just like are you today."
Daria could feel the despair wash over her. The referee continued the count. "Five...six..."
Then she heard a voice in the distant. "Daria -- get up. Fight for me - for us. I wasn't the one that hurt you - hurt us - she did. I love you." Jane's blue eyes blazed into view.
The referee continued. "Seven..."
Getting up onto her knees, Daria used the ropes to climb to her feet. Rage overtook her tiny frame as she realized that Jodie was right. Sandi was the guilty party not Jane. That bitch had hurt Jane -- probably more than Daria. Pounding her gloves, Daria began to pace. After the referee checked her, he gave the okay to continue. Daria attacked and nailed Sandi with a serious of short but affective jabs and body shots. Heading Sandi into one of the corners, Daria used the enclosed space to her advantage. Rapid fire blows caused Sandi to fall to her knees. After the referee stepped in, Sandi staggered to the middle of the ring. Sandi stood, rocking slightly before steadying herself.
"You were pissed at me for a crush I had no control over or even KNEW about and turned my life into a living hell. That wasn't even my biggest problem. You hurt the one person I love, but not anymore. NOW ITS MY TURN TO WIN." Daria connected a huge right uppercut to Sandi's chin. The blow was so powerful that it knocked Sandi right off her feet and onto the canvas.
The referee started his count while Daria stood in a neutral corner. Daria looked over to Jodie who was smiling.
"Eight.. nine.. ten." The referee signaled for the bell to ring. He lifted Daria's hand in victory. Turning around, she smiled as she saw Jane standing at the edge of the ring and kissed her.
Daria woke up sweating and searched for her glasses before quickly finding them. Heading to the bathroom, she turned on the light. At first, she was going to throw some cold water on her face until she noticed Jane's lipstick on her cheek. Grabbing a towel, she wiped her forehead and other cheek off instead. Stepping out of the bathroom, Daria knew she choice to make. Either she could head to the basement alone or go into the bedroom where the woman she loved was. She started walking back into the living room and grabbed the blanket and pillow. That was when she noticed the tear stains on the wedding photo. Lowering her head in shame over the fact that she had blamed the wrong person all along, Daria headed towards her decision.
Jane was sleeping in the same position she had been for the past two months: slightly curled and clutching Daria's side of the sheets. Although Daria's vision was not good in the dark, Daria saw two shiny bands of gold on Jane's finger. Looking at the scene before her, Daria's thoughts ran rampant. Damnit -- I almost let Sandi destroy me -- destroy us. I was sooo close. Daria could feel the tears forming but refused to let them fall as she knelt down beside Jane. Daria whispered under her breath. "If she had came after just me, I'd been fine - but she hurt you and that was something that was inexcusable. You were just as much of a pawn in her sick game as I was."
Reaching out, Daria gently brushed her hand through Jane's hair. Quickly turning around, Jane saw her wife of five years kneeling beside her. Jane sat up and placed her hand on Daria's cheek. Daria reached up and grabbed it.
"I'm sorry." Jane sighed.
"You don't have to apologize.. you did nothing wrong. I'm sorry it took me so long to realize it." Daria lifted Jane's left hand and removed her wedding ring from Jane's finger and placed it back on hers. "I love you."
"I love you too." Jane's eyes were beginning to water.
Daria began to untie her boots and slid them off. Jane grabbed the blanket and pillow off the floor while Daria changed. Daria slid into bed next to Jane. Jane pulled her into a warm embrace in which Daria reciprocated. They kissed each other for what felt like an eternity. As their lips separated , Daria smiled. It was the smile that burned through Jane's heart and into her soul.
"I thought I had lost you for good. I swear, I would never hurt you." Jane kissed Daria's cheek and tasted the tears as they flowed.
"I know and I promise you here and now -- I will never let anything or anyone defeat us." Daria kissed Jane one more time before their eyes closed.