Categories > Cartoons > Daria > Tigresses

Happy Holidays?

by DrT 0 reviews

The aftermath of the Winter Ball, and Jane’s grand painting makes its debut.

Category: Daria - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Daria,Jane,Sandi - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2014-04-04 - 5150 words - Complete

Tigresses of Lawndale – 16 – Happy Holidays?

By Dr T – the aftermath of the Winter Ball, and Jane’s grand painting makes its debut.


It had not been easy to confront Linda Griffin and force her to call the police. Probably Daria was the only teen who could have gotten her to do it, and even then it was done mostly to disprove the accusations and to get one over on Helen.

Unfortunately for the Griffins, the vial Sam Griffin had tried to pour into the punch, and which clearly showed his fingerprints and those of his ‘supplier,’ turned out to be a ‘cocktail’ containing GHB and similar date rape drugs. Even worse for Sam, he also had several doses of Rohypnol in his pocket. Sam broke well before the analysis of the drugs came back (he was much more afraid of what Thor would do to him than the police, never mind his indulgent parents), and he quickly confessed to the attacks at Lawndale High and the attempted rape of Leah Blum-Deckler. By then, all the guests had long left the Griffin house.

It would not be a good holiday for the Griffin family. Sandi would quickly be transferred from Lawndale High to complete her education at one of the private schools nearby, while her younger brother, Chris, was sent to a private school noted for its strict discipline (although not a military school), as he had successfully set up Leah to storm off alone after the Halloween party and had been promised ‘a turn’ with the stay-over guests if the date-rape drugs had worked, although Sam had been reluctant to include Quinn. In return for not having any criminal charges filed, Sam was sent to a ‘special’ school for ‘troubled youth’ (basically a private reform school with elements of a military school). Although the Fashion Club’s photo remained in the 2001 yearbook, the Club itself was dead.

Of course, nothing was said officially as all this was sorted out behind closed doors between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Helen had had a quiet word with the senior partner at Lawndale Law, and, in his guise as a county commissioner he had had a word with the superintendent of schools, who had had a word with Ms Li. Three of the senior partners had also had words with the county prosecutor’s office, who in turn had many words to share with the Griffins.

Daria did not care what emotional trauma any of this caused the Griffins. She was not overly concerned about what Stacy, Tiffany, or even Leah thought or felt. She was worried about Quinn, as she took what their crush on her had done to the Griffin boys’ already warped psyches to heart. In the end, Jane got Daria to invite Quinn, Stacy, Tiffany, and Leah to a ‘slumber party’ Christmas night. Jane and Daria hadn’t planned anything in particular, they had just planned to watch bad movies (Santa Claus Conquers the Martins was to have been the ‘highlight’.) The fact that both Amanda and Vincent were home for Christmas before they were scheduled to go and see New Year’s celebrations in Borneo lessened the impact of giving up their movie night at the Lanes.

All the families had their big Christmas meal in the afternoon, and Helen and Jake had agreed to take a bottle of cava upstairs with snacks for a quiet Christmas night together. Daria therefore put together snack trays and had plenty of popcorn and sodas (diet for the three Fashion Fiends) and planned the movies, keeping in mind Leah’s presence for the first two.

It turned out having Leah there made the evening. She was still feeling fragile from her ordeal at Halloween, and felt cosseted by her sister and her two friends as they gave her a ‘make-over’ during the first half of the first movie that would have earned them bodily harm had they tried it on Daria. Leah also felt protected by the two older teens who were credited in exposing her attacker and, hopefully at that point in time, getting him out of town at the least.

To start off in the holiday spirit, Daria had chosen the colorized version of Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers. To Daria’s surprise, only she knew the movie. As she had expected, Leah and the trio of juniors enjoyed the schmaltzy love story and songs, and all six enjoyed the broad comedy to some degree. Daria and Jane, of course, enjoyed the ending as the wooden soldiers took care of the boogie men. Tiffany glanced at her sister at the start of the boogie men attack at the end of the movie to make certain she wasn’t upset, and saw she was safely snuggled on the floor between Daria and Jane’s legs, her head on Daria’s knee and Jane’s hand resting protectively on her head. Tiffany was pleased to see the look on her sister’s face as one wooden soldier rescued a little girl. This night, at least, her little sister shouldn’t have any nightmares.

Once she had found out Leah was coming, Daria had toned down her first two selections. Therefore the next movie was The Nightmare before Christmas. That was as much Christmas cheer she could stand. Quinn knew all this, of course, and knew that Daria, and Jane, would want something bloody if nothing else. She had warned Tiffany and Stacy, and so after Nightmare she bustled her guests up to here room for some gossip and giggles while Daria and Jane settled down to enjoy one of the bloodier Hammer films from the 1960s before sleep.


Since New Year’s Day was on a Monday, and Helen knew she would not be bothered by her fellow law partners has she had so often been by the late Eric, she had made plans for herself and Jake to get away. They had enjoyed their time together after Thanksgiving, but Helen had learned from her mistake of booking an isolated cabin the year before. She wanted time for herself and Jake, with few distractions but with places to go and things to do so they wouldn’t drive each other crazy.

There was no way she was going to allow Jake near any ski-only resorts, and the schedule was tight enough that they really couldn’t fly anywhere. So, she had decided to take the risk and managed to book the weekend for herself and Jake in Hot Springs, Virginia. She just hoped she could keep Jake occupied enough at the resort there itself that he wouldn’t think of trying to learn to ski.

Given the modest lead time and considering what had happened at the Griffins, Quinn was happy that she would be staying with Stacy. They would be taken by the Three J’s to a boy-band concert Friday night, go to a play down at the Kennedy Center with Stacy’s parents Saturday night, and join their friends at McGrundy’s for the New Year’s Eve Party there.

Daria had mentioned that Jane’s parents were home for Christmas holidays. She had not mentioned that their stay had ended two days after Christmas, and that Trent would also be out of the house New Year’s weekend. Mystic Spiral would be performing their last gig at the Zon that Friday before leaving town to get ready for their attempt at a real tour and would have their ‘farewell’ appearance at McGrundy’s New Year’s Eve. There was no way Daria and especially Jane would miss those.

John and Thor were willing to escort Jane and Daria to the clubs. When Daria filled them in on her plans for the entire holiday weekend, their willingness quickly grew into enthusiasm.

While Quinn and Stacy were being pampered at a day spa to prepare for the boy band concert, the quartet ate pizza for lunch and spent the afternoon in the hot tub, occupying themselves as they had so often done recently and having a joyous time, although afterwards Daria only allowed herself a small smirk, as opposed to the others’ broad grins. Getting in to Casa Lane well after midnight, Jane and Daria took the time to shower the smoke smell from the club off of each other before tumbling into bed, where they both fell into a quick, long, deep, and satisfying sleep.

Neither Daria nor Jane was awake much before 11:00 the next morning. They ate a leisurely brunch and then Jane spent the rest of the afternoon alternating between a painting she was working on as part of Daria’s idea for the Lawndale Review and cleaning the upstairs. Daria spent the time getting the downstairs ready. John and Thor rolled in a little before 3:00. Although it was chilly, in the low 40s, Thor and John managed to get the grill going in a sheltered spot. When the coals were right, they’d started roasting some veggies; they’d split a roast chicken John had bought and a bottle of pink champagne Thor had talked his older sister into slipping him on the sly.

Well before dinner, John and Jane slipped away for a quickie, while Daria and Thor discussed possible strategies for getting together at various locations between their most likely universities. The roast dinner was proclaimed a success, and they saved enough of the champagne to take their final glasses together to their respective bedrooms – Daria and Thor were as usual using Penny’s room. Thor and John would both very much have liked to, and enjoyed, spending the entire night, but neither dared to believe their mothers wouldn’t check on any story, such as their spending the night at the others’ house, since they had so rarely done so in the past.

John therefore left a little before 10:00, with Jane already asleep. Thor left some thirty minutes later. Although happily exhausted, Daria made herself glance over the downstairs to make certain there was no food lying out and that the house was locked up before taking a quick shower. After seeing the state of Jane’s bed, not to mention Jane, Daria just pulled a blanket over the snoring nude form. She then went back to Penny’s room and striped off the bottom sheet, put on a fresh one, and slept there.

Jane awoke the next morning to the smell of coffee. She stirred and grimaced. “Yech.”

“Is that a comment on how you feel, or the state of what’s under the blanket, and under you for that matter?” Daria teased.

“Both,” Jane admitted. She hurried from the bed and nearly sprinted to the bathroom. Daria smirked as she heard the shower run for a few minutes. When Jane came back, wrapped in a towel, she thankfully let it drop to pull on the robe Daria was holding out. She was even more grateful for the large mug of sugared coffee.

When the coffee was partiality gone, Jane looked up and said, “I hear you had at least as good a time as I did, or should I say at least as many times as I did?”

Daria flushed slightly, but merely shrugged.

“Why aren’t you as . . . as. . . .” she groped for a term.

“Shagged out?” Daria suggested with a slight smirk.

“Probably a better term than most, although a bit graphic for you,” Jane agreed.

“Well, while Theo and I probably expend as much total energy as you and John, you two are equally athletic, while Theo takes care of a lot of that.”

“Ah.” She gave Daria the eye. “You’ve continued to surprise me at how open you are about this.”

Daria shrugged. “On the one hand, I am not ashamed of what Theo and I do; or of what you and I do. Or even of what John and I do to you at the same time. On the other hand, they are private things. I don’t want others to know because it’s none of their damn business, just as I don’t want or need to know what they do. Who knows, maybe thirty years from now one of the four of us might be in a position where knowledge of these activities would harm us or our future loved ones. I’m not afraid that you or the boys would blackmail me, but if others know, it could come back to haunt one of us.”

Jane merely nodded and then looked at the bed.

“Yes,” Daria agreed, “that kind of evidence needs to be taken care of. You grab the sheet; I’ll get the bleach.”


That night at McGrundy’s, Daria sat back in her chair, just barely leaning against Thor as they listened to the band. Well, Daria was listening to Mystic Spiral, Thor was scanning the crowd.

As she listened, Daria could tell the band was playing better than she had ever heard them before. There was a drive behind their playing which she had never heard before the previous six months, and then more often than not it was intermittent. It was unlikely that they would ever play much better than this, and that was a shame, because even at this level Daria just could not imagine them ever hitting it big. Still, she thought if they could keep approximately at this level, they might at least have a decent career as a touring regional band, rather than a townie bar band playing for just slightly more than tips.

She hoped that would be enough for the band; that it would be enough for Trent. Her crush was long gone, but he was still the first person whom she had really found sexually attractive in any sort of personal way. Lurking under deep encryption on diskettes were apocalyptic stories where she and Trent were among the few survivors, and how they had helped repopulate the Earth, often in graphic, and very unrealistic, detail.

No matter what happened in the future, Daria knew she would always have a soft spot in her heart for Trent. To everyone but her, Trent and Theo had nothing in common other than their gender, their very different love of music, and being indigenous to Lawndale. To Daria, though, they had some very important traits in common. Both easily looked past her public persona, both valued her mind, both usually got her humor and outlook on life, and, of course, both physically attracted her, which was rare for her.

Trent ended the song as he saw the manager gesticulating and looked up. “Say, that countdown clock claims it’s only two minutes to the New Year. We’ll do one more song after midnight, and then we’re done. Here’s to a better New Year for us all!”

At thirty seconds to go, the crowd joined the countdown. Daria frowned at herself and decided to start the New Year off differently. She stood but gestured for Thor to stay seated. At five seconds before midnight, she stood astride his legs, leaned in, and at Midnight, for the first time in public, she gave him a deep, long kiss.


Jane woke up the next morning to the smell of coffee. She had been slightly surprised that Daria was apparently not only already awake but functional until she noticed it was nearly One o’clock.

“Happy New Year,” Daria chirped as Jane staggered into the kitchen.

Jane halted and gave her friend the evil eye, but the most she managed to mutter was, “Blergh?”

Daria said nothing but poured her friend a large cup of coffee and spooned sugar into it, adding just a dash of milk. She also dumped two aspirin onto a plate. “And just what were you and John drinking last night?” she asked in what for Daria was nearly a brightly cheerful tone. “We had to practically pour you two into the back of the truck, and Theo had to carry you up to bed.”

Jane had already popped the aspirin and sucked down half the coffee. She added more sugar and then held out the mug with shaking hands in a silent plea for it to be topped off. Daria did so, and Jane managed to drink a bit more before she answered. “I’m not sure,” she admitted. “Some sort of white lightening one of the other football players brought.”

“That was foolish, Jane,” Daria gently scolded. “Why trust one of those idiots not to accidentally make something poisonous?”

“You’re probably right,” Jane admitted.

“Come on; how many of our classmates are really bright enough not to accidently distill something dangerous, if not actually lethal?”

Jane sighed. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” She glared at Daria. “Did Thor undress me, too?”

“Jane, you have nothing Theo hasn’t seen close up in the hot tub,” Daria pointed out. “But no, he and I striped you down to your underwear, and after he left I took off your bra and wrestled you into your t-shirt.”

Jane managed to smirk and ask, “Have fun?”


Jane nearly choked on her coffee.

“As we’ve heard Brittany comment about herself many times, ‘perky, but not too perky.’ I’d say you’re the perfect size as well, unlike her.”

“Been staring at her assets, huh?” Jane managed to tease.

“Is there anyone at Lawndale High, or even in this county, who has not been in the position to ogle her assets, no matter what their preferences?” Daria retorted.

“True, if not for prurient interests, then for comparative purposes,” Jane had to admit.

“Speaking of putting you to bed, I have a proposal to remind you of.”

“That’s still not legal, and we still both prefer guys,” Jane pointed out.

“True on both counts, but irrelevant,” Daria replied. “I read an e-mail from Luhrman while you were sawing logs.”

“One, I DON’T snore. . . .”

“I’ll have to record you some night.”

Jane glared. “Okay, what does the Stephen Wright of Boston have to say this lovely New Year’s morn?”

“We should be officially hearing about our respective applications for early admission to Raft and BFAC this month.”

“True,” Jane agreed. Both hoped to gain early acceptances as what Jane called ‘first round draft picks’ before the general letters went out in early spring. If they were offered early admissions and took them, they could not then change their minds and attend somewhere else without incurring financial penalties.

Jane blinked, realizing that Daria had not continued, meaning she was waiting to see if Jane figured things out on her own. “Come on,” Jane pleaded, “it may not be too early but I’m in no shape to figure out much more than which side of the cup to drink from.”

Daria accepted that. “Remember I told you that he and his roommate were applying for grad school in California? They were accepted and that we can pick up their apartment lease if we take it over starting in July. You hinted you were interested and he finally sent some pictures.”

“That’s an expense,” Jane mused. “That’s at least a month and a half of unnecessary rent, especially since we’ll be at camp. Plus don’t freshmen have to live on campus in both cases?”

“The second is irrelevant,” Daria pointed out. “We’ll both have enough credits to be allowed to live off campus.”

“And the expense?”

“We also can have their furniture. He sent photos; it looks decent and they both are neat-freaks.”

Jane considered that as she slowly drank more coffee. She finally made an objection. “Err, Daria, isn’t Luhrman living with a guy?”

“You know he is.”

“Aren’t they a couple?”

“They were; they broke up a few weeks ago but are still good friends. He promises they had a mattress liner on the bed.”

“On THE bed, right?”

Daria looked at Jane. “It doesn’t have to mean that, Jane; would sharing one king-size bed between the two of us really bother you? That way we can use the other bedroom as a study for us and a drawing studio for you. All it would have to mean is we couldn’t bring any boyfriends home for the night.” Daria was still worried Jane didn’t want to be with her.

Realizing that, Jane placed a hand on Daria’s arm. “I want to room with you, and will even share a bed, I just don’t know about this apartment. Remind me about our getting to our schools.”

“It’s near a major bus stop – buses to BFAC should take about thirty minutes, and less to Raft, although in a totally different direction. Plus it comes with one parking place.”

“How big is the bed?” Jane asked. She quickly added, “I’ve enjoyed snuggling with you in my bed, don’t get me wrong! But I think two of us in a single bed would be too crowded for the long term!”

“As I already said, it’s a king-size,” Daria retorted drily. She filled Jane’s mug up again.

“I’ll look at the pictures with you, and we can decide if we want that place or want to go looking,” Jane said. “What?” she demanded as Daria gave her a look. “I want to room with you!”

“Speaking of rooming, where has Trent been?” Daria asked.

“He’s been sharing the basement with Jesse. They’re trying to train each other to wake up.”

Daria smirked. “And how is that going?”

“Surprisingly well,” Jane answered. “One or the other usually manages to wake up on time, and that’s who has to wake up the other.”

“Are we giving them a farewell party or anything before they leave next week?”

Jane shook her head. “Max is afraid a party will jinx them.”

Daria looked amused. “Is there anything that doesn’t worry or frighten Max?”

“I wouldn’t want to put him through the trauma of finding out,” Jane answered.


It wasn’t easy going back to school that Tuesday for Daria, Jane, or what remained of the Fashion Club. Quinn had wondered to Daria just before the New Year’s weekend what she might do for an activity – without the excuse of the Fashion Club she knew she could not get away with as much shopping, and that their mother would insist on a school sponsored activity, or worse, a job.

Daria had put a few assorted moments thought together and talked things over with Jane before presenting her idea to Quinn that Monday afternoon. Quinn had contacted Stacy and some of the popular juniors, while Daria had simply phoned Jodie and Brittany the night before.

Daria was glad of this distraction – that plus starting the rehearsals for the Lawndale Spring Review would keep her occupied, when she really didn’t want to be in Lawndale at all. Thor would likely be at Ellis, a reasonable drive or even bus ride from Boston. Her romance novel had been sent off, and she was waiting for whatever revisions might be needed, and she had sent off several short stories and poems. The first volume of her angst work, published by Bromwell University Press, had just come out and the others would be out within two months.

Daria wanted out of Lawndale and on to her next challenges.

Jane felt much the same. Her large painting would be unveiled in the gallery at the museum operated under the auspices of the Sloan Foundation on January 26. The still life of hers that the Museum itself had purchased for its permanent collection would also be showcased and then moved from its place in the ‘recently acquired’ display to a special exhibit showing now six-generations of work from her and her female relatives that the museum held. She wanted new challenges as well.

Therefore, Jane, grumbling as she did so as it was so early in the morning, joined in with Daria, Quinn, Tori, Jodie, and Brittany as they went to see Ms Li before classes started the Wednesday after New Year’s to get her permission to create the ‘Gourmet Theatre Club.’ Designed for juniors and seniors, they would dine out around Lawndale once a semester and then take a school sponsored trip either to Washington or even New York to visit a museum (in part to appease Jane) and see a show. They would meet once a week to talk and plan. Daria had talked Mrs. Bennett into co-sponsoring, on the grounds that she could teach the students comparative pricing of menus, along with Mr. DeMartino, who had agreed simply because he enjoyed musicals.

Jane really didn’t care much about the club specifically; she joined only because Daria, John, and Thor were joining and because she was willing to consider any sort of art-related activity. Daria cared a bit more, but was organizing it only to keep busy, as she was sure her mother would make work for Quinn if she didn’t have a time-consuming activity. Her mother was acting better, but Daria didn’t trust that if Quinn was made to do something that Daria wouldn’t be made as well, out of ‘fairness.’ Jodie joined in the hopes she could relax while appearing to her parents to be busy on club business. Jodie and Daria therefore made certain that while they were running the committee planning the trips, Quinn and Tori were running the actual meetings and discussions.

Quinn and Tori, of course, were planning on using the club as a stepping stone to greater popularity when they were seniors. Dining, theatre, and museums were classy in different ways, and as they matured they wanted to be seen as chic as well as popular. To their surprise, over the coming weeks the two found they could get along quite well; both realized that it was possible to share a top spot – it was easier to be co-Queen of the Hill if they worked together to watch each other’s backs and kick anyone who tried to supplant them back down the hill. Quinn would be surprised at how easy it was to work with someone other than Sandi.

In all this maneuvering, Mystic Spiral slipped away with Daria and even Jane barely noticing. Amanda, in a rare realization, recognized however that Jane should not be totally alone in the house all the time. She and Vincent returned in late January, and both would stay in town for the unveiling of Jane’s paintings. Vincent would then be off to photograph Carnival in one of the smaller Brazilian cities, but Amanda would stay on. During the week, she worked on her pottery but on weekends she traveled to various art shows up and down the East Coast, to give Jane some space as well.

Jane would decide by the end of February that she enjoyed this arrangement.

Unsurprisingly to everyone but Jane, Jane was left totally out of the planning of her exhibition. Daria wondered if the anxiety her friend felt would have been lessened if Jane had any sort of active role, or if it would have been even greater. As the date approached ever closer, Jane seemed to lose what Brittany had called her ‘bouncity-bounce’ the year before. She wasn’t depressed, but she slowly took on a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look. That look only increased when Jodie asked what kind of speech she was planning on giving.

Daria was beginning to wonder if Jane would take off on the run, like she had at the school assembly when she had fled from the podium during the presentation of her self-esteem certificate. Daria even had to write the artist’s statements for her with very little input.

When the evening finally came, Daria had to practically dress Jane in the gown she had worn to the Snow Ball. John and Thor picked them up, with John driving his mother's Mercedes W-140. As the valet drove the car off, Jane froze at the bottom of the steps to the museum.

“You can do this,” John told her.

“I can’t,” Jane whispered, her eyes wide with terror.

“You can,” Daria stated firmly. “If you’re scared, think of yourself playing a role – you’re the confident, Bohemian artist extraordinaire, here to play a joke on the bourgeoisie as they pay you to mock them. Come on, Marcello, you can do this.”

Jane took a deep breath and nodded. She looked at John, held out her hand and said, “Come on, Musetta.” John rolled his eyes at the reference but smiled as he took Jane’s hand.

Thor offered Daria his arm – she was not a hand holder. As they mounted the steps, he said, “I don’t mind thinking of you in some ways as a Rodolfo, but I don’t think I can do a convincing Mimi.”

“I don’t think of you that way, I promise you,” Daria replied.


For a small regional museum, there was a very good selection of people from the local arts communities as well as critics from Washington, northern Virginia, Maryland, and even Philadelphia and New York. There were also six members of the BFAC faculty present. The non-local critics, of course, were present because of networking by the Sloans and by nearly all of Jane’s teachers at Ashfield (other than Daniel Dotson).

The immediate reaction from the critics who had not made it to the critics’ preview that afternoon was aggravation that they had come all that way to see a high school student’s artwork. The reaction from the critics who had made it to the preview was shock at that same information.

The critics were not overly impressed by Jane’s still life considered on its own, although nearly all, if pressed, would have agreed it was a remarkable achievement for a teen artist. Jane’s large work, however, impressed them all by its structure and paintwork, even if some were dismissive of the subject. The BFAC faculty went into a huddle and then told Jane not to worry about early admissions; she was in. Two of the faculty who would almost certainly have Jane in class were especially happy, while the others left trying to figure out how to get Jane into their classes.

While Daria hovered in the background, she let Jane come out of her shell as her work was praised. Daria would wait until the next day to tell anyone that one of her short stories had been accepted by a small literary review in Washington State, even though another had been rejected by Musings. This night was Jane’s.

Daria was content with the glow on her best friend’s face.
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