THE PASSION CLUB
by Gystex



NOTE:

This story contains adult themes and explicit descriptions of sexual activity.  Discretion is advised.


Chapter Four:  A Kiss from a Flower

Stacy paused outside Sandi's house and looked back. She was startled to discover Quinn and Sandi's silhouettes clearly visible on the blind in Sandi's window.

"Oh my gosh, Tiffany! Look at that!"

Tiffany turned, and saw the forms in the window. Quinn's long hair flowed behind her as she leaned her head back and let Sandi kiss her throat, and then lower, and lower still. Something that could only be a brassiere was tossed over Sandi's shoulder.

Stacy knew her friends would be mortally embarrassed if they knew she was watching, but she couldn't tear her eyes away. Quinn's breasts stood out in perfect profile, as did Sandi's face, which she lowered onto Quinn's body until her lips touched the exposed nipple. Quinn reacted with obvious pleasure, and it was only a few moments before she knelt down to kiss Sandi's lips. Then they dropped below the window frame, and a bit later, the light went out.

A sudden chill went through Stacy, though it was a warm night. "Wow," she whispered.

"We should tell them to be more careful about that," Tiffany pointed out. "I mean, if they don't want to get caught."

Stacy just stood there and stared at the darkened window.

"Stacy? Are you all right?"

"Huh? Oh, sure, I'm fine!" Stacy shook herself. "It's just… you know, I wasn't sure I believed it until now. That Sandi and Quinn are, um…"

"Lesbians."

"Yes, thank you Tiffany, I know the word."

"Then… how come you can never say it?"

"Lesbians! Lesbians-lesbians-lesbians! How's that?"

Tiffany shrugged. "Why are you getting so upset, Stacy?"

Stacy started to get more upset, then relaxed. "I'm sorry, Tiffany. I guess I just never expected this. I mean, it just seems so weird that Quinn and Sandi are a couple now. It just took me by surprise, that's all."

Tiffany looked back up at the window. "At least they're both really cute. I'd hate to see either of them dating an unattractive girl."

"I wonder what it's like," Stacy mumbled under her breath.

"What what's like?" Tiffany asked.

"Um… never mind. Come on, let's go home."

They got in Tiffany's car and left.

*********

"I wonder what it's like?" Jane pondered as she sketched in her book, showing Quinn and Stacy making out in the lunchroom.

"What are you talking about?" Daria asked in an annoyed tone. She wasn't terribly pleased with Jane's choice of subjects for her next work, and had said so several times.

"You know, kissing another girl," Jane said. "I was just curious what it was like."

"You stay away from me," Daria warned.

Jane laughed. "Relax, Daria. I'm not trying to make a move on you here. Can't a girl be a little curious without being homosexual?"

"No, they can't. Trust me on this one."

Jane stopped drawing and looked sternly at Daria. "You know, I would have expected you to have a more open mind about this. You don't seem to have a problem with Quinn and Sandi."

"I have lots of problems with Quinn and Sandi. And Stacy, and Tiffany, and Brittany, and Kevin, and Upchuck –"

"Don't change the subject. I want you to explain your last remark."

Daria sat up, put down her book, and sighed. "It's kind of a long story. Goes back to Highland."

"All right, I love these stories!" Jane said, immediately captivated. "Does this have anything to do with those two mutant Neanderthals you used to hang out with?"

"Not really. See, I was on the newspaper staff, you knew that."

"It still amazes me that you were involved with a school activity."

"Let me finish. Anyway, they had made me the fashion editor, if you can believe that. Needless to say, I got old on that very quickly, and asked for a different position. So they put me in charge of reporting on the activities of the various clubs. They wanted me to start with cheerleading, but I wanted to do something a little more offbeat than that."

"You? Rebelling against authority and not wanting to involve yourself with cheerleading? You astound me, Daria."

"So, I decided to report on the local Gay and Lesbian Alliance. I sat in on a few of their meetings and took notes. Remind me to give Trent the lyrics to 'Lesbian Seagull' some time, I'd get a kick out of hearing the Spiral perform it."

"It was that bad?"

"Worse. So in the end, I got my story, and it went out in the Highland Howdy. Thus began three weeks of hell. People jumped to the conclusion, based on the fact that I never wore makeup, paid little attention to my wardrobe, didn't gush over the cute guys, didn't talk to the girls, and that I went to the meetings in the first place, that I had to be a lesbian. This being Highland, Texas, I was seen as a deviant and a demon-spawn, bent on corrupting others to my bizarre way of life. To make matters worse, the Gay and Lesbian club felt I was putting them in a bad light, and I was attacked by them too."

"You were actually attacked?" Jane asked, concerned.

"Mostly with words. Occasionally with substance. Someone threw a strap-on dildo tied to a brick through my bedroom window one night, that was as close as it came to physical assault. Mom was in a total outrage, of course, but she mostly blamed it on me. She figured that it was the result of my being so anti-social all the time, that naturally the other kids would get the wrong idea."

"How did Quinn take it?"

"She didn't know about most of it. She was going to a different school at the time. What she did see, she figured was just the usual harassment unpopular kids like me always got. Anyway, like I said, it only lasted for three weeks. Then we moved to Lawndale."

"Hm." said Jane.

"So you can see why I'm somewhat opposed to being mislabeled as homosexual. I don't care how others live, but I won't be persecuted for something I'm not. I have enough trouble with persecution for the things I am."

"Okay, I can see your point." Jane looked critically at her sketch of Quinn and Sandi, ripped it out of the book, and chucked it in the can.

"You don't have to do that, Jane," Daria said.

"I didn't like how it was coming out anyway."

"Coming out. Funny."

"Let's go get some pizza," Jane suggested. "You can bring Tom along and kiss him in front of people, if it makes you feel better."

"He is a good kisser, isn't he?"

"I had no complaints. Not about the way he kissed me, anyway.."

"Hey!"

"What'd I say?"

*********

Stacy thumbed idly through her latest issue of Waif, which she had already studied in detail in preparation for the last meeting. She couldn't get her mind off the image of Sandi and Quinn embracing. First they had kissed in front of her, to prove they were, in fact, a couple. Stacy was fairly embarrassed about how she'd reacted to that, but they really couldn't blame her, could they?

Seeing them in the window, though, had been different. The kiss for Stacy had been for show. The scene in the window had been for real. Stacy found herself imagining what it could be like to touch Sandi's body the way Quinn had, or to kiss her soft, full lips. Another chill ran through her as she imagined either or both of them kissing her.

Oh my God! she thought. I can't believe I'm sitting here thinking about this! What would Sandi think?

Actually, Sandi might be turned on by the whole thing. I was right the first time, this will definitely take some getting used to.

Stacy put the magazine aside, turned out her light, and settled under the covers. Sleep didn't come easily that night.

*********

Stacy felt soft arms around her, and sighed with contentment. It was so nice to be held while she slept, to feel the warmth of another body next to her. A slim hand cupped her young breast, a touch that Stacy would normally have felt invasive, but it was a welcome, soft caress that made her feel wanted and loved.

She turned over in her sleep, resting her head on her unseen companion's shoulder. A warm breath touched her lips, and Stacy raised her head slightly to accept the kiss that followed. Her hands touched her lover's hair, stroking it softly as the kiss went on.

Her eyes fluttered open, and she smiled at Sandi's beautiful face before moving in for a second, deeper kiss…

Stacy woke up with a rush. Her eyes snapped open, and after a moment's disorientation, she realized where she was.

I've had that dream before, she thought. When did I have that dream before?

She stayed still in her bed, trying to grasp at the wispy tendrils of memory that she knew were there. She noticed her own hand on her breast, and moved it away. There was no questioning that the dream had left her in a state of powerful excitement, but that was fading as the dream state slipped away and wakefulness took further hold. After a short while, Stacy gave up on trying to remember and fell back to sleep.

Her dreams for the rest of the night were… eventful.

*********

Quinn sat on the grass just outside the lunchroom, catching up on some reading before her English class. Sandi had become a lot more tolerant of Quinn's eccentric, scholarly ways since they had gotten involved. Quinn hoped that eventually Sandi would see the wisdom in paying a little more attention to her schoolwork, but that hadn't happened yet.

"Quinn?"

Quinn looked up. Stacy was standing over her. "Hi, Stacy! What's up?"

"Um, can I talk to you for a second?"

"Sure, Stacy!" Quinn indicated a patch of thick grass where Stacy might sit without getting dirt on her jeans.

"Quinn, I've uh, been wondering something," Stacy said quietly.

Quinn cocked her head to one side. "I suppose I can guess what this might be about."

Stacy looked around to make sure no one was in earshot. "Well… How did it happen? You know, between you and Sandi."

Quinn smiled with the memory. "Well, it was after the meeting, and I was trying to tell Sandi how I wanted to be better friends with her and stop fighting all the time. And, I called her a bitch."

Stacy stared. "No kidding? Right to her face?"

Quinn nodded. "The thing is, she started crying. I told her I didn't mean it, but I suppose the truth is that I did. And she told me how sorry she was, and that she wanted to be better friends too."

"Wow," Stacy said.

"Well, we decided to start being nice to each other, and one thing led to another, and I got the idea that we should take off our makeup and stuff and see what each other looked like without it."

"So that's when she switched back to her normal eye color!" Stacy realized.

Quinn stared into space, remembering. "She's still beautiful under all of it," she said. "I still don't think she realizes how pretty she is. And I told her so, and we were standing really close, and… she kissed me."

Stacy looked around again. There was still no one watching or listening. "What did it feel like?" she whispered.

Quinn giggled. "It scared me out of my friggin' wits," she said.

Stacy giggled too, but rather nervously. "No, I mean, what did it feel like?"

Quinn's expression grew thoughtful. "It was… very soft," she said. "It felt like kissing a flower… very soft, and sweet. Even though it scared me, I wanted more. I guess that's why I eventually went back for more, and then once we got started, we couldn't stop. We went all the way the very next night."

"All the way?" Stacy whispered. "What do you mean?"

Quinn paused. "Why are you asking me all this, Stacy?"

Stacy stuttered, "I… um, that is…"

The bell rang.

"Whoops! Gotta go! Thanks, Quinn!" Stacy took off.

Quinn got up slowly, watching Stacy run away. It was only natural that Stacy would be curious about all this, but there seemed to be something else bothering her. Quinn got the idea that things were going to get more complicated before they got easier.

*********

Jane twirled the dial on her locker with only half her mind on what she was doing. The rest of her mind was on Sandi and Quinn at the other end of the hall. Jane noticed how they were standing closer together than they used to, laughing more, casually touching hands every so often. One might have thought they were simply close friends, but the signs of something deeper were there if one knew to look for them.

She found herself continually flashing back to a night just about two months ago, which made sense, under the circumstances…

"I promise not to kick you out of bed in the morning," said Alison, her look going from probing to seductive. "Well, unless you're snoring."

"Thanks, but I –" realization seeped through Jane's wine-addled brain. "Oh, God."

"What's the matter? I'm not your type?"

"Um, Alison… I'm straight."

"Yeah, right," Alison said, shaking her head minutely. "I don't think so."

Jane was sobering up by the second. "I'm not gay."

"Where have I heard that before?" Alison asked playfully. "Wait a minute. Is this your first time with a girl? Well, no wonder you're nervous!"

Jane felt like she was getting nowhere. "Alison, read my lips. I like guys."

"And, hanging out with bisexuals in their bedrooms after they buy you dinner."

"Hey, I didn't know you were bi," Jane insisted, trying her best to keep a grip on the situation. "And the dinner thing was settling a bet."

Alison nodded. "Sure… settling a bet. I'm sorry, baby, but I never hit on straight chicks."

Jane decided to put an end to this. "Listen, you've been really nice to me and all, and I really appreciate it, but I'm not interested in women."

Alison just couldn't take a hint. "You mean you're not ready to admit it."

"I gotta go," said Jane, finally giving up. She made tracks back to her own cabin.

"Hey, you awake?"

"Huh?" Jane was startled out of her reminiscing by a familiar deadpan voice. "Oh, yeah, sorry. Just, you know, thinking."

"I know a lot of people who could profitably join you in that endeavor," Daria mused as Kevin demonstrated his tackling technique on a nearby trash can. "But this is school, and therefore not the place for original thought. Let's go have lunch on the roof."

"I'm with you," Jane said, hefting her books into her locker. She glanced one last time back in Quinn and Sandi's direction, but they were gone.

*********

"And, then," Daria said, "Jake goes flying out the patio door and tries to tackle the squirrel with his bare hands. He spent most of the rest of the evening face-down in the backyard, screaming about the injustice of it all."

"Mm-hm," said Jane.

"Then Trent came over. We went into the basement, covered ourselves with chocolate syrup, and screwed each other's brains out."

"Sure," said Jane, absently.

Daria reached down and unlaced her boot, took it off, and whipped it hard over her head to clang loudly against the heating duct under which they both sat.

"YAAH!" Jane shouted, jumping to her feet and nailing her head on the same heating duct, producing a second, almost identical clang. "What the hell was that for?"

"If I'm being that boring, Jane, I wish you'd just tell me."

Jane rubbed her head. "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"

"Something you'd kick yourself for missing if you knew, which you won't, because I'm not going to repeat it. What the hell is on your mind?"

Jane sighed. "Remember Alison?"

Daria nodded. "I was wondering when this would come up. Considering what's going on lately, it was only a matter of time. What are you thinking about, specifically?"

Jane shrugged. "I don't know. I guess I'm thinking how I was kind of curious what it might be like to kiss another girl, and I had my chance before I even knew I was curious about it, and didn't take it."

"From what you tell me about Alison, it was probably just as well."

"Yeah, she was definitely a self-serving slut. But still, what harm would just a kiss have done?"

"You know she wouldn't have let it rest at that," Daria pointed out. "She would have pressured you further, and you would have either left anyway saddled with further complications and self-doubt, or you would have given in and would now be living with the fact that you got shamelessly used."

"True." Jane looked off into the distance. "I'm not gay, you know."

Daria shrugged. "I believe you."

"I'm just a little curious. I mean, what's life without an unusual, shocking experience here and there?"

"Maybe you should ask Quinn to indulge you."

"Oh, I'm sure she'd leap at the chance to suck face with Jane. Thanks, but no thanks. I don't need Quinn's rejection, I've seen what it does to the guys around here."

"Look, Jane. We're still in high school, here. I'm sure you'll get your opportunity in college, there are plenty of art students willing to kiss a lot stranger things than members of their own gender." She checked her watch. "Come on, let's get down. We need to go endure an hour with O'Neil."

*********

Quinn walked home by herself, and savored the fact that her usual gang of admirers seemed to at least temporarily have gotten the hint that they weren't welcome. Her thoughts wandered between Sandi, the approaching Homecoming Dance, Sandi's beautiful eyes, the bogus assignment O'Neil had given that afternoon, Sandi's sensuous lips, going shopping for her Homecoming accessories, Sandi's hot body, and Stacy's peculiar behavior.

Well, to be fair, it was difficult to call Stacy's behavior peculiar, especially given how Quinn's own behavior had taken such a spin lately. Likely, Stacy just needed some time to adjust to new circumstances. Quinn mused that if she had discovered that, for instance, Stacy and Tiffany had been having an affair, she would need some time to get used to the idea as well.

Quinn rounded the corner on her street, and stopped short. Stacy was waiting in front of her house, but didn't see Quinn yet.

"Stacy?' Quinn called, walking faster.

Stacy looked up. "Oh! Hi, Quinn!" she said. "I was just in the neighborhood, thought I might wait for you to show up!"

"You live four miles away from here, and there's no one else in this neighborhood you might be coming to see," Quinn pointed out. "Is there something wrong, Stacy?"

Stacy started to smile and object, but saw that it would get her nowhere. "Can we go inside, Quinn?" she asked.

"Sure, Stacy."

*********

Once inside, Stacy asked, "Is there anyone else here?"

"Um, no," Quinn said. "Daria's goes to her friend's house on Tuesdays. What's this all about?"

"Quinn…" she began, but couldn't seem to get the words out.

"Is this about me and Sandi?" Quinn asked.

"Mmm… kind of," Stacy replied.

"Well, what is it? You can tell me, Stacy, I won't be upset."

Stacy swallowed hard. "Will you… kiss me, Quinn?"

"What??" Quinn exclaimed. This was definitely not what she expected.

"I know, it sounds weird!" Stacy squealed. "I just can't get the idea out of my head! I mean, seeing you and Sandi together got me thinking, and I know I'm not gay or anything, but I just… want to know what it's like…"

Quinn sighed. "Stacy, sit down."

Stacy hesitated.

"I'm not going to attack you, Stacy. Just sit down."

She did. Quinn took a seat far enough away to hopefully set Stacy at ease a little bit. "Look, Stacy, I'm not sure what this is about, but it's not like it's that latest trend. Just because Sandi and I are, well, having sex with each other, you don't have to get involved to."

"It's not that!" Stacy objected.

"What is it, then?" Quinn asked.

Stacy hesitated again.

"Look, Stacy, you just asked me to kiss you. Trust me, everything else you're likely to say will shock me a great deal less than that. Just say what you want to say."

"Okay," Stacy said in a small voice. "The thing is… I've kissed a few guys, you know?"

"I know."

"Well, it's just not ever what I expected. I thought kissing was supposed to be tender, and sweet, and nice, and all that stuff. Instead, the guys usually mash my lips against my teeth, or they try to force their tongue into my mouth when I don't really want it there, or they grab for my tushie and I have to fend them off."

Tushie? wondered Quinn.

"To make a long story short, it's no fun at all. And then I saw you and Sandi doing it…"

"And you fainted," Quinn finished.

"No," Stacy said. "After that. You guys were, um, kind of visible through Sandi's window the night after the meeting."

"We were??" Quinn panicked.

"No one else saw but me and Tiffany!" Stacy hurried to mention. "I hope you're not mad, but I watched for a little bit. It was… beautiful, Quinn. It was everything I've been missing." Stacy took a deep breath and sobbed. "I wanted to be there with you, just to know what a real, tender, loving touch could be like…"

Quinn felt like crying too, but she held it in for Stacy's sake. "It's okay, Stacy," Quinn said.

"I want to know what you know," Stacy said. "What it's like to… kiss a flower."

Quinn came a little closer, and took Stacy's hand. Stacy jumped a bit, and looked nervously into Quinn's eyes.

"Stacy," Quinn said gently. "I… I can't."

"Why not?" Stacy asked, visibly relaxing but a bit disappointed.

"It's Sandi," Quinn explained. "I mean, we never said we were going steady or anything, but I don't think it would go over well if she knew I kissed another girl. Especially someone else in the club."

Stacy nodded.

"Let me tell you something. Last spring, my cous- sister, Daria, kissed her best friend's boyfriend. It almost tore them apart. I don't want that kind of thing to happen with us. Me and Sandi are just starting out here, and we need to be careful if we're going to make this last, and if we want to stay friends."

Stacy nodded again. She was crying in earnest now.

"Oh, Stacy," Quinn sobbed, and gave her a close hug. Stacy cried on Quinn's shoulder for some time.

*********

"So, what do I do now?" Stacy asked. "I mean, do I go ask Tiffany if she wants to kiss?"

It had been almost an hour since they had first sat down. Stacy was finally all cried out, and the conversation had returned to the topic that started it.

Quinn chuckled a bit. "Maybe you could find another girl somewhere."

"But I don't want it to be just anyone," Stacy said. "I want it to be someone special. Otherwise, it'll be just like all the boys."

Quinn thought hard. "I suppose we could bring it up at the next Fashion Club meeting," she suggested.

Stacy laughed at that. "Oh God, no." She sighed heavily. "Look, thanks for everything Quinn, but I think I'll just have to wait. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and it will all seem like a weird idea anyway."

The front door suddenly swung open. Stacy jumped a bit, scooting a little away from Quinn on the sofa. Quinn shrugged, it was only natural Stacy should be a bit on edge.

"Hi Daria, hi Jane," Quinn said as the duo came in.

"Hey Quinn," Daria said. "Where's the rest of the fearsome foursome?"

"Oh, Stacy just wanted to talk to me about something. You know, fashion stuff."

"Well," Jane said. "We wouldn't dream of disturbing you further, then."

"You seem disturbed enough already," Daria added.

Quinn rolled her eyes. "Funny, Daria."

Daria and Jane headed up the stairs. As they did, Quinn was struck with a thought. "Hey Stacy," she whispered.

"What?" Stacy asked.

"I just had an idea. Come into the kitchen, I don't want them to overhear."

*********

"This is going to sound weird, but hear me out," Quinn said as they settled in with a couple of mineral waters. "The other night, I got home after, um, spending time with Sandi. Jane was still here, in Daria's room. I heard my name come up, so I listened at the wall."

Quinn paused for a moment. "I guess I should tell you, Jane and Daria kind of accidentally found out about me and Sandi even before you did. They caught us in the act, so to speak."

"Whoa," Stacy replied. "How'd they take it?"

"Daria was, well, the usual Daria. Jane seemed to think it was funny. Anyway, they promised not to tell anyone. The thing is, I listened to them talking, and Jane is really curious about it all."

"You mean, Daria and Jane are –"

"Oh, God no," Quinn said quickly. "I thought so once myself, but there's no way. Daria is definitely straight, no question about it." She paused again. "Jane, on the other hand… I think she could lean either way."

Stacy saw where this was going. "Are you saying I should ask Jane to kiss me? But she's so… weird!"

Quinn shrugged. "A little, maybe," she agreed. "But I've gotten to know her pretty well. She's really nice, once you get past the outside. And she'd never kiss and tell. And, you have to admit, she's really sort of cute, in an alternative kind of way."

Stacy pondered. "But how would I do it? Just walk up to her and say, 'Hey Jane, I'm your friend's sister's friend, how about we lip-lock?'"

"I hadn't really thought that far ahead," Quinn admitted. "If you want, I can talk to her about it. I don't have to mention your name. I'll just see if she'd be interested in the idea. Then, we'll see what we can set up."

"I don't know, Quinn…"

"You've got nothing to lose. What do you say?"

Stacy looked down at her feet, then up at Quinn. "Okay," she whispered.

*********

"Why am I here?" asked Jane.

Quinn sat down on her pink bed and looked Jane in the eye. "I didn't really mean to, but I overheard you and Daria the other night talking about me and Sandi."

"Hey, it's something to talk about," Jane said. "And we haven't told anyone else, if that's what you're thinking. It's your life, not ours."

"I appreciate that," Quinn said. "I just thought that if you were curious about anything, maybe you could just ask me instead of wildly speculating."

Jane looked oddly at Quinn. "Why are you offering details? I don't get it."

Quinn shrugged. "I thought it would be better than you and Daria having the wrong idea, that's all."

"So, why me? Why aren't you talking to Daria?"

"Daria doesn't want to know," Quinn said. "You do."

"Fair enough," Jane said. "Except that, having it put to me so bluntly, I don't really know what to ask."

"The other night, you were wondering what it was like to kiss a girl."

Jane's eyes went wide. "Are you offering, or something?"

"Don't be silly, Jane," Quinn laughed. "You're not my type. But hey, I can be curious too, can't I? What if you did get the chance to kiss another girl? Would you take it?"

Jane thought about that. "I had the chance once before," she said. "I didn't take it then."

This was news to Quinn. "When was that?" she asked.

"Last summer at art camp. It's a long story."

"Well, that was then, this is now," Quinn said. "What would you do if you had the chance for just a kiss, nothing more?"

Jane's first impulse was to tell Quinn it was none of her damn business and head back to Daria's room. Something, she wasn't sure what, was making her stay. Maybe it was the sincerity in Quinn's voice – she wasn't used to hearing that from Quinn. "If I got another chance," Jane mused, "and it was under different circumstances, where I wasn't being overly pressured… I think I might do it."

Quinn nodded and smiled.

*********

"She's interested," Quinn whispered to Stacy the next day by their lockers.

"In me?" Stacy asked incredulously.

"No, I didn't say anything about you or anyone specific," Quinn said. "I mean, she's interested in the idea."

"So, what now?" Stacy asked.

"I've been thinking about that," Quinn said. "Tell me, have you ever wanted your portrait painted?"

*********

Jane opened the door. "Hey, Stacy," she said.

"Eep!" Stacy replied. "I mean, hi!"

Jane sighed. "Look, I'm not going to bite your head off or anything, I'm just going to paint your picture."

Quinn had arranged everything for this little project. That day at school, she came up to Jane (that still seemed odd, Quinn just coming up and talking to them like they were normal in her eyes) and mentioned that one of her friends wanted a portrait done. Jane was skeptical at first, but Quinn insisted that everything was on the level and had even paid in advance. In the end, Jane couldn't resist the opportunity to do her first work-for-hire.

Now that Stacy was here, however, she was starting to regret it. The girl would just not sit still.

Jane had set the easel up in the living room, where there was more space and better light, and hung up a black sheet for a background. It was to be a portrait of just her face. Stacy had done her own makeup and hair, of course. Jane began by sketching her face from several different angles, looking for the "best side".

"I can't do this if you keep shaking," Jane said. "Come on, relax for Christ's sake. We're painting a picture, not performing an organ transplant."

Stacy took several deep breaths, and failed to relax.

Jane lay down her sketchbook and approached Stacy. "Stand up!" she shouted.

Stacy leaped out of the chair as if it were spring-loaded.

"Sit down!" Jane commanded. Stacy took a seat.

"Now," Jane said. "I promise not to yell at you for the rest of the day if you can just relax and stop acting as though I'm going to yell at you. Fair enough?"

"O-okay," Stacy said. She did manage to stop quivering so badly.

"All right, then," Jane said. "Let's get on with it." She returned to her sketchbook.

*********

By the time Jane was ready to paint, she had resigned herself to the fact that the only way to get Stacy to relax was to engage her in conversation. "So," Jane said. "Do you, um, have plans for Homecoming?"

"Huh?" Stacy asked, unprepared for small talk.

"That's what you fashion fiends do, isn't it? Sit around and prepare for big events like this?"

Stacy smiled a bit. "Actually, the four of us are all going together. No guys, just us."

Jane smirked. "Imagine, Quinn not having a date. What could possibly have caused such a wild change in the order of the universe?"

Stacy smirked as well. "Quinn's going with Sandi, as you well know."

Jane almost dropped her brush. "So you know all about it?" she asked.

"They told us a couple of days ago," Stacy said. "It sure took me by surprise."

"Tell me about it," Jane agreed. "Daria and I caught them in the act. Blew my mind."

"She told me about it," Stacy said, giggling a bit. As she did, she turned her head toward Jane and her chin dipped a bit into her leading shoulder.

"Wait right there," Jane said. "Can you focus your eyes right over there on the purple twisty sculpture?"

Stacy did so.

"Perfect," Jane said. "Just hold really still while I sketch this out on the canvas. I think we found your pose."

*********

"So, how'd you finally get back in?" Jane asked as she touched up Stacy's portrait with red.

"Mrs. Griffin finally came downstairs to see what Sandi's brothers were laughing about. By that tie, I swear my hair was frozen solid and I had icicles hanging from my swimsuit."

Jane chuckled. "Tell me, why didn't you just get back in the hot tub?"

There was silence for a moment.

"Oh God," Stacy said. "I never thought of that."

Jane managed to put her brush down before she cracked up.

"It's not funny," Stacy said, trying to keep from laughing herself.

Jane shook herself and turned her attention back to the portrait. "Almost done… there."

"Can I come see it?" Stacy asked excitedly.

"Come on over," Jane said. "But don't touch it, it's wet."

Stacy got up, stretched three hours worth of kinks out, and hurried over to see the picture. She gasped when she saw it.

Jane had painted her in a classic renaissance style. Her eyes were shining with life, her cheeks with just a hint of rose, and her smile was sweet and innocent. She was looking slightly over her shoulder in a way that seemed to convey a certain mischievousness. It was more than Stacy could ever have hoped for.

"It's… beautiful, Jane," Stacy said. "Thank you."

"I do my best," Jane said nonchalantly, but it was obvious she was pleased as well. "I'll take it down into the bomb shelter to dry overnight, and you can have it tomorrow evening."

Stacy turned to look at Jane, and as she caught her eyes, she remembered suddenly the reason she was here. It struck her that the painting itself, had she known what it would look like, would have been more than enough reason all on its own. But it wasn't all she had come for. Her stomach suddenly tried to tie itself in a knot, and her vision went gray.

"Are you all right?" Jane asked, sensing Stacy's sudden dizziness. "Do you need to sit down, or something?"

"I… I think so," she said. Jane led her to the sofa and helped her gently into it.

Stacy desperately fought to remain calm and not hyperventilate. "Do you mind if I stay for a bit?" she asked.

"Sure," Jane said, still concerned. "Are you sure you're all right? I mean, my work doesn't usually cause this strong a reaction."

"It's not that," Stacy said. Then, worried that Jane might be offended, she hastily added, "Don't get me wrong, the painting is beautiful. I never dreamed I could look that way. You're an amazing artist."

Jane shrugged, trying to take the compliment in stride, but it had obviously moved her. "Well, I was looking for the best in you. That's not something I normally do, though."

"Maybe I should bring the rest of the club over."

Jane rolled her eyes. "Please, one of you at a time is tolerable, all at once and I'd probably open fire with a shotgun before even putting paint to paper. I will admit, though, that I've been working on one of Quinn and Sandi making out in the lunchroom."

Stacy chuckled. "God, I'd love to see that."

"The painting, or the real thing?" Jane asked with a smirk.

Stacy swallowed hard. This was it. Her chance to turn to conversation to where she wanted it to go – or where she thought she wanted it to go, at any rate. "You know, when I first saw the real thing, I actually fainted."

"You? Go on," Jane said.

The sarcasm went over Stacy's head. "Seriously, I did. It took me totally by surprise, you know? I mean who would have thought it? Quinn and Sandi?"

"If there's one thing I've learned over the past year," Jane said, "it's that I'm lousy at determining who might be gay."

"I wonder what the appeal is?" Stacy asked.

Jane shrugged. "I don't know," she said. "Maybe it's something you have to experience."

Stacy decided to go for broke. "You know, I actually asked Quinn to kiss me," she said.

Jane's eyes went wide. "No way. Did she do it?"

"No," Stacy said. "She said it was a bad idea, seeing as she was sort of dating a friend of ours."

"And she was right," Jane said with conviction. "It is a very, very bad idea to even think of kissing your best friend's significant other. Only very bad things can come of that."

"She suggested I try someone else," Stacy said.

"So, who's the lucky girl?" Jane asked. Then her smirk dropped off her face. "Oh, God. I don't believe this. I can't believe this."

Stacy froze.

"She's trying to set you up with me, isn't she?" Jane asked. "No, don't answer that, it's obvious enough. God, how could I have been so gullible?"

"Jane, wait…"

"What the hell were you thinking?" Jane asked angrily. "My God, you are first-class manipulators of people, aren't you? You come in here on some hidden agenda, you play me for a fool, you throw some shallow compliments about my work at me, and you think this is the best way into my pants?"

"Now just wait a minute!" Stacy shouted. "I meant it when I said I loved your painting! I meant every single word of it! And I'm not playing you for any kind of fool! You can kiss me or not, however you want it. And don't pretend for one moment that you don't want to, because you told Quinn flat out that you did! What's so wrong with me, anyway?"

"This isn't about you –" Jane started.

"This is about me! Sandi used to be my best friend, and then Quinn comes along, and every day Sandi gets to be more of a bitch until I'm almost at my limit. Then she falls in love, and who does she fall for, but Quinn again! Now she's not such a bitch anymore, but what does that matter? Can't you see I've lost my best friend – how can I compete with someone like Quinn, someone who can give her what she's always wanted?"

Jane looked Stacy over. "You were trying to get into their relationship, weren't you?" she asked. "You wanted to get between them. That's why you asked Quinn to kiss you."

"That's ridiculous," Stacy said, wiping tears from her eyes.

"I don't think it's ridiculous at all, I think it's the truth," Jane said. Her voice was much calmer now.

"I… I didn't mean to do it," Stacy said. "I wasn't thinking, I just… I want my friend Sandi back. I want things the way they used to be, before Quinn came along." Stacy sat back down on the couch. "What can I do? I can't compete with her."

Jane sat down next to her. "Don't try," she said. "Friends don't work that way."

Stacy sighed. "I really do love the painting," she said.

"Thanks. I'm sorry I doubted your word."

Stacy stood up. "I should go now," she said.

Jane stood up with her. "Aren't you forgetting something?" she asked.

Stacy shrugged. "What?" she asked.

Jane stepped close to her, and put her arms around Stacy's neck. "This," she said, and gently touched her lips to Stacy's.

Stacy inhaled sharply, and took half a step back from Jane. "What… what are you doing?"

"It's what you came for, isn't it?" asked Jane, her eyes hopeful.

Stacy looked into Jane's deep blue eyes, and saw a need there that she discovered she still felt herself. "Please… kiss me, Jane," she whispered, stepping back into Jane's embrace.

Their lips touched again, delicately, tenderly, as if testing the waters. Stacy closed her eyes and felt a wave of sensation that ran all the way through her entire body. Her arms slid around Jane's waist and pulled her closer, tightening the kiss. It felt soft, and pure, and wonderful, like fresh water to one dying of thirst.

She felt Jane's lips open slightly, inviting without compelling. She accepted the invitation and let her tongue slip into Jane's mouth, kissing her more freely and passionately than she had ever done with any of the boys. Her head swam until she thought she might faint, but Jane held her up with surprising strength. Jane's body felt toned and firm under Stacy's hands, not beefy like a football player she had dated once, but slim and athletic… and feminine.

Stacy never wanted the kiss to end. It felt rapturous, seductive, powerful, and finally overwhelming. At last, Jane drew away, and Stacy opened her eyes to see the rush she felt reflected in Jane's face. She looked incredibly beautiful to Stacy.

"Wow…" Stacy breathed.

"Umm… yeah," Jane agreed.

Stacy looked away, unable to bear the intensity of the moment any longer. "I should go now," she said.

"Probably," Jane nodded.

Stacy gathered her purse and other belongings and started for the door. She turned back just before leaving. "Jane?" she said.

"Yes, Stacy?"

"Thank you."

"My pleasure," Jane smiled.

Then Stacy did leave, and Jane collapsed on the sofa, her breath coming out in a rush. "Wow," she said.

*********

"So, what was it like?" Daria asked Jane as they walked to school together.

"Forget it, Morgendorffer. You pay to see the cards. You folded, remember?"

"Must have been pretty good. You have quite the swing to your step. It's enough to make a person sick."

"Let's just say that I'm seeing Stacy in a whole new light."

"So, in the end, do you think Alison was right?"

Jane paused for thought. "We'll see. I'm open to some possibilities I didn't consider before."

*********

"Did you do it?" Quinn whispered to Stacy at her locker.

Stacy shrugged, but couldn't keep the smile off her face.

"Oh my God, you did! What was it like, Stacy?"

Stacy looked meaningfully at Quinn, and said, "Like a kiss from a flower."


To be Continued…







DISCLAIMERS:

Daria and associated characters are owned by MTV, which is owned by Viacom, and are used here without permission.  I am using said characters in a parody per my rights under the first amendment.

Contact the author at gystex@hotmail.com.