Set-up: Christmas is upon the residents of Lawndale and Dorian's house is full. Jane is still recovering from the mountain trip. Aunt Amy and Great Aunt Lillian are coming to share the holiday. Both make major announcements. Dorian and Jane search for the perfect gifts. Can Quinn and Trent save Christmas for everyone?
Christmas Chaos (Part 1)
Jane was sitting in the living room. Helen and Jake had just left to go pick up Lillian from the airport. Amy would be arriving later on that day. Dorian had gone for a jog around the neighborhood. Technically, he had gone for a jog to Jane's house to bring her back some more art supplies. Quinn saw Jane staring at the blank television screen. A long sigh of frustration came from Jane's mouth. Quinn went into the kitchen and came back with two sodas. She handed one to Jane. Jane thanked her. A smile crept up on Jane's face.
"Quinn.. you're kinda big on all this holiday stuff right?"
"I watched your dad take a bunch of decorations down from the attic this morning. I don't ever remember having a traditional Christmas. My family doesn't do much on the holidays...my parents and other siblings are never home for them. Trent and I usually hang out at the house and exchange the same gift every year. I give him guitar strings and a couple of new picks. He buys me some new paintbrushes and a sketchbook."
A look of sadness came over Quinn as she stared at the older girl. "You mean you don't have any holiday traditions? No decorating, or singing caroles, no stockings hung on the fireplace mantle? Even Daria would watch 'A Christmas Carol' with us."
Jane simply shook her head. "Nope. Heck this past Thanksgiving was the first time in eight years that I actually ate turkey that wasn't in pizza form. I couldn't tell you the last time I even sent or received a Christmas card."
"Jane, this year will be different. You will be spending it with us. When Trent comes back home on Wednesday, he can hang out here too. Now we need to get you into the spirit of the holidays, and I think I know how. I just need to wait until Dorian gets back."
"Okay. Speaking of Dorian... I want to get him something really nice for Christmas, but I'm not sure what it is."
"Well, Aunt Amy promised to take me Christmas shopping tomorrow. Maybe you could ride with us and we can pick something out."
"I don't want to slow you down. I know that the holidays make people rushed as it is. The last thing you need is to fight the crowds with someone on crutches."
"Not a problem... stick with me kid. We'll have you shooting through the stores," Quinn smirked.
"Aren't you worried about Sandi seeing you shopping with me?"
"Sandi left this morning to go visit family in Aspen. Tiffany's heading for New York in the morning. I don't have any plans with Stacy until the day after Christmas. Kristen is only going to open the shop today and tomorrow. I'll be working in the morning and be off by 2 so we'll have plenty of time to shop and get you in the Christmas spirit."
Jane could tell Quinn was looking forward to this. It was strange how the whole Daria to Dorian thing had changed Jane's view of Quinn. Jane remembered the night Quinn had shown up at her house because she didn't want to be at home by herself. Then, Jane thought about the night of Daria's birthday. How she held Quinn while Quinn cried over the loss of her sister. She is truly afraid that she will end up alone and forgotten. I guess I'm not the only one with abandonment issues. Maybe this will be good for the both of us.
Dorian returned to the house with his arms full of paintbrushes, canvases and sketchbooks. Jane had plenty of paints. Quinn helped him unload the supplies. Dorian was covered in sweat. He went upstairs to take a quick shower. While he was getting dressed, he heard a knock on his door.
"Come in Quinn."
"Dorian... where are all of the Christmas movies?"
"Top shelf of my closet.. why?"
"I want to watch some of them tonight with Jane."
"Okay, but dad wants to get a tree tonight... we can watch 'Scrooged' while we decorate it."
"Good. Um... we need to make sure Jane helps us with the tree."
Dorian looked over at his sister. A look of curiosity fell over his face. Quinn sat down on his bed and stared at the floor. He could see Quinn starting to get upset.
"Jane hasn't had a real Christmas in years...maybe never. She deserves one Dorian... we can't leave her out of any of the festivities. Dorian.. what did you get her last year for Christmas?"
"We didn't exchange gifts last year. Her parents didn't send any extra like they usually do." Dorian sat beside his sister looking dejected.
"I think its time we got Virginia down there," Quinn pointed to Jane "to believe in Santa again. So what do you say Mr. Claus?" Quinn smirked at her brother.
He opened up his closet and pulled out all of their Christmas movies. "I would say ho,ho,ho but I don't have the belly for it. I think when mom and dad get back, we need to buy some cookies, popcorn and eggnog."
Aunt Amy was the first to arrive. Dorian helped her with her luggage. She saw Jane painting while on her crutches. Jane and Quinn explained to her about the mountain trip. When Dorian came back downstairs, Amy gave him a quick hug. Quinn asked Amy if she could drive her to the grocery store. Dorian gave a half smile. Amy agreed. Amy and Quinn bounded out the door.
After they left, Dorian stood beside Jane. He snaked his arm between the crutches and held her. He looked at the canvas. It was a picture of a little girl with black hair sitting in front of a scarcely decorated tree in what appeared to be the living room of the Lane house. There were no presents and a look of great disappointment on the girl's face. Dorian moved so he was standing in front of Jane. He wrapped both arms around her and kissed her forehead. Jane looked up at him with a sad smile before burying her head in his chest. He stood there, cursing out Jane's parents in his head. Quinn was right...you deserve the best Christmas I can give you.
Amy and Quinn returned from the grocery store with bags full of sugary goodness. Amy handed Jane one of the candy canes. Quinn was pulling out a giant pot for Amy. Quinn watched Amy intently while Amy poured several different items in the pan. As the pot simmered, the smell of apple pie swirled through out the house. Jake, Helen and Lillian walked in. Dorian went out to the car while Jake and Helen were trying to figure out what the scent that came from their kitchen was. A big smile came over Lillian's face.
"Ahhh, wassail. That brings me back to my childhood."
"Wassail?" Jane asked.
Lillian nodded. "My parents used to make it every year for Christmas. It was Greta's favorite."
"I even found some cinnamon straws to sip it from," Amy laughed.
Dorian came back downstairs. He handed Jane her crutches and followed her into the kitchen. Everyone was sitting around the table as Lillian talked to Amy about the recipe. Helen and Quinn took several mugs down. Amy ladled the drink and added a cinnamon straw to each. As everyone was enjoying their drinks, Amy stood up and gently tapped the side of her mug. They turned towards her.
"With everything that has been going on, I realized just how much I've missed being around my family. I wanted to let you know.. I came back to Lawndale two weeks ago and looked at houses. I found one I really liked. I have to sign the paperwork for it on Wednesday."
"What about your job?" Helen asked.
"I'm a freelance writer. I can do that from any location. I usually just e-mail them everything anyway. I only go up to the office once every three months for our quarterly meeting. I want to show it to you tomorrow night."
"The office is closing for the rest of the week tomorrow at noon. We'll go right when Quinn gets off at two," Helen smiled. Maybe now, I can have the relationship I always wanted to have with one of my sisters.
"Well, that means Dorian and I have a lot of work to do and little time to do it. Come on son.. let's go pick out a tree." Jake stood up with Dorian right behind.
Quinn got up and handed Jane her crutches. They headed for the living room with Helen, Amy and Lillian behind them. They began to decorate the inside of the house. Quinn took out a couple of Christmas cd's and started to play them. Helen watched as Quinn made sure Jane gave her a hand with everything. Jane resisted at first but was soon joining in an even more off-key version of "Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer" than the original. The five of them burst into laughter. There was a knock on the door. Amy opened it to let Jake and Dorian in with the tree. The tree was about nine foot tall and was evenly rounded. Everyone agreed that Jake and Dorian had picked out a good tree.
As they were putting the tree into the stand, Sting's version of "Gabriel's Messege" began to play. From under the tree, Dorian's voice rang out. Everyone grew quiet as they listened to him sing, matching note for note. After the song ended, Dorian realized that no one was talking. He could feel the heat of the blush coming over his face. He laid there for several moments. Amy finally bent down then stood back up. She pulled five dollars out of her wallet and handed it to Jane.
"You were right.. his face was redder than the tree stand," Amy laughed.
Dorian slid out from under the tree. As he stood up, he surveyed the room. Helen and Lillian had smiles of pride on their faces. Amy, Jane and Quinn gave him a golfer's clap. Jake walked up to him and slapped him on the back.
"Where have you been hiding that talent at kiddo?"
"Up until a few minutes ago, I didn't know I had that talent. The old me couldn't carry a tune if I wanted to," Dorian sighed.
Dorian walked over and turned off the cd player. He put "Scrooged" into the vcr. As the movie started, Jake went upstairs to get his camera. Jane showed him how to work the timer on it. Everyone gathered around the tree and began decorating it. Within minutes, they were down to the final step.. the placing of the star on to. Usually that was Quinn's job. Quinn held the star for a moment. She walked over to Jane and placed the star in Jane's hands. Jane tried to give it back, but Quinn refused it.
"Quinn..I can't. This is your family's tradition."
"Jane - you are family," Quinn turned to Dorian, "Make sure she gets it up there without knocking the tree over."
Jane handed her crutches over to Amy. Dorian carefully lifted Jane up at the knees. She placed the star on top then adjusted it. She snaked the cord down to Jake. Dorian gently lowered her feet back to the floor. She leaned against him. Quinn turned off the lights while Jake knelt down and turned on the tree. Everyone stood as the watched the room glowed from the lights of the tree. Dorian could feel Jane's grip around his waist tighten. He kissed her on the cheek. Amy walked over to Quinn and gave her a thumbs up.
While everyone else was in the kitchen catching up, Jane stood in front of a canvas in the living room. She began to paint a scene from the evening's events. She did not notice that Quinn had walked back into the room. Quinn stood there, watching Jane work. More importantly to Quinn, Jane was smiling. Deciding that she didn't want to disturb Jane. Quinn headed back into the kitchen. So far..so good.
It was almost one in the morning when Helen went downstairs to check on things. She saw Jane sleeping peacefully on one couch. Dorian was lying down on the other. She did not see that he was still awake. She padded over to the two paintings Jane had done. She felt a tug on her heart when she looked at the portrait of younger Jane. Then she studied the second painting. Helen could feel the togetherness and warmth radiating from it. Helen was so lost in the painting that she almost screamed when Dorian put his hand on her shoulder.
"Mom.. I don't want Jane to ever have another Christmas like that again," he whispered as he pointed to the first canvas.
Helen walked over to where her purse was sitting. She pulled out one of her platinum credit cards and gave it to Dorian. Before heading back upstairs, she turned to him.
"Don't hand me that card back until it is smoking from overuse."
Jane was in the kitchen, eating a bowl of cereal and sketching. Amy and Lillian soon joined her. Amy poured them each a cup of coffee. Lillian gave a slight laugh at the two younger women. Amy and Jane looked like they needed to be electro-shocked into consciousness.
"I'm just glad to know I'm not the only morning hater here. Where's Dorian?" Amy asked.
"Kristen, Quinn's boss, called and asked if he could go to the shop and help her move some of the clothing racks around."
"Now how did Quinn get a job in a bridal shop?"
"She has a really good eye. Dorian and I had a project in economics where we had to budget a wedding. We had gone to the shop to get prices on a tux and dress. While were talking to Kristen, Quinn was scouting. She picked out a dress and tux. Kristen was impressed and offered her a job. I have one too...I go there once a month and help her change out window displays and I've painted a couple of portraits that are hanging up at the shop. You should see the one I did from Kristen's wedding photo. She's also given my number out to some of the couples. I have to paint one portrait next week and another in Mid-January."
Amy nodded, "You can show it to me when we pick them up from work. How is Dorian doing?"
"Well, he really had a hard time after the economics project. We got in a big argument over nothing. Later that day, he finally opened up about how he was feeling. I think he really needed that."
"I'm glad he has you Jane. I wish Gregory had as good of a friend as you when this happened to him. Maybe he would have turned out differently," Lillian sighed.
"Thank you. That means a lot to me. I really do care about him. Saturday night, after I hurt my ankle.. I told him I loved him."
"How did he react to that?" Amy asked.
A content smile came over Jane's face. "He kissed me. It was amazing...he told me he loved me too."
"Then he is already a couple steps above his grandfather," Lillian said.
After they finished breakfast, Amy asked Jane if she would give her a tour of Lawndale. The three women climbed into Amy's mustang and took off. Jane pointed at several points of interest. Amy drove them by the house she had picked out. Jane made an a cross sign with her fingers as they passed Lawndale High. Finally, they turned onto Dega Street. They parked in front of Kristen's shop. Quinn saw them approaching and greeted them at the door. Kristen came out a few minutes later. After Jane introduced everyone, Amy and Lillian went to look at the portraits Jane had made.
Amy laughed at the painting of Kristen's wedding. Lillian stood in front of the portrait that Jane had made of herself and Dorian. She reached into her purse and pulled out an old, worn photograph. She lifted it to where in her eyes it was side by side to the painting. By this time, Dorian had finished his task and joined the others. After a couple of minutes, Dorian made his way over to Lillian. He could see the tears forming in her eyes. She put her arms around him. He could feel her tears hitting his shoulder blade. He looked down at the still frame in her hand, then back up at the portrait. The images were hauntingly similar. Lillian let him go. he flashed her one of his half smiles. Lillian cheered up. They ambled back to the group. Kristen handed Lillian a box of tissues.
"I'm sorry that my painting upset you Lillian," Jane said as her head lowered.
"Don't apologize Jane. It's just..that painting made Dorian look just like Gregory in his early twenties." She showed everyone the photograph. Even Quinn gasped at the resemblance.
"I miss Gregory a lot. I know he was a mean man, but he was still my brother and I loved him greatly. That portrait made it feel as though he was here in this room." Lillian took a minute to compose herself. "Now that I've had my moment of emotional breakdown for the holidays.. I remember our purpose of this little trip was to go shopping."
Quinn turned to Lillian. "I knew I had to take after somebody in this family."
Kristen handed Quinn her paycheck and paid Dorian out of her register. She wished them all a Merry Christmas as they headed out the door. They drove back to the Morgendorrfer homestead so that Dorian could shower and change. While he was getting ready, Quinn approached Amy. Lillian and Jane stayed in the living room and talked about bad movies. Helen called to let Amy know she was running late. Dorian made it downstairs just as everyone was walking out the front door.
Amy dropped everyone off at the main entrance of Cranberry Commons before going to park. Quinn was talking to Lillian about her job. Dorian stood beside Jane as they waited patiently for Amy to join them. Jane almost jumped when she heard a familiar voice call from behind her.
"Jane..is that you? What happened?"
Jane slowly turned around, "Hi Tom."
Jane could see the concern on Tom's face. As he approached, Tom noticed the young man standing beside Jane. He decided it was in his best interest not to go any closer. Jane nudged Dorian. Dorian nodded and they walked towards Jane's ex. Quinn led Lillian over to the mall's entrance. Jane, Dorian and Tom stood there in an uncomfortable silence.
"I sprained my ankle on a class hiking trip."
"That's terrible. How long will you be on crutches?"
"About another week. Could have been worse if Dorian," Jane pointed in his direction, "hadn't of been there. He's taken really good care of me. I'm sorry Tom, let me introduce you. Tom Sloane meet Dorian Morgendorffer. Dorian my ex-boyfriend Tom."
"Morgendorffer.. you must be related to Daria. How is she doing?"
"I'm her brother. She's doing good by her standards."
"I guess that means everyone is leaving her alone. Wasn't she supposed to come home for Christmas break?"
Tom's words angered Dorian. Not because of the way he said them but because they were the truth. Dorian shook his head for a moment. Crap I remember Jane telling me that's what he said to her.
"She's visiting our Aunt Rita and grandmother. I went last year, so she decided that this year was her turn." Dorian began to glare at Tom.
Tom realized that he had hit a sore topic. "I see...well I hope you get better soon Jane. Maybe I'll see you and Dorian at the Zon sometimes. Have a Merry Christmas."
"You too Tom," Jane stated as Dorian continued his cold stare.
Tom walked quickly towards the parking lot. He turned back to see Jane reach out and take Dorian's hand. He wondered for a moment why Daria or Jane had never mentioned Dorian before. He shrugged, figuring that was just typical Daria.
"I don't see what you saw in him," Dorian growled.
"He reminded me of the Daria you were. Now I don't need someone who reminds me of that you because I have this you. That and you're cuter," Jane smirked.
Dorian let some of his tension recede and laughed. A few moments later, Amy joined them. She was rubbing her temples.
"I had almost given up parking my vehicle. Where is Quinn and Lillian?"
"Quinn took Lillian inside in case all hell broke loose out here," Jane answered.
Amy looked at them in confusion. Jane spoke again. "We ran into my ex-boyfriend Tom."
"Ohhhhh. The cops weren't called so it must not have gone too badly."
"It could have been worse. I was half expecting Tom to run when Dorian stared him down," Jane said.
"I did like his impersonation of an Olympic speed walker though. We better go and find Quinn and Lillian before they but the shops out."
Amy gave a slight laugh at his comment. Quinn saw them enter and walked over to them nervously. Jane reassured her that everything was okay. Quinn let out a small sigh of relief while Jane explained the situation to Lillian. Dorian listened to his aunt relate the story of what his grandfather did the first time he and one of his girlfriend ran into one of her exes. Ok.. I handled that better than he did. Then again if I had broken his jaw, there would be a lawsuit and jail time.
Dorian began to drift away from the group. The run-in with Tom had really pissed him off. He didn't want his mood to affect the others, especially Jane. She was beginning to get into the holiday spirit. He began to wander around the mall. He was near JJ Jeters when he saw Trent heading in his direction with Jesse. When did he get back into town? Why hasn't he called to check on Jane? For the second time that day, Dorian could feel his anger building. Dorian drew a deep breath and walked towards Trent. Trent saw him coming and met him half way.
"I called your house. Your dad said that your aunts brought you and Janey here. He told me about her ankle. Is she okay?"
Dorian began to calm down. He nodded. "Yeah, she's doing okay. She is going to be glad to see you. She's really missed you."
"I missed her too. Do you know what store she's in? I really need to talk to her."
"Is everything alright?" Dorian asked.
"No. On our way back from our tour, the Tank died. It took just about all we made to fix it. I'm not going to be able to buy anything for Christmas." Trent sat down looking dejected.
Dorian felt the credit card in his pocket. "Yes you are Trent. Now get up because you and your sister are going to have a Christmas you'll never forget. It's not your fault the Tank needed to be repaired. Jane would have been miserable if you hadn't of made it home on time. Let's go find Jane then we'll start shopping."
Trent stood up and rubbed the back of his neck. "Cool."
Quinn and Lillian were talking while Amy and Jane were enjoying a coffee. They were beginning to wonder where Dorian had gone. Their debate was resolved a few minutes later when Quinn saw Dorian, Trent and Jesse heading their way. Jane's face lit up when she turned to see her big brother. He gave her a quick hug. He introduced Jesse to the rest of the group. Jane told Trent about the hiking trip and how she's been enjoying spending time with the Morgendorffers. Trent told Jane about the tour and what happened to the tank.
While Trent was enjoying talking to his little sister, Quinn pulled her big brother to the side. He followed her to one of the store's nearby windows. She pointed to the dress on display. Dorian stared at it for a moment. Jane would look amazing in that dress, or out of it for that matter. Did I just think that?? Quinn snapped to get Dorian's attention.
"Jane looked at that dress for a good five minutes Dorian. You have to get her that dress." Quinn looked up at him.
"How can we do that without her knowing? I have no clue what size she is," Dorian turned to his sister. She had a small smile on her face.
"She's a size six. We had that discussion in the dressing room at Kristen's shop."
Dorian handed Quinn the credit card. She stared at in amazement. Dorian explained what occurred with their mom and Jane's paintings. Quinn ran inside the shop. She returned, bag in hand. She playfully hit his arm while giving him the card back. They watched as Trent and Jane were sitting with Amy and Lillian. The four were laughing. Dorian and Quinn stood in silence, watching the scene before them. Quinn turned to see a look of serenity come over Dorian's face. She returned her attention to the group at the table. She elbowed Dorian as they went to join the rest of their family.
The afternoon of shopping went by quickly. Everyone was in a good mood, especially Trent. This was the first time in years he was able to get Jane a real gift. By the time they arrived back at the Morgendorffers, Helen and Jake were home. After dinner, Amy drove them to her soon to be new residence. Amy, Jane and Lillian talked about what changes Amy wanted to make to the color schemes of the rooms. Helen and Jake came out from the kitchen and smiled with approval. Quinn was taking pictures of everything. Dorian listened to all of the suggestions being tossed around. When we get back home, I'll write all this down. I guess I know what I'll be doing the rest of this vacation. Jane saw Dorian leaning against one of the walls. She headed over to him.
"You won't believe the conversation going on in the soon to be dining room right now," Jane said.
"Not much surprises me anymore Lane."
"Your Aunt Amy asked Lillian if she wanted to move in with her."
Dorian's face contorted into a look of sheer confusion. Jane smirked and nodded. Dorian opened the front door and signaled for Jane to step outside first. They stood on the porch. His face was still stuck in the same expression it was inside.
"Okay.. I thought I wasn't easily surprised."
Jane began to explain the conversation. Amy started talking about how she travels for her job. Lillian made the comment that the color of the upstairs rooms reminded her of the retirement village she lives in. One thing led to another and Amy ended up inviting Lillian to move in. Dorian shook his head. A solemn look came over Dorian's face. Jane sat one of her crutches down and put her arm around Dorian's waist.
"What's wrong? I thought that would make you happy. Instead you look like we ran over your favorite book."
"Nothing's wrong. It's just this..." he pointed to the house, his family, then Jane, "this wouldn't be happening if I had never changed. I am happy that Amy is moving here and that I have met Lillian. It's just I don't want to be the reason."
"You're not the only reason Dorian. I think Amy has been wanting an excuse to be closer to your family. Lillian sounds lonely. I just hope I'm as cool as she is when I am her age. None of this is a bad thing."
"Jane, you broke up with your boyfriend and ended up on crutches thanks to me."
"True, but I got a better boyfriend out of the deal." Jane kissed Dorian's cheek. "As for the crutches, blame the three doofuses for that. Besides, if I wasn't hurt, I wouldn't be having the best Christmas I have had in years."
Dorian gave her a quick kiss as he heard the front door open. Jake, Lillian and Quinn stepped out and headed for Helen's SUV. Helen and Amy soon followed. Amy directed Dorian and Jane towards her car. Dorian went to sit in the backseat. Jane joined him. Even though there was a slight chill in the air, Amy decided to put the top down. They didn't head back to Dorian's. She drove for about an hour until they came to a science center that had several displays of Christmas lights and inflatables. Amy paid the fee to drive through it. Dorian bought each of them a coffee. Amy handed Jane her camera. There were several cars ahead of and behind them. Everyone was taking their time. Jane snuggled against Dorian. They could hear carols playing from speakers set up all along the path. Jane laughed as she watched Dorian's face. As they left, Amy put the top back up.
"We had a place like that in Highland. We went every year until Quinn turned ten. I had forgotten how much I used to enjoy it."
"I know. Jake told me, so last night, I did some web searching and found this. Even us cynics need to have a little holiday spirit. Quinn wanted to be left alone so she could wrap presents. Trent is staying with us the rest of the week. Quinn and I are going to share a room so you can sleep upstairs or you can let Trent have your room.. whichever."
Dorian nodded. Jane's eyes began to close. Her head lowered and rested against the crook of his neck. Her breath danced across his throat. I think I need to stay in my room tonight, with the door barricaded. When they arrived back at Dorian's, he woke Jane up. Trent met them in the driveway. They went inside. The living room was full of wrapped gifts in neat piles. Jane and Trent were surprised to see two sections for just their gifts. Dorian found everyone talking in the kitchen. Dorian signaled for Helen to follow him. They went into the dining room. He handed her back the credit card and all the receipts. She looked at the amount and smiled.
"I knew you had a little bit of Quinn in you."
"Well, that covered Trent's gifts to Jane as well. The tank died on their way home so they had to spend just about all they made repairing it. I hope you're not mad at me."
Helen and Dorian looked into the living room. They watched as Trent told Jane stories about what happened during their tour. They heard Jane burst into laughter. Jane showed him the paintings she worked on. Trent gave his sister a big hug. Helen put her hand on Dorian's shoulder.
"I'm not mad in the least."
Later that night, Dorian stared at his ceiling. He had tried to fall asleep but tossed and turned. He could still feel Jane's breath against his neck. Visions of her and the dress wreaked havoc with his mind..more particularly the Daria side of his mind. After several hours of trying to fight off the oncoming hormones, the Daria half of his brain gave up. Dorian decided to take his new 'equipment' for a test drive.
Dorian woke up with a pounding headache. The three hours of sleep mixed with memories of the night before proved to be a stressful combination. He grabbed the Clark Kent frames to look at the clock. Shit it's only 6:30. Dorian surveyed mess that covered the floor. Can't go back to sleep. Might as well get up. He straightened out the bedroom. Daria's side of his brain tried to fight the images of the night before from entering. I have to stay busy...keep focused on anything but Jane. Fucking hormones. He decided to go for a run, put on a sweat suit and grabbed the CD player off the bookcase. Not wanting to wake up Jane or Trent, he stayed on tiptoes as he went through. Seeing Jane resting peacefully did not help his situation.
Dorian stepped out the front door and allowed his feet to glide over the pavement. Turning the music up, Dorian tried to drown out all of the confusion he was feeling. As one step followed another, he lost track of time. He was startled by a horn honking behind him. He turned to see Helen and Amy flagging him down. Once he finally stopped moving, the exhaustion hit. Placing a pair of tired hands on the hood, Dorian used Amy's car as a support. They helped him into the backseat. Amy signed the paperwork for the new house and they were on their way home from the bank. When they arrived, Dorian stumbled out of the car. Helen went inside to get Jake. Dorian reassured them he was okay, just worn out from what he now realized was an almost three hour run.
Dorian walked in. His face was pale and covered in sweat. Jane had heard the door open from the kitchen. She went to check on him, but he stopped her. She watched as he slowly climbed the stairs. Everyone joined her in the living room. Helen could see the look of concern on Jane's face. Helen put her hand on Jane's shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze of assurance.
"Dorian's just tired Jane. He told us he started his run at seven. I heard him pacing around his room until at least two. Hopefully he'll feel a little better after some more sleep. How is your ankle?"
"It's doing better. Thanks for letting me stay here."
"Yeah, thanks Mr. and Mrs. Morgendorffer, I greatly appreciate you helping Janey and myself," Trent added.
"No thanks needed Trent. You and Jane-o are welcome here anytime." Jake smiled at the siblings. "You know, I'm in the mood to watch some movies. What do you say?"
Everyone agreed. Dorian could hear the television and the sound of laughter coming from downstairs. He had tried in vain to gain a few extra hours of slumber. Sighing in defeat, he got up to join the others. He soaked in the image that was in front of him. For a moment, he wished he was Jane. Dorian slinked back upstairs and took the camera out of one of the computer desk's drawers. After tiptoeing back to middle step, he snapped a couple of pictures. Helen was sitting in between Jake and Jane. Lillian was on the other couch. Quinn was leaning over saying something to her aunt. Then they started giggling. Amy relaxed in the recliner. Trent was sitting on the floor in front of Janey with his guitar in hand pointing at the screen.
Dorian stayed on the stairs. I'll join them in a few. I want to take this all in. Before the change, a scene like this would have never occurred. In that moment, all of his built-up frustration and internal battles ceased to exist. For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, Dorian felt serenity. He started back down the stairs. Standing behind the sofa where Jane was sitting, Dorian wrapped an arm around her. She looked up at his tired but content face. Dorian sat on the floor next to Trent. He reached up and took Jane's hand. Surrounded by the warmth of his family, Dorian's eyes began to close and he drifted to sleep.
Unaware that he had dozed off, Dorian awoke to the music at the beginning of "A Christmas Story". Trent had moved to the couch while Jane was now sitting beside him. She had decided to turn his sleeping form into her next great masterpiece while "Scrooged" was playing. Jane stopped sketching. The Lane siblings started chuckling when the Morgendorffers began reciting every line from the movie. After just a couple of minutes, Jane and Trent found themselves joining the act. Dorian's low monotoned impersonation of the older Ralphie caused everyone else to guffaw. When the movie was over, Helen and Jake took the group out to dinner to celebrate Amy and Lillian's soon-to-be move to Lawndale.
Christmas Eve was a whirlwind of activity. Between the nonstop cooking fest going on in the kitchen and trying to get Qunn and Jane to calm down, Dorian was losing the battle against insanity. Deciding that a hasty retreat from the house was in order, Dorian headed to Casa Lane to listen to Mystik Spiral rehearse. Hearing the opening notes to "Ice Box Woman", Dorian headed to the basement. Waiting until the song was finished, the band greeted Dorian. Trent sat his guitar down.
"I take it you had to get away for awhile," Trent chuckled.
"Yeah..I had to leave before the debate about sugar plums started. What time does your show start tonight?"
"Seven. We should be done by nine. Your mom said something about if I wasn't back at your house by eleven she was going to hang me using the wreath on the front door."
This time, it was Dorian's turn to laugh. Staying to listen to a couple of songs, Dorian left after looking at his watch. Walking back to his house, he saw a familiar car coming down Howard St. What in the hell is Tom doing here? Realizing that Dorian recognized him, Tom turned around and left. I have to tell Jane about this. Upon arriving back home, Dorian reported his Tom sighting to Jane. Shrugging her shoulders, Jane dismissed it as concern because of her ankle.
Once dinner was over, the teenagers dispersed to get ready for Mystik Spiral's show. Much to their shock and surprise, Amy and Lillian decided to join them. Jane tried her best to change Lillian's mind. Lillian then began telling the group about her Woodstock experience. Walking into the Zon, Jane headed to where the band was sitting. A bemused look came over Trent's face. Following Jane to the Morgendorffer's table, Trent signaled for the band to join him. After introductions and the telling of a couple of stories, the time came for the band to perform.
Mystik Spiral played one of their best shows. Dorian and Jane laughed as they watched Amy and Lillian throughout the concert. Even though she had been reluctant to come, Quinn caught herself having a good time. Much to Jane's surprise, the band closed the show with a holiday tune. Trent sang a raspy rendition of "Please Come Home for Christmas". The crowd responded with heavy applause, especially his little group. Helping the band load up their equipment, Dorian congratulated them on a great show.
Jesse followed Amy back to Dorian's house. Walking in at 10:55, the only lights that the group saw on were those on the Christmas tree. Flipping on the switch by the door, Quinn went to announce their arrival. Amy stopped her and shook her head. Catching what her aunt was saying, Quinn gave a tiny shudder. As Trent entered, his head hit something that was dangling from the front door. Looking up, he saw the mistletoe. Pointing and laughing, Quinn and Amy were surprised when Trent kissed each of them on the cheek. When Lillian walked in, Trent gave her a little peck on the cheek as well. Realizing that this was a perfect moment for embarrassment, Quinn ran upstairs to get her camera.
Arriving downstairs as Dorian and Jane ambled in, Quinn poised the camera. Stopping the couple, Amy focused their attention to directly above them. A blush covered Jane's face. Seizing the opportunity, Dorian wrapped his arms around Jane and poured himself into the kiss. Neither of them noticed the several camera flashes. As their lips parted, both needed a moment to catch their breaths. Shortly after another kiss, Dorian headed upstairs. Before falling asleep, Trent noticed the smile on his unconscious sister's face.
Waking up to the smell of muffins, bacon, pancakes, and coffee, Trent and Jane made their ways into the kitchen. While handing a fresh cup of coffee to Jane, Amy and Lillian lightly teased her. The group heard the sounds of footsteps bounding down the stairs. With a face reminiscent of a five year old, Quinn joined them. Helen and Jake soon followed, hugging everyone as they passed. Jake's face shared Quinn's childlike facial expression. Oblivious to the fact that he was shirtless, Dorian yawned and stretched as he entered the room full of people. That was until his mother yelled at him to put a shirt on. Turning redder than a stop sign, Dorian ran back upstairs and threw a t-shirt on.
With breakfast behind them, the extended Morgendorffer clan went into the living room. Jake set up the video recorder to capture every gift that was being open. Sounds of oohs and ahhs radiated from the room as the presents were shown off to the others. Jane kept reaching for one particular box, but Dorian stopped her every time. Her pile of running gear, and art supplies were stacked on top of a DVD player for her room. Trent couldn't stop running his fingers over his new amplifier and recording equipment for the basement. Quinn helped Jane pick up her gifts to Dorian. Carefully opening them, Dorian gently began to pull out several books. Each appearing to be over fifty years old. They were compilation of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Dorian held every volume as if it was made out of glass. Leaning over, he gently kissed Jane. Setting the books down, Dorian bent down and grabbed the last two of Jane's gifts.
Opening the smaller box first, Jane pulled out the black heels. From Quinn? I don't get it. Looking over at the younger Morgendorffer, Jane's confusion shone. Shrugging, Quinn's face had a look of fake innocence. Taking a deep breath, Dorian handed her the one box she had been trying to get a hold of all morning. Nervously, Jane unwrapped the package. Her eyes widened as she pulled out the dress. Carefully balancing on one foot, Jane stood up and placed the dress in front of her.
"You have to try it on." Quinn grabbed the dress and ran it upstairs.
The next thing Jane knew, Quinn was rapidly descending the stairs and heading her way. Knowing her brother's room was the least cluttered, Quinn asked Amy to help bring Jane to Dorian's room. Several minutes later, Quinn signaled for everyone to come upstairs. Dorian trailed the others. Hearing all the compliments that were being given to Jane made Dorian smile. As the group began descending the stairs, Dorian finished his climb up. Knocking on his bedroom door, Dorian prayed that he could maintain his composure.
"Come in," Jane said through the door.
For a moment, Dorian forgot how a door operated. Slowly turning the knob, he let the door slide open. Dorian walked in, only to have his feet frozen in place by the sight before him. The skin-tight, mid-thigh dress accentuated Jane's physique. The color of the garment matched the wearer's lipstick perfectly. Blazing blue eyes waited for any sign of comment. Dorian couldn't get his vocal chords to cooperate. Giving up, he walked over and began kissing her neck.
"I take it you like the dress."
Dorian paused long enough to answer. "You look stunning."
Jane laughed and raised his head. "Here I was worried that I broke you. We better not stay up here too much longer. You're mother will be heading this way."
They exchanged a long kiss. As their lips parted, Dorian let out a frustrated sigh.
"Damnit, you're right. Let me get Quinn up here to help you get changed. Then, we'll head downstairs."
"I only need help unzipping it. I think I can handle it from there."
"Yeah...but I can't." Dorian walked out of the room.
Jane realized what Dorian meant. A sly grin came over her face as she remembered the conversation she had with Amy and Lillian Tuesday morning. Lillian said it took Gregory two months before his hormones completely kicked in. I was afraid it would take Dorian longer. Looks like I might be wrong.
The rest of the day went by calmly. Trent and Jane thanked Amy and Helen separately. The Barksdale sisters hugged each of them. As the sun began to set, Dorian decided to go outside and watch day become night. Hearing the door open, he turned to see Quinn heading towards him. Silently they stood, smirking at each other as the sky grew darker. Placing his hand on her shoulder and giving it a gentle squeeze, they headed back inside.
Sitting on the couch, Dorian realized that he and Jane were the last two people still awake. Placing her head against his chest, Jane felt her eyes grow heavy as Dorian rubbed her back. A content smile came over Dorian's face. Unknown to either of them, Helen was watching the two.
"I hope you had a good Christmas." Dorian whispered.
"I couldn't have dreamed of a better one. Thank you."
"Did you get everything you wanted?"
"Yeah, but I got that before Christmas. I have you." Jane closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Hearing footsteps behind him, Dorian had to control the urge to jump. He looked up to see his mother standing behind him. Helen stopped him as he tried to move Jane. Pulling the ottoman over to him, Helen gave him a quick hug as she passed by. Walking up the stairs, Helen turned back and stared at the two. Maybe this whole thing isn't a curse after all. God bless us, everyone.