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12 August 2013 @ 05:57 pm
 
TITLE/PROMPT: 1977. Boston, Massachusetts/Explore
AUTHOR: mkrobinson
RATING: PG-13
WORDS: 2912
TABLE: http://babysitters100.livejournal.com/53582.html#cutid1 [this is in need of an update, but LJ makes me cry whenever I dare try to post or edit there].
SUMMARY: John kisses her while she's in mid rant, and Diana realizes that she likes it. Even though she can taste the stale beer and cigarettes on his breath, and even though she really doesn't think it's a good idea to be kissing a boy in her current state, and even though it's horribly impulsive --

Diana kisses him back.

She's never kissed a boy before, and John is really really cute..
WARNINGS: Underage drinking
NOTES:



1977
Boston, Massachusetts

Diana Hartigan has come to the conclusion that she hates high school approximately three weeks into her sophomore year, when she determines that her 'exclusive' -- read, according to Mother -- parochial school appears to be run by -- and full of -- complete idiots.

It's a far cry from her previous school, where she felt she belonged.

The girl to her left has a giant ring on her finger and has loudly told anyone that has made the error in judgment of asking -- including her -- that it is a promise ring, from her boyfriend.

Diana Hartigan just sighs heavily and pulls out her annotated Shakespeare text, wishing that she was anywhere but at this stupid school.

She is fifteen years old and she has goals, and aspirations. Goals and aspirations beyond getting married at un-Godly young ages and having child after child after child. It appears that she is an anomaly.

"Romeo and Juliet is not an "accurate representation of your relationship"," she offers to the person sitting to her left, though she wonders why she bothers, because this person thinks that William Shakespeare is a "fullback on the Latin football team" and spends English and Math classes reading Tiger Beat and writing down lyrics from the J. Geils Band instead of paying a whit of attention to their teachers, old nuns who are past their prime.

But, yes, this school was best for Diana Hartigan. She couldn't dare go to a school with colored people, her mother and father wouldn't have stood for it.

And so, she sighs, and tries to carry on. It's not like she has much of a choice, is it?

"I'm sorry," her neighbor to the left says, after a moment. "What are you talking about?"

"The assignment," she tells her, with utmost patience. "You're doing it wrong."

Diana supposes it doesn't really matter, whether or not assignments are done properly, but she rather wishes it did.

She wishes that she wasn't stuck here, in this stupid private school. That she'd been allowed to go to Latin Academy, where her aspirations would have been -- at the very least -- acknowledged.

"You actually understand the assignment?"

"Of course I do," she informs her, somewhat annoyed. "It's what we've been learning for the past week!"

"You paid attention?"

Of course she had paid attention, she inwardly seethes. What else was there to do?

She grits her teeth and effectively does J. Geils Girl's worksheet for her. It's the least she can do when she realizes that conjugating sentences seems to be beyond her.

"Do you have a boyfriend?" Diana's companion -- she really should know this girl's name, they are classmates, after all, and it isn't like her to be rude -- asks her after a moment. "I have a boyfriend," she supplies happily. "He's gonna marry me and we're going to be rich."

"You remind me of my sister," she replies softly, not exactly intending it as a compliment. Lucinda is younger than Diana and she too is content to read stupid glossy magazines and concoct nearly delusional fantasies about her future.

Lucinda is also eleven.

She grimaces -- only slightly -- to herself, wishing that the older -- Diana knows she is older because everyone knows she is older -- girl wasn't expecting an answer.

"No," she says softly, almost ashamed. "I don't have a boyfriend."

The older girl looks her over -- almost disconcertingly -- and she has a feeling that she will immediately regret that admission.

"Maybe if you wore makeup you'd have one," she says after a moment. "You know, a bit of lipstick, a bit of mascara. I can get you some."

"I have makeup," she replies stiffly. "It's not supposed to be worn at school."

"Who the hell cares? This school is shit, anyways. You shouldn't even be here. You know about Romeo and Juliet and why you don't think I should want to emulate them, whatever the hell that means, and you actually care about what those numbers and letters mean in Math," she says, a surprisingly deep thought coming from someone who thought England was a continent the other day.

"Why would wearing makeup at school help?," she says after a moment. "We go to an all girls' school."


***


"Aww, come on," Caterina whines, pushing the cup of beer in her general direction, so close that Diana can smell it, the cheap American lager sloshing its way over the edges of the cup. "Just have a sip. It's not gonna kill you."

She primly shakes her head. "We're not eighteen," she tells her, feeling ridiculously out of place, feeling like she's a little kid, and not a high school freshman. "It's illegal."

Caterina blows a bubble and pops it loudly, shaking her head.

"Don't be an idiot," she says, rather loudly. "You can't tell me that you really care about the law. You just don't wanna get in trouble."

"It smells gross," she says in reply.

"Of course it does," she said. "It's 'Gansett. You think any of us can afford the good shit? Well, you probably could, but who'd let you purchase?"

Diana doesn't dignify the vaguely insulting comment with a response.

"You said there'd be guys here," she murmurs, wishing she'd worn a thicker sweater.

"There will be," she says, confidently. "Smart guys, like you, from the Latin."

Caterina says the name of the exam school like it's the name of the Bible, and it makes Diana inwardly roll her eyes.

"Your boyfriend's friends?"

Her companion's eyes flash. "We're pre-engaged," she says witheringly. "He gave me a ring. It's real opals. It cost him a lot of money." She presents her left hand to Diana, smiling proudly. "When we get married, I'll be able to afford Coors."

"Coors?" Diana really hopes she's misheard her. "The beer?"

Caterina nods. "Yeah," she says. "Sometimes he buys it for me, but it's really expensive. You could probably afford it, livin' in that fancy house an' all."

"My brother used to drink Coors," she shares. "My mother still buys it."

"What's he drink now?"

She shakes her head. "He doesn't," she says softly. "He died."

"Oh," she replies, falling silent for a moment. "Is that why you can be such a snob?"


***


Diana takes a sip of her beer, wincing at the taste.

"Look, there he is," Caterina says, rather loudly, though Diana is fairly certain that she was intending to whisper. "Ain't he cute? You look like you'd like a cute boy. All respectable and shit."

"I don't want a boyfriend," she says resolutely.

"Why?" Her companion rudely demands. "Not all boys die. Not all boys hurt you."

"My mother would kill me," she protests.

"Your mother buys Coors for a memory," Caterina snarls, her brown hair falling into her eyes. "What the hell does she know? Live a little."

"That memory is my brother," Diana replies, pursing her lips.

"Yeah, I know," she says. "Everyone's mother has a memory. Your mother's no special than mine's, or anyone else's."

"How do you know?" The beer is bitter as it slides down her throat, but it's not exactly the worst taste in the world. "Yours came back."

"They don't come back," she says softly. "Not really. In a way I envy you."

Diana huffs.

"You don't have to believe me," she continues. "All I know is I would rather have had to deal with an unchallenged memory. At least your brother can't disappoint you."

"He was my best friend," Diana replies, her voice catching. "Even though he was older than me. I thought he'd come back." She shook her head. "They never found him," she says hopefully. "So my mother buys Coors, in case he comes home."

"Maybe they will find him," Caterina suggests -- everyone has suggested -- and she forcibly shakes her head.

"They won't," she says loudly, drawing the attention of the nearing group of -- older -- boys. "Everyone tells my mother that. It's not true. It's just a lie meant to soothe with falsehoods."

Diana feels her cheeks burning a bright red. "I'm sorry," she says softly. "You must think I'm horrible. You were just being nice."

"Don't apologize for having feelings."


***


Okay, so maybe Diana has allowed herself to get a little drunk, and maybe beer isn't quite as disgusting as she'd anticipated, but when Caterina's future fiance summarily escorts her companion for the evening over to her she finds him very cute indeed.

"I'm Diana," she bubbles, feeling like a giggly mess. She's certain that her mother would be mortified at her unbecoming behavior, but she doesn't much care. "Diana Hartigan."

A handshake probably would have been more appropriate, but Diana finds herself giving the very cute boy a very big hug, nearly toppling over in the process.

"I'm John," he says, smiling at her. "You must be Caterina's friend."

"I guess," she says. "I don't have many friends," she admits, looking down at her feet. "I guess I'm a bit of a snob."

"I don't think you're a snob," he offers, and she sobers enough to disentangle herself from him.

"You don't really know me," she protests. "Caterina --"

"Everyone has their things," John replies, slipping his arm around her waist as he did. "You don't have to take everything so seriously."

She shakes her head. "I do," she replies. "If I don't then Mother will fall apart. Lucinda will have to deal with her. I can't just --"

John kisses her while she's in mid rant, and Diana realizes that she likes it. Even though she can taste the stale beer and cigarettes on his breath, and even though she really doesn't think it's a good idea to be kissing a boy in her current state, and even though it's horribly impulsive --

Diana kisses him back.

She's never kissed a boy before, and John is really really cute.

She feels unbelievably sad when he finally pulls away.

"Was I doing it wrong?" Diana asks, smoothing down her skirt.

John shakes his head. "No," he says. "You weren't doing it wrong."



***


"I'm sorry about your brother," John offers, lighting up the funniest cigarette that Diana has ever seen. "I couldn't help overhearing your little tirade as we approached."

She sighs. "Thanks," she mutters, taking a gulp of her wine cooler. "How did you hear? I was whispering!"

He chuckles. "No you weren't," he says, taking a drag of the cigarette. "You're a little drunk, yeah?"

She nods. "I like wine coolers," she says happily, waving hers for emphasis. "I feel bad that I didn't buy any. It was rude."

"You can't buy any," he points out. "You're not old enough, yeah? How old are you?"

"Fifteen," she says softly.

"I'm seventeen," he says, and he flashes an ID at her. It takes a moment for the fact that it's a fake to register with her.

"That says you're nineteen," she points out, and he wraps his arm around her shoulders. "You're not nineteen, you just said you weren't."

"It's wicked good, yeah?" John replies, his voice comforting and low, seemingly unaware of the butterflies Diana suddenly felt in her stomach.

"Yeah," she says. "You're cute," she adds, blushing brightly as she does. "You kissed me."

His lips suddenly met hers once more, and she beamed.

"You're cute too," he murmurs. "A little drunk, yeah?"

She shakes her head. "Nooooooo," she insists. "Diana Hartigan doesn't get drunk."

He laughs. "Tonight, you're not Diana Hartigan," he informs her. "Tonight, you're Dee."

She likes that. "I can be Dee tomorrow, too," she offers, though she doesn't know if she'll get to see John again, or even if she'd get up the nerve to talk to him.

"Yeah?" John asks. "Will you be, though?"

She shrugs. "Maybe," she admits. "My mom thinks I'm at Caterina's," she adds. "That we're studying."

He laughs, and it's a glorious sound. "Your mother's obviously never met her," he cracks.

She shakes her head. "No," she allows.

He takes another drag. "You are studying," he says after a moment, blowing a cloud of funny smelling smoke out as he does. "In a way."

"You think so?"

He nods. "Yeah."


***


Caterina returns, barely standing up, on the arm of her fiance-to-be, and Dee half wonders how she managed to miss the twosome -- flighty Caterina with her obnoxiously loud voice and Danny with his most inappropriate comments and so-called funny jokes -- but then she realizes that it doesn't matter, not with John holding on to her waist and making her feel pretty.

"I love him," she informs her, full of all seriousness. "He smells good."

"Diana," her friend replies, hazel eyes glassy, exactly like John's, "you're blotto."

"So???" Dee demands. She steals a drag from the cigarette that John's smoking, realizing slightly too late that she's in actuality smoking a joint.

"Her name's Dee," John interjects. "When she's with me her name is Dee."

The rhyme makes her giggle. Loudly.

"Dee an' John," she says. "Deejohn." It reminds her of something, something that she'd remember if she wasn't slightly -- totally -- drunk, but no matter.

“Dijon mustard’s on sale at work,” Danny supplies, finally deigning to speak to someone who isn’t the besotted Caterina, who is clinging to him, seemingly for dear life. “Why, you want some?”

“No,” Dee says. “It’s named after us,” she informs him. “Do you letter signs? Write that on the sign.”

Of course, the rational side -- her Diana side -- is protesting intensely about her stupid comment, but her irrational side -- the Dee side, the one that is more intense with every hit she takes -- thinks she’s hilarious.

Caterina giggles. “She’s right,” she insists, taking a hit from the joint in her hand. “You gotta write that on the sign.”

“You’re the Dijon mustard heir?” Danny asks, sounding confused.

Nooooo,” Dee corrects. “My family came over on that boat thingy. Like a long time ago. Before we were a country.”

She takes another sip of her wine cooler.

“I am related to Shakespeare, though,” she remembers.


***

Dee Hartigan arrives at school approximately two minutes before the bell is supposed to ring to start the school day, slightly disheveled and very hung over.

Perhaps it hadn’t been the best idea to get so drunk on a school night.

“Can he help me?” Caterina demands. “On our paper about Romeo and Juliet,” she elaborates.

Dee has no idea who she’s talking about. “Danny?” She ventures a guess. “I suppose...does he really know his Shakespeare?”

A faint remembrance of the previous night brings back a related memory, but surely... Well, the thought is enough to make her laugh.

Caterina shakes her head. “You said you knew him,” she says, gesturing to her falling apart copy of Romeo and Juliet. “Last night. Can’t he help me?”

Dee lets out a groan, both because of her headache and because they have been studying Shakespeare the entire year and Caterina obviously hasn’t realized that he is long dead and buried.

“He’s dead,” she informs her, simply. “Shakespeare and I are only very distantly related. He’s been dead since 1616.”

“Oh,” Caterina replies. “Danny’s gonna change the signs for you,” she says proudly. “He says it’ll piss his boss off. I think it’s funny.”


“You’re kidding,” Dee says desperately. “He’s really changing the signs from Dijon to Deejohn?”

Caterina nods. “You asked him to,” she points out.

“I was drunk,” Dee explains, and the elderly nun glares at them. She lowers her voice. “You can’t be serious.”

“It’s rude to ignore a request, Diana,” Caterina replies with a smirk, somehow doing an uncanny imitation of Dee’s mother, despite never having met the woman.

“‘Sides, it’s not like the signs can’t be fixed back the way they should be.”

“John is really cute,” she muses. “Okay.”

“You like him?”

Dee nods in response. “A lot. He kissed me.”

“I told you,” she teases. “I did.”

This is true. “You’re right. But not about beer.” She wrinkled her nose as she remembered the taste. “Beer was not good.”