A/U: Hey all. This is a Xena fan fiction set in modern times. In this, the two characters are in high school. This story is already complete so updates will be fast. Thought I would share it on this site as well. Let me know if you like it so far.
Morgan Reed slowly blinked her eyes open at the sound of her bedroom door bursting open. The brunette was too tired to raise her head, but knew it was her sister in the doorway.
"Jesus, you're still sleeping?" Keri asked in an annoyed tone. "Get up! We're going to be late for school."
The 17-year old frowned and grumbled as her door was slammed closed. Morgan groggily rolled out of bed and headed towards the bathroom. She hated when Keri barged into her room that way. She also hated that summer was over. Senior year had finally arrived and she was not thrilled, unlike her sister.
Morgan and Keri were twins, but since they were born fraternally, people could definitely tell them apart. Keri had brown hair and hazel eyes. Morgan had darker brown hair, almost black and blue eyes. While they were growing up, Morgan was always taller and now stood at least four inches taller than her sister. Looks were not the only difference between them. Keri was the popular one. She was the cheerleading captain, constantly graced with academic awards, and had friends coming out of her ears. Morgan was more of a loner who kept to herself. Her daily dress was in the tomboy realm of big T-shirts and baggy pants. Keri on the other hand was extremely girlie and practically wore a skirt every other day.
After taking a quick shower, Morgan stumbled downstairs to find Annette, their mother, and Keri in the kitchen. Her sister was placing a dirty breakfast plate in the dishwasher. Annette looked at Morgan with disapproval written all over her face.
"My goodness, Morgan. You're going to make you and your sister late for your first day."
"Yeah, some of us have friends to meet," Keri chimed in.
"Bite me," the brunette snapped at her sister.
"Mouth," Annette lectured.
Keri grabbed the car keys off the counter. "I'll be in the car," the cheerleader huffed, before going out the backdoor from the kitchen.
"I wish you wouldn't sleep in like that, Morgan. You don't even have time for breakfast."
Morgan rolled her eyes and grabbed an apple from the fruit basket on the counter. "I've got breakfast." The brunette pushed open the screen door and walked down the driveway towards the car. Morgan felt the chill of the fall weather and clearly saw a puff of her breath in the air as she exhaled. Keri had already pulled into the street with the engine running. Residue of snow fallen from the night before covered the neighborhood. Morgan hopped into the passenger seat.
"Took you long enough," Keri grumbled, starting down the street.
Morgan took a bite out of her apple, ignoring her sister's comment. She looked out the window.
Keri glanced at her sister. "I hope you don't plan on doing this for the rest of the year. Otherwise you'll have to find another way to school."
"You think I enjoy riding with you? My car should be out of the shop in a week or two. Me and Dad are still fixing it up."
"Right..." her sister drawled out. "… and can you not talk with your mouth full?"
"You mean like this?" Morgan widely opened her mouth full of chewed apple, leaning towards her sister.
Keri's eyes widened in shock. "Eww! Gross, you're so disgusting!"
Morgan chuckled and leaned back in her seat.
"I can't wait for you to get your car back."
They were soon pulling into the school's parking lot. Teens from all cliques of the community were walking towards the school. Keri maneuvered the car in a space and shifted the gear into park. As she grabbed her notebook and purse from the backseat, Morgan was already out of the car with her backpack on her shoulder.
"Hey, Morg!" the cheerleader called.
Morgan stopped and turned around to face her sister.
"Have a good first day."
"Whatever…" the brunette waved a hand at her.
"I mean it loser," Keri stated, with teasing aside. "Have a good day."
Morgan saw the genuine kindness in her sister's eyes and knew Keri meant well. The brunette nodded with a small smile. "You too."
"I'll meet you here at 1:30?"
"Kay," Morgan replied, before heading towards the building.
Morgan and her sister rarely got along, but every now and then they would have a settle connection that only the two of them could understand. They tolerated each other and on some odd level, they were friends. There may be obvious differences between them, but family was family. Morgan and Keri had a special bond, even though it did not always show.
The brunette made her way through the noisy hallways, annoyed by anyone who bumped into her. As she turned the corner, her one and only friend, Jackson, Jax for short, spotted her. He caught up to her and smiled.
"Hey, Morgan. What's up?"
Morgan shrugged her shoulders. "Nothin' much."
"What's your home room?" he asked, expectantly.
"I don't know." She shoved her hand down in her pants pocket and pulled out a crumpled index card. "Room 205."
"Cool, that's mine," he grinned.
Morgan shook her head, with a smile. She couldn't get over how geeky Jax was. He wasn't a bad looking kid. He had red hair with a few freckles across his nose and was the same height as Morgan. His body was descent. He wasn't scrawny, but sports was not his thing. Jax was a bookworm. Anytime Morgan would see him, he was always smiling. They became friends during Freshman year while Jax was her lab partner in Science. Morgan did not know how it happened, but the guy just kind of grew on her. The funny thing was, she did not mind. Jax was constantly cheery and she figured him a good balance in her semi-introverted life.
He also knew Morgan had a thing for girls. Unfortunately, he found that out the hard way last summer. While they were hanging out in the city junkyard, out of the blue he kissed Morgan on the lips. In a panicked reaction, Morgan pushed him away and gave him a good slap in the face. They didn't speak for weeks after that, but eventually, Jax came around again. Morgan explained that it wasn't him she didn't want. It was all guys in general. After she came out to him, in turn Jax came out to her, admitting he had a love for the fellas. They just laughed and both of them knew they found a friend for life.
Suddenly, there was an outburst of joyful squeals coming from down the hall. Jax and Morgan turned their heads and saw about four cheerleaders bouncy up and down, happy to be reunited after summer. Morgan was not surprised to see that Keri was one of them.
Morgan turned back to Jax. "Cheerleaders," she spoke in annoyance. "I would totally hate them if my sister wasn't one."
Jax continued to look down the hall and smiled as another girl joined the small group of cheerleaders. "Or if she wasn't one."
Morgan followed Jax's gaze and looked at the group once more. Her heart skipped a beat as she spotted the small blonde. Her name was Dana Campbell. She was Morgan's big-time crush. The blonde was a sweet and popular girl that was sociable with everyone. She had a good figure, typical for any cheerleader, an incredible smile, and green eyes that sparkled whenever she laughed. She was definitely beautiful and one of Keri's best friends.
Morgan's eyes lingered on the blonde for a moment before looking away. "Shut it, Jax."
Jax snickered and placed an arm around his friend shoulders. He turned them in the opposite direction. "Let's get to class. No pining over your Dana before first period, kay?" They proceeded to walk down the hallway, away from the cheerleaders.
Jax often teased Morgan about her endless crush on Dana Campbell, but he knew not to push too far. Morgan was a hopeless romantic who was full of puppy love.
The day leisurely went by and Morgan was now stepping into her last class of the day, English. She picked a seat in the back of the room and pulled out her sketchbook. Yes, she was an artist. Drawing was her escape from reality. Mostly, an escape from her mother's disapproval. No matter what she did, she never has been able to please her mother and frankly, she was sick of trying. Morgan enjoyed her art and her mother thought it was a waste of time. Almost every day Annette would nag her daughter for not being more like Keri. Morgan learned to ignore it, but it still struck a nerve with her sometimes.
The class began to fill as students were finding friends and determining where to sit together. When the teacher walked into the room the class fell silent and roll call began. Morgan continued to randomly sketch in her book, waiting for her name to be called.
"Michael Berkley?" the teacher began.
Morgan raised her eyes from her sketch upon hearing the blonde's voice. She craned her neck to look a few rows down from her desk and sure enough Dana was seated in the second row across the room. Morgan rested her head against her hand and dreamily stared in the blonde's direction. Morgan thought Dana was incredibly cute and not seeing the blonde for three months was almost too much to bear. The blonde was always in and out of town during the summer, so Morgan rarely saw her. She was definitely a site for sore eyes. Morgan was not able to study her that well in the hall this morning, but Dana looked a bit more grown up from the last school year she had seen her. She was also pleased that Dana had broken up with her boyfriend over the summer. From the start, the brunette knew it wouldn't last. She did not understand why Dana would go out with such pigs.
"Reed? Is there a Morgan Reed in here?" the teacher asked.
Morgan snapped out of her stupor. "Here. I'm here," she announced, looking at the teacher.
Practically everyone in the class turned and looked at her in that moment. Morgan hated that. She glanced in the blonde's direction and Dana was looking at her as well. It was brief, and then the blonde faced the front of the class. Morgan slouched in her chair, slightly embarrassed.
Later that evening, Morgan was sitting at her desk drawing to her heart's content. The way the lead stroked against the white paper, creating forms rendered from her mind was a comfort to her. The images just seemed to come to her and they easily flowed through her fingers. Morgan was sketching a drawing of Dana's face, carefully concentrating on each line. She knew Dana's face well and this drawing was one of many of the blonde. There was a knock at her door and Morgan quickly flipped the drawing over.
"Yeah?" she called.
Annette opened the door and stepped into her daughter's room. "Dinner is done, sweetie."
Morgan looked and nodded. "Okay."
Annette peaked around her daughter's shoulder and spotted the sketchbook. "Honestly, honey. I don't know what future you see in making sketches all day. You should be doing homework," Annette shook her head, before leaving the room.
"I don't have any homework," Morgan sighed heavily. She stood from her desk and flipped her sketchbook back over. She had never shown her work to anyone except Jax. That was the only one she trusted. Her friend encouraged her to keep it up and that was enough motivation for her. If her sister Keri caught a glimpse of her many sketches of Dana, she would know something was up. Morgan made sure to keep those hidden and would occasionally look at them herself. She closed her sketchbook and tucked it away in her closet before heading downstairs.
After saying grace, the family of four began to dig into dinner.
"So, how was your first day, girls?" Annette smiled, looking expectantly at Keri.
"Oh, my God, I had like the best day," Keri began excitedly. "Senior year is going to be the best. The cheerleading team…"
Morgan ignored most of the dialogue as her sister rattled on about her day. She picked at the asparagus on her plate.
"And you, Morgan?" Annette asked. "How was your first day?"
"Uneventful," Morgan stated flatly without looking up. The only highlight of the day was that Dana was in one of her classes.
"Oh, come now," Annette pried, slicing into her steak. "There has to be something."
"Leave her alone Annette," Nathan cut in. "She has nothing to say. You can't expect her to be a chatterbox like Kerbear."
"Daddy!" Keri whined at her father, insulted.
"No offense, Kerbear," Nathan smiled.
Morgan made eye contact with her father and gave him a look of thanks. She could always count on him to rescue her from her mother's grilling.
Annette let out a small huff and straightened her posture. "Well… back in my day I had plenty to talk about. When I was crowned as homecoming queen…"
Here we go. The family was used to Annette reminiscing about her high school and college days. There was no stopping her stories so they would let her just continue to speak. Morgan was so sick of her mother's self-centered stories. If any kind of subject was brought up in a conversation, she would always turn it around and make it about herself.
When Annette was finally done, Nathan nodded. "I remember, honey." He then turned to Morgan. "Hey, kiddo. I need you at the shop tomorrow right after school. We need to start cracking on that engine of yours."
The brunette nodded. "Right. I'll be there."
Morgan was thrilled that her father had offered her a part time job at his auto-mechanic shop. There were two things Morgan was good at: drawing sketches and putting cars together. She learned from her father. While her sister was off braiding hair and playing with barbies, she was under the hood getting greasy. She loved watching her father work on cars. It began when she was eight years old and her father asked her to hand him a wrench. She had been hooked ever since.
"Girls getting under a filthy car, I swear. Morgan, you have to find better things to do with your time."
"I find plenty to do. You just don't bother to notice," Morgan mumbled.
"I notice you coming home, filthy. It's very unlady like."
"Mom, give it rest," Keri spoke up. "You know Morg is the son Dad never had," the cheerleader chuckled.
Morgan shot her sister a look, but knew she was right. "Can I be excused?"
"You may not," Annette said sharply. "Not until you eat everything on that plate."
"I'm not hungry anymore."
"You're excused, kiddo. Go ahead," Nathan said.
Morgan stood from her seat and picked up her plate. As she entered the kitchen she heard her parents begin to banter back and forth. She shook her head and opened the dishwasher.
"Mom and Dad are at it again," Keri said, coming into the kitchen.
Morgan stepped aside so her sister could place her plate in the dishwasher. "It'll blow over."
"I don't know why Mom always has to get on my back about the things I do," Morgan whispered, so their parents wouldn't hear.
Keri closed the dishwasher and looked at her sister. "Don't worry about it Morg. You just keep being you. You're not doing anything wrong."
Morgan ducked her eyes and shook her head slightly. "Then why the hell does she make it feel like I am?"
The brunette stepped passed her sister and ran up the stairs that connected to the kitchen. She went into her room and closed the door behind her. She could feel the frustration building up inside her. Why did her mother always have to criticize her? Morgan grabbed her sketchbook out of its hiding place and sat at her desk. Instantly, her anger dissipated upon seeing the unfinished drawing of Dana. She picked up her pencil and expressed her feelings on paper.
As promised, Morgan showed up at the auto shop right after school. After greeting her father, she headed to the back office. She threw on her navy blue work suit, over her clothes, put her hair in a ponytail, and got to work.
After handling a few customers, Morgan began working on her baby, a jet black 1971 Barracuda. Nathan had surprised her with it last year and it was the perfect car for her. It just needed a lot of work. Morgan was determined to have it fixed up in a few weeks.
"Morgan!" Nathan called to her from the back office.
"What's up?" she hollered from under the car.
"You have a phone call."
Morgan slid from under the vehicle and stood to her feet. She used the rag in her back pocket to wipe the grease from her hands. "Who is it?"
"A girl. Says her name is Dana," Nathan replied, handing her the receiver.
Morgan's eyes practically bulged from their sockets and her heart began to pound. "What?" she squeaked in a panic.
Nathan stepped out of the office to talk to a customer, leaving Morgan alone. The brunette held the phone to her chest and took a deep breath. Dana wanted to talk to her and she couldn't blow it. She cleared her throat and brought the phone up to her ear.
"H-hello, this is Morgan," she said, trying to study her voice.
"Hi, Morgan. I heard you're really good with your hands. Do you want to help fix my engine?" The voice spoke with a hint of laughter.
"Jax! You asshole!" the brunette growled before slamming down the phone.
Within seconds, Jax appeared around the corner of the building and walked into the garage. He held his cell phone to his ear and had an insulted expression on his face. "I don't appreciate being hung up on." He waved to Nathan. "Hi, Mr. Reed."
"Jax," he nodded and continued to speak with his customer.
Morgan popped the hood of her Barracuda, while Jax moseyed over to her. He was trying to stifle his laughter and Morgan threw him a look. "That wasn't funny you ass."
"Sure it was. I was watching you the whole time. Your face was classic."
"H-hello, this is Morgan," Jax mocked, giggling hysterically.
Morgan punched him in the shoulder and he flinched. "Ow!"
"Is there a reason why you're here?"
"Actually, there is grumpy," he said, rubbing his shoulder. "You and I are going to the homecoming game this Friday night."
"Um… no we're not," Morgan replied, going through a toolbox.
"Oh, come on, Morg. We have to show some school spirit."
"School spirit?" Morgan said, raising an eyebrow. "You just want to check out the football players."
"True… but you can check out the cheerleaders. Dana will be there," he smiled, trying to persuade his friend.
Morgan let out a sigh. She knew if he mentioned Dana it would change her mind. "Fine."
"Yes!" He squealed, backing away. "We are going to have a good time, you'll see. I'll pick you up at 6."
Morgan smiled lightly and gave him a nod. "See you then, dork."
The crowd in the stands went wild as the home team scored the first touchdown. Morgan and Jax sat at the very top of the bleachers, watching the game. The cheerleaders jumped and shook their pom-poms as the players on the field celebrated. The score was now 7-0, but the game held no interest for Morgan. She stared at Dana down on the sidelines as the small blonde smiled and did a celebratory kick in the air. All the cheerleaders had on fancy makeup and their hair was done up in cute ponytails. Morgan thought Dana looked incredible. She was so lost in her dream world she didn't hear Jax talking to her.
"Look at you woman. You're smiling like a fool."
Morgan frowned and glanced at Jax. "I am not."
"You're looking at Dana aren't you?"
"No," the brunette replied, crossing her arms in defiance.
"You've got it bad, Morg."
"Just mind your business, Jax," the brunette huffed.
Jax caught a gander at number 29's butt as he was bending over. "Oh, I am," he smiled. "I should go down there after the game, give him a good smack on the butt and say, good game."
Morgan smiled and shook her head. "You're a freak."
"What? I see the players do it all the time," Jax reasoned.
The two friends stayed the entire game and watched as their team lost a disappointing 16-32. Morgan would never admit it, but she was sort of bummed her school didn't win. The team spirit had gotten to her.
After the game, Morgan and Jax were on their way to the parking lot when Jax put a vise-grip on the brunette's arm, stopping them in their tracks.
"What? What is it?" Morgan asked in confusion.
"Looky over there," Jax smiled, pointing.
A few yards ahead, Dana was off to the side, texting something on her cell phone. She was alone.
Morgan suddenly felt panic hit her. "Come on, let's go this way," she requested, heading another route.
Jax grabbed the sleeve of her jacket and pulled her back. "No way. My car is in this direction."
"Fine," Morgan grumbled.
Jax looked at his flustered friend for a moment and smiled lightly. "Morg, you've been drooling over this girl since sophomore year. Why don't you just talk to her?"
"Sure you can. She's right there, all alone. Just say hi."
"Jax," the brunette spoke seriously. "I just can't, okay?"
Jax shrugged his shoulders. "Alright, lover-girl. Have it your way."
They headed in the blonde's direction and Morgan's heart rate picked up as they got closer. Just walking past Dana sent shivers through her body. Morgan was just about home free until her body was suddenly shoved in Dana's direction. Before she could stop herself, her body collided into the unsuspecting blonde. They both stumbled awkwardly and Morgan grasped the blonde's arms to balance herself. Luckily, they did not fall.
Finally, regaining their balance, they looked into each other's eyes. Dana's eyes held surprise and a bit of irritation.
"Oh God, I am so sorry. Are you alright?" Morgan asked. She steadied herself and realized her hands were on the blonde's forearms. She quickly pulled away.
"Yes, I'm okay," Dana replied, getting her bearings together. "Just a little surprised."
"I'm really sorry about this," Morgan sincerely apologized, glaring over at Jax, who had made himself scarce.
"It's alright," the blonde stated, tucking some hair behind her ear. She looked towards the bushes next to them. "I think I dropped my cell phone in the bushes, though."
"Oh, I'll get it." Morgan quickly dropped to her knees and dug in the bushes. Her hands were trembling as she searched for the phone. She was actually in the presence of Dana Campbell, the girl of her dreams. The blonde was counting on her to do something. Okay, finding a phone is not a big mission, but she would have jumped in a tar pit if Dana had asked her to.
"Do you see it?" the blonde asked behind her.
Morgan's hand brushed across the hard object and she grasped the pink blackberry. "Yeah, I got it." She stood to her feet and handed the device to Dana.
"Thanks," Dana smiled, putting the phone in her sweater pocket.
Morgan looked at her and shyly smiled back. The blonde cocked her head to the side and studied the brunette's face. As those green eyes looked at her, Morgan felt shivers run down her spine.
"You're Morgan, right? Keri's sister."
The brunette got a small thrill hearing Dana say her name. "Um yeah, I'm Keri, Morgan's sister… I mean, I'm Morgan. Yes, I'm Morgan," the brunette stumbled over her words.
Dana giggled lightly as Morgan blushed with embarrassment.
"It's nice to officially meet you, Morgan. Even though you practically ran over me."
Morgan nervously scratched behind her ear. "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry. My… My friend over there-"
"Dana, is my blockheaded sister bothering you?" Keri interrupted, putting an arm over the blonde's shoulder.
Morgan internally groaned. Keri had the worst timing.
The blonde smiled and looked up at Morgan. "No. I'm just finally meeting your mysterious sister."
"I thought you've met." Keri gestured towards her sister. "Morgan, Dana. Dana, Morgan," Keri said, giving very untraditional introductions.
Morgan and Dana looked at each other briefly and smiled lightly.
"Morg, can you tell Mom that I'm sleeping over at Rachel's tonight?" Kerri asked. "She's having a sleepover thing."
Morgan gave a nod. "Sure, I'll tell her."
"Thanks. Come on Dana, we have to me up with some of the guys before we leave."
Morgan wanted to say goodbye to the blonde but Keri pulled her away too quickly. The brunette watched the two cheerleaders as they disappeared into the crowd.
Jax came back over and stood next Morgan. "So, what did you say to her?"
Morgan laid a hard punch on Jax's shoulder before stomping towards the parking lot.
"Ow! Geez!" he shouted, before running to catch up with the tempered brunette.
After being dropped off by Jax, Morgan walked up the driveway and went in her house through the side door that led to the kitchen. Morgan made her way to the den and found her parents. Nathan was watching television and Annette was leafing through a magazine. Nathan looked up as Morgan entered the room.
"Hey, kiddo. How was the game?"
"Oh, that's too bad. Where's Kerbear?"
"She's staying at Rachel's tonight. I guess the cheerleaders are doing a sleepover thing."
Annette looked at Morgan expectantly. "How was Keri's cheering tonight?"
"It was great, Mom. One-hundred percent," Morgan replied in an annoyed tone. "I'm going to turn in." She headed towards the stairs.
"Goodnight, kiddo," Nathan said.
As Morgan lay in bed that night, she replayed her short encounter with the blonde over and over in her head. Morgan thought of those beautiful green eyes. That was the first time she had been that close to actually stare into them. Then she thought of when she stumbled over her words. That was not slick. "I'm such a spaz," Morgan grumbled to herself.
She rolled onto her side and closed her eyes. It may not have been the best way to finally talk to Dana, but some dialogue did pass between them. For Morgan that was an achievement.