Chapter 1: To Quote Blake Schwarzenbach…'
Note: This is the very basic outline. I am working on any editing needed and plot hole fixing. I plan for this to be set during the beginning of Season 2 of Buffy. I own nothing but Jane Llwellyn and her thoughts please enjoy and give me your thoughts on it if you have any.
"School's a living hell. I work and don't get paid. I smoke a lot, but can't get laid."
My chin is jutted out and my lips are intensely pursed. Why? I wonder again. To get away from the bad memories of dad and that bridezilla he had made for his mistress and declared to love more than mom? Which was utterly ridiculous, of course, and, rationally speaking, utterly irrelevant because dad could never love anyone as much as he loved himself. I mean it was sad and frustrating, but them's the brakes; those are the cold hard facts. It was better to accept them and not drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why a narcissist was a narcissist. They just are. Dad just was. But why should we be the ones who leave? Why go all the way to California? To some nowheresville, boring town like Sunnydale? I relaxed my tight expression slightly and sighed, while my head bumped against the cool car window. I guess I had to take my own advice and just accept the cold truths I was living. Whether I liked it or not, we were going to Sunnydale, California. I was going to start my junior year at a completely new high school and probably go to college somewhere in the area. I pursed my lips again, closing my eyes and putting my ear buds in to listen to some Rancid and Social Distortion for comfort.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and was jolted awake, realizing I'd fallen asleep and drooled slightly on my right shoulder. Ugh, I thought wiping it away. I took my headphones out and looked at mom expectantly. "Jane, we're here," she said with a gentle mien. I looked around; it was just getting dark in sunny Sunnydale, California. It was summertime, so, the days were longer, though that would end soon, and we had left early in the morning from our home in Boise, Idaho, a day ago now, making our trip quickly and efficiently, staying in a hotel at the halfway marker and leaving even earlier from there. We'd made very good time, in other words. I looked at the small two story house suspiciously, but it seemed pleasant and aesthetically quaint enough, as though it'd never seen a stressful day in its life. I sighed again and tried to smile for mom, when I said, "Okay, cool. I'm really tired; we don't have to unpack tonight, do we?" She smiled wanly and replied in the negative, glancing briefly at the U-Haul attached to the hitch of her old, black SUV.
The evening air was cool against my skin as I stepped outside, grabbing only my suitcase from the trunk, feeling exhausted in spite of the long nap I had just taken. Mom unlocked the house and we explored for a couple minutes, pleased to find everything in proper order. I went upstairs and found my new bedroom. All of our heavy furniture had been moved in already a week ago, on our second visit here (the first being when we viewed the house), and I slept tranquilly on my coverless bed within minutes of lying down.
We spent the week moving stuff in and arranging things just so. There were only a couple weeks to go before I would start school at Sunnydale High School, and my stomach clenched at the thought. I had anxiety disorder and the occasional panic attack, and I was not overly fond of people, in general. I didn't want to make new friends; it took too long, and it was extremely difficult to find people who were, for lack of a better term, "worth" cultivating any modicum of intimacy with. I did not flatter myself that I was better than anyone, but I was picky about which people I got close to because I was highly suspicious of everyone. I had my reasons, to be sure, but I sometimes felt very alone and much too old for the body I wore. At any rate, those two weeks went by faster than I would have liked. I played my Nintendo 64 with fervor and read quite a bit, choosing A Clockwork Orange, The Hobbit, and On the Road to start with. I wrote some poetry and drew a little to keep myself creatively occupied. Yet, the end to this came soon, looming overhead like a hammer waiting to drop. Mom and I bought the supplies I would need, and before I knew it, I was walking away from the SUV, through the school doors, as other teenagers clotted about here and there or headed inside, and feeling queasy.
I had a math class first, Computer math actually, which I thanked God for because I sucked at math and, compared to other math classes, Computer math was a breeze. I felt jittery and knew I should have only had one cup of coffee that morning. My belly regretfully cursed me in its native tongue, growling loudly. Oh, shut up, I thought anxiously. I had an English class after that. I sat excitedly listening to the teacher talk about the year's curriculum, before she gave an introductory lecture about F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which would be our first assigned reading. Upon hearing this, a somewhat disgruntled and mischievous looking guy with dark-brown hair and warm light-brown eyes spoke up, "Hey, so, this book sounds great and all, but I gotta know is there gonna be sex in it?" He immediately followed with a dry statement. "Because I am not allowed to read or see anything like that. My parents desire my swaddled cocoon of love and innocence not be damaged as long as possible. I'm afraid, I'll have to sit out for this one." I smirked at his sarcasm and respected his guts. A couple kids tittered and some rolled their eyes, including an authoritative brunette in the back, who said, "Jeez, Xander, can't you be normal and non-spasmatronish for like two seconds?" The teacher cut in quickly, telling Xander that his parents would have to call her to talk about it (Xander seemed to sobre up slightly) and telling the girl, who the teacher addressed as, "Cordelia," to knock it off and leave it alone.
Cordelia scowled angrily and flicked her hair like a model or beauty queen, and I quickly decided, despite my wisdom's warning against presentiments and preconceptions, that I would not like Cordelia very much. I was glad I had no need to speak with her as of yet. Now, Xander seemed alright; he might make good friend material. I was quiet, being shy in new situations, and I didn't expect what happened next actually happened anywhere outside of a movie. The teacher, before class ended, called everyone's attention to her, as she beckoned at me to come up front. Oh, shit on a hot summer day, oh, hell, I thought frantically. I was not unconfident, but awkward and shy and anti-social sometimes. Now, more prominently than ever. I got up, resisting the urge to shake my head and refuse. The teacher promptly introduced me as being new and told everyone my name (Jane Llwellyn), including also that I was from Boise, Idaho. She looked at me expectantly when she finished, and I jolted a little, realizing she was waiting for me to say something. "Uh, greetings and salutations and shalom, everyone. It's sort of nice to meet you," I said, pursing my lips irritably. Greetings and salutations and shalom? Sort of nice? Ah, crap, this is ridiculous. I was relieved when a couple of people said, "It's nice to meet you too," though Xander said it more creatively and with a great deal more enthusiasm. However, I noticed vaguely that Cordelia and a moon-eyed blonde girl were whispering evilly and giggling nastily. I felt a throb of irritation, but tried to let it go as I gratefully returned to my seat, just as the bell rang.
I find my locker, a top locker, which would have been a problem if the lockers were any taller because I was only 5 feet and 1 inch in height. I grab my books for my next class, briefly flashing back to Cordelia's evil, valley-girl laugh. With rekindled irritation, I slam my locker door shut violently and clenched my fists, wondering if that evil laugh was at my expense. I would not be bullied or laughed at quietly. No, sirree bob. Especially not from a Ms. PerfectPants. "Did your locker do something to offend you? Perhaps, insult yo' momma?" said a voice from behind me. I glanced up sharply, reddening. "I can rough it up a bit, if you like, though you seem to have a handle on that." Xander grinned cordially and I smiled with some chagrin.
"No, I guess I was just bothered by something that happened in English; it's probably nothing, just me being paranoid and overanalyzing everything. Yay, neuroticism!" I said sardonically, semi-pumping my fist. He laughed.
"Definitely. Without neuroticism, where would we be? On some beach chilling out and drinking mojitos? Who wants that?" He paused for a moment, forming an idea. "Hey, do you want to sit with me and my friends during lunch? I figure by the time you get there, some friendly faces will be much appreciated." His finish was slightly ominous, but I didn't let it daunt me.
"Yeah, that'd be much appreciated. I better run, but thank you," I said graciously, speeding away to my next class. A history class.
To my chagrin, Cordelia and that blonde girl were in there with me, though I sat next to a nice, somewhat quiet redhead in a cute, little red and yellow argyle sweater and red skirt. She glanced at me curiously when I settled in. I played with my light brown hair, which had some blonde highlights, and shook my knee unconsciously. The class work was boring, but informative, which I appreciated to a degree. I fussed with my grey, knit cardigan, which I wore over a navy blue, racer-back tank top. I had jeans on; I could barely stand to where skirts or dresses. My shoes were light brown sandals, and I had costume jewelry on, as well. I heard a voice rise up really loudly from the back. "Well, I personally find costume jewelry to be very tacky. I say, go big or go home. Like diamonds, gold, or silver." I snorted derisively to myself and ignored her comment, her being Cordelia. I mean, who else? The blonde girl agreed vehemently, her voice just as falsely sugar-coated. What? Did they produce these bitches in an effing factory? The redhead caught my fast passing expression, and our eyes met briefly. She raised her eyebrows and gave a slight shrug, as if to say, "Hey, nothing new, what is there to be done about it?" I smirked in assent.
"And, hey, new girl, what do you think about costume jewelry? I mean so tacky and tasteless, right?" Cordelia said. The redhead's eyes widened and flicked back and forth between me and Cordelia, whose blonde friend smiled evilly at her queen's perceived cleverness. So, you think to slight me, eh, cur? I thought in a British accent. I turned around fully, so, it was obvious to anyone paying attention that I was actually wearing costume jewelry. The teacher had stepped out for a couple minutes to make more copies of the notes. I watched Cordelia's eyes flick to my jewelry and watched her smile her meanest smile.
"Well, as it's obvious you know already that I am wearing costume jewelry, I can deduce that you are attempting to insult me. In your vulgar, common sort of manner, of course. Well, hell, real funny, bitch. Real funny, but I like costume jewelry. Besides, you shouldn't be so judgmental, seeing as how your attempt to degrade me was about as cheap as this awesomely, tacky necklace I am currently wearing. Please and thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, good fucking day." I said with finality, turning back in my seat just as the teacher came back in. Cordelia was struck so appalled and speechless that she could not even speak to tell on me. I felt a sense of triumph mixed with a little guilt and strain of conscience. The redhead whispered, "Hey, I'm Willow. And that…That was insane and kind of amazing, but scary. And kind of amazing." She smiled widely and laughed softly.
"Thanks," I said with a flicker of a smile. "I'm, Jane, it's nice to meet you." She smiled and nodded, saying the same. Then we did not speak for the rest of class, sitting in a companionable silence.
I went to lunch in the courtyard, searching for Xander or Willow, and was surprised when I saw them sitting together already with a very pretty blonde, who was small in frame, but seemed to have an air of strength about her. I dread seeing Cordelia again and ran over to them eagerly. "Hey, Xander! Hey, Willow!" They both smiled and greeted me, surprised that I already knew both of them.
"I was just telling Xander and Buffy here—"she paused, while I said hello to Buffy, introducing myself, "I was just telling them about what happened with Cordelia. How cool and amazing you were, just brushing her off like an insect or something. No one ever talks to her that, except, maybe, Buffy." She glanced at Buffy adoringly.
"Yeah, sounds like you don't put up with any nonsense," Buffy said helpfully.
"Yeah, for the most part, but I kind of feel bad, reflecting back on what I said. It was not very wise of me nor very mature. And it's sure to bite me in the ass," I said cynically, retreating within myself for a moment, then snapping quickly back. "Anyway, I'm just glad there's been some good in all this. Meeting you guys being number one on my list," I added with a smile.
"I know it's hard, starting at a new school. I only started here a year or so ago myself," said Buffy gently. "But Willow and Xander, here, are solid, and we'll make sure you don't get too lost around here." I gave my deepest thanks; enjoying the rest of lunch with the fun, little group. I had gym next with Buffy, no less, which, with her coordination and friendliness, saved my ass from some really embarrassing tumbles or fumbles. Then I had science, where I was paired with a mostly silent guy, who was short with flaming red hair, and I discovered his name was Oz. He was really cool and got a lot of my references to punk artists, which I really appreciated.
Then a whole month passed away like this. I started hanging out with Willow, Buffy, and Xander at this place called The Bronze, which was really good for me, for my depression. Oz would play with his band there often, and I told him I thought they had a great sound. My mom was happy I made friends so quickly, which was highly unusual for me. She seemed to breath and sleep easier the longer we lived here. I began to begrudge the move less, when I saw how it helped her. She was my mother; I'd do anything it took to see her heal from the divorce.
At school, I began to take refuge in the library when not in class or at lunch, in order to avoid any irritating encounters with Cordelia. I just didn't want to deal with her. I chose the library the first time around because of convenience. It was after school, but I had joined a thespian club, which held meetings after school for an hour and a half every Wednesday. Cordelia was a cheerleader, and her practice ran for two hours every day after school. I got out of thespian club and heard her coming from a mile away. Her voice tends to carry. I fast-walked down the hall through a pair of big, double doors just as Ms. Perfectpants rounded the corner. I let out a sigh of relief with the doors shut behind me, looking around and finding that I was indeed in the library. "Ha, she'd never come in here," I accidently muttered to myself out loud with a smirk.
"Eh, excuse me, who would never come in here?" said a disembodied, dapper British voice.
"Uhh," I eloquently gawked. A handsome man in his thirties stepped from around a bookshelf. So, not a disembodied voice. "Um, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say that out loud," I said mechanically and lightly. He guffawed softly.
"Nonetheless, what brings you to my library? Do you need any help finding anything? Technically, we're closed, but we get so little traffic, I'd rather not pass up the chance for the library to actually be used for its intended purpose." I chuckled and grinned at his gentle British humor.
"Sadly, I can't honestly say I intentionally came here. I was sort of hiding and this was convenient, but now that I'm here, I wouldn't mind checking out a book. Do you happen to have Moon and Sixpence by Somerset Maughm?" I asked, through slightly narrowed eyes, which was a habit of mine when I didn't know how a question was going to be received.
"Oh, yes, we should, though I'll look it up," he said with a happy demeanor. He walked over to his computer, booting it up and pulling out his due date stamp. "I'm Mr. Giles, by the by, I am, as you probably guessed, the librarian here."
"Well, I'd hope so; otherwise, I should think you were just a nutty bibliophile, who enjoys hanging out at the high school library. Then this conversation would be completely different," I said drily and he guffawed once more, muttering, "Quite right" under his breath.
So, what or who were you hiding from? You see, you never know with Sunnydale," he said, smiling as if he were making an inside joke with himself.
"Just this annoying chick, who I pissed off a few weeks back. I don't feel like dealing with her immature, high school crap. She just doesn't seem to have any vision or emotional depth, and I cannot find anything in her, from what I've seen, which I could be kin to. We're completely different animals, she and I. I don't understand how someone could be so flippant and arrogant when there's so much more. So much innate beauty in the world, in the little things and big ones, when there's such profound emotion and pure joy, not the joy that comes at someone else's expense and pain. She lacks any sort of profundity and shows a gross disregard for other people's feelings. It's simply foolish and unwise and unkind and—Base!" I vented, unintentionally. I hadn't realized how passionate my dislike for Cordelia was, nor that our confrontation had been bothering this much.
Mr. Giles was looking at me with a stunned expression. I apologized profusely, blushing deeply from embarrassment and shame at admitting my feelings to a total stranger. "Well, it seems to me like you should let go of that anger and accept that there are people, who, though not evil, are less enlightened. The best thing you can do is try to be an example," I looked down and bit my lip uncomfortably. "Ah, here we are." He looked at the screen, putting glasses on. He turned around and swept to a specific shelf, pinching a little hardback book from it, stamping it, and walking it over to me. I graciously accepted it, as he said, "It was lovely to meet you—" he paused, realizing I hadn't told him my name.
"Jane Llwellyn," I offered. He smiled and offered his hand, which I took and shook.
"Well then, it's lovely to meet you, Ms. Llwellyn. Please, feel free to hide here anytime."
"Thanks; it was great to meet you too. Have a good day."
With that I ran home, and I established a routine of hiding in the library from then on, as it suited me. Once or twice I heard voices from within and turned around to find another haunt for the day, but that didn't happen too often, and I only hid there after school on Wednesdays.
A couple weeks later…
I was walking home from school. My mom only dropped me off and picked me up on the first day, for ceremonial purposes she said. Anyway, I was walking, the sun glaring in an orange, afternoon glow and the air lying pleasantly still and dry around me. Halfway through my walk the sun had gone down completely. I gripped my mace in the pocket of my sundress cautiously, looking at the clear night sky with awe. The Milky Way was especially visible tonight and dazzling. I smiled softly, looking back at the ground contentedly as I walked. I started to sing a little, and softly. I sang fairly well and with a flexible range, and my song of choice was "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas. My mind wondered to mystery of Buffy, Willow, and Xander's cagey behavior over the past week. As if, every time I joined them, they had just finishes talking about something secretive and gravely important. I stopped singing momentarily, adjusting the thin, flower-patterned, light-grey scarf I wore, while I frowned slightly at the recollection of my last meeting with my friends. I continued on, sighing and pouting, about twenty feet from my house. A voice suddenly cried out, "Ooooo! That one, my evil prince! I want that one! I like her mind; it longs to roam with the stars, yet is caged like a pretty, little birdy, beating its plumage against iron bars, shedding it into little, bitsy pieces."
I whipped my head around, discovering an unwholesome looking couple staring at me from across the street. Aw shit, fuck nuggets. I moved deliberately forward; they were still staring right at me, following my movements; it's definitely me they are eyeing. I was very scared, but also intensely pissed. How fucking dare they? One was a woman in a long red dress with long black hair and delicate features; the other was an extremely good-looking guy, who looked almost exactly like Billy Idol. The guy turned to the woman, "Of course, pet. You shall have whatever your heart desires."
"Hey! Fat fucking chance, dickweed!" I cried out, unable to, once again, control my big fat mouth. "Bitch, you ain't gettin' nothin', but a swift kick to the baby maker, if you think you can just have me! I'm nobody's Nietzchean plaything!" The man laughed and laughed.
"Good pick, Drusilla, she'll be fun to break." Drusilla looked slightly put out.
"I forgot there was a fire in her, and I got burned. Sssss…ow! Later, will you kiss it and make it betta', Spikey?" she asked flirtatiously. They seemed momentarily entirely absorbed with each other, which I took as my chance to run the last fifteen feet to my house. My key was on a lanyard around my neck. I remembered with a chill that my mom was away on business another town over and wouldn't be back 'til tomorrow night. What could those maniacs do to me with a whole day? I booked it like a whippet. I heard Spikey cry out in anger.
"Sweet, Mary, mother of the fucking Lord!" I screamed frantically, propelling myself forward as quickly as possible, hearing the footsteps uncomfortably close behind. I held my key at the ready. I cleared five steps in one leap in some amazing fit of adrenaline, shoving my into the keyhole, turning the knob and pushing in, one foot in the door—Arms coiled around me, yanking me from the safer haven that had been so close. I was inches from being inside with the door locked, so, I'd have time to phone the police, but to no avail. The grip on me was unbreakable, plus, the man being significantly taller than me made it almost seem like he was picking up a child. I struggled and hissed and cursed and growled, which were things normally reserved for when my mother would get me up in the morning, now in a sickeningly comical contrast, it felt like they'd be the last things I'd ever do.