Almost Over You
A Legion of Lawndale Heroes ‘Mini’, by Brother Grimace
Legion of Lawndale Heroes created by James Bowman
The timing is off.
We’re not finished playing the field.
We’re fixated on ‘the worst-case scenario’.
We’re ‘in like’, not ‘in love’.
We’re too into you.
-from Cosmopolitan.com’s ‘Why Guys Dump Girls They Dig (Here’s Why He Might Suddenly Ditch You), by Anna Palma
Tom’s (Sloane) philandering ways - with women in general, let alone among the female members of the Legion - had never gone unnoticed. To be more accurate (or honest), while Tom’s actual romantic connections within the Legion only counted Lane and the elder Landon sister, the myth of his unrepentant womanizing that knew no boundaries would haunt - and hinder - his public image for years.
It must be noted that of the other female Legionnaires that he was connected with in the media, Tom never had any sort of emotional - or even physical - intimacies with any of them. (Julia) Carlyle despised Tom because of her own long-standing (and highly acrimonious) relationship with him, Daria (Morgendorffer) felt likewise because of how she saw him as nearly destroying her relationship with Jane (Lane) - even moreso because he (Tom) never had more than a passing, almost one-sided flirtation with her and in retrospect, seemed uncaring as to how their friendship would have fared, had he been successful in winning her (Daria’s) affections.
While knowing far too many LGBT individuals to feel the litany of homophobic attitudes that many young men of his time shared (thankfully, that cultural attitude would change), Tom was in no way interested in returning the affection that Theodore Dewitt-Clinton felt for him - and even before his infamous ‘trick’ upon Carlyle (for which she would never fully forgive him), he had been warned by a number of individuals to never approach Stacy (Rowe) in that fashion. (For more on those incidents, refer to the chapter on Colonel (Kyle) Armalin, and his personal dealings with the Legionnaires.)
In retrospect, the relationship that would lead him to the altar almost seems pre-ordained - if you look at Tom’s past with an unbiased eye... and suppress the urge to keep from going after him with a baseball bat. You see, people - especially Young Master Thomas - seemed to constantly overlook the fact that I’m the closest thing that Julia ever had to an older sister.
- from Sherrie Klein’s Inside The Tower
I can forgive you
And soon I'll forget all my shattered dreams
Although you left me with nothing to show
But all misery
Now, I'm almost over you
I've almost shook these blues
So when you come back around
After painting the town
You'll see I'm almost over you
When you come back around
After painting the town
You'll see I'm almost over you
-from Almost Over You, by Sheena Easton
“I think you look great, Jane.”
“Keep being flattering, Theo. It reminds me of everything I’ve ever heard about actors.”
“Good or bad?”
“Well, considering that this is our third date... Just keep up the good work. Don’t spoil this date for either of us.”
“Would you like another banana nut-rum muffin?”
The Legionnaire couldn’t keep the smile from her face. “Man, what your fans would say if they heard ‘Samuel of the Silver Braids’ saying that.”
“No - they’d only get pissy if they heard me say something that ‘unmasculine’ to a girl that isn’t ‘Samuel’s OTP - the wondrously beautiful and yet savagely, averagely bland Lillian’ - in a grove of young trees, while lying on a giant handwoven blanket and offering her some of the sacred ceremonial mead made from the recipe his people received when they rescued the Viking explorers who came to our land-’.”
Theodore (‘Please, just ‘Theo’) Heiden cut in with a deep, sultry tone that verged upon farcical - even moreso because of the faux-romantic ‘smoldering gaze’ that Jane knew well from many a poster, book cover and freeze-frame moment on the DVD and DVR in her room (although she’d never admit that, even under torture).
“-Many, many generations and seasons ago. It was from them that we learned the magics that allowed us to take on the forms that our ancestors used to help the Vikings repair their vessel - the forms of giant bears, their fur the color of sun-kissed morning snow - and return to their realm... far beyond the waters, and far above the skies’.”
The two young people broke into gales of laughter that drew stares and more stares from other tables, and a disapproving glance from the duo of A-list actors on the dais.
“Well, it did help me put away enough money to make sure my sister can make it through college and med school - even if she’ll be able to get away with calling me her ‘Theo bear’ for the rest of my life.”
Jane’s sudden smirk brought a shrug from her date. “I like taking care of my little sister.”
“That’s another good thing about you - but I was thinking about you, bears and muffins. Strawberry cheesecake muffins.”
“You read those ‘Scarlett the Fairy’ books when you were little? My sister still loves them, and she’s in her second year at Cornell. She loves her muffins, too.”
“Yeah, about those muffins. You should get a few for later. I really like those - muffins.”
Jane chuckled as Theo - the co-star of a popular ‘young-adult’ series of films, who she met a few weeks earlier after he ‘won’ her in a bachelorette auction (well, it’s a couple of dates, definitely nothing serious, I haven’t even given him tongue in a kiss yet) leaned back to catch a waiter’s attention.
How I managed to get his attention, I still don’t know - and I don’t question it, either. I’m just glad his character doesn’t sparkle or go around all mopey, kicks a lot of ass in his movies, actually knows how to smile like a normal guy - and that his fans don’t go crazy in public when we show up somewhere.
Well, after that first date. Thank you, Mack, for the sudden beefcake show that drew all the attention off Theo and me - even if Daria snarled about it for a day.
She smiled as a muffin - almost three times the size of a regular one - appeared in her hand, and half of it disappeared almost as quickly. We’ve got to get her laid again - no, we need to have someone take her off somewhere and bang her hard for three days straight - and if you’re listening in on me, Daria, yes, I said it - yes, you really do need it and yes - you know that you do!
On the other side of the United States, Daria Morgendorffer leaned forward on her desk and scowled slightly.
“That’s what you get for snooping in on someone when they’re on a date. You always hear far more than you want.”
Amorette Molyneux sipped her lemonade, and sloughed off the solar-intensity look Daria directed in her direction. “Temper, Morgendorffer. Here, look at these pictures of Ettienne - my brother Peverell’s German Shepard. He’s a beautiful hound, well-trained, responds well to commands - and the girls also seem to respond well to Ettienne.”
“Really, Amorette? You, too?”
The French-Canadian beauty couldn't resist a tiny smile. “Well, Jane is not exactly wrong, is she?”
Jane polished off the moist cupcake, which seemed to make even the tips of her eyebrows tingle with every bite. “God, those things are so good...”
Leo gave her a wistful expression that made every woman in the room watching him both sigh and look at Jane with envy, pride and no small degree of annoyance (‘what does she have that we don’t, except knowing how to weasel cash out of a billionaire?’).
“I wish that you looked that way at me when I kiss you.”
“Practice makes perfect, little boy. A grown man would work to make me moan and my eyes roll back into my head when he kisses me on the neck.”
“Damn. East Coast girls do have high standards.”
“Get back to the point where you tell me that you’re in good with the person who makes those muffins.”
“That will cost you a kiss.”
Leo leaned in to kiss Jane, and his expression mirrored hers as their lips parted. “I may have to keep you around.”
“Muffins, man. Momma wants her tasty baked goods.”
“You’ll have an easier time getting them than I would. One of the major East Coast donors has a rep as an amateur chef who could go pro the moment she wants - lives in the Baltimore area close to you.”
“Someone managed to convince her to forego a couple of zeroes on her usual donation - in exchange for making a few hundred muffins for sale, and for this little happening.”
“Until ten minutes ago, I’d have said whoever did that was crazy.”
“Fifty dollars for six muffins - it’s for the charity - and I think they sold out even before the things even got here.”
“Like I said - before I got here, I’d have said you were crazy.”
“I think that you know her. Well, you know her-”
Jane’s playful poke drew Leo’s attention back in her direction.“What?”
“That’s Tom Sloane. The muffin goddess is his mom.” He blinked hard as realization spiked through him. “Oh. He’s-”
“He’s someone who didn’t get the message that I’d be here to rep the Legion today. Alone.”
To his credit, Leo’s expression didn’t change as he watched a middle-aged woman go up to greet Tom and his date. Well... I guess Jane dropped her standards at least once - if even half of what I’ve heard about him is true. I guess every girl actually does have her ‘Paolo’ - and this is what I get for always watching Friends reruns with my mom.
“Well, he definitely decided to swing for the fence with his date. My friends have all been trying to date her since she turned seventeen last year!”
Leo shrank slightly beneath Jane’s stare. “She’s not my type. I like a much hotter girl that’s actually done more beside stand in front of a camera.”
Jane’s gaze softened. “Nice save. Besides, I do love that dress. I wish I had the legs for it.”
“You do. She’s just got a rep for skirts, heels - anything to showcase her legs.”
They watched - and Jane’s face took on a light scowl - as an escort guided Tom and the girl to her table; for his part, Tom did manage a slight look of remorse as he pulled the chair out for the girl to sit down.
You never did that for me, you prick.
“Hi!” Tom’s date - an attractive young woman many inches taller than him, the height difference even more apparent because of the heels she wore, turned to face her. “You’re Jane Lane, aren’t you? I’ve been bugging Tom for months to get a chance to meet you, and when I heard that you were coming out here for this event, I pulled a few strings in order to get him to come out for this and give me an introduction!”
God, could this girl be any more like Quinn? I mean, that’s not me being mean, she seems just as naive and nice, but flighty...!
Tom took a seat, and Jane realized with a start who the young woman was (God knows Stacy loves her Disney shows!). “Jane, this is Zalika Ronson-”
“I know who you are,” Jane blurted out; Theo drew back slightly at the way Tom flinched as Jane focused on Zalika as if Tom had never appeared. “My nephew, niece and all the kids I used to babysit loved to watch your old Disney show, and the new one, too. So does one of my Legion friends-”
“Oh, PLEASE tell me that it’s your friend Daria that watches the show!”
Jane looked Zalika over, and despite her flawless, incredibly pale brown skin, long hair that would make even Sandi jealous (despite all the progress she’s made in un-becoming a bitch), the slim, toned figure that instantly made Jane’s self-confidence quiver and the Quinn-level perkiness, decided that she’d like the girl. Even I dated this bastard - can’t hold that against her.
“No. Daria would never admit that. She’s into the Sick, Sad World shows. My friend Stacy is such a fan, though - and Mack thinks you’re cute, too.”
“Does he?” Zalika leaned forward, hands crossed before her in that conspiratorial pose that women assume when they plot matters of the heart. “Oh, and don’t get the wrong idea about Tommy here. Our mothers were in the same sorority in college - same pledge class - and we’ve been each other’s ‘safety date’ for anything we couldn’t get out of and needed an excuse not to be saddled with someone horrid.”
Jane turned to look at Tom; their dates would have been surprised to know that each had the exact same thought - that Jane’s expression wouldn’t have looked out of place if she were a velociraptor, and Tom was prey who had actually managed to escape her once before...
“Well. That’s interesting to know. How long have been you been each other’s ‘safety dates’?”
“Oh, God - since sixth grade. Doing TV, you’d think that you’d get out of the boring social stuff, but no, Mom just has to have me put on the stupid clothes and go off to the constant carnival of boring social and Family events.”
Tom’s head remained motionless as his eyes jerked over to Zalika - but she just kept on, and neither Jane or Theo noticed his reaction to the word ‘Family’.
Damn, Z - must you? They expect you to at least TRY to be quiet!
“You know that the other girls there can get really petty and catty - you know what I mean, we’re NOKD, no matter how famous we are or what we do. Ugh. Pampered show-dogs, prancing around the cotillion floor as if they’ve done something. Let’s see one of them go prancing her posh or perky preppy posterior two or three straight hours a night on stage , six days a week, during a five-week summer concert tour.”
“Right. Trent might sleep a lot - but I’ve seen him do two full sets a night, going all-out, for three or four nights straight when we needed the money. Singers and musicians work hard on stage.”
“Amen, sister - and I’ve heard about how you were getting all of those mean people saying hideous things about you and the guy who set the Legion up.”
A waiter brought a tray of six muffins to the table, and Zalika seemed as if she would both faint and fly away as she swiped one from the tray before the server could set it down, and bit deep into the warm, moist treat.
“Oh, God yes. Have you ever been skydiving - and there’s that time when you’re just shooting all over the sky as if you’re flying? These are so much better than that!”
A surprisingly silent Tom put a hand forward - and drew it back as Jane’s eyes caught his just before she took the muffin he had reached for. “Eating these definitely makes my ‘top five’ list of quick thrills - but I know I’ll be running a couple of extra miles to pay for it.”
“I remember when those pictures of your friends running track came out - and the ones of you stretching as you came out of the woods where you jog?” Zalika actually stopped talking long enough to finish her muffin - and her eyes nearly rolled back with pleasure. “Mmmmmm. These are better than watching that one paparazzi who always follows you stalker-style get tasered.”
“Trent and the guys did want to do that scene from that Jay and Silent Bob film, where they go around the country and beat up everyone who made fun of them online...”
“Yeah, Trent Lane is your brother. He’s amazing... Too bad he’s taken. I heard he’s dating a girl in military school. Yeah - anytime one of us has to do the ‘plus-one’, the other shows up. It’s totally boring most of the time - that seafood boil at the cove every year is the worst - except for the times Miss Kay works the pot. Even when she cooks, it’s so dull, and you have some of the older guys checking out the girls like they’re looking us over for the next trophy wife - Tom’s Uncle Thornton is the absolute worst.”
Theo turned to Tom; he slid the two remaining muffins (the girls were fast workers) onto the plate before Tom as he clapped him good-naturedly on the shoulder. “Ever seen Doctor Who? ‘Oh, mate! The missus and the ex - welcome to every man’s worst nightmare!’ Here - you need these more than I do!”
Jane sipped her mimosa as she let her eyes move from Tom, to Leo - who got a wink (and whose eyes went wide as he felt her bare foot stroke up the inside of his lower right calf and into his lap)- and then to Zalika.
“So, do I call you ‘Zalika’, or ‘Z’, or-”
“Well, my family and my real friends call me ‘Tanya’. My middle name’s ‘Natasha’, and somehow it got twisted into my being called ‘Tanya’ when I was little.”
“Not a fan of ‘Zalika’?”
“Kind of a peace offering to my grandfather - he was big in the Black Power movement in the Seventies. Didn’t take - but he still paid out the nose to send my mom to school. How’d you meet the escaped throw-rug from the young-adult section?”
“Wondered when you’d get around to noticing me,” Theo laughed; the sound was more like a happy bark. “Film still outranks TV.”
“Yes, but a couple of hot girls in designer gowns puts you on page ten. Nice hair, though - and you are dating the Legionnaire, so I guess you can work the rope-line with us girls...”
Tom leaned forward as Jane and the actors began to chat happily; he turned his attention to the pair of muffins, and pulled a chunk from the top of the closest one.
“At least I have muffins.”
-----Don’t take it personally, Thomas. You did hurt her.----
Tom’s eyes went wide at the gentle voice that appeared in his ears - no, my mind. It’s a telepath talking to me. I don’t recognize the voice-
----That’s not important. What’s important is that you don’t take any of it personally... Well, that you don’t start to think that all women are against you. Hurt feelings don’t disappear overnight - and most people do want a bit of payback before they forgive.----
The Legionnaire sighed as he lifted his water glass. Point taken - and Trent never did try to even fight me over what happened.
-----No, he didn’t. Try to grow up some more, Thomas. You are being watched.----
_________________Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.
-Jon Stewart "We have a right to fight for our country - the same as every other American. We will not go away." -Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard), Red Tails"If we can't protect the Earth - you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it."
-Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), The Avengers"Sometimes you have to spontaneously break into song - right?" - Mack, from Teen Beach 2The PSI Corps is your friend. Trust The Corps.