Title: Never Leave Me
Author's Note: This story is the combination of the three stories, Love Evil Be Thou My Good, You Will Not Write Me Again, and The Edge of Oblivion. It is as yet unfinished.
Summary: The story of the life of Aleck McGee, a lesbian. Covers from high school to her thirties. Romance and drama.
Warnings for Part One: Lesbian relationships (warnings will be updated at each of the four parts)
Disclaimer: All characters, the story, and plotline are the original creation of Michelle Reis and thus copyright Michelle Reis December 2002. Any resemblance to people, living or dead, or real life situations are entirely coincidental.
Other copyrights: The title of the first part is a quote from John Milton. Later quoted is a segment from paradise lost.
Lyrics used are by Leonard Cohen or Dar Williams.
Archive: Ask permission, email or AOL IM at DiscoDagmar
Feedback: Please review.
Please note that the story has been revised and altered since it's initial publishing on Chapters have been grouped together and new scenes have been added. It is recommended by the author that the reader at least rereads Part One. Chapter One has been entirely rewritten and group with former 2 and 3.
Part One: Love… Evil Be Thou My Good!
I first met Jane in the second grade. In our suburban cage, we were both involved in community theater programs. My first memory of her is being another munchkin in the Wizard of Oz and knocking over one of the tables in the dressing room.
The next memory of her takes place in the sixth grade. During recess, I noticed one of my friends; Mary was her name, being taunted by two boys. Filled with antiquated chivalry and quixotic ideals, I rushed to her aide. In a few seconds, their anger was turned to me; I glanced around for a yard proctor and saw Jane, watching with what had to be sadistic amusement or curiosity.
I furrowed my brow in anger at her and then turned back to the matter at hand. After a few minutes and a few punches the boys seemed satisfied and left. I walked over to the fence, passing Jane.
"Hey!" she called out.
"What?" I said coldly, still fuming with childish indignation.
"What you did was really nice."
"Whatever, thanks," I said more snidely than I had intended. I began walking away.
"Wait a sec," she looked at me curiously, "Do you believe in God?"
"There is no God," I said harshly and continued walking. Jane stayed away after that and the next memory I have of her was in the tenth grade. She had landed the role of the Narrator, a lead, in the school's production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. I had been selected to head the technical work for the play. Because of this I spent countless extra hours in the theater which was not really all bad. In fact, it was a necessary escape from home.
Perhaps I should explain that, I did not have a bad home-life, I actually had a fairly decent one. My mom and I got on quite well. My dad and I, well, we treated each other with respective distance. I had a brother, Mitch, who lived at home, acting as my guardian as my parents took long trips overseas. They had done that ever since my father's retirement, several years ago from Microsoft. I had a half-sister, Micala, who frankly resented my presence, and a half-brother, Daneth, who was never around. Both were from my father's first marriage and they were ten and twelve years my senior.
My parents respected me, they had already seen everything by the time I reached any form of rebellion. They didn't ignore me but… Well, their lack of attention was enough to spark the disdain of a small community of 25,000 people, almost all close-minded bigots. They sheltered each other, protecting themselves under the guise of tolerance. Yes, they tolerated the growing Hmong population but as they told each other in Church group, they certainly didn't like it. I hid in my theater from these people.
That's where I was preparing the stage lights to be hung from the grid, placing gels, thin, transparent pieces of colored plastic, over the lights. I had maybe a dozen more to go when Jane walked up.
"Not really." I said politely, trying to keep adolescent disdain out of my voice.
"Quite sure," she rolled her eyes and sat down, securing a gel on the light.
She tried to make conversation again; "Mr. Taylor says you're really talented."
"Thank you." I said evenly, "Really, I can do these."
"It's no bother."
"I work better alone, Jane." She smirked and set the light down.
"Well, the reason I really came over here is…"
"What?" I asked annoyed.
"Well," she glanced at the floor, a hint of blush creeping up her neck, I noted how it contrasted with her short black hair; "I was wondering you'd like to…" She stopped.
"Like to what?" I prompted.
"Never mind," she said, grabbing her rucksack, "I should go."
"Thanks for the help…" I said uncertainly, watching her dash for the door, leaving me in a state of perpetual confusion. I rolled my eyes and finished gelling the lights before glancing at my watch and rushing off to meet Mary, my girlfriend. Ah yes, Mary, a bit of security, I guess… after all, if I had been outed in such a small community, I would have been shunned. Welcome to the closet, ladies and gentlemen, exit at your own risk. Maybe that's why I was so very confused by Jane's actions, I wondered fleetingly if she had been hitting on me. I pushed it from my mind.
In fact I pushed her from my mind for a long time, until my senior year and school's production of Brigadoon. Jane played the Fiona and I again headed the technical work, a position I had kept diligently for two years, in between my debate team and my speech team. I stood in the tech booth explaining my light design to Scott. He was getting increasingly confused. Don't get me wrong, Scott's not stupid, he's one of my closest friends and a genius with sound. Show some sound equipment to him and his eyes glaze over like a necrophiliac in a morgue. But lights… no way in hell.
By about ten minutes later, the tech crew had assembled. There were six of us that we'd admit to. There were two more whom we avoided. Kim, Beth and I were the girls. Kimber was a stage manager and Beth was my right hand lighting bitch. Scott and Mark made up our sound crew and Jake was basically Mr. Fix-It. The two we wouldn't own up to were Will and Jesse. Jesse was a moron and Will was a jackass.
But I digress.
Will and Jesse were gotten rid off. Simple enough you send them off to do an important sounding job and boom. History. Someone knocked at the door.
"Enter!" Kimber called.
Jane stuck her head in the door. "Aleck?" Scott nudged me subtly and grinned.
I grinned, "Yeah?"
"Mr. Taylor wants you to come down and explain the lighting to him. He also needs to give you the mike numbers."
"I'll be down in a few seconds."
"Great," she smiled and walked away.
"Fuck was that about Aleck?" Kimber asked me, smirking. Mark and Jake looked away, amused. And Beth raised her eyebrow at me.
"Nothing, all right? She's a cute girl."
"Whatever. Fuck yourself, Kimber."
"I'm out of here."
"Yeah, go find out what Taylor sees for the play." Beth said laughing.
"I can't get my head that far up my ass."
"You're not that limber are you?" Beth shot back.
"You'd know, baby." I leered suggestively at her and laughed when she stuck her tongue out at me as I walked away, chuckling about our banter. None of that was offensive. Its how we were. Being different is a remarkably strong bond among high school.
"You wanted to see me, Mr. Taylor?"
"Ah, The elusive Aleck McGee," he said, gesturing with his arms in elaborate grandeur.
"You called?" I asked, slightly annoyed.
"Yeah," he answered.
"And?" I prompted.
"Oh yeah… you gonna get down in time?"
"We always do, sir."
"That's what I wanted to hear. I need you guys to number these mikes for cues," he told me. He looked relieved.
"Of course sir," I said politely.
"And uh, this weekend you guys can put up your light design."
I picked up the box of sound equipment and began walking away, when someone walked up by me, said my name and grabbed my arm. I turned to see Jane.
"Hmmm?" I grunted, a lame excuse at talking.
"You and I, we should get together sometime… talk theater," she said almost… shyly.
"Sure," I said quickly… too quickly.
"I'll call you."
"That's fine." She let go of my arm slowly and smiled. I walked back up to the booth. I walked in to see them all grinning, trying to look innocent.
"What's going on?"
"Us?" Mark attempted a bewildered look. "We were merely discussing the long-term effects of the use the parcan lighting on the ozone layer."
"You're such a bullshit artist."
"Thank you," he grinned, "Seeing as I'm captain of our debate team, I'd think you'd be happy to have me be able to bullshit.
"Trust me, I am."
"So…" Scott asked, "What was that?"
"Jane. Grabbing your arm. Talking to you," he answered and shrugged, "You know, flirting with you."
"She wasn't. She wants to get together sometime," I rolled my eyes at the knowing stares of my friends. "Just to talk theater."
"Suuuure," Jake piped in.
"Shove it, Jake."
"Hey, that's my job," Mark broke in.
"Jesus, I liked you two better in the closet," Scott bantered. Mark and Jake grinned.
"Aleck isn't the only one allowed out."
Beth laughed. "All three of you, get back in the closet."
"No." I countered.
"Someday, Aleck, I vow to push all of you back in the closet," Scott mocked, "But before that, back to the matter at hand. Jane. You. Sex."
"Fuck off, Scott. She's my religion teacher's daughter."
"And we all know how Mr. Kirk loves you."
"Well if the man knew the bible we'd get along. Besides, he hardly hates me," I argued, more defensive than I'd have liked to have been. Scott caught on and gave me a sympathetic glance.
"Yes, he likes you and he could deal with his daughter being an acquaintance, a friend," Scott said slowly, "But that's all."
"You're right. Never a girlfriend. I'm going home, you losers."
"Can I bum a ride?" asked Beth.
"Yeah," I said, throwing on my coat
Beth and I did not make it out for about a half-hour. We got stopped by Taylor, bitching about the actors (the man couldn't deal with the failure of being a high school director). Will stopped us, wanting to know if he could borrow the lightboard manuals, and Jane, wanting to know if I was free this weekend, she had some questions about the technical aspects of theatre. So after a flirty grin from her and an amused glance from Beth, Beth and I headed out to my car, an old white and red pick-up my grandfather had sold me that came in handing for hauling equipment.
"Thanks for the ride."
"Its no problem, Beth," I replied. She looked like she was going to say something and the thought the better of it.
"Let's go to the river, Aleck, and talk," she said finally, smiling gently, "Like we used to." I kept driving until we reached the levy. "Do you remember how we became friends?"
"Of course. In second grade, you started the "I Hate Aleck McGee" club and got half the class to sign on as a member. And then our moms, who did aerobics together, made us work it out and we were inseparable after that."
"We've always been good friends, haven't we?" she said, smiling in nostalgia.
"Some of the best." I agreed.
I looked at her concerned; "What's going on, Beth?"
"I think you're going to make a mistake," she said, quickly as though she thought she'd lose her nerve halfway through.
I blinked, it took me a second to take in such a random statement. "You mean, Mary? That ended."
"No, not Mary. There are other girls out there for you. I meant Jane."
"Nothing going on." I said, defensively.
"Not now, that's true. But she wants something from you. You're a romantic, Aleck, no matter how smart and logical you are. When you meet the girl you're going to fall in love with, you'll give it all up for her. You'll come out of that closet, publicly. Jane, she'll never do that for you. You'll just be a rebellion to her," Beth said, I could hear honest concern in her voice.
"Beth, I appreciate your concern, but I can take care of myself."
"I know. I know!" she looked so frustrated that I had to smile.
"It's all right, Beth. I'm smart. I'm sensible. There is no way she'll change me. I think she's cute. I like her. But I'm not ready to fall in love."
Beth wiped away a tear from her eye. I couldn't believe she was crying. Catharsis I guess. "You mean so much to me, Aleck. I'm not ready to let you get hurt. You're a huge part of my life."
"Silly girl, I'd better be," I said, trying to make light of the situation.
"I don't get you, Aleck."
"I don't get me, either," I agreed.
"No… you want so much from life, but demand so little from people."
"I lost my faith I people a long time ago," I said, the bitterness even surprising me.
"He didn't mean it, Aleck," she said softly.
"Yeah, he did." I stated forcefully.
"You think too highly of yourself, Aleck."
"Maybe I do," I agreed.
Beth shrugged; "Then again, I've been wrong before."
"That you have." I started the car. "I need to get home."
"Okay," she took my hand. I shot her a smirk.
"Your not hitting on me, are you?" she smacked the back of my head.
"Just when I think you're serious…" she giggled, "I should pull out the "I Hate Aleck McGee" club charter. I've got a few new grievances."
I pulled up in front of her house and she looked at me, smiling. "I love you, Aleck."
"I love you too," I put my hands up in front of me, "In a totally non-romantic, sister-like way."
She rolled her eyes; "Me too."
I watched her walk into the front door. I love Bethie that much is true. She's been there longer than anyone has. As I drive home, it begins to rain. My brother was in the study when I got home.
"Casanova!" he called.
"Never been called that one before," I shot back, sarcastically.
"Some girl's been calling."
"Dana?" I asked, referring to some girl at school.
"No, some Jane. She's called, like, three times." He handed me a piece of paper. "She left a number. Call her, will you? I don't think she'll leave us alone until you do."