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Fairy Tale Colors: Pink

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Chapter One

Jaycee sighed deeply as she tried to concentrate on what Professor Tipton was telling the class of twelve young women. She knew that along with the others, she was part of an exclusive group of extremely gifted artists, and she was here purely on her own merit, but with such a boring lecture it would be difficult for her to remember the lesson well enough to get a good grade.

Part of her problem was that she was feeling so stir-crazy after months of endless lessons, all blurring together into a jumble inside her head. It would help if she could just get out and do something—anything—instead of just sitting here inside the college day in and day out. Summer was fast approaching, but she would not even get to have that as a reprieve, for her classes continued on until she would graduate in the fall.

Most of the other girls had been breaking the most cardinal rule of all. When Jaycee had been admitted, Madame Tipton had made it perfectly clear that the only real establishment in the area geared toward entertainment, The Pink Flamingo, was a distraction she would not allow any of her students to succumb to. The place was a drinking and dancing club, which had been there all of five years now, but the woman hated it with a passion and said whoever went there would be immediately expelled.

Peer pressure being what it was, the others had been trying to convince Jaycee to go along, but so far she had resisted. She had much more to lose than they did, for her father had been very clear on the matter—if she failed here, at the school he did not wish for her to attend, she would be completely cut off and have to fend for herself. That had thus far been a big incentive to behave herself, but right now she was ready to do anything just for a change of pace.

"Why do you guys sneak out every night?" Jaycee complained later as she watched the others prepare for their escape. All twelve girls were housed in one big dorm room, which was another thing that annoyed her. She couldn't even sit in quiet contemplation as she would have liked, with all their noise to distract her.

"It's a matter of principle," Cassandra told her as she brought a dress out for her as well. "Be a part of the group, Jaycee. We need to do this to save next year's students from Tipton's tyranny."

"I told you already, I can't," she answered, though she was on the verge of grabbing the dress and putting it on. "If I were caught, I'd be totally screwed."

"You won't get caught," she pointed out. "We've been going there all year, and the old hag has never caught us yet. She even recently set a private detective to watch us, but I took care of him."

"Do I really want to know what you did?" asked Jaycee, wincing.

"Took one for the team, of course," Cassandra said. "She had him set up in a nearby room in the dorm, so I snuck in there and kept him busy while the others escaped. Lucky for me he was a really hot P.I."

"That is just so—wrong."

"Maybe, but I did it so the others could get out, and I don't feel the least bit guilty," she said. "As for you, if you really want to be a part of this class, don't you think you should be a team player, too?"

"What, you want me to seduce the next detective?" Jaycee giggled.

"No, no, just come with us for once," Cassandra said. "Help us prove our point that a little fun never hurt anyone."

"Oh, all right," Jaycee said. "I'll go this once, just to see what all the fuss is about. I'm about going crazy just sitting here every day anyway."

"Good girl!" she said cheerfully, and all the other girls smiled at her.

"See that, Jane, you'd better come to, or you'll be here all alone tonight," Tiki teased her bunkmate.

"Aloha," the girl snapped in reference to her friend's heritage.

"Hey, that can mean hello as well as good-bye," she answered good-naturedly.

"So, let it mean hello and come along."

"You people just never give up, do you?" she grumbled. "I hate drinking, and I hate dancing. What possible reason could I have to go to a club?"

"To be part of the group?" Cassandra suggested. "Just once, can't you think about something besides yourself? This is an important statement we're trying to make, here."

"But how can you be making a statement if you're not telling Tipton anything?" she pointed out. "You have to actually state something to the intended party to make the statement."

"Oh, we will, but not until we have our diplomas in hand," Cassandra said. "Once we have those, she can't do a thing to us about it."

"Well, that's logical, I guess," Jane conceded. "I'm in."

Chapter Two

"Since we can't sneak right out the front door without getting caught, we'll be taking another route to the Pink Flamingo," Cassandra explained to Jaycee as she stepped inside the closet.

"You look ridiculous in there, Cass," Jaycee told her. "What are you doing, anyway?"

"Opening the door, of course," she said as if Jaycee should already know.

Jaycee cast her friend a confused look, but then suddenly the floor began to lower, making her jump back. "See," said Cassandra. "It's an old dumbwaiter shaft. All I had to do was rig up the pulleys again, and we were home free. It takes us down to an old, abandoned laundry room below the place. I read up on it a bit, and found out the college was built over top an older house that existed during the prohibition, and they used to bootleg stuff down there and ship it up top through this platform. When they demolished the old place, they left the hidden floor intact. Isn't it great?"

Cassandra called the last of this information up from somewhere below. It was too dark even to see her anymore, and Jaycee began to get nervous. "Maybe this isn't such a hot idea," she said as the floor returned.

"Go ahead, Jaycee, it's safe," said Tiki. "We've all done it lots of times."

Jaycee gulped nervously as she stepped forward onto the platform. Looking up at the part of the wall she'd seen Cassandra push, she couldn't see any visible sign of any sort of button or lever, but then Tiki reached in and pushed, and soon Jaycee was at the bottom with Cassandra, waiting for the others.

"They have to come down one at a time, of course," Cassandra explained. "The platform wasn't built for humans."

"Of course," Jaycee agreed.

When all twelve young women were down, they all started down the long hallway that led into a huge, underground network of tunnels. Cassandra unerringly led them in the right direction, and soon they were all exiting a cave not too far from the lake.

"That was amazing," Jaycee said. "I wonder how far down those caves actually go."

"I'm not about to find out," Cassandra told her. "I got a map off the internet, but the information is sketchy at best, and who knows if there are still people down there who might try to hurt us."

"That is true," she agreed. "Well, now a lake is standing between us and the club. What do we do?"

"There are row boats hidden in the brush," said Cassandra as she moved forward and pulled out a few of the boats she'd just mentioned so the others could begin to pile in. "We have four boats total, but we've only been using three. I guess this time it'll be four per boat. Let's move. We've only got a few hours, you know."

"Yes, ma'am," the others answered with a salute, and they all piled into the boats and headed across.

Chapter Three

The Pink Flamingo was everything Jaycee expected it to be. The live band played hoppin' rock music, the floor was crowded with people, and all the tables were filled with laughing people having fun and spilling their drinks. Cassandra managed to find three tables near each other and claimed them for their own, and then several of the girl immediately found dance partners and headed onto the floor, while the others ordered drinks and settled in.

Jaycee ordered a grasshopper and sat sipping it, still annoyed with the Headmistress for her highhanded behavior. She must have been scowling about it, because a really cute guy stopped at her table and frowned down at her until she laughed.

"That's better," he said, then slid into the seat next to her. "Why so down, anyway?"

"Oh," said Jaycee, blushing now as his thigh brushed hers. "The Headmistress at my school is being such a bitch. She thinks this place corrupts people and says we're not allowed to be here or she'll expel us."

"Then what, may I ask, are you doing in here?" asked the man with a raised brow.

"It wasn't really my idea," she explained. "But when I heard my friend say that the woman had gone so far as to hire a private detective to spy on everyone to make sure we didn't have any fun at all, now that was just going too far, in my opinion. So I'm here as a matter of principle. She can't expect us to never have any fun at all, don't you think?"

"Well, yeah, that sounds a bit extreme," he agreed. "So, speaking of fun, do you want to dance?"

"Oh, I don't know," she hedged.

"You come here to prove you should be allowed to have fun, and then don't have any?" he scoffed. "Where's the fun in that?"

"You know what, you're right," she agreed. "Let's dance."

"Good answer," he said. "I'm Eric, by the way."

"Jaycee," she told him as he led her to the floor.

"Very pleased to meet you, Miss Jaycee," he said, and then dipped her before he twirled her out onto the floor, making her laugh like she'd never laughed before. She had plenty of fun the rest of the night.

Chapter Four

"Ah, my son, to what do I owe the pleasure?" asked Monica Tipton as Eric stepped into her office the next day.

"Well, to tell you the truth, Mother, it's not a social call," he admitted. "I came to make sure you're doing okay after hearing you were being so unreasonable."

"Unreasonable, my dear?" she inquired. "Whatever can you mean?"

"Not that I wish to disclose my sources," he said. "But a little bird told me you are making your students avoid all forms of fun because it affects their performance?"

"That's the most ridiculous thing you've said in ages," she scoffed. "Where'd you hear that?"

"So you didn't hire a detective to watch the dorm to make sure the girls didn't go out, then?" he clarified.

"I might have done," she hedged innocently. "Really, that's none of your business. What did you do, shack up with one of the little beauties? I hope you haven't been distracting one of them, their finals aren't that far off."

"Mother, not everything in life revolves around work," he told her. "Haven't we had this conversation before?"

"Certainly," she agreed. "So, which one of the little dears have you taken a shine to, then? I hope it isn't that Cassandra, she's quite a piece of work."

"Heaven forbid," he commented. "I'm not going to dignify you with an answer, Mother. But what I am going to do is keep an eye on your little dears for you for the next few days, find out just what they've been up to, and after your test I'm going to see if your theory holds true. If the girls I happen to know are having fun do as well as they would have done anyway, and I can prove it, then you have to promise to lighten up on them."

"That's preposterous!"

"I'll have your promise, all the same," he insisted.

"Oh, very well," she grumbled. "You know, you always were a bit pushy."

"Of course I am," he laughed as he headed for the door. "I'm your son, aren't I?"

Monica laughed heartily as she watched him go.

Chapter Five

On his way out, Eric just happened to notice some of the girls from the club sketching out in the courtyard and stopped to admire their work. They were all very good, but the best sketch of all belonged to Jaycee. He was not surprised that the girl who was so passionate about the rights of her friends and herself would put just as much passion into her work, and he stopped by her side and looked over her shoulder to watch.

Jaycee glanced over her shoulder, seeing him there, and gasped in surprise.

"Where did you come from?" she asked.

"Just came to see what all the fuss was about," he said with a smile. "I can see why you wouldn't want to be expelled. This is excellent."

"Thank you."

"So, then, I'll see you tonight," he said with a grin.

"I wasn't going to—"

"I'll see you tonight," he repeated, and went on his way.

Jaycee was with the others as they crossed the lake that night and discovered Eric waiting for them on the other side. He cast her a triumphant grin as the others greeted him in surprise, and they all went to the club together.

As he bought drinks for them all and danced with each girl, it became apparent throughout the evening that most of his attention was centered on Jaycee herself. He danced most often with her, and by the end of the night, as everyone headed back for the lake, Eric walked with Jaycee by his side.

"Well, that was sure fun," he said as everyone was piling into their boats. Jaycee was about to turn and get into one of them as well, but he took her hand and drew her back to him. "Will I see you tomorrow?"

"I wasn't trying to do this every night, Eric," she said lightly. "I've got finals coming up. I don't want to wear myself out and actually prove the Headmistress's point after all."

"Just one more night won't hurt," he suggested. "I just want to spend more time with you."

"I—I guess I could," she agreed shyly.

"Good," he said happily. "I'll see you then."

Chapter Six

The next night, Eric didn't even pretend to have divided interest in the young women from the school. He met them by the boats, and rowed across Jaycee by himself. He danced exclusively with her, and at the end of the night, when he left her outside the dorms, he drew her into his arms and gave her a kiss good night before he let her go.

Jaycee could hardly sleep the rest of the night, and the following day she was walking on air. She knew they were going to receive their finals assignment at the end of the day, and she was so worried and so excited she could barely even think.

"And now, for your assignment, girls. You have just three days to create a representation of the most wonderful event that ever happened in your life," said Professor Tipton as she paced back and forth at the head of the room. "You can use any medium you wish, sculpture, painting, whatever, as long as you depict action and emotional depth. I want to feel what you felt, I want to see what you saw. I want, in short, a masterpiece."

Jaycee didn't have to give any thought to what she would make. She knew exactly what moment it would be, exactly what emotion, and she set to work right away, never allowing anyone to see it, never telling anyone a thing about it, never even saying a word to anyone in all the three days. On the third day, when it was time to reveal the work, she stepped with her painting to the head of the class and stood with the cover, waiting.

"Class, before I have you reveal your work today, I wanted to have a special judge come in to help me out," said Professor Tipton as she stepped over to open the door. Jaycee's jaw dropped as Eric stepped into the room and smiled at them all, his eyes resting lastly on her.

Her heart thudded in her chest, her eyes filled with unasked questions, his eyes apologized to hers even as they caressed, and the two shared a slight smile before the Professor added, "This is my son, Eric. He's been insisting that I shouldn't be so harsh in my rules about never letting you out to the club next door. It is his belief that a bit of fun won't affect your work here. I believe he's about to discover that it will, but the only way we will know for sure is for the two of us to observe it together. Eric, if you will do the honor?"

"Certainly, mother," he agreed, and he proceeded to view each of the twelve works of art, saving Jaycee's for last. Some he liked, some he did not, but when both he and his mother looked upon the last painting together, they shared a glance of surprise.

"Well, I suppose I don't have to ask which girl it is that you've taken up with, have I?" his mother asked with a grin as she took in the painting Jaycee had poured all of her passion into. Then she noticed that Eric was in no position to respond, because he had taken the artist into a very similar pose.

Jaycee and Eric stood there with their arms twined around each other, their lips locked, and bodies melded so tight it was difficult to see where one ended and the other began. Her hands were twined in his hair while his were cupped at the bottom of her pert behind, pulling her upward a bit to add some height to her smaller form, and neither one seemed to care about their audience in the least.

Every other person there, one by one, began to clap and cheer. This was the best work of art any of them had ever seen, hands down.

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