DISCLAIMER: I'd The Facts of Life and its characters are the property of Columbia Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Television, no infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A very special thanks to my wonderful beta, Debbie.
CHALLENGE: Written for the Dead of Winter ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A Jealous Streak
I watched from the door of the kitchen as John Mitchell Williams IV, otherwise known as the sleaze, worked his charms on my princess. Evidently, he'd just related another one of his corny jokes as Blair had her head thrown back in laughter while he leered at the small amount of cleavage being displayed by the blonde. I swear; if I owned a slingshot, the bastard would be minus at least one of his cold, dark eyes.
How Blair could fall for such utter tripe was well beyond my understanding. Hell, every female on campus was aware of his reputation for wining and dining his new conquest until he finally got them into his bed, only to leave them the next day to set his sights on another unsuspecting fool.
And Blair Warner was no fool, yet for some reason, she refused to see what was right in front of her face, or rather, her boobs, as the weasel was practically drooling on Princess's prized possessions. Well, I know one thing for sure; he's not getting anywhere near Blair's pants. No sirree, this asshole had better be on his toes because I'm going to be watching him like a hawk.
As Blair followed me up the stairs, I beamed inwardly, pleased with myself. I'd just managed to interrupt her make-out session with the snake by nonchalantly entering the room and asking her for help in proofing my English essay which she knew to be due tomorrow. I didn't even mind her bitching at me for waiting so late as the princess immediately came to my rescue, dispatching lover boy without a thought.
Grinning, I can still hear her saying, "Jo, I thought you said Natalie was going to look over your work. Why didn't you ask her before she and Tootie left for the basketball game?"
John almost blew a fuse when Blair ordered me upstairs and politely bid the prick goodnight, and all without their lips touching. When he moved forward to kiss her, she turned her head and offered her cheek. Suffice it to say, the letch was far from happy.
Of course, Blair didn't see the glare he leveled at me before he smiled sweetly and said, "I'll be here at seven tomorrow night to take you to the movies."
I quickly opened the front door and offered, "Here you go, Johnny. Blair's attentions are needed elsewhere tonight." Glaring at me once more, he strode through the door without looking back, and I gladly closed it behind him, wishing it could be the last time we'd ever lay eyes on him.
Blair didn't seem to notice the animosity between me and J. W. IV as she immediately ordered me upstairs to begin work on my paper, the paper I had actually already turned in last class meeting, but I didn't feel she needed to be privy to that little tidbit.
And so, we worked for the next couple of hours, rewording and restructuring a paper that would never be graded. I was just thankful that the basketball game went into overtime; otherwise, I'm sure Natalie would've made a comment about how she thought I was going to turn in my paper the day after she'd helped me with it.
I even managed to offer a few words of warning to Blair concerning her current choice in men, but she either didn't listen to what I said or chose to ignore me as she continued to make suggestions in the margins of my paper. Breaking the two of them up was going to be much more difficult than I expected.
The next night, I made my way down the aisle of the dark theater, looking for the perfect seat. Spotting a familiar couple who had isolated themselves on the left side, I smiled and headed for the row directly behind them.
Neither of them noticed my arrival; Blair, because she was already engrossed in the movie which had just begun, and the slime ball, because he was ogling Blair's breasts. I narrowed my eyes and kept my focus on him; I'd already seen this movie anyway.
Half-way into the film, he made his move. He'd already stretched his arm around the back of Blair's seat long ago, but now, he was rubbing light circles on her shoulder. I could see what he had planned the minute his hand started to slide down her arm and toward the midline of her body. The asshole was going to grope her.
With no other option available, I purposely spilled my container of popcorn along with my drink on the unsuspecting womanizer, and he immediately jumped up and spun around to face the clumsy oaf. I knew the exact moment he was able to make out my face in the dark theater.
"You!" He exclaimed as Blair twisted in her seat and looked over her shoulder.
"Shh!" Everyone in the theater whispered; however, ol' Johnny was way too pissed to calm down, which was just one more reason why Blair needed to dump him; he had a terrible temper.
"You, bitch. You did that on purpose," the enraged man accused as I prepared for my academy award performance for best actress in a lying role.
"Blair? John? I didn't know you were sitting there, and I certainly never intended to spill my drink and popcorn on you, John. It's just that, well, um ... I thought I felt something crawl up my leg. Blair, you know how I hate creepy, crawly stuff," I innocently explained as my princess nodded her head up and down in agreement with my statement.
"It's true, John. Jo really hates bugs. You wouldn't think it by looking at her tough exterior, but she freaks out if anything crawls on her," Blair supplied in my defense as I vacillated about being upset with the tough exterior remark and deciding that I wouldn't be upset if a certain someone were to crawl on me.
The jerk opened his mouth to continue with his tirade, but before the snake could spit more venom at me, one of the theater's employees had arrived on the scene, and not so politely, asked us to leave.
Blair immediately took charge and apologized for the disturbance, promising that we'd be on our way. So, without a word, I walked toward the lobby with Blair and her soda soaked date following behind.
It took everything I had not to laugh aloud once I caught sight of the wet rat in the bright lights of the lobby, but I bit my lower lip instead and waited to hear what else Blair had to say.
"John, you need to go home and change out of those wet clothes. I'll get a ride home with Jo, and we can meet at the coffee shop tomorrow for lunch," Blair explained as she moved to stand by my side.
"What? You're going home with her? I thought we had a date," the upset man said in a loud voice, drawing the attention of the same employee who'd already asked us to leave.
Blair shook her head and replied, "By the time you go home and change clothes, we'll have missed the next feature. Why don't you go on home and give me a call later?"
"You could come home with me and help me change," the arrogant asshole proposed, and I stood frozen on the spot, hoping Blair wouldn't agree to his obvious seduction plan.
Laughing, Blair responded, "Oh, John. We've talked about this. Now, go on home, and I'll talk to you later." The very unhappy camper turned on his heel and walked away, leaving Blair and I standing in the lobby.
"Jo? I really wanted to see this movie. Do you think we can catch the next feature before we go home?" Blair asked sweetly, reaching for my hand.
Looking down at her hand on mine, I stuttered, "Um, sure. I don't have any other plans." Smiling, she led me to the ticket booth where we purchased tickets for the next showing, and the employee from earlier just grinned and handed us the tickets.
Lying in bed, with my princess sleeping soundly a few feet away, a perpetual grin was plastered on my face. Blair had held my hand during the entire show, not letting go once, and it wasn't even a scary movie. I just wish I could've talked her into dumping her worthless boyfriend, but she just smiled and explained that she could take care of herself. Damn it, didn't she know that was my job?
The next few days, I continued to shadow the pair, much to the displeasure of John Boy Williams. He was becoming increasing frustrated seeing me at every turn, and I began to worry that he'd take his frustration out on Blair instead of me, so I reluctantly backed off my surveillance of the pair and enlisted the help of Tootie and Natalie to take up the slack.
To say I'd become obsessed with Blair's safety was a gross understatement. I even kept a detailed calendar with the time and dates of my princess's itinerary. Tootie, Nat, and I had a rotating schedule of accidentally bumping into her and her lecherous boyfriend. We'd hoped that he would move on to someone else when he realized he wasn't getting any from Blair, but the stubborn ass just kept coming round.
It was on a Saturday afternoon when things finally came to a head. I'd promised Mrs. G. I'd help her store some boxes in the basement, and Natalie had Blair duty in the morning, followed by Tootie in the afternoon. Knowing my two friends had everything under control, there was no need for me to worry while I helped Mrs. G.
Later, Mrs. G. went out to visit a friend, and Natalie and I were sitting on opposite ends of the sofa watching television when Tootie came strolling in.
"Hey, guys. Whatcha watching?" Tootie asked, taking a seat between the two of us.
Nat started to reply, but I quickly jumped in with a question of my own. "Tootie, where's Blair?"
Shrugging her shoulders, she replied, "Beats me. Neither Blair nor John showed up at the coffee house, so I came straight home. I guess Blair must have called their date off."
Leaping from the couch, I shouted, "What? She was supposed to meet him at the sandwich shop on campus. I never said anything about the coffee house."
"Hey, calm down, Jo. Tootie just misunderstood. I'm sure Blair is fine. After all, that place is always crowded," Natalie offered in support of our absent-minded friend.
Frantic, I yelled, "What if the bastard asks her back to his dorm? You know how smooth he can be. He could be forcing himself on her right now. Blair can be so naïve and unassuming sometimes, and this time she could really get hurt."
"I'm heading over there now, and Blair had better be dressed and in one piece, or so help me God, I'm really going to kill the son of a bitch," I stated, moving back to the couch to put on my shoes.
"Who are you threatening to kill now, Jo?" A voice filtered from over my shoulder, and I quickly turned to face Blair who'd just walked through the door with a torn blouse and a slight limp.
Evident that Blair had only heard the last part of my statement, I hurried to her side and assisted her to the couch as Tootie and Natalie moved to make room.
"Oh, he's dead meat," I quietly muttered to myself.
"Who in the world are you talking about, Jo?" Blair asked, grabbing my hand to keep me from walking to the door to make good on my promise.
"Why, your asshole of a boyfriend, of course. He's not getting away with hurting you, Blair, and there's nothing you can say that will stop me from retaliating," I replied as I tried to remove my hand from her grasp.
"He didn't hurt me, Jo. In fact, he's the injured party."
Looking at the blond as if she had two heads, I asked, "What about your blouse and this new limp you're sporting?"
Blair shook her head and replied, "That's my fault. I broke a heel and tripped on the sidewalk coming into the house. John didn't lay a hand on me." Grinning, she added, "He needed both of them to keep his testicles in place."
Now, that was a statement that definitely got our attention as all three of us uttered the exact same word, "What?"
Chuckling, Blair proceeded to tell us how John tried to corner her near the women's restrooms in the sandwich shop, and she made certain that he understood that she didn't take kindly to him placing his hand on her right breast.
"When I had my coming out ball, my grandmother pulled me aside to give me some very important advice that she said every debutante needed to know. She described it as the knee jerk reaction, whereby a properly placed knee in the groin of a jerk has him singing a different tune. Grandmother said the tune was usually two octaves higher."
Nat laughed and asked, "I take it John is now a soprano?"
Blair nodded and burst out laughing as Natalie and Tootie joined in. Me? I just sat there feeling like a fool for thinking Blair needed protecting in the first place.
"I knew I didn't like that guy for some reason, other than Jo telling me I didn't," Tootie said, wiping the tears from her eyes.
"Yeah, he was an ass, wasn't he? Hey, Mrs. G. has some cheesecake in the refrigerator. Blair, why don't you get changed and meet us in the kitchen? Then, we can celebrate your freedom from John, the arrogant," Natalie suggested as she and Tootie didn't wait for an answer and headed directly to the kitchen, leaving Blair and me alone on the couch.
"Um, Jo? You seem upset," Blair observed as she squeezed the hand she was still holding.
"Huh? Oh no, I'm not upset. I'm actually very proud of you, Blair. Although, I guess, I'm a little ashamed of myself; I didn't have enough trust in you to take care of yourself," I apologized and continued to stare at our joined hands.
Blair reached over and placed her hand under my chin, lifting my head up until our eyes met. Smiling, she said, "Jo, I can take care of myself, but I appreciate you looking out for me. But, I do think there is something you need to know."
Not knowing how to respond, I merely nodded my head, hoping she'd continue, and she certainly didn't disappoint. Moving her hand to caress my cheek, Blair confessed, "Jo, I never liked John. The only reason I kept going out with him was because I wanted to make you jealous. Your friendship means so much to me, and I don't want to ever lose it, but lately, I've been feeling more."
Hesitating, she removed her hand from my face and said, "If what I've said makes you uncomfortable, I apologize. If you just want to remain friends, I'm fine with that, but if you want more, all you have to do is tell me. The ball's in your court now."
Standing, she smiled and turned toward the stairs, content to leave our relationship in my hands, and I didn't waste anytime jumping from the couch. I caught up with her on the landing and offered my arm to assist her climbing the rest of the way up the stairs.
Now I had a plan; first, we'd eat cheesecake with our friends, and then we'd sit down and discuss where we wanted to go from here.
Once again grinning to myself, I couldn't help but wonder what sage advice her grandmother would give her for this particular 'coming out' ball.
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