Strictly speaking, Marie Kanker really didn't think of herself as an emotional person.
This might seem laughable, but to her, she was usually the one who kept her deeper feelings in check by coating just about everything she said with her razor-sharp tongue and her overall sarcastic demeanor. She knew full well that she had something of a reputation of being the "tricky" one out of her sisters, and truthfully, that suited her just fine. Lee was the leader- even if her sister didn't necessarily always follow orders, it was simply her role. May was the emotional one- if ever you had a bawling Kanker sister on your hands, it was bound to be the blonde. Marie, meanwhile, was the sneaky, rebellious one. She liked that image, and worked very hard to maintain it. In fact, the only people who ever saw her softer side were her sisters, and a boy with a strange fixation on his hat...
The truth was, despite her occasional bursts out anger, Marie liked to think that she was in control of her feelings. It was a dog-eat-dog world out there, and you had to learn to be tough if you wanted to survive. She and her sisters knew that, and nobody messed with the Kanker sisters. Least, not if they want to keep all of their limbs intact.
However, Marie had learned during her time on this planet that you couldn't keep things all bottled up inside. Wasn't good for ya. So she freely vented her rage whenever and wherever she wanted, something both she and her sisters put into practice. And, for a while, she thought that would be enough.
But it wasn't.
There was time when even a Kanker sister felt vulnerable every now and then, even if she didn't like to present such things to the world. And as such, Marie had found an unexpected source in which she could pour whatever it was of what she was feeling into, and nobody would think twice about it.
And that place, ironically enough, was in school.
Marie's visible eye narrowed slightly in concentration as she surveyed her work. In the empty art classroom, she was examining the current painting she had been working, nay, slaving over for the past couple of weeks. The canvas was so big she sometimes had to use a small stepladder to reach the top of it, but she didn't really care. Painting made her feel good. It was cathartic. When she was pissed off about something, her art became twisted and distorted, demons springing out of clay, her paintings usually dark and the brush hitting the paper with such force that it came close to splitting it in half once in a while. Other times, when she was happy, she'd do something that required a lighter touch, like carefully gluing small, fiddly bits of paper together, or she'd just get lost in a brightly colored world of paint.
Days like today, however, her art took on a decidedly different tone.
Marie's painting had so far gone unnamed (she wasn't friggin' Picasso or something, here.) but she thought that it looked a little bit like the sky. It was mainly comprised of her favourite colour, blue. (Even though she told everybody it was black.) It had taken her a long time to get the right shades of blue right every lesson, since art was one of the only subjects she wasn't constantly cutting. Needless to say, her teacher had been ecstatic that Marie was showing aptitude and dedication towards something that wasn't destructive. Truthfully, Marie even hung around the classroom sometimes after school, when her sisters were driving her particularly crazy and she got so lost in her work that she didn't even register that the bell had gone until she realised she couldn't hear people yelling at each other and running around like idiots.
Such was the case today. It was spring, so there was still plenty of light pouring through the windows, lighting up the slightly dusty room and all the paintings, sculptures and other things that hung from the wall or sat on the shelves.
Marie wasn't entirely sure what to call this painting yet, or even really when she would be completely satisfied with it. But it was by far one of the best ones she had ever done. She supposed the cliché that artists put a little of themselves into their work must have been true. Because whenever Marie got to work on this particular piece, a particular emotion came over her, without fail.
Although she was still in high school, the Kanker Sisters had all reached an epiphany shortly after they left middleschool.
The thing is, both they and the cul-de-sac kids were teenagers now. And everybody knew that teenagers had two major obstacles to deal with- angst and hormones. And what would bring out both of those things better (or worse) then a boyfriend?
As such, the Kanker sisters had begun to ease up on their amorous intentions towards the Eds. Each sister still claimed they maintained a crush on their respective Eds, but they realised that running after them and forcibly kissing them against their will was probably not the way to win their affections. Not to mention, their mom had reminded them of something important- Tream 'em mean, Keep 'em keen wasn't just for guys. It never hurt to give men a little distance and let them see you talking to other people, just to keep them on their toes.
Trouble was, the Eds had never been theirs to start with, at least not by their own free will. (There was that fun day when they'd gotten their hands on a hypnotizing wheel...)
And, as much as Marie hated to admit it, this didn't look like it was likely to change anytime soon. She'd grown out of the thrill of simply getting to kiss Double D- she wanted him to reciprocate. Although Marie hadn't quite been able to squash the hope that, as a teenage boy, he would at least have some interest in her, but it looked like that aside from making him twice as lanky as he had been as a twelve-year-old, puberty had left Double D relatively unchanged- he was still obsessed with books, still trying to get his friends to behave, and still had a crush on Nazz.
Marie grit her teeth as she forcefully mixed some more violet to her current batch of blue, giving it a bruise-purple hint. Even though it didn't seem like the blonde was all that interested in Double D, it didn't stop Marie from wanting to peg her with anything she could get her hands on whenever she saw her. She didn't really approve of any girl making eyes at Double D, but since Double D seemed attracted to the blonde and blushed whenever she spoke to him, Marie had reason to keep a close eye on Nazz. Because if she tried anything on her oven-mitt, then Nazz was going to have to answer to not just one Kanker Sister, but all three of them. (After all, it hadn't escaped Lee or May's notice that Eddy and Ed also had a soft spot for Little Miss Cheerleader.)
Marie sighed as she observed her canvas again. There was something missing from the endless expanse of blues, black and white, but she wasn't quite sure what. It was looking pretty good, but one of the things Marie actually prided herself on was her art, and she wasn't about to leave it half-assed, not after all the time she'd actually spent in school slaving over the damn thing.
Suddenly, the door opened behind her, and Marie was so startled by this rude interruption into her temporary utopia that she actually squealed out loud and dropped her paintbrush, which hit the floor with a messy splat.
"What the HELL d'you think you're doing?!" Marie shrieked, whipping around to face the intruder, feeling unexpectedly angry that she'd been interrupting mid-flow. "You trying to give me a heart-attack, you-?!"
But her words suddenly came to a screeching halt when she realised exactly who it was who had just burst in on her.
It was none other than Double D. Who was standing in the doorway, holding a folder to his chest like a makeshift shield. If Marie hadn't been standing stock-still in shock, she would have rolled her eyes at his timid behaviour.
But it was one of the things she found adorable about Double D...
"Oh, Marie, it-it's you." Double D said, when it became clear that she was not going to complete her rant, or indeed say anything at all. "I-I just came here to deliver my c-coursework...ah, is the teacher here?"
"No." Marie replied shortly- mostly out of embarrassment. She carefully descended the ladder and retrieved her paintbrush, turning to glance at Double D. "But if you leave it on 'er desk or somethin', she'll see it."
"Oh, no, that won't do..." Double D fretted. "Politeness indicates that I should hand in my work in person, and it would be difficult for me to prove that I did indeed complete it if it were to be misplaced by accident..."
Marie wondered why Double D hadn't run from the room yet upon seeing her, but she supposed that he was too busy worrying about his work to be frightened of her. Or perhaps the Eds had gotten over their fear of the Kankers after they had ceased to chase them constantly.
"Well, she might be back. She didn't say she was goin' home, maybe you'll get lucky." Marie shrugged.
Double D felt his face turn hot at Marie's choice of wording, and cursed himself for being so easily embarrassed. But to his immense surprise and confusion, Marie didn't make any other comment, and in face returned her attention to the large canvas beside her, frowning.
Intrigued, and not wanting to let the warm air of the classroom out, Double D ventured inside, letting the door click shut behind him. He approached the painting cautiously, after carefully placing his work on a nearby desk.
"Marie, did- did you paint this?" Double D asked, staring up at her canvas, his expression wide-eyed.
Normally, Marie would have answered this sort of question with something sarcastic, like, ,Who else would it be, stupid? but she didn't. She supposed that, considering she'd spent most of their youth chasing Double D and kissing the life out of him, Double D didn't know that there was a bit more to her then just her hormones. For some reason, thinking this gave her a pang in the vicinity of her chest, but she didn't know why- after all, it had never bothered her before when somebody was shocked by her artistic streak, but since it was Double D, his opinion mattered to her, more than even Marie would care to admit.
"Yeah." is all she said, instead, glancing at him. "S'not done yet, though..."
"Not done? But it is already a remarkable piece...the composition of light and darks..."
Double D stared at it reflectively, and Marie found herself feeling suddenly...shy. And she had no idea what to make of it.
"You like it?" she asked, blinking.
Double D simply nodded, still looking over the piece as though it was a new species of beatle he'd just discovered. Marie fidgeted with the paint brush. Obviously she liked her painting, but aside from in the art classroom, she didn't really present her work much to other people. She wasn't a particularly big fan of criticism, and made her displeasure known to any jerk who tried to tear her (or her work) down. With Double D, though, she found herself waiting, hoping...
"Do you have a name for this piece yet, Marie?" Double D suddenly asked her, breaking Marie out of her little reverie.
"Nah...not really much point until I finish..." she said, shrugging.
"May I ask...if it isn't a presumptuous question, that is...what would you say this painting is about?"
This was the kind of question she normally dreaded- her art teacher had long ago given up in trying to get a response from Marie that wasn't more than two or three words, tops. Part of her reluctance to accept feedback meant that she didn't really like to explain her ideas – or the emotions behind them. But this was different...this was probably the first time Double D had seen Marie something other than some wildcat girl who liked to chase him around everywhere. He was interested. And if Marie couldn't be honest with her future boyfriend, who COULD she be honest with?
Still, she had to test him first, just to be sure. Just to be sure he wouldn't make fun of her or just smile and back off. (She doubted if Double D would mock her to her face, he was too polite, but she couldn't stand it if he pitied her.)
"Whaddaya you think?" she asked, a sly note entering her voice as she threw a sidelong glance at him between her sapphire bangs. "If ya saw it someplace, what d'you think it's about?"
Double D looked contemplative for a moment, resting a hand on his chin and generally looking adorable. Then, eventually, he began.
"Well, the colour blue is typically associated with nature- winter, the ocean and the sky most notably, and this in itself carries some interesting connotations...especially with the use of black and white to emphasise the light and shadow...of course, blue is also typically used to represent sadness or the negative..."
Here, Double D trailed off when he caught the wistful expression on Marie's face as she, too, looked at her work, almost as if she was seeing it in a new light.
"Marie? Are you alright?" he asked her, concerned.
"What?" she said, apparently lost in thought. "Oh, yeah. Just thinkin' on how I can finish it, is all..."
Here, she flashed him one of her infamous sly grins and Double D found himself feeling distinctly intrigued as opposed to terrified.
"But I had...no idea you were such an artist, Marie." Double D found himself saying, gesturing towards her work. "This is truly a beautiful accomplishment. For an abstract piece such as this to have such raw emotion..."
"I've got some other stuff too...y'know, at home. And some in storage." Marie said, nodding towards the large closet that always remained locked after school. "Maybe...I dunno, I could show you some of 'em."
Double D looked excited by the prospect- a lot moreso then Marie expected from her little offer. Double D was the scientific type, after all, always going on about Einstein or the something Theory and carrying a ludicrous amount of books, but there were many intellectual subjects that caught the hatted boy's interests, and Marie's artistic abilities had impressed him- it had shown a side to the wild Kanker sister that he had no idea existed. And, as a researcher at heart, Double D's natural instinct was to explore and find out more.
"Well, y'know, maybe." Marie said, giving Double D a playful nudge with a bony shoulder, causing the boy to blush slightly, although her cheeks had a telltale pink smudge to them as well. "If you make it worth my while, Double D."
It was only really something Marie said to get a rise out of her crush, since he was twice as cute when flustered, but Double D surprised her by flashing her a little grin.
"I would like that, Marie."
They both looked at each other for a moment, then Marie suddenly let out a slight giggle.
"Hmm, so is that a date?" she teased.
Before Double D could respond, Marie leant forwards with the type of devil-may-care, Kanker boldness that the Eds were well acquainted with and gave him a quick kiss on the lips- it didn't last for very long and it was just that one kiss, but Double D was struck by how disconcertingly velvety and soft Marie's mouth was on his. His hands blindly groped for something to rest against, and then settling on a nearby desk.
When Marie pulled away, she winked at him.
"Y'know, ya might wanna check the Teacher's Lounge." She stated, chuckling as Double D mentally slapped himself for not thinking to do that.
"Oh my! Yes, I must hurry and hand over my paper! Do excuse me..."
Double D quickly collected his things, but before he left the room, he turned to Marie with a little, slightly teasing grin that caused a sudden warmth to spread through Marie's body.
"I will see you tomorrow...Marie. Adieu."
The Ed then disappeared, his footsteps light and quick on the stairway. Marie bit her lip, still relishing the little tingle she got from pressing her mouth to Double D's. When she turned to her painting once more, she gasped slightly.
During the kiss, either Double D or Marie had accidentally gotten paint on them without noticing, because now, resting slightly off centre of the blue yonder of the painting, was a smudge of a hopeful reddish pink. The eye was immediately drawn to it, like a balloon floating through the sky on a sunny day...
Marie cocked her head, and a little grin twisted he lips.