Daniella Van Graas: A real Danie, just not mine. But if a Midnight Moon movie ever happens (yeah, right), I know who’s gonna be playing The Firestarter… 😉
So. I have problems with assertiveness. I linger in doorways waiting to be noticed, remain silent until it’s my turn to speak. I languish in my room wishing for excitement. I fidget awkwardly at parties where I only know one or two people. Gosh, I’m boring, aren’t I?
Living vicariously through characters provides me with an outlet for some of my inner frustrations about my own personality. However, don’t you think it would be more fun just to embody a creation for a day? To be a markedly different person? To don a mask and step into someone else’s shoes?
The first on my list would be Daniella Elizabeth Thomas.
I created Daniella (at first named Dana) out of the mold of Sweet Valley’s Jessica Wakefield. As she and I grew together, Dana transformed Danie, a young woman with considerably more edge than the aforementioned Ms. Wakefield. (No offense, Francine!) Danie’s back-story is that of a angsty cover girl; she lived a charmed life as a Stella model until her sixteenth birthday when a young man raped her. Months later, she learned he had impregnated her. In all of the story arcs where Danie exists, she never raised her twin daughters. Depending on the universe, she either relinquishes them voluntarily–or has them stolen post-birth. Over the recent years, I have fashioned her into a fiery beauty with a bit of grime. The Danie Thomas that exists in the world of Midnight Moon is the best representation of her current incarnation.
Danie has this wonderful quality about her that makes me want to rush down to the optometrist and demand violet contacts. (Hey, don’t act like you haven’t thought about it.) She exudes power. She exudes beauty. However, I would not assert that she is perfect. She can be selfish, rash, insolent, and she possesses the innate ability to be a big flaming bitch. Yeah, you read that correctly: a big, flaming bitch.
Through my existence, I have ascertained that bitches generally attain what they want. They have a sharp sense of self-preservation coupled with a blistering view of reality and unfaltering, unapologetic candor we passive-aggressive wannabes covet. Well, at least Danie does. Example?
She turned to her companion, eyes filled with feigned inquisitiveness. “What’s your name again?”
He flushed under her unwavering stare. “Rob—my name is Rob. We, uh, were in the study group during the section about Sigmund Freud and the tripartite model in Dr. Webster’s class. You know…”
“Yeah…right.” She recalled the experience as being mildly annoying, but her sociable cousin had wheedled her into it as she did most social interaction these days. Her lips curved at the edges. A hint of contrived mirth. Rob should’ve been petrified. “Can I ask you something?”
Excited by the opportunity an exchange with a beautiful, elusive girl, Rob sat down, leaning forward with apparent interest. “Oh yes, of course.”
“Do I look like the kind of person who would make up some soap opera-esque bullshit about being found in an alley with no memory of what had happened to me just to pique your asinine interest?”
Rob blinked, blindsided. In his fantasies, this was not the direction things took. “Wh-what?”
“I hardly have the time or patience to exchange pleasantries,” she went on, voice going flatter as she spoke, “or share with you a time in my life that obviously is no one’s business, especially yours. So if you are finished wasting my time…?”
His face contorted with disgust. “Excuse me for saying, but you are a cold-hearted bitch.”
As he rose indignantly, she settled back into her seat and nonchalantly delved into Contemporary Mathematics again. “Damn straight, Bob.”
“And it’s Rob,” he spat over his shoulder.
As he stalked off angrily, she snorted to herself. “Shame only one of us cares.”
-From ‘The Woman in the Fire’
Tee hee. Tell him like it is. I love it. Perhaps in my Heart of Hearts, I am inwardly evil.
Now I realize that the picture of this woman depicted here seems unflattering to some. Danie does have some redeeming qualities–as you would learn if you cross her or someone she loves and/or cares about. She may think last and act first, but who needs to be so rational all the time, honestly?
Danie was slightly taken aback. “He said something about me?” Her voice came out small.
“Oh yeah, he sure did, love,” Orlando responded, tone hard. “He said that you were nothing but a whore and I was your bloody john. And there I was, defending your honor with a bloody baseball and I barely know you. As a matter of fact, it seems that you don’t like me at all and what I did out there was a fucking waste of time.” Frustrated, he slipped off his hat and ran a hand through his damp brown hair.
Danie’s face slowly went bloodless as Orlando ranted. Seeing the hurt in her eyes, Orlando felt himself deflate, the anger pouring out of him. Danie’s hurt eyes had poked a hole in his rage. He scrambled to think of something to make that look go away, but it was suddenly her turn to stalk off.
“Shit,” he muttered. Louder, he yelled, “Danie!”
Danie didn’t stop. She barreled through the metal gate, back to the field. Metal clanged against metal as she crossed the diamond, obviously heading for Brian. The injured player was currently being held up by Lawrence and Daniel. Brian’s eyes were red and his face was pale.
Daniel noticed her first. He started to say her name, but she glared at him, stopped him short. She looked to his older brother.
“Brian? Are you listening?” she said in a deceptively sweet voice.
Brian cracked open one eye in reply. Orlando paused a few feet away, feeling powerless to stop whatever was about to happen.
“Good. Because I have something to say to you,” Danie told him primly.
Daniel raised an eyebrow. Each and every one of the Tigers, who were standing by, looked on in complete and utter astonishment. They had no idea what was going to happen next.
“What the hell is she doing?” Samantha wondered aloud.
A moment later, they saw Danie punch Brian in the mouth. The crowd gasped again, and Danie marched off angrily with a haughty hair toss and her chin in the air. Reporters greedily snapped pictures and took notes for tomorrow’s newspapers.
Danie paused only on the pitcher’s mound to grab Orlando and kiss him full on the mouth.
-From ‘Meet the Sisters’
If Danie stepped into my life for a day, it would not be the same. She would try her best, but in the end, she would probably turn it upside down. Actually, I would probably be out of a job, less some friends, and would have gained some dubious followers.
But it’s fun to imagine, isn’t it?