Disclaimer: Daria and associated characters are owned by MTV. This is fan fiction written for entertainment only. No money or other negotiable currency or goods have been exchanged.
Original characters and plot copyright Richard J. Lobinske. 2004.

This is the ninth story in the Falling into College series.

Richard Lobinske

Holiday Breaks

Daria Morgendorffer looked up from her laptop, stretched her arms over her head, and arched her back at the same time. The sleeves of her loose, grey sweatshirt were rolled up to the elbows. The green sweat pants matched the shirt in looseness. Almost out of place with the comfortable, nondescript clothes was a pendant on a gold chain around her neck. The deep, streaked green of the malachite cabochon contrasted strongly with the shirt fabric. The new desk and chair in her former bedroom felt odd after the many hours spent with those in her dorm room at Raft University. Next to the laptop was a copy of her latest Melody Powers story, liberally covered with editor's marks.

"Guess I was lucky with the first story they accepted. The editors certainly brutalized this one a lot more." She squinted at a mark. "What the hell is that? It'll be great when more publishers go over to electronic submissions and I don't have to interpret handwriting."

After a few moments, she set the manuscript down and rubbed her eyes. She swung the chair around to allow a view of the redecorated room; the pale green walls and dark green curtains were clearly meant to make her comfortable. However, they made the room feel strange and cold instead. For Daria, the old padding added a kind of warmth the new look didn't. The Christmas season often made Daria feel out of place. The forced, faux cheer ground against her sense of honesty most of the time. She placed her hand on the pendant. This year I do have something extra to cheer me.

Daria heard the faint knocking at the door and turned to face the sound.

"It's open."

Her sister, Quinn, poked her head inside. "Can I talk with you?"

Daria motioned her in. "Go ahead."

Quinn closed the door behind her before walking over to Daria's bed. She sat with her hands clasped together in her lap. "How do you do it?"

Daria gave Quinn a confused look. "Do what?"

Quinn looked down in embarrassment. "With guys."

Daria continued to be confused. "What with guys?"

Quinn looked up, a little frustration showing through the embarrassment. "Get them to fall for you the way they do."

Daria stared at Quinn in stunned silence.


"You're asking me for advice, about...guys?" Daria turned around in her chair, resting her forearms on the chair back.

"Daria, I'm serious."

"Sorry, I was surprised. You've forgotten more about dating than I'll ever know."

"Daria, I'm not talking about dating. I'm talking about getting a guy to...care for you. Like last year with Tom, or now with Michael."

"Oh. But what about those three boys that always follow you, Joey, Jamie and Jeffy?"

"That's become more of a sad joke than anything else. Joey and Jeffy are more interested in trying to one-up the other than they really are with me."

"What about Jamie?"

"He's been more interested...in somebody else." You, ever since he saw that family portrait. You really don't need to hear about that.

Daria thought for a moment. "I don't really know what I'm doing, besides being myself."

"That's what I don't get. You say 'being yourself', but that includes that damn antisocial front of yours. How do you get them to see past that? I've always been more outgoing and social. But, nobody ever seems to be interested in me beyond a couple dates." Quinn looked at Daria with deep sadness.

Daria rested her chin on her arms and thoughtfully looked at Quinn. "Maybe...because you've been more successful than I was at keeping a façade between yourself and the rest of the world. My friends have seen through mine: Jane, Karen, Jodie, Mack, Trent. Tom saw through it. Michael, he's seen through better than anyone except Jane. It doesn't seem that your friends have really seen past the façade to see you. Certainly none of the guys you dated did. You keep up a bubbly, social front, but won't let anybody get close to you."

Quinn looked at Daria.

"Quinn, that's the best I can do. I'm certainly no expert at this."

"Maybe you're right."

Daria gave a small nod.

"Daria, you also have something else. Believe me. I think you are going to continue finding nice guys attracted to you."

Quinn walked over to Daria and lifted the pendant. "I envy you so much."

"Quinn, you've gotten much nicer presents from boys."

"Be honest. Those were bribes to try to get in my pants. This...is something more."

"It does mean a lot to me."

Quinn set the pendant back against Daria's shirt. "My point. I've probably dated more guys in a single night than you've dated in your life. But, you've found so much more happiness than I have from it."

"Quinn. You'll find somebody."

Quinn sat on the desk. "I'm starting to doubt that."


"It hit me when Lindy and Trent started dating. They both took a risk to start, and they also found something. I started to think that, except that time I asked David out, I never take emotional risks. Now, I don't even have much a chance to try."

"Why not?"

"Daria, you've been home for almost a week. How many dates have I gone out on?"

Daria was still for a minute, and then stared at Quinn with wide eyes. "You haven't been out since I got here."

"For me, there's basically nobody left to date. If it's somebody I've dated before, either I don't want to see them again, or they don't want to put in the effort to take me out again. Even in the other towns of the county, I'm known as a very expensive tease."

"Quinn, I'm sorry. It's not the end of the world. Things may look bleak now, but, you'll be heading to college yourself in eight months. There'll be a lot more guys to see. Just be ready to take a little more of a chance."

"But, eight months?"

Daria smiled. "Use the time to study. I hear from Jane that you're starting to be considered a brain. If you get the rep, you might as well use it. Make your life a little easier in college."

Quinn produced a half-hearted smile. "Thanks, I think."

"Any time. You still have a lot of chances ahead of you. I think you'll do fine, finding somebody."

Quinn's smile strengthened. "I hope so. I appreciate the help." She started toward the door.

"Don't mention it. Ever." Daria smirked.

Quinn turned as she opened the door. "I promise, I'll only mention it when it's to my advantage."

"Get out of here."

Quinn started to close the door; then briefly reopened it. "Oh, yeah. Daria, could you please try not to tie up the phone so much tonight?" Quinn rapidly closed the door before she could hear a response.

"Happy Humbug." Daria greeted Jane, Trent and Lindy at the front door. A wreath, hung a bit off-center, shook with the motion. Daria opened the door wider and motioned the three to come in.

Jane called from behind Trent and Lindy. "Ho, ho, freaking, ho to you, too."

After Daria closed the door, Trent stopped next to her. "Daria, this is Lindy. Lindy, Daria."

"Hi, Lindy. Nice to finally meet you."

Lindy appeared apprehensive, and quietly said, "Good to meet you, too."

Jane quickly hugged Daria and spun away to greet the rest of the house. "Hey, everybody!"

The three newcomers shed their coats and started further into the house.

The rest of the Morgendorffers were sitting in the sofa sections in the living room. A Christmas tree stood in the windowed corner of the living room. Red and green ribbons were looped along the upper edge of the walls. A bowls of candies and nuts were on the coffee table. Beside the tree was a plastic trash bag with torn wrapping paper, ribbons and other debris of the morning gift slaughter. A few wrapped presents remained. Trent set down several additional gifts under the tree.

Quinn joined them and gave Lindy a brief hug. "Merry Christmas."

"Thanks, Quinn."

Helen turned. "Welcome. Trent, Lindy, Jane, please have a seat. It's so nice to have you over."

Jake waved his hand. "Great to see everyone. Come on over and dig in. None of those wimpy peanuts; we've got cashews out for everyone today."

A few more small greetings passed as everyone settled down to the sofas. Daria and Jane sat closest to the fireplace, Trent and Lindy opposite them, and Quinn moved to sit on the other side of Lindy. Helen and Jake took the middle section. Nobody spoke. Jake grabbed a handful of nuts and started to munch on them.

Helen was the first to break. "Well, Trent. How long have you and Lindy been an item?"

"Um, almost three months, Mrs. Morgendorffer."

"How nice. If you don't mind my asking, Lindy, how did you two meet?"

Quinn's eyes widened a little and Jane buried her face into Daria's shoulder to hide a giggle.

Lindy stiffened. I don't think it would be a good idea to tell her I was passed out drunk next to the Tank. "I...uh...met him after one of his band performances at McGrundy's. I had some...transportation problems, and Trent made sure I was safe."

Helen looked suspiciously at Lindy.

Quinn surreptitiously patted Lindy's arm. "Daria, why don't you tell Trent and Lindy about this Michael guy you've been seeing?"

Daria narrowed her eyes a small amount at Quinn, who responded with an innocent smile.

Lindy relaxed, leaned toward Quinn and whispered, "I owe you one."

Quinn whispered back, "I wouldn't wish one of Mom's interrogations on anybody."

Daria spoke plainly. "Michael is a very nice guy I met in one of my classes this fall."

When it was clear Daria wasn't going to proceed, Quinn waved her hand. "Hel-lo. We want details."

Daria gave Quinn a snide smirk. "We started dating after Thanksgiving."

More quiet. Quinn whispered again to Lindy, "Except Daria, when she gets like this." Quinn folded her arms. "Daria."

"He's an archeology major."

Another pause. "Ooohh."

"He wears glasses and has nice green eyes."

Quinn developed a predatory grin. "How do you know he has green eyes?"

"I can see through his glasses, and...um...you do get rather close to someone when you kiss."

"Daria, please, just tell them without being such a drama queen."

Daria smiled. "Well, Quinn. Since you said the magic word."

Quinn rolled her eyes.

Lindy whispered to Quinn. "Are you two normally like this?"

Quinn shrugged, and nodded.

Daria's face brightened. "He's very kind and sweet. We had time for a few dates before finals week, we saw a movie, a play, and went to one of the local galleries. Our last date was breakfast at the airport, when he gave me this necklace."

Lindy looked somewhat relieved.

Jane grinned. "I haven't seen her this ga-ga over a guy in..."

Daria glared at her.

Jane continued, "A long time."

"Jane, I will get even."


Helen interjected. "Daria, I swear, there are times when you and Jane get as bad as you and Quinn."

Quinn and Jane shot stares at Helen.

Jake finished another mouthful of nuts. "These cashews are great, but why don't we get started on some real dinner?"

A couple hours later, dinner was finished with minimal carnage. Helen and Jake were in the kitchen cleaning up after chasing everyone else out to "go enjoy the evening."

Quinn and Lindy sat on one sofa section, with Lindy looking intrigued.

"So she's keeping up with racing?"

"Stacy has been so excited about it. Tiffany and I are going to see her on New Year's Day; you want to come with?"

"Oh hell, why not?"

Daria and Jane sat on the opposite sofa.

Trent leaned over the back. "I know you're happy now, but if that Michael ever hurts you, I'm...."

Jane pushed Trent's shoulder. "How sweet, what are you going to do, play L.A. Woman? That would send anybody running."


Daria turned toward Trent. "Thanks for the concern. But, I like to think I can take care of myself."

Jane snorted.

Daria pushed Jane. "Tell me again why I went to all that trouble to get you into BFAC?"

Jane leaned against Daria, rested her head on a shoulder, and looked up with puppy-dog eyes. "Because you miss me?"

Daria relaxed on the bed in 'her' room of the Morgendorffer home. She looked up at the crack-free ceiling as she talked on a cordless phone with her recent romantic interest, Michael Fulton. Michael sat at a kitchen chair in his parent's home. He idly spun the phone cord as he talked.

"Well, the neighbor finished putting up the last of the sandbags around his house this morning.

Daria smiled at the image. "Convinced the Y2K bug will bring about society's collapse, and he'll ride it out bunkered down in his house in a Detroit suburb."

"Or until he goes insane eating out-of-date MRE's"

"Still better than Dad's cooking."

Michael chuckled. "So, what are your plans for tonight's catastrophe?"

"Jane's brother's playing at one of the local music clubs, I'll be there. But then, after two sets, I may wish for complete socio-economic collapse. What about you?"

"An exciting night home watching TV."


"Don't be, I've never been much for going out like that. Besides, it wouldn't feel right without you."

Daria was silent for a moment. "Now you're making me feel bad for wanting to go tonight."

"You want to be with you friends, go. You can't help it that I have so little left here. The closest friend I had is in the Air Force and his training schedule didn't give him the time to get home for the holidays. You go and have fun, tell me about it when I see you next week."

"Deal. But I will be thinking about you."

"My sister is giving me dirty looks and eyeing the cutlery, I better get going."

"Tell her she'll have hell to pay if I don't get you back in one piece."

"Will do. Are you still driving up Monday with Jane?"

"That's the plan, get her moved into BFAC before spring semester."

"Guess I'll see you on Thursday when I fly back."

"I'll be waiting. Good-bye."


The banner over the Zon read:

End of Civilization as We Know It: New Year's Eve 1999
Performances by: Alice's Restroom, Mystik Spiral, Dane Bramage, and Cold Stone Looney

Daria and Jane stood outside, looking up at the banner. Daria said, "Second billing; they're moving up in the world."

"Just means they suck less than the other two."

"Why aren't they at McGrundy's? That was their regular Friday night gig, last I heard."

"It still is, but Old Man McGrundy used his 'special event' clause for tonight, giving the band the chance to work here Friday and Saturday nights."

Jodie Landon's voice rose behind them. "I wouldn't go near my folks anytime soon if I were you."

Both turned to see Jodie and Mack MacKenzie standing behind them. Both looked happier than either Daria or Jane had ever seen them before.

Jodie said, "It's great to see you two."

Mack grinned. "It's nice to get all of us back together. We would have called earlier, but, you know, damage control."

Jane raised an eyebrow, Daria folded her arms. "Okay, what did we do this time?"

"My parents are blaming your bad influence on my low level of extracurricular activity at Turner."

Jane pumped her fist. "Yes!"

Daria eyed Mack. "We may have had a hand in it, but I don't think we can take all of the responsibility."

Jodie hugged Daria and Jane. "Oh, thank you!" She released the two shocked girls. "I can't tell you how much better and relaxed I feel. Between Mack's maneuvers to get my folks to let me go to Turner, and you helping to bust me out of activity prison, I feel like a real person instead of a Jodie doll."

Daria was still stunned. Jane bowed. "At your service. Sorry we didn't get a chance to see you two over Thanksgiving."

Mack said, "Good thing you didn't try. You would have been exposed to Andrew without prior warning, and we wouldn't have been there."

Daria raised both eyebrows. "Oh?"

Mack smiled. "We met in a little town halfway between Turner and Vance. We had a private Thanksgiving dinner at a nice restaurant, and a very relaxing vacation."

Jane smirked. "Relaxing?"

Jodie returned the smirk. "Very."

Daria looked at the front door. "Why are we still standing out here in the cold when we could be inside?"

Mack motioned the three women to proceed. "She has a point."

The bouncer checked identification on each and wrapped a bright yellow, plastic band around each one's wrist indicating under legal drinking age.

Inside was a wildly varied crowd of teens and young adults, from goths to grunge. All four removed their coats. Jodie quickly noticed Daria's necklace against her deep gold sweater and raised an eyebrow.

"This is, in total, only the second piece of jewelry I've ever seen you wear. What's the story?"

Jane slid her head between them. "Daria found a new male."

Daria pushed Jane's head back out of the way. "In not so crude of terms, it was a gift from someone I've been dating."

The four entered the crowd as Daria caught Jodie and Mack up on that subject, then all four in general caught up with each other's life over the previous four months.

They managed to swoop down like vultures on a table as it was freed. Mack was talking as they sat. "A fall free of football practice. Hallelujah! It felt good not to ride herd on a bunch of jocks. Speaking of which, Jane, did you have to deal with Kevin during your job as a teaching assistant?"

"Started out about the same, but since he's been as popular as me and Daria were, he's quieted down some. Quinn was roped into tutoring him; she's had to deal with him more than I have." Jane glanced at Daria.

Jodie and Mack gave Daria questioning looks. "From what I understand, Quinn slipped that she was helping Tiffany. Once my Mom heard that..."

Jodie had a squeamish look. "She hasn't mutilated him yet, has she?"

"Not yet. I'm surprised, and a little proud, to say that she helped him to pass the first trimester without by's. Straight D's, but still passed."

Jodie looked surprised. "Wow."

Jane smirked. "I wasn't. She'd been helping Tiffany in study hall since September. Kid has a lot of patience for teaching. Guess it runs in the family." Jane nodded toward Daria.

"I should maim you for that."

Mack slid back and looked around nervously, but maintained a thin grin. "Who are you, and what have you done with Daria?"

"It's me, Mack. Guess I've gotten a little soft in my old age. You've been a little quiet, Jodie. What have you been up to?"

"Compared to my old life, duller than dirt. School, homework, meals, Sick Sad World."

"From your greeting, I take it this agrees with you more?"

Jodie smiled. "Oh, yeah. I talk with Mack occasionally."

Mack gave her a hug. "At least every other day."

Jodie leaned against Mack. She looked at Daria and raised both eyebrows; then developed a wicked grin and motioned with her eyes toward Jane. "Jane, you've been very quiet on the subject. How's your love life been lately?"

Daria smirked at Jane. "Yeah. You've been very mysteriously quiet."

Jane stood her ground. "Hey, I've been working. No time for anything like that."

Jodie grinned and nodded. "Daria, you're going to be in the same town with her."

Daria raised on finger to her chin. "I do feel a certain obligation to my friend."

Jane looked between the two of them with mild fear in her eyes. Mack leaned back to watch the show.

Daria looked straight at Jane. "I guess it's up to me to find you a new boyfriend." Daria rubbed her hands together mischievously. "My turn to play matchmaker is going to be fun."

Jodie nodded. "I approve of this plan."

Jane dropped her head on the table with a loud thump. "I knew it was going to come back and bite me one day."

Lindy approached Daria, who was standing by the snack bar, grazing. "Daria, mind if I join you?"

"Uh, no."

"Thanks, I can maintain control better when I'm not alone."


"There's a lot of booze around."


Lindy held up her arm to show a yellow wrist band. "Getting one of these helps, but there is still plenty floating around unmonitored. Having someone to talk to keeps down the temptation."

"They gave you an under-age...you asked for it."

Lindy nodded.

"No offense, but why me?"

Lindy looked a little embarrassed. "I was hoping to get to know you better. People around here think a lot of you."

Daria joined Lindy in a mild blush. "It's all an exaggeration."

"Didn't you once tell Trent that it took a lot of guts to follow a dream, and that a lot of people never get that far?"


"Didn't you convince Jane to finish her portfolio for college and send it in?"


"Keep your friend Jodie from being overworked last summer?"


"Haven't you quietly helped Quinn on numerous occasions?"


"I don't think it's an exaggeration, then."

Daria shook her head. "You're good."

"Thanks." Lindy's voice became quieter. "I was nervous about you, because of your former crush on Trent. He still thinks the world of you. I'm sorry to say, I was feeling a little jealous."

Daria looked somewhat concerned. "Lindy, Trent is like my brother, I once joked that he actually had twin little sisters. I've moved on..."

Lindy smiled. "I could tell by the way you talked about Michael. I felt a lot more secure after that."


"But you can understand why I was a little nervous."

"Sure. Much to my embarrassment, I understand jealousy."

"I also know that Trent doesn't give his trust easily. If he trusts you as much as he trusts Jane, I know I can too."

Daria smiled. She motioned to a couple of empty stools at a table. "If Trent thinks as much of you as it looks like, I should get to know you too. Tell me about yourself; all I've heard has been filtered through either Quinn or Jane. You know how twisted that can be."

As the noise level dropped down to the background din, Jane yelled from beneath a large clock that showed 12:02. "Dammit, civilization didn't collapse. Now I have to go to college."

Daria looked over from the table she and Lindy were sitting at. "Crap. That means I have to put up with both you and Karen in Boston."

Lindy developed a sly smile. "And, potentially, whatever flake Jane gets as a roommate."

Jane walked over after hearing Daria's voice. "That's where you wandered off to."

"Only making a few background checks."

Lindy nodded to Jane. "And hearing some interesting stories."


"No worse than you've been telling Lindy about me."

Jane shook her head. "That bad?"

Lindy put her hand on Jane's shoulder. "Afraid so."

Jodie and Mack approached. Jodie said, "We're going to be leaving. It's been great seeing the two of you tonight. Don't forget to keep in touch."

Mack smiled. "Good seeing both of you. Jane, I want copies of those pictures you took of Ms. Li when you handed over the honor society charter."

Daria smiled back. "Drive safe. Plenty of amateur drunks on the road this morning."

Jane waved. "Good night, you two. Hopefully we can continue to be a bad influence."

After Jodie and Mack departed, Jane turned back to Daria and Lindy. "Any other interesting conversations?"

Daria grinned. "Got a little more nice dirt on Quinn. And I think Trent made a good choice."

The blue Plymouth motored down I-95 a little slower than the traffic flow. Trent drove; Daria sat shotgun and Jane sat in between. The back seat was filled with luggage and art supplies.

Daria was still surprised that they had made their morning exit time. Getting two Lanes up and on the road by 9:00 AM was quite a shock, though she suspected Trent had just stayed up all night.

Daria looked at her watch, 11:00 AM, and smirked. Leaning over toward Jane, she said, "Houston, we have a problem."

"What's that?"

Daria held her watch directly in front of Jane. "Move-in day and Trent seems to be the only male around. And I told you before, I don't want pictures."

Jane slapped Daria on the arm. "Ewww."

Daria chuckled. "So much for mighty plans."

"I hate you."

Trent looked over. "You two are weird."

Jane glared at Daria. "More than you can imagine."

Trent stopped the car in front of Summerlin Hall, the single, large residence hall across the street from where the campus of Boston Fine Arts College filled a double city block.

Daria stepped out of the car to make room for Jane to exit. She yawned and stretched. Everyone wore heavy winter coats against the light snowfall. Daria said, "Granted, you're on the other side of the Mass Pike, but this is only about two miles away from Raft."

"Come on. I want to see my new abode. It is going to be strange to live in a different room. I've been in the same room in Lawndale all my life."

"If it's anything like mine, get used to something a lot smaller, too."

Trent popped open the trunk. "I'll start getting your stuff out. Meet you inside."

Jane spent about fifteen minutes checking in, showing identification, proof of acceptance, and finally getting issued keys to room 665.

Daria raised her eyebrows. "Neighbor of the beast?"

The tired-looking residence assistant said, "Before you ask, there is no room six, sixty-six. Six, sixty-five is the highest numbered room in the building. Probably a bad joke on the part of the architect. Take those elevators behind you to the sixth floor. Your room will be immediately to the left when you step off."

Jane, Daria and Trent all picked up luggage from the stack Trent had deposited and took the elevator up. Daria idly read the new residents instructions. After reaching the chosen floor and exiting, Daria glared at Jane.

"One bathroom per two rooms. I am so jealous. No walk down the hall to share one with thirty-two other people."

Jane chuckled. "Clean living, I guess."

Jane checked the door, finding it unlocked. She opened and said, "Hello."

A voice responded from inside. "If you're not my new roommate, get the hell out of here."

Inside was a young woman with dark blue hair that fell to mid-back, wearing black leather riding pants and a sleeveless grey, buttoned shirt, which hung loose. She pushed small, oblong glasses back into place and rose from the lower section bunk. The bunk beds were to the left far corner of the room. Two storage units were visible under the beds. A single window was in the far wall looking out over the BFAC campus across the street. Closets and dressers filled the left wall between the door and the beds. The right wall was divided in the middle by a door to the bathroom shared with the next room. On either side of the bathroom door were worktables built against the wall, each longer than a regular desk but with the space underneath open. The surfaces were streaked and spattered with a kaleidoscope of colors and textures. Shelves and cabinets covered the wall above each. A rolling chair sat in front of each.

The woman approached. "Hey, I'm CC, which of you two is my new victim?"

"Jane Lane." She extended her hand. "CC mean anything in particular, or were your parents feeling real lazy on the birth certificate?"

CC snorted and grinned. "Cecilia Czernicki." She shook Jane's hand. "Since you're the latecomer, you get the top bunk. I hate climbing. I left you half the closet space." She thumbed the unused section of closet. She nodded to the work area at the far end of the room. It was scattered with several in-progress drawings in silverpoint. "That workbench is mine. Touch anything; I'll break your fingers."

Jane tossed her bag into the closet. "This is Daria Morgendorffer. She attends Raft, so you'll probably see her around a lot, whether I like it or not. The tall one in back is my brother, Trent. Probably only see him if he's mooching crash space."

"Hey, you two."

Daria set her luggage down more carefully. "Hi, CC."

Trent followed and unloaded. "Hey."

CC dropped back onto her bed. "I'm easy to get along with, don't screw around with me, and I won't screw around with you."

Jane rolled her eyes. "Don't worry, you're not my type."

A squeak came through the wall next to the beds. CC laughed. "Good one. You may survive after all." She pointed toward the walls. "The elevators. Noisy little buggers."

Jane looked dubiously at the wall. "Charming."

CC nodded. "Welcome to Purgatory."

Daria opened the door to the Plymouth and retrieved her two suitcases from the back. "Thanks for the ride up this time."

Trent walked around from the other side. "No problem."

"I'm going to unpack, then take the bus over to Jane. Help her get settled, and we'll take the bus back here to get her up to speed on the MBTA, Metro Boston Transportation Authority, schedules."

Trent gave Daria a hug. "Lindy told me you two spent a lot of time together Friday night."

"We did."

"I was hoping you two would get along. It took some time for Janey to warm up to her."

"I had my concerns, but things look good. You've done a lot for her."

"I try. I also want to thank you, for wanting to get to know her."

"Trent, she's important to you. How could I say no?"

"Daria, it's been over two...a long time since I felt like this about someone. I want to make this work"

"I'm glad you found someone. Like Jane said to me, happiness looks good on you."

"Yeah. Look, I probably should get going, long drive back."

"Better. Drive safe."

Trent crawled into the car. "Bye, Daria."

"Bye." Daria waved as he drove away.

Daria picked up luggage and hurried inside to escape the cold. She idly thought back to two years earlier as she rode the elevator up to the third floor. Junior year. Jane dating Tom. Me feeling jealous, then that damn parade. Don't go there. Trent was dating...I don't remember him dating anyone around that time. Daria shook her head as she stepped off the elevator and walked to her room. mWho would have thought him for unrequited love? I wonder...

Daria stopped with the key in the door. No.

Thanks to Ranger Thorne, Mahna Mahna, Isa Yo-Jo, Kristen Bealer, qwerty, Lawndale Stalker, and Decelaraptor at PPMB for comments, suggestions and support.

Thanks to Kristen Bealer and Robert Nowall for beta reading.

August 2004
Revised January 2005