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. 2006-2007.

Falling Into College. Year 3, Fall

Past Influences: Falling Into College 49. Karen arrives back in Boston to find the apartment empty, except for Bump. By the time Daria and Jane arrive after grocery shopping, Karen has started a pot of boiled peanuts. Something Daria is familiar with from Texas, but Jane finds alien. Later, they have gathered in the living room to eat peanuts and catch up on things, such as Daria's Aunt Amy's wedding in two weeks, Karen's baby nephew Wayne and how Jane's brother Trent is adapting to married life. They are surprised by the arrival of Elsie Sloane at the door. Daria and Jane are even more surprised to learn that Elsie will not be attending Bromwell, she's on her way to Archbury, a college in England. In addition, she's bucking the family tradition as is planning on working at Grace, Sloane and Page after graduation instead of getting married off to be the lady of a manor. As they continue to talk, Daria and Jane learn more of how they influenced Elsie and how much Kay liked each of them. For the first time, Elsie also learns the true story about how Tom started dating Daria. Elsie is next surprised to learn that Daria is to be a bridesmaid in the upcoming Barksdale-Wyatt wedding, which, because of the Wyatt's wealth, has become the social event of the season for the mid-Atlantic states. Elsie is even more surprised to learn that Amy is the bride. At Elsie's request, Daria shows her the custom bridesmaid gown for the wedding. Karen's boyfriend Derek arrives. By the time Michael and Mack arrive at the apartment for a planned get-together, Elsie invites them all out for dinner as a thank you to Daria and Jane. After dinner, they say goodbye and Elsie goes to Boston's Logan Airport for her flight. She is surprised by her parents, who explain that they figured out why she was in Boston and asked about Daria and Jane. They also let Elsie know that they (with some reluctance on Angier's part), have accepted and support her plans.

A Matter of Priorities: Falling Into College 50. In a rented Van, Daria, Michael, Jane, Mack, Karen and Derek return to school after Amy's elaborate wedding, recounting their experiences at the reception, including Daria and Jane's karaoke version of Freakin' Friends. In California, Fran meets Quinn at the airport and is impressed by the digital photos in Quinn's camera. Helen and Jake talk about Amy's twin step-daughter's, how much they remind them of Daria and Quinn, and how much they miss their children. The next afternoon at work, Daria gets a message from Marianne that Helen collapsed in court from a stroke and is at Cedars of Lawndale in Intensive Care. Quinn manages to book a flight to the next morning to arrive in the afternoon while Daria prepares to drive to Lawndale with Michael's help. The news makes Jane and Karen think about their parents and to make calls to talk to them. Daria and Michael arrive at the hospital to find Tess and Rita already there with Jake with at the hospital. Rita is unable to reach Amy, who is on her honeymoon. Tess admits to Michael that she owes Jake an apology because of his clear dedication to Helen. In Helen's room, Daria reassures her father about the situation and how Helen must think he's the one she wants to be with. Tess makes her peace with Jake. Awakening a little before dawn, Helen discovers that her left side is paralyzed. While they run tests on Helen, the doctor recommends that everyone go home to get some rest and come back in the afternoon. Before going to bed to get some sleep, Daria begins to write in her diary, the date is September 11.

Mirrors: Falling Into College 51. With Helen home from the hospital, Jake has temporarily converted the formal dining room into their bedroom so that she has easy access while in her electric wheelchair. She is also doing physical therapy to overcome her paralysis. She's frustrated by her inability to make her mouth form a proper smile. Jake attempts one of Helen's pancake recipes, without success and substitutes microwavable pancakes instead. Helen insists that he stop serving her breakfast in bed, and seeing the mess in the kitchen, suggests that he not try the recipe while Daria and Amy visit over the weekend. Daria has been visiting every weekend. Spurred y what happened to her mother, Daria gets a physical exam and learns that she has very high blood cholesterol and other early warning signs of cardiovascular problems, the doctor recommends a change of diet to address the cholesterol and to loose a little weight, much to her roommates' amusement. During a phone call, Quinn expresses her regrets that she was unable to get back to Lawndale because of the flight cancellations after 9/11. To stay close to Helen, Jake begins to work from home and only goes to the office for appointments. Marianne visits with some work from the office that Helen wanted to see to keep her mind busy. They also discuss the crude reactions of the other partners to Helen's stroke. Quinn's roommates come up with the idea of Quinn hosting her family for Thanksgiving. Amy arrives with her new husband Reese and twin stepdaughters Jerica and Jocelyn. Amy gives Helen a gift of island music CDs and mixers for tropical drinks. Daria and Michael arrive. On the phone, Helen agrees to visit Quinn for the holiday and Daria agrees to see if she can make it. At breakfast, Daria admits that she has to be careful about her diet. Later, while doing some exercises, Helen is interrupted by Eric. Inspired by a song on one of Amy's CDs, Helen tells him it can wait until Monday. Feeling stronger from that episode, Helen lets everyone know that she appreciates all the help, but it's time for her to take her life back. Monday morning, Jake finally succeeds with the pancakes, which prompts Helen to successfully manage a week smile.

Girl, Lost and Found: Falling Into College 52. After a weekend alone with Michael while her roommates were out of town, Daria starts a new week, including participating in her new habit of a lunchtime walk around the Raft Quad with Wendy, one of her old theater friends. A former staff member of Val magazine, Debbie Cawthon-Shellski tracks down Daria to tell the "real story of D", leading to Karen discovering that aspect of Daria's past, and revealing her old interest in the magazine. Through unknown sources, Val quickly discovers what Debbie is planning and flies to Boston. She interviews different people and finds information that she selectively quote to use against Daria. After Debbie returns to Seattle, Daria learns about Val's visit. Later, Val visits Debbie and lets her know about the information she uncovered and Raft and how it could be used against Daria, and Val also threatens to visit Helen. After Daria convinces Debbie not to give up yet, Debbie discovers that someone in the travel office of her new magazine tipped Val off, and then abruptly resigned. After a suggestion, Daria and Debbie agree to let Val have the upper hand for the moment, and Debbie publishes a story about Daria that omits any account of "D", but lays the groundwork for future writing.

Daria Went Down To Georgia: Falling Into College 53. Maddie and Geoff Myerson prepare for the extended family Thanksgiving dinner, including Daria, Michael, Karen and Derek. Meanwhile, Helena and Jake prepare to fly to California to spend the holiday with Quinn and her friends. Also, Jane and Mack go to Lawndale to spend the day with their respective family's. Jake has some difficulty getting through the updated airport security, but finally makes it. Jane arrives home to find Lindy preparing the dinner and that the former members of Mystik Spiral will also be in attendance. Quinn manages to convince some local college boys to pick up the deli supplies for the dinner. Arriving in Georgia, Daria discovers that Karen is planning on horseback riding, much to Daria's discomfort. Quinn is nervous to make a good impression by the time Helen and Jake arrive. They are a little surprise that Helen is in a folding wheelchair instead of her electric, which the left at home as too heavy to carry. Daria and Michael (staying in separate rooms to avoid upsetting some of Karen's relatives) arise to find the Myerson's already prepared for breakfast, and are also surprised when Great Uncle Rick arrives early. Jane and Mack first eat with his family. At the Myerson dinner, Daria finds herself seated next to Jill and gets to meet infant Wayne while trying not to freak out too much about the large crowd. After their first dinner, Jane and Mack stop by a store for last minute supplies and find Sandi preparing to eat alone. They invite her to join them with the Lanes. In California, Quinn has devised a Thanksgiving picnic on the beach, looking out at the Pacific. Jake and Helen are pleased when passing boys mistake Helen for a college student. At the Lane dinner, Sandi says that she's probably only going to attend Lawndale State for a year before going to California. After dinner, Karen introduces everyone to the horses that they'll ride and reassures Daria that her summer camp experience should hold her back. Karen will ride her black mare, Evira and Daria will ride a huge, retired draft horse, Junior. The next day, Karen takes Daria on a side trip to visit the grave of her high school friend, Laura and explains why her death made Karen so ready to help Daria their freshman year. On the way back, Karen and Derek decide to do some fast galloping. With a little coaxing from Michael, Daria agrees to a faster trot. Enjoying the experience, she doesn't notice Junior start to gallop. Distracted by taking a photo of Daria, Michael takes a spill from his horse. Leaving Quinn, Helen and Jake know how much Quinn has found California as her new home and that their children have now grown. Back in Boston and after saying goodnight to Daria, Michael thinks about how thankful he is that she's in his life and takes the ring from his closet, leaving it on his dresser for the next day.

Another Day in Paradise: Falling Into College 54. The day after returning from the Thanksgiving holiday, Michael prepares for school and work, plus takes the ring with him, since it's been two years since she first said yes to going out with him. At school, he is teased about the weekend by three fellow history students, Clarice, Shaun and Jack. He excuses himself and calls Daria, who tells him that her car is in the shop, that she's running late for a student teaching session and can't meet him for lunch. After a meeting with his advisor, Prof. Mahanoor, Michael makes a side trip to Engineering to talk with his second-year roommate, Todd. Todd is impressed that Michael is finally ready and teases him about how poorly he hid looking at the ring. After lunch, Michael goes to work and spends the day checking and replacing light bulbs in the main visitor center, where he encounters a tourist who wants to know why the Samuel Adams Brewery isn't on the tour. While putting things away with a coworker, Nguyen, he discovers that the ring is no longer in his pocket. After a frantic search, they discover that their boss found it in a supply closet, where Michael had taken it out to get to a hard to reach fixture. After the assembled staff decide that they should throw a wedding shower, he finally manages to leave to pick up Daria from work. She's had a horrible day and is in a bad mood, which spills over through the night. They go to the diner that they visited on their first date, where the food was terrible and Daria's mood didn't help the situation. By the time they get back to Daria's place, they are arguing and she suggests that they shouldn't have done anything that day. He breaks off the fight, drops on his knee and manages to calm himself enough to give her the ring and ask. Taken off guard, Daria's bad mood evaporates and she says yes. She asks Jane and Karen to hold off telling anyone who might leak word to Helen and Jake, Daria wants to see their faces. Michael returns home and tells his roommate Lewis, and pauses at his door to give short prayer.