Stuck In Lawndale

By Neal C

Ch2 Ė Fear and Loathing In Lawndale

 

I woke with a small shout and sat bolt upright. My eyes were wide with fear and I was breathing heavily. Fortunately the nightmare was already fading and I couldnít recall any of it. After a few seconds I calmed down and my breathing slowed. I reached a still shaking hand to the night stand and picked up my glasses.

I almost shouted again when the room came into focus. It wasnít mine. Where the hell am I? What is going on? Then it hit me, the memories came crashing back, slamming me straight into the harsh reality of the waking world.

"Oh yeah. So it wasnít a dream." I put my head in my hands and sighed. "I guess Iíd better get up."

"I should say so." Jane was standing in the doorway, already dressed. "Itís noon already. Bad dreams?"

"Yeah, I guess I have some things to work out."

She nodded. "I know how that is."

I laughed, a mirthless hollow sound. "NoÖno you donít."

There was sadness in her eyes, but it wasnít pity. Thank god it wasnít pity. I donít think I could have stood being pitied. "I guess I donít." All was quiet for an excruciating moment, the she sighed and spoke. "Well, I have coffee brewing downstairs. The showerís at the end of the hall. Iíll call Daria and weíll show you around town."

After I showered and dressed, I headed downstairs. Jane was sitting at the kitchen table. I smelled coffee. I walked into the kitchen.

"Yo. Coffeeís on the stove. Dariaís on her way over."

"Cool" I walked over to the coffee pot, a mid fifties percolator. "CoffeeÖ"

"My arenít we articulate this afternoon." Jane sipped her coffee.

"You donít get up before noon unless you have to either." I pointed out, sitting across from her.

"True, but usually Trentís the only one I can razz on for sleeping later than me. Now I have you!" She smirked.

"Now I have a purpose. Youíre quite the motivational speaker. Now you have to get a tweed jacket with leather elbows and tour the country."

"Hmmm. My Life Is Much Worse Than Yours So Feel Good About Yeríself. It does have a nice ring to it. Oh and speaking of jackets, your coat is still in my room."

I turned red and my hands were suddenly very interesting. Idiot, that was so out of character for you. What do I say now?

"Your lipstick was still on my cheek." Nice one bonehead.

Janeís eyes went wide and she bit her bottom lip. She was gathering her wits for a reply when the front door opened. Jane turned and shouted out the kitchen door.

"Weíre in here Daria!"

The reply that came wasnít Dariaís. "Itís me Janey! Do I smell coffee!"

"Yeah! Come have some!"

Trent ambled into the kitchen, looking like hell warmed over.

"Rough night?" Jane asked

"Yeah. Maxís post gig party got out of hand." He walked over to the coffee pot. Just as he was going to get some coffee he stopped cold and turned around. "Whoís your boyfriend?"

"Iím notÖ"

Jane cut me off. "This is Neal. Heís new in town."

I stared at Jane. What was that forÖ What did that mean?

Trent nodded and walked over. He offered his hand. "Trent Lane, Lead guitar and front man for Mystik Spiral."

I shook his hand. "Neal C. Former lyricist and guitarist for NBWM."

"NBWM?"

I smirked. It was an old joke one of my friends made up about the band. "No Band Worth Mentioning."

"Cool. If you wanna Jam, Iím in the basement when Iím notÖ somewhere else."

"No can do. UhÖ I just had to leave home, see the world. Had to travel light. It sucks."

"Yeah, Nealís crashing in Windís old room for awhile." Jane offered.

Trent nodded. "I know how that is. Sucks thoughÖ I guess you can use one of my guitars Ďtil you get your own. How long you stayiní?"

"Until I get my own place I guess."

Trent smirked. "Iím sure Wind wonít mind you crashing, and the Ďrents wonít be around long enough to notice. Stay as long as you want."

"Thanks."

"No problem." He yawned prodigiously. "I think Iím gonna hit the sack. ĎNight guys."

Jane quirked an eyebrow. "What about your coffee?"

"Oh yeah. Uh, save some for me." With that he walked out of the kitchen.

"He wonít make it past the couch." Jane said. Just then we heard a soft thump from the living room. "See. So, you were in a band?"

I nodded. "I guess you could call it that. More like a punk trio."

"Sure it wasnít a boyband?" Jane smirked. I gave her a look that could kill small animals. "Just kidding." I nodded and smirked back at her.

"I knowÖ Um about what Trent said." I looked out the kitchen window.

"What did Trent say." Jane used her most innocent voice. She isnít gonna make this any easier is she?

"WellÖ" But before I could continue the front door opened again.

"In the kitchen!" Jane called.

There was no verbal response but the sound of heavy boots heralded Dariaís arrival. She walked into the kitchen and froze when she saw me.

"Youíre still here?" she asked, more than a little bewildered. But trying valiantly not to show it.

I turned to Jane. "You didnít tell her?"

Jane shrugged. "I thought she knew."

I shook my head. "Nope." I turned back to Daria. "Iím stuck."

"How?"

I shrugged. "Dunno, but I am. Probably for a long time. I think it had something to do with me changing the world so drastically but Iím not sure."

She nodded. "Well weirder things have happened. Remember the Holidays Jane?

Jane rolled her eyes. "Yeah.."

"So how about I get to know Lawndale?"

"I donít know, should we let him in?" Daria asked Jane.

"The force is strong with this one." Jane said.

"Star Wars reference. Original." I deadpanned.

"Definitely the dark side." Jane quipped and smirked.

"Can we trust him?" Daria said.

"Who cares if we can trust him, heís cute." Jane said

I choked on my coffee, and dropped the cup. "What!" I managed to sputter. Jane started laughing and even Daria smirked.. "Sure, laugh at the dying man."

"Killed with love." Daria pointed out.

"I said youíre cute." Jane leaned forward. "Doing anything tonight?"

I just stared. What do I do now? Falling? Hell I just landed on my ass!

"If this is going to turn into the Dating Game, Iím leaving." Daria announced, standing up.

I finally spoke up. "Donít. JaneÖ letís see how today goes before we think about tonight. Iím confused enough as it is, IÖ I just need to think about it. Okay?" I looked over at Jane.

"Okay."

"Now I believe you guys were going to show me around town?"

Daria nodded and stood. I stood up and stretched then looked at Jane. She stood a little dejectedly. Then she straightened and smiled an evil grin.

"Hey Daria, weíll meet you outside. I wanna tell Neal something."

Daria raised an eyebrow and smirked. "Iíll bet you do. Okay, but hurry up." Then she walked out.

"What?"

"Nothing muchÖ Just this." She walked over, stood on her tiptoes and kissed me. Not the peck on the cheek from last night, but a full on knock you out of your boots kiss. God, and what a kiss. "Something to think aboutÖ To help you forget other things."

Fell right on your ass! My mind echoed ruefully. But I disregarded it. Jane was standing there, smirking. Waiting to see if her plan had worked.

"Damn! You must have fried some brain cells with that one. ĎCause Iím done thinking. What are you doing tonight?" I gave her a lop-sided grin.

She hugged me then kissed me again. This time I knew it was coming and could respond properly. I put my arm around her waist and we walked out of the house.

Daria eyed us. "Awfully damn touchy all of a sudden. What happened to thinking?"

I shrugged. "Eh, itís overrated."

With that we walked off into the limbo that is Lawndale. Daria pointed out sites and interesting things as we came to them. Which means that the trip was actually pretty quiet. We arrived at the Pizza King at around three oíclock.

We all chipped in five bucks (thank god I had my wallet). And Daria walked up to the counter to order. After we were settled and the pizza had arrived It started.

"SoÖ You seem to know everything about us, especially Me. But we donít know much about you." Daria said.

I was trapped. Daria sat across from me and Jane had me boxed in. I sighed. Best to get this over with.

Jane picked up where Daria left off. "So itís time for twenty questions."

I laid my hands flat on the table. "Okay, shoot. Whaddaya want to know."

"Okay, first. What is your last name?" Jane asked.

"I donít know."

"Come again?" Jane was slightly confused.

"Well, I guess this is a chance to start over. So I should choose a new name."

"Sounds reasonable." Daria said. "Next question. Where were you from?"

"KansasÖ Unfortunately." I smirked.

Daria raised an eyebrow and Jane snickered.

"Well, I know youíre a guitarist. Are you any good?" Jane asked.

"Youíll just have to find out. But I swear Iím better than Trent."

"Thatís not saying much." Daria added.

"I know."

"So any romantic interests?" Daria asked. I knew she was worried about me hurting Jane.

I looked her in the eyes. "Just Jane."

"So you and Jane are together? Thatíll take getting used to."

I nodded. "I know. Iím used to relationships where Iím more of a fashion accessory than an equal partner."

"Well get used to it. Why do you think I want you around?" Jane pointed her pizza slice at me.

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, sure." Then I noticed movement at the doors. Swirls of blue and yellow. "God, not today."

Daria looked at me. "What?"

I pointed. "Kevin and Brittany."

Jane arched an eyebrow. "Hmm. Itís Saturday, what are they doing off of the Old Quarry Road." Just as if they had heard her, they walked over.

"Hey Daria, JaneÖ Uh, guy." Brittany squeeked.

"Hey, whoís your new friend?" Kevin asked.

I affected a fake British accent, think Sid Vicious. "Iím Nails."

Daria picked up the ruse. "Heís an international assassin for hire."

Then Jane joined in. "But heís semi-retired and living in Lawndale now."

"Ass-ass-in? So youíre a butt doctor?" Kevin asked me.

I shook my head and stood. I grabbed him by the front of his jersey.

"Hey! I have to pay to clean this." He protested.

I held on, and spoke to him in a low voice. "No it means I get paid to kill people." I looked around the room, then back at Kevin. "But donít tell anyone. I know where you live." I let go of his shirt. He was scared out of his wits. He backed off then turned and ran out the door. Then I nodded at Brittany and gave her my lop sided grin.

She had been talking at Daria and Jane, and hadnít noticed what Kevin had done. She looked around and when she didnít see him she stormed out.

Jane turned to Daria. "Oooh. Heís good."

"Yeah but it was just the block head duo. Lets see how he does against the princess of pleather and her honor guard." Daria pointed at a booth a few down from ours. There were Quinn and the three Jís, who were waiting on her hand and foot.

"Well I say that Iíve lost my appetite. Letís box the pizza and get out of here." I looked at Daria, who nodded in agreement. Then at Jane who grabbed my hand.

"Letís get out of here." We all stood.

Then I looked at Quinnís booth again. "Wait, I got an Idea." I picked up the half of our pizza that was left. Then walked over to Quinnís booth. "Um excuse me."

She looked up. When she saw me her face darkened. "Ugh. Like why would I talk to you?"

I nodded towards Daria and Jane. "I heard about your condition. Itís a tough battle, but youíll pull through. Here." I laid the pizza on her table. "You need this more than I do."

"UGH! Pepperoni and Cheese? What are you doing? And what condition?!"

"Constipation of the Brain and Diarrhea of the mouth."

Her jaw dropped. "Wha! Well I neverÖ"

"Think?" I finished for her.

"You! You!"

"Oh, youíre right. I gotta go." With that I walked over to Daria and Jane. "What about the princess of pleather?" I put one arm around Janeís shoulders and the other around Dariaís. She stiffened up, but I didnít budge. "Now we can go."

"Well how was your day?" Jane asked as we walked up the street.

I smirked. "Well I didnít meet a whole bunch of new people. I made Quinn want to throw me down a well. And Iím going home with two bonus friends. All in all a good day."

Daria looked at me. "Iíve heard something like that before. Are you stealing my material?"

"Nah, Mtv sold it at a yard sale. Cheap too." I grinned.

"Figures."

"So now that we know they sold your soul piece by piece, what do we do now?" Jane asked.

I shrugged. "Sick Sad Worldís on."

Daria pulled a watch out of her jacket pocked. "Youíre right. How did you know?"

"Call it a hunch."

Daria turned to Jane. "Your house or mine?"

"Mine. I donít think we should make him deal with your parents yet."

Daria smirked. "Always the humanitarian."

Jane drew closer to me and put her head on my shoulder. "Only when my big dumb animals are in danger."

"Ríokay shraggy." I mimicked Scooby.

"You guys are making me sick." Daria deadpanned

"Ríokay Velmra" I grinned again.

Daria rolled her eyes. "This is definitely going to take getting used to."

 

As always, Daria and Jane belong (unwillingly) to Mtv which belongs to Viacom which sacrifices virgins for eternal life, so Donít sue me, I ainít worth the effort.