Moving Day




Text ©2004 The Angst Guy (

Daria and associated characters are ©2004 MTV Networks



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Synopsis:  A romantic conversation—but since when was anything what it seemed?


Author’s Notes have been moved to the end of the story. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the major characters of the “Daria” TV show, so explanations of who is who are not needed.


Acknowledgements are also at the story’s end.









            “Hi! It’s me!”

            “Hey! I can’t believe this! It’s so good to hear your voice again!”

            “You, too! This is so much better than typing out instant messages on the Internet!”

            “Yes! I can’t tell you how good it is to hear you!”

            “You sound just like I remember you, exactly! You haven’t changed!”

            “Eh, not so much hair, I guess.”

            “Oh, you look great in the pictures you sent me! Stop it!”

            “Well, you look a hell of a lot better than I do.”

            “Oh, I don’t know. My—”

            “That bikini picture was great! You’re dynamite!”

            “I am not. I have to color my hair.”

            “You are gorgeous, beautiful angel. You look . . . you look even better than you did the day I first met you.”

            “Well . . . thank you.”

            “Are you okay?”

            “No. Yes. I’m crying, but I’m okay.”

            “I am, too.”

            “I can’t believe this. I’ve been thinking about you so much all these years, and then—”

            “You know, I—I’ve never stopped thinking about you. I lie awake and think of you every single night. I’ve thought of you every night for years.”

            “I think of you all the time, all day long. I can be doing anything, and all of sudden, there you are.”

            “I . . . I’m sorry. I really am, for what I did. I’m really sorry now.”

            “I’m sorry, too. It was my fault, too.”

            “It doesn’t matter. You’re important. You matter.”

            “And you matter to me.”

            “I love you. Don’t cry.”

            “I love you, too! I really do!”

            “Don’t cry.”

            “I can’t help it! I haven’t talked to you in twenty years, and now we’re talking, and I can’t help it!”

            “I love you.”

            “I love you, too. You don’t know how much I’ve missed you!”

            “I’m sorry. I should never have—”

            “Don’t. Please don’t say it. We can’t—I don’t want to look back. We shouldn’t.”

            “I want so much to see you, Patty.”

            “I want to see you, too, Tom. What are we going to do? You’re married, I’m married, what—I don’t see how can we do anything!”

            “I can find a way. I know you can’t get away, but I think I can do it. My company—”

            “How? How can you—”

            “Listen. My company sends people off on business trips all the time. We have to set up these computerized accounting systems in all sorts of places. I can fix it so I can get out to see you if I get hold of my boss. He owes me some favors. He’ll come through for me. We have clients in your area, I know we do.”

            “Are you sure you can do this? I mean, how long will it be until you can be here?”

            “I’m sure I can do this, ninety-five percent sure. Let me talk to my boss. Do you know I was in your city just two years ago? I had no idea you were there! I was—”

            “Oh, no! Tom!”

            “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were there! I was there to set up a new system with a company in an industrial park on the west side, and I was there for a whole damn week, can you believe that? I know I can get out there again, I just have to talk to my boss first.”

            “But . . . how are you going to tell . . . you know?”

            “Patty, it’s a business trip! I go on business trips once every couple of months. I don’t hide those from her. I just want so much to see you!”

            “I’m sorry. I can’t even believe we’re talking about this. I never—I never once—”

            “Do you want to see me?”

            “Yes, damn it! I do! I really do!”

            “I love you.”

            “I’m so mixed up! My head is spinning, and I feel like I’m going to pass out!”

            “Don’t do that.”

            “This . . . I never dreamed I’d ever see you again. I love you, Tom.”

            “I love you, Patty.”

            “I . . . Oh, I have to go. I think someone just came home.”

            “I love you.”

            “I love you, too. Goodbye.”

            “Goodbye for now.”


            Both lines clicked off.

            The teenage girl stood there, pressing the phone to her right ear tighter than a vice. Her fingers had turned white from her grip on the handset. She abruptly realized that her father might walk out of his study and into the kitchen to find her like this, holding the phone as if paralyzed, and he would know that she knew everything, everything, and she couldn’t take that, not ever.

            Robotlike, she hung up the phone. She then walked stiffly but softly across the kitchen to the laundry room, where she opened the back door and went out into the yard and the midsummer night. She pulled the door shut behind her without a sound.

            She had picked up the phone, on the verge of calling her best friend, and thus caught the entire exchange between her dad and his old flame. It was pure accident. She would never have heard it if she’d walked into the house only five minutes later.

            Now she knew her father was in love with someone else. He was leaving to go see this other woman, leaving his wife and three kids, dumping them like yesterday’s garbage. Would he ever return? Was he going to get a divorce? What was going to happen to her mother, to her little brothers, to her? Would he take everything he owned with him, as if he had never existed? When was moving day?

            She sat down on the grass in the middle of the yard under a warm clear sky full of stars, feeling as if everything inside her had fallen out.

            The tears fell a moment later.



*  *  *  *  *



            “Are you done? What did you think?”


            “‘Huh’? That’s all you have to say, ‘huh’? How much am I paying you for this?”

            “I kinda thought you were going to have Tom be married to one of us, and then he dumps you and your family and runs off to see me. Then—”

            “Hey! It’s not Tom Sloane! It’s just a name, okay? It’s not that Tom!”

            “Well, you know, I went out with him for a little while, and that was a big issue with you, right? You remember all that?”

            “Well, this one is not that Tom. Don’t look at it that way.”

            “Okay, so the kid’s just heard that her dad’s about to run off with this tramp Patty, and—”

            “She’s not a tramp, she’s . . . oh, skip it. Go on.”

            “With this tramp Patty, and what I want to know is, you told me this was a science-fiction story, but where’s the science fiction? Is the kid a robot, or what?”

            “No, she’s not a robot. I haven’t gotten that far into the story yet. This is just the beginning.”

            “Oh, no wonder it was so short. I thought you were entering a ficlet contest.”

            “No, the girl gets kidnapped by a UFO while she’s watering the backyard.”

            “Oh! Okey-dokey, that works for me. So, what do they do with her?”

            “The aliens?”

            “No, the garbage collectors, Daria. Of course I mean the aliens.”

            “They . . . hey, you can read that part after I write it. I’m not giving out the Reader’s Digest condensed version.”

            “When are you going to finish it? You need to get the weird stuff going sooner in the story, too. So far, it’s just a lot of soap opera and angst.”

            “Angst? Do you mean angst as in, ‘Oh, no, Daria drank milk again and the whole planet is going to stink’?”

            “That’s not angst, that’s tragedy, which in this case is real life. Look, you write angst all the time—and no, don’t tell me that writers are supposed to write what they know! I mean it! You write too much angsty stuff. You should write something funny for a change, something stupid, something too bizarre to really happen. Something about your life, maybe.”

            “How about something like, um, ‘Once upon a time . . . there was a beautiful young girl named Quinn, who loved fashion more than anything, and one morning she woke up after a night of restless sleep to discover she had turned into a giant cockroach.’”

            “Yeah! That’s it! That could be a bestseller, Daria! Think of the movie rights!”

            “Jane, when did you start smoking crack?”

            “No, think about it! What if this fashion-crazy teenage girl woke up and she had turned into a huge bug? Think about the statement you could make about women and body image!”

            “And about Quinn, too.”

            “Oh, come on. She turned out fine. She’s a great little sister!”

            “I’m going to bang my head into the monitor now.”

            “Hmmm, that could leave a nasty stain.”

            “That’s what I like about you. Always looking out for me.”

            “You should be studying for finals, you know. It’s what the other Raft freshmen are doing. You’ve only got a week and a half left, and we’re driving back to Lawndale the second you’re done.”

            “I’ll be fine. I’m caught up on the reading. I just want to write for a bit. Maybe something will sell.”


            “Hey what?”

            “You remember when you came over to my house a year ago last May, the day after you botched up my hair with that dye job, and—”

            “Oh, God, please don’t.”

            “And you were so upset because I was seeing Tom and you weren’t seeing me, and we talked and talked and talked, and when you got up to leave we were standing right in front of each other, and—”

            “Jane, stop. My gag level is really low.”

            “And suddenly you leaned forward and hugged me, and we hugged for the longest time, and—”

            “That’s it. I’m drinking nothing but milk for the next month.”

            “And we pulled back, and then . . . you stood up on your toes and closed your eyes . . . and you leaned forward, and . . . you kissed me?”

            “I thought I would never get the taste out of my mouth.”

            “Well, excuuuse me for not knowing you were going to do that! I would have eaten twice as much garlic and onions on that pizza if I had!”

            “You’re such a romantic.”

            “I am, aren’t I? Tom didn’t think so.”

            “I don’t want to talk about Tom.”

            “I notice that every time you write a story in which a guy does something awful, his name is Tom.”

            “Damn it, it’s not the same Tom! It’s just a name, okay? It’s not that Tom!”

            “The axe murderer in that last story you did was named—”

            “Milk, Jane, I swear it! I’ll drink a whole gallon of full-fat, Grade A, vitamin D milk, and I’ll pull the blankets over your head while you’re asleep and let you suffo—”

            “Do you know that that was the greatest kiss I ever got in my life, the first one you gave me? . . . Daria? Speak up.”

            “I liked it, too.”

            “You don’t have to whisper. The second kiss was even better, wasn’t it? You know, it’s funny. I’d always suspected that you had a thing for me. I just didn’t want to see it, I think. I was . . . too afraid. Too afraid of everything.”

            “Me, too.”

            “I should’ve figured it out when I realized you had no interest in dating. I thought for sure you’d have a crush on Trent, at least. He was in a rock band and everything.”

            “I was dating all the time. You just called it ‘getting pizza.’”

            “Mmm. So, you gettin’ enough pizza now we’re married, Sunshine?”

            “Don’t call me that.”

            “Hmmm? Gettin’ enough pizza, babe?”

            “Okay, okay, you can call me Sunshine.”

            “You gettin’ enough? Mmm?”





            “I can’t type when you’re doing that.”


            “Oh. Oh!


            “No, stop! Stop for a minute, please!”


            “I felt it move! I felt the baby move! Jane, it kicked me!”

            The tears fell a moment later.








Author’s Notes II: This is, of course, another little follow-up to the earlier fanfics “Pause in the Air” and “Thanks Giving,” respectively. Tom Griffin’s unresolved feelings for Patty Wells are described in The Daria Database under “Family Portraits.”


Acknowledgements: My thanks to Ruthless Bunny, who brought up the connection between Daria, milk, and intestinal gas in her own fanfic; to Dennis, who got me thinking about Tom and Linda Griffin—and thus Patty Wells; to Deref, who is a Tom fan (ha ha ha ha!); and to MMan, who reminded me of the giant cockroach.




Original: 2/19/03, modified 12/08/04