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 fifteenth story in the Falling into College series.
The Spirals Are Coming!
Trent Lane scanned the living room of his home for anything he had missed. At his feet were a small brown suitcase and a gray gym bag. His girlfriend, Lindy Weaver, waited next to him. He took her hands. "Looks like everything's ready. Wow, a gig in Boston."
Lindy squeezed his hands. "I hope the band has some good exposure from it. You can get a lot of word-of-mouth advertising from a college concert."
"Can't believe how much they're paying us. We can afford a hotel room for both nights and still have take-home."
"Thank God. I worry about some of the places you guys end up sleeping on these trips."
"Man, I owe Daria for this."
"That was thoughtful of her to suggest Mystik Spiral for Raft's spring concert series."
"But, I don't get how their student government can pay us so much for a free concert."
Lindy snorted. "You need to see how much schools charge students each year for 'activity fees'. Plus, they probably will get a kickback from the concessions."
"Trent, you also need to face up to things. Pay for bands around here sucks. I bet they're underpaying you by Boston standards."
"I hope we don't suck up there."
Lindy winked at him. "You always do, but they'll like you anyway."
A car horn outside made Trent turn his head and yell out the partially open door. "Hang on, Jess! I'll be out in a minute." Trent turned back to Lindy. "I better get going."
She pulled an envelope from her purse and put it in his jacket pocket. "This is the last of my student loan money. Keep it for emergencies. But, I will need any unused back."
Trent nodded. "Um, yeah. Emergencies."
Lindy narrowed her eyes. "Trent, I mean it. If it is not an emergency, you don't use it. And, don't tell any of them. Not Max, not Nick, and for damn sure, not Jesse."
"Trent, this is the only emergency cash I have left. I'll do okay through graduation if nothing goes wrong, but I would really like to have as much of that back as possible, in case I do have an emergency."
Trent picked up the gym bag. He opened it and placed the envelope inside. "I promise, not a word, and they'll never look for money in my sock bag."
"Okay, nobody with a functioning nose will look in there." Lindy grinned, kissed him, and looked on with concern. "I wish you had something safer than that wretched van to travel in."
"Hey, the Tank's indestructible."
"Maybe, but you're not. That thing doesn't have seat belts. Hell, it only has two seats."
"Hmm. You know, we've been meaning to get a new seat in that thing."
"For how long?"
"I think we started talking about it before Jess and I went to Alternapalooza."
"That was over three years ago."
Lindy shook her head. "Yes, really."
"I think we should get a little more serious about finding one."
"You think? Now, you better get going; the band's getting restless."
"Yeah. Look, Lindy, we're going to be all right. Don't worry." He held her close and kissed her. "We should be back sometime Sunday afternoon."
"Okay, but I'm still going to worry."
Trent kissed her again. "Hey, might be why I like you. You really do worry about me."
"Yes, I do."
Lindy watched Trent climb into the passenger seat of the Tank and the vehicle trundle away. "Please be safe."
Lindy relaxed on one of the sofa sections in the Morgendorffer living room. She spoke to Quinn, approaching from the kitchen with two drinks. "How does the home stretch of high school feel?"
"There is so much going on. God, no wonder Daria got so cranky at times."
Lindy gave a soft laugh and accepted her drink. "Any word yet on your colleges?"
"I've been accepted at my safety, U-Maryland, but still haven't heard from Pepperhill."
"Still looking at Malibu beach houses?"
"I wish. If I get in, it's going to be the dorm first year. Mom and Dad said if I wanted help with a car, I'd have to stay in the dorm. You can't get around southern California without a car, so…"
"At least you'll get a car out of the deal. Knowing your folks, a decent one."
"I wish I could get Trent and the band into some decent wheels. I'm scared to death about them driving that van to Boston."
"Eww. The Tank?"
"How do they expect to make a good impression when they show up in that…thing?"
"There are times when I want to know how they expect to simply show up in that thing."
"Anything you can do about it?"
"Not now. I'm in the home stretch, too. I'll finally finish Lawndale State in May. I hope I can find a better paying job pretty soon after that, to help pay off all my student loans. It's a good thing that the Lanes aren't charging me any for rent."
"How is that going?"
"I'm glad I moved in. Being with Trent all the time is wonderful, though he can be a handful. Brain like a steel sieve. Amanda seems to have taken a liking to me, though she spends most of her time in the bomb shelter. She's a sweet lady, but I can see where Trent gets some of his spaciness."
"It sounds like things are good."
"Pretty much. As for the rest, Vincent, I've only seen him that one week. Wind was in and out, Summer and Penny I've only talked to on the phone."
"What about Jane?"
"It sounds like she's adapting well to college life. I burned a music CD for her of the band playing a song Trent had written for her a couple years ago." Lindy looked mischievous. "Get this: your sister helped set up a birthday party for Jane."
"No! Daria...planning a party?"
"To be fair, I don't think she would do that for anyone but Jane."
"I know, but…wow…I'm still glad to hear of her doing it."
"Jane told me that they had an ice storm that night. Daria and her boyfriend had to spend the night in Jane's room. She said they made a cute couple sleeping together."
Quinn's face registered shock. "They slept together!? Ewww! In front of Jane! Ewww!"
Lindy chuckled. "Get your mind out of the gutter. They had a couple of beach chairs crammed into Jane's room. Sleep is all they did."
Quinn recovered her composure. "Okay, sorry. She's my sister and the idea…" Quinn shuddered briefly. "However, letting that slip to Mom could divert attention from a major purchase…" Quinn smiled angelically.
"Quinn, you do have an evil streak in you."
"All's fair in fashion and war."
Ms. Carolyn Poole looked at her patient, Daria Morgendorffer, resting on the reclining chair. The young woman had made tremendous progress in the prior five months. While it would be doubtful the pretty young woman would show off her appearance, she had learned not to avoid it.
Daria was speaking: "When I realized what Michael was trying to say he was dreaming about, it felt like I almost froze solid."
"But, I knew that what he was saying wasn't exactly the same. It wasn't that he was attracted to me because he considered me of…sexual interest. His sexual interest was a result of his attraction to me."
Ms. Poole placed her pad down and smiled. "That is one of the reasons you are so intriguing to work with. Few can see such a subtle difference, particularly when they are facing something that disturbs them."
Daria began to blush. "Plus…well…I've had dreams about him, too. I'd be a hypocrite to hold it against him when my own mind was doing the same thing to me."
"Your ethics again do you justice."
"So I calmed myself and told him that I understood. As long as he didn't plan on acting them out, it was okay. I even told him that I appreciated the thought a little."
Ms. Poole nodded and wrote before stating, "Your previous relationship with Tom lasted a year. The subject of sex had to have come up during that time."
"The subject first came up when he…" Daria began to blush again. "…slid his hand under my shirt while we were kissing. It felt…wrong. I told him to stop. We talked and agreed not to push too far. Very much to Tom's credit, he scrupulously kept his word."
"You said first…"
"When the subject came up again, I realized that it was a level of intimacy that I was nowhere near ready for. While I liked Tom a lot, I would never be comfortable with him that way."
"What about Michael?"
"I feel completely different. When I woke up the next morning, I was holding his hand against my breast. I was startled, but…not upset. I left it there while I looked at him sleeping, only moving it away when I got up. Don't get me wrong, I'm still not ready, and I didn't tell him where his hand ended up. But…with him, it doesn't feel wrong; just, not the right time."
"Sounds like your feelings for him are stronger."
"I think you're right." Daria noticed her watch. "Look, do you mind if I cut out a bit early? I'm expecting Jane's brother and his band to show up for tomorrow's Concert on the Quad."
"I think you did fine today. Go take care of your friends."
Walking down the corridor from Ms. Poole's office, Daria contemplated her visits. After quacks like Ms. Manson at Lawndale High, who would have thought I'd see a therapist on my own? Daria looked over her shoulder toward the recently exited room. I'm glad I let reason rule over my gut reaction.
Max grumbled behind the steering wheel of the Tank. "Dammit, you're supposed to be navigating. What do you mean, that was our turn?"
Trent replied from the passenger seat, "Hey, man. I can't help it these crazy traffic circles are so weird. Just go around again."
"Easy for you to say. I thought you'd been to this place before?"
"I dropped Daria off at her dorm; I didn't go to Parking Services."
"So, it shouldn't be that hard."
"Yeah, but those one-way streets make it a pain. Hey, turn at that brown building with the green awning. Now!"
"Um…yeah." Max made the turn at an excess speed, resulting in a sickening lean.
Jesse yelled from the back, "Nick, get off me!"
Nick rolled back to the other side of the van. "Sorry."
Max looked over at Trent. "Why are we getting lost instead of just going to Daria's place?"
Trent rolled his eyes. "We need a parking permit. Daria says that they get into towing cars around here."
"So, we're criminales; we don't worry about those kinds of rules."
"I'm not blowing my take-home on getting this out of impound. Again."
"We bust it out…that's what criminales do."
Trent pointed out the window. "Park at the 'visitors' sign."
Max pulled into the space and stopped the van. Trent grabbed a sheet of paper from the dashboard and said over his shoulder as he got out, "Back in bit."
About ten minutes later, Trent returned and hung a paper permit from the rearview mirror. "Cool, we're good through the weekend. They also cut a deal at the hotel across the street; we should check it out."
Max looked around the van. "Are you sure that's a good idea? How are we gonna keep an eye on our stuff?"
Trent scratched his chin. "Ah, man. You got a point. One of these days, we got to fix the locks."
Jesse crawled forward. "I could use a burger."
Trent nodded. "Now that you mention it, I could eat. We'll head over to Daria's, she'll know someplace."
Karen Myerson opened the door and smiled at the four scruffy-looking men in the hallway. "Daria's not back from work yet. Why don't ya'll come in and have a seat. I'm Karen, Daria's roommate."
Trent led the way in. "Hey, I'm Trent." He pointed at each member of the band in turn. "Jesse, Nick, and Max."
"After all the talk, it's nice to see you on the hoof."
Jesse grinned. "Band on the Hoof."
Trent shook his head. "Jesse's still trying to come up with a new name for the band."
Karen closed the door. "We've only got the two chairs, so either pull up one of them, the floor or Daria's bed."
Trent leaned against the dresser next to the square of padding Daria had salvaged from her old bedroom in Lawndale. "Been sitting for seven hours. Think I'll stand."
Jesse and Nick both grabbed a chair each. Nick said, "Finally, something decent to sit on."
Max looked around grumpily. "Guess I'll take the floor," and plopped down next to Karen's closet.
Karen sat back on her bed. "Did you guys have any trouble getting here?"
Max snarled, "Besides Trent getting us lost?"
"Hey, you try to figure out those traffic circles."
Karen held up her hands to calm them. "They say the streets of this town were laid out by a drunk following a demented cow. Don't worry about getting lost your first trip."
Jesse looked at the small refrigerator. "Like, you got anything to eat?"
Karen looked at all four cautiously. "I doubt if we have enough for all four of you. Daria should be back soon. We can run over to the Buffet Raft for dinner. It's a close walk, and all-you-can-eat."
Jesse grinned. "Cool."
The door opened and Daria's voice could be heard. "The whole floor has already heard that we have four guys in our room." She finished entering and closed the door. "Hey, everyone."
Jesse, Nick and Max all said, "Hi, Daria."
Trent levered himself up and gave her a brief, brotherly hug. "Daria. Are you keeping Janey out of trouble?"
Daria gave him a hug back. "Like there is anybody who could do that?"
Karen got up again. "Daria, the band was starting to eye the fridge. I suggested the buffet."
Daria eyed the band. "Good thinking. Okay guys, I want to change. Out into the hall for a few minutes. Trent, you want Karen to give Jane a call to meet us?"
Trent nodded. "Good thinking."
All six were clustered around a large table in the buffet restaurant. Jesse, Max and Nick were devouring their way through a third plate each. Trent was maintaining the conversation with Daria and Karen. "At least one of us needs to stay with the Tank. We can't keep it parked next to a police car all night."
Daria rubbed her neck. "I better not regret this. Haul your gear up to our room for the night. We're right on the quad; you won't have to carry it that far tomorrow. Then, you four get into the hotel."
Trent said, "Thanks."
Jane Lane entered the restaurant and made a direct line for them. "Greetings! Oh brother of mine!" She pulled Trent out of his chair and hugged him.
Mumbles and grunts from the rest of the band also greeted Jane.
Jane waved at them and said, "Excuse me, a shot at some real food instead of that stuff at the BFAC cafeteria." Jane returned within a couple of minutes with a plate. "So kids, ready for your gig in the big city?"
Max pumped his fist. "We're ready to kick butt."
Jesse added, "It'll be cool."
Daria interrupted. "Jane, can you give us a hand carrying their gear to our room?"
Jane looked at Trent. "Still no locks on the Tank?"
He nodded. "I think we need to get serious about some new ones."
Jane raised her eyebrows. "You need to get serious about finding a new van."
Max placed both hands on the table. "Hey, don't diss the Tank."
Jane looked Max straight in the eye. "Do you still have hot glue holding the vacuum lines together?"
"I rest my case."
Daria looked at Trent. "I bet you still only have the front seats, and no seat belts."
Trent scratched the back of his neck. "Yep."
"Trent, do us a favor and start looking around for another van or something. I'm sure Lindy will appreciate it."
Trent nodded thoughtfully. "You know, she was saying something about it today."
Daria turned toward Max. "Not to show any disrespect. The Tank has served with honor and distinction for years. But, like many great ships, there comes a time for it to be retired with distinction. The time is near for the Tank."
Max looked doubtful. "I don't know…"
"Allow the Tank to retire with it's…hood held high. Don't let it have an ignominious end along the side of a deserted road. Give it rest with the respect it deserves."
"You know, it did take three quarts of oil to get to here. You might be right. I'll have to think about it."
"I know you'll do the right thing."
Daria and Karen, along with their respective male interests, Michael and Derek, sat around a steamer trunk placed on the floor between the two women's beds. Drink cups and 'Big Bean Burrito' wrappers were scattered on top. Daria said, "Jane was on her way over to the hotel to rouse the band; she's had plenty of practice. So, they shouldn't run too late."
Michael looked at his watch. "I take it that they normally don't 'do' first thing in the afternoon."
Daria smiled. "Not by choice."
Karen answered the ringing telephone. "Hello…Yeah, they're expected…send them on up…bye." She hung up the phone. "On their way."
Michael began to gather up the trash. "Derek got the tab for lunch; I'll clean up the mess."
Despite his offer, Daria and Karen helped to clean up lunch. By the time the task was complete; knocking was heard at the door. Derek stumbled past the piled equipment to open it. "Hey, the rest still have to fight their way through the jungle." He looked at the band, standing around like escapees from a sleep disorder clinic.
Jane pushed from the back. "Move it you guys."
Max glared at Jane. "Slave driver."
She returned the favor. "Do you want me to find a whip?"
Jesse frowned as he lifted an amplifier. "Couldn't we eat first?"
Jane began directing band member traffic. "Unload your junk from Daria's room...then you get breakfast…lunch…or whatever."
Daria threaded her way through the maze. "Glad you could make it guys. I checked with the Student Government rep: the stage is being set up in front of the admin building, so go out the Quad side of the dorm and hang a right." Daria waved her hand high over the gear to point people out. "That's Trent, Max…umm…there's Jesse, and Nick going out the door. You guys, this is Derek, Karen's boyfriend, and Michael."
Trent said, "Thanks, Daria," as he picked up a speaker. The rest of the band grunted in semi-conscious greeting, while Derek and Michael nodded and waved. Quickly, all four band members were loaded up. Derek and Michael each grabbed some equipment and followed.
Exiting the elevator on the ground floor, Trent slowed in front of Michael to separate them from the rest. "You're the guy Daria's been seeing."
"She seems to like you."
"I care about her..." Michael looked down, "…a lot."
Trent raised an eyebrow. "I'm sensitive to shifts in mood; I noticed."
Michael followed with, "Let me guess, you want to warn me not to hurt her."
"Nah, she'll take care of herself." Trent's voice became more serious. "But, if you ever hold her back…"
Trent's eyes changed to a darkness that Michael didn't want to cross. They walked in silence to the stage on the east side of the Quad. The other band members had dropped off their loads and were heading back.
Derek waited for Michael and asked, "What did Trent want with you?"
Michael watched Trent and the band walk back toward the dorm. "Being a little protective."
Two other floor residents, Anna and Jenn, walked up as Daria, Karen and Jane moved the band gear from room to hall.
Anna toyed with her long, braided black hair. "You know the band that's playing today?"
Daria pointed to Jane. "Her brother's band. I've known them for a couple years."
Jenn adjusted her glasses. "Is the cute one in the leather vest taken?"
Jane smirked. "Almost every night, but they usually throw him back."
Anna leaned against a wall. "What about the tall one with black hair?"
Jane answered seriously, "My brother has a girlfriend."
"Darn it. The redhead is kind of cute. What about him?"
Raft Student Government Presents:
Concert on the Quad
Saturday, April 1
3:30 - 4:30 P.M.
5:00 - 6:00 P.M.
A crowd of several hundred students were seated in front of the stage on blankets, towels and various folding chairs. There was modest applause as Trent approached the microphone. "Hey, Boston. We're Mystik Spiral." He looked sidelong at Jesse. "And we're not thinking about changing our name. Um…yeah, we're supposed to remind you…the refreshment stand is open, beer with proper ID. If you like what you hear, we'll have a CD single on sale there, too." Trent nodded to the band to start a beat. "Okay, folks…Every dog has his day…"
You put me on a short leash
and threw away my hydrant.
You ate up all my kibble
now my coat's no longer vibrant.
My nose is dry and chapped
but, this puppy's here to stay.
Scratch my belly baby,
every dog has his day.
Daria sat cross-legged on a blanket, Michael behind her with his arms around her shoulders. Derek was next to them with Karen's head resting on his lap. He cocked an eyebrow. "That's their lead-in song?"
Daria looked over her shoulder. "Don't worry, they go downhill from there."
Michael said, "That's what we're afraid of."
Daria gave him a light kiss. "Don't worry. Their music only kills the weak brain cells. Survival of the fittest."
Jane approached with a young, brown haired man wearing jeans and sweatshirt. She said, "There you are. This is Dave, met him at the food stand while I was getting fuel for the band."
Daria looked at the young man with a deadpan expression. "You're Jane's stray du jour?"
Dave looked down. "I like to think of myself as more of a runaway than a stray."
Daria produced a tiny smile. "He has potential. Guess you won't need to take him back to the pound."
Jane good-naturedly snorted before completing introductions and taking a seat on the blanket. After setting in with Dave next to her, she leaned toward Karen and Derek. "Could one of you grab a couple sodas for us from the cooler?"
Karen looked up at Derek. "I'll get it; I finally got you positioned right for a pillow. Don't move." She rolled to the side and removed two cans from a small cooler. "Want some moon pies to go with those RC's?"
Jane raised an eyebrow, while David said, "Cool, you have civilized friends."
A brief roll of applause followed the band's song. Mystik Spiral followed up with:
Who shot the hippies?
Who locked them in a zoo?
Who gagged the beatniks?
Who filled their mouths with glue?
Who crushed the bohos?
Who turned their work to poo?
Hey, Mr. Normal, it was you!
Jane motioned toward the stage. "If my so-called friends were civilized, would they be listening to that?"
"Isn't that your brother's band?"
Dave listened for a moment. "Um, I don't have one?"
Karen placed the soda cans on the blanket and tossed two moon pies on top. "Have some anyway; they're good for you."
Freakin' friends! Freakin' friends!
Till we come to bad ends, we're freakin' friends!
Freakin' friends! Freakin' friends!
Till we come to bad ends, we're freakin' friends!
The band completed the song with a small flourish and the crowd responded with a good level of applause. Trent held the microphone stand. "Thanks, Raft. We're Mystic Spiral, and we had a great time playing today."
A student government representative climbed on stage. "A round of applause for our first band, Mystik Spiral." After the noise abated, he continued, "We'll have a half-hour break while we prepare the stage for our second band, Useless Maize. Your Student Government Refreshment Stand is open and ready to supply your needs while you wait."
Jane got up and pulled Dave to his feet. "Hey, kids. I promised the band I'd run the Tank over for them load directly into."
Daria also stood. "I appreciate not having them traipse up to my room again, but what are they doing with the gear tonight?"
Jane shook her head. "Max was a little freaked out by the hotel room. He wants to stay in the Tank tonight."
"I hope he doesn't get picked up for vagrancy."
Jane and Dave worked through the crowd. Jane called back, "See you behind the stage in a few."
The second band was well into playing their set as Jesse and Nick wrestled equipment into the Tank, with Max calling directions from outside. Jane and Dave had procured some director's chairs and were watching the band from a safe distance. Karen and Derek had already left for dinner. Michael had one arm around Daria's shoulder as they started to work their way around the stage to catch the end of Useless Maize's performance.
Trent returned from the refreshment stand with an empty box and an envelope. He stopped next to them and said, "I've got our paychecks. Plus, we sold out all hundred CD singles of Freakin' Friends, even with the dollar surcharge they added on."
Daria looked up slightly. "They do make good miniature frisbees."
Trent chuckled, coughed and shook his head. "Yeah, Daria. You always did have a way to get a laugh."
Michael smiled and pulled Daria a little closer. "Just one of the reasons I love her."
Daria's head turned and tilted up with amazing speed. Trent raised an eyebrow and looked at Michael before he said, "Better go check on how the packing is going," and carefully turned to walk toward the Tank.
Daria turned Michael by the shoulders so they directly faced each other. "What did you say?"
Confused, Michael replied, "I said that it was just one of the reasons I…" He stopped as it dawned on him what exactly he had said.
Michael swallowed hard. "Love you." A visible wave of relief crossed his face. He looked down to see mix of joy and terror on Daria's face. "D…Daria?"
"Did you just say…?"
Michael nodded. He noticed a tremor in her hands. "Yes. I love you."
She looked down at the ground. "I…"
He tried to pull her closer, but stopped when he felt her resistance. "I scared the hell out of you, didn't I?"
"I think I'm feeling too many emotions right now to give any precedence."
"I'm sorry. It slipped out."
Daria looked up again. "Something like that doesn't 'slip out' unless you've thought about it for a while."
Michael looked down. "Uh…"
Daria put a finger under his chin and tipped his head up. "You have."
"And you didn't say anything."
"I couldn't…I…hell, I was afraid. I mean, it took me weeks to build up the courage just to ask you out in the first place. Trying to tell you...that...was overwhelming."
Daria gave him a small smile. "I understand." She nodded in the direction Trent had gone. "I had a crush on him for over a year and was never able to say anything."
Michael looked in the same direction without a sound.
Daria turned his head back with her finger. "Michael, what you said scared me like you wouldn't believe…and made me very happy."
He looked at her, his eyes questioning.
"I've never had somebody feel that way about me; that makes me very happy. It also involves a level of closeness and vulnerability I don't know if I'm ready for. That scares me."
Michael looked concerned.
"I can't honestly say the same to you in return. I care for you very much, more than…more than I ever have for someone."
Michael was able to produce a weak smile. "You don't seem to be running away."
"I'm not. Perhaps, in the future…I might…be able…"
His eyes brightened.
"And, I want to hang around to find out."
He pulled her close, relieved that there was no resistance this time. "I can be patient."
After a call from the RA desk the next morning, Daria waited at the open door to her room as Trent walked up. "Let me guess, it was easier to stay up all night."
Trent smiled. "Always. The night still holds the key."
"Come on in, I made some coffee. Do you want some?"
"Is the band still out cold?"
"I have a suspicion about what brought you over this morning."
Trent looked around. "Where's Karen?"
"She's already at work, and will be there until five."
Daria handed Trent a cup of coffee. "Well?"
"And you made a quiet exit to let us talk. Thank you."
Trent sipped the hot liquid. "You okay with it?"
Daria sat in her chair. "I'm getting there."
"You looked surprised."
"That's an understatement."
Trent sat in the other chair and rested his arms on the back. "Do you want him to feel that way?"
"Yes, he's been a wonderful gentleman. I'd always hoped that somebody would, someday. But, not necessarily at this time in my life."
"Love doesn't seem to pay attention to our schedules."
"You should write a song about that."
"Hmm. Maybe I will."
"Just don't blame it on me."
"You feel the same?"
"I…I…don't know." She looked down. "Where does 'like a lot' end and 'love' begin?" She gazed up at Trent. "I very much want him a part of my life."
Trent gave her a small smile. "You're close."
Daria questioned with her eyes.
He smiled. "When you are, you'll know."
"Thanks. But why did he have to…so quickly?"
Trent continued, "Nothing says that two people have to fall in love at the same time."
Trent rolled his chair next to Daria's and placed an arm around her shoulder. "You're still the coolest college student I know."
Daria smiled at him.
He said, "I talked to him yesterday."
"He didn't say anything to me about it."
"It's a guy thing."
"He's fallen for you, hard."
"Your 'ethereal transference' again?"
"Yeah. He has a good heart."
"I think so, too."
"Sometimes…a guy like that can be pretty stupid."
"I should expect a loss of higher brain function?"
"No…he might do things that his heart thinks are a good idea, but…aren't."
"Sounds like you speak from experience."
"I'll keep that in mind."
"Just warning you."
"Thanks. Trent, since we've been digging into my…um…relationship life so deeply, mind if I return the favor?"
"What about your feelings for Lindy?"
Trent abruptly rose from the chair. "Uh…look, I better get going. We still have a long drive back to Lawndale. And it takes a while to wake Jesse up."
Daria smirked at him. "Oookay. Drive safely…and stay awake."
"Do our best. Later."
Daria watched the closed door for a couple of minutes. "Trent, make sure you don't do something stupid."
Lindy gave an exasperated smile and shook her head as she approached Casa Lane. A yellow rental truck was pulling away, and she could see Trent carrying an amplifier. "Looks like the Tank once again puked on them." Lindy parked her car and walked inside the house. Not seeing him immediately, she called up the stairs, "Hey, Trent! I'm home."
Trent called back down, "Great timing." Soon, he strolled down and handed Lindy an envelope.
Lindy wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a kiss. "Welcome home." She took the envelope and cautiously opened it. "How much did that rental truck cost?"
"Covered it from selling CD's. All your money is there."
"So, where did the Tank fall by the wayside?"
"Just before the Maryland line. Max stayed behind to get it fixed."
"I'm glad everyone's all right. So, how did the concert go?"
"Good show…crowd mostly liked us. Sold out the CD's. Got cards from a couple of club owners."
"That sounds good."
"They asked for my card. How hard would it be to get some made up?"
"A stop by the stationary shop and five minutes on my computer."
"How are Jane and Daria doing?"
"Pretty good. Jane's having a lot of fun. Met Daria's boyfriend. I think…I think she's going to be happy."
"That's good to hear."
"We also talked about the Tank."
"You're right; we need something safer."
"Don't listen to me, but listen to your sister and her friend."
"Hey, they just backed you up."
Have to trade in Old Blue, need a down payment."
Lindy looked at the envelope. "I'm willing to part with this if it will keep you safe on the road."
"Let me try, first. You might have an emergency."
"Okay, but it is here if you need it."
Trent started back upstairs, stopped, and turned around. "Lindy, do you mind if I tell you something?"
Daria answered the telephone in her dorm room. "Hello."
Lindy spoke from the living room of the Lane residence. "Hi, Daria. Lindy."
"What the hell did you do to Trent?"
"You are the only one who could get him to say something like that."
Daria hesitated a moment. "What did he say?"
"He said he loved me."
"Freaked me out. What did you do to get him thinking about that?"
"Uh…Actually, it was my boyfriend…that kind of got things started."
"What the hell did he do?"
Daria quietly said, "He said the same thing to me."
Startled, Lindy only said, "Oh."
"It caught me by surprise, too."
"Let me guess: Trent heard and that got him thinking…"
"At least partially, though I may have added to his thoughts."
"Trent, being his protective self, wanted to make sure I was okay. To get him off the subject, I asked how he felt about you…"
"I was so unprepared."
"I'm getting the feeling that nobody ever really is prepared."
"I still don't understand why."
"Why would Trent feel that way about a mousy, ex-drunk like me?"
"Because…he's not a fool?"
"Sometimes I feel he's being a fool keeping me around. Especially compared to people like you."
"You do realize how he felt about you…"
Embarrassed, Daria said, "I have a good idea. I once had a crush on him, too. But, we wouldn't have worked out. Please don't feel jealous. I'm no threat."
"I know. That's…what I don't understand. You have so much going for you, and such a future. Trent made a special effort to make sure you two didn't get involved; he said felt he could only hurt you and hold you back."
"I've had the idea that was his reasoning."
"I'm going to barely graduate from college with something like a 2.2 GPA. You and I don't compare."
"Now, I'm basing this on what I've seen of you, and what I've heard from Jane and Quinn. You seem to have a capacity I don't have, and that Trent absolutely needs."
"You have the ability to accept him as he is, while staying yourself."
"I don't quite follow you."
"Trent has his laid-back attitude toward life. He truly is not concerned about making a lot of money, as long as he is free to create his music. Take that away, and it would destroy him. You seem to be able to live with that. In the long run, I never could. We both understood that."
"Oh. I guess that does make sense. I don't mind having to kind of watch over him, since he has been such a wonderful emotional support."
"He is one of the most generous people I'll ever know."
"Okay, I understand a little better, but it still freaks me out."
"I agree on that front. I must admit…the thought of Michael feeling like that toward me also feels good."
"The same thought toward Trent is what has kept me from running screaming into the road."
"To somewhat change the subject, I am glad you are trying to get the band into something safer."
"Did you hear that infernal contraption threw a rod on the way back from Boston?"
"No. Is everyone okay?"
"Fine, but I think it convinced Trent to trade in his car for something better."
"Miracles do happen."
Every Dog Has His Day from Groped By An Angel by Jonathan Greenberg.
Mr. Normal from Jane's Addition by Glenn Eichler.
Freakin' Friends from Is It Fall Yet? by Glenn Eichler and Peggy Nicoll.
Thanks for comments, suggestions, gags and support from the following at PPMB: Staren, Kristen Bealer, Mike Nassour, Steven Galloway, Parker-man, SteveBlumDeckler, ipswichfan, Lawndale Stalker, Ranger Thorne, Mahna Mahna, Roger E. Moore, Decelaraptor, Isa Yo-Jo, nmorgendorffer, and brnleague99.
Thanks to ipswichfan and Kristen Bealer for beta reading.
Revised February 2005