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.
This is the forty-fifth John Lane story

Richard Lobinske

Haunted by the Past

When the TV Announcer said, "The Fashionvision Humanitarian Awards will be back right after..." Quinn muted the sound with a remote and said to the rest of the Fashion Club, seated with her in the living room, "Their generosity is so inspiring. Watching this was such a great idea, Sandi."

Sandi Griffin gave her a nod and said, "I try."

Helen paced back and forth in the kitchen as she talked on the telephone. "But Rita, if Erin never loved him, why'd she marry him in the first place? Once he gave her herpes she didn't think anyone else would want her? Oh, lord, Rita; it's almost a new millennium. When will people get rid of these outmoded ideas about sex?"

Hearing that, Stacy looked over her shoulder and said, "Eww. I can't believe your mom is talking about that over the phone."

"That is so wrong," Tiffany said.

Quinn held up her hands. "Sorry."

Still pacing, Helen said, "Don't lecture me, Rita. Daria and John have been very responsible."

Cringing along with her friends, Quinn grabbed the remote and turned the television volume up high.

A commercial jingle blared, "If freshness had wings..."

Sandi said, "Quinn, that is way too much information from your mother. Please do something about it."

Quinn stood and went to the kitchen. "Mom, could you please keep it down?"

"Just a second, Quinn," Helen told her before going back to the phone. "Might I remind you about the 'special' modifications needed for your wedding dress?"

"Mo-om, please?"

Helen said, "Rita. Rita. That doesn't matter. Look, Erin needs to decide that for herself. If push comes to shove, there's a junior associate at the firm who specializes in matrimonial law."


"Rita, I'm in the middle of a huge case right now. I wouldn't be able to give Erin my best. Anyway, Quinn needs something, so I have to go. Good-bye." Helen turned off the phone and said, "Yes?"

"Thank you," Quinn replied.

"For what?"

"Getting away from Aunt Rita."

Helen looked at the other girls in the living room. "I embarrassed you, didn't I?"

"Would you like to overhear Grandma talking about sex?"

"Oh, my," Helen said, blushing slightly.

"It's over, Mom. And I should be glad Daria and John are off to that weird movie. You know they would've had something to say about being brought into the conversation."

"I'm sure they would. Oh, that reminds me. How are things going between you and Tom?"

"Look, my show's almost back on. Gotta go," Quinn said and hurried back to the living room.

Helen smirked and said to herself, "I thought that would get her."

Leaving a theater, John saw a poster for a cheesy-looking science fiction movie. "Man, I think that would've been funnier than the dog we just watched."

Walking with him, Daria said, "Don't insult canines by comparing them to that movie."

"Okay, what can I insult?"

"Slugs. But only the real ugly ones."

"There are fashionable slugs?"

Daria said, "It's one of life's curses. Everything can be divided into fashionable and unfashionable."

"Quinn must've made more 'this will make a good prom dress' hints again."

"I may have to bury her in my bridesmaid dress."

"A year from now, we'll be at college where they show decent art movies. Won't that be a change?" John said.

"It sure will."

Completing the program, the announcer said, "Congratulations for watching the Fashionvision Humanitarian Awards. And remember, there's no better feeling than looking good, doing good. Good night."

Quinn turned off the television and said, "Those models are so unselfish."

Tiffany said, "I feel humbled."

"I wish I could win a Fashionvision Humanitarian Award," Stacy said.

Already planning ahead, Sandi said, "Well, you know, as a prominent extracurricular organization at Lawndale High, there's no reason why we couldn't lend our name to a worthy cause."

Quinn said, "Like the girls' soccer team and their adopt-a-highway sign?"

Tiffany made a face and said, "Eww. Picking up trash on the side of the road?"

"Um, Quinn. I haven't been convicted of anything, have you?" Sandi sternly said. "Besides, why settle for a sign, when you can have a plaque."

Stacy was immediately excited by the idea. "Wow! A plaque?"

Sandi said, "Exactly. Mounted on something appropriate for our beautification image. Like, a park bench."

Still making a face, Tiffany said, "But, then wouldn't people always be putting their butts on us?"

"Eww," Stacy said.

Quinn smiled. "I know. How about a new mirror to replace that awful one in the girls' bathroom that adds at least two pounds?"

Stacy growled, "I hate that mirror."

"It haunts me," Tiffany said.

Sandi said, "That's a good idea, Quinn. Donating a mirror will reflect well on us." When nobody responded to the joke, she repeated, "Reflect well on us?"

Quinn forced herself to say, "Ohh!" before joining Stacy and Tiffany in a laugh.

When she and John arrived home, Daria looked around the living room and said, "Good. We missed the fashion invasion."

In the kitchen, Quinn said, "I heard that."

"Good," Daria said.

Quinn came out and said, "I'll have you know that we were inspired tonight to help our fellow Lawndale High students."

"Did Ms. Li slip something into your carrot sticks?" John asked.

"Ha, ha. No, we want to help the other girls on campus and replace that horrible mirror in the girls' room."

John said, "Something I am thankfully totally unaware of."

Daria said, "Sometime, I need to show you. The sketch value alone is priceless."

Shocked, Quinn said, "Daria!"

"Kidding, Quinn. I don't think anyone with a 'Y' chromosome could survive the estrogen atmosphere around that mirror. Or the lingering cloud of hair spray and perfume."

"People want to look their best."

"If it were an industrial area, I'm sure OSHA would require respirators to enter that bathroom."

John said, "Really, I think I'll pass. I've done enough damage to my brain with paint fumes, thank you very much."

Daria said, "So, how are you going to get a new mirror for that restroom?"

"We're going to have a meeting at Sandi's place tomorrow."

"In other words," John said. "You don't have a clue."

"That's why we're having a meeting, silly."

"Okay. Why don't I head up to my room and avoid any further brain damage."

After John went upstairs, Quinn said, "Is he all right?"

"Bad movie. Nothing half an hour in front of a canvas won't cure. As for me, I need a half hour in a good book. Later, Quinn."


The next day, the Fashion Club gathered in Sandi's bedroom. She said, "All right. Now that we've agreed to donate a new girls' room mirror, the next order of business is to figure out how to pay for it."

As if this was the first time the idea had crossed her mind, Tiffany said, "Oh, yeah."

Stacy loudly suggested, "We could hold a yard sale!"

"Stacy, are you suggesting we sit behind a card table and haggle?"

Mortified, Stacy said, "Oh, God. What's wrong with me?"

Quinn said, "Why don't we do what we do best?"

Sandi gave her a tired look. "Quinn, no one is going to pay us to eat carrot sticks."

"I mean, tell people how to fix their outfits."

Tiffany said, "But, we do that all day for free. That's why everyone likes us."

Quinn said, "Well, we can put it down on paper. Sell our own newsletter offering fashion advice to everyone. Not only that, we can predict fashion trends. People will save money with our newsletter by buying the right things from the start."

Impressed, Sandi said, "A commendable idea. All in favor?" All four of them raised their hands. "Then I guess we should decide which topics to cover."

Over a nice dinner with Tom at the country club, Quinn said, "I know you think it's kinda silly, but the new mirror will really make a lot of girls happy."

"Considering how long Elsie spends in front of a mirror, I wouldn't be surprised," Tom said.

"So, we're going to sell a fashion advice newsletter to raise money for it."

"A newsletter, huh? Must've been your idea."

"Yeah. How did you guess?"

"You have live-in technical assistance from Daria and John. Granted, the deal-making to get their help will probably put Donald Trump to shame, but I'm sure you're up to it."

Quickly processing the new idea, Quinn said, "I think I am." As long as I can talk the rest of the Fashion Club into it.

After school, the Fashion Club meeting was at Stacy's place. Sternly, Sandi said, "I must be having a hearing problem. I thought I heard you suggest that your sister and that guy that lives with you could help on the newsletter."

Standing firm, Quinn replied, "That's what I said. Sandi, they've been with the school paper since last year."

Stacy said, "I like it."

"Yeah," Tiffany said.

"I might consider the proposal," Sandi said, "if your sister had a fraction of your fashion knowledge."

"She knows fashion," Quinn said. "She just doesn't use it."

"I find that hard to believe."

Quinn opened a folder and pulled out her secret weapon: an old copy of The Highland Herald. She opened it to the fashion column and said, "Look at who wrote it."

Sandi read out loud, "Daria Morgendorffer." Shocked, she sat down. "Your sister wrote a fashion column?"

"Yes, she did."

"What happened?" Tiffany said. "Why did she stop?"

"It's a long story," Quinn said. "Now, what do you think?"

Sandi said, "Hmm. This changes many things. You have permission to recruit your sister and that guy."

Sitting at her computer and writing, Daria said, "Mom's hinting about college applications again."

Lounging on the bed, John said, "I suppose we should get off our asses pretty soon. Especially if we want to be in, oh, something silly like the same town."

"That would make seeing you a lot easier," Daria teased. "But back to Mom, she also made a comment to me about the two of us looking for scholarships and maybe getting some more extracurricular activities."

"More extracurriculars? Haven't we done enough?"

"Not in Mom's eyes."

"I suppose some scholarships wouldn't be a bad idea. I mean, I'm sure I've added a bit more unexpected college expense to their plans."

Daria said, "Um, yeah. I, uh...dammit."

"That just played into your mom's hand, didn't it?"



"Don't feel bad; she is a lawyer."

"But what are we going to find for an extracurricular activity? It's too late to sign up for most things and I certainly don't want something that your mom would find."

A faint knock on the door interrupted them. After a pause, the door cracked open and Quinn said, "Is it safe?"

John said, "Don't worry, we're not naked," which earned him a glare from Daria.

Quinn came in and said, "Um, hi."

Daria said, "What do you need one or the other of us to do?"

Quinn rapidly said, "The Fashion Club is doing a newsletter to make money for that new mirror in the girls' room that I told you about and I told the Fashion Club that you used to be the fashion editor in Highland and that you and John could help us put the newsletter together. We'll do the writing and you can do the editing stuff and the artsy stuff. This really means a lot to me and we've been trying to be better sisters and stuff lately and it would be great if you could help me." She took a deep breath and said, "What's your price?"

Daria and John looked at each other. After a mutual nod, Daria said, "Get Ms. Li to sign off on it as an official extracurricular activity."

Quinn's jaw dropped. After several seconds, she sputtered, "Ms. Li?"

"That's the deal."

"I was thinking about money."

John said, "You don't have the kind of money we need. But you can get us something else that we can use."

Quinn said, "You're up to something."

"Deal or not?" Daria said.

Realizing the monetary savings, Quinn said, "Deal!"

"Okay, here's the ground rules," Daria said.

"Ground rules?"

"Want our help?"

Quinn sighed. "Okay."

Daria started to tick things off with her fingers. "First. No direct contact with the rest of the Fashion Club. They give you their stuff and you give it to me. I don't want to hear them talk. Second. We know what we're doing. If you're going to argue with us, make sure that you do, too. Three. Research your stuff. You're not going to make a fool out of me. And four. Pizza delivered tonight. We're hungry."

"Okay," Quinn agreed. "What kind of pizza?"

"Double cheese with sausage and pepperoni," John said. "To celebrate us breaking into the world of fashion."

"I'll go downstairs and order it." After she left the room, Quinn groaned. "What have I done?"

Inside, Daria said, "What have I done?"

"Research?" Tiffany said. "That sounds like homework."

Quinn said, "It shouldn't be that bad."

"But I can barely keep up with my homework now," Stacy said.

Sandi said, "I thought that hiring your sister was going to make this easier."

"The only way Daria could make this easier for us was to do the work herself and, trust me, none of us can afford that," Quinn said. "But her help will make it better."

"You had better be right," Sandi warned.

"Trust me. When it comes to writing stuff, Daria's ego is as big as...well, it's big. Really big."

Ms. Li read the formal request and then looked up at the members of the Fashion Club gathered in her office. "You recruited John Lane and Daria Morgendorffer for this project?"

"Yes, Ms. Li," Sandi said.

"I'm impressed."

"Thank you."

"If I may ask, how did you convince them to help?"

"Um...we asked."

Ms. Li scrutinized the girls and said, "There's more to it than that."

Quinn quickly spoke up. "College applications."

Ms. Li nodded. "Ah, I see. I knew that there had to be some reason for their participation beyond their nonexistent desire to participate in the honor and glory of Lawndale High."

"It's all about the timing," Sandi said, trying to get attention back and avoid any more of Ms. Li's digressions about the school's honor. "The secret was in choosing just the right time to ask them."

Ms. Li nodded. "Of course, Ms. Griffin." She glanced over the request a second time and then told them, "Everything is in order. Your fundraising project is approved."

When she got home, Helen found Daria and John in the kitchen. She said, "I got a call from Principal Li today."

Daria said, "About that..."

"She said you volunteered to help the Fashion Club put out a newsletter as a fundraiser for school beautification."

John said, "Just to be clear, the only thing being beautified is some mirror in the girls' bathroom and, no, I have no idea of what it looks like."

Helen eyed Daria and John. "I can't help but think that there's an ulterior motive here. You don't just volunteer for extracurricular activities."

"Sure there's an ulterior motive," John said. "Finding an extra activity before you found one for us."

"We can learn from past experience," Daria said.

"Or mistakes?" Helen said.

"Either way," Daria said. "Helping Quinn and her friends should cover the extra activity you wanted for our college applications."

Helen smiled. "That's acceptable. Now, what have you done about looking for scholarships?"

"Um..." John said.

Helen said, "That's what I thought. John, Daria, I know we did the right thing by bringing John into our family, but to be honest, two and a half years isn't much time to prepare for the extra tuition. Earning a scholarship or two would be the responsible thing to do."

"Okay, we'll look," John said.

Daria said, "When did you get so good at combining the guilt trip with tapping into our sense of personal responsibility?"

"It's a funny thing. You learn some useful things in law school."

Daria took several pages from her computer printer and walked them over to John, who was resting on her bed. "Here are yours to fill out."

"Welcome to the wonderful world of bureaucracy."

"It's our future."

John glanced up from the forms. "Forget half full; that freaking glass is empty."

"Unless we take the Montana cabin fund, buy a cabin and live off the grid," Daria said.

"Live off of what we could grow or catch? We'd starve inside a week."

"A human body can last a lot longer than a week before it starves."

"Maybe, but I'm not going to wait that long."

"You're soft."

John smirked. "So tell me, what kind of pizza can you make while living off the land? Cheese and glitterberries?"

Daria picked up her stack of forms and waved them overhand. "Bureaucracy ho."

Quinn slowly opened Daria's door and said, "Daria, can I ask you something?"

Rubbing her temple, Daria pushed the applications aside and said, "Anything to get me away from this paperwork."

"Okay!" Quinn entered and closed the door. "Have you ever heard of a place called FashionLeaks dot com?"

"It's not at the top of my bookmarks. Why?"

"Well, it looks like they have some good stuff for the upcoming fashion season and I'd like to know if, um, they're right."

"I'll take a look." Daria opened her web browser and typed the URL. "Hmm, looks something like the fashion world's version of BananaSecrets."

"What's so secret about bananas?" After a sudden thought, Quinn said, "Eww, I don't want to know!"

"It's gossip about Banana computers."


"I'll pretend I didn't hear your little outburst."

"So, what do you think about FashionLeaks?"

"Don't just take their word for it. Try to verify their claims."

"But that will take more work."

"Do you want to do the work now or look like an idiot later if you're wrong?"

Quinn went back to the door. "You know, I hate it when you do that."

"That's part of the charm of doing it."

Later, John came in the room and looked over Daria's shoulder. "What's that?"

Daria pointed to her monitor. "After all of my high and mighty pronouncements to Quinn about checking things out, I figured I'd better do it for our scholarships."

"Anything interesting?"

"I'm going to pass on the Wizard Foundation."

"Wasn't that one for something like ten grand?"

"Yeah, but the CEO of the company is pretty slimy. I know the writing world can get that way, but I want to put it off as long as possible."

"What do you think your mother's going to say about you passing on it?"

"I'm not going to say anything until I've found a replacement."


"How are your applications going?"

"All that's left is to get slides of my work developed."

"That was fast."

John shrugged. "Art scholarships don't need long writing samples; they want slides of your work and I'm not making up new stuff just for them."

"Lucky bastard."

John put his arms around Daria and kissed the back of her neck. "I think so."

"You're distracting me."

"Is that a problem?"

Daria leaned back and let out a contented sigh. "No."

When Daria and John arrived at the school paper workroom, Jodie said, "What's going on?"

"Um, about what?" John said.

"The Fashion Club just set up a print run for some newsletter they're doing and they have Daria's name as the editor and yours as illustrator. When did I fall through the looking glass?"

Daria said, "It's called keeping my mom happy about college and scholarship applications."

"Oh, so you're selling out," Jodie teased.

"I like to look at it as preparation for getting the means to sell out," John said.

Jodie said, "So you're really doing it?"

"Unless they're writing in crayon, I'm sure I can edit whatever they give me into something useful," Daria said.

"And if they use crayons?"

"I'll give it to John to convert into an art project."

"Gee, thanks," he said.

The Fashion Club had gathered in Tiffany's room while Sandi went through their stories. "'Bright Colors on the Horizon,' 'Please Remember to Blush,' 'Low Heels and Rising Hems,' and 'Real Brows.' I think we're ready to go to print."

Quinn said, "Well, once we run things past Daria. She is the editor, after all."

"I can't think of anything she could add," Sandi said.

"Well, she did tell us to research things," Stacy said. "I mean, I was going to write something completely different. She really saved me from embarrassment."

"Okay, she might need to look over some of your stories."

"Yes, Sandi," Stacy said.

"I'm glad I can stop tweezing my eyebrows," Tiffany said. "It hurt."

Sitting on John's bed, Daria rubbed her eyes and set the stack of manuscripts aside. "Excessive smileys, pink ball point pens, delusions of royalty and an unhealthy fascination with eyebrows. My head hurts."

At his easel, John said, "My head hurts trying to figure out how to illustrate eyebrow sculpting."

"I'm starting to wonder if letting Mom find something would've been less painful."

"When did we sell out?"

"I'm not sure."

"Then how?"

"I think that came about showing my parents we could be responsible."

"And we became responsible."

"That's it."


"Yeah, growing up kinda sucks."

"I don't know. I think I could pass on being fourteen forever."

Daria frowned and said, "I could've passed on fourteen the first time."

Seated at the kitchen table with Helen, Jake looked at a stack of paper and said, "Now, what are we doing?"

"We're signing Daria and John's scholarship applications."

"Oh. Um...there's a lot of them."

"Things are a lot more complicated than when we went to college, Jake."

"Tell me about it. These things look like tax forms!"

Not wanting to get Jake started on that subject, Helen said, "They've shown a lot of initiative and personal responsibility in getting these ready."

"Hey, yeah. This really looks like a lot of work. I'm glad I didn't have to do it."

"And a lot of planning ahead," Helen said, her voice trailing off at the end.

"You're right. They really do seem to know where they're going."

Helen was quiet for a moment. "Yes...they do."

Stern, Sandi looked over her manuscript and said, "Your sister changed things all over my story."

"That's what editors do," Quinn said.

"Wow, this sounds a lot better," Stacy said as she read hers.

"Can we hire her for homework?" Tiffany said.

"Trust me, you can't afford her prices," Quinn said.

Sandi persisted, "Don't you think it was a little presumptuous?"

"It's what we asked her to do, Sandi. I think she did a great job on mine."

Sandi reread some more of her story and said, "I suppose it is a little bit clearer. As a symbol of my sense of cooperation, I'll go along with her changes."

"I'm sure she'll appreciate it," Quinn said. "Now to take this to the printers."

Under a banner that read, "Fashion Club Forecast," the four girls had gathered behind a table in a school corridor. A small crowd of mostly boys had gathered in front of the table and some were starting to look through the stacked newsletters.

Sandi said, "Friends and followers. As President of the Fashion Club, I am proud to announce the first issue of our cutting-edge publication. Predicting upcoming trends in personal deportment, while providing underwriting to a deserving cause."

Joey said, "Um, what are you selling?"

Sandi replied, "Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. Our newsletter is dedicated to the art of looking good, or at least better than those around you."

Jeffy said, "A fashion magazine? Uh..."

The boys began to walk away and Jamie said, "Uh, no."

"Next time," Joey said as he turned to leave.

Quinn said, "It'll tell you what kind of presents to buy for girls."

They ran back with Joey in the lead, saying, "Sure! I'll take one."

Jamie pushed him aside and yelled, "I'll take two!"

Moving around both, Jeffy said, "Make it three...uh, no, five!"

Watching from down the hall, John turned to Daria and said, "I never pictured them as the target audience."

"I just had a frightening thought," Daria said. "With the way she can manipulate guys, I hope she never goes into politics."

John shook his head as more guys purchased newsletters. "You're right; that is a frightening thought."

Jodie and Mack joined Daria and John at their cafeteria table and Jodie said, "Did you hear about Upchuck?"

"Was he in the latest bust at the downtown strip clubs?" Daria said.

"It wouldn't surprise me, but no. He has an interview today for the Wizard Foundation Scholarship. Ten thousand dollars. I wish I'd have heard about it sooner."

"Be glad," Daria said. "I saw it when I was doing the scholarship application thing. The CEO is a first-rate sleazebag. Picking Upchuck for an interview only confirms my decision not to apply."

Quinn rushed over to the table and set a copy of Waif in front of Daria. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

"Yes?" John said.

"We didn't get it exactly right, but we were close enough."

"What are we talking about?" Daria said.

"Waif's 'What's Hot and What's Rot' issue is out and our forecasts were pretty good. If we'd have gone with our original ideas, oh my God, it would've been so embarrassing."

"Oh, okay," John said. "So, does this mean full speed ahead on the mirror?"

"The girls of Lawndale owe you big time, Daria," Quinn said before hurrying away.

John said, "Let's hope success doesn't go to their heads."

Daria shrugged and said, "I'd be happier if the idea of doing proper research rubs off on them for their homework, but I'm not holding my breath."

Standing outside the door to the girls' bathroom, Daria said, "Aw, don't you want to see the fruits of your labor?"

John pointed to the door and said, "There are some things man was not meant to see."


"I prefer discreet," John said before giving Daria his Polaroid camera. "But you can take pictures."

"I'll be right back," Daria said, going into the restroom.

"I'll be here."

After a minute, Daria returned with photos in hand, still developing.

John said, "Two? How big is that mirror?"

"One's the mirror. The other is the congratulatory plaque to the Fashion Club for funding the mirror. I couldn't let you off without experiencing the full horror of the situation."

"Mr. Lane, Ms. Morgendorffer, there you are." Ms. Li's voice made the two shudder.

Daria said, "You've got our schedules. We're not that hard to find."

"Amusing, Ms. Morgendorffer. I wanted to congratulate you and Mr. Lane on the Fashion Club newsletter. It was a smashing success."

John said, "Does that mean we get bonus points for our extracurricular activities?"

"You can say that," Ms. Li replied.

Daria gave John one of her "What did you do?" looks.

Ms. Li said, "That newsletter made me realize that we have a gap in coverage for the school newspaper. A gap that the Fashion Club has agreed to fill."

Dreading the answer, Daria said, "The Fashion Club is going to write a column for the paper?"

"And you're going to be the Fashion Editor to pull it all together while Mr. Lane will provide the necessary artwork. Isn't it exciting?"

"Thrilling," Daria said.

John said, "I'm overjoyed."

"Well, kudos to you." Ms. Li glanced at her watch and said, "I've got an important meeting. The new column starts with the next issue. Good luck!"

After Ms. Li was well away, Daria said, "No good deed goes unpunished."

"Can it really be worse than tutoring Kevin and Brittany last year?"

"There were only two of them. There are four in the Fashion Club."

"Quinn's not really been that bad lately."

"Three then. Still worse."

John frowned. "You know, the sooner we get out of high school, the better off we're going to be."

"Someplace we can have some peace and quiet, together."

It was one of those rare days when Helen was home early from work and was preparing dinner. When Daria and John arrived, she rushed out of the kitchen and said, "Congratulations!"

Daria and John looked at each other.

"Okay," he said.

"For what?" Daria asked.

Helen went to the coffee table and picked up a couple of thick letters. "Scholarship foundations don't send thick letters unless you won. Congratulations."

"Um, cool," John said. He opened his letter and said, "Wow, that's really cool. Two thousand a year for four years from the Maryland Art League."

"That's wonderful, John," Helen said. "What about you, Daria?"

Daria read her letter. "Ten thousand from the American Writers Guild. And an invitation to send my sample story to The Guild magazine."

"See what you can do when you really put your mind to it?" Helen said.

"I can't really complain, can I?" John said.

"Um, thanks for talking us into applying," Daria quickly said.

"You're most welcome, sweetie."

When the young couple started to turn away, Helen said, "There's something else I've been thinking about and now seems as good a time as any."

Daria said, "Mom?"

Helen braced herself and took a deep breath. "With all the looking at colleges and applying for scholarships, have you two thought about your future together?"

"Isn't that what we're doing?" John said,

"I don't think that was what Mom meant," Daria said.

"Okay, I'm dense," John said.

Helen said, "You and Daria. What are your plans once you leave here?"

John shrugged. "College, the usual."

"I mean, besides that. What are your plans together?

The question finally registered in John's head and he struggled for an answer before he finally said, "I, uh, don't know."


Looking as much like a deer caught in headlights as John, she said, "I don't know, either."

Helen said, "I think you had better start thinking. It's going to be important. Trust me."

Some material from The Story of D by Jacquelyn Reingold

Thanks to Kristen Bealer and Ipswichfan for beta reading.

February – March 2010