My Dinner With Upchuck
Another Daria fanfic by Rey Fox
Important Note: The events in this story are a direct result of the events in my last fanfic. This story can still be read on its own, but for a frame of reference, read "Kitsune, pt. 3." Better yet, just read the whole "Kitsune" story. You won't regret it! Unless of course, your boss catches you reading it on company time. Or your school teacher. Whatever.
CHAPTER 1: ROFLHAEAO
Daria sat on her bed and reflected on the advantages of having a room with padded walls. For one thing, she could bang her head on said walls and get the desired effect without having quite as much of a headache as she would on a normal wall. Of course, it would still end up messing up her hair, which might be frowned upon at a classy joint like Chez Pierre. She once again pondered on the events that led up to her being in this predicament, but that only made her head hurt worse. So she accepted her situation, and pondered instead on how to survive. She checked her purse, to make sure that her pepper spray would be concealed, yet easy to whip out in a hurry. Hopefully one clean shot would be enough, but there was always the danger that Upchuck would find it "feisty."
That was the problem with him, or rather, that was ONE of the problems with him. He craved attention, no matter what kind. This was one reason why when Daria found herself indebted to him (through circumstances that she didn't care to talk about), he didn't ask for some kind of favor, like slave labor of some sort, he asked for a date. He had a problem with getting atten- tion. That, and he was a horny bastard.
Daria started down the stairs to the living room. She reflected on how lucky she was, in the respect that she was home alone. For most of the previous week, she had frantically tried to come up with an excuse for her parents as to why she was to be leaving the house in semi- formal clothes, and was about to give up and tell them the truth, or at least, a highly glossed version of the truth, when they had both called within ten minutes of each other, saying that they would be at work into the late hours. Quinn jumped on the opportunity immediately, and was off shopping with the Fashion Club within thirty minutes. This, at least, was one thing to feel good about. Not that it did anything to gloss over the fact that Daria was about to go one a date with the resident sleaze of Lawndale. If there is a God, thought Daria, He must be ROTFL right now. Or maybe ROTFLHAEAO. Rolling On The Floor Laughing His Almighy and Everlasting Ass Off.
Just then, the doorbell rang. Daria suddenly began to wish she had a padded wall to bang her head against. Instead, she walked across the living room, and opened the door. In the doorway was Charles Ruttheimer the Third, better known as Upchuck. He was clad in a dapper rental tuxedo, and he had slicked his hair back for the occasion. A bright red hankerchief peeked over the top of his front pocket. Daria had on the nicest stuff she could find in her closet, which consisted of a simple green silk blouse, a long black skirt, and a pair of black high-heels that were too small for her. She also carried a purse, mostly for the purpose of holding her pepper spray. She intended upon barely slipping above the dress code at Chez Pierre.
Still, Upchuck was fascinated. "Miss Morgendorffer, you look positively STUNNING tonight."
"Right, right. Lets go, Upchuck."
"Woah! Lets not get TOO over-eager! First of all, since we will no doubt be sharing a WONderful evening tonight, I would appreciate it if you would address me by my given name. Or should I just call you 'Diarrhea'?"
"Charles it is."
"Thank you, dear. Now let's get going, we wouldn't want to keep the limo driver waiting."
"*Limo* driver?" Sure enough, a black limousine was idling outside Daria's house. Daria sighed. I'm in WAY over my head, she thought, as she followed Upchuck, or rather, Charles, into the back seat of the limo, wobbling unsteadily on her high heels.
CHAPTER 2: Fine Univalve Cuisine
Daria sat as close to the window as possible, planted her chin on her hand and faced out the window, making occasional glances toward Charles to make sure he wasn't trying anything.
"So, Charles, did you pay for this with your dog-walking money?"
"Most of it. I have my dad's credit card for dinner. Still, I dipped into my Mac fund for the limo and tux, because I wanted to make this a *special* night for a *special* girl."
Too late for that, thought Daria.
"So, are you ready for the finest gourmet cuisine in the county?" asked Upchuck.
"I think I've given my stomach fair warning."
"I guarantee, Daria, once you've tasted fine gourmet food, you'll NEVER go back."
"That's what worries me." Another thing that worried Daria was the possibilty of Quinn being there, which she had forgotten about until now. "Hey, also, out of curiosity, what _would_ you have done if I had refused this date?"
"What kind of *things*?"
"You wouldn't want to know."
"Fair enough." Well, that's one mystery that will haunt me for the rest of my life, thought Daria. Perhaps it's just as well.
As soon as Chez Pierre came into view, Charles went into Tour Guide Mode.
"We are now approaching Chez Pierre, one of the most venerable dining institutions in Lawndale, and the only four-star restaurant within a thirty-mile radius! Chez Pierre was established in 1963 by one Jean Morgan Pierre, heir to his father's restaurant fortune. He had the simple dream of giving the town of Lawndale a taste of the superior cuisine that had been a part of his family for five generations, and, I think you will see, he has done a _splendid_ job. The food is simply exquisite!"
"As long as it doesn't try to slither off my plate," answered Daria.
The driver dropped the happy couple off at the door and they went inside. Upchuck had made reservations just over an hour after Daria's promise, so they got to a table relatively quickly. Daria hoped that the ambient lighting would conceal her from anyone she knew, but that was a slim hope, at best. Never thought that I would ever have to worry about my reputation, she thought.
Charles settled into his chair and took the menus from the waiter and handed one to Daria. He then pretended to be engrossed in the menu, all the while sneaking furtive glances at Daria. Daria caught him once, and he quickly snapped his head down. A second later, he put the menu down and started in with the small talk.
"So, Daria, what are your...pursuits?"
"Um, life, liberty, happiness. Too bad I can't find any of them in Lawndale."
"Uh, I mean, what are your interests? I'm sure that a beautiful, intelligent lady like you has a lot of things to discuss."
"Well, I'll try and find one for you then."
"That's good, Daria," said Charles. He looked at Daria as if expecting something.
"Um, Chuck, do you understand what I just said?"
"Of course, you're looking for an ice-breaker. Take your time."
Daria was about to explain that that wasn't what she meant, but instead sighed and went back to her menu. She reflected on how there was something inherently wrong with food that she couldn't even pronounce. Just then, the waiter strolled up and laid the fake accent on her.
"Ees Madam rheady to ordehr yet?"
Daria suppressed a small snicker. "Um, sure. I'll have whatever tastes most like pizza."
"Ah, I see zees must be your fehrst tahm at our establieeshment."
"Yes, I do have a lot of learning to do. I haven't taken the four-week course on which fork to use at what time, for one thing. Perhaps you could make a suggestion?"
The waiter was put off a little, but recovered. "Well, for zee fehrst time, I would advise you try ze Medaillons de Beouf Bernaise, zey ahr seemply *magnifique*."
Daria took another look at the menu. "Gee, Jean Luc, I can't help but notice that that's the most expensive item on the menu. I'm really more of a frugal gourmet type. What is your personal favorite?"
The waiter gritted his teeth and answered simply, "The bouillibaise, Madam," losing his accent slightly. Daria glanced over and noticed Charles fidgeting. She smiled.
"Are you sure that's good for a 'first-timer'? And by the way, if this initiation includes a spanking machine, then count me out."
The waiter, in frustration, turned to Charles. "And what weell Monsieur be having tonight?"
"The Medaillons will be fine," said Charles, "Please excuse my companion, she's...a little jealous of the people in this class of this fine establishment, you see."
"Ah, that's quaht all right," said the waiter, narrowing his eyes at Daria momentarily, "Would you like anything to drink?"
"Water will be fine, thank you."
"I shall fill your glasses momentarily."
"And by the way, I have nothing but the utmost certainty that you know your cuisine well."
"Yeah," Daria cut in , "Middleton undergrads would have to be. I'm sure Medaillons de Beouf Bernaise are served in the cafeteria regularly."
The waiter just turned and walked away quickly. Charles was looking at Daria strangely.
"Um, Daria," he said, "Could you just...turn down the feistiness a notch? We're in a classy restaurant."
"Of course. I would never dream of being too feisty."
"That can be saved for *later*." Now the familiar Upchuck was back. Daria frowned.
CHAPTER 3: Pleasant Before-Dinner Conversation
Soon after, the small-talk began anew.
"Anyway, Daria, I believe we were talking about your interests."
"Of course we were. What do you fill your time with when outside of school?"
"Oh, not much. Pontificating the meaningless of life and the futility of death, mostly. And a little racquetball on the side."
Charles skipped lightly over her first answer. "Really! I didn't think you were the athletic type!"
"I'm not. I just like to chase a little blue rubber ball around. It helps take my mind off the meaningless of life and the futility of death."
"A lot of beautiful girls don't consider athletics to be feminine. But I disagree. I admire a lady who will endure the rigors of exercise in order to sculpt the body into it's most perfect form."
"Is that why you're always looking through women's fitness magazines in the library? I thought you were considering a sex change for a while there."
"The school library is woefully lacking in gentlemen's publications, Daria."
"You mean like Playboy?"
"I read it for the articles."
"And the classified ads, I suppose."
"...Some of them."
"Of course, Chuck."
Just then, their conversation was interrupted by some loud squealing from towards the back of the restaurant. Daria and Charles looked over and noticed Brittany storming towards the entrance. Kevin caught up with her a short distance from Daria's table and pleaded with her.
"Come on, Babe, she came on to ME!"
"I'm not talking to you, you RAT! You just go back with your red-headed...BIMBO over there!" She sobbed some more, and her parents, who she was dining with, followed behind, pleading with her to come back. It was not use, she wept some more and headed out to the parking lot. Kevin tried to follow and was shooed away by Brittany's parents. The "red-headed bimbo" walked up to Kevin, and brought him back to the table, but by then, Daria was looking at Charles.
"Well," she said, "THAT was interesting."
"Tell me about it," said Charles. He looked over in Kevin's direction and made whip-crack noises. "W-tash! W-TASH!"
"Yeah, that's...exactly what I was thinking."
"Where were we before we were so *rudely* interrupted?"
"Um, I believe we were talking about the meaningless of life and the-"
"After that, Daria."
"Well, then we were talking about gentlemen's publications, and-"
"Ah yes! Classy publications for classy guys, such as myself."
"And pictures of equally classy girls, airbrushed for extra classiness."
"Oh yes. Only the classiest, guaranteed. Hef personally sees to it."
"I'll bet he spends a lot of time with each model, studying their classiness. He measures it in inches, I hear."
"Are we on the same wavelength here?"
"I can't even believe I'm in the same *building* as you, Chuck."
"Oh, believe it, Daria. You know, you always have been the shimmering vision, off in the distance. I come closer, but you just keep receding... But now, at last, you have come to me. I think we both knew it was just a matter of time."
"Could I use the bathroom for a second? I need to check my makeup."
"Take your time. By the way, whatever you did with it is *very* nice. Very...subtle."
"Yeah, subtle, that's it," said Daria, not wanting to break it to Charles that she wasn't wearing any makeup. She quickly got up and headed to the bathroom to get over her spell of queasiness.
CHAPTER 4: Guess Who Came To Dinner
Daria stared at herself in the mirror, thinking about the comment Aunt Amy made at Cousin Erin's wedding, "I hate myself in a formal dress. And everyone else, too." Well, thought Daria, this is your last chance to sneak out and catch a cab home. Then again, it might be better to ride this out at least until dinner is over, then tell Upchuck that her curfew is 9:00, and Mom is pretty rigid on it. In fact, that was the plan, any later would be pushing it. Helen and Jake had been at their respective offices until eleven before, but only a few times. Nine would be safe, probably. Until then, she would just have to try to inflict her personality on Upchuck until he lost interest. Of course, that had proven difficult. He seemed impervious to the "Misery Chick" approach. Harassing the waiter had worked, but only temporarily.
Daria steeled herself to come out, but was interrupted by a stall door opening. She glanced over at the person coming out, and their eyes met.
"Daria? What are *you* doing here?" asked Quinn.
"I'm wondering that about you, too. Didn't you go shopping?"
"Well, I did, but then I saw Corey at the mall, and I've had my eye on him all week, or since Wednesday anyway, and so we swang by my place and I changed clothes so we could go to Chez Pierre for dinner."
"That must be a world land speed record, Quinn."
"Yeah, I think Sandi said something like that, too." Quinn then realized that she had been sidetracked, and got back to her original point. "Now what are *you* doing here? Are you here with a guy? I can't believe it, you are going to get in *so* much trouble!"
"And you're not? You gotta get home by nine, too, right?"
"Why would I want to do *that*? I called Mom, and she says this date's okay. You didn't call her, did you? OhmiGOD, who's the guy? Is he that biker kid who's always in detention? Mom and Dad are gonna FREAK!"
Damnit, thought Daria, Quinn had the advantage. How could I have let it slip? "All right, Quinn, get on with it."
"To be paid later on the condiditon that you don't tell Mom and Dad where I was tonight. Or who I was with."
"How *could* you go out with that biker guy? His stubble is like totally gross."
"It's not the biker guy, and that's all I will say. Now I'm going."
CHAPTER 5: Pleasant Before-Dinner Conversation Revisited
Daria left the restroom. Whatever nerve that she had built up in there was now gone, and it was now time to rejoin her date. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, she thought. Between a rock and a hard place. The rock being her sister's head, adn the hard place being... Daria shuddered at the thought and headed back to the table.
"You look *gorgeous*." said Charles.
"I didn't do a damn thing to my face. I was just purging lunch, and I'm ready for dinner now."
"Are you serious?"
Charles appeared to take this in stride. "Well, anyway, as I was saying, Hugh Hefner was a true gentlemen, and he really paved the way for mainstream acceptance of appreciation of beauty in the female form."
"You'd probably say the same thing about Larry Flynt."
"Oh, he knew his stuff well, too."
"Do you realize that you're talking about porn on a date?"
"It's not PORN, Daria, the models in Hugh Hefner's publication are not being degraded in any way."
"You mean aside from being naked."
"Oh, Daria. The human form is a thing of beauty, don't you see?"
"Sure. As long as it's twenty pounds underweight, airbrushed, and has bouncy hair."
Charles appeared flustered. "That's not it. I mean, *you* are a perfect example. I'll bet you wouldn't even need to be airbrushed."
Daria frowned. "If that was a proposition, then my answer is hell no. These clothes stay on, your camera stays in the closet, and you just hold on to your gentlemen's publications, Chuck."
"Oh come on, I wouldn't ask you to do *that*! Not on the first date anyway."
"Then I guess never."
"You're beautiful, Daria, why waste it?"
"Because I don't believe on physical beauty as an asset for personal gain. Not a solid one, anyway. Do you know what happens to these models once they hit forty?"
"Farrah Fawcett is over fifty."
"A freak of nature. Point is, they're worthless."
"Daria, you sure know how to turn a compliment around."
"Thanks. I'll take that as a comliment. Then turn it around. So when do you suppose the food will arrive?"
"Oh, they take pride in the cuisine here. It will be a nice long wait, in which we can get better acquainted."
I'm already too acquainted, thought Daria. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Quinn, standing off in the distance. Daria glanced over at her, and she quickly pretended not to notice. Daria wondered if Quinn cared enough about her to want to ruin her reputation by blabbing about tonight to her peers. Good thing I don't have a rep, thought Daria. Still...
CHAPTER 5: Dinner's On Me
And so it went for what seemed like hours. Daria sat through Charles' point-by-point comparison of all five James Bonds (including George Lazenby, can't possibly forget him). Charles naturally went with Sean Connery, although he gave points to Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan, but supported nothing short of violent assassination for Timothy Dalton. Daria mostly greeted this with head nods about every five seconds, and added a little tidbit about how Bond never seemed to contract any social diseases. Charles maintained that Bond protected himself, but couldn't really prove it. However, Daria had only seen one or two Bond films many years ago, so Charles used it to his advantage.
A while later, Daria asked a waiter (the same one that took her order) to bring her a new glass of water, saying that her's was too cold. When he came back, Daria requested a new fork. She added that the fine service was what set these places apart from other restaurants. The waiter grudgingly complied. To keep his cool, Charles launched into a recitation of the "Dirty Fork" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
"To me, it is a mountain!" he said grandly but shamefully, of the speck of dirt on the fork. "A vast bowl of PUS!" [*]
[*] Copyright 1969 Python (Monty) Pictures, Ltd., all rights reserved. I have to add this, right?
"I don't think I've seen that one," said Daria, unimpressed.
"It's one of their more underrated pieces from the first season."
A short time later, the waiter came back with a new fork.
"Thanks, Garcon," said Daria, "Do I have to tip for that?" The waiter ignored her and left. Only a few minutes after, as Charles was comparing the four seasons of Monty Python's Flying Circus (the second one was best), the food finally came. Charles' plate was carefully set in front of him, then came the bouillibase. The waiter brought it from Daria's left side, and just as it was passing over her lap, the waiter made one quick little movement sufficient to displace the bowl's center of gravity. In short, it tipped, fell, and Daria was splashed with the fishy concoction. Daria recoiled in shock and looked up just in time to catch a smirk disappear from the waiter's face and be replaced by over-concern.
"Oh NO! I am so sahrree, Madam," the waiter blurted, his accent becoming even more laughably pronounced, "Please! Eet slipped from my fingehrs, I will get you some more napkeens! I am so *terribly* sorry!"
"You bastard," Daria sneered, but the waiter had already hurried back to the kitchen. Daria stared at her blouse and dress. The boullibase had soaked through to her bare skin and formed little puddles in the folds of fabric on her dress. Charles had gotten out of his chair and was set to attack Daria with a napkin, but Daria snatched it from his hand and said, "Thank you" in a less than grateful voice. She began toweling herself off as the waiter came back in with a handful of white cloth napkins. Daria sighed and thought, Well, I brought this on myself, really. If I was in his situation, I probably would have done the same thing. Or something meaner. She stood up placidly and let the waiter wipe off her chair while she took a couple of his napkins and continued to wipe herself off. The waiter left and took all the napkins, all the while apologizing profusely. This would be really funny, thought Daria, if it wasn't me.
Charles sat down and began eating his entree. Daria sat down, still feeling sticky, put her chin on her hand, and stared straight forward. The waiter had promised fast service in getting another bowl of soup out, but Daria wasn't holding her breath. Charles noticed her glaring, and tried to break the ice again.
"Well, I bet you can't wait to get out of those clothes," he said with an air of feigned symapthy.
"Yes. Get out of my clothes. In my room, alone. In case you were wondering."
"Wondering?" he asked innocently.
Charles became pretty much preoccupied with his food after that. Daria savored the moments when he was silent. Charles was finishing up by the time Daria got her boullibase. Daria mostly sipped it in silence. She admitted to liking it, which pleased Charles to no end. His point about fine gourmet cuisine had been proven, to him, at least. Daria hoped that this would at least kill the romance. But that was probably too much to hope for with Upchuck.
"Boy, never a dull moment here, that's for sure," remarked Corey.
"What do you mean?" asked Quinn.
"You know, first that cheerleader girl chewed out her guy in front of everybody, then that other girl got her dinner all over her! That was cool."
"Um, whatever," said Quinn, bristling a little.
"Splash! Right on her lap! Maybe that's why she's so depressed all the time, because people are always spilling stuff on her. That and her boyfriend is Upchuck. If I was a chick, I'd have to be pretty damn desperate to go out with *that* loser."
"She's supposed to be a brain, you'd think she'd have more sense than that! Well, she bugs me anyway, with that whole misery thing going on. I think if there's anyone I'd want to see that soup thing happen to, it'd probably be her."
"Will you give it a rest?" Quinn snapped, "That's not funny, the stain'll probably never come out, and that's a nice blouse, for her anyway. Leave her alone!"
"Jeez, Quinn, you're acting like she's your sister or something."
Quinn froze, then glanced nervously at the menu. "Ugh! VEAL!"
"What do you mean, 'maxed out'?"
"Just zat, Monsieur, you have reached ze limit on zis credit cahrd."
Charles fidgeted nervously. Daria grimaced. "I thought you had this covered, Charles."
"I don't get it, there should have been enough for dinner."
"Are you saying you bought something else with that card?"
"I thought you used your money for that!"
"Actually, I charged that. But the tux did come from my savings," he said defensively.
"Well, don't you have any cash?"
"Not on me at the moment. Do you?"
Daria sighed. "Well, I'm in a delicate financial condition, but I think I can pay for this. If only to get out of washing dishes."
"Great! Get it out!" Daria groaned and reached into her purse, hoping that she would be able to bargain another day out of Quinn so that she could get the hush money out of her savings account. Either way, she'd either be in trouble or over a hundred dollars down by tomorrow. Some enchanted evening. After the bill was paid, they headed back to the limo, pausing only to briefly rubberneck at Kevin and Brittany making up (and out) by the side of the building.
CHAPTER 6: Pleasant After-Dinner Conversation
"I'm sorry about that, Daria. I'll pay you back as soon as I can, I promise."
"Okay," said Daria blankly. Charles scooted a little closer. Daria watched this out of the corner of her eye.
"We're heading home, right? Nine o'clock, that's when I have to be back."
"Nine? I can't believe your Mom would do that!"
"Yeah, she can be a battle axe sometimes, but loving and devoted. I have to get up early tomorrow."
"For my weekend job."
"What weekend job?"
"At the children's hospital," Daria deadpanned.
"Wow, that's really nice."
"Well, I got a lot of love to give."
"Do you have any to spare tonight?" said Charles, his voice dropping about an octave.
"Now now, Charles, lets not-" And with that, he was on her. Daria's arm was knocked out of range with her purse as Chuck went forward. In a moment, his cologned and sweaty face was in Daria's, and his moist lips had found their target. Daria was struck motionless for only a split second, then she began pushing him away. She turned her head and gasped for breath as Chuck's head was separated from hers, and as he lunged again, she smacked him cold across his face, buying enough time to dig frantically into her purse and whip out the pepper spray. Chuck was holding his head up again, and was suddenly transfixed on the sight of Daria's pepper spray being held inches away from his face. Daria wielded it like a gun, and fixed her feral eyes on Upchuck, as she panted heavily.
"Shut up. Make one move, and you're south of the border. Got that?"
"Well, you are *certainly*-"
"Feisty? Yeah, I'm feisty as hell. Want me to rip off your balls? That's how feisty I am at the moment!"
"Oh, come on now. We're on a date, there's nothing wrong with a little fun!"
"Excuse me? When I agreed to go on this date, I specifically stated that I would (1), only do it once, and (2), comply only if you would, and I quote, 'keep your filthy hands to yourself.' If you don't continue to abide by that, I will defend myself appropriately."
"For Christ's sake, Daria, all I wanted was a little action! I think that for all I've done for you, it would be simple payoff!"
"What you've done for me? If you're talking about this evening, then let's review. We went to some fancy-shmancy place where they snicker at you if you use the wrong fork, I listened to your blather for hours on end, ran into my sister who will probably never let me live this down, then I got fish soup spilled on me, which, by the way, is no substitute for a nice greasy pizza, then I find that you maxed out on your father's credit card so I had to pay for the whole thing!"
"How about the fact that I saved your friend's life? That mean anything to you?"
"Look, Chuck, I'd hate to break it to you, but all you really did was show up at the right place at the right time. With a group of hunting hounds. Mr. Oatley could have been the hero in that respect, and he probably wouldn't have made me go out on a date, either."
"You should be happy that I let you go on a date with me! I could have taken any other girl tonight, you know."
The floodgates opened. "No, I don't know. And those other girls wouldn't consider it a privilege, either! Can't you see? You're not damned James Bond, you're Upchuck! They all call you that, you know, and for good reason! You're a deluded, self-absorbed cretin who's head is too far up his ass to realize that he's the most loathsome and despicable creature ever to rear his ugly freckled little face at Lawndale High!"
Upchuck's face fell like a tower of children's blocks. He turned away and faced out the window, but soon his cover was blown when his shoulders began shaking. Daria had a sinking feeling that was confirmed when she began hearing little whimpering noises from Upchuck's side of limo. He sniffed loudly, and went from whimpering to softly sobbing. Daria put her face in her hands and groaned.
"Don't you 'Charles' me!" snapped Upchuck.
"Uh, Upchuck..." Upchuck began sobbing again. Well, I suppose I should be proud, thought Daria. I may be the toast of the school if this gets out. Still, it was genuinely surprising to see that he had feelings.
"Look, Charles, I'm, uh-" Daria couldn't bring herself to bring the sentence to its logical conclusion. Charles finished it for her.
"Well, I wouldn't go THAT far."
"Oh, of course not, Ms. Ice Queen! Too good to do that! Too damn wonderful to apologize to the Chuckster for breaking his heart!"
"I didn't even know you had a heart, Chuck."
"Well, there's a lot you don't know about me."
"I'm a person, too."
"That IS a startling revelation."
"Oh shut up. I thought maybe you'd be a person too."
"What do you mean?"
"I've been attracted to you for a long time, Daria. Haven't you ever wondered why? You're certainly not the most beautiful girl in the school."
"I always thought you were just really desperate."
"Give yourself a little credit, Daria. You're an intelligent girl. I was attracted to that. All the other girls in this school only care about fashion crap and bedding football players. You and Jane are different. You're independent. And that, to me, is *feisty*."
"Well, you really know how to flatter me, but I'm afraid I don't appreciate being jumped on the first date."
"You're not even giving me a chance, Daria."
"I just did, Chuck. And you were still annoying and sleazy."
"And you were still cold and sarcastic. I was nice by comparison."
"Well, I'm sorry, but that's the way I am."
"That's what I was afraid of. I wanted to show you a good time. You're not exactly Miss Friday Night, you know. I thought a nice date at a nice place would do you good. Apparently you don't like to enjoy yourself."
Daria was taken aback. She wasn't quite prepared for having to defend her personality. "Look," she ventured, "I don't need to be saved from myself. I'm not the dating type."
"Really? I suppose you never want to be with a guy, either. I suppose that you're too smart for all that human biology."
"That's not what I meant," said Daria flusteredly.
"Either that or you're going Lesbian with Jane."
Ouch, thought Daria. "Well, I know you'd love that idea, but no, I'm not 'going Lesbian' with Jane."
"I know a couple of people who think you are."
"Wonderful. So are you saying that just because I'm not some promiscuous popular girl, people think I'm a Lesbian? Well that's their own damn fault."
"You don't give people much reason not to think you're a Lesbian."
"I think I can handle the social stigma of being a Lesbian. I'm already a Brain and a Misery Chick, so why not be a Lesbian?"
"Becuase you're not a Lesbian. At least you say you're not one. Isn't there any guy out there that you'd like to...*get it on* with?"
Daria didn't like where this was going. "Maybe."
"There is, I bet. You got urges. Why don't you act on them?"
"Because I don't let them rule my life like you do."
At this point, the limo slowed to a stop, and Daria looked out the window to see her house. Never before had it looked so inviting.
"Oh Daria, we're young. We're all trying to get laid. You oughtta just loosen up and accept it."
"Yeah, well you oughtta stop being a sleazy poser. If you're attracted to my intelligence and independence, then why are you trying to change me?"
"I'm not trying to change you, Daria, I'm just trying to bring you out of your shell."
"Well, my shell is part of me, thank you."
They got out of the limo and Charles followed Daria onto the sidewalk.
"Oh Daria, if you ever change your mind, just let me know, and the Chuckmobile will be available for a test drive..."
"I'll make a note of it," Daria said, and turned to the walkway.
"Wait," said Charles, as he put his hand on her shoulder. Daria turned slowly. Charles had his Upchuck grin on. "Could we still share a good-night kiss?"
Daria thought for a second. "Well...okay. Close your eyes and pucker up, Charles." Charles enthusiastically obeyed. "Okay, now open them."
Charles recoiled in pain and staggered into the street hacking and rubbing at his face. Daria put the spray back in her purse. She had only given him a relatively small dose.
"Good night, Upchuck," she said, and let herself in the front door. Upchuck was already coming out of it. The limo driver was staring at him.
"Tough luck, man," he said with standard limo driver faux-sympathy. "She's a feisty one, isn't she?"
Upchuck grinned. "She sure is."
Helen and Jake arrived home shortly later. Daria was in her room, curled up with a copy of "Breakfast of Champions", so her parents didn't pay her any mind. Daria put the book away and looked out her window. She thought about Upchuck, then about Trent, who this had all, in its own roundabout way, been done for. Urges. Biology. There's more to it than that, isn't there? She thought, and thought some more. Damn you, Upchuck. She grabbed her TV remote and pressed a button.
"Once a millionaire playboy, now driven to madness by a visit from his in-laws...all fourteen of them! A real Harem-Scare-um, next on Sick Sad World!"
Daria leaned back against the wall and smiled.
la la LA la la...
ENDNOTES: Well, that one was tough to write, but I finally finished it. I took a few liberties with Upchuck's character, but let's face it, he was never well-developed in the first place. I just expanded him a little. Not much, really. I have always wondered why Upchuck seems to be the only guy who hits on Daria and Jane. This seems like a logical reason. Chuck isn't stupid, I don't think, he just suffers from delusions of grandeur. Probably because his family is rich. New Money rich, by the looks of it.
Special thanks to C.E. Forman, whose e-mails provided much of the impetus to finish this.
Once again, questions, comments, constructive criticism, glowing praise, naughty letters and souffle recipes should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my web page at http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Comet/6180. Thank you, and good night.