A Daria/Trent Shipper by the Ranting Klown

(Originally presented as a serial on PPMB)


Synopsis: Following being dumped by Monique and Tom respectively, Trent and Daria find solace in eachother.






Daria was in the depths of despair. She had been dumped like a sack of potatoes. He hadn't even given a reason for doing it, he just left a note. Daria picked up the note, which had been crumpled by a seething rage and sodden by tears.


I can't go on like this. Don't follow me.




How could he? Why did he? Questions plagued Daria's mind, a pox of darkness descended upon her. She had thought herself to be above this crap, above the emotion of it all. She had thought her very identity was formed to stop the pain, and if she couldn't even do that, what was she worth? Now she had felt the crushing lows, who would she be? She had let all the pain under her guard, under her impenetrable walls. It's what made her who she was. How does one deal with a pain such as this?


She looked at her bookcase. Somehow the darkest temptations of Edgar Allen Poe seemed apt at this point in time. She looked at the books Tom had bought for her. All the books that Tom had picked up out of what she supposed was the kindness of his heart. How could one do something so kind, and then do something so wicked?


Daria had nobody that could relate to her pain, to her suffering, authors that had seemed so intimate, now seemed a mile away. No written word could describe what she was going through. All of her life, she guarded against rejection, and then she lowered her walls, just that little bit, and the cruel world had begun to creep over, akin to a vine on a wall.


Nobody could understand. Nobody.


The phone rang, shocking Daria out of her dark musings.


"Hello" Daria said with a sombre tone


"Ola Amiga!" Jane said, in stark contrast with Daria's pain


"Oh...hey" Daria managed to labour out.


How dare somebody be so dammed sunny. The world was a dark and miserable place.


"Pizza King is doing a special today; I think they're trying to win back customers after the health inspection" Jane said, oblivious to events prior


"Goody. Just what I need, Pizza from a place that managed to pass a health inspection, only after a hefty bribe" Daria said, with a dry tone.


At least her sense of humour wasn't affected


"Exactly. Hey, you've hung out at our place. Weren't you worried about your health then?" Jane reasoned


"I suppose not" Daria said, in no mood for an argument


"So I figure, me, you and Tom"


"Tom." Daria said with a soft voice


"Yeah, you know, about 6 foot, shortish hair, your boyfriend" Jane said




Daria couldn't find any words to convey what had just happened to her. What she felt, what she wanted to do, what she wanted to be.


" okay?" Jane said with concern. "Sounds like you have some kind of virus"


A virus. Yes, she had a virus alright.


"Me and Tom..." Daria said, unable to finish the thought


"Daria?" Jane said, now with genuine concern


Daria couldn't find any words


"Did you two break up?" Jane said


Daria remained silent




"Yes" Daria managed to let out


Now it was Jane's turn to be silent


"Although to say we broke up would infer that I had some part in the decision"


"That bastard" Jane said. At this point in time, Jane only had the rudimentary aspects of her vocabulary up and running, due to the shock of the situation.


Tom had always seemed so...into Daria. It was one of the reasons she got over why Tom dumped her for Daria. If she couldn't be happy, at least Daria could be. But now that bastard goes and pulls something like this? It didn't seem real, only a few nights ago, Tom had given Daria new gift. Another one.


"All the more reason for Pizza?" Jane said.


A long pause


"Sorry, that was stupid" Jane admitted


"Yes. Yes it was"


" you...want to talk about it?" Jane asked


"Not really. There's not that much to talk about" Daria said, still unsure as to the exact reason why Tom had done what he did.


"You sure? I'm getting some good practice in lately. Trent broke up with Monique again, and I had to listen to the heartfelt bittersweet ballads, again" Jane said


"No...I can't really tell you what happened...because I don't know what did" Daria said


"What reason did he give?" Jane said. Still seething, not only about Daria's pain, but about her own.


Jane always assumed that they were the golden couple. It made the transition that much easier.


"He...didn't give a reason"


"That bastard didn't even give a reason!?" Jane said, unable to contain her fury.


"I guess not"


"You've got to find out why! Why should he be able to get off scot-free? Just run away without giving you a reason why? He can't do that!" Jane said, unsure whether she was more concerned with her own welfare, or Daria's.


"You're right" Daria conceded


He wasn't going to get away that easily


Tom lay on his bed, totally alone. His dad was working, allegedly. His mother was at a meeting. His sister, god know where Elsie was. So Tom, lay on his bed, alone in the world.


Tom tried to reason


What I did was the right thing. I couldn't go on like that. I would rather feel this pain then live a lie.


It was why he was attracted to Daria in the first place. With Daria, you didn't get any of the bullshit of everyday life. You got Daria.


Shame I don't know who she is


Tom felt for Daria, sure, but he had to do this. It would be better in the long run. A dark world with total honesty is always better then a happy world with smokescreens and denials.


Tom wished there was somebody he could talk to about this. He could never talk to Daria about this. She was real, sure, but...


Tom got up, to pained to finish the thought. He tried to find something that could soothe his soul, if not for a minute. He looked through his record collection. No music could convey what he felt. No solitary note could be so sad.


Tom was in the depths of despair. He had dumped Daria like a sack of potatoes, and he was hurting like hell. It had to be this way. It had to.


A clean break was better. If he left any doubt, then they would talk. Tom didn't want that. If they talked, Tom would find solace in Daria's sad eyes. They would get back together, and then...Tom would be backed into a corner he didn't want to be in. It was best this way. Short term pain for long term gain.


Tom knew that he was ever going to go forward in life, he would have to break up with Daria. He knew that from the first date. Yet he kept on going, hoping for something that wasn't there, or was ever going to be there. It was a fool's game.


When he looked at it objectively, he saw nothing there. There was a time where he was plagued by dreams of Daria in a white dress. He dreamt of things that could never happen, or rather, shouldn't.


Tom knew what he was feeling now was definitely painful, but knew in his heart that it was the right thing to do, it would spare them both a lot of pain. It would stop them playing the fool's game.


He knew this, he tried to take comfort in this, and yet he couldn't.


He was shocked out of his dark musings by the doorbell.


Tom swallowed his pride and answered the door.


Daria was there, in all her mournful serenity.


Tom questioned himself a thousand times in the next moments.


"I got...your note." Daria said "Can about this?" Daria asked, hopeful of some closure.


Tom was presented with a choice. The truth or a web of lies. How was it that the web of lies looked all the more appealing at this point in time? Why was the truth so hard to say?


Tom stood aside as Daria entered.


"I want to know why" Daria said, on the edge of violence


"No you don't" Tom countered


"I'm damn sure that I do"


"Do you Daria? Do you care? Do you truly care?" Tom said, reminded of the most painful decision he had made in his lifetime


"Of course I do! What a stupid question!"


"What if I told you I met somebody else?"


"You met somebody else?" Daria said quietly




The web of lies had just begun


"Why...didn't you tell me?"


"It was better this way. It was better that you forget me, that you don't follow me" Tom said "It is better that you hate me, then harbour false hopes of reconciliation"


"Mission accomplished"


"I didn't plan for it to happen this just happened"


Daria left without a word.


He found somebody else? How come he didn't tell me? He wasn't man enough to tell me?


Tom closed the door behind Daria.


It was better this was. Better that she thinks it's not her fault.



Jane opened the door to find Daria crestfallen, and in need of friendship.


Jane had now to act as two crutches, one for her brother, and one for her best friend.


"So, did he give you a reason why?"


"He found somebody else"


Jane chuckled


"I suppose it would be stupid of me to say that I knew how that felt?"


"Yes, it would"


"I never did know what was good for me"


Daria remained silent


"You want to know how I dealt with it?" Jane offered


"I get the feeling you're going to tell me regardless"


"You always did know me so well. I thought about your happiness"


"So I'm supposed to think of the happiness of some girl I've never met?" Daria answered, annoyance present


"I suppose not"


"I thought you said you were good at this stuff"


"I should be, shouldn't I? But I may not be sane, I've listened to Trent writing a new song for days now" Jane said


Daria needed to get her mind off her inner turmoil, even if it meant focusing on somebody else's.


"So he and Monique broke up again?" Daria asked


"Yeah. I don't see what Trent sees in that girl" Jane said


"Why don't you ask him?"


"I don't need to. I hear about his heartache all day" Jane said


Daria needed to be with somebody who had recently had their heart ripped out, her turmoil would seem less in comparison.


"Where is Trent?"




Daria walked off, to the general bemusement of Jane, who had set herself for a big, long talk with her best friend.



I give, you take.

I love you...




Trent stopped playing and looked up from his guitar to find Daria sitting at the top of the stairs. How long had she been listening for?


"Oh, hey Daria, what's up?"


"Nothing. You writing a song?"


"Yeah...a song"


"What's it....uh...about?"


"Oh, you know, sex, lies and heartache, the usual. So, what's up with you" Trent asked. He also wanted to take his mind off the pain, but couldn't seem to do so.


"You already asked me that"


"I know....just curious"


"Oh" Daria replied, with surprise. This was one of the times in her life when somebody was genuinely took an interest in her.


"To tell you the truth, I just want somebody to talk to...about anything"


"Yeah...I uh...heard about Monique. That sucks"


" does suck" Trent said with a heavy sigh.


Trent looked down at his guitar mournfully, and Daria could sense he was miserable.


"Tom and I broke up"




"Yeah...he found somebody else" Daria said. She had come to the basement with the intention of forgetting about her pain, and yet she found herself trying to distract Trent from his.


"First Jane and then you, that guy's nuts" Trent said. Trent was usually so calm and collected, so cool and mild, and yet when he heard that Tom had found somebody else, it made him angry. Not that he'd ever let on though.


Trent cast his mind back to when Daria and Jane were in a rift. Trent observed quietly from the sidelines, when he heard that Tom had kissed kind of, seemed inevitable almost. Trent thought that he would have to beat up Tom or something, do the brotherly thing, but as sad as he was for Jane, he was happy for Daria. She had finally found somebody that she could rely on, somebody who wouldn't be asleep when she needed him.


Trent sensed that Daria was miserable.


"That's tough" Trent finally said after a painful silence. "I know. Monique was seeing some guy on the side"




"'s like a blow to my...masculinity or whatever. But it's more than know?"




"When we broke up...she like, said she couldn't ever stay true to me. That hurt most of all" Trent reflected


"Did she give you a reason?"


"I don't know. I really don't. Maybe the signs were there, but you know me, oblivious as usual"


"Trent, I don't think you're oblivious. You're...." Daria said, suddenly at a loss for words.


They both chuckled to fill the awkward silence


"That's okay, you don't have to finish that. I'm not looking for reassurance or're cool to talk to"




"I think what really hurt, is that I put my heart and soul into her, you know? I tried so hard. I mean, she's like, so damn closed off, you know? I can only do so much."


Daria suddenly put the pieces together in her mind, and figured out there was no other girl.


"I guess I wasn't the right guy for her, because if I was, she would've tried too, you know?"


"I guess so" Daria said


What she felt then was not really sorrow. She felt betrayed that Tom had lied to her, sure, but if they broke up for the reason she thought they broke up, maybe Tom wasn't the right guy after all. She had never felt a certain je ne Sais quois with Tom. He was a cool guy...but that was about it.


"Sometimes people who can seem so perfectly matched can't be happy together, and people who are so far apart can find happiness together" Daria said, reflecting on her relationship.


"Opposites attract. Cool"


"Yeah...I guess we're so caught up in practicalities and things the other person has in common with you, that we stop looking for what we really want"


"Maybe" Trent said, looking down at his guitar. How was it that Daria could just dissect a problem like that? She had a wisdom beyond her years.



Daria looked at Trent's guitar. Trent noticed Daria looking at his guitar.


"Fan of acoustic?"


"Not as such...Trent, how do you deal with it?"


"I write songs. If I'm going to miserable, I may as well get something out of it. But you'd know all about that, wouldn't you?"


"Excuse me?"


"You've got your essays and stuff. Isn't that how you deal with it?"


"No, I deal with it by..." Daria paused


She didn't know how she was going to deal with it. She had never dealt with it. Even though she knew deep down that her and Tom wouldn't work out, she was still hurting like hell.


"I guess I don't know how I deal with it"






"I guess it wouldn't be right of me to hit you up for lyrics..."


"What do you mean?"


"You're smart. I mean, you could probably find some good words to describe what I'm going through"






Daria couldn't help but reflect on the fact that this was the longest time they had spent talking.


Trent started to play a sad and sweet song


Daria had never seen this side of Trent before. She had always seen him as Jane's older brother. A cool and, perhaps, cute guy. Before he had, lacked depth. Daria couldn't describe it, but Trent's pain, it made him seem so much more...human.


What could have been? What will be? Will you be that future? Who are you mystery woman? Why did Pandora release the darkness?


"You know, Pandora also released hope" Daria said


"I guess she did." Trent said, reflecting on his lyrics. Maybe Pandora did release hope, but right now, that hope seemed very small, very fragile.


Trent had never seen this side of Daria before. Was she actually looking on the positive? He'd always seen her as Jane's friend. A cool and sarcastic gal who didn't take crap from anybody. Trent couldn't describe it, but Daria trying to comfort him, it made her seem so much more....human.



Meanwhile, Tom got a visit from an irate ex-girlfriend.


"How could you!?" Jane exclaimed while feebly punching him.


Tom took the hits, for they were indeed feeble, but at the back of his mind, he wished they were just a little bit harder. He was disgusted at himself, he was disgusted at his actions, and he was disgusted by his lie.


Again, Tom came to a crossroads. He could either lie again, to keep with the consistency of his original lie to Daria, or he could come clean and end this before it started.


"It just happened"


Was he lying to protect Daria from further pain, or to protect himself? Tom didn't know anymore.


Tom looked into Jane's eyes, full of fury and passion. Cool Jane Lane was certainly angry.


"Why do you even care?"


"Because I'm her friend!"


"Because I've never seen you so damn angry before"


Jane stopped in her tracks. She was angry. Angrier then when she and Tom broke up.


"Because you two are supposed to be the golden couple dammit!"


"We were?"


"Yes! You two are just meant to be together! It was fate dammit!"


"It was?"


"You two are meant to be happy together! Happier than you and I could ever be!"


Jane went quiet, on the verge of tears.


"Jane?" Tom asked with concern


"You two. Why Tom? Why? What's so special about this new girl that makes you leave Daria huh? What's so god damned good about her? Why did you leave her? What made you run away like that?"


Tom didn't know why he was running. He didn't know he ran away from Jane, he didn't know why he ran away from Daria.


Tom looked at Jane, in all her melancholy, and suddenly realised that the reason that he and Daria broke up wasn't because of Daria's lack of effort. He suddenly realised that he didn't leave Jane because Daria was so much better. He left because he couldn't deal with the problems.


He lied to himself. He had always blamed the other girl on his problems. Blamed Jane because they were in a rut, blamed Daria because she couldn't be in a relationship. Tom realised that a relationship required more than merely enjoying the other person's company, it required effort, and Tom was lying to avoid the effort of trying to work at the relationships.



Trent and Daria sat quietly for a while, content in each others company.


"I said it once and I'll say it again, that guy is nuts" Trent said, genuinely astonished at Tom's actions.


Daria chuckled. "Blaming other people for our problems is fun"


"Especially if it involves the government, or the banks, or any authority figure"


"Hey, if it works for Freud, it should work for us"


"Good Point. But how is it your problem? That guy, he's nuts to pass on a girl like you" Trent said casually, tuning his guitar.




"No problem"


As if the gods were conspiring to break up the conversation, a string on Trent's guitar broke at that exact moment.


"Dang" Trent said


"I uhh...feel for your loss?" Daria said, trying to fill in the silence


Trent chuckled and coughed in response to Daria


"It's no biggie, I've just got to drive across town to pick up some new strings" Trent said, looking at his guitar.






"Alright then"


"I should probably go to get the strings now..." Trent said, trailing off


" probably should"


"But it's all the way across town, and I'd rather stay here right now"




"Talking to's"


"Yeah...likewise" Daria said, blushing


What the Hell? Am I blushing?


"But...those strings aren't going to replace themselves..." Daria said, hoping Trent would respond, to distract her from her current line of thought.


"Hmmm...probably not" Trent said.


Is she trying to get me to leave?


Trent got up and looked at Daria




"Bye Trent"


As Trent left, Daria had the chance to collect her thoughts. Why the hell was she blushing? And why was she blushing so soon after her and Tom had broken up?


She was distracted from her thoughts by Trent, who had reappeared at the top of the basement stairs.


" you wanna come with?"


"To get guitar strings?"


" can be surprisingly exciting" Trent said, trying to sell Daria on the idea


"Well, when you put it like that...who am I to refuse?"


Daria got up and left with Trent, as they went to buy guitar strings.

Jane was home after an emotional confrontation with Tom, when she noticed she was the only one there.


"Little Janie, all alone again"


She was feeling peckish, so she decided to try to forage some food from the arid planes of the Lane kitchen. To call it a kitchen, would perhaps not be so apt, for the kitchen had become a general storage area over the years of neglect. The pantry had paint in it, the fridge had photo reels and the oven had something that could only be described as green goo in it.


In a panicked search, Jane decided to search what was once the cutlery drawer. But alas, no food was to be found in the drawer.


Just lots and lots of unused guitar string.



"Thanks for coming" Trent said, only half concentrating on the road


"No problem. If two non-joiners can't drive across town to pick up guitar strings, what can we do?" Daria replied.


The day had begun in the depths of despair for them both, but they were starting to feel better.


"Hmmm...good point"


To Trent, it seemed that Daria always knew how to cheer him up. She probably thought he was a few bricks short of a wall, but she didn't let it show. Trent felt validated that he could have a conversation with her. It made him feel like maybe he wasn't a worthless bum after all. If an intelligent girl like Daria was talking to him, maybe there was hope yet.


Trent pulled over by the side of the road, next to his local and friendly guitar specialist store.


The pair entered, where Trent was enthusiastically greeted by the store manager. Trent was clearly their biggest customer.


"Hey Smitty, just picking up some new guitar strings" Trent said


"Most Excellent. I tell you, you must go through those things quicker that Eric Clapton on ecstasy man" Smitty replied


Daria looked around the store, where guitars of all models and makes surrounded them. Daria also noticed an entire wall, dedicated to guitar strings.


"I uhh...didn't know that there were so many brands of strings" Daria said, suddenly curious to the whole scene.


"Oh yeah...the strings are an integral part of the sound..." Trent said


Daria nodded. She didn't have any idea why the strings may be integral to the sound, but she didn't have the energy to enquire further, and she really didn't want to. But the fact that she was talking to Trent about guitar strings, it made her feel weird.


But most of all, it made her feel validated. Here was this really cool guy, and he was talking to her. Daria did feel like an outsider, but when she talked to Trent, she felt like an outsider by choice rather than circumstance. He probably thought she was young and naïve, but he didn't let it show.


"Well, we got some prime stuff in yesterday man. Want to check it out?" Smitty said, hopeful of a large commission. To tell the truth, Trent was paying for Smitty's education at the local college.


Trent looked at Daria.


"Nah...just the usual thanks" Trent said.


After Trent paid for his new guitar strings, Daria and Trent made their way outside, where they walked without direction or aim.


"Thanks for coming again" Trent said "I know you were bored in there"


"No problem" Daria said. She was bored in the store, but she didn't mind.


"So....anywhere you want to go?" Trent asked. Secretly, he hoped to prolong this field trip. When he got home and saw his guitar, it would want to make him write about his heartache. He didn't want to write about heartache, and while he was out with Daria, he didn't even think about it.


"We could always go into books by the ton..." Daria said. Daria knew Trent would be bored inside the store, but it wasn't payback she was after. She wanted to see if Trent would do the same for her, which she did for him.


"I don't know....I can't go in there...don't ask me why, but I can't" Trent said. Trent did want to go in, but wanted some convincing.


"I went into that guitar place. You can at least show a girl a good time" Daria said.


Holy Crap! What the hell did I just say!?


"Hmmm" Trent pondered several things at that point "Okay...we'll go. Let's see if they recognise me"


As the pair made their way into Books by the Ton, the greeting they received was in stark contrast to that of the greeting they had received at the Guitar Store.


"You! Get Out! You filthy, filthy man!" The manager said.


Daria was shocked to be treated this way, Trent, not so much.


They walked out of the store quietly, as not to create a further scene.


"Okay, what the hell was that about?" Daria enquired


"I told you I couldn't go in there" Trent said. But he didn't really want to talk about it. "I'm sorry you had to witness that, can I buy you lunch to make up for it?"


"It's 5PM, so yes. But only if you tell me what happened to make that guy flip out like that" Daria replied. She would've accepted his invitation anyhow, but, she was curious. For some reason, Daria was sure that Trent wanted her company.


Trent sighed. He didn't want to talk about it, but he wanted Daria's company. "Me and Monique met there" 


"That doesn't sound so bad"


" and the biology section. Twice."




"Yeah" Trent said, ashamed. He was pretty sure that Daria didn't go to lunch with guys who had done the wild thing near the judging eyes of Charles Darwin.


"So, where are we going?" Daria asked. Somehow Trent's confession didn't make him seem any more disgusting. All of a sudden, Daria started to think of all the times she had browsed the biology section.


Trent was surprised that Daria wasn't blushing right now. Still, he was relived.


Daria and Trent continued their vague search for a place that served cheese fries, until they found one.


"The great thing about cheese fries, is that if you die of a heart attack, you can always say that you went out doing exactly what you wanted to do." Daria said, looking at the copious amounts of oil on her plate.


"Because who doesn't love cheese fries?" Trent said, with an unusually quick response.


Daria chuckled. After that, there was a lull in the conversation.


Trent ventured the gap with an invitation.


"Do you want to come to a gig were playing Wednesday afternoon?" Trent said, looking off into the distance


"Uhh....they play gig during the day now?" Daria enquired


"Yeah..." Trent said, distracted by someone in the distance


"Well, I would...but you know, High School"


Trent turned to Daria with surprise. "How do I keep on forgetting that you're in High School?"


"Don't know" Daria said. She was more surprised that Trent didn't think she was in High school


Trent looked off into the distance again


"Daria?" Trent said


"Yeah?" Daria replied


"Want to do me a favour?" Trent asked


"Sure" Daria answered


"I think that's Monique" Trent said




"Don't be scared" Trent said.


Trent then proceeded to come very close to Daria, and threw his arms around her.


"What are you doing?"


"That's know how it is" Trent said. He hoped to gain the upper hand in the post-break up battle.


Daria sure did have soft hair.


Trent sure did have a muscular back


Trent then looked art the figure walking by them. It wasn't Monique. He was mistaken. It was one of Monique's friends, who walked on by, not wanting to get involved in a situation.


But who was Trent with? Some random High School chick?


"Did it work?" Daria asked, hoping that Monique hadn't left yet


"Yeah....she's uh....gone" Trent replied. There was no need to tell Daria that it wasn't Monique in the first place.



Daria sat in Trent's car, where Trent was giving Daria a lift back home.


"Again...thanks for coming out..." Trent said. "And about before..." Trent trailed off, and that was followed by an uncomfortable silence.


Daria broke the silence "It's's cool"






The car came to a stop.


Damn that was a short trip


"Well, uh...I guess I'll see you around"




Daria felt awkward, like she had with Tom.




Daria left the car as Trent drove off.


Daria looked at the car as it drove away, and as she turned toward her home, she saw Tom, leaning against her door.


"Tom? What are you doing here?" Daria asked angrily


"I've...made a mistake"


Tom walked into his place of solitude. To call it a place of solitude was perhaps not quite apt, but everybody in the café kept to themselves. It was a café where he could be alone, as not many people talked. Tom wasn't quite sure how it was still open after all these years. The first time he came into the café, it was near empty, and numbers had thinned since then.


He chose a spot near the back of the room, he wanted to blend in. What he really wanted was a giant hole to occupy, where he could think about what he had done to himself and to Daria. He wanted to think about how he missed her, even though he was the one to give her the flick. He wanted to find a reason why he was afraid to work at the relationship. Things start going stale and he ran away. It's what happened with Jane and countless girls before her, and now he was doing the exact same thing to Daria.


A girl entered whom he had not seen before. Perhaps she needed to think as well, perhaps she just needed a caffeine shot. He watched the girl for a while; she looked as if she needed a place to think, but seemed less tied down with crippling emotional problems than Tom was. How he was able to ascertain this, he didn't know.


After a while, another girl came into the cafe. Tom was pretty sure that this was an all time record for the joint. The girl who had just entered recognised the girl Tom had not seen before, and sat next to her.


"You'll never guess what I just saw"



"You made a mistake. Good for you. Now get off my property." Daria said with venom.


"Daria, there is no other girl" Tom said, in the hopes of a reconciliation.


"I figured that out"


"You did?"


"Listen. We're probably not meant to be together. I just wasn't ready for what you wanted. Please leave. Don't make this any harder than it already is" Daria said, in a moment of vulnerability.


"I know you're not ready. I also know it was wrong of me to expect you to be" Tom said "In fact, I don't really see us falling apart as your failing. I see it as mine."




"Yeah. I wasn't ready to take it slow. I did at the beginning, but then I got impatient. I ran away. I wasn't ready to go underneath the surface and see what was wrong" Tom said, his head bowed in shame


"I see"


"I don't expect anything....just think about this okay?" Tom said


"I guess I could do that" Daria said, stunned by Tom's confessions. She had always assumed that is was her holding back the relationship, but Tom blamed himself. Perhaps there was hope yet.


"I guess...I'll see you around then" Tom said, turning toward his car


Daria turned the key in her door and looked back at Tom.


Tom turned the key in the ignition and looked to the future


I hope Monique holds up her end of the bargain



"I just saw Trent on Dega Street" The woman who just entered said to Monique


"So what?"


"She was some High School chick. I think they were making out"


"Some High School chick?" Monique said "She wearing a green jacket with a black skirt, glasses?"




Tom pricked up his ears. Could they possibly be talking about Daria?


"I think I know her. Daria"


So that little skank finally got the courage to jump him


As long as she could remember, Trent had a crush on this Daria chick. She was pretty certain it was mutual. Of course she could never match the raw sexual energy she and Trent had. How dare Trent move on first?! He wasn't the dumper, he was the dumpee.


"Daria!?" Tom exclaimed


"Do you mind? This is a private conversation kiddo"


"I'm sorry, but...Daria Morgandorffer?"


This guy seemed to know her


"Yeah, something like that"


Tom turned to the girl with the revelations


"And you say that she was making out with Trent?"


"Looked like it"


Daria had never once seemed like she wanted to make out. Never. But Tom did know she had a crush on him. Jane had told him after too much time spent with some dodgy paints.


"I can't believe Daria would do something like that."


"Have you seen someone else around town with a crush on Trent with glasses, a green jacket and a black skirt?"


The two sat in silence as the full realisation had hit them.


He's moved on before me


She's moved on before me


Dark feelings were brewing, and amongst those feelings, a plan was hatching.


"You know what we could do..." Monique started



Daria sat in the lounge room, thinking about Tom's words. She didn't really want to, but she had anyway. She turned on the TV to try to stifle to words out of her brain.


The first thing she saw was a grunge band playing what she could only assume was some sort of call to arms for zombies.


She watched, not really getting into it, but anything was better than the questions she was asking herself. He was just confused. She was confused once. Maybe she should cut him some slack.


As the thoughts started creeping back into her mind, a close up of the guitar the lead guitarist was using, pick and all. The pick, it cast her mind back a few hours ago. To the Guitar Store, and to Books by the Ton. She stifled a laugh, even though there was nobody home. She wasn't laughing when she thought of the brief embrace they shared for the sake of pride.


She was interrupted from her pleasant trip down memory lane by a knock at the door.


It was Jane


"Ola Amiga"


"Come to see if I need help with the break up?"


"Yes and No"


"Yes and No?"


"Well, I want to help you through this...." Jane said, pausing


She never had anybody to work out her break-up with. The only person she could turn to was in the arms of her baggage.


"But" Jane said, snapping herself out the line of thought that led to hatred, "Monique and Trent are back together"


For some reason, Daria was crestfallen. She knew she had no business with Trent's personal life; he could do what he wanted, but still....


"Yeah, I had to get out of there once Monique jumped him"




"Did the wild thang....yes" Jane said. For some reason, Daria had a mournful look in her eyes, and all the hate that had resurfaced for her best friend subsided.


"What's wrong?"


"Nothing" Daria said


"Are you sure?" Jane asked, concerned with her best friend's welfare, and her welfare alone.


"Yeah...sure" Daria said. She found it amusing that even though her vocabulary was larger than the average bear's, she was at a loss for words.


" want to talk about it?" Jane said, wanting to help her friend get over Tom, as she thought she had once.


"Did Trent say....why...she and Monique got back together?"


"It's not like I was taking notes Daria..."


What an odd question. Wait......this isn't right......


She had only seen that look in her eyes once


Oh My God

Trent woke up from his peaceful slumber to find Monique confused and dazed in the kitchen. She, like many before her, was confused as to the location of food in the house. Watching her examine a red bottle, trying to figure out what was inside, Trent couldn't help but smile.


This felt right. This felt like it was meant to be. After all, if they were still together after all the fights, then there had to be something that was keeping them together. This felt right. After all, what else was there for Trent?


Monique noticed Trent looking at her.


'Good, he's on the hook. I don't think he'll be looking for anybody else' she thought. Her plan was to string Trent along while she found somebody else, then she could get the credit for moving on first. She did think about the morality of her actions on occasion, but then she caught Trent staring into the distance.


She thought he was thinking about that Daria chick, that damn little skank. She was always in the background, pining after Trent, and now that she had made out with Trent, she was even more of a threat. What was it about Daria exactly that made her more appealing than the girl that Trent had broken up with so many times before? They kept on coming back to each other, so Monique thought that she had Trent spellbound, more than any mere High School girl ever could. Yet he stared into the distance.


"Hey Trent"


Trent was snapped out of a daze. "Oh....hey, I wouldn't open that bottle if I were you"


"You know what's in here?" Monique enquired


"No....but" Trent said, not wanting to enter another argument. She was so god damned annoying sometimes. She would argue at the drop of a hat, seriously, she had before. Yet they were still together.


" want to get something to eat?" Trent asked, hoping to placate Monique.


"Sure...I should sure go for some cheese fries" Monique said


Trent chuckled




"Nothing...just, cheese fries"


"Got something against cheese fries?"


"'s just that...The great thing about cheese fries, is that if you die of a heart attack, you can always say that you went out doing exactly what you wanted to do" Trent smiled a goofy smile


"What's with the smile?"




Trent thought about all the times Daria had made him laugh with a rye observation or a quick witted barb. He thought about how smart she was. He thought about how soft her hair was.


"Why the hell are you always staring into the distance like that?" Monique demanded


"Oh...I...just woke up...."



Daria and Jane sat in Pizza King, when Jane decided to get the truth out of her best friend.


" say that Tom came over today?"


"Yeah...he said some stuff and then left"


"What kind of stuff?"


"The kind of stuff that made sense"


It did make sense. All the time she had dated Tom, she never felt as if she was in the relationship. Maybe it was because she was wary, but Tom must've gone through the 9 circles of Hell for her.


Now he was willing to give it another shot, do whatever it took to make it work, admit that he was wrong. Why the hell didn't she just take him back right there? What else was there for Daria?


It was time for another line of questioning from Jane


"Can you believe that Monique and Trent got back together?"


Daria was caught up thinking about Tom, and all the patience he had given her when they were dating. It must have been frustrating for him.


"Spankle Monkey?"




"Nothing, you just seem a bit distracted is all"




"Thinking about Tom?"


"Kinda...I mean...I don't know..." Daria said, as she took a sip of her soda


"You know, with that level of coherence, you and Trent would make a good couple, shame about Monique though" Jane said knowingly


Daria spit out her drink in surprise, and coughed before regaining her composure.


"Wow. Daria Morgandorffer flustered. I never thought I'd see that...again."


"What are you implying?"


"Nothing at all Amiga. It's just that when I mentioned you and Trent as a possible couple, well, you turned a nice shade of pink."


"I'm not into him, if that's what you're implying"


"No...not at all. We both know that isn't a possibility" Jane said






"Okay then"




A pause


"Am I really that obvious?"




This was the first time Daria had actually faced down her feelings. In the luminance of harsh fluorescent lighting, in the atmosphere of too much grease, in the presence of one that cared deeply for her, she was confronting herself.


She had known deep down, ever since that day in the basement, ever since Trent had opened up to her, that Trent may just be the one for her. But they were so different! How was this all possible? Two people with very little in common falling for each other. Or rather, as Daria mused, one falling for the other. She had lied to herself, and Jane had been the light that uncovered the lies she had constructed to protect herself from all the pain and hurt. She had felt that pain with Tom, and she sure as hell didn't want to feel it again.


Yet she just couldn't stop thinking about Trent. The way he made her feel accepted. Not in a world of jocks and their babes, but in a much cooler world. Knowing Trent was like a vindication of everything she was, everything she had worked to be.


But now Trent was in the arms of another. The truth could be both a kind and harsh thing. It made her confront herself, but it also made her think about all the pain Trent had inadvertently caused her. It made her think of all the pain that Tom had caused.


Maybe it was fate that she should go back to Tom. Here he was. He had caused so much pain, but Daria had reasoned that Tom had been caused so much pain by her. It was the universes way of leveling things out. After all they had been through, he was willing to take her back, he was pleading to have her back.


Daria thought about the time that she thought she wasn't interested in Trent. She had been happy during those days. It was when she met Tom. She realized that maybe this fixation on Trent was unhealthy for her, maybe it was closing doors as to life's other possibilities.


Not that she would ever admit it, but Tom did make her happy. Happier than she had been in quite a while, much happier then when she pined after Trent. Maybe, Tom was the answer. Maybe if she got back together with him, all the pain would go away. Maybe it was only in pain that Daria pined after Trent. It would make sense. She is in a world of darkness, and suddenly Trent seems a beacon of ecstasy by comparison.


Daria got up


"Where you going Amiga?"


"There's somebody I have to forgive"


With that, Daria threw a 20 down on the table and rushed out.



Tom sat in his car outside Daria house. It didn't matter of she was there. Everything about his daily life had reminded him of Daria.


He had thought that he had broken up with Daria because of selfish reasons. He had thought that he didn't have the gumption to make a relationship work, so he found a way to get out. He had thought that the road to get out was fictitious, but, when he had heard that Daria had been in the arms o Trent...maybe the road was a lot more real than he imagined.


Maybe all the time that they had been going out, Daria was secretly in love with Trent. Maybe their whole relationship was a lie, and now he had begged her to come back to him. So they could live another lie. Tom could see a pattern emerging, but the darkest parts of him did not care.


So what if we go around in a circle, not going anywhere? We enjoyed her.


His consciousness had a point.


His reason though, and his compassion rose up.


Is it fair to her, to be living a lie, when we both know that there is somebody else for her?


Tom had never faced any sort of dilemma like this before. Even when leaving Jane, he could reason that their relationship was running out of steam, but now....but now. He felt as if he were not making a decision for him, but for her. He felt as if he held her future in his hands, and he controlled her to a certain degree.


He knew Daria would reason, would take him back. Besides, Trent was with Monique now, Daria would shut off that line of thinking. The darkest parts of him felt the power surge through him, his compassionate side felt the surge of responsibility run through him.


Here was this amazing girl. She had issues, sure, but when Tom looked into her eyes. He could not describe what he felt. Here was this amazing girl, and Tom held her future. What was better, living in a fool's paradise? Or perhaps hanging onto a dream that may never be realized.


The moment of truth approached.


Daria walked over to his car.


"What are you doing here?"



Trent had just woken up, it was true.






"You annoy the crap out of me, you know that?"


"What!?" Monique angrily exclaimed


" fact, I hate you"


" dare you!"


"I just realised that why we keep on going around in circles isn't because we were meant to be together, but because we just suck at being together. We just weren't meant to be"


"I.....I....this is because of that little skank isn't it!?"




"You know...the bitch with the glasses"


"Her name is Daria, and she's got it all figured out"




Trent turned toward the door, having confronted himself, and ready to confront fate, when Monique vented a parting shot


"I get credit for the break-up"


"Whatever...I don't care anymore. There's more to life"



Tom smiled


"What am I doing here? Just confronting questions of morality...the usual"


"Oh" Daria replied




"So...I guess I forgive you"




"Yeah...I can see that perhaps I haven't been the easiest girl to go out with, must have been hard for you. The fact that you maintain that it's your fault, well; I think it shows a lot of courage" Daria said


Tom was stunned. Here he had assumed that he had all the power, and then Daria does this on her own.


" want to...get back together?"


"I guess" Tom said




Daria hopped in the car


"I guess I missed this"


"Yeah...wait, you guess you missed this?"


"Well, you know...I didn't think about it until now" Daria said


"Oh...I see"


"You know...its funny, trying to decide between two actions with repercussions grander than the result...."


"What do you mean?"


"'s nothing...."


" want to go check out Books by the Ton?"


Daria burst out laughing like she never had before, Tom was startled and a little scared.


"Is...everything okay?"


"Yeah...I wouldn't go to the biology section though"


"Why did you laugh just now?"


"Just something that happened"


"What happened?"


"It's nothing"


"For you to laugh like that, it has to be the sickest saddest story, and I want in"


"It's just that...."




"Trent told me that he'd been kicked out for....having relations, under the watchful eyes of Charles Darwin"


Tom looked down; he saw how this was going to go. He had been through it himself. He had first started to smile fondly when Daria said something, then he found himself laughing in the shower at something that Daria did, and then he started to dream of her.


" there somewhere else you want to be right now? With someone else?"


Daria considered. Perhaps Trent...but no...she thought that she only found Trent attractive when she had been offered little else by the world. Trent was a last resort, but a last resort that looked so damn tempting...


It was true that Daria was into Trent, but she figured that it would pass in time, like it had when she first had gone out with Tom. But wait. If those feelings had truly gone away, why was she daydreaming about him now?


"Having a daydream?"




"Go to him"




"Go and find Trent, and state your feelings"






"'re a good friend"


"Don't say that, don't make this harder than it already is. Go to him...take a chance, do something out of character, it pays off....I know" Tom said, smiling fondly



Trent saw Daria get out of Toms car.


Damn...I guess there's no hope now. But wait. Why is she heading over here?


"Hey Trent"


"Hey...what's...uhh....what's up?"


"Nothing much...what's....up with you....."


"Me and Monique broke up"




"Yeah...we just weren't meant to be together, you's probably because we were both so damn similar that it didn't work out...but then again, being similar can work, look at you and Tom" Trent said crestfallen


"Tom and I aren't going out"


"You're not?"




"You uhh....want to go for a ride somewhere?"


"I'd like that more than you could ever know"


Nothing had to be stated. No act had to be undertaken. This story had run its course, and the fates had smiled upon Daria and Trent and wished them all the happiness of love's warming glow.


For theirs was a love so pure that it could break all boundaries. It was a love that transcended personality; it was the meeting of two souls. It was because that they were so different, that their love was so strong.


Perhaps, sometimes love is in the last place you look, sometimes it in a polar opposite. Sometimes a bookworm and a cool dude can get together, like the meeting of tow forces of nature, ying and yang, fire and ice, north and south.