"Movie was okay," Tom remarked as they walked together afterwards.

Daria shrugged.

"Were you cold? You could wear my jacket." He offered to the young lady that was now shaking her head in a firm no to his offer. She had been quiet giving only one liner answers to his attempts at conversations. Now she was walking a foot away from him with her arms crossed in defense mode not even glancing in his direction; it was like trying to hold a conversation with a brick wall. He sighed and walked a few more steps together in silence.

"Did I do something?" he asked suddenly.

She stopped and looked at him wondering what the heck he was talking about.

"Well you've been…distant." Tom tried to explain.

"Oh, sorry," she wasn't exactly sure what he meant. She was there with him, but she did silently concede that her mind wasn't exactly on their date.

He threw an arm around her a bit cautiously.

"Come on, tell me what's occupying that mind of yours."

She resisted the reflex action of shrugging him away, but they did stop walking.

"I was thinking about New York."

Tom cocked an eyebrow.

"In general or was there a specific reason?"

"Jane won a trip and invited me to go along."

"Mmm….."

"I know you've probably been there a lot, but I haven't and this would be a much different trip if I were going with my folks. I'll have more freedom to do stuff that I like."

"…so you think that your parents would be okay with you and Jane wandering around the big apple alone? I don't know, Helen and Jake don't seem like they would be too keen on two teenage girls all alone."

She looked at him ready to defend, but saw that he was only pointing out obvious problems that her parents would have. She sighed feeling somewhat defeated.

"You could tell them that Jane's parents will be there." He thought a moment. "On second thought, you might have better luck with it being just you and Jane."

"Her parents are just free spirits," she spoke with lightness as she thought about the 'wandering' Lanes, "but they love their kids."

"Well go for broke and lay it all out there. Let the chips fall where they may," Tom suggested with arms open in freefall position.

"I'm not crazy. I actually want to go. I just don't want to lie- at least not technically."

"You could sell it as the wonderful learning experience that it is and if you could get a teachers' support behind you then…"

"I thought about that, but the timing…it would have to be close enough where they wouldn't have time enough to poke holes in everything."

"See, you already had a plan in place."

"Execution though…..that's the key." She smiled at him briefly. "Thanks Tom, you've been a great help."

"So would this earn me a reward of some kind?" he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

She demurely gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek. His arms found their way around her waist and held her close. He took the opportunity to kiss her lightly on the lips. They smiled at one another and hand in hand walked on down the side walk.

Later…

Daria lay on her bed thinking over her evenings events. Her date with Tom had been a good one. It had been fun and he had been helpful.

The kisses were nice too.

She rolled to her side and faced the wall as she felt the warmth of a blush spread across her face. Everything was still so new to her and though she was adjusting, the awkwardness was still there. She had enjoyed the kissing at the doorway and he had been so sweet. She could almost still feel his breath on her nose from when they had pulled apart but he had still held her close. She savored that feeling, wanting for it to last. It kept a smile on her face as she drifted off into sleep.