Fates Entwined

Uncovered

"Hey Daria," Jane said on the phone.

"What's going on?" asked Daria.

"I'm not too shabby," Jane replied. "Things are getting pretty interesting between Eric and I."

"Shall I bring a pregnancy test?" asked Daria. "Never know when that thing will turn blue."

"Daria, don't even joke like that!" Jane said with an exasperated laugh. "I was just wondering if you'd like to join me and Eric on a double date with you and Ted tagging along."

"You sure about that?" asked Daria. "Last time we tried a double date, I didn't exactly hit it off with that retro guy Nathan."

"It'll be different this time," promised Jane. "You already know Eric and it won't be as weird this time."

"That's true," conceded Daria. "I'll be sure to ask Ted and see if he's available."

"Hope to see you guys soon," Jane admitted. "Just give me a call back if Ted's available."

"Will do," Daria promised. "See ya."

oooo

Lawndale.

"Sup man?" asked Mack Mackenzie. "It's been a while."

"Yeah, we haven't seen each other for months," admitted Kevin.

The two former football teammates sat in the pizzeria in Lawndale. Mack was back in town for the weekend and they made managed to schedule some time to hang out together again.

"I'm glad I got some time off this weekend," Mack admitted. "Everything been going alright with you in your fifth year?"

"I'd love to say yes to that, Mack Daddy, but everything's not cool," admitted Kevin.

Mack bristled at being called "Mack Daddy" yet again, but at the same time, he clearly saw that something was bothering Kevin.

Mack sighed. "What's been going on with you, Kevin?"

"Well… I think Brittany is seeing some other guy now," said Kevin.

"She is?" Mack looked surprised.

"Yeah, I saw her recently driving around with another guy," Kevin replied.

"Kevin… how do I put this delicately," Mack tried to tell his friend. "That's just the nature of the beast these days."

"What do you mean?" asked Kevin.

"A lot of high school couples don't last," Mack shook his head ruefully. "That's just how it is, man. Heck, even Jodie and I aren't together anymore."

"You aren't?" Kevin looked surprised.

"Nope," Mack shook his head. "Guess it just wasn't meant to last. You gotta move on from this, Kevin. That's life, bro."

"I… I don't know Mack Daddy," Kevin lowered his head as Mack frowned at hearing the pet name again. "I thought Brittany was my girl and that we'd be together forever, you know."

"Yeah, well… sometimes you just gotta let things go," Mack said uneasily, not knowing how to comfort Kevin exactly.

"So, like, what made you and Jodie drift apart?" asked Kevin.

"Just came naturally," admitted Mack regretfully. "She and I are going to two different colleges and we've got different goals in life. Plus there's no denying she didn't always make time for me."

"Yeah, I see what you're saying," Kevin hung his head down.

"Look," Mack tried to cheer his friend up. "It's not the end of the world for you, Kevin. So what if there's no more Brittany? There's plenty of fish in the sea! And once you graduate from high school for good, I'm sure you'll get plenty of football scholarships out there!"

"I guess you're right Mack Daddy," Kevin said a bit more cheerfully. "Maybe I—"

At that moment, the door to the pizzeria opened and both Kevin and Mack noticed somebody very familiar stepping in.

"Speak of the Devil," Mack's eyes widened.

Brittany entered into the pizzeria, arm in arm with another man. At once, Kevin gasped in shock at seeing his girlfriend in the arms of another guy.

Mack looked at Kevin, not knowing what to say.

"Babe, what are you doing?!" Kevin said aloud.

Brittany looked at Kevin with disdain in her eyes. The guy next to her also glanced at Kevin and Mack with a similar expression of disgust.

"What does it look like, Kevin?" Brittany said disgustedly. "I've moved on."

Kevin's heart dropped. She was not calling him by his pet name anymore and that was a bad sign.

"But I thought you and I were tight, babe," Kevin protested.

"Not anymore," Brittany glared at him. "You know how embarrassing it is to still be the girlfriend of someone who was held back? I've found someone else, someone better."

"Yeah, she got me," the guy next to her smiled smugly.

He was a tall, strong guy with broad shoulders and brown hair. Judging from the jersey he was wearing, he was apparently somebody who played college football.

"Oh Chris, you're the best," Brittany said, hugging at the shoulder of her new boyfriend.

"You're old news," Chris said to Kevin. "Just get used to the fact that your girl isn't your girl anymore."

"Hey, you don't have to rub it in," Mack glared at Brittany's new girlfriend.

"Word of advice?" Chris said, completely ignoring Mack. "Get over it, Kevin. And from now on, I'd find a new hangout spot if I were you. This pizza joint is my territory from now on."

"Hey, we're not living in the Middle Ages," Mack protested. "Kevin can go wherever he wants. Besides, you don't own this place."

"And you must be his sidekick," Chris said mockingly. "I've heard Brittany mention you in passing. You always played second fiddle to Kevin on Lawndale's football team. How's college football by the way?"

Mack froze. Though Chris didn't know it, he hit a raw spot. As hard as he tried, Mack just didn't make the cut for the college football team.

"Nothing to say?" Chris smiled. "Didn't make the cut?"

"What's it to you?" demanded Mack angrily.

"I was right, wasn't I?" Chris said mockingly.

"Chris… why don't we just find a place to sit," Brittany said to her boyfriend uncomfortably.

Though she was no longer in love with Kevin, Brittany still didn't feel comfortable prolonging the situation with her ex-boyfriend and just wanted to move on as quickly as possible.

"You're right, babe," Chris put his arm around her to signify how she was now his in front of Kevin. "And Kevin, I'd better not see you in my joint again."

The two walked off to a separate far-off table.

"That low down son of a—" Mack gripped his drink angrily.

"Just forget it, man," Kevin said in a defeated tone.

"Kevin?" Mack turned back to his former football colleague.

"I'm done eating anyways," Kevin muttered. "He's right. She doesn't love me anymore… so no use in dwelling on all the old things we shared together. Let's just get out of here."

After paying for their meals, both Kevin and Mack stepped outside.

"You gonna be okay?" asked Mack.

"Don't worry about me, Mack Daddy," Kevin said sadly. "I'll pull through somehow."

"Alright, if you need anything, just give me a call," Mack told his buddy.

"Will do," Kevin replied ruefully.

"Hey man, I'm sorry about everything," Mack said to Kevin sympathetically.

oooo

"Hey," Daria waved as Ted came to their location in a bistro.

"Hey Daria," Ted went up to her. "Jane and her date arrive yet?"

"Nope, but it's not so late that I feel the need to put their pictures on milk cartons," remarked Daria.

"Why don't we head inside and reserve some tables?" asked Ted.

"Good idea, I'll even hold off on filing a missing persons report," Daria agreed.

The two went inside and noted how nice it was.

"How many?" asked the waitress.

"Table for four," Ted said to her.

"Come this way please," the waitress ushered them to a nearby table with dim lighting.

"What'll it be for drinks?" asked the waitress.

"I'll just have water," Ted told her.

"Same here," Daria nodded.

"Alright, be right back," the waitress wrote down their orders and headed to the back.

"So what're the chances we have a Wild West shootout here?" asked Ted, looking at Daria's backpack.

Daria looked to the side, noticing that one of the arrows from her crossbow was sticking out with the feathery side exposed.

"Whoops, I was going to leave it home but guess I forgot," Daria said sheepishly.

"Hey guys!" a voice greeted them.

Daria and Ted looked up to see Jane and Eric. The two of them were dressed much more formally than both Ted and Daria, who unwittingly wore simple t-shirts and jackets.

"Uh, so what's the occasion?" asked Daria.

"Oh, you know, Eric and I decided we wanted to dress snazzy tonight," Jane admitted.

Daria glanced at Ted and then back to Jane. Already she was starting to get Déjà vu flashbacks to her first double date, involving Tom, Jane, and Nathan.

"So what's with the arrow?" asked Jane. "You're not turkey hunting out in Boston, are you?"

"Well, you know, I was hoping to bag me a big one for Thanksgiving," Daria joked.

"Hi, I'm Eric," Jane's date introduced himself to Ted.

"I'm Ted," Ted Dewitt Clinton shook the other man's hand. "Nice to meet you."

"So Daria, got any plans for this upcoming winter break?" asked Jane.

"Not really," Daria said jokingly, "just head back to Lawndale and use Quinn as live practice for my newfound crossbow skills."

"Hey, imagine the look on her eyes when she sees that her sister has gone from wallflower to Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Jane chuckled.

"I remember Quinn," Ted recalled. "How's she doing?"

"She's… as perky as ever," Daria replied. "She even has a new boyfriend now."

In a brief flash, Daria saw something that resembled a knowing smirk light up across Eric's face as soon as she mentioned Quinn having a boyfriend. Eric didn't even know her sister and as a result, the smile came across as most unnerving.

"She really knows how to reel 'em in," Jane said with a smile, recalling how easily Quinn had most of the guys in the palm of her hands.

"Somehow, I don't think the concept of overfishing will ever enter Quinn's mind," Daria admitted sarcastically.

oooo

Lawndale.

"Jake," Helen crossed her arms, "don't you think Quinn's been acting a big strange?"

"Not that I know of," Jake continued watching football on the TV.

"She's been spending so much time with that boy that we don't really get to see her too often anymore," mentioned Helen.

"Well, you know what they say about young love," Jake said distractedly.

"Oh? And what do they say about young love?"

"Actually… now that I think of it, I forgot," Jake shrugged.

"Look Jake, it's one thing to have a boyfriend but Quinn's been slowly ignoring our curfews more and more," Helen reminded him. "I'm worried they might start getting sexually active together."

"Sexually active?!" Jake bolted up. "Are you serious?"

"I'm not a hundred percent certain, Jake," Helen said crossly. "But it's a possibility."

"I'd like to wrap my hands around his throat and start squeezing for stealing my little girl's innocence like that!" Jake growled.

"Jake, calm down," Helen shook her head. "We don't need to get violent but at the same time, Quinn has to understand that there are consequences for being sexually active at a young age like this. Unplanned pregnancy being one of them…"

"Yeah, you're right," Jake agreed, "so what next?"

"Well, we wait for Quinn to get back and then we have a talk with her," Helen confirmed.

"Wait, you mean the talk?" Jake looked mystified.

Helen sighed. "No Jake, we've already had that talk with Quinn when she was thirteen."

"Oh right," Jake said sheepishly.

"Look, why don't we just wait for Quinn in her bedroom and when she comes back, we can discuss things with her like rational adults?" suggested Helen.

"Sounds good to me!" Jake got up. "Let's do it then."

Helen nodded in agreement with her husband and the two of them headed upstairs.

"Remember Jake," Helen told her husband as she grabbed the door's hand. "Our goal isn't to humiliate Quinn, but to just let her know what she might get herself into."

"Got it," Jake winked.

As Helen opened up the door, she saw a sight she did not expect to see. Both Quinn and Kenneth were there in a state of near-undress, with Kenneth taking off Quinn's shirt and trying to undo her bra.

Helen gasped as Jake screamed.

"Mom, I can explain!" Quinn protested.

oooo

For Daria, the dinner actually went smoothly for her and all the people involved. Ted and Eric seemed to be hitting it off decently and there was much less awkwardness than the last double date she had been on.

Of course, it also helped that she also knew Eric beforehand, as opposed to Nathan.

After taking a final bite to finish her meal, Daria felt something rumble in her pockets.

Reaching in, she took out her cell phone. Several messages adorned her phone from both Quinn and her parents. Apparently the message to really take home was that Quinn was caught in a compromising position with her new boyfriend.

Daria groaned. Even now she still had to deal with this kind of drama.

"Something the matter?" asked Jane.

"Family emergency," Daria replied numbly. "And by emergency, I don't mean anybody's in the hospital. Just Quinn being Quinn…"

"Dare I ask what she did this time?" Jane raised an eyebrow.

"She was caught in the act with her boyfriend," Daria sighed. "Both my parents were there when it happened."

"Yikes," Jane frowned.

"Sorry to cut this short," Daria told the crowd. "But I've got to head out and prevent a disaster."

"Good luck," Eric said, wishing her well.

"Yeah, tell me if you need anything," Ted emphasized.

"Don't worry, this crisis should be averted," Daria reassured them. "I'll see you guys later."

Daria got up. But before she left, she put her hand on Ted's hand.

"I'll see you later too, Ted," Daria smiled.

Jane's eyes widened. Perhaps there really was something going on with Ted and Daria now.

"Bye Daria," Ted waved as Daria got up and left.

"Well, this double date just got awkward," Jane admitted once it was just Eric, her, and Ted at the table.

"I'll say," Eric nodded.

"So, uh, Ted, what've you been up to lately?" asked Jane, trying to make further conversation.

"I'm glad you asked," Ted said enthusiastically. "I've recently been studying up on weapons of the medieval Islamic period, from the scimitars to their composite bows."

"Really?" Eric tilted his head in interest. "Tell me more."

"Sure thing," Ted smiled.

Jane frowned. She was certainly glad the two were getting along but now Ted was starting to feel like a squeaky third wheel on the date.

oooo

As soon as Daria settled down at her room at Aunt Amy's, she picked up the phone and called her mother.

"Hey mom," Daria said blankly.

"Daria, I need you to talk some sense into Quinn!" Helen's voice immediately answered.

"I would, but talking sense to Quinn hasn't really been my strong suite after all these years, "Daria answered honestly.

"You're not bothered that your baby sister is having sex in high school?" asked Helen incredulously.

"More like I'm not surprised," Daria told her mother. "Look mom, Quinn's always been Miss Popularity at school and it's a miracle she's held out for so long. For Quinn, losing her virginity by her senior year of high school can be considered a miraculous act of self-control."

"Why couldn't Quinn be more like you?" asked Helen. "You never went wild dating multiple guys like this in high school."

"I think the fact that most Lawndale High guys were only a tiny step up from most Highland High guys might've had something to do with it," Daria said sarcastically.

"Daria, I know it's hard for me to admit this, but in some cases, you're even more of an adult than both me and your father," Helen admitted. "What do you have to say about this situation?"

"Well, here's my honest opinion," Daria advised. "Quinn's only a few months away from becoming a legal adult and let's face it, we're not living in Victorian times anymore where the social norms were different. These days, that's just what happens with teenagers. They fall in puppy love and sometimes they can even get intimate with one another. Dating may not have been much of my scene back then and I ultimately didn't end up sleeping with the one boyfriend I did have, but Quinn's a different person than I am."

"I… I guess I see where you're going with this," Helen replied.

"Sometimes we just have to let people make their own choices," said Daria, "or in Quinn's case, let her make her own mistakes just in case her new boyfriend ends up being a worthless jerk."

"I suppose you're right Daria," acknowledged Helen. "I'll go have a talk with Quinn and this time my voice won't be raised so high."

"Go easy on her mom," encouraged Daria. "Remember, you and dad were former hippies from back in the day."

"Oh right," Helen blushed, recalling her younger days. "In any case, Daria, I'll head out now. Goodbye Daria, and stay safe over there."

"Thanks mom," Daria nodded. "Talk to you later."

oooo

"Wow Ted," Eric said in a complimentary fashion. "I never knew you were so knowledgeable on all these historical topics."

"Hey, when you grow up with two Puritan parents who don't want you getting involved in a lot of modern entertainments, you find other ways to occupy your time," admitted Ted. "Reading medieval manuscripts was one of them."

Jane sat next to Eric, tapping her fingers against the table impatiently. She didn't have anything against Ted personally but it still felt like her date was being hijacked.

"Well anyways, it's getting late," Ted looked at his watch. "I'd better be heading back and getting ready for this presentation I have in a few days."

"It was good hanging out with you," Eric said, shaking Ted's hand as he got up. "Say, do you want to hang out sometime?"

"That would be sweet," Ted smiled, taking out his cell phone.

After the two of them exchanged cell phone numbers, Ted finally left the bistro, leaving only Jane and Eric.

"You two seemed to hit it off," Jane noted.

"Good guy, that Ted," Eric nodded.

"So, I guess this means now I can have you all to myself," Jane smiled.

"All yours," Eric moved in for a kiss.

Suddenly, Eric felt something on the floor that rolled off his shoe rather easily. Looking down, he noticed one of Daria's crossbow arrows. Temporarily holding off on the kiss, he reached down and picked it up.

"Daria's?" asked Jane.

"Must've fallen off when she had her backpack on the floor," Eric looked at it carefully. "Daria and I attend the same college anyways. I'll just hand it back to her tomorrow or whenever I see her. Now… where were we?"

Jane and Eric embraced again once more as the candle at their table continued to burn.