Chapter 1: Departure
It wasn't often that Daria had a headache, but now was one of those times. She was seriously thinking of taking something for it. Looking around all she saw were empty walls and floors. The charity truck had taken all of Tom's furniture away. What was left were the two metal folding chairs they had pulled out of a dumpster, which they would throw back in the dumpster once the movers arrived to pick up Tom's boxes. She had suggested to Tom that at least a few pieces of furniture be moved, but he had decided against it. They were all second hand and fitting for a college student's apartment. He really wanted to start over in New York – even if money were tight for the first few months. Well, at least as tight as it can get for a Sloane working for a major accounting firm trying to live on an accountant's starting salary.
The day was warm and they had the windows open. Tom was stacking boxes in a pair of shorts, sandals, and no shirt. Despite her headache, Daria was enjoying the view. Tom was fit, but not an athlete. His short sandy hair, gray eyes and chiseled features made him plenty handsome for her. She still didn't truly understand how this boy from old money had managed to fall in love with her. Even after she broke up with him at the end of high school he had slowly but surely pursued her until they got back together at the end of last summer. She not only admitted to herself that she loved him, but also that she still had much to learn about being a decent girlfriend. Now they both had jobs and were moving to New York.
Tom paused a moment and looked over at Daria. How he loved her shoulder length auburn hair, her oval face, and brown eyes. She was thin, but as far as he was concerned had curves in the right places. To Tom she was more beautiful today than when he had fallen in love with her back in high school. She was now an adult woman. He had spent years getting them to the place they were now in their relationship. He asked, "What are you thinking about?"
Daria looked at him over the top of her big round glasses. "I'm thinking about digging in my overnight bag and pulling out some pain killer. I have a headache. I think it is some combination of stress, dust, and sitting on these awful folding chairs."
"I guess with a headache there is no finding a good way to relieve it without pills. It occurred to me we could do something about the stress!" Tom commented while giving Daria a half-smile.
Daria gave Tom a look of disgust, "Not on a hardwood floor, mister. I like a little cushioning. Besides, the movers are supposed to be here soon. Now be a passable boyfriend and hand me my overnight bag. It is sitting there next to my suitcase."
Tom handed Daria the bag and commented, "Only passable?"
As she dug in her bag looking for some pain killers she said in total deadpan, "You are when you entertain ideas like that without the proper accoutrements! There it is." Daria pulled out a bottle of pills, put two in her hand and walked over to the sink. There she put the pills in her mouth, cupped her hands to catch some water and washed them down. Turning around she leaned up against the counter.
Tom walked over, put his arms around her and gave her a big kiss.
After their lips parted Daria said, "Mmm. I know somebody who is going to need a shower before we head for the train."
Tom finished up his work with the boxes and headed into the bathroom to take a shower. The few towels he had sitting out were second hand and would be thrown away with the folding chairs.
Daria paced around the apartment. Staring out the bay window she was wondering what she was going to do about an apartment in New York. Sure, she would stay with Tom until she had something, but she didn't want to stay too long. He certainly wanted her to stay. She knew he would be overjoyed if she just moved in! But, she had already been over that with him. She needed to prove to herself that she could make it on her own. That meant having her own apartment and covering all her own expenses. It would be tight. It would be difficult and clearly her apartment and furnishings would not be new and shiny. Still they would belong to her. She certainly didn't want to leave herself vulnerable to having to suddenly fend for herself after a breakup! Truthfully, though, she did not think that would be likely.
Tom came out of the bathroom dressed in shorts, sandals, and a polo shirt. As he approached Daria the noise of a large diesel powered truck could be heard in front of the house. "They're here!" Tom said. Moments later there was a knock on the door. Tom opened it and let the driver into the apartment.
It only took about a half hour for the driver and his helper to load up Tom's things and complete the paperwork. As quickly as the truck had arrived it was gone.
Daria looked around and exclaimed, "Wow. Just like that your college experience is over. Two trucks come and everything is gone. Doesn't it make you kind of sad?"
"Not really," Tom replied. "I had a good time here. I made what I consider some potential lifelong friends. But, it was never meant to be a permanent state. It was education to prepare me for what comes next in my life – a career." Walking over he put his arms around Daria and whispered in her ear, "Besides, by moving on I get to be closer to you. We will be in the same city. You know you are always welcome to stay with me."
Daria hugged Tom. It wasn't often that she hugged him first. But right now she needed the warmth of his body and the feeling of his touch. What was wrong with her? This was not a great crisis! It wasn't even like spinning out in her mother's SUV. She had a job and a future waiting in New York. So did he. So why on earth did she feel scared? Why did she feel the need to hang on for dear life?
"It's OK Daria. You can let me see your emotions. Let me in and I will do what I can to help," Tom whispered. "I am here and I love you." He kissed the top of her head.
Daria felt so stupid. She released Tom and looked up at him saying, "This is stupid. I have no reason to feel like this. To feel scared is crazy."
Tom held Daria's hand and caressed it. Then he looked deep into those beautiful brown eyes and said, "It is perfectly normal to feel apprehension and even fear when starting something new. The old was comfortable, but now we are stepping out into the unknown. But, we are stepping out together. Yes, we are each starting our own unique jobs in New York, but we still don't know what we will find. Will we like our jobs? Will we be able to get along with the people there? Will we succeed or will we crash and burn?"
"You know you're not helping," Daria said in total deadpan.
"Daria, you are the most intelligent person I know. You will succeed. All you have to do is try. Look at how you succeeded at Raft. Have confidence in yourself. Do the job. People will be happy you are there. Trust me. This will be exciting and fun! I will even be able to brag that my girlfriend is one of the writers for Sick, Sad, World!"
"So it is about you bragging," Daria deadpanned.
"No," Tom replied. "It is about you succeeding because you are intelligent, talented, and capable. The bragging is just a side benefit for me!"
Daria hugged Tom again and said, "I know you are just trying to help me. Maybe this feeling will go away. I just don't see me resolving this for a while. We should just head to the train station. We don't want to miss our train!" With that she released Tom, walked over and put her duffle around the handle of her rolling bag. Then she said. "Don't dawdle Sloane, we have a train to catch!"
Tom laughed, grabbed his bag, and the two headed out. Tom closed and locked the door, dropped the key in the mailbox, and then they started walking the six blocks to the Newtowne train station.