I Saw You Standing There
by Diane Long
Thanks to the people who sent positive and constructive feedback on my first fan fiction attempt (It's My Party and I'll Cry, But Not in Front of You!). Your comments were very helpful and encouraging. Thus, here is my second try. Standard disclaimer.
illustration by Diana Morgan
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon when Trent first noticed Daria, when he really noticed her. He had just woken up from a nap and was heading down to the basement practice area. As he passed Jane's room, he heard someone snoring. He knew it wasn't Janey, she snored like a chain saw. These snores were soft and quiet. The door was open and he couldn't resist sticking his head in to see who it was. It was Daria, and she was fast asleep, sitting on the floor, with her back resting against the edge of the bed. Her legs were stretched out in front of her and crossed at the ankle. Her black skirt was riding high on her thighs, exhibiting, a set of surprisingly excellent legs. They were really slim, but with great shape. The way her combat boots hugged the tops of her calves, and the way the pleats in her skirt draped across her upper thighs accentuated those subtle curves. Trent stared. Daria's head drooped forward, her chin resting on her chest. Her glasses were about to fall from her face. On one side, the arm of the glasses had completely slipped out from behind her ear, and on the other side, the other arm was well on its way. Her nose was the only thing keeping the glasses on at all. She looked really cute like that. Suddenly, she twitched in her sleep, and her glasses dropped into her lap. Trent knew how much Daria's glasses meant to her and he didn't want them to get broken, so he went over to pick them up. He tried to be really quiet, as he didn't want to wake her. Trent kneeled beside her and gently scooped up the glasses and placed them on Jane's nightstand. While he was kneeling there, a shaft of late afternoon sunshine slipped through the window and washed Trent and Daria in a warm, yellow, light. Daria's deep brown hair glowed with auburn highlights that Trent had never noticed before. It looked warm and soft. He wanted to touch it.
"No way," he told himself, "this is Daria."
He continued to stare anyway. Up this close, he noticed that she was slightly flushed. Without her glasses covering her eyes, Trent observed that Daria had thick brown eye lashes and that her eye brows had a naturally sharp arch to them, making her look somewhat skeptical, even while asleep. Whoa, where did this person come from? Was this the same Daria he had known for almost two years?
Trent got to his feet and slowly moved towards the hallway. As he left the room, he tried to remember when he had first met Daria. He thought it was the time Janey had asked him to drive them to some party. He barely remembered meeting her then. She had hardly said anything. However, he remembered seeing her around lots of other times after that. Most often, his memories were of Daria hanging around the house with Jane. There were other memories that stood out more. There was the time they had gone to Alternapalooza, and the Tank had broken down. That was when he had first realized Daria was an interesting person, and he had stopped thinking of her only as "Janey's friend", he had casually begun to think of her as his friend too. Then there was the time Daria had helped him at the flea market. They had actually gone off on their own and had a conversation. By that time he had begun to appreciate her acerbic sense of humor, and he had really enjoyed her satire of her parent's friends. There was something else about that day, something that Jane had said. What was it? It seemed important, but Trent couldn't remember. Then, there was the piercing. Often since that day, he had wondered what had truly motivated him to take her to Axle's parlor. He remembered feeling really bad when he realized how scared she was. It was a shame the piercing had closed up, the navel ring had looked really hot.
"Stop it," he thought fiercely.
"Trent? What are you doing?"
Trent jumped. It was Jane. He looked around. Good. He had wandered out into the hall while he was thinking.
"What are you doing?" He tried to look bored.
Jane shifted the plate of food she was carrying. "I am about to feed the brain in there."
"Daria. She has been helping me study for my Trigonometry test all weekend. Its time for a late lunch."
"What's up with you?" Jane's tone turned slightly suspicious.
Trent shrugged. "I'm coming up with the words to a new song." He turned around and headed down the stairs.
Jane shook her head and smiled. Trent always went a bit more vacant when his muse had a hold on him.
Two weeks, and an impressive "B" on Jane's Trig mid-term, later, Trent found himself in the basement practicing a new song. This was a song he had just written was trying get the musical bugs out. It was kind of personal, so he hadn't practiced it in front of Mystic Spiral, or even Jesse. This meant he practiced it in the mid-afternoon, when he was usually napping. It kind of sucked, but was OK, because he enjoyed working on the song.
Jane ran down the basement stairs. "Trent!"
Trent was intently reading the lyrics. He didn't hear her.
He looked up. "Yeah, Janey?"
"I need a favor. Daria is on her way over, and I just realized that I'm out of turpentine. I'm going to the art supply to get more. Will you let her in?"
"Thanks... and don't fall asleep." Jane turned and dashed back up the stairs.
Trent frowned at her, then followed her up the stairs. He sat down at the kitchen table and tried very hard not to fall asleep.
Daria knocked on the front door of the Lane house. No answer. She looked up at the sky warily. Dark clouds were rolling in and the distant rumbles of thunder were getting louder. She knocked again. Still no answer. She sat down on the front step. The wind was picking up now, whipping her long hair around. Daria winced, thinking about how tangled it was going to get. She rummaged around in her backpack, and pulled out a book and began to read. She got through a chapter before the first fat raindrop splashed down onto the page she was reading. It was quickly followed by many more. Daria jumped up and pounded on the door.
Trent shifted in his sleep. There was that loud noise again. "Come on Janey, keep it down," he muttered.
"Dammint, Jane! Is anyone in there? It's raining out here!" Shouted a familiar and irritated voice from outside.
Trent snapped awake. Shit! It was Daria! He loped into the living room and threw open the door. A disheveled Daria rushed inside.
"Oh, hey Daria. Janey told me to let you in. She went to the art supply store. She ran out of turpentine or something."
Daria took her off her rain spattered glasses, and dried them on the sleeve of her jacket. "I've been here for a half an hour."
"Sorry, I was ... in the basement." Trent fibbed.
"That's OK." She smiled slightly.
Trent smiled back. Daria's hair was wonderfully messy. She looked like she had just gotten out of bed. His mouth went dry as that thought took him to other places.
Daria put her glasses back on. "Are you OK? You look pale."
Trent tried to swallow. "I think I have a headache. I'm going back to the basement."
"Yeah. Maybe the loud music will help your head feel better."
Trent raised an eyebrow, then turned around and headed towards the basement. His head spun as he went down the stairs. It was still strange to think of Daria in that way. He walked over to his guitar and picked it up. He thoughtfully strummed the strings as an image of a damp and windblown Daria danced behind his eyes. It might be OK... she was 18 now. But that wasn't really the issue. She was his little sister's best friend. That changed everything. Hands off, man. Jane would never forgive him, if he ruined her friendship with Daria. Still, he couldn't help being very aware that he and Daria were alone together in the house. He could her the dull thud of her combat boots as she went upstairs. He wondered what she was doing up there. Did he need to go up and get anything from his room? Should he go talk to her? Shaking his head, he stayed put and went back to putting his new song to music.
A month later, Trent had finally gotten the new song to a good point. It was musically sound, and he had been careful to take out all obvious references to Daria. It was all about her, but he was the only one who knew that. The band had really dug it, and they were all going to give it a debut at tonight's gig.
McGrundy's was crowded tonight. Mystic Spiral had recently gained quite a following. People dressed in their most outrageous best filled the floor space. Trent looked down at his own nondescript jeans and tee shirt and smiled. He could never get into the black leather scene. It just wasn't him. Not that he didn't appreciate the creativity involved in creating those outfits. Personally, he just wanted to keep things simple. That included his wardrobe, his music, and his love life. Of course the latter had grown to be disturbingly frustrating lately. Speaking of which, Trent scanned the crowd for Daria. She was standing by Jane at the edge of the mosh pit, and looking very strained. Trent frowned, realizing that she hated being crowded. Well, there wasn't much he could do about it. It was time to get things started. Trent and the rest of the band walked calmly onto the stage.
"Hi, we're Mystic Spiral, we have decided not to change our name," Trent introduced them briefly. With that, they tore into "Ice Box Woman" to warm up the crowd.
As he played and sang, Tent kept a watchful eye on Jane and Daria. It looked like Jane had a glass of beer. Exactly like she had promised him she wouldn't do. Daria was standing with her arms crossed rigidly across her chest. Bad sign. This crowd must be really getting to her. Next time, he would try to work out a more comfortable arrangement for her, maybe she could hang out in the control booth. His train of thought shifted when he felt Jesse nudge his arm slightly. He looked up. Jesse was arching his eyebrows questioningly. Trent realized he was a few beats behind the rest of the band. He grimaced and jumped ahead to where he was supposed to playing and stopped paying attention to the girls. After several more songs, he announced that they were going to try a new song tonight. The crowd was hyped by this point and was ready to try something new. Encouraged by their reception, Mystic Spiral aggressively launched into the new song. It was a disturbing love song. It was hard and fast, with jagged edges. The lyrics spoke of longing and frustration. The crowd loved it and called for an encore. After complying, Trent announced that the band was taking a break and the next set would begin in about a half an hour.
As he unslung his guitar, Trent wondered what Daria had thought of the song. Once again he scanned the crowd. He saw two guys hitting on Daria and Jane. Jane seemed interested, and happy to have a second beer. Trent watched Daria closely, suddenly jealous. He couldn't tell what Daria's reaction was, there were too many people in the way. He jumped off the stage and made his way towards them. It was slow going, as many people were trying to talk to him about the new song. As he worked his way through the crowd, he saw the guy who was hitting on Daria move his face closer to hers. Then the sea of people blocked his view again. Frustrated, Trent pushed on through the crowd. By the time he had made his way to them, Jane and Daria were alone. Trent tried not to look too relieved. With amusement, he noticed that Jane was trying to hide her beer behind Daria's back.
"Hey Jane, hey Daria. Having a good time?" He looked pointedly at Jane. He didn't want to be a jerk, but the last thing he wanted was Jane running around this meat market drunk. It was too dangerous. He would make it up to her later by buying her a six pack to drink at home.
Jane smiled widely "Why, Yes, we are. Here's a beer I got for ya.". She handed the half-empty cup to Trent.
Taking it, he said dryly, " They just don't fill them up like they used to."
He was rewarded by a slight smirk from Daria.
Continuing, he asked, "What happened to those guys you were talking to?"
"Oh you know Daria, she sent them packing." Jane smirked, half amused, half annoyed.
"I simply asked him if he had brushed his teeth in the last month, or if his breath always smelled of soured cheese," Daria said, speaking for the first time.
Trent tried to remember if he had gotten around to brushing his teeth that morning. "What happened to your guy, Janey?"
"Oh, it was going fine, until Daria told him that she was on the vice-squad, and was going to arrest him for buying a beer for a minor," Jane complained.
Trent chuckled, earning him a glare from Jane. He took a sip of beer. It was warm.
illustration by Diana Morgan
"Come on Jane," Daria said flatly, "I was looking out for your best interests. Those guys were losers. We don't know where those beers came from. They were probably drugged."
Trent spit out the beer. And looked dubiously at the cup.
"Look out Trent, Daria might take advantage of you," Jane quipped.
Daria and Trent gave Jane a black look.
Turning to Trent, Daria said, "Great new song."
"Yeah. It spoke to me."
"I'm glad." He really was. She had connected with his song about her. That meant he had gotten it right. If she only knew.
It had been two days since the gig and Trent couldn't stop thinking about Daria. After publicly playing his feelings for her, it was almost as if the strength of those feelings had doubled. When she told him that his song had "spoken to her", he had begun to wonder if there might be hope after all. Should he tell her? He was lying in bed in his boxer shorts. The gaps between the edge of the blinds and the window glowed warmly, letting him know that it was day-time. He rolled over in bed and looked at the alarm clock. It was 2:30pm. Time for breakfast. Getting up, he stretched stiffly. Those late night sessions were starting to get to him. Cracking his neck, he headed towards the kitchen. There probably wasn't much around in the way of food. His mom had been out of town for several weeks and neither he nor Jane were very consistent grocery shoppers. He opened the fridge. Good, there was some left over pizza. He grabbed a slice and a can of soda. He was leaning against the counter, munching on his breakfast when Jane walked in. She stopped short, her eyes going wide at the sight of Trent in nothing but his boxers. A calculating look flashed across her face. Trent's heart skipped a beat.
"Janey, don't," he implored, guessing her next action.
"Hey, Daria! Come into the kitchen, there's some left over pizza!" Jane shouted.
Trent looked for a place to hide. He was trapped.
illustration by Liliane Grenier
Daria strolled into the kitchen. "What kind...", her voice trailed off and her checks flared in a deep blush. She stared.
"Hey, Daria." Trent said weakly.
Daria was silent. "Say something," she thought at herself. "Say anything."
Jane tried to keep her face neutral. This was a touchy situation. If she pushed too hard, it would be back to the drawing board for these two. "Trent was just making sure the left-overs were still edible. Weren't you?"
"Yeah. Tastes fine. Want some Daria?"
Trent rummaged around in the fridge. And came up with a decent slice. He offered it to Daria.
She had to come closer to get it. She tried not to look at his boxers, or his bare chest. That left his feet or face as the two acceptable possibilities for attention. She chose his face.
Trent squirmed under Daria's apparent scrutiny. Her eyes were locked with his. Now that he knew about them, Trent noticed Daria's thick eyelashes through her glass lenses. She had very expressive eyes. Very pretty eyes. A small smile crept up one side of his face. It was lopsided and cute.
Daria noticed it immediately. Was Trent smiling at her? To her chagrin she felt her blush deepen. As she reached for the pizza, she overshot a little, and her fingertips brushed Trent's.
They both jumped.
"Um... we're missing the beginning of Sick, Sad, World... new episode... been waiting for weeks..." Daria stammered and rushed out of the room.
Between Daria's hasty exit and Trent's confused expression, it was very difficult for Jane to keep from laughing out loud.
"Oh, well," she thought, "back to the drawing board!"
The end... for now.
Here I go continuing the work of getting my Daria stories back on after a decade!