Too Much Ado About Everything

by Diane Long

This is fan fiction attempt number three. Again, thank you to all of the wonderful people who have sent feedback my way. Your suggestions and comments have been extremely helpful. The standard disclaimer applies.

Act I, Scene I

Jane sat on the edge of her windowsill and looked out. The bright light made her eyes water. This time of day, her room always got a good dose of sunshine. That was why she usually kept the drapes shut. But today she was on the lookout. Daria was supposed to be on her way over. In fact, she should have arrived over fifteen minutes ago. Jane squinted against the late afternoon sun and shielded her eyes so she could get a better view of the street. No sign of Daria. She balanced a sketchpad on her lap and began to sketch with a piece of charcoal. With no particular plan in mind, she roughed up an image of Daria and Trent embracing. She smiled as she carefully gave Daria's face a hint of expression. Most people would miss it, but those who knew her would recognize it as a look of love. Jane wished. It was really frustrating to see two people who were obviously attracted to each other fight it so strongly. Satisfied with Daria's face, Jane tooled Trent's expression into one of pure lust. She snorted. She had actually seen that look on Trent when she had caught him sneaking out of her room several months ago, right before her big Trig exam. Trent had thought he had faked his way out of it. However, she had seen him before he had noticed her, and had made a point of not announcing her presence before Trent had made it completely out of the room. Poor Daria, she had been asleep and had missed the whole thing.

She sighed. Speaking of which, where the hell was Daria? Another glance out the window revealed a still empty street. Bored, she began to draw a border of hearts and nails around the edge of the sketch. She was frustrated with Daria and Trent's behavior because it seemed so wasteful. They both were suffering uselessly. But as soon as she tried to help them along, they jumped all over her. Jane was still smarting from their reaction to the boxer-short fiasco. Daria had angrily threatened her with dismemberment, but had seemed to get over it pretty quickly. Trent had told Jane off soundly and still wouldn't drive her anywhere. Oh well, that's what running shoes were for, and he would get over it eventually. Maybe this would be a good point for her to get around to getting her driver's license. Jane had known how to drive since she was thirteen, she had just never made it legal. She walked over to her desk and grabbed her tin of colored pencils. While she continued to wait she colored in the sketch. It actually turned out very nicely. Maybe she would save it for a wedding present. She smirked at that thought and sauntered back to the window. This time she saw a familiar figure outlined against the sun. Jane turned to head downstairs, but she stopped as something caught her eye. Was Daria limping? Concerned, she rushed downstairs, absently carrying the sketchbook under her arm.

She opened the front door before Daria could knock. "Hey. Are you OK?"

Daria looked non-pulsed. "Yeah." She came inside.

Jane didn't believe her. "What happened?"

Daria crossed her arms. "Nothing."

Jane glanced down at Daria's knees. The left knee had a small abrasion that was oozing little droplets of blood.

"Daria, you have a skinned knee, and you're limping. Something happened. Did Quinn get a little rough?" Jane raised an eyebrow."

"No," Daria said irritably. "I tripped over a stick on the way over. Are you satisfied?"

Jane winced. She knew Daria was self conscious about her clumsiness. "Lets go into the kitchen and get that cleaned up."

"OK. But don't tell Trent."

"Sure thing."

They went into the kitchen. Daria sat down at the table and Jane got some iodine and a damp wash cloth. Jane crouched by Daria and began dabbing the wash cloth around the wound.

"Oww!" Daria yelped. "You don't have to do that. Let me."

Jane grinned. Daria really was a pain wimp. "No way. You'd just let it go, and then it would get infected. Then we would have to ask Trent to kiss it and make it all better."

Daria pretended to ignore the comment.

Satisfied that the scrape was clean, Jane reached for the sketchbook. She flipped to where the newest sketch was and handed it to Daria. "Here, this should take your mind off the pain."

Daria grabbed the sketchbook, her eyes widening briefly, then narrowing. "You just don't give up do you?"

While Daria was distracted Jane brushed on the iodine.


They heard footsteps running up the basement stairs. The door banged open and Trent and Jesse ran into the kitchen.

Daria slammed the sketchbook shut.

"What happened Janey?" Trent asked breathlessly.

Jane waved the bottle of iodine at Trent. "Oh Daria tripped over a stick," Jane told him, just as she had promised she wouldn't. Just like always.

"Ouch. You OK, Daria?" asked Trent.

Predictably, Daria was blushing. "Mmm... I'm fine," she muttered.

"Iodine, huh? That stuff stings." Trent winced sympathetically. "It helps if you blow on it."

"What?" Jane and Daria asked together.

"It takes away the pain."

Jane smiled slyly. She wanted to say 'Why don't you blow on it, Trent?', but wisely stayed silent.

Daria just stared at Trent.

Trent stared back, realizing he had just made a somewhat suggestive remark.

Jane watched both of them staring and sighed. This could go on forever. Clearing her throat, she asked "What were you and Jesse working on down there?"

Trent snapped out of his trance. "You two remember the new song we played at the pub last week? Well, It got such a strong response, Jesse and I were inspired to work on some more new material."

"Yeah," Jesse put in. "You want to come downstairs and hear it?"

Trent didn't look as if he was too pleased by the concept, but grudgingly went along with Jesse. "Yeah, are you two busy?"

Jane screwed the top back on the little jar of iodine, and set it on the kitchen table. "My work here is done. We'd love to hear your new stuff, wouldn't we Daria?"

"Sure," said Daria looking down at the reddish stain on her knee.

"Then let's head downstairs," Jane said plucking her sketchpad from Daria's fingers.

The foursome went down the stairs, with Daria lagging behind. Her ankle was really swollen by now, and it hurt to go down the stairs. Even though she tried to be quiet, her boots sounded an odd cadence as she tried to hop down the stairs on her good foot. She was gripping the railings tightly, not wanting to fall again. Trent turned around, and immediately looked concerned. He walked back up the stairs to Daria.

"Here, let me help."

Looking a little hesitant, he slid his arm around her waist and provided balance and support as she hopped the rest of the way down the stairs. When they reached the bottom, he made sure she was balanced and let her go.

"Thanks, Trent." She smiled subtly.

"No, problem. Wouldn't want you to fall again."

He watched her limp painfully over to a folding chair and sit with great relief.

"You want some ice for that?" Trent asked.

"You should elevate it, too," Jesse chimed in.

Jane watched with interest as Jesse and Trent worked as a team to get Daria squared away. It was so cute. Jesse dragged over a broken amp for Daria to rest her foot on, while Trent dug through the ice chest looking for ice. It seemed that all of the ice had frozen together into a huge mass, so instead Trent offered Daria a freezer burned steak enclosed in a plastic bag.

She eyed it dubiously. "Aren't steaks supposed to be for black eyes?"

"That and sprained ankles, whatever." He handed it to her.

Daria sighed, at least it was sealed. The last thing she wanted was bloody meat melting all over her sock. With that thought, she unlaced her boot and eased her foot out. She pressed the steak against her ankle and focused her attention on Trent and Jesse as they got ready to perform.

Jane pulled up a second chair and settled by Daria. "So," she drawled. "Looks like Trent finally gave you his heart."

Daria looked sideways at Jane, without turning her head. "It's a steak, Lane, steaks work wonders for black eyes."

"Too bad your problem is a twisted ankle."

"Too bad you might be needing this steak in a minute," Daria menaced.

Trent watched Daria and Jane whispering. He wondered what they were talking about. He couldn't help but notice the leg Daria had propped up on the amp. Grinning, he admired the view, as he made some final adjustments on his guitar. He cleared his throat.

"Well, here's our newest song, just keep in mind its still rough..." Trent began.

"Wait!" Jane interrupted. "Do any of these new songs have names? I'm getting confused."

"This one is called 'Vampire Lover' ". With that Trent began a simple melody. Jesse joined in on his guitar. Trent began:

Illustration by By Liliane Grenier

I thought you were dead Coming into my bed Eyes full of dread Was it something I said?

You looked so pale Like you swallowed some nails Your skin was covered with scales Oh where did I fail?

Ooo, vampire lover! Ooo vampire lover!


It was bad. Really, really, bad. Jane had heard most of Trent's artistic efforts, some better than others, but this one was so bad it was funny. She felt a snicker fighting its way up her throat, and valiantly tried to swallow it. Instead, it escaped out of her nose with a loud honking sound. She gave up and hugged her self as the laughter burst free.

Trent didn't seem particularly ruffled by her response. "That bad, Janey?"

"", she wheezed fighting for breath. "Its just...that... some of those... rhymes were..." Here she dissolved into laughter again.

"I said it was still rough," Trent commented non-defensively. "What did you think, Daria?"

Daria looked thoughtful. "Well, I agree with Jane that some of the rhymes were a little forced..."

"A little?" Jane piped in through bursts of hysterical laughter.

Daria rolled her eyes. "It's a good concept for a song, I would just lose some of the end rhymes."

Trent flopped down on a battered couch across from Daria, obviously taking her advice seriously. "You're a writer. How would you change it?"

"I'm not much of a poet, but I would suggest changing your rhyme scheme."

"You mean like only rhyming every other line, or something like that?"

"Exactly, or maybe try internal's more subtle."

"Cool." Trent looked around, while he fished a pencil out of one of the couch's corners. "I have an idea, but I don't have any paper down here. Hey Janey, can I borrow your notebook?"

Jane was still recovering from her fit, and wasn't thinking clearly. "Sure." She handed him the sketchbook.

Daria's eyes widened. This was the sketchbook with that "cute" little picture Jane had just drawn. She shook her head and made furtive abortive movements with her hands.

Too late. Jane had already handed over the sketchbook before she noticed Daria's gestures. Her eyes widened in turn as she realized what she had done. She smiled guiltily at Daria, and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, "Well, now it's all gone to hell".

During this brief exchange, Trent had opened the sketchbook exactly in the middle (bypassing the drawing completely) and was scribbling down his lyric change ideas. As he wrote his head had begun to nod. Fighting his narcolepsy, he struggled to finish writing out his thought. Barely making it, he dropped the pencil on the floor; wrapped his arms around the sketch book, snuggled, and began to snore.

"Nap time!" Jane crowed. This day just couldn't get any funnier.

That was, until Daria took the half-thawed steak out of the baggie and lobbed it at Jane, who ducked, leaving poor Jesse to take the hit. Splat! Jane had laughed so hard, that she wasn't in any shape to notice Daria leaving in a huff.

Act I, Scene II

After Jane noticed that Daria was gone, she immediately went to her room and phoned her up. The conversation was not going well.

Jane balanced the phone receiver on her shoulder while she fiddled with her glue gun.

"Aw, come on, Daria," Jane wheedled. "Nothing happened."


Jane tried again. "I got the sketchbook back. He didn't see it. Its cool."


"Are you there?"


"Are you mad?"


"Oh." Jane didn't know what to say, particularly since she didn't think she had done anything wrong. Still, she didn't want to make Daria even madder by saying that. "ummm..."

"Look, I'll talk to you later." With a click, Daria hung up the phone.

Jane hung up the phone and walked over to her easel, hoping for inspiration. She stared at the blank canvas, but didn't really feel like painting. She paced back over to her bed and flopped down on her stomach. She bent her knees and kicked her calves up and down idly as she thought. Daria was mad at her over the sketch. Didn't she realize that she hadn't meant to give Trent the sketchbook. It was an accident. Jane toyed with the glue gun again. Well, Daria would get over it. In the meantime, she would need to find something else to do. She rolled over and got out of bed. Maybe she could get Trent to take her to Dega Street. She walked over to Trent's room and knocked on the door.


"Yo, can I come in?"


Jane opened the door to find Trent sitting Indian style on the floor. He had a legal pad in his lap and a pencil in hand. He had obviously been writing.

Jane sat down next to him. "What are you writing?"

"I'm trying to make these rhymes less obvious."

"Is this the song you played earlier?" she asked.


Jane smiled. "I'm sorry I laughed."

"It's okay. It was pretty bad." Trent gave her a rueful smile.

"Nah. Hey, Trent, want to go to Dega street and see if Axl is having another special?"

"That might be fun. What do you want to have pierced?" Trent closed the notebook and started to get up.

"I was thinking a nose ring might be cool."

"I don't know Janey, you already have lots of ear piercings. Maybe you should try an area other than your head. You know, for balance. How about your navel?"

"Oh, I already go that for my birthday present."

"What?" Trent looked puzzled.

"Remember two years ago when you got Daria's navel pierced for my birthday. What was up with that?" Jane looked a Trent knowingly.

Trent frowned. "What do you mean 'what was up with that'?"

"I meant, the whole thing was really weird. Daria would have never done anything like that for me." Trent's frown deepened and Jane realized that she had inadvertently stumbled onto the "D" topic and tried without much success to ease the situation. "Too bad it closed up. It looked really cool. Maybe you can talk her into it again."

"You know, Janey, I really don't feel like going out tonight. Maybe another time." Trent looked vaguely annoyed.

Jane tried a quick save. She really wanted to get out of the house. "Come on. When was the last time we got pierced together? It's almost a tradition."

Trent was writing again, and didn't look up when he said, "See you later, Jane." It was an obvious dismissal.

"Well, can I at least borrow your car?"

He ignored her.

"Alright, I'm leaving," she grumbled and trudged back to her room.

She closed her door and got ready for bed, as there was nothing else to do. Maybe sleep would ease the boredom. She turned off the lights, grabbed the TV remote control and slid under the covers. She flicked on the TV and the room was washed in a bluish, flickering light. She flipped through the channels idly while she thought. This Daria and Trent thing was getting out of hand. Not only was it frustrating the two of them, but now it was disrupting her life too. Jane felt miserable. She could hardly say anything to either of them that didn't piss them off. Maybe she did press the envelope at times, but it was getting to the point that she couldn't innocently draw a picture or mention navel rings. Daria and Trent were the only two people she cared to do anything with, and they were both taking their frustrations out on her. The end result was that Jane was isolated and bored out of her skull. Sure, she could go and do things on her own, but she didn't really want to. She didn't like having them mad at her. It made her feel depressed. They were dragging her down with them. This madness had to stop. It was one thing to altruistically want to help the lovebirds get together, but self-preservation made the matter take on a new urgency. She had to get the two of them together so they all could move on. But how?

As she mused, she started paying attention to what was showing on the television. She recognized it as Kenneth Branagh's version of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. This cheered her up somewhat, because the visuals in this film were very rich and interesting. The present scene showed the main characters attending a masquerade party. The masks they wore were intricate and beautiful. Inspired, she grabbed a sketchbook from the nightstand and began designing her own masks. As she drew she only half listened to the dialogue. She had seen this movie several times, and knew the plot. She smiled as Beatrice made a particularly saucy retort to Benedict. Beatrice really reminded her of Daria. Jane abruptly stopped drawing, and thought ahead to how the movie ended. That was it! That was it exactly. If Daria and Trent couldn't take action on their own accord, then they would just have to be tricked into it. Jane watched the rest of the movie with more interest, taking notes instead of sketching. Yes, it was only fitting that Shakespeare himself, would be the one to outwit Daria Morgendorffer's heart.

Act II, Scene I

Daria sat on the couch in her living room, and tried to read. She really wasn't in the mood. In fact, she was lonely. It was hard to mad at your only friend. She had been avoiding Jane for three days and was sick of it. Maybe she had overreacted a little. She picked up the cordless phone and dialed Jane's number. No answer. It figured. Jane was probably out running. Sighing, Daria put down the phone and her book. She was too depressed to read, what she really needed to do was to go blow something up. She walked into the kitchen where her dad was busy making stew.

"Hey Dad, I'm going to the arcade for a little while."

"Okay, sweetie. Want a ride over?"

"No thanks, my ankle's better and I feel like walking."

Jake fished a twenty out of his pocket and handed it to Daria. "Take this, and buy you and your friend some pizza."

"Thanks, Dad." Daria pocketed the money and exited through the back door. She headed up the street towards the arcade, and was feeling too sorry for herself to notice the two shadowy figures that were trailing her.

"Thank the gods she left. I was beginning to worry she would read all night!" Jane whispered to Jesse as she watched Daria walk on up ahead.

"Where do you think she's going?" Jesse whispered back.

"It looks like she is heading for the arcade. She probably wants to pretend that she is kicking my virtual ass."

Jane smiled, her suspicions had been correct. Daria was getting predictable. Whenever Daria was mildly upset, she usually wanted to go to the arcade to vent.

Jane looked over at Jesse. "Do you remember what you're supposed to say?"

Jesse grinned. "Oh, yeah. This will be fun."

"Well, don't get too dramatic. We want Daria to buy this."

They were coming upon the arcade. Jane and Jesse held back and watched Daria enter. They waited for fifteen minutes and went in themselves. As Jane predicted, they found Daria engrossed in some sort of violent boxing game. They situated themselves at a nearby table strategically located behind a large potted palm. They could see Daria, but were pretty sure she couldn't see them. Also, the table was between Daria and the snack bar. She would have to walk by them to get to the eats. If she happened to over hear any interesting bits of conversation... well, then. Jane and Jesse got some pizza and soda to make their presence look legitimate and waited.

Daria was pretty good at the game, and it was a half an hour before she lost. Jane noticed Daria unhooking her self from the machine.

She kicked Jesse under the table. "Here she comes! Lets go!"

They heard the sound of approaching foots steps and so the farce began.

"Trent is just miserable. He is driving me nuts," Jesse complained loudly.

The footsteps stopped. Jane could see Daria's shadow cast on the floor by the table.

Jane suppressed a grin. "Why?"

"It's that Daria chick. He's got it bad."

"How so?"

"He keeps writing these love songs. I think they are about her."

"Are you talking about the one you guys just played at McGrundy's?"

"I don't know about that one. He has been writing others that are pretty obvious."

Jane took a bite of now cold pizza. "Why is he driving you nuts?"

"It's the love songs. Mystic Spiral isn't really about ballads. Every now and then its okay, but lately that's all he want's to do. It's lame."

"Are you sure it's Daria? Maybe it's somebody else?"

Jesse swirled his straw around his drink. "No, I'm pretty sure. He talks about her all the time. If I hear, 'she's the coolest high schooler I know' one more time, I may hurt him. Don't you notice that every time she comes over, Trent finds a reason to say, 'hi' to her? Do you think Daria likes him, too?"

Jane sighed dramatically. "Oh yeah, but its too bad Daria is too scared and stubborn to actually do anything about it."

The shadow jerked.

Jane continued, "I mean, I have tried to get the two of them together, and Daria just gets mad at me. I give up."

"It's a shame," Jesse agreed. "I think they would be really good for each other."

"Oh well. Maybe you can get him interested in one of the groupies? Speaking of which, can I borrow some of them as models for my next painting?" The conversation turned away from Trent and Daria. Jane heard Daria's footsteps moving away from the table. She turned and peered through the leaves of the palm and saw a thoughtful looking Daria heading towards the exit. Jackpot.

Act II, Scene II

The next day, it was Trents turn to be bamboozled. Jane and Jesse were again strategically situated. This time they were in the kitchen of the Lane home. It was almost lunchtime and Jane had warmed up a can chicken noodle soup to lure Trent up from the basement with the aroma. The basement door was slightly ajar, and again, it just might be that Trent would 'accidentally' overhear an interesting conversation.

Jane and Jesse were sitting at the kitchen table, with their backs to the basement door while they ate their soup. Hearing footfalls on the steps, Jane nudged Jesse and began the game.

"Jesse, I swear I am going to strangle Daria if she doesn't cut it out."

"Cut what out?" Jesse slurped on his soup.

"This whole Trent infatuation thing. Its very annoying."

Jane listened for any reactions, but there was only silence coming from the basement area.

"Daria likes Trent?"

"It's a terrible crush. It's making her behave oddly."

"What does she do?"

"Well, do you remember her 'sprained' ankle? She was totally faking it to get Trent's attention. I caught her walking normally the same night."

"Wow." Jesse scrapped his spoon along the bottom of the bowl.

"And," Jane continued, "She doesn't ever want to hang out at her house. She always wants to come here instead, so she can catch a glimpse of Trent."

"Wow, I never would have guessed to watch her."

Jane took her empty bowl to the sink. "Yeah. Daria is very good at hiding her feelings from most people. Its too bad Trent's so oblivious, he'll never notice."

"If she likes him so much, why doesn't she say anything?"

Jane turned around and took special care to not look directly at the basement door. "Daria is too afraid of being hurt. It's much more like her to suffer in silence. The sprained ankle bit surprised me, she must really be feeling desperate. Oh well. She won't say anything and he won't notice her. It's hopeless. Do you know anyone we could set her up with? You know, to help her forget Trent? For my sake?"

"I have a cousin that's about her age. He lives in Oaklawn."

"Isn't that over by that really cool art supply store that's six stories tall?" Jane turned the conversation away from Daria and listened for signs of Trent. She hadn't heard him go back down the stairs, but she did hear him as he began to play his guitar. It was the song from McGrundy's, which was, interestingly enough, a love song. Maybe Jesse was right. She crossed her arms and smirked. They had scored again. Now it was time to bring the two together and see what happened.

Act III, Scene I

Jane fairly danced with excitement as she dialed Daria's number. While she listened to the rings, she made sure her door was locked. This was a crucial moment and she needed absolute privacy. Hopefully Jesse was down in the basement keeping Trent occupied.

"Helloooo?" It was Daria's mom.

"Hi, Mrs. Morgendorffer, this is Jane. Is Daria around?"

"Hi, Jane. You girls haven't had a fight, have you? Daria has been moping around the house talking to herself. She's getting on my nerves!" Helen said the last in a whisper.

"Don't worry. It's my turn to apologize."

"How sweet. Hold on while I get her. By the way Jane, if you want Daria to spend the night its OK with me."

Jane waited while Helen went in search of Daria.

Daria picked up. "Hey, Jane." She didn't sound angry anymore.

"Hey. Look, I'm really sorry about the sketch. It was a careless accident." Jane didn't have trouble sounding sincere. She really meant it.

"That's OK. I'm sorry I overreacted."

"Well then, why don't you come over. We'll order pizza."

"That's great. I can't wait to get out of here. Let me ask if I can spend the night," Daria said with obvious relief.

"Don't worry, that's covered. Your mom actually suggested it. What have you been doing to your poor family?"

"What? Oh, I guess my harmonica playing got on their nerves."

"Ohhh right. The harmonica...icky."

"I was bored. See you in a few minutes."

"Bye." Jane hung up the phone and did a little jig. Things were going exactly as planned. She had better act quickly, Daria would be arriving soon. She phoned in a pick-up order to the pizza place and then dashed down the main staircase. She made herself walk calmly through the kitchen, careful not to act suspiciously. Taking a deep breath she went down the basement stairs. Jesse and Trent were having an impromptu jam session, and were playing nothing in particular.

Jesse had been watching for her and stopped playing when Jane came into view. "Hi, Jane."

"Hey Jess, hey Trent."

Trent kept playing. "Hey, Janey."

Jane rocked back on to her heels. "I need a favor. I've ordered pizza for all of us my treat but their delivery guy is off sick. Will one of you go get it?"

"Sure..." began Trent.

"Don't worry about it. I'll go," Jesse interjected.

"Are you sure?" Trent asked.

"Yeah...I've got a library book on the way."

Jane rolled her eyes thinking Jesse had completely blown it.

"You mean the one on Music Theory? Man, I asked you to take that back last week! That book's on my card."

Jesse looked guilty. "Sorry man, I'll pay your fine while I'm there."

Jane was relieved, but arched an eyebrow never the less. Trent had a library card?

"Come upstairs with me and I'll give you money for the pizza. It should be ready by the time you get there," Jane said, heading up the stairs.

When they reached the kitchen, Jane firmly shut the basement door and patted Jesse on the back. "A surprising, but good save. Did you really forget to return the book?" She whispered with amusement.

Jesse smiled as he walked towards the backdoor. "Nope. I decided to keep it. I forgot about the fine though."

Act III, Scene II

Daria dumped her backpack on Jane's bed. "What do you want to do tonight?"

"Oh, I don't know," Jane lied.

"Want to go out for some pizza?"

"Actually, Jesse is picking up some pizza for us." Jane imagined a halo hovering over her head and projected pure innocence.

"Oh, that's nice." Daria sat on Jane's bed and grabbed the remote. Flipping on the TV, she said, "Then I guess its you, me, and the TV."

Jane walked over to the window. Looking out, she saw Jesse pulling into the driveway. Right on time.

Turning to Daria, she said, "I just saw Jess pull up. Let's go down and get some pizza."

When the two entered the kitchen, they saw that Jesse had already sat down at the table and was busily munching a huge slice of pizza.

Jane pretended to be annoyed. "You don't waste anytime do you?"

"Mmmph?" Asked Jesse, his mouth full.

"Never mind." Jane started pulling plates out of the cupboard. "Daria, since Jesse is so 'busy', will you please go tell Trent that the pizza is here?"

Daria's eyes widened. "Me? Ummm... okay."

That was much less resistance than Jane had expected. Perhaps the plan was working after all.

Act III, Scene III

Daria slowly walked down the basement stairs. She thought about what she had overheard Jane and Jesse saying about Trent. Could it be true? Should she do something? She stopped halfway down the stairs. It was one thing to fantasize about baring her soul to Trent. But to do it? What if Jesse was wrong? As she stood there debating with herself, she heard Trent begin to play something. It sounded familiar. She smiled, it was "Love Her Madly", by the Doors. He was playing love songs. Jesse was right. Maybe this was the moment to be brave. Or maybe not. She took a hesitant step, and was so preoccupied that she missed the next stair step, and with a yelp of surprise went flying down the rest of the stairs. She landed in heap directly across from where Trent was sitting.

Trent leapt up and rushed over to her. "Are you OK?"

As he helped her up, he remembered what he had overheard Jane say about Daria faking her sprained ankle. He wondered if this was more of the same.

Daria straightened her skirt. "Pizza's here." She turned to go back up the stairs, all thoughts of romance buried under her current feelings of mortification.

"Daria?" Trent asked softly.

She stopped, but didn't turn around. "Yes?"

Trent walked behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. She trembled a little. With a soft pressure, he turned her around to face him. "Are you hurt?"

Daria was having trouble talking. "N-no."

Trent squeezed her shoulders a little. "Are you afraid of being hurt?" He looked at her intently.

"Aren't you afraid of becoming a Doors cover band so quickly? I heard what you were playing," Daria tried to joke. It fell flat.

Trent let go of Daria's shoulders and turned around. He picked up his guitar and strummed it softly. "That's not why I was playing it. Thanks for letting me know the pizza's here. I'll go get some later."

He obviously intended for her to leave, but Daria stayed rooted to the spot. A single tear worked its way from under the edge of her glasses.

"Trent?" she asked in a small voice. "I think I know why you were playing it."

"Yeah?" He turned around again.

Daria hugged herself. "But I'm not sure."

She looked so small and vulnerable that Trent's heart lurched. He wiped the tear off of Daria's cheek with an index finger. "Let me convince you."

He placed his hands on both sides of Daria's face and gently titled her head up. Bending over, he placed a light kiss on her lips and looked into her eyes. Her eyes widened briefly, then shut. Smiling, Trent kissed her again, deeply this time. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. Withdrawing a little he planted several small kisses on her neck and whispered into her ear, "Lets sit down on the couch and discuss this some more." Daria's glasses were getting steamed up, so she removed them and set them safely on an amp. Trent smiled as he got a closer view of the eyes he had noticed just a couple of months before. He and Daria sank down on the couch and began to make up for lost time.

Upstairs in the kitchen, Jane and Jesse were very curious and very stuffed. Daria had gone downstairs two hours ago, and they had eaten all of the pizza out of boredom. What was going on down there? Jane was considering ways to sneak downstairs and spy, when she heard two sets of footsteps coming up the stairs. The door opened, revealing a very flushed and mussed up Daria. Jane also didn't miss that Trent had his hand placed possessively in the small of Daria's back.

Jane smiled triumphantly and sang "Hey, nonny, nonny," under her breath.

Trent and Daria looked confused.

"Oh, don't mind me," Jane said breezily.

They looked at her oddly, then looked at the empty pizza boxes, and went back downstairs locking the door behind them.

The End

Diane Long

Getting this back on after ten years. Woot. Martin Pollard, you are a sweetie for keeping this on Outpost... I don't even have the original files any more! Smooooch!