Emory Doesn't

As the red corvette pulled up in front of Windsor Hill's, with the sounds of Classic Rock blaring at full volume, Quinn asked, "Who's that?"

Daria's eyes opened wide in surprise and exclaimed, "Uncle Emory?!"

As soon as the car stopped, the man got out of the car and told the valet that, "I don't mind a few dents, but change the radio station and you are a dead man."

Once he was away from the car, Daria realized that he was only half a head taller than herself, his hair was a darker shade of auburn than hers, but his eyes were the same shade of brown.

He was thin but had broad shoulders and cut a good shapely figure in his formal black suit.

"Emory!" Rita said with patently false happiness, "What a delight! I thought you weren't coming..."

"I wasn't," Emory said flatly in a soft, dull monotone, "But I figured if you two could put aside the years of anger and bitterness then so could I... For a day."

As her mother went into spin mode at that, Daria felt a gleam of delight as Emory shut her down with just two words and then told Jake that he was surprised that he was still with Helen.

"Shows remarkable fortitude." Emory stated and then revealed just how disconnected he was from the rest of the family by confusing Rita's current boyfriend Paul with the dead skydiver Roger.

"Who's Roger?" Paul asked in confusion.

"He fell onto a cow!" Quinn exclaimed with a giggle.

"And he was the lucky one." Daria quipped and sparked outrage from her mother.

"Relax Hell-bells," Emory said and accidently-on-purpose revealed his sister's childhood nickname and smiled when she blanched, "What's the point of a senseless death if you can't find the humor in it? I like the way your girls think."

As he followed his idiot sister Rita into the Hotel, he tuned her out and heard Helen's youngest say, "Wow, Uncle Emory is weird."

"Yeah..." Daria drawled but only an idiot like Quinn would miss the admiration in her tone, and Emory entered the building with a big smile.

It had taken some doing but Rita was able to find an extra seat for her little brother, and he relished her bitter mutterings about his faux pas but said nothing.

"It's fun to make the bitches miserable." Emory thought to himself as he took his seat and witnessed the ceremony unfold before his eyes, just by looking at them it was obvious that Erin was blinded by love since her choice for a first husband was a smarmy asshole.

"And I haven't even talked to him yet." Emory thought with a sneer and glanced at the wedding party, the only two up there that were interesting was the boy with the strange hair and his niece Daria.

Her attention drifted and when her face fell on his, Emory crossed his eyes and stuck his tongue out and smiled when she laughed.

Then had to turn a laugh into a cough himself when Daria pointed at an oblivious Quinn and said, "It was her!"

After the ceremony was over, Emory managed to spend a few minutes in the reception hall before the crowd became a bit overwhelming, so he excused himself and found a quiet hallway near the bathrooms and stared at his reflection in the mirror with a sneer.

"I hate myself in a suit." he said to himself, not noticing Daria walking by in her ill-fitted dress, "And everyone else too."

"I'm not thrilled to be here either," she said to him and smiled when he jumped a bit.

Emory managed to recover quickly and chuckled, "You surprised me Daria, and that was before you snuck up on me."

"Really?" she asked in surprise and her uncle nodded firmly.

"Yes," Emory replied with joy, "It's rare to meet someone on the same wavelength."

"Tell me about it." Daria replied as she stood next to him in front of the mirror, both of them seeing how similar they were in the reflection.

"Only if you tell me about you right back." Emory replied with a small half-smile that was quickly matched by hers.

"I'm impressed," Emory replied after they both finished filling each other in on their lives, "When I was in High School I didn't have a friend like Jane, it would have made it easier to survive."

"What did you have?" Daria found herself asking and Emory sighed.

"Two bickering sisters, a bitch for a mother, a father that couldn't understand why his only son didn't give a crap about sports, classmates that didn't get me, my only allies were a handful of good teachers. But once I was out in the world I found myself all grown up with my own point of view, and feeling no particular obligation to listen to anyone else's B.S."

He then finished very firmly with, "Ever."

"So it all worked out in the end." His niece replied with a slight smirk.

He laughed and replied, "Well unless I have to see my sisters at weddings then, yeah." He paused and then added after the beat, "Sarcasm, it's a great way to deal... But you wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"

He then slipped on his prescription glasses for a second on a lark and anyone that saw them and didn't know them could be forgiven for thinking that they were father and daughter.

Daria smirked with cheek, "Nah..."

"God they are so easy." Emory thought to himself after he had added fuel to the fire with just a few short sentences and a drunk Helen and a pissed off Rita were going at it like two wet cats in a sack.

"And the extended clan isn't helping either," He added as he witnessed Erin, her new husband, Rita's current boyfriend, and Helen's husband all struggling to contain the situation and making it worse in the process.

He glanced at the table of the Wedding Party and saw it's only two occupants, Daria and that boy... Lurhman was it? Watching the show with a vague sort of curiosity.

Emory smirked and snuck up from behind them and said, "Things are getting ugly. I suggest we three make a hasty but unobtrusive exit."

Daria replied with surprise, "Really?"

His smirk grew, "Let's find a place that serves cheese fries or something."

The boy replied first, "Sounds good."

Having been outvoted, and clearly not wanting to become collateral damage, Daria sighed mocking and said, "Sure."

But even a moron could see that she was more than willing to go.

Especially as they walked past the now fighting Barksdale sisters and Emory told them, "Look neither to the left or the right, there is nothing we can do for these people anymore."

On their way out they walked past the minister of the ceremony fighting the best man tooth and nail with Quinn watching the show with happiness, Emory felt another smirk at the madness form on his face but he said nothing and did nothing to help the situation.

It would work itself out.

It didn't take long in his corvette to find a place that would serve them greasy salty goodness, Emory parked in front of a bowling alley and said, "This place should do just fine."

In their finery they entered the redneck-esque establishment and found that they had been beaten by Erin's new husband who was sitting at the bar with a beer in hand.

He looked at them and said, "I am NOT going back there, I don't care who sent you."

The trio walked past him and Daria said jokingly, "Does he look familiar?"

"I think I saw him on America's Least Wanted." Emory teased as they found an empty table with three chairs.

Once they were seated, Emory sighed and said, "I guess you want to know what your Aunts were like when they were kids, right?"

Daria shrugged and said, "Sure, what were they like?"

Emory smirked, "Just like they are now."

Luhrman spoke up as the server approached, "How about a new topic?"

"Name it." Emory replied kindly, feeling a strange sense of companionship with the two of them.

As they ordered cheese fries and cokes, Emory Barksdale couldn't help but wonder what the future had in store for them both.

"But no matter what it is, I'll make sure to stay in touch with them," Emory thought to himself with finality, "It's hard to grow up around dullards, they're going to need all the support they can get."

He knew that from firsthand experience.

As the order arrived and they dug in with gusto, the conversation flowed and Emory felt glad for them both when he learned that they did have a support system of sorts back in their hometowns.

"I sort of envy them for that," Emory admitted to himself, "But that doesn't mean that they won't need extra help."

As they finished their greasy meal, Emory reaffirmed his decision and gave them both his number, and he got both of theirs in return.

"I wonder what we'll find at Windsor Hills." Luhrman thought aloud after Emory settled the bill.

Emory smirked at that, "The cops, the building partly demolished, my sister's either arrested or drunk as skunks, Paul long gone, and as for my brother-in-law... Not sure."

The last thing that anyone heard Daria say in that bowling alley was, "Playing golf in the dark with a flashlight."

The doors shut behind them and spared the patron's the sounds of monotonic laughter.