Type: long fic, ongoing
Rating: PG-13 (so far)
Disclaimer: Daria was not written by me! I only wrote this fic.
Summary: A "What If?" What if Trent moved to Boston after the end of the canon timeline?
Trent had really enjoyed his Saturday. He'd crashed on the couch again, and Daria had woken him up with a kiss again. It was something he thought he could really get used to. Coffee was ready, there were scrambled eggs and toast ready for him (even if Daria *did* look scandalized that he ate his eggs with ketchup on them), and he had a few hours before going in to work. When he got dressed for work, he found a $20 bill in his pocket that had gone through the wash with his pants. The day was a short one, only four hours, and slow enough that he didn't have a problem getting everything done, but still busy enough that he never got bored. At the end of the day, he got pulled into the office for his 30 day evaluation, though it was a little early, and told he was doing a great job. So great that he was going to get another $.50 a hour. And then they took his picture because he was going to be employee of the month. He took Janey out to a movie to celebrate, and Daria joined them afterward for dinner at a pizza place near the theatre after she finished some paper. They'd gone home and Janey went to paint while Daria grabbed his hand and pulled him up to her room. The details after that were a little hazy, but when he woke up on Sunday, he felt the happiest he'd ever been. But Daria groaned beside him. "Hey. What's up?" he said as he rolled on his side next to her.
"Quinn's coming into the airport at 2 and I have another paper I need to crank out today."
"They make you write a lot in college, don't they?"
Daria snorted. "That's an understatement. And it's worse for me since I'm double-majoring in creative writing and journalism."
"I could go pick her up, you know. I'm off today."
"Do you even remember what she looks like?"
Trent scratched his chin. "Um, too-skinny redhead who wears a lot of pink? Kind of an upturned nose and a snotty attitude?"
"Close enough," Daria said as she snuggled a little closer to Trent. "You can take my car, too. *I* like your car just fine, but Quinn will scream if the seat she's sitting on has a rip in the upholstery."
"Cool. I've never driven a Lexus before. How did you afford it, anyway?" He kissed Daria's temple.
"It's Mom's old one. She had leased it, but they messed up some kind of paperwork. She took them to court, and won. The settlement was the car." She moved out of his arms to grab her glasses from the nightstand.
"Your mom scares me sometimes."
"You're not the only one."
"Okay, so 2 o'clock? What gate?"
"She'll meet you at the baggage claim. Just look for the 2 o'clock flight from Baltimore coming in." Daria slid over him and padded naked to her closet.
Trent watched as she slid on undergarments, a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt. He'd thought previously that yoga pants were perhaps the most attractive thing a hot girl could wear, and the thought didn't fade now. "I can clear out if you want to get started on that."
Daria frowned. "As much as I don't want you to, I've got roughly 10 pages of literature evaluation to do. So, yeah."
"Cool. I'll see if Janey's busy. If not, I've got a guitar."
Only Janey was busy crushing butterscotch and cinnamon candies and mixing them into resin. He'd left her alone and went downstairs to grab his guitar. He supposed he could finally move his stuff up to Tom's old room. It *was* his, now. But between the air mattress, the new couch, and Daria's bed, he hadn't really had any reason to sleep in there. But if Quinn was coming, he didn't want her to make some big deal about his bags being everywhere. It took about 15 minutes to bring everything upstairs, including the air mattress, but he felt accomplished enough that he picked up his guitar and sat on the couch. He checked the tuning first, and tightened a few strings. He hadn't practiced as much as he would have liked lately, but if he was realistic, he had other priorities now. It still felt really good to settle the guitar across his knees, to tighten the strings, and to strum out a few chords.
Letting his mind wander, Trent searched for some new lyrics he wanted to sing. It'd be easy enough to sing something about how happy he was, that that never made *art*. So he thought of Monique, who had pissed him off so much at the end he hadn't even told her he was moving. Within a few minutes, he had enough scratched out on a notepad to work with.
He cleared his throat first and strummed a few notes before settling into a rhythm.
"She gives a heave, and then gives a sigh
She breathes air in to let it out in a lie
Should I laugh, or should I cry,
About her intermittant alibi?
She puts her hands upon my skin,
She breathes out, she breathes in,
Oh, with her, I just can't win.
Your excuses are wearing so thin.
You tear me apart
You strangle my heart
Leave me in the dark
Lost and lonely
You stab me in the chest
Push me out of the nest
You run off with the rest
Why do you hurt me the best?
She holds me close so I can't see
All the things she's not telling me
I want to give her the third degree
But in her arms, I feel so free
You tear me apart
You strangle my heart
Leave me in the dark
Lost and lonely"
As he finished singing, he heard applause. He jerked his head around to see Daria standing at the foot of the stairs and smirking. "I'm going to assume that's not about me."
Trent grinned. "Sorry. Was I playing too loud?"
"No. I came down to get something to drink. Caffeine is student's little helper."
"Cool. So, um, did you like the song?" Trent rested his arm along the top of his guitar.
"You're definitely getting a lot better."
Fingering his pick, Trent said, "So you didn't really like it."
"It's better than most of the Mystik Spiral stuff I've heard, but it's not quite what I normally listen to. I still applaud your devotion to your work."
Trent grinned. "And here I thought I might have a new groupie."
"I guess I could call myself a Trent Lane groupie. Hmm... I'll take it under consideration." She continued her walk toward the kitchen. "I'm going to get my soda now."
"Cool." Trent went back to his guitar. He set the pick down at his side and used his fingers to play for a bit, enjoying the rough sensation and the vibration of the strings against his fingertips. He was lost in a world of music of his own making. He sang a bit more, but it was the playing that he missed so much. Getting paid to jam out a couple of times a week was awesome, even if it didn't pay as well as what he was doing now. He wondered what kind of pub scene there was in Boston and if there was a place for him in it at all.
Trent played for a while before realizing that his fingers were getting sore. He put away his guitar and checked the time. It was close enough to 1pm that he decided to head to the airport to pick up Quinn. He walked upstairs and saw that her door was cracked open. He pushed it lightly and peeked in. "Hey, Daria? Can I get your keys? I'm gonna head over to pick up Quinn now."
Daria seemed not to notice him, so Trent came a little closer. She held up a finger and kept typing for a moment. She hit the return button with a flourish and turned to him. "Sorry. I wanted to get that thought down first." She stood and walked over to her jacket and fished her keys from the pocket. She pressed them into Trent's hand and wrapped her arms around him for a moment, putting a chaste kiss on his lips that he couldn't help but lean into. "Thanks for doing this. I'm making good progress on this, but I still have a lot to do."
"No problem. I've got the time and I'm glad to help." He gave her a little wave and started to leave, but Daria put a hand on his arm first.
"If she tries to make you carry all of her luggage, just drop it all there and let her a cart. *Don't* let her con you into buying her a soda. And, for all that is holy, do not glance below her face or else she'll think you're interested."
"So, treat her like a sister?"
"You don't have to treat her *that* nice."
Trent rubbed his chin for a moment. "So, treat her like a pet?"
"That's more like it."
"Got it. Thanks." Daria waved to him briefly, then turned back to her computer. Trent made his way to her car and noticed that the sky was getting dark. As he got in the car, he glanced at the different switches on and around the steering column and didn't see any kind of switches for lights. Then he remembered that this had been Helen's car, and it was probably state of the art with automatic everything. He looked a little more and *did* find a switch for the windshield wipers, though it had an automatic setting on it, too. Shaking his head, Trent settled himself into the seat and headed for the airport. He managed to get a pretty close parking space and made his inside. The baggage claim was just inside from where he'd entered and it took him a little while to find out which carousel the bags from the Baltimore flight would come out on. But when he did, he found a place to sit and waited.
It was 2:15pm by the time he saw Quinn come down the escalator carrying a pink leather carry-on bag and a matching purse. She wove through the crowd and situated herself near the beginning of the carousel's run. Trent made his way over to her and smiled. "Quinn, right?"
She turned to him with a frown, but she turned it quickly into a smile. "Sorry, but I'm waiting on someone."
Trent rolled his eyes. "Yeah, me."
"Uh, *no*. I'm waiting on my sister's boyfriend." She shook her head and turned back to watching the luggage.
"Yeah. Me." He turned Quinn toward him. "I'm Trent Lane. We've met before."
"Really? Wow. And, Lane? I think that's the last name of her best friend or something. That's *so* weird."
"Um, yeah. Janey's my sister."
Quinn examined him more closely. "Wow. I can see the resemblance, I guess. But you should lose the little soul patch thing. It's so passe right now. Grow it back in about 2 years. I can see it coming back in vogue then." Trent touched his chin protectively. "Anyway, do you think you can help me with my bags when they *finally* come out? They're the cute pink leather ones."
"I didn't know cows came in pink."
"Oh, silly, they're *dyed*! No one would wear that black and white stuff that cows wear, well, unless they were *really* unfashionable. I mean, it's like people who think that you can wear any old floral pattern and even *match* them. I had to fire a girl who mixed roses and daisies. Firing people is so much fun! Well, unless they cry, but then I can find out what kind of mascara they wear, so that's fun, too." She pointed. "Ooo! One of my suitcases!"
Trent watched as the suitcase went past him.
"Uh! Why didn't you grab that?" Quinn glared at him and put her hands on her hips.
"You pointed to it. I thought you were going to get it. You asked for help, you didn't say you were so weak that you couldn't lift a single suitcase."
Quinn groaned. "You would be like Daria. The thought of her already being on live-in boyfriend number two is enough to make me feel like I need to get in at least one date while I'm here. It'll be tough, but I'm sure I can do it." She saw another of her suitcases and grabbed it before Trent could enjoy watching it go by again. "Could you grab the other one when it comes around? I've only got the two."
"I thought you were just staying the night?"
"Oh, you boys are so funny. One suitcase is clothing, plus a steamer so I don't need to iron, and the other is shoes and accessories and hair care. The carry-on has my make-up. I couldn't risk losing that. They discontinued my favorite lip gloss and I'm still in the process of finding another that brings out my eyes but not the two freckles on my nose." She clutched the suitcase she had and smiled. "My other suitcase should be out soon. I'll meet you at the door." She walked off and Trent shook his head, but grabbed the hot pink luggage when it came out and made his way toward Quinn.
"So, 7 o'clock?" she was saying to a tall man with dark hair. "Great! I love that place. I'll meet you just inside the door, okay?" She smiled at the man and waved him off.
When he was gone, Trent moved closer. "Date already?"
Quinn smiled and shook her head. "No. That was the practice agreement to a date. See, this guy wants to take me some place nice which is *great*. So, now I find a cuter guy and agree to go on a date with him. If it's some place even *nicer*, then I go with the really cute guy, but if not, then I have a back-up. Both of them get to say that I agreed to go out with them, *I* get the better date, and if I'm out on a date with one and run into the other, they fight over me. I love it!"
"That's pretty horrible." Trent pushed his way through the door and Quinn followed.
"No, it's not. It's how guys expect to be treated by gorgeous women. I mean, back in Lawndale, if a guy takes you out for pizza, well, that's fine. But if another guy wants to take you to Chez Pierre, then that's better, unless the first guy wants to follow it up with a movie or dancing or an invitation to his father's yacht for the weekend. It's like bidding. Guys who offer chain restaurants like Cluster Burger are bidding low, but guys who offer a place like Chez Pierre show that they really want it, but you have to figure in other things like their car, and how they dress."
Trent stopped to look at Quinn and tilted his head. "But, Chez Pierre *is* a chain?"
Quinn's mouth dropped open. "What?"
"Yeah, there's one here in Boston, and one in D.C., and a bunch more. Haven't you ever seen the ads?"
"Oh no!" Quinn's shoulders dropped. "My whole system... It means absolutely nothing. I'm going to have to redo the whole thing!"
"No. It's my fault. I should have known. That bouillabaisse was always fishy. That kind of thing always happens at chain restaurants."
"Why wouldn't it be fishy? Isn't that a fish stew?"
"No!" Quinn dropped her suitcase and put his hands over her eyes. "Ohmigod! Toby, how can I be such an idiot?"
"Um, it's Trent." He patted her shoulder gently. "And you can't help it that your sister got all of the brains."
Quinn dropped her hands and frowned at him. "Hey! I *did* graduate near the top of my class at business school, you know."
"Yeah, but did they let you use a calculator?"
"Well, duh. Like that matters."
"Doesn't it?" Trent continued on toward Daria's car. He got there several moments before Quinn and got the trunk unlocked and her first suitcase loaded in. She caught up finally and frowned at him as she put her other suitcase, as well as the carry-on bag, in the trunk and closed it. Her purse came with her to the passenger seat.
"So, Trent," she started as he got in the driver's seat. "How did you meet Daria?"
"Hmm," he said as he backed out of his parking space and headed to the apartment, "I think it was just after you guys moved to Lawndale. She had come to visit Janey at home."
"Oh, and you were, like, home visiting or something?" Quinn pulled out her compact and examined her eyeliner in the mirror.
"Um, no. I lived there."
"What?" Quinn said as she ran a finger lightly along the lower eyelashes of her right eye. "I thought you lived up here."
"Um, no. I moved up here a few weeks ago."
"Did you miss Jane? I miss Daria sometimes, but then I remember we function best if we don't see each other often."
"I moved up here a little bit for Janey, sure, but mostly for Daria."
"Really? That's so romantic! But wasn't she still with Tom then?" Trent didn't answer. Quinn took the time to dig through her purse for her lip gloss and added a new layer. "So is it serious, or are you guys just, like, doing it or something?"
"That's pretty disrespectful to Daria, don't you think?" Trent clutched the steering wheel tighter and wrinkled his nose as the cloying scent of Quinn's perfume took over the vehicle. "Are you always this down on Daria?"
"It's a sister thing, Trent. You just wouldn't understand." Quinn snapped her compact shut again and dropped it and her lip gloss into her purse.
The rest of the ride was silent and Trent was extremely glad. One night was already probably more than he could take.
End: Chapter 16.
Part 11b NC-17