A Daria fanfic by Professor Moriarity
Legal stuff: I don’t own the Daria characters, MTV does. But I’m not making any money off of this, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Continuity: This story takes place after my fanfic “Waiting,” and it’s a direct sequel to “Too Late.”
Trent needed to get out. Being around Jane and Tom, such an obviously happy couple, was getting to him. He got into his car and just started to drive. He wanted to be alone with his sorrow. He swung by a liquor store and picked up a couple of Budweisers, then headed someplace he knew would be deserted.
When he arrived at the Big Strawberry, he parked his car by the road, grabbed one of the beers, and walked on over to the monument. He saw to his dismay that someone else was actually there. But then, the other person moved slightly, and Trent could see who it was—“Jesse?” Trent asked.
Jesse turned to look at Trent. “Oh, hey,” he said. “What are you doing out here? No one ever comes here.”
“I know. That’s why I came here. I just needed to think, you know?”
“Oh yeah. I know,” Jesse said, and took a swig of the beer in his hand. Trent hadn’t noticed it until now. “You bet I know.” There was an edge of bitterness and pain to his voice.
Trent took a good long look at his friend. “What’s her name, man?” he asked.
“Huh?” Jesse said, caught off balance.
“What’s the girl’s name? The one you’re hurting over, man.” Trent said.
Jesse ignored the question. “How’s Jane doing with her boyfriend?” he asked.
Trent was about to nail Jesse for trying to change the subject. Then he realized that Jesse hadn’t. “It’s Janey?” Trent asked incredulously.
“Yeah,” Jesse said, and swigged his beer again. “I don’t know what happened. One day, she was just your little sister and a good friend. The next, I’d fallen for her. Hard. And at first, I didn’t want to say anything, because she’s your sister. Then when I tried to say something to her, I couldn’t. Literally. Every single time I tried to talk to her, I’d freeze up. And now, of course, it doesn’t matter. She’s taken,” Jesse said.
“What do you mean at first, you didn’t want to say anything? When did you decide it would be okay to hit on my little sister?” Trent asked dangerously.
Jesse looked him square in the eye. “When you decided it was okay to like your little sister’s best friend.”
“What do you mean?” Trent asked, keeping his voice neutral.
“Trent, you never stop talking about Daria. You think Max, Nick and I wouldn’t notice? You think we haven’t realized that all those discarded ballads you’ve written are about her? And for the record, Trent, I never tried to ‘hit on’ Jane. Talk to, yes. Get to know better, yes. I’d planned on waiting until she was 18 before asking her out, but it’s a moot point now,” Jesse said, and leaned against the Strawberry, looking up at the night sky.
Trent could see the pain on Jesse’s face, and decided not to pursue the issue. As Jesse had said, it was a moot point, and his friend was obviously hurting enough. “Jesse, man, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s not your problem,” Jesse said, and took another drink of his beer.
“Jesse, you’re my best friend, and Janey’s my sister. I’m already involved, whether you like it or not.”
“Trent, it’s okay. I’m…dealing with it. It’s just gonna take time,” Jesse said. He sighed and took another swig of his beer.
After a few minutes of silence, Jesse spoke again. “Okay, it’s your turn now. What’s your woman problem?” he asked, gesturing to the bottle Trent was carrying.
Trent opened the bottle and took a big gulp. “Like you said, it’s Daria, man. She’s turning 18 soon, and I want to ask her out.”
Jesse’s brow furrowed. “So what’s the problem? Daria doesn’t have a boyfriend. Or does she?”
“Nah, nothing like that. It’s just…I’m not sure she likes me much any more, even as a friend. Do you remember when she and Janey did that multimedia project for school, and they asked me to do the music for it?”
“Yeah,” Jesse said darkly.
Too late, Trent remembered that had been when Janey had met Tom. “Sorry, man.”
“It’s okay. So, multimedia project?”
“Yeah. I totally blew it. I messed around a little with composing the music for them, but I never took it seriously. In the end, I didn’t have the music for them. Then I gave some lame-ass excuse about how I just couldn’t get the music together. Daria told me that since I committed to help them, I’d committed to their deadline and I should have respected it. She was right, man. I should have had that music ready for them. Instead, I disappointed them. I disappointed Daria,” Trent lamented, and took another drink of his beer.
“Whoa,” Jesse said.
“Yeah. So, I think I might just suffer in silence, you know? I don’t deserve her.”
“Maybe not. But you should ask her out, anyway.”
“What? Why, man?”
“ ‘Cause if she turns you down, then at least you’d know. You don’t have to wonder day in, day out, if she might be dating you instead of some other guy because you didn’t ask.”
“But Daria’s not—oh,” said Trent, getting it too late. He looked at Jesse’s face again, and saw the pain there, despite Jesse’s earlier claim that he was “dealing with it.” Trent used to think that nothing could hurt worse than how he’d felt after he’d let Daria down. Judging from Jesse’s expression, watching Daria go out with another guy and wondering if that guy could have been him would be a thousand times worse.
“I think I will,” Trent said thoughtfully.
“Good,” replied Jesse. He looked up at the stars. “They’re beautiful.”
“Yeah, yeah they are,” said Trent, following his gaze.
“Not as beautiful as Jane’s eyes, though,” said Jesse.
“Or Daria’s smile,” Trent said, remembering the precious few times he’d seen her smile.
“But they’re still beautiful.”
“Yeah, man, they are.”
Author’s Notes: The Big Strawberry is mentioned in The Daria Diaries. It’s a huge strawberry that the hippies erected during the 60’s, I think. It’s been a while since I read that book because I don’t own a copy. If I’m wrong, please correct me. I figured that since the Big Strawberry hasn’t been mentioned on the show, not many people go there. I’d like to thank all my beta readers, especially Desanera and MeScribble for giving me such detailed commentary. For those of you that like this ‘fic, I don’t know yet if I’m going to continue this series. Sorry. I’ll just have to see if Calliope starts talking to me again. I am working on other fanfics at the moment though, so we’ll see what happens. .