Disclaimer: I do not own the Daria characters, they belong to Viacom. I will return their toys when I'm done playing with them. I'm not making any money off of this fic. The lyrics to "I'm all right" belong to Jo Dee Messina
A/N: Here's my latest one-shot. It's not a song-fic, per se, although I did post the song lyrics that were the inspiration for this. It actually came out a lot more angst than I intended, but that's ok! I doubt there will be any kind of sequel, but one never knows. If you are looking for a happy ending, this is definitely not the fic for you. I tried my best to look at the type of characters I was writing and how they would react to this kind of situation, and this is what I got. I would say this is set roughly 2005. I also have lyrics to the song "Mona Lisa Smile" but I'm still debating whether I want to post them in their entirety.
Well, It's been a long time, glad to see your face
I knew we'd meet again, another time, another place.
Can't believe it's been so many years,
You'd better grab a chair and a couple of beers.
Lookin' good in your three-piece suit.
You know I always knew you'd take the business route.
You were always the one to follow the light
And you look like you're doing alright.
Been singin' for my rent, been singin' for my supper
I'm above the below, and below the upper
Stuck in the middle where money gets tight.
Well, I miss you but I'm doin' alright
I'm all, I'm all, I'm alright.
It's a beautiful day, not a cloud in sight.
So I guess I'm doin' alright.
Oh, oh, oh, oh I'm alright
Got a good old friend here with me tonight
And I guess I'm doin' alright.
If Trent was surprised by the strange number that flashed across his mobile's caller ID, Jesse took no notice of it. Granted, Jesse was more and more preoccupied lately, as his girlfriend could easily go into labor any second. Trent knew there was no way he'd be able to hear the person over the noise of the pub they were playing in, so he hit the reject button and carefully shoved the small phone back into his jeans pocket. Trent had always been somewhat wary that he would drop the tiny thing on some random concrete floor and shatter it into a million silver pieces, and there was no telling how much money Janey had spent on it, despite his protests that he didn't want her to be able to get in touch with him anytime. As he and Jesse climbed back onto the small stage for a second set, slower and unplugged for the later crowd, the odd phone call was all but forgotten. As Jesse began to strum his own acoustic, Trent began his latest song in a voice hoarse and husky.
"Mona Lisa, always smile for me.
Mona Lisa, don't cry for me.
I'll always be there for you, I'll try.
Oh Mona, let me be your guy."
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Trent pulled into his sister's driveway in the wee hours of the morning, grimacing at the strange car in the driveway. Somewhere in his deepest fantasies, the one's that no one really knew about, he'd hoped that Jane would get together with his best friend and they would be one big happy family. Trent snorted at himself, and glanced over the car with a speculative eye. Well, whoever Jane's new boy-toy was, he was well off. A silver Jag, one that had been well taken care of, but had been driven quite a bit, if the film of road grime was any indication. Ah well, he had limited places he could stay, and if Jane and her latest escapade got too loud, he could always bang on the wall.
Trent let himself in the front door with his keys, noting with a small amount of gratitude that all was quiet. Apparently, everyone within was asleep, but Trent was too wired from his show to fall into bed quite yet. He rarely played the pub these days, but always enjoyed the rush that accompanied a successful show like the one he'd just had. The guys had all turned out to play the first set, at least, although Max and Nick had cut out at intermission, each claiming family obligations. Jesse and he had begun the second set with a few of their old favorites, until, eventually, Jesse had to make his way home to his girlfriend of the past five years, who was nine months pregnant. Trent had continued playing, taking requests from the crowd, until the pub was mostly empty and his voice had given out. He ruminated on the past as he made his was up the stairs toward his bedroom.
As he dropped tiredly into his desk chair and turned on his desktop, Trent did some quick math in his head, figuring out how much money he and Jane would have left over for groceries after the household bills. Satisfied they had enough to buy extra groceries in case they suddenly ended up with a houseguest to feed, Trent clicked open a browser window and proceeded to check his e-mail, disappointed when there was nothing from the one person he wanted to hear from.
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Trent woke slowly the next morning, cursing the evil daystar that was filtering in through his bedroom curtains. Jane insisted on having only curtains and no blinds in her house, claiming that natural light was the best for her art. Trent didn't argue, since she was the sole breadwinner. Sure, he occasionally brought home some dough from the occasional gig, like the pub the night before, but his dreams of a record label had never quite come to fruition. He was determined that he would never sell out, although he did occasionally write a silly jingle for local businesses, usually working out payment in trade of some sort.
As he scrubbed his eyelids with his palms, Trent remembered with a groan the extra car in the drive the night before. He knew he should probably make his way downstairs and find out what kind of meathead Jane had drug home this time, and whether or not he was legal, before he left for the market. The refrigerator had been depressingly empty the day before, and Trent had had a thought the he'd like to make spaghetti for dinner. God, he needed to get laid, before he turned into any more of a woman.
Trent didn't exactly mind being Jane's house husband, as her paintings were bringing in more and more money with each show. However, life did get lonely sometimes, especially when he was alone in a house with only his sister and chat rooms for company for a couple of weeks. Maybe it was time to get in touch with Monique again for a tumble in the sack.
As Trent gathered up some clean clothes and made his way to the bathroom, he vaguely noticed the door the spare bedroom was shut. Shrugging it off as Jane's attempt to keep the price of the energy bill down by not running the air conditioning in an unused room, he continued on his trek across the hall. Trent was in the shower, humming to himself, when the door to the spare bedroom opened and his houseguest sleepily wandered out and down the stairs.
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As Trent made his way back to his bedroom, scrubbing his hair dry with a towel, he stopped briefly in the hallway. He could have sworn that bedroom door was shut when he'd gone into the bathroom. Jane's one night stands had never stayed in the spare room before, not in his memory, anyway. Curious, he pushed the door open and saw an innocuous black duffel bag at the end of the bed, stuffed to the brim with jeans and tee-shirts. No part of the clothing identified itself as specifically male or female, and there were no underwear to be seen. Whoever was staying with them was planning on staying a while, though. Shrugging it off, Trent went downstairs and into the kitchen to grab the magnetic notepad off the fridge to make a list and found a note from his sister.
I heard you come in late last night and didn't want to wake you up too early. Gone to get some breakfast. If you want, meet us at Pizza King for lunch at two. See ya!
Us. Apparently, the owner of the jag was indeed a friend of Jane's, but as much as Trent racked his brain, he couldn't for the life of him figure out who it could be. He shook his head, deciding he'd find out eventually, and set about making a grocery list for a household of three. It was already pushing noon, he'd have just enough time to buy groceries, come home and put them away, and meet Jane and her friend for lunch.
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Two hours later, Trent flung the glass door of Pizza King open and scanned the restaurant for his sisters jet black hair. He found it in no time, she was sitting in a booth facing the door. The bench was too tall for him to see the color hair of the person sitting across from her, and curiosity drove him to their table to find out who the owner of that car was.
As Trent stood at the edge of the booth, his blue eyes meeting hazel, he was stunned speechless. He figured he shouldn't be surprised, after all, this was his sister's best friend of the past ten years or so. Her visit came as a surprise, as he had just spoken with her in a chat room the day before yesterday, and she had made no mention of coming to visit. He suddenly remembered the phone call he'd ignored at the pub and realized that it had probably been her trying to call. He wondered if there were any problems with her family, or if this was simply a social visit. Trent found himself trying to swallow the sand that had seemed to form in his throat, and barely managed to croak out his drink order to the perky waitress that had wandered over to their booth.
Trent slid into the booth next to Jane after she raised a sardonic eyebrow and patted the seat next to her. As Jane and her friend caught up over a pepperoni pizza, he picked at his own slice and took big gulps of his drink, wondering when he had developed such a case of cotton-mouth. Trent noticed vaguely that there had been a pause in conversation and both girls were looking at him expectantly. He'd been so lost in thought that he had no idea what had been asked of him, so he simply grinned and shrugged, having no idea what he'd just agreed to. He was almost frightened to know when both women began to chuckle, the sound causing the hair on the back of his neck to stand up.
The last person Trent had expected to see that day was Daria.
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The week passed by in a flurry of visits, dinners out and shopping, on the girls' part anyway. Trent chose to spend those particular afternoons on his own, lining up gigs for himself, or the band on the nights all the members were available. On the fifth evening of Daria's visit, Trent's cell phone rant. Jesse's girlfriend was going into labor, and Jesse wanted Trent to meet him at the hospital for moral support. When he told the girls what was happening, Jane elected to stay home, having never done well around babies, or hospitals. Daria state she wanted to come along, if only to get out of the house for a little while. Trent shrugged and began searching for his car keys when Daria held hers in front of his face, grinning mischievously. Trent smiled in thanks as he took them and they made their way towards Lawndale Medical to find a haggard Jesse chain smoking in the parking lot. Trent threw his arm around his best friend's shoulders and patiently led him back to the maternity ward, Daria following closely behind.
A few hours later, Jesse in the delivery room with his girlfriend, Trent and Daria waited patiently in the waiting room, facing the plate glass windows of the nursery, the curtains closed for the night. At nine-thirty, a nurse came out and told them that the new mother was in a room and could receive visitors. As Trent watched Daria hold and coo over Jesse's new daughter, Trent felt a small jerk of pain in his chest. It would be several hours before he realized it was that green-eyed monster known as jealousy.
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As they made their way to the parking lot, Trent dug Daria's keys out of the pocket they had been stuffed into in his haste and handed them back to her. She took them with a smile and they both got back into her car. Trent gave her a questioning glance when she pulled out of the parking lot and turned the opposite direction from Jane's house. Daria simply shrugged in return and turned the radio up a bit, singing along with joyous abandon. Trent couldn't remember the last time he'd seen her so...free. As he watched her belt out lyrics at the top of her longs as she randomly made turns down the streets of Lawndale, the summer breeze blowing her hair back, he decided he liked her best this way.
Daria finally came to a stop under the giant strawberry that he and Jesse used to get high under. She turned in her seat, towards him, resting her head gently on the headrest of the driver's seat. He did the same, wondering what she was thinking. As her gaze raked over his face, then his neck, then his chest, he realized he was being sized up. Sure, they had kept up a passing acquaintance, mostly through e-mails, over the years since she'd left for college, then took a job with a newspaper in Boston, but they'd never really come to know one another. Trent let her gaze wander, giving her a genuine smile when her eyes finally met his again. He maintained eye contact with her as he leaned forward, excruciatingly slowly, closing his eyes just as his lips brushed hers in a soft, chaste kiss. As he pulled back, he saw her eyes were still shut, her mouth open slightly. He leaned in again, this time pushing his mouth hard against hers, tasting her. He felt her smile against his mouth and opened his eyes again as she pulled away, straightening in the driver's seat. She started the car and headed back to Jane's house.
As they made their way upstairs and to their respective rooms, Trent grabbed Daria's hand on impulse. He tugged it gently toward his room, but she dug her heels in to the carpet, shaking her head slightly. She smiled as she turned toward her own room, whispering a soft good night before she shut the door.
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When Trent woke up the next morning, he stared at the ceiling for a few minutes before stretching and standing. His face held a goofy grin as he recalled the previous evening. Trent made his way to the window, glancing down into the street, seeing that it was going to be another beautiful summer day. He did a double take when he saw that Daria's car was gone.
Quickly dressing, and running his fingers through his hair, he ran down the stairs. After a cursory exploration of the house, he finally found Jane in the living room, in front of her easel as usual. Questioning her, Jane simply raised a brow and shook her head, pointing out that Daria's week vacation was over and she had to get back to work. She then handed over a plain white envelope with his name written in neat cursive on the cover. He plopped down onto the couch, dropping the envelope into his lap as he scrubbed at his eyes with the palms of his hands. He tore it open to find a sheet of notebook paper with the same neat cursive written on it.
I'm sorry to run out on you, but I'm afraid if I stay here any longer, I'll do something I'll regret in the long run. I don't want to become involved in a relationship that I believe would be doomed to failure from the outset. I know you'll say that I'm just being cynical, but I think I'm being a realist. I want to protect my heart, and by having any kind of relationship with you, I'll be setting myself up for nothing but heartbreak. Know that as I'm writing this, I want nothing more than to share your bed with you, my heart tells me I should tear this paper up and go to you, but my head tells me not to be an idiot. I may regret it in the future, but I don't want to be hurt, and I don't think you can promise not to hurt me yet. Know that I'll always have feeling for you, and thank you for the song.
Your Mona Lisa,
Trent sat on the sofa, stunned by her words. So she had been in the pub that night, and heard his ode to her, and had figured it out. He knew he should go after her, and a couple of years ago, he would have been in his car already. However, he'd learned a few things about Daria over the years, from their constant communication, and he knew that she was probably right. He folded the letter up neatly, stuck it in his pocket, and hugged his sister, who was giving him an empathetic smile. He simply shrugged, gave her a soft smile, and made his way to the kitchen to find some breakfast.