Open Windows 1: The Interesting Life and Times of Daria Morgendorffer

 

In response to an off-handed comment Daria decides to set Jane up on a blind date.  Only problem is she decides upon the “Nice English friend of Tom’s” she met…

 

Legal stuff: Daria is Copyright of Viacom/MTV/whoever, as are all Daria cast, original characters and such not as much, you know the rest by now.

…………

 

(1 week after Is it Fall Yet?)

 

Daria sighed, as she looked around at the other patrons of the ‘Winged Tree Country Club’ unable to help feeling just a tad out of place amongst the other patrons, still she had agreed to make an effort, she just wished Tom would hurry up and finish in the bathroom.  Sitting at a table alone was not how she envisioned spending her Friday nights, not without a computer or notepad anyway.

 

After finishing her survey of the surroundings she was startled to find a young man dressed from head to toe in black stood before the table, she reacted with a startled yelp which she hoped didn’t attract much if any attention.

 

“I do apologise ma’am.”  The man replied in a highly precise and very refined British accent, which no doubt explained the mans slightly paler skin tone, “But perchance was that Tom Sloane I saw at this table not long ago?”

 

“Yes…” Daria nodded warily,

 

“Oh I do apologise, how bloody rude of me,” The man continued, “Please allow me to introduce myself…”

 

“You’re a man of wealth and taste?”  Daria quipped unable to stop herself,

 

“Hh-Hm” was the amused sound the man made (that must have been what constituted a laugh for him) before continuing, “alas no I am merely Clovis R. Lee-Daniels at your service Madame.”

 

“Clovis?”  Daria mulled over the unusual name before asking “As in the character from Saki?”

 

The young man’s eyes lit up from behind the shades that inexplicably rested on his nose before he spoke again, “At last someone with the wits to realise I was not named after the place in New Mexico, you milady have earned my respect,” he bowed theatrically (which revealed his hair was unusually tied in a long braid) before continuing, “now however I must rather get to the point, I am but a humble acquaintance of young Mr Sloane…”

 

“I figured it was that or he owed you money,” Daria replied, starting to relax in the presence of the somewhat eccentric but definitely polite young man.

 

“Hh-Hm” there was that odd little laugh again, “fortunately no, I merely wish to request that you pass on a message to our mutual friend if I may impose?”

 

“Sure I guess”

 

“Capital, merely let him know that I’m back and if he wishes to resume the usual meet-ups then I’m free as of next Wednesday”

 

“I’ll see what I can do” Daria agreed, curious as to what these ‘meet-ups’ consisted of, “although if you don’t mind waiting I’m sure he’ll be back soon.”

 

“As much as I’d love to I’m afraid I’ve wasted enough time as it is and must be off, I had hoped to catch him before he made it to the washroom but alas was too late, and frankly that sort of message is not one I’d like to deliver in a bathroom, it’s the sort of thing that can be so easily misinterpreted if you understand.  On that note I’m afraid I must dash, I shall see you around miss…”

 

“Daria Morgendorffer.”

 

“Ah so you’re the one I’ve heard about eh?  Tell you what forget about the message I’ll just tell him at school.” Before Daria would question his sudden change of mind he continued, “Well then I shall not interrupt your evening together any longer, so long.”

 

With that Clovis left the country club leaving a confused but also amused Daria sat at the table, “Well Tom certainly keeps interesting company” she remarked to herself while wondering what exactly Tom’s friends had ‘heard about’

 

“Sorry I took so long” Tom said as he approached the table, “They put in new hand dryers and some of the older members couldn’t figure out how to work them…you ok?”

 

“Huh?  Yeah I’m fine,”

 

The two sat at the table in a somewhat awkward silence for a minute,

 

“So…” Tom began to speak “How’s school?”

 

“Well it’s only been a week and Mr DeMartino’s eye is bulging as usual, the more things change the more they stay the same, not that you’d know that yet of course.”

 

“Hey I don’t set Fielding’s schedule, I just try and fail to make sense of it.”  Tom shook his head as he continued, “rumour has it the principal arranged the schedule to spite his ex-wife who teaches at another school, the mind boggles sometimes.”

 

…………

 

The next day Daria headed over to Jane’s for the new school years first annual ‘Pizza and Bad Movie Night’ looking forward to what Jane had promised to be the ultimate in bad movies.

 

“Yo.”  Jane’s greeting seemed somewhat terse when she answered the door.

 

“Hey…what did I do this time?”  Daria asked warily,

 

“Huh?  Oh sorry Daria, it’s nothing to do with you,” Jane replied as she held up an envelope, “I just got a letter from an ‘old friend’ from the art colony…”

 

“Ah, this the friend who tried to get a little too friendly?”

 

“Give the girl a cigar, seems she’s gonna be in Lawndale for a while and wants to meet up and ‘apologise’ while also no doubt try to crash here to save on hotel funds.”  Before Daria could respond Jane continued “AND to top it all off, Turns out Trent let Jesse borrow tonight’s movie without telling me.  Lets just say it’s been a less than perfect day.”

 

“I’ll bet,” Daria replied, “Tell you what, how about I go down to the video store and rent us something truly cheesy and get the pizza while I’m at it, my treat?”

 

“How very selfless of you” Jane replied, the signs of humorous sarcasm returning to her voice.

 

“Well that and it clears up at least one of the no doubt several debts I owe you by now.”  Daria replied with a smirk.

 

“Well you do owe me a replacement boyfriend but I doubt pizza and a movie covers it…unless its one damn good pizza and one really bad movie.”

 

“Hmm, I guess I could ask Quinn to set you up on a blind date with someone?”

 

“Yeah cause I obviously wouldn’t trust you to set up a blind date by yourself.”  Jane replied, no doubt intended jokingly but still irritating Daria a little.

 

“Uh-huh, anyway I’ll go get the movie while you cool off or whatever, be back soon.”

 

…………

 

At the video store Daria perused the various movies available for her viewing pleasure while mulling over Jane’s words, maybe it was just lingering guilt from recent events, maybe irritation over what Jane had said, or maybe just a chance to get back at Jane’s teasing her about the now long-gone crush on Trent, but she was curious about the idea of setting Jane up on a blind date.

 

“The question is” she thought to herself, “who exactly is there?  Dammit the only guys I know are either jerks or spoken for or both…”

 

“Well, Well, Well, …Daria right?”

 

Daria turned around upon hearing her name to find a familiar black clad figure stood behind her, “oh its you…Clovis right?”

 

“Indeed.  Fancy meeting again so soon, truly it must be fate…or we’re both after a movie and this is the only video store in the area who knows?”

 

“Oh I’m just after a movie for me and a friend, we like to watch the cinematic oddities out there.”

 

“Ah I know that feeling and if you will permit me I know just the film.”  With that Clovis begun looking through a certain set of shelves that contained the various ‘international’ films, although this mainly included badly dubbed or subtitled chop-sockey films from the seventies and other such films.

 

“Ah here we are,” Clovis held aloft a video triumphantly “The jade-Screen classic known as ’Du bi quan wang da po xue di zi’ also known as ‘One Armed Boxer Versus Master of the Flying Guillotine’ now if that doesn’t just scream entertainment what doesn’t?”

 

Daria looked at the video while considering that if Clovis’s ‘dry British humour’ could be any dryer while describing the film she’d have thought he meant it before noticing the title of the film was only written in Chinese.

 

“Wait a minute, Clovis you understand Chinese?”

 

“Well I don’t wish to brag but what can I say? I’m fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese, while being able to ‘get by’ in Korean and have just a smattering of Thai.”  He shrugged “I guess I just have a knack for Asian languages,”

 

“Uh-Huh” Daria replied thoughtfully, before making a decision “Ah to hell with it, Clovis what’s your stance on Blind Dates?”

 

…………

 

“Here’s the pizza, one Jane special just as you like it, all the toppings, all the extra cheese, and all the cholesterol your arteries can handle.”

 

“Great, my arteries wish a plague upon your house while my stomach sings your praises.”

 

“Here’s the movie, apparently a legend of chop-sockey cinema and of the few films to feature a killer lampshade.”

 

“Sounds…interesting at the very least.”

 

“Yes indeed.”  Daria sat down on the couch, “Oh by the way you’re date will be here tomorrow to pick you up at seven.”

 

“Cool…wait, what?”  Jane turned suddenly and looked at Daria nervously, ‘you are joking…you aren’t joking.”  Her shoulders fell when she saw the smirk on Daria’s face.

 

…………

 

At 7 o’clock the next day Jane answered the knock at the door with a slight sense of nerves, this changed once she saw the person stood at the door.

 

“Hmm raised eyebrows, somewhat predatory look in the eyes, unsettling grin forming, yes just as Daria said,” the figure tipped his baseball cap, “You must be Jane am I right?”

 

“Uh-Huh,”

 

“Marvellous, I am Clovis R. Lee-Daniels, and I shall be your blind date for this evening.”

 

“That why you’re wearing those shades?”  Jane joked without trying to sound too flirty (or too little)

 

“Hh-Hm, quite.  Now as to the matter of tonight since I have been away for much of the summer I am unaware of any changes made in the many venues for entertainment this town offers, what would you recommend?”

 

“Well there’s always The Zon’” Jane replied, “it may be a little less ‘refined’ as some of the places I expect you visit, but the drinks are cheap and the band is terrible.  I suppose we could hang there for a while and then see about getting a late dinner?”

 

“With a recommendation like that how could I refuse?  Although I feel I must apologise since my car is currently out of action, would you do me the honour of allowing me to walk you to this club?”

 

“I’ll get my coat,” Jane replied without hesitation, “Just let me make a phone call first.”

…………

 

“Not that I’m complaining, but Daria why are we going to The Zon’ again?”

 

“Well yesterday I kinda, sorta, set Jane up on a blind date with someone.”  Daria replied, “Seriously.”  She stated before Tom could reply, “it’s complicated, lets just say we reached an agreement that we’d ‘double date’ in a way?”

 

“And what way would that be?”  Tom asked, still unsure as to whether he was actually having this conversation.

 

“Basically I agreed to give her 15 minutes alone with her date, and when we arrive she’s going to give a signal, if its going well we leave them both, whereas if its bad we heroically swoop in and save the day.”

 

“Uh-huh, and how do we swoop in exactly?”

 

“Honestly I didn’t give it a lot of thought, I think that Jane should get on fine with the date I chose for her and I’m a pretty good judge of character.”

 

“I don’t know Daria, you’ve been wrong before.”

 

“Don’t get cocky, you where just the exception that proves the rule.”  Daria replied, “Besides I’m so sure with this one that if it goes wrong I’ll go to your parents next social function with you.”

 

“I thought you where supposed to say something that would make me want you to be wrong?”  Tom joked back, “Though I have got to ask, who did you manage to set Jane up with on such short notice?”

 

“It’s funny you should ask, at the country club a friend of yours came over and introduced himself, seemed a decent if eccentric guy and I wound up bumping into him again at the video store, long story short I’ve set Jane up with that nice English guy you’re friends with.”

 

“Who?”

 

“Oh knock it off, just how many English guys do you know?”

 

“One and I’ve never heard him referred to as nice before…oh God no…” Toms grip on the steering wheel tightened as the colour drained from his face “Daria this is very important, was this friend wearing a lot of black?”

 

“Clad head to toe yes…”

 

“Did he have his hair tied back in a braid like you see in old kung fu movies?”

 

“I guess so…”

 

“Now this is very important, was he wearing a black leather baseball cap and a pair of shades despite the time?”

 

“Yes…”

 

“Ok…you set Jane up with Clovis didn’t you?”

 

“Um…yes?”

 

Several passers-by got quite a surprise when the rusted jaguar on the road made a sudden and unexpected swerve across the road complete with a loud screeching of the tires before resuming its normal course, only at a slightly greater speed.

…………

 

“Out of curiosity, why are you wearing a leather baseball cap?”  Jane asked as they approached The Zon’

 

“What this?”  Clovis tapped the peak before continuing, “it’s a gift from my Uncle Kenny, call it a good luck charm.”

 

“Uh-huh…and the shades at night look?”

 

“I have my reasons.”  Clovis responded matter-of-factly.

 

“Oooookay…” Jane decided not to continue the questioning since they had already arrived at the club, “Leave this to me, I know the door guy.”  As she approached the large guy at the door she continued, “Heya Bob, Trent and the guys all set up yet?”

 

“Oh hi Jane, hate to tell you this but they haven’t shown up, last I heard they wanted to find a video in Jesse’s room…that was yesterday and they haven’t been heard of since.”

 

“Whoops” Jane muttered under her breath, “So no band tonight then?”

 

“Actually we did get a band on short notice, some punk band looking to get noticed, their setting up now so you may as well go on in.”

 

Jane motioned for Clovis to follow and the two entered the club, instead of the usual crowd of people the place had about 20 people who wouldn’t look out of place at a riot.

 

“Well its not what I expected but could be fun, don’t suppose a man of your refinement listens to much punk?”

 

“Not really, after all punk died a good 20 years ago, all there is now is a bunch of Sex-Pistol-wannabes unaware that even the pistols have become part of the mainstream…”

 

Clovis was cut off when the person next to him replied, rather loudly, “OI are you calling the Pistols sell-outs?”

 

Jane noticed that the once noisy club had suddenly gone deathly quite with all eyes on them.

 

“Clovis I’m sure an apology will stop this turning ugly.”

 

“Quite right” Clovis replied and turned to the one who had taken offence at what he had said…and remained quiet.

 

“Clovis…” Jane hissed after several seconds.

 

“No, no” Clovis held his hand up, “he can take his time if he wants.”

 

“Oh so you think your funny do you?” a somewhat inebriated punk spoke before suddenly lunging for him “Have some of this you piece of upper-class Oxford trash!”

 

“Clovis! Look…” Jane began to shout, before Clovis spun around and delivered an uppercut to the punks chin with enough force to lift him from the ground, “…out?”  Jane finished weakly.

 

“Well now” Clovis said calmly as he removed his shades, “That’s not very sporting is it now?  Oh and just so you know, I’m not from Oxford, but Tai Ping Shan, Hong Kong.  Anyone else have any issues that they wish to discuss?”

 

As Jane watched the ensuing carnage she could only think one thing.

 

“Daria is going to pay for this.”

 

…………

 

“I still think you’re exaggerating what he’s like, from the way you’re driving I’d think he was some sort of serial killer or stalker or something.”

 

“Oh no far from that.”  Tom replied as he looked around for a parking space, “usually he’s always polite, witty, and well spoken…it’s just that he grew up in Hong Kong before spending several years travelling with his uncle around Asia.  You might want to say it’s…affected him in some ways.”

 

“Affected?”  Daria asked hesitantly, part of her wishing he’d just said ‘yes Clovis is a serial killer’

 

“Well his thought process is a little, how shall I put it, it’s Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle put to action in a very direct manner…” Tom answered as he finally parked the car and headed at a brisk pace towards the club.

 

“So he’s a little unpredictable, so what?”  Daria hurried to keep up; “I mean…EEP!” she was cut off from continuing as a large heavily pierced man came flying through the window of the nightclub with a loud crash.

 

“Oh he’s also a Master of most styles of Martial Arts …did I forget to mention that?”  Tom added calmly as he brushed the glass shards from his hair.

 

The two looked into the door of the club nervously, each expecting to see a brawl underway, instead all they saw was Jane looking on as Clovis stood in front of a man dressed as a punk who looked nervous but was trying to hide it.

 

“I’m warning you man,” the Punk said as Clovis approached, “you lay a single finger on me and I’ll sue your ass…”

 

To the surprise of everyone watching Clovis stopped in front of the man and shrugged, “fair enough mate” at this point he glanced over his shoulder and saw Daria and Tom trying to hide behind the door.

 

“Ah splendid, just in time, the two of you will no doubt act as witnesses that I shall not lay a single finger upon this gentleman?”

 

The two nodded weakly as the punk began to grin smugly…that is until of course Clovis kicked him square in the face.

 

“Word to the wise mate, always read the small-print.”  Clovis said with a grin as he looked over the now unconscious punk before turning to face the new arrivals.

 

“How goes folks?”  He asked nonchalantly as he replaced his sunglasses, as the others looked at him in stunned silence he raised an eyebrow, “What?”

 

“Daria where the hell did you find him?  Rent-a-ninja?”  Jane finally exclaimed.

 

“I…I, I didn’t know…” Daria said somewhat confused by the recent events; she stood in silence for several seconds before running out of the club.

 

“Oh great.”  Tom sighed before heading after Daria, “Clovis we’ll discuss this later.”  He added over his shoulders.

 

Jane looked around the club before turning her gaze to the figure who had single-handedly rendered everyone else unconscious, after brushing his shoulders off of dust (no doubt left from the one punk ‘lucky’ enough to actually lay a hand on Clovis) he noticed she was looking at him.

 

“So…Dinner?”

 

…………

 

“Daria?”  Tom had found her not far from the club, sat on the hood of his car,

 

“Oh…hey.”  Daria replied awkwardly, her face not showing any specific emotion.

 

“You ok?  You took off kinda fast from there.”  Tom asked as he sat next to her, “Although given the situation I can’t say I blame you.”

 

“Yeah, I got weirded out and needed to clear my head.”  Daria sighed, “When did I become such a terrible judge of character?”

 

“You’re not a bad judge of character.”  Tom replied, “You’re just a sucker for anyone who shows anything resembling grace and wit.”  He continued with a slight smirk.

 

“Hey!”  Daria replied in mock irritation, “…I do don’t I?”

 

“Don’t take it personally, Clovis fools a lot of people with his Jane Austen ways, heck I made that mistake and have been stuck with him for the past few years.”

 

“Tom you’re not helping, I’ve just set Jane up with an organic fighting machine…”

 

“I wouldn’t say machine, they can be switched off or need to stop to recharge.  I swear Clovis seems to have endless stamina…”

 

“Tom please stop trying to help,” Daria replied, as a nervous expression appeared “now I’m worried that fighting isn’t the only thing he can’t shut off.”

 

“He does have scarily well developed muscle memory” Tom replied not quite catching Daria’s meaning, “Hell I once saw him take out 3 guys while still asleep!”

 

“And I set Jane up with this guy!”  Daria put her face in her hands “She’s gonna kill me.”

 

“Or never stop thanking you.”  Tom replied amused after finally realising what Daria meant, “What?  This is Jane we’re talking about.”

 

Daria sighed before continuing, “Exactly, Jane does tend to get a bit adventuresome.  After all, she agreed to go out with you after about forty-five seconds of conversation. 

 

“42 seconds actually and hey it could be worse, you could have set him up with you instea…” Tom stopped when he saw the thoughtful expression on Daria’s face, “I said WORSE Daria.”

 

After an awkward moment looking sheepish, Daria began to speak again, “Tom?”

 

“What?”

 

“Just what twisted alternative universe did he drop out of anyway?”

 

“We’re still trying to figure that one out.”

 

“Well when you figure it out remind me never to visit there.”

 

“Deal…you know it’s just hit me, maybe we should make sure our friends are ok?  I mean you did leave Jane alone with Clovis, and I left Clovis alone with Jane…”

 

“Yeah, we better go and ‘swoop in and save the day’ …however the hell that could be possible.”

 

…………

 

As the two looked at the club now empty of (conscious) people they stood in silence for a few minutes.

 

“I’m sure its nothing to worry about.”  Tom finally spoke up, “After all their both responsible adu…oh who am I kidding we’re screwed.”

 

“Hey you’re not the one who has to ask you’re mom to borrow a credit card to go dress shopping.”

 

“Yeah…wait, what?”

 

“Well I’m guessing casual wear isn’t accepted at your parents social functions?”

 

“You were actually serious about that?”  Tom raised an eyebrow as he briefly considered whether this entire scenario was an elaborate scheme by Daria to get him to invite her to a function, a concept he swiftly rejected.  After all no scheme of Daria’s could be that obvious.

 

“Way I see it, it’ll definitely teach me to keep my mouth shut the next time I think I’ve got a sure-fire win on its way, and it should be amusing to see Quinn making plans for what I’ll be wearing.”

 

“Amusing?”

 

“Well actually the amusing part is when I completely shatter her dream of giving me a makeover when I tell her I’ve already made preparations.”

 

Daria paused for a second, “Besides ever since that tutor went and tore her heart out” she continued sarcastically, “the prospect of being able to work her magic on me is all that keeps her going.”

 

“Ever the humanitarian I see.”  Tom rolled his eyes, “anyway I no doubt should be getting you home before your parents begin to worry.”

 

“Ever the gentleman I see.”  Daria gave the classic ‘Mona Lisa’ smile as she departed the club.

 

“Actually I just want to leave before these guys regain consciousness.”  Tom said to the now empty room.

 

…………

 

“Yo?” A somewhat groggy voice answered the phone the next day.

 

“Hi.”  Daria said, she had decided to settle her nerves once and for all by calling Jane to prove that she was just over-stressing about the entire situation.

 

“Huh?  Oh Hi Daria.”  Jane replied before yawning, “Sorry Amiga, I’m still kind of exhausted, I didn’t get much sleep last night, heh that’s an understatement, I was up ALL night…Daria…Daria?”  Jane looked at the now silent phone, “Huh must have had to help her dad get his tie out the toaster again, oh well maybe I can manage a quick run…ack maybe not, man my back is killing me.”

 

It was hearing that last part that made the already stunned silent Daria’s eyelid begin to twitch…

 

…………

 

To say that Daria felt somewhat awkward around Jane while at school would have been an understatement, Jane seemed blissfully oblivious to this however and was in very high spirits (once she became classifiable as awake that is.)

 

“You know its funny Daria, at first after seeing who you set me up with, I was planning ways to make you suffer immensely…” Before Daria could confirm that she was doing so, Jane continued, “but after that we went out for dinner, nice Chinese place.”

 

“You can’t be talking about ‘Good Times’ can you?”  Daria asked quizzically, “Not after…”

 

“No!  Definitely not after THAT,” Jane said as she shuddered, “we went to this place called the Millionaires Express Tea-House, good food with really big portions, given how much Clove managed to shovel down its no wonder he had so much energy for when we…”

 

“’Clove’?” Daria replied incredulously, mainly to stop the conversation taking the path she feared it was.

 

“Oh that?  It’s his new nickname, I thought it was cute.”

 

Daria thought to herself, “She’s already given him a nickname as well as…oh Dear Lord what have I done?”  But merely said out loud “Oh, all-in-all a fun night was had, lets get to class.”

 

“Yeah it was LOTS of fun,” Jane said before her grin faded a little, “Although it was nearly ruined when Allison turned up out of the blue trying to find a place to crash,”

 

“Sorry to hear…” Daria said, trying to sound sympathetic while hiding the relief that her fears may be unfounded after all.

 

“Nah don’t be, Clovis was great, he was able to handle her as well as…” Jane trailed off with a dreamlike expression on her face.

 

“Excuse me I need to go to my locker and throw up.”  Daria deadpanned while dying a little more inside.

 

…………

 

While Daria contemplated getting Quinn to giver her a makeover (with a shotgun) at another part of Lawndale, more precisely at Fielding Preparatory School where two students having their own conversation.

 

“So Waz not coming today?”

 

“Nope, the school’s given him a lighter schedule compared to the last few years, they don’t want him going back to Quiet Ivy a second time.”  Tom looked thoughtful before continuing, “Mainly since his fathers threatening to make the school foot the bill.”

 

“Poor old Waz, I always felt a little responsible for him snapping like that.”

 

“Actua…Ah forget it.”  Tom decided he didn’t need the extra bother that day,

 

The two stopped walking as they saw the smartly dressed man step out of the principals office, as he saw the two he also stopped and ran a hand through his (incredibly grey) hair

 

"Ah its the Pom-spawn, I see you somehow survived yet another summer eh Clovis?"

 

"G'Day principal Brucie,” Clovis replied brightly in a bad impression of the principal’s accent, “and how was your summer?  Ex-Wife try and kill you while I wasn't around to play bodyguard?"

 

Principal Brucie glared at Clovis for a few seconds before letting out a laugh, “Oh its good to have you back Clovis my boy, and give my regards to your Uncle Kenny.”

 

“Hh-Hm, Will do, oh and glad to see you gave up on the hair dye, Gray hair somehow works with you.”

 

“I suppose that’s one thing I can thank Janet for.”  Brucie muttered before he headed off.

 

“You know if we had anyone else as a principal you would have expelled so many times by now.”  Tom said with a smile, “Still where’s the fun in that, so how was Hong Kong this summer?”

 

“Bloody Marvellous.”  Clovis replied, a manic grin appearing as he adjusted his shades, “I learned 3 new styles of kung fu and several new ways to make a person dead, 7 of which involved a bowl of noodles, oh and I also managed to get quite reacquainted with several of the old classmates, which was fun.”  Clovis’s grin became very satisfied, which only made it more unsettling.

 

“Clovis how many did you hospitalize this time?”

 

“Only 2, I must be getting soft in my old age.”

 

“Soft is not a word I would use to describe you, oh by the way, I hear you’ve been having clandestine meetings with my girlfriend.”

 

“Drama Queen, I bumped into her at the country club while you where in the Khazi, and then the next day at the video store where I helped her rent one of the greatest movies ever made.”  Clovis shrugged “Then she asked about my policy on blind dates, I figured what the hell and that’s what led to meeting Janey.”

 

“About that.”

 

“Put your mind at ease mate, apart from that little kerfuffle with those punks I didn’t attack anyone else, I mean I came close to when some girl Jane knew turns up but I found alternate methods to get her off and on her way.”

 

“Uh-huh…” Tom replied, still a little leery.

 

“Relax, I was a perfect gentleman throughout the night.”

 

…………

 

“I knew it their at it like monkeys!”  Daria exclaimed before letting out a sigh, “at the risk of sounding like those two idiots from Highland, This sucks.”

 

This little exchange took place at the usual pizza place; Daria and Tom occupied a table alone, mainly as both Jane and Clovis had their own plans, something that made Daria reach the previous conclusion.

 

Tom looked at the annoyed pout on Daria’s face for a few a seconds before he finally spoke up, “You know I have to admit you’re pretty cute when you’re annoyed.”

 

“Tom you’re not taking this whole situation as seriously as I’d like.”  Before she raised an eyebrow slightly and said more to herself, “Cute?”

 

“Sorry its just I have a hard time believing that Clovis…I mean…with Jane…hell the guy is practically terrified of that stuff!”  Tom replied as he put his head in his hands, “and yes, very cute.”

 

“Wait…” Daria couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing.  “Are you trying to tell me that Clovis has physical intimacy issues?”

 

“A guy has a body like that and is still single what did you expect Daria?  Heck I’m straight and even I think that butts amaz…I’ve said too much haven’t I?”

 

"Just a little bit yes."  Daria edged away slightly.

 

"Call it jealousy, I mean he’s sculpted out of granite while I’m…marshmallow"

 

"Don't be,” Daria continued deadpan “Tom you have a very nice butt."

 

"Really?”

 

"Well as far as posteriors go its adequate enough I suppose."

 

“Thank you I feel ever so much better now.”  Tom replied in an equally deadpan voice.

 

“Besides, I like marshmallow.  Whoops I said that out loud didn’t I?”

 

…………

 

After a slightly awkward pizza the two arrived at Daria’s doorstep,

 

“Well guess this is goodnight,” Tom spoke first, “I guess I better get home and ask my parents for tickets, you still sure you want to go through with this?”

 

“Dead certain, it’ll help take my mind off of this whole thing.”

 

“If you say so,” Tom said before giving her a quick kiss, “Although I still say this is some sort of misunderstanding, and even if we’re wrong then so what?  At best it just means we have more time to ourselves without feeling bad about not being with either of them.”  With that Tom smiled as he spoke, “and that means we have more time to spend together as well.”

 

“You raise a good point,” Daria said, a faint smile forming herself, “A very good point, and the worse that could happen?”

 

“Do you really want an answer to that?”  Tom asked, one hand stroking Daria’s hair.

 

“Nah, lets not spoil the mood.”  Daria finally answered before leaning in for another kiss.

 

Moments like this are called the ‘Calm before the Storm’ for a very good reason.

 

…………

 

The next day passed with relative normality, all things considered.  Daria had managed to make it through the day gradually convincing herself that she had merely misheard or over-interpreted Jane’s words.  Meaning she was no longer a step away from a heart attack whenever her friend spoke.

 

It was obvious that this couldn’t last for long.  Mainly as Daria had taken the possibly unwise decision to ask Jane for more information to try and at least get some confirmation…even if she was in abject terror at what she would hear.

 

“So…you planning on giving my blind date from hell anymore outings?”

 

“We’ll see, I wanna let my back heal first, damn him and his flexibility.”  Jane stretched her back, oblivious to the look of horror on her friends face, “Ugh longest game of twister I ever played.”

 

“Jane…” Daria said slowly, trying to sound as calm as possible, “Please tell me that you were both clothed.”

 

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”  Jane replied with a mischievous grin.

 

Daria decided a change of subject was in order for the sake of her nerves, “So has this Allison turned up to attempt to renew previous relations since?”

 

"Nah,” Jane replied smiling, “I think ‘Clove’ scared her off"

 

"Oh thank god..." Daria thought to herself with relief washing over her…

 

 "I mean she probably won't be walking right for a few days anyway."

 

"…Why have you forsaken me?"  The tide went out on the relief here.  Although Daria did then remember that Clovis was the sort of person who did tend to deal with annoyances in a very direct (and often forceful) manner.

 

“I see you’re not as groggy as yesterday, you get some more sleep I take it?”  Daria asked after a pause, deciding to risk this last question and get it over with.

 

“Yeah, I guess it was foolish staying up so late on a schoolnight, but I found out ‘Clove’ had suggested that video we watched so we rented a bunch of similar ones, and you know Chinese movies, five minutes after watching your hungry for another.”

 

“Yeah…” Daria replied, and gave a sigh of relief, obviously Tom had been right about her exaggerating, “Well I’m glad the two of you had a good time, come on lets get to class.”

 

“Oh yeah great time,” Jane replied with a smile, although Daria had gone too far to fully hear the final part, “specially ‘Clove’ I mean hell kung-fu movies are like porn to that guy.”  Actually she no doubt did hear most of it but just chose not to acknowledge it, why let the possible truth get in the way of her not freaking out?

 

…………

 

Elsewhere at Fielding, Tom was half-heartedly listening to his friend while eating lunch; Clovis had been detailing the journey to Hong Kong, sometimes going into too much detail on certain matters.

 

“…Obviously once I’d broken most of the bones on his left side the guy finally agreed to take back what he said about Uncle Kenny’s mixed heritage.”

 

“Racism truly does terrible things to people.”  Tom replied dryly, “Speaking of which how is you’re Uncle?”

 

“Oh he’s the same as ever,” Clovis replied with a shrug, “Still got that wanderlust of his, he plans to visit Paris next to see Carlotta.”

 

“Ah yes, your sister doing well I take it?”

 

“I dunno, ever since Uncle Kenny started teaching her 2 years ago I’ve been worried she wouldn’t have the restraint to use her training with responsibility”

 

“Not like you obviously.”

 

“Obviously.”  Clovis replied, seemingly oblivious to the sarcasm.

 

“So anyway, you do much of interest in Hong Kong besides what you’ve already told me?”

 

“Nothing too amazing really, saw some movies, visited the old neighbourhood, had sex with a hot Chinese girl, oh wait something interesting did happen.”  Clovis said as he snapped his fingers, “I finally mastered Drunken Boxing.”

 

“Oh…” Tom said disinterested…then the words actually registered with him and he sat bolt upright, “OH! …Clovis do you mind repeating that second-to-last one?”

 

“What the old neighbourhood…yeah things looked the same as usual I guess.’

 

“Actually it was the one after that which caught my interest” Tom spoke slowly, “I believe you’re exact words on the subject being that you ‘had sex with a hot Chinese girl’ am I right?”

 

“Oh yeah,” Clovis said, “Hh-Hm, that was fun.”

 

“I’m having a hard time believing this.”  Tom said as he looked at Clovis, trying to figure out if he was telling the truth or not.

 

“No it really is, you should try it some time…only with a different girl obviously.”

 

“Not that part.”  Tom hissed, “I mean the concept of you, a man who the last time I saw before going away had such physical intimacy issues that at one point he fainted during a sex-ed class.”

 

“Hmm that is true, but what can I say?”  Clovis shrugged, “Jia Li Lan was very good at dealing with those issues, she always was a bossy gal.”

 

“Hang on a sec Clovis, I recognise that name…”

 

“Well I did say I got re-acquainted with some of my old kung-fu classmates,” he looked over his shades with a grin, “some I just got more re-acquainted with than others.”

 

“I really didn’t need that image…wait Jia Li Lan…I remember now, that’s the name of your kung-fu teachers daughter!”

 

“Oh yeah…no wonder him and his son attacked me so angrily…”

 

“You didn’t think it was odd?”

 

“When a guy who gives his eldest son a name that translates roughly to ‘Crazy Rodent’ you don’t get surprised when he attacks you at random and the same goes double for someone actually named ‘Crazy Rodent’”

 

“In a scary way that logic of yours makes some sort of sense.”  Tom replied, and then decided to change the subject swiftly to save on the inevitable mental strain that would come otherwise, “So you’re a Drunken Master too now huh?”

 

It was on the way home that a sudden realisation hit Tom Sloane, one that filled him with dread and a sense of foreboding doom.

 

“Daria is going to kill me.”

 

…………

 

“Hello?”  Daria answered the phone before anyone else could get to it,

 

“Daria?  It’s Tom, I didn’t know if you’d be with Jane or not tonight.”

 

“Nah she’s working on some new idea of hers, I think she said it could be a bit risky to be around so am staying home tonight, enjoying the chance to finally relax with the first peaceful night in a few days…”

 

“Yeah about that…”

 

“Oh yeah I really need to thank you, I was exaggerating things way too much today and…”

 

“Daria now don’t get mad, but there is a slight chance I may have been wrong about certain issues relating to a friend of mine…”

 

“…WHAT?”

 

As Tom leaned away from the receiver he looked upwards,

 

“OK so I kissed my at-the-time girlfriends best friend…don’t you think this is overdoing the whole punishment thing just a little bit?”

 

…………

 

Daria made it to Jane’s house in record time, intending to finally get the matter settled, her mental state be damned.

 

“I have to start taking her up on her offer to go running some time.”  She said to herself as she leaned against the door to catch her breath, before opening the front door and heading up the stairs, “Jane?”  She said out loud, hopefully so her friend would hear her.

 

“Dammit I think that’s Daria, Clovis hurry up and get the rest of your clothes back on.”  Was the unmistakeable voice of Jane Lane that was heard coming from within her room.

 

“I’m trying to hurry but you where the one who wanted to film the entire bloody thing!”  Came the response in a very refined British accent.

 

It was at this point that Daria lost consciousness.

 

…………

 

Daria awoke to see the face of Clovis looking over her, which she reacted to with the expected response:

 

“AAAAH!”

 

“She’s fine,” Clovis said looking up and walking away from her.

 

As Daria sat up she saw that Clovis’s normal outfit was rumpled and the shirt was partially unbuttoned, it looked like it had been put on in a hurry…after being taken off in an equal hurry.

 

“Daria what the hell was that all about?”  She heard Jane’s voice, which cut her off from her train of thought, “First you just let yourself in and then collapse outside my room, scared the hell out of us both.”

 

Daria slowly sat up, finding herself to be on Jane’s bed, Clovis stood off to one side and Jane stood in the doorway with a glass of water in her hand, her red shirt suspiciously missing…

 

“Is there something you want to tell me Amiga?”  Jane asked as she handed Daria the water,

 

“I…” Daria slowly began to speak quietly, “I wanted to make sure the two of you weren’t doing it…”

 

Jane stood silent for several seconds before finally speaking, “I realise I’m infringing on your territory here but Excuse me?”

 

It was at this point that Daria repeated herself, louder and clearer, as well as going into much more detail about why she had come to the conclusion based off of her friends words over the last few days.

 

Jane again stood stock still for several seconds after Daria had finished, when she finally did react it took Daria by surprise since she burst out laughing hysterically, she even fell over doing it, thankfully Clovis was quick enough to catch her.

 

“Hh-Hm, my, my, my what an active imagination you have Daria.”  Clovis spoke as he helped Jane back to her feet.

 

“Hoo-boy I needed that” Jane said as she caught her breath, “sorry Daria but I can’t imagine how you reached that conclusion.”

 

“B-But all the stuff you said…” Daria struggled to get her words out coherently, “Being up all night, the naked twister, him handling Allison as well, not to mention leaving her walking funny, the…the kung-fu porn, you both being in a suspicious state of dress, and videotaping whatever the hell it was, for crying out loud!  What else could all that stuff mean?”

 

“Whoa there Morgendorffer,” Jane said quickly, “most of that stuff I didn’t say, you just assumed, and as for the other stuff, you seemed to have misinterpreted a lot of things.”

 

Jane put a hand to her head, still a slight smirk from the laughter on her face, “OK let me try and break this down for you, first of all, the video was completely innocent.”

 

“Yeah,” Clovis nodded, “I was doing a Drunken Boxing demonstration and Janey wanted to tape it for paintings or whatever.”  Clovis did one or two moves from the highly acrobatic style,

 

“Since it required a lot of moving around Clovis had his shirt off, as for me I had to get the camera out of a cobweb filled storeroom and didn’t want to mess up my shirt either.”

 

“Ok I guess I can buy that…” Daria said nervously and with a hint of embarrassment, “but what about your date? All that stuff you kept saying?”

 

“We wound up getting back from the restaurant after renting a bunch of movies,” Jane said with a shrug, “although partway through watching them Allison turned up.”  She shook her head as she remembered, “Her attempt at crashing somewhere had failed so she tried it on with me, then ‘Clove’ being the gentleman he is tried to assist…by turning her round and giving her a good swift kick in the backside.”

 

“You think she’s walking funny after that?”  Clovis added, “be glad I wear sandals and not those boots I used to.”

 

“Anyhow after that we couldn’t really get back into the movies so for the hell of it we wound up playing Twister since Someone bragged about being the Twister King of South Korea”

 

“And has now annexed the Lane Household” Clovis added with a grin.

 

“You just got lucky ‘Clove’ oh and Daria?  When I joked about it being naked I thought you where joking as well, after that we relaxed and watched another movie, and as for the kung-fu being like porn crack, I just meant that ‘Clove’ gets excited by them.”

 

“Oh not like that.”  Clovis said with an irritated tone as he saw the shocked look on Daria’s face.

 

“So there you see?”  Jane said with an amused grin, “we had an eventful evening, we had dinner, watched a movie, played twister, watched another movie…”

 

“Yeah,” Clovis nodded in agreement, “And THEN we had sex…oh she passed out again.”

 

The End.  Or at the very least, To Be Continued.