Return to Lawndale

When Quinn got home from school, she found Daria sitting at the kitchen table. She had a feeling she knew what was up, but she couldn't be sure. Sitting down across the table she looked at her aunt. “Hey.”

Daria looked uneasy. “Hi. We need to talk.” she said.

As Quinn sat down, she noticed A.D. slowly turning her coffee mug around in her hands. Once she was comfortable, Quinn looked at her and asked, “What’s going on?”

She had been working up courage all afternoon to tell Quinn the news but the moment she asked her the question, Daria suddenly found it hard to tell her. Taking a second, he took a deep breath and said, “I’ve decided to take the job. We’re moving to Lawndale.”

While Quinn figured this was about the job offer A.D. had received she figured she was going to say she was rejecting the offer. When she heard the news, she was beyond stunned, Sitting back in the chair, she looked at her aunt and asked, “What!? You said you weren’t sure!”

“It was a tough decision but I felt it was too good an opportunity to pass up. For both of us.”

Quinn crossed her arms and pouted.

“This sucks.”


Uncrossing her arms, Quinn sighed, “Sorry. I just thought I would at least get to finish out the year here.”

Daria looked at her niece and tried to give her a reassuring smile.

“You will. We don’t have to leave until school ends next month. I made sure of that.”

“But this means I’ll be starting high school in a strange place.”

“Not entirely.” Daria said, “Remember, Jane teaches art there.”

Quinn rolled her eyes and said, “Yea right, a teacher. What about my friends? I’ll have to start over.”

“That’s not true. What about Jane’s family?”

“The only one who’s close to my age is Lane and he’s a year older.” Quinn said. “He won’t want to hang around with a freshman. Plus he told me he isn’t the most popular guy there.”

Daria thought, “Like mother, like son.” She looked at Quinn. “I can't believe you said that. I thought you and Lane got along very well. What’s wrong with him?”

Shaking her head, Quinn said, “Nothing I guess. I just don’t know him that well.”

Daria took a sip of her coffee and looked at her niece.

“Well we need to go to Lawndale this weekend. We have to start looking for a house.”

Quinn didn’t like the sound of that. “But I was going to stay over at Renee’s house Saturday.” she said. “Can’t you do this alone?”

Daria shook her head. “No. You’re going to have to live in this house too. I really would like your input. You’re a smart girl I want you to know your opinion matters to me.”

“Why don’t we just stay with the Grands?” Quinn asked.

“Why do you think I left Lawndale in the first place? They’re my parents and I do love them but living with them just isn’t an option. We have our life and they have theirs. It wouldn’t work for very long.”

“Then why are we moving there?”

“After all these years Lawndale seems pretty nice now.” Daria said. “I want you to be where you’re closer to your family and this gave me the best opportunity to do this.”

“But why do I have to go with you this weekend?”

“I’ve already explained that.”

“But I don’t want to go.” Quinn said.

“Well you are. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made and this is one of those times.”

“That’s unfair. I have plans and you want me to drop them at the last minute!”

“I'm sorry you feel that way Quinn, but you have to go.”

Quinn was really getting annoyed. With each exchange her voice had been getting louder. She had yet to shout but it was right on the edge. Before it got that far she figured she should go where she could think. She stood up. “Well I don’t think it's fair.” she said. “I'm going to my room!”

As she turned around to leave, Daria stood up to go after her.

“Quinn stop. We really need to talk about this.”

As Daria put her hand on her niece’s shoulder, Quinn spun around and glared at Daria. “Leave me alone MOM!” she shouted.

As that word echoed through each of their minds, both of them stood there in stunned silence for a second. In all the years they had lived together Quinn had never used that word before. The shock of hearing it was something neither of them expected. After a few moments Quinn couldn't take the look Daria was giving her and ran down the hall. Daria stood there in shock for a moment longer then sat back down at the table. What Quinn had said was a surprise for sure but it brought up a subject she had been thinking about for some time.

Later that night Daria was sitting in the living room. The events from earlier in the day had been rolling around in her mind ever since. In her concentration she didn't hear Quinn walk up behind her.


Quinn's interruption made Daria jump.

“Oh, Quinn. You startled me.”

Giving her aunt a brief smile, Quinn said, “Sorry. Didn’t mean to do that. Can we talk?”

Daria nodded.

“Of course. Sit down.”

Quinn sat on the couch next to Daria and turned to look at her.

“I was a little upset today.” she said. “I guess the surprise of hearing the news made me a little crazy. I know you’re doing what you feel is the best for both of us. Plus I should be grateful you want me along while you look for our home. I know most kids who’ve moved here never got to give their parents any input on where they wanted to live. I can cancel my plans. Before we move I can make it up with Renee.”

Daria looked at Quinn with amazement. She was only fourteen but there were times when she showed a wisdom that was beyond her age.

“Thank you Quinn. I want you to come along for that very reason. You are an important part of my life and I want you to be there for the big things.” Figuring this was as good a time as any, Daria worked up her nerve for the second time today and said,  “I’m glad you came in here. There’s something else I want to discuss.”


“When you left the kitchen you said something I had never heard you say before.”

Quinn knew what Daria was referring to but didn’t say anything.

“You know what I’m talking about?” Daria asked.

Nodding, Quinn said, “Yes.”

“Well I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and...”

Quinn looked at her aunt. A.D. was hardly ever at a loss for words. Whatever this was sounded pretty important. It was obviously making her more nervous than she had ever seen her aunt before.

“Forgive me, this isn’t easy.” Daria said. “When you came into my life several years ago I wasn’t sure I was ready to have a child in my life. It didn’t take too long to realize you’re the best thing thats ever happened to me. While I miss your mother more than you can possibly imagine I’m eternally grateful she wanted me to be your guardian. Now I want to know something. You don’t have to answer now. Take your time. This will affect your entire life.”

Quinn looked at A.D. with mild confusion. “What is it?”

Daria took a deep breath and continued. “I know I’ll never replace your mother but how would feel about me adopt...”

Her words were suddenly cut short by a pair of arms wrapped around her so tight she could barely breathe. As the shock subsided, all she could hear was Quinn’s voice saying, “yes, yes, yes...”

While not one to show her emotions very often, Daria was sufficiently stunned that she immediately broke down with tears of joy. The two remained in their embrace for several minutes. Finally the pair cried themselves out and separated. Daria looked at her.

“I can’t believe it. I was so unprepared for this to happen so soon.”

Quinn looked at her aunt/soon to be mom.

“Why? I’ve been waiting years for you to ask me that.”

Daria was shocked to hear this. She didn’t think Quinn would have been so open to the suggestion. She held her mother in such high regard.

“You mean you've wanted this?” Daria asked. “Why didn’t you bring this up before?”

Quinn looked at her. “Why didn’t you bring it up before?”

That reply was all the answer Daria needed. She knew living with her for the past eight years had been an influence on Quinn. “Fair enough” she said.

Quinn moved closer to Daria and asked. “So what do we do now?”

Daria reached across the end table, picked up the phone and said, “There’s just one thing to do.”

They looked at each other and in unison said, “Call Grandma.”

Quinn put her hand on Daria’s and told her to wait a second. She ran into the kitchen and returned a second later with the cordless phone. She wanted to be on the line when Grandma hard the good news.

Daria smiled and dialed the number. When Helen picked up the phone, Daria barely had a chance to say hello before Quinn broke the news to her. Helen was so happy they had to wait five minutes for her to calm down. Fortunately, Jake was there to pick up on the other line and continue the conversation. Of course he was as thrilled as Helen but managed to keep his cool. All that therapy had paid off. Finally, Helen was calm enough to talk again. She said it would be no problem. She would handle the paperwork personally. It would take several days to get everything together. More than likely she wouldn’t have it all together by this weekend but if they came back next Saturday everything should be ready. After a few minutes they ended the conversation. When they hung up the pair looked at each other and hugged again.

Daria was the first to speak.

“Well this is the start. You don’t know how happy this makes me.”

“I think I do.” Quinn said.

Daria looked at her with confusion. “What do you mean?” she asked.

“Well you’ve been smiling for the past fifteen minutes.” Quinn said. “I’ve never seen that before.”

She was so shocked by the reply that Daria let out a laugh. That really scared Quinn.

“Are you gonna be okay?” Quinn asked.

Daria smiled again and nodded

“Yes. I’ll be fine. It’s just such I never expected for this to ever happen and it’s got me a little…”

Fortunately, before she got sappy, she was interrupted by the phone ringing. Quickly, she picked up the receiver.


“Oh hi.”

She put her hand over the receiver and looked at Quinn.

“It’s Grandma again.”

Helen said something that quickly got Daria’s attention. As Helen spoke, Daria nodded slowly after each statement..




“I see.”

“Yes I’ll ask her.”

“No. This is a big one. I want to give her time.”

“Well it should be her choice.”

“I’ll call you when I know something. Bye”

Daria hung up the phone.

Quinn was a little curious. Grandma wouldn’t have called so soon if there wasn’t a problem. She worked up her nerve and asked, “Is something wrong?”

Daria looked at Quinn and shook her head. “No nothing’s wrong.”

“Then what did Grandma want?” she asked.

“She told me there was a choice to be made. I said I couldn’t make it. It has to be your decision.”

“I heard.” Quinn said. “What is it?”

“Before we can get the papers started you have a choice to make.” Daria said. “The adoption process will make me your legal mother but we need to know, do you want to keep your last name or do you want to change it to Morgendorffer?”

This wasn’t something Quinn hadn’t considered. She had no reply. Finally, she managed to get something out.

“I, I, don’t know. What do you think I should do?”

Daria looked at her and shook her head.

“I can’t tell you that. It has to be your decision.” Pausing for a second, Daria continued. “Don’t worry. Take your time. Whatever you decide is okay with me. Nobody’s feelings will be hurt.”

Quinn was relieved she didn't have to make the decision right then but she was still concerned. “But what about the adoption papers?” she asked.

“They can wait.” Daria said. “Now that we all know we want this, a little more time won’t hurt anything. I know it’s early but we’ve had a full night already so why don’t we go to bed. It’ll give us a little time to think about everything.”

Quinn nodded in agreement. The pair got up, turned off the lights and went to their rooms. Neither got much sleep that night.

The next few weeks were pretty crazy. Quinn was finishing up the school year and almost every weekend. except for the one when Quinn stayed at Renee’s, the pair was in Lawndale trying to get things ready for the move. Things became even more rushed when the realtor managed to sell their house faster than anyone expected. They had to be out three weeks before they were ready so time after school let out was spent packing.

Quinn was in her room putting her stuff into boxes. She was looking at the bits and pieces of her life as she wrapped them for the trip to their new home. Since most of the stuff would be in storage for a while she was taking extra care. She picked up a photo album. As she flipped through it she looked at the pictures from her life when her parents were still alive. As she moved past the first few pages she started seeing photos from the time after she moved here. There were pages and pages of pictures from all the things she and A.D. had done together. Stuck here and there were tickets and other mementos from all the places they had gone and seen. She stopped packing and moved to sit on her bed to continue looking at the book. As she backed toward the bed she stumbled and fell across a mattress on the floor. It was then she remembered the bed had been taken apart.

Looking at what was her Mom’s old canopy bed now in pieces leaning against the bedroom wall she thought about her past, where she was now and what the future might hold. Suddenly a light clicked on in her head. She got up, walked across the room and picked up her telephone.

By the next day everything except the bare essentials had been loaded on the truck. They watched it pull out, got in the car and followed it down the street. As they left their home for the last time the pair said nothing. After some time had passed’ Quinn spoke. “Mom?”

Keeping her attention on the road, Daria asked, “Yes Quinn?”

Quinn was nervous but it was mainly from excitement rather than fear of a reaction.

“I called Grandma yesterday. I told her I had decided.”

“About what?”

“My name.”

“Oh. What did you decide?”

Quinn looked nervously at Daria.


After they got to the Grands’ house, Quinn understood what Daria had meant about living there not being an option. Visiting was definitely different than being a permanent occupant. This seemed to be the motivation the pair needed. Within a very short time the two had finally found a house they were both comfortable with and in short order they were moved in.

The summer was extremely busy but things went remarkably well. There were the usual arguments but it was fun getting things in order again. It wasn’t all work though. They did find time to do things and Quinn started to get to know a few kids her age in the neighborhood. Before they knew it, summer had ended and school was ready to start.

The school was easy walking distance from the house but since it was the first day, Daria felt she should drive Quinn. As they were approaching the school Daria spoke up.

“Quinn I hope you like it here, things have changed over the years. Jane said Lawndale High has one of the best academic records in the state. Just remember to...”

Quinn looked a little annoyed at the comment. “I know. Call her Ms. Rogers when we’re in class.”

Daria pulled up to the entrance of the school. Quinn opened the door and started to get out. Daria spoke again.

“Remember, Lane said he would meet you in the lobby and show you where to you needed to go.”

Bending down to look back into the car, Quinn said, “I know. I’ll see you tonight. Bye”

“Bye. Have a good day.”

Quinn closed the door. As Daria started to pull away, she heard a tapping on the passenger side window. Stopping. she rolled the window down and Quinn stuck her head through. Daria looked at her.

“Forget something?’

“Yea. I forgot to say, I love you Mom.”

Daria looked at Quinn with the smile saved just for her.

“I love you too.”

Quinn stood up and started to walk away. As Daria pressed the button to roll the window up she heard a short conversation.

“Hi. You’ re new here aren’t you?”


“My name’s Pam. What’s yours?”

“Quinn Morgendorffer.”

“Cool name.”

The End

As always, Daria belongs to MTV. This was written for my own amusement.