Period of Adjustment


After a week of staying at the Grands, Quinn was very excited when she heard the car pull up in the driveway. Rushing downstairs, she made it to the kitchen in time to see her mom and Stan walk through the door. Running over, she hugged Daria.


“Welcome back Mom. I missed you.”


Hugging back, Daria said, “I missed you too.”


Jake and Helen heard the commotion and came into the kitchen. As Helen saw the trio she smiled.


“I figured it was you two. So how was the honeymoon?”


“It was great.” Stan said. “We had a nice time.”


Daria nodded in agreement.


“Aunt Amy’s condo is really nice. You two should go with her the next time she asks. You would really like it.”


Jake smiled. “We just might. Now that Helen is finally cutting back at work we have more time for things like that.”


Helen gave him a nasty glance and jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow. 


Jake grabbed his side.


“Oww. Sorry Hon.”


Daria turned to look at her parents.


“I hate to cut this short but it’s late and we’re pretty tired. We’ll come by tomorrow and share with you. We just stopped by to let you know we got back fine.” She turned to Quinn and asked, “Do you want to stay here tonight or go home with us?”


Daria didn’t need to ask. While it had only been a week, Quinn really missed her home. She loved her grandparents but a week in their house was plenty. “I think I’d like to go home. Is that okay?” she asked.


Daria nodded.


“Of course. Just go upstairs and get your stuff. We’ll wait for you here.”


“No that’s okay.” Quinn said. “ If we’re coming back tomorrow I’ll get my stuff then.” Quinn turned to look at Helen. “Grandma? I’ll make my bed when I come back. Okay?”


Helen smiled at her granddaughter.


“Don’t worry Sweetheart. I’ll make the bed. You go home. I’m sure all three of you are ready to be back in your own beds tonight.”


Quinn got a concerned look on her face. She hadn’t thought about that. Her mom was now sharing her bedroom with Stan. That was going to be different. He had moved his stuff in before the wedding but they really hadn’t started living together yet. Tonight all that was going to change.


The ride back to the house was very quiet. Stan and Daria were too fatigued from the flight and Quinn was wrapped up in her thoughts. When they got to the house they decided to leave the bags in the car for the moment and just go upstairs and get some rest. After Daria and Stan went into their room, Quinn just laid in her bed wondering what else would be different from now on.


The next morning all three slept in. When Quinn finally got up she went into the kitchen. As she entered the room she saw Stan sitting at the table. “Morning Quinn.” he said. “Did you sleep well?”


Nodding, Quinn said, “Yea. It was nice being back in my own bed again.”


Stan chuckled.


“I’m sure. So do you want some breakfast? I made waffles. They’re on the counter.”


“In a minute maybe. I just got up. It takes me a little while to get my appetite.”


“No problem. I’m like that sometimes too.”


Quinn looked around. “Where’s Mom?”


“She’s in the bedroom unpacking. She said she wanted to get started with laundry so she isn’t up late finishing.”


Just then Daria came though the kitchen carrying a laundry basket piled high with clothes. “I really should have done some of this before we left.” She said. “ The hamper was really musty.”  Turning her head to look at the table she saw Quinn sitting there. “Morning Quinn.”


“Morning Mom.”


“Have you had any of Stan’s waffles? They’re really good.”


“Not yet. I’ll have some in a minute. Okay?”


Daria noted that Quinn seemed a bit annoyed at her question. She chalked it up to her just waking up. Figuring she’d be in a better mood in a little while she let it pass and said, “Okay. I’ll be back in a minute.”


After she watched Daria go into the garage Quinn turned around in the chair and looked at Stan. “So where are these waffles?” she asked.


Later that morning, Quinn was sitting in the living room watching a movie when she heard Daria call her. Stopping the movie she went to the bedroom. As she entered she saw her mom sitting on the bed next to an open suitcase.


“Yes Mom?”


“Quinn come here.”


Quinn walked over and sat down next to Daria.




“While we were out and about on the island we got something for you.”


Quinn could barely suppress her excitement. “Really? What?”


“Stan and I saw this and thought you would like it.” Reaching into the suitcase, she pulled out a small rectangle package and handed it to Quinn.


Quinn unwrapped the package to find a small hand-carved wooden jewelry box. Hugging Daria, she said, “Mom it’s beautiful. I love it. Thank you.”


“Don’t just thank me.” Daria said. “Thank Stan too. If he hadn’t seen the box you would have probably wound up with a t-shirt instead.”


Quinn smiled.


“I’ll be sure to do that.”


“Good.” Daria said. “Oh by the way.”


Quinn turned her attention from the box back to her mom. “Yes?”


Daria reached into the case one more time, pulled out another package and gave it to Quinn.


“I got you and Pam t-shirts too.”


Quinn just laughed.


A few minutes later Stan came into the room. As he saw Daria and Quinn sitting on the bed he smiled.


“I see Daria gave you the box already… and the shirts too.”


Quinn nodded.


“Yes. I just want to thank you for getting it for me. I love it. It was really nice of you to do that.”


Stan smiled again. “Our pleasure.” Dividing his attention between his wife and Quinn, he asked, “ So are you two ready to go?”


Quinn looked at Stan.




“To Jake and Helen’s.” he said. “Remember, you left all your stuff there and we want to see them as well.”


“Oh right.” Quinn said and turned to look at Daria. “Are you ready to go?”


Daria nodded.


“Sure the last load is in the washer. I can put it in the dryer when we get back. We won’t be too long.”


At Jake and Helen’s everybody crowded into the living room.  For a while Stan and Daria shared the stories of the things they did on their honeymoon, at least the things they could share. Afterward, they listened as Jake and Helen filled them in on the events that happened in Lawndale while they were gone. After a while Daria reached into her bag and pulled out a small box. As she handed it to Helen, she said, “Mom, Dad, we found this at a local shop. We thought you would like it.”


Helen took the gift and unwrapped it. Inside were two small metal picture frames. A hinge in the middle held them together so it stood up on its own. As Helen took them out of the box, Jake leaned over her shoulder to get a better look. As they inspected the frames Jake spoke up.


“Nice work.”


“They were made by a local craftsman.” Stan said. “We found that and Quinn’s box at the same shop.”


“Well it’s lovely.” Helen said. “Thank you very much. I have the perfect thing to put in here. I’ll be right back.” Helen got up and went upstairs. When she reached the top of the steps, she called down.


“Quinn. Do you want to come up and get your things together?”


“Sure Grandma. I’ll be right up.” Quinn turned to look at Daria. “Well that’s my cue. I’ll be down in a minute.”


Quinn got up and went to gather her belongings.


After Quinn left, Jake sat down in the chair she had previously occupied and looked at the newlyweds.


“So you two seem to have really enjoyed yourself.”


Daria nodded. “It was very nice.” she said. “I meant it when I said you two should go there the next time Aunt Amy offers.”


“You really should.” Stan added. “There’s plenty of room. The condo was a mansion, to put it mildly, and there’s plenty of things to occupy your time while there.”


“I’ll see if I can convince Helen.” Jake said. “After all those years of pushing herself at work it’s hard for her to learn how to relax. Who am I kidding? It took me years to learn not to take things so seriously. Now that she’s getting ready to retire perhaps we can all work on getting her to take it easy now.”


All three looked at each other and nodded in agreement.


Just then Helen and Quinn came back down stairs. Quinn was carrying a small duffle bag with clothes bulging out of the top. As Daria saw this she was quietly amused.


“I hope you folded everything carefully so they won’t get wrinkled.” Daria said. “After all I just put the last load of laundry in the washer. It will be a few days before we do any more.”


Quinn just looked at her mom. Slowly her head bent down to stare at the mass of clothing she just crammed into the bag. With her head still bowed she turned her eyes to look at Daria. In a timid voise, she said, “Sorry.”


Helen came up behind her and put her hands on Quinn’s shoulders.


“It’s okay sweetheart. Daria was just kidding. She’s not upset.”


Quinn turned around and smiled at Helen. “I know.” she said. “We’ve played this game before. I have plenty of stuff to wear and it’s my turn to do laundry next anyway.”


“Oh I see.” was all Helen could say. Even after all these years she still had a hard time figuring out her oldest daughter’s sense of humor.


Just then Daria interrupted. “So did you find the pictures you were looking for?”


“I sure did.”


Helen walked over and gave Daria the folded frame. As she opened it she saw a picture of her, Neil, and the Quinns in one side. The other side was still empty. As Daria noticed this, she looked at Helen and asked. “Why did you leave the other frame empty?”


Helen smiled.


“That picture was taken about a year after Quinn was born. It was the only time all four of you were in the house at the same time. It was a great day and a memory I treasure. That’s why the other side is empty.”


Daria got a confused look.


“So are you going to leave the other side that way?”


Helen shook her head. “Not at all.” She then raised her arm and showed Daria the camera. “I want you, Stan, and Quinn to all get together. This is a new family and I want a memory of this moment to place in the other side. Now Quinn, go over and sit between them.”


Quinn looked at the other two and shrugged. Walking over she sat between the pair. After a few adjustments Helen snapped a couple of shots. Putting the camera down, she smiled and said, “I’m sure one of these will be fine. Thank you.”


A few minutes later everybody decided it was time to leave. It was getting late and everybody had something to do in the morning. Daria and Stan had to go back to work while Quinn had school to worry about. After declining a dinner invitation all three went back to the house and started getting things back in order.


The next morning Stan sat patiently on the end of the bed waiting for his turn in the bathroom. It was only after he said “I do” did he learn that while Daria didn’t mind sharing many things, “bathroom time” was hers and hers alone. Looking over at the nightstand he saw the time. He only had another half hour before he had to report at the hospital. Standing up, he went to the door and knocked.


From behind the door he heard a muffled voice say.




“Are you going to be much longer?” he asked.


“I just stepped out of the shower.” Daria said. “I should only be about ten more minutes.”


“Well could you do me a favor and hand me my toothbrush and razor?”




A few seconds later the door opened slightly and a hand appeared with the two items he requested. As Stan took them he spoke again.


“Uh. I hate to be a nuisance but I need the shaving cream as well.”


“One second.”


The arm vanished and reappeared a moment later with the can. Daria then asked, “Here. Anything else?”


“No this will be fine. Thank you.”


After the door closed Stan turned and went into the hallway. As he walked to the other bathroom he heard music coming from Quinn’s room. Hearing the sounds, he figured Quinn had finished and he could get ready there. When he got to the bathroom he noticed the door was shut but he just figured she had closed it behind her as she went to her room. Foolishly he didn’t knock before turning the knob.


The scream was loud enough to lure Daria out of the other room and into the hall. When she got there she saw Stan motionless in the hallway with a stunned look on his face. A second later Quinn came out. When Daria saw Quinn standing there with her legs covered in soap and wearing a robe she was more than a little confused.


“What happened?” she asked.




“Quinn calm down.” Daria said. “You don’t need to shout.” Turning to look at Stan, she asked, “Is that true?”


Still in shock, Stan just looked at her and nodded.


Realizing this was going nowhere. Daria turned her attention back to Quinn.


“Tell me what happened.”


Quinn took a deep breath, and started. “I was sitting on the edge the tub. I had just started shaving when Stan burst in and saw me there.”


Daria turned back to Stan.


“Is that what happened.”


Stan finally calmed down enough to talk.


“Well yes. I heard music coming from Quinn’s room and figured she was in there. I neglected to knock to be sure it was safe to go in. It was an accident.”


Daria could see his embarrassment growing with each word. She knew it would be tough to stay upset. “It sounds like it was an honest mistake.” she said.


Quinn was still upset.


“But Mom, he saw me sitting in the tub!”


Stan turned to look at Quinn and said, “I swear it happened so fast I didn’t see anything. I promise. I’m sorry I barged in and upset you. I didn’t mean to.”


Quinn bowed her head perhaps she had overreacted a little. “I guess it’s okay.” she said. “I was wearing my robe after all. Just don’t ever sneak up on me like that again.”


Stan nodded in agreement. “You have my word it will NEVER happen again.” he said.

Daria smirked. Things seemed to be resolved now. Looking at Stan, she asked. “Do you really need the bathroom?”


He looked at his watch then at Daria.


“Well I need to be at work in twenty-five minutes. I only need five and the room is yours again.”


Daria sighed. “Fine. Go on. I’ll wait.”


Walking to the bedroom, he kissed her on the cheek as he walked by.




Looking at her daughter, Daria asked. “Are you going to live?”

Nodding, Quinn said, “I’ll be okay.”




Daria stared at Quinn’s soap covered legs and asked, “Don’t you think you need to do something about that?”


Quinn looked down. “Ooh right. Thanks.” and rushed back into the bathroom and shut the door.


That evening Stan came into the house. As he went to the bedroom he saw Quinn sitting on the couch watching television. When she looked up at him he said, “Hi Quinn. So how was school today?”


“Hey Stan. It was fine.”


Stan decided this was as good a time as any to apologize again so he sat down in the chair.




Turning down the volume, Quinn looked over at Stan and asked, “Yes?”


“I just want to say I’m sorry for this morning. I should have knocked before going into the room. I just want you to know it was an accident and it will never happen again.”


Quinn didn’t want to remember the events from earlier in the day but he was trying to be gracious so she figured she should reciprocate. “Thanks.” she said. “It’s okay. There was no permanent damage. I’ve recovered.”


Stan smiled. “That’s good.” Standing up, he looked around and asked, “So where’s your mom?”


“She called about fifteen minutes ago. She got stuck playing catch up in the office. She said she would be home soon.”


“Fine. I guess I’ll get started making dinner then.”


Quinn looked up at him.


“She said not to worry. She’ll get something on the way in. She said to let you know when you got here.”


“Thanks for telling me. I’ll be back in a minute. I just want to get out of this suit and into something more comfortable.”




As Stan went down the hall toward the room Quinn raised and eyebrow and thought to herself, “Slip into something more comfortable?” Quietly she went, “Hmm.” and turned her attention back to the television.  A few minutes later she heard the door open again. After it shut she heard a familiar voice.


“Quinn? Stan?”


Quinn spoke up. “In here Mom.”


Daria went into the living room to see her daughter loitering on the sofa.


“Hey Quinn. How was school?”


Shrugging, Quinn said, “Fine.”


“So have you done your homework yet?”


Quinn nodded.


“Some of it. They assigned a lot today. I’m just taking a break.”


“Okay. I’m going to change. There’s some Chinese food in the kitchen. If you could get the table ready we can eat when I get out.”




Just then, Stan came out of the bedroom. Seeing his wife, he smiled and said, “I thought I heard you come in. How was work?”


Daria turned her attention to him.


“It was fine. Thanks. How was your first day back?”




As Stan got to Daria they gave each other a quick kiss. Such public displays of affection made Quinn uncomfortable so she got up.


“Ahem. I’ll just go set the table then.”


Stan and Daria looked at her for a second. Finally, Stan spoke. “Sure. Do you need any help?”


Quinn shook her head.


“No. I can do it myself.”


“Well if you need any help let me know.” Stan said.


Daria returned her attention to Stan. “I’ll be in the bedroom changing. I won’t be long.”


Smiling, Stan jokingly said, “Well if you need any help let me know. I’ll be right there.”


Quinn just rolled her eyes and went into the kitchen.


The next few days went without incident.  There were still a few uncomfortable moments but as the days passed everyone started falling into a new routine that seemed to work. It wasn’t perfect but everyone at least started getting an idea of how life was going to be. Finally, Saturday rolled around. Everybody had something to do. Stan had to go into work, Daria had brought some work home in an attempt to finally get caught up before Monday, and it was Quinn’s turn to do laundry.


As Daria sat at the desk in her home office she heard Quinn’s shriek. Walking into the living room she saw Quinn sitting at the couch surrounded by laundry baskets.


“Anything wrong?” Daria asked.


Quinn looked at her mom.


“I was sorting the clothes and Stan put his underwear in your basket.”


Daria just looked at her. “And?” she asked.


“He PUT his dirty underwear in with yours. Then I touched it.”


Daria continued looking at Quinn and said, “I don’t understand.”


Quinn glared at Daria.


“It’s gross.”


Daria shook her head.


“That’s a silly attitude Quinn. Did you think Stan wouldn’t have dirty clothes?”


Quinn shrugged. “I never thought about his clothes at all.” she said.


“Well he does have dirty clothes and they need washing, and he will use the same basket to store them that I use. He is a part of this household now.”


Quinn got a frustrated, pathetic look on her face.


“But why do I have to touch them?”


Daria returned the gaze with an angry expression. “Because it is your week to do laundry.” she said. “Eventually Stan will have a turn at laundry and I’m sure he won’t have a problem handling anything that is in your basket. So get started. Okay?”


Suddenly Quinn’s eyes got very big.


“You mean he will be touching my underwear!? Ewww.”


This made Daria even more upset. “Oh grow up.” she said. “It’s just a piece of cloth. He’s not going to do anything other than sort it, wash it and fold it. You have nothing to fear so get over it.”


Quinn had been properly chastised. “Yes Maam.” she said.


Daria felt the situation had been properly handled and turned to go back to her office. After she left, Quinn reached into the basket and grabbed a pair of briefs with her thumb and forefinger. Getting a sour look on her face she shuddered and tossed them in the proper pile.


The next Saturday everyone’s schedule had returned to something normal. As all three sat around the table eating their various choices for breakfast Daria looked at the other two and asked, “So do either of you want to do anything today?”


Stan spoke first. “Perhaps later. Jake called me yesterday. He wants me to come over and help him replace the faucet in the upstairs bathroom.”


Daria raised an eyebrow.




Stan nodded.


“Yes. It shouldn’t take too long. Perhaps we can do something this afternoon.”


Daria turned to Quinn. “Is that okay with you?” she asked.


Quinn wasn’t quite awake yet. Shrugging, she said, “I guess. What did you have in mind?”


“I don’t know. Why don’t we all think about it and we can decide when Stan gets back.”


“That sounds good to me.” Stan said.


Quinn nodded and said. “I guess.”


Stan turned to look at Quinn.


“Quinn if you don’t have any plans why don’t you go with me? You could visit with Helen while I help Jake.”


Quinn thought about it for a second. Deciding this was better than her mom assigning chores for her, she agreed to ride along.


“Sure. Just give me a few minutes to put on some real clothes.”


After Quinn left the room, Daria looked at Stan and said, “I was going to have her vacuum this morning. You just got her out of work.”


“Sorry.” Stan said. “She hasn’t been over there since we got back. I figured she would like to go along.”


Daria reached over and took his hand. “I appreciate you want to get in her good graces,” she said, “but Saturday morning is when we usually clean the house. You just gave her an excuse not to have to do anything today.”


Stan was surprised that Daria was upset. “I didn’t mean any harm.” he said.


Daria gave him a quick smile.


“It’s okay. You didn’t know. She can take care of the floors later.”


Stan smiled back at her.


“I guess I still have a few house rules to learn.”


Daria smiled again.


Quinn was sitting in the living room at the Grand’s when Helen came in.


“Hello Sweetheart.” Helen said. “This is a pleasant surprise. I knew Stan was coming over but I didn’t expect to see you here.”


Quinn got up and hugged Helen.


“Hey Grandma. Yea. I haven’t had a chance to see you in weeks so I came with Stan.”


As both of them sat on the couch, Helen said, “Well I’m glad you did. So how has school been?”


Quinn shrugged.


“Fine I guess.”


“And how have things been at home?” Helen asked.


Quinn looked at Helen.


 “What do you mean?”


“Well it’s just been you and Daria for so long. Now there’s another person in the house. I’m sure that’s made for some difficult moments.”


Quinn’s eyes suddenly got very big.


“You mean Mom told you!?”


Helen had no idea what Quinn meant but felt that she should know more. Looking at her granddaughter, she asked, “Told me what?”


“About the bathroom?” Quinn said.


“She didn’t say a thing. What happened?”


Helen patiently listened to the story of Stan’s surprise interruption. Then got an account of how he didn’t know which side of the sink to put the dirty dishes in, how he and Daria performed their kissing ritual in front of her, and how she had to handle his dirty clothes.  As she sat there listening, Helen was getting tickled at how trivial the things that bothered Quinn actually were. When Quinn finished, Helen put her hand on Quinn’s shoulder.


“Sweetheart it’s not so bad.”


Quinn looked confused. “What do you mean?” she asked.


“Well how long have all of you been living together?”


“About two weeks.” Quinn said. “Why?”


“Do you remember when you first moved in with Daria?”


Nodding, Quinn said, “Yes.”


“How long was it before you two really got comfortable with each other?”


Quinn shook her head.


“I don’t know. It took a while.”


Helen nodded. “It took a long while.” she said. “But you both learned what was necessary to live together. I’m sure that things will become better before too long. As a matter of fact I figure you’ve already started working out the new rules. Haven’t you?”


“I guess.”


Helen smiled. “I know you have.” Standing up, she looked at Quinn. “Now why don’t you come into the kitchen and help me make some coffee. I’m sure the men will be down in a minute to take a break.”


Getting up, Quinn said, “You’re probably right. They’ve been up there for close to an hour. They figured they would be done in thirty minutes.”


As they went into the kitchen, Helen put her arm around Quinn and said, “At least now one of them has proper medical training.” 


They both laughed.


About a half-hour later Jake and Stan came into the kitchen. Stan was carrying a toolbox and Jake had the old faucet in his hands. When they saw Helen and Quinn sitting at the table, Jake was the first to speak.


“Hey Helen.”


“Hi Jake. So you finally got it replaced?”


Jake raised the old faucet a little to show it to Helen and Quinn and said, “Yea. It wasn’t too soon either. One of the feed lines was almost completely gone. It would have burst before too much longer.”


Helen smiled.


“That’s good. Do either of you want some coffee? I made a fresh pot.”


“Sure. Just let me get rid of this old faucet while Stan puts the tool box back.”


As they went into the garage, Stan turned around and said, “We should only be a minute.”


When Stan and Quinn got back to the house Daria asked Quinn if she enjoyed her visit. After Quinn said yes Daria told her she had a surprise for her in her room. Quinn immediately rushed to her bedroom and opened the door. When she saw the surprise she bent her head, sighed and plugged the vacuum cleaner in.


Later that day, after all the major chores had been done, all three sat in the living room. While they had figured they would do something together nobody had any idea what that should be. They were all a little tired and not in any mood to go out. Finally Stan suggested they wait a little while and have an early dinner. That seemed to meet with the approval of the other two so they all separated and did personal things for the next few hours.


Later that evening, all three piled into the car to go out. Since it was Stan’s idea Daria suggested he choose the restaurant. He said he knew exactly where they should go. A short drive later they pulled up at the Mexican restaurant where he and Daria had their first date.  


The next afternoon Quinn was sitting on her bed studying when she heard a knock on the door.


“Come in.” she said.


Stan walked into the room carrying a basket.


“Hey Quinn. I finished the laundry.”


Walking over he placed the basket on the foot of her bed.




Stan looked at her for a second. “Very well.” he said, and turned to leave.


As he reached for the doorknob to pull it closed he heard Quinn call.




Sticking his head back in, he said, “Yes?”


Quinn closed her textbook and looked at him.


“Um Stan. I need to apologize for my behavior.”




“Well I have been a little rough on you the past few weeks. It has been a little adjustment having someone new around the house. I just wanted you to know that if I’ve seemed a little rude I didn’t mean to.”


Stan understood she had a tough time adapting to his presence. He figured as time passed she would accept him being around but he didn’t expect her to say that. Smiling, he said, “It’s fine Quinn. We all have a little adjusting to do.”


Quinn nodded.




Stan turned to leave the room again. “Well I’ll leave you to your studies.” he said.




As he was almost out of the room, Stan heard Quinn call him one more time. Sticking his head through the door once more, he asked, “Yes Quinn?”


“I forgot to say thank you for bringing me my laundry, and for knocking before coming in.”


Stan laughed.


“You’re welcome.”


The End.


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