Road Trip


When Stan opened the front door, he saw Jane dressed in her trademark red jacket. “Hey Jane.” he said. “Come on in. Daria will be ready in a second.”


“Thanks.” Jane said and went into the living room and sat down on the sofa. Stan shut the door and looked at her.


“One sec. I’ll see what’s holding her up.”


Jane nodded and picked up a magazine to wait. She figured this would be the case. When they were younger she was the one who made Daria wait. Now as they got older it seemed that they were trading places. Almost every time they went somewhere together now Jane was on time and Daria was a little behind schedule. A minute later Stan came in from the hallway.


“She’s almost ready. She’ll be out in a minute or two.”


Jane smiled. “No problem.” she said. “I padded the schedule a little just in case this happened. I’ve known her long enough to expect this.”


Stan chuckled.


“I guess so.”


When Daria came into the living room she saw the pair sitting and chatting away. Each was so involved in the conversation neither noticed her entrance and she was ready to go. Clearing her throat, she said, “Are you ready to go Jane?”


Jane turned to see Daria standing with her arms crossed.


“Yea. Let’s get moving. I want to get there early enough to find a decent parking space.”


Jane and Stan got up and all three went to the front door. Jane opened the door and proceeded to go out. Before Daria left the house she turned to her husband and gave him a quick kiss. “I’ll call you when we get there.” she said.


Stan nodded.


“Okay. Have a good time and hug Quinn for me.”


“I will.”


Jane stopped halfway down the walk and waited for Daria to catch up. She really wanted to see Daria’s reaction when she saw the new car. Daria finally showed up. “Okay. Let’s go.” Daria said. “So where’s this surprise you wanted to show me?”


Jane gave Daria a grin and pointed to the driveway. “Right there.” she said.


When Daria saw the car parked on the pad she couldn’t believe it. This was not Jane, or at least not the Jane she knew.


“Wow.” she said. “I can’t believe it. What made you, the queen of the minivan, buy a convertible? A red one at that.”


Jane smiled.


“Who said men are the only ones allowed to have a mid-life crisis? Plus the girls can get themselves where they need to go now. The taxi service is shut down.”


As they walked to the car Daria shrugged. “If you say so. Let’s get going.”


“Okay. But I’m driving.” Jane said.


“Fine with me. It’s your car.”


Daria hoped that sounded sincere. While Jane had a relatively clean driving record it was mainly because she didn’t get caught very often. When Daria rode with Jane behind the wheel it was almost always a white-knuckle experience. Today she would be spending over five hours in the car with her. She hoped Jane would be a little more careful since she was in a new vehicle.


Daria’s hopes were quickly dashed when Jane put on her sunglasses, looked at Daria, grinned and said, “Check this out.”


Before Daria could think, Jane put the car into reverse, slammed on the gas and shot out into the street. Putting the car into gear, she shouted, “Get a load of the acceleration in this baby.”


As the car quickly became a red streak, Daria frantically grabbed the safety belt and buckled it in. Luckily they hadn’t gone too far when Jane encountered a red light and had to stop. As the car stopped moving Jane once more turned to look at Daria, and asked, “It this something or what?”


After she finally caught her breath, Daria looked at Jane and said. “It’s something alright. Are you going to do this at every intersection? If so we need to go back to the house so I can get Quinn’s old bicycle helmet.”


Jane laughed.


“Don’t worry Daria. I’m done showing off. I’ll behave now.”


Daria slumped down in the seat.


“Thanks. I’d appreciate that.”


After a few more close calls when Daria questioned whether Jane was lying to her about behaving, the duo finally made it to the highway where Jane could really let the car fly without being a complete risk to other drivers safety. Once Jane made cruising speed Daria finally relaxed and looked at the interior. 


“This is really nice.” she said, “but I still can’t believe you got it. I figured you for another family wagon.”


“Well things change.” Jane said. “Like I said, the kids are growing up. If they need a ride we can use Roy’s truck. I wanted something fun this time.”


“It’s definitely a change. I hope you enjoy it for a long time, or at least drive slow enough to live and enjoy it for a long time.”


Jane grinned and said, “Oh come on Daria. I don’t drive that bad. I just don’t drive like an old woman.” Under her breath she mumbled, “Like some people I know.”


Daria gave Jane a mean look.


“And what’s that supposed to mean?”


Jane’s eyes never left the road. She knew that would really push Daria’s buttons but felt she should play it cool right then.. “What do you mean?” she asked.


“You know what I mean. Are you saying that just because I don’t drive like I’m qualifying at Indianapolis I drive like a scared little old lady?”


“Sorry Daria. I was just having some fun. You drive just fine. I didn’t mean to get you upset.”


“Well okay. I guess I overreacted. Mind if I turn on the radio?”


“Go ahead.” Jane said. “Just do me a favor and no news please.”


“Very well.” Daria said and leaned over to start pressing buttons. After a few seconds she finally found a station that both of them liked and left it alone. For the next hour or so the pair rode in silence listening to the music.


As they started losing the station, Daria lowered the volume. “I still can’t believe Lane is a college cheerleader. How did that happen?”


“He was trying to impress a girl.” Jane said. “She was trying out for cheerleader so to get close to her he tried out as well.”


“And he got selected to be a part of the squad. Did he impress the girl?”


Jane smiled.


“Not really. After he got picked and she was passed over she didn’t want anything to do with him.”


All Daria said was, “Hmm.”


Jane glanced over at Daria. “Is that it? I figured the queen of comebacks would have more to say than just ‘Hmm’.”


“Sorry. I was just wondering how the guys in his old band would react if they saw him jumping around the sidelines in a school sweater and making pyramids.”


Jane couldn’t help laughing at the mental image.


“Yea I guess you’re right. At least he had enough sense not to get a tattoo.”


“That was his choice?” Daria asked. “I always figured Roy threatened to kill him if he ever did that.”


Jane shook her head.


“Nope. I think it had more to do with Trent and the suffering he went through when he got that big tattoo removed.”


“Yea. He was in a lot of pain for a while. Wasn’t he?”


“Yea.” Pausing for a second to check the traffic behind her, Jane continued, “Well Trent’s always been an influence on Lane. I mean it was because of him that Lane started a band in the first place. It was because of Trent that he finally decided to quit then band and go to school.”


Daria raised an eyebrow. “Really? How?” she asked.


“After Lane graduated, Trent let him work in the guitar shop to support himself while he gave the band a serious try. After a year he sat Lane down and told him the facts about life as a struggling musician.”


Daria nodded.


“Yea. I remember. Trent took a long time to quit touring.”


“Exactly.” Jane said. “He laid out the whole story to Lane and said he should go to school. If he still wanted to be in a band after he graduated he could do so, but he needed his education first.”


“And that’s all it took?” Daria asked.


Jane shook her head.


“Not exactly. He still was out playing but it opened his eyes some. He started looking at the other bands in town and how they were all doing. By spring he figured school might not be a bad idea after all.”


“Well it seems he took to it pretty fast.” Daria said. “He’s only been there a little while and has already joined the cheerleading squad. I just hope his grades are as important to him as having a good time.”


Jane smiled and said, “I don’t think that will be a big problem. That’s why he’s going to the same school as Quinn. We want her around to keep an eye on him.”


“Was that your idea or Roy’s?”


“Neither.” Jane said. “Actually it was Quinn’s”


Daria was genuinely surprised.






“I didn’t know that.”


“It’s true. I guess she knows him well enough to know he needs someone around that he trusts who can also light a fire under him to get the job done.”


Daria smiled and nodded.


“Well they have always been pretty close. I just can’t believe she never told me about that.”


In a low voice, Jane said, “There’s lots of things she’s never told you.”


“What do you mean by that?”


Jane quickly realized that was the wrong thing to say.


“Nothing. Forget about it.”


“No way.” Daria said. “You started this. Now tell me. What did you mean?”


Jane shook her head.


“It’s nothing. Sometimes you need to tell people things and that person doesn’t need to be a parent.”


“Like what?”


Jane was getting uneasy. She wondered how she would get out of this.  Finally she knew the right thing to say.


“I can’t tell you. Remember when we were in high school?”




“Well how many times did you have something you wanted to share but didn’t want to let Jake or Helen know? When that happened where did you go?”


Daria understood now. It wasn’t anything serious. If it were Jane would have guided Quinn to talk to her. In spite of this, Daria couldn’t let Jane off so easy.


“I talked to you.” In a low voice, she added, “Most of the time.”


Jane’s eyes suddenly got very large.


“Most of the time? Who did you talk to other than me?”


Daria was satisfied she had succeeded.


“Never mind. Let’s just drop it. Okay?”


“Very well.” Getting tired of the conversation, Jane said, “See if you can find another station.”




Daria leaned forward and resumed her search for a strong signal.


The next two hours were pretty much quiet. The pair occasionally exchanged small talk about various things in their lives but mostly enjoyed the scenery as they cruised with the top down. Eventually Jane brought up a subject that had started bothering her.




Daria turned her attention from the roadside to her friend and chauffer.




“Are you getting hungry?”


“I guess a little.” Daria said. “I didn’t have much breakfast and it’s past noon.”


“So do you want to stop somewhere?”


“How are we doing on time?”


Jane glanced at the clock on the dashboard. It showed they were well ahead of schedule. It would be no problem to stop for a meal. “We’re fine.” she said. “Wanna stop at a real restaurant or look for a fast food place?”


“Let’s see if we can find a sit down place.” Daria said. “I’m not much in the mood for your standard hamburger and fries.”


Jane nodded in agreement.


“Gotcha. We’ll pull over at the next one we see.”


It took several exits to find one that had an eating establishment that wasn’t part of some national chain. Leaving the interstate Jane pulled into the parking lot. Finding a space was difficult. The lot was filled. Jane figured it was people like her and Daria heading to the game. After finding a space, the pair went inside. The hostess approached them and took their information. After informing them it would be a few minutes before a table would be ready she encouraged them to have a seat.      


About ten minutes later the hostess returned and escorted the two to a small booth in the corner. The waitress came over and handed them their menus. The fare was simple so they placed their orders while she was there. After the waitress left, Daria looked around.


“They certainly seem popular. The food here must be very good.”


Jane nodded.


“Yea. I’ve driven past this place before but never paid much attention. If the food is good I’ll have to remember to stop here again.”


The two engaged in a little conversation while they waited for the food to arrive. As they sat there a woman came up to the table. Both Daria and Jane turned to look up at her. When she had their attention she spoke.


“Um excuse me.”


“That voice sounds familiar.” Daria thought.


“Yes?” Jane asked.


“Did you two go to Lawndale High?” the woman asked.


Both Daria and Jane nodded.


“Yes.” Daria said.


The lady smiled. “I thought so.” Looking at Daria, she asked, “You’re Quinn’s sister aren’t you?”


It was then Daria realized who the woman was. “Yes. Are you Sandi Griffin?”


The lady smiled.


“Sandi Stone now but yes. I’m amazed you remembered.”


Both Daria and Jane were in shock. This was definitely something they didn’t expect. Finally, Daria managed to get a few words out.


“Well you definitely made an impression on me and my family back then.”


Sandi shut her eyes and shook her head. “I’m sorry about that.” she said. “I was just a kid. My priorities weren’t right. I’ve grown a good bit since then.”


Jane smiled and said, “It’s okay. We were all different back then.” Scooting over, Jane patted the bench. “Want to sit down?”


Sandi smiled back. “Well I guess I could take a break.” she said and slid into the booth next to Jane.


Daria was again shocked. “You mean you work here?” she asked.


Sandi looked at Daria.


“In a sense. My husband and I own it.” she said.


Jane turned to look at Sandi.


“You mean this is your restaurant? That’s great.”


Daria interrupted, “So how long have you been here?”


Sandi turned her attention from Jane back to Daria. “You mean how long have I been in the restaurant business? Almost twenty years, shortly after I got married again.”


The surprises just kept building. Daria looked at her.


“We wondered what happened to you over the years. After you graduated you seemed to vanish off the face of the earth.”


Sandi got a serious look. “Yea. When I left Lawndale I put my old life behind me.” she said. “I was having a rough time and staying connected to all that wasn’t doing me any good. Sadly, after leaving I never was able to find my way back.”


“It’s okay. That happens to many people. You seem to be doing okay now.” Jane said.


Sandi smiled at Jane.


“Thanks. Breaking with my past was the first step in getting content with my life.” Turning her attention to the two of then she asked, “So are you two still in Lawndale.”


“We are now.” Jane said. “We both left but life eventually brought us back there.”


“That’s nice.” Sandi said. Turning her attention to Daria, she asked, “So how is Quinn doing?”


From the moment Daria knew it was Sandi she feared this question would come up. She had grown to accept the truth but even after all these years she still hated having to recount the information. 


“Um Sandi.”




“I hate telling you this but Quinn and her husband were killed almost fifteen years ago.”


A look of genuine sadness suddenly swept across Sandi’s face. “Oh I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”


“It’s okay.” Daria said. “It was an accident that happened a long time ago. I’m sorry you never found out.”


Sandi was expressionless. Looking at Daria, she asked. “If you don’t mind could you tell me what happened?”


Daria really didn’t want to talk about Quinn’s death but felt Sandi deserved to know what happened that terrible night. Taking a deep breath she spent the next few minutes recounting what happened. When she finished Sandi smiled and said. “Thank you. I know it must be difficult to tell the story. I appreciate you telling me.”


Daria nodded.


“That’s fine. We’ve all grown to accept it.”


Sandi then turned to look at Jane.


“So how are you two doing now?”


“We’re fine. I’m married with three children.” Jane then reached into her bag and pulled out her wallet. Opening it, she handed Sandi a photograph. After Sandi took it Jane started pointing. “That’s my oldest, Lane, The two next to him are Grace and Miranda. The bald one on the end is Roy, my husband.”


“You have a nice looking family.” Sandi said, then pointed to a young lady bussing tables. “That’s Samantha. She’s my oldest. Edgar, my other one, is in the back with my husband working the grill. If I get a chance I’ll drag them out for a second to say hello.”


Jane smiled. “That would be great.” she said.


Sandi Looked at Daria again and asked, “So do you have a family?”


“Yes.” Daria said. “I’ve been married for a few years now.”


“That’s nice. Do you have any children?”


“Just one.” Daria said. “Quinn.”


Sandi smiled at that. “You named her after Quinn? That’s so nice.” she said.


Daria shook her head.


“Actually no. She’s Quinn’s child. After they died I took her in. A few years later I adopted her.”


“That’s wonderful. Do you have a picture?”


Daria reached into her pack and removed a small organizer. Opening it, she pulled out a photograph and handed it to Sandi.


“This is her from last summer. The man next to her is my husband.”


Sandi gasped with astonishment and said, “She looks just like her.”


Daria let a bigger than normal smile come through.


“Yea. she’s a fitting tribute. But she also took after her father in many ways.”


Sandi handed the picture back to Daria.


“Well it’s nice to know she turned out so well. It’s a credit to you for taking the responsibility. I know that can be difficult.”


Daria put the picture back in the folder and stuck it in her pack.




Looking back at Jane, Sandi asked, “So are you two heading to the game?”


“In a sense” Jane said. “We’re going to the game but the main reason is to see our kids. They hardly ever come home. If we want to see them it’s up to us to make the effort.”


Sandi laughed. “I know what you mean. Samantha is almost nineteen and is getting more independent by the day.” Suddenly she got more serious. “I’m just hoping that I can keep her on the right track so the mistakes she makes won’t be as bad as the ones I made at her age.”


Jane put a reassuring hand on Sandi’s shoulder.


“I’m sure you’re doing a fine job.” Jane said. “Nothing’s a better teacher than experience. You probably have nothing to worry about.”


Just then, the waitress brought the food to the table. Sandi quickly realized she should get back to work. Getting up she looked at the waitress.


“Leigh. Don’t bring these two a check. Lunch is on the house. Okay?”


Leigh nodded. As Sandi looked at the two, she smiled. “It was nice seeing you again.” she said. “Thank you for letting me know what happened to Quinn. If you’re ever passing through again please stop by. I would like to talk some more.”


“We will.” Daria said. “And thank you for lunch.”


“Yea. Thanks.” Jane added.


Sandi reached over and offered her hand to each of them. “My pleasure. Bye.”


After Sandi left the two looked at each other in disbelief. They could not believe that was the same person who acted like such a little monster all those years ago. This person was kind and generous. The polar opposite of what the fashion club stood for. Neither said anything. They just stared at each other until the smell off the food redirected their focus.


The food turned out to be excellent. Jane made a mental note to definitely stop there again if they ever came back. Although the meal was no charge, Jane and Daria left Leigh a generous tip. After Sandi instructed her to not bring a check the service had been first class. They felt that she deserved to be rewarded for her efforts.


Leaving, they passed the counter where Sandi was standing. As they opened the door to leave she looked up from the register. “Goodbye.” she said. “It was nice seeing you again.”


Jane nodded in appreciation. Daria turned to look at Sandi.


“Same here. Thanks for everything.”


When they got back on the highway Jane glanced over at Daria. “Well that was interesting.” she said.


“And that’s putting it mildly.” Daria agreed.


The remainder of the trip occurred without incident. When they got to the campus, Daria pulled out the instructions and started giving Jane directions. Because of the crowd there to see the game there were a few times when they were forced to make turns they didn’t want to but after a few adjustments they finally managed to get to the parking area Quinn suggested.


After putting up the top, Jane pressed the button to activate the security system. After hearing the chirp she went to where Daria was waiting. “So you think we can find the dorm okay?” she asked.


Daria nodded.


“It shouldn’t be a problem. You know as well as I do most campuses are easier to navigate on foot than in a car. Plus Quinn gave me directions how to get there from here.”


Jane gave Daria a big smile and said, “Then lead on McDuff.”


Quinn’s directions were once again dead on and in about ten minutes the pair were in the lobby of the dorm. As the two looked around the crowd both wondered how they would find Quinn. Their worries were soon over when they heard a familiar voice over the noise.


“Mom! You made it!”


Looking toward the sound of the voice, Daria saw a familiar pile of red hair negotiating its way their direction. A few seconds later, she was greeted by a pair of arms emerging from the crowd and wrapping themselves tightly around her.


“Hi Mom. It’s good to see you. I’ve missed you.”


Daria returned the hug with equal enthusiasm. “It’s good to see you Quinn. I’ve missed you too.


When they separated Quinn looked over at Jane and said, “Hey Jane. Nice to see you too.”


Jane chuckled. She knew Quinn was happy to see her but she was definitely second place right now. “Thanks. Now where’s my son?” she asked.


“Probably rehearsing. He said he would meet you after the game. They don’t let anyone in while doing a pregame rehearsal.”


Nodding, Jane said, “Okay.”


Quinn looked back at Daria.


“Mom it’s really crowded here. Why don’t you and Jane come up to my room? It’s too early to go to the stadium. We can wait there.”


Both Daria and Jane nodded in agreement. Quinn gestured for them to follow her. She led them through the lobby to a bank of elevators. Once they got to her floor they went down the hall to her room. Entering, they were amazed at what they saw.


“Wow! This is clean.” Jane said.


Daria scanned the room. There was nothing out of place. Even the bed was made. This wasn’t the same messy girl who shared the house with her. At home it was a constant fight to get her just to pick her clothes up off the floor. This room was spotless. She slowly turned her attention to Quinn.


“Is this normal or did you clean up for us?”


Quinn chuckled.


“A little of both. Nan hates a messy room so it’s usually pretty clean and I figured I’d tidy the place up a little more before you got here.”


“Well if you can clean up here I hope you can remember to do it when you come home this summer.” Daria said.


Quinn rolled her eyes.


“Yes Maam.”


Daria suddenly realized she hadn’t called Stan yet. Reaching into her pack to get the phone, she asked, “Is there a place where I can use the phone? I promised Stan I’d call when we got here.”


Quinn shook her head.


“Sorry Mom. There’s no real good place to use your phone here. Just use the phone on the desk. It goes off campus.”


“Are you sure It’s okay?”


Quinn gave her mom one of those “It’s obvious” looks. “Of course. she said. “You’re paying the bill anyway.” she said.


Jane bit her lip to keep from laughing.


Daria gave Quinn a nasty look and said, “Another comment like that and it’s coming out of your trust fund.” then picked up the receiver and dialed. A few rings later the machine answered. Daria figured Stan was either outside or had left to take care of something. She left a message saying she was fine and would call him from the hotel that evening. Hanging up, she looked at Quinn. And asked, “That’s out of the way. So what do you want to do?”


Quinn looked at Daria. “Well the campus is pretty crowded and the game is in two hours.” she said. “Why don’t we just wait here and visit for a while?”


All three looked at each other and nodded in agreement. Quinn gestured for Daria and Jane to take the chairs and she sat on her bed. She soon regretted suggesting they talk. They spent the next hour discussing everything from how Quinn was doing in classes to whether she would ever find a boyfriend. Eventually Quinn had enough grilling and decided it was time to go to the stadium.


Quinn had done a good job and found them tickets near the thirty-yard line. This was the ideal location for Jane to see her oldest son perform. Shortly before the game started Lane appeared with his fellow cheerleaders and started getting the crowd worked up. As they watched him all three were amazed at how good he actually was.


“Wow.” Daria said. “I had no idea Lane was that talented.”


“Yea.” Jane agreed. “I raised him and I had no idea he could do that. I guess kids will always surprise you.”


Daria continued watching him. “Yea and he cleans up so well.” she said. “He hasn’t had hair that short since he was ten.”


This comment caught Jane by surprise and she broke down laughing.


They stayed at the stadium through the third quarter but decided to leave early. Their side was losing by enough points that it seemed very unlikely they would catch up. Plus they wanted to get to the rehearsal hall before the crowds started filing out and slowed their progress.


It turned out to be a wasted effort. The door to the hall was locked and the regular security guard, the one who knew Quinn, was not on duty. In spite of their best efforts to enter, they were forced to wait outside until after the game and Lane returned.


About a half hour later the game was over and a few minutes after that Lane appeared with his fellow squad members. Upon seeing Jane he shouted, “MOM!” and ran over to hug her. As he embraced her, he lifted her in the air and spun her around. This took Jane by so much surprise it took her a second to put her hands on his shoulders and push away.


“I missed you too Lane but would you please put me down. I’m getting dizzy.”


Gently, Lane returned his mom’s feet to the ground. “Sorry. I was just so happy to see you.” he said. Looking up, he saw Daria. “Hey Mrs. Morgendorffer.”


Daria gave him a small wave.


“Hi Lane. You looked good out there.”


Lane smiled.


“Thanks. Look, I need to change. Why don’t you come in and wait for me. I won’t be too long.”


“That’s what we tried to do earlier but security wouldn’t let us in.” Quinn said.


Lane looked at the guard.


“Yea. The regular guy was in the stadium today. Sorry about that. Well come on in. They won’t block you now.”


As they went into the building, Jane turned to look at her son. “So where did you learn to do all those acrobatics?” she asked.


The three women sat in the waiting area. About fifteen minutes later a showered and changed Lane emerged. Looking at the trio, he said. “Well I’m ready to go.”


As they left the building, Lane put his arm around Jane and asked. “So Mom. You hungry? I know I am.”


Jane laughed and shook her head, this was her son alright. He may have cut his hair and cleaned up his act but he was still the bottomless pit she raised and loved. “Yea. I could do with a meal.” she said. “You know a good restaurant?”


Lane smiled and nodded.


“I know the perfect place. So where are you parked?”


“We’ll take my car.” Quinn said. “I need to drive it every now and then.”


Daria looked at her daughter. “How often do you drive around here?” she asked.


Quinn shrugged.


“Not very. Most everything is in walking distance. It’s only when I need to leave campus that I drive.”


“And how often is that?”


“Not as much as I’d like. Between classes and my job at the infirmary I barely have any time left to do anything else.”


“Ah.” Daria said. As they proceeded she thought to herself, “She’s a bookworm. Just like me at her age.” 


A short walk later they were all in the parking lot behind Quinn’s dorm. As they piled in the car, Jane looked at her watch. “Oh wow. It’s going to be late when we get done with dinner.” she said, “Quinn, why don’t you drive me to my car? We can take both vehicles to the restaurant, then you two can ride back here and we can go to the hotel.”


Daria’s eyes suddenly got huge.


“Oh! The hotel. Look we need to go by there and check in before they give our room away. Then we can go eat.”


“I have an idea.” Lane said. “One of you can go to the hotel and the other one will ride with me to the restaurant. After a game the place is really crowded. This will give us a chance to get seated earlier.”


Daria turned around to look at Lane. “Good idea.” Turning her attention back to Quinn, she said, “We parked in the lot you suggested. Can you get there?”


Once more Quinn rolled her eyes.


“Mom, I gave you the directions to get there. I know the way.”


“Oh. Right. Sorry.” Daria said.


Getting to the lot turned out to be more difficult than Quinn anticipated. Because of the post-game traffic it took some time to reach the parking area. After several extra turns and stops they finally made it to Jane’s car. As Quinn saw the shiny red convertible sitting there she was amazed.


“Wow. Is that really your car?”


Jane grinned.


“Sure is. Just drove it off the lot yesterday. Nice huh?”


“It sure is.” Quinn said. “I can’t believe you got it.”


“You aren’t the only one to say that.”


Jane and her offspring got out of the back seat. As they went to get in her car Lane stopped and went over to Quinn’s side of the car. “You know which place we’re going to right? he asked.


Quinn gave him a cross look. “Of course I do.” she said. “It’s the only place you ever want to go to.”


Lane smiled. “Great. We’ll see you there in a little while.” he said and went to get in his mom’s car.


When she got to the hotel, Daria’s fears were confirmed. There was a crowd of people who hadn’t made reservations waiting for people to lose theirs. Luckily Daria made it there with enough time they that still had her room. Getting the key card she thanked the clerk and went back to the car. Soon after, Quinn pulled into the restaurant parking lot. They quickly found Jane’s car but sadly didn’t find a parking space for themselves. After two trips through the lot they settled on parking in the church lot next door.


When they went inside they looked around but didn’t see the other two. A few seconds later, Lane came over and led them to the table. As they sat down a waitress came by and asked them what they wanted to drink. After placing their order she directed them to the buffet tables.


Everyone got up and served themselves. By the time they returned to the table their drinks were there. When Lane saw this he was a little disappointed. Lane soon finished his first plate and got up to get another serving. After he left, Daria spoke up.


“The food is okay but why does he like this place so much Quinn?”


Before Quinn could reply, Jane interrupted. “I can answer that one Daria. This is an all you can eat place. As much as he can put away it’s probably the only way he can afford to stay fed.”


Quinn looked at Jane and smiled. “You’re only half right.” Pointing to the waitress she said. “That’s the main reason he comes here so often. He’s had the hots for her ever since the first time we came here.”


Jane leaned her head back and nodded slightly.


“Ooh. That answers a lot. So has he asked her out?”


Quinn shook her head. “Nope. He’s too afraid.”


Jane was amazed. “It must be love if he’s afraid to ask her out.” she said. “Very few girls have ever made him that tongue tied.”


Suddenly Quinn cleared her throat to signal that Lane was returning. Quickly, all three changed the subject. As Lane sat down he noticed his mom had a strange look on her face. Looking at her, he asked, “So what were you three talking about?”


Flashing him a quick smile, Jane said, “Nothing important.”


The remainder of the meal was pleasant. Lane filled his plate three more times and had the waitress refill his drink twice. Each time she did the three women just smiled at each other. Finally, everybody was full. As they went out to the lot they all stopped at Jane’s car. All four just looked at each other. Eventually the silence got the better of Daria and she spoke.


“Well we need to get to the hotel. We’re going to leave pretty early tomorrow.”       


Quinn looked at her mom and asked. “Will you stop by before you go?”


“We’ll try to.” Daria said.


“I tell you what.” Jane interrupted. “We’ll delay leaving if you two will meet us for breakfast.”


“What time?” Lane asked.


Jane shrugged. “I don’t know. How about seven?”


Quinn and Lane looked at each other. Both planned on going to a few campus parties that night. They wondered if they would get in early enough to get some rest before meeting their moms. Both turned to look at Daria and Jane. Quinn said, “Seven is fine. Where do you want to eat?”


“How about the hotel restaurant?” Daria suggested.


“That’s fine.” Quinn said. We’ll meet you in the lobby.


“Very well. See you then.” Daria said.


Each child gave their respective parent a hug and everybody separated.  When Daria and Jane got to the hotel they found their room and settled in. Daria sat on the bed while Jane took first turn in the shower. While Jane was occupied, Daria tried calling home again. Once more she got the machine. After leaving another message she hung up, turned on the television and waited for her turn to bathe.


The next morning Daria and Jane entered the lobby to see two very tired looking young people. They were on time but they definitely had stayed up late. Seeing how tired they were, Daria was actually relieved to know that Quinn didn’t exist in a complete vacuum while on campus.


Breakfast was nice. After they were done everybody enjoyed one more round of hugs and went their separate ways. Unlike the day before, the ride back was uneventful and by early afternoon Jane pulled up in Daria’s driveway. Daria got out of the car and reached behind the seat to get her pack. As she turned to leave she looked at Jane and said, “Well thanks for driving. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”


Jane looked up from behind the wheel and smiled.


“Sure. No problem. Later.”


Daria stood there and watched Jane speed off. When the car was out of sight, she went inside the house. When Stan heard the door he came in to greet her. Giving her a quick kiss, he said, “Welcome home. Sorry I wasn’t here when you called. I had to help Jake fix the porch swing. Then they had me stay for dinner.”


Daria looked at him.


“Ah. I figured it was something like that.”


As Stan took her pack, he asked, “So how was the trip?”


“It was interesting.”


The End


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