Out With Her Eyes.
Daria stared out at the collection
of students that filled the classroom and fought the urge to run screaming from
the room at full tilt. Nearly every person she knew was taking the class.
:Thanks Mom, if it wasn’t enough I spent three years with these people now I get to spend my last summer with them too.: She thought rudely as she returned a wave from Jodie and Mack when they went by.
The classroom was a standard science style room with long high tables already setup with the various apparatus they would need in the course.
:Advanced chemistry, perfect and now I get to watch Kevin and Brittany blow themselves up.:
It was supposed to be a way to get an extra college credit that would transfer to Raft but she had been under the impression they wouldn’t let just anyone take the class. She knew why so many of the male students were here since Barch had single handedly wiped out their grades in science but she hadn’t expected a full third of the graduating class to show up.
“Just think of this as the first reunion.” Jane said from her left sketching in her ever present notebook.
“I was hoping to be able to concentrate and not have to babysit more than one person.” Daria remarked coldly.
“Ouch. Look I need the credits and your mom offered to pay and I promise to behave and pay attention and … you know I was just joking about making napalm.” Jane shrugged letting the remark slide off her back.
“It’s not you I’m worried about.” Daria groaned nodding toward where Kevin Thompson sat in front of his soon to be ex girlfriend and she let herself feel the surprise when she realized he was thumbing through the book trying to read it.
“Welcome to College Chemistry 101. Now just to get a few things out of the way. No, we will not be learning how to produce any of the following, Drugs of any kind, explosives, magic potions, or anything you have seen on TV. And drinking the bright blue mixture will not give you super powers or turn you into a ladies man, but it may kill you, so don’t drink anything in this room period. If you need a drink, step outside and drink only from sealed containers that you brought with you and can confirm have not been tampered with by someone who thinks their funny.”
“Ok now I’m scared.” Jane muttered.
“You watch my bag and I’ll watch yours.” Daria said to Jane not caring that everyone including the instructor heard the exchange.
“Deal.” Jane replied.
Several of the students seem to float between amusement and concern for their own bags but the instructor seemed to nod positively at the quickly struck bargain.
“Now the first rule of the day is No playing, take everything in this room serious and be careful. Any other rules are based off this one. I’m Professor Michaels and I’ll be guiding you through what hopefully will be an exciting step into your educational futures.” Michaels said upbeat.
:Those of us that have a future.: Daria smirked as the thought played in her head.
The instructor begin an intense lecture of the basics of lab safety and Daria started to relax when she saw Kevin paying attention and even taking notes on every don’t do that was discussed.
The class was setup to be six hours long with a 30 minute meal break and Daria was almost cheerful as she and Jane started to eat outside the classroom.
“Now admit it. Maybe this class won’t be a complete waste of time.” Jane prodded her.
“Well I holding back judgment until I see how well we can follow the planned schedule. I think it might be more of a learning experience than Barch ever let us have.” Daria shrugged.
“Hey Daria.” The always nice and calm voice of Jodie rang out to them.
“We’re not volunteering for anything.” Jane said quickly before blushing. “Sorry, old habit.”
“I guess I did ask you guys a lot but it was only because I really believed you two had more to offer than most people.” Jodie sighed and took a seat on the bench with them.
“I have to ask, do you have any idea why Kevin is taking this class?” Daria asked lowering her voice so no one else would hear.
“If he passes this class and another Language arts class then he’ll be able to play next year.” Jodie sighed.
“That boy barely passed lunch so how’s he going to pass this class, I’m kinda nervous about that myself.” Jane stated harshly.
“I didn’t realize how little Mrs. Barch taught us until I saw some of the material in the classes I’m taking next year and you know what, not a single mention of ex-husbands or how men are all dogs is listed in a single science class. At least the guys that took her class had to put some effort in.” Jodie said and her faced flashed with anger for a several seconds before calming down with a visible concentrated effort.
“That’s a good point, ya the A was nice but even at BFAC they have some standards for science and I’m having to pay attention to the safety stuff because I’m scared about blowing myself up.” Jane sighed.
“We got hosed royally just not as bad as the guys did.” Jodie agreed.
“Do my ears deceive me or is Jodie Landon exactly coming over to the darkside.” Daria chuckled.
“I don’t know, how’s the health plan?” Jodie said with a smile.
“Pretty good but hold out for the dental package too.” Jane laughed.
Their break ended and they returned to the class room to find Kevin had beaten them there and was already reading the first chapter as they took their seats.
The class went on for another hour until a janitor entered the room pushing a trolley loaded with cleaning supplies.
“Alright the white power is concentrated ammonia crystals and can be used too,… Can I help you?” Michaels said noticing the man pushing the trolley into the classroom.
“Just getting the trash, I’ll be out of your hair as quick as I can.” The older man said cheerfully.
“Maybe you could come back later.” Michaels said and Daria felt spikes of concern coming off him and felt some rising herself and she looked back toward the janitor and felt a brick hit her in the chest.
On the back of the trolley was a five gallon bucket that was sitting open and filled with liquid and somehow she knew what it was.
“Opps, sorry about that.” The janitor said as he knocked a bag of the ammonia crystals off the table he was passing and bent down and picked the bag up not realizing it had opened.
Daria watched the pouring trail and followed it down to the bucket and said loudly.
The gas was barely visible but the effect was almost instant. The janitor started coughing and fell to the ground.
“Jane RUN.” Daria yelled and pushed her friend toward the door as other students started falling and screaming as the gas hit them. The instructor pushed past her and started grabbing students and shoving them toward the door.
She grabbed Jodie and another girl with a tattered green army coat and hippie pants and started to drag the two girls toward the door as Jane helped a screaming Brittany into the hall as Kevin pushed a choking Mack to the hall while carrying an unknown girl on his shoulder. Daria looked around and saw that there were seemed to be people missing. She looked through the doorway and saw Professor Michaels had been helping a redhead and now both were passed out on the floor and the janitor hadn’t stirred since he fell.
Daria grabbed a bottle of water from Mack and stripped off her jacket pouring the water over it before quickly wrapping it around her nose and mouth and darting into the room. She ran for the trolley and grabbed the lid that was tucked next to the bucket and shoved it into place hopefully blocking any more gas from escaping before running toward the teacher and student. She grabbed them both and started dragging them toward the door.
As she approached the door she realized her eyes were burning painfully. Kevin darted into the room and grabbed the instructor from her and they made it to the hall in seconds. She started to return to the room when Jane grabbed her shoulder and said something but Daria pushed away and ran back into the room grabbing the janitor by his clothes and starting to pull as the burning over took her eyes and she realized she could no longer see.
She slipped to the floor still trying to drag the man toward the door and suddenly she felt hands lifting her up and heard Jane’s voice.
“Get that guy.”
“I got him.” Kevin said and Daria felt herself being dragged and soon heard the door close. The air was clear and the burning on her bare arms and face eased slightly.
She couldn’t hear anything over the cries and screams in the hall but she felt her face being cleaned after the jacket was removed.
“I can’t see anything.” Daria said and felt the blackness overcome her.
Daria stirred and startled awake, trying to contain the scream that wanted to free itself from her throat. Everything was black and her hands reached for her face and found the heavy bandages that covered her eyes. Her skin ached and she felt around her to determine where she was until she felt a hand and followed it to the body.
“Daria!” She heard her sister’s voice and felt arms wrap around her tightly and squeeze until she feared for her ribs.
“Easy Quinn, where are we?” Daria asked already knowing the answer.
“The hospital, Mom and Dad are talking to the doctors.” Quinn answered and Daria heard a shaking in her sister’s voice.
“What happened?” Daria asked.
“There was an accident at the college and there was a gas and you’re a hero.” Quinn said as she rubbed Daria’s hair back.
“What?” Daria said and she started to remember the class and flashes of what happened.
“You warned everyone and started pulling people out. Then you went back in and got more people.” Quinn said and pride was sounding out in her voice now.
“Jane, she pulled me out. I couldn’t see.” Daria said as the last pieces of the day fell into place and her brained finished it’s booting.
“When you fell, Jane and Kevin went in and got you and a janitor.” Quinn said and Daria heard the pause that spoke volumes.
“Is Jane ok?” Daria asked.
“I’m fine Amiga but I don’t think I’m ready for chemistry.” Jane said jokingly.
“You saved me.” Daria stated.
“Couldn’t leave you in there now could I.” Jane laughed.
Several gasps and a scramble of impossible to understand words informed her that her parents had returned seconds before the flurry of hugs started.
“Stop it.” Daria said as her parents smothered her.
“Kiddo, it’s going to be ok.” Her father Jake said calmly.
The calm in his voice terrified her more than if he had been ranting or screaming, it meant it was bad.
“Miss. Morgendorffer, I’m doctor Elizabeth Tanner. I have been examining and treating both your self and Miss. Lane since you arrived here earlier today. There’s no easy way to say this but it appears that your prolonged exposure to the Mustard gas has damaged your retinas leading to your current state of blindness. I can’t paint a pretty picture here, there is a very real chance that the damage will be permanent. We will be keeping you here over night to continue to examine your eyes every four hours and hopefully be able to give you more information then.” Tanner said without a trace of emotion.
“So I’m blind.” Daria said wondering why it didn’t bother her like it should.
:I think I’m going into shock, should I tell them.: Daria though dispassionately.
“Yes but until a little time passes I can’t say wither it will be temporary or permanent.” Tanner replied.
“Ok.” Daria said because there wasn’t anything else she could think to say.
She heard the footsteps that let her know the doctor had left and waited for her parents to say something but a thought came out from the depths of her mind.
“Jane.” Daria called.
“Ya.” Jane answered.
“Are you …?” Daria could bring herself to say the words.
“What?” Jane pressed.
“You came in and saved me. Oh god, you’re an artist. Please tell me your eyes are ok.” Daria cried out.
“I’m fine.” Jane said and Daria heard the tremor in the tone.
“Your lying, oh god your blind because you saved me.” Daria let the tears soak her bandages and some escaped and flowed down her face.
She felt the pain that whispered by like wind at news of her own blindness burn through her like lava turned loose in her veins at the thought of Jane being struck down as well.
:Not Jane, please I’ll do anything but don’t take her sight from her.: Played as a mantra through her head in a loop that seemed to be on a never ending pattern as tremors started throughout her body.
“I’m not blind, at least not completely.” Jane yelled to get her attention as her parents tried to hold her still.
“What?” Daria gasped and her body stilled and she felt her family gently trying to sooth her.
“I closed my right eye when I went in to get you. I tried to stop you but you were so focused on getting everyone out. It was amazing, you were like a superhero running in and pulling people out but before you went in the last time I saw your eyes and I knew what was happening so when me and Kevin went in to get you. I had him keep his eyes closed and I kept my right squeezed as tight as I could as I led us to you and made him keep his eyes closed when he was dragging the guy out. My right eye is fine but my left eye is the same as yours. Everyone else is ok except for the burning anywhere that stuff got on us.” Jane explained quickly.
“You swear.” Daria demanded.
“On my life, freaking friend.” Jane swore.
“She only has one eye covered with bandages.” Quinn added gently and Daria realized whose strong arms were holding her still.
Quinn had gotten on the bed and wrapped her arms around her sister’s chest and had her in a vise like grip with Daria’s head resting against her chest.
“Everyone is ok.” Daria whispered.
“Everyone and Mack even hugged Kevin.” Jane laughed.
“Why?” Daria asked.
“Mack caught a shot of the gas to his face and Kevin helped him out while carrying out some girl out.” Jane answered.
“You got Brittany out, I remember you helping her up right after it happened.” Daria said thoughtfully.
“Ya, while you were getting Jodie and that burner girl out the door.” Jane dismissed.
“Daria, everything is going to be ok. I have made calls to some of the best in the field and their going to review your case and I promise you that everything that can be done will be done.” Helen said firmly.
“No offense but I’ll believe when I see it.” Daria said harsher than she had intended.
“That’s not funny Daria.” Quinn cried and Daria felt a pull on her heart as she heard the pain in her sister’s voice.
“I have to joke or I’ll start screaming.” Daria admitted her own voice breaking.
Daria felt her sister pull her even tighter against her and rock her gently almost as if she was a baby and surrendered to the darkness that claimed her again.
She woke up sometime later but somehow she knew it was nighttime now. She listened to the room and heard the sounds of breathing and knew she wasn’t alone.
“Jane.” She said in a hushed voice.
“I’m still here.” Jane answered almost at once.
“What time is it?” She asked.
“A little after midnight. You ok?” Jane replied.
“No, Why did you do it, if you knew what you were risking why did you come back in for me?” Daria asked, the need for the answer burned within her.
“We’ve been friends since you moved to this crappy town. You been there throughout almost every moment in my life that mattered and you don’t know, I thought you were smart.” Jane joked.
“Please.” Daria begged.
“You really don’t know, do you? Daria you’re my best friend and the only one that didn’t get sick of me after a really short time. I love you.” Jane said and Daria could hear the tears.
“You cared more about getting me out of that room then yourself, we’re family in every way that matters and I wasn’t going to leave you on that floor.” Jane continued through the tears.
“I love you.” Jane repeated.
“Is everyone else asleep?” Daria asked.
“Yes.” Jane said confused by the question or maybe just the timing.
“I love you too, you’ve been the one thing that kept me going in this place.” Daria said wishing she could see her friend but she heard the parade of noise followed by footsteps moving toward her.
She felt someone take her hand and then felt it being raised and kissed gently.
“I don’t care if you ever see again, I’ll be there for you, no bad ends.” Jane promised.
Daria heard the breathing next to her change and knew that Quinn was awake and trying to not intrude.
“Quinn’s awake and I think she’s expecting us to kiss but I have to disappoint her as I’m really not in an experimenting mood today.” Daria teased.
“How did you know?” Quinn said as she lifted her head from the side of the bed she had been leaning against.
“I’m not sure, the same way I know dad and mom are still asleep and Jane is crying.” Daria shrugged.
“If we’re family does that mean I have to put up with the fashion princess.” Jane said trying to lighten the mood.
“I can’t have to unpopular sister’s, one of you is going to have to bite the bullet and start dressing up.” Quinn returned the shot.
“Well you at least have an excuse to tell people about me now, I’m blind how could I pick out the right outfit.” Daria entered the fray and regretted it at once.
Quinn sucked in her breath and a tremor went throughout her entire body and Jane still holding her hand tightened and Daria felt guilt slam into her.
“Sorry.” Daria said and reach out toward where she knew Quinn was and made contact with her sister’s arm and pulled Quinn over and Jane down and hugged them both.
“I guess some things just aren’t funny right now.” Daria sighed.
“I’m proud of you.” Quinn said suddenly.
“What?” Daria sputtered not believing what she heard.
“I heard them talking, you warned everyone otherwise it would have been too late for a lot of people to get out and they said something about the enclosed space would have killed someone. You didn’t just keep them from getting hurt, you kept them alive. This one redheaded girl gave me this to give to you, she said you were here hero.” Quinn said and handed Daria something small and cold to the touch on a chain.
Daria moved her fingers across the object and smiled when she realized the shape.
“It’s a bug.” Daria said with a smile.
“She said it was Key-per (Kheper) and it stood for personal rebirth and education and I think enlightenment. She wanted to thank you for dragging her out even if you did rip out half her hair in the process.” Quinn said and Daria could tell she was smiling.
“It was that girl that wears the Ankh right, I take it this is a scarab and I’ll bet it’s gold with a blue back.” Daria said.
“That’s right and it’s sitting on this weird diamond shape.” Jane said and Daria felt her sit on the edge of the bed.
“Help me put it on.” Daria smiled and felt Quinn lower the chain around her neck and attach it.
“Daria, I want you to know that I’ll be there to help no matter what.” Quinn said as she took her seat next to the bed still holding her sister’s hand.
“I’m going to have to take both of you up on your offers because I’m really scared right now.” Daria admitted.
“It could be worse Amiga, you could have single handedly saved the entire school.” Jane teases.
“I could never live that down.” Daria admitted and turned her head toward the sound of Jane’s voice.
“Thank you for saving me.” Daria whispered.
“No problem, who would I get to pay for the pizza if you weren’t around.” Jane said and laid down next to Daria pushing her over against the handrail.
“Hey I’m injured here.” Daria protested.
“And I’m scared to go to sleep by myself so hush or I’ll spoon with you.” Jane threatened.
“How can you two be this weird after what happened.” Quinn sighed.
“Defense mechanism to prevent us from freaking out.” Jane answered honestly.
“I guess you couldn’t get hold of Trent could you?” Daria pushed as she shared the thin blanket with Jane.
“No.” Jane whispered and Daria knew the pain that her friend was in.
The one member of her family that she could count on was out of town for the next week at least and now she needed him as much as Daria needed her.
“Jane your staying with us until we can get your brother back in town.” Quinn said from the chair next to them.
Neither Jane nor Daria bothered to argue.
It was sometime afternoon before the hospital released them and Daria and Jane were both wheeled down to the lobby before being allowed to get out of the chairs.
Quinn took Daria’s hand and led her carefully describing everything they encountered, from a set of chairs to a badly dressed woman. She started to be able to understand some of the things she heard with Quinn giving a play by play and even with the nonstop chatter her mind was learning things about her new state of being quickly.
She realized how dangerous things were when she tried to get into her mother’s SUV without help and banged both her shin and head in the process before Quinn moved over and with a hand on her head and anther on her leg helped her in.
As they drove away Daria felt Jane lean back against the seat and put on her head phones and the sound that blasted out of them made her jump causing both Jane and Quinn to panic.
“It’s ok, the noise was just really loud.” Daria said and felt the car start picking up speed again.
“What noise?” Jake asked from the front seat.
“Jane’s playing some music on her mp3 player and seeing as she’s half deaf from living in the same house as a rock band, she had it loud” Daria answered.
“So loud noises need to be avoided.” Quinn muttered to herself and Daria heard scratching of a pencil on paper.
“Daria, things are going to be strange but I’m sure things will start getting easier in a few days. Either your eyesight will start improving or you will become accustom to not having it.” Helen said and Daria could tell she believed it.
“Maybe but right now it just seems so strange.” Daria admitted.
“I got some books at the house kiddo, there supposed to help teach kids how to read brail and since I know you love to read, I thought it might distract you until we know one way or another.” Jake said.
“Jake that’s the stupidest thing I …” Helen’s attack was cut short.
“Thanks Dad, I think that might help pass some time seeing as I won’t be reading or going on the computer or watching much TV.” Daria said impressed by her father’s thoughtfulness.
“No problem.” Jake said and Daria knew he was trying not to meet her mother’s evil eye.
“I talked to one of the doctors and he said one of the first things we need to do is teach Daria where everything is. Let her walk between her bedroom and the bathroom and how to get down the stairs things like that.” Quinn said quickly.
“I think we can just help her for the time being.” Helen declared.
“Are you planning on getting me a bell so I can wake you up at 3 in the morning to take me to the bathroom.” Daria said frustrated with her mother’s rejection.
“I see your point, Quinn what else did the doctor say?” Helen said and Daria heard the lawyer kicking in.
“He gave me some web sights and said one of the best things is to let Daria explore a little to get used to her new surroundings and not to move anything.” Quinn said calmly but Daria knew judging from the way Jane seem to be pushing into the back of the seat there was a considerable amount of tension and dirty looks happening at the moment.
“We’re here.” Jake announced at the SUV pulled into the driveway.
“Can I talk to Mom alone for a minute?” Daria asked as doors started to open.
“Sure, do you want us to wait?” Quinn said and Daria heard something trying to creep out from behind Quinn’s near perfect control.
“No, but if I haven’t managed to make it to the door in 15 minutes of so come get me.” Daria smirked.
“Amiga.” Jane started and Daria reached out and patted what she had to hope was an arm and pointed in the direction of the front of the SUV.
Daria waited several minutes after the doors closed before asking.
“Are they inside?”
“Yes.” Helen answered.
“What the hell is your problem?” Daria asked not bothering to try to keep the venom out of her voice.
“What, what?” Helen sputtered sounding shocked.
“Is there some reason you keep attacking people who are trying to make my life a little more bearable?” Daria almost growled.
“I just think that’s it’s a bit premature to be learning brail or anything.” Helen stated firmly.
“Did you listen to the doctor this morning. Even if a miracle happens and my eyesight returns the same as it was it could take years. Do you expect me to go that long without reading? Let’s be honest here, I’m blind and even if some part of my eyesight returns I’ll never see like I did and there is no reason to wait on learning things that will let me function. You do realize I’m not going to college in a month and a half right?” Daria challenged her mother.
“You don’t know that? Your eyes could start getting better today.” Helen replied and Daria heard the desperate need in her voice.
“Maybe and when the scabs start coming off my eyes we’ll know more but I’m not going to wait. If my eyes get better that’s great but I’m not stopping my life to wait for it. If I focus and learn brail and how to function as a blind person maybe I can still go to college next year with or without sight.” Daria said softening her words.
“Alright but don’t push yourself to hard.” Helen tried.
“I’m not helpless just because I’m blind, I just need to learn the rules.” Daria said and opened the door of the SUV and carefully climbed out.
She slid her foot along the edge of the driveway until she found the sidewalk leading up to the front door and slowly started up it.
Helen watched her daughter make her way using her foot to keep track of the edge of the walkway until she hit the step up and almost stumbled but caught herself and stepped up as she held her hands out as she moved toward the house and once she found it started feeling left and right until she found the door.
Helen got out of the SUV and followed her daughter in the house. Jane was sitting on the couch watching as Quinn guided Daria toward the couch and Helen noticed that Daria would use her leading leg to feel out the area in front of her before stepping.
:She needs a cane.: Helen thought and she ran from the room so her daughters wouldn’t know what happened as she cried behind a locked door.
Daria sat at the park table and kept one hand on the cane next to her. It wasn’t white like the folding one she kept in her pocket, or at least Jane promised it wasn’t white. Trent and Jessie had made it out of a old toolbox but it still had the needed strap and reflective tape. She liked the way it clanged against the ground when she found an object. The x pattern that circled the heavy metal made her feel safe something few things did anymore.
It seem to have better expression of vibrations than the one her parents had gotten her and she preferred to be different anyway.
She heard Jane coming across the street and relaxed a little, she didn’t like being alone anywhere since she lost her sight.
“Hey got one everything that can kill you or make you fat deluxe special with extra bacon.” Jane said dropping the box on the table. “Opps.” Jane blushed as the box landed.
“I take it your depth perception isn’t getting any better Captain Jane.” Daria joked.
“About as well as your eyesight.” Jane returned without any malice.
Both girls had faced the grim facts over the last three months that their lives would never be the same. Daria adapted quickly but the burn scar on her left arm kept her humble after trying the simple task of making herself some hot tea had almost cost her dearly. Her eyesight was gone and the chances of it returning were on par with winning the lottery. Jane had discovered that having one eye while granting her vision prevent certain things as well. Her depth perception faded and she described her view of the world as flat and she was forced to take special care to prevent accidents like the pizza box from becoming serious.
On the bright side she almost never punched things when she reached for them anymore. The eyepatch helped with that for some reason.
Daria opened the pizza box and groaned as the smell hit her nose and she reached in and with a practiced skill pulled out a slice and started eating. Jane took the seat across from her and dug in as well both smiling as they enjoyed their favorite food in the world.
“Would be nice to be able to go inside come winter.” Jane remarked.
“I can’t, the smell in there is horrible.” Daria shuddered and took a sip of her drink.
“I know but we’re going to freeze our cute little asses off come winter.” Jane complained.
“Little, maybe it’s memory playing tricks on me but wasn’t yours the size of VW bug.” Daria joked.
“I have a very nice tight and not to small or large butt and you better remember it.” Jane said and Daria heard her toss the pepperoni toward her.
Daria peeled the meat off her forehead and stuck it on top of her pizza and smiled.
“More pepperoni for me. By the way you might want to move over some to allow our guests to sit.” Daria said and pointed behind Jane.
“Who now?” Jane complained.
“Looks like Kevin, of course and I don’t know who the other two are yet.” Daria shrugged.
“That still creeps me out when you say see or look or anything like that.” Jane nodded.
“Hey Daria, Jane, how are you doing?” Kevin said from a distance before approaching having learned that sneaking up on Daria when she had her stick was a bad idea even if it was to say hi.
“Hi Kevin, who are your friends?” Jane asked without turning around.
“This is Scarlett and you know Mack.” Kevin said sounding cheerful.
“Mack, we haven’t seen you since …” Daria started and her mental image had them all standing shocked and looking embarrassed.
“OK point taken on the sight based elements in the English language.” Daria said looking over in Jane’s direction.
“Sorry I hadn’t come by before but I was a little, no a was a lot freaked out after that day. Then I heard about what happened to you two and all I could think about was that I didn’t do anything and you two and Kevin saved people and it took a while to get to a place where I could come to terms with it with myself.” Mack said and Daria heard his chest pounding.
“Way I remember it, you took a shot of the gas and couldn’t even get off the floor. How is that standing there not doing anything?” Daria said plainly as she started her second piece or pizza.
“I should have …” Mack said and Daria heard him smack his head on the table.
“Picked another seat, had magic powers. Sorry Mack but this isn’t the best crowd for a pity party as we tend to win.” Jane said rubbing his shoulders.
“Your wearing it.” A female voice said and Daria smiled and turned to her.
“You must be Scarlett, my sister said you left this for me.” Daria said hoping she was looking in the right direction as she lifted the scarab up from where it dangled.
“I did. I wanted to say thank you to your face. You taught me something that day and I’m not sure what it was but it changed things for me. You pulled me out, unpopular, just a handful of friends, don’t even know me, ME. Thank you.” Scarlett said and Daria heard her turn and run away.
“You do that to more people than anyone else I know.” Jane joked.
“At least I don’t have a scar.” Daria smirked.
“Did you guys se.. hear the game Friday?” Kevin asked and Daria noted the self-correction.
“As a matter of fact, we listened to it with Daria’s Dad.” Jane answered.
“You ran two touchdowns in and threw for over 1000 yards all while keeping a 3.1 GPA.” Daria said imitating the announcer that had taken over this school year at Lawndale High.
“Cool, you sure nether of you one would be interested in going out one of these weekends.” Kevin said and Daria could hear the smile and Jane had informed her how he liked to check them out when he thought he was on Jane’s blind side.
“I don’t think the cheerleaders would like us dating you. It might get rough and then who would cheer for you after Daria lays the stick down on them.” Jane laughed.
“That’s a good point, their nice and all but Daria would whoop them like a dead dog.” Kevin sighed.
Daria heard Mack stir and lift his head.
“Don’t ask.” Daria whispered to him as Kevin said his goodbyes and headed down the street.
“So Kevin is still doing great at football and he’s passing classes and you two are positive. Did I wake up in the twilight zone?” Mack said.
“We’re still cynical and we have bad attitudes but some things don’t make it on the list anymore.” Jane shrugged.
“I have to go, here’s my number at college, if either of you needs something please call. You two look good together, I like the matching outfits.” Mack said and Daria sat upright and looked toward Jane who started whistling as Mack walked away.
“What did I say about matching outfits?” Daria said tapping her cane on the ground.
“Something about no, but I really can’t remember.” Jane said and Daria could hear her smiling.
Daria heard the car before she would have noticed it by sight before the accident and she turned away from the table and angled her cane on the curb and waited for the car to stop.
“Quinn’s in a mood.” Jane said as the car came to a stop.
“I don’t know, got to say the girl can drive, she didn’t even squeal the tires.” Daria said enviously.
“I miss driving.” Jane whined.
“Me too and I hated driving.” Daria admitted.
“Hey ladies.” Quinn called over the car as she got out and Jane quickly described her outfit to Daria.
It was the best kept secret that Daria and Jane had managed to keep from Quinn, that of the many things Daria missed seeing, one was the outfits her sister always seemed to manage to create, that now stood equal to any other art in her memory.
“Hey sis, how was the future medical personal meeting today?” Daria asked and pushed away her annoyance at Jane.
“Pretty good, I wish we had the numbers of Kevin’s emergency response club but we’re doing better than most clubs.” Quinn sighed and Daria heard the tension that Quinn tried to keep bottled in.
“What did Griffin do now?” Daria sighed.
“Just more of the same, she really hasn’t grown up a bit in the entire time I’ve known her. She had the nerve to accuse me of stealing Stacy and Tiffany away from fashion just because we wear scrubs one lousy day a week.” Quinn growled as she took a seat and started picking the cheese off of a slice of pizza.
“She’ll get hers one of these days.” Daria said with one of her typical smiles.
“I just hope I’m there to witness it.” Quinn said and Daria noted that unlike her, Quinn had made the transition away from using sight-based references almost perfectly.
“Record it in video and sound for future generations.” Jane smirked.
“So has Daria decided what she’s going to do to you for the matching outfits?” Quinn teased.
“You know, she might not have figured it out yet.” Jane stated trying to sound annoyed.
“But she did so I didn’t bust you so now she’s plotting revenge.” Quinn shrugged innocently.
“Well I’m thinking she’s going to shave my head once I go to sleep so I’m planning on trading places with you in the middle of the night.” Jane fired.
“I really don’t think Daria will mistake my long and beautiful hair for that mess of rat’s nests on top of your head.” Quinn said dryly and Daria and even Jane felt a heart tug at the playful banter.
“Trent called from Texas, when I checked my messages I heard him leaving one for you. He said something about checking you bank account as he made a deposit.” Quinn smiled at Jane.
“I can finally pay back some of that money I owe you, thank god.” Jane sighed.
“You know, my parents don’t consider you a guest so you really don’t have to keep paying for stuff.” Quinn said as she took a bite out her now cheeseless pizza.
“I know but I got into the habit of borrowing money from Trent all the time and my parents haven’t exactly been forth coming with the money for the medical bills or anything so I don’t want to have to keep having your Mom and Dad buy me stuff.” Jane said and Daria reached for her hand to give comfort to her hurting friend, as the topic was Jane’s weakest point.
“Hey, it’s ok.” Quinn said sliding over next to Jane and wrapping an arm around her.
“They haven’t even come to visit me since it happened, Trent called everyone and let them know and not one of them has come to check on me not even a stinking call. My own parents and they don’t care about what happened to me.” Jane said fighting the tears that wanted to come.
“I sorry but we’re your family too and we do care and honestly I don’t think we could have gotten through this without you.” Quinn said with a understanding tone.
Daria reflected on the person Quinn had become since she lost her sight. The selfish spoiled child had been replaced with a caring, determined woman who knew what she wanted to do with her life and set a course for it at full speed but at the same time she was a helping hand and friend ready to carry anyone who needed it. Daria supposed she admired Quinn more than anyone she had ever met. Quinn had single handedly picked up and shook off both Jane and Daria at their lowest and pushed them forward until they could walk again.
After finishing the pizza they loaded up into Jane’s old car, now Quinn’s current car that according to Jane looked nothing like the moving wreck that had once terrified her father when it was Trent’s.
Daria supposed that Quinn’s still constant non dateable boys had fixed the car up in the hope of impressing her before finding out that such things didn’t cut it with the new and improved Quinn.
Quinn drove fast but she was the only driver that Daria didn’t become frighten during the ride.
:It comes down to trust, I trust her with my life and I don’t believe she would ever do anything to endanger me or Jane.: Daria thought as she heard another driver curse at Quinn.
They arrived at the Morgendorffer resident in half the time it should have taken and Daria jumped out of the car and rubbed her hand down the now smooth paint job as she walked around the car.
She could her Jane tease Quinn about her driving but know that Jane loved riding with Quinn for just that reason.
She quickly discovered that none of the other cars were there which meant her parents weren’t home yet which was a touch of relief. They still walked on eggshells around her trying not to say something that might touch off a crying fit or worse the days of sitting on her bed refusing to even dress.
She headed toward the door walking with ease and quickly unlocking the door and entering. She heard the answering machine giving off it’s vocal alert that there were messages but she left those for Jane. She knew that Jane had put up a brave front when Trent told her about the month in Texas so he wouldn’t skip the chance but she missed him more than words could describe and even the sound of his voice on the machine cheered her up faster than anything else.
Daria grabbed a root bear out of the fridge before heading toward the sliding glass door that would take her into the back yard. She found her lounge chair easily and started feeling around underneath it and pulled out a ziplock bag with an almost empty pack of cigarettes in it and quickly extracted one and waited for Quinn who sighed as she came over and signaled her to inhale when Quinn lit the lighter and Daria started enjoying her cigarette. She, by nature of a current fear of setting herself on fire again could only smoke when someone sighted was around to help light and inform her when she was nearing the filter, didn’t smoke much but she still hung onto the habit fiercely.
Jane tapped on the glass door, which was to let them know she knew they were out there but she refused to sit with Daria when she was smoking something that had endeared Jane to her mother almost at once.
Quinn sat with Daria and talked about her day attending Lawndale High and the various and humorous activities at the school.
“Did I thank you for everything you do for me and Jane lately?” Daria interrupted at one point.
“At least twice a day but honestly your responsible for my GPA and the fact that the parents late me buy Jane’s car and everything. So I have to say I still owe you some change.” Quinn laughed dismissing the notion out of hand.
Daria stubbed out the finished cigarette and stamped it into the earth with her boots before standing. She could feel the sun on her face but even without the heavy glass she wore to cover her eyes saw no light but she remembered and that helped her through the times when she so desperately needed to see.
She walked inside with Quinn following her and heard Jane in the kitchen moving pans around and felt her stomach tighten painfully.
“I’ll make sure she doesn’t go weird on us AGAIN.” Quinn said as she saw Daria’s concern and the reason for it.
Daria headed into the living room and turned on the TV and set the channel using the normal remote instead of the brail one that seem to only exist to be picked up by her father whenever he really wanted to watch something.
“Next on Sick Sad World. Their guarding are malls and schools in the day but at night they take it all off. Stripper security guards on Sick Sad World.”
“OH MY GOD THAT WAS MR OLT.” Quinn cried out and Jane broke into laughter and Daria sighed as she took her seat.
“That explains the bundle of ones he dropped in the parking lot that one time.” Jane mused.
“Please promise me this isn’t another gag.” Daria said.
“It’s not, it was him. How am I going to walk by him everyday without laughing.” Quinn said as she fell into one of the chairs from the sound of it.
“Just wave a dollar bill at him when ever you go by and tell him it’s from Jane and Daria.” Daria laughed.
When their parents arrived home they found the three girls sitting around the table with their plates pushed to the side while Daria ran one hand over Jane’s latest painting was almost three dimensional as Jane layered the paint so Daria could make out the objects by touch while Quinn and Jane played stump Daria.
The game was simple and involved Daria placing one hand palm down on the table and they would pick small items and place them on top on her hand and she would guess what they were.
“That had better not be what I think it is Lane.” Daria stated as the object disappeared quickly.
“Driver’s license.” Daria answered to the next item chosen by Quinn.
“I’m starting to think she can see and this is the prank to end all pranks.” Jane said as Daria got each item right while still enjoying the painting.
“Hey Mom, Dad.” Daria said and Quinn and Jane both turned and greeted the elder Morgendorffer’s.
“Jane when are you going to learn that the fun you get from the matching outfits never makes up for the ways she makes you pay for them.” Helen sighed as she took the scene in the kitchen.
“I think she looks great and Kevin was drooling.” Jane smirked.
“I’m sleeping in the garage.” Jake announced.
“Dad, don’t be silly, I’m not going to take my revenge until tomorrow.” Daria said sweetly.
“Your sure kiddo.” Jake pushed.
“Yes daddy.” Daria said and smiled in what she was pretty sure the direction that Jane had moved in.
“Just don’t have the police called that was a mess that took two weeks to sort out.” Helen sighed as she made up a plate and sat down as Jake did the same.
“It will be something special this time.” Daria grinned.
“I’m not leaving the house with you tomorrow.” Jane said as the devious plots that Daria could come up with came to mind.
"Sure you aren't" Daria smirked.