Pause In Life

 

:I hope I enjoyed myself.: She thought rudely.
She sat on the mounted cot trying to get the pounding in her head to stop long enough to remember where she was but truthfully she didn't care.
Her brown hair hung down in her face and she didn't try to move it away, she couldn't see farther than the end of her arm at the moment anyway. The cell was 8 by 10 and housed a toilet she hoped she didn't have to use anytime soon and another cot lined the wall across from her. Her clothes were dirty and ripped but she didn't care about that either. It was dark in the cell but light poured in from the window in the door and she almost wished she could tell them to block it. She rubbed her arm where the bandages wrapped her entire forearm and she tried to remember how she had gotten hurt but it wouldn't come. She tried to stand but her legs turned to jelly almost at once and she sat back down trying not to get sick. They had made her clean the squad car after she had puked in it and would most likely make her clean it up here to and once was enough for tonight. She leaned her head against the wall letting the cool concrete ease her headache.
The voices in the hall brought her back to herself, blocking out painful memories she'd rather forget.
“Thank you so much for calling me, Tim.” A tired voice said pleasantly.
“Not a problem, Joey wouldn't want his sister in law sitting in a drunk tank.” The voice named Tim responded.
“I really do appreciate this.” The female voice said.
“Listen don't worry and if you need anything don't hesitate to call, we all really miss Joey too.” Tim said gently.
“I know but it helps that he died doing what he loved and helping people.” The female voice said with pride.
The door opened and a woman walked in. She was dressed in a pair of sweatpants and a long t-shirt and her long red hair was tied back in a pony tail looking like model. :But then she always did.: Thought the sitting women.
The newcomer had on a baby carrier and her 8 month old slept peacefully inside, held tight against its mother.
The woman walked over and offered her hand to the woman on the cot who accepted and rose again to her feet as her sister was looking down sadly but never disappointed, she was grateful for that at least.
“You think you can walk.” The woman asked gently, her voice so kind.
“If you help me.”
She compared them as they walked together. She was older but the other was taller and carried herself with a strength that few processed. For sisters they looked as different as night and day. One tired from a long day taking care of a child and the other still drunk after another night of drinking to excess. Her sister had long red hair that even bunched up looked bouncy and hers never did much but sit on her head. She was filthy from wandering drunk in the streets before the police picked her up, her sister was clean and fresh looking.
:Where did I go so wrong that now I'm the child and she's the parent.: Daria Morgendorffer thought as her sister, Quinn helped her into the car and strapped her in.
The baby was then strapped into his carseat and Quinn got in the driver's seat and handed Daria her glasses and the property envelope from the police station.
“I'm really sorry Quinn, I asked them not to call you.” Daria said as tears poured from her eyes.
“They told me, But Joey worked there, with them for 5 years before he died, so they think of you as family so they called anyway.” Quinn said not looking angry and that stung more than anything.
“I didn't want you to have to bring the baby to a place like that for this.” Daria continued to cry.
“He's been there plenty of times and granted it was for more pleasant reasons but I doubt he would mind helping out his favorite aunt.” Quinn said with a tired smile.
“I shouldn't have come back.” Daria said as the tears started to dry up.
“I'm glad you did.” Quinn whispered.

They drove in silence as they headed to Quinn's home on the outskirts of town, the home she had shared with her husband for almost 6 years and Daria swore he was still there looking out for his family. Daria stared out the window as Quinn drove and she missed the start of what her sister had said.
“Sorry.” Daria asked.
“I said you need to stop, it's been 7 years Daria, it's time to stop running.” Quinn said gently.
“I don't know what you mean.” Daria defended herself.
“Have you ever talked to anyone, since it happened. No you put it all into the books but you haven't ever tried to talk to someone.” Quinn said.
Daria sat quietly almost afraid to answer.
“How many drunk tanks, or jail cells, how many bottles?” Quinn asked not expecting an answer.
“I've been busy.” Daria tried.
“To busy blaming ... someone for something they had no control over, I read your books, the badguy is always a woman who loses in the end, embarrassed and shamed. How long are you going to keep punishing her?” Quinn asked.
“I'm not.” Daria said embarrassed.
“Whatever Daria.” Quinn said sounding just like she did in high school, just like she did before.
“I am glad I got to see Joey Jr.” Daria tried.
“Me too, maybe you might think about having one yourself one day, if you ever sober up enough.” Quinn said.
“It's too late.” Daria started.
“Daria your 27 not 50.” Quinn interrupted her.
“You’re a really good mom, did I tell you that yet.” Daria said smiling.
“Only every day since you came down but I still can't hear it enough.” Quinn said returning the smile and reaching over and squeezing her sister's hand.
She knew Daria hid from any kind of physical contact so she went to move her hand away quickly and was stunned when Daria grabbed it and returned the gesture, holding her hand.
“Do you ever think about it?” Daria asked.
“All the time, everyday. Sometimes I feel like I lost my whole family that day.” Quinn admitted.
“And.” Daria pushed.
“It wasn't her fault.” Quinn said strongly no doubt in her voice.
“I know.” Daria whispered. “It's mine.”
“What?” Quinn said shocked.
“It's not Jane I’m punishing in my books, it's me.” Daria admitted.
“But at the funeral, you blamed her.” Quinn said confused.
“I couldn't yell at myself so I drove Jane away forever.” Daria said letting her mask slip, only when she drank did anyone ever she her real face, the one distorted with pain and guilt.
“Daria, I'm going to tell you something that I have tried to tell you for years but I think maybe you might hear it tonight. Call Jane, she misses you, she still lives in Lawndale and would do anything to hear from you.” Quinn said firmly.
“After what I said to her, I couldn't. You still keep in touch?” Daria asked surprised.
“We talk almost every day.” Quinn admitted.
“I didn't know.” Daria said turning from the window.
“Tell her, I'm sorry for what I said and it wasn't her fault.” Daria said returning to look out the window.
“You haven't had ever, been with, ... since that night, have you?” Quinn asked.
“No.” Daria answered.
"Anyone?" Quinn asked.
"Never." Daria answered her voice choked with the pain.
“You didn't make it rain.” Quinn said.
“You didn't pretend to replace the brakes a week before when Dad took the car to the shop did you?” Quinn pressed when Daria didn't answer.
“You didn't run your semi through a red light and hit the car, did you.” Quinn finished.
“No.” Daria answered softly.
“It wasn't your fault.” Quinn pushed.
“It was.” Daria said and her body racked with the guilt as the tears poured out.
“No.” Quinn stated.
“If I hadn't.” Daria cried.
“It wasn't your fault.” Quinn insisted.
“If they hadn't walked in and saw.” Daria pushed.
“It wasn't your fault.” Quinn kept holding the line.
“It was, if I hadn't had sex with Jane, they would be alive right now.” Daria said and collapsed in her seat.
“How could you carry this all these years and not see the truth. Mom and Dad knew something was happening between you and Jane, they had since your second year at college. I can't believe it took as long as it did for you two to have sex but it didn't kill our parents. They were on the way back with dinner when it happened. They didn't storm out mad or ashamed; they went to get something to eat. It was never your fault or Jane's. You have spent the last 7 years hiding from the pain in the bottom of a bottle, cutting away anyone that could help you because you thought you deserved to suffer. I missed you and I thought I would never see you again until you showed up the day after Joey was killed. I was six months pregnant and you took care of me until Joey Jr was born, but then you left, just disappeared and that really hurt me. I felt like I was a chore, take out the trash, fix Quinn after her husband dies. You saved me when you showed up that day, I don’t know what I would have done. You gave me a reason to live to bring my son in to the world but then you ran out on me. I want, I need my big sister in my life and in my son's life and I don't care about anything else.” Quinn said letting the words spill from her.
“I'm sorry, I didn't want to drink around him.” Daria said quietly.
“Then stop, let me save you this time.” Quinn said and the strength she had found some where was in her voice.
“It’s to late, I gave up my life for a few best sellers.” Daria answered honestly.
“I know but it's time to come home and catch your breath. It's time to start living again.” Quinn said and pulled out her cell phone and dialed knowing it was time and the window of opportunity might not ever come again.
She handed the phone to Daria as it was ringing.
“Hello, just so you know I'm going to kill you slowly but don't let that stop you from explaining why your calling me at 2 in the morning.” Jane Lane said sounding groggy.
“Jane.” Daria said her voice breaking.
“Oh my god, is that you Daria.” Jane said suddenly awake and serious at the same time.
“I'm sorry Jane.” Daria cried into the phone not knowing what else to say.
“Where are you?” Jane asked sound desperate.
“On the way to Quinn's house, she picked me up from the drunk tank.” Daria said sadly.
“Can I come see you?” Jane pleaded.
“I'm a mess right now.” Daria said regretting the words.
“I seem to remember you normally are. Please Daria.” Jane was begging.
“I love you Jane.” Daria continued to cry.
“I love you too Ma Amiga, is that a yes.” Jane said hopefully.
“Yes, forgive me.” Daria took her turn to beg.
“Always, I'm heading out to the car now, I'll be there in less than 30 minutes.” Jane said sounding like she was moving around.
“Drive carefully.” Daria said her voice filled with dread.
“I will, are we finishing what we started.” Jane asked.
“Maybe we can finally start it.” Daria cried loudly.
Daria curled into a ball as the call ended and cried against the door as her sister rubbed her back with tears running down her face. :I can't get Mom and Dad or Joey back but maybe I can get my sister back, please god let me save my sister before the guilt she never deserved to feel destroys her. Thank god, Joey showed me that report from the scene, even I blamed her and Jane until I read it. Pizza, they wanted to celebrate Jane and Daria getting together.: Quinn thought as she pulled into her driveway.

Quinn waited in the living room with Daria until the lights filled the front window and the pounding on the door started and Daria slowly opened the door and life started moving forward again.