Heather

in

Haunted

 

 

Don't be afraid as she pulled down the shade
Said there's nothing to fear but the monster is here
So just tell me the time, be it quarter of nine
Since the sun's gone away, now the creature will play

 - Type O Negative, 12 Black Rainbows

 

 

            Heather chewed her lower lip pensively and did something that she never, ever did. She stood in front of her closet and dithered about clothing. On her left, neatly hung, were several pairs of pants – jeans, slacks, and cargo pants. After that was her t-shirt selection, mostly either black or green. To the right of the shirts were a few dresses that she hardly ever wore, including the evening gown that she’d worn to the disastrous homecoming dance. Next were a light jacket and her heavier leather coat. At the far right hung a dark canvas garment bag.

            Hesitantly, she reached out and ran her fingertips down the cold teeth of the zipper on the garment bag.

            “Don’t,” Damsel said from behind her.

            “I wouldn’t,” Heather said, still staring into her closet.

            “Why did you bring it with you?”

            “Your computer.”

            “Not the same.”

            “Sure it is.” Heather closed the closet door and turned to her sister. “We all keep secrets, Damsel. It’s what Morgendorffers do best.”

            Damsel sighed. “Walk with me, we need you downstairs.”

            “Ok.” Heather nodded, accepting Damsel’s tacit offer to change the subject. She followed her sister out into the hallway and downstairs to the living room.

            Heather stopped at the doorway in surprise, because the room was full of people. Aunt Quinn and Uncle Trent were sitting on the couch, with Cherry sitting between them. Her aunt’s best friend Ms. Rowe was perched on the couch arm. The Flying Monkeys stood behind the couch with their arms crossed, hovering protectively over Cherry. Damsel walked across the room and sat on the love seat between their Mom and Dad. Gramma Helen and Grandpa Jake were across the room, standing near the bay window with two other old people that Heather vaguely recognized as her Dad’s parents.

            As Heather stood frozen in the doorway, everyone in the room turned to stare at her. After a few seconds the group stare became acutely uncomfortable. Finally, Quinn stood and glanced around the room at everyone else.

            “Heather,” she said, “there’s something we need to talk about.”

            “Um . . . ok. What?”

            “It’s just that,” Quinn paused and sighed sadly, “we all expected so much more from you.”

            Heather’s eyes grew wide as her aunt hefted a sledge hammer and began walking towards her purposefully. Everyone else in the room looked on with an air of sad resignation.

            As the hammer came down for the first blow, Heather sat up in bed and clamped her teeth down to hold in the screams.

            “God,” she muttered to herself, pushing her sweat soaked hair away from her face. She clicked on the bedside lamp and looked around the room nervously. She didn’t have as many nightmares as she used to, but they still made her jumpy.

            Grimacing with annoyance, she picked up a small notebook and pencil from the bedside table and spent a few minutes writing down the particulars of the dream. When she finished, she tossed the book and pencil back on the table and looked at the clock.

            “Three thirty in the damn morning. Good thing I don’t have to get up for school tomorrow.” She looked over at the bedside table again and briefly regarded her PDA before picking it up and turning it on. She scrolled through the phone book, chose a number, and pressed the call button. The phone rang a couple of times before it was answered.

            “Hello, Morgendorffer residence,” a woman said. Heather swallowed nervously, and clamped her eyes shut.

            “Hi, Ms. Rowe. This is Heather, is my aunt around?”

            “She is,” Ms. Rowe answered, “I’ll go get her in a second, but I’d like to talk with you a moment if you don’t mind.”

            “I don’t mind, ma’am.”

            “How are you doing, Heather?”

            “I’m alright. School is ok, and I’ve met some nice people.”

            “Staying out of trouble?”

            “I’m trying to.” Heather sighed. “It’s hard.”

            “I know it is. Remember the breathing exercises I taught you, use them when you need them. Center and focus.”

            “Yes, ma’am.”

            “You’re a good girl, Heather. You just have to learn to control your temper.”

            “Yes, ma’am.”

            “Now hold the line a second.”

            Heather heard motion from the other end of the line, footsteps and a couple of doors opening and closing. Then a short, quiet conversation and the phone changing hands.

            “Heather?” Quinn asked, her voice filled with concern. “It’s almost four o’clock your time, what’s wrong?”

            “I know this sounds stupid, but I just wanted to talk to you.”

            “It’s not stupid. What did you want to talk about?”

            “Did you ever,” Heather paused, looking for the right words. “Did you ever really disappoint somebody? How do you deal with that?”

            “I think the only person I ever really disappointed was me.” Quinn sighed. “I dealt with it by becoming the person I wanted to be, bettering myself. Who do you think is disappointed in you?”

            “Everybody,” Heather answered, her voice cracking slightly. “I screw up everything. All I do is hurt people.”

            “Shhhh,” her aunt said soothingly. “You know that’s not true. You’re a good girl, you have loyal friends, and your family loves you.”

            “I just wish I was a better person,” Heather said miserably.

            “Then be one,” Quinn said. “I know it’s harder than it sounds, but I have faith in you.”

            “Thanks, Aunt Quinn. I’m sorry I bothered you.”

            “It’s no bother, I wish I got more phone calls from my family.” Quinn chuckled quietly. “Something you might mention to your mother, if you don’t mind.”

            “I will. Good night.”

            “Good night, sweetie. Oh, and Heather?”

            “Yeah?”

            “The nightmares will go away. Just give it time.”

            “Thanks, Aunt Quinn.”

            “You’re welcome.”

            Heather hung up the phone and pushed back the bed covers. She took a moment to shove her legs into her big boots and cinch down the straps, and then walked over to her closet. She opened the door and surveyed her clothing collection, which was nearly identical to what had been in her closet in the dream. She shoved her dresses to the left, causing a screech of protest from the hangars moving across the metal bar. Hanging in the far right side of the closet was a dark canvas garment bag.

            Heather stared at the bag through narrowed eyes for a few moments, then shifted the dresses back. She walked over to the bedroom door, paused momentarily, then headed out to the kitchen. She wouldn’t be sleeping any more tonight.

 

***

 

            “So what are you wearing?” Cherry asked. Her muffled voice came from beneath the huge pile of clothing she was currently rooting through. The pile had landed on her a few minutes ago when she opened her closet to search for a particular dress. Occasionally a thrown garment fluttered through the air to land on the bed next to Heather.

            “Jeans and a t-shirt.” Heather was laying crossways on Cherry’s bed with her boots propped up on the wall and her head hanging off the edge of the bed. Her long hair swept the floor, stirring occasionally in the breeze created by Cherry’s vigorous search.

            “That’s not what I meant,” Cherry said, sitting up and looking over at her cousin with fond annoyance.

            “Ah,” Heather peered down the length of her body and pulled up the waist band of her jeans. “They’re white.”

            Cherry quirked an eyebrow and then wadded up several nearby shirts. She then tossed the ball of cloth directly at Heather’s face.

            “Ack! Sabotage!” Heather said, quickly bringing up her arms to ward off the attacking fabric.

            “What are you wearing to the party, dumb ass?”

            “Nothing.”

            “Well, that’ll certainly boost your popularity with the guys.”

            “I’m not wearing anything to the party because I’m not going to the party.”

            “You have to go!” Cherry said, shoving the small pile of clothes on the bed aside so she could sit next to Heather. “Samhain only comes once a year, and the Zon has a great party.”

            “Samhain? Don’t you mean Halloween?”

            “Whatever.” Cherry waved one hand negligently. “It’s a ton of fun, you get to play dress up, and pretty much everybody always goes. I bet your sister already has a costume and three dates.”

            “Goody for her.”

            “Heather,” Cherry said in a serious tone, “you’ve gotta get out of this funk. And the best way to do that is to go party. Trust momma Cherry, have I ever steered you wrong?”

            Heather’s only reply was a glare.

            “See?” Cherry said serenely. “You’re going, we just have to find you a date and a costume.”

            “I’m not taking a date,” Heather said, sitting up and pushing her hair back. “But I’ll consider a costume.”

            “Good enough.” Cherry stood and held up two small pieces of cloth. “Should I go with the red thong or the black thong?”

            “Depends. Who are you planning on showing off your underwear to this time?”

            “Nobody, probably.” Cherry sighed. “Can you believe it? Steve said that he thinks we’re too young for a physical relationship. I thought teenage guys were supposed to be all roiling hormones and stuff.”

            “You’re talking to the wrong twin if you want advice on guys. I know next to nothing about them, and I’m fairly content that way.”

            “Why, Heather!” Cherry said, gasping in mock surprise. “Are you coming out of the closet at last?”

            “No,” Heather said, glaring at Cherry. “I just don’t have any use for guys right now. Maybe when I’m older.”

            “Well, I’m not going to ask Damsel for advice. I don’t think her style and mine would mesh.”

            “Probably not. She usually keeps two or three guys dangling at once and never gets serious with any of them.”

            “I can’t ask Uncle Trent,” Cherry sighed. “And I don’t really think your parents are qualified either.”

            “You could maybe ask Dad.” Heather shrugged. “From some of the comments I’ve heard dropped around the house she was apparently very into guys before her and Mom hooked up.”

            “Eh.” Cherry shrugged. “That could get awkward, especially if your Mom was around.”

            “Yeah. She does tend to get grumpy about the topic.”

            “Well, let’s go to the book store.” Cherry stood and walked to the door.

            “The book store?” Heather asked. “Like, books made of paper?”

            “Yeah.” Cherry headed out of the room and down the stairs, leaving Heather to follow along behind in bemusement.

 

            Cherry parked her Vespa in front of a nondescript brick building. While Cherry was shutting it down and putting out the kickstand, Heather got off the back of the scooter and surveyed the building. It was painted white, and a large display window showed off several books and lots of interesting knick-knacks. The glass set in the door had ‘Avalon Dreams’ stenciled on it in white letters.

            “Chill, huh?” Cherry asked, stepping up on the sidewalk next to Heather.

            “Interesting. What’s all the stuff in the window?”

            “Some of it is ritual tools, some of it is just pretty things to look at.” Cherry answered, peering in the window.

            “Ritual tools?”

            “Um, yeah.” Cherry looked a little embarrassed. “I’m, uh, I’m Wiccan. Some of that stuff is for religious ceremonies.”

            “So are you going to have a ceremony and ask for understanding of the male mind?” Heather grinned. “Because if it works, I may convert.”

            “No,” Cherry laughed. “I need to talk to Scarlett, and I’ve wanted you to meet her for a while now. She’s super iced.”

            “Ok.” Heather nodded, and reached for the door. “Who’s Scarlett?” she asked as they walked inside.

            “Me,” said the young woman sitting behind the counter. She looked about college age, and was wearing a simple black dress set off with silver jewelry including a very large ankh pendant. Her blood red hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail, except for one lock which had escaped to hang straight down the center of her face.

            “Hey!” Cherry said, smiling and waving.

            “Hello,” Scarlett said. “This must be your cousin, Heather.”

            “Yeah, I thought it was about time to bring her by.” Cherry leaned in and added in a stage whisper, “She’s never seen a paper book before.”

            “I have!” Heather protested. “My mom has a whole library of them. I just prefer my books electronic, that’s all.”

            Scarlett smiled indulgently, then turned to Cherry. “What have you got planned for Samhain, dear?”

            “Party at the Zon. You?”

            “Hmm.” Scarlett rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “Well, I had been considering something a bit more serious, but honestly a party sounds like fun. Is it a costume party?”

            “Yeah,” Cherry answered. “We still gotta come up with something for Heather, but I have mine picked out.”

            “What are you going as, Cherry?” Heather asked.

            “You’ll see,” Cherry answered smugly. “What about you, Scarlett?”

            “I suppose I could go as a fairy-tale princess, but I’ve done that before.” Scarlett shrugged. “Why don’t you go browse while I get to know your cousin a little better.”

            “Alright.”

            “So,” Heather said, watching Cherry wander off into the store, “my dad told me this used to be a Chinese restaurant.”

            “It was,” Scarlett said, “but the food wasn’t very good, and the service was criminal.”

            “Oh.”

            “So you’re Daria and Jane’s oldest daughter?” Scarlett asked. She reached under the counter and pulled out a small leather bag.

            “Yeah, you know them?”

            “We went to school together. They used to be very important people, you know.” Scarlett shook the bag, which produced a rattling noise. “You might say the whole world was centered on them.”

            “You look kinda young to have been at school with my parents,” Heather said, eyeing the bag nervously.

            “It’s inherited, everybody in my family always looked a lot younger than they really were.” Scarlett dumped the contents of the bag out on the counter. Small white disks clattered around, some of them blank and others with markings carved onto them.

            “Um, what are those?” Heather asked.

            “Runes,” Scarlett answered absently, pushing the little disks around on the counter and examining them carefully. She looked up at Heather with a serious expression. “You’re going to have a very interesting next couple of years.”

            “Great,” Heather said with a scowl. “That’s exactly what I need, more interesting years.”

            “It won’t be all bad,” Scarlett said comfortingly.

            “Yeah, well.” Heather blinked and glared at Scarlett. “I don’t even believe in this stuff.”

            “I know,” the woman shrugged and swept the runes back into their bag. “Always follow your instincts.”

            “How is the chatting?” Cherry asked, walking back up to the counter with a book in her hand. “I found what I was looking for.”

            “Ok, I guess,” Heather answered. “What are you getting?”

            Cherry held up her book with a grin. The cover displayed a beautiful young man with long blond hair, wearing a toga and sandals. The title was Artemis’ Guide to Understanding Apollo.

            “Boy trouble?” Scarlett asked sympathetically.

            “Yeah, more or less,” Cherry answered with a shrug. She paid for the book and Scarlett walked them to the door, watching them leave with a wave and a smile. She stood at the window, watching the girls until they and the little yellow scooter were out of sight.

            “I know what you’re planning, and I don’t like it,” said a voice from the vicinity of Scarlett’s pocket.

            “Hush,” she admonished.

            The voice from her pocket sighed, but otherwise stayed quiet.

 

***

 

            “Heather!” Damsel called from the top of the stairs, “Come here, I wanna show you something.”

            Heather locked the front door and jogged up the stairs to see what her sister wanted. She found Damsel in her bedroom, standing next to the bed and grinning widely.

            “This place really is pink hell, you know that?” Heather asked, looking around.

            “Yeah, yeah. At least my walls aren’t padded.” Damsel pointed at the bed. “Check it out.”

            Heather looked at the bed and started snickering. “I don’t believe you kept it.”

            “You know what a packrat I am.” Damsel started handing the clothes to Heather as she was talking. “You’ve got the shirt, the vest, the skirt, the little hat, and the sneakers. Oh, and those knee socks you always used to complain about.”

            “They itched,” Heather said, looking down at the bundle of fabric wistfully. “So why did you keep my girl scout uniform, and why are you giving it back to me now?”

            “Cherry called. She told me you needed a costume for the party tonight.”

            “I am not going dressed as a girl scout. The pedo-bilities boggle the mind.”

            “Ok,” Damsel answered with a smile. “I guess you can just wear one of the other costumes you have picked out.”

            “I hate you,” Heather sighed.

            “You’re welcome.”

 

            The red sport vehicle pulled into the lot next to the Zon and smoothly stopped in a parking space. Daria turned off the engine, and turned to her daughters.

            “I’m really not sure I approve of how short those skirts are,” she said sternly.

            “Mo-ohm!” Damsel said. “They’re not any shorter than they were last time we wore them.”

            “Maybe, but you’re both a couple of inches taller than you were then.”

            Heather shook her head, feeling the odd weight of her braids swinging back and forth. “I just hope this isn’t some kind of practical joke.”

            “Oh, Heather you’re super cute in that outfit.”

            “Your opinion is biased, I look just like you.” Both twins were wearing nearly identical Girl Scout uniforms, and both had their hair done up in Damsel’s trademark braids.

            “We never do the twin thing, I thought it would be fun.” Damsel looked over at their mother. “And you look really, um . . .”

            “Unfashionable?” Daria replied with a grin. “Embarrassing? Brainy?”

            “I was going to say nice.” Damsel looked over her mother’s horribly dated outfit. Boots with laces, a black pleated skirt, an orange t-shirt that was probably made of cotton, and a bulky green jacket. The heavy framed glasses topped off what had to be the most unattractive outfit she’d ever seen her mother wear.

            “Don’t lie to your mother, it isn’t nice,” Daria said with a smirk. “Let’s go before we miss the party.”

            They walked to the Zon and went inside, pausing near the door to survey the crowd. While they were standing there Trent walked up, accompanied by a rail thin man with blue hair.

            “Hey,” Trent said, hugging Daria and smiling at the twins, “where’s Jane?”

            “Out of town,” Daria sighed. “Last minute, couldn’t be helped. A gallery owner in Salt Lake City had a screaming panic attack. He thought her paintings were ungodly and sinful, or something.”

            “Too bad, I’d have liked to seen her,” the blue haired man said. Daria glanced over at him and did a double take.

            “Nick?” she asked.

            “Yeah,” he replied with a grin.

            “What have you been up to lately?”

            “I own this dump now,” he looked around the bar fondly.

            “Nice.” Daria glanced around. “I suppose.”

            “How are you girls tonight?” Trent asked, looking at the twins.

            “Good, thanks,” Damsel answered. “My first date is over there, so I’m gonna take off.” Damsel walked off through the crowd, nodding pleasantly to Cherry as they passed one another.

            “Hey,” Cherry said, “how come I suddenly have this craving for chocolate covered mints?”

            “No idea, since those things are abominations. The peanut butter cookies are far superior.” Heather smirked at her best friend and took in her costume. Cherry was wearing the iconic little black dress, along with black ankle boots and a peaked black hat. Her usual black lipstick and mascara had been replaced with green, including some green blush highlighting her cheekbones.

            “Elphaba?” Heather asked.

            “I am her Wickedness, Eminent Thropp of the Winkies,” Cherry motioned towards the buffet table and sighed, “and Mistress of the Winged Monkeys.”

            Heather looked over at the table and saw Chaz, Luke, and Sam busy loading up plates as if they were expecting a sudden famine. They seemed dressed pretty much as usual, with the addition of cheap looking wings attached to their coats.

            “We’re not going to get any food, are we?” Heather asked.

            “Not unless you’ve got some tag-a-longs hidden under that skirt,” Cherry replied. “Although I don’t know where you’d fit them.”

            “Never fear, ladies,” Steve said, returning from the buffet table laden with plates. “Your steel lumberjack has come to the rescue.” He was wearing metallic silver pants, and a matching shirt. His normally dark face was hidden underneath silver make-up, and a jaunty silver cap was perched on his dreadlocks.

            “I think you mean tin woodsman,” Heather said, taking one of the plates.

            Steve shrugged and handed the second plate off to Cherry. “She didn’t completely explain the character to me, so I had to improvise a little.” Heather chuckled and shook her head in amusement.

            “Gimme,” Cherry said, taking Heather’s plate. “I’m going to take the boy of steel here and get us a table. Can you round up drinks?”

            “Sure,” Heather said. She walked over to the bar and stood next to her mother, who seemed to be having a mild dispute with Trent.

            “I’m just not sure it’s a good idea, Daria.”

            “What’s that in your hand?”

            “A beer,” he answered, looking down at the mug.

            “Thank you.” Daria turned to Nick, who was now running the bar. “One shot, Jack, no ice.”

            Nick sighed and poured the drink, sitting it on the bar in front of Daria. Catching sight of Heather, he turned and smiled at her. “Hey, kid. You got any of those chocolate covered mints for sale?”

            “No,” Heather answered, rolling her eyes. “This is just my costume, I’m not a girl scout anymore.”

            “Man, those mint things are really good,” Trent said, then looked thoughtful. “I love that mint,” he murmured in a sing-song voice. “It gets me totally bent. I could spend every cent.”

            “You’ve still got it, Trent,” Daria said with a smirk.

            “That fits the rhyme scheme,” Trent said with a frown, “but I’m not sure it fits in with the rest of the song.”

            Nick laughed and stepped down the bar to where Heather was standing. “What can I get you?”

            “Huh?” Heather said, tearing herself away from the high weirdness that was her mother and uncle. “Oh, sorry. Three ultra-colas, two with light ice.”

            “Sure thing.” Nick poured the sodas quickly and placed them on the bar.

            “Thanks.” Heather grabbed them in a two-handed carry and started across the room, looking for Cherry and Steve. She got about fifteen feet before her path was blocked by an angry looking brunette wearing a fairy princess costume. Heather frowned and looked down at the short girl, recognizing her as one of Damsel’s friends but not able to remember exactly which one.

            “You listen to me and you listen good,” the girl hissed. “I’m damn tired of you strutting around the school acting like you’re so much better than the rest of us.”

            “Um,” Heather replied in total confusion.

            “I also don’t appreciate the three day suspension I caught from DeMartino, but that’s almost beside the point.” The little brunette stepped forward and waved her finger in Heather’s face. “You stay the hell away from my boyfriend. I know what you were trying to get him to do up on that roof, and I don’t believe for a second that it was your psychotic bitch of a sister up there with him.”

            Heather frowned at the girl, finally catching on to what was going on and who she was dealing with.

            “You better just remember your place. Do I make myself clear?”

            “I just have one question,” Heather said, putting the drinks down on a nearby table. The occupants of the table were staring at the two girls warily, waiting to see if a fight was about to break out.

            “What?”

            “Have you ever picked up your teeth with broken fingers?”

            “What? Are you threatening me?”

            “No, I’m just asking a question.” Heather smiled. “Jessica, isn’t it? You’re the sawed-off little bitch that thought spiking the homecoming punch would be a good idea.”

            Jessica blinked and took a step back.

            “You’re right, it was me on the roof with your boyfriend. You’ll be happy to know that all he was interested in was getting the hell away from me, once he realized who I was. He does have a thing for my sister though,” Heather’s smile got broader as she finished, “but she’s not the psychotic bitch.”

            “Oh, God.”

            “You see, the psychotic bitch would be me,” Heather said, and made a sudden motion like she was going to grab the smaller girl. Jessica immediately shrieked and fled at top speed, sprinting across the room and out the door.

            Heather picked up the drinks and walked over to join Cherry and Steve at the table they’d staked out.

            “I don’t know what the hell that was all about,” Cherry said, “but it was damn funny.”

            “She decided to give Damsel a piece of her mind,” Heather replied. “Too bad she doesn’t actually have any to spare.”

            “She thought you were Damsel?” Steve asked.

            “Yup. It’s the costumes, we’re usually pretty easy to tell apart.”

            “Oh, about the costumes,” Steve said. “I was meaning to ask if you were really a girl scout.”

            “Damsel is, I quit a couple of years ago.”

            “Oh, well.” Steve shrugged. “I was going to ask if I could order some of those mints, the ones covered in chocolate.”

            Cherry and Steve exchanged a bewildered look as Heather began to repeatedly slam her forehead into the table top.

            “Well, that certainly looks like fun,” Daria said she sat next to her daughter. “You kids don’t mind sharing table space with one of the old people, do you?”

            “Nah, it’s chill,” Cherry said with a grin. “Steve, this is my Aunt Daria. Aunt Daria, this is Steve MacKenzie.”

            “Ah,” Daria said, shaking hands with Steve. “You’re Mack and Brittany’s son, I thought you looked familiar.”

            “Familiar?” Steve asked.

            “Yeah, we had our class reunion last month. Mack had his wallet out the whole time showing off pictures.” Daria grinned and tried to imitate Mack’s much deeper voice. “This is my son, the star running back and captain of the track team. This is my little girl, she’s in ballet.”

            “This is why tables are usually segregated by age,” Cherry said, grinning at Steve’s obvious embarrassment.

            Steve looked over at Heather, who was now resting her forehead on the table. “I’d start banging my head on the table, but then I’d just be following a trend.”

            Heather looked up and smirked at Steve, and then noticed a woman cutting through the crowd towards their table. She was wearing a very expensive looking renaissance courtier’s dress and an arrogant, surly expression. The expression and her long, brown hair reminded Heather of the girl she’d just chased out of the Zon, although this woman was obviously well past her own high school years.

            “Well,” she pronounced, stopping next to Daria. “What have you got to say for yourself this time?”

            “For myself?” Daria asked, saluting the woman with her empty tumbler. “I guess the same thing I said last time you asked, Sandi.”

            The color drained out of the woman’s face and her lips thinned down to red slashes as her jaw tightened.

            “Um,” Steve said, trying to break the tension. “Hi, Mrs. Feldman. How are you tonight?”

            “I’d be better if her . . . her spawn,” she pointed dramatically at Daria, “could act like civilized human beings and stop threatening my children.”

            “Wait,” Heather said. “You’re Nate and Jessica’s mother?”

            “You’re the woman I talked to on the phone!” Cherry exclaimed. “Right after I, uh, never mind.” Cherry slumped down in her chair and tried to be invisible.

            “Morgendorffers,” Sandi spat venomously. “Lanes. You’ve been a plague on my family for years and I demand that it stop, or else.”

            “Or else, what?” Daria asked, standing up and poking her finger at Sandi’s chest.

            Sandi threw her shoulders back and looked imperiously down her nose at Daria. “Your sister ruined my life,” Sandi hissed. “I haven’t forgotten. You keep those little freaks of nature away from my children, or you will regret it.”

            Sandi spun on her heel and marched away from the table. No one got in her way as she headed for the door and left the bar.

            “I could go beat her up,” Heather offered.

            “Tempting,” Daria said, sitting back down. “But no, it’d just cause more trouble than it’s worth.”

            “So,” Cherry said. “Who wants to talk about something that isn’t awkward and upsetting?”

            “Told you so,” Heather muttered, glaring at Cherry. “Me and parties, it never works out right.”

            “I need another drink,” Daria said abruptly. She stood and left the table.

 

 

            Disclaimers: Stereo Hifi font is ©1997 by Cathy Davies. This story based on characters and situations created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis. The Daria TV show is a trademark of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc. and is referenced here without permission, and without profit. Original characters and situations created by the author are under (K) – all rights reversed. Hail Eris.

 

            Authors Notes: Thanks goes out to The Angst Guy for generously lending me Scarlett.

 

            Author: the NightGoblyn