The Torment Trilogy part 2:
Sleepover at Brittany's
by Mitch
with much thanks to suggestions from C.E. Forman

"What do you -mean- you can't come?" "Sorry Brittany, but I
have an emergency Student Council meeting on Saturday night."
"But," Brittany stammered, "what about our monthly sleepover? I
was going to show you my new nailpolish collection!" "Well,"
said Jodie, "what about your fellow cheerleaders?" "They're all
busy Saturday night!" "Wait," asked Jodie, "how can they -all-
be busy on the same night?" "Well, they're...all dating the
team." "Oh, well, you could ask someone else." "Hmmm..."
"I -can't- come?" "I'm sorry, okay, the doctor said he had
some tests he wanted me to be present for," said Jane. "But...",
then Daria stopped herself, "Alright. You're immediate family to
him, Jane. I just...don't want to be home Saturday night. I'd
be hearing nothing but my mom trying to console me and, well, the
support is actually making me feel worse." Just then, Brittany
showed up. "Daria, you busy Saturday night." "I'm not this
month, Brittany, why?" "I was wondering if you could sleep over
at my house that night." "Hm. Well, okay. Uh, it's just us,
isn't it. I mean, it's not that you've invited a dozen of your
friends over that night for a slumber party right?" "Uh, no.
Sorry." Actually, Daria was -hoping- it would be just them.
Brittany would be enough to handle. There was something else she
needed to know, however. "None of your -male- friends will be
there either, right?" "Uh, no." "Okay, Saturday at seven?"
As Daria left, Brittany wondered what Daria was implying to
in that last question.
Daria packed her sleeping shirt that she used as pajamas
when she traveled into a small bag. She also packed a book in
order to distract her from Brittany and her family. She
remembered how, back in Highland, she was always at slumber
parties and was the only girl who would bring a book to one. She
wasn't sure if she really -liked- slumber parties. She probably
just went to get away from her family and to shock the other
girls who thought she was "normal" when they invited her. In
this case, she was hoping that by entering the world of Brittany
Taylor one night, she would be distracted not just from her
family, but from a major crisis that had entered her life almost
a month ago.
With her toothbrush as the last thing in the bag, Daria was
all set. She went to the living room, hoping to get to the door
before her family noticed. "Sweetie, where are you going?" Of
course. Sometimes, when Helen -was- aware of what her kids were
doing, it was at the worst times. "I'm sleeping over at Brittany
Taylor's tonight, Mom." "Brittany? She's the head cheer
leader,isn't she?" "Last I checked," said Daria. Helen hugged
Daria, much to the latter's dismay. "Oh, sweetie, I'm so glad to
see you expanding your social life!" "Uh, Mom," Daria corrected,
"this is because I can't stay at Jane's tonight and...-sigh- to
get my mind off my problem." Helen's eyes widened. Daria's
problem was well-known to Helen and she was genuinely concerned
by it. However, she was a little -too- concerned with it had
been "supporting" Daria ever since. Daria knew Helen had the
best intentions in mind, but her support was bothersome, to put
it mildly. Also, Helen's many activities had begun to bother her
and she was getting more and more under pressure and less and
less stable. "Uh, have fun, dear." Fortunately, this was one of
those recent times where Helen ran out of things to say rather
Jesse found time to drive Daria to Brittany's house.
Fortunately, the rent-a-cop of Crew Neck was off duty, so Daria
had no trouble getting past him. Brittany's younger brother
Brian opened the door. An evil smirk was on his face. "Uh, hi,"
said Daria, "is Brittany home?" "Yeah, heh heh heh, you Daria?"
"Yeah." "Heh heh heh, keep an eye on your jammies!" Daria did
-not- like the sound of that! Good thing Brian was only eleven.
If he was a little older, it would be frightening. She shuddered
at the thought of Brian with hormones. Then she thought of his
sister as example, brrrr.
Steve Taylor, Brittany's dad was on the living room couch
making out with Ashley-Amber, Brittany's stepmom. The public
display bothered Daria. It probably wasn't very healthy to do
that with a pre-adolecent Brian around. Daria was rather
bothered of how this reminded her that her own parents hadn't
been so close lately. Of course, they were rarely as close as
the couple she was seeing here. "Excuse me?" Steve and Ashley
looked up. "Oh," said Steve, "Daria, right, Britt's friend.
Glad to see you." "Uh, yeah. Sorry if I was interrupting you."
"Oh," said Ashley, "that's okay. We have some, plans, to make up
for it tonight. Sorry that I can't join you and Brittany."
Daria shuddered at the thought of a night with Brittany -and- her
stepmother. "That's...okay. I'm sure we'll...have fun without
Brittany was in her bedroom putting on her lipstick when
Daria came in. "Oh, hi Daria!" "Hey, uh, what's with the
lipstick?" "What do you mean?" "Well, this is a sleepover.
There's no one to impress." "Oh, well, I feel naked without my
lipstick." "Well, I admit I feel the same about my glasses
but...never mind."
Brittany was about to undo her top when..."Uh, Brittany,
"Daria interrupted, "Much as I 'hate' to deject the male readers,
could we change in different rooms?" "Why? You don't worry
about it during gym class." "I don't think anyone notices during
gym class. Does Jodie ever mind?" "I don't think so. I don't
pay too much attention then." "Well, I'll change in the
bathroom," said Daria.
Daria, in the bathroom, had put on her nightshirt when
Ashley-Amber came in without announcement. "Aaah! Please don't
do that, Mrs. Taylor. If you were in here a second earlier, it
would embarrassing for one of us and fatal for the other." "Oh,
sorry Daria." "Ashley was wearing a low-cut and very loose
looking nightgown. Apparently, she was going to have a long
night with Steve. Ashley got into the medicine cabinet and got a
perfume bottle and sprayed herself a few too many times. Daria
tried her best not to breath in. "Well, have a nice night," said
Ashley, "I'll...try not too make too much noise." "Well," said
Daria, "try not to gasp but I'm really worried about the
bedsprings." Ashley looked at Daria quizzically. "I'm 17,"
explained Daria, "I'm old enough." Ashley silently put the
bottle back and left. Daria smiled.
Steve head toward the bathroom. He just saw Ashley in her,
and his, favorite gown. He had been saving some special cologne
for this occasion. He entered the bathroom...and saw Daria in a
pajama shirt brushing her teeth. "Oh, sorry, Daria. I hope I'm
not interrupting you." "That's okay," said Daria, "I was just
going to condition my hair, redo my nails, wax my skin, and then
consider getting cosmetic surgery." "Oh," said Steve, "I guess I
should hurry then." He found his cologne and put it on. "Well,"
said Steve, "good luck with your lovelife or whatever." As he
left, Daria said, "Yeah, that's the -only- thing on my mind."
Brittany, apparently after noticing that the bathroom was
now open, entered and found her toothbrush. Daria got her's out.
While they were brushing, Daria noticed that Brittany was wearing
a tight shirt with sleeves but a -very- low cut collier and even
tighter looking pajama pants. Daria didn't understand it, but
she never really understood Brittany anyway. "Uh, Brittany, is
that what you always wear?" "Only when Jodie's over. I usually
sleep nude." Daria spit her toothpaste over the mirror.
After the bathroom mirror was cleaned, Daria went back to
Brittany's room. Brittany got out Jodie's reserved sleeping bag
for Daria. Daria sat on it. "So," the guest asked, "what next?"
"Well," said Brittany, twirling the end of one of her ponytails
with one of her fingers, "this is where we usually look through
our magazines. Jodie looks at 'Waif' while I look at
'Cheerleadership! The Enthusiast's Guide to School Spirit!'!"
"Uh, I'm afraid I didn't bring one. How about I look through
yours?" "Okay!" Daria didn't really want to look at it, but she
was curious. She could not believe the articles she saw: "When
your Top isn't Tight Enough," "Hairspray: A Critical Choice,"
"Cover your Abs to Cover your Abs," and "When your Not Bouncy
Enough," "Coping With Stray Balls," When Your QB Boyfriend is a
Complete Jerk," and "Exfoliate with Extreme Prejudice." "Got any
tapes?" asked Daria. "Yeah," answered Brittany as she put it in
her VCR. It was the recent Spider-Man movie (this is the future,
remember?) Brittany was sighing over the guy they got to play
Spidey. Daria, however, was not enjoying herself. She was
thinking about her problem.She looked at Brittany. -Her- biggest
problems included having bubble gum in her hair. Daria wasn't
sure if she liked Brittany, but at least she was interesting in
her own clueless way (a concept which appeared periodically in
Daria's life. Daria would rather have her than a dozen Sandis.
Brittany was never as shallow as she was clueless. Her entire
world was based upon looking cheerful and getting a guy. Daria's
view had a much wider focus, especially when she had her glasses
on. In a way, she liked Brittany's pseudo-innocence, being more
misdirected than malevolent. "Having fun, Daria?" Daria turned
around. "Well, no. I...have a problem." "Oh. Bummer. Want to
talk about it?" "No," said Daria, "it's kinda personal...and
serious. Brittany, have you had a situation where you've been
after something for a long time, but it looks more like your
going to get something else, but then you realize that the
'something else' may mean more than what you were after before,
you get that 'something else', but then, suddenly, it looks like
you might have lost it forever and you don't know how you can
move on." "Well," said Brittany, "there was the time I worked at
a car wash, but I had more weight than the other girls, and I
just couldn't lose it no matter -how- many diets I tried, so I
started jogging every day to work it off, but my legs got into
shape first, and I decided that I liked having better legs than
the other girls -better- than I would've liked having less weight
than the other girls even though I lost quite a bit of weight too
and happen to think I look pretty darn -good- right now, so Kevin
better start being -nicer- to me!" "Uh,...thanks," said Daria
They eventually went to sleep. Daria actually had a
pleasant dream, as opposed to the nights where she had actually
cried herself to sleep that month. She had a dream about that
night last year she spent with Trent, except this time she was
more awake to appreciate it. Strangely, so did Trent apparently.
The next morning, Daria awoke to the sound of a honking
horn. It was Jesse's car. It may have been strange for him to
be up that early, but neither him nor Jane had been able to sleep
since...the disaster. She was hoping to change while Brittany
slept, but Brittany was awake, in a groggy since that reminded
Daria of Jane. "Brittany," asked Daria, "you okay?" "Oh, it's
my -parents-! I haven't heard that much moaning and spring
squeaking since that time Brian was in there with one of our
cats!" Daria didn't hear that, she -must- have had a good sleep.
"By the way," said Brittany, "it was great having you over."
"It...was?" "Yeah, just...don't tell anyone I said that." Daria
was never quite sure if Brittany liked her or not. If she did,
she didn't make a spectacle of it. In any case, she -did- owe
Brittany for that night, in a way. "Okay," said Daria, "I won't
spread word." Daria went back to the waiting world.

To be continued...