“Oh my goodness, how embarrassing!” Daria joked when she bumped into Darren Randall outside the Blue Velvet club in Willow Creek. “I would like to say, in my own defense, that this outfit is my work uniform.”
She fully expected him to tease her or joke about his own work uniform, but Darren just mumbled and shuffled his feet awkwardly.
“Darren… is everything all right?” Daria questioned gently.
Darren knew he couldn’t tell her what Joshua had revealed to him, so he did his best to hide his troubles. He replied to Daria, “No… I have an unfortunate shortage of kisses.”
She immediately giggled and remedied the situation for him.
“Thank you, you’re a lifesaver, Daria!” Darren flirted. “How can I ever repay you?”
Daria pondered playfully before expressing her honest wish. “Oh, I don’t know…”
“…spend the night with me!”
Darren knew she was quite serious, but he continued to jest, “It’s awful difficult to do that when you work all night long most of the time.”
She apologized to him, and felt a twinge in her heart. She politely excused herself and went inside to get ready for her first set of the evening. When she came down from her dressing room, she saw him standing in the middle of the club looking completely lost.
“Hey… come here.” She saw through his façade and desperately wanted to comfort him. She rubbed his shoulders and felt how tense he was, and she pleaded, “Please tell me what’s wrong.”
“I can’t talk about it right now,” Darren tried to explain. “How about I come by to see you after your shift?” he offered.
She smiled and embraced him, saying, “Yes, absolutely! I want you to know that I’m always here for you.”
Darren wished Daria a good night and he grabbed a strong drink before heading home. He barely knew what to make of everything Joshua told him that day, but Darren knew he needed to take a good look at Lily.
Darren was actually expected to be at work until the following morning, which is why he waited until everyone was asleep before he snuck into his own house that night. Lily was hungry and dirty when Darren went inside. He quickly took care of her and whispered to her, “None of this is your fault. No matter what happens, I want you to know how special and precious you are, and that I love you. I will always love you, Lily!”
He kissed the baby goodnight, then crept out again like the shadows fleeing before dawn.
Daria was expecting him and rushed down the stairs to greet him.
“I almost can’t believe you’re really here,” she said to him when she reached the base of the stairs.
He embraced her and confessed to her, “You are my true soulmate, Daria. I need to have you in my life!”
“What are you saying, Darren?” she questioned. “I mean, I hear what you’re saying, but I’m also not a fool.”
“I wouldn’t dream of making a fool of you. You’re the only one I can trust with my heart.” Before she could raise any objection on the basis of his marriage, he declared, “I’m going to get a divorce.”
When Darren fell asleep beside her, he was tormented by nightmares, but was grateful for the rest he was able to get. Morning came far too quickly.
Daria made a quick meal for Darren while he freshened up.
Darren politely thanked her for cooking and ate with her, knowing that Skylar would be preparing breakfast for him and the kids at the same time. He ate with Daria and then rushed back home.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” he said as he strolled in through the front door. He heard nothing, and continued into the kitchen. He headed straight to the coffeemaker and put on a fresh pot.
At last, Skylar came in, saying, “Good morning, Darren! I’m so sorry I overslept and didn’t hear you come in this morning… And I’m so sorry about these dishes!”
“Huh?” he asked over his shoulder, as Skylar quickly began picking up dishes. He thought about what he should say, and wondered if bringing up divorce would be a bad idea in a room full of knives and other dangerous objects.
That’s when he noticed that Skylar had barely entered the kitchen. He took his coffee and followed her; absolutely determined to have this discussion with her.
Skylar took the dishes up to the powder room at the top of the stairs, for some reason, but just as Darren got there, she hurried down the stairs again.
He was getting annoyed with her by that point, but he persisted and followed her back down the stairs and into the front room.
“For crying out loud, woman!” Darren finally shouted at her.
“Why are you shouting at me?” Skylar questioned.
“Why are you avoiding me?” Darren demanded to know.
“You’re frightening me,” she whimpered. “Please leave, or I’ll call for help!”