After agreeing that Daria should stay with Darren and his children–at least for the time being–they headed upstairs to the Master Bedroom, where Daria questioned the sleeping arrangements. Darren explained, “Listen, the kids are at school and we can say I slept on the sofa. Besides, it doesn’t matter if we’re an endangered species, I’m not planning on any woohoo.”
“Excuse me?” Daria questioned. “Does that mean you wouldn’t want me if I was the last woman alive?”
Darren laughed, “No! See how exhausted I am? I don’t even know what I’m saying.” Daria laughed with him and he added, “You know, I would definitely be interested right now, it’s just that it would need to be more…”
“More what?” Daria saw he’d already fallen asleep, so she crawled into bed next to him.
“Sweet dreams, my one and only.” She drifted off to sleep almost as fast as Darren had, but she slept lightly. When she heard Lily wake up, Daria quietly got out of bed and let Darren sleep a while longer.
She was much more relaxed with Lily after getting some rest, and Lily seemed to recognize her and trust her that afternoon. “I’m glad you’re more at ease with me,” Daria said to Lily. “I’m going to help you out as long as you need me to.”
Daria gave Lily a quick kiss on her forehead before getting her back to sleep again. Afterward, Daria cooked a meal and tried to find the coffeepot for Darren.
“I can’t believe you cooked for me,” Darren mumbled as he grabbed a plate and sulked away.
Daria could understand Darren’s mood, and she didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but she needed to talk with him.
“I don’t mean to intrude,” she said softly.
“You’re not intruding,” Darren replied. “I don’t want to eat breakfast in the kitchen…” She heard his voice waiver.
“Oh, dear.” Daria’s heart literally ached for him.
“What is it?” Darren asked.
“It’s just that I need to ask about your work schedule because they want me in the studio later today, for a couple hours only. It wont take long!” Daria explained hesitantly. “But I will tell them no if it conflicts with your schedule.”
“I don’t have to work today,” Darren explained, “but it means a lot to me that you care that much.”
When Jack and Iris returned from school, Daria was almost ready to go to work. She stopped playing the piano immediately and told them, “We still haven’t heard anything about your Mom. Your Dad is just in the yard right now, working on something for you.”
“Thanks,” Jack replied. “Can you teach me how to play that thing?”
“The piano?” Daria was so surprised to hear Jack ask that because Darren always said Jack was a sports fanatic. Nonetheless, Daria was honoured and promised, “I have to go out for a few hours, but I promise I’ll teach you a few things before bedtime.”
Meanwhile, Darren saw a familiar person jog by. “Persephone! Wait up!” he called out to her.
“Oh no,” Persephone worried silently, as Darren very slowly trudged along the path to catch up to her. When he got there, she’d finally figured out what to say.
“I am totally and completely innocent, at least of all that nonsense about me on the internet!”
“I don’t browse the internet much, but I need a favour!” Darren said with the first enthusiastic face he’d made all day.
“Well, first, do you know when the townies are being transferred?” he asked.
“I’m not actually sure, but I’d guess it’s any day now. Most of the preparations have been made. I’m not in charge of that though,” Persephone explained.
“No, I know, it’s just that Skylar is missing…” he continued to tell his tale as she pretended to hear it for the first time.
Out of courtesy, she let him know that people were already accusing her of being involved somehow, “but I didn’t know all the details. I’m so sorry to hear this!”
“What I need is for you to personally oversee those transfers,” Darren explained. “Can you check DNA on every single townie, just in case she’s somehow lost her memory or something, and gets mixed in with them?”
“Make every townie bleed on their way out of town? Not a problem.” Persephone managed to say that without getting giddy about the mere idea of it!
Darren actually chuckled and said, “I think you might be a little bit sick, but I love you, Persephone! Thank you so much.”
“I know, I know,” Persephone sighed. She hated hearing that friendly “I love you,” without anyone ever really loving her. She didn’t have long to be grumpy before Darren was hugging her though, so she said, “You’re welcome, of course, anytime. And don’t be such a stranger! The last time I saw you… wasn’t that before Joshua became a father?”
“Yeah,” Darren sighed. “I was desperate for advice and I shouldn’t have been, I guess. I mean, Skylar didn’t want to be a wife and mother anyways, it seems.”
Persephone didn’t know what to say about that, so she changed the subject. “I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable that day, when I flirted with you. I just thought, if you were going to cheat on Skylar, I’d toss my hat in the ring, ya know?”
“It wasn’t that, but Daria is the one for me, no offense,” Darren explained.
“None taken,” she assured him politely.
“Okay then,” Darren sighed, “tell me if you find anything.” Persephone just started to say something as Darren lumbered away, saying, “I’m doing some yard work for my kids because I can’t fix this mess…”
“I’m sure some good will come of this,” she suggested, knowing it meant nothing and he wasn’t even listening.