There She Goes: Part I

A middle-aged woman, perhaps in her late 40s, was merging onto Highway 5 on her way back home from the airport when another car cut her off. "Oh, damnit!" she yelled. She was pissed off, but she'd calm down soon. For now.

Because a young lady, presumably her daughter, who was sitting on the passenger seat, turned up the music on the radio. It played some sort of disco music that she really liked. Hearing the song, the older lady took a deep breath and went back to driving calmly, although slowly. It was Saturday noon, not to mention they were exiting the airport. The way out of downtown couldn't go faster than this. Meanwhile, the two girls in the backseat looked winded, but the lady in the passenger seat turned to the back of the car to talk to them. Impersonating a tour guide, she playfully asked them, "How do you like San Diego so far?"

"Lianne, not even an hour here and I have to listen to Aunt Melissa screaming like someone's about to GET her!" the red-headed girl rolled her eyes. "I can't TAKE THIS!"

"Don't worry, Quinn, we'll be in Fashion Valley before you know it," the other girl in the back, a brunette, remarked, much sarcastically.

"Daria!" she fumed. She crossed her arms and looked out the window, though there wasn't anything special to look at.

The girls in the backseat are a pair of siblings from Highland, Texas. They were flown out to San Diego to spend quality time with their aunt Melissa, who recently got out of a marriage a few months back.

Quinn was delighted with the idea. Texas had fine weather and all, but where she lived, there weren't any picture-perfect beaches or a variety of malls to go to. So, she begged her mom and dad to let Melissa take them to San Diego, and they agreed as long as she and Daria were on their best behavior. Meanwhile, Daria wasn't very amazed by the sights of San Diego, but she accepted that she had to go with her sister. It's not like she had any other choice. Or any other plans except to bask in summer laziness in the comfort of her own room.

"Okay, Daria, but Fashion Valley really is a nice mall," Lianne chuckled. "I'll take you and Quinn there once you unpack. Giada just loves that place." She paused for a brief moment. "Uh, you girls remember Giada, right?"

Giada was Melissa's granddaughter. Her mother, Holly, became estranged from the family after her high school graduation, and since then, Melissa treated Giada like she was her daughter rather than a granddaughter.

"Of course!" Quinn's eyes lit up. She got along well with her niece of similar age the time Melissa came over to Highland herself two years ago. Although Melissa ran off to California to get away from the family (especially her controlling father) as soon as she graduated college, she still had a soft spot for her younger brother Jake, who is 8 years her junior. So, whenever she had the money, she'd fly over to wherever he lived to visit and bond with him and his family. But this time around, Quinn and Daria came to San Diego to see her.

"You know, it's a shame your parents had to deal with work activities this time around," Melissa sighed, missing her brother. "But, it's great that you were able to come see me!"

Lianne nodded. "Yeah, you two are nice kids!" She cleared her throat, and said "I think…" in a smaller voice. She returned to a normal volume and asked another question. "So, is there anywhere else specific you'd like to go to?"

Quinn started to list all the places she wanted to go to. "Let's see here… Oceanside, Coronado Beach, La Jolla, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, um, the mall in University City-"

Melissa interrupted Quinn, sick of hearing the word "beach" so much. "Um, anywhere you wanna go, Daria?"

Daria thought about it for a second. "SeaWorld?"

went silent for a second before Lianne suddenly remembered something. "Oh, speaking of the sea! Mom, I said I'd take them to Seaport Village! Should I do that tonight?"

Melissa thought it was a good idea. "Oh sure!" she exclaimed. "The city lights are just beautiful in downtown! Um, I've got to do laundry, but I'm sure you can handle the girls?"

Lianne was up to the task. "Sure thing!"

After they escaped the traffic nightmare near the downtown area, the ride to Melissa's house went on smoothly despite their destination being in North County. Right after they parked in the driveway and got out of the car, another car approached from the opposite direction, and stopped in front of the house. The girl on the passenger side rolled down the window and waved to say hello. "Omigosh! Quinn, it's you!" she screamed in excitement.

Quinn walked over to the incoming car. "Hey, Giada!" she smiled, and peered over to the side to see who was driving the car. "Who's this?"

The guy waved at Quinn. He had an average build and brown hair, but his facial structure wasn't too bad. Giada introduced them, with wariness of Quinn's presence. Quinn was obviously very attractive, and Giada didn't want her to steal her boyfriend or anything. "This is Dan, my boyfriend. And Danny, this is Quinn. She's my aunt."

Quinn quickly retorted, but out of the simple embarrassment of being called an aunt. "Oh, no, I'm younger than her. It's not like I'm old or anything."

"Got it," he shrugged. He turned back to Giada. "Call me if you need anything?"

"Yeah!" she nodded. "See you later, babe." She kissed him goodbye and left the car, with four shopping bags in both hands.

Meanwhile, Daria was busy getting the luggage out of the car, paying little attention to whatever Giada and Quinn were talking about. Giada was just a few months older than Daria, but that didn't mean she related to her experiences at all. She didn't expect anyone to. But at that moment she did wish Quinn would take her own luggage into the house.

Lianne smiled at the sight of them laughing and walking over to the driveway. "They're getting along really well for two girls that haven't seen each other in 2 years." She then called over Quinn and Giada. "Hey, girls! Get your clothes inside, will you!"

The five just got the luggage through the front door when Melissa remembered to tell Giada about their plans. "Oh, right! Giada, we're taking Daria and Quinn to Fashion Valley once they settle in, so would you show them around? We're going to Seaport Village right after!"

And right there, Giada's eyes glowed. "Sure thing, Grandma!" She paced back and forth for a moment before rushing to her room. The rest of the four looked at each other for a moment before Lianne offered to help bring their belongings to her room, where the two would be staying. Well, Daria would be hopefully staying there alone, since Quinn would probably rather be gossiping past midnight in Giada's room.

That's what Daria thought, at least. But Giada wanted to show off her boy toy Dan that night…

"No, baby, I swear the stuff there isn't that expensive! I mean. Unless you think it's expensive… Really? I'll be in Fashion Valley at 2, so I'll see you there at 5! Byeee!"

So, later, after hours of shopping at Fashion Valley, they were in the car yet again, heading over to Seaport Village in downtown. Lianne tried to distract herself from the awkwardness with a bit of music, but alas, nothing could make the situation any less awkward.

Having had enough of this situation, "Giada, I don't know why your boyfriend has to come with us," Lianne complained as she entered the nightmare called the 163 at 5pm. She couldn't hold the irritation inside.

Quinn understood why Lianne was upset. "Yeah. I was also, you know, kind of under the impression that this was gonna be a girls' night out. I would never bring my date on a girls' night out with my aunt!" Lianne rolled her eyes.

Giada ignored the air of confusion and started to cuddle with Dan. "Oh, baby, aren't you so excited to go to Seaport Village? It's so romantic at night!"

"Um, yeah!" Oh god, even her own boyfriend was confused by the whole ordeal.

Meanwhile, Lianne was desperate to make any sort of conversation. She tried to talk to Daria, who was seated in the passenger seat. "Soooo, Daria! Do you have a boyfriend?"

Daria almost scoffed. "What do you think, Lianne?"

"Right, no…" she quietly answered. "Uh, Quinn?"

"I don't do the whole boyfriend thing," Quinn shrugged. "I like to go on dates, but that's pretty much it!"

"Interesting!" Lianne laughed, feigning interest. Anything to ignore Giada. "Uh, you should tell me about it sometime! Um, I'm always in Mom's room after work!"

"Oh, sure thing!" Quinn nodded.

Giada continued to flirt with Dan. "Dan! Won't you treat me to a date at one of the restaurants there?"

At that moment, Dan looked nervous. He was a teenager, and Seaport Village's restaurants were known to be quite expensive. He knew that he did not want to pay for a date there, not with his parents' money. Luckily, Lianne saved the day.

"Giada, you guys can just eat with me, Daria and Quinn!" Lianne offered. "You wouldn't mind, would you, Dan?"

Dan was thankful, though he tried to hide it. "Oh, not at all, ma'am."

Lianne cleared her throat and tried to focus harder on the road. She did not like being called ma'am, but she was happy that part of the issue seemed to be solved. Even if Giada looked angry at the decision. It's just that Lianne wondered how she could make her high school boyfriend pay for an entire meal at Seaport Village. As far as she knew, he didn't even have a job. He shouldn't use up all his money to pay for some fancy dinner at the harbor.

And after going through the seemingly endless struggle of getting parking, they finally walked over to a restaurant. Quinn was in awe at how cool the building looked. It was one of those fancy restaurants that the family wouldn't go on a normal day. Daria was not too amazed with the interior decorations, but she was wondering if the food was actually good as the carefully picked flowers that were placed in the vase at the front of the restaurant.

And it only got worse once they were seated. Giada chose to sit with Dan at a separate table, which proved to be a terrible idea. Mainly because he was interested in Quinn. Dan kept on glancing over at her, sometimes even staring at her while they waited for their drinks before Giada caught him. Quinn wasn't really into what he was doing. He wasn't ugly, but he just wasn't her type. Plus, she'd never flirt with him right in front of Giada. She had to get out of sharing a room with Daria!

She continued to ignore him, but that didn't stop Giada from being… jealous.

The waitress came back with drinks, and Giada had enough. "Alright, we've got-"

Giada stood up and interrupted. "Um. I need to have a talk with Quinn for a second!"

Quinn stood up as well to protest, but before she could say anything, she was dragged outside. Giada was pissed off for sure, and Quinn's chance to room with her was fading away.

Giada scolded her. "What gives?"

"What do you even MEAN?" Quinn asked, irritated.

"Why do you have to look at him like that?"

"Like what? Tell me, Giada! Like what?"

"You know what you're doing!" Giada insisted. "First, you put on that cutesy voice–"

"Giada, you know that's how I normally speak!"

"I'm NOT DONE! Second, you know that we've been struggling with our relationship for the past few days…"

At that point, Giada's voice became noise. Quinn really wanted to room with Giada, but she wasn't going to let her accuse her of something that she didn't actually do. She felt that it was unfair that she had to be yelled at for "flirting" with Giada's boyfriend. So what if they had relationship problems? It's not her fault.

'It's not my fault…' Quinn thought. The thought repeated in her head as Giada kept on yammering on and on about the matter.

And suddenly, Quinn yelled back at her. "It's not my fault your boyfriend's into me!"

That's what she said, and it was true. Out of context, it sounded like Quinn was a terrible person, so people around stared and started whispering. They were probably insulting Quinn. There was no need to ask. So she felt humiliated, and she ran off to another part of the embarcadero. She looked off into the sunset, where she could faintly see the Hotel Del Coronado. She heard that it was a nice hotel, or something like that. Quinn expected to stare at it in silence, but she was soon joined by someone, who held a book and a pencil, and turned to look in the same direction as Quinn. Right at the Hotel Del Coronado.

Quinn looked over at her and thought this girl was pretty. She wasn't cool– didn't dress cool, but she had the kind of eyes that she could just stare at all day. She wanted to talk to her. Talk to her.

"Um, hi," Quinn squeaked. The mystery woman began sketching.

"Hey," she responded. "I heard that place is haunted."

Quinn was freaked, but she didn't feel like going back to the restaurant. "Really!" she nodded slowly. "Um, that's cool, and stuff." Keep your cool, Quinn.

"So, I'm assuming you're the boyfriend stealer?" she smirked.

"I didn't steal her boyfriend," Quinn rolled her eyes. "I wasn't even trying to. I couldn't be doing that on purpose. I need to secure a rooming arrangement! Either way, I totally blew it."

She became curious. "Rooming arrangement?"

Quinn explained. "Well, I'm supposed to be rooming with my sister at my aunt's house for the summer, but I was hoping I could room with my niece, cause my sister's like, totally lame." Then she sighed. "But as you can see, the entire thing's hopeless cause she thinks I was flirting with her boyfriend or whatever."

"Oh. Is your sister that bad?"

"Yeah. She's always so cynical and hates everyone, and she's totally unpopular."

"Sounds like a dream sister to me."

"You're joking."

She looked over at Quinn seriously. "No, not really, actually." She went back to sketching the hotel, squinting when looking back and forth from her sketchbook.

Now, Quinn was a little weirded out and couldn't hide it. "God, who are you?"

"Jane. You?"

"Um... Quinn."

Before Quinn could say anything else, Daria surprisingly came to fetch Quinn. "Quinn, get back here."

"Is this the sister?" Jane asked.

"Uh huh, I'm totally the niece with the boyfriend, nice to meet you," Daria looked straight at Jane when she said that. She then looked at Quinn. "Okay, Quinn, time to go home, or else Aunt Melissa's gonna kill me."

"So, um, am I gonna see you later?" Quinn asked Jane.

"Hm, not unless you're gonna be at the art museum at Balboa at 3pm tomorrow."

Quinn felt herself smiling a bit. "We were gonna go there right before Pacific Beach, weren't we, Daria?"

"Totally," Daria thought she was joking around until Quinn looked her dead in the eye. She knew very well that she did not joke around like that. She cleared her throat and blinked. "Yeah."

Daria and Quinn walked back to the restaurant and they talked about what happened. "You don't think I actually wanted to date that Dan guy, did you?" Quinn suspiciously looked at Daria.

"No, not really," Daria said. "You wanted to room with Giada, didn't you?"

"Well, yeah," Quinn sighed.

"Ooh, she's backing out."

Silence entered the air, until Daria decided to tease her. "Well, chin up, princess, you're going to the art museum."

"Oh, god, why did I say I was gonna be there?"

"Um… it could be worse," Daria wasn't really good at talking to her sister. "You could be at an art museum… with Giada. Plus, you obviously like your new friend…"

Quinn was surprised she seemingly noticed. "Shut up, Daria."

Daria continued what she said... very slowly, "...More than Giada anyway."

She was in disbelief. "God, Daria! You're gonna be the death of me!"