(Int. The Zon. Daria sits at a table by herself, watching as Jane chats up some guy across the room. Trent, Max and Nick are carrying their equipment out the back door and loading the Tank. Daria cocks an eyebrow as Jesse sits down beside her.)


JESSE: Hey Daria.


DARIA: Hey Jess (Bt) Shouldn't you be helping the guys?


JESSE (shrugging): Told 'em my back hurts.


DARIA: O...K...


(Daria stares at him a minute as he looks around the club with his usual blank face.)


DARIA: So...


(Jesse turns and looks at Daria.)


JESSE: I need your help.


DARIA: Okay....


(Jesse seems to spot something across the room and looks slightly panicked.)


JESSE: Just follow along, I'll explain later. (Bt) And don't kick me, those boots look painful.


(Daria raises an eyebrow as Jesse scoots his chair closer and puts an arm around her shoulders.)


JESSE (whispering quickly): Don't kill me. Crazy groupie, 9 o'clock, told her had a girlfriend, details later. (takes a deep breath) Please?


(Jesse gives her his most pathetic puppy dog look. Daria appears to debate for a moment as we see the backside of a brunette dressed in a black mini skirt and a dark blue baby tee step up by her shoulder. The girl crosses her arms and taps one knee high boot with irritation. Jesse glances up at the girl.)


JESSE: Oh (Bt) Hey, Um... (looks confused for a moment) Susie?


GIRL (irritated): It's Sandi!


(Daria's eyes widen as she looks over her shoulder. Standing beside her is Sandi Griffin. Sandi's hair is pulled into low pigtails and she wears a black velvet choker. Her eyes are lined more heavily than usual and her lipstick is a shade of red similar to Jane's. Her tiny top reveals a navel ring. Daria and Sandi stare at each other in shock for a moment.)


SANDI: Um, Quinn's cousin, or whatever... Like, what are you doing here?


DARIA (eyes narrowed): It's Daria, and I happen to know the band. What are you doing here? Get lost on your way to Cashman's?


SANDI (stammering): I don't know what you're talking about. I like, always hang out on Dingo Street.


DARIA: It's Dega Street.


SANDI: Right, that's what I said.


DARIA (rolling her eyes): Whatever. (Bt) Is there a point to this assault on my personal space and my intelligence?


SANDI: Don't think you're confusing me with your big words, I don't have any salt. (Bt) I came here to see Jesse, and offer him the privilege of my company for a few hours.


DARIA: Too bad, he already has plans with his girlfriend.


SANDI: And where exactly is this girlfriend I keep hearing about?


DARIA: You're looking at her. (thought VO) He is gonna pay for this.


(Daria smirks a bit as she places a hand over the one on her shoulder. She turns toward a shocked Jesse.)


DARIA: Isn't that right, ya big lummox?


JESSE (recovering): Uh, yup.


SANDI (eyes wide): Surely, you must be joking?


DARIA (deadpan): I never joke. (Bt) And don't call me Shirley.


(Jesse laughs and Sandi just stares at her, annoyed.)


SANDI: I didn't call you Shirley, Dharma.


JESSE (annoyed): It's-


DARIA (holding up a hand to silence him): Don't bother Jess.


SANDI: I don't get it. Why is a cool musician like you with a geek like her?


JESSE (angry): Daria is not a geek. She's funny, cool, and she's smarter than you could ever hope to be!


(Daria and Sandi, both stare at him in shock for a moment. Finally Sandi shakes her head a bit and gestures at Daria.)


SANDI: But just look at her! She is a walking fashion don't. And don't even get me started on her hair and glasses.


(The rest of the Spiral and Jane wander over to see what all the commotion is about as Jesse stands.)


JESSE: I happen to like Daria's style. Who cares if it's not in all the fashion magazines? At least she's unique and not some mindless drone.


(Jesse looks over and notices the band.)


JESSE: Tank loaded? (Max nods.) Good, gimme the keys, I'll do the unload tomorrow.


(Max tosses the keys at Jesse, who catches them in one hand. With the other he grabs Daria's hand and pulls her up to stand beside him.)


JESSE: Come on Daria. (wraps his arm protectively around her) We don't have to sit here and listen to this twit.


(The remaining five stare in shock as Jesse leads Daria out of the bar.)




MAX: What the hell was that?


JANE: It appears Jesse and Daria have been keeping a secret.


(Sandi, glances at Jane and then back to the door. She grins evilly.)


SANDI (thought VO): A secret huh? Not for long.




(Int. The Tank. Jesse is driving, still looking angry, Daria is in the passenger seat, watching him.)


JESSE: I mean I thought she was slow when she couldn't take a hint, but I didn't know she was that damn dense! Who the hell does she think she is?


DARIA: Queen of the fashion drones.




DARIA: She is, or I guess was, the President of the Fashion Club at Lawndale.


JESSE: I guess that's how you know her.


DARIA: Yep, my sister was her second in command. Where exactly did you meet her?


JESSE:  At the Zon a few weeks ago. She just appeared out of nowhere, babbling about how she'd let me take her out. What a head-case. Not even me having a girlfriend stopped her. (snort) As if trying to cut you down in front of me would make me like her.


DARIA (blushing): Thanks for defending me.


JESSE (shrugging): It was all true, I say what I see.


DARIA: That's the most I've heard you say since... well since I met you. You're usually so quiet. What gives?


JESSE (smirking): You try getting a word in edgewise with Max and Nick.


DARIA (smirking): I feel your pain. I live with a self-absorbed fashion princess. (Bt) Aw crap.


JESSE (raising an eyebrow): What?


DARIA: Sandi is Quinn's best friend. She's gonna press Quinn for info about us, and when Quinn tells her there's nothing going on, you're screwed.


JESSE: Damn.


DARIA (thoughtfully): I wonder how much I'd have to pay to get her to lie.


JESSE: Ugh, I don't want you to do that. I'll find another way to get rid of Sandi. Thanks for trying. (Bt) Maybe I'll see if Jane will help.


DARIA (smirking): Oh sure, pull a Tom.


JESSE (chuckling): Not my fault if you two like to share.


DARIA: I don't really care for it, to be honest. Complicates things too much. (Bt) Speaking of sharing, how are you gonna keep Jane from hitting on anything that moves while you're on stage?


JESSE: Good point. I could always talk to Monique. (shudders)


DARIA: Blech, I can't ask you to do that. There has to be another way...


(They ride in silence for a few minutes, Daria looking lost in thought while she chews on her lower lip. Jesse just looks vacant as usual.)


DARIA: We could always give Quinn something to tell...




DARIA (sighing): Well I'm leaving for RAFT in the fall, by then Sandi should have another victim. In the meantime, we could pretend to date.


JESSE: You sure? What about your parents? Won't they freak?


DARIA (smirking): Added bonus. (Bt) Besides I'm 18 now, they can't do much about it.


JESSE: True. (grinning) Are you sure you wanna be seen with a lummox like me?


DARIA: Are you sure you want to be seen with a brain like me? Especially since everyone's gonna think you're my rebound after Tom.


JESSE (mock-offense): What? I am nobody's rebound. (smug) I prefer to be known as the reason for the break-up.


DARIA (groaning): Oh great, add to the home-wrecker rep I've already got.


JESSE: Nah, you didn't cheat on him with me, though the bastard would've deserved it. You just couldn't stand the thought of leaving Lawndale and not knowing what would have happened if you'd went after the stud you'd had the hots for since you moved here.


DARIA (eyebrow raised): Me? Have the hots for someone? No one will ever believe that out of the Ice Queen Misery Chick.


JESSE: I don't think you're that icy. Maybe those high school boys just didn't know what they were doing. (winking) Maybe you just needed a real man to heat you up.


(Jesse laughs as Daria turns twenty shades of red. As he parks the Tank in front of her house, he reaches over and puts his hand on her knee. He frowns as he sees her visible effort not to pull away.)


JESSE: Look Daria, I don't care if people think I'm your rebound or the home-wrecker that split you and Tom up. (shrugging) People are gonna think whatever they want. Question is, do you care?


DARIA: Ah what the hell, I'm out of here in a few months anyway. Why not give 'em something to remember me by?


(Jesse holds out his hand, smiling.)


JESSE: To summer flings


(Daria takes his hand and smirks.)


DARIA: What a romantic beginning. Someday I'll tell our illegitimate child that it all started with a handshake.


JESSE (laughing): Good one Daria. Hey, isn't that your sister?


(Daria glances out the windshield. Sure enough, Quinn is climbing out of a convertible parked down the block. She smoothes out her clothing and waves as the car drives off.  Slowly she creeps toward the house, checking to see if any lights are on. She doesn't notice the van until she is almost to the front sidewalk. Daria pretends she hasn't seen Quinn and leans across the van and catching Jesse off guard with a kiss.)


QUINN (dropping her purse): EEP!


DARIA (glaring as she "notices" Quinn): Ah crap. (winking at Jesse) Later Lummox.


JESSE (grinning): Bye Brain.


(Daria smirks as she climbs out of the Tank and shoots Quinn a death glare as Jesse drives off.)


DARIA: Breathe one word of this to Mom and Dad, and I'll tell them the truth about that "sleepover" at Stacy's last week.


(Daria walks toward the front door, she is about halfway there when Quinn finally grabs her purse and scurries after her.)


QUINN (whispering): Who was that? He was Cuh-ute! Well he could be if he combed his hair and got a better car. And why wasn't he wearing a shirt? I mean-


DARIA (turning on her): That was Jesse, and you can keep your paws off him. Same goes for your little fashion fiends. Tell Sandi if she gets within five feet of him again, I'll shove my boot so far up her butt, she'll need a dentist to remove it.


(Daria turns and walks inside, leaving a stunned Quinn on the stoop. She smirks as she heads up the stairs.)


DARIA (thought VO): The seed is planted.





(Daria's room. The phone rings, an arm reaches out from a bundle of blankets and grabs the phone, pulling it under.)


DARIA (muffled): 'lo?


(Split screen, we see Jane, smirking on the other end.)


JANE: Well if it isn't the belle of the ball. Care to explain yourself?


DARIA (pulling her head out of the blankets): Explain what? (yawn) Maybe you should explain why I shouldn't kill you for waking me up before noon.


JANE: Oh no you don't young lady, can't change the subject that easy. What exactly happened with you and Jesse last night?


DARIA (sighing): I'd rather not discuss this over the phone. Can't be sure it's secure.


JANE: Fine, how soon can you get here.


DARIA: Give me an hour. I smell like the Zon. (Bt) And ancient peanut butter. Are they ever gonna clean the Tank?


JANE: Right about the time they start doing Boys R Guys covers.




(Jane's room, Daria is sitting on the bed while Jane stands at the easel painting Daria and Jesse in a passionate embrace. The easel is (obviously) turned to face the door, so Daria hasn't seen it.)


JANE: So Sandi has the hots for Jesse? Wonder what brought that on?


DARIA: Not a clue, I'm just hoping it's short lived.


JANE (eyebrow raised): And how exactly did he get you to help him? Jesse doesn't have that kind of money.


DARIA: He started throwing out names for other options.




DARIA: He actually thought about asking (grimace) Monique.


JANE: Augh! That is the last thing the Spiral needs is that wench starting a war between Trent and Jesse.


DARIA: She'd just be pretending to be Jesse's girlfriend.


JANE: But having her around would make Trent remember when she was his girl, and he'd go crawling back to her again. Then Jess would be mad because he'd have to find a new fake girlfriend. And everyone would think she'd left Jesse for Trent, so his pride would be hurt. Then Monique would end up pregnant with twins, one being Jesse's and one being Trent's. She'd try and pass them both off as Trent's, but he'd know. And-


DARIA (rolling her eyes): You have got to stop watching those soap operas.


JANE (smirking): They give me inspiration.


(Trent walks in and sees the painting.)


TRENT: Whoa. So it is true.


DARIA: What is true?


(She sees that he is staring at the easel, so she stands to look at it.)


DARIA: You are going to die a slow and painful death Lane. (sighing) No Trent. Despite your sister's delusions, Jesse and I are not a couple. I'm just pretending to be his girlfriend to scare off an obsessed groupie.


TRENT: The girl last night?


DARIA: Yep, she's a friend of my sister. Trust me, if she got her claws into Jess, he'd be cutting his hair and wearing a shirt in no time.


TRENT (shuddering): Twisted. Thanks for saving him Daria, you're a good friend.


DARIA: We'll see if your sister agrees after I put her in the ICU.


TRENT (laugh/cough): Good one Daria. (raising an eyebrow) You really need to quit watching those soap operas Janey. I think they're warping your mind.


JESSE (walking up behind Trent): Warping my mind, I'm fallin behind. Sounds like a song.


TRENT: Yeah (grabs Jane's sketch book and a pencil, jotting it down on a blank page) Cool man.


JANE (rolling her eyes): Well if it isn't Romeo. Come to claim your fair damsel?


JESSE: Huh? I just came to unload the Tank. (sees the painting) Whoa.


DARIA (blushing): Jane's been watching soap operas and sniffing paint again. Don't worry. I plan on breaking her arms as soon as you guys are far enough away to not be accessories.


JESSE: Good one. (Bt) Honey.


DARIA (making a face): Are you saying I look like bee vomit?


JESSE (frowning): No, but I thought if we're gonna pretend to date, we should act like it. What do you want me to call you?


DARIA: Do we have to have pet names?


JANE: How about Schnooklekins?


(They all look at her like she's grown another head)


JANE: Alright, alright. I'll open a window.


DARIA: What do you want me to call you?


JESSE (Shrugging): I don't know...


DARIA (rolling her eyes): So you want to use pet names, but you've got no idea what ones? (shaking her head) You really are a lummox aren't you?


JESSE (grinning): That's Mr. Lummox to you Brain.


DARIA (smirking): You wouldn't know a brain if one kicked you in the ass. (Bt) Turn around and let me test that theory.


JANE (laughing): Sounds like you've already got pet names. Twisted ones, but you guys are pretty twisted to begin with.


DARIA: I hate to admit it, but she's got a point. No one would believe me calling you honey or baby.


JESSE: Makes sense. Brain and Lummox it is then. (grinning) Shake on it?


DARIA (rolling her eyes): You hopeless romantic you.


(The Lane siblings look on confused as Daria and Jesse share a knowing smirk.)


TRENT (clearing his throat): Right, well let's go get the Tank unloaded Jess. Max and Nick will be here soon for practice.


JANE (groaning): Well there goes my creative spirit. (to Daria) Pizza?


DARIA: You're buying.




(Pizza King. Jane and Daria are in their usual booth with two pizzas between them.)


DARIA (eyebrows raised): Hungry Lane?


JANE (chuckling): C'mon Daria. We told Jesse and Trent we were going out for pizza. Food is going to hijack their brains, practice will end early, and they will magically appear at our booth.


DARIA: If you say so.


JANE: Trust me, I know these boys. I've got 2 more pizzas on hold, to be put in the oven the second the Tank pulls up. The cook here knows those boys too.


(Daria rolls her eyes and takes a bite of her pizza.)


JANE (grinning): So, aside from Jesse, doing anything this summer?


DARIA (glaring): Were you sleeping when I told you it was just an act? Or has that paint really killed off that many brain cells?


JANE: Aw c'mon Daria. All that time together just might make you realize that you were meant for each other.


DARIA: And Trent will suddenly develop insomnia.


JANE (grinning evilly): Because he'll lay awake thinking of the chance he missed with you.


(Daria nearly chokes on her pizza. Jane gestures wildly with her slice as Daria takes a drink to try and wash her food down.)


JANE: Until finally, in a moment of desperation he will confess his undying love. The rivalry will of course tear the Spiral apart. And then you'll end up pregnant with twins. One Jesse's and one-




(There is a bunch of clattering from the kitchen as the waitress quickly fills four huge glasses of soda and sets them on a tray. She almost runs over and slides the tray on the girls' table and scurries away just as the band walks in the door. Daria is still in shock as Nick slides in next to Jane and Jesse next to Daria. Trent and Max pull up two chairs at the end of the table. They all scoop up a glass and a slice of pizza. They've each devoured most of their slices when Jane laughs at Daria, then turns to Trent and smirks.)


JANE: Practice end early?


TRENT (swallowing a mouthful of pizza): Yup (gulp) Couldn't focus. Too hungry. (eyebrow raised) This all you ordered?


JANE (shooting Daria an "I told you so" look): No Tony's got 2 more in. Should I make it four?


TRENT (thoughtfully): Could always take the leftovers home for after practice.


JANE: Leftovers, sure. (turning in her seat to yell at the waitress) Yo, Sheila! It's gonna be a level 3.


(The waitress nods and turns to the kitchen.)


SHEILA: Level 3 Tone!


(She immediately sets up another tray with four glasses on it and begins filling them. Daria raises an eyebrow at Jane.)


DARIA: Level 3?


JANE: Yep, Tony developed a rating system a few years ago, so he could be prepared.


DARIA: And how high does this scale go?


JANE: Up to 10.


DARIA: Have you ever had a level 10?


(Everyone at the table immediately stops eating and lowers their heads.)


JANE (whispering): Only once.


DARIA: What happened?


JANE (whispering): We don't talk about it Daria. (Bt) too painful.


MAX (sadly): Poor Gina, she was a good woman.


(The band just sits there silently for a moment as if mourning. Daria stares at them all in disbelief. Sheila walks over, quickly scooping up the guys' now empty cups and replacing them with full ones. She grabs an empty pizza pan and ducks as a guy in an apron reaches over her to set down a new pizza. The moment is broken, and the guys all eagerly dive in.)


DARIA: I hate to see what the check is gonna look like. I hope you remembered your wallet Jane.


JANE: No need, Tony will just put it on their tab, and Mom will settle the bill the next time she breezes through.


DARIA: They have a tab?


JANE (nodding): Yup, Nick's dad is the owner's cousin. (Bt) And speaking of cousins... here comes yours and her cronies.


(Daria glances out the window and sees the former Fashion Club walking towards the restaurant. She lightly elbows Jesse.)


DARIA: Here comes your fan club.


(Jesse casually slides his arm around Daria's shoulder, frowning as she shifts uncomfortably.)


JESSE: If this is too awkward for you....


DARIA: No, it's fine. (Bt) But try to cop a feel and I'll show you what steel toes are for.


JESSE (grinning): Damn, there go my plans for tonight. I take it second base is the third date?


DARIA (smirk): I don't even slow dance til the 5th date.


JESSE (eyebrow raised): You dance? Cool.


DARIA: Not if my life depended on it.


(Quinn and her friends walk in, followed by the three J's. Sandi picks a table that is in plain view of Daria's table, sitting so that she can easily be seen by Jesse. The J's stumble all over themselves, taking the girls' orders and running to fetch. Once the food is delivered, Sandi banishes them to a table across the room.)


TRENT (snorting): What a bunch of tools.


JANE: And just think, they want Jesse to join that little cult. Apparently three J's just isn't enough to keep up with the Fashion Fiends. A fourth is needed.


DARIA: What was the point in disbanding that club if they still spend all of their time together?


JESSE: No one else wants to spend time with them?


(Daria smirks and the rest of the group laughs. Sandi glances over at the table and sees all the food.)


SANDI: Ugh, how can people eat like that?


TIFFANY: That is sooooo wrooong.


SANDI (looking at Daria): Although I guess some of us don't have figures worth watching.


(Stacy and Quinn giggle nervously and shoot Daria apologetic looks. Tiffany just stares at Daria's table blankly. Daria frowns)


JANE (frowning): Hey don't listen to that. I don't exactly see guys lining up around the block for her.


MAX: Don't know why, with that winning personality.


TIFFANY: Hey Saandiii. Isn't thaaat the guitaaar playeeeer you said you were datiiing?


SANDI (flustered): Tiffany dear, you must have misheard me.


TIFFANY: Why is heee with Daaariaa? Did she steeeeal him? (Bt) That's sooooo wrooooong.


(Quinn and Stacy try to hide amused smirks as Sandi blushes furiously.)


SANDI: That loser did not steal anything from me. You simply misunderstood me. I said that we should all try and find a musician to date.


TIFFANY: But whyyyyyy? Their cloooothes are all tooorn and stuff.


SANDI (shaking her head): Oh Tiffany, that's not the point. Every model dates a musician at some point.


(The band chuckles.)


SANDI:  I think we should all get some practice in now. Hone our training skills.


STACY: Training skills?


SANDI: Geeze Stacy, don't you know anything?


(Stacy cowers a bit, looking like she might cry.)


SANDI: A model dates a musician for two reasons: Number one, publicity. If she dates a famous musician, people will look at her more. If she dates an up and coming musician, especially a rock musician, people will wonder what she's thinking. Either way, people will be talking about her.


(Daria and Jane roll their eyes, while the band looks thoughtful. Stacy stares at Sandi with awe and Quinn rolls her eyes when no one's looking. Tiffany just stares into space.)


SANDI: Number two, civic duty. It is the duty of a fashion icon to make the world more beautiful. When a model dates a musician, she is in a position to influence his manner of dress. A good model will train a musician to avoid fashion don'ts. Within a few months, she will have him cleaned up and dressed for the runway.


STACY: Wow, how do they do it?


SANDI: Having a good plan is key. And he will need to have some money. (Bt) Tattoo removal is expensive. Piercings are much easier to get rid of.


(The guys stop eating and share looks of shock.)


SANDI: And then of course skin care, calluses are so unattractive.


TRENT: That's it, I've lost my appetite.


(Jane and Daria's jaws drop as the rest of the band nods in agreement. Trent turns to the waitress.)


TRENT: Sheila! Can we get the rest to go?


SHEILA: Sure thing sweetie.


TRENT (turning back): I really need to get to my guitar right now. Make sure my calluses are good and strong.


(Jesse looks at the hand that's not on Daria, studying it intently for a moment. Daria grabs his other hand and looks at it thoughfully.)


DARIA: Hmm, maybe a good moisturizer is in order.


JESSE (eyes wide): Whuh?


DARIA (smirking): Relax, I don't use that crap on myself, why would I use it on you?


JESSE: To train me.


DARIA (rolling her eyes): Please do not compare me to those air heads. (louder, looking at Sandi) I believe if you like someone enough to date them, why try and change what attracted you in the first place?


(Sandi crosses her arms and glares. Jesse turns and smiles at Daria.)


JESSE: You think my calluses are attractive?


DARIA (blushing): Well... I... Um


JESSE (grinning): C'mon Daria, no need to be shy. I'm sure Jane and the guys would all love to hear what made you want me.


DARIA (eyes narrowing): You are so dead. If there weren't so many witnesses right now...


JANE (grinning): Oooh, she wants to get you alone Jess!


DARIA: Right after I get some alone time with you Lane.


(Jane blows Daria a kiss and the guys all chuckle. Daria glares at all of them for a moment, then smirks, looking back at Jesse.)


DARIA: Two can play this game Jesse. (crossing her arms) What made you want me... (venomous) Dear?


JESSE (grinning): Your sparkling personality?


SANDI: Well it certainly wasn't her looks....


(Everyone at both tables stares at Sandi in shock. The silence is broken by Sheila bringing over a stack of pizza boxes.)


SHEILA: Here ya go boys! Make sure to let the girls have some of this.


(She walks away and the group looks at Daria nervously.)


DARIA: Lets go, something in this place is killing my appetite.


(The band and Jane shuffle out of the booth and start to head toward the door. Daria grabs her drink and looks at it.)


DARIA: Sheila? Could I get a refill for the road?


SHEILA: Of course sweetie. (takes the cup and fills it) There ya go.


DARIA: Thanks.


(As Daria is walking by Sandi's table, she uses her thumb to pop the lid off of her drink. She nonchalantly dumps it over Sandi's head, tossing the cup in her lap.)


DARIA (deadpan): Oops. (leaning in close and lowering her voice) This is your final warning. You will not win this battle. Back off or suffer the consequences.


(Daria calmly straightens and joins her friends. She turns and gives Sandi a smirk as Jesse slips his arm around her shoulders.)


DARIA: I wasn't that thirsty after all.


(The Jane, Daria and the band leave. Sandi sits there, staring down at her lap for a moment. Finally she shrieks, startling everyone.)


SANDI: That.... That....AUGH! She will pay for this.


(Quinn tries to hide a smirk as Stacy looks after Daria with a mixture of awe and fear. Tiffany stares at Sandi.)


TIFFANY: Saaaandi, you're all weeeet. (Bt) That is soooooo wrooooong.


(Quinn and Stacy stifle giggles with a sip of soda as Sandi glares at Tiffany.)




(Morgendorffer kitchen, the family is sitting down to a nutritious dinner of (what else?) frozen lasagna. Jake is hiding behind his paper, Daria, minus her jacket, has a book and Quinn and Helen are both on the phone.)


QUINN: No Stacy, you don't have to date a grunge musician. A pop star could work, less training involved.


(Quinn rolls her eyes and Daria smirks.)


QUINN: Look Stacy, I gotta go, we're eating dinner. (Bt) No Stacy, we really are eating dinner and my Mom is giving me "the look" (Bt) Yes I promise I'll call you as soon as we're done. Bye.


(Quinn sighs as she hangs up the phone.)


QUINN: That girl...


HELEN: Yes of course Eric. First thing tomorrow. Uh-huh, alright. See you then. Buh-bye.


(Helen hangs up the phone and looks down at her plate. The family eats in silence for a moment.)


HELEN: I got an interesting phone call from Linda Griffin today. (Bt) Care to explain?


(Quinn and Daria exchange looks.)


QUINN: Sandi and I just went out for pizza with the girls. We didn't even go near the mall!


HELEN (smiling sweetly at Quinn.): Oh I know that dear. (turning to Daria, smile still in place) I was just wondering if anyone could explain why Sandi came home covered in soda and babbling about musicians' girlfriends.


DARIA: It was an accident?


HELEN (sighing): Really Daria, I don't know why you can't make an effort to be nice. I mean-


QUINN: But Muh-ooom! It really was an accident, I was there.


(Helen and Daria, both look at Quinn with shock.)


QUINN: Daria was walking by and she tripped. We all know how clumsy she is, and those boots probably don't help much. She apologized and that was the end of it.


HELEN: Is that true Daria?


DARIA: Pretty much, one of my boots came untied and I didn't notice.


HELEN (suspicious): Alright, but that still doesn't explain why Linda thinks that you're dating some musician. It's not Jane's brother is it? That boy needs to learn a few lessons about responsibility...


DARIA: No Mom, I am not dating Trent.


(The doorbell rings)


JAKE: Who could that be? (Gets up to answer the door)


HELEN: Oh, well that's good dear. I'd hate to see you throw your life away over some loser with a guitar.


(Jake walks back into the kitchen followed by Jesse.)


JAKE: Hey kiddo, it's for you!


(Helen stares in shock and Quinn smirks.)


DARIA: Um, hey Jess.


JESSE: Hey Daria.


(Jake is back behind his paper, oblivious to what's going on. Daria raises an eyebrow.)


DARIA:  What brings you here?


JESSE: Oh, right. (holds up her jacket) You left this in the Tank.


DARIA (standing): Thanks, but you could've just left it at Jane's.


JESSE: I tried. Jane said-


DARIA (scowling as she walks over and takes the jacket): Good ol' Jane. Always so helpful. (Bt) I'll walk you out.


HELEN: Daria, aren't you going to introduce us to your friend?


DARIA (sighing): Family, Jesse, Jesse, Family. Don't make eye contact, smile nod and walk away. No sudden movements.


(Jesse grins as Daria starts to lead him out.)


HELEN: Jesse, would you like to stay for dinner?


JESSE: Uh, no thanks. Practice.


HELEN: Practice?


QUINN (smirking): Jesse plays guitar in Trent's band.


HELEN (eyebrow raised): Is that so?


DARIA (glaring at Quinn): Yes he is a musician. (looking up at Jesse) You know I'm really not that hungry anymore, I think I'll catch a ride to Jane's. Let me grab my-


HELEN: Hold it! I think your father and I have a few questions for you, don't we Jake? (snappy) JAKE!


JAKE (jumping): Uh yeah. (Bt) Where'd ya get the cool vest my man?


JESSE: Dega Street, place right next to Axl's.


JAKE: Cool!


HELEN (sighing): Go back to your paper, Jake.


(Jake happily retreats behind his paper as Helen switches into lawyer mode.)


HELEN: So Jesse, do you have a last name?


JESSE: Moreno.


HELEN (grabbing a notepad and writing): Moreno. (Bt) Date of birth?


DARIA: You don't have to answer that. (sigh) Alright Mom. Yes, Jesse is the musician Sandi's mom was talking about. Yes we are dating. No I will not give you anymore information than that. I'm going to Jane's, goodnight.


(Daria grabs Jesse's arm and drags him out of the room.)


JESSE: I thought you wanted your parents to know so you could drive them crazy?


DARIA (rolling her eyes): They'd be suspicious if I just told them.


JESSE: Oh (Bt) You're smart.


DARIA (smirking): And you'd better be glad you have all those big muscles. Now go wait in the van, I've gotta grab a change of clothes. I'll be out in a minute.


(CUT TO Morgendorffer kitchen. Helen has fixed her glare on Quinn.)


HELEN: And just how much do you know about this young lady?


QUINN: Muh-ooom! I can't betray my sister's trust like that!


HELEN (eyebrow raised): Jake, get out your wallet.


(Ext. Morgendorffer house. Daria hurries down the sidewalk towards the tank.)




(The tank takes off.)


HELEN (calmly): Quinn, go find your father's pills, I'll call the ambulance.




(The Lane basement. Daria, Jesse and Jane are sitting on the couch. Trent has pulled up a milk crate and there are a couple open boxes of pizza on the coffee table between them.)


JESSE: I thought her mom's head was gonna explode.


JANE: Damn, I should've come with.


DARIA: And been within striking range? This whole thing is your fault you know. I was hoping Quinn would be the one to spill the beans so I could torture her.


JANE: Hey, how was I to know Sandi would run crying to her mommy? I just sent Jesse over there to embarrass you and get your folks thinking.


DARIA: You got them thinking alright. I bet Mom is thinking about background checks and summer activities to keep me too busy for a boyfriend. And poor Dad is probably thinking about being too young to be a grandpa.


TRENT: Tell him not to worry. The Spiral always uses protection. Nick taught us a good lesson on that one, right Jess?




(Jane and Daria roll their eyes as the phone rings. Jane digs around under the coffee table and eventually is able to find it.)


JANE: Yo. (Bt) Oh, Hey Mrs. M (Bt) Yep she's right here, hang on (grinning evilly at Daria) Yo Jesse! You wanna take your tongue out of Daria's throat? Her mom's on the phone.


DARIA: I hate you. (taking the phone) Hello (Bt) Okay (Bt) No I'll stay here tonight. (Bt) That's privileged information. (Bt) I don't think- (sigh) Alright, I'll ask. (Bt) No you cannot wait for an answer. I'll let you know later. (Bt) Bye.


(Daria hangs up the phone and sighs.)


DARIA: Dad's spending the night in the ER. And since I wouldn't come home (smirk) Quinn is staying with Mom in the waiting room.


JANE: Oooh, we may have to get up early to go visit. I just got film for my camera. (Bt) So what are you supposed to be asking?


DARIA (sighing): Mystik Spiral and the soon to be deceased Jane Lane have been formally invited to the Morgendorffer 4th of July barbecue.


JESSE: Cool.


DARIA: No, not cool. Basically they want a second chance to grill you. They only invited everyone else so it wouldn't be as obvious.




TRENT: So then we won't go. We can have our own party here.


DARIA: A noble idea, but they'd only find another way to try and trap him. Mom mentioned a quiet dinner with the family instead. We're doomed either way.


JANE: So then let's use this to our advantage. (grin) She thinks she's making it less obvious by inviting all of us, so let's use it against her.




JANE: You don't think any of us are gonna let you go down without a fight, do you Jess? My guess is, they're gonna try and pull Daria away so Helen can corner him.


DARIA: Probably


JANE: I say we don't let that happen. The rest of us can run interference. Between the four of us, we should be able to make sure Jesse is never alone, even if they can pry Daria off him.


DARIA (warning tone): Jane...


JANE: And Quinn is likely to invite the Fashion Fiends, so we can really get Sandi good.


DARIA: You have redeemed yourself Lane. You may live another day.


JANE (smirking): Thank you Oh Gracious One. (Bt) Now let's talk strategy. I wanna make sure they never invite us to another barbecue again.


(The girls smirk as the guys exchange "what have we gotten ourselves into?" glances)




(The girls and the band walk down Dega Street. We see them go into several stores, the number of shopping bags they carry growing with each one. They stop at one that has several mannequins dressed in torn jeans and t-shirts, another whose display is filled with spike collars and leather wrist cuffs as well as various types of body jewelry. They wander into a shoe store that displays a lot of boots in various styles and a shop that seems to sell beauty supplies for the darker side. Finally we see them coming out of a store that sells leather wares. They pause in front of the next shop and we see that it's Axl's. Jane raises an eyebrow and smirks at Daria, who shakes her head furiously. Jesse puts his arm around Daria and shakes his head at Jane. He smiles a little as they continue walking and Daria doesn't pull away from him. Trent stares at the window for a moment then follows.)







(The Lane kitchen. Jane is sitting at the table with a towel around her shoulders. In front of her is a bowl, some foil, and two boxes of hair dye. Daria stands beside her scowling with her arms crossed.)


DARIA: Absolutely not! We have already established that I cannot dye hair.


JANE: You'd never done it before, you're experienced now!


DARIA: Nope, not happening. Do you remember how long it took for you to start talking to me again the last time? I'm not going through that again Jane.


JANE: Aw, c'mon Daria. Who else am I gonna get to do it?


NICK (poking his head into the kitchen): I can do it.


(Both girls look at him wit raised eyebrows.)


NICK: What? You don't think my hair naturally changes color every few weeks, do you?


DARIA (relieved): Thank you Nick. I think I'll go find the others. That dye stinks.


NICK: They're up in Trent's room (air quotes) writing.


DARIA: So in other words, you left before you killed Max over creative differences.


NICK (snort): That would imply that Max had any creativity.


(Daria smirks as she walks out of the room. Nick steps over to the table and smiles.)


NICK: So are we just doing streaks again? Or full throttle this time?


(CUT TO: Trent's room. Trent is leaned against the wall, sitting on his bed with an acoustic guitar in his lap. Jesse is sitting at the other end of the bed, another acoustic guitar lying on the floor beside him. Between them on the bed are a notebook and a pencil. Max is sitting on the floor cross-legged with a small box in front of him. His drumsticks are lying on top of the box. They're all just sitting around staring at each other when Daria knocks, poking her head into the room.)


TRENT: Hey Daria.


DARIA: Hey guys, am I interrupting?


TRENT: Nah, we need a break anyway. What's up?


DARIA (opening the door all the way): Nothing really. Nick is helping Jane dye her hair. I wanted to get out of there so I can't be blamed if it goes wrong.


JESSE (grinning): Don't worry, Nick's good. He helped Danny's girlfriend with her hair and it turned out cool.


DARIA: Danny has a girlfriend now? Isn't he a little young?


JESSE: Course not, he's almost 15 now. Besides, we Morenos start young. Can't keep the chicks off us.


DARIA (deadpan): Oh yes, you stud. I am filled with an overwhelming desire for you. (Bt) Either that or I really shouldn't have eaten that second shovel of onion rings.


(Trent and Max laugh, Jesse just grins.)


JESSE: You should announce your undying love for me at the barbecue just like that.


(Daria smirks, leaning in the doorway.)


DARIA: Who said anything about love? I hate to break it to you Romeo, but you're just my last fling before college.


JESSE: Damn, and I was already naming kids.


DARIA: You can name 'em and you can keep 'em. I don't do kids.


TRENT: You put up with the Spiral pretty well.


DARIA: The Spiral doesn't need their diapers changed.


MAX: Nah, but we need to be fed every couple hours.


JESSE: And we sleep all the time.


TRENT: And we do require some supervision to keep from killing eachother.


JESSE (patting the bed between himself and Trent): Care to baby-sit?


DARIA: Alright, but no bloodshed without giving me plenty of time to get Jane's camera.




(Morgendorffer backyard. The yard is filled with clients and co-workers of Jake and Helen. We see Jake standing at the grill in a red, white, and blue Hawaiian shirt and shorts, chatting happily with Tom Griffin. Helen, dressed in her usual casual outfit walks over and casually places a fire extinguisher a few feet away. Quinn is sitting at one of the tables with the former Fashion Club, surrounded by the teenage sons of several of the guests. We see Linda Griffin trying to break up her sons' latest wrestling match as Daria, dressed in her usual outfit walks out of the house carrying a plate of meat. She sets it on a table beside the grill, then sits down in a nearby chair. Every now and then she glances toward the gate.)


HELEN: Daria, when are your friends arriving?


DARIA: Soon I hope. (Bt) Although I'm sure that you asking me every five minutes will make them get here faster.


HELEN: I'm just anxious to get to know your boyfriend better.


DARIA: You mean anxious to rip his throat out.


HELEN: Now Daria...


(There are a few gasps, followed by complete silence. Daria gives a little smirk and looks toward the gate.)


DARIA: Sounds like they're here.


HELEN: They are? (turning around) Oh dear God...


(The camera pans around, sweeping over the shocked faces of the guests. Finally it settles on the objects of their fascination. Mystik Spiral stands just inside the gate to the Morgendorffer yard. All of them are wearing combat boots and badly torn jeans with long wallet chains hanging from them. They are shirtless, but wear leather vests with a single row of pyramid shaped silver studs across the shoulders. Max and Nick wear leather wrist cuffs with small spikes on them, while Trent and Jesse have on several thin bracelets that are black, and each of them wears a small silver cyclone, suspended from a black chord around their neck. As everyone stares at them, Max pulls a flask out of his vest and takes a swig. Trent pulls a cigarette from a silver case and lights it with a match.)


TRENT (exhaling): Tough crowd.


JANE (stepping around Nick): You guys have faced worse.


(Jane's hair is now streaked with red and held in a high ponytail by a band with a silver skull on it. Her eyes are done in a smoky shade, but her lips still sport the same red. She is dressed in a short red plaid skirt and thigh-high combat boots with fishnets underneath. The vest she wears matches the bands' but it's much smaller and tighter. Her vest is buttoned up, as she wears no shirt beneath it, and just below the last button we see a small silver hoop in her navel that matches the one in her left nostril. Around her neck is a matching cyclone necklace, but it's paired with a spiked dog collar. She grins as she starts walking towards Daria.)


JANE (quietly): Let the fireworks begin. (louder) Hope you don't mind Mrs. M. we brought some of our road crew.


(The band steps aside to reveal Andrea, Burnout, Scarlett, Kristen, Angel, Bob and a few similar teenagers.)


JANE: You did say the whole Spiral was invited, right?


HELEN (tense): Of course, the more the merrier.


(Daria stands, smirking and meets Jane halfway across the lawn.)


DARIA (whispering): Oh you have most definitely redeemed yourself Lane.


(Jesse and the rest of the band wander over, the "road crew" dispersing amongst the crowd. Jesse leans down and kisses Daria. Both Helen and Sandi look ready to explode.)


JESSE (grinning): Hey.




JESSE: I got ya something.


(Daria raises an eyebrow as Scarlett hands Jesse a bag.)


JESSE (loud enough for Helen to hear): Me and the guys decided it was time to make you official Spiral property.


(Daria crosses her arms as Helen moves closer.)


DARIA:  I am no one's property.


JESSE (smirking): Not what you said last night. (wink)


(Daria and Helen both glare at Jesse.)


TRENT (rolling his eyes): He means that you're one of us now Daria.


JESSE (shrugging): Same thing.


JANE: Well don't just stand there! Open it!


(Daria reluctantly reaches into the bag Jesse holds and draws out a vest. It's identical to the one the others wear, and now we see that back is dominated by a large cyclone. The cyclone is a bright green with dusty purple shading. Across the shoulders of the vest is the word "Mystic" and across the bottom is "Spiral". )


JANE: I designed the logo. (Bt) Try it on.


(Jane holds the vest while Daria slips off her jacket revealing that it's not her usual top underneath. She's wearing a tank top in the same color. She hands the jacket to Jane, and slides into the vest, buttoning it with a little bit of difficulty. The vest fits just as tightly as Jane's, the only modesty provided by her top.)


TRENT (grinning): Perfect.


JESSE: Not quite.


( Jesse reaches into his pocket pulling out a small cyclone on a black chord. He steps behind Daria as she lifts her hair and clasps it around her neck. Stepping back in front of her, he reaches out and adjusts the pendant slightly.)


JESSE: Beautiful.


(Daria rolls her eyes and blushes.)


NICK: It's official, you're stuck with us now.


MAX: Welcome to the Criminale life.


JANE (rolling her eyes): And all of this is just a fancy way of saying they'll be asking you for gas money soon.


JAKE (wandering over): Jesse my man! I didn't know you knew Trent.


TRENT (exhaling and stomping out his cigarette): He's my best friend Mr. M.


HELEN (coldly): And a member of his band. See what they gave Daria?


JAKE: Cool! I've gotta get to that leather store!


(Helen rolls her eyes and storms off.)


TRENT: Tell 'em the Spiral sent you.


DARIA: I'm gonna go toss this jacket in the house.


(Daria gives Jane and Trent pointed looks and walks away. Jake leans toward the guys and lowers his voice.)


JAKE: Say, you guys are musicians right? You wouldn't happen to know who this guitar player is that Daria's been dating, would you? Helen's been going on about it for a while now.


(CUT TO the Morgendorffer kitchen. Daria opens the door and tosses her jacket on a chair.)


JAKE (OS): Helen, it's okay! Daria's dating Jesse!


(We hear Helen scream in frustration moments before she storms through the kitchen, not even noticing Daria. After some stomping on the stairs, we hear a door slam. Daria smirks and heads back outside.)


[SCENE 10]


(Morgendorffer kitchen. Daria walks in from the yard. Helen is leaning against the island, still looking pretty miffed.)


DARIA: Dad says the sun will be setting soon. We should leave if we want good spots for the fireworks.


(Daria waits for a few moments. When Helen doesn't respond, she shrugs and turns to leave.)


HELEN: You put my career, everything I've worked so hard for on the line, and all you can do is shrug?


DARIA (turning): Excuse me?


HELEN: You brought those... those... people here.


DARIA: If I remember correctly, you invited them.


HELEN: Only because you insist on being around them. Honestly Daria, I don't think it's good for you to spend so much time with that group.


DARIA: Isn't it amazing how I've spent most of my life listening you tell me how I need to open up to people. I need to make more friends, find a nice boy to date. I finally listen on both accounts and now you're telling me I need to cut myself off from them?


HELEN: I would hardly call Jesse a nice boy Daria...


DARIA: Really? (Bt) How much do you really know about him?


HELEN: He's in a band. And just look at the way he dresses.


(Daria crosses her arms and stares at Helen for a moment.)


DARIA: That's it? You're entire argument is based on his looks and the fact that he is in a band. (shaking her head) And you call yourself a lawyer.


HELEN: Daria I-


DARIA (holding up a hand): Sorry counselor, you've had your chance. Now it's my turn to take the floor. (Bt) Tell me, have you ever thought about what Jesse does when he's not practicing with the Spiral?


HELEN: Well... no.


DARIA: He works.


HELEN (shocked): Works?


DARIA (nodding): You know Muffler Mo's downtown? That's his dad's shop. Mo was his dad's nickname in high school. (shrug) I guess it's easier to remember than Moreno. Jesse helps his dad in the shop whenever he can. He's one of the best mechanics they've got. (Bt) In a few years, Jesse just might take it over. It may not be a six-figure salary, but it's good, honest work.


HELEN: I had-


DARIA (holding up a hand): Not finished. Jesse's clothing may not be Cashman's fall line, but it's practical. Why wear $30 khakis to monkey around under a car all day and lug amps in a grunge bar all night? As for the vest, it was a gift from his uncle. It was more of a joke to piss his mom off at first. His uncle was a biker and he said he was grooming Jesse to be one too. It really used to ruffle her feathers.


(Daria fixes her mother with a hard stare.)


DARIA: Two years ago, his uncle was hit by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle. (Bt) He was killed on impact. (slightly softer) Jesse carries a picture of his uncle in the inside pocket of that vest as a reminder of how short life is. (crossing her arms again) Now his hair, well I guess that's just a personal choice. But I've seen pictures of Dad back in the day, and you don't have much room to talk there.


HELEN: I suppose, but-


DARIA: No buts. You know, you're always telling me that I need to give people a chance. (mock-Helen voice) "Don't judge a book by its cover, Daria." "Get to know someone before you write them off." (cold stare) What a hypocrite.


(Helen opens her mouth to speak, but then drops her head in defeat. Daria turns and walks toward the door.)


DARIA: I better get going, the fireworks will be starting soon. (Bt) Don't wait up, I'll be staying at Jane's tonight.


(Helen watches her go and then slumps into one of the chairs.)


HELEN: Way to go Morgendorffer.


(CUT TO Outside the kitchen door. We see Daria storm out of the house. After she walks away, Jesse steps out of the shadows. He glances at the house for a moment, and then looks after Daria.)


[SCENE 11]


(The Big Strawberry. A large group of teenagers and young adults are spread out on blankets, lawn chairs and the hoods of cars. We see a still peeved Daria walking with Jane across the grass. Suddenly a foot flies out and trips Daria.)


JANE (helping Daria up): Hey! Watch it!


SANDI (smirking, then mock surprise): Oh no, I am so sorry Quinn's cousin or whatever. It was a total accident.


DARIA (brushing dirt off her vest): Not a problem Suzie, It's not your fault that you can't contain those clown shoes.


SANDI (crossing her arms): Clown shoes? Look at those ugly things on your feet! (smirk) Of course you need ugly shoes to match that hideous outfit. I don't know what Jesse sees in you.


DARIA: Not all guys are looking for high heels and a push-up bra.


SANDI: And what is that supposed to mean?


DARIA: Maybe if you had a brain, or at least a personality that wasn't comparable to a pet rock, you might be able to get a decent guy like Jesse. (Bt) But I guess you'll just be stuck picking at Quinn's leftovers for the rest of you life.


(Sandi screeches as she lunges forward, punching Daria in the jaw. The punch is weak, but still manages to draw a little blood from Daria's lip. Quinn grabs Sandi, pulling her back as Jane steps in front of Daria.)


JANE: You're gonna pay for that, fashion fiend.


(Daria reaches out and grabs Jane's arm, shaking her head.)


DARIA: Not worth it, Jane. Let's go.


(Jane glares for a moment, then reluctantly turns and walks away as Sandi shakes off Quinn. As Daria turns, Sandi crosses her arms with a smug smile.)


DARIA (stopping and glancing over her shoulder): Oh and Sandi? (Bt) Combat boots beat clown shoes any day.


(Sandi looks at her in confusion and then shock as a combat boot connects with her stomach. She doubles over and collapses on the ground.)


DARIA (walking away): Oops, guess I need to control my shoes a bit better too.


JANE (looking down at Daria's feet): Bad boots! No polish for you tonight!


(CUT BACK TO: The Former Fashion Club helping Sandi up.)


QUINN: I told you not to mess with her. She's dangerous. And that guy is just making her worse. (wrinkling her nose) I mean, it's like he wants her to be weird.


STACY: He likes weird girls! Maybe that's why he didn't want you Sandi!


(Sandi, clutching her stomach, glares at Stacy.)


STACY: Eep! What I meant was you're not his –Er (panicked). I mean, he doesn't like- (meekly) He's not good enough for you?


SANDI (smugly): Well duh! Thank you for stating the obvious Stacy. (flipping her hair over her shoulder and wincing slightly) That is why he is with her and not me. He did not meet my standards. And the poor fool obviously grabbed the first girl that would take him.


TIFFANY: That's sooooo saaaaad.


SANDI (rubbing her stomach gently): And the nerve she had to imply that I would date any of Quinn's leftovers.


(Quinn glares at her, then grins evilly.)


QUINN (looking concerned): Gee Sandi, I hope you don't get a horrible bruise. It would be such a shame if you couldn't wear a bikini for that party at Skylar's.


(Sandi's jaw drops in shock as Quinn's words sink in. Then her face turns red with rage.)


SANDI: That bitch!


(Sandi storms off and Stacy and Quinn follow. Tiffany is staring into the tinted window of a nearby van, playing with her hair. A few seconds later, Stacy returns, grabbing Tiffany by the arm and dragging her after the others.)


(CUT TO: The Tank. Jane has just finished telling the band about their encounter with Sandi. Daria rolls her eyes at Jane's obviously embellished story. Max, Trent and Nick grin at Daria, which makes her blush. Jesse frowns and looks her over.)


DARIA: I do not have an iron jaw. She's just a weak punch. (Bt) And there was no awesome Kung Fu involved.


JANE (grinning): But it sounds so much cooler that way! Besides, her punch can't have been that weak, you're swelling.


DARIA: What? (feeling the side of her face) Damn! Ah well, I guess that photo shoot in Milan will just have to be postponed.


(Jesse turns and rummages through the cooler in the van. He grabs a soda, then wraps it in a bandana he pulled out of his pocket.)


JESSE: Here. (holding the bundle up to Daria's cheek) This will help.


(Daria reaches up to take the soda, blushing a bit deeper as her hand brushes his)


DARIA: Thanks.  


JESSE (shrugging): No problem.


JANE: I still think you let her off easy Daria. Why didn't you pummel her in to a makeup stain?


DARIA: That would require effort and energy that she's not worth. In a few weeks I'll be in Boston, and she will just be another in a long line of bad memories of this hell hole.


JANE: And what if you run into her while you're home on break? Don't you want to make her shake in those clown shoes?


DARIA (eyebrow raised): Who said I'm coming back once I leave?


(Everyone stares at her in shock.)


JANE: Not coming back?


DARIA: I'm sure Raft has plenty of summer courses to keep me busy.


JANE: You're serious, aren't you?


(The guys all look away uncomfortably. Jesse frowns again and turns to the Tank, closing up the cooler.)


DARIA (sighing): What reason would I have to come back? Mom's going to redecorate the second I pull out of the driveway, so my cell will be gone. (look of disgust) And you really don't think I'm going to sleep in some flowery guest room just so I can experience some family bonding a couple times a year, do you?


JANE (frowning): Well no, but still. Who's gonna be my partner in crime next summer?


DARIA (shrugging): I'm sure you'll find someone willing to put up with you. Besides, you're going to be in Boston with me all year, so what if I don't come home with you for break?


JANE: I guess so, but I still-


NICK: I hate to break up you're little love fest. (pointing) But isn't that the girl you just knocked on her ass?


(Everyone turns to see Sandi storming in their direction with Quinn, Stacy and Tiffany trailing behind. Daria sighs, handing the soda to Jane.)


DARIA: This doesn't look good.


(Sandi stops in front of Daria, shoving a finger in her face.)


SANDI (yelling): You... you... Bitch!!! (pointing at Jesse) It's bad enough you took him.


(Jesse turns with a cola in his hand and gives her an annoyed look.)


SANDI: Non-diet soda! (disgusted) Ugh, what did I ever see in you.


(The guys all give Sandi weird looks as she turns back to Daria.)


SANDI: As for you. You have ruined my summer!


(She raises her shirt slightly to show that her stomach is already starting to bruise.)


SANDI: How am I supposed to go to the beach like this?


DARIA: You could try putting on something that resembles actual clothing. They do make one-piece suits you know.


SANDI: A one-piece??? How could I hold my head up if I showed up in a one-piece?


DARIA: I'm amazed you can keep it down, as inflated as it is.


(Sandi hauls back to take a swing at Daria. Daria is expecting it this time however and leans back out of range. As Sandi's arm swings past, she grabs it and twists, stepping sideways until she's behind Sandi.)


SANDI: Whuh??


(Sandi stumbles, sending both her and Daria tumbling to the ground. She lands face down with Daria on her back, still gripping her arm. Daria leans down so that her mouth is inches from Sandi's ear and speaks slowly and softly.)


DARIA (venomous): We can do this two ways. I can let you go and you can walk away and we'll pretend this little incident never happened. (Bt) Or you can try and take another swing and I'll beat you so badly your bitch of a mother won't even recognize you.


(She twists Sandi's arm slightly making her yelp.)


DARIA: Your choice.


(Daria is still for a moment, then she slowly rises, releasing Sandi's arm. She takes a few steps back and brushes off her vest before crossing her arms. Sandi stares at her a few moments then scrambles to her feet. She glares at Daria, who just stares back with her usual deadpan expression.)


STACY (softly): Let's just go Sandi.


QUINN: Yeah, let's go get some ice on that bruise before it swells.


(Daria raises an eyebrow, uncrossing her arms and flexing her fingers. Sandi, flinches then turns and walks away, shoving Tiffany out of her way. Stacy gives Daria a nervous look and follows Sandi.)


TIFFANY: Heeeey, that's soooo ruuude.


(Quinn gives Daria a look that borders on proud and grabs Tiffany's arm, leading her away. As they disappear Jane turns to Daria in shock.)


TRENT: Wooah.


JANE: Where did you learn to do that?


DARIA (shrugging): Ms. Barch taught me a few things when I started dating Tom. (smirk)  Never thought I'd get to use them though.


MAX: Damn Jess, you've got a real criminale!


DARIA: You mean had.




DARIA: Yes, had. (Bt) You heard her, she's over you Jess. Mission accomplished.


JESSE (disappointed): Oh.


DARIA: Now you can go back to your life of rock and roll and groupies and I can go back to my world of books and (Bt) Well I guess my world of books.


JESSE: Uh, yeah. (frowning) Cool.


JANE: Damn, and I was hoping to watch Helen's head explode when Jesse proposed.


DARIA (rolling her eyes): Yeah right Jane, I'm going to rush to the altar.


JANE (grinning): Don't try and fool me Morgendorffer. I know your biological clock is ticking.


DARIA: No that's just the countdown til you push me to my breaking point and I finally kill you.


JANE: Whatever you say. (smirk) But a herd of Morenodorffers would have been cool.


(Daria rolls her eyes as Nick points in the direction of the school.)


NICK: Looks like they're starting the warm-ups.


(The group settles down on a blanket they've tossed on the ground. Daria sits between Jesse and Jane. Trent settles on Jane's other side with Nick and Max on the end. Jesse slips an arm around Daria's shoulder and she shoots him a questioning look.)


JESSE (sheepishly): Sorry. (removing his arm) Force of habit.


DARIA (Mona Lisa smile): I'll let you live this time.


(Jesse grins at her and Daria turns back to watch the fireworks. Jesse stares at her for a moment. Finally, he turns to watch as well.)


JESSE (quietly, still not looking at her): Daria?


DARIA: Yeah Jess?


JESSE: Did you mean what you said earlier?


DARIA: About what?


JESSE (barely audible): Is there really nothing worth visiting in Lawndale?


(Daria looks at him, confused but he just keeps staring at the fireworks. Slowly a look of realization crosses over Daria's face.)


DARIA: Oh...


(Daria looks down at her lap, biting her lip. Jesse sighs, looking down at the blanket.)


JESSE: Sorry, I just really liked hanging out with you. (Bt) I guess I got a bit caught up in the act. (quietly) Forget I said anything.


(Daria plays with a loose thread on the blanket for a moment, chewing her lip thoughtfully. Jesse's frown deepens.)


DARIA: I had fun too.


JESSE (glancing at her sideways): You did?


DARIA (nodding): Yeah, I did. (looking up at him, then quickly looking away) Maybe I wouldn't have to spend all of my breaks in Boston...


JESSE: Really?


DARIA: Not if I had something worth visiting.


JESSE (looking at her hopefully): Do you?


(Daria glances up at him, blushing. She gives him a small smile, then turns back to the fireworks, laying her head on his shoulder,)


DARIA: I think I just might.


(Jesse grins, sliding his arm back around her shoulders and kissing the top of her head. The rest of the group glances at them with raised eyebrows, but says nothing. They all turn back to enjoy the fireworks as the scene fades to black.)