"The Next Step"


Notes:  This story picks up right after "Is It College Yet?" and, like many others, presents a view of what might have happened next.  Readers should be familiar with the events of the final Daria episode, and a good working knowledge of at least a few other episodes couldn't hurt either.






Jane and Daria have just finished a pie between them, and are looking satisfied and perhaps a little overfull.

Daria:       So, any big plans for the summer?

Jane:     Hmm, that's a toughie.  You know, our last summer as irresponsible children and all.

Daria:       Oh, yes.  College students are paragons of maturity and discipline.

Jane:     Point there.  Still, this is a liberating kind of moment.  We're free at last from the bonds of high school, no more pencils, no more books, no more DeMartino's creepy looks.  And yet we've not yet embarked upon the next step.  We are, to coin a phrase, between schools at the moment.  It strikes me that this is a fine opportunity to behave like heathens.

Daria:     Funny, that's the same thing you said about Trent's Groundhog's Day Eve party last year.

Jane:     Hey, who knew that the smoke alarms were rigged to summon the fire department?  But to tell you the truth, I thought I'd spend a fair amount of time painting and sculpting.  You know, the last of Jane Lane as a raw, untrained artist, before BFAC gets its claws in me and turns me into another cog in the machine.

Daria:       It's good to know you're looking forward to it.

Jane:     You know I am.  I just wish I didn't have to wait here until Winter Break.  It's gonna be weird around here without you when fall comes.

Daria:     Hey, at least we're heading for the same town eventually.  Incidentally, have you been able to tell your parents about your big college plans yet?

Jane:       Not yet.  Last I heard, they were in the Yukon.  Which actually makes them easier to get a hold of than usual, since they're on this continent and in a mostly English-speaking country.

Daria:       By the way, thanks for picking up the pizza.  I'm a little strapped at the moment.  Quinn hasn't given me much fuel for extortion lately.

Jane:       I suppose we should get used to poverty.

Daria:     You know, it hadn't occurred to me until now, but had you thought about how you're going to pay for college?

Jane:       It's covered.  Mom told me a few years ago that she'd set up a bank account for Trent and me.  Which means I should actually have twice what I need.

Daria:     (sighs) My mom's been bugging me about scholarship applications again.

Jane:     You'd think she'd be satisfied with the fifty bucks you got from the Dian Fossey Award Foundation.  Besides, isn't it a bit late for that?

Daria:       Not for next year.  I tried to argue that I wouldn't qualify due to my lack of extra-curriculars or enthusiasm, but Mom pointed out that there are plenty of scholarships awarded for academics alone.  Damn logic. 

Jane:     That's a phrase that goes through my mind on at least a twice-daily basis.

Daria:       So, I'm heading over to the library tomorrow to download some forms.  I'd do it at home, but my internet connection runs at the speed of a cow on crutches.

Jane:     The day after we graduate from high school, and you're off to the library.  Daria, I worry about you sometimes.

Tom:     Hey guys, what's up?

Daria and Jane look up to discover Tom standing at their table.

Daria:     Tom?  What are you doing here?

Tom:        I was in the mood for some pizza.  One of my friends threw a graduation party last night, and all they had was stuff like caviar, gooey French cheese, goose liver pate Ė you know, tastes like crap but they serve it because it's expensive and chic.

Jane:       So you wanted some cheap crap instead?  You came to the right place.  Grab a triangle of greasy flavored flatbread and park.

Daria:     Um, actually Tom, I was kind of hoping for some time alone with Jane.  You know, girl talk.

Tom:     What does that mean, anyway?

Daria:     Tom, I don't want to be rude...

Tom:        (a trifle downcast) Okay, I understand.  I guess I'll see you around.  (he exits)

Jane:     What was that about?

Daria:     Hey, you of all people should be able to identify with not wanting to hang around your ex.

Jane:     You mean OUR ex.  There is that.  It makes me wonder why he was so keen to hang out with us, though.  I mean, it seems like it would be kind of like rubbing salt in the wound.

Daria:       He was just here for a slice of pizza.

Jane:       Uh-huh, sure.  That's why he left without actually buying any.

Daria:     Maybe he's short on cash right now too.

Jane rolls her eyes.

Daria:     Okay, maybe not.



INT:  Sandi's room

The (former) members of the Fashion Club are hanging out.  Quinn is filing her nails, Sandi is looking through her closet, and Tiffany is lying on the floor flipping through a Waif magazine.  Stacy is just coming in with some drinks.

Stacy:     Who wants a diet soda?

Tiffany:     Um... no thanks. (shudders)

Quinn:     Hm?  Oh, sure.

Sandi:     Whatever.

Stacy distributes sodas and sits down on the bed.

No one speaks.

Stacy:     So...


Stacy:     Um, shouldn't we be talking about what we're going to do with all our new free time?

Tiffany:     Maybe we should go shopping...

Sandi:     (suddenly enthusiastic) Great idea, Tiffany!  Let's be on our way, then!

Quinn:     Um, guys, I don't want to be a stick in the mud Ė

Tiffany:     Ew...

Quinn:      Ė but, shouldn't we be trying to figure out stuff to do that's not about clothes and fashion and stuff?

Tiffany:     But, what else is there?

Sandi:      No, Tiffany.  As much as I am loath to admit it, Quinn has a point.  It is time to show the world that the Former Members of the Fashion Club are capable of branching out in new directions and redefining our image.

Tiffany:     So... we should get makeovers?

Quinn:     Maybe we could... just go hang out somewhere and talk.

Tiffany:     Isn't that what we're doing now?

Quinn:      No, I mean... look, it's like when people go and hang out at the pizza place and they just sit around and have pizza and drink sodas and talk about stuff.

Sandi:      An interesting idea, Quinn.  All in favor?

Quinn:     Um, Sandi, we don't need to do that anymore.  We can just go, we don't have to do the whole club thing.

Stacy:     Does that mean I should stop taking notes?


INT:  Pizza Prince

The Fashion Foursome sits at a table, eating cheeseless pizza in silence.  Daria and Jane are visible in the background.

The silence goes on some more.

Quinn:     Good pizza, isn't it?

Tiffany:    I'm don

Quinn:      But you only had half a slice.

Tiffany:    I need to keep my girlish figure...

Stacy:     Can't I have my notebook back?  It's so hard to follow the conversation without it!

Quinn:     (sullenly) What conversation?

Sandi:      I don't know why any of us thought this would be a good idea.  I mean, look around.  This place is crawling with losers.

Stacy:     You know, I never thought it would end this way.  I always kind of figured there would be some big ceremony or something.

Sandi:     Stacy!

Stacy:     What?  What did I say?

Sandi:     That is probably the single most commendable idea you have ever had in the history of the Fashion Club.  We must not allow our beloved club to leave us without a proper sendoff.  Therefore, as my final act as President, I move that we immediately make plans for a proper ceremonial closing to the Lawndale High School Fashion Club.  All in favor?

Hands enthusiastically go up.

Sandi:     Motion carried.


INT:  Pizza Prince, Daria and Jane's table

Jane:     Hear that?  They're finally calling it quits.

Daria:     Hm.  Never thought I'd see the day.  What's that?  (she's noticed Jane's outstretched hand)

Jane:     Eighty dead presidents, Morgendorffer.  The Fashion Club is dead and gone.  You saw it happen.

Daria:     (frowning a bit) Jane, we made that bet four months ago.

Jane:       I don't remember anything about a time limit.  But just to show I'm a hell of a friend, I'll agree to split the difference.  Pay up forty and we call it square.  Come on, it was a double-or-nothing bet to begin with, you'll still be forty ahead.

Daria:     What was your math score on the SATs again? (she pays up anyway)

The Next Day...

INT:  Lane Residence, upstairs

Jane comes out of her room wearing gray jogging shorts, red t-shirt, and sneakers.  Her walkman is clipped to her fanny pack.

Nick walks by in his bathrobe.

Jane:       (a little sleepy) Hey, Nick.

Nick:        Oh, hi Jane.  You mind if I go first in the shower?

Jane:     Nah, help yourself.  No point in showering right before a run.

Jane heads down the stairs, stretching her arms.  Trent is passed out on the couch, but Jane takes no notice as she goes outside.

The Tank is parked in the driveway.  Jesse sits in the driver's seat, Max is crawling underneath.

Jesse:     Now?

Max:        Not yet!

Jane:     (stretching her legs, using the Tank's bumper as a support) Hey, guys.  The beast having a little indigestion?

Max:     She's gonna be just fine!  She just needs a little massage in the right places...

Jesse:     Now?

Max:        Not yet!!  Hey, what's this plastic stuff in the oil pan?

Jane:       Is it right under the fuel line?

Max:     Yeah.

Jane:       It's hot glue. (she slips on her headphones and jogs away)

Max:     How the freak did that get in there?

Jesse:     Now?

Max:        I'll TELL you when to start it!!

Jesse:     Okay.  (he starts it, the result is a horrible grinding and a lot of black smoke)


Jesse:     (turns it off)  Oops.  Sorry, dude.


INT:  Morgendorffer Residence, Living Room

Daria is watching TV.

TV:          He donated his brain to science Ė and they put it back in his festering corpse to formulate equations!  Einstein's Monster, next, on Sick-Sad-World!

Helen walks in.

Helen:     Daria, have you Ė

Daria:       I'm going to the library today to fill out some scholarship application forms.

Helen:      I was just going to ask if you'd seen your sister.

Daria:     And then you were going to ask...

Helen:     (sighs) Whether you'd given any further thought to scholarship application.

Daria:       It's good to know that occasionally I can still be a step ahead of you.  Quinn's out in the back yard with her friends.  I have no idea what they're doing and I don't particularly want to.

Helen:     Well, do you think you could take Quinn to the library with you when you go?  It wouldn't hurt for her to fill out some applications too.

Daria:       I wasn't aware that the cost of cosmetology school had gone up so much.

Helen:     You know, Daria, Quinn's been doing a lot better in school lately.  It wouldn't kill you to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Daria:       So much for "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

Helen:      If you take Quinn to the library with you, I won't bother you about filling out the forms for a week.

Daria:     That's a start... but I also find I'm about forty dollars short on spending cash lately...

Helen:     Daria, what's the point in my paying you to fill out forms that will give you money to go to college?

Daria:     Consider it a long-term, high-yield investment.


EXT:  Morgendorffer Back Yard

Quinn, Stacy, Sandi, and Tiffany stand in a circle around the barbecue grill.

Quinn:     And so, to symbolize my break from the Fashion Club -

Stacy:     God rest its soul!

Quinn:      - I have decided to sacrifice my beloved pink butterfly shirt, which has served me so well over the years.

Quinn takes out a carefully wrapped package and places it in the grill, where it smolders for a moment, then bursts into flames.

Quinn:      I don't know how I'll ever get by with just four of them.

Sandi:      A commendable choice, Quinn.  Of all the items in your wardrobe that might have been candidates for incineration, I'd say you chose the most flameworthy.  Stacy?

Stacy:     Oh... I don't know if I can do this!

Quinn:      It's easier if you don't think too much about it.

Sandi:     Come on now, Stacy.

Tiffany:     You can do it...

Stacy:     All right.  (she reaches into her backpack and pulls out a well-worn spiral-bound notebook)  As of this moment, I've taken my last meeting note.  The notes themselves will be saved for prosperity, but the notebook is needed no more.  (writing) Stacy... throws... notebook... into... fire.  (she sniffles, closes the notebook, and tosses it in.)  Farewell!

Sandi:      My turn, then.  (she pulls out a stack of index cards)  As Former President of the Late Fashion Club, I have many fond memories of the times we have spent together, the moments we have shared, the style we have inspired among the less fashionable.  We reached a pinnacle of popularity that most only dreamed of.  From humble beginnings, we created a culture based on fellowship, cosmetics, and most importantly, the ineffable look of today.  But I would never want us to lose sight of one important thing:  It all started with a Scrunchie.

Sandi removes a scrunchie from her back pocket.

Stacy:     Is that really...

Tiffany:    It can't be...

Quinn:     What?

Sandi:      It was before your time, Quinn.  (reverently) This is the Original Fashion Club Ceremonial Scrunchie.


Sandi, about twelve years old, walks into a classroom and sits down at a desk between a similarly-aged Stacy and Tiffany.

Stacy:     Hey, cool scrunchie.  Where'd you get it?

Sandi:     That new place that just opened in the mall.  You know, Cashman's.

Tiffany:    Oh yeah... the place with the sparkly outfits...

Stacy:     I haven't been there yet.  I don't really go shopping much.

Sandi:     (looking disdainfully at her outfit) It shows.

Stacy:     (downcast) I guess I never paid much attention to my clothes.

Sandi:      I'll tell you what.  Let's go there after school, and I'll show you what's coming into style this month.

Stacy:     You would do that for me?

Sandi:      I consider it my duty to help the less fashionable.

Tiffany:     Hmm... maybe we could start a club or something...

-Return to present day-

Stacy:     And that's how it all began.

Sandi:     And so, let us take this moment to reflect -

Stacy:     Sandi introduced us to Cashman's, and we picked out our first fashionable clothes under her supervision.

Sandi:     (continuing) - to reflect on what has been, our fond memories -

Stacy:     I remember I wanted to get the green shirt, but Sandi said it looked better on her, so I picked the blue one.

Sandi:      (a little put out at the interruption) - our fond memories as Fashion Club Members, as symbolized by the Ceremonial Scrunchie -

Stacy:     (getting a little emotional) Of course, I liked the green one better, but Sandi insisted that the blue one was better on me, and I let her talk me into it!

Sandi:     Er... The Ceremonial Scrunchie, which has been with us since the beginning -

Stacy grabs the scrunchie and chucks it into the fire.

Stacy:     Oops.

Sandi glares at Stacy, who glares back.

Quinn:     Um... Tiffany!  What have you brought to sacrifice?

Tiffany:    Oh yeah... hang on a moment...

Sandi:     The blue one was better on you.

Stacy:     I liked the green one.

Sandi:     That's because you were looking at it with an untrained eye.

Stacy:     Sandi, we were twelve.  Are you trying to tell me you had a trained eye at that age?

Quinn:     Guys!  Is this really necessary?

Stacy:     Why don't you just admit that you wanted the green one for yourself, so you talked me out of it?

Sandi:      Are you implying that I would wrongly advise a fellow Fashion Club Member?

Tiffany:     Here it is...

Stacy:     (sarcastically) Oh no, Sandi, I would never imply that you might make yourself look good at someone else's expense.

Tiffany:    My last can of Everhold hairspray...

Tiffany tosses the hairspray into the fire.

Sandi:      I don't think I like your tone, Stacy!

Quinn:     Um... Tiffany, I'm not sure that was a good idea...

Stacy:     You should talk about tone, Miss Valley-Girl-Wannabe!

Quinn:     Guys, I think we should -

Sandi:      All right, that's it!  You're out of the Fashion Club!

Stacy:     Duh!  There is no more Fashion Club!

Quinn:      HIT THE DECK!!

Quinn grabs all three of her friends in a flying tackle and throws them bodily to the ground as the hairspray can explodes in a pretty orange mushroom, blasting the grill back about ten feet.

There is a moment of stunned silence.

One by one, the girls look back at the smoking ruin of the grill.

Tiffany:     Maybe I should have gone with the Cashman's Spring Catalog...


INT:  Helen's Car

Daria is driving while Quinn chatters away next to her.

Quinn:      So then Stacy starts that hyperventilating thing that she used to do when she got really upset about something, and Sandi and Tiffany had to carry her into the house while I turned on the sprinklers to put out the fire, and it was just bad luck that Mom came out just then to see what all the commotion was about and it's not my fault she tripped on the sprinkler-turner-oner-thingy and scattered her papers all over the lawn, and I really think it's mean of her to send me to the library with you in front of all my friends especially after we were all so traumatized and everything and besides we still need to talk over that whole thing between Sandi and Stacy, and I mean really, it was five years ago and you'd think that they'd be over it by now but they're not and we don't have the Fashion Club to keep us together anymore so I'm really worried about what's going to happen now and so what do you think?

Daria doesn't respond.

Quinn:     Daria?

Daria:       Oh, are you still talking?

Quinn:     Daria!  I'm trying to tell you something really important here and all you can do is make jokes?

Daria:     Quinn, I was there, remember?  I saw everything you're talking about.  I don't need the instant replay.

Quinn:      Oh, that's right, you were there, weren't you?  Sorry, sometimes I just overlook you.

Daria:       (a little peeved)  What do you mean, sometimes?

Quinn:      No, what I mean is -

Daria:     Hey, don't worry about it.  In three months I'll be off to college and then I really won't be there.  You might as well stay in practice.

Quinn starts to say something, but then doesn't.  She suddenly looks very thoughtful.


INT:  Library

Daria's at a computer, Quinn's sitting next to her looking at the screen, and occasionally at Daria.  She has the same thoughtful look on her face.

Daria:     Don't you have something better to do?  Wait, don't answer that, of course you don't.  This is a library, what would you have to do here?

Quinn:     I'm... um... (sighs)  Okay, I'll leave you alone.  Let me know when you're done.  Tom!

Daria:     Tom?

Daria looks up.  Tom is walking by with a couple of books.

Tom:     Daria!  Hey, how's it going?

Daria:     What are you doing here?

Tom:        Uh, getting some books.  That's what this place is for.

Daria:       No, I mean -

Quinn:      I'll just leave you two alone, okay? (She winks at Daria, then flounces away.)

Tom:        So, um, what brings you here?

Daria:     Just looking up some scholarship applications.  Something I imagine you haven't had to worry about.

Tom:     Hey, what brought that on?

Daria:     What are you really doing here?

Tom:        I'm just getting some reading material on Bromwell.  You know, background information on the school, some recent publications by the professors, that kind of thing.

Daria:     And that's all?

Tom:     Well, I thought I'd also download some pornography on the internet, but since you're hogging the computer I guess I'll have to do it from home.

Daria:       I just think it's a little weird that... (she pauses, and the scowl drops off her face) ...never mind.  I'll see you around, okay?

Tom:     Sure.

Daria collects her things and heads for the door.  Quinn catches up with her on the way out.

Quinn:      So, what's the verdict?

Daria:     Huh?

Quinn:     You know, are you guys getting back together or what?

Daria:       No, we're not.  Whatever gave you that idea?

Quinn:     Come on, Daria, it's obvious he's still interested.  This is your chance to get him back on your terms.  You can have him wrapped, I tell you.  (she holds up a pinky finger to make the point)

Daria:     Quinn, imagine what your friends would think if you had to call and get a ride home from the library.

Quinn:     (shuts up)



INT:  Daria's room

Daria dials the phone.



INT:  Lane Kitchen

Jesse is eating a late breakfast in the kitchen as the phone rings.  He get up and answers it

Jesse:     Yeah?

Split screen with Daria.

Daria:       Oh.  I think I have the wrong number.

Jesse:     Hey Daria.  You calling for Jane?

Daria:     Um, sure... Jesse?

Jesse:     Yeah.  I'll get her.

He puts the phone down and exits.  A moment later, Jane picks it up.

Jane:       Yo!

Daria:     Hey.

Jane:     Hey, what's going on?

Daria:     This is going to sound kind of weird, but have you talked to Tom lately?

Jane:     You're right, that does sound kind of weird.  Last time I saw him was the last time you saw him.

Daria:       No, it wasn't.  I bumped into him at the library today.

Jane:     Hm.  What was he doing there? 

Daria:       He said he was looking up information on Bromwell.

Jane:       He was probably stalking you.

Daria:     (scowls)  That's not funny.

Jane:       All kidding aside, why would he need to go to the public library to look up anything on Bromwell?  The Sloane family is Bromwell.  If he wanted information, all he needed to do was dig through some old photo albums.

Daria:       He said he was getting some stuff recently published by some professors there.

Jane:     Yeah, that sounds plausible.

Daria:     Why would he be following me around?

Jane:     Isn't it obvious?  He's still got the hots for you.

Daria:       I don't inspire "hots".

Jane:       Tell that to Upchuck.

Daria:     Upchuck would be turned on by a cinder block.

There's a click, and the split screen is suddenly shared by Nick in the Lane living room.

Jane:     Hello?

Nick:        Oh!  Jane, you still on the phone?

Jane:     Yes, Nick.

Nick:     Could you let me know when you're done?  Thanks.

Nick hangs up.

Jane:     Anyway, it's probably nothing.  I mean, how would he know you were going to be at the library?

Daria:     That's a good point.

Jane:       He probably got a little flustered when he saw you and forgot why he was really there.  Anyway, I gotta go, I need to check out how much the 'Rents put aside for my college fund.  It'll be useful to know whether my Spring Break trip to South Padre Island will be covered.

Daria:     Jane, where the hell are your priorities?

Jane:     You're right, what am I thinking?  First the Spring Break trip, then tuition.

Daria:     Later.

They hang up.  Daria's side of the screen goes away.

Jane heads out into the living room, where Max and Nick are watching TV.

Nick:     You're off the phone?  Cool.

Nick picks up the phone and dials while Jane opens a closet and starts pulling banker boxes out.

Hours Later...

Jane is surrounded by papers from about half a dozen boxes.  Max has fallen asleep on the couch, Nick is still on the phone.

Jane:     Dammit, where the hell do they keep the stupid bank book?

She pulls down another box, and the pile collapses in a large heap.  Jane gives the pile a kick, and start to stomp off when she notices a slim blue book on the top of the pile.

Jane:       Oh.  Of course, it was in the last box.  (she picks it up and starts flipping through it.  It soon becomes apparent that the information she needs isn't in there.)  Nick, is Trent around?

Nick:     (into phone)  Hang on a sec.  (to Jane)  I think he's in the basement.  He's practicing or something.

Jane:     (listening to the silence)  Asleep with a guitar again, huh?

Nick:     (back on the phone again)  So, I'll come by tomorrow and reclaim it, right?  You're not going to sell it to anyone else?



INT:  Lane Basement

Trent is, indeed, sleeping with his guitar, which is hooked through his amp into headphones.  Oddly, his hands seem to be forming chords as he sleeps.

Jane comes down the stairs.

Jane:       Yo, Trent!

no response.

Jane:       I don't have time for this.

She pulls the guitar from his hands and strums at random.  Trent jumps awake.

Trent:     Gaahh!!  Janey, what the hell are you doing?

Jane:     Trying to wake you up sometime this side of the apocalypse.

Trent:      No, I mean you're holding the guitar all wrong.  Your left hand should be more relaxed, you know, loose.

Jane:       I'm not in a relaxed mood right now.  Listen, do you know anything about that account Mom and Dad set up for us to go to college?

Trent:     Hmm... nope.  (starts to go back to sleep)

Jane:     They did set up an account, didn't they?

Trent:      I'm pretty sure.  I remember once I said I wanted to go to Berkeley, and it came up.  Then I learned that you had to take classes.

Jane:     When did you want to go to Berkeley?

Trent:      I think I was about eight at the time.  Anyway, that's the last I heard it.

Jane:     Come on, Trent, this is important.  Do you have any idea how I could get a hold of them right now?

Trent:     Aren't they in Alaska, or something?

Jane:     Canada, I think.  Look, if Mom calls, don't let her get off the phone without talking to me, okay?

Trent:     Sure.

Jane exits.

Trent:     Um, can I have my guitar back?  I need to practice... (he falls asleep.)



INT:  Daria's Room

Daria is reading a book when the phone rings.  She goes to pick it up.

Daria:     Hello?

Spilt screen with Quinn in her room, having picked up the phone at the same moment.  She's about to say "Hello" when she hears -

Tom:     Hey, Daria?  It's Tom.

Tom joins the split screen.  Quinn starts to hang up, then changes her mind and listens in.

Daria:     Um... hello.

Tom:        I just wanted to see how you were doing lately.  These last couple of times we've run into each other, we didn't really get the chance to talk.

Daria:       No, I suppose we didn't.

Tom:        So, how was graduation?

Daria:     Tom, you do realize we aren't going out anymore, don't you?

Tom:     Does that mean we can't ever talk again?

Daria:       No, but it does mean you should stop showing up everywhere I go.

Tom:     Hey, I wanted some pizza, that's all.  It's not like that's unusual behavior.  And I was at the library doing some research.

Daria:       On Bromwell?  Come on, your whole family went to Bromwell.  Why would you need to consult the library?

Tom:     Maybe I wanted some objective information.  Hey, how do I know you're not the one following me around?

Daria:     That's ludicrous.  Why would I do that?  I'm the one who broke up with you, remember?

Tom:        Uh-huh, sure.  And you haven't had a single second thought about it?

Daria:       If I had, they're gone by now.  Just leave me alone, all right?

Daria hangs up angrily.  A moment later, Quinn gently puts the phone down.  She goes and knocks on Daria's door.

Daria:       Get lost.

Quinn:     Daria?

Daria:       Oh, Quinn, I didn't know it was you.  Get lost.

After a moment's hesitation, Quinn goes back to her room.



INT:  Attic

The attic is crammed with just about one of everything.  Boxes are stacked in high, shaky towers all around, there are shelves crammed with pottery and knickknacks, trunks of all description, spare furniture, racks of old clothes... it's an unimaginable mess.  In the middle of it all stands Jane, her mouth hanging open.

Jane:     No... freakin'... way.

One of the box towers collapses.

Jane:     (sigh)   I thought Trent's room was as bad as it could get.  (she picks a stack of boxes at random, and starts digging)

A small window behind Jane lets daylight in.  As time passes, the sun sets and soon the moonlight is coming in instead.

Jane comes down the stairs from the attic, filthy and disheveled.

Jane:     (grumbling)  Stupid goddamn parents can't leave a goddamn bank book where anyone can freakin' find it... I swear when I move out, I'm calling the goddamn IRS and having them freakin' audited, so help me... What was the goddamn point of saving all those freakin' phone books?

She stops at the bathroom, but the door is locked and she hears the shower running.

Jane:       Ah, screw the shower, my sheets are dirty anyway...

Jane stumbles into her room.  Visible only in silhouette in front of the window, she undresses most of the way, kicks her boots off, and climbs into bed.

For a moment, she lies there, then stirs and rolls over.  Jesse rolls over at the same time and they find themselves face-to-face.

Jane:     (sleepy)  Hey, Jesse.

Jesse:     Hey.

Suddenly Jane is wide awake.  She jumps out of bed, pulling the sheet with her to cover up, and smacks the light switch.

Jane:     What the holy living crap are you doing in my bed?!??

Jesse:     Huh?  (yawns)  Oh, is this your room?  Sorry, I didn't realize.

Jane:     Just... just get out!

Jesse:      Oh, sure thing.  (he gets out of bed and shuffles out, yawning.)

Jane:     What the hell else can happen to me today?

The light bulb falls out of her ceiling lamp.


The Next Day...


INT:  Quinn's room

Quinn is on the phone with Sandi (split screen)

Quinn:      So, everything's okay with you and Stacy, right?

Sandi:      I think I managed to convince her that I've always had her best interests at heart.  And after all, it was so long ago...

Quinn:     That's great, Sandi.  I mean, without the club to hold us together, I really want to make sure we all stay friends.

Sandi:     Well, why wouldn't we?  We all get along so well.

Quinn:     Um... sure.  So, let's get together today.

Sandi:      An excellent idea.  I think we should make sure our summer wardrobe is updated.  Shall I drive?

Quinn:     Um, Sandi, I was hoping we could kind of not go shopping today.  There's got to be something else we can do.

Sandi:     What do you suggest?

Quinn:      I don't know, how about we go see a movie or something?

Sandi:     You mean, without guys?  Who would pay for the tickets?

Quinn:     Well, we would, Sandi.

Sandi:     Fine, if you think it's better to spend our money on sitting in the dark for two hours getting fat on popcorn rather than updating our swimwear at Cashman's.


Quinn:     Hang on a second, Sandi.  I've got another call.  (aside)  Could we just have one five-minute conversation without mentioning what's on sale at the mall?  (clicks over)  Hello?

split screen expands to include Stacy

Stacy:     Hi Quinn!

Quinn:      Oh hi, Stacy!  I was just on the phone with Sandi, we were trying to figure out what to do today.

Stacy:     You know what?  I was just talking with Tiffany, and she said that there's a mall-wide sale at Cranberry Commons!  Maybe we could get together and go down there today!

Quinn:     Isn't there anything else we can do with our time besides shop?

Stacy:     I'm not sure I follow you...


Quinn:     Hang on, that's another call.  (grumbling)  Twenty bucks says it's Tiffany wanting to go shopping... (clicks over)  Hello?

split screen expands to include Tiffany

Tiffany:     Hey, Quinn.  Did you hear about the sale at the mall?

Quinn:      I win.

Tiffany:    I didn't even know we were playing...

Quinn:     Never mind.  Hang on a second.

Quinn clicks over again.

Quinn:     Sandi?  Stacy?  Tiffany?  I put us on conference call.  Could we please talk about something we could do that isn't clothes-related?

There's a knock at the door.

Quinn:     Hang on, guys.  I've got to answer the door.  (under her breath)  If it's Brooke, I swear I'll blow a gasket.

Quinn answers the door.  It's Tom.

Quinn:     Tom?  What do you want?

Tom:        Is Daria here?

Quinn:     What, did you guys get back together?

Tom:        No, it's just that our last conversation kind of ended on a bad note, and I wanted to come over and talk about it -

Quinn:      I'm sure this is fascinating but I have a real issue at the moment.  Come back later, okay?

Tom:     What's the issue?  The new Summer fashions don't go with your hair?

Quinn:     God, what's the matter with you?  Can't you think about anything but fashion and clothes?  How can you be so shallow?

Tom:     Huh?

Quinn:     Daria's not here, go try Jane's house or something.  (she closes to door in Tom's face, then gets back on the phone)  Hello?  I'm back.  So, any ideas?

Sandi:     Quinn, having given the matter some consideration, I have come to the conclusion that we have been going about this entirely the wrong way.  The demise of the Fashion Club doesn't mean we should no longer make fashion a priority.  Rather, it is imperative that we keep it foremost in our minds, now that we no longer have the club to remind us.

Stacy:     That's a really good point, Sandi.

Tiffany:     Yeah...

Quinn:     Well, I guess if that's what everyone wants to do...

Sandi:      Of course, if you don't want to go shopping with us, Quinn, there's no reason you should.  After all, there's no requirement that we do these things as a club anymore.

Stacy:     You are coming with us, though, aren't you Quinn?  It just wouldn't be the same without you!

Tiffany:    We need your color sense...

Sandi:     Ladies, we mustn't try to force Quinn into coming with us if she doesn't want to.  Her priorities are her own.

Quinn:     Don't be silly, guys, I want to hang out with you!  Lets... go shopping.

Sandi:      I'll pick you up in twenty minutes, Quinn.

Stacy:     See you there!  Oh, this is going to be so much fun!

Tiffany:     Just like old times...

Everyone hangs up.

Quinn:     Yeah... just like old times...



INT:  Lane Kitchen

Jane is on the phone.

Jane:     Hello?  Hello!  (raises her voice)  Is this Admudsen-Scott South Pole Station?  (pause)  I'm trying to reach Amanda or Vincent Lane!  (pause)  Lane!  L-A-N-E!  (pause)  They would have gotten there about two weeks ago!  (pause)  Yes, with the supply drop!  Were there any human beings in with the supplies, and did they answer to the names Vincent and Amanda Lane?  (pause)  Look, this is a really expensive call, are they there or not?  (pause)  Try New Zealand?  Do you really think I'd be calling you if I hadn't already tried everyplace else on Earth?  (pause)  Fine, I hope your toes freeze off!!  (she slams down the phone)  Dammit!  By the time I find them, I'll have spent my whole freakin' college fund on long-distance calls!  (she dials another number)  Hello?  Tierra Del Fuego Lodge?  Yes, this is Jane Lane again, did Amanda and Vincent say where they were going after the South Pole, and are you absolutely sure it was the same people I'm looking for?

The doorbell rings.

Jane:     Yes, he's a photographer!  (pause)  No, she's not a belly dancer!  (pause)  I said AMANDA, not SAVANAH!

Jesse:     (coming into the kitchen)  Hey Jane, there's some guy at the door for you.

Jane:     (into the phone)  Screw you!  (slams the phone down)  God, people are such morons!  What did you say?

Jesse:     Some guy.  At the door.

Jane:       If it's my father, I'll disembowel him.

Jane stomps out of the kitchen, through the living room where Nick and Trent are hanging laundry, and opens the door.  It's Tom.

Jane:     What the hell do you want?

Tom:     (nervously)  Um, is Daria here by any chance?

Jane:       No, she isn't.  Now if you don't mind, I'm having a bit of a crisis right now and -

Max:     Heads up!

Jane and Tom move out of the way as Max comes in with several pieces of his drum kit.

Tom:        Do you have any idea where she is?

Jane:     What do I look like, her personal secretary?  Go away, I'm busy!  (she slams the door in his face)  What the hell is with these people?

Trent:     Hey, Janey.  Was that Tom?

Jane:     Yes, that was Tom.  Excuse me, I've got to go find out whether the guy who said he saw Mom and Dad in Paraguay had any idea what he was talking about.

Trent:     What did he want?

Jane:     Tom?  He was looking for Daria.  Why do you care?

Trent:     Didn't they break up?

Jane:     (her anger drops a bit)  Yeah, they did.

Trent:      So, why's he looking for her?

Jane:     Hm.  That is kind of weird.  (she returns to the kitchen and dials another number)



INT:  Morgendorffer home

The phone rings.  Next to it is a note that says "Daria - Tom stopped by."  The phone continues to ring, as no one is there to answer it.



INT:  Cashman's

Sandi, Stacy, and Tiffany are enthusiastically digging through clothing racks.  Quinn is staring out the display window with something less than enthusiasm.

Stacy:     (holding up a green swimsuit) Hey Sandi, what do you think of this suit?  I mean, is this my color or what?

Sandi:      I'd suggest you try something a bit more... turquoise.

Stacy:     (frowning) In other words, "Get the blue one"?

Sandi:     (also frowning)  I'm not sure I take your meaning, Stacy.

Tiffany:     Hey, look... you can tan right through this one... how do they do that?

Stacy:     I happen to like this color!

Sandi:     Then feel free to purchase it!  As long as you realize that I won't be held responsible for the resulting stylistic blunder.

Stacy:     Fine, we'll just get another opinion.  Tiffany, what do you think of this suit on me?

Tiffany:     Wouldn't you have to wear sunblock under a tan-through suit?  That might get really icky...

Theresa (works at Cashman's) approaches Quinn as the rest of the girls continue to blab.

Theresa:     Hey, Quinn.  I haven't seen you guys here in almost a week.  I was starting to get worried.

Quinn:     Yeah, well, the Fashion Club kind of broke up.

Theresa:     (very much alarmed)  Oh God, no!

Quinn:      Not that anyone would ever notice...

Theresa:     This doesn't mean you're going to stop shopping here, does it?

Quinn:      (a little peeved) Does it look like we're not shopping?

Theresa:     Thank God!

Quinn:     Why are you getting so worked up about it?

Theresa:     Well, I probably shouldn't say this, but the fact is that the commission I make off you guys is the cornerstone of my entire college tuition financing plan.

Quinn:     Whatever.

Theresa:   So, anyway, can I help you find something?

Quinn:     How about a life?  I could use one of those.

Theresa:   If I knew where to find one of those, do you think I'd be here?

Quinn cracks a smile, despite her best efforts to hide it.

Theresa:     Listen, I'm about to go on break, and I doubt your rack-ogling friends would even notice you're gone for fifteen minutes.  Want to come with?

Quinn glances over at her friends.

Sandi:     Look Stacy, why can't you simply come to terms with the fact that I, as an impartial observer, not to mention an expert at judging skin undertones, am far better qualified to inform you of your proper garment choice than you yourself could ever be?

Stacy:     Impartial?  You're about as impartial as Ms. Barch deciding the terms of a divorce settlement!

Quinn:      (to Theresa)  Let's go.



EXT:  Cashman's

Theresa and Quinn sit on a bench behind the building, drinking diet sodas.

Theresa:   So anyway, the guy comes out of the dressing room and says, "By the way, you're out of toilet paper in there!"

Quinn:     Eeeewwwww!

Theresa:     Yeah, well, fortunately, he was kidding.  But we didn't find that out until after we'd called security on him.  He tried to run for it, and they had him wrestled to the ground and handcuffed before he could explain.

They both laugh for a moment.

Quinn:     Hey Theresa, how come you never talked to us like this before?  You know, just regular conversation?

Theresa:     Well, none of you ever invited it before.  In three years, none of you have ever said anything to me outside the topic of clothes shopping.

Quinn:     Um... sorry.  I guess we've been kind of, well, uppity.

Theresa:     (shrugs) It goes with the territory.

Quinn:      So, why do you work here?

Theresa:     Well, the pay is good.  And I can put some of my previously pointless knowledge about fashion to good use.

Quinn:     What do you mean?

Theresa:     Yours isn't the first Fashion Club that Lawndale High's ever seen, you know.

Quinn:     You were in a Fashion Club?

Theresa:     (imitating Sandi)  Not only that, I was President of the Fashion Club.  (normal voice) For two years.  Then one day I woke up and realized that the whole thing was completely stupid, and I just quit.  Didn't go into a mall again for six months, I was so damn sick of it all.  But it comes in handy for the job.  (a thought strikes her)  Say, if you're looking for summer work, we've got an opening.  I'd put in a good word for you.

Quinn:      I don't know... I mean, think of how Sandi would make me wait on her hand and foot.  I don't think I could stand it.

Theresa:     Well, there's a stack of flyers and applications just inside.  Grab one if you think you might change your mind.  (her watch alarm goes off)  Break's over.

They head back inside.  As they do, Quinn pauses by the application stack, takes one, and shoves it in her pocket.



INT:  Post Office

Daria is dropping some mail off.  She heads outside when she's done.



EXT:  Post Office

Daria begins walking home.  She's gone about a block when Tom's car pulls up next to her.

Tom:     Daria?

Daria:       Oh God.  Tom, this is really too much.  Get this through your head:  We are no longer a couple!

Tom:     Wait!  I admit I went to the pizza place hoping to find you there.  But I swear I was just driving past here when I saw you.

Daria:     Why should I believe you?

Tom:     Daria, how the hell would I know where you were today?  I mean, it's not like you routinely post your daily plans on the internet.

Daria stops walking.

Daria:     Okay, you've got a point there.

Tom:        If you're going home, I could give you a ride.

Daria:       In your car?  Walking is faster.

Tom:     Look, I don't want you mad at me all summer long.  Could we at least talk for a bit?

Daria:       All right.  But don't think that just because I'm getting in your car, it means you can try to kiss me.

Tom:     Wouldn't dream of it.

Daria looks skeptical.

Tom:     Okay, would dream of it, won't do it.

Daria gets in the car, and they drive off.



INT:  Tom's car

Daria keeps her eyes out the window.

Tom:        I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable.  I realize we're not a couple anymore, and I'm not trying to be your boyfriend.

Daria doesn't respond.

Tom:        But I still like talking to you, and I was kind of hoping we could still chat about things every once in a while, on the phone if not in person.  I don't have any friends who I connect with as well as you.

Daria:       Tom, I'm not opposed to the idea of us talking like friends.  But it's too soon.  There's still too much emotional attachment that we need to detach before we can relate on a different level.

Tom:        So, you're still convinced that we should... detach?

Daria:     (frowning)  Tom, you're treading on very dangerous territory.

Tom:     Okay, sorry, you can't blame a guy for trying.

Daria:     Yes, I can!  I didn't reach the decision to break up with you lightly.  I thought about it for a long time before deciding it was the right thing to do.  And it's not a decision I'm going to reverse just because you're lonely.  I'm sorry that it hurt you, but in the long run it's better for both of us, and if you really think about it I believe you'll agree.  So when you act like I might change my mind on the spur of the moment just because you're feeling vulnerable, it just shows me how little you really know me.

Tom:     You're right.  I'm sorry.  It's just that... you're not easy to get over.

Daria:     (gently)  You will.

They pull up in front of Daria's house.

Tom:        Call me later?

Daria:       I'll think about it.

She gets out and heads into the house.



INT:  Morgendorffer Kitchen

Jake is cooking something with tentacles.  Daria walks in.

Jake:     Hey, Kiddo!  Ol' Dad's got a special treat for tonight!  Calamari a la Antoine!  With my own special touch!

Before Daria can respond, Helen comes in.

Helen:      Oh Daria, have you taken a moment to fill out all those scholarship applications?  If you hurry, you might still get some money for this year!

Daria:     Dad:  please don't make me eat that.  Mom:  I've just dropped off the forms at the Post Office.

Jake:     You donít like seafood?

Helen:     Good for you, Daria!

Jake:     Helen!  Couldn't I have a little support here?

Helen:      I meant it was good that she got those applications in.  (She notices the tentacles coming out of the pot on the stove)  Aahh!  Jake, what the hell have you done now?

Jake:     (proudly)  It's Calamari a la -

Helen:      I don't care what it is, it looks absolutely dreadful, get rid of it!

Jake:       But Helen!

Daria:     Looks like sandwich night.

Daria makes her way to the refrigerator and is about to open it when she notices a new note on the door.  It syas, "Daria - Tom stopped by.  Are you guys getting back together, or what?  - Quinn"

Daria:     Hey, how long has this note been here?

Helen:     Jake, canít you just cook hamburgers or something like everyone else?

Jake:       Oh, you should talk!  Every time itís your turn to cook dinner, we have frozen lasagna!  Just how many of those damn things do we have crammed into our freezer, anyway?

Daria:     (peeved) Did Tom stop by today?

Helen:      Oh, and I suppose your Toilet Bowl Stew is any better?

Jake:     Thatís Kitchen Sink Stew!

Helen:     Thatís your opinion, buster!

Daria:     Want to see my tattoo?

Jake:     Fine, if youíre such the culinary expert, letís see you cook anything on Earth that didnít come out of the freezer!

Helen:      For your information, I am more than capable of putting together a recipe, preferably one that doesnít involve tentacles!

Daria leaves them to their arguing.



INT:  Dariaís room

Daria picks up the phone and is about to start dialing when she hears the tone indicating she has a message.  She dials into voicemail to retrieve it.

Phone:     Hey Quinn, itís Jamie.  Want to get together someti Ė

Daria skips it.

Phone:     Quinn, itís Jeffy.  If youíre not already busy a week from Saturday Ė

Skips again.

Phone:     Quinn? Itís Joey, I was Ė


Phone:     Quinn? Itís - (skips) Hey, Quinn, I hoped Ė (skips) Quinn, maybe we could Ė (skips) Daria?  Itís Jane.

Daria stops herself from skipping again and pays attention.

Jane:       For some reason Tom just stopped by here looking for you.  I didnít know where you were, and frankly I probably wouldnít have told him anyway, but I thought I should let you know so if he finds you you wonít be caught off-guard.  Call me, okay?  Oh, and donít worry if I sound pissed off, itís got nothing to do with you.

Dariaís face creases into a frown.  She dials another number.

Elsie Sloane, Tomís sister, picks up the other end.

Elsie:     Hello?

Daria:     Elsie?  Itís Daria.  Could you put Tom on?

Elsie:     Hey, Daria.  Are you guys getting back together or something?

Daria:     (tightly restrained anger)  Just put him on, please.

Elsie:     Um, sure.  One second.

A moment passes.

Tom:     Hello, Daria?

Daria:     (anger no longer so tightly restrained) What the hell is your problem?

Tom:     What do you mean?

Daria:     You know damn well what I mean!  Am I going to have to get a restraining order against you or something?

Tom:     Wait, Daria, itís not like Ė

Daria:     Look, donít give me any more of your crap, all right?  I know you stopped by here today and I know you went to Janeís house next.  Just how long did you drive around town looking for me?

Tom:     Daria, if youíll just let me Ė

Daria:     And by the way, is it possible that you happened to overhear my plans to go to the library that time you coincidentally showed up at Pizza Prince while I was there?

Tom:     Daria Ė

Daria:       Get this through your head, nutcase!  I am not your girlfriend anymore!  I never will be again!  And if you come within twenty yards of me, Iíll show you the kind of damage these boots are capable of inflicting.  STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!

She slams the phone down hard, kicks her door shut, and throws herself onto the bed to stare angrily at the ceiling.


The Next Day...


INT:  Janeís room.

Itís morning.  Jane is asleep on the floor in front of a canvas that shows her mother and father in a large cauldron being cooked by cannibals.

The phone rings.  She stirs, but doesnít get up.

It rings a few more times, then the machine gets it.

Machine:     (Janeís voice)  Abandon all hope, all ye who call here.


Amanda:   (on phone)  Hi kids!  Itís Mom.  I was calling to see if anyoneís seen Summerís children lately; theyíve taken another unannounced trip.  We can be reached at... hmm, what did I do with that number... oh well, weíll call again in a few weeks!  Bye-bye!

Jane:     (suddenly awake) NO!  Wait!  (she grabs the phone)  Hello??  HELLO?!? Dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit, dammit!!



INT:  Lane kitchen

Jane stomps sullenly into the room and pulls up a chair next to Jesse, whoís eating cereal.  She steals his coffee and starts drinking it.

The phone rings again.

And again.

Jesse:      Do you want me to get that?

Jane:     Grmblmbl...

Jesse picks up the phone.

Jesse:     Trentís house.  (pause)  Oh, hi.  (pause)  Uh-huh.  (pause)  Nope.  (pause)  Cool.  (pause)  Iíll ask.  Hey Jane, have you seen your sisterís kids?

Jane:     (suddenly alert)  Who are you talking to?

Jesse:      Itís your dad, I think.

Jane:     Gimme that!!  (she grabs the phone)  Hello?  Dad?  Is that you?

Vincent:     Well hi, Penny!  I didnít expect youíd be at home!

Jane:       Itís Jane, Dad.

Vincent:   Oh!  Say Jane, have you seen Summerís kids?  Theyíve run off again.

Jane:       No.  Listen, I need to ask you something really important.  Do you know what happened to that college fund Mom set up for me and Trent?

Vincent:     Trentís going to college?

Jane:       No Dad, Iím going to college, or at least I will be if I can figure out what happened to the money thatís going to pay for it.

Vincent:     Donít you have to finish high school first, honey?

Jane:     (scowling)  Dad, I finished high school a week ago.

Vincent:     Well, good for you!  I always knew one of my kids would make it.

Jane:     Yeah, fine, yay for me, do you know where the money is?

Vincent:     Well to be honest with you, I had no idea your mother set it up.  Let me see if I can find her...

Jane:     Youíre not going to leave me on hold while you go look for her in Bangkok, are you?

Vincent:   Oh no, sheís right around here somewhere... hold on a second, Jane.

Jane waits, fidgeting.

Amanda:     Hello?

Jane:     Mom!  Iíve been trying to find you for days!  Where are you?

Amanda:     Hmm... I think weíre in Utah.  It was pretty late when we got in last night.

Jane:     Utah?!  Iíve been calling every embassy, hotel, and prison on seven continents, and youíre in UTAH?

Amanda:     Well, weíve been trying to help Summer Ė

Jane:     Track down her little delinquents, I know.  Look, Mom, whereís the college fund?

Amanda:     The what?

Jane:     The college fund!  The bank account you set up a few years back for me and Trentís college tuition!

Amanda:   Oh Jane, donít worry that.  Your father and I prepaid the mortgage six months in advance last time we were there.

Jane:       I donít care about the damn mortgage, Mom!  I need the college money so I can GO TO COLLEGE.

Amanda:     Donít you have to graduate from high school first?

Jane:     MOM, I graduated from high school!  And I got accepted into the Boston Fine Arts College!  Now, I need to pay for it, and you told me the money was there!  So, where is it?

Amanda:     Well, let me think... Iím almost certain I set up the account when you started high school...


Jane:     (impatiently) Can you remember anything else?

Amanda:     Hmm...

Jane:     Can you at least tell me which bank itís in?

Amanda:     Well, I remember it was a red brick building...

Jane:     Mom, this is really important!

Amanda:   Oh Jane, college isnít as important as some would have you believe.  Your father never got past ninth grade, and look at how well heís doing!

Jane:     (very peeved)  Look, Mom.  If you didnít want to pay for my education, thatís fine.  But you told me the money was there, and I was counting on it.  Now Iíve been through a lot to get here, and I donít want to blow the whole thing because you canít remember where you put a few thousand dollars!

Amanda:   A few thousand?  Oh Jane, it wasnít nearly that much.  I think it was around a hundred or so.

Jane:     WHAT??!?  You only put away a hundred bucks for both me and Trent to go to college?

Amanda:   I would imagine that with interest itís a little more than that by now...

Jane:     AARRRGGH!!

Jane shakes the phone in a strangling grip, finally pulling it out of the wall and throwing it across the room, where it catches Max on the head.

Max:     Ow!  Hey, that really hurt!

Jane ignores him and stomps into the living room, shoving Nick out of the way.  He trips and lands on Trent, whoís sleeping on the couch.

Trent:     (waking up) I didnít know she was your daughter, officer!

Nick:     Whoa, Jane, whatís the deal?

Jane:     STUPID Goddamn parents!  A hundred bucks for college?  That wonít even buy one freakiní BOOK!

Trent:     You found a hundred bucks for college?  Cool.

Jane:       NO, Trent, I found Jack Squat for college!  And thanks to our idiot mother, Iím probably not even going to be able to go!  Well, congratulations, Trent, you got your wish!  Looks like Iím staying here forever!

Trent:     Whoa, Janey.  Thatís kind of harsh.  Itís not my fault...

Jane:     Just leave me alone!  And get this goddamn drum kit out of my way!

Jane is about to kick though Maxís drum set when he dashes over to it and valiantly grabs a set of cymbals out of her reach.  She doesnít even seem to notice, but instead just stomps out the door and slams it shut.

Jesse:     Whoa.

Trent:     Yeah.

Thereís a moment of silence.  Suddenly, Jane bursts back in.  She looks around the room slowly, taking in the clothesline hanging with Nickís laundry, the recently rescued drum kit, Jesseís amps stowed in the corner, and a number of boxes that have been stacked up against one wall.

Jane:     (chillingly calm) Trent, just what exactly is all this stuff doing here, and why have these three guys been hanging around so much for the past week?


Trent:     Um... well, itís like this... see, I missed a kind of important gig a while back, and so the guys couldnít make their rent payments, and, well, I kind of let them move in here to make up for it.

Dangerous pause.

Jane:       I see.

Trent:      Itís only for a few months.

Jane:     Hm.

Trent:      I hope youíre not mad.

Jane:     (still icy calm) Mad?  No, Iím not mad.  "Seven Shades of Pissed Off", now that might be a better way to describe it.

Trent:     Uh... sorry?

Jane turns and walks slowly out the door, closing it gently behind her.

Nick:        I think that went over okay.


Jesse:     Maybe not.



INT:  Morgendorffer Living Room

Quinn is on the phone

Quinn:      Of course, the green one was better Ė not that the blue one wasnít nice too... (pause)  No, of course Iím not just agreeing with Sandi!  Iím just saying, I donít think she was trying to talk you into getting a bad outfit.  (pause)  Stacy, could we maybe talk about something else?  (pause)  Like, I donít know, what are your plans for the summer?  (pause)  Isnít there something other than shopping?  (pause)  Oops, is that my call waiting?  I have to go, bye Stacy!

Quinn hangs up with a sigh.

A moment later, the phone rings.  Quinn picks it up.

Quinn:     Hello?  Oh, hi Sandi!  (pause)  Actually, I was just talking to her.  (pause)  Why would I have said that?  I was actually telling her how I thought the blue one was nice.  (pause)  Sandi, isnít there something else we could talk about?  Like... what are your plans for the summer?  (pause)  Besides that!  (pause)  Sandi, I have to go.

Quinn hangs up a little more forcefully.

Thereís a knock at the door.  Quinn gets up and answers it.  Itís Jane.

Quinn:     Thank God, someone normal.

Jane:     Excuse me?  All that shouting I was doing must be affecting my ears.

Quinn:      Itís just that I was afraid you were one of my friends wanting to go shopping. 

Jane:     Yup, Iím definitely hearing things.  Look, is Daria here?

Quinn:      No.

Jane:     Figures.  Iíll try back later.

Quinn:     Wait!  Um... why donít you wait here?

Jane:     (taken aback)  Okay, this is going well beyond auditory hallucinations and extending into true insanity.  Do me a favor and keep sharp objects away from me, okay?  Despite the way theyíre behaving, Iíd like to keep my ears.

Quinn:      I just want someone to talk to!

Jane:       I donít know anything about clothes, fashion, boy bands, or whoís dating who.

Quinn:     Thank God!  Have a seat, Iíll get you a drink.

Quinn heads for the kitchen.  Jane doesnít move right away.

Jane:       Oh, yeah Jane.  Weíve lost it.

A few minutes later, Janeís sitting with Quinn in the living room sipping coffee.

Jane:     Howíd you know I like black coffee?

Quinn:     Well, youíre one of those artistic types.  All artistic types like black coffee.  Itís, like, a thing.

Jane:     So... what did you want to talk about?

Quinn:     Whatever you want, as long as itís not something you think I want to hear.

Jane:     (raising eyebrow)  Ooookay.  Well, shall I tell you about the Hell my life has become lately?  Iíd love to vent about that for a while.

Quinn:     Sure!

Jane:     Well, it all started about a week and a half ago when Daria and I were shooting the bull at Pizza Prince, and Tom comes in Ė

Quinn:     Whatís with him lately?  I mean, he shows up here, he shows up at the library, heís calling all the time.  Didnít she dump him?

Jane:     Wait, go back for a minute.  When did he show up here?

Quinn:     Yesterday.  I sent him to your place.  I figured he picked Daria up there. Mom said he dropped her off here while I was out.

Jane:       He dropped her off?  But Daria wasnít at my place.  How did she end up in his car?

Quinn:     Whatever it was, she couldnít have had a good time.  She was sitting in her room alone listening to that orchestra from Siberia through headphones.  She only does that when sheís, like, really pissed off.

Jane:       I donít like this.  Tomís apparently been stalking her all week, he finally gets together with her, and she gets upset and now suddenly sheís gone.  (she frowns)  Can you borrow your momís car?

Quinn:     Sheíll never know about it, sheís out with some clients all day.  What are you thinking?

Jane:       We need to go talk to my ex.

Quinn:     What about all that venting you wanted to do?

Jane:       Not to worry.  Yelling at Tom has always been one of my favorite stress relievers.



INT:  Sloane house

The doorbell rings.  Tom goes to answer it, and is startled to find Jane on the other side.

Tom:        Oh, hi!

Jane:     (threateningly) "Oh, hi!"  Go to hell!!

Tom:     Eep!  (slams door shut and locks it)

Quinn:     What was that?

Jane:     Couldnít resist.

Quinn:      Let me do most of the talking from now on, okay?

Jane:     Havenít you always done more talking than anyone else?

Quinn knocks on the door.

Quinn:     Tom?  Itís Quinn!   We need to talk to you!

No answer.  Quinn knocks again, louder.

Quinn:     Tom!

The door opens.  Elsie is there.

Elsie:     Jane?  What are you doing here?

Jane:     Scaring Tom out of his wits.

Elsie:     Cool.  You should come over more often.

Quinn:      We really need to talk to him, could you tell him Quinn is here too?

Elsie:     Quinn who?

Quinn:     Morgendorffer!

Elsie:       As in, Daria?

Quinn:     Yes.  Iím her sister.

Elsie:     Daria has a sister?  Funny, she never mentioned it.

Quinn looks a little taken aback.

Jane:     Turnabout, Quinn.  Turnabout.

Quinn:      Look, we really need to talk to Tom, could you get him for us?

Elsie:     Sure, come on in.  You can wait in the library.  (She lets them in, then goes off shouting)  Hey, Tom!  Get out from under your bed and get down here, youíve got company!



INT:  Library (Sloaneís)

Jane is looking at some titles on the shelf, Quinn is standing in the middle of the room looking around disdainfully.

Quinn:     Why would you ever want a room like this in your house?  Itís just weird.

Jane:       But just think of the closet space they must have.

Quinn:     Hm.  Well, I suppose you take the good with the bad.  Listen, try not to scare him again when he comes in here, okay?  Let me talk.

Jane:       Go ahead.  Iím just gathering evidence.

Before Jane can explain her remark, Tom walks in, a little shaky.

Tom:     You didnít come here to beat me up again, did you Jane?

Jane:     Well, that depends on what you did to piss off Daria so much.

Quinn:     Jane!  I said Iíd do the talking!

Tom:     Quinn?  Why are you here?

Quinn:      Sit down, Tom.  We need to discuss something.

With a last glance at Jane, Tom sits.

Quinn:     Tom, we need to talk about Daria.  Something you did has her really upset, and now we donít know where she is.

Tom:        I donít know what I did to piss her off so much!

Jane:       Oh, cut the crap, Tom!  Youíve been following her around all week.  First you show up at the pizza place and donít buy any pizza.  Then you tail her to the library Ė

Tom:        I was looking up stuff on Bromwell!  I didnít know sheíd be there!

Jane:     Donít give me that!  Thereís an entire wall of Bromwell publications right behind you, and if you try to deny it I swear Iíll dump the whole shelf over your head!

Quinn:     Jane!  Let me handle this!

Jane fumes, but says nothing.

Quinn:      So you made sure you were at the library when she was, youíve been calling, you stopped by the other day looking for her, and you apparently found her after a lot of trouble because you drove her home.  I donít know what happened after that, but something got her really mad and I know when a girl is upset over a guy.

Tom:        I havenít been following her!

Quinn:      I also know when a guy is lying.  Start telling the truth, Tom, or Iíll leave you to Jane.

Jane cracks her knuckles behind his head.

Tom:        I... oh, dammit, I have been following her.

Elsie:     You jerk!

Everyone spins around.  Elsie comes in, having obviously been spying at the door.

Tom:     Elsie, this is none of your business!

Jane:     Never stopped her before...

Elsie:     Donít you know how scary it is for a girl when thereís a guy stalking her?  How could you do that to Daria?

Tom:        I wasnít stalking her!

Elsie:     What else would you call it?

Tom:        I didnít mean any harm!  I... I want her back.

Jane:       Fat chance of that now, pal.

Tom:        I know that!  But I thought, if I could just spend some time with her, maybe sheíd remember what it was like.  All I wanted to do was get her to give us another chance!  I mean, we could be seeing each other the whole summer, it doesnít have to end now.

Elsie:     You never know when to quit, do you?

Tom:     Stay out of this, Elsie!

Jane:       No, sheís got a point.  What if weíd broken it off earlier, instead of trying to keep something alive that just wasnít?  Maybe it wouldnít have gone so badly in the end.

Quinn:     Look, Tom.  I happen to think you and Daria made a great couple.  But I know my sister, and if sheís decided itís over, itís over.  Sheís not going to change her mind unless something happens that changes why she broke up with you in the first place.

Tom:        I donít see how thatís going to happen.  Sheís still going to one school, Iím still going to another, and thereís the whole so-called social class crap.

Quinn:      So, what happens when school is over, and youíre on more even ground?

Tom:        We could be two completely different people by then!  It would never work!

Quinn:     Tom!  Listen to yourself!  Listen to what youíre saying!

Tom starts to speak, but then doesnít.  He hangs his head, and seems to be desperately trying not to cry.

Jane:     Wow Quinn, you are good at this.

Quinn:      I think weíre done here.  Come on, Jane, letís go.

Elsie:     (looking uncomfortable)  Iíll, um, walk you out.



EXT:  Sloane House, front porch.

Jane:     Well Elsie, itís been real.  Take it easy.  (she heads to the car)

Quinn:     Nice to meet you, Elsie.

Elsie:     Hang on a second.  Can I ask you something?

Quinn:     Sure!

Elsie:     How did you get so smart?


Elsie:     Quinn?

Quinn:     Sorry, I just never thought Iíd hear anyone ask me that.

Elsie:     What do you mean?

Quinn:     Never mind, I donít want to go into it.  What can I say, Iíve dated a lot of guys, and I know what makes them tick.  Thatís the great thing about being girls; weíre much harder to figure out than they are.

Elsie:       I wouldnít know.

Quinn:     Well, youíre what, sixteen?  I think you need to apply a little pressure to the parents to let you start dating.  I mean, you need to get in on the ground floor, or you spend all your energy catching up later.

Elsie:     Well, unless they change some fairly major rules at the Fielding Preparatory School for Young Women, Iím more or less single until college.

Quinn:     Bummer.  Maybe you should just go to Lawndale instead.  Anyway, gotta go, bye!

Quinn leaves.  Elise is left on the front step, looking thoughtful.



INT:  Helenís car

Quinnís driving, Janeís in the passenger seat.

Quinn:      I wonder where Daria is today?

Jane:       Iím not worried about that anymore.  She can take care of herself.  Listen, could you drop me off someplace?

Quinn:     Sure, I guess so.  Where do you want to go?

Jane:     The mall.

Quinn:     The mall?

Jane:     Yeah, you know, big, sprawling building in a sea of parking lots, filled with overpriced merchandise and morons?

Quinn:     Okay, but if Daria asks were you are, Iím not going to tell her.  Sheíd never believe me.

Jane:       Do tell her to give me a call, okay?

Quinn:     Sure, Jane.

They pull into the mall parking lot.

Quinn:     Say Jane, would you really have beat up Tom over this?

Jane:     Nah.  Iíd decided against that before we even got there.  (she gets out of the car)  The coin came up heads.

Quinn shakes her head, and drives away as Jane heads into the mall.



Two Days Later...



EXT:  Morgendorffer House.

The sun is just coming up.  Tomís getting into his car.  He takes a long look up at Dariaís window, then sighs and drives away.



INT:  Morgendorffer Living Room

Itís at least two hours later.  Daria comes down the stairs in her sleepwear.  She opens the front door and picks up the newspaper.  As she does, she sees a note on the front step.  It says "Daria".

Daria:     Tom.

She takes it inside and reads it.

Note:     Dear Daria,

              Iím writing this letter to you because I know youíd get upset if I stopped by again, and frankly I could stand to live without getting kicked in the throat.

              Iím sorry for everything.  Iím sorry I followed you around, Iím sorry I lied about it, and Iím sorry for making you uncomfortable.  I still donít think we had to break up, but Iím trying to come to terms with your decision.

              You wonít be hearing from me again for a while.  I need to get over you, and I canít do that if Iím always wondering whether Iím going to see you around, or knowing that youíre so close by.  Iím moving in a week or so, to a condo my father owns near Bromwell.  The address is on the envelope if you want to write.

              I hope that you can forgive me, and I hope that someday we can get together like we talked about, and see if maybe thereís something still there worth holding on to.



Daria:     (whispering)  "Love, Tom".




INT:  Cranberry Commons

Quinn and her friends are back at the mall.  Quinnís walking a little behind them, obviously not entirely happy.

Stacy:     Anyway, once I got them both home, I tried them both on and studied them really carefully, and I decided the blue one was better after all.

Sandi:      Iím glad to hear we agree on this, Stacy.  We mustnít be torn apart by baseless arguments at the start of the summer.  It could ruin the entire season.

Stacy:     (a little miffed) "Baseless"?

Sandi:      Did I say that?  I meant to say, er... "minor, but entirely justified".

Tiffany:     But, that doesnít even sound the same...

Quinn:     (sigh)

Sandi:     Sorry, Quinn, what did you say?

Quinn:      Oh, nothing...

Stacy:     Oh my God!  Look at the Cashmanís window!

Collective gasps from all around, except Quinn, whoís not looking.

Quinn:     What, did they put the clunky shoes on the mannequins again?

She looks up, and is instantly as stunned as the rest of them.

The window has been completely worked over.  Two undressed mannequins, painted black, are picking through a pile of dismembered mannequin parts.  Some of them are full torsos which wear various shirts and jackets, others are pairs of legs that wear pants and skirts.  There are severed hands wearing bracelets and heads that have hats or sunglasses.  The scene is backed by a mural that shows blazing furnaces, giant gears and cogs, and steam-venting pipes.

Stacy:     What... what have they done?

Sandi:     This is outrageous!  Come, ladies.  Weíll get to the bottom of this!

The foursome heads purposefully into Cashmanís having to squeeze past a considerable crowd to do so.  Quinn hangs back for a moment to look at the window more closely, and smiles.



EXT:  Cashmanís

The same walkway where Quinn and Theresa hung out before.  Quinn opens the door and steps out.

Quinn:      I thought it might be you!

Jane:     (sitting on the bench)  What do you think?  I hope you donít mind I snatched that application I found in your Momís car, but I find myself suddenly in need of a well-paying job.  Sure, itís not the Guggenheim, but Iíll take what I can get.  

Quinn:     Sandi practically threw a fit.  She threatened never to come back, and the manager told her she wouldnít be missed.  Thereís enough of a crowd out there to more than make up for any extra business we bring in.

Jane:       Ha!  Thatís icing on the cake, Quinn.  So, does this mean you girls are doing your shopping on Degas Street from now on?

Quinn:     Nah.  Even with the gruesome window, this place still has the most fashionable clothes in town.  Sandi will come around.

Jane:     What are you doing here, anyway?  I thought you were over the whole shopping thing.

Quinn:     Well, in the end, it was the only thing my friends and I could find to do together.  Although, it looks like now weíll have other things to talk about if we keep coming here.

Jane:     Glad to be of service.

Quinn:      Oh, just one thing?  Your third mangled body from the left is mixing two different blacks.  Thatís a definite fashion donít, you know.

Quinn leaves while Jane chuckles.



INT:  Pizza Prince

Daria and Jane are splitting a pie.

Jane:       So where were you all day?

Daria:       I went down to Degas Street and kicked around for a while.  I just wanted to be somewhere I knew Tom wasnít.

Jane:       Are you going to see him before he leaves?

Daria:       Iím still thinking about it.  Iím still mad at him, but I donít want him to think Iíll never forgive him.  Maybe Iíll just write him a letter in return.

Jane:     Nah, let the boy suffer.

Daria:     Howís your situation?

Jane:     (sighs)  Frustrating.  I mean, the Cashmanís gig isnít bad, but even if I stay there through December, it only barely covers room, board, and tuition for the first year Ė and thatís assuming I cut my art supplies budget in half and donít go up to visit you at all.  Not how I wanted to spend the summer or the fall.

Daria:       I donít even know what Iím going to do with my summer.  I mean, I suppose Iíll work somewhere, but I have no idea where.  And Iíll have to pick something fast to keep my mother from doing it for me.

Jane:     You know, Iíll bet Nutty Nutty World would hire you back in a New York minute.

Daria:       I donít want any employer that would hire Kevin.  Incidentally, how are things at home?  You know, living with the band.

Jane:       Eh.  Itís not really a problem, I only flipped about it at first because it was just one more thing I didnít need.  As long as they practice only when Iím at work, I can handle it.

Daria:     Thatís good.

Jane:       Of course, there are some other ground rules.  Like Jesse isnít allowed to sleep with me anymore.


Daria:     Someday, explain that to me.  I donít think Iím up for hearing the explanation now.

Jane:     You know, a week ago I felt like we had this pretty well sorted out.  I mean, there were some question marks, but I felt like we were more or less in control of things and all ready for the next step.

Daria:     Someone once told me that things never really are under our control.  We just tell ourselves otherwise so we can function.

Jane:     Thatís a stupid rule.

Daria:     Well, be that as it may... (she lifts her cup)  To the next step?

Jane:       To the next step.









This is the first of what I hope will become a series of stories going through the summer and into Quinn's senior year at Lawndale.  A lot of setup for the future went on in this story, and I deliberately left a lot of loose ends.

The title is a reference to the movie "American Pie" where the lead characters, having graduated from high school, toast to the Next Step.

I feel that this story serves as something of a bookend to my other story "Is Summer Over Already" which delves into Daria and Tom's relationship at its beginning rather than its end.

The story following this one will be entitled "Committed" and will carry through most of the rest of the summer, focusing mostly on the Morgendorffer family and how they react to a sudden, unexpected curve thrown their way.  Expect lots of extended family to make appearances.

Questions, Comments, Reviews, Illustrations (especially Illustrations)? Send mail to MikeYamiolkoski@msn.com.  Also, visit my website at


I encourage readers to check out my other stories:



"Is Summer Over Already?"

"Community Disservice"

"Outside the Box"

Thanks to:

My wife Rachel, who read the first draft and sent it back dripping in blood.

The webmasters who posted this story Ė whomever they are.

All the people at MTV, especially Glenn Eichler, who made Daria possible.


Disclaimer:  Daria, et. al., are not my creations.  They belong to MTV.  I'm just borrowing them for a bit.

This story, with its words chosen exactly so and put together in the proper order, is my creation, © 2002 by Mike Yamiolkoski, and may only be distributed in its entirety with the above information, name of the author, and E-mail address of the author intact.



And, for those who bothered to read through all the endnotes, I presentÖ





Tom lifted the last box into the U-Haul, slid it shut, and locked it.  He looked one last time down the street with a hopeless optimism, thinking maybe, just maybe, she'd be there.

She wasn't.

With a sigh, Tom walked around and started to climb into the cab.  He'd already said his goodbyes to the family, and anyway his father would be dropping by in a week to see how he was settling in.

"Tom?  Wait up a moment!"

He looked back.  It wasn't Daria, of course.  It was Elsie.

"Hey, Elsie," Tom said.  "Hoping to get in a parting shot?"

Elsie held out an envelope.  "This is for you," she said.

Tom looked at the envelope.  "How long have you had this?" he asked angrily.

"She gave it to me two days ago.  Don't get all riled, she made me promise I wouldn't tell you about it or give it to you until you were just about to leave."  Elsie twisted her toes on the driveway.  "You know," she said, "I'm going to miss you, big brother."

Tom tore himself away from the envelope and smiled at his sister.  "Yeah, I'm going to miss you too.  Write to me, okay?  Maybe our relationship will go a little smoother with a few hundred miles in between us as a buffer zone."

Suddenly, Elsie hugged him.  Tom was startled at first, but hugged back.  She was a pain-in-the-neck, spoiled little brat, but he really was going to miss her.  She was one of the few people who really kept him on his toes.

"See you later, sis," he said.

Elsie gave him a wink and a smile, and ran back into the house.  Tom climbed into the cab of the truck, took a deep breath, and opened the envelope.

A single piece of paper fluttered out.  On it was a single word: