Thanks to Isa Yo-Jo for the title.
It was the day after Quinn's Junior Prom and so it was almost one in the afternoon before she got up. Helen, working from her home office, heard her stumble from bedroom to shower, then some time later, head down to breakfast.
Putting away the brief she was going over, she walked into the kitchen where her youngest was idly reading the back of the Model Krunch cereal box.
"Oh, good, you're up!" Helen said brightly. "I was afraid I'd have to wake you. You have an appointment at two thirty, remember?"
Quinn swallowed the bite of cereal she'd been nibbling. "Yes, Mom. I still don't see why I have to go. I'm not like Sandi or anything."
"I know sweetie, but after what hap-" She quickly stopped herself. "Sometimes it's just good to have someone to talk to."
Quinn just shrugged. "It's your money."
"How was prom?" Helen changed the subject.
Quinn shrugged again. "I thought it would be more..." she trailed off, waving her hand. "Just more, I guess. Without Sandi and Tiff, it just wasn't as fun as it would have been. My date wasn't very attentive, either." She frowned into her cereal. He'd been reluctant to even go with her in the first place and had pretty much ditched her as soon as they got there. After, she and Stacy had gone to a party, but it hadn't been much fun. Not like the old days, anyway.
Since the break-up of the Fashion Club earlier that year, after Sandi had been admitted to Quiet Oaks after weighing in at 80 pounds and Tiffany had gained almost as much from the anti-anxiety meds she'd been given, boys just didn't seem as interested in dating the former mavens of Lawndale High fashion. Except for maybe Stacy. Quinn almost laughed at how, out of the four of them, Stacy seemed to have come out on top. She didn't because the sudden loss of her admirers still confused and upset her. She chose not to think about it.
"How is Tiffany?" Helen asked.
Quinn wrinkled her nose. "Fat."
"Quinn!" her mother exclaimed.
"Well, she is! I hope I never get ODC or whatever," Quinn said. "I'd hate to lose my cuteness."
Helen shook her head at her youngest and said quietly, "OCD."
"Whatever." Quinn looked at her upside-down reflection in her spoon. "Stacy got Queen."
"Really? Good for her!" Helen tried to sound positive, since it was obvious Quinn thought it should have been her.
"I can't believe I wasn't even nominated!" Quinn squealed in a sudden burst of temper. "I'm cute! Cuter than her!"
Helen winced. "I know sweetie. But you know a lot happened this year..." She trailed off again, then continued trying to brighten her voice. "I know you'll get it next year."
Quinn sighed. "Yeah. Besides Senior Prom is way more important than Junior. Thanks, Mom."
Glancing at her watch Helen asked, "Do you need a ride to the doctor's?"
Quinn got up and rinsed out her bowl. "No, Stacy said she'd take me. We were going to go shopping after."
"She's such a good friend," Helen said almost sadly.
Quinn gave her mom an odd look. "Whatever."
Daria sat in the living room, flipping channels when the doorbell rang.
"Got it!" she called. Opening the door revealed Stacy Rowe.
"Quinn ready to go?" she asked brightly.
"Down in a minute!" came the call from the top of the stairs.
Stacy called back, "Take your time!"
Daria looked at the younger girl and thought about the last few months. She had been meaning to say something. "Stacy..."
Stacy looked back quizzically. "Yes?"
"Thanks for sticking by Quinn. I mean after what happened with Sandi, and then Tiffany and then the car-" She stopped her self when she thought she heard steps on the stairs, but Quinn didn't appear.
Stacy just smiled. "It was rough for all of us, but I think we're all better in the end. Now that Sandi and Tiffany are getting the help they need...it's sad in a way, but I can't say I'm surprised. You obsess over one thing long enough and it's going to do things to you. I had to say something about it."
Daria was surprised. "Oh, I assumed it was Quinn who talked to their parents."
Stacy's eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly, but she smiled. "Surprised it was me? I was a bit more soft-spoken then, wasn't I? Well, we all change."
"There was certainly reason enough for it," Daria agreed. The past few months had changed her, too. "I suppose that's the silver lining. Count yourself lucky you didn't have to go through what they did to make that change."
"Luck had nothing to do with it."
Daria's stomach dropped at the predatory smile that spread across Stacy's face, but Quinn descending the stairs prevented her from saying anything.
"I'm ready!" Quinn chirped.
Stacy smiled at her friend, secure in the knowledge that after the car accident, she was definitely the cuter of the two. The whole right side of Quinn's face was a mass of pink-white scars, her right eyelid drooping slightly. There was a thin line of scalp that would most likely never grow hair again from her temple to the back of her head. Quinn had blocked out all memory of the accident and had reacted so strongly to the sight of the scars that she had convinced herself they weren't even there. Three times a week she went to the psychologist, not understanding why. That had been the most complicated and dangerous one of the three, Stacy thought to herself, but also the most rewarding. Nudging Sandi into anorexia had taken hardly any effort at all. After that, convincing Tiffany's parents her obsession with her appearance was dangerous, was a piece of cake. It was just icing that her psychologist turned out to be diagnosis-happy and probably getting kickbacks from some big pharma company. But taking away Quinn's looks, and her not even realizing it, was her crowning achievement.
Stacy turned to Daria as they left. "Be careful if you go out, Daria. Drivers today are maniacs."