Daria

in

"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.

PART ONE

INT: PIZZA PRINCE

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 – 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...

Silence.

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 –

Tiffany: Ew...

Quinn: – 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)

Max: AUUGHH!! TURN IT OFF, TURN IT OFF!!

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

INT: Morgendorffer Residence, Living Room

Daria is watching TV.

TV: He donated his brain to science – 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 –

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.

-Flashback-

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.

-click­-

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...

-click-

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.

END PART ONE