The Other Story of D
Text ©2003 Roger E. Moore (email@example.com)
Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Synopsis: Jane discovers a short story that Daria wrote during a low period in her life, and she gains a view into Daria that she never imagined existed.
Author’s Notes: The events in this story take place shortly after the “Daria” TV movie, “Is It College Yet?” at the start of Daria’s last summer at home before she goes to college in Boston. The title comes from “Daria” episode #505, “The Story of D,” the events in which are referenced briefly here. This story is strongly tied to episode #413, “Dye! Dye! My Darling” and the TV movie, “Is It Fall Yet?” The events in episode #213, “Write Where It Hurts,” are critical to this story, as the story-within-a-story here is an alternate-future version of the story-within-a-story there; if a video of the actual episode is not available, the transcript for it is at: http://www.outpost-daria.com/ts_ep213.html
Acknowledgements: My heartfelt appreciation goes out to these most excellent beta-readers, who went above and beyond the call of duty: Brother Grimace, Galen Hardesty, Robert Nowall, and Mike Yamiolkoski. Your comments and criticisms helped the final work immensely. My gratitude also goes to Kara Wild, who had a long debate with me about Daria’s ability to say the L word, and I admit now that Kara was right. Figures.
EXT: Exterior scene
VO: Voice over (off screen)
1. INT: WEEKDAY AFTERNOON, EARLY SUMMER, DARIA’S BEDROOM, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Daria Morgendorffer types at her computer station, her back to her friend Jane Lane. Jane lies on her stomach on Daria’s bed, reading a printed manuscript on loose pages. On the floor beside the bed is a small cardboard box full of files and papers. Jane reaches the last page of the story and carefully puts the story pages together again.
JANE: Wow. I see why this had such an impact on your mom and Mr. O’Neill. This is really good.
DARIA: [still typing] If you cry on me, I’ll hit you.
JANE: Nah, I’m sort of immune to tissue-pullers. I get my daily minimum requirement of angst just being an artist. [examines first page of story] You don’t have a title for this.
DARIA: [still typing] I thought about “Dawn of the Blood Suckers,” but it was sort of cutesy.
JANE: Why don’t you call it “Hearts”? You and your family play a game of hearts at the end, and it’s a pretty emotional story—especially considering its source.
DARIA: [stops typing, sighs] You’re right. I should burn it.
JANE: [looks at Daria in disbelief] Burn it? Morgendorffer, you should send this out now and get it published. I can’t believe you sat on this for two years. I’m serious, this is great! Get it in print!
DARIA: Then everyone will cry on me. [gets up from computer] I’ll get the lighter fluid.
JANE: [rolls over on bed, holding story out of Daria’s reach] You’re not going to burn this! You whine and whine about wanting to be a writer, then you produce something like this, and you want to burn it? Get real! [looks over side of bed at box of manuscripts] What else have you got?
DARIA: You’ve been snorting enamel paint fumes and Crazy Glue again.
JANE: [sits up on bed] That’s what the little blue aliens tell me. [leans over, digs into box] Let’s see what the Muses tricked you into doing.
DARIA: Hey! [walks over quickly to grab box] You can’t read anything else. That was it.
JANE: [jerks a folder out of the box and hides it behind her back] This one I can!
DARIA: [glares] Give it back! [grabs for it, but Jane holds it out of reach]
JANE: [sweetly] After I read it and cry over it, sure.
Daria fidgets and looks frustrated and anxious.
JANE: You’re scared that I’ll hate it? Look, I read your weird story about the flesh-eating bacteria and we’re still friends, right? And Tom loved it, silly sentimental boy that he is. Lemme read just one more, this one.
DARIA: [frowns, still fidgeting] Someone will be home soon, and I’ll have to hide the box again.
JANE: [calmly and deliberately] Daria, relax. Quinn’s dating, your folks are at work—we’re alone! Take a chill pill and cool out. Poke at your ‘pooter and let me read. This could really suck, it could suck so bad that it drags me into the paper itself, but—trust me on this—I’ll still let you buy pizza for me.
DARIA: [glares at Jane] You should work on a crisis hot line.
JANE: I call ‘em as I see ‘em.
Daria groans and walks back to her computer, sitting in front of it. She doesn’t type right away. Jane nods and opens the folder, taking out the story.
DARIA: [nonchalant voice] What’s the name on the folder?
JANE: [turns head sideways to read folder label] “The Other Story.”
With a gasp, Daria rockets out of her chair and lunges for Jane, arms out, hands reaching for the manuscript.
DARIA: [panicked] No! You can’t read that!
JANE: [startled] Whoa! Down, girl! [carefully fends Daria off with feet and free hand, holds manuscript out of reach] Okay, that’s it! Leave the room! Go!
DARIA: Hey, this is my room!
JANE: Out! [points to the door] Go outside and kick someone. Go get a makeover, anything, but let me read this. I swear I won’t read anything else. Just this one.
Daria looks stricken, far more upset than seems appropriate.
JANE: [frowns] There something in this story no one is supposed to see? Or do you just think I suck at story reviews?
Daria swallows, her face alive with fear—but she then turns without a word and leaves the room at a quick pace. Moments later, her footsteps are heard descending the staircase to the first floor, then hurrying off.
JANE: [surprised, gets off bed, walks to doorway] Daria? Daria! Okay, I won’t read it! What’s wrong?
After a long pause, Jane walks back to the bed and settles back on the pillows. Glancing at the doorway from time to time, she begins to read the story. We focus over her shoulder at the top lines:
Jane starts to read the story, then frowns. She picks up the first story she read (“Hearts,” the story from “Write Where It Hurts”) and looks at it, then looks back and forth between the two stories before putting “Hearts” aside and reading “The Other Story.”
2. DARIA’S STORY—EXT: A DECADE FROM NOW, FRONT DOOR, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Daria Morgendorffer, now an adult, stands outside the front door of the Morgendorffer home in Lawndale. Physically, she looks as she did in “Write Where It Hurts” (same face, hair, glasses), but she now wears a wash-worn beige outfit: long-sleeved blouse, long pants, walking shoes. A battered subcompact car with heavily tinted windows sits in the driveway behind her; a trail of oil drops goes up the driveway behind it. A crying infant wrapped in a blue blanket is nestled in Daria’s arms. Daria stands so that the baby is shielded from the sun at all times, keeping her own face turned away from the sunlight. Daria’s face is lined and tired, and her hair is uncombed. She wears no makeup. The door opens and reveals an aged Helen Morgendorffer.
HELEN: [cheery] Hi, sweetie. And how’s my favorite grandchild today?
3. DARIA’S STORY—INT: MOMENTS LATER, FOYER, MORGENDORFFER HOME
DARIA: [enters house quickly] She woke up at four and hasn’t gone back to sleep since. We’re both worn out.
HELEN: [reaches for crying baby] Here, let me take her.
DARIA: Sure. [lets Helen take the baby from her] I couldn’t sleep anyway. The people in the upstairs apartment were fighting, and the people downstairs had a party and wouldn’t turn down their music. [sighs] I’m sorry to complain. How are you doing, Mom?
HELEN: [holding baby, who is now quiet] I’m okay. It’s harder to get out of bed anymore. There isn’t much to do. I fixed up the flowerbed out front. Did you like it?
DARIA: [turns to (closed) front door, then back to Helen] Yeah, it looked great. You’re wearing a hat, right? When you go out? Covering up with sunscreen, sunglasses, all that?
HELEN: [kisses baby] Oh, sure. It’ll take more than an ozone layer collapse to keep Helen Morgendorffer inside.
DARIA: Mom, that’s not funny anymore. You have to keep covered up. The cancer rates are through the roof. Don’t you know that?
HELEN: [walks toward living room with baby] Oh, Daria, for heaven’s sake, I watch the news, too. [looks at Daria, narrows eyes] And why aren’t you wearing a hat?
DARIA: [shrugs, changes topic] What’s going on with you?
4. DARIA’S STORY—INT: MOMENTS LATER, LIVING ROOM, MORGENDORFFER HOME
HELEN: Oh, Quinn’s in town, on her way to New York. She’s supposed to drop in today sometime. Why don’t you stay for a while?
DARIA: [grim look] Great. Maybe she’ll put her cell phone down and remember who I am.
HELEN: [glances at Daria] Oh, Daria.
DARIA: Oh, Daria, what? Mom, she hasn’t called me since the funeral. She didn’t see me or call me when I was in labor, she doesn’t even know what—[gestures at baby, then puts both hands on her head]—why am I even going on about this? She doesn’t care. [drops hands] She’s the one who’s got a life. I sure as hell don’t. She’s got the jets, and I’ve got the clunker with no A/C.
HELEN: [sharply] Daria, stop it. [nods at baby, cuddled against her] Mind if I feed her? I still have some formula in the kitchen.
DARIA: [flops down on old sofa] Sure, whatever. She won’t take it from me.
HELEN: [turns as she’s leaving] What?
DARIA: I said, she won’t take it from me. I can’t get her to . . . to breast feed. [turns red, looks away] She won’t . . . she just won’t. I don’t know what’s wrong. Maybe it’s because I’m so tense or something, I don’t know what. She and I just get on each other’s nerves. I dunno what’s wrong, but I have to use a bottle. I feel so damn useless.
HELEN: [stares at Daria, then goes into kitchen] She needs you, like I need you. You’re her mother.
DARIA: [groans, stares at nothing across the room for a few seconds] I went to see Dad on the way over. They still haven’t seeded his plot or killed the weeds or anything. I went in and yelled at the director and threatened to sue, and he just said he’d look into it. [more worked up] I hate that guy. He doesn’t give a damn. He gets his money, and you know he’s thinking, what are you gonna do, dig him up and move him? Jeez, I hate that bastard. [pause] You know what, I’m going to do it myself. I’ll go buy some grass seed and fertilizer and fix up Dad’s place like it should be. Just let that bastard stop me. If Dad could see the mess his place is, he would have a . . . he’d . . . [shrugs, quickly abandons topic] I’m sorry. I’m not having a good life anymore.
HELEN: [VO, from kitchen] Do you need money?
DARIA: [tense] No, I don’t need money. I still have some left in the trust. I’m okay.
HELEN: [VO, from kitchen] Have you heard back from your agent?
DARIA: [flinches, groans, pause] He let me go.
HELEN: [VO, from kitchen] What? [reappears in doorway, bottle-feeding baby] He let you go?
DARIA: [explosively] He let me go, Mom! Damn, I’m sorry. He just let me go.
HELEN: [stares at Daria in shock] How can he do that? He’s your agent and he’s—
DARIA: [loudly] Mom, please drop it, okay? He let me go! Nothing of mine is selling! I’m . . . I’m trying to get back on with the local newspaper, maybe as an editor or something. I see them tomorrow. They’ve got employee childcare there now. I checked.
HELEN: [indicates baby] I can take care of her during the day, if you need.
DARIA: No, Mom, I’ll take her in with me if I get the job. I can’t have you do that. [hesitates] Oh . . . can you watch her tomorrow when I go in for the interview? I have to type and everything, and I really hate to—
HELEN: Oh, Lord, Daria, of course! She’s my little angel!
Daria looks at her daughter, resting peacefully against her mother’s shoulder and drinking from the bottle. Daria’s face becomes very sad.
HELEN: [hesitates, soft voice] Have you gotten anything from Marcello?
DARIA: [pause, shaken out of reverie] Not a thing. He’s off somewhere, probably screwing his brains out, enjoying his freedom again.
HELEN: [shocked] Daria!
DARIA: [sighs] Mom, let it go. He’s gone.
HELEN: But I can’t believe he’d run off from his own precious daughter! [louder] Or mine!
Daria starts to answer, but cannot. After struggling for words, she shrugs and looks away.
HELEN: What about the child welfare people I recommended? Didn’t they go after him?
DARIA: They can’t find him, and they can’t get anything out of his estate. He hid his money somewhere, and I can’t afford a hotshot lawyer to dig it up. The state’ll take years to get around to it. He’s just gone. I don’t even want to bother with him anymore.
HELEN: If I could take the case, I would, believe me. Are you sure I can’t get someone from my old firm to—
DARIA: No, Mom, and don’t you pay for it, either. He’d fight it, we’d go nowhere, and we’d spend all that money for nothing. Let it go.
HELEN: Well, they’ll catch him one of these days and make him pay!
Daria shrugs, beyond caring.
HELEN: You want some coffee?
DARIA: What? Oh. [gets off couch] Let me make it.
HELEN: Oh, I can do it.
DARIA: No, you’ve got your hands full. [heads into kitchen]
5. DARIA’S STORY—INT: MOMENTS LATER, KITCHEN, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Daria enters the kitchen and walks to the coffeemaker, picking up the glass pitcher and filling it in the sink. Helen comes in behind her, standing on the other side of the central counter, holding the bottle-nursing baby.
HELEN: Quinn was on WorldWeb News again. Her company’s doing really well.
DARIA: [filling pitcher, dull voice] I know. Saw it on the tube this morning when there was nothing else to do.
HELEN: I use her new blush. I don’t have it on right now, but it is nice.
Daria doesn’t respond or look at Helen.
HELEN: [looks uncomfortable] Daria, I meant to ask you. Did the divorce go through?
DARIA: [puts full pitcher into coffeemaker] Not yet. I have to wait a full year and apply for abandonment if I can’t get him to respond. They changed all the laws about that. I’ve got six months left.
HELEN: After that’s over . . . are you thinking about looking again?
DARIA: For what? Oh. [pause] No.
HELEN: You’re a smart young woman, you could meet a—
DARIA: [fiddling with coffeemaker controls] No. I was stupid once. God strike me down if I’m stupid twice. Marcello was enough.
HELEN: Well, what do you think got into him that he would run off—
DARIA: [turns and shouts] He got sick of me, okay? Just drop it!
The baby stops feeding and starts to cry. Helen puts down the bottle and cuddles the infant, making soft noises, and the baby subsides. Daria leans back against the counter by the sink, covering her face with her hands.
DARIA: [muffled] He just got sick of me. Everything fell apart. He got tired of me not getting anywhere with anything, complaining all the time, and he left. Please let it go, okay? Please?
Daria drops her hands, her eyes red, and fiddles with the coffeemaker controls again. The doorbell rings.
HELEN: Oh! I’ll get it. I bet that’s Quinn! [leaves kitchen for front door, with baby]
DARIA: [stares down at coffeemaker’s control lights] Shit. [rubs at her eyes with her palms, sniffs, straightens her clothing, leaves kitchen for the front door]
6. DARIA’S STORY—INT: MOMENTS LATER, FOYER, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Helen opens the front door, and Quinn comes in. Beautiful as a teenager, Quinn is stunning now, a twelve on a scale of one to ten, wearing an expensive and colorful business suit with tasteful diamond jewelry. Four men in white suits and sunglasses—clearly hiding weapons in their jackets—walk back to a white stretch limousine parked by the curb. The limousine’s windows are totally black.
QUINN: [to bodyguards] Two hours, okay? [to Helen] Mom, good to see you. [leans close to kiss Helen, frowns and pauses because Daria’s baby is in the way, manages to give Helen a peck on the cheek] I can’t stay long. There’s a board meeting in Manhattan tomorrow morning. Lots of stuff in the air. Babysitting in your spare time now?
HELEN: This is your little niece! Isn’t she adorable? Sweetie, please stay as long as you can. I haven’t seen much of you lately.
QUINN: [flips her long hair back] Yeah, I know. I’ve . . . [sees Daria walk into view from the kitchen] . . . well, well. Big sis is home, too. [raises right hand, palm down and level, to forehead as if measuring her height] I think I’m taller than you are, now, you know?
Daria walks up to Quinn, but just before she reaches her sister, a cell phone rings in one of Quinn’s pockets. Quinn instantly holds up a hand to keep Daria back as she fishes in her pocket for the phone.
QUINN: Wait a second, I think this is . . . [puts cell phone to ear] . . . Quinn. Oh, Andre. Yes, hold on a moment, let me go in the other room. I’m in Lawndale, yeah. Hold on.
Quinn brushes past Daria, who had started to put out her arms to greet her sister. As Quinn walks off into the living room, Daria stares after her in shock, then drops her arms and looks painfully depressed. Helen stares from Quinn to Daria, stunned at what happened.
HELEN: [heads after Quinn] I’m going to bring her back. She should know better.
DARIA: [exasperated] Forget it, Mom.
7. DARIA’S STORY—INT: MOMENTS LATER, LIVING ROOM, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Helen, still carrying the baby, walks up behind Quinn.
QUINN: [to phone] Do you have Exhibit C? You know what that’s all about, right? [pause] You’re goddamn right it is.
HELEN: [loud angry whisper] Quinn, your sister’s here!
QUINN: [to phone] Uh, hold a sec. [thumbs button on phone, turns to Helen in anger] Mom, I let you interrupt every family vacation and get-together we’ve ever had with your stupid phone calls from Eric. The least you can do is let me take this one call. My whole career depends on this. Okay? Can I have that?
HELEN: [taken aback] Well . . . please hurry. You haven’t seen Daria in ages.
QUINN: As soon as I get this wrapped up. [thumbs phone back on, flips her hair, to phone] Andre, you still there? Good. Exhibit C is going in, or else you’re going to feel a nuclear pitchfork jam you right in the ass, got it?
Helen looks startled at Quinn’s words and tone, then turns and walks back to Daria—but Daria’s gone. Still holding the baby, Helen walks to the kitchen entrance and sees Daria walking over to the coffeemaker.
8. DARIA’S STORY—INT: MOMENTS LATER, KITCHEN, MORGENDORFFER HOME
In the background, we see Helen enter the kitchen. Daria, her face tight, pulls the pitcher from the coffeemaker—but the pitcher jams and sloshes boiling coffee over her right hand. She jerks back with a cry, grabbing her injured hand. She quickly puts her hand under the sink faucet and runs cold water over it, her face reflecting terrific pain.
DARIA: [burns self] Ow! Damn it! [runs water on hand] Damn it to hell!
HELEN: Daria, sweetheart, are you all right?
DARIA: [face rigid, gasps] Fine! I’m fine!
HELEN: [hurries to see injured hand, holding baby] Let me see that!
The baby begins to cry. Helen gasps in horror when she sees Daria’s hand.
HELEN: Oh, Daria! You need to have that looked at!
DARIA: [strained look, still in great pain, hand under running water] I don’t have health insurance, Mom! Just leave it alone! It’s okay! Forget it!
HELEN: I don’t care if you don’t have health insurance! I’m taking you to have that looked at! I’ll pay for it!
The baby cries harder, sensing the tension and loud voices.
QUINN: [VO, in living room, loudly, to phone] I said two one three, Andre. Dick around with me any more, and it goes up to five one three. [pause] You think I’m goddamn kidding? Well, you— [pause] All right, then.
DARIA: [takes bright red hand out of water, holds it up, wiggles fingers painfully] Look, Mom! I’m okay, all right? [sniffs back tears] It’s just red, that’s all! [looks at her baby] Look, can you get her to stop crying? My hand doesn’t hurt any more, I swear it. I’m fine. [turns off water, picks up dishtowel and gingerly dabs her burned hand dry, her face trembling each time the dishtowel touches her hand] See? I’m okay. I’m fine.
Unnoticed by Daria or Helen, Quinn enters the kitchen and stops just in the doorway. She watches them with a look between amusement and disgust. Daria’s baby still cries loudly.
HELEN: Baby, you can’t go to that interview with your hand like that! How are you going to type or write—
DARIA: [looks at her baby, loud and anguished] Can’t you get her to stop crying?
QUINN: [calm, disinterested] When you two are done, I have some news.
Daria and Helen glance at Quinn, surprised to see her. Helen rubs the baby’s back, making cooing noises.
QUINN: [nods to Daria] What’s with your hand?
DARIA: [hides her hand, fast deadpan] Nothing. Tell us your news.
HELEN: [kisses baby] Ssh, Grandma’s little angel, Grandma loves you, loves you, loves you.
The baby subsides, but still appears upset.
QUINN: [watches Helen] I just remembered why I decided not to have kids yet. [shrugs] Well, the bad news, Mom, is that you’re moving out of this dump.
HELEN: [stares at Quinn] What?
QUINN: I’m moving you out of this dump. Pick a city, any city, and you’re going there. Pick a house, any house, and you’ve got it. [glances at Daria] You can have this one if you want, sis.
HELEN: Quinn, what on earth are you talking about?
QUINN: [pauses, grins like a wolf] The Big Red Q is no more. I just sold my interest in Q-Star Cosmetics.
Daria and Helen stare at Quinn, thunderstruck. Daria’s baby begins to cry again, but Helen absently rubs the baby’s back, and again the baby subsides.
DARIA: Your company? You sold it?
QUINN: My interest in it, and I’m retiring as CEO. I sign the papers in Manhattan tomorrow. [to Helen, deadpan voice] Sorry I was on the phone, Mom, but I had to finish what I started. I learned that from you. Don’t let anything stop you from clinching the deal.
HELEN: [stunned, weak voice] Well, it would have been nice to greet your sister first.
QUINN: [waves issue aside, walks forward to island counter in kitchen, rests hands on counter] I’ll greet her now. [deadpan] Hi, Daria. Long time, no see.
DARIA: [still hiding her hand, deadpan] So, what did you sell out for?
QUINN: [smiles, speaks slowly] Two hundred thirteen billion. [pause] Not counting the extra annual payouts for the next ten years, of course.
Daria stops moving; she stares at Quinn with a mixture of disbelief and dread. Helen gasps, her eyes huge, her mouth open. Both are staggered.
HELEN: Oh, my God. Oh, my God, you . . . that’s . . .
QUINN: Sold my shares to Sandi and her backers. She’s been after my job since day one, and she’s got it. [wicked grin] Hope she enjoys the hot seat. There’s a hostile buyout waiting in the wings in just two days.
HELEN: You said . . . how many million?
QUINN: Two hundred thirteen billion. Billion, Mom, not million. [pause] Pick a city, pick a house, and it’s yours. Damn, just pick a freaking city, and it’s yours, all right?
Daria looks down at her injured hand. Most of her right hand is bright red and beginning to swell. She carefully wraps her hand in the dishcloth, adjusting it to look as if she were carrying it. Her face betrays no emotion, though her jaw is tight with pain.
HELEN: [shocked, soft voice] I . . . but what if I want to live here? I mean, this is our home, Quinn. It’s all I have.
QUINN: You can have a townhouse in Paris, Mom, and one in Miami and one in Hong Kong and wherever the hell else you want. [shrugs] Think it over.
DARIA: [low deadpan, dry mouth] Congratulations.
QUINN: [eyes Daria coolly] Thank you. [pause] Know what? It worked out sort of ironically, you know? Today is the tenth anniversary of the moment I got the idea for Q-Star. Did I ever tell you how it happened?
HELEN: [still shocked, weak voice] No. I think I’d better sit down. [wanders over to table and sits in chair with baby]
DARIA: [looks down, avoiding Quinn’s gaze] No. You haven’t talked to me much.
QUINN: [looks intently at Daria] It was the night of the Blush-a-thon. You remember that? [snorts, smiles] You ought to. I had Sandi, Stacy, and Tiffany over. Sandi was doing Stacy, and I was doing Tiffany, and I kept thinking, what’s wrong with my color sense? I was having trouble getting the colors right on Tiffany’s skin. It was her skin, her eyes, her hair, her lips, everything. I kept moving lamps around, trying to get more light, and it dawned on me. It was a, um, revelation. [smiles] I like that word. Revelation. I suddenly knew what was wrong with the colors I was using on Tiffany.
DARIA: [low deadpan] And now you control Asia.
QUINN: [grins, scratches her nose] Well, the cosmetics part of it, yeah. We grossed a trillion last year for the first time. Funny to think of it now. Sandi in control, right where she wants to be, Stacy running human resources, and Tiffany our top core-product model—and me taking early retirement.
DARIA: [low dry voice, still avoiding eye contact] Why did you sell out?
QUINN: Time to move on. I’m almost thirty, I’ve worked my ass off, and I want to enjoy the rest of my life. I’m not making the same mistake Dad did.
HELEN: [shocked] Quinn! How can you say that?
QUINN: [to Helen, tense and angry] He worked himself down to nothing, Mom. Between his job and his bad eating habits and yelling all the time about his childhood, he wore himself out. He ruined his heart and killed himself. I begged him to eat better and calm down, but no, he wouldn’t listen. Now I’m rich as a freaking solid-gold bitch, and I quit.
HELEN: [shrinks back, stares at Quinn] Two hundred billion. Oh, my God.
DARIA: [slowly] You said I ought to remember the Blush-a-thon. [pause] Why?
QUINN: [pause, casually to Daria] Because that was the night you made out with Jane's boyfriend, Tom Sloane, and broke them up. Still can’t believe you did that, then went and told Jane the next day. You were such an idiot.
Daria gasps. She steps back and bumps into the counter behind her. Her face turns white.
QUINN: You were putting the moves on Tom when I was putting the moves on the world.
Daria’s lips move as if she were trying to say something, but nothing comes out.
QUINN: That’s how it goes. One of us had her head on right. You used to despise me for all the time I spent dealing with fashion and cosmetics and—
HELEN: [stands up unsteadily with baby, walks toward Quinn, interrupts] Quinn, how can you talk to her like that? She’s your sister, for the love of God!
DARIA: [pushes away from counter, not looking at Quinn, to Helen] I have to go. I’ll take her now.
HELEN: Daria, don’t go yet! [to Quinn] You apologize to your sister!
QUINN: [coolly] For what? Giving her what’s coming to her? All the years she made me look like a fool, always bragging how smart she was—
HELEN: Quinn! [baby begins to cry again, Daria takes baby from Helen and quickly walks past Quinn, leaving the kitchen]
QUINN: [shouting after Daria] How smart are you now, Daria? You lost your best friend, the only damn friend you ever had, then you dumped Tom right after you kissed him, and how smart was that? If you’d married him, you’d be a millionaire now! He’s not even worth a goddamn fraction of what I am, but you would’ve had it made!
HELEN: [losing control] Quinn, shut up!
QUINN: [shouting after Daria] Does the truth hurt, big sister?
9. DARIA’S STORY—INT: MOMENTS LATER, FOYER AND LIVING ROOM, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Her crying baby in her arms, Daria goes quickly to the front door. Helen is right behind her. Quinn comes into the living room, her face alive with wicked, gleeful rage.
HELEN: Daria, please wait! Let me talk to Quinn!
QUINN: [shouts to Daria] You ever hear from Jane again?
HELEN: [to Quinn] Stop it! [begins to cry] Please, stop it! Not in my house!
Daria struggles to open the front door, using her injured right hand. Her face twists in pain. Her baby cries loudly and shrilly.
QUINN: [shouts to Daria] Did anything in your life ever go right after you lost Jane? Anything at all? Do you feel smart, Daria? Where are your books, your money, that worthless ass-wipe husband of yours? [louder] Where’s your best friend? You screwed her over, and where are you now? You feeling smart now?
10. DARIA’S STORY—EXT: MOMENTS LATER, FRONT YARD, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Daria gets the front door open and hurries outside. She stumbles on the concrete outside and nearly falls, rushing for her car, but keeps her footing. She limps, however, favoring one ankle. Helen, crying, hurries out after her. Daria goes to the driver’s side of her little car, still shielding her baby from the sun, and manages to get the door open with her right hand though she gasps in pain. She gets the seat to fold forward, then she reaches into the back seat, where a child’s car seat is strapped down. The baby cries loudly, nonstop. Two doors open in the limousine parked by the curb, and two bodyguards wearing sunglasses get out, watching with wary expressions.
QUINN: [shouts from front door] Ten years, Daria! Did you ever find another friend like her? You want me to buy you some friends, Daria? I can get you all the friends you want!
HELEN: [crying, to Daria] Please don’t go! Don’t drive like this!
Daria gets her baby strapped in the car seat, then snaps the driver’s seat back. Her face is red and puffy; tears run from her eyes. She gets into the driver’s seat, shuts the door, and starts the car without putting on her seat harness. The baby’s screams are heard clearly even with the car doors shut.
QUINN: [shouts from front door] You still miss her, don’t you? You know how I know that, Daria? You know how I know that you still miss the only friend you ever had?
11. DARIA’S STORY—INT: MOMENTS LATER, IN AND AROUND DARIA’S CAR
Daria throws the car into reverse, and she backs out of the driveway without watching for traffic. A car squeals to a halt, almost ramming her from behind as she enters the street. Two more bodyguards get out of the limo, hands on their weapons, grimly watching Daria leave. Daria puts the car in drive and pulls away from the house, tires screaming, heading down the street at increasing speed. The baby’s screams are intense and unending. Daria’s right hand cannot grasp the steering wheel properly, as her fingers are so burned.
DARIA: [voice breaking, tears running down face] Please don’t cry! Please don’t cry, Jane! You’re all I’ve got! [breaks down and sobs as she drives] You’re all I’ve got left in the world, Jane, please, please, don’t cry!
12. INT: A SHORT WHILE LATER, KITCHEN, MORGENDORFFER HOME
Daria makes herself a sandwich, alone in the kitchen. Jane quietly walks into the kitchen; the manuscript is not with her. She looks solemn.
DARIA: [her back to Jane, deadpan] So, it sucked. The matches are in the drawer on the left.
JANE: [softly] No. [pause] You mad at me?
DARIA: [pause, very low voice] No.
The two are quiet for a few moments.
JANE: Why’d you finally let me read it?
Daria does not respond, except—after a pause—to shrug.
JANE: Did you write it last summer, when you were working at Mr. O’Neill’s weird little “okay-to-cry” camp?
DARIA: [hesitates, low voice] Before camp. [pause, very low voice] After I broke up with Tom. The first time.
JANE: You beat yourself up pretty good. The hand thing, the . . . the everything.
Daria does not respond.
JANE: [looks thoughtfully at Daria’s back] You told me you got your inspiration for that first story, the “Hearts” one, from your mom, when she told you to write down what you really wanted to see happen. [pause] I got the feeling that you thought you deserved what happened to you in the second one. [pause] You don’t mind a little analysis here, do you?
DARIA: [fiddling with her sandwich] The knives are in the drawer next to you. If you use a big one, you can get this over with much quicker.
JANE: Hmmm. You know, I thought Quinn was out of character. That wasn’t really like her at all, not like I’ve seen her. [pause] I think she was channeling you, what you thought about all that stuff with you and me and Tom. [pause] I sort of wish I’d heard the same channeling when I met Tom, and you got dropped out of the picture.
A long pause develops. Daria stops fiddling with her sandwich and just stands at the kitchen counter, staring down at her sandwich, her back to Jane.
JANE: You and I have never talked a lot about the guys-and-dating issue. We didn’t until it was too late, anyway. I remember at the end of last summer we agreed not to leave each other in the lurch again if a hottie appeared on the horizon, and I assume that we’re past the point of beating ourselves up over Tom or anyone else. I think that’s all ironed out.
DARIA: [doesn’t look up] So, there’s nothing else to say. Stop talking.
JANE: [leans against center island counter, crosses arms] You know what took me the longest time to work out in my head, about Tom and everything, was realizing how much you needed me. I need you, too, but I don’t think now that I understood how much you needed me.
DARIA: [low voice] I’m glad I’m not paying you eighty dollars an hour for this.
JANE: You’ll get my bill. I thought a lot about what you said when you came to see me last August at the art colony, about me being a confidence-building role model for you, and I thought about how I cut you off when Tom and I were seeing each other. I actually think you and I had more time together when you were dating Tom than when I was.
DARIA: [still looking at sandwich] So, when we go to Boston, I’ll date, and you won’t.
JANE: [laughs] Oh, you wish! College is where the hormones are rockin’, and the parents and siblings aren’t there knockin’. We’re both gonna be seeing people, Daria. You get something from a guy that you can’t get from anywhere else.
DARIA: With food poisoning, I can get nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and near-death experiences. Just like dating, except there’s no one there to take you for granted or argue with you—or get you pregnant, or give you an STD, or—
JANE: Daria, I know it isn’t the driving force in your life, and it isn’t the number-one thing in my life, either, but . . . let me ask you something. You liked it when you first kissed Tom, didn’t you?
Daria stops moving. Her face slowly turns red all the way to the back of her neck.
DARIA: [low voice] I’ll tell you where the jewels are hidden. Stop the torture.
JANE: That’s real life, Daria. You know it. I think you can accept it and deal with it better now than anytime before. We’re both headed there. [pause] You know what I’d like? I’d like someday to meet someone who accepted me as I am, who loved me for being me, who needed me to be me, and who was also a guy. I need that last part.
DARIA: Except for the guy part, you . . . [stops herself, quickly picks up sandwich and plate and puts them in the refrigerator] Lost my appetite. I gotta go.
JANE: Except for the guy part, I had you nailed, didn’t I?
DARIA: [frozen, fearful look] No! [tries to leave kitchen quickly, not looking at Jane]
JANE: Hey! Stop right there, Morgendorffer! Stop, I mean it! [Daria stops on other side of center island, just short of entryway] Stop . . . right . . . there.
Jane walks around the counter to stand before Daria, who looks down.
JANE: [softly] I’m going to tell you something I’ve never said to you before.
DARIA: [anxious look, fast deadpan] What you do decide to do with any number of consenting adults and farm animals in the privacy of your own room is fine with—
JANE: I love you, Daria.
Daria backs up a step, still looking down. She appears small and extremely frightened.
JANE: Look at me. Really, I mean it. Look at me. I love you.
Daria swallows, then slowly raises her gaze and looks at Jane, her face reddening. She looks scared and vulnerable and near tears.
JANE: I will never have another friend like you. No one will ever mean as much to me as you do.
DARIA: [eyes glisten, voice hoarse and low] Please don’t . . .
JANE: Don’t tell you how I feel? I think you need to know this.
DARIA: [hoarse] I . . . I already know. [rubs her eyes] I . . . [sniffs] . . . you, too. Please stop. I don’t want to . . . I hate to . . .
JANE: We’ll stop, but I had to tell you. I read your story, and it really affected me, and I just wanted you to know where you are in my life. That’s all I wanted to do.
DARIA: [takes off glasses, wipes eyes with palm of right hand] Okay. Stop now.
JANE: [smiles] Hey, c’mon, that didn’t hurt, did it? At least I didn’t cry all over you.
DARIA: [clears throat, puts glasses back on] This was almost as bad.
JANE: You know, I didn’t cry at all when I read your story, in fact, until I—[voice suddenly breaks, Jane bursts into tears, pitch of voice rises quickly]—got to the part where you named your baby after meeeeeeeeeee!
Jane grabs the startled Daria and hugs her tight, crying all over her.
DARIA: Jane! Jane!
JANE: [cries hard] You’re my best friend in the whole world! I want you to have lots of babies and name them all after me!
DARIA: [struggles to get free] Let go! Jane!
JANE: [sobs but begins to laugh at the same time] I’m going to call Tom and Trent and have them come over and start making babies with you right now!
DARIA: [flails one free arm, desperately tries to escape Jane] Damn it! It’s the paint fumes, Jane! Paint fumes and Crazy Glue!