Disclaimer: Daria and associated characters are owned by MTV. This is fan fiction written for entertainment only. No money or other negotiable currency or goods have been exchanged.

This is the Fourth First Summer story and occurs during the summer between seasons 2 and 3.

Richard Lobinske

Driving Fear

(Opening Credits)

(Exterior view of Jake's Lexus at a stop sign. It jerks into motion and haltingly crosses the intersection. Cut to inside the car, Daria is nervously driving and Jake is in the passenger seat with hands firmly clenched onto the dashboard)

Daria - Sorry about that, Dad.

Jake - Th…that's okay, Kiddo. We're all n…nervous when we start to drive.

(A car goes by in the opposite direction. Daria panics and jerks the Lexus to the right, bumping into the curb)

Daria - Ah!

Jake - Gah!

Daria - I suppose the other car wasn't that close, was it?

Jake - Um…no, not really.

(They come to a merging intersection with a yield sign. Daria stops and waits for traffic to clear. The spacing of passing cars is sufficient for her to pull out in, but she starts and stops at each one, uncertain. Cars back up behind her and begin to sound their horns)

Jake - Daria, I think…

Daria - Okay! I'm going!

(Daria squeals the tires as she speeds into the intersection, overshooting the lane. She jerks the steering wheel and the car violently swerves back into the proper lane. Jake dives under the dashboard)

Jake - Gah!

Daria - Oops.

Jake - D…Daria? C…can we head home now?

Daria - Um, sure. Now where can I turn around?

(Exterior of Morgendorffer house. Cut to living room, where Jake is seated on a sofa draining a martini and there is a 2/3 empty pitcher on the table in front of him. Both hands shake as he lifts the pitcher to pour another. Helen enters through the front door carrying a briefcase)

Helen - Jake! What are you doing?

(Jake jumps, spilling some of his drink)

Jake - Gah! Calming my nerves.

Helen - Great, just great. Can't you at least wait until after dinner? How was Daria's driving lesson?

Jake - Why do you think I'm calming my nerves?

Helen - Oh. Is she still…?

Jake - Terrifying?

Helen - I meant…um…uncoordinated.

Jake (hysterical) - Helen, I can't take it anymore! I'd rather spend an hour in morning PT with Corporal Ellenbogen than ride with her!

Helen - Jake, she needs to practice if she's ever going to get better.

Jake - Fine! You take her out!

Helen - Me?

Jake - Yeah, you.

Helen - Oh, well. Since you have more afternoons free, I figured…

(Jake looks at her, pleading)

Helen (sighs) - All right. I suppose she can drive in the mornings when we go to the office.

(Jake drops onto his knees and grabs Helen's lapels)

Jake - Thank you! Oh, thank you!

(Split screen of Daria and Jane talking on the telephone, each in her respective bedroom)

Daria - He was white as a ghost.

Jane - Cool. The power to strike fear into the hearts of men.

Daria - And myself. I wasn't doing any better.

Jane - Still getting a little nervous?

Daria - More than a little.

Jane - Hey, look, I was nervous too.

Daria - But you still managed to get your driver's license.

Jane - Uh, yeah. Look, I'm sure you'll get yours soon.

Daria - Not at the rate I'm going. I don't think I'll get Dad back in the car with me again.

Jane - What about your mom?

Daria - She's been avoiding it.

Jane - Ah. You know, I'd offer to help…

Daria - But you're not twenty-one, which my learner's permit requires.

(Knock on Daria's door, switch to full screen on her)

Daria - That sounds like one of Mom's "I want to talk to you" knocks; I better go.

Jane (VO) - Hmm. Later.

(Daria shuts off telephone)

Daria - Come in.

(Helen enters)

Helen - Daria, how are you?

Daria - Fine. Dandy.

Helen - I was thinking. When we go to the office in the morning, how would you like to get some driving practice in?

Daria - I, um, guess so.

Helen - Wonderful!

Daria - Dad refuses to ride with me, doesn't he?

Helen - He…we thought it would be better…for you to learn from more than one person.

Daria - Uh-huh.

Helen - Daria, teaching someone to drive can be an emotional experience. Your father needs to take a little break.

(Daria nods her head)

Daria - I understand. I'll be ready in the morning.

Helen - I'm sure you'll do fine.

(Helen's office. Marianne is seated at a workstation. Wide-eyed, Helen stiffly walks in and heads straight for her desk. Daria stops at the door and watches)

Marianne - Good morning, Helen. All of the motions and briefs for your ten AM hearing are on your desk. Eric left a message that he wants a word with you before you leave for the courthouse and the report on the combustible ketchup residues arrived from the third lab. I'm sorry, but the results are the same.

(Helen sits and stares off into space)

Marianne - Helen?

(Daria shakes her head)

Marianne - Daria? What's wrong with your mother?

(Daria's shoulders slump)

Daria - My driving.

Marianne - Your…? Oh.

(Julie Levin's Public Relations office. Daria is seated at her workstation, chin resting on one hand while she types with the other. Julie is at her desk, watching Daria)

Julie - Daria. (pause) Daria? (pause) Daria!

Daria - Hmm? Yes?

Julie - The research that exciting?

Daria - No. Oh, um, the research is okay.

Julie - Does your distraction have anything to do with Helen looking shell-shocked this morning?

Daria - Does the whole building know about it?

Julie - Well, it isn't often that Helen is silent for that long. Some of the legal aides are wondering how much it'll cost them for you to do that on a regular basis.

(Daria lightly laughs)

Julie - You look like you could use a slice or two of garbage pizza. My treat.

Daria - Um, isn't it a little early for lunch?

Julie - I'm adjusting your schedule to meet work demands.

Daria - In that case, you're on.

(Helen's office. She's seated at her desk and Marianne's station is unoccupied. Daria and Julie pass by the door)

Julie - Fortunately, the holding pond only had about a foot of water in it. After I checked my pants for any embarrassing evidence, Dad and I were able to walk from the car to the shore.

Helen - Daria? May I speak with you a moment?

Daria - Sure Mom. Ms. Levin, I'll be with you in a minute.

Julie - Take your time.

(Julie continues down corridor and Daria enters the office)

Helen - It's about you driving here in the morning with me.

Daria (sighs) - I'm not anymore, am I?

Helen - Well, not right away. Like I told you last night, teaching someone to drive can be…an emotional experience. I need to be calm and collected before I go into court. When your driving is a little less…awkward…we can do it again.

Daria - Mom? How can I become less "awkward" if you and Dad won't ride with me?

Helen - Oh, honey. We will. We just need to adjust our schedules. You understand.

Daria - I understand.

(Daria leaves the office and walks down the corridor)

Daria - I understand I'll be stuck with public transportation for the rest of my life if I don't find another way to practice. Too bad the Driver's Ed class last year didn't actually let us drive cars. I bet Ms. Li spent the money on hidden microphones in the library.


(Exterior of Lane house. Daria is seated on the front doorstep, cross-legged with elbows on her knees and chin resting on her hands. Trent's car arrives and stops in the driveway. Jane gets out of the passenger side and walks over to Daria)

Jane - Yo. Sorry I'm late. Somebody was busy writing a song, or so he claims.

Daria - Mmm.

Jane - More like sleeping with his guitar again.

Daria - Mmm.

(Jane squats down in front of Daria, who is clearly deep in thought and not registering her friend's presence)

Jane - Trent said he wrote a song to proclaim the love of his life.

Daria - Mmm.

Jane - And that her name sounded like an aria.

Daria - Mmm.

(Jane snaps her fingers in front of Daria's face and raises her voice)

Jane - Earth to Daria! Come on, you're freaking me out!

(Daria blinks and recognizes Jane)

Daria - Jane, hi. Sorry, I was thinking about something.

Jane - No kidding. I haven't seen a trance like that since the last time Penny was home with a bag of mushrooms.

Trent - Hey, Daria.

(Trent is standing in front of Daria. She slowly looks up, a blush forming as she does)

Daria - Hi.

Trent - Better get you outta the heat. You look a little red.

Daria - Out of the heat. Good plan.

(Daria gets up and moves out of the way. Trent opens the door and goes inside)

Jane - You gonna follow the heat inside?

Daria - Only so I can throw you into a cold shower.

(Television screen showing a chicken with eight wings)

SSW Announcer - This bird could be the answer to the nationwide shortage of hot wings…

(The chicken flies off very quickly as a man in a lab coat throws down his clipboard)

SSW Announcer - If anybody can catch it! Supersonic chickens, when Sick, Sad World returns.

(Jane's bedroom. Daria is slumped in the chair and Jane is prone on the bed watching the television)

Jane - Kind of makes me hungry. Wanna drive out for something to eat?

Daria - Funny, Lane.

(Jane rolls to face Daria)

Jane - So your parents are too afraid. All we need to do is find someone else willing to ride with you while you practice driving.

Daria - Yeah, somebody with nerves of steel.

Jane - Or able to sleep through anything.

Daria - What good would that…no, you're not thinking that.

Jane - It's the perfect answer. If he can sleep through Max driving the Tank, he can sleep through whatever you can dish out.

Daria - Jane, no. I can't, not with him.

(Jane grins)

Jane - Come on, it'll give you some great one-on-one time.

Daria - No.

Jane - Why?

Daria - I get nervous enough when Mom or Dad's in the car…

Jane - So this will be your big chance to get more comfortable with him.

Daria - No!

(Jane holds up her hands)

Jane - Whoa. Okay, drop that idea.

Daria - Thanks.

Jane - Well, how about Trent's car, but get, say, Jesse to ride with you?

Daria - Do you think he'll do it?

Jane - Feed him a burger and he'll be happy.

Daria - Great, now how do we use Trent's car?

Jane - Easy. Mystik Spiral will be over to practice soon. Offer to drive to Cluster Burger to get some munchies and say you need someone to ride with. Max and Nick won't want to go and Trent won't leave them here unleashed. But, it's a sure bet that Jesse will be hungry.

Daria - Sounds like you've done this before.

Jane - Hey, it saves me having to run to Cluster Burger on foot to get dinner.

(Basement of Lane house. Trent and Jesse are preparing guitars. Nick is under the mixing board, sorting a spaghetti pile of electrical cords, and Max is setting up his drums. Daria and Jane are sitting on the stairs watching when Jane lightly pushes Daria)

Jane (whispers) - Go on.

Daria - I'm, uh, hungry. Anybody want to ride with me to Cluster Burger?

Nick - I'm kinda busy getting these things straightened out. Could you get me a Cluster Bomb with fries?

Max - Man, I gotta get these placed just right, or I lose my rhythm. Get me a Cheese Cluster, will ya?

Trent - I don't know, not feelin' that hungry.

Jesse - Hey, I could use a burger. Cool.

Jane (whispers to Daria) - Told ya. (normal voice) Hey, Trent! Can Daria use your car?

Trent - Keys are on the table.

(Driveway of Lane house. Daria is getting into the driver's seat of Trent's car and Jesse is getting into the passenger seat)

Daria - Jesse, I should warn you. I'm still learning how to drive.

(Jesse shrugs)

Jesse - That's cool.

Daria - Jesse, my driving can be frightening.

Jesse - I've ridden with Max.

Daria - Okay, I've warned you.

(Basement of Lane house. Trent, Max and Nick have finished setting up the band instruments and are standing around them while Jane is still sitting on the stairs)

Nick - We need the beat to come on strong, like badda-badda-bang.

Max - Wait, I thought you wanted to come in badda-badda-bong.

Nick - That's all screwed. It's badda-badda-bang!

Max - But you told me badda-badda-bong last time!

Nick - I changed my mind!

(Jesse opens the door at the top of the stairs. He carries two paper bags with Cluster Burger printed on them. He walks down the stairs and hands one to Nick and one to Max. Jane looks up the stairs. Daria is at the top, looking down expectantly)

Max - Thanks man, I'm starved.

Nick - Oh, yeah. Dinner.

(Jesse's eyes roll back and he drops to the floor in a dead faint)

Daria - Ah, crap.

(Morgendorffer living room. Quinn, Sandi, Tiffany and Stacy are seated on the sofas, looking through a large pile of Waif magazines on the table. Daria enters through the front door and starts toward the stairs)

Sandi - Well, gee Quinn. I'm sorry you can't get transportation to the big sale tomorrow. Why don't you ask that girl who lives here? She's old enough to drive you.

Quinn - Well, I would, but…

Sandi - But what, Quinn?

Quinn - She, um, can't drive.

Tiffany - Is she like, slow or something?

Quinn - Um, no. It's more like…the court order.

(Daria narrows her eyes and goes upstairs. Cut to her lying on her bed, staring up at the ceiling)

Daria - I will learn to drive. Almost all teenagers learn how. It can't be that hard. All I need is some practice. All I need is…

(Daria sits up, looking apprehensive)

Daria - …to ask Trent.


(Lane living room. Trent is asleep on the sofa when Jane pushes Daria into the room and they stand in front of him. Daria looks like she's ready to run away)

Jane - Go on.

Daria - Um….Trent?

(Trent lightly snores)

Daria - Trent?

(Trent snorts and half-rolls to his side)

Jane - Trent!

(Trent wakes up and falls off the sofa)

Trent - But that was an open D tuning.

Jane - Trent, over here.

Trent - Oh, hi Janey.

Jane - We've got a job for you.

Trent - We? Oh, hey Daria.

Daria - Hi.

Jane - Look, Daria needs to get some driving practice and her folks are at work.

Trent - Driving practice? She wants to play golf?

Jane - Car, you idiot. Like you helped me practice.

(Trent finally stands up)

Trent - Oh, sure. But Daria, don't drive on the sidewalk like Jane.

(Daria looks at Jane, who sheepishly shrugs)

(Driveway of Lane house. Daria is sitting in the driver's seat of Trent's car, staring at her hands gripping the steering wheel. Trent sits in the passenger seat)

Daria - Trent, just tell me if you want to stop. I know I'm not that good yet and scare anyone who rides with me. (pause) The fact that Jane's cowering in her room should tell you something. (pause) I'm really nervous here, so please be patient, okay? (pause) Okay?

(Daria turns to face Trent, who is asleep and leaning against the door)

Daria (sighs) - I suppose it'll be easier this way.

(Unsteady, Daria backs out of the driveway and pulls away)

(Montage: Daria abruptly stopping at a light; driving slowly down a street with a long line of cars weaving behind her, trying to pass; turning into a parking lot too sharply and bumping into the curb; trying to parallel park on an empty side street and ending up sideways in the space; parks in the Lane driveway and looks at Trent, who is asleep; stopping at a light, less abruptly than the first time; driving down a street at a higher speed with fewer cars behind trying to pass; trying to parallel park -- she doesn't end up sideways, but is still straddling two spaces; finally, she parks in the Lane driveway and looks over at Trent, who is still asleep)

Daria - Not the greatest, but I think it's time I tried the driving test. What do you think, Trent?

(Trent wakes up)

Trent - Uh, yeah, sure. Sounds like a plan.

(Morgendorffer kitchen. Daria is seated at the table eating cereal, Helen is pacing and eating a breakfast bar. Quinn is putting a bowl in the dishwasher)

Quinn - I won't be home for dinner. Fall fashion preview at Cashman's for frequent buyers.

Helen - Oh? How will you get there?

Quinn - Since Daria can't seem to get her driver's license, I found a nice boy to take me. We'll stop by Chez Pierre on the way.

Helen - Okay, I won't make dinner for you.

Quinn - Bye!

(Quinn exits)

Daria - Speaking of driving.

Helen - Daria, I know it must be frustrating, but I really need to be able to concentrate in the morning.

Daria - Mom, I'm not asking to practice on the way to the office, I want to take my driving test this afternoon.

Helen - How in the world do you expect to pass?

Daria - I've been practicing.

Helen - How? With whom? When?

Daria - With Trent. In his car. After work.

Helen - You're showing a little initiative. I'll be back from court at three. We'll go then.

(Exterior of Food Lord supermarket. Cut to the bakery where Jane is looking at a cake and grinning. Pan down to show that the cake has "Congratulations Daria" written on it and a car drawn under that)

Jane - She's probably going to hit me for the pink, but I can't resist.

Cashier - Will that be all?

Jane - Yeah, ring it up.

(Food Lord parking lot. Jane, carrying cake, gets into the driver's seat of Trent's car, and places the cake on the passenger seat. She pulls forward through the empty parking space in front of her and drives off too fast)

(Parking lot in front of DMV office. Daria is nervously waiting in Helen's SUV when a balding man with glasses enters and sits in the passenger seat. He reads from a clipboard)

Mike - Good afternoon, Daria. My name's Mike. I'll be evaluating your driving skills.

Daria - You got my name right, that's usually a good start.

Mike - I see that you had excellent marks on the written test. Hmm. You require corrective lenses to drive and I see that you have them. Your mother has already provided proof of insurance on this car.

(Mike buckles his seat belt)

Mike - Good, you've already fastened your seat belt. Okay, now just relax and we can get started.

(Daria's eyes grow wide and she grips the steering wheel hard)

Mike - Back out and go to the left exit of the parking lot.

(Daria looks straight ahead)

Mike - Daria?

Daria - Oh, yeah. Back up.

(Daria puts the car in gear and hits the accelerator too hard, throwing Mike forward. Fade to the SUV pulling back into the parking space and then cut to the interior. Mike writes on his clipboard. He looks unaffected by the drive)

Mike - I'm sorry Daria, but you didn't pass.

Daria - I was afraid of that.

Mike - It's nothing to worry about. You can retake the test in two weeks. Perhaps when you're not feeling so nervous.

(Daria slowly nods)

Daria - Two weeks. Sure, I'll be here.

(Jane's bedroom. Jane is painting and Daria is lying on the bed, having sat down facing Jane and the door and leaned back to stare at the ceiling)

Jane - So you didn't pass the test, no big deal. Go back and ace it next time.

Daria - Jane, I've never failed a test before.

Jane - Never?

Daria - Never.

Jane - Wow, I'm here for your first time. I feel so special.

Daria - How would you like these boots somewhere special?

Jane - I'll skip that part. So what happened? You said you were doing better.

Daria - When I was alone, I did okay. Not great, but at least I wasn't a rolling road hazard.

Jane - What do you mean alone? You were riding with Trent.

Daria - He slept through each driving lesson. I might as well have been alone.

Jane - That's Trent. I told you he could sleep through anything.

Daria - But when the examiner got in the car, I was nervous again.

Jane - And you flubbed it.

Daria - Big time.

Jane - Send the guy screaming into the night?

Daria - No. I think he's immune. Must be a job requirement.

Jane - So, watcha gonna do?

(Trent pokes his head in the room)

Trent - Hey.

(Daria realizes that if Trent stepped into the room, he could see directly up her skirt. Immediately red-faced, she drops her hands between her knees to push the edge of her skirt down and sits up)

Daria - Um, hi.

Trent - Hey Daria, didn't see you there. Jane, I'm headin' over to McGrundy's. Might be home by tomorrow.

Jane - Yeah, later Trent.

Daria - Bye.

(Trent exits)

Jane - Why do I think you're not going to ask him again?

Daria - No way. Now I need to figure a way of scaring Mom into riding with me while I practice.

(Exterior of Morgendorffer house)

Daria (VO) - Mom? Since I can't get anybody to ride with me, can I get a motorcycle? That way I can ride by myself.

Helen (VO) - Daria, first thing after work tomorrow, I'm giving you a driving lesson.

(End credits)

Thanks to Louise Lobinske, Kristen Bealer, Ipswichfan and Mr. Orange for beta reading.

August 2005