The Games We Play

A Daria Fan Fiction by the Alchemist

Episode #507 - Tom

 

DISCLAIMER Ė Daria and cast are wholly owned by MTV. I am merely borrowing them for the duration of this work. I try and have them back on time, but I make mistakes sometimes. What? You thought that it was MTVís fault that they cancel Daria showings at the last minute?

 

Darkness. A faint moan is heard as a room gradually comes into focus. The camera pans to reveal Tom sitting in his bed, staring at the clock.

Tom : Time for school already?

 

As the camera zooms out, we see Tomís room. It is relatively Spartan, with a laptop computer off in one corner and a television sitting upon a TV stand. Tom reluctantly gets out of bed and walks slowly over to his dresser. Removing some clothes, he opens the door and heads off to the shower.

 

Cut to the Sloane kitchen. Tomís mother, Katherine, and Elsie are present.

Katherine : Tom? Would you like something for breakfast? Scrambled eggs?

Tom : Toast?

Katherine : Sure thing dear.

Tom : Mom!

Elsie : Do we have to go through this every morning?

Tom : (thought VO) Apparently, yes. We do.

 

Katherine brings over a plate of toast, placing it in front of Tom.

Katherine : Here you go dear.

Tom : (sighing) Thanks mom.

 

Tom picks at his toast for a moment, then gets up and heads over to the cabinet.

Katherine : Can I get something for you?

Tom : Iím fine.

 

Removing a large mug, Tom walks over to a coffee machine and fills the mug.

Tom : (thought VO) Ah, the nectar of the gods. Of course, if I were a god, nobody would be telling me when to get up Ö

 

Tom slowly finishes his toast, and heads back upstairs with his coffee mug. Reaching his room, Tom puts the mug down and removes a pair of socks from his dresser. As he puts on the socks, he lifts the top of his laptop and checks his E-mail.

Tom : Letís see. Chain mail Ö stupid forward Ö offers for free porn Ö Hmmm. A message from DariaM?

 

Tom opens the E-mail to reveal a two-line message.

This statement is false.

True/False?

 

Tom : (thought VO, smiling) Cute Daria.

 

Tom hits the reply button, typing only a single word

Maybe

Tom : (thought VO) There, that should do it.

 

With that, Tom shuts the top of his laptop. Moving about the room, he retrieves a few notebooks and textbooks for his bag, and heads out to school.

 

Cut to the interior of Tomís car. Tom is turning into the school parking lot, and searches for a space. As he searches, we can see that the lot is full of luxury sedans and SUVís. Spying a free space, Tom maneuvers his car into the space, parking and getting out of the car. Behind him, another car can be heard pulling into a nearby space.

Boy : (VO) Hey, is THAT what youíre driving now?

Tom : I hope you can figure it out on your own.

Boy : (condescendingly) Well, I suppose itís a step up from your last car. God, what a piece of crap.

Tom : (thought VO) Maybe, but at least I bought it myself, unlike your precious Infiniti Ö

Tom : Why do you care?

Boy : Hey, what if everyone started driving ugly cars. People might think this was, like, Lawndale High or something.

Tom : You know, youíre a real snob.

Boy : Thanks!

 

Tom shakes his head and heads indoors.

 

Cut to Tomís locker. As Tom begins to open his locker, a short, scruffy boy with a brown ponytail approaches him.

Tom : (not looking over) Hey Jim.

Jim : The Tom-meister. Toma-sutra. The Tominator.

Tom : Someone should really keep you away from Saturday Night Live.

Jim : Donít joke about that man, theyíre working on it.

Tom : (obviously having said this before) Jim, why on earth would anyone be out to get you?

Jim : Hey!

Male Voice : (VO) Heís got a point.

 

The owner of the voice enters the picture, standing next to Tom opposite Jim. He is a tall boy with jet black hair, and a casual elegance about him.

Tom : Thanks Dan.

Dan : So, are we still on for tonight?

Tom : Yep.

Jim : So we finally get to meet the mysterious Daria?

Dan : That is, unless you dumped her for her best friend Ö

Tom : Are you guys ever going to let me live that down?

Female Voice : (VO) Given the sorry state of their love lives, your little sordid swapping soirťe is as much excitement as theyíre likely to see anytime soon.

 

A tall, dirty blonde girl comes into the scene. She walks with a Ďno nonsense, no prisoners, no remorseí attitude as she comes up to a locker.

Tom : Morning Chris.

Chris : Yeah, whatever.

Dan : Well, youíre your usual cheery self this morning Ö

Chris : Arenít I always?

Tom : No.

Chris : Thanks for the vote of support Ö

Tom : (thought VO) Just donít ask for a recount.

Tom : Hey, what are friends for?

Jim : Something else to shoot at?

 

Dan, Tom, and Chris turn to look at Jim, who gives them a sarcastic smile.

 

 

Cut to the interior of a classroom. There is a large blackboard in the front of the room, as well as a video projector. A slightly overweight, middle-aged man stands at the front of the classroom, addressing the class.

Math Teacher : Class? If we could get started?

 

The class slowly stops talking amongst themselves and turns to the front of the class.

Math Teacher : Thank you. Today weíre going over líHŰpitalís rule. Would anyone like to give a concise explanation of what líHŰpitalís rule means? Mr. Stevenson?

 

Towards the back of the room, a male student dressed in a dark blue blazer looks up.

Student : Um, is that where you check the second derivative?

Math Teacher : No Mr. Stevenson, that would be the second derivative test. Would anyone else care to try?

 

The teacher searches the classroom, looking for volunteers. After a long moment, Tom sighs and raises his hand.

Math Teacher : Yes Mr. Sloane?

Tom : LíHŰpitalís rule relates the value of a ratio of two zero values functions at a specific point to the ratio of their derivatives at the same point.

Math Teacher : Very good Mr. Sloane. Apparently someone here has managed to inherit a little intelligence from their parents.

Tom : (thought VO) Great. I get a question wrong, and itís my fault. I get a question right, and itís because of my parents? Whatís wrong here?

Math Teacher : Since it would be futile to ask anyone to offer a proof for a concept they donít understand, I would recommend that the rest of you go back tonight and study the chapter again. In place of the usual lecture today, we will instead have a pop quiz.

 

The class as one groans, as the students exchange worried glances.

Tom : (thought VO) Now we get a test because we donít understand the material. Can ANYONE see the futility here?

 

As the teacher passes out the tests, Tom takes out a pencil and shakes his head, starting in on the tests.

 

Fade to a cafeteria. The room is an odd combination of new-age flair and industrial reject styles, leaving the overall impression that the interior designer had a sick sense of humor. Tom, Dan, and Jim are sitting in a group at a table, eating bag lunches. Most of the other students are keeping a discrete distance from the three of them.

Dan : So I heard about the pop-quiz in calc. Your fault?

Tom : Not this time. Seems I was the only one who bothered to read the assigned chapters. So as a reward, we were thoroughly tested on material that most of us never bothered to learn in the first place.

Jim : The scourge of Mr. Math Machine.

Dan : Thatís Dr. Math Machine to you.

 

The three laugh for a moment before returning to their lunches.

Tom : Thatís him alright. The prime subscriber to the numbers go in, answers come out model of student behavior.

Dan : Right answers.

Tom : Not with OUR students.

Jim : Oh boy. New kid in danger Ö

Tom : What?

Jim : (pointing) Look.

 

As we follow Jimís gesture, we see Chris standing in line waiting to pay for her lunch. Behind her, a student approaches her and places his hand on her shoulder.

Dan : Oooh, bad move kid.

 

As the three watch from a distance, the student proceeds to put the moves on an increasingly irate Chris.

Jim : Approaching critical mass Ö

Dan : Explosion imminent Ö

Tom : Do you have any idea just how geeky you two are?

Jim : Yes.

Tom : I should Ö

Chris : (VO, shouting) No, I will not give you my panties. If you feel better wearing them, then buy them yourself!

 

Dan, Jim, and Tom look in amusement as Chrisí suitor slinks away. Smiling, Chris pays for her lunch and heads over to join Dan, Jim, and Tom.

Dan : Werenít you a little hard on him?

Chris : Better than him getting a little hard over me Ö

Jim : Get your mind out of the gutter Chris.

Chris : And miss the shocked looks on your faces whenever I mention anything related to sex?

Jim : Well, youíre a girl Ö

Chris : And what would you be doing if I were a guy?

Tom : Whining that all the girls avoid us like the plague?

Chris : (faux sweetness) I mean that much to you guys?

Dan : Sure. Hell, you showed us that girls are more trouble than theyíre worth.

Chris : (to the laughter of the other three) Thank you ever so much for the vote of confidence.

Dan : Anytime.

Chris : So Tom, is it true?

Tom : (concerned) Huh?

Chris : Are women more trouble than theyíre worth?

Tom : Um Ö

Chris : Come on, you can tell us.

Tom : I think I will choose to exercise my fifth amendment rights Ö

Jim : Wuss.

Tom : Yup.

Chris : Youíre just going to let him talk to you like that?

Tom : Well, I forgot my gauntlet today. (Bt) I suppose it would be hopeless to ask you to be nice to Daria when you meet her Ö

Chris : Not to worry Tom. Iíll be my usual jovial self.

Tom : (thought VO) Thatís what Iím afraid ofÖ

 

Cut to a classroom. The walls are covered with various maps and historical displays. Sitting at a large oak desk in the front of the room is a short, skinny man with black-framed glasses. After all of the students have filed in, he stands and begins to lecture the class.

History Teacher : Continuing our examination of western civilization, we come to one of the greatest of historyís empires, the Roman empire. Does anyone know the story of how Rome was born? Mr. Sloane?

Tom : A pair of children, Romulus and Remus, the sons of Mars, were abandoned and raised in the wild by a wolf Ö

History Teacher : I meant the founding of the Roman Republic.

Tom : Then you mean the Rape of Lucretia?

History Teacher : Thatís the popular mythological basis, yes. Now doesnít anyone think that basing your government on rape is rather unusual?

Chris : Rather than basing it on mass murder?

History Teacher : Good point. But can anyone think of a reason that the Romans would perpetuate this myth? What Roman ideal did it embody?

 

The class looks at their teacher with a general expression of Ďwhy should we careí. Just as the teacher is about to call on a student, a cellular phone rings in the classroom. Quickly identifying the student, the teacher points at the student, addressing him loudly.

History Teacher : You. To the principalís office. Now.

Student : But Ö

History Teacher : You know my policy on cellular phones. Now go.

 

The student leaves the room, obviously disappointed, but still answering the phone call. The teacher looks on in anger, his small frame emanating great frustration. As he turns back to the class, the students cower slightly in their seats, attempting to remain inconspicuous.

Tom : Honor.

History Teacher : (surprised) What?

Tom : The Rape of Lucretia embodies the Roman ideal of honor. It is not the rape itself that is important, but rather the response to it. Lucretia took her own life to atone for the stain on her honor, and the Romans drove out the Etruscan kings who had offended her honor.

History Teacher : (impressed) Very good Mr. Sloane. Now can anyone else expound on honor in the Roman republic?

Tom : (thought VO) And so the great anger is defused once again. Next time, Iím calling the bomb squad.

 

Fade to the Sloane kitchen. Tom enters and walks over to the refrigerator, rummaging momentarily to find a Dr. Pepper. As he closes the door, a voice can be heard behind him.

Elsie : (VO) Shouldnít you be getting ready for the party?

Tom : (turning to face Elsie) As you well know Elsie, I have a date tonight that was scheduled before I knew about this party.

Tom : (thought VO) Or at least before I was informed through Ďofficial channelsí about the party Ö

Elsie : So youíre just going to blow us off?

Tom : Wouldnít you?

Elsie : Iím not sure it would be worth getting a boyfriend Ö

Katherine : Elsie? Are you ready to go?

Elsie : Maybe I should reconsider Ö

 

 

Cut to the interior of a diner, where Daria and Tom are sharing a booth.

Daria : So now we have this silly game week, where we basically play all day so that Ms. Li can try for some big educational grant.

Tom : Arenít you usually opposed to becoming a corporate tool?

Daria : Not if it means less work for me.

Tom : Ah, the power of enlightened self-interest Ö

Daria : Oh, (deadpan) and I also relish the chance to improve Lawndaleís educational system.

Tom : But arenít all the teachers tenured?

 

Daria looks at Tom for a moment.

Tom : Daria?

Daria : Thatís my name. (smirk) Ask me again, and Iíll tell you the same.

Tom : Someoneís in a good mood tonight Ö

Daria blushes slightly as the scene fades out.

 

Fade to the exterior of a bowling alley. Daria and Tom are standing at the door. Tom leans over and kisses Daria, who appears more than a little nervous.

Tom : Daria? Are you ready?

Daria : Iím just, um, a little nervous. (Bt) Iím not really a people person.

Tom : (thought VO) Coulda fooled me Ö

Tom : Relax. Iím not entirely sure that these three count as people anyway.

Daria : Wow, youíre really nice to your friends.

Tom : You should see how I treat my enemies.

Daria : You mean I didnít? Even when you and Jane had, um, just met?

Tom : (thought VO) Would it be uncouth to pass on this one?

Tom : (treading lightly) Um, actually, I kind of liked you then too. I mean, um, anyone who can care that much about someone else canít be all bad. (uncertainly) Iíd never known that kind of a relationship. I suppose I was, uh, jealous.

 

Daria looks at Tom with a surprised expression.

Tom : (thought VO) Say something? Please?

Daria : Iím, um, not sure what to say Ö

 

Daria leans over and gives Tom a hug.

Tom : Thanks. For everything. (awkward pause) Now that things are already weird, shall we meet the friends?

Daria : Uh, Ok.

 

Daria and Tom walk through the door and into the bowling alley. After paying and renting shoes, Tom looks around, and seeing two guys at an alley, takes Dariaís hand and heads over. As he approaches, the two boys come into view. The first boy is only slightly taller than Daria, with long, unkempt brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. He is dressed in clean but slightly shabby clothing, and has a slightly nervous aire to him. His companion is a tall boy, with jet black hair and a moderate build. He is much more well-kept than the first boy, and has a much more relaxed attitude to him.

 

The second boy comes up to Tom and Daria, and offers his hand to Daria.

Boy 2 : Either youíre Daria, or Tom has something important to tell us. Iím Dan, by the way.

 

Daria takes his hand and shakes it.

Daria : Dan. Nice to meet you. Iím Daria, as you already guessed. (Bt) And this is Tom.

Dan : Oh, THIS is Tom? Now Iím confused Ö

Daria : Suddenly, things are much clearer. (to the first boy) Am I allowed to ask your name?

Boy 1 : No.

Tom : Oh, come on Jim. Play nice.

Daria : Well, now that weíve got that name thing figured out, are you planning on joining us over here?

Jim : (nervously) Um, Ok.

 

Tom leans over to whisper in Dariaís ear as Jim comes over.

Tom : Jimís a little, um, paranoid. Heís sort of a closet conspiracy freak Ö

Daria : (reaching into her jacket pocket to take out a notepad) Ok, Jim, you said?

Jim : (nervously) Yeah Ö

Tom : (thought VO) Uh-oh. My spider sense is tingling Ö

Daria : Seems Iíve heard that name somewhere before. (looking down at her notepad) Hmmm. I see that you have a hotmail account?

Jim : How did Ö Iíve, uh Ö

Daria : Just answer the question sir.

 

Before Jim can respond, both Tom and Dan break down and start laughing. Jim looks at them, then back at Daria, considering the situation.

Jim : Funny. Very funny. Some day, youíll realize that I was right all along Ö

 

Tom and Dan keep laughing as Jim begins to look slightly embarrassed. Daria leans over and whispers in Jimís ear.

Jim : You know, that just might work.

Daria : Of course itíll work. Donít you trust me?

Jim : No.

Daria : Details. Do you have a better plan?

Jim : No, I donít.

 

 

Tom and Dan notice Daria and Jim, and slowly stop laughing.

Tom : Planning something?

Daria : Thatís for us to know and you to find out.

Dan : Right. Jimís never been any good at plotting anything.

Tom : (turning to Dan) True, but Daria is.

Dan : Oh. Um Ö

Tom : (changing the subject) Uh, guys? Whereís Chris?

Jim : You know Chris. Bathroom.

Tom : (pointing over Jimís shoulder) Speak of the devil Ö

Tom : (thought VO) And now, for the moment of truth.

 

The camera pans around to follow Tomís gesture. Coming towards the group is a tall girl with short dirty-blonde hair. She is dressed modestly in jeans and a simple shirt, and approaches with a confident stride. Walking up to Daria, she looks her over before saying anything. Daria shifts slightly, uncomfortable with the situation.

Chris : So youíre Tomís new sex toy Ö

Tom : (thought VO) Oh hell.

 

As Tom looks on in concern, Dan and Jim stifle a laugh to Tomís side. Tom continues to look on when he notices an almost imperceptible change in Dariaís expression. Confused, he leans in slightly to better hear the conversation.

Daria : Well, he got tired of you. Something about too many miles on the old model Ö and an outrageous lease price.

 

Dan and Jim turn to look at each other, their faces displaying astonishment. Tom continues to stare, his eyes going wide.

Tom : (thought VO) Now this is an Ö interesting turn of events Ö

Jim : (in the background) Looks like a showdown at Alís Bowl-a-rama Ö

Chris : (thinking quickly) Now thatís no way to treat a working girl! Iím sure I could teach a novice like you a thing or two Ö

Daria : Donít worry. Tom saved all the tapes. Although the riding crop seemed a bit much to me Ö

Tom : (thought VO) Please donít let anyone from school be nearby Ö

Chris : Yeah, kiss my ass.

Daria : No thanks. I know where itís been.

 

Chris looks at Daria again, this time with a bemused expression.

Chris : I think I like you, kid. You want a soda?

Tom : (thought VO) What?

Daria : A soda AND rented shoes? My dreams are finally coming true.

Chris : Iíll take that as a yes.

 

As Chris heads off towards the snack bar, Tom, Jim, and Dan come up to Daria, looking at her with a mixture of respect and amazement.

Daria : What?

Jim : How did you Ö

Dan : She just never Ö

Tom : Chris never likes anyone, especially at first. I think the most anyoneís ever gotten from her is an "youíve got potential".

Daria : So, this is a good thing, right?

Tom : I think thatís safe to say. (to Dan and Jim) Guys? Could you set up the game?

 

Dan and Jim look at Tom, knowing his true motivations, but leave without teasing him.

Tom : Um, I just wanted to let you know Ö

Daria : I know that you didnít say anything to Chris or your friends. At least not THAT.

Tom : Uh, good. I wouldnít want you to think that weíve, um Ö

Daria : (teasing) Oh, you havenít?

Tom : Daria, sheíd kill me in a week.

Daria : Yeah, I guess that would be a problem. Unless you were a spider Ö (Bt) Um, Tom? How did you ever get to speaking terms with her?

Tom : (sighing) Thatís a long story. Iíll tell you later, OK?

Daria : Well, I suppose Ö

Jim : (VO) Hey guys! Itís your turn!

Tom : (thought VO) Saved by the bowl.

 

Fade to later that night. All five are seated around a table, with a pitcher of soda and a plate of nachos in the center.

Jim : Well, that was fun. Once we got going, that is Ö

Chris : Although we probably should have warned you about that bowling ball Ö

Daria : Hey, so the thumb hole sticks. I still threw a strike. It was just on the wrong lane, thatís all.

Tom : A minor detail Ö

Dan : Ah, the gallant Tom stepping to the defense of the fair Daria.

Tom : Well, thatís the type of thing a boyfriend is supposed to do Ö

Chris : Not that Dan would know Ö

Daria : Are you telling me that Tom is the sociable member of this jolly little group?

Chris : Sad, ainít it?

Daria : What about you?

Jim : (chuckling) Chris has what you might call an abrasive personality.

Dan : She makes sandpaper look like silk.

Chris : Thatís it. I donít like any of you anymore.

Tom : Big loss Ö

Daria : (shaking her head) How did any of you manage to become friends?

Chris : You mean Tom hasnít told you? Itís an amusing story Ö

 

Dissolve to the interior of a school hallway, lined with lockers. As the bell rings, students begin to fill the hallway. Most of the students are dressed in very formal attire, and have an arrogant ambiance. As the hall continues to fill, we see Tom, dressed as usual, heading for his locker. Reaching his locker, he opens it when a heavyset student approaches the locker next to his and opens it.

Student : Let me guess, youíre a study in casual dress.

Tom : Very funny. I wear what I like, and that monkey suit isnít it.

Student : (confrontational) Big words from a little man, Sloane.

Tom : Well, I canít possibly eat enough to become a big man like you Ö

Student : You just watch yourself Sloane.

 

The heavyset student heads off into the hallways as Jim walks up to Tomís locker.

Jim : Hey Tom. Mr. Happy after you again?

Tom : Heís all talk.

Jim : You sure about that?

Tom : Yeah. Blood is horrible to wash out of dress clothes.

 

The camera pans out as the two of them talk to reveal Chris watching from a distance. Glancing down at a sheet of paper, she shrugs and heads to a locker very near Tomís. As she does, Tom and Jim notice her walking up, and turn to her.

Tom : (looking at Chris) I havenít seen you around. Are you new here?

 

Chris ignores Tom, proceeding to take her books out of her locker.

Tom : Do you at least have a name?

 

Chris turns to Tom, looking him square in the eye.

Chris : Get lost.

Tom : Get lost? Thatís not a very nice name. So unfriendly Ö

 

Chris glares at Tom, then turns and walks away without saying a word.

Jim : I think she likes you man Ö

Tom : At least she hasnít said anything mean about us yet Ö

Jim : Tom, she said two words to us.

Tom : You see what you like, Iíll see what I like.

 

Fade to the library. Chris is sitting at a table alone, reading a textbook. Tom and Jim are sitting a ways across the library, working on homework. As they do, a tall, handsome boy approaches Chrisí table. Tom and Jim exchange a look.

Tom : Looks like Rico Suave is at it again Ö

Suave : Hey baby. You wanna come for a ride in my Jag after school? Real leather seats Ö

Chris : Somehow, skinning a cow for your benefit seems like a poor trade.

Suave : Not so fast now. Youíll be amazed at what I can do for you Ö

Chris : Then why donít you suck my dick?

Suave : (confused) Um, you donít have one.

Chris : What a brilliant observation. Why donít you think about it some more? Somewhere far away from me.

 

The boy looks at Chris, vacillating as to whether or not to try again. Apparently deciding not to bother, he sulks silently away from her table. The camera pans back to Tom and Jim.

Tom : Ouch.

Jim : Yeah, ouch. You think she prefers girls?

Chris : (VO) Get the hell away from me, you whiney bitch!

Tom : You know, it doesnít seem like she likes much of anyone Ö

 

Fade to the cafeteria. Tom and Jim are carrying trays of food, looking for an empty table. As they search, they spot a table with Chris sitting at the end, with the other students giving her a wide berth. Tom heads over, prompting Jim to shake his head.

Jim : Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!

Tom : Oh, shut up and come on.

 

Tom and Jim approach the table, and wait for a moment. Chris completely ignores them.

Tom : Are these seats taken?

Chris : Give it up. I wonít go out with you either.

Tom : Thatís fine. I still need a place to eat.

 

Chris shrugs and returns to her meal. Tom gives Jim a Ďwhat the hellí look, and sits down across from her. Jim takes a seat next to Tom, keeping Tom between himself and Chris.

Tom : (between bites) So Get Lost, you have a nickname that you prefer?

Chris : No.

Tom : So, youíre OK with Get Lost?

Chris : (without looking at Tom) Suck my dick.

Tom : Drop your pants.

 

Chris puts down her fork and turns to look at Tom. Slowly, she picks up her tray and stands up.

Chris : (glancing at Tom as she leaves) You may have potential Ö

Jim : That went well.

Tom : Hey, it took us a whole minute to scare her away.

Jim : Right. Youíll have her eating from your hand in no time.

Tom : Why do I hang out with you?

Jim : Lack of other applicants?

Tom : God, weíre pathetic.

Jim : Yep.

 

Fade to the outside of Tomís locker. Tom takes his books and zips his backpack when a loud bang is heard offscreen. As Tom looks over, we see the same guy from earlier in the library hitting on an angry Chris.

Suave : Come on beautiful. I promise you wonít regret it.

Chris : Havenít you ever heard that no means no?

Suave : Baby, I canít let you walk away and make the biggest mistake of your life.

Chris : Try and stop me.

 

Chris turns and starts to walk off when the guy places his hand on her shoulder. As soon as he touches her shoulder, Chris spins and punches him in the stomach. Unfortunately, at that moment, a teacher rounds the corner and witnesses the whole incident.

Teacher : (loudly) Stop that! (grabbing Chris by the arm) Youíre going to see the principal, young lady.

 

As a crowd gathers to watch the spectacle, Tom forces his way through the crowd and gets in front of the teacher.

Teacher : Mr. Sloane. Kindly get out of my way.

Tom : Mr. Spalding, I watched the whole incident, and she was merely defending herself from an unwanted sexual advance.

Spalding : Is this true, young lady?

 

Chris nods her head.

Spalding : Well, we still need to see the principal, but if what Mr. Sloane says is true, you shouldnít be in much trouble at all.

 

As Mr. Spalding leads both of them down the hallway, Chris turns to Tom.

Chris : Chris.

 

Tom smiles as the scene dissolves back to the bowling alley.

 

Daria : Aww, how sweet.

Tom : Now donít you start Ö

 

Cut to the Sloane residence. Daria and Tom are on the couch, watching Sneakers on TV.

Daria : Itís awfully quiet around here.

Tom : My familyís at some formal function or something. I had a hard time getting out of it myself.

Daria : (teasing) Aww, poor baby.

Tom : So Ö

Daria : I had a nice time tonight. You have a very weird bunch of friends.

Tom : Um, yeah.

Daria : (moving her hand down to his knee and gently making circles) Lets just say that things make a lot more sense now. (hardening her face) For one, why you actually tolerated me. Youíve had experience.

Tom : (thought VO) Agree? Disagree? Hide under the table?

Tom : Um Ö

Daria : (leaning over and kissing Tom) You know, youíre cute when youíre worried Ö

Tom : Daria? Did you get into the liquor cabinet or something?

Daria : Nope. Iíve just been having a good day Ö

 

Fade to the Sloane residence, a few days earlier. Tom is sitting on the couch watching TV when the doorbell rings. Getting up, Tom walks over and opens the door to reveal Daria.

Tom : Daria?

Daria : Tom?

Tom : Daria?

Daria : Tom?

Tom : Tom?

Daria : (playfully) Daria?

Tom : Hey, I wasnít expecting you tonight Ö

Daria : (teasing) I could always spend some quality time with my family Ö

Tom : No, I wouldnít subject you to that.

 

Daria walks in, looking at the TV.

Daria : Are you really watching this?

Tom : Well, not at the moment.

Daria : Were you watching this?

Tom : (ashamed) Um, yes.

Daria : Gotta catch Ďem all?

Tom : Hey, cut me some slack Ö

Daria : Sure thing. Pass the scissors?

 

Tom looks at Daria for a second, bemused.

Tom : Youíre in an awfully good mood today.

Daria : Promise you wonít tell?

Tom : (self-assured) Iím going to make you laugh tonight Ö

Daria : (visibly hardening her face) I love you baby, but I just canít smile.

Tom : (approaching Daria) You may be good at that game, but Iíll lay odds that youíre ticklish Ö

Daria : Thatís cheating, you know Ö

Tom : (reaching for Dariaís side) So?

 

 

Tom begins to tickle Daria, who is trying frantically not to laugh.

Tom : You my as well give up now.

Daria : Never!

 

Daria squirms, trying to get away, as Tom continues his assault. Suddenly, Daria stops squirming, much to Tomís surprise. As we follow Tomís gaze down from Dariaís face, we see that his hands have slipped upwards, and are now resting on the sides of Dariaís breasts. Tom looks on in shock, and quickly pulls away from Daria.

Tom : God! Iím sorry Daria!

Daria : (faux confusion) For what?

Tom : (thought VO) Ok, something strange is going on here.

Tom : Um, for touching you on your, um, Ö

Daria : (matter of fact) Breasts?

Tom : Um, yes.

Daria : Why?

Tom : Why what?

Daria : Why are you sorry?

Tom : (confused) You mean it doesnít bother you?

Daria : Why should it? It feels nice.

Tom : Um (tentatively) I thought you didnít want to, um, (softly) have sex Ö

Daria : Thereís a lot you can do without having sex you know Ö

Tom : Well, yes.

Daria : And not wanting to have sex doesnít mean Iím uninterested in other possibilities Ö

Tom : (confused) Ok Ö I supp Ö Whoa!

 

Tom is yanked back to the present with a start. Looking from Tomís point of view, we see a mischievous looking Daria staring down at him. As he turns his gaze lower, we can see Dariaís hand extending down offscreen, clearly resting in a very sensitive area.

Tom : (thought VO) Coherent thoughts. Coherent thoughts good.

Tom : Um, Daria?

Daria : (pretending that nothing unusual is going on) Yes?

Tom : Um, your hand Ö

Daria : Well, if you donít like it, Iíll stop.

 

Daria raises her hand and leans against the arm of the couch, away from Tom. Tom looks at her in confusion, trying to figure out what exactly is going on.

Tom : Thatís, um, (tentatively) not what I meant. I just, uh, wasnít expecting it Ö

Tom : (thought VO) Remove foot. Salt and place in mouth.

Daria : Why Tom. Youíre such a romantic soul.

Tom : Youíre loving this, arenít you.

Daria : Arenít you?

Tom : Well, um, yes Ö

Daria : So why are you complaining?

Tom : Iím just Ö (abashed) Afraid.

Daria : (uncertain) Afraid?

Tom : (thought VO) Uh-oh. No way out Ö

Tom : (embarrassed) Well, um, (resigned) I like you.

Daria : Well, I hope so Ö

Tom : No, I mean I really like you. And Iím, um, afraid that Iíll do something to screw it all up Ö

Daria : (taking Tomís hand) Tom, Iím a big girl. If you do something Iím uncomfortable with, Iíll tell you to stop.

Tom : You wonít be angry with me?

Daria : Would you be angry with me? Were you angry earlier?

Tom : (thought VO) Angry? No. Surprised as hell? Thatís another story Ö

Tom : Well, no. But, um Ö

Daria : Yes?

Tom : Youíre not likely to do much I would be uncomfortable with Ö

Daria : (shaking her head) Men. (Bt) Canít live with Ďem, and its illegal to shoot them.

Tom : Thanks Ö

Daria : Back to the movie?

Tom : Sounds good to me.

 

As Daria and Tom sit back to watch the movie, Tomís hand moves tentatively down to Dariaís knee. It sits there nervously for a few moments as Daria watches in amusement.

Daria : Tom, the hand is Ok. Just relax a little.

 

Daria smiles at an uncertain Tom as the scene fades out.

 

Fade in to the same scene later that night. Daria and Tom are on the couch (fully clothed), with Daria leaning against the couch arm and Tomís head resting on her stomach. Both are clearly asleep, and the TV is showing the blue control screen of the VCR. Tomís mother enters the room, stopping to look at them with interest. As she watches, Elsie enters the room and spies the two. Before her mother can say anything, Elsie shouts at her brother.

Elsie : Go Tom! Sleeping with your girlfriend in front of your mother Ö

 

Daria groggily wakes up, reaching her free hand up to rub her eyes. Pushing her glasses back down, she notices Elsie and Katherine.

Daria : (elbowing Tom) Mrs. Sloane! Its not what you think!

Tom : Huh? (looking around, worried tone) Mom?

Tom : (thought VO) Mom? Daria? (making the connection) Oh. Wonderful.

Katherine : Donít worry Daria, I know. Elsie, please go upstairs now.

Elsie : But mom!

Katherine : Now Elsie.

Elsie : Fine.

 

Elsie walks off pouting, leaving the room. In the background, she can be heard walking up the staircase.

Tom : Mom, I can explain!

Katherine : Tom, I believe you. But isnít it time for Daria to head home now? Her motherís probably worried.

Tom : (thought VO) Helenís going to kill me Ö

Tom : Um, Mom? Could you give us a minute?

Katherine : Sure Tom. But donít be too long, Ok?

 

Katherine leaves the room, leaving an awkward looking Tom and Daria.

Tom : Um, Iím sorry.

Daria : Tom, we fell asleep. Thatís not exactly your fault.

Tom : I just got caught sleeping with my girlfriend on the couch by my Mother and sister. Can you think of something better to say?

Daria : Well, when you put it that way, apology accepted.

 

Daria leans over and gives Tom a brief kiss, then removes her jacket from the closet.

Daria : I really should be going. I have to brave a lawyer before I sleep tonight.

Tom : You have my condolences.

Daria : Iíd prefer a bottle of chloroform.

 

Daria turns and heads out of the house. Tom looks after her with a mixture of sadness and concern.

Tom : Well, I guess Iíll go finish that nap upstairs. And you can go up to bed too Mom.

 

Tomís mother peeks out around the doorframe, then disappears again.

Tom : (thought VO) Parents.

 

Dissolve into a classroom at Fielding. A balding older teacher is at the front of the classroom.

English Teacher : Now that we have finished our sub-unit on classics and heroes, its time to announce the end of unit projects. For this unit, I expect each of you to perform a comparative analysis of the different heroes from the works studied in class, and to draw meaningful conclusions from the similarities and differences you uncover.

Tom : (thought VO) And here I was saying that I had too much time on my hands already.

English Teacher : In order to complete this assignment, I will expect you to research the topic thoroughly, and to make use of at least three external sources. Does anyone know why?

Tom : (heavy sarcasm) Because our own thoughts, opinions, and conclusions are obviously worthless on their own Ö

English Teacher : Um, not exactly. The GOAL is to permit you to make use of pre-existing analyses to simplify the overall analysis.

Tom : If youíre trying to permit something, then why is it mandatory?

English Teacher : Because those are the guidelines I have chosen for the project. Do you have a problem with that?

Tom : Would it make a difference?

English Teacher : No.

Tom : Then I have absolutely no problem.

English Teacher : Good. Glad to hear it.

 

Cut to Tomís locker. Tom is alone at his locker exchanging books when Chris walks up to him.

Chris : Dish.

Tom : Excuse me?

Chris : Somethingís wrong. I want to know what.

Tom : Why do you think somethingís wrong?

Chris : Well, you just crucified our poor English teacher back there, and youíve been so friendly and outgoing today that Jim thinks they got to you.

Tom : Who?

Chris : ĎThemí. Itís best not to ask.

Tom : So why do you care?

Chris : Hey, Iím the cast-iron bitch. If you start behaving as badly as me, I might actually have to shape up.

Tom : And that just canít be, can it?

Chris : Whatís wrong?

Tom : Daria.

Chris : What? (concerned) Did you break up?

Tom : No. Itís just Ö

Chris : Yes?

Tom : (softly) I think I love her.

Chris : I donít understand Ö

Tom : Can you keep a secret?

Chris : You know me Tom.

Tom : Iím serious.

Chris : (sincerely) Ok, I promise that I wonít tell a soul.

Tom : (slowly and nervously) Itís a little hard to explain. Daria likes, well, me. Just plain old Tom. Not Angierís boy, not the next in the Sloane line, but just me.

Chris : (strained slightly) I still donít understand Ö

Tom : (sighing) With college coming up, any long-term relationship would be Ö difficult at best. Even now, I canít see any resolution that wonít result in me being hurt. And yet, I wouldnít even think of slowing down or doing anything differentlyÖ

Chris : Ok Ö

Tom : And for the grand finale, telling Daria any of this would probably completely freak her out Ö

Chris : You should probably tell her anyway Ö

Tom : I know. Thatís the icing on the cake. (Bt) Hey, thanks for being there.

Chris : Just one condition.

Tom : Dare I ask?

Chris : Donít tell anyone. I have a reputation to protect.

Tom : (chuckling) I think I can handle that Ö

 

Cut to the lunch room. Dan, Jim, and Chris are sitting at the table as Tom walks up.

Jim : All hail Tom, slayer of teachers.

Tom : Oh, come on Ö

Dan : Enjoy it while you can. No one else could have gotten away with it Ö

Tom : I doubt that most of them would even know an original thought if they had oneÖ

Chris : Now thatís nothing new.

Tom : Do you suppose that itíll always be like this? That most of the people around me are idiots?

Dan : Well, most of the population are idiots Ö

Chris : Why Dan, when did you acquire such a positive worldview?

Dan : Hmmm. Let me think. Maybe it was the day that a woman earned millions for spilling coffee on herself?

Chris : Would you want hot coffee spilled there?

Dan : For ten million dollars, Iíd deal.

Tom : Why do we always end up making fun of the rest of the world? Granted, it keeps us well supplied with material, but still Ö

Jim : Thatís an easy one. Weíre boring.

Tom : You donít pull any punches, do you?

Jim : Of course not. The truth is our only weapon Ö

Chris : Once youíve dropped the knife Ö

 

Fade to the Sloane kitchen. The entire family is seated as they begin the meal.

Elsie : Why Tom, so nice of you to join us tonight.

Tom : Why Elsie, how could I stay away from you? Youíre always so pleasant.

Katherine : (warning tone) Tom, Elsie Ö

Tom : Yes Mother?

Elsie : Yes Mother?

Katherine : Oh, never mind.

Angier : Tom, Elsie, can we just have a pleasant family dinner here?

Tom : I wasnít aware that we were being unpleasant. Did you Elsie?

Elsie : Why no, weíve been the models of politeness and courtesy dear father.

Angier : Why is it that the two of you can only work together when weíre in the picture?

Tom : A keen demonstration of your great parental prowess?

Katherine : Thank you ever so much Tom. (Bt) Did you and Daria have fun on your date yesterday?

Tom : (somewhat uncomfortable) Yes mom, we did.

Katherine : What did you do?

Tom : We had a nice dinner, and then went bowling with my friends.

Tom : (thought VO) And Daria wondered why I never told my family about my dates Ö

Elsie : Was Chris there?

Tom : (thought VO) Why does everyone seem to ask that?

Tom : Yes, she was. And before you ask, they got along pretty well.

Katherine : They did? Thatís so cute!

Tom : (thought VO) Please, let it end Ö

Katherine : Did I tell you that Helen called me today? She wanted to check up on Dariaís story. Is there something we should know?

Tom : No mom.

Tom : (thought VO) And even if there was, I wouldnít tell you Ö

Katherine : Then why was she so suspicious?

Tom : Mom? Sheís a lawyer.

Katherine : You have a point Ö

 

 

 

Fade to later that night. Tom is in his room, reading a book about hero quests in classical literature.

Tom : (thought VO) Ok, thatís about all of this crap that I can take. If this were any more content free, itíd be a press conference.

 

Tom drops the book on the floor and with his heel, pushes it beneath the bed. Getting up, he walks over, and reaches down next to his laptop to retrieve a cordless phone. Picking it up, he dials Dariaís number. After a few rings, Daria answers, and we switch to a split-screen between Tom and Daria.

 

Daria : Speak.

Tom : No.

Daria : Thatís original.

Tom : I try. So, is everything Ok? Hopefully your mother wasnít too hard on you.

Daria : Actually, she was surprisingly understanding. Come to think of it, she never actually punished me Ö

Tom : Well, she called my mother earlier today.

Daria : Ah, the trust of a mother.

Tom : Well, um, Iím glad that things worked out. And Iím sorry about last night.

Tom : (thought VO) well, parts of it, anyway.

Daria : (sighing) You donít have to apologize. It was actually quite nice, at least until your mother showed up.

Tom : Umm Ö thanks?

Daria : (overly formal) You are most welcome, sir.

 

Tom listens for a second, and starts laughing. After laughing for a few moments, he returns to the phone.

Tom : I needed that.

Daria : So Ö

Tom : Um, good night?

Daria : That remains to be seen. Gínight.

 

Daria hangs up the phone, leaving Tom holding the cordless phone. Tom pushes the button to turn off the phone and begins to change into a pair of boxers and a ragged old t-shirt. Climbing into bed, he pulls the sheets over him and stares at the ceiling for a few minutes.

Tom : I love you Daria.

 

Fade out and roll credits.