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 twenty-seventh John Lane story

Richard Lobinske

Sloane, Tom B

At the front of his classroom, Mr. O'Neill drew arrows from one crude drawing to another as he lectured, "And so the pen begat the printing press and the printing press begat the linotype machine…"

In an aside to Daria, John said, "Begat? Is this about printing the Bible?"

"That's a great point, John!" Mr. O'Neill said. "The Gutenberg Bible was the first great printed bestseller. I'm so glad you're paying attention."

"Um, sure," John muttered.

Daria whispered to him, "Sarcasm can be a double-edged sword."

Mr. O'Neill turned back to the board. "Where was I? Oh yes, which brings us today, when we have entire epics spawned interactively via the web and they never see the printed page at all."

Daria said, "Considering the quality of most web-based fiction, that's a good thing for the trees of the world."

"Yes Daria, it's good for the environment, but I was thinking more about the process than the product," Mr. O'Neill said, trying to keep on track. "Good or bad, the message delivered is influenced by the medium in which it is conveyed. But today's progressive communicators ask, 'Why stop at just medium? Why not go for...' Kevin?"

He answered, "Large? There's never enough soda in those medium cups and a large only costs ten cents more!"

"Uh, no, Kevin," Mr. O'Neill said.

"I counted the change myself!" Kevin said in his defense.

"I'm sure you did, Kevin, and I'll pass that on to Mr. Phelps. But I was looking for media, or more specifically, multimedia."

"Is that, like, a two for one deal?" Kevin asked.

Mr. O'Neill whimpered slightly and said, "No, Kevin, but multimedia does bring me to our exciting assignment."

John whispered, "Why is it that when he says exciting, he really means boring?"

Daria answered, "I'm sure it's the result of years of intense study."

Animated, Mr. O'Neill said, "Each one of you will be part of a creative team to produce a multimedia project that uses the power of computing to combine words, images, and sound. You can use computers here at school or those at home. John, doesn't this just make you want to run out and get started?"

"Speaking of which, can I run out to the bathroom?" he replied.

"Oh, no, are you all right?"

"I won't be if you keep me sitting here too much longer."

"Please, please go."

Driving home after school, John said to Daria, "Actually, I'm kinda psyched about this multimedia project. Your writing and my drawing…"

"Don't let it go to your head," Daria said.

"You have to admit that we work well together and let's face it, when you do a project, you get an A. One of those puppies could actually bump my Language Arts grade up to a B. Wouldn't that be amazing?"

"You: a B in Language Arts? Amazing is only one of the words I can think of."

"Ahem, Miss C-in-Physical-Education, do you have a point?"

Daria growled, "I could make an exception with that all-A policy of mine."

"I would offer to help with your PE grade, but for some strange reason, they won't let me into your class."

"Damn sexist segregation."

"Since we are working together, do you have any ideas?"

Daria sarcastically suggested, "The Emotional Trauma Cycle of a High School Romance?"

"Hmm, with something like that, we could really ratchet up the angst rating. Something that would make a Nazgul curl up into a whimpering little ball."

"This project has the potential to really fry Mr. O'Neill's brains."

John laughed and said, "Speaking of frying brains, since we're planning on going to the Zon tonight, why don't we hit up Trent for some music?"

They looked at each other for a moment before saying in unison, "Nah."

"Ice Box Woman, a Mystik Spiral classic," John said while watching the band play.

Standing next to him in the semi-crowded club, Daria said, "If Monique ever hears that new verse, she's going to tear him a new one."

"Yep. Sometimes, my brother just never learns."

"John, tell me, how has he managed to live this long?"

"How did Ms. Li become principal? Some mysteries in life are beyond our understanding."

"Um, hi," a quiet voice said behind them. They turned to see Quinn with her hair pulled into a ponytail and wearing a decidedly unfashionable black shirt with her jeans.

Daria asked, "Quinn, what are you doing here?"

Trying to be nonchalant, she said, "Oh, you know, sometimes I feel like I should spend more time with you two and..."

John said, "The credit card bills arrived, didn't they?"

"Um, yeah."

"How bad?" Daria asked.

"Daria, I'm in a grunge club with you two," Quinn answered.

Grimacing, John said, "Oooh, Jake must be about 9.0 on the Richter Scale."

"I'm sure Mom will get Dad calmed down in a couple hours. Can I hang out until then?"

"It's your brain cells," Daria said.

Watching the band walk off of the stage, Daria said, "Quinn, John and I were only planning on staying through the first set."

"Yeah, the second set is worse," John added. "Only people with their judgment compromised by significant amounts of alcohol stay for it."

A young man with brown hair and comfortable clothes approached the three. "Would earplugs help if you want to observe the second set crowd?"

Quinn quickly appraised the subtle high quality and hidden, inherent expense of the newcomer's clothes. "Hi, my name is Quinn. What's yours?"

"Oh, excuse me, where are my manners. I'm Tom, Tom Sloane."

"At least you didn't say, 'Sloane, Tom Sloane,'" Daria said.

Very formal, he replied, "How about, Sloane, Tom B. Rank, undetermined."

John said, "Wow, two new victims tonight. I'll have to tell Trent that the band's audience is growing."

"You know them?" Tom asked.

"The lead wailer is my brother. Don't ask me to sing, I'm worse."

"Thanks for the warning."

"I'm John."

"Daria," she said, observing Quinn's visual evaluation of the newcomer. "So, what brings you to Lawndale, the pimple on the backside of the Earth?"

"I live here," Tom answered.

John said, "New in town? Haven't seen you around Lawndale High."

"Native, but Mom and Dad insist that I go to Fielding Prep."

Quinn sweetly said, "Tom, would you mind walking me over to get a soda?"

He shrugged. "Sure."

As they walked away, John said, "Do you think we should warn him?"

Daria shook her head. "Nah, he looks like one of those spoiled rich kids that sail yachts every summer. Experience will be the best teacher."

In the alley behind the Zon, Max and Nick walked out to the Tank. Nick said, "Why didn't we just bring that drum in for the first set?"

"Because I didn't need it. But I need it for the second set. You can't do Behind My Eyelids without it."

"I still think we should've grabbed it when we had some light."

Max opened the driver's door and flipped the van's dome light switch back and forth. "Dammit!" When he tried the headlights, the continued darkness caused him to pound the dashboard of the Tank. "Dammit!"

At the sliding side door, Nick said, "What's wrong?"

"Dead battery. This really sucks."

"I think we have some jumper cables."

Max started scanning the cars parked in the alley behind the Zon. "No way, the last time we tried to jump start the Tank, it caught on fire. Besides, look over there, someone abandoned an old Pinto. Let's see if there's a battery in it."

Nick started to follow, saying, "Are you sure it's abandoned?"

"Dude, who in their right mind would drive a Pinto? It costs more to have one towed away than it's worth for scrap. I bet they dropped it back here hoping that nobody would notice."

"Good point."

"Besides, we're criminales."

When they reached their target, Nick said, "Man, this thing's in worse shape than Trent's old car."

Max felt under the grill, pulled a bungee cord loose, and opened the hood. "Yes! A battery."

Amused at her sister's reaction to the graffiti-covered walls, Daria said to Quinn, "I'm in here to actually use the restroom. Why did you follow me?"

Keeping her voice down, Quinn said, "Daria, why didn't you tell me that people like Tom came here?"

"It's the first time I've seen him. He's kinda cute, but why are you going crazy over him? Normally, guys are doing that to you."

"Daria! Doesn't the name Sloane mean a thing to you?"

"On the whole, no."

"Like in, Grace, Sloane and Page?"

Recognizing the big investment bank company that owned much of downtown Lawndale, Daria said, "Oh, okay. So he might be related; big deal."

"Even if they're scruffy, those are top of the line clothes that Tom's wearing. He goes to Fielding Prep. There's no 'might be related' about him. He is one of the Sloanes."

"Okay, so what?"

"They're rich! The Sloanes make the Taylors and the Landons look, um, middle-class."

"Ah, now I see. You've found someone to pay off your credit card bills."

"Just think of what kind of car he must drive."

Daria stepped into the stall and, as she closed the door, said, "Excuse me."

Hands in his pockets and rocking back and forth while waiting, Tom said, "It looks like you and Daria are a couple. Is Quinn seeing anybody?"

John said, "To the first, yes. For the second, if you mean, is Quinn seeing anyone steady? The answer is no."


John glanced at Tom and snickered inside. "What brings you to this neck of the woods?"

"Well, I finally have a car of my own, so I thought I'd check out some of the places around town my parents frown upon me visiting."

"Ah, you're slumming."

"I prefer to think of it as trying to learn more about life outside of my parents' social circle. I hate to think of what kind of an isolated, stuck-up snob I'd turn into if all I ever experienced was private school, the country club and Mom's charity events."

"Uh-huh. And considering your question about Quinn, I'm sure it also includes looking around for different girls than the same ones you've seen for years."

"You don't want to meet the girls from the Land of the Muffys. You can't imagine how much time they spend talking about clothes, or makeup, or comparing the status of their latest dates."

John hesitated before saying, "I see."

"Look around you. The people here are alive and free from convention. That's what I'm looking for."

"That's one way to describe it."

Returning from the restroom with Quinn, Daria said, "Okay, I've practiced my antigravity hovering for the day."

Tom quipped, "Real Zero-G toilets, next on Sick, Sad World."

John snickered. "Good one."

Quinn quickly said, "Excuse us for just a moment," and pulled Daria away.

Once they were out of sight in the crowd, Daria snatched her arm away and said, "Quinn, what are you doing?"

"Oh my god! He watches that show. I need some pointers, quick!"

"I figured that would've been an automatic disqualification."

"Daria, you always want me to think beyond appearances. So, why aren't you going to support me when I'm willing to try?"

Sighing, the older sister said, "You have me there. Okay, but don't try to pretend you're a regular viewer. If he is, he'll catch you in a heartbeat. Say you catch it from time to time, like when they had the moonshine still in Mississippi raided by alien ATF agents."

"Or that guy that saw the image of Buddha in a deli ham?"

Daria paused. "Wait, how did you know about that one?"

"I listened at the door one time when I just had to get away from Tiffany trying to explain the difference between lilac and lavender to Stacy." Quinn started to grin when she noticed Daria's breath catch. She said, "It must've been fascinating; I didn't hear a word out of you or John."

Daria blushed and mumbled, "I think you'll do fine."

When they got back to John, Quinn asked, "Where's Tom?"

John replied, "He said he was going to bring his car around to the front. Daria and I parked across the street. Why don't we head out?"

"Bringing the car around; how sweet," Quinn said as she walked to the door.

John fell into place beside Daria. "Target acquired."

Outside of the club they waited for several minutes as Quinn speculated about what kind of car Tom drove. Eventually, Daria spotted Tom walking around a corner. She said, "The emperor's new car?"

"I'm sorry," Tom said when he reached them. "Somebody stole the battery out of my car. Can I get a ride home? Quinn, can I have a rain check?"

"Sure, Tom. Daria, John, do you mind?"

"I don't see a problem," Daria said. "John?"

"Eh, why not?" He pointed to the blue bomb. "Right over there."

Tom said, "You came here in that?"

Daria said, "If you finish the line I think you're going to finish, I will have to kill you."

Leaning into the open back door of the car, Tom said to Quinn, "Okay then, I'll pick you up at 7:00 tomorrow night."

Quinn said, "That will be great. See you tomorrow, Tom."

"Good night." To the others, he said, "Thanks for the ride. It's been nice meeting you."

In the driver's seat, John said, "No problem."

Daria said, "Nice to meet you, Tom. Good luck with the car tomorrow."

"Thanks." Tom gave a last wave to Quinn and turned to walk along the perfectly manicured path to the ornate mansion that was the Sloane residence.

Driving away, John said, "That looks like a comfy house."

Dreamy, Quinn looked back and said, "Yes."

Daria turned to her sister. "I'm impressed; you managed to go the entire trip without once mentioning clothes or popularity."

"She even gave Tom a chance to talk," John added.

"Do I look stupid?" Quinn sharply said. "Of course you don't spend all your time talking about clothes to a guy; they hate it. You keep things simple and let him talk. That way, he stays interested in you and thinks he looks good."

"Forgive us, we are still beginners at the Tao of Dating," Daria said.

"It's a good thing you two stumbled into each other. You'd never survive out there on your own."

Arms folded, Elsie smirked at her brother as he entered the house. "So, what happened on your great adventure to visit the unwashed masses that you needed a ride home?"

"Someone stole the battery from my car," Tom said in tired explanation. "But the upside was that I met some cool people."

"I thought people who drove cars like the one that dropped you off were called eccentric. Wait, that must be why you like them."

"Funny, Elsie."

"I saw the couple in the front seat; who were you talking to in the back seat?"

"The sister of the girl in the front seat. Her name is Quinn and we have a date tomorrow night."

"Providing that you can get your car to start."

"It'll start. All it needs is a battery. I can easily put a new one in tomorrow morning."

Elsie cocked her head, saying, "And how do you plan on getting said battery to your car?"

He shrugged. "I'll just have to get a ride from Mom or Dad. They'll find out where I went sooner or later, so it might as well be sooner. That way, I can get the embarrassing questions out of the way."

Changing tactics, Elsie said, "You said you had a date. Impressive, if true."

"Yes, I have a date and I'm not making it up."

"Anything's possible. Do you have any plans, or are you just going to wing it?"

"I was thinking about grabbing a burger or some pizza before going to see Much Ado About Nothing at Playhouse 99."

"Junk food and Shakespeare. Only you, big brother. Only you."

Lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling with his feet propped on the bed, John said, "How about The Idiot's Guide of What Not to Do on a Date?"

Sitting on the bed with a notepad braced against her knees, Daria scribbled notes and said, "That has potential. Relevant topic, capacity for humor and avenues to embarrass Mr. O'Neill."

"Along with half the students of Lawndale High."

Resting her chin on her pencil, Daria said, "Why limit ourselves to Lawndale? I'm sure we can find some good date horror stories online. The question is, do we play it straight up or for comedy?"

"Black comedy?"

"Oh yeah, that'll work."

John dropped his feet onto the floor and sat up. "This is going to be good."

Daria and John hunched over a sketchpad on the coffee table while he drew some fast outline drawings. She said, "Where did you get that idea?"

"My brother, Wind. He did that when he was dating his second wife."

"And she married him?"

"Not for long."

From the top of the stairs, Quinn said, "Can you do me a favor?"

Looking up and seeing Quinn in a very fancy evening gown, Daria said, "Oh, Miss Scarlett, are you ready for the cotillion?"

John said, "That's a lot more effort than you usually put into a date."

Hands on the railing, Quinn learned toward them. "I'm trying to make a good impression. I'm going to wait in my room. When Tom arrives, can one of you please come upstairs to get me?"

Daria said, "I get it. You don't want Dad yelling, 'Quinn! Your date is here,' do you?"

"That would be so undignified," Quinn said with a roll of her eyes. "Can you come up, please?"

"I suppose it won't break my leg; okay," Daria agreed.

"Thanks!" Quinn said, then spun and hurried to her room.

John watched the empty staircase. "You know, I have a feeling this is going to be one big train wreck. From what Tom said to me, that is exactly what he wasn't looking for in a girl."

Thinking about the night before and what Quinn said she hadn't heard when she listened at John's door, Daria said, "I think we need to keep Old 97 on the tracks tonight."

Curious, John slowly said, "Okay…what do you have in mind?"

"Depending upon how things look when he arrives, you may need to keep Tom distracted while I, um, warn Quinn."

Joking, John said, "Oh boy, what does she have on us?"

"Nothing, really, but I think we owe her."

Seated on the floor next to the large corner window of the living room, John worked on some storyboards for their project while Daria read printouts various accounts from a "Dating Disasters" website. Motion at the driveway caught his attention and he watched a rust-spotted blue Pinto stop behind his and Daria's car. When Tom, dressed much like he was the previous evening, stepped out, John said, "I think it's time to warn Scarlett that Rhett doesn't give a damn. I mean, he really doesn't give a damn."

"On my way," Daria said. On the stairs, she asked, "Car or clothes?"

"Both, and the steam whistle is blowing."

After making sure Daria was upstairs, John opened the door and said, "Hey, Tom. Daria just went upstairs to get Quinn."

Tom said, "That was fast."

John pointed to the large window. "I happened to see you drive up."


Looking at Tom's car, John said, "Wow, that's an endangered species."

Tom looked back and cracked a smile. "Yep, I'm tempted to put a sign on the back that says, 'Warning: May Explode Without Provocation,' or something like that."

In Quinn's room, Daria said, "I think you need to consider something more casual."

Quinn asked, "He didn't dress up?"

Daria went to the window and looked out to see Tom's car for herself. "No, and…" She tried to think of something, but just couldn't find the exact words. Instead, she motioned for Quinn to come over and pointed to the driveway. "There's no easy way to tell you."

Quinn gasped when she peered down. "Daria, you're joking. Please tell me you're joking. That can't be Tom's car."

"I'm sorry, Quinn."

Quinn pleaded, "What am I going to do?"

"I suggest that you change into something more comfortable and hope that his wit and charm will make up for his clothes and car."

Incredulous, Tom said, "Let me get this straight. Daria's your girlfriend and you stay in a room right down the hall."

"That's right."

"Her parents know about it?"

"Yes, they're my legal guardians."

"I've always wanted to know; when you sell your soul, do you really sign the contact in blood?"

"I've been lucky."

"John, lucky is finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk. You've got a situation most guys our age dream about."

"I wouldn't trade this for anything, but let me tell you, it's not as easy as you think. I'm under a lot more scrutiny than most guys our age. That's something that really sucks before breakfast."

"Hmm, I can see that."

They stood in silence, looking around the living room. After a while, Tom glanced at his watch. "I wonder what's taking so long."

"Who knows?" John replied. After more silence, he said, "So, um, what are your intentions with Quinn?"

"Pizza, movie…and don't worry, the back seat is in too bad of shape to try anything."

John nodded.

Tom said, "Your big brother routine isn't very convincing."

"I'm still new at it."

After even more silence, Tom said, "Okay, there's something going on and you're here to keep me busy."

"Uh…yeah." John glanced upstairs and said, "This is going to sound weird. Really weird."

"Okay, this coming from a teenager living in his girlfriend's house."

John muttered, "How best to say this…" Quinn must've noticed his car by now and she hasn't blown him off or sent Daria down to do it for her. She must still want to go out with him. Hmm. Clearer, he said, "She's probably trying to figure out the right thing to wear."

"Oh, no," Tom said, sounding disappointed.

"Um…this is kinda, like the first real date she's been on."

"I'd gotten the impression that she has gone out with guys before."

Careful. "She has. But, I have the feeling that she wants to go out to be with you, not to be just seen with you."


"Tom, Quinn is usually very image conscious and spotted that you're wealthy right away. She had images of you arriving in a fancy car and taking her out to a private room at Chez Pierre for dinner and dressed accordingly."

Tom heavily sighed. "Great, just great. I wanted to meet a girl that wasn't like that."

"You've been here for ten minutes and Quinn hasn't come down to give you a brush-off. If she is changing into something more appropriate to what you seem to have in mind, that's a big step for her. Give her a chance."

Tom nodded. "It's only one evening, sure. I was thinking of tonight's Shakespeare week showing at Playhouse 99. Am I correct that she's never set foot inside of there?"


"Tonight's going to be a challenge, isn't it?"


Quinn appeared on the stairs wearing fitted jeans and a blue sweater. "Hi, Tom."

"Hi, Quinn," he answered.

"Hi, sorry for the delay," Daria said.

Tom asked, "Are you ready?"

Taking a brief pause to steel herself, Quinn said, "I'm ready."

Opening the door, Tom said, "I should probably warn you that my car's a little rough around the edges."

Quinn glanced at Daria and John. "I've ridden in their car."

As Tom closed the door, he said, "How do you feel about a little of the Bard tonight?"

Faintly, John and Daria could hear Quinn say, "I don't know, I was thinking more about seeing a movie."

Daria shook her head. "Do you know which Shakespeare movie is showing tonight at the theater?"

"I think it's the Branagh version of Much Ado About Nothing."

"Well, those two would make an interesting Beatrice and Benedick."

John smirked and said, "Hey, I've always wanted a chance to play yenta."

Sitting down at the booth after placing their pizza slices on the table, Tom said, "Cheeseless? I knew it was on the menu, but always thought it was a joke."

"Healthy eating is no joke," Quinn admonished.

"Point taken." Looking at Quinn's pizza, he added, "Onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomato sauce; you almost have a salad."

"Exactly," she said. "It's all about balance."

Raising his pepperoni and sausage slice, Tom said, "I balanced salt and grease?"

Unable to actually look at the pizza, she said, "You and John would get along. He'll eat anything, even my Dad's cooking."

"Note to self: stay away from Mr. Morgendorffer's cooking."

Quinn looked at the drink cup in stunned surprise as Tom walked away from the theater's snack stand.

"Next, please," the pimply-faced boy behind the counter called, then said, "Please move to the side, miss."

Quinn broke out of her shock and grabbed the diet cola before hurrying after Tom. "What was that?"

"What was what?"

"You left my soda on the counter."

Tom sipped through the straw in his soda and said, "You'd have a hard time drinking if I was carrying it."

She glared at his back. "Yeah, right."

The movie had barely started when Quinn leaned to the side and whispered to Tom, "Why are they talking funny?"

"It's Shakespeare," Tom replied.

"I thought he was supposed to be good. So why is everyone talking funny?"

Tom slid down in his seat. "That's how English was spoken when Shakespeare wrote his plays."

"But this movie is only a couple of years old." Quinn noticed Tom's sinking and then what he said registered. "Oh, um, sorry. How about if I just watch the movie?"

After the movie, Tom got into his car and leaned over to unlock the passenger door as Quinn impatiently waited. When she gingerly sat down on the worn seat, he said, "We're not compatible at all, are we?"

"No," Quinn answered, glad that Tom was the first to say something.

"But you have a little smile. Something must've gone right."

"I liked the movie. Beatrice and Benedick were so cute and funny."

"At least that's something."

"But I'll never understand how she'd go out in public, let alone be filmed, with that hair." Looking at Tom, Quinn said, "You're smiling, too."

He replied with a nod. "I am. It's one thing to see a movie like that with someone who appreciates Shakespeare. It's another when you see it with someone who's discovering Shakespeare."

"Is that good or bad?"


Quinn said, "And I mean this in a good way, not as a blow-off. Can we be friends?"

"You know, that would be great. Let's face it; we'd never survive the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing."

"Not in this car." Quinn then admitted, "Although, I'm glad Daria talked me into going out with you tonight."

"I was tempted to run when John said you were expecting a night at Chez Pierre, but I'm glad he talked me into giving you a chance."

They looked at each other for a moment before starting to laugh. Quinn said, "They set us up."

"We have to get even."

John flipped to the next illustrated page of a sketchbook set up on the easel in his room while Daria read from her notebook, "Congratulations, you may be able to survive your first attempts at dating. But don't worry; things only get more difficult after that."

Taking a quick look at the surprised boy and girl in the illustration she kissed John's cheek. "You were right; we do work well together."

John asked, "Do we play well together, too?" as he shifted to kiss her on the lips.

"I'd say, yes."

Their next kiss was cut short by Quinn's harsh whisper in the hallway, "Shh. They might hear you."

That was followed by Tom whispering, "Sorry."

Immediately curious, Daria and John went to the door and peeked out, just in time to see Quinn, holding Tom's hand, draw him into her room.

Daria weakly said, "Um…"

"I was just about to say the same thing," John said.

"That was Quinn sneaking Tom into her room, right?"

"It was. I can't believe it."

"I feel like we should do something, but part of me says butt out, it's her choice."

"I know, but…your mom didn't have her get precautions the way she made you."

"You've got a point there. Quinn was very emphatic that she didn't want anyone knowing that I was on the pill because guys would assume that she was."

"It looks like Tom knows how to press the right buttons. Dammit, I need a more convincing big brother routine."

Daria held up both of her hands. "Hold on, let's think a minute, here. There could be a completely reasonable explanation that doesn't involve them and sex."

"That is a completely reasonable explanation."

"Oh, yeah."

After taking time to think, John said, "So, do we assume Quinn will be responsible and we do nothing, or assume not and barge in, potentially making huge idiots of ourselves?"

"Don't forget option three: sitting here and endlessly agonizing over it."

"How could I forget that?"

Daria briskly shook her head. "Dammit, we kept telling everyone to trust us."

"If we can't show the same trust…"

"John, that's my little sister."

He took a deep breath. "How about this? We go down to her room and knock on the door, then tell her that if she's going to sneak someone in, she needs to be quieter."

"That could work and it covers us both ways. We better hurry."

They rushed down the hall and stopped at Quinn's door. They looked at each other for several seconds, waiting for the other to do something. Finally, Daria knocked on the door and said, "Quinn?"

Squeaky, Quinn said, "Daria?"

Daria winced and said, "When you sneak somebody into your room, silence is the best policy."

John and Daria were left dumbfounded when Tom loudly said, "Damn, I owe you twenty bucks."

Laughing, Quinn opened the door. Immediately behind her, Tom was taking money from his wallet. "Elsie would've been at the door within two seconds, with a tape recorder."

Daria asked, "What gives?"

Quinn playfully laughed again and said, "God, only you two would beat yourselves up for that long before coming down here!"

John grumbled, "You little…"

After giving the twenty to Quinn, Tom stepped out of the room and placed one hand on John's shoulder. "Good try. Tonight was fun in a weird sort of way, but Quinn and I dating? Bad idea. Very bad idea."

"But sweet of you to try," Quinn said.

"No good deed goes unpunished," Daria replied.

Tom waved and said, "I can find my way out. See you around, everybody. I have to admit, you're a lot more interesting than the drones at Fielding."

Daria turned to John and poked her finger into his chest. "You are not allowed to play yenta again."

Dialog from Jane's Addition by Glenn Eichler

Thanks to DJW for why Quinn was at the Zon.

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

April 2007