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 story occurs during the events of Is It College Yet?, after Mr. and Mrs. Sloane have sent the letter of recommendation to Bromwell for Daria, but before she learns of her final rejection by the school.
Promise in Green
(Exterior shot of Lawndale High School. Cut to inside Mr. DeMartino's classroom showing seniors. Zoom to close-up of intercom speaker)
Jodie (VO on intercom): Seniors, we will begin decorating the gymnasium for the prom after class today and we will continue, after school, all week long. We have a lot of work to do if we're going to make this a memorable prom, so everybody is encouraged to pitch in. Every tiny bit helps.
Ms. Li (VO on intercom): Let's make this prom a memorable event for the honor and glory of Lawndale High. For everyone's information, the Lawndale Police Department bomb squad will inspect the entire gymnasium before the prom for any surprises, so don't even try. During this week, we will also be installing extra security cameras to all the (she coughs) "discrete" locations around the gymnasium. That will be all. Have a great day.
(Cut back to view of class)
Brittany: Oooh! I'm so excited. I can't wait to be the prom queen!
Kevin: Hey, and I'll be the prom king.
Brittany: Of course you will, Kevie.
Jane (to Daria): She seems awfully sure.
Daria: After three years as token homecoming king and queen, Mack and Jodie removed themselves from the ballot. Who else are the unwashed masses going to vote for?
Jane: Too bad Tom doesn't go to school here, I'd vote for the two of you.
Daria: Prom kings and queens are generally expected to show up to the prom.
Jane: That's right, it's you and Tom I'm talking about.
Daria: What's that supposed to mean?
Jane: It just means that you and Tom march to your own drummer and don't go in for things like proms.
Daria: Let's face it, a prom is just an over-glorified, expensive high school dance. I've been to a dance, remember?
(Brittany leans over toward Daria)
Brittany: Now that you're dating that Tom guy, you can even go to the prom! Are we going to see you in a real dress?
Kevin: Is that allowed?
Daria: Don't worry, we're not going.
Kevin: Oh, that's a relief. Seeing you in, like, a regular dress would really freak me out.
(Daria wrinkles her face in disgust as Brittany glares at Kevin)
(LHS corridor. Daria and Jane stop at Daria's locker. She opens it and exchanges books)
Daria: You know, just when I think there can't be any more stupid things for our fellow students to obsess over, the world proves me wrong.
Jane: A lot of people think of the prom as one of the big events of high school. (she shrugs) Even I'm planning on going. Probably stag, but you know, it is a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
Daria: Great, that means I only have to avoid it once.
(Jodie, holding a stack of tickets, enters and stops beside Daria and Jane.)
Jodie: Hey Daria, Jane. I've got prom tickets.
Jane: Go ahead and give me two. I'll probably go stag, but I might run down to the cemetery to dig up a date if I can get my zombie voodoo working right.
(Jodie gives Jane two tickets)
Jodie: Just don't let him eat the other students' brains.
Daria: A zombie would starve on most of our fellow students.
Jodie: And I'd get stuck with cleaning up the mess.
(Jodie takes out two more tickets, offering them to Daria.)
Daria: No thanks.
Jodie: I know you're not a joiner, but skipping the prom?
Daria: Why should I make an exception for the prom?
Jodie (sighs): I was hoping.
Daria: That can get you in trouble. I found out that abandoning all hope makes life a lot easier.
Jodie: Look, I'll hold onto a couple...just in case you change your mind.
Daria: Don't hold your breath along with them.
(Exterior of Morgendorffer house. Cut to the living room, where Daria and Tom are seated on a sofa watching television. On the TV screen is a mantis wearing clerical robes.)
SSW Announcer: Now that's one praying mantis! Bugs for Jesus, next on Sick, Sad World!
Daria: And all this time, I thought bugs were Buddhists.
Tom: I've just figured that they were out to conquer the world.
Tom: Any word yet from Bromwell?
Daria: No, but tell your mom and dad thanks for the letter. They, um, seem to really like me.
Tom: They do. Even though she's too cool in her own mind to show it, even Elsie likes you.
Daria: It's something I'm still getting used to. But back to Bromwell, I guess that even with inside help, the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly.
Tom: My family would've needed to buy them a stadium to get fast service.
(Quinn enters and stops behind the sofa)
Quinn: Uh, Daria. Don't you think you doing a little too much of the "wait until the last minute" thing?
Daria: Quinn, I don't have any choice. Anyone on the wait list is at the mercy of Bromwell's admission staff.
Quinn: Hello? That's like, next fall. I'm talking about your prom. It's less than a week away.
Quinn: You haven't made the first effort to find a dress. (she is suddenly shocked to the core, as if realizing things are far worse than she believed) Oh my God! You are not planning on wearing that thing to the prom?
Daria: We're not going.
Quinn: Not going?!
(In the kitchen, Helen hears and walks over to the teens.)
Daria: Not going. As in: not attending, not present, completely absent, and avoiding like the plague.
Tom: I'm sure we can come up with something more interesting to do that night that doesn't involve me getting the penguin suit out of storage.
Daria: You own a tuxedo. Why am I not surprised?
Tom: My mom insists that I wear one for formal occasions, and around my family, you have to endure several every year. Mom makes me buy a new one each time I outgrow the old. I don't wear them willingly.
Helen: Daria, while I'll support your final decision, can I ask you and Tom to reconsider?
Daria: Because we won't have another chance and will always wonder what we missed?
Helen: Because this is a good opportunity for you to do something special for yourselves, every couple needs to do that now and then. The prom will have a couple stock activities you'll have to endure, but the rest of the evening will be what you make of it.
Quinn: How about something romantic? You two have been together for almost a year. I think you should celebrate.
Daria: Um, yeah. We have been together that long. I guess we should do something.
Tom: We did kind of agree to remember such things.
Quinn (clearly plotting): Great! I bet Tom looks good in his tux. And Daria...
Helen (after a brief glance at Quinn, to Daria): Sweetie, I'll lend you my gold card if you're interested in finding something...a little different to wear. But that's totally up to you. If this is to be special, the two of you will have to put your own mark on it.
(Daria sighs and looks at Tom.)
Daria: You know, I wouldn't mind something anniversary-like. Like Mom said, we can put our own spin on this.
Tom: I suppose we can. I'll just have to make a trip down to Antarctica to retrieve my tux.
Daria: Okay, Mom. We'll go. Quinn, don't even think it. If...if I look for a dress, I'll go online and have it overnight delivered. I want to minimize my shopping exposure as much as possible.
Quinn: Daria! Online sizes are totally bogus. You don't want to order something that doesn't fit.
Tom: How about if she finds something online that's available locally? Then, Daria can just go in and make sure it fits.
Quinn: I, uh, guess so.
Daria: Tom, I owe you.
Tom: No problem.
(Morgendorffer driveway. Daria and Tom are standing beside his car)
Tom: I thought you were really opposed to the prom. Why the sudden change?
Daria: In a lot of ways I am, but Mom had a point. (slightly distant and thinking) We still rarely have something like a regular date, plus, I would like to do something a little extra for a change. (normal) I hope you don't mind.
Tom: For you, no. (looks at his watch) It's getting late, so good night.
(They kiss and Tom gets into his car, waving as he drives away. Daria walks back into the house and up to her room. She opens the closet and looks at her reflection in the small mirror inside the door.)
Daria: I guess I haven't abandoned all hope.
(Daria is sitting at her computer.)
Daria: Hmm. Might as well get started. Thank you Internet, I don't have to endure physical shopping.
(Alternating montage of Daria searching through various websites showing dresses and her digital alarm clock. As the clock advances, each one website Daria views cause a frown at best, or a look of disgust at worst. Finally, at 3:20, she locates the Ladies' Elegance website, finding a strapless green dress similar to the one she imagined in the last scene of Lane Miserables. Dissolve to her wearing the dress and a yellow rose corsage. Zoom in to a close-up of her face as she leans against the chest of a man wearing a tuxedo. His face cannot be seen as they slowly dance and a rare, contented smile forms on her lips. After several seconds, she slowly looks up as the scene expands. The man is Tom. They continue to romantically dance for several more seconds before the scene fades back to Daria at the computer, looking faintly hopeful.)
(LHS corridor, Daria and Jane at Daria's locker. Daria looks sleepy as she shifts items between her backpack and locker.)
Jane: You're really out of it.
Jane: Your World Literature book isn't going to help much in Mr. DeMartino's history class.
Daria: Ugh. (she puts the literature book in her locker and grabs a history book) I was up late last night, or early this morning. Something like that.
Jane: You're starting to sound like Trent.
Daria: I never would've pictured his problem as sleep deprivation.
Jane: What was so fascinating? New book?
Daria (low, fast voice): Looking for a prom dress online.
(Jane braces one arm against the lockers and shakes her head.)
Jane: All right, I need more caffeine. I thought you just said you were looking for a prom dress.
Daria (still in a low voice): I did.
(Jane falls back to lean against the lockers.)
Jane: I didn't think the world was going to end this soon.
Daria: Funny, Jane.
Jane (back to normal): Daria, you admitting to looking for a prom dress was a big shock. Seriously, are you feeling well?
Daria: I'm fine. It's a long story, but Mom talked me into it.
Jane: Ooookay, but how did Tom get talked into it? I know he was even less thrilled about it than you.
Daria: Quinn, um, helped with that.
Jane: Now you're just messing with my head.
Daria: I told you that it was a long story.
Jane: And you're evading the question. Come on, what's going on, Morgendorffer.
Daria (uncomfortable): Um...you remember how I got a little weird and complained that Tom and I didn't go out on anything like a regular date and that I expected something special for our six-month anniversary?
Daria: Uh...that was six months ago.
Jane: Huh? What's that got to do with...oh.
Daria: I was hoping you wouldn't be too upset.
Jane: It's still a little weird for me to deal with, but...now things make more sense. So, did you find anything?
Daria (lightly blushing): I did. There are a couple places in town I'm going to check for one that fits.
(Jodie and Mack walk by.)
Jane: Hey, Jodie. Still have those tickets for Daria?
(Jodie and Mack stop and approach. Jodie takes tickets from her pocket)
Jodie: That was quick.
Daria: Let's just say that Tom and I found a reason to celebrate that night, and included the prom on the side.
Jodie: I don't want to know the details, I'm just glad you'll be there.
Jane: Daria even found a dress for the occasion.
Jodie: I'm going to want a camera for this.
Jane: Ooh, I'm bringing my Polaroid.
Daria (frowns): Thanks.
Jodie: Daria, the camera's for all the shocked faces when they see how good you're going to look.
Daria: This makes me a little nervous, so can we just not make a big deal about it?
(Daria takes the tickets from Jodie)
Jodie: Can I ask what the dress looks like?
(Slowly, Daria removes a notebook from her backpack and takes out a printed page, showing it to Jane and Jodie)
Daria: The green one.
Mack (looking over Jodie's shoulder): Wow.
Mack: I'd like to see Jodie in that.
Jodie: Good, I won't have to hurt you.
Jane: That is...wow.
Daria: I hope Tom likes it.
Mack: Trust me, he will.
(A small room in the basement of LHS. One wall is covered with TV monitors, each showing a different part of the gymnasium as students put up prom decorations. Ms. Li and Mr. DeMartino enter.)
Mr. DeMartino: So this is where the money for new textbooks went.
Ms. Li: Oh no, Anthony. This was paid for by...a special grant from the Department of Education. Part of their..."Learning Security" program.
Mr. DeMartino: A likely story. What does this have to do with me?
Ms. Li: This will be your station during the prom.
Mr. DeMartino: Angela, I don't like the idea of playing Big Brother to a building full of teenagers on hormonal overdrive!
Ms. Li. It's this, or parking attendant.
(Mr. DeMartino grumbles and grinds his teeth)
(Morgendorffer kitchen. Helen closes the dishwasher as Daria approaches, holding the printout of the dress.)
Helen: Yes, dear?
(Daria shows Helen the printout)
Daria: You offered to let me use your gold card. I, uh, think I found something.
(Helen looks at the dress photo)
Helen: Daria, that's lovely. (she crosses to the counter and opens her purse, removing the credit card) Don't forget to find matching shoes.
Daria: I hadn't even thought of that.
Helen: Better find some nice flats. A dance is not the place to learn to walk in heels or pumps.
Daria: Voice of experience?
Helen: I might tell you some day...when you're not living under my roof.
(Exterior of boutique in downtown Lawndale. Daria enters and looks around. A woman at the counter ignores her and continues reading. After a couple seconds, another woman enters the store. The cashier looks up.)
Cashier: Can I help you?
(Daria frowns and sits down. Fade to the woman leaving with a large bag. Daria stands up and goes to the counter.)
Daria: Excuse me.
Cashier: I'm sorry. No solicitations please.
Daria: I'm not here to solicit anything.
(Another customer enters and the cashier immediately goes to her, leaving Daria standing at the counter. Fade to the second customer leaving and Daria returning to the counter.)
Daria: Excuse me.
Cashier: Look, I told you, no solicitations. If you don't leave now, I'm calling the police.
Daria: Fine. (She exits)
Cut to another boutique store. Daria enters. The camera stays on the door for several seconds, and then Daria exits.)
Daria (over shoulder): May your shop be infested by a thousand animal rights activists.
Exterior of Lawndale Mall. Daria enters and walks through the mall to Cashman's department store. She pauses momentarily at Junior 5 and then goes to the shoe department.)
Shoe Saleswoman: Yes, miss?
(Daria shows her the picture of the green dress.)
Daria: I'm looking for shoes to go with this dress. I'm not used to heels, so I'll need something with a flat heel.
Shoe Saleswoman: I need to have the person wearing the dress to come in for proper fitting.
Daria (cross): I'll be wearing it.
Shoe Saleswoman: Oh. This way, please.
The stop and Daria sits down. The saleswoman goes to remove Daria's boot and makes a face at them, obviously not wanting to touch them. Daria unlaces the boot and takes it off, leaving a pale gray sock on.)
Shoe Saleswoman: You didn't bring any proper stockings with you, did you?
Daria: No. Will that be a problem?
Shoe Saleswoman: I'll deal.
(Fade out and fade in to the saleswoman closing a shoe box.)
Shoe Saleswoman: Would you like me to ring that up?
Daria: I still have another stop to make, can I pay for it in another department so I only have to make one purchase?
Shoe Saleswoman: Oh, that will be fine.
(Daria walks away and the saleswoman watches.)
Shoe Saleswoman: Boy, did I earn that commission. Hasn't that girl ever bought proper shoes before?
(Outside view of a Junior 5 dressing room. Daria enters the room and closes the door. Shift to interior as the view pans across two mirrored walls and stops at one with a short bench and several hooks. Daria's arm enters the view to hang the dress on a hook. Several seconds apart, Daria hangs her jacket, her shirt and then her skirt on the hooks. After another pause, her boots are placed on the bench and the new shoes removed from the box. Her hand hovers over the dress for a couple moments before taking it from the hanger. Fade to a view of Daria's back, wearing the dress. Pan to the side so that the view includes her image in the mirror. The dress's fit isn't perfect, but it is still very acceptable and accents Daria's figure. Mixed emotions play across her face, from pleased to apprehensive.)
Daria (VO): I'm not selling out. Tom's always liked me for who I am, not what I look like. I have to admit I like the idea of seeing him in a tux, it's only fair to dress up for once for him. We don't have a relationship built on looks, but...we should be allowed to recognize them from time to time.
(Daria looks at her image in the mirror again.)
Daria: I can do it.
(Cut to a general view of Junior 5. Still nervous, Daria exits the dressing room area and takes the dress up to the checkout, where Theresa is working)
Theresa: May I help you?"
(Daria places the dress and shoes on the counter)
Daria: Yes, please.
Theresa: Oh, that dress is so pretty. (she rings up the sale) That'll be $103.52. Cash or credit?
(Daria hands Theresa Helen's credit card)
Daria: Um, credit.
(Theresa reads the card and looks suspiciously at Daria)
Theresa: Uh...may I see some ID please?
(Daria shows Theresa her ID)
Theresa: Are you like, Quinn's sister or something?
(Theresa smiles and prepares to run the card through the reader)
Theresa: That's so nice. Quinn's going to look great in this.
Daria: Excuse me?
Theresa: Quinn's going to look great in this.
Daria: I'm not buying this for Quinn.
Theresa (confused): Then who are you buying it for?
(Daria's face clouds with anger as she reaches over and snatches the card away, pocketing it)
Daria (stern and forceful): Nobody.
(Daria marches away. Theresa looks for several seconds and then holds up the dress)
Theresa: I'm sorry! I'm sure it'll look good on your mother.
(Morgendorffer living room. Helen is seated on the sofa while Jake snoozes on another. Hearing the front door slam, she turns to see Daria going directly upstairs.)
(Daria ignores Helen and goes to her room. Helen follows and knocks on the door before cracking it open.)
Helen: Daria, what's wrong?
(Lying on her bed and looking at the ceiling, Daria sits up and tosses the credit card to Helen.)
Daria: Forgot to return your card, it wasn't used.
Helen: I thought you were picking up your things today for the prom.
Daria: Change of plans. If the purveyors of fashion don't want my business, I'll gladly grant their wish.
Helen: Did you say...
Daria: Mom, just forget it. This was all a bad idea and I don't know why I started chasing a delusion. Let Quinn go rule the fashion roost and I'll stick with trying to survive the last couple weeks of high school.
Helen: Daria, is there anything I can do?
Daria: Try to break the news to Quinn gently.
(Helen knowingly nods and backs out of the door)
Helen: I will. If you want to talk later, you know where to find me.
(Exterior of Sloane Mansion. Cut to living room, where Tom is sitting on the sofa. The telephone rings and he answers. Split screen with Daria still in her room.)
Daria: Hi, it's me.
Tom: Hey, Daria. I found my parka and long underwear, so I'll make the trip to locate "the suit" shortly.
Daria: Tom, will it bother you if I've changed my mind about this whole prom thing?
Tom: Changed, as in, you don't want to go?
Daria: Still sharp as a tack.
Tom: Can't say I'm heartbroken about not going, but what about you wanting to do something special?
Daria: Um, I suppose we could still find something to do. Something that doesn't involve me buying new clothes.
Tom: I've got an idea. Since it's prom night, why don't we watch the old movie Carrie and split a big bowl of popcorn?
Daria: Um, sure. Sounds great.
(Outside of the LHS gymnasium. A banner across the front reads "Party like it's 1999!" Daria and Jane are walking when Jodie approaches.)
Jodie: Hi Daria, Jane. Ready for tomorrow?
Jane: Since it would take too much effort to put a shirt on Jesse, I decided to go stag. I found an old dress of Penny's to wear. Ms. Li better not object to me bringing a sketch pad. The opportunities are going to abound.
Jodie: I'll make sure it gets inside.
Jodie: What about you, Daria?
Daria: Um, Tom and I changed our minds.
Jodie: Aww. I was hoping to see you.
Daria: We all know that putting me in a crowd like that without enough exits would result in bloodshed and fire.
Jodie: Do you realize that you've condemned Mack and me to an evening of talking to Kevin and Brittany?
Daria: For that, I must sincerely apologize.
(Morgendorffer living room. The lights are dimmed as Tom and Daria sit on a sofa watching TV. Their feet are propped up on the coffee table and a large bowl of popcorn is resting across their laps.)
Tom: Oh yeah, she's mad now.
Daria: I can see where having a bucket of rancid blood dumped on your head would spoil the mood.
Tom: That's it! Oh, they're goners.
Daria: The dangers of modern-day proms.
(LHS prom. Kevin and Brittany, as king and queen, sit on cheap-looking thrones and wear plastic crowns. Kevin is leaning his throne precariously back and has a scepter made from a broomstick with a gold ball on the end. A crowd of mostly football players and cheerleaders are gathered around cheering.)
Kevin: Hey, I'm the king! My first proculo...ploco...um...proctology! Yeah, my first one is that babe must, um, bow or something!
(Kevin pounds his scepter on the floor, causing him to lose his balance and fall backward off of the dais. Brittany stands up and storms around to where he's lying on the floor.)
Brittany: You big oaf! How could you do that?
Kevin: Hey, babe. You look good from this angle.
(Brittany kicks him in the ribs and storms away. Cut to Jodie and Mack on the edge of the crowd)
Mack: I really hope he didn't hurt the floor.
Jodie: I better go calm her down before she scares everyone out of the girl's bathroom. The line to get in is long enough already.
Mack: I'll try to keep him from doing any more property damage with his head.
(Cut to Jane in a mid-eighties style dress, dancing alone in the crowd. She's having a great time and stops from time to time to make a quick sketch in a book. She takes a break and wanders over to the photography station, sitting down and holding her sketchbook beside her like a date.)
Photographer: Are you sure, miss?
Jane: Best date I've had in ages. I want proof.
Photographer: Whatever, it's your memories, not mine.
(The photographer takes a picture and after the flash, the view has changed to Mr. DeMartino in the observation room as he's shutting down all of the screens. Ms. Li enters and is upset.)
Ms. Li: What is the meaning of this?
Mr. DeMartino (eye bulging): There are some things mortal man was never meant to see!
Ms. Li. Mr. DeMartino! Get a hold of yourself. What could possibly be so disturbing?
Mr. DeMartino: Barch! O'Neill! Storage room 2!
(Mr. DeMartino flees the room)
Ms. Li: Hrmph.
(Ms. Li turns a switch and looks up. Her eyes open wide and her face turns white. She quickly turns off all of the remaining cameras.)
Ms. Li: I wonder how much I can sell all this equipment to Oakwood's principal for?
(Morgendorffer driveway. Tom is seated in his car and Daria is beside the open door.)
Tom: That was fun. A lot more than I bet we would've had at the prom.
Daria: It was an anniversary celebration that suited us.
Tom (burps): Guess we shouldn't have had the second pizza.
Daria: Yeah, I should've saved some for breakfast.
Tom: A traditional Bromwell breakfast. Good night, Daria.
Daria: Good night, Tom.
(Tom kisses Daria good night and drives away. She goes back inside the house and walks up to her room. After closing the door, she sits down at her computer and brings up the Ladies' Elegance website and looks at a picture of the green dress. Dissolve to her wearing the dress and a yellow rose corsage. Zoom in to a close-up of her face as she leans against the chest of a man wearing a tuxedo. His face cannot be seen as they slowly dance and a rare, contented smile forms on her lips. After several seconds, she slowly looks up as the scene expands. The man is faceless and fades away, leaving her empty arms still in place. The scene dissolves back to Daria sitting at her computer as a single tear rolls down her left cheek.)
Thanks to Louise Lobinske for beta reading.