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[Daria] With An "Uh", And An "Um" [19/?] (PG-13)

Title: With An "Uh", And An "Um" (Part 19 of ?)
Author: Kimmie
Fandom: Daria
Type: long fic, ongoing
Rating: PG-13 (so far)
Disclaimer: Daria was not written by me! I only wrote this fic.
Summary: A "What If?" What if Trent moved to Boston after the end of the canon timeline?
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Jane rubbed her eyes and turned back to her computer to finish drafting an email to send off to her professors. It was only mid-afternoon, but the amount of sleep that she had gotten was dwarfed by the amount she hadn't gotten. She'd been planning to skip her 8am class anyway, so she'd stayed up late since her next class wasn't until noon. One thing had led to another, and she'd gotten so involved in finishing up a painting she'd been working of for weeks that it was just after 5am when she finished cleaning her brushes. Seeing the time and remembering that Quinn wanted to be up that early, Jane threw on her bathrobe and padded down the stairs in bare feet. She heard Quinn's cell phone alarm going off, but Quinn didn't seem to be noticing. Then again, she *was* wearing ear plugs. Jane approached the bed and shook Quinn's shoulder.

With a yawn, Quinn sat up. "What time is it?"

Jane held up a hand with the fingers spread, then pointed to her own ears. "Time to wake up, princess."

Quinn quickly realized that the ear plugs were still in her ears and pulled them out. "Wow. It's 5am already? Ugh."

"Want me to get some coffee going for you?"

"Tea, if you have it, please! If not, coffee will do." Quinn moved to the side of the sofa bed and stood up. "I won't bother anyone if I go ahead and shower, will I?"

Jane shrugged. "I figure that you're a paying customer, so who cares. I know Daria will be glad not to have to battle you in a few hours, though."

Quinn nodded and gathered up her clothes and toiletries. "Thanks, Jane."

"Wait... how are you getting to the mall?"

"Oh, the company is sending over a car for me."

"Must be nice."

"It is!" Quinn said as she climbed the stairs.

Yawning as she retreated to the kitchen, Jane pulled out a kettle, filled it with water and started heating it. As she did so, she grabbed a notepad and a pen and scribbled a note. "Quinn, here's my cell phone number if you need it during the day. Good luck with your opening and thanks again for dinner last night." Jane finished reading out the note and scrawled her name and phone number at the bottom. She wasn't sure what time Quinn had planned on leaving, or even when she'd be done with her job, but just in case she needed to get in to get something and no one was there and she didn't know where the spare key was, Jane wanted to be prepared. The kettle whistled and she prepped two mugs of tea: a cup of English Breakfast for Quinn, and a decaf mint for herself. She drizzled a little honey in her tea and then left the bear-shaped container on the table. Yawning again, she headed upstairs and fell into bed, still in her robe.

It was around 7:30am that her phone started ringing. She glanced at it through barely-opened eyes, then nuzzled her head further into the pillow when the ringing stopped. When it started again almost immediately, she groped for the phone with her eyes closed and hit the "send" button firmly before holding it up to her ear. "No, Summer, your kids are not here."

"Summer? No. It's Quinn. It's an emergency!"

"What?" Jane hauled herself upright and blinked a few times. "What's wrong, Quinn? Are you in trouble?"

"Only if you can't help me! See, I budgeted $10,000 for art around the store and when I got here 20 minutes ago, there is no art. I didn't know that *I* was the one who was supposed to be, like, finding it and stuff. You do art. What do I do?"

"Um, well, *I'm* an artist. But why would you need art hanging in Cashman's, anyway? Don't places like that usually just have prints?" Jane scratched her head and tried to smooth out her hair a little.

"*Department* stores have prints, Jane. Cashman's is an upscale boutique. We have signed originals." There was a pause. "Wait! Do you have anything you can bring over?"

"You want to buy *my* art for Cashman's?" Jane felt slightly more awake now.

"Bring over as *much* as you can as *fast* as you can. Come to the south entrance and I'll have someone there with a cart or something. If I can find a few I like, then the $10k is yours. Otherwise, would you mind if I just hang them to have *something* there for the day? I'll give you at least $500 for that."

Jane bit her lip and glanced around the room at the various finished pieces she'd been hoarding. The gallery that showed her pieces only took a few at a time. She could do this, right? "Okay, Quinn. I'll call you when I'm almost there. Traffic's gonna be bad right now, but I'm sure we can get something in place before you guys open."

"Jane?" Quinn took a deep breath. "Thank you!" She hung up the phone and left Jane in silence.

"Damn it, damn it, damn it..." Jane stood up and glanced at several of the paintings. Did Quinn want them in frames? She'd framed several of them herself, but there were several without frames, as well. Well, maybe frames could be added later. Looking down at her crumbled robe, Jane grimaced and tossed off her clothing as fast as she could and throwing on the first outfit she could find: a long red sweater and a pair of black yoga pants. She passed up the boots for a pair of flats and grabbed the first load of paintings. She loaded as many as she could in her car, tossed her purse behind the seat and raced to the mall.

The drive that took around 15 minutes normally stretched to more than twice its normal length thanks to traffic as well as an accident at an intersection. Jane alternated opening her mouth for screams, sighs and yawns. When she finally spotted her turnoff for the mall, she pulled up to a red light and called Quinn. "I'm almost there," she said. "You can send down your cart, now."

Quinn breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Jane. I'll have them come right down. Remember: south entrance. Just pull up to the curb. I've cleared it with those parking guys."

Jane hung up and pulled forward when the light turned green. She was *so* tired, but she was almost there. The yawn that overtook her made her eyes tear up, but she finally pulled up to the south entrance where two attractive men were ready to help her. She got out of the car and popped open the trunk and directed the two guys into carefully stacking the paintings on the cart. She yawned again and shook her head. "I wish I'd just stayed up," she said to herself.

One of the men pushing the cart, a tall blond with an upturned nose, turned to her and gave her a smile that seemed to energize her some. "Didn't get much sleep?"

She shook her head. "No. A few hours, but not enough to really function on."

He gestured to the empty end of the cart. "Hop on."

She raised an eyebrow. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah," he said. "Mark won't mind. I'm James, by the way." He held out his hand.

"Jane," she said as she shook his hand. She grabbed her purse and locked her car, then sat on the end of the cart and laughed as Mark and James pushed her through the mall. By the time they reached Cashman's, she was already feeling a lot more like herself.

"Jane!" Quinn ran up to them and started looking over the paintings as Jane stood up. "Okay, I want this one for dressing room one, this one for the employee break room, ooo!" She pulled out a piece that Jane had done of pink flower petals falling into a stream of blood. "Okay, this one is interesting. I want this one behind the register." She leafed through a few more. "Dressing room two, dressing room three, and this one for just outside the bathrooms." She bit her lip. "Hmm. No." She looked up at Jane. "Okay, these six. How much?"

Jane shrugged a little. "I've been selling paintings for about $1000 each lately, so I guess $6000?"

Quinn pursed her lips and squinted at the picture of the falling petals. "As much as I'd like to do that, you *are* practically my sister now, so I can't undercut you. We normally don't do this much art in a Cashman's store, but these all really complement the fashions this season, and pink and red is supposed to be really big next season, so I'm going to make a gamble. $15,000."

"For six paintings."

"Did you really never go in the Cashman's in Lawndale?"

"Um... no."

"The paintings in there are worth about a quarter of a million."

Jane's eye widened. "Wow."

"I had to take a course in what kind of interior design elements our customers want to see. Your stuff is just abstract enough to make people think without getting into that ugly stuff, so this really isn't much of a gamble. My budget was $10,000, but I left a little leeway in the budget just in case. I mean, they were kind of stupid and waited until just before Christmas to open this place, but Cashman's doesn't really do a whole lot of business for the gifting crowd. So, I'm sure we'll do with with getting sales for nice dresses for Christmas and New Year's parties."

Jane sat back down and rested her arms on her knees. "Wow. Um, just, wow."

"We've got some standardized contracts I'll need you to fill out. They basically say that we own the paintings, but not the copyright, but we still require that you make no more than 100 prints of each available so that we remain at least *kind* of exclusive for having the original."

Nodding, Jane stood up again, but lost her balance a little as the cart slid. James was quick to steady her with an arm under her elbow. Quinn rolled her eyes. "Geez, James. Would you just ask for her number already?"

And he had. And after giving it to him, signing some paperwork, and designating which side was the top of one of her paintings, she headed home. Quinn would bring a cashier's check with her when she came back to pack up her things, so now she just had to wait. She finished off the email to her professors and sent it off, glad that the unofficial policy at BFAC seemed to be that if art was the reason you missed your class, then the absence didn't count against you. She was riding high on adrenaline, but still felt too tired to do much, so she busied herself around the apartment. Laundry (including Trent's), dishes, folding the sofa bed back up, and then she watched TV until Daria got back from school.

Jane practically exploded off the couch as Daria walked through the door. "You are not going to *believe* the day I just had!"

"That bad?" Daria set down her bag and took a seat on the couch as Jane settled back down.

"No! That *good*! I made $15,000!"

Daria furrowed her brow. "This isn't one of those Nigerian Internet things, is it? Because I'm pretty sure those are scams."

"No. Your sister needed art for the store she's opening and she bought *six* of my paintings!"

"Quinn did?"

Jane rolled her eyes. "No. Your *other* sister. But, yes! Quinn did! I wasn't sure she remembered that I *did* art, but she seemed to really like it. And a guy asked for my number!" She fell back on the couch. "I think I'm finally over the perfume incident."

"I should say so." Daria looked thoughtful for a moment. "So, now that you've sold six painting at $2500 each, does that mean you're going to up your prices at the gallery?"

"Hmm. I hadn't thought about that. I mean, I probably should. And with this much money, I can afford to be wrong for a little while." Jane pulled her legs up under her on the couch. "I just made enough money that I could buy a new car... outright."

Daria smiled and leaned forward to wrap Jane in a hug. "You deserve it." She pulled back. "Now, maybe you should go take a nap? I don't how a guy found you attractive with bags under your eyes big enough that *I* noticed."

Jane rolled her eyes. "I'll go nap, sure. But let me know when Quinn gets back. I want to thank her again, and take everyone out to dinner."

"Deal." Daria watched as Jane went upstairs and listened for her door to close before opening her bag and taking out the pile of mail she'd shoved in it on her way inside. She saw an envelope with her name of it and her breath caught in her throat. She ripped open the envelope as fast as she could and pulled out the enclosed letter. She read through the contents and covered her mouth.

She wanted to talk to someone, but Jane needed her nap, and Trent was at work. She pulled out her phone and dialed her parents number. It rang for a moment, then her mother answered. "Hello? Morgendorffer residence."

"Hey, Mom."

"Daria! What a surprise! Your dad and I were just talking about you."

Daria fiddled with a button on her jacket. "Dad's there, too?"

"Yes, sweetie."

"Could you put the phone on speaker?"

"Of course. Is something wrong?"

Daria heard a beep and heard more background noise in the audio she was hearing. "No. The opposite of wrong. You remember me telling you about the agent I had talked to a few weeks ago who wanted to see more of my work?"

"Yes. Oh, Daria!"

"I just got a contract from him. He wants to represent me."

Jake yelled, "Woohooo!" and Helen gasped. "Daria! That's great! But I hope you won't be stupid enough to sign it without faxing me a copy first."

Rolling her eyes, Daria chuckled. "No, Mom. I'll send you a copy from campus tomorrow."

"I'm looking forward to it, dear." Jake was still shouting in the background, but Daria couldn't quite make out the words. "By the way, has everything gone okay for Quinn up there? I worry about her off by herself."

"She's fine, Mom. We had a great dinner last night where she actually ate butter and didn't moan about it, too much. And today, she did something really nice for Jane."

"Oh? What was that."

"Elevated her status in the art world." Daria shook her head.

"Now, sweetie, how would Quinn do that?" Jake was now war whooping in the background. "Jake! Calm down."

"It seems that Cashman's makes a point to keep real art on the walls. Quinn bought six of Jane's paintings for the place for $15,000."

"I'm glad. I've liked what I've seen of Jane's art, well, the stuff that's a little less on the *morbid* side anyway. Give her our congratulations. And speaking of the Lanes, how are things going with Trent?"

Daria groaned, but answered anyway. "Things are good. I'm happy. I'm also safe before you ask."

"Now, Daria, he's not putting any pressure on you, is he? Because sometimes attractive boys don't always take 'no' for an answer, and you know that's why we took that class together."

Rolling her eyes, Daria grinned. "Mom, I've had a crush on him since I was 15. I think the pressure in this case came more from my side than his."

"Oh." Helen paused. "Well, in that case, I suppose you'll be bringing him for Christmas?"

"I thought you guys were going away for Christmas."

Jake piped up. "I thought we were, too, kiddo, but the cruise ship we were supposed to be taking kind of fell apart."

"Oh. Well, in that case, I suppose I could invite him."

"Jane, too. I wouldn't want to break up a family at Christmastime."

Smiling, Daria said, "But it was perfectly fine for everyone to do whatever they wanted to Thanksgiving?"

Helen laughed. "Daria, it's Thanksgiving. In our family, that only means eating too much. I wasn't going to ask you to drive 6 hours for turkey when you could use the time to have fun instead. Christmas has presents, though, so I expect to see you. Let us know if Trent and Jane are coming so I can get a little something for them, okay?"

Daria grumbled her assent. "And, um, thanks for listening."

"Thanks for calling, sweetie. And congratulations on getting an agent. I knew you had it in you."

"I did too, kiddo!"

"Thanks, guys."

They said their goodbyes and Daria hung up her phone and stuck it back in her pocket. She smoothed out the contract again and read over some of it, barely able to contain her joy. She and Jane were moving up in the world. For that matter, so were Trent and Quinn. She couldn't wait for dinner that night. She was pretty sure she'd let Jane buy it.
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End: Chapter 19.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 11b NC-17
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16
Part 17
Part 18
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