Categories > Cartoons > Daria > Tigresses

Much Ado

by DrT 0 reviews

Jake has a plan; Daria and Jane’s first date with Theo and John; the quartet is surprised by Helen and Company.

Category: Daria - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Characters: Daria,Helen,Jake,Jane,Quinn - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2014-03-25 - 5656 words - Complete

Tigresses of Lawndale 3 – Much Ado

By Dr T

Jake has a plan; Daria and Jane’s first date with Theo and John; the quartet is surprised by Helen and Company.


Daria hauled her clothes up to her room while Jane left her one bag near the door and gave the Morgendorffers their frozen yogurt. Daria came down quickly and claimed her honey-vanilla and mint chocolate chip (one scoop each) ice cream, which allowed Jane to finally attack her chocolate fudge and mocha (one scoop each) with sprinkles. “What’s up?” Daria asked.

Jake explained about the possible ad campaigns and then asked, “If you two wanted to think of a rough ad for the general campaign, I thought we should give you a chance. You’ve overheard your Mother enough to know what would be appropriate.”

“Not the personal injury ads?” Daria asked innocently.

“Be honest,” Helen said gently. “You’d both be tempted to have too many bloody accidents in the ads.”

“I’d like to think we’d be enough professional not to actually do that, but yes, it would be a temptation,” Daria admitted.

“If your rough is accepted by the partners, it would pay a thousand,” Jake pointed out.

“It would have to be very rough,” Daria acknowledged. “My computer doesn’t have the memory or the RAM to do this.” She turned to Jane. “Could you get us access to one of the school’s graphics computers?” These were primarily used for school business, the year book, and the newspaper, but a few art students and computer club members were allowed to use them.

“Ms Defoe does her craft work at school Saturday mornings,” Jane said. “The computers would be hard to access during school time for a non-school project, but we could go in then.”

“Thanks for the opportunity,” Daria told her parents. “I have some ideas. Come on, Jane. Let’s brain storm.”

“We have to meet with my new associates for dinner,” Helen said. “Can you two forage on your own?”

“Sure,” Daria said. “By the way, are you keeping Marianne on?”

“I am. She’s still my personal assistant. Eric’s will be overseeing the pool of clerical staff for my junior associates. Joyce, who did that for Eric, will be Eric’s liaison if he recovers.” It was an open secret that Joyce was Eric’s mistress, and so Daria was not surprised at her being sidelined.


In Jane’s opinion, Daria had come up with some good ideas for the ads, and one idea inspired Jane to paint. She would spend her study halls the rest of the week and a short time after school (since she actually had study hall for her last period) working on a symbol for Lawndale Law. Compared with Monday and Tuesday, the rest of the school week was much more normal for Daria, although Thor and John sat with them each day at lunch.

Jane and John seemed to enjoy bantering lightly, in a way which had some elements of flirtation. Of course, while they had had minimal direct contact over the previous few years, they had been attending the same schools since kindergarten and had flirted a little in eighth grade and even casually dated in September of ninth grade. They were well aware of each other and had kept loose tabs on the other.

Theo had attended different elementary and middle schools, and so Jane really knew little about him. Daria had learned that he was still not completely over how his long-term girlfriend had rejected all contact with him since the end of the previous school year – she had wanted a ‘clean break’ when her family had moved to the west coast. He was over any romantic attachment with her, however. None of the four were necessarily looking for high, long-term romance, none wanted a series of casual dates, and so all four were interested in seeing if they could at least work as casual couples.

When Jake got home that Friday afternoon a little after 5:30, he was surprised to see Daria coming down the stairs, fairly dressed up for her – a lightly preppy-looking rust-colored collared top, a new (very slightly shorter) version of her black pleated skirt, and carrying a very nice jacket. She was of course wearing her boots, but they carried a higher gloss than normal.

“You look nice, Kiddo,” Jake said. “You and Jane going somewhere special? And is anyone else here?”

“Quinn and the fashion drones, not to mention the entire pep squad and all other would-be popular girls from the entire area are at the mall to see Bring It On, a movie about people like them,” Daria said drolly. “Mom is at that dinner to meet the firm’s three largest clients socially. And I, remember, have a date.”

Jake dropped his coat on the floor. “Really?”

Daria nodded. “I told you and Mom about it Tuesday night. Mack set up dates for both me and Jane tonight with members of the football team. . . .”

“Kevin?” Jake asked.

“No,” Daria replied flatly. “The six of us are going to dinner as three separate couples, and then we’re meeting at that community theater over in Oakwood to watch Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Afterwards, we’ll probably stop for coffee or ice cream or whatever someplace. Here,” she handed Jake a piece of paper with the information. “Just in case Mom forgot.”

“Thanks, Kiddo.” Jake picked up his jacket.

“Don’t eat too much stuff that’s bad for you,” Daria warned.

“Actually, I just feel like sandwiches,” Jake replied. He turned as the doorbell rang.

“That should be Thor,” Daria said.

“Thor?” Jake said, stumbling a bit at the thought.

“That’s what everyone calls him, but his name is Theo.”

Jake opened the door and found himself looking into the chest of a very large person. As his neck tilted back, his eyes went wider. Jake gaped for a second, and then managed to ask, “Thor?”

“Hi, Mister Morgendorffer,” he replied, holding his hand out. “Theo Villars, but yeah, most people call me Thor.”

Jake gingerly shook the offered hand, and was glad when it was returned uncrushed. Habit made him call out, “Daria! Your date is here!”

Daria couldn’t resist. She skipped over to the door and went up on her toes. “Thanks, Daddy!” she said in her best approximation of Quinn as she kissed his cheek. “See you later.” She grasped Thor’s arm with hers and giggled. “Bye, Daddy!”

Seeing Jake’s stunned look, Daria smirked slightly and said in her usual voice, “I didn’t want you to miss Quinn too much tonight, Dad.”

Jake blinked and then came to. “Good one, Kiddo! You two have fun!”

Daria blushed as she shut the door. Part way down to the drive, she glanced up at Thor’s face. “Sorry about that.”

“You are evil,” Thor teased. “I can believe Quinn acts like that.”

“I don’t want to hear whatever stories you may have been told about her.” She noted that while Thor opened the door of his truck for her, he refrained from helping her in. “Where are we going?”

“The Grilled Oyster,” Thor replied.

“I’ve seen it, but have never eaten there,” Daria told him. “Do they have food without faces?”

“I’d have thought the idea of your food staring back might appeal to you, considering some of your stories you’ve supposedly read to O’Neill’s class,” Thor teased.

“I can see that,” Daria had to agree. “I think it’s more that where I grew up in Texas, even the fish that wasn’t in minced and breaded stick form was still battered.”

“They serve plenty of fish like that,” Thor assured her. “They also serve grilled fish and steaks, as well as raw oysters.” Daria wrinkled her nose slightly. “I agree, I don’t like raw oysters either. Still, their char-broiled oysters, shrimp, and escargot are fabulous appetizers!”

“They serve snails?”


Daria shrugged. “What the hell. Considering some of the concoctions my father has created, I’ll try anything you suggest. If I don’t like it, I’ll just eat more ice cream later.”

“Good plan. The snails are pretty garlicky, so you might also want what’s in the little bag in the door slot.”

Suspicious of the fact it was a pharmacy bag, Daria picked it up and looked inside. “A toothbrush, toothpaste, and a little bottle of mouthwash?”

“Just in case you don’t like the aftertaste of fish and snails in garlic butter,” Thor replied. “I know I’ll be using them!”



Ninety minutes later, Daria looked up from dinner, replete. She had found she did indeed enjoy char-broiled oysters and snails, not to mention the shrimp. All in all, it was a delicious meal. Still. . . . “Shall I go brush my teeth first, or will you?”

“Go ahead,” Thor said, amused.


The other two couples had enjoyed their dinners as much as Thor and Daria had theirs. All six were amused by the play, although Mack, Thor, and Daria more so than Jodie, John, or Jane. The six stopped at a store operated by a local dairy for an ice cream fix, which was certainly enjoyed by all. The guys enjoyed watching the girls eat their soft-serve cones, especially since Jane put on something of a show.

By the time they were finished, it was well past 11:00. They again separated into couples, Daria reminding Jane they had to be at the high school to use the computer lab at 9:00, so Ms Defoe could let them in.

After Thor had pulled into the drive, he turned to Daria and said, “I really enjoyed myself tonight.”

“I did, too,” Daria had to admit.

“Would you be interested in doing something next weekend?”

Daria looked up at him. “I hope you’re not looking for some grand romance.” They had both said it before, but Daria felt she needed confirmation. Thor acted much more interested in her than John did in Jane, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that.

“No,” Thor said. “I thought I had that, and I was wrong. If it comes along, that would be great, but I’m not looking for it, and I’m not interested in the competitive serial dating so many kids at school seem to do. I like you, and I’ve enjoyed our time together this week. I’d like to spend time with you in the future, too.”

“Jane’s brother and his band will be back Sunday or Monday,” Daria said. “They should have a gig at the Zon or McGundy’s at least one of the two nights next weekend. If Jane and John want to double there, we can; if not, then Jane and I will go alone one night and we can do something the other.”

“Sounds good. Walk you to the door?”

“No,” Daria said, opening the door, “just roll down your window.”

Mystified, Thor did as he was told. Daria came around and went up on her toes, stretching and leaning into the cab and kissing Thor’s cheek. “Goodnight, Theo. I had a good time.”

Thor smiled widely. “So did I. See you at lunch Monday?”

“See you at lunch,” Daria confirmed. Thor stayed in the driveway until Daria started to open the door, and only then reversed out to go home.

“Good date?” Quinn asked from the sofa, where she and Stacy were watching Fashion Vision.

“Good dinner, decent performance of a very good play, very good ice cream, and a nice guy,” Daria confirmed. “Good movie?”

“So-so, although the Pep Squad loved it,” Quinn said.

“Well, better luck with whatever the next movie is. Good night, Stacy, Sis,” Daria said.

“Goodnight,” the pair responded.

A few minutes later, Stacy leaned over and whispered, “Wow, she was actually pleasant!”

“I guess we’re all changing,” Quinn admitted. “Last year I would have been jealous.”

Stacy just smiled.


To their mutual surprise, Jane and Daria met John and Thor in the high school parking lot the next morning. “Opening game's in two weeks,” John said with a shrug. “Practice this morning and next Saturday morning.”

“He’s not completely awake,” Thor said. “That's why I drove us both in.”

“We’re being creative in the graphics and painting studio,” Daria said, “probably most of the day, too.” She liked Thor well enough, but wanted to head off any suggestions of a date that night.

“If you two want to be bored watching us, you’re welcome to join us for the afternoon,” Jane added.

John and Thor looked at each other. “Will we be able to send out for something to eat at least?” John asked.

“Actually, Ms Defoe will be able to clear you to come back with food,” Jane answered. Daria just managed to avoid telling off all three. Doing this project in a timely as well as professionally competent manner was important to her, and she did not want to be distracted. She was a bit afraid of repeating what had happened when she and Jane had tried to do an expose of Quinn, not to mention what had happened when they had tried to do an animation project, depending in part on Trent.

“Count us in,” Thor said.

To Daria's surprise, when the boys showed up, they were more help than distraction. John actually knew more about the computer software than she or Jane did. A large number of images and even a few sounds were needed, and John and Thor proved equal to Jane and Daria at selecting and putting them into meaningful sequences. Having twice the number of searchers scouring the internet also allowed a much better range of choices. They also proved to be decent, although not exceptional, narrators.

Daria had expected they would only be able to put together a very rough version of the commercials. Instead, while certainly no one would mistake them for professional commercials, the group hoped they would do as reasonable rough drafts of actual commercials the new law firm might use.

When Daria called home, hoping to tell her father that they were ready early, she reached her mother. Helen offered to let them make the presentation the next afternoon in one of the law firm’s conference rooms rather than late some afternoon at Jake’s.

“I doubt if anyone other than a junior associate or two would be around anyway, and you can treat it as a fully professional presentation there,” Helen said when Daria hesitated. “It would be good practice for both you and Jane, no matter what kind of creative professions you end up with.” Helen did not know about the two boys.

Jane had shrugged when consulted, so Daria agreed. Jane had made a rather heavy sign over the previous few days, using heavy plywood instead of canvas board, and since they had helped anyway, John and Thor agreed to come along and help the next day as well.

A few phone calls later, the quartet were off to Jane’s, as her Mother had decided to come back on Monday, and Trent and the band would not return to town until late Sunday night or Monday morning either.

The boys didn’t know it, but this was a test of their behavior. When John heard there would likely be no one at the Lanes’, he suggested they stop off at the supermarket. They rented some old 50’s sci-fi films as well, and John put together a pasta and pesto dish before they watched the first movie that would have made Daria’s father green with envy had he tried it. Rather than microwave popcorn, they had picked up some Jiffy Pop. And, while the two couples got very cozy on the sofas, both Daria and Jane were happy the boys tried nothing more than the ‘arm over the shoulder’ trick, which Jane enjoyed and Daria allowed.

After John and Thor had left around 10:45, both Jane and Daria had decided the experiment was a success. “Just remember,” Daria warned before the pair went to sleep, “John’s rep says he starts trying things after the third date. This was only the second.”

“Promises, promises,” was Jane’s only response.


Daria was surprised the next afternoon when the group showed up at the building that housed ‘Lawndale Law’ in most of one entire wing, because Quinn, dressed up in a business suit, let them in. Quinn was equally surprised to see Thor and John. She quietly led the group to a conference room, which had a soft divider splitting the room. “I'll be right back,” Quinn said nervously. “Then, when you're ready, I’ll open the divider from the other side.” With that pronouncement, Quinn scurried from the room.

“That was odd, especially for her,” Jane said.

“I’ve never seen her act that way,” John agreed.

“She’s worried and intimidated, and not by us,” Daria muttered, glaring at the divider.

“Which means?” Thor asked.

“That means Mom has sandbagged us,” Daria growled. “Either she set this whole thing up from the start, or just neglected to warn us this morning.” Seeing their confusion, Daria explained. “There are lawyers, as in partners, on the other side of this divider, and who knows who else. I hope there aren’t any ad agency people.”

“The ads aren’t perfect, but they are good,” John argued.

“For what they are, yes, they are at least decent, and hopefully better,” Daria retorted. “Because I think I know how the partners, and of course Mom and Dad, think, these might even hit the right notes. But it’s wrong to toss us to the legal lions when we did this as much as a favor for Mom and Dad as we did because we thought the partners would see it after Mom and Dad had at least previewed it. If this flops, or worse if I’ve somehow managed to insult the partners without meaning to, it won’t directly affect any of us, but it could hurt both Mom and Dad.”

“They believe in you,” Quinn said softly from the doorway, “but they didn’t know the other partners would be here interviewing the prospective personal injury lawyers.”

“Nonsense,” Daria growled. “They would have at least told Mom by this morning, even if she isn’t voting on who makes partner.”

Quinn thought a moment and then flushed. “You’re right. Mom knew; Dad didn’t.” She looked at Daria. “Still, are you ready?”

Daria looked unsure, so Quinn came over and said, “I believe in you, too. It’s your job to become a great script writer or whatever, so you can write stuff for me to star in.”

Daria looked at Quinn, not believing even her sister could say such a thing. Then Quinn winked at her and stated, “It is your destiny to write for me, young Morgendorffer.”

Daria blinked, and then smiled slightly. “I’m glad to know I can serve such a high purpose in life. Thanks.” Daria looked at the other three, and they nodded encouragingly. Daria merely nodded at Quinn.

Quinn smiled reassuringly, and left the room.

A few moments later, Quinn opened the divider, and sure enough, there were fourteen people besides Quinn on the other side. The four senior partners and the two Morgendorffers were all Daria knew. She presumed the others were associates or junior associates, although two of the others sat in the front row along with the partners and Jake.

“Ms Morgendorffer,” Jim Vitale said, starting things off. “We understand that Morgendorffer Consulting has given you a chance to do some work on possible commercials for Lawndale Law on spec, so to speak. Having heard of your partnership’s wonderful work in other media all summer, the full partnership thought we’d take this opportunity to look at your work since we were all here today.”

It was clear to all of the four teens that Jake and especially Helen were quite startled to see John and Thor. It seemed clear to all the lawyers and Jake that three of the four teens were nervous. Daria, however, seemed quite cool and collected. Only Jane could sense how close to terror Daria was.

“Thank you, Mister Vitale,” Daria said calmly and levelly. “When we were given this opportunity, my colleague Ms Lane and I believed that one of the two places we needed to start was by creating a symbol for the new firm, one easily recognizable on-line and in any print or television advertisements. Due to a miscommunication, the easel available really isn’t up to the sign’s weight, so if Mister Villars and Mister Yanuzzi could steady the sign and the easel respectively?”

Daria turned to Quinn. “Miss? If you could assist us by removing the cardboard when Ms Lane asks you to, please? Thank you. Ms Lane?”

Jane took a deep breath as the three moved into position. “We wanted something which would of course convey the gravitas of both the firm and the law in general, as well as your position in Lawndale. Miss Morgendorffer, if you would?”

Quinn demonstrated she might have a future in game shows as she removed the large piece of cardboard without mishap and without stepping in the audience’s lines of sight, retreating to the side of the room.

“I believe the iconography should be obvious, but I would be happy to explain. . . .” Jane started, but was waved down by Mark Riordan, who stood and came to inspect the sign.

The acrylic painting stood four foot high and five foot wide, the wood stained dark. On the left side was a reproduction of the County Court House, slightly stylized. By doing so, at a distance (or in a distant focus, such as a web icon or on video), it was recognizable but clear. And yet, in closer focus, it had remarkable detail. The right side of the painting showed the scales of justice in the same style as was just discernable in the scales on the top of the Court House. The left scale held a reproduction of Lawndale's Giant Strawberry, the right the town’s Civil War statue. As the Court House was done mostly in light and dark grays, the scales in burnished gold, and the statue in its oxidized green copper, the Strawberry really stood out. The scales were just a bit off-balance, giving more weight to the Strawberry, which had been reproduced to look a bit more heart-shaped than it actually did, hinting slightly at compassion.

Riordan was the partner Daria knew the least about, because few people other than his two friends Vitale and Horowitz knew him personally. He was the firm’s primary criminal attorney, living alone in a small bungalow and usually only showing interest in defending clients. An only child, orphaned when he had been in college, his wife had died during his last year of law school. She had been an art major when they had met as undergraduates, and he was a mostly anonymous patron of various local art museums. Riordan knew a fair amount about art.

After he had examined the sign for nearly two minutes, Riordan simply said, “Excellent work.” That brought the other senior partners forward. After a brief conference, Riordan approached Jane as asked, “Other than ads, how would you suggest we use that?”

“I’d put it behind the information desk the firm has at the inside entrance of this wing,” Jane said. “A nice brass sign over the top saying ‘Lawndale Law: Partners and Associates’ and another below it with the names of the partners.”

Riordan smiled his agreement. “Ms Morgendorffer will negotiate with you.” The partners sat back down, and Vitale indicated Daria should continue.

“While Ms Lane worked on the painting, I created the outline of the advertisements. The four of us then put together one general advertisement for the firm, and one for the personal injury attorney.” Helen winced slightly.

“Obviously, within our immediate resources and the time-limits, this is a very rough cut, the moving equivalents of story boards. Still, I believe they are detailed enough for you to be able to visualize how the finished product would look if professionally done. I believe Mister Morgendorffer can put you in contact with the better local production companies.”

Thor lifted the precarious sign off the easel and set it against the wall while John whisked away the easel. Jane moved a television, which was on a mobile cart, into position. Daria turned it on and popped in the tape. Light music played, and Daria adjusted the volume. After twenty seconds, the music faded.

“Miss? Could you turn off the lights in this part of the room please?”

With that, Daria started the first ad.


An aerial camera shot zooms in on the Giant Strawberry, having to morph three times to new photos as it does so. A narrator speaks half way through the first zoom.
Narrator: Lawndale has the reputation of a quiet suburb.

The Strawberry is replaced by a map of Lawndale, which pulls back to morph into larger scale maps, finally showing a map from Richmond to the southern Pennsylvania border.
Narrator: Yet legal problems can occur anywhere, especially as Lawndale is at the center of a multi-state metro area.

Typical urban and suburban images flash up.
Narrator: Lawndale Law: Partners and Associates have experts in nearly every area of the law.

A ribbon mentioning various legal specialties starts to scroll near the bottom of the screen; this will continue through the rest of the 30 second commercial.
Narrator: Our partners and senior associates are licensed to practice not only in Maryland, but in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and of course in the District of Columbia and the Federal Court System.

The images turn to those of families, and those which suggest small businesses.
Narrator: No matter what your family or business' legal difficulties, we can help. We offer complete law-care services.

The names of the partners scroll over the ribbon of legal specialties, as the images fade into a photo showing the entire legal staff of the firm from the previous year.
Narrator: Lawndale Law: Partners and Associates. Let our legal family help you.

The image then faded to the painting of the local court house/scales of justice, with the law firm's website and 1-888 number for four of the remaining five seconds of the commercial, when it faded.

“As I said, it’s a little shaky, and of course it would all have to be reshot, but what do you think of the concept?” Daria asked nervously.

“Play it again, please,” Riordan asked.

Daria shrugged and did as he asked. When it finished, he turned to the other two original partners and said simply, “I like it.”

“Would you play it one more time, Ms Morgendorffer?” Vitale requested.

As it played, Vitale and Horowitz exchanged glances a few times. When it was over, Vitale said simply, “As you said, Ms Morgendorffer, this is a rough cut. I think we can work with it. What do you think, Matt?”

Matt Schrecter shrugged. “If there will be only one general ad we would be putting out there, I’d want to see a few others before committing to any one in particular. However, I’d like to see at least four ads out at any given time – two general and two for the personal injury partner. If we do that, then I would go for this as the basis of the first of the general ads.”

“Abe?” Vitale asked.

“I agree,” Horowitz said. “If we only have one ad out there at any given time, people will get bored with it.” He nodded at Jane's painting. “With that as our symbol, we will have enough continuity.” He turned to Jake. “You’ll get on that, Jake?”

“First thing tomorrow morning,” Jake assured the group. Even though it would be Labor Day, Jake had the home numbers of some hungry go-getters.

“And you have one for the personal injury partner, you said?” Horowitz asked Daria.

“Yes, sir,” she answered. “If I may, you have all seen Jane Lane's work, but I did not introduce our associates, Theo Villars and John Yanuzzi. I mention that to say that Mister Villars did the narration on the piece you just saw as well as the personal injury ad. We did both a male and female version of that ad, with Ms Lane and Mister Yanuzzi playing the respective parts.” With that, Daria started the video again.

The screen showed black, and then a horrible squealing of tires made everyone wince, but there was no crash.
Narrator: Accidents happen, and when they do, no one is at fault.

(The teens almost laughed at the disgusted expression each lawyer had at the idea of there being no one to blame.)

The screen shows a succession of images, which together suggest first home, and then business, and then injuries, all without showing any actual people or details of accidents, let alone any blood.
Narrator: However, many injuries are caused by carelessness or
The images now show images such as car wrecks
Narrator: even negligence. When that happens, you need help.

Jane now steps into view: I'm personal injury attorney Jane Doe. We at Lawndale Law: Partners and Associates offer a full range of personal and business law care, including helping you through the insurance and legal systems when you’ve been injured. When you need help, we will be there for you.

Daria, John, and Theo walk into view behind Jane.
Jane: My associates and I can help you get what’s fair to you, no matter the size of the problem. And, when we have helped you with your injury claims, our firm’s partners and associates are ready to help you and your family and business, no matter what other legal advice you may need in the future. Lawndale Law. . . .
The group: We're here to help you.

The group image fades, and the image of Jane’s painting comes on the screen, again with the website and phone number. The male ad just had John as John Doe.

Vitale nodded. “Interesting, and it will certainly be worth considering, although of course any final decisions will have to wait until we’ve made our decisions on that partnership.” He nodded towards the man and woman who had been sharing the front row, obviously the two lawyers who were under considering, and who were giving nothing away by their body language.

Horowitz turned to the associates. “If any of you would care to make anonymous comments on the ads, especially the personal injury ads, please send them to Helen by Wednesday.” He turned to Daria. “Do you have other copies of this tape?”

“Yes, sir. I have the master tape, and of course all the files.”

Horowitz nodded. “Please provide Mister Morgendorffer with a copy, and leave that copy and the painting here.”

“Of course, Mister Horowitz.”

“Okay, people,” Vitale said, “we have a future partner to determine. We’ll meet in the second floor conference room in fifteen minutes.”

The group broke up. Helen started to try and move Daria from the group, but a glint in her eldest’s eye told her not to get too close to her. “Excellent job, Daria.” She glanced at Thor and John, uncertain what was going on. “We’ll talk tonight.”

“Yes,” Daria stated, “we certainly will.”

Helen winced but left to join the others. When Jake was left alone with Quinn and the quartet, he motioned to Daria, “Vitale really did spring the idea on her last night. She decided you would be less nervous if she didn’t mention anything to you.”

“I don’t appreciate surprises,” Daria replied. “If the partners had hated it, or thought it was silly or worse, juvenile, it would have undermined Mom’s standing with them, not to mention yours. You both needed to see these before letting them. I don’t need that kind of pressure, and it also means I can’t trust Mom not to do it to me again.”

“I understand,” Jake said. “On a lighter note, I promised you a thousand if you delivered, and you certainly did. How do I divide it?”

Daria thought about that, and then said, “A hundred and twenty five each for Theo and John, three-fifty for Jane, and four hundred for me.” She looked at Quinn. “Since Quinn was working for the firm and not for us, I’d say Mom owes her at least twenty-five, especially since she did such a good job.” Quinn smiled, as she could tell Daria was serious.

John and Thor looked shocked that Daria thought they deserved anything. “We were just helping. . . .” Thor started, but Daria shook her head.

“No, you gave up your Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and you did about as much as Jane and I did in putting the actual ads together. John, you really helped on the computer as well, and the three of you did most of the camera work. Jane, I’d think you deserved more, but you are getting paid for the sign separately, which we didn’t anticipate.”

“The idea was mostly yours,” Jane replied. “I’ll agree to this, if you’d take a third of whatever they pay me.”

“Okay, I’ll take something but a third’s too much,” Daria said reluctantly.

“Remember, you’re my agent,” Jane said. “You negotiate with your Mom. You’ll deserve a third.”

“A quarter,” Daria stated. Jane nodded.

“I’m very proud of you and your friends, Daria,” Jake said. “Well done.”

Daria smiled slightly. “Thank you, Dad.”
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