: All recognizable characters are owned by Glenn Eichler and MTV; no infringement is intended, and no money is being made. A/N
: I didn't use the exact numbers or the exact jackpot of the MegaMillions drawing, or even the exact date.
Daria was torn between being touched and annoyed. Her last birthday in high school, and somehow she had managed to make enough friends that she had received several books as presents through the day. The thought was touching, and the books were well worth reading - but their weight was annoying to carry around.
So it was with an inner sigh of relief that she noted Jane coming toward her with her hand in her jacket pocket, obviously not carrying a book. "Hey, Jane," she said, with a smile she reserved for Jane only. "Ready to get out of here?"
"Sure, birthday girl." Jane smirked. "You mean Tom isn't going to monopolize all of your time tonight?"
"Well, it's a school night, and he said that his dad needed him to go to some function, 'For the family.'" Daria put in the air quotes, and then frowned slightly. "Jane, when you two were dating, did you ever...?"
Jane gave a puzzled, "Huh?" then caught on. "Oh! No, we never did. Neither of us felt it was the right time."
"Well, we never have, either, but it's more one sided. I think Tom thinks that we're ready, and I don't. He might be drifting away because of it." She was suddenly enveloped by a hug.
"Daria Morgendorffer, you don't have permission to feel bad on your birthday!" Jane shook her head. "And if Tom won't stay with you because you won't put out, well you can crunch those numbers a lot better than I can."
Daria snorted. "You're right." They started to walk away from school.
Jane slipped her hand into her pocket, and pulled something out. "Oh, before I forget, happy birthday!" She handed it to Daria.
"A lottery ticket?"
Jane looked slightly ashamed. "Can you forgive me? I'm trying to save up for BFAC, and it's going to be tight." She grinned. "On the other hand, the jackpot's gonna be over $650 million, they say, almost $500 million if you choose lump sum."
"When's the drawing?" Daria asked.
"So I get two days of playing 'What If?' Actually, that's kind of neat." She turned to Jane and gave her a rare hug. "Thanks, Lane." A thought occurred to her. "Want to watch the draw with me Friday?"
"Sure. Bad movies, followed by dashing our dreams. Sounds good to me."
On Friday night, they were on the sofa, covered by a blanket, as Plan 9 from Outer Space
came to an end. Jane flipped the channel while Daria got out her lottery ticket. "So," said Jane, "ready to leave everyone in this town, never to see them again, if you win?"
Daria caught Jane's hand. "I wouldn't leave you. You're my best friend, and you've been there when I needed you." They both turned to the TV, where the announcer was in the middle of reading off the numbers. Daria glanced down, and the blood rushed from her face. "J-Jane?" she stammered. "Could you read this and tell me if it's right?"
Jane took the ticket from Daria, looked down, and looked up again. "It's right. You've got everything but the Megaball. You already have a quarter million, if the ball is 23..." They both leaned forward as the last machine popped a ball into the chute.
The announcer said, "And the Megaball is - twenty-three!"
Both of the girls looked at the other and whispered, "Holy Shit!" Then they began dancing around and hugging. At one point, Daria held Jane at arm's length, and said, "Thank you for the best birthday present ever!" pulled her close, and kissed her on the lips, before dancing again. Finally, they were tired out.
"Wow!" Jane whispered, still not completely believing it.
"Wow, indeed." A thought struck Daria. "Jane, I need to call my mom."
Helen Morgendorffer sighed and wondered what kind of trouble her eldest had gotten into now. She had been just about to go to bed, when the phone rang, and Daria had begged her to come over to her friend Jane's house, and not to bring Jake. Well, whatever it is, at least she has a friend to get through it with, not like Highland.
She parked the car and walked up to the door, hoping as she rang the bell that this wouldn't take long. She was surprised when the door opened at the first buzz, and she was pulled in by Daria.
"Mom, first, Dad's not here, right?"
"No, Daria, I made sure that he stayed home." Her eyebrows rose. "Why did you ask me to do that?"
"Because I have some very good news, and I really don't want to lose my father because of it."
"Lose your father - Daria, what is going on?"
Daria motioned for Helen to follow her to the Lane's den, where an older computer was Trent and Jane's only connection to the internet. At the moment, it was showing the MegaMillions website, with the winning numbers showing. "Do you see that, Mom?" Helen nodded. "Sit down at the computer, okay?"
"Daria, I really don't need all of this tension raising that you seem intent on..." Her voice trailed off as she glanced at the numbers on the ticket in her hand, and the numbers on the screen. After about two minutes, she turned the ticket over, thought for a moment, shook her head, and sighed. "Too much commune still in me." She looked at Daria. "Is this yours, or Jane's?"
Jane put her hand on Helen's shoulder. "I gave it to Daria as a birthday present," she said quietly.
Helen nodded and handed Daria the ticket. "Sign the back, now!" she said, forcefully. "If you don't, and someone else got their hands on this, well, finders, keepers." She looked at Jane. "Is there a safe, or at least a fire safe in the house?" Jane shook her head. "Then we'll have to take it over to our house. Walk it over - I'm in no shape to drive. We'll put it in our safe, then tomorrow, I'm going to rent Daria a safety deposit box, and she'll put it in there until we are ready to take this to lottery headquarters." She let her breath out and looked at Daria. "Everything that I just said we need to do is so that you can actually win the prize, rather than have the numbers on a ticket that got lost destroyed, or stolen." She hugged Daria. "You were absolutely right about not having Jake here. If you can hold off for a day or two, I want to consult with his heart doctor about the best way to break it to him."
Jane sat down. "Wow." She put her head in her hands. "I just realized, you guys are going to be swarmed by reporters and all."
"You are, too, once they find out that you're my best friend." Daria turned to Helen. "Can she stay with us for the first few days after we turn in the ticket? I think she'll be safer than if they're camped around Casa Lane."
Helen nodded. "I agree," she said, and turned to Jane. "Jane, you're welcome in our house for as long as you need, tonight if you'd like."
Jane smiled. "Let me get some things."