Daria stood by her best friend as she accepted second place. The tears she was holding back were not tears of joy, but of tremendous sorrow. Though Daria had never seen her best friend so happy, Jane didn’t deserve second place.
Daria thought back to when they first met, in the self-esteem class, wondering if in fact, it was truly lack of self-esteem that made Jane think this was all she could want, all she deserved. Trent stood opposite Daria and she caught his eye. He seemed genuinely happy for Jane, and Daria wondered if there was something he understood better as Jane’s brother than she did as her friend.
“Daria guess what?” Jane’s voice was high-pitched with barely contained excitement as she told Daria the news over the phone.
“That’s wonderful Jane. I’m so happy for you!” Daria hated to lie to her friend, but she sounded so happy and Daria couldn’t bear to take that away from her. She vowed then and there her opinion would go with her to the grave.
Daria turned back to the ceremony. It was almost over. The party after would be a raging success. After all, Quinn had helped plan it, and no one threw a party quite like Quinn. A single tear leaked from Daria’s eye, no match for the freely flowing tears from Jane’s.
But Jane’s were tears of joy. She held out her hand and accepted second place with nothing but the utmost happiness.
Daria’s heart clenched as the man who would always put Jane second, who would cancel dinners and break promises, who undoubtedly loved Jane with all his heart, but would never think of her first, slid the small gold band on her finger.
“With this ring, I thee wed.” There were tears in his eyes, too.
Jane had always defended him, his treatment of her. Oh, he’s just trying to get established. After that we’ll have more time together. It’s great like this anyway, I have him, but still freedom to do what I want. It’s perfect Daria, really. I couldn’t be happier.
And he wasn’t a bad guy. He actually reminded Daria of her mom, a workaholic, but with good intentions. And there was no doubt he loved Jane more than anything. But his job would always come first, and it broke Daria’s heart that Jane thought this was okay.
She loved Jane like a sister. And Jane didn’t deserve second place.