Chapter 4

It had been six weeks since Chris won over half a billion dollars in the lottery, and contrary to what you might expect, his life hadn’t changed at all. He still drove the same car, lived in the same house, and ate the same food. He hadn’t gone on any expensive trips, hadn’t made any lavish purchases.  This was probably because he had yet to tell anyone that he had won, including his wife.

To be fair, she hadn’t asked.

It’s not that Chris hadn’t tried to tell her.  The day after the numbers were drawn, he had given it a shot:

“What’s the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?” he had asked innocently, while they lay in bed — she was trying to fall asleep, and he was trying to change her life.

“Probably pay off the mortgage.”

“Well, yeah, but after that. After all of the boring stuff is taken care of.”  He had been hoping for an answer like “a Mercedes” or “a trip to Hawaii.”  Those would be easy and romantic ways to surprise her with the news; a mortgage satisfaction letter with a red bow around it didn’t exactly have the same effect.

“I don’t know… I’m too tired to think right now.”  So much for that angle.

Back in the present day, Chris walked into their home office, hands in his pockets, real casual-like. Christina was at her corner desk sorting piles of coupons. Of course.

“Hey, remember how I told you about how there was a record lottery jackpot a couple weeks ago?”  Let’s ease into this. Don’t want to give her a heart attack.

“No, I don’t think you did.”

“I know I did, because I told you about how I was at Kwik Trip and the people in front of me were buying tickets and how the cashier was annoyed and –”

“Ok, yeah, yeah. I remember. Just please don’t tell me that story again.”

“Well, guess what.” He pulled his hands from his pockets and crossed his arms across his body, but it felt weird so he put them back.

“You know I hate guessing games.” She did. And he knew that.

“You know I love guessing games. And I think you’re going to like this one.”  His nervousness was melting away. He knew now that he was going to tell her in the next few minutes, and although the adrenaline screaming through his body was making him shake subtly (but uncontrollably), he was enjoying it.  It was identical to how he felt right before he kissed her for the first time.

“Fine. So I’m guessing something about the lottery?” She kept sorting her coupons. If only she knew…

“Yep.”

“Um, somebody won it.”

“You could say that.”

“Uhhh… Somebody famous won it?” By the way she gave Chris slightly more than zero attention while guessing made it clear that even though she was technically participating, she wasn’t even pretending to have fun.

“No. Well, they’re not famous yet, but they will be, since they won a bunch of money.”

“So why am I guessing? Do we know the person that won it?”

“You know him. But I know him even better.”

She finally turned in her chair to give him her full attention.  “Really? And he won like a hundred million dollars? And we know him?”

Six-hundred million dollars. And yes, we know him.”

“Really? Who??” It was nice to finally have her attention on the subject.

“I’ll give you a hint. You dated him in high school.”

“Very funny. I only dated you.”  Not technically true, but it was their accepted version of history; the dates she had gone on with Tim and Charlie had been retroactively reclassified as “just friends.”

“I know.” He held eye contact with her, waiting for the moment of total realization to hit. She had a look that Chris knew to mean, I think you’re joking, but I’m not 100% sure.  Chris held an expression that he hoped she understood as, I know you think I’m joking, but I’m 100% serious.

“You…? We’re…? Six-hund….”

“Yes. I won. I mean, we won. We won it all.”

Chris waited for her to jump out of her chair and hug him. Instead, Christina bent down and vomited all over the floor.

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