Carol Vessey had the perfect life. She loved her job, teaching 10th grade English, she had great friends, like Molly, and she had a hunky-author boyfriend. But she felt something was missing. One morning, she figured out what. Nick walked into the kitchen where Carol was busy making waffles before heading to school. He asked for one, but when Carol threw the waffle at him, he exclaimed 'what a childish little girl she was, throwing food'. That's when it hit her. She was missing herself. At school she was supposed to be "teacher Carol", with Molly she could be "wild and crazy Carol", but when she got home, she just wanted to be Carol. Plain old Carol. When she was with Nick, however, she couldn't be herself. She had to be an adult and act responsible. That just wasn't her.
So she ended it with Nick.
She didn't cry, or wish they had stayed together. In fact, she was only disappointed in herself. She had spent 7 years of her life in a relationship she wasn't happy with. She felt that practically the last decade of her life had been a complete waste of time. But now she was free. She moved into a new house, met new people, and basically began to be herself.
Then, Cupid decided to pay her a little visit.
About two months after the break-up, Molly invited her to come out with her and a couple of old friends, apparently one had recently moved back to Stuckeyville. She agreed, mostly because she just needed to get out, but also because she was intrigued by this man who had moved back here after almost a decade.
When they got to the Smiling Goat, Molly immediately led her to a couple waving at them from a corner table. Carol had met them before, their names were Mike and Nancy, but she wasn't as good of friends with them as Molly was.
Nancy smiled when they reached the table. "Hey guys! Ed's not here yet, he just called and said he was running a little late, but he'd be here shortly".
Molly nodded, "That's fine. Do you guys remember Carol?"
Mike smiled, "Yea, we met at your Christmas party."
Carol nodded. "So…who exactly is this guy we're waiting on? Did he go to high school with us?"
Mike nodded vigorously, "Well, yea! He only had a crush on yo…" Nancy kicked him in the shin.
"Ow!" Mike yelped, "What did I do?"
Nancy sighed, "I don't know if Ed wanted the girl of his high school dreams to know he had a crush on her!"
Carol threw a questioning at Molly, "Wait. This…Ed, had a crush on me in high school!?"
Molly smiled, "A big one. Everyone knew about it."
Now it was Carol's turn to sigh, "Everyone except me."
Mike cracked a grin, "Pretty much."
At this, Nancy got up.
"Ed! Over here! Oh, it's so good to see you!"
Carol turned around to see a tall, blue-eyed, brown-haired man walking towards them. She had to admit, he was kind of attractive. As he got closer to the table, Carol had to take it back.
He was really attractive.
As he sat down, his eyes focused on the only person at the table he didn't recognize. She had blonde hair, put up in a messy bun, jeans, and a grey hoody. She had that kind of natural beauty, one that doesn't require make-up to catch a guy's eye.
Wait…he did recognize her from somewhere…
As soon as Ed was seated, Mike turned to him, "Ed, you remember Carol Vessey? She went to high school with us, was a cheerleader and…"
Ed cut him off. "Yea Mike, I remember her." He glanced back at Carol and smiled. She smiled back.
Oh, that smile.
Eventually he had to look away, because he was grinning at her like an idiot.
Molly didn't notice this exchange, and instead turned to Ed. "So Ed, what brings you back to Stuckeyville?"
Ed grinned, "Actually, three things. A comma, a mailman, and a bowling alley."
They all glanced at each other, confused.
Ed laughed. "I lost my job because of a misplaced comma, I found my wife in bed with a mailman, and I heard they were closing Stuckeybowl, so I bought it."
Carol looked at him. "You bought that old bowling alley?"
He smiled, "Yep. I'm going to be a lawyer who owns a bowling alley. And don't any of you start calling me a bowling alley lawyer."
Mike sniggered, "never would have considered it."
Everyone laughed at that, and soon the conversation drifted on to new things. Around 10 o'clock, Mike suddenly cracked a wicked grin.
"Guys, I have an idea…let's play Truth or Dare."
Nancy turned to her husband. "Hun, we aren't teenagers anymore, I haven't played truth or dare in more than a decade!"
Mike frowned a little, " I know, but come on, we gotta have some fun every once in awhile!"
Molly shrugged, "I'm game."
"Me too" Carol grinned.
Ed nodded, "You know I'm in."
Nancy shook her head, defeated. "Fine, fine."
Mike smiled at his wife. "Great, I'll start." He turned to Nancy.
"Truth or dare Nanc?"
Mike frowned, "Oh, you're no fun. Ok…crap…this is a stupid question which I already know the answer to, but you caught me off guard when you chose truth…I already had the perfect dare for you…consisting of lemons, tequila, and me. Ok...well…do you love me?" He frowned at the question, knowing that his truths needed a bit of work.
Nancy rubbed her chin, miming deep thought. "Oh man, that's a hard one…gosh…I mean, I did marry you…we do have a daughter….but I mean…golly….can I get back to you?"
Everyone but Mike laughed at this…he was too busy trying to look hurt.
Nancy turned to Molly. "Ok…my turn Molly. Truth or Dare?"
Molly sighed, "Dare I guess."
"I dare you to go pick a song from the jukebox, get up on a table, and sing."
"Oh…you're cruel…very cruel."
Two minutes and a Kenny Chesney song later, and Molly was back at the table. This time, she turned to Mike. "Ok Mike…truth or dare?"
Mike took a deep breath and threw out his chest, "Dare of course!"
"I dare you to go ask that woman over there if you can buy her a drink."
The lady she pointed to was almost 60, had little hair, two teeth (at the most), and liver spots the size of golf balls.
Mike gulped, "Nanc, sweetie, you don't want me to do this, do you? I mean, you are my wife…you can over-rule the dare."
"No honey, that wouldn't be fair for everyone else. I'm ok with it, go on."
Mike walked slowly over to the lady. 20 seconds later they heard a smack and Mike walked back to the table, rubbing his cheek.
"Apparently my devilish good looks and charming attitude weren't enough for that one."
Everyone laughed as Mike sat back down.
"Ok Ed, my bud, your turn. Truth or dare?"
Mike cracked an evil grin. "I was hoping you would say that. I dare you…to kiss Carol."