I'm a big Ed and Carol fan, so keep that in mind as you read this fanfiction. It's just a story based on an idea that I had recently. I hope that you'll enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I don't own the show Ed or any of the characters. This fanfiction was written purely for fun and entertainment.
Chapter One: A Kiss is Just a Kiss
Ed Stevens sat in his office, drinking his millionth cup of coffee and staring dejectedly at the photograph clutched in his hand. It was a fairly recent picture, taken last May. From the picture, his own face smiled out at him, his arm around Carol's shoulders as the two of them posed for the snapshot at the prom. He inwardly cringed as he regarded the goofy seventies-style tuxedo he had worn that evening. Studying the picture intently, his face relaxed once again into its usual smile as he remembered the prom…and what had happened after the prom.
His smile faded again as he studied Carol's face in the picture. He thought about what had just happened and his stomach clenched. He and Carol had come so close in May…so close to finally getting together. And now…this.
Carol was moving in with Dennis! She had been in his office less than an hour earlier, her eyes shining with excitement as she gave him the news that had broken his heart. "I hoped that you'd be happy for me," she had said as she left, blithely unaware that she had just destroyed the man who truly did love her.
Ed still couldn't believe that she was actually moving in with Dennis Martino, the high school principal, and quite possibly the world's biggest jerk. Actually, he reflected, he could believe it…Carol had always gone for the bad-boy type. The type that Ed wasn't, and never could be. Had never even wanted to be.
"Hi, Ed," said a soft voice from the doorway. Ed looked up to see Molly hovering just outside the office.
"Molly, hi," Ed replied. "Come on in."
Molly entered the office slowly, tentatively, as if Ed were a time bomb that she was hoping to diffuse. "How're you doing?" she asked quietly, seating herself across from him.
"Me? Oh, fine…great…stupendous!"
"I can see that," she returned wryly, taking the picture from Ed's hand and glancing at it. "I thought you might be a little…upset…after Carol's announcement."
"You could say that," agreed Ed. "It certainly took me by surprise."
"I don't get it, Molly. Dennis is a complete and total jerk. He's proven that over and over again! But she still prefers him to me. And I would give Carol the world. Why is that, Molly?"
Molly gently patted Ed's arm. "I don't know. I really don't understand it myself."
Ed buried his face in his hands. "This is the end, isn't it? It's time for me to give up on Carol."
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I thought you two would get together eventually. Really."
"I thought so, too," he replied in a whisper, raising his face to look at Molly. "I can't take this, Molly, I really can't."
"Ed, listen to me," she commanded. "You're a good guy. You'll find love, even if it's not with Carol, because you're a wonderful person…"
But whatever Molly intended to say next was cut off when Ed leaned forward and kissed her softly on the lips.
The kiss, soft at first, suddenly became more urgent and Molly quickly broke away, her eyes wide and her cheeks stained red.
"Wh-what was that?" she gasped.
Ed sank backwards in his chair again, his own face reddening. "I'm sorry, Molls," he said sheepishly.
"Um, that's okay," she said in a choked voice. An uncomfortable silence filled the room, and she found herself staring at Ed's lips, unable to look away.
Ed smiled in an embarrassed fashion, his dimples creasing his cheeks. "I don't know what I was thinking," he said. "I'm really sorry."
Molly didn't acknowledge the second apology. She rose from her chair, her face still as red as a beet. "I really have to be going," she said quietly, and swept out of Ed's office with as much dignity as she could muster under the circumstances.
Molly was lying on her couch, wearing her favorite flannel pajamas. The television was on, had been on for at least an hour, and she didn't have the faintest idea what she had been watching. An untouched bag of microwave popcorn sat unnoticed on the coffee table, and an unread book lay half-open on her stomach. No matter what she did, her mind kept returning to Ed.
Her lips tingled with the memory of his kiss. She instantly shook the thoughts away.
You have a boyfriend!she scolded herself mentally. A wonderful, supportive boyfriend who loves you! She sat up and absentmindedly began munching on the popcorn with Ed and Jim--but mostly Ed--swirling in her thoughts.
Molly had to admit that she had always had a bit of a crush on Ed. Of course, she had never done anything about it, and had certainly never told anyone else about it. But Ed was undeniably attractive, and one of the nicest guys she had ever known. She had always envied Carol…because Carol had Ed's undying devotion. Ed Stevens loved with his whole heart, his entire being, and Molly had always loved that about him. To be loved by Ed was to be loved completely. In a world with no Carol Vessey, Molly thought to herself, maybe there could have been a Molly Hudson and Ed Stevens.
Her reverie was broken by the shrill ringing of her cordless phone. "Hello?" she said absently. "Oh, hi, Jim," she said, and blushed guiltily as though he could tell that she had been thinking about another man.
Meanwhile, Ed was still in his office. He had lost count of how much coffee he had consumed that afternoon, but judging by the nervous energy he felt pulsing through his veins, it was bound to have been gallons. He drummed his fingers nervously on his desk. He was still in shock over the very idea that he had kissed Molly. Molly Hudson, one of his best friends, and Carol's very best friend. He told himself that it had only happened because of his vulnerability over losing Carol--that it hadn't meant anything. That it had been a "comfort" kiss.
He remembered the soft pressure of Molly's lips against his own but drowned out the thought with another gulp of coffee. Suddenly he felt the need to apologize to Molly again. He suspected that the kiss had made her even more uncomfortable than she had let on. Ed grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair and strode out of the office purposefully. He would apologize to Molly, and everything would return to normal. After all, a kiss was just…a kiss. Wasn't it?