Caroline could not believe that the man standing before her was the same Willard Stephens that she'd made fun of in high school.
Gone was the overweight, nerdy boy she'd teased and tormented; replaced with a handsome, successful... and thin... man. He was incredibly handsome and she was still amazed that he'd agreed to be her date for the awards banquet. It was like a dream come true.
That was, until Willard told her what he really thought of her:
"Go to hell, Ice Princess!"
As the door slammed behind him, Caroline could only stare in disbelief. Pretending not to be stung by his comment, she could barely bring herself to look at Richard and Annie.
After all, hadn't she tormented Willard all through high school? It was only fair and she deserved it anyway. There was no sense in letting his insult get to her.
But now she was stuck without a date for the banquet.
When she glanced at Annie her friend wore an awkward smile and uncurled herself from the sofa.
"Yeah... look, I'm gonna get going because there's something I need to do so... I'm just gonna... Bye Richard, bye Caroline."
Richard waved in response. "Bye."
Alone in the apartment with Richard, Caroline could feel the humiliation wash over her.
Here she was dressed for the perfect night out and now she was alone. So this is what they meant by karma in high school.
She'd just have her employer mail her the trophy. It wasn't like she was about to go to the banquet alone.
To her dismay, Richard rose from his chair and went to grab his jacket. Great now he was leaving too. There was no telling what he thought of her.
Suddenly the world came crashing down and her lower lip began to tremble.
Richard stopped in the doorway and groaned.
"You're not going to cry, are you?"
His words only served to unleash her pain.
"No..." She sobbed.
He sighed deeply and rolled his eyes. "All right, All right, I'll go to the banquet with you!"
Caroline's eyes lit up. "Y-You will?"
"Yes. But I'm not going to dance!"
Overcome with emotion, she threw her arms around him. "Oh, thank you Richard!"
She couldn't help but notice how tightly he was holding her. Usually sentimental gestures made him uncomfortable, but maybe he was just trying to be supportive.
After all she had broken down in tears right in front of him. They were just friends and as far as she was concerned that's all they'd ever be.
But she couldn't ignore the voice inside her head that told her otherwise.