"George seemed . . . different today." Carla said on the phone that night to Tiara.
"Different? Hold on . . . Kellie shut-up!" Tiara screamed away from the phone. "What do you mean?"
"I don't know. He just seemed happy."
"Like gay happy? or-"
"Happy as in glad to see me, happy!"
"Maybe he's gotta crush on you."
"Yeah right! I doubt it. Did you see how he was flirting with Emily and Hollie?"
"Well you two seemed to be flirting a lot today in school."
"We were not!"
"Uh huh . . . that's what they all say."
"Tiara!" Carla yelled into the receiver.
"What? It's true! They all say that." Tiara answered rubbing her ear. "Please refrain from screaming."
"Like THIS?!" Carla screamed.
Tiara didn't answer.
"Okay. I'll replace your ear but still," Carla smiled. "Maybe that's stressed, by the way. Maybe he was flirting with me-"
"And you were flirting back-"
"But I don't think he meant to."
"Whatever! Listen I gotta go. See ya tomorrow."
They both hung up. Carla sat on her bed thought about her day.
"Carla! Dinner!" Her mother called up to her.
"Okay mom." Carla called back.
She ran down the steps and joined her family at the table.
"So . . . how was your first day of school?" Her mother asked as she served the food.
"No, the correct question is how was your first day single?" Her older brother, Frank said with a smile.
"Ha . . . funny." Carla said rolling her eyes.
"No really sis. How was it? Your day I mean . . .not the being single." Isaac, her younger brother, asked.
"It was fun . . . I guess. Cool part is I have at least one class with each of my friends."
"See it's not as bad as you thought it'd be hunni." Her mother told her.
"Your mother's right. There's nothing to worry about. Just be yourself and have fun. Your teen years are one of the best years in your life." Her dad encouraged her.
"Yeah . . . you guys are right." Carla answered. "So how were your days?"
"Mine was boring." Frank replied.
"Mine wasn't! I asked that girl I've had a crush on out today!" Isaac exclaimed.
"Alright little bro!"
"Isn't he a little too young to have girlfriends?" I whispered to my mom.
"I was going to ask your father the same thing." She responded.
Later that week, George invited me to the lake in Milville for a nice picnic. We had been going there for three years now. As we were eating the sandwiches we had made, George said, "You know what your problem is?"
"You keep asking me what my problem is?" I responded.
"No . . ."
"You're afraid to try new things."
"No I'm not."
"Come on. We both know you only have one certain meal every time you go out to a restaurant."
"That's that always true."
"You know it is, Car."
"Fine. But I do try new things."
"Ketchup on Macaroni and Cheese!" I grinned.
"You're one of a kind." He said rolling his eyes.
"It's yummy!" I laughed. "But what are you getting at exactly?"
"You're afraid to fall in love."
That took me back a little and I didn't respond at first.
"No I'm not!"
"Look at yourself and tell me that."
"I'm not afraid!"
"Carla, you're fourteen, almost fifteen and you've never been in love. Sure you've dated but that's it. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life alone?"
"I'm not ready in fall in love. But how about you George? Are you telling me you've been spending your life making out with every girl you meet? And that you don't feel alone?"
"At least I try."
"I do try." I insisted. "I just never succeed."
"Show me you want to fall in love."
"By falling in love!"
It's not that easy."
"How do you know if you've never tried?"
Carla, I dare you to fall in love."
"What? You're crazy!"
"I'm being for real. I dare you, Carla Thomas, to fall in love."
"Fine. I dare you to fall in love."
"What?" I asked. "You agree?"
I was expecting him to back out.
"Yeah, sure. I dared you. You dared me. Whoever succeeds, wins."
"You honestly want us to dare each other to fall in love?"
I tried to read his face expression and get what he was saying but I couldn't read it. I gave in.
"You're right." I nodded.
"I am?" He asked uncertain.
"Of course. But how about we make it a bet."
"Now you've got it!"
"Loser cleans winner's room a week every month for a year?"
"Make's winner's lunch everyday for school?"
"Nah. Something more."
"No silly. Not money."
"Loser has to wear a kick me sign?"
"Were not kids anymore!"
"What have you got?!"
"How about if I win you have to dye your hair pink."
"Okay . . . fine. What happens if I win?"
"Who said you were?" I laughed. "Just kidding. I don't know. You come up with something."
It only took a minute for him to think.
"I got it. You have to cut your hair short and dress as a boy for the rest of the year." He smirked.
"Am I? What wrong? You that sure you'll lose?"
"Fine, Mr. I'm-too-cool-to-lose."
"Let's shake on it then."
We shook hands and I noticed we hadn't come up with a date to allow ourselves enough time.
"How about whoever has their true love by the end of the year school dance wins?" He said as if he read my mind.
"Deal. But what if we both do?"
"Easy. We both win."
After that I couldn't get my mind off the stupid bet I made with him out of my head. I need a major miracle!