“Let's play Truth or Dare!”
I knew in that moment I could not escape. Tricia knew I would never pick Dare, and she had pestered me so often about telling Jake my true feelings that she determined to force it out of me. Now gathered in Ally's living room, we had both the guys and the girls in place. And I would never lie.
“Ally starts!” Jake directed. Dang, he was so cute! Dark, curly hair; brown eyes almost black; dazzling smile and dimpled cheeks – he excelled in nearly every activity and, in my mind, completely blew away all the competition. Miraculously I usually held my composure in his presence, though my heart would beat wildly as if to spring out of my chest.
Jake chose the seat on the couch opposite me, next to Ryan. Tricia poked me from the right side. Of course she thought he wanted a good view of me.
Ally grinned and perched on the armrest of the recliner. “Dare.”
Now began the ultimate challenge. Ally would never allow anyone to best her in a dare, and few of us wanted to try some of the things she was more than willing to attempt.
Natalie proposed the first idea. “Make up a phone number, dial it, then talk as long as the other person does.”
“But it's eleven-thirty!” Ally complained. We knew full well that she would do it anyway.
“Just be really weird and vague,” offered Josh. “Then they'll hang up sooner.”
I really do not know how my turn came so quickly. After Ally's random phone call, Isaiah's confession of his most disgusting personal habit, and Tricia's agreement to drink a concoction of beverages and sauces, I realized that the moment had arrived for me to participate. I briefly considered choosing the dare to avoid the inevitable.
“Truth,” I said, bracing myself for the question I knew would come.
“Do you like me?” The expected question.
The wrong source!
We all sat in breathless silence as I looked across the room, to Ryan. Not Jake.
Jake let out a low chuckle. “Well, Katie; it's your moment to confess. We know you like your friend here, but do you LIKE like him?”
Ryan waited calmly with a gentle smile. His eyes locked into mine, heart bared open before me. He really liked me, and I had never known.
I paused, terror gripping my thoughts. How could this happen? Did I really have to define the extent of my friendship in that very second, to Ryan, one of my closest friends? If I admitted to not “like liking” him, would that break his heart and end all the fun times we shared?
Did I like him? Had my physical attraction to Jake so distracted me from realizing my true feelings for a good friend? Did I completely miss Ryan's intentions toward me in my own world of Jake-adoration? All the little things Ryan had done to bless me, to help me, to plan activities in which we could have fun together....had it all meant more than the simple enjoyment of each other's company?
I liked Ryan, as a friend, certainly. I did not want our relationship to change. This stupid game had to come in the way, to force me to decide the outcome of our friendship.
“Katie?” Tricia gently nudged. She dared not speak more than necessary, knowing I wrestled with my answer.
If I answered yes, Ryan would no doubt pursue me. If no, it could break his heart.
The few minutes I paused seemed to stretch into eternity. I looked up at Ryan, as he stared expectantly at me. Not knowing what I would say, I closed my eyes and prayed. Lord, give me the right answer!
I opened my mouth and gave my response.
My husband enters our room, breaking my thoughts. “What's on your mind, darling?”
“Just thinking back to our silly college games.”
“Truth or Dare.”
He grins and slides in next to me as I sit at the end of the bed. “I love that game.”
“Why do you say that?” I know the reason, but I love to hear him say it.
“Because I knew you'd say yes.”
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