“You Wanna Bet?”

They call me Gullible Gary for a reason. In college, my roommate Phil could always get me to take a bet on nearly anything, nearly every time to my detriment, the most memorable being the Gut Buster Burger Incident. I took the bet to eat the mega burger and lost twice; first because I didn’t quite get it all down, and second because I threw up for two days – the first day for obvious reasons, the second just from the memory of it all. My only consolation in that one was that Phil was a sympathetic puker, so his two days were as miserable as mine.

Then he went too far. He dared me to ask Roxie out on a date. Moxie Roxie – the girl with the attitude.

“Why should I do that?” I frowned.

“Because she’s hot.”

“That doesn’t overcome the mean. I ain’t doin’ it.”

“Then I win.”

“I didn’t take the bet, doofus. And I’m not going to.”

This went on for awhile, then he wore me down. It was the dollar amount that finally did it. I wanted a new cd player for my car and my winnings would get it. Besides, the bet was to ask her out. There was a very good chance (which I was banking on) that she wouldn’t go.

She said yes.

The date was a bust from the start, just as I knew it would be. Roxie really was a snarky little thing. She criticized my car, frowned at my clothes, grumbled about the restaurant, and snapped at the waiter. Then the guy behind us bumped into her and Roxie called him an oaf.

“Hey, lady,” he barked. “I’ve been listening to you gripe since you got in here. Gimme a break.” Then he looked at me. “I feel sorry for you, buddy.”

I was up before I realized I was moving.

“Move on,” I said, my voice low and firm.

He raised his eyebrows. “Really?” he sneered, looking down at Roxie who was watching me. “Wow.” Then he made a gesture like someone was hitting me with a whip.

I leaned forward, my voice even lower. “Move. On.”

The guy shook his head, but turned and walked away. When I sat down, I turned to Roxie to apologize for the jerk, but I was stopped by the look on her face. It was absolute shock.

“What did you just do?” she asked.

I was confused. “Well, I…..”

“WHY did you do that?” she said, her voice lower and with a more innocent quality than I’d ever heard.

“Well,” I said, swallowing, “he was rude.”

She just stared at me for a moment. “How much did you get?” she asked.

“For what?” I asked, thoroughly confused.

“The date. The bet.”

I felt my face redden. “You knew?”

“I was in on it. Why else would I accept? Who goes out with Moxie Roxie?”

My confusion was deepening. “You knew that too?” I asked, meaning the nickname.

“I started it,” she said, her eyes beginning to twinkle. “Nobody messes with me now.”

My confusion was complete. “So you knew about the bet… I’m really sorry.”

She shook her head, smiling. “I don’t blame you,” she said. “Let’t keep playing it up. Phil owes you big and you earned it.”

I just stared at her. “So,” I said slowly, “the whole Moxie Roxie is a ruse. Who are you really?”

Roxie smiled and her smile was genuine, her eyes softening. “Well, if you want to know that, you’ll have to buy me dessert.”

I immediately raised my hand to signal the waiter, noticing Roxie’s eyes widening in surprise. Then I saw her smile. I made two major decisions at that moment: Phil was NOT getting his money back. I would use it not to buy a cd player, but to pay for my improved social life. If she would have me, I was going to ask Roxie out again and keep asking her out. Because my second major decision made right that moment was that I was determined to see more of that smile.

To this day, nothing warms my heart more than a smile from Foxy Roxie.

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