Beth's tl;dr version: I met Francis through his roommate, Roy. I went to a party at their apartment when Francis was home on leave from Iraq. I didn't think Francis even knew who I was, but when I was leaving, he drunkenly announced "I love Beth because she has funny tshirts". I thought that was cute. Later, when he was still on leave, he asked if he could come to Bonne Terre with the CC&G posse. I was impressed.

We chatted online every day during the second half of his deployment. When he got home, his apartment was a mess and there was no beer in the fridge. Thanks to my brilliant trivia team, and the fact that my house was the weekend drinking headquarters, I had a couple cases of beer. He came over, and the rest was history. Thanks, Roy!

Francis's long-winded version: Once, there were two rival trivia teams. One with a winning track record who stood apart from the rest of the rabble, elevated on a stage of useless knowledge. The other filled with drunken revelers with little cohesion and more drunks than actual trivia players. For years the drunks proclaimed their intent to topple the stage team and the stage team rolled their eyes. For them, there were no other true challengers.

Many times, warring factions find friends and comrades in one another. When the same faces pop out of the trivia night trenches, you begin to gain affection. But it wasn’t until one of the drunken revelers, Francis, was sent off to an actual war that the teams began to merge.

Life has a way of changing us all. Some of the rowdy dropped off from attendance, citing aging bones, real jobs and babies which needed their attention. Francis was in Iraq, and the only other constant member of the team, Roy, began to sit on the stage. He began to talk and he began to learn more about his two friends.
Roy was already friends with Beth from the stage team, and talked often about his friend and roommate who was sweating in a foreign land. Beth knew of Francis, had even come to his going away party.

Francis found himself lonely and stuck on the other side of the world waiting to come home for a few weeks. Roy, the constant champion of the two offhandedly asked Beth “Are you friends with my roommate Francis on Facebook? You should be.”
First a few emails and a couple instant messages. Then Francis came home for his mid-tour leave.

As Beth and her friends were wont to do, they had planned a day long get away to an abandoned lead mine turned tourist attraction in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Beth offhandedly mentioned it to Francis during one of their conversations, and at trivia, Francis came up one the stage and asked if he could come. While unorthodox, it could be considered their first date.

The two of them drove out together and had a wonderful time learning about the lost art of lead mining. They saw in each other the wonder and excitement that only few have when experiencing unknown adventures in small towns. They were the same people who drive across a state to see a giant rocking chair, or a museum dedicated hair weaving.

The two spent more time together over the two weeks Francis was home, realizing there was something between them beyond mile marker oddities. After Francis went back to Iraq, the two talked in earnest over instant message. At four in the afternoon in Iraq, Francis waited for Beth to get to work so he would have someone other than the Soldiers around him to talk to. They became friends, and soon after his return to the states, the two began dating.

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