If you’ve been following along, you know that Dan was my best friend though most of my teenage years. We, along with other members of our band, were fairly inseparable. As we grew older, we grew distant. I don’t think there’s anyone or anything to blame — certainly not anything you’re about to read in this story — we just grew apart. As you get older, you become the person you are. And the person you are doesn’t necessarily get along with your friends.
As we learned back in the Winnipesaukee story, I knew Jen from working at Johnny Rockets. I had a pretty big crush on her as soon as I met her — but I was a stupid 16 year old. I had a crush on any girl that paid attention to me and even some that didn’t. It was just part of my character flaws when I was that age. Any pretty girl that batted her eyes my way was the one I wanted, Jen included.
Needless to say that when she and Dan started dating, I was a little hurt. Later in life I’d find out that Dan broke the bro code on that, but I won’t hold that against him all these years later.
I had introduced them one of the many times that we’d been hanging out together — Jen and I, that is — and I could tell that they immediately liked each other. In hindsight, they were a good fit for one another.
I don’t know about how long they dated when they were 17, but it wasn’t that long. Maybe a few months. It was around this time that my relationship with that group had started dwindling. Like I said, I don’t know what it was, we just grew into different people. I started going my way, and no one pulled me back. That was that.
One of my favorite stories about the two of them, back then, still makes me chuckle to this day.
A group of us had stopped by Wendy’s house one night, to hang out and watch a movie. According to my internet sleuthing, this must have been mid-December 1997. According to Amazon, the first Scream movie came out on December 2nd, 1997 and that was the film that Wendy had rented and wanted to watch. As soon as she took out the tape, Jen stood up and said she was refusing to watch it and wanted to leave.
Dan, being the good guy he was, took her home and then came back. He’d already seen the movie, so he didn’t mind missing some of it.
Once the movie was over and we were all talking about it, Dan told us that on the ride home Jen had told him that she was terrified of the concept and that she had a true fear of having someone break into her house.
The fun part was, at the time, Dan was working at a party store — either Party City or iParty, I think iParty — and they had a bunch of leftover Scream costumes from Halloween a few months before. He’d already picked one up just to have for the following year.
A few weeks later Dan called me and told me that Jen had finally watched the movie, by herself at home, and she was terrified of the entire thing.
Costume in hand, Dan, Kevin, Brian and I got in my car and drove over to Burlington to where Jen’s house was. Dan donned the costume and the three of us took turns calling Jen’s landline and saying scary things to her. I’m fairly certain there was no caller ID in 1997 and it certainly wasn’t a time when all of us had cell phones, so calling from a car was fairly unusual.
After about half an hour, Dan came back to the car, laughing his ass off. He said that she was really really mad about the whole thing and that we should probably get out of there.
It’s hard to describe in words how funny it was at the time, but adult me looking back on it realizes how truly mean that whole thing was.
Cut to about 12 years later. The scene, Facebook. I finally, after years and years, decide to look Dan up and see how he’s doing. We re-connect, send a few messages back and forth and I do the typical Facebook stalker routing – check photos, look at job history, look at relationship status. He told me that he was engaged and was about to get married. I had just gotten married the year before, so we chatted a bit about that and then lost touch.
Adult Dan isn’t as into technology as teenage Dan was, and we eventually lost touch. He doesn’t post much and doesn’t reply to messages at all.
But on April 9th, 2011, his relationship status changed and popped up in my feed.
Dan Prentiss is now in a relationship with Jennifer Fentress.
I did a double take. A triple take. That couldn’t be real, or true. But there it was, in my timeline, followed shortly by two photos of them, together, smiling and having a beer.
By my math, they’d been broken up for around 14 years. I don’t know how they found each other again, but I suppose love finds you when you’re not looking for it. Even if it found you initially when you were a teenager.
I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but around a year or so later, they got engaged. I don’t have the details on what happened with the girl that Dan was supposed to marry in 2009 when we first reconnected, but I imagine when he and Jen found each other again, that other woman quickly feel to the wayside.
Jen and Dan got married on September 29th, 2012. I imagine it was completely unintentional, but that happens to be my birthday. Another weird instance of how things in my life come full circle, without me intervening or being involved in any way. Just, by the luck of it, the couple that I introduced 15 years earlier had reconnected and gotten married on my birthday.
To wrap up the story, they had their first child, a baby girl named Ella on March 4th. And from what I can see on their limited Facebook activity, parents and baby are happy, healthy and glad to have found one another again after all of these years.