3: Let's Practice

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It's Saturday at 8 a.m. when my phone starts ringing, I groggily lift my head from the pillow to see who it is. Ally is calling me so I slowly sit up in bed and answer the phone.

"You better have a good reason for calling me this early, or I will do this to you next week," I tease.

"Oh please no. I have a good reason for calling you, so don't ruin my beauty sleep next weekend,' she says.

"Okay," I mumble rubbing my eyes, "What is it?"

"We are going to the mall!" she squeals loudly.

"So, you woke me up early to tell me we are going shopping? But you know I hate shopping," I whine as I lay down in bed again.

"Avery! Do not fall asleep again and no, we are not going shopping, even though I really want to. We are on a mission to boost your confidence in talking to people," she explains.

"Okay, but how does going to the mall do that?" I ask skeptically.

"Easy. There are random strangers there," she merely says.

"So..."

"So, plenty of people to talk to who you will never meet again," she explains more.

"I don't like where this is going, Ally," I say.

"Just trust me, okay. Get ready, I'm outside," she says making me groan.

I hang up and quickly get changed into blue jeans and a pink sweatshirt and grab my grey vans as I walk downstairs.

"Mom, can I go to the mall with Ally?" I ask my mom as I walk into the living room to see her and dad watching TV.

"I already told Ally you could go, she called earlier. I'm glad you are trying to build your self-confidence," she says.

"Hey kiddo, remember just be yourself," my dad adds.

"Honey, she's weird like you though," my mom teases.

"Never mind, don't be yourself, be someone fake," my dad adds.

"Ha ha, you guys are hilarious," I say walking over to give them hugs.

"You know we love you very much," my mom whispers to me, "and anyone else to know you would love you too."

"Thank you, mom," I say hugging her one more time before heading out the door.

"Get in, loser. Hurry, hurry, I don't have all day," Ally yells from her car.

I quickly get in and we get to the mall in no time. Ally parks the car and drags me into the mall.

"So, what exactly are we going to do?" I ask her.

"Not we, you," she says looking around.

She sees something and points, "See that stand in the middle over there," I nod and she continues, "Go up to the dude and ask how much the product is."

"By myself?" I ask her.

"Duh. Don't be scared, this is level one. Now go on," she says pushing me towards the stand.

I notice the guy working there is selling bracelets, he notices me coming over and I immediately look down at the bracelets.

"If you have any questions let me know," he says politely.

"Okay," I whisper out.

I look around at the bracelets and they are kind of ugly. I turn around and see Ally motioning me to ask the guy something.

I sigh and pick up a random bracelet and hesitate to ask the guy how much it is. "You can do it," Ally says from behind startling me. I bump into the stand and send a few bracelets falling.

The guy walks over annoyed, "Please be more careful," he says as I bend down to pick up the bracelets.

"Oh, um, I'm so sorry," I say as the guy starts bending down.

"Ow!" the guy says holding his nose in pain. I rose at the same time he went down and accidentely hit his nose with the back of my head.

"Yikes," Ally says.

"I am so sorry," I say to the guy, "How can I help you?"

"Just go away please," he says almost crying.

Ally drags me away as I repeatedly say sorry. "Okay, so that didn't go good, but the next level will be better," she says.

"How can I pass to level two if I failed level one?"

"We'll just try it this once. Okay, let me see," she says looking around again.

"Okay, there, see that guy sitting by himself over there," I nod, "Go flirt with him."

"WHAT!"

"Calm down, the guy looks nice, he might appreciate your attempt to flirt with him," she suggests.

"Not going to happen, I am not going over there," I say crossing my arms.

Ally sighs and quickly drags me over to the guy as I try to run away. She pushes me towards the guy and I stumble over his shoe and fall to the floor.

"Are you okay?" he asks helping me up.

"Um, yeah, I am. Thank you very much," I yell.

"Okay?" he says as he looks at me weirdly before sitting down.

I stand there awkwardly in front of him and notice Ally in the corner watching us, she motions for me to sit and I do. He glances at me quickly and then goes back to reading his book.

"Um, what are you reading?" I ask.

"Catch-22," he replies.

"That's a good book," I tell him stupidly.

"I know it's amazing, what is your favorite part?" he asks.

"I mean I've heard it's good, but I've never read it," I reply.

"Oh..." he scratches his head and goes back to reading.

"But, I like reading," I blurt out again nervously. I'm so nervous that I'm starting to sweat a lot.

The guy sighs and puts his book down, "Same. What books?"

I panic and say the first thing that comes to mind, "Chemistry books."

The guy narrows his eyes and gets up, "You know, I really have to go. Bye," he says walking away.

"You really suck at this," Ally says as she stands next to me.

"I know," I say slumping and covering my face with my hands.

"Maybe it was because you were trying to flirt with a guy. Try flirting with a girl. Look, there is a cute girl over there working in that coffee shop. Go flirt with her," Ally says pushing me over there.

This day just keeps on getting worse and worse for my self-confidence.

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