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Courtney Wilson

You Miss 100% of the Shots you don’t take.

“You did WHAT?” I shrieked, brandishing my hairbrush at Katherine menacingly.

“I… umm kind of… may have…” her voice become softer and then trailed off as her eyes followed the sharp, harsh movements of the brush.

“You kind of, may have…TOLD SOME RANDOM BOY THAT I’D HAVE LUNCH WITH HIM!” I shouted. “That’s what you did!” Although I screamed these words, my anger was already dissolving, and it’s place was dread. My stomach was filled with butterflies and left me feeling slightly nauseous. I was forced to finish up my passionate rant in a weak, pleading voice. “Katherine, you know how nervous I get with stuff like this. It’s going to be really weird, I don’t want to do this.”

Katherine, immune to the massive guilt trip I was trying to lay on her, did not miss a beat.

“Don’t worry about it Court, it’ll be fine. I don’t understand why you don’t want to do this. Joe’s a really nice kid; he’s easy to talk to, he’s really smart. And most importantly
she said in a sly voice, he’s really cute!”

“Him being cute has nothing to do with it! I don’t know him at all. It’s going to be awful! I’m going to sit there, not talking because I’m so nervous, and probably throw up all over his shoes, and it’s going to be awkward and scary!
My voice rose in pitch and hysteria. “And besides, his cuteness makes it worse! He’s going to have high standards and then be all disappointed. He’s going to think that I’m a huge, mute loser.” My voice broke, and I could feel my eyes sting as they filled with tears.

Unnerved and unaccustomed to see me on the brink of crying, Katherine put her arm around my shoulders and reassured me. “Aww, Courtney, I’m sorry! If you want, I can just tell him to forget about it. Don’t worry, I get a little nervous about meeting new people too. A lot of people do; I understand.”

But she didn’t, she couldn’t. Katherine’s slight discomfort at the prospect of meeting new people was nothing compared my fear of it. A family friend once told me that I took after my parents: I was a social butterfly. Shortly thereafter, I began searching the house for my adoption papers. When the friend said that, he was conveniently forgetting that … well, I’m not social! Don’t get me wrong, I have friends, I’m not a recluse and I do like people, but meeting them is a completely different story. My hands will start to sweat uncontrollably before meeting people and my idea of torture is going to a party where I don’t know anybody. However, Katherine hadn’t taken this into account when she promised Joe I’d go to Me & Ollie’s with him, and regardless of how I felt, I couldn’t stand him up. So there I was, with tears in my eyes, a  stone in my stomach, about to spend an hour alone with a boy to whom I had never spoken.

I reached in my closet for something to wear, and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My hair was down, but I still looked younger than usual. My face was pale and seemed to swallow my quivering lips. My red, wet eyes did nothing to help the situation. When I brushed the salty liquid from my eyes, I realized that my hands were shaking.

“Katherine, look at these!” I thrust my hands in her face and stared at her imploringly, desperately begging her to do something.

“Whoa, that’s probably not healthy. Look, if you really want me to, I can still call him and tell him you’re not coming.” When I didn’t jump on the chance, she smiled coyly and said, “See, you already like him! Honey - it’s going to be fun, trust me. And if it’s weird, and he turns out to be a jerk, I promise that you can beat me up, okay?” I laughed at her, and could feel my stomach loosening up. I took a deep breath and twirled around.

“All right, how do I look?”

“Courtney, you look awesome. He’d be a moron to not like you,” she said sincerely. “Just remember, no matter how this turns out, you should be proud of yourself, you’re taking a chance. There’s nothing to regret.”

I knew Katherine was right. I took one more deep breath and started walking over to his dorm. Normally the walk would take thirty seconds, but that day I stretched it out to two minutes. When I finally reached the entrance, my heart was slamming into my chest. I weakly grasped the doorknob and it slipped from my slick, sweaty hands. My breaths were short and rapid. Bile rose to the back of my throat, but knowing that would only make things more awkward, forced it back into my body.

I walked down the stairs to the common room, the knot in my stomach slowly returning with each step. As I opened the door to the room, all heads turned towards me. I felt my face begin to burn, and knew that it was no longer pale; it was bright, flaming red. I turned around, intent on going back and telling Katherine to forget it, when I saw him. He was walking down the stairs, looking directly at me. There was nothing I could do now besides bravely smile and give a timid ‘Hello.’

“Hey Courtney.” His voice was strong and confident, and although I couldn’t relate to those feelings at the time, I felt a little more comfortable. I avoided his eyes though, still not completely relaxed.

“Well, aren’t we the shy type,” he said playfully. “You ready to go for lunch?”

“Okay, I guess.”

The walk to the restaurant was filled with those awkward, first date silences, but remarkably, my desperate urge to run back to my dorm subsided after only a few feet.

After a while we fell into an easy, flowing conversation that continued through lunch, and up to the door of my dorm. Standing on the top step, so that our eyes were at the same height, I stared at Joe. I realized that my stomach was calm, and my hands were dry, and that they had been since we left his dorm. I began to laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

I smiled, and only laughed harder at his bewildered expression.

“Come on Court, what’s so funny?”

“Nothing,” I reassured him, “It’s just…” I didn’t know how to explain how much the simple act of going to lunch with him had changed me. There were no words for it, so I settled for a simple kiss.

“Thank you Joe.”

“Wow. Thank you. What was that for?”

I thought of Katie, and smiled. “For not being a jerk.” I smiled and left him on the stairs, still looking bewildered.

That was a week ago, today. I don’t know what's going to happen, or how any of this is going to end, but at least I can say I did it. I took a chance, and there’s nothing I regret.

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