Chapter 11

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Flirting is a woman’s trade, one must keep in practice.” - Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

I marched over the corner awkwardly, slowly regaining my composure as I went so I had on a light smile. I glanced at the guy; he was around my age, light brown hair, jeans, and a polo. He was so normal looking, all I could think of was how Elliot was anything but normal. My thoughts continued to drift until I was standing in front of his table. As the guy looked up, my thoughts cleared again. I was really spacey that day.

“Oh, um,” I stuttered, trying to recall Bria's advice, “Hey!”

“Hi?” he said, almost like a question. I really hated this.

“Oh my gosh, I thought you were someone else.” I said, trying to look surprised. The guy just kept that same confused and annoyed look on his face, seeing right through me. I have always been a horrible actor, liar, magician. Maybe that's why I'm a terrible flirt, too.

“Really?” he said, unconvinced and uninterested in me as he turned his attention to the laptop on the table, the sarcasm breaking down my confidence like a bulldozer.

“Yeah, but he was cuter.” I snapped. That sure got his attention, so I smiled in that bitter way as he inspected me, finally giving the time of day. The words were out of my mouth as quick as water over Niagara Falls, no stopping them. Even though he seemed appalled and I'd probably bruised his ego, I didn't really care. He was a jerk.
“Who are you?” he asked, still a salty air of annoyance. My flirt switch was turned off, and now I was just being snippy.

I laughed ruefully, muttering “Now you're interested. How appropriate.”

He seemed dumbfounded and at a loss for words, starting to move his mouth but nothing came out. I seized the moment, ending any conversation we had, saying “Bye.” and walking away back to the table.

Bria's bat ears had heard everything and she was scowling at me. I didn't sit down, pouting and putting on puppy dog eyes. “He was mean. I wanna go home.” She stared back, expression cold as absolute zero. Sophie was slightly more sympathetic, only a small frown.

“No!” she protested, about as angry as a fire-breathing dragon. “You're going to flirt with someone and you are going to like it.”

“B, you're getting a bit ridiculous...” I started.

We started to bicker back and forth; it's not like we enjoyed fighting with each other. I couldn't stop myself, harsh and crude things spilling out of my mouth again. We weren't even giving the other the courtesy of being heard, both arguing at the same time so quickly that I could only catch a few words. We had plenty to say, though.

“Stop, stop stop!” Sophie said, pushing us away from each other with both arms. She wasn't yelling, but somehow everything she had said rang clear. She looked desperately between us, shocked at our brutality. “Just stop.” she huffed. “Addy, try one more time, for Bria?” she looked to me, then quickly to Bria. “Bria, you have to understand how uncomfortable this is for Addy, let her learn at her own pace.”

Simultaneously we nodded, shooting apologetic looks over Sophie's shoulder. When she stepped out from between us we grasped each other, apologizing. Sophie watched by, pleasantly surprised. I think I might have been wrong, maybe Sophie was the mother and we were the bickering children. I could tell from her face she hated seeing us fight, we usually didn't this often. I blamed it on the stress of my writer's block and Bria's new job. But I didn't really know.

Sophie took control of the situation, grabbing me by the elbow and saying “Come on, I'll come with you this time.”

“Wait,” I stopped her, “who are we talking to?”

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