Charlie stared up at the ceiling, blinking rapidly, praying that no one noticed the fact that he completely tripped over his own two feet. Oz, his roommate and best friend for years entered his field of vision. He looked down at his friend, laughing and shaking his head while reaching out to help him stand back up.
“So, what’d she do this time? Smile at you? Laugh at your joke?” Oz asked as Charlie regained his footing.
“She said hi,” Charlie said, brushing off the back of his pants. “Normally, the hi would have been okay. But we made eye contact. It was too much.”
“Dude, she’s just a girl.”
“No, she’s not just a girl,” said Charlie, but he knew Oz was right. Alyson was just a girl. Just an incredibly beautiful, incredibly talented, incredibly intelligent girl who had barely spoken three words to Charlie in the four months since they met. “I think something’s wrong with me.”
“There’s a lot wrong with you,” Oz said, receiving a look that could kill, “but we don’t have time to go into all that right now. We are late for class.”
Charlie bent down to pick up the books he had dropped. “Seriously, why do I have so much trouble acting like a human being whenever Alyson’s around?”
“That’s the million dollar question, my friend.”
“I mean, we’re in the same program. That should give us plenty to talk about,” Charlie said, his voice becoming whiny.
“I’m gonna cut you off,” Oz said. “You don’t date. You never really have. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But your lack of experience means you haven’t built up an immunity to the opposite sex. So now, whenever you’re around a girl you find particularly attractive, it’s like Clark Kent with kryptonite. You fall apart.”
“How do I build an immunity then?” Charlie asked.
Oz sighed, “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go along… OW!” Charlie smacked him in the back of the head. “It sounded good, though. Maybe I can spin this into a decent research project.”
“I will not be the subject of a research project.”
“Not you, specifically,” Oz said, “but there have to be people like you out there. Guys who just don’t know how to talk to women. I could gather the data, determine what you guys are all doing wrong, and figure out a way to help you get a date.”
“I know how to get a date,” Charlie said, acting somewhat offended at the insinuation that he was incapable of asking a girl out. “I just freeze up whenever presented with the opportunity, that’s all.”
“Well, here’s your chance, Casanova. Alyson McGee, three o’clock.” Oz hastily walked away from where Charlie was standing.
Charlie turned to face Alyson as she approached him. “I think you have my Family Dynamics text,” she said with a smile.
He looked at the books in his hands. Sure enough, he had two copies of the Family Dynamics textbook. He handed Alyson her copy and attempted to say something clever, but was only successful at making some sort of incoherent noise that couldn’t possibly be mistaken for a known language.
Alyson laughed a little and said, “Thanks, Charlie.”
As she turned to walk away, Oz walked up behind his friend and clapped him on the back. “How ’bout that! She knows your name! And, hey, you almost said a real word to her. I’d say that immunity thing is coming right along.”