He breathed deeply through his mouth and slowly let the air escape from his nose. It's not so hard, you can do this! he thought to himself. Nervously biting part of his lip, the young man continued to pace his living room.

Scenarios of how things might play out looped through his head. Desperate to cover all the possible cases, he worked through possible conversation starters and how he might respond to reactions and other actions. The words what if kept popping up. Whenver they did he was there trying to come up with something that would work, that would lead into what he wanted to say. After a few more minutes of pacing he walked out of the room and into the bathroom.

Staring at himself in the mirror he contemplated shaving then shook his head vigorously before slapping his cheeks. Come on! What's so hard about it? Looking from his own eyes to his hair, then to the stubble on his neck and chin, he scratched his face again wondering if he should shave. You're going out for like 5 minutes, be casual idiot the voice in his head echoed.

With a gulp and another sigh, the man left the bathroom, his home, and then walked the quarter mile to his destination. The windows open to let the warm night air in and the smell of fresh food out. An aroma of savory soups wafted over him as he steped into the entryway and through the door. His eyes roaming the small cafe until they settled on the girl wiping down the counter.

"H-hey", he said stepping up to the counter, smiling as she turned to face him. The glow of her own smile warming him more than any of the soup that was sold here. Her happy reply to him built up his confidence a little more. After some light chit-chat about her not seeing him come by the restaurant often, he managed to segway into one of the situations he had rehearsed. "Do you know if market is going to be in the park again tomorrow?"

He watched her think for a moment while she bagged up some bread on the counter. "I think it goes until the end of the month so it should be..." Yes! he thought, here's my chance! She continued: "but I think it's going to rain tomorrow, so I don't know". He paused, cursing himself internally for not checking the weather forecast for the morrow. "we're going to be really busy tomorrow if that's the case", he looked up, asking her why, "well, when it rains we get a ton of customers, something about wanting soup on a cold day I guess", he stammered out an affirmative, looking for something to say but she continued, her eyes turning away from the bread for a moment to catch his, "I'll probably have to come in early tomorrow to help prep".

Shit, shit, shit, he was looking for anything to say now. He hadn't thought of this, he had prepared for a I'm busy or a no after he had asked her to get breakfast with him and go for a walk, but he had totally spaced on what to say if she had to work. He had been counting on her usual schedule. "That's too bad", was all he managed to push out before his internal voice continued to berate him.

"Do you want a pastry?"

Her voice snapped him out for a moment and he continued conversing, no longer concerned about executing any of his plans, he smiled, chatted, and left the cafe with a couple of cookies in hand. Munching on them slowly, he continued his dejected internal monologue, trying to think of what he should have said. Looking up at the sky, he swallowed and sighed: well, at least I'll be prepared for that next time. And I'll check the damn weather.

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