Corrie doesn't like talking in front of the class, due to a terrible nervous stutter. Someone attempts to break her of this.
Not Easier Said - Short Story
"Everyone turn to page five in your books. We need new readers. Who wants to?" Mr. Hilson's voice boomed over the class. A few people raised their hands, and he selected people for different parts. Corrie left her hands in her lap, as always. She practically shook with fear, though, knowing that she was going to have to read, today. She hoped, at the very least, for a small part, where she wouldn't have to speak much. The whole year, her teacher sympathized with her wishes, not making her read if she didn't want to. But, she left to have a baby, and a new teacher took her place.
This new teacher was a firm believer in class participation. So much so that he offered everyone in the room a choice. If they did not want to read, it was their choice, but they lost twenty points on their final report card grade. Corrie was in no position to lose those twenty points, but she had been lucky enough so far. Her luck was running out, however, and she knew she'd be called on today. Sure enough...
"Corrie, I'd like you to read Catherine, today." Mr. Hilson said, breaking her thoughts. She felt her stomach churn, but mechanically nodded her head, agreeing to it. She didn't want to, and it wasn't for sheer laziness. She had a terrible stutter that surfaced when she was nervous or, more specifically, when she had to speak in front of a large number of people. It was horribly embarrassing, which was why she had never read aloud, the whole year, "Start with 'Hi, Eddie', Corrie. At the bottom of page five."
"H-hi, Eddie." She said shakily. No one seemed to notice, and she smiled slightly.
"Where you goin' all dressed up?" A boy in the class asked, playing the role of Eddie.
"I j-just got it. Y-you l-like it?"
"Yeah, it's nice. And, what happened to your hair?"
"Y-you like it? I f-fixed it di-different. He's h-h-here, B." Corrie flushed red, hearing some soft laughter. She knew exactly what it was about. 'Eddie' continued.
"Beautiful. Turn around. Lemme see in the back. Oh, if your mother was alive to see you now! She wouldn't believe it."
"You like it, huh?" She smiled. A sentence down with no complications.
"You look like one of them girls that went to college. Where you goin'?"
"W-wait'll B c-comes in." She paused, biting on her lip while some more of the kids laughed. Mr. Hilson prompted her to go on, and she did, frowning, "I'll t-tell y-you s-something. Here, s-sit down. H-hurry up, w-will you, B?"
"W-w-w-w-will you, B?" She heard a girl whisper, covering her mouth to supress her laughter.
"What's going on?" Eddie pressed on, seemingly aware of the laughter. He spoke with all seriousness, though.
"I'll g-get you a b-beer, alr-right?" Corrie asked, putting her head in her hands and closing her eyes. The whispers and laughter was getting to be too much. She felt her eyes fill with tears. She knew this was going to happen. She knew it.
"Well, tell me what happened. Come over here. Talk to me."
"I w-w-want to w-w-wait until B-b c-c-comes in." She said, and heard a girl snort. She lost it and started full out laughing. Corrie wrung her hands in her lap, not responding in any way other than flushing a bright red and looking down. It was still her part, but she couldn't will herself to speak, knowing that it would be worse than before. Not to mention the fact that she was choking up with suppressed tears.
"Corrie, could you continue, please?" Mr. Hilson asked, wanting to go on with the play. She bit her lip and shook her head. He was about to answer her when the bell rang. Corrie dashed out of the room, with the snickers and mockery ringing in her ears.
She sat alone at her lunch table, reading through the play. She wished that her friends had the same lunch period as her, since she could spot a few people from her last period class. They were happily telling the story of her performance, causing even more people to take notice to her. She wished people weren't so predictable.
"You mind if I sit here?" A guy's voice questioned, and she looked up to see the boy who played Eddie.
"Y-you can." She said, then instantly broke their eye contact. She was stuttering again.
"Hey, I wanted to apologize on behalf of the class. We're not all ass holes and we weren't all laughing." He said, sitting across from her and getting comfortable. She nodded slightly, not really wanting to say anything, "My name's Pete. You're Corrie, right?" She smiled, and nodded again, "I guess I see now why you don't talk that much in class, hm?" She shrugged, and he smiled slightly, "Do you know why you do it?"
"I d-don't l-like public speaking. It m-makes me n-nervous."
"I'm not the public. Do I make you nervous?"
"I don't mean to. I mean, I'm nothing to be nervous about. I'm not one of those idiots who think it's some big joke that you have difficulty reading in front of others. I don't really like reading out loud, but I do like having those twenty points on my report card." He laughed, shrugging slightly.
"Me, too." She smiled, nodding.
"I wasn't even sure you had a voice," He said, laughing in a purely good natured way, "It's pretty, though, if you don't mind my saying so."
"Thanks." She smiled a little wider, "You have a nice voice, too. If you don't mind my saying so."
"Not at all. So, what are you doing this Saturday? You want to hang out at the mall, or something?" He asked, nervous himself. He was being rather forward, but he didn't know how else to ask.
"Around noon, maybe?"
"Sounds good." She nodded.
"You know what?"
"You haven't stuttered at all for a little while, even though you've been talking." He smiled wide.