Chapter 2: "Beginner Sticking Points"

A week later, she was still on my mind. I had gone over it a thousand times, trying to figure out what how I had messed out. Well, not messed up, because I was an expert, but what should I have done differently?

After she punched me, we were both escorted out of the club by security. Attractive woman or not, fighting was unacceptable in the Las Vegas club scene.

I was actually pretty ecstatic, thinking that I would get another opportunity to talk to her outside (a punch in the face wasn't as bad as pepper spray after all), but she finally reacted like a typical woman and whispered to the security guard that was escorting her (probably that I was a perverted asshole or something) and he led her to a different exit than the one I was being thrown out of.

The typical man would think that running around a building trying to find the woman who just punched him in the face would be considered stalker-ish. No. Just persistent.

But it turned out that it was a wasted effort. She was already gone.

And I was still thinking about her, a week later.

"Hey man, almost ready to go?" Emmett, my right hand, asked, poking his head inside my office. We had been working together for the last three years; he had come to me for help and had stuck around, much like everyone else who worked for me at Masen Interactions.

"Yeah, just finishing up next weeks itinerary, I've never done a boot camp in Seattle, but I found a few clubs that seem promising."

"Sweet, I'll be down in the lobby with the guys," he said, leaving.

I shut down my computer and put away my notes, grabbing my phone, I headed downstairs.

The six boot campers were engrossed in Emmett's recount of a very interesting Asian woman he had encountered in France during our last European tour.

"…and then, just when I thought she was done…"

"Gentlemen!" I call out, interrupting the best part of the story, "Are we ready to go meet some lovely ladies, or what?" I did my best to send out a "pumped up and excited" vibe as I loped over to them. In any line of work that deals with social interaction, the most important thing to remember is the "transfer of energy" rule. Whatever a person is feeling, the people around them will feel.

I detected a few nervous faces, which was expected. The boot campers had been informed that we were going to push them out of their comfort zones tonight, but it was what they paid for.

"Alright! I should probably introduce myself," I said when I got closer to the group, "I'm Edward Masen, glad you guys could make it out tonight." Emmett had led the seminar that they had attended earlier in the day along with twenty or so other men who hadn't paid extra for the one on one instruction.

I shook everyone's hand and committed their names to memory.

"So, we're going to start out on the Boulevard to do some street sets, get warmed up, then we'll hit the clubs, sound good?" I asked, everyone nodded.

"Ok, rules. Whenever Emmett or I tell you to go for it, go for it. I'm going to make sure you get your moneys worth, but I can't do that if you guys don't participate. If you get nervous, just remember, you don't give a fuck, you don't know these women, and if it goes wrong, you'll never have to see them again."

"Not every set is going to produce positive results, but the important thing to remember is the bad ones are learning experiences. "

One of the guys, Mike, raised his hand, as I was finishing up my standard pre-game speech.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Yeah, so what's your success rate? I really need to get laid…" he trailed off, cockily.

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes and reminded myself that even though he was under my instruction, he was still the one improving my bank account. I had dealt with his type before however, so I couldn't say I was caught off guard, in fact, the same question was probably lingering in everyone else's mind, they just had the decency to keep it to themselves.

"I can't guarantee anything," I said, without missing a beat, "I judge success by improvement in social interaction; I don't own stock from Trojan, but I can promise that I will do everything I can to improve your chances of taking it to the next level."

He looked slightly disappointed with my response, but it was the best I could do, after all, you can't cure "assery" and I had the feeling that there was a reason that Mike was seeking my help that had nothing to do with his height, receding hairline, or pot belly.

"Anymore questions?" I ask, receiving nothing, rubbing my hands together I said "great, let's start some street sets!"

The office for Masen Interaction, or remodeled house that I work out of and host seminars while I'm in Vegas, is conveniently located a few blocks from the main strip, so we took off on foot to avoid the hassle of trying to find parking.

We made it to the Strip at half past eleven, right when things were just starting to warm up.

Emmett, who had an eye for women that surpassed mine, after telling the guys to try to stay in sight, started assigning sets for the men to go pursue while I stayed back and observed.

Right away, even without being able to hear the conversations, I was able to identify where each of the boot campers was going wrong,

Jasper, for example, was doing the typical "approach scanning" method. In the few minuets that I watched him I saw him miss out on two sets that he seem interested in because he wouldn't just go for it. I could practically hear his inner voice telling him "she's too hot," or "she doesn't look like she wants to be hit on."

I jogged over to him, asking, "Dude, what's the first rule?"

"I know, I know! I just… I've never been an upfront guy, you know?" Distress was leaking out of him, and I could relate. I had started out just like him. The idea of putting myself out there to be rejected had been the reason why I had graduated college a virgin,

I told him as much, and then I told him how I managed to overcome it. "I know I've said it a hundred times, but I'll say it a hundred more, because I sincerely believe it. You can't let yourself care or worry about what might happen. Teach yourself to, again, not give a fuck, and remember, you miss 100% of the shots that you don't take."

"But they're still people! I mean I just feel guilty, and manipulative-"

"Whoa, dude!" I said, cutting him off, "I have a ridiculous amount of respect for women, and the thing is, they have the upper hand, don't feel bad for trying to even the playing field."

"Now, are we going to start braiding each others hair, or are you going to get out there and be assertive?"

"Assertive, got it," Jasper said, and I was pleased to see a determined gleam in his eyes.

I helped him scope out a set, a cute blonde, and gave him a few suggestions on some opening lines and watched him approach her with an indomitable stride.

After instructing a few of the other guys and demonstrating some of the techniques for them myself I realized how much time had passed

Extracting myself from a women who I had used the "communicating interest" technique on, where I blatantly told her I was into her so that she would in turn develop an interest in me, I looked over to see Emmett giving Mike a few pointers and I walked over to him after he had sent him over to a group of bachelorettes.

"I tell you," Emmett said when I walked up, "if that guy wasn't paying top dollar I might punch his face in."

"Is he that bad?"

"You weren't listening to him on the way over, I mean, I'm all for banging chicks, but at least I have the decency to take them out to breakfast the next morning. I'm almost afraid to turn him into a pro," he said, using the term we used for men who had a substantial amount of game.

One of the downsides of owning your own company was that sometimes you had to work for people that you would never associate with if they weren't paying you to, and it seemed as if Mike was one of those people.

I brushed it off and returned to business, "it's almost 12:30, let's gather the guys and head over to Xs, you know those rave girls, they love to dance."

The club was packed with half clad women and thanks to my connection I was able to get the whole group of us in without much of a problem.

For their first night out, the boot campers were doing really well. Jasper was talking up this cute short girl, and even Mike seemed to be having some luck. At least no one had punched him yet.

I smirked to myself as I nursed my water, thinking about the brunette from the weekend before.

"What're you smiling at handsome?" an attractive foreign woman asked me in a slight accent. Even without the use of techniques I had always earned a fair amount of attention from the opposite sex, but the difference was that now, after several years of gaming, I now knew how to reciprocate instead of being awkward and freezing up like my younger, less experienced self, had.

Looking her over speculatively -she was at least a nine, but I decided that I didn't want to do anything other than go home when I got through working, alone, so I did something that was sure to change her mind about what she wanted to do with me.

"Oh, nothing, just thinking about something my mother told me earlier."

"Your mother?" she asked, curiously.

"Yeah, I live at home still and she told me-"

She cut me off hurriedly, "Oh! That's cool, I really need to go find my friends though, it was nice talking to you!"

I smirked as I watched her disappear into the crowd.

Worked every time.

The rest of the night passed without incident and all of the guys managed to talk at least two or three women into giving them their numbers, and Mike managed to amble off with a very drunk girl. I secretly hoped she would sober up enough during the cab ride home and come to her senses, but alcohol does strange things to inhibition.

Minus Mike, we went to a twenty-four hour diner after another hour of street sets once the clubs were starting to close and convened over dinner/breakfast.

Emmett and I went over the night with each of the guys and told them the things they did wrong as well as complimenting them on the things they did right, then agreed to meet at the office at four the following afternoon for day two of the seminar and night two of boot camp.

Leaving the diner, I walked back to the office through the quieted streets of downtown Las Vegas, ready to get in my car and drive home and sleep for a few hours.

I rounded the corner that would put me in sight of my office building, and if I didn't believe in fate before, I started to right then.

I just want to say thanks to everyone who added this story to their alerts and a huge thank you to the reviewers! If you're a seasoned ficster you know that if a story doesn't have many reviews it unfortunately doesn't get read, so by reviewing you are basically saying "OMG! READ THIS STORY!" (or at least that's how I think about it, could be totally wrong lol)

Let me know what you thought! And if you want the link to the article that I based this chapter off of, let me know, but be warned, once you see it, you can't unsee it. I was dropped into the world of the pickup artist and I haven't been able to look at men in the same way since haha