My heart was beating against my chest as my PlayStation loaded, connecting painfully slow. "Please be on", I muttered to myself as the home screen finally popped up. I felt a little bit pathetic, I had no idea what Zeke236 looked like, but for some reason everytime I logged on, I prayed in my head he would be online. I have been playing this online game with Zeke236 for about three months now. We had never spoken apart from online messages, I had never heard his voice, or seen his picture. I knew he was thirty and lived in Manchester. It was a long drive from London, where I currently lived in my tiny one bed flat. But there was something about this man that I couldn't stop thinking about. My imagination painted the picture of what he looked like in my head, strong, handsome and cheeky. I definitely knew he was funny, his messages made me laugh daily. I had been online gaming from about fifteen years old and now at twenty eight I had a lot of experience behind me. I had a normal job, I worked in game development if you would call that a normal job. I didn’t have many friends who weren't gamers either which meant we never socialised outside of our homes. I loaded the game me and Zeke236 always played, holding my breath. I had a stressful day at work, we had a huge deadline to hit and my boss was constantly on my back about it. It was weird but a stressful day of creating games made me just want to sit and play one, probably all night long. I grinned like an idiot when a message popped up in the corner.
Zeke236: ‘Finally you're online!’ My cheeks hurt from my huge grin as I messaged him back.
MaskedS: ‘Yep! Also got a microphone today!'
I plugged in my new headset and put the microphone down to my mouth. I had a hundred of these at work but never thought of taking one, I never normally spoke when I gamed. When Zeke asked me if I had one as he was sick of writing out his game plans I brought one home. A notification came up that Zeke236 had invited me to join him on our game and I nearly giggled like a child as I clicked accept. I stared at the screen as both of our avatars came into focus.
“I can’t believe you finally got a fucking microphone”. My heart jumped as I heard his voice. It was husky and somehow sexy at the same time. His accent was strong and it made him sound even sexier.
“I know sorry," I laughed.
“Wait," Zeke spoke quickly.
“What's wrong?” I asked, looking away from the TV.
“You're a woman?” His voice had turned wobbly and my stomach dropped. He didn't know I was a woman? My gamer tag didn’t give anything away and my avatar was a man so this was completely on me. I was pretty certain I was flirting with him slightly in our messages and either I was terrible at flirting or he wasn’t picking it up at all.
“Yes," I whispered.
“I’m so confused." Zeke laughed and I joined in, rubbing my forehead with my hand.
“Sorry I thought you knew.” I muttered out, feeling super self conscious all of a sudden. “Do you mind?” I asked, scared of the answer.
“No!” He burst out laughing and I put my head back, grinning at the noise. “I’m actually relieved I thought I was a bit gay for a minute”. My laughter got louder as I got comfortable on my sofa.
“What do you mean?” I giggled, yes that was definitely flirty.
“Every time I logged on I was praying you would be on too.” His words made my cheeks blush and my stomach was full or butterflies. “So yeah I’m super fucking glad you're a woman, I don’t know why I didn’t think to ask before sorry”. I heard him laugh again and relaxed my shoulders. This evening was going better than planned. “What’s your name?” Zeke's voice was doing things to my body and I shook my head to get back to reality.
“Sasha, what’s yours?” Even after three months of messages, neither of us had thought to ask that basic question.
“Zeke!” He laughed again and I could hear the relief in his voice.
“Oh so just me hiding then", I whispered, feeling stupid.
“Definitely just you. My full name is Ezekiel"
“That’s cute.” I interrupted him, my flirting in full.
“Don’t ever call me that,” he chuckled. “You can play fucking good for a woman.”
“Hey!” I shouted and heard him laugh again.
“I’m playing. What do you do for a job?” I put my feet up on the sofa, moving my PlayStation controller to the coffee table, we clearly weren’t playing anytime soon.
“I’m a game developer for rockstar."
“What!?” Zeke shouted and I burst out laughing. “Sasha my god no wonder you're so good”. Zeke saying my name made me grin harder and I needed to see his face.
“What about you?” I asked running my hand over my leg.
“Oh super boring, I’m a project manager like stupid boring. Are you single?” I had to stifle another giggle and I closed my eyes, my butterflies bursting out of my stomach.
“I am. Are you?” I suddenly felt very nervous. What if he said no.
“I am also. One last question before we play".
“Hmmm," I said disappointed that we were actually going to play now.
“Can I have your number? I want to call you tomorrow.” I was unable to stifle the giggle and felt like a twelve year old as it came out.