Vulc4n would like to create a party with you. Do you accept?
She stared at the ‘yes or no’ option, wondering which one she should click. The obvious choice would be to click no. She was a solo player and although her and Vulc4n had gone on a few missions together, it was only to beat the bosses they couldn’t handle alone. But to start a party together? She wasn’t sure if she could handle it. Still, there was something that was keeping her from automatically clicking ‘no’. Claire sat back in the hard wooden chair and crossed her arms. A moment later, the chat box opened underneath the invitation.
Vulc4n: Hey, did you get my invite?
Libellula: Soooooo, I’m a solo player. Solo players don’t join parties.
Vulc4n: True, but we’ve been going on so many boss fights together I just figured it would be a lot easier if we created a party. If you don’t want to though….
Libellula: It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just…
Libellula: I don’t know. I barely even know you.
Vulc4n: It’s a party invite. Not a marriage proposal.
Claire felt conflicted. There was something about the way the two worked with one another that made her check to see if he was online once she logged on. The two had met outside the level 18 boss that had nearly cleaned Claire out of her weapons and after the two destroyed the monster, they had decided to help each other clear the bosses ever since. But still. Working with one another once in a while was one thing. Being in a party together was something completely different.
Instead of answering, Claire made sure she was in a safe zone and signed off. She sighed and closed her laptop before getting out of the chair. It was late, nearly 2AM and she had a stats quiz in the morning. Claire quietly brushed her teeth and got into bed without disturbing her roommate, Caroline.
In the morning Claire rubbed her eyes, turned the Keurig on and waited for the water to heat up. Although her dorm was strict about coffee makers, Claire and Caroline had managed to keep theirs a secret.
Caroline rushed around the room, having overslept, and needed to be out the door in ten minutes. Claire, always an early riser, gave Caroline the first cup of coffee she made. With a nod her red-headed roommate smiled her thanks and left without a word. Claire dawdled in their room.
It was 8:15 and Claire’s class didn’t start until 9:30, which meant she could stay in the room until it was at least 9:18 before having to head off to class. Sipping her coffee, Claire sat at her desk and turned on her laptop. The hard drive booted up and her main screen dissolved into the home screen of Chimera.
Claire had started playing Chimera back when she was twelve. She had always done well in school and rarely asked for anything from her parents. So at her birthday party when her parents insisted Claire open their present first, she was surprised to find a Toshiba laptop. That night after she had put away the rest of her gifts, Claire searched the web for a game to play. Constantly plagued by insomnia, Claire was delighted to find this to be a new distraction.
She found Chimera quickly, as it was the highest rated MMORPG game. She had played a few games like it in the past, but never actively since her father did most of his work on the computer at home. That night she created an account, picked a character, gave herself a name, and that was that. To say she became obsessed with the game would be an understatement. She played it day and night. She was infatuated with going through the game and beating the Chimera boss on the last level. She played it so often that after a year and a half of having her laptop, it was taken away. Her grades had dropped, she stopped going out, and she became distant from her parents.
Logging back in now, the chat box from the night before was still open. Claire reread the conversation between her and Vulc4n and still didn’t have an answer. She didn’t understand why it was such a big decision for her. She knew she should probably give the player an answer, so she waited until she had to leave for class before clicking, ‘yes’.
Vulc4n: You accepted!
Libellula: Indeed, I did.
Vulc4n: I’m surprised.
Libellula: Yeah…well… don’t think it’s such a big deal. It is just a party invite after all.