Chapter 54: Anyone Else But You - The Moldy Peaches
Milo, Izzie, and Adam were in the suite when I arrived. We eventually convened in the living room for a tournament. Surprisingly enough, Izzie was the one that went undefeated. I say surprisingly because she was the one of us that did not personally own a gaming system.
“How was your break?” I repeatedly hit the ‘x’ button on the controller as Nick exited his room and entered the living room.
“Uneventful. Yours?” He sat down in an armchair.
“You’re trying to spark up a full conversation with him so that you can say you weren’t giving this game your full attention and that’s why I won, but I will not have that.” Izzie proclaimed as she navigated the virtual city as if she had it memorized.
“She wants a dignified victory.” Milo offered her a bottle of water with a straw poked out of it.
She sipped from it without losing focus.
“When is Sam coming over?”
“I don’t even know when her flight lands. We just show up places.” I maneuvered through the virtual world in which I was travelling.
Iz and I were neck and neck through the entire level. Sams was the only one that ever pushed me to try to that extent.
“I ask this without the insinuation that girls cannot be good at video games: what do you owe to your improvement?”
“I get really invested in the plot lines. In order to find out what happens next, I have to do the tasks on each level. It’s all hand-eye-coordination based, so I get into the physicality aspects and it helps me do it.”
“It gets the job done.” She crossed the finish line shortly after that.
Milo cheered and kissed the side of her face.
I rolled my eyes.
“’Sup?” Sami walked into our suite without knocking, whipping the door closed in a single motion. She hopped over the back of the couch and landed beside me.
I handed her the controller and she took over without a prompt.
“I was about to beat you, Finn. It was a cheap shot to tag Sami in.” Iz taunted.
“Debatable.” Sams pressed a sequence of buttons and the virtual world went up in flames, our avatar was all that remained.
I looked over at her with a repressed grin.
“We play to win.” She nudged me with her elbow.
Both parties insisted upon rematches for hours. It did not take long for Iz to grasp the cheat codes. Once she had, it was only a matter of who did the most effective one first. Letting go of the title of “number one” only came about because all of us were ready to eat dinner. A truce was called and both players agreed to acknowledge the other’s talents.
“You have no clue how much I needed to be back here.” She sat down on my futon.
“It seemed urgent via webchat.” I took my usual spot in front of my desktop.
“It was more suffocating than usual, surprisingly enough. Very little had changed, but it felt different.”
“Never pegged you as the type to underestimate the terribleness of frat boys.”
“Biff was a contributor, not the entire problem. He kept to himself for the most part, only acting like a douche when called to do so.” She removed her knitting from her purse after turning on the television.
“You should come to mine for spring break.”
“You’re trying to protect me now?” Her voice more mocking than genuinely posing a question. She did not even look up from her work.
“Philly beats hell. You can resume being a secret masochist after the fact.”
“I doubt Pierce and Ang would sign off on a sleepover.”
“It would not be hard to convince them.”
“What’s your deal, Watson?” She looked at me with her eyebrows raised.
“I am intervening because you refuse to stand up for yourself.”
She voided the emotions on her face. “Sometimes I need a break from fighting the world. They’re harmless.”
“They make you hate yourself.”
“I’ll let you in on a secret: a tiny part of me always does. They just bring it out to play.”
I always knew that to be the case. It was something we had it common.
I went into my desk draw and pulled out a short stack of booklets.
“I was going to wait until your birthday.” I leaned over and handed them to her.
She put down her knitting to receive them.
“Super Sami and the Crazy Eight.” She read aloud.“We’re the Naughty Nine.” She examined the cover.
She stood in the middle of the comic book cover in her fighting outfit with her fits on her hips and her hair billowing in the wind. The rest of us flanked her sides in a v-formation.
She turned the page and started reading. I watched her face, inwardly smiling each time she struggled not to smile outwardly. In her version, she defeated personified versions of her fears with us at her side.
She looked up at me with a small smirk when she was finished reading. “You’ve got it bad, Kid.”
“You already know that.” I swiveled to face my computer screen. “We’d all follow you into battle. I require zero persuasion, but we’d all lay it down for you.” I resumed animating.
She stood up and hugged me from behind, resting her chin on my shoulder. “Why have you never tried anything with me?”
“What are you asking?”
“You know...sex. We’ve been together for almost a year and we’ve known each other for four.”
“I’ve thought about it, even before we became a couple or whatever. Timing, I guess. You have never given me any cues until now. I sure as hell wasn’t going to initiate anything.”
“Sure about that?”
“I love you and I don’t like people.”
She kissed my shoulder.
I turned my seat to face her. “Not tonight because I’m not prepared, but we can do other things. Your call.”
She put her hands on my shoulders for balance as she moved to straddle my lap. I moved in and she pressed her lips to mine. I put the bottom of my hand on the base of her neck, my thumb on her jawline, as I deepened it.
She leaned back after a while and removed her shirt. I glanced down at her chest. I was smirking when I returned my eyes to hers.
“Is that good or bad? I feel a little self-conscious.” Her cheeks twinged pink.
“You’re beautiful, Sams.” I held eye contact.
Her fingers curled the hem of my shirt and she lifted it over my head. She put her hand on the side of my face afterwards. “I don’t want to be in charge of everything.”
I nodded closed the space between us. My hands roamed her bare skin. She eventually took one of them and put it on her chest. I believed myself to be doing something right with it when she started moving her hips and her breathing grew heavier.
There was knock on my door. She groaned, resting her forehead against mine.
“What?” I turned my head as to not yell in her face.
“The Blu-ray player is doing that thing again. Can you fix it?” Ryan called through the door.
“Ask Adam.” I guided Sams’ face back to mine.
I ignored all of his follow up response and further questions.