"Mmm, I love mushrooms," I said as I slid my brown plastic tray along the three steel rails at the university cafeteria, grabbing a piece of mushroom pizza. I glanced over to the girl next to me, Maeva. She scowled.
"Ugh. Mushrooms are gross. I could never eat a fungus." She walked past me with a flick of her long red hair. It might as well have been a middle finger in my face.
"Dammit," I muttered under my breath. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small round device that was mostly made up of a touch screen. "Save Point" was printed on the back. After a moment's fiddling, the screen prompted me.
-Load game? Y/N-
With a smile I pressed the Y and heard the familiar high-pitched whirr while the world faded away. Click! When it came back, I was standing outside the cafeteria. Maeva was just walking in.
Even seeing her for the hundredth time today, she still made my heart race. This time, I'd make sure to get things right.
"Ewww. What a waste of perfectly fine pizza. I don't know how people can eat mushrooms," I said. I gave her a sidewise glance to see her reaction. A slight smile was all I got as a reward, but I'd take it. Maeva and I made our way to the tables with full trays. "Say, uh.. Maeva? Mind if I sit with you?"
She shrugged. "Sure. It's a free country."
This was my chance. My hand slipped into my pocket once we got situated. By now, I knew the screen prompts on my Save Point by heart. Just a moment later and I had a quick save.
"So have you started that assignment yet?" I asked her.
"Which one? The term paper? Hell no; it's not due for a month!"
"Oh, well, I was wondering if you'd like to go to the library together and study for it."
"What, you think I don't know how to study?" she said and leaned back, her arms crossed over her chest.
"Huh? N-no! That's not it at all! I just thought that… aww dammit." Whirrrr…. click!
"…Hell no, it's not due for a month!"
"Yeah, me neither. Got any ideas?"
She just shrugged and started poking at her banana pudding like it was trying to escape. We ate on in silence for a while.
"So, I was wondering, if you aren't busy, would you like to-" I reached for my pie, but accidentally brushed my hand against my drink and poured it all over her tray.
"So I was wondering, would you like to go see a movie together?" I asked.
"Sorry, I don't go to the movies," Maeva said.
"I don't like clubs."
"I can't dance."
"I can't stand bowling."
"I'm afraid of heights."
I was at a loss. I'd tried everything I could think of, but it seemed none of my dating sims had prepared me properly. "Well, how about-"
"I'm busy, Devin. Look… Let me ask you something?" This was new. She leaned forward with an expression of hurtfulness in her eyes. "What happened to you? You used to try so hard at things; you used to have so much passion. I remember when you tried to impress your friends by bringing your guitar to school, but you could barely get through 'Mary Had a Little Lamb.' Even though they laughed at you, you didn't give up. You still brought it every day. And now, a month later, you're some kind of virtuoso? You get all As, yet you never seem to study. When we first met, you blushed whenever a girl even smiled at you. Now all the girls are tripping over themselves to get to you and you don’t blink an eye. Tell me, why is it you have time to ask me out? I'm swamped with homework! How can you be finished with this project already? It was assigned a week ago."
"But I haven't-"
"I saw it on your computer yesterday when you were busy flirting with those girls in class. It's fine if you want to flirt. I'm a big girl, Devin. I can do things on my own. I don't need a guy who will wipe me off my feet and do everything for me and be so.. perfect. I want someone who will stumble with me as we travel together. Do you understand? Once, for a short while, I wondered if you'd be that guy, but whatever happened to you in the last few weeks has really changed you. You're too perfect."
I was stunned. I let the Save Point go and slipped my hand from my pocket to the table. "I didn't know you felt that way, Mae."
"You never asked." She went back to eating.
When she finished, I stood up and offered to take her tray. "I'm sorry I upset you. I only wanted to impress you," I told her.
"If you still want to impress me, then try to get to know me. I feel like you're just trying to… find some cheat codes to my heart or something. It's gonna take more than that. Let me get to know the real you. I want to see my blushing Devin again, not this ladykiller. Awww, see? There's a blush!"
I gave her an awkward smile and walked with her towards the exit to the cafeteria, putting the trays down on the rack. "I guess I'll see you in class tomorrow, then?" I asked her.
"Yeah, see you tomorrow, Devin." We waved and I watched her go off to her next class. I fumbled with the Save Point in my pocket. Had it killed my passion? Was it cheating at life? If I kept using it, would she notice? When I pulled it from my pocket to power it down, the screen flashed into life.
-New Game? Y/N-