look forward

Taeyeon has a rhythm. She’s found a way to move her fingers in a smoothly flowing pattern, making the finest movements with the sweetest timing. She manipulates the use of her hands to the tightest degree. A comfortable control is gained over everything.

Tiffany… has a lot of heart.

“I don’t get it!” Tiffany huffs in frustration, once again,  flailing. “How are you getting it so perfectly right? I’m sure we’re doing the exact same things at the exact same time.”

“You just don’t have the touch,” Taeyeon replies in an exceedingly casual way, like all she’s doing is breathing and that’s obvious. “I’ve been told I have a certain magic when it comes to this.”

Tiffany rolls her eyes. “Yeah, who told you that?”

“Sunny.”

“What, really?”

“Yeah. The queen herself pronounced me to be a true gift to the art.”

There comes a spattering of noise and violent imagery from the screen and Tiffany squeals.

“Oh come on! What did I do this time?”

“You ran straight towards that guy while he was shooting you, point-blank, in the face.”

“What? I did not. When did I do that?”

“Just – never mind, just try again. I’ll wait for you at the checkpoint.”

Tiffany sighs, and if it’s a little unnecessarily dramatic Taeyeon doesn’t notice. The controller in Tiffany’s hands gets shuffled around a bit as she pretends to practice the combos and readjust her grip, then there’s the beginning of a cut scene before they start again.

The focus this time is more intense, both of them leaning forward slightly and barely blinking as they move their characters this way and that, brush over some buttons and smash others with an urgent determination when something changes on the screen.

“We can get that guy easier if we split up,” mumbles Taeyeon, running a finger over two buttons at once to create a chain reaction of virtual abilities.

“I know,” says Tiffany, and that’s all she has to say.

“I’m coming from behind,” Taeyeon announces.

Tiffany twitches but doesn’t laugh out loud. They get the guy and make a good run of it before Tiffany goes ahead of Taeyeon and starts taking on the enemies one-on-one.

“Woah there, hey, what, what are you doing?”

This time Tiffany begins to grin. “I thought maybe I could get these guys on my own. How about you just watch for a bit?”

Taeyeon’s expression is hilarious but Tiffany doesn’t look too much, because she’s fighting one against five now and winning so someone had better be watching, at least.

The quantity of red and black in the colour scheme of the images increases as Tiffany’s character takes more and more damage until it’s just her and two others – even when the screen flashes and something titles the situation ‘critical’ it’s followed by a blaring ‘ultimate combo’ and a bright ‘five-kill player streak’ and then Tiffany is laughing for real and in full at the look on Taeyeon’s face.

“What…”

Tiffany takes the opportunity to grab the last slice of pizza and chews triumphantly while she turns to Taeyeon, putting her controller to one side now that the fight is over. She’s undeniably amused and it’s clear why. Taeyeon finds this all beyond comprehension.

“We’ve been playing this game for a month,” she says, slowly, “you’ve never in all that time done anything but struggle!”

Tiffany raises her eyebrows. “You really thought I was that bad?”

“Well yeah, you weren’t doing well. Don’t trick me into saying you sucked, because you weren’t that bad but you definitely weren’t that good! I mean, I’ve never even gotten the ulti-”

She snaps her mouth shut.

Tiffany parts her lips in surprise and delight. “What was that? Did you say you’ve never even gotten the ultimate combo?”

Taeyeon frowns. “Well…. I mean, I’ve been close. Anyway how did you get this good so suddenly?!”

“You’ve been working overtime a lot,” Tiffany shrugs, looks away, doesn’t express how she really feels about that,”so I’ve been practicing when I’m home alone.”

“Oh.”

They sit there, soaking that moment up, before Tiffany grins again and puts her pizza down. She cracks her knuckles in jest.

“And you should have known I couldn’t possibly be that bad at this game,” she teases. “Surely you wouldn’t deny I have a certain level of skill with my hands?”

Her wink makes Taeyeon blush three different shades and then cough nervously.

“Well, when you put it that way…..”

Tiffany laughs, full-bodied and happy. The evenings she spent feeling lonely were used to make something for when she wasn’t alone, and it was definitely worth it.

She’s the one who gets the surprise this time when Taeyeon suddenly kisses her.

“Thank you,” Taeyeon murmurs, staying close, and they smile at each other. For long moments, they stay like that, especially when the screen times out and it’s quiet, dark, soft, the game as good as completed.

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