Ten minutes from yet another date, and I found myself seriously wondering if I should even be here. Not one date that I attempted was truly memorable in any positive way. No, dancing with Alma instead of my date didn’t make that night positive ― at least I tried to convince myself of that truth. I was here because I didn’t want to end dating on last night’s catastrophe. I still was appalled that my date tried using me to get revenge for her friend, especially through a fight. On a bright note, I probably saved some other poor dupe from getting his face beat in by the four thugs. Plus, Delilah Evadne really seemed like an amazing girl. She was valedictorian of her high school, competed at her state’s tournament for track and field as a pole vaulter, and still was very active now that she was in college. I was honestly impressed that the girl could make time for a date, but I couldn’t be happier about the idea. I finally would have a truly enjoyable date, assuming I could keep my nerves in check. Maybe I shouldn’t have shown up quite so early, but I didn’t really have time to go home again. This morning was spent playing Ancient Tribes of Earth with Eseld. Then I acted as a courier for Mrs. Mars before she asked me to stay for the opening of a new art exhibit.
I checked my phone again and found that I still had five minutes before Delilah was supposed to arrive. I watched as various people passed, not wanting to miss my date, though there weren’t that many people at the tables. The park had a very nice lake-side view and seemed quite popular. I was somewhat surprised that my parents had never taken me here when I was younger. Maybe they hadn’t visited the place themselves. I snapped a picture with my phone and texted it to father to see what he thought of it. I gave into staring over the water for, perhaps, too long when my phone buzzed. Father hadn’t been here before, but he asked me not to mention it to mother, claiming he might want to surprise her with a visit here. I was smiling until I noticed the time. Either my date was late, or she missed where I was sitting. I stood up and looked around a bit, but I didn’t see Delilah anywhere, assuming I truly could recognize her from the profile picture. I took another look at it on the site’s app to be sure. Maybe she got held up by something. With her being late, surely she wouldn’t find me rude if I were to start playing a game while waiting. I started browsing through the popular games when I noticed that the first ten were all by Global Princess Entertainment. Aaliyah never mentioned that she made mobile games, so I downloaded one and gave it a try.
D.E.A.D., Denying Earth’s Advancing Destruction, proved to be impossible to play while sitting still, so I just played through the tutorial which had me walk around a building briefly to diffuse a bomb only visible through my phone’s high-tech “scanner”. Exiting the game, I looked up videos on it to see what else there was; countless hours of entertainment unfolded in the sped up mission summaries people had posted. The game forced you to move throughout the real world acting as a secret agent to covertly avoid disasters. There turned out to be co-op play as well, allowing you to meet real people who played the game and do some tasks together. Some of the people giving reviews were really into it and gave interesting, albeit far-fetched, accounts of their missions. Seventeen minutes had passed without sign of Delilah. I checked for messages on the dating app, but she hadn’t sent anything about being late. I decided to send her one, in case she was still coming. Maybe she had taken a nap and overslept. These things happened. I decided to give another game a try, reading the description first this time.
Prayer for The Lilly Slayer was a Sim where you played in a futuristic world overseen by a goddess known as “The Lilly Slayer”. As far as life simulation games went, this one looked top notch, but I wasn’t really too interested. The Cake Dynasty was an extremely cutesy-looking war game revolving around the search for the perfect cake. If I didn’t know Aaliyah, I would have been surprised that, according to the reviews, the game contained an incredible index of cake recipes that was being updated by user submissions. That girl really had an obsession. Singing with The Princess was a mobile karaoke game. Laser Bubbles turned out to be something I could play while sitting around, so I gave it a try. The goal of the game was to redirect laser beams from enemy ships with bubbles fired from the deluxe bubble cannon, so that the enemy ships would, in effect, be destroying themselves. The game allowed for an interesting array of possibilities through various bubble shapes affecting the lasers in different ways and utilizing numerous bubbles for maximum carnage.
After clearing several stages, I stopped to check the time again. Still no messages and my date was forty minutes late. If she had read my message, I would think she’d have replied, but she also might have rushed out the door immediately afterward. Given traffic in the city at this time of day, she could be caught up for a while, so I probably should wait longer. Delilah didn’t seem like the type to just abandon someone. She probably was just caught up. Maybe her phone died, preventing her from sending a message. I seemed to remember her mentioning that she knew first aid in her profile, so she could be trying to save a life at an accident. Yet I couldn’t stop the nagging possibility that she just didn’t want to meet me from entering my mind. She was the one who had suggested the date, but maybe I came across poorly when I was asking where she was. There was no way I could have offended her so much initially that she’d set me up, right? I’d give her a little more time. Five minutes passed. Then another ten. There was a terrible sinking feeling in my chest like I just lost some unnameable, yet important thing. Maybe… maybe… “What are you playing?” someone asked.
There was an amazingly beautiful, blonde girl peering over my phone. She wore a patterned, thigh-length skirt with a solid black shirt, but looked nothing like Delilah. This wasn’t my date. “Laser Bubbles.” I said, feeling awkward over the name. Why couldn’t Aaliyah have given the game a more manly-sounding name, like… like… Bubbles of Doom? The blonde smiled and told me “Looks interesting. Care if I sit and watch for a bit?” I knew nothing came out of my mouth for a moment even as my lips were moving. “Umm… Sorry. Yes. Feel free.” I stammered. She sat close enough that I could feel the warmth of her leg, and I feared I was sweating. “So how do you play?” she asked. I explained what I knew of the game as I demonstrated the current level. I scored in the top thousand worldwide, which I felt was good enough to impress for my first try. “I think you could have done that a little better. Mind if I give it a try?” she inquired, holding out her hand. “Oh. Umm…. Sure.” I lamely replied.
Easy James. She’s just interested in the game. I handed her my phone and watched as she started to play while trying not to get too close. When she turned her back to me and leaned against me, my heart surely stopped. Why did girls wear v-necks? While the game was easier to see, so were a couple things that shouldn’t be. Doing my best to focus on the game, I realized that this girl was making my attempt look pathetic. “How did you do that?” I asked after she killed the whole fleet on their first shot. “Well, the game has an indicator warning you where they’ll attack, and the bubbles can act as mirrors, lenses, etc., depending on the bubble’s material, shape, angle, etc. Judging by how the lasers reacted when you played, I simply split the laser, reflected the numerous beams around their defenses, and targeted their bridges.” she explained as the replay highlighted her point. I really wanted to see what this girl could pull off in Ancient Tribes of Earth, since the entire system was even more advanced.
“Who are you?” I asked, feeling highly impressed. “Oh. Sorry. I’m Trixibelle, though most people call me Trix.” she replied, smiling up at me. Her sparkling blue eyes were amazing, but also seemed familiar. I was certain I’d remember Trixibelle if we had met before, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. “I’m James. Nice to meet you. Which name do you prefer?” I asked. “Trix is fine.” she told me. “Could we have met before perhaps?” I inquired. “There’s no way I could forget you, James.” she replied. Her earnestness was a bit overwhelming with her gazing up at me as she was. “Umm… Care to try another stage? I’d love to see if you can pull that off without seeing the stage in advance.” I told her. Somehow I had forgotten the source of my discomfort on the last stage and tried my best to avert my eyes while still watching her play, a task far easier said than done to my shame.
Trix’s skills continued to impress as she annihilated the stages with ease and kindly explained what she was doing. “Do you do much gaming?” I asked as she beat another stage. “You could say that I do my fair share. Unfortunately, I should be leaving. I need to meet my daddy for dinner. Any chance I can see you again tomorrow?” she asked. “Of course! Can I get your number?” I inquired with a little too much enthusiasm. I didn’t want to scare her off. “Sorry. Let’s meet here tomorrow at 10 AM if that works for you.” she suggested. I quickly checked my schedule and as quickly agreed. “It’s a date then. Nice meeting you, James,” she said before heading off. I barely spent any time with Trix, did so on accident, and already felt that I had a better date than any prior, even though this wasn’t technically a date. Admiring her figure as she walked away, I only just realized that she was about as short as Alma. Perhaps this was the girl who could surpass the phony villain. Even if she wasn’t, I looked forward to meeting her again. Trix was very unique.