-This story uses the usernames of real drivers in Need for Speed: World. Please do not spam them, or harass them. Their real names have been changed at their request. THIS STORY IS FICTIONAL, WITH REAL CHARACTERS.-

As I booted up the PC in my office, I was wondering how Need for Speed World had changed since my last log on, almost four months ago. I had stopped primarily because of RAM issues, and hadn't been able to log in, so I was hoping that my friends were still around in the game.

Once I had finally gotten the 32 processor gaming PC to the desktop, I double-clicked the NFSW file, and started up the client. Hmmm, weird… Guess they increased car price, I thought, as I noticed the brand-new Koeniggsegg CCX "Elite" edition for 25000 speedboost. No WAY anyone bought that. After I logged in and downloaded the patch, I selected my driver, "CHEEZBURGER861". I exited the safehouse into the world, and noticed immediately something had changed.

Every car around me was expensive. Not just cars that were, say, a million IGC, but cars like the Koeniggsegg, which cost 70 bucks in real life. Being the kind of rash person I am, I immediately challenged one of the nearby Pagani Zonda drivers to a race against my BMW Z4. I won, as the experienced driver, but was still extremely surprised at how badly the Z4 had been nerfed.

I opened the friends console, and was surprised to see a whole 27 of my 100 friends online. Weird, I thought. Normally, there are only 2 or 3 of them.

As I sent a PM to my friend FIREWOLFY, the famous Cops and Robbers organizer, I drove around town seeing the new sights. It being just after Christmas, there was snow on the ground near the golf course, and fireworks were shooting off in the distance, towards turnpike.

"Hey, long time no see!" I typed to FIREWOLFY.

"Yeah, you too!" he messaged back. I asked him if I could join his cops and robbers group, and almost immediately got an invite.

"Where have you been?" the voice came over the speakers.

"Around," I typed back. I may have had a totally epic PC, but I didn't have a compatible microphone, so I couldn't reply via voice chat. "My PC had a BSOD, so I had to pick up a new one. Thank god for stuff to sell, because it got me the $2500 I needed for this new one."

"Cool," he replied. I heard the sounds of Dubstep coming from one of the other driver's mic. That was my old friend "IAN346". He got his account hacked right before my PC died, but he had already gotten his new account all the way to level 50.

"Ian, can you turn that shit off? For the BILLIONTH time, you're the only person who likes it!"

"Woah, burger! Is that you?" he replied. "You haven't been around in a while!"

"Yeah…"

Suddenly, my friends list made a notification "bleep bloop". I clicked on it, and realized I had a friend request from another driver in the group, "CUPCAKEZOMBIE8". I clicked on her profile, and noticed first and foremost her motto: "Yeah, I'm a girl, and I can beat all of you guys!"

"Hey cupcakezombie!" I typed to her.

"Yeah? :P" she replied.

"If you're really, such a good racer, let's see that skill. You and me, Main Street circuit. T-1's only."

"Kk," she said back. "I'm gonna go grab my other car."

I started the lobby for a two lap race at Main Street. I checked her stats and car in the race stats section, and discovered her fancy Nissan 2000GT-R. So, then, it was her Japanese handling vs my American muscle, in my Chevrolet Chevelle. The ready timer counted down. "5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0:00."

The race began. Right off the line, my chevelle had the lead, the extra horsepower triumphing over the nissan's stiffer suspension. But immediately after, her transmission kicked in, slingshotting her around me on the first turn. I upshifted, and throttled as hard as I could onto the top level of the overpass as she took the bottom. When we came out the end, she cut directly in front of me, and I had to tap the brakes, losing the precious speed that I was going to use to stay in front. Coming around the fourth-to-last turn before the lap timer, I was able to force her out of the entrance of the shortcut into the construction site, forcing her to take the normal street. As she went past the museum, I went over it, jumping over her into the lead. There, my chevelle's increased weight allowed me to get a little extra speed, thanks to the downhill. She beat me across the line, but around the turn, I surged ahead of her. The next lap went very similarly, up until the short cut.

The construction site has a very narrow entrance, only about two car-widths wide. Somehow, she got in there with me, and we kept a steady pace all the way up the jump. We went off into the downhill section, and around the final turn, and we were about to cross the line, and then-

It was over. She came in exactly ten nanoseconds behind me.

"Whew, you're good!" I typed.

"You too!" she replied.

"Hey, uh, you wanna go hang out at turnpike?"

"Yeah, I guess. Should I grab another car?"

"If you want… Say, that reminds me." I went into my safehouse, and with the 8000 speedboost I had saved up from codes over my hiatus, bought myself a brand new Jag, along with an Alfa Romeo. I stuck my signature "cheeseburger" on the rear bumper of the alfa, and left my safehouse, headed for the south end of the map.

"Hey cheezburger?" she asked.

"Yeah?"

"Do you mind accepting that friend req?"

"Oh shit, yeah. My bad!"

"No prob. "

We met up at the Chinatown Dragon, and drove south towards turnpike.

"Nice car," she commented.

"Oh, the alfa? Yeah, always wanted one…"

"Me too. Man, wish I could buy more speedboost…" And that got me thinking. I had read that over the last month, they had implemented a gifting system into NFS world, and so, I clicked the BOOST store button in the upper right corner.

"Check you safehouse," I told her.

"Why?"

"Just a hunch." Her car popped out of existence for about thirty seconds, and then, her username reappeared over a shiny. new, red alfa romeo 8c.

"You didn't."

"Well, someone must've. :P" I replied.

"Thank you so much!"

"No prob. That's what friends are for, to be friends. Just a cool-new-friend thing."

"Let's go show Wolfy!"

"Sounds good." We turned around and drove back up towards the golf course, where FIREWOLFY and Ian were chatting. In our new, ultra-light alfa's, we could jump hundreds of feet off of the ski jumps. After a few well aimed ones, we landed right next to FIREWOLFY.

"Look what cheez bought me!" she said. She sounded so excited. She whispered me, "You don't mind if I call you Cheez, do you?"

"Only if I can call you Cupcake."

And so, our relationship began…