"Finished?"

"Two minutes."

An audible sigh whispered through Caela's speakers. It was late, and the two friends were getting tired.

Caela's slow computer generally kept them both up past midnight in both their standards. He was three hours behind her, living on the coast opposite to hers. For him, it was already 2AM.

"You're sure you want to play it right now?" he asked.

"It's taken six hours, and I've got a minute and twenty seconds left. I want to get it over with tonight."

"Kayla," he said, his voice sounding muffled. "We can do it in the morning. Really. I need sleep, you need sleep. It's like almost sunrise there, isn't it?"

"Not for another hour."

"Kayla... for all we know, your computer won't even be able to run the client. And you still have to patch it."

Caela was about to talk back, but he was right. The patching alone would take another two hours on average, but her slow computer could take longer.

"Kayla?"

"It's Caela."

"Kayla, do you want to go to bed?"

She sighed, staring at the screen. "Let me start the patcher first."

"Fair enough."

It took a long two minutes just to open the patcher, but as soon as it was opened, Caela got up and flopped onto her bed.

"Kayla?"

"What?"

"You didn't hang up or say bye."

"You can hang up." she grabbed her pillow and buried her face in it.

"I know. You just didn't say bye."

"Good night, Elliot," she said almost firmly.

"Good night," came the reply, and then the sound of the call ending.


Elliot wasn't awake until just before noon the next day.

"Good morning."

He looked over at his dad, who was grinning at him.

"You just made it. Won't be morning in a few minutes. Sleep well, I take it?"

"Very."

"I'll bet you're hungry. Mom went out to get lunch. I had a feeling you'd be up soon, so she's getting food for you too."

"Thanks."

The older man's smile faded. "You're awful quiet. Anything wrong? Need a guy talk?"

"Kayla is just... difficult as ever."

"Girls are like that."

"I wish she'd take me more seriously."

"She will some day, don't worry."

"Yeah. I'm gonna go see if she's up." Elliot turned to go.

"Want me to bring you your food when she gets back?"

"Please?"

"Done."

Elliot disappeared into his room. He sat down at the computer and called Caela. The pickup was immediate.

"Good afternoon," he said with a smirk.

"I've been up," she said, the tiredness in her voice suggesting a lie. No use fighting, though.

"How's the patch?" he asked.

"Done."

"Great, we can play now!"

"Yeah."

"Alright, server 3, okay? I made my guy last night. Guess the name."

"Elliot."

"The one and only."

"No, Elliot, shut up."

"Okay."