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The device's screen faded into black as I contemplated the message. Should I respond? Should I wait? And how long? Should I just do it and meet him? Of-fucking-course you should do it, I scolded myself.

I put the laptop aside and reached for the phone, the movement causing Chewie to lift his head from my thigh. "Thank you, Tannar and Cray." Uttering under my breath, fingers internally crossed, I sent back that 'okay' message and headed up to my room.

In there it was just me, the PC and Fortnite loading up onto it. The door was shut so no one could snoop into a private conversation, but I suddenly wanted to back out and never look at Fortnite again as I logged in.

Why was it so hard? It was just going to be two people talking, maturely. Hopefully.

As the screen buffered, I'd started to overthink the things Tannar and Cray—specifically Cray—could have said to Mrfreshasian. What if they'd gotten it wrong and had only made it worse? It wasn't too late to hit that Esc key and wuss out.

I could message him that we lost power.

Or Chewie peed on the router.

A dingo ate my monitor.

Fortnite dropped me into the lobby and my eyes instantly met the icon for the friend's list. There were new requests waiting to be accepted and I opened it to find Harley's gamer tag in the midst of them.

And, yes, I accepted it. Now, there was the hard part.

"Just send him that invitation," I urged myself. Come on, [Y/N].

mrfreshasain invited you to join their party.

My chest deflated and I accepted that, too, dropping into his lobby. There was a moment of hesitation and I readjusted my headset out of nervous habit. I wasn't the first to talk, no. It was him and I realized I hadn't heard his voice since that awful stream.

"Well, hello there." Still tired as ever, still Australian and slurred as ever. Did this boy ever get any sleep?

I fixed my mic and cleared my throat. "Hello."

There was another pause, but a long and drawn out one to the point where it got awkward. This had fallen flat on its face so fast that I was sure Tannar and Cray's involvement had screwed up the situation even more. What if Harley was here to talk shit to my face?

My chest had gotten so uncomfortably tight that I had to break. All at once, the big gap of silence had built itself so much that I burst. "Fresh, I'm so sorry if I ever did anything to offend you. I'm honestly so confused and this situation is so fucked—"

But so did he. Harley's voice overlapped my own with his sudden, "Look, [Y/N], I've looked into things and I've realized that I owe you an apology—"

Wait a minute.

We both stopped and I waited for him to talk again, but he didn't and I interjected with a, "Wait, what—?" But so did he, at the same time.


"Yo, hold on, ma'am. Let me speak for a second," Harley interrupted and added a lighthearted, "Goddamn," at the end.

A burning blush crept up my face. "Okay."

He made a show of clearing his throat and the streamer parroted the, "Okay," in a more confident tone. "I got a call from Cray, earlier. Said he and Tannar met you at the dog park and I think I've figured out what's going on."

Was I allowed to say something? I opted to stay quiet.

"Obviously, your Twitter account was the right one and, like I just said, I owe you a huge apology. So, I'm sorry. You know, for the stream if you saw that mess. The ghosting. Everything."

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