SEVEN

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The latest I'd heard from Harley was at eight this morning, but he'd been mid-stream and was as sick as a dog. I hadn't noticed it very much until someone mentioned it and he'd confirmed that, "Yes, chat. Yah boi's sick. Again."

Despite doing laundry and routinely keeping him on as background noise, it was hard to not notice him then. His bitter humor is infectious and it almost was a shame I wasn't on his stream to tease him. A week had passed since Harley's apology on that Twitter mess, so his Twitch followers were the first to get all caught up, then a week had turned to two and in that time the rest of Mrfreshasian's world was included.

That was all thanks to the video that, to this day, still makes me snort.

"What it's Like to TROLL Peps".

It's not a tribute video if there's not a short and heartfelt summary of the apology at the beginning, one that doesn't go as deep as the original floating around Twitch but it's clear that he wants to put it in the past. I hadn't blamed him, but there wasn't denying how cringely awkward it was to those who had no clue what in the world was going on. But it cuts to the cheap tricks and jokes he'd played over the days we'd duo-ed.

And the punchline? The confused YouTube fans shipped FreshPeps—or was it Presh? Freps?—while Twitch fans passionately defended our honor by explaining our healing friendship to deaf ears.

"Oh, just let them have their fun," Cray said dismissively. "It's one of the rare times they actually get to hear him talking to a real girl."

It's half-past eleven now, we're chowing down on our lunches in the Fortnite lobby, and Harley's probably biting back a groan because it's not like he hadn't heard that one before. "Say it a couple more times, maybe then it'll get funny, Mr. Crayator."

I knew instinctively that they must be good friends, from little else than the way they were able to talk to one another like that without getting salty. Nathan's chortle sticks out in all its giddiness and he slurps whatever it is he's eating. Harley's quieter, only because we'd called him out on his happy hums minutes before.

"Are you sure it's okay to eat lunch while you're both streaming?" I asked, leaning back to recline my chair. "Isn't it, like, rude or something?"

"Nah, it's good for bonding," Harley said first. "Isn't that right, guys? Some one-on-one time together—"

"On-one, on-one," is added and I hear something that sounds suspiciously like, "but it's really for me to rub my gourmet meal in all your guys' faces because chat is mean. I fucking hate you, chat." The last part was spoken so close to his mic that it vibrated my eardrums and Harley choked, "Dude." Then Nathan cleared his throat. "What were we saying again?"

It was difficult to wipe the grin from my lips, especially when it was no big secret that he loved his fans. They both did, so to hear them sitting here and putting in the effort to chill with their viewers was admirable.

They reacted to their fans the way they always did; a few wholesome comments here and then a lot of mockery and roasts there. Most of them were about Mrfresh's health and Harley barely gets the word "sleep" out before they're calling him out on his ridiculous schedule.

"See? They know what's good for you, Fresh. All that money you're making but we know those eyebags aren't designer." I offered him a verbal pat on the shoulder and chat blew up with comments of "mom hen Peps", "let this lady take care of you," "is this our new mom?"

Nathan is sighing and sniggering, but not once did he pitch in. I'd gotten used to it over the two weeks and now it took a lot more to get blushes to creep up my face. At the same time, Harley seemed to be bothered by it. "Alright, guys. That's enough. You'll blow it for us and scare her away."

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