End of the Game

Disclaimer: 1) No relation to The Joy Luck Club; 2) This story is 98.327% fictitious.

Curtains are drawn, lights are dim, melancholy music encircles the room. She seems to be asleep on the couch when the phone rings.

"Hello, please leave the message after the tone."

A click. Then it rings again.

She reluctantly gets up from the couch, mumbles to herself as she picks up the phone.

"Hello?" Her voice is weary.

"Hi TT."

She opens her eyes, and rather surprised, "Gavin?"

"Hey, how did you guess?" The voice sounds disappointed.

"How did you get my number?"

He doesn't answer.

"See me online." Without giving him the time to refuse, she hangs up.

"Why did you hang up? I wanted to talk to you."

"You sound too much like a girl." She replies acerbically.

"All my girlfriends in the past have said that my voice's attractive."

"Well they obviously lied. You would if you were a girl."

"Do you always have to be that prickly?

"Sorry if I burst your narcissistic bubble."

He sighs at her cynicism, but that's also what makes her so unique.

"TT…"

"Yeah?"

He hesitates for a while, then finally says, "I want to see you."

"I AM talking to you, aren't I?"

"No, I mean, in real." He quickly adds, "Right now I am in my car, ten meters away from your house."

"Yeah sure, when did I ever give you my address?" Besides, I thought you live five-hundred miles from here.

"You don't believe me? You live in a two-story house with a light blue roof, the Christmas lights have not been taken off yet, there is a...I think that's a willow tree in your front yard, and some rose shrubs…"

She is truly startled, maybe even a little frightened. She gets up, walks over to the door and looks through the peephole. There is the turquoise car he has once mentioned.

"Why do you want to see me?" That's all she can say.

"I think you already know the answer."

"Ha, don't tell me you drove 500 miles to here because you are uncontrollably in love with me." She tries to laugh.

"Actually, I did."

"You gotta be kidding."

"No, I'm very serious here."

For a second she doesn't know what to say, but then she remembers the game she has played and lost half year ago. One cannot afford to make the same mistake twice.

She takes in a deep breath and types, "Impossible."

"What?"

"Real love. It is impossible on the Internet." Only exists in stories and movies, she thinks gloomily.

"Why. . .?"

"Internet is only a game right?"

"I don't think so. Internet isn't merely a game, but a place . . ."

Without finishing reading his message, she quickly types, "We don't even know each other in real, our lives have no intersections at all, so this is just a game between us. If we play by the rules, the game continues; otherwise…"

"Game over?"

She doesn't reply anymore, everything in her room seems to have frozen still, only the incoming message is still blinking in the system tray.