The time had finally arrived. The day they’d all been waiting for weeks to arrive. They dreamed of it. They saved for it. Well, Kolby just asked his parents for the money. They salivated on their calendars when they saw how quickly the day was approaching. They planned to take off from work and school weeks ago. Finally. It was here! The festival of all festivals! Con of all cons! GEEK CON!
They were so ready. Ready for what? Kick butt and take names in the video game corner. Enter the hack-a-thon. Buy sweet swag. And, of course, take selfies with all of their favorite cos-players. It was going to be EPIC. Shortly after they arrived, they were meandering through the park, looking at all the exhibits and mapping out a plan for their day when out of the corner of their eye they all saw someone they desperately wanted to see. They made a run for it, arguing among themselves about why he should be the first one to take a selfie. Yuki and Tim didn’t care too much.
Lester wasn’t the fastest, but he was the closest and walked up to the cos-player to request a selfie. The others kicked themselves for not being first and gave up on the idea all together. Kolby hadn’t been to San Myshuno yet and saw something across the street he very much liked. For some reason, the other guys followed him too.
Geek Con wasn’t really Tim’s thing. He played video games occasionally, but he wasn’t obsessed with them like they were. Lester had invited him last week and thought it would be cool to hangout with a group of friends. He liked being there with them, but he couldn’t help but be concerned about that thing Uncle Tony asked him to do that he should have been doing but wasn’t. Hopefully he would have time later.
“Hey, so like, can I take a picture with you?”
“Look, kid, I’m here at the festival just like you. I’m not the real Darth Maul, and I don’t know you. Get outta here!”
Lester knew that, of course, but he still managed to be upset.
A woman dressed as Llama Woman was coming up behind Darth Maul and happened to overhear the conversation. She understood what the man was saying, but she felt like he was quite rude about it. “Hey! I’m no Llama Man, but how about a picture with me?”
“Yeah…sure. Thanks.” He tilted his camera up enough to get Darth Maul in the shot as well.
Lester didn’t realize he had lost his friends and immediately entered himself into the hack-a-thon. His programming skills weren’t up to par to even be close to winning, but he had to try.
Meanwhile, across the street, Kolby was in music lover heaven at the karaoke bar. He still loved to play the piano and was getting better and better every day, but lately he had gotten into singing. He poured his heart and soul into the songs he wrong on the piano, but they were nothing compared to using his body as the instrument. Singing made him feel alive, and he could feel the passion in places the piano hadn’t reached yet. It wasn’t very customary to sing along with the karaoke stars, but he couldn’t help it. The singer didn’t seem to mind though. She actually encouraged it.
Tim sat at the table behind him, so he paused his private concert to join him. Apparently he thought singing was dumb.
“Whaaaaat?” Kolby was shocked. “You gotta learn to sing, man! Girls dig it when you sing to ’em.”
Tim was intrigued by this.
Back outside, Lester still hadn’t realized he was alone, but he was enjoying himself. It seemed fly guy was back for a brief visit.
Someone was watching him to speak to all the ladies who passed by and found him to be amusing. “Hey lil brother. You’re gonna wear your mack out if you try to holla at every woman here!”
After Lester finished his lunch, he began to wonder where his friends were. He looked all over the place and could not them. Before he gave up and went home without them, he figured he’d check the karaoke bar just in case. There they all were. Tim and Lester were still talking at the table, and Hugo’s wife had showed up a few hours before.
“DUDE! We waited all this time and paid all this money and you guys spend the whole here? Singing? What’s wrong with you guys?”
“Singing gets girls,” Tim said happily.
Lester snorted. “That’s a bunch of–” he was interrupted by a text that just about stopped his heart. “Speaking of girls…it looks like I’ve got a hot date to get to! Later, losers!”
“Date? Who’s dating him?” Kolby asked.
Lester made his way to the Blue Velvet nightclub. It seemed every time he went there he was looking for the same thing: companionship. Perhaps it was his lucky place. Eventually everything works out for him there. The place was crowded, and he didn’t see Shea anywhere. He had to pee and figured he could continue his search when he got back. She was coming down the stairs as he was going up.
“Oh, you’re here,” she said.
She rolled her eyes. “I hope no one snagged the table I was sitting at.”
She led him there and found that it was still available. In a matter of seconds, everyone made a mad dash to the bar and the room was deserted.
“So where were you? I wasn’t expecting you to get here so fast.”
“I was at Geek Con with my friends.”
“Geek Con! You didn’t invite me?”
“I didn’t think you were into that stuff.”
“I’m not, but I would have loved to decline the invitation.”
They laughed. He was happy that things weren’t awkward between them. It was as if the other night didn’t happen.
“Honestly,” he began, “I wasn’t sure if you’d want to see me again.” His cheeks were growing red and hot.
She wasn’t sure where to take the conversation from there. Discussing feelings was not something she wanted to do, and she disregarded his remark. “You didn’t have to rush here, you know,” she said. “I would have understood you wanted to be with your friends.”
He was glad for the subject change. “Meh. It was gonna be over in an hour, and I’d rather hangout with you anyway.”
She asked him if he wanted to dance, and they did. She didn’t take her eyes off him the entire time. He danced so horribly yet he didn’t seem to care what anyone thought, and she admired that. It was a quality she wished existed in her own life. She especially could have used that mindset in high school as he was pursuing her. He was “that guy” no girl wanted to be caught dead with, yet she found herself secretly intrigued by him. If she weren’t so concerned about what her girlfriends thought, perhaps they could have been together for a while by then.
Lester could feel her gazing upon him, and that’s when he knew. Despite what she said, she was totally into him, and she wasn’t going anywhere. All the pressure he put on himself about kissing her and wondering if she wanted to see him again was silly. She clearly wanted to be with him, and when the time was right–and he was comfortable–he’d kiss her, and it would be perfect. So, he stopped thinking about it and enjoyed his time with her. After a few songs, he was thirsty and said he would buy them some drinks. Although he had been a young adult for about a week, up until then, he hadn’t done anything that made him feel less like a child. Standing at a crowded bar buying drinks for he and his date definitely made him feel more like a man.
With drinks in hand, he carefully made his way back to the club area, but Shea was gone. She wanted some fresh air and stepped outside.
“There you are,” he said. “I thought you snuck out through the bathroom or something.” He handed her a glass of the finest nectar the bar had to offer.
“Just trying to keep you on you toes.” She winked at him and took a sip. “This is good. I didn’t peg you as a nectar guy.”
“Yeah. I’m a bit of a snob under all this awkwardness. I have opinions about everything.”
“Hmmm, is that right? So… What’s your opinion of me?”
She had no idea what she just opened herself up for. Lester had no qualms about expressing how he felt despite her request for no mushy stuff.
“Have a seat. I’ll tell you.”