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Lucas bent down and held her hands and pulled her forward towards the elevator and pressed the arrow pointing upward.
"You go back home alone?" Lucas asked while waiting for the elevator to arrive, "Doesn't your boyfriend come to pick you up?"
Rose rubbed her elbow shyly, "Jeff and I don't really talk…"
Lucas looked down at Rose in surprise, "What, really? Damn, he sure is possessive of you for one who doesn't even realize your worth."
Rose laughed and got inside the empty elevator, Lucas following. He pressed the highest number on the steel wall.
"Do you have a girlfriend?"
Lucas looked straight at the closed lift doors as the lift shook a bit before taking off upwards. "No."
Lucas smirked, not meeting her eyes, "I was waiting for you to come around."
She covered her mouth and looked away, "Oh my gosh, you're unbelievable."
Lucas laughed and stepped closer to her so that their arms were touching. He nudged her, "So are you."
"Why exactly do you like me, Lucas?"
Lucas gulped. Before he could say anything, Rose spoke, a little sadness in her voice, "Is it because I'm pretty?"
Lucas curled his fists tight. Should he admit it? Will that make her run away? "No," he lied, "I just like who you are."
"But you barely know me."
The lift door opened and a cold air conditioned breeze engulfed them. Lucas stepped out of the lift and turned around when he saw that Rose wasn't following him.
"I'm not sure whether to trust you or not," she said and the lift door started close with the woman inside. Lucas jumped forward and wedged his hands in between and the doors opened again.
"Rose, I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable. I just want to know you better. Everyone here hates me because I'm from Evertech but you looked at me with fascination. I thought maybe we could become friends…"
Rose raised an eyebrow, "Friends don't flirt, Lucas."
"We'll become the first ones that do!" he declared, smiling wide.
Rose laughed and stepped out of the lift, tousling Lucas's head, "You're so cute."
Lucas smiled and retreated his hand and led her to the room opening into the rooftop. Once they were finally outside, standing in the chilly New York air, Lucas let out a breath and stared down at the city that never sleeps.
"So," said sitting down on the terrace sill, "Why are you here instead of Evertech with your mother? As the son of the founder, it's really puzzling to see you here."
"To hell with my mother. She only cares about herself. My dream to become a successful game developer will die if I stay in that rotten company," Lucas snapped and then apologized when he saw Rose's startled expression. "I don't know Rose, I like it here. It feels like home."
Lucas expected Rose to say something soothing but instead she asked further, "What about the Locked Room? What's in there? I saw you walking in and out."
Lucas' heart took a small leap. She was watching him?
"Yeah. A lot of stuff. The Beamers used to transport game characters to the real world were broken from the last Beaming. So they are currently trying to fix it. Without Mr. Hermann or his daughter here, it's taking longer than usual." He covered his mouth, "Oops. Don't tell anyone all that. I don't think I was supposed to let that out."
"I have no one to tell it to anyway."
Lucas smiled and looked up at the stars, "Not only the Death Six, the rest of the game characters are in this real world too, but they're hidden."
Rose sat up straight, "The rest of the game characters? As in those monsters, elves, sorcerers and all?"
Lucas nodded, remembering the 40,000 page code he had just typed out. There was MetaCode infused for most elements in the game. So they must be in the real world right now.
After a long silence, "Say what…why don't we go on a secret mission to find those creatures?"
"For real?" Lucas asked in fascination, "Why didn't I think of that before?"
"Won't it be fun?" she asked, her blue eyes shining like the lights below them.
Lucas nodded his head frantically, "That would be awesome!"
They both laughed at Lucas's excited expression and it slowly died down when Rose found Lucas staring at her as if in a trance.
"What…" she mumbled as Lucas leaned forward to kiss her cheek. Lucas closed his eyes and whispered into her ear, his lips brushing against it, sending chills through her spine, "Your boyfriend wouldn't mind, would he?"
Sensing her silence, Lucas lifted his hand put his hand on her shoulder. He had noticed that she was wearing simply a sleeveless formal frock with simply a jacket covering it all. He caught the lapel of her jacket and slipped it downwards.
"Do friends do this too?" she asked quietly, not resisting as he removed her jacket and dropped it to the terrace floor.
Lucas looked down at her assets discreetly, "Why? Don't you have friends?" he asked, in a daze as he reached to hold her neck gently.
Lucas smiled and finally looked at her, "I'm glad I'm your friend then. I'll be a good one."
Lucas nodded and reached her back and felt for her zip. Once he caught it, he pulled it down wards, his fingers feeling the soft skin of her back. "Oh Rose…" he mumbled as he pulled both her sleeves downwards. Before he could finally get to see her, she held his hands and stopped him, "Wait."
"Hmm?" Lucas looked up at her in surprise.
"We're on a terrace."
Lucas looked around, "Yeah. So?"
"Don't you think there'll be people watching?" she asked, holding the front of her frock to keep it from falling down and exposing it fully.
Lucas smirked on the inside. 'If they were watching, then their eyes would be blessed,' was the first thing he thought but he threw that away. "There's no one here, Rose."
Rose shook her head and stood up, pulling the sleeves up and walking backwards before pulling her zip up too. "They are always watching, Lucas."
Lucas felt his hands go cold when she walked away, he felt like he lost an important part of himself when she escaped his embrace. Everything was okay one second and now she was pulling away. He was starting to get impatient.
"Who are 'they'?"
Rose shook her head, "You won't understand."
Lucas sighed and walked up to her and held her hands, "Okay then. If you don't want to do it, just say it, jeez. I'll meet you tomorrow, Shakespeare Café. You're still okay with our secret mission right?"
Rose nodded, now pulling up her jacket and curling it around her, "I'm sorry, Lucas. It's not like I don't want to. I just—"
She stopped when Lucas placed a finger on her lips, "Shh…no need to apologize. It's your decision too, I respect that," he said, trying so hard to be calm. He was raging inside. He was so close! So close to getting the greatest pleasure in his entire life! And she had ruined it.
Lucas smiled and walked away. He had thought of asking whether she wanted a ride home but he knew he wouldn't be able to resist himself any further.
So he just left, leaving her standing alone in the cold wind still in her clothes but feeling naked at the same time.
She looked around after he left and caught a dark shadow moving in the building next to Systema Games. She was pretty sure whatever it was had been standing still till she caught it looking.
She sighed. 'I was right,' she thought, 'they were really watching. Some other time, Lucas. First let's find what we're behind.'
Starred Point #100 from Hermann's Notebooks
The lifespan of a VR IRL Translate (Vislate) can vary based on the efficiency of the MetaCode. If created properly, a Vislate can have a lifespan of infinity years. With average low grade MetaCode, a Vislate can only last for about 1 to 2 weeks.
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