9. Too close.
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The two were hanging out in Nikki's basement again, another school day passed. Just like last time, Nikki had invited him over ostensibly to work on the paper, but had asked him if they could play video games again. They sat on the big blue couch, Randy sorting through the plastic bin full of Nintendo games while Nikki watched.

"I'm looking for a good multiplayer game." he said, pushing some cartridges aside. "If your brother has GoldenEye, I think you'll like that one."

"Uh huh." she said, a little distantly.

Randy glanced back at her, his hands stopping in place.

"You alright?"

"Yeah." she said. With anyone else, it would've ended there. But she continued. "I'm just a little scared about the essay. I can't stop thinking about it."

"Scared?" Randy asked. He put the bin on the floor and sat up straighter, full attention on the girl. She shied away a little.

"Five pages." Nikki said. Sometimes she didn't like it when Randy looked her in the eye. "I can't write five pages. I've never written an essay that long."

"Seriously?"

"I'm not in all the smart classes like you are." she said. "I'm in like, track four, and even then I barely pass the classes. I think the teachers only let me slide since I'm so good at sports or whatever... I'm stupid."

Randy nodded, taking in her words. Nikki could barely believe she was saying them! Spilling out an insecurity like that to someone like Randy, who she hadn't even been friends with for long? Like, what? She guessed it was since she didn't really have any friends before him... no one to talk to about stuff like that... no outlet for her feelings... just him being a little nice was enough to make her burst all this stuff out...

Wait, were her and Randy even friends? They were friendly with one another, but... wasn't he only hanging out with her because of the dumb essay? Her guts curled up inside her chest and shrunk into a little ball.

No, he liked her, he was nice! But was he just being nice so he could learn about her for the essay?

After what seemed like an eternity with her own thoughts, she was shaken out of them. Randy had reached over and put a comforting hand on her shoulder. Did he sense her feelings?

"Writing a five page paper isn't as hard as it sounds." he said. "Seriously. And I don't think you're stupid. I mean, doing bad in class doesn't make someone stupid. I don't really do too great in all my classes."

"Really?" she asked. "I figured you were a straight A guy."

"No, I suck in history." he said. "I got like, a D in it last semester."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

She didn't know why, but that made her feel a bit better.

"But, yeah. I'll help you out with the essay whenever, if you need. And other homework too." he said. "Don't be afraid to ask."

Out of nowhere, Nikki started to laugh. It wasn't a happy laugh, more like an expression of confusion.

"What?" Randy asked, as she tried to stop herself. She sat up straighter.

"I don't get you one bit, y'know? Why are you so happy to help me? After I was nothing but mean to you for... for as long as I can remember!" she laughed again. "You're weird, Randy."

"Hey, you're always helping me." Randy said. "I could ask you the same question."

"Helping you?" she asked.

"I mean, I don't know if you've noticed, but you're basically my chauffeur. And you're giving me a lot of material for my essay, a lot more than I expected." he said. "Plus... y'know, I feel bad for hitting you. I feel like helping you is a good way to pay you back."

Nikki rolled his words over in her head. Okay, she kinda saw where he was coming from.

"Alright." she gave him a shove, trying to recover a little of her toughness. Couldn't have the boy thinking she was weak. "Let's just start with the game already."


Randy hadn't managed to find GoldenEye. He did, however, manage to find another shooter he had never heard of before, which seemed pretty similar. So, they had decided to play that. Nikki was getting into this one even more than she got into Mario Kart, shouting and jeering whenever she got a shot on Randy and cursing and shoving him whenever he killed her. It figured, Randy thought. She was basically the female version of a jock, and everyone knew jocks loved first person shooters.

"Fuck!" Randy got a shot on her from around a corner, and Nikki slammed her controller down. "Fucking shit fuck!"

"You need to calm down." he said, sneaking around to get another shot.

"Shut up!" she playfully shoved her elbow into his side. Doubled over his controller, he was unable to react as she got a headshot on him.

"Cheater." he said as he respawned. Nikki was booking it to the spawn point, so he started to move away - but she shoved him into the armrest by leaning over and pressing her shoulder into him with all her weight. He was still able to slip away, the controller clutched tightly in his hands.

"Oh, suck my dick, you fucker!"

She pressed into him harder, pinning him, but he moved one hand from his controller and pinched her on the arm. Hard. She nearly dropped her controller, yelping.

"Hey!" she smacked him on the arm, moving away from him.

"You started it." he said.

The shoving match of the ages began. Still locked in fierce combat on the screen, they started elbowing, pushing, pinching, each one trying to one up the other while still getting shots on them in the game. Randy jabbed his elbow into her gut. Nikki headbutted him in the shoulder. Randy groud his heel into her foot. Nikki threatened to bite him on the hand.

"You're a psycho!" Randy laughed.

As the friendly fight heated up, Nikki thought it would be a good idea to try and block his vision. She clapped her hand over his eyes, but when he pushed it away, she decided to take another option... she forced her way onto his lap.

"Oh~"

Randy couldn't help but let out a little gasp of pleasure. Thankfully, Nikki didn't seem to notice. The girl had sat down right on his... oh, no! He could feel blood moving down there...

"I'm beating you!" she laughed. He could hear the sounds of digital gunfire coming from the TV speakers. He tried to think of something, anything, trying to force it to go down. Baseball. His grandma. His dead dog. But he just couldn't the image of her butt in those nice tight leggings out of his mind... and how it was all pressed up against his... and if he didn't do something, she would feel it...!

Suddenly, he threw himself forward, a last ditch attempt to save himself. He and Nikki both toppled to the floor. Randy was expecting her to freak out or something, but she just laughed and scrambled back to the couch.

"I won!" she said, as he slowly got to a sitting position. "Want to play another round?"

"Uhhh..." his voice was shaky as he steathily adjusted his pants. "S-sure."

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