While I thought meeting up for dinner and everything else went great, and I was feeling really good about where Cryztal and I were at, the following weeks didn’t go how I expected. I had hoped that I broke the ice and every week Cryztal and I could make plans to see each other, but in reality, there were a lot of problems with that idea. And while the obvious details were distance and how Cryztal doesn’t drive, I didn’t realize how much Cryztal preferred to be online.
Because I was studying so hard, I definitely lost track of how connected people can be on the internet. It didn’t help that my parents were monitoring my internet behavior up until I moved in with Sandra and was able to hide things from them. I knew about playing games online, but it really had gotten very robust and complicated! Cryztal wanted to play some games and had to walk me through multiple steps just to be able to play together! Thankfully they were just party games. I don’t think I could handle something like an RPG or an FPS anymore. At least not like when I was a kid.
I guess what really made it important was that Cryztal’s job had her in front of a computer so often that it was likely more natural to her than being away from her computer. The perks were that I could easily talk to her between streams, but even then she’d be distracted while editing or reviewing footage, or reading comments, or chatting with other people. It was fine, I guess, but it started to feel like her attention was always divided. I wanted her to focus on me!
Despite talking every day, nothing was really progressing...romantically. Our latest encounter was settling in and made it clear to me: I have a huge crush on her! And don’t worry, I did my research! At first I was worried it was a parasocial relationship, because of how much I was watching her streams and trying to focus on the Cryztal of the present, as opposed to our past. But I think I’m safe there, because we do interact directly and a lot. She also tells me about stuff that happens that she doesn’t mention when streaming, like conversations with other streamers or stuff about Jason or Kyle. I knew for a fact we are friends!
I just can’t find a chance to mention to her that I like her! Every time I think I might say something, I think about how awkward it would be. She never mentions finding anyone attractive, so unless I ask, I have no idea! And her audience is no help, because sure they’ll ship her with other streamers, but anytime it gets brought up, she always makes a joke that it's a great “friend-ship”. Maybe she’s not even looking to date anyone right now? Does that mean I’m just being a bother?
“Can’t you just go over sometime and hang out?” Sandra asked, watching me squirm while watching Cryztal’s stream.
“I keep asking about hanging out but she says she doesn’t feel comfortable leaving me alone while she streams. I told her I don’t mind.” I explained, eyes glued to the screen. “I just wish I had a chance to be closer to her!”
“You’re making this weird again. You’re already close to her.” Sandra said, putting plenty of shame in her voice.
“Oh come on! You’ve never gotten fired up when thinking about someone you like?” I pushed, trying to defend my dignity.
“Not like you, apparently. I’m afraid to even enter your room when you’re talking about Cryz. Never know where your excitement is going to take you.” Sandra was cruel.
“Don’t be mean! You only walked in on me that one ti--”
“Three times. Once with your ex. Twice when you were alone.”
“Why didn’t you tell me! How did I not notice!” I cannot believe that she’s being serious right now!
“I knew the risk before taking in a stray like you.” She always made this joke, and it was never funny. “As long as you’re not bringing any garbage back into our home, I won’t complain.”
By “garbage” she meant my ex. It had been nearly a year since we broke up and Sandra was still mentioning it. I've moved on! My parents never noticed because the relationship didn’t really impact my grades. If anything, schoolwork was my escape from most things. Though I guess I need a new escape now that I’ve graduated. Maybe that’s why I’m dedicating so much attention to Cryztal? Without school I have nothing else to focus on aside from looking for a new job, but I’m not in a rush, especially with how picky my parents want me to be. That didn’t change my feelings for her, though.
Thankfully a solution to my desperation came through with an email invitation from Jason. He wanted me and Cryztal to attend one of his shows on an upcoming Saturday morning. When I asked more about it, he promised that Cryztal would be there because he planned to pressure her into coming, mentioning the yard work he does for her, and hoping that my attendance would be a strong enough bait. I was actually pretty excited since I knew Jason was really proud to be able to dedicate time to his shows, even if I didn’t know much about them.
Hopefully this would be the chance to express my feelings to Cryztal, and maybe see if she has feelings for me too! Maybe she’s just too shy to share! Or would rather talk about it in-person! Even though it was going to support our friend, my mind was definitely building it up like a date with Cryztal. I probably should have curbed my enthusiasm.