Chapter 1:

Escape the first date!

Our Love Contract

 “Two tickets! For me and my girlfriend! That’s right! My girlfriend! We are dating, after all. Isn’t that right, girlfriend?”

“That’s right, boyfriend! What mischievous things will we get up to, I wonder?! Through the passion and adrenaline coursing through me, we might end up kissing!”

“W-WAIT! SERIOUSLY?!” The man started to break into an anxious sweat.

The clerk for the escape room was looking at the most conceited, narcissistic couple he has ever laid eyes on.

The woman had pale white skin and luscious blue locks that fell onto her shoulders. And the man had dark brown skin, a very small afro and was a bit on the hefty side in terms of weight. They couldn’t help but sit there and go on and on about each other and how much they were in love. Couples like these are usually all bark and no bite.

“I assume you would like to apply for the couples discount.”

“Of course! We are dating, after all.”

“Sadly, it’s only for married couples. If there’s a way you could prove that you two are dating however, I’ll have an excuse ready for my boss.”

“A kiss is all we need? That's pretty simple.” The lady had no problem as she straightened her hair and began to prepare for a kiss.

Before she could however, the man had already swiped his card and paid for the both of them.

“T-there’s always time for stuff like that in the future!” The man made excuses as he typed in his card’s pin number.

The clerk was right on the money with his assessment of the couple. The man’s name is Luke Graham and the girl’s name is Hollie Julet. These star-crossed lovers are not as star-crossed as they make themselves out to be. After all, they started dating for a week and the only thing that binds them is a verbal contract they made a decade ago at their high school prom. They said that day that if they couldn’t find anybody to date, they would end up settling and trying to date each other. When they met back up a decade later, they decided to fulfill that agreement with a trial period. In other words, they are the most desperate of the desperate. Quite possibly the most down bad couple walking this planet at the moment!

“Right this way, you two. You both are actually quite lucky. We’re going to close soon so you’ll actually be our last guests.” The clerk motioned for the two to follow him into the escape room.

“You’ll both have thirty minutes to escape. If you don’t escape in time, you’ll lose. Good luck!” The clerk closed the door and the duo’s first date began.

The red room was rather cramped and had a large board that read: Room 1 of 3. The only other thing in this room was a rubik's cube on a pedestal.

“This is all yours, Luke! You’re the degenerate gamer out of the both of us!” Hollie patted Luke on the back and pushed him toward the cube.

“Better than being a weeb!”

Just because I play games, doesn’t mean I know everything about the subject. Regardless, I can’t let her know that I can’t solve a simple rubik’s cube! Come on brain! Give me your 110 percent!

Although Luke had the determination and willpower, he certainly didn’t have the intelligence or wisdom. He used twenty of the thirty minutes allotted to them trying to figure out the riddle that is the rubik’s cube. In reality, Hollie already knew how to solve the puzzle. She learned it as a party trick one day. She simply wanted to give Luke a chance to show off his skills on their first date. But now that he’s been working on it for so long, she doesn’t want to make him feel inadequate or inferior by just waltzing over to him and solving the puzzle. She could feel his pride as a man shattering with each failed attempt he made in solving the cube.

Meanwhile on the outside of the escape room, the clerk sat bored as he watched the two through a surveillance camera. Just when he thought his shift couldn’t get any worse…it actually got exponentially better.

Ring Riiiiing

The clerk picked up the phone to save himself from the boredom of the final guests of the night.

It was his girlfriend. She was begging for him to come over. He insisted that he couldn’t because he had to close the place for the night. All it took was one phrase to completely reverse his answer:

“My parent’s aren’t home”

The clerk has never locked up shop and left as fast as he did when he heard those words. Who could blame him? If you were a soccer player, wouldn’t you shoot your shot if there was no goalie—SCRATCH THAT—no opposing team in the way? It was the only reasonable course of action.


“Hey…the timer ran out. Aren’t we supposed to be kicked out or something?” Hollie took notice of the timer that now read zero minutes and zero seconds.


The clerk forgot about his final guests. His boss is going to kill him the very next day, but for now, he does not have a care in the world.

“Oh. He probably just forgot to add extra time onto the timer. Normally when they see groups struggle early on, they at least give us five more minutes.” Luke reassured her, but she wasn’t having it.

“I was thinking the same thing, but the timer has been like that for the past ten minutes!”

“I can’t believe you’re acting so scared. Look, I’ll show you: hey kiddo! Mind adding more time to the clock?” Luke spoke to the camera in the corner.

No response.

“Yo! You’re there, right!?”

No response.

Luke began to sweat buckets.

“Oh noooooo! We’re stuck here! He must’ve left us to die! I’m claustrophobic! I can’t do this!” Hollie slowly began to hyperventilate as she hugged her legs in a corner.

“What?! Why didn’t you tell me that?!” Luke looked over to Hollie and noticed that her face was pale.

As Hollie’s heart rate began to quicken and her breaths grew shorter, her vision began to get weaker. Just before she was about to pass out, Luke held her close and whispered to her.

“Breathe in and out. Slowly…”

With no other option, Hollie took Luke’s advice. She took a deep breath. In and out. As slow as she could. Although Luke’s advice was helping, it wasn’t helping by that large of a margin.

That’s when he began to sing.

His deep voice had a calm, yet soothing tone as he sang her a lullaby. The song told her not to worry or stress, since there will be better days and more significant things to put her energy into. With such a comforting song to quell her anxiety, her body and mind decided to quiet themselves to listen to his tune. This was the first time in Hollie’s 28 years of life that she felt her heart race. And it wasn’t because she was in an enclosed space.

Once he was finished, he sat next to her. The two were quite embarrassed and let silence fill the room.

I can’t believe I freaked out so much. Hollie thought to herself as she sighed.

I can’t believe I sang to her. Who the hell do I think I am? Luke thought to himself

After a while though, Hollie spoke up.

“I never knew you had such a singing voice.”

“I grew up with two sisters. One of them had anxiety, so I would sing her lullabies when my mom was out for work.”

“Oh…I never knew.”

“This is my fault. I could’ve just picked a normal first date like dinner, but I thought that you’d find me boring if I did. I never even thought to ask you for your opinion on the date.”

“If anything, it’s my fault. I should’ve communicated with you that I was claustrophobic. My friends in college locked me in a storage box during a party one night and forgot about me until morning.”

“Holy crap. That’s terrible.” Luke said.

“Yeah…don’t worry. They’re not my friends anymore.”

As more awkward silence began to fill the room, Luke got up and changed the subject.

“Well either way, I guess we’ll just have to escape the escape room or wait until morning. You wanna take a crack at this rubik’s cube-”

Hollie wasted no time or effort solving it within seconds and handing it back to Luke.


“We should really try that door over there. Maybe it opened.” Hollie ignored Luke for his own good and tried to open the door to the next room. When it didn’t work, she began to frown.

“We could try to call for help." Luke brought out his phone and tried calling for help, but he soon realized that he had no signal.

"Damn. I really need an upgrade. You got your phone with you, right?"

"Yeah…but it's dead."


"You were taking too long on the puzzle, so I started watching anime…until my phone died…"

"So not only are you a weeb, you're a pirating weeb."

Luke knows full well. After all, one of his sisters is an anime fan. Pirate sites drain the battery of mobile devices faster than any application could dream if you don’t turn off the ads. It puts graphical monsters like Genshin Impact to shame with how fast it sucks the life out of phones.

"Huh?! There's no way you're gonna take the moral high ground and act like you never pirated a game before!"

"Unlike you, I support the people that produce the content I consume." He shook his head.

"It's totally different! How am I supposed to watch the season's latest hits if they're all scattered across various streaming services?! And that's not even to mention the cruelty of these streaming services! Did you know that some of them are having talks of putting ads for their subscribers?! If anything, I'm fighting the good fight!"

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Either way, it looks like we’ll just have to wait.” Luke tried quelling her anger as he sat down and presented his nintendo switch.

"You brought a gaming console to our first date?" Hollie gave him a judging glare.

"It was for safe measure. Like if we had to wait in a line or something, I could just whip this out and we could play while we wait."

"Hah! I bet you make a habit of whipping things out!"

"So mature…what, are you calling me an exhibitionist?" Luke showed sarcasm and handed her a controller.

As the two played and time flew by, they began to catch up on lost time. After all, it's been so long since they sat down and talked.

"So what has my illustrious girlfriend been up to after graduating high school?"

"My parents are super traditional. After graduating, they arranged multiple dates for me hoping they would grow into relationships. I ended up hating all of them."

"Oof. Sorry to hear that." Luke apologized for her inconvenience while completely wiping the floor with her in the platformer fighting game they were playing.

"Don't worry about it. I ended up just going to college after a year. I'm a neurosurgeon resident these days. Hopefully, I'll become a seasoned neurosurgeon sometime soon."

Oh my God. There's no way in hell I can mess up with her. Luke was starting to see Hollie as more of a stock with growth potential, but quickly stopped himself.

"How about you? I'm sure my daring and dashing boyfriend has been taking over the world."

"Oh…uh…" Luke reluctantly divulged his whereabouts for the past decade.

After graduating high school, he immediately attempted to pursue his dream job: fighting game professional. There's nothing that he loves more than pushing past his limits against other players. The fighting game community is where rivalries are forged and gods are created, and Luke wants everything to do with that.

"I respect it. You're choosing a career that's not really as accepted as mine. How much have you made so far?"

"Zero dollars and zero cents. In fact, I'm actually in the red because of entry fees."

"Why do I have the feeling that the respect you had for me immediately imploded to the point of creating a black hole…"

"N-no! Not at all! Keep at it! Sure, it's been ten years, but you still have your entire life to get better! It’s not like you used a tenth of it with absolutely nothing to show for it!" Hollie tried to cheer the trash gamer on, but was not reaching him. If anything he became more saddened.

“I already know how it sounds. Regardless, I have to do this. Not for myself, but because there’s someone waiting for me…” Luke said with a serious tone. At that moment, Hollie noticed an air of mystery around him.

“Ah crap. The switch is about to die. Hold on a moment.” Luke presented his charger for his switch and started looking around the room for an outlet. That’s when Hollie came to the horrifying realization.

She ran over to Luke and grabbed the plug of the charger he was holding. On further inspection, all the pieces in her mind began to come together.


“Oops.” Hollie immediately grabbed Luke’s collar and violently shook him back and forth.


“To be fair, you didn’t tell me what type of charger your phone takes.”

Once Hollie’s phone was plugged in, she immediately turned it on to make a call to the police. Not soon after, the police arrived and escorted the both of them off of the premises after some questioning. After that, they began to go their separate ways.

She probably doesn't want to see me ever again. I fumbled this date in the worst way possible…


Luke looked back at Hollie who was further down the parking lot, waving him goodbye.

"Let's go out again sometime!"

Although he was shocked, he waved back. He’s been spending so long grinding, working hard to be someone, that he never thought he would have time for love any time soon. Regardless, here he is.

“Sure thing!”

This is the humble beginning of two friends turned contracted lovers that spiraled into a loving relationship due to the events that'll transpire.

Our Love Contract