Chapter 59:

sCene 59 - surᴘrisinɢ Ceʟeʙraᴛion

ᴋraCᴋeᴅ ᴍooN / Kracked Moon

Across the following weeks, I worked with the potential candidates until I picked the one video editor I liked best. His name was Lanthanum, or Lan for short, and he had actually made some of Nai-bu’s favorite compilations. Obviously Lan wasn’t his real name, but he said he wasn’t very fond of his given name anyway. It wasn’t easy picking just one, and I felt like I left things on a good note with the others, but for the schedule I wanted to keep, Lan showed he could match me pretty well.

Lan was apparently a fan of mine and Kage’s videos for more than a few years. He actually started by watching Kage and then got interested in my stuff after catching me on Kage’s stream. I was surprised to learn that he wasn’t a streamer himself, but he admitted he didn’t have a lot of confidence when it came to keeping an audience interested. Despite that, he’s loved video editing for as long as he could remember, and even knew some tricks to recreate my editing style a little faster.

While I really was excited enough to consider having a welcome party, Lan lived too far to just casually meet up, and I definitely couldn’t just invite him over after only knowing him for a bit. Even with Kage recognizing him from his own chat, the guy was still a stranger and an employee now. I was mostly surprised that Dale said he came back clean on the background check. I was ready for disappointment, but it worked out. So in absence of Lan himself, I decided Jason and Sandra could come over and celebrate with me and Nai-bu.

It wasn’t exactly a big party or whatever. It would be difficult to do that since the only other people I could invite would be Dale and Jack, but neither of them seemed like the party types. Nai-bu covered food and prepared a lot of veggies to snack on and like cheese and crackers, which all looked really fancy to me. Mama never hosted anything growing up, and wouldn’t often let me just eat from snack tables at the few events we went to when working on the show, so it was a little exciting for me. Jason brought over beer that he had been chilling, having become too comfortable walking over with something to drink, and Sandra brought wine like it was a gift for the house.

And then Kyle showed up.

None of us had told Kyle we were having a party, and a lot of what I had planned were like four player party games, but unlike nights with Nai-bu or therapy sessions with Jason, I couldn’t justify telling Kyle no. We had enough food anyway, but Kyle being…well, Kyle, meant things could get rough.

Surprisingly Kyle’s presence didn’t really mess up the night. Sandra wasn’t very big on video games, so she’d sit out for stuff like Mario Party, and the types of social party games that everyone else was used to playing could accommodate five people no problem. I was actually impressed that Kyle was being relatively quiet, almost like he was shy rather than obnoxious. Jason had pressured Kyle into having a beer, and Kyle was doing a great job holding the bottle, but I don’t think I saw him take a single sip.

I really was having a nice time, and it was a little exciting knowing I could have more chances to do stuff like this. I was getting to see Nai-bu being social, and didn’t feel out of place myself. Maybe I had forgotten how nice it could be to just spend time with other people. Even with the awkward moments.

“No way that’s you!” Sandra was shouting. She wasn’t even drunk. “Nai-bu always told me you all were on TV, but this looks nothing like you, Cryztal!”

“They made me shave my head and wear a wig.” I never liked thinking about that part. “I also never really understood that I was acting.”

Sandra’s laugh became a cackle. “You mean you were just some kid playing along the whole time?”

“But that’s how it was! For us it was like replaying our games of pretend!” Nai-bu jumped in. “If anything, Cryztal took it the most serious by not just treating it like acting!”

Jason coughed to get our attention. “Clearly you don’t remember trying to get Cryztal to say the right lines. She would just make stuff up and expect everyone else to go along with it. It was exhausting.”

This is when I noticed something was off with Kyle, but didn’t say anything. Normally he would jump in on these topics, but he really was keeping out of it, even hiding on his phone. He could just leave if he was uncomfortable. Was he just sticking around because he didn’t get a lot of chances like this? I thought he wanted to hang out because of Forgotten Station, but here he was, quiet as a mouse.

As it got later, and Sandra left, Jason was quick to grab Kyle and try to get him to leave. I had actually noticed Jason and Nai-bu whispering earlier, so maybe this was something they had planned earlier. If Jason didn’t make it clear to Kyle that now was the time to go, he would probably try to stay the night. As Kyle sat there with his now warm, and still full beer, he didn’t really look like himself.

“Please don’t tell me you’re sick or something and came over anyway.” I said, knowing if anyone would break him out of his trance, it was me.

Kyle sprung up out of his seat. “I’m not sick! I just didn’t know you had more friends!”


“Sandra is my roommate. You’ve probably seen her on campus, right?” Nai-bu chimed in.

Kyle looked almost mad hearing that. And like he wanted to say something, but couldn’t. I couldn’t really tell what set him off. I knew he was going to the same college Nai-bu and Sandra went to, but what about Sandra bothered him? Or did he not like Nai-bu talking to him? He’s always so weird about stuff!

“It’s…it’s whatever! I’m leaving now!” Kyle shouted, probably the loudest I had ever heard him, and stormed out.

Jason chased after Kyle to make sure he was okay, but also made it clear he didn’t plan on coming back. Nai-bu even locked the door as the two left. I tried to watch out the window to see if Jason got to Kyle before he got to his car, but Nai-bu pulled me away. I was probably more concerned for Jason than Kyle, but Nai-bu was right that Jason could handle it.

I knew Nai-bu was at least a little tipsy, and when she got tipsy she wanted to cuddle. She dragged me over to the couch and pushed me down, before looking around and noticing the windows were still open. She closed the blinds basically all around the house, and even turned off most of the lights. We had barely even cleaned up after the party, and Nai-bu was clearly trying to set a mood. Before I could figure out how sober she was, she came back, and climbed on top of me again.

“Do you know how much I missed you today?” She whispered, bringing her face to mine.

I smirked. “We were here all day. What do you mean you missed me?”

She pressed her body against mine, followed by making our lips meet. I was absolutely pinned under her body. Not by her weight: by her desire.