Talking Till the Sun Comes Up

Getting Tynan Boey to talk to her and open up wasn't a very difficult thing to do. Laura knew that the best way to get someone to start talking is to ask about themselves and then lead them into talking about a topic they're enthusiastic about before falling silent to listen to their tale. In fact, Laura preferred listening over talking. One tended to learn more by listening to others than imposing their thoughts onto the world.

"My colleague Kamie always told me that if I didn't dress well, nobody would want to get to know me better."

The biker slammed a fist on the virtual wall beside her but the sound resounded in the speakers. Tynan was slightly startled by the explosive reaction.

"How dare she judge a person by their attire? So what if people loved wearing what they feel most comfortable in? It's not against the law to do so, is it? What's her deal?"

Seeing the E-ghost get so worked up, the IT graduate chuckled. "Well, I can't say she's wrong either. This is why I didn't get a job even after graduating two years ago. I used to have many friends but they've all gotten jobs and some even have girlfriends. Occasionally, I see them with new watches or more grey hair. Some of them would lose weight and others would gain it around their belly but not me. I'm still the same old programmer who couldn't find a proper job because I'm way too poor to afford anything decent for anyone to give me a chance."

"What did you study? Also, you graduated two years ago... how old does that make you?"

Tynan laughed in a self-deprecating manner. "I'm just your regular techie, a graduate from a university here in Melbourne with a useless degree in Information Technology. Graduating at twenty-four means that I'm now twenty-six going on twenty-seven soon. Pathetic isn't it? I'm a grown man with no friends, lover, house or career."

"That's not true," Laura was quick to tell him the opposite. Even though Tynan acted like a slob, anyone who had to cope with poverty and depression would probably not fare any better. To give the man credit, at least he was still actively trying. He was holding onto a part-time job while sending out his resume even though sending out a fresh graduate resume at twenty-six was going to be tough to get an interview.

"The fact that you have not given up means that you're not yet human garbage. I might not be human now but I can be your friend. I believe this is a mutually beneficial proposal for us. You help me complete the missions the system gives me so that I can level up and I accompany you for who knows how long?"

Tynan smiled. He was more and more convinced that E-ghost or AI was actually controlled by a real person behind it but that didn't matter anymore. Laura was probably the best thing to ever happen to him since the day his world came down on him. He wouldn't even be mad if it turned out to be a catfisher either.

"Sure, it beats playing games and chatting to faceless people online without knowing where they'd be tomorrow, right? Ok, tell me what your mission requires and I'll do my best to help you out. Talking to you is more fun than playing online games. I've grown bored of it two months ago but never had any real reason to not play it."

Laura thought that it was a strange reason for playing games but who was she to question somebody else's preference?

"Likes and dislikes then the task will be completed," she told him honestly and Tynan grimaced.

"It's hard to remember the things I like now... it's been so long ago since I actually found anything enjoyable... Ah! There is one now," the half-Scottish smiled at her blindingly.

"I like talking to you. It's nice to have a friend, Laura. I named the phone Laura because phones are as precious as wives and I wanted this to mark the end of my rainy days. It was meant to be a new beginning and already, my world is much brighter with your existence."

The racer felt a small fluttering in her non-existent heart with the heart-melting confession. While it was a sweet thing to say, Laura couldn't help but feel slightly sad for the man in front of her. To be happy over such a simple thing... How much did he have to suffer alone? If she didn't come into his life, would the police come to find a dead body in this apartment someday?

Ignoring the morbid thoughts, Laura listened to Tynan run his mouth about things he disliked from having to eat cup noodles every night to save money to the customers who try to negotiate for the prices at the convenience store. As Laura listened to more of Tynan's complaints, her heart became lighter as she floated crossed-legged into the air on his screen.

The man noticed it but thought that Laura was cute when she was most relaxed so he started telling funny stories about some of the strange and difficult things that happened at work. Hours flew by without either of them realising. They enjoyed themselves immensely until an alarm went off.

"Dammit! I'm sorry Laura but I need to clean up and get ready to work. We should talk again after I end in six hours, e-ghost or not, I really had a great time talking to you. Don't go anywhere, alright?"

Laura smiled and felt slightly guilty. They'd been talking till the next morning and she didn't feel tired or notice the exhaustion taking its toll on Tynan until it was too late. The programmer saw Laura's troubled expression and chuckled.

"Don't worry too much about it, I enjoyed the time I spent last night. No time enjoyed is time wasted at all. I have not transferred my SIM card to the G-phone so I hope you'll be alright all by yourself today. I promise to do the transfer when I come back. Please take this time to rest or do whatever e-ghosts need to do."

Laura didn't have much time to say anything before Tynan was already rushing out of the house. She took a look around and spotted something that looked suspiciously like a wallet lying innocently on the chair in front of her.

The e-ghost groaned. Why did Tynan have to be so forgetful? Luckily for him, the task was now completed and it was probably a good time to purchase that useless telekinetic skill. Also, she was going to upgrade the window so she can see if there was a way to call Tynan's phone to inform him about his missing wallet before he got too far.

With the race against time, Laura got to work immediately and smashed the purchase confirmation button. She had a nerd to save.

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