Two days had passed since John had even bothered to open his computer.
It wasn't that he was ignoring his chatting buddy, and in all actuality the stranger seemed kind of fun. They rambled a lot, and their metaphors were pretty terrible, but they had made John laugh, which lately was a bit more rare of an occurrence than he would have liked. He was actually kind of bummed that he didn't get to talk more to them. Still, he'd had to go for a grocery run, along with volunteering like he did every Tuesday, plus a four page essay in the inter workings of the human heart due by Friday. The next day was filled with even more classes, two of them taking up two hour blocks to themselves. Throw in a 'quick' run for a coffee break with Jade and her roommate, Nepeta, and his day was more full than he would have cared for. They both held his attention for an extra two hours, giving him a chance to breathe and relax, which he needed more than a little. The three of them talked, Nep flipping through her phone and showing John the pictures she'd taken of her and Jade's new kitten, and by the time he was sipping at the last bit of coffee in the bottom of the scratched, ceramic mug the world outside the café window was lilting into darker hues of pinks and purples.
The walk back home allowed him to have some time to think, to give a few spare thoughts to Dave and if he should bother to begin looking for him that night. After a good twenty minutes of walking and watching the street lights flick on around him, John decided that tonight wasn't the night. It was already getting late, and yawning, he was reminded of the heavy bag on his back, filled with papers that needed to be written on, stories that needed to be created, and opinions that needed to be voiced.
John was lucky enough to be housed alone, seeing as he thought he would be terrible to live with with how picky he was about everything. He was unlucky in the fact that it was a good few miles off campus, making the commute draining each day. The rent wasn't nearly as bad as he'd thought it would be, but then again his Dad was still paying for his expenses, and when John insisted that he get a job of his own his father would just brush it off, claiming that, "School is the most important thing to focus on at the moment, John. I don't want you getting yourself stretched too thin, you're already taking three extra classes." Pushing through his front door, he'd slid off his bag and walked over, collapsing on his creaky microfiber sofa and passing out with his shoes still on, his oversized feet dangling over the arm of the piece of furniture.
This meant him waking up at 3 in the morning and finishing his homework while he drank coffee straight from the pot before running out of his house at 9, one shoe only half way on and his phone ringing the National Treasure theme in a reminder that he had a class on campus in thirty minutes.
By the time Friday rolled around, he'd managed to finish all needed homework, call his dad, clean his house, get a bit of extra studying in and find that he had an extra gap of time.
He then realized that he should have been filling a small gap for the past two days as well.
Walking over to his laptop, he opened it and waited for it to power up, glancing around as he did so. His eyes fell on the list that Ms. Paint had handed out, and he felt actual guilt as he looked at the black letters spelling out his pen pals name.
Waiting for his computer to pull up his log in screen, John tried to brush the feeling off; turntech had already specified that they thought the rules on this were shit. Maybe they would be more lenient on how often the two of them talked? Nodding to himself in a pathetic reassurance, he tapped in his login and password, his desktop pulling up immediately. The very second his computer connected to his Wi-Fi, the small PesterChum logo on his toolbar began flashing, alerting him that his pen pal wasn't as bad of a person as he was and making him sigh.
Clicking it open, he frowned.
-- turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 16:34 --
TG: so hey
TG: it doesnt say youre online but thought id drop down a hey
TG: shittily enough i dont think i could drop a good beat through this thing
TG: so hey will have to do
TG: you there ectonerd?
TG: alright its been this thing as been pulled up for like an hour ill try again tomorrow
-- turntechGodhead [TG] ceased pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 17:39 --
-- turntechGodhead [TG] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 17:44 --
TG: alright lets try this again
TG: you still ditching me?
TG: wow i feel like the unwanted groomsman at a bridzilla wedding youre cold stranger
TG: youre probably just busy
TG: college schedules are kind of total bullshit
TG: like today for example on my end
TG: i just spent the last hour drawing one of the shittiest comics in creation
TG: and the entire time i had this window pulled up
TG: do you see how crammed my life is? shits wack
TG: so yeah
TG: im just gonna go then
-- turntechGodhead [TG] ceased pestering ectoBiologist [EB] at 19:02 --
Alright, now he most definitely felt guilty. Quickly tapping out a message, John forgot to even check if the stranger was online before pressing send, nibbling on his bottom lip in thought.
-- ectoBiologist [EB] began pestering turntechGodhead [TG] at 19:37 --
EB: hey! sorry about that, it's been a busy week.
It was nearly five minutes before he got a response, a small beeping noise mingling with the beat of the music that was playing softly from his speakers as he found random things to do on the internet.
TG: well holy shit you must be jesus
TG: throw up your bibles christ has risen on the third day
TG: obviously back from the dead
TG: because lets face it who else can leave a guy as cool as me hanging for that long without having the boundary of death between us?
EB: you're horrible at this whole 'keeping it anonymous' thing. i already know you're teachers name and your gender .
EB: watch out, before too long i'll know how you take your coffee and if you like getting caught in the rain. or if you hate yoga, but really like champagne.
TG: alright shitty song references immediately get you back in my good book
TG: but seriously dont hang a brother out to dry like that
TG: a fellow child of the lord my holy brother
TG: or sister
TG: well look at you breaking the rules
TG: oh my god youre breaking the gender rules thats so fucking funny
TG: i'm already hand crafting my own little rebel
TG: now go blow up the death star
TG: were still reeling over our defeat on hoth
TG: this is the only way we can get back at the imperial scum
EB: hehehehe you know at first you seemed kind of cool but now i'm pretty sure that you're just a total nerd.
TG: fuck that noise i am the coolest kid on the block ask anyone
EB: what about the kid who lives in an igloo? be accepting of all people, dude.
TG: oh dont you even go there
TG: dont be that person or ill sick my terrifying professor on you
EB: well if he's that terrible i don't want him!
TG: he isnt terrible
TG: just stab happy
EB: stab happy?
EB: should i be worried for you and the other kids in this experiment?
TG: hypothetically speaking i mean
TG: he doesnt actually stab students
TG: that would be barbaric
TG: absolutely atrocious
EB: well ms. paint doesn't actually paint students, so you shouldn't have to worry on my end either
TG: thank god for that
EB: just imagine, all of us poor kids, covered from head to toe in paint.
EB: it's too vivid.
EB: i feel the paint now.
EB: oh nooooooo
TG: unwilling works of art crossing the street
EB: hehehehe if we fell we'd make little paint angels.
TG: silent pleas of help on in their eyes
EB: but our eyes would be covered in paint, godhead, that's kind of the point of 'head to toe'.
TG: god damn youd be blind
TG: crossing the streets and walking into walls
EB: we actually have a blind girl in our class, so we'd all just kind of follow her.
TG: leaving trails of your artwork on every surface you hit
TG: you poor souls
TG: use your jesus powers to save them
John was flat out laughing at this point, his nose crinkling as he chuckled.
EB: as much as i want to, i'm beat. sleep sounds like pretty much the best thing ever.
EB: well, besides saving my fellow class members!
TG: alright fine you buzzkill
TG: go crash well talk tomorrow
-- ectoBiologist [EB] ceased pestering turntechGodhead [TG] at 21:08 --
Shutting his laptop again, John didn't even register that he was still smiling. Slipping off his shoes, he walked over to his bed and flopped down, wrapping himself up tightly in the blankets. As he began to drift off, he glanced at his right wrist, sighing.
He'd start looking tomorrow.
. . . Maybe.