“It’s a trap.”
I snarled and considered my options. Luke, the half-elven ranger, stood beside me as we surveyed the room. The trap wasn’t obvious, but we knew it was there. A sudden release of poison, or a stone that triggered the release of a dozen arrows that would shred through our bodies in seconds. Our thief had gone down three rooms ago, victim to a basilisk that had come around the corner as he led the party through the dark tunnels.
Dark doesn’t matter when a basilisk catches your gaze.
“You’re sooooo screwed!” The chortle of laughter came from that very thief, where he sat sprawled next to the DM, looking over his shoulder at the papers and sheets spread out in front of him. “Can you just kill them now?" he whined. "I want some pizza!”
“Shut up, Curtis.” Luke and I spoke simultaneously, our thighs brushing together as he shifted.
I glanced at him and smiled, then pulled a set of dice out of a hand-sewn silk bag. They were my favorite set – carved from mahogany, worked with linseed oil until they gleamed, with the markings set in silver. I loved these dice. These dice never failed me, getting me through one adventure after the other, sometimes by the skin of my teeth, but still … these dice were legendary in our gaming circle.
I cast them, watching as they spun across the map.
“Ouch,” said Brian, our esteemed Dungeon Master. “A trap door opens beneath you both, sending you plummeting to the floor. You might have survived the fall, except that the floor was covered with eight-foot titanium-forged spikes.”
Curtis let out a whoop and ran for the phone. He hit the speed-dial and within minutes was placing an order for an extra-large sausage, mushroom, and onion pizza, extra everything. I sat there, stunned at the abrupt end of the game.
“It’s okay,” Luke said, reaching out to touch my arm. I tried to ignore the shiver that his brief touch sent through me, still focusing on the complete and utter failure of my dice. “It was a lame game anyway,” he said under his breath so that Brian, who was now arguing with Curtis over anchovies, couldn’t hear him. “I mean, come on? Who allows a mage to morph into Tiamat and then get blasted by the real Tiamat?” Our mage was now sitting on the couch, reading through the new edition of the Player’s Guide, no doubt studying cantrips and spells for the next game.
I nodded as I gathered up my notebook and dice. Luke did the same, stuffing his into his bag. “So,” he said, not looking at me. “Want to go outside for a bit? We could watch for the pizza guy.”
“Sure,” I replied, just as casually. “I could use some air anyway.”
We gathered up the money from the pizza and headed out the front door. It was a beautiful night, the Milky Way shining overhead, the stars occasionally winking out as a bat flew in search of its own dinner.
We walked down the staircase to the parking lot, and sat on one of the benches there. We didn’t talk much, just a few comments about Mr. Hernandez’s history class, or the upcoming midterms. I wasn’t sure why he had even asked me out there, unless it really was just to wait for the pizza guy.
Just then, a shooting star went by, huge and bright against the night sky. We both watched it, our heads tilted back as we watched its long arc off into the horizon. “Wow!” I said, turning to smile at Luke.
Our gazes locked. I felt my heart pounding, saw him lick his lips slightly. And then we were kissing, kissing in that hot, wet way that only two hormonally-fueled, totally uncool, D&D-playing teenagers can kiss. The kiss lasted for what seemed like forever, but in reality was more like 30 seconds. Then a pair of headlights flashed over us and we darted apart, suddenly overcome with guilt. A car door opened, and then closed. “Hey, are you the guys waiting for pizza?”
“Yeah,” Luke said, and got up to go pay the guy. We got the pizza and walked back inside, carefully not looking at each other, not touching for the rest of the night.