“Actually, the best way to learn is to do. Here, I will explain.” Breaking his attention from the enchanting older woman he finds himself in the presence of, he shouts across the room, “Marcus! Hurry up and die so we can start some four-player!”
“Wave 21!” Marcus blurts back, apparently thinking that this is a worthwhile and awe-inspiring response.
“Have you lost Hallway yet?”
“No we have not lost Hallway yet, Marc grenade NEED GRENADE DAMN IT!”
Jones is not inspired by the awe. He turns back to Cecile, who is having a great deal of fun understanding none of this, childlike wonder upon her face. “The side hallway is the key bottleneck on the map,” he explains. “If you sit back-to-back in the middle of it all the Infected get funneled though and you see them coming a mile away, but without the right weapons you get overwhelmed too fast and have to move. On a good run you can stay there till, ehh, about Wave 30? So, yeah, they’ll be done in a few minutes by the sounds of it.”
“Sounds pretty complicated,” she responds, sincerely for once.
“Ehh, it’s an endless game. There’s no real way to win, so people invent ways to ‘win’, mostly by just beating the scores of faceless people on the internet using Olympic-level precision that sucks all the fun out of the game and makes you wonder why’re you spending your free time doing math. Why yes, thank you, I would like to spend five hundred hours of my life beating your score before some Japanese guy beats me tomorrow and invalidates my superiority!”
Cecile looks at the young man with “that look” again; that curious, mildly impressed, somewhat surprised look one gets when one hears something that just makes sense. Jones has been talking a lot of it from where she’s standing, if harsher and about a more obscure topic than she’s used to, but for a long time now she’s gotten used to her being the only person that really make sense, or at least the only person that really “got it” in her opinion, though she knows that in everyone else’s opinion she does not “get it”, and she’s not entirely convinced they’re wrong.
“I like you. What’s your name again?” she request politely.
“Huh? Oh, uhh, Toby. Toby Jones.”
She extends her hand. “Nice to meet you, Toby Jones. I’m Cecile Smith.”