Today, we are proud to welcome the second part of “You-You” be Grayson Morley to our New Voices library. We are publishing this story in two parts, and the first installment is already on the blog. “You-You” takes you inside the mind of a college freshman who suffers from depression, who struggles with confidence and body image, who plays D&D, and who really, really wants to ask out a girl in his science class. “You-You” offers us a refreshingly unique and honestly drawn male protagonist.
“But it isn’t his DPS that makes Verner fun to play for you. It’s that he is what you want to be. Confident. Sexy. Slim. And while you don’t necessarily want to be the kind of guy who makes out with two women at a bar, you don’t not want to be that guy.”
“You what?” Mark says.
“You didn’t,” Will says.
“For the record, that is not what I advised,” Ben says. “And doubly for the record, I think it is a bad idea.”
You frown and fold your arms across your chest. The three of you are eating dinner in the dining hall. You had not expected this reaction. You had expected them to be happy for you. To go along with it. To roll a character for her to make it easier to start playing the next time. But primarily you had expected them to be happy for you.
“Permission to provide, in list form, the many reasons why this is a bad idea?” Ben says.
You grant it begrudgingly, knowing that it would be worse to tell him no. Will stops eating and sits back in his chair, setting down his utensils, as if for a show. You become irrationally mad at Will because of this. You think nasty things about his Mormonism and how it relates to his own nonexistent dating life at the small liberal arts college you all go to, at which Will might be the solitary Mormon presently matriculated.
“Firstly, if you’re trying to get laid, there are better ways to go about it,” Ben says. “For instance, remember when I told you to ask her to coffee? That comes to mind.”
“You two convened beforehand?” he says. “Pathetic.”
“You’re pathetic,” you say, and Mark mimics the mimicry like a Gibbering Mouther.
“Secondly,” Will continues. “Your endgame is weak. Think it through: she comes to the game, starts playing with us, and then, what? You ask her out as Verner? You roll Persuasion so hard that it isn’t just her character who falls in love with you, but her as well?”
“Okay, I get it,” you say. “I screwed up. I should’ve asked her to coffee. I panicked, okay? I panicked.”
“Yeah, you did,” Will says. “But that’s what I’m saying. This is not just a failure. This is a Critical Failure.”
You throw your hands up and go to leave, but Will pulls you back down into your chair.
“Fine, okay, sorry,” Will says. “I’ll let it go. I just think you probably should’ve asked her to coffee instead.”
“Well, I didn’t,” you say. “So where do we go from here?”