As we pulled our hands away, it revealed that I had estimated correctly. On my side was my rock. On her side, a scissor card. Even though she lost, Yumeko giggled and humbly hid her mouth with her hand.
“Oh my. It appears I’m starting at a disadvantage.”
If any other person had said it, I might have believed them, but with Yumeko, I knew better. Granted, what she said wasn’t false. Even so, I had no doubt the tables would turn. Trying my best to remain confident, I readied my next card. I was still going off the high chance that she had more scissors, so I took my last rock.
While I already had my card, Yumeko made a show of picking through her two remaining cards. With dramatic faces, eyes wide, lips puckered almost as if she were disappointed in her options. She hummed and hawed as her hand hovered over each card. Finally, after a grand show, she smiled wildly.
“This! This will be my card!”
Surprisingly, I still hadn’t seen the real Yumeko yet. Yumeko was never fake, even if she acted like it. In reality, she was one of the most honest people I had ever met. No matter how honest she was, though, there were only a few situations where anyone really got to see all of Yumeko. This was a situation where I would expect to see her. Yet, she sat before me, smiling innocently as she waited to place her card down along with me.
Her eyes were still dominantly brown. Always, though, hidden in the mahogany iris, I could see flecks of the real her. Flashes of red shimmered around the edges. She was waiting to take over.
“Are you ready?”
She bobbed her head. I counted, and we placed down her cards. To my surprise, there was my rock, and across from it, there was her paper card. When I looked up to meet her gaze, I was met with a glimmering, ruby gaze. That innocent smile had faded away, leaving behind a sinister grin. The real Yumeko was here.
I didn’t say anything. There was nothing to say. I am sure my face said it all.
“I am guessing you expected another scissor. Am I right?”
Something was beginning to build up in my throat. I tried to swallow, but it was clinging to the walls of my esophagus, thick and slimy. I clenched one hand into a fist and hid my mouth as I tried to clear my throat. All the while, Yumeko continued.
“The odds of you having another rock is slim, isn’t it Ryota? I am guessing you probably know the odds of me having another pair of scissors, right?”
Sweat was beading along my arms and hairline, and my heart was pounding nearly out of my chest. Yumeko was probably doing the same, but she loved it. I, on the other hand, could go my whole life never feeling this way again. She called it. I had no more rocks.
Assuming my initial guess what right, she saved her last pair of scissors. She played the card she had the most quantity of, as did I, but she took that into account. When I played the rock, she assumed that meant I had another, and I was more than likely playing the odds that she had its opposite in a majority. So, she played the strong card against my last rock. Now she knew I didn’t have a rock, which meant I could only tie with her with a scissor or lose.
This was what Yumeko was made for. When or lose, one could not deny Yumeko was a prodigy in gambling. As I sat there, staring at my last card, a paper, I could feel the intensity of Yumeko’s ruby gaze burning through me.
“Well, Ryota, no use holding back, right?”
I once again met her gaze. She held her last card in one hand, while her other held her chin. Her breathing was labored again. Sweat was reflecting light off her chest and face, giving her this euphoric and otherworldly quality.
“Show it, Ryota. Let’s see how lucky you are.”
With that, we both slapped our cards audibly onto the card table. Neither of us moved our hand away from the cards right away. I didn’t want to reveal a loss. Yumeko, I am sure, just wanted to savor the moment. I could her softly purring as her nails trailed down the card front, revealing her card. Once again, I was shocked.
It was a rock.
My eyes shot up as I revealed my own card, but there wasn’t an ounce of disappointment on her face. Her face was flush as she cradled her cheeks in either hand.
“Congratulations, Ryota! That was an excellent move.”
Even as she congratulated me, I didn’t feel like I had won. Yumeko celebrated whether she won or lost. To her, as long as she was gambling, she was winning. I picked up the remaining deck and dealt out her hand, then my own.
“Best two out of three.”
Yumeko clapped her hands in front of her before scooping up her cards.
“Excellent, Ryota! I’m surprised to see you so in the spirit!”
Honestly, I was surprised too. There was a reason I was usually Yumeko’s audience when she went out gambling. I felt adrenaline when I gambled, but I don’t enjoy the adrenaline. Yumeko felt the adrenaline, but she shifted into something else. The energy that turned into anxiety in the pit of my stomach turned into something orgasmic in her. Yumeko put on a show when she gambled, and it was a performance I could watch every day.
Just as I started to relax, recalling many of Yumeko’s enthusiastic moments, I took a look at my hand for the first time. There wasn’t even anxiety in me anymore. Dread was beginning to grow in the pit of my stomach. I had one paper and two scissors. As I went over the remaining cards in my head, it came out to be:
Ten rocks, ten papers, and ten scissors remaining in the deck. I had no way of estimating what she had.
My hands grew slick with sweat, and the cards were slipping from my fingers. As I struggled to maintain my hold, I looked over to my opponent. Her face revealed nothing. Rather, it showed nothing useful to me. She was grinning madly, clutching her cards to her chest.
“Are you ready, Ryota?”
I didn’t have an answer.