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Wood meeting skin, the jingle of small machinery came to a start with a click, followed by repeated ticks as the clock wound around a minute counter. The two players across from each other eyed their pieces on the board with one eye and kept the other on their opponent.

The woman's hand leaned across, then over, then back to her chin as she contemplated the next move. Never touching her pieces lest she be forced into a move by default, she attempted to guess what each play would do, and the next. Scratching her head, she made her move and slapped the clock.

Her adversary, a man with glasses too large for his face and a cleft lip, grinned from one corner of his tilted mouth. The hair that had lifted as she scratched her head was pulled down over her face in angst. The jingling of the bell on top beckoned her to take a look as he scooped up a pawn and placed it next to the other witnesses to her defeat. His smile wide, he lightly pressed her to move before the clock ran out.

Unhappy at losing another soldier, she scanned the gridded battlefield for a victim of her own. Single-mindedly laying her hand onto her queen, she slid it to take a rook. Tossing her hair back, she daintily tapped the clock and with a high pitched "hm!" she swung her hand invitingly to him.

Frowning, he studied the board for a moment before removing the queen with a horse and looking sadly at her. He began to open his mouth, thought better of it, and hit the timer again. Reluctantly looking at the narrowed glare that shook across from him as he placed the porcelain figure next to the other captives.

"It isn't any fun if you're just going to get angry"

The ticking of the clock heavily sounded for three agonizing beats.

"You asked to play"

A room slid to protect the King on the woman's side of the board, and she tapped the clock twice and continued her unpleasant stare, "I didn't know you were so good at this. I wanted to win."

Leaning back, he tapped his lip absent-mindedly before calling check as his bishop slid into play. Shrugging, he met her gaze with a sad half lidded shrug:

"I just wanted to play."

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