Chapter One: Online: Three Months Later
I’ve been on this chat room for around three hours now. Since ten o’clock tonight. It’s nearly one in the morning now. My eyes are killing me, they’re so sore. I’m talking to this guy. I met him a few weeks after I got my computer. Yes, I did break the rules. I am on a chat-room. I know I shouldn’t be. If she knew about this she’d take away the computer though and I wouldn’t be able to talk to him anymore. His name is Dempsey. He’s seventeen. He lives with his mom, his father died when he was young. He has a younger brother who is ten. And my mom thinks I’m up this late because of homework.
If only she knew.
Listen, telling small little tiny white lies was part of life. Nobody tells the truth all the time-like my mom, she lies about her weight or age all the time. Dempsey’s a high school quarterback and I didn’t believe him until he convinced me. He showed me pictures and everything. I did do a web-video with him too (just once) but since he doesn’t have a webcam I was the one. video chatting- he was instead sending me pictures of himself. In the pictures he had his football helmet on. I looked him up guys. He’s real. His name is Dempsey Shoal. He’s number seven on his team.
I told Dempsey I play soccer. The best soccer player in my high school too. He’s really interested in my life, about me, my family, how’s school. I always tell him good. I don’t want him being too concerned over me. Nothing really happens in these parts. Even though he’s seventeen, it doesn’t bother me. The age difference. He said it didn’t bother him either… so I see no harm then. He said he’s already told all his teammates about me. That he has a crush. And he considers me his girlfriend!!! Every time I talk to him I get butterflies in my stomach. All my spirits are lifted. It’s the best feeling ever, knowing that I, in fact, have a boyfriend.
I did tell my best friend Lisi Alby about him. I had to… you know how girls are. She thinks he’s a fake. Whatever. I stopped updating her about him because she was getting too jealous and I would get too defensive. Why does she always have to think everyone on the internet is a perv? I’m on the internet! I’m not a perv! It’s simply not true. Plenty of people out there are just like me. A lonely soul just looking for someone to love. True love.
Personally, I think that this whole online romance thing is great. You get to know the person before knowing the way that they look. You get to know their… soul. See if their your soulmates. Their inner selves. The inner beauty.
Dempsey and I discussed meeting up in the future. And he wasn’t the one who brought it up, oh no. I was. I just slightly mentioned it to him because I wanted to know if he had thought about that at all. And he said that he had. He said that he’d wait for me, whenever I am ready. Because true love always waits.
Whenever he types me poetry, my heart flutters. Being on the computer is my escape from this dreadfully boring reality. All the stress that’s from school, siblings, parents, and the pressure to be perfect, dissipates. This makes me so happy. It makes everything go away. I forgive and forget my parents for all the horrible fights that we’ve had together.
My mom knocks on the door. I quickly tell Dempsey that I’d talk later and sign off.
“Kate-kins, you sleeping yet?” my mother sings as she walks into the bedroom.
“Just finishing up the essay, mom,” I lie. It’s weird how it’s become nearly instinctive. For the past three months I’ve been lying. I am a liar. I’ve never even lied before in my life until now.
And HONESTLY, it wasn’t my fault. Why was Lisi so mad at me? She was the one who introduced me to the site in the first place. It’s a place for kids my age to hang out on. That’s where she met her boyfriend–who happens to be a great guitarist and poet that her parents adore. He also goes to the neighboring school a town over. They had their first date at a library (goals!) I was nothing but happy for her. She should have Chaucer, that’s amazing she does. Lisi’s parents love him. So she logged on and showed me his profile and for the fun of it made me one too. Single is so boring for pretty girls like us. And I accepted it although I knew I shouldn’t be on it. I’d be caught dead if my parents knew I was on a hookup site like this.
Not only should I not be internet dating, but I’m not allowed to date in real life. Not till sixteen. Truthfully, I’ve never wanted a boyfriend either- I mean, I always felt that was something older people do. I’m independent. Til I met Dempsey. Now I can’t even sleep at night or function in the morning if I didn’t talk to him. I’m glued to this device. We’re perfect for each other. Meant to be. Totally.
But after all, what senior who happens to be oh-so popular would go out with a freshman six hours away? This didn’t really make sense to me. Craig wasn’t that popular and he got a bunch of girls, so imagine if he was actually a charming person to be around? But Dempsey had his way of convincing me. So I followed through and promised that I’d believe him. And eventually, I did. It was more because I had to rather than I wanted to. And I got used to that too. It didn’t bother me. Well, not true exactly: at first I was agitated that a boy was controlling my life. A boy I never even met. But then… it got different. I started realizing how right he was. That I should put down my guard. And accept him. Let him in. Just stop putting up such a fight, pushing him away and let the flirtatious gestures ensue.
As soon as my mom tucked me in (yep, that still happens even though I’m fourteen) and I do still sleep with Teddy) she shuts the light and closes the door. I hop right out of bed and anxiously back onto the computer. I couldn’t wait to see the IM’s from Dempsey! He’s just so cute! And technically I was only saying a tiny fiblet. I mean, I was on AIM now and yeah talking to a stranger, but it’s not a complete lie to my mom. He’s not a stranger to me anyway. He’s my boyfriend.
I felt kinda guilty. I was being disloyal to my mom, for a guy. Then again when my mom was being completely bitchy to me, he made me feel better. I was never alone. I always had him to rely on. His comforting, soothing words. His jokes. Oh, I can only imagine his smile. When he says how much he thinks of me, how much he loves having me around, how glad he is to meet me- it just made me feel like the most powerful person earth. Having that type of support. So I decided I wouldn’t care how he turned out to look in real life. If he was fat, I could fix him. But he wasn’t. He was a quarterback for crying out loud! And if he had acne, well, that’s okay too! They make Proactive for a reason right?
Lisi… what to do with Lisi. I didn’t want her being all mad at me. Shouldn’t best friends be HAPPY for you after all? Aren’t they why you have them around? High school was already worse than expected. But it wasn’t fair either! I finally get a boyfriend. A hot one. Smart. Nice. Package deal. And Lisi just turns her back on me. Ditching me. Because she thinks he could be someone he’s not. She thinks he’s too perfect. Too good to be true.
Luckily, she’s wrong. Dempsey and I will have a happily ever after, after all.