Between local folks who wanted help with HTML and regular gigs writing specialty code for their contacts in the gaming industry, Howie and Rebecca's venture grew comfortably successful.
Mikka loved the big old house with so many antique objects to study. Her friends thought it was awesome that she lived in "Loony Lily's Haunted House." She hosted a wild Halloween party that her entire 8th grade class attended. And she enjoyed wandering from room to room, hanging out with all the grown-ups: Dorothy who always had a snack made just for her, Molly and Ginny who dressed her up in freaky outfits and promised her a job at their cafe when she turned
16, and Rebecca,
who was kind and chatty like a big sister and really listened to Mikka when she talked about school and friends.
Mikka surfed on a Power Mac parked on the huge roll-top desk that took up one wall of her room. The desk was big enough for playing house under, if she was still little and did stuff like that, but she liked to crawl under there and talk on her cellphone while tracing the funny backwards letters with her fingertip. She didn't quite understand the story behind it all, no one did, but she knew the letters spelt "I am Pearl." and that they were written by Rebecca's
crazy great aunt whose twin died at 16 or 17 or 18, a real teen angel.
Mikka was busy building her FriendMap page. "A Space for Friends" was its tagline, and all her friends were getting their pages up as quick as possible. She had 48 friends on her map already. Some of the girls at school had more than a hundred. She tugged at the black lace top Molly leant her, so some of her pink bra and cleavage showed. Peering up into her cell phone, she snapped a perfect picture. She had the look just right. With a few more furious
clicks, the picture was posted. Ding! right away there was a comment, from her sweetie friend Jo "You look so cute!" Ding! another comment "Slut ho. Your titties are a wonder bra!" from radChic05...who was that? someone from school? one of the older girls? chagrined, she logged off and worried. Who would comment something like that?