Howie and Rebecca had been meeting at the river for some time now. They made love on a blanket spread over the sand, then swam in a deep pool carved from granite boulders. It was a refreshing break from their intense computer work, the hot summer days required expensive air-conditioning to keep humming towers of hardware from failing. Rebecca would be hard put to say exactly when their friendship
changed to passionate yearnings and simmering glances, during late hours at their machines, hacking a business that survived such tumultuous economic times. Their current slate of customers demanded higher search engine rankings and wanted to venture into online advertising. "At least there's always something new to learn," comforted Rebecca, as a realistic appraisal of the books showed they would need to change tack again.
Their harmonious progression from best friends and business partners, to ardent secret lovers was not unnoticed by Dorothy and she was very pleased. The house was such a happy place now, but she knew that things could not remain so unlabeled and unremarked upon for long.
Mikka quickly turned the tables on "radChic05" who was actually a busty 10th grader at her school. The girl had fired the first shot with her insulting comment. Mikka couldn't stand it that anyone in the whole world could read the insults. She marshaled her friends, both online and off, and a nasty comment campaign began in earnest. It was just as she was typing a new zinger, that a tentative knock landed on her door. "Just a minute!" Mikka yelled,
and launched her
screen saver, a bubbling tropical fish tank. She unlocked the door for Howie and Rebecca.
"How come the door's locked?" asked Howie, suspiciously. He pretended to sniff the air. "Dad! I like my privacy!" objected Mikka.
"There's something we want to talk to you about," began Rebecca.
"Both of you?"
"Yes, both of us. Mikka, Rebecca and I are seeing each other." said Howie, gently.
"Oh great," exclaimed Mikka. "That is so embarrasing. That is so weird." and then, not sure why herself, she yelled "Get out of my room!"
"Whoa," hushed Howie, "Hold on a moment there. We are going to talk!" and he strode straight into the middle of Mikka's room. Rebecca stayed at the door. Mikka edged towards her computer, as if it might shelter her from this awkward conversation. Her hand inadvertantly rolled the trackball and her FriendMap page, full of sexy photographs and flaming comments appeared. She was moritified, even though Howie couldn't likely read what was on
"Whatja' got there, Mikky" he asked, using her baby name, and in one fluid movement stepped close to the screen and spun the track ball. "It's nothing Dad..." she trailed off realizing that Howie knew exactly what it was.
"This stops now," he said, clicking and tapping on the keyboard. "Your account is canceled and I'm blocking your Internet access." Mikka's eyes burned, her face felt red-hot. "It's just kids at school goofing around."
"It's cruel and it stops now!"
"You don't know anything. It's just pretend. It's just words. What could happen bad from that?" yelled Mikka.
"I'll tell you exactly what," said Rebecca, "but let's talk downstairs. Dorothy's made an apple cake."