Concept and characters generously provided by VoidGolem. Special thanks to @talesforsluts everyone who provided edits and feedback on this chapter, including @generalwizardtragedy, @totallynotskynet and @paradoxguild679.
The Line Begins to Blur – Late June 1999
Sneaking around wasn’t something I was good at.
I’d gotten drunk once. It was some post-track meet party, and someone handed me a Jack and Coke. I spent most of the night just in a side room, playing video games, trying not to throw up from the awful taste. To be honest, most of that night was a blur.
The clearest memory was trying, and failing, to act nonchalant. I puked as soon as I’d walked in my front the door, mostly from nerves of my parents catching me stumbling in so late.
Playing it cool was not my strength.
“You’re absolutely, positively sure she’s at the gym all afternoon?” I was keeping my voice low while Naomi let me into her foyer.
“HEY MOM!” Naomi screamed, cupping her hand to her mouth for effect. “RYAN AND I ARE GOING TO DO CRACK IF YOU WANT TO JOIN!”
I flinched a bit, but the silence proved her point. We were totally alone in the house.
“Point made.” I said, slipping off my shoes.
“You turn red so easily.” Naomi chuckled. “Seriously, your ears look like they’re on fire.”
“Hardy-har-har. I’m glad you’re taking this seriously.”
She led me down the hall to the computer room, more of a nook just off the kitchen. Unlike the attic, it was immaculately staged. Not a hint of dust or clutter.
It was also totally exposed. if someone were to walk through the front door, we’d have seconds before our cover was blown.
“So if she comes home early…?” I dragged a kitchen chair next to the monitor.
“If she comes home early, I’ll just yank out the power cable before she can see anything.” Naomi sat at the keyboard and flicked on the screen.
“It’s a laptop though.” I pointed at black, closed Gateway locked into the docking. “You pull the plug and nothing will happen.”
“Then I’ll turn off the screen. Keep it cool, Mr. Privacy.” she was already connecting. The modem started it’s mechanical cry of life as she logged in.