© Kat Morgan 1999/2000
In Name only
Chapter 1: Log On
She could remember exactly how it started.
She had been online, indulging in her guilty pleasure; chatting about the Backstreet Boys. At her age it was not considered apropos for her to have an attraction to a "boy band." To be attracted to younger men, yes. To those younger men, no. So she had kept quiet about it. Only listening to the music at home, and hiding the CDs whenever a friend came over. Always maintaining a perfect outer face.
Online was where she let loose. No one cared about who she was, age, station in life. Just that they shared this obsession, this fixation. Here she was free to say what she wanted, to indulge her imagination. To get down and dirty, without needing to be apologetic.
And that is what she had been the night they met. She was having a risqué chat with MadBoutBSB; each going into explicit detail about their favourite Boy's features. It was the usual stuff with the two of them, and the others in the room where LOL'ing themselves silly as each woman tried to outdo the other. Suddenly a new voice appeared. TheDster had been sitting in the room for a while, watching the conversation, and finally let loose with:
TheDster: Are you two always like this?
MadBoutBSB: Worse! LMAO
KitKat: Hey, you started it.
MadBoutBSB: Did not!
KitKat: Okay. Tonight I did, but usually you do. So there J
TheDster: So what would you really do if you met a Backstreet Boy? All the stuff you just said?
MadBoutBSB: If it was AJ, hell yes! LOL!
KitKat: I doubt it. Hey, Mad, I am being honest for once. No teasing.
TheDster: So what would you say?
KitKat: Believe it or not I am actually shy
MadBoutBSB: Sure you are! LMAO
KitKat: Seriously. I can say this stuff in here. If I met one in TRW I would probably just tell him how much I loved their music. And try my damnedest not to squeal like an idiot. LOL
He IM'ed her a few days later. She was sitting at home, listening to music from her computer's CD player, and surfing around, researching some things she needed for her next writing project. She had forgotten that the Messenger program loaded automatically as soon as her modem connected to the internet, and was surprised when, instead of moving to the next site she had asked for, the screen came up with the message "TheDster wants to chat with you. Are you available?" She tried to remember who that was, had a vague recollection of the name, and decided, 'what the hell' and pressed yes.
TheDster: Hi. Remember me?
KitKat: Not really
TheDster: We chatted the other night. In the BSB room.
KitKat: I remember! Mad and I were doing our usual 'what if' thingy, right?
TheDster: Yep. You two really talk like that all the time?
KitKat: Fraid so.
TheDster: I am SHOCKED! LOL
TheDster: So you said something about being afraid to actually talk to a BSB.
KitKat: Not afraid…just not willing to talk to one the way I talk to Mad. LOL
TheDster: So if I told you that you were talking to one now what would you say?
KitKat: Ha ha. Very funny.
KitKat: Do you have any idea how many times I have heard that one? Posers like you are a pain.
TheDster: I really am Howie D.
KitKat: I gotta go
TheDster: No! Don't leave. Fine, don't believe me. I'll prove it some day. At least keep talking to me about something else…
KitKat: Okay. Just cut the crap okay?
TheDster: Sigh. Fine. So, seen any good movies lately…
KitKat: LOL… from BSB posing to cheesy pick up lines in one easy step.
TheDster: LOL. I only asked because your profile says you like movies. What's this about screenplay writing?
And then they were off. Kat was surprised to find that TheDster became one of her more frequent chat buddies. Whoever he was he was intelligent, witty and charming. He did seem to know an awful lot about the Backstreet Boys, but their conversations rarely stayed about them for long.
After a while they even started making arrangements to meet online. Once they even watched a movie together. Okay, so he rented it on his end, and she on her's and they typed away as they watched, commenting on scenes here and there, but they were doing it together. Definitely not the strangest 'date' Kat had ever been on, but one of the top ten.
It was funny how friendships grow through nothing more than a modem. Kat found herself telling him things she rarely even admitted to herself. And he did likewise. She sent him her articles, the ones she had written for the company's newsletter, and even some of her as-yet-unpublished articles. She was still leery of letting him see her fiction; it was so deeply personal she was guarded about showing it to anyone, and while he asked a few times, he understood her reluctance. He was also hesitant, at first, to send her some of his poetry, song lyrics and writing, but did so after a while.
They had been chatting off and on for almost five months, one of the longest, and deepest online "relationships" Kat had ever had, when she got the message:
TheDster: I finally figured out how to convince you.
TheDster: That I am who I said I was.
KitKat: Not this again. Drop it, D.
TheDster: No way. I'm serious
Kat sat back in her chair. She wished he would just let it go. She could care less if he really was Howie. She was only interested in the man she had been talking to for so long. Yes, even a little in love with him. She was also, she had to admit, a little afraid to actually see him, whoever he was. The anonymity of the computer monitor had made her feel safe and secure. This idea of his, whatever it was, could change everything.
TheDster: Kat? You still there?
KitKat: Maybe it would be better if we stopped worrying about this.
TheDster: I want you to see me. And I'd like to see you too.
KitKat: I've described myself enough. What the hell do you want to see? That I am as fat, old and ugly as I said I was?
TheDster: I don't believe that for a second. Besides, I love you for who you are. Looks don't matter.
KitKat: Easy for you to say. What is this big need to see then?
TheDster: Humour me, please. Just go to www.dster.com (Writer's note: Ha! Made it up. So there!). I have my webcam on
KitKat: D, do I have too?
TheDster: Yes. Trust me.
Kat moved her cursor back to the internet search page and entered the address he had asked her to enter.
TheDster: Got it?
KitKat: Almost. It’s taking a while to load. Just a sec.
TheDster: Is it loaded yet?
TheDster: Can you see me?
She sat there stunned. Sure enough, the man in the picture before her was Howard Dwaine Dorough. The man she had been talking to for months really had been who he had said he was.