I ditched my pre-Valentine's date. And it wasn't the first time I dumped Prince Charming. I felt like a jerk.
You are a jerk! my inner voice scolded. I wouldn't blame him if he never chats with you again.
"Oh shut up," I grumbled back, pulling my glasses from my face to clean away smudges with my sweatshirt.
Prince Charming was the chat name of my online paramour. I went by Cindy Eller, after my favorite fairy tale. My real name is Cynthia Ellerton, and everyone calls me Cindy for short, so I suppose it lacks any imagination, or internet security really. Me and PC had met in a Funtime Games chat room while playing Goofee Gophers Word Search. He'd made a joke that he must be the one for me, since our screen names matched perfectly. The conversation flowed easily, amicably.
Then, about a month back, he'd suggested taking our games over to the adult chat section. I'm somewhat sheltered when it comes to sex, but curious, and I felt I knew him well enough to agree. Besides, it was just online sex, right? What harm could come of it?
My step sisters and step mother didn't quite see it that way.
"What if he stalks you?" Sally clucked her tongue and shook her bright red hair. "You can't be too careful these days."
I rolled my eyes. "It’s not like I plan on meeting him ever. Besides, I've been chatting with him for months. What's the big deal? Don't be so uptight."
My stepmother's smooth brow crinkled with fine lines. "Sally does have a point. Those internet-oh, what are they called? — hackers?"
Rebecca, my other step sister, nodded at her mother.
"Hackers," my step mother continued, "could get your phone number, address, all that stuff and come kill you!"
I tried not to roll my eyes at the thin, bird-like woman. I knew she meant well. She worried that my social anxiety made me spend too much time on the computer and not enough time face to face socializing. Plus she watched too many tabloid news programs and believed them to be true. My step mom saw me as the sheltered introvert she had to protect, and I could admittedly be a bit too cavalier with my internet security, despite my deep trust issues with people. What can I say? I've got a contradictory personality sometimes.
Still, my family didn't need to worry. I was great with online game chat, but I was still dodging a face to face meeting with Prince Charming. Commitment and trust issues. Yeah, I'm a real package.