I have to admit, while writing Invasion of Privacy I’ve developed quite an intense crush for Melanie, one of the main characters. Besides being a skilled computer programmer, she has an adult webcam chat site she runs from home. Thinking about her sitting in front of her computer naked while talking to men has kept me up many nights. The opportunity to actually meet her face-to-face is exciting and intimidating at the same time. Melanie has a way with men and is able to get them to do pretty much anything she wants. I’m determined to keep my infatuation under control so I don’t make a fool of myself. We’ll see how that goes.
Walking into the computer store, I’m not surprised to see there isn’t anyone at the counter. I know they’re in the backroom working. Melanie, Roger, and Jim have been snooping into people’s homes by hacking into their webcams. They justify invading people’s privacy because their searching for a killer. I can hear Jim and Roger arguing about who should come to greet me.
“It’s your turn,” Jim says to Roger, “and don’t start with your lame excuses. You know the last time didn’t count; the guy thought this was a pawnshop. He wanted to get rid of his dead wife’s jewelry.”
“It’s because of your stupid sign,” Roger says. “Jims Got Web. What a dumb name for a computer store; nobody gets it. It could mean anything, especially with the stupid logo of the spider web. People probably think we’re selling Halloween costumes.”
“I’ve told you a hundred times,” Jim says, “it’s a play on my last name, Gotweb. You know, like the old ‘Got Milk?’ slogan. I can’t believe you don’t get it.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Roger says, “We said we’d take turns dealing with the customers. If we don’t follow our own rules, we’ll have chaos. Is that what you want? Well, I can’t live like that. We have to have some kind of order.”
Only sixteen years old, Roger is a brilliant computer programmer, but he has some obvious OCD issues. Even though Jim is his boss and ten years older, they act more like siblings.
I’m starting to get nervous about this whole encounter and it only gets worse when I hear Melanie say, “He gets it Jim, he’s just messing with you. Man, I’m tired of listening to you guys argue. What a couple of babies! You know it’s probably the author, but you guys freak out every time someone walks in. I’ll go this time but I’m serious, you both need to get over whatever the hell your problem is.”
When Melanie opens the door into the store, my heart skips a beat. She’s even more breathtaking than I expected. In the story, I describe her as being six foot tall with long legs and an athletic body. She has short black hair and bright green eyes. That doesn’t even come close to describing what she looks like. I’ve never seen such a stunning woman. Her face is a work of art; like a priceless picture you’d see hanging in a museum. She has a way about her that makes you feel you’re in the presence of royalty.
“Hi there,” she says, “We’ve been expecting you.”
“You have?” I gasp, suddenly realizing I haven’t taken a breath since she walked into the room.
“Of course we have. We know everything going on in your head. For instance, I know you’re trying to picture me naked right now. Should I take my clothes off so you don’t have to think so hard?”
“No!” I didn’t mean to yell like that. I try to calm myself and add, “I don’t really have that much time. I’m in the middle of another story and I really need to get back to it. Let’s go in the back room so I can talk to the guys, okay?”
“Okay,” she purrs. “But let me know if you change your mind. You can’t even imagine what you’re missing.”
The guys are working on the network when I walk in. Roger looks up and says, “Well, look who finally made it. I have a bone to pick with you. Why did you make me so young? Would it have killed you to have me closer to Melanie’s age? You let me see her naked one time, but I don’t have a chance with her. It’s just not fair.”
“What are you complaining about?” Jim says. “I’m closer to her age but I don’t have a chance with her either, and I’ve seen her naked too.”
Melanie laughs at the guys and says, “Don’t you guys get it? I think he’s saving me for himself.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask.
“It’s obvious you’re obsessed with me,” she says, “That’s why you don’t have me in a relationship with anyone. It’s really kind of sweet, in a twisted sort of way. So, my question is, not that you’re here, why don’t you and I find a quiet little corner of this world you’ve created and see what happens?”
I can’t say I’m not tempted and I’m surprised when I reply, “No, listen to me. I’ve come here for a reason.” Seeing the smile on Melanie’s face, I add, “Really, thanks but I need to warn you, the police are on the way. They want to find out what’s going on here. You need to be ready for them.”
They knew the police were getting suspicious and have been expecting them to come around with some questions. Hacking into people’s webcams to find his wife’s killer has led Jim and his team to discover multiple crime scenes. They’ve tried to avoid the police as much as possible, but occasionally had to deal with them.
The buzzer went off and Melanie right away says, “Don’t even start you two. I’ll go see who it is.”
When she sees the two officers standing there, she warns Jim by saying, “Well, hello officers, what can I do you for?”
Melanie walks over and stands close to the youngest officer. He’s obviously very uncomfortable. She knows men find her irresistible and enjoys watching him squirm. She hasn’t been able to spend much time working on her adult sex site, and misses the fun of being naked while chatting with men. She’s enjoying this opportunity and plans to take advantage of it.
“We’re here because … ah, because …” the young officer says, blatantly staring at Melanie’s breasts.
The older officer is trying to be professional, but he recognizes Melanie. He’s a regular customer on her site! “I’m Sergeant Wilson, this is patrolman Simpson, we need to talk to Jim Gotweb, is he here?”
Much to the relief of the young patrolman, Melanie releases him from her spell to look at the sergeant. “Do I know you from somewhere? You look really familiar.”
Melanie figures we’ve had enough time to shut down the network, so she leads the officers into the backroom, now focusing her attention on the sergeant.
The guys are working on a customer’s computer when the officers walk in. I’m just sitting on a stool, trying to blend into the background. Simpson considers himself a computer whiz and walks over to see what Roger’s doing.
“You sure have a lot of computers,” Simpson says while looking around the room.
Without looking up, Roger replies, “Well, it is a computer store.”
Sgt. Wilson is obviously nervous from Melanie’s scrutiny and turns away from her to talk to Jim. “Simpson is our resident tech. He knows everything about computers. He can fix anything that goes wrong with them.”
“Is that right?” Jim says.
Simpson is blushing, enjoying his sergeant’s praise. “Well, I wouldn’t say I know everything there is to know about computers, but I guess I can fix most problems.”
“Really?” Roger asks. “Why don’t you take a look at this one? I can’t get it to boot up.”
“Is it plugged in?” Simpson asks while looking at the back of the machine.
Roger looks over at Jim and rolls his eyes. “Right, plugged in. Yeah, I’ve checked that already. It’s plugged in.”
“There’s probably something wrong with one of the drivers,” Simpson says. “You might have to reinstall them.”
“The drivers, oh, okay, good idea. But that’s kind of impossible to do if it doesn’t start up, isn’t it?” Roger asks.
“Well yeah, but you can start it in safe mode and then check the drivers.”
“Wow,” Roger says, “Safe mode! You do know a lot about computers.”
Jim an I can barely keep from laughing at Roger’s sarcasm. He turns to the sergeant who is obviously trying to avoid Melanie’s stare. I can tell Jim feels sorry for the officer; he knows what it’s like to be the target of those intense green eyes. “So, what can I do for you, officer?”
“We’ve noticed your group has been present at a few crime scenes lately. Are you vigilantes or something?”
“What?” Jim says, “Do we look like vigilantes? No, we go on a lot of service calls, and a few of them turned out to be crime scenes. The odds of that happening are probably pretty good, don’t you think?”
“I don’t know,” the sergeant says, “finding a body in the basement of one home might be a coincidence. But, how do you explain the others?”
“I guess we’re just lucky,” Jim says.
“I’ve got it!” Melanie says, slapping her knee. “Does the name Sergeant Stallion ring a bell?”
She’s right in the sergeant’s face now, and he appears to have shrunken in size. “N …, no,” he stutters, “Th …That’s not me, you’re mistaken; I’ve never been on an sex chat site.”
“Who said anything about a chat site?” Melanie laughs.
The sergeant has had enough and quickly heads out of the room. “We’ve got to get going. I think everything here is in order. Thank you for your time. Sorry to have bothered you.”
But Melanie’s not done with him. “Have you had that mole near your belly button looked at? I’ve wanted to say something to you about that.” She’s followed him to the door and leans close to whisper in his ear. “I’ll be working tonight around ten. Stop by and chat for a while, Stallion.”
“Well, that went pretty well,” I say when Melanie comes back in. “I really need to get going, it’s been great talking to you guys.”
“Can we expect you to come back again? Or are you done with us?” Jim asks.
“Keep working on the network, I really plan to come back, soon. I think there’s still plenty more story to tell.” Then turning to Melanie, I add, “I’d like to talk to you privately, you live nearby here right?”
Don’t look at me like that, self-control is overrated.