Yes, my body decided it was high time we got over this being healthy through the winter nonsense and decided to pick up The Plague as a sort of late Christmas present or something. It was not pretty. So, I ended up spending about a week and a half somewhere in between playing copious amounts of video games and doing copious amounts of sleeping (especially the latter), and not feeling bad about either (even though my general state of being definitely included feeling bad).
But I did complete a story. This story, to be precise, which also turned out to be an exercise in formatting text in HTML:
Amy: I still <3 u n I'll alwayz b here 4 u
Kevin shrugged and slid the phone back across the table to Mike. “So your crazy ex-girlfriend texted you,” he said. “At least she's not showing up at your apartment and trying to break down your door at 2 A.M. anymore.”
Mike picked up the phone and read the message again.“Yeah,” he said. “Maybe I should've gotten that restraining order.”
“Ya think?” Kevin took another bite of his hamburger. “You've always had terrible taste in women, but Amy was very special kind of terrible.”
Mike deleted the message and slid the phone back into his pocket. “Gee, thanks. Though could you not mention that when you meet Jess?”
“Wait, you're dating Jess?”
“Yeah,” said Mike. “It just sort of happened yesterday. We're having our first official date tonight.”
“Well, well.” Kevin washed down the mouthful of burger with a long slurp of soda. “Jess actually seems halfway sane. Good luck to ya.”
“Thanks.” Mike's phone vibrated. He picked it up and looked at the message, then frowned.
“Don't tell me Jess just canceled on ya.”
“No,” said Mike. He looked around the burger joint, then slid the phone across the table to Kevin. Kevin picked it up and looked at the display.
Amy: Whos Jess?
“Well, that's a creepy coincidence,” said Kevin.
Mike lowered his voice. “Do you think she's spying on us?”
“Maybe?” said Kevin. “Amy was a woman obsessed, after all. But I don't see her anywhere around here, do you?”
“Like I said, creepy coincidence.” Kevin handed Mike the phone and shoved the last of the hamburger in his mouth. “If she keeps it up, though, maybe you should rethink about that restraining order.”
Mike scooped up his tray and dumped his own half-eaten burger in the trash. “I dunno. It sounds like a lot of paperwork.”
Kevin shrugged. “It's your call, man. But when mostly-normal girl Jess leaves you 'cause you're still getting texts from your crazy ex-girlfriend, don't say I didn't warn ya.”
The afternoon dragged on as Mike counted down the hours to his date with Jess. It wasn't like he was new to the dating scene, but the first date always made him nervous. And the second one. And the... well, most dates made him nervous. There were so many things that could go wrong, even with girls who seemed nice and funny. Like Jess.
Amy had been nice and funny at the beginning, too.
He pushed those thoughts away. He wasn't going to worry about Amy. After lunch he had deleted her message and removed her number from his phone. That way, if Amy did text him again, at least he could claim it was a wrong number.
He pulled up to Jess's house promptly at six. He wasn't sure if Jess was a stickler for being on time, but it never hurt. He got out of the car, walked up to the door, and rang the bell.
There was no answer. Maybe that was a good sign. If she was still getting ready, then maybe she really wanted to look nice for the date. He tugged on his shirt to straighten it and ran his fingers through his hair. He hoped he looked nice enough. They were just going to the local Chinese food place for dinner, then maybe a movie. He hadn't exactly thought to dress up.
He checked the time on his phone. 6:04. He rang the bell again. There was still no answer.
Maybe she forgot? He felt a pang of worry go through his chest. Why would she forget their date? Had she just been toying with him when she agreed to go out with him? Had she met someone else? Jess didn't seem the type, but then, he didn't know her very well. Yet. What if he had read things wrong?
His phone buzzed and he fished it out of his pocket.
New Text Message
That had to be her. Of course. She was running late from work or something. He unlocked the phone and opened the message.
Amy: I'll always b here 4 u.
Amy: I said I'll always b here 4 u. :)
Mike sighed. He deleted the message, searched for Amy's listing in his phone book, and deleted it. He checked the time again before shoving the phone back in his pocket. 6:09. He rang the doorbell, then knocked on the door.
The door opened suddenly. Jess stood there in sweat pants and a t-shirt. Her eyes were dark circles of smudged make-up and anger. “What?” she said.
Mike shifted under her gaze, unsure what to make of the figure before him. “Are you... ready to go to dinner?”
Her eyes flashed and she slammed the door.
“I can come back later if you're not ready,” Mike called through the door. “Or... did something happen? We don't have to go out tonight. We can just stay in, or I can get something and bring it back.”
“Just go away, you jerk!” Jess's voice came muffled through the door.
“Wait, what happened?” He pressed his ear against the door, trying to hear her better. “What did I do?”
The door opened again, dumping him on the ground. “Really, Mike?” said Jess. “Didn't we talk about this enough already?”
“Talk about what?”
“I thought you liked me, Mike. I thought you were different.”
Mike slowly pulled himself up from the floor, his brain racing. This was certainly not how he had expected things to go. “But I do like you,” he answered weakly. “Why would you think I didn't like you?”
“Really, Mike?” Tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Yeah, really,” said Mike, then wondered what he was really agreeing to. “I really like you, and I really want to go out with you. That's why I said I wanted to go out with you. That's why I'm here right now.”
“Then why'd you send me all those messages?”
“All the texts you sent me this afternoon! There were like twenty of them, saying the date was off and that you didn't like me... calling me fat, and ugly, and... and....”
“I didn't send you any messages this afternoon,” said Mike. Had he accidentally messaged her without realizing it? “I was too nervous. I wouldn't have known what to say! Here....” He pulled out his phone.
New Text Message
He skipped the new message and went straight to his sent box. “Look, see? The last message I sent was at 1:15 P.M. to my friend Kevin reminding him that he owed me money for lunch.”
He held up the display for her to see. She frowned and wiped her eye, smudging her make-up further. She stalked out of the room and came back a moment later, phone in hand.
“Mike, 1:28 P.M.” she read. “It's off Jess. It's over. I never really liked you.”
“Mike, 1:37 P.M. I'm serious. Delete my number and don't talk to me ever again. Mike: 1:51 P.M. Go away, you stupid fat whore. I don't want you in my life.”
“What? I didn't send any of that!”
Jess held up the phone in front of him. Its display was covered with messages going back and forth between her and him. The ones from him were not very nice. “It's got to be a different Mike or something,” he said. “Do you know any other Mikes? Is it from my phone number?”
Jess tapped the display. It was his number all right. He looked at his phone. “Maybe my phone got hacked.” He looked back at Jess. Tears were rolling down her cheeks again. “I'm sorry,” he said. “I don't know how this happened. I would never say those things about you.”
“Just go away for now, huh, Mike?” said Jess. “I've got to think some things through.”
“Ok.” His heart sank, but what else could he say? He walked slowly back to his car and rested his head on the steering wheel. This made no sense. His phone must have been hacked somehow. That happened, right?
He pulled the phone back out of his pocket.
New Text Message
Amy: She's obviously crazy. U should leave her.
Amy: :( I'll b right here waiting 4 wen u do.
Mike got home and flopped down on the couch. He didn't move for hours. It was too much work. How had this happened? He and Jess had hit it off so well last night, and now some crazy phone hacker had to go and mess everything up. He pulled his phone back out of his pocket and turned it on. Surely they had some sort of warranty policy if your phone got hacked. He'd just need to talk to his service provider and get this whole thing sorted out. And hope Jess would still talk to him afterward.
New Text MessageMike sat up. Maybe it was Jess. That was stupid of him to turn off his phone. What if she still wanted to have dinner together.
Amy: Hi again. :)
Amy: U don't seem happy 2 see me. :(
Amy: I no u didnt mean it. :) I'll b here 4 u 4eva <3
Me: Did u hack my phone?
Me: Did u get someone 2 hack my phone?
Amy: I don't think its hacking really......
Amy: I'll alwayz b here 4 u <3
Me: No. We're done. I'm seeing Jess now.
Amy: I thought she broke up w/ u
Me: That's none of your bzness. Stop spying on me.
Amy: We'll alwayz b 2getha <3
Mike threw his phone across the room. It hit the wall with a loud crack and fell to the floor. He buried his face in the couch.
“Hey, Mike!” Kevin came up behind him in line and patted him hard on the back. “I wasn't sure you'd show up today. I texted you, but you never replied.”
“Yeah, I kind of broke my phone last night,” said Mike.
“That sucks,” said Kevin. “Unless you broke it doing something interesting.”
“What do you mean, what? I'm asking how your hot date last night went.”
“It... uh, didn't,” said Mike.
“Really? Geez, the one time you try to date a non-crazy girl, and you had to go and ruin it, huh?”
Mike sighed. “Look, I really don't want to talk about it.”
They ordered their food and sat down to eat.
“Oh, by the way,” said Kevin in between mouthfuls, “I think your phone got hacked or something.”
Mike slowly lowered his sandwich. “What makes you say that?”
“You were getting messages from Amy yesterday, right?”
Kevin swallowed and took a long drink from his soda. “Well, I thought I'd try and get ahold of her last night. Tell her to get off your case or else. Turns out she killed herself two days ago. Apparently she surrounded herself with candles and stuff in the basement and they just found her there the next morning, dead. Weird, huh?”
“But she and I were just texting last night!”
Kevin raised an eyebrow. “You were trying to text Amy when you were supposed to be out with Jess?”
“She texted me first! I was just trying to get her to go away!”
“Look, she couldn't have texted you last night. She died the day before that. Your phone just got hacked or something.”
Mike poked at his sandwich. “Yeah, I guess you're right. I guess it's a good thing I broke it, then.”
Three days later, Mike received his new cell phone. He pulled it out of the box, turned it on and set it up. It would take a bit to get all his contacts and such sorted out, since the other one was busted, but after three days without a cell phone, Mike was just glad he could contact the outside world again.
He was just figuring out how the internet worked when his phone gave a polite series of dings.
New Text Message
Amy: U can't get rid of me that easy. I told u we'll always be 2getha. Foreva. <3 <3 <3