Ellie couldn't decide if it were just allergies or something to be concerned about. She took more over the counter cold meds and waited for sleep to set in while Lon took Charlie to daycare. Everyone had left, but Olivia.
"Why are you here?" Ellie saw her pacing, downstairs.
"Its nothing." She was hugging herself as if something was bothering her. Ellie couldn't imagine what.
"Come on, you can tell me," Ellie looked at her out of concern. "You know, you want to."
Olivia nodded. They sat down on the couch in the living-room.
"I have to tell Roger about Ian, but I don't want to." She wouldn't look Ellie in the eye.
"Ian?" Ellie winced. "Eric's brother?" She smiled.
"Yes, we sort of have something - I guess - online, but I broke it off. I did. Completely." Olivia bit her bottom lip.
"OK." Maybe it was the meds or something, Ellie wasn't quite getting the picture. "So what happened?"
"I lead him on, sort of. It was...stupid." Her frown was small but she was serious, just the same. "I, I have a problem with Internet relationships." She started to cry. "I used to think it was all right, you know, I wasn't going to do anything physical with anyone. And you know, I was proud of myself, I was a virgin and well, a virgin wouldn't of done any of that, actually."
"What did you do?"
"Well, it was a long time ago." Olivia squinted more tears. "I met this person in a chat room. I mean, I was like eleven. Almost 12. I...I met him in a chatroom. Alone. I guess that's when this all started, perhaps. It was like I was communicating without anyone questioning me, 'what did you say?'..'I didn't get a word of that'. I know my lisp or whatever, can annoy anyone." Olivia shook her head. "It might has well have been porn, after awhile. And I felt I had to do it."
Ellie looked at her startled. Ellie wanted to say something like, you could have just x out of the chat and got off line, but she didn't.
"Well, we all get sucked in, especially when the Internet was new. I mean, I remember my first real e-mail pal. He was this Canadian actor that I had written to after watching him in this indie film. And we some how struck up this e-mail thing for awhile. Eventually, I figured out he was gay, and he always said I sounded like the perfect gay guy for him. So, you know, it was waste of time. That's what it was." Ellie told her.
"But I should have known better. Back then. Even now, with Ian. I didn't think I was that big of an influence. I was just trying to be nice, you know. Next thing I know, he's telling me he loves me. What's Roger going to think of me?"
"Well, the truth hurts," Ellie said. "But you know, he'd want to know. He's just going to have to be grown up about it. Remind him, all right?"
"OK." Olivia nodded. "Its like another world, you know." She squinted more tears. "I'm an awful person. I really am. I dunno if I can even fix it."
"Well, there are worse things." Ellie nodded. "Just can't let it eat away at you."