Welcome back. You’re nearly there. This is the penultimate part of The man who had an affair with his wife. Just a little bit further to go. Dig deep. I know you can do it.
Carbon was not impressed with Swellen’s proposal that she adopt a new avatar, but so great was his desire for her that what tiny scraps of opposition to the idea he was able to muster quickly fell aside. Ultimately, he would have her however he could have her. The question was, how could he possibly catch her out in her affair with him if she was now going to be using an alt?
The alt in question was called Inyo. Younger than Swellen in SL by only a couple of months, Inyo looked about eighteen. She was a wide-hipped, skinny-legged avatar with a round, freckled face and platted hair; when she appeared in front of Carbon for the first time, she had a small, pink rabbit perched on her shoulder and a purple lollipop in her mouth. “What a charming look,” he told her, hoping the sarcasm carried. “You’ll need to take me shopping then,” she replied. “It’s been some time since I logged Inyo on and all I have are various bunny girl combinations.” It actually had Chris glancing guiltily over his shoulder in real life; the whole look just felt wildly inappropriate to him within the context of their meeting. “I never thought I’d say this,” he told her, “but I’ve never looked forward to a shopping session quite so much. Let’s go.” He checked his balance: at just over twelve thousand Lindens that would cover a new body and hair and perhaps a couple of skimpy outfits. “Wait,” she said, “you want to go shopping now? I thought maybe tomorrow. You should know I’m strongly pre-menstrual today. Tonight might be all you get for the next few days.”
Great. In real life, Chris grimaced at the screen and sighed. “Try taking the lollipop out of your mouth,” he told her, “and for God’s sake get rid of that creature on your shoulder.” Dutifully, she obeyed. But all he could see still was an innocent teenager. “Do you have any different hair?” he asked. “Something that doesn’t make you look twelve?” She cycled a few different hair styles, politely enquiring with each whether he liked them or not. A couple weren’t actually all that bad, but still he couldn’t shake the image of the teen from his head. And was it his imagination or had her tone become more submissive, more deferential, more… childlike somehow? “You’re certain you don’t have a different shape?” he asked. “Well maybe I have something in here that might work,” she replied. The first was too tall. The second was too skinny. The third looked like it had been made out of right-angles. “You know what?” he said, transferring over ten thousand Lindens to her, “Just go and buy something nice tomorrow and I’ll meet up with you in the evening. We can just go for a dance, it’ll be nice. Buy something that makes you look more like Swellen. Doesn’t she wear the Maitreya body? Get one of those. Get some grown-up hair. Please don’t come back on looking like a child.”
And, when they met up the following evening, he saw at once that she had done precisely as instructed. Gone was the Daddy’s girl avatar and in its place stood an almost exact replica of Swellen. The body, the shape, the skin, the make-up; even the animation over-rider: it was perfect. Thank God, he thought. “You look fantastic,” he told her. “Why thank you, Sir,” she replied. “Sir?” he repeated. “What’s wrong with that?” she asked. “I’ve called you Sir before.” Which was true. “It’s nothing,” he said, Except it wasn’t.
Swellen – or rather Inyo – was different somehow. She was more soft. She was more passive. She was more giggly. She seemed to be using slang a lot more and had started using a capital U in place of the word ‘you’ – which was akin to being stabbed each time he saw it, so far as he was concerned. As the evening progressed, Carbon grew more and more uncomfortable. They danced tangos and waltzes in a huge ballroom at the stern of a cruise liner that stretched the length of two entire regions. Without the excitement of sexual arousal and anticipation, Chris found that he could not wait for the evening to end so that he could log off and go to bed. This woman was a stranger to him. He wanted Swellen back.
He thought to himself, If I were to split Len and Swellen up then there’d be no need for her to keep seeing me as Inyo, and Carbon and Swellen would be together again. But how was he to do that now? There was no way that he could think of for Len – or anyof his small army of alternative avatars – to know (or even suspect) that Inyo was actually Swellen. He could go no further with these plans.
Unless, as Len, he simply ended the relationship. But then he would be the bad guy.
And that was unthinkable.