Part four of ‘The man who dated his RL boss (without her knowing it).’
They teleported over to the bottom of the slope. Within a few seconds, Curiosity had changed into a winter outfit of blue jeans, blue sweater and a black bomber jacket. She added a chunky knit pom-pom beanie for good measure. Cando searched frantically through his inventory for something appropriate. It wasn’t that he lacked winter wear, but his inventory navigation speed was poor at the best of times (and not helped by his hideously inefficient organisation system); when there was an audience he wanted to impress (if you’re unfamiliar with Second Life, you should be aware that outfit changing skills are a bona fide character assessment criterion) it was like trying to read a manual written in Chinese. He threw on the first knitted cardigan he came across and added jeans and a denim shirt. It would have to do.
A shack at the bottom of the slope provided skis and boots, and a ski walk animation. They put them on and clomped their way over to the two person chairlift. It whisked them up into the air.
“For the record,” she said, “I am a skier in real life.” Nick knew this. Vicky went for two weeks to the French alps every February.
“A good one?” he asked.
“Good enough,” she replied.
“Perhaps this experience will be nothing compared to your experience of the real thing.”
“That’s like saying a drawing of a person will be dull because it’s not the actual person.”
“Right,” he replied. “Perhaps it is.”
In total, they ended up ascending and descending the slope eight times. Nick’s minor worry that Curiosity would want to open microphones and voice on the way down each time was soon put aside when it became clear this wasn’t something she was thinking about. So they skied down silently each time and then spoke about the experience on the way back up. Nick crashed three times, Curiosity only once but in a spectacular fashion that sent her spinning in defiance of gravity up into the air.
“I rented a cabin whilst you were just crashed,” she told him on the final ascent. “Just for one night.”
“Oh?” he replied.
“I trust you’re not going to let me stay there by myself.”
This time, Nick’s eyes opened even wider and his heart skipped a beat. Had she actually just said that? Had Victoria Kent actually just said what he thought she’d just said? What was he to say in reply? He hadn’t for a moment planned on this sort of thing happening. The door was well and truly thrown open now. Did he want to cross the threshold?
He thought again for a moment about how he would notice in the office some close-up aspect of her such as the skin on the back of her hand and how he’d wonder what it would be like to hold her in his arms or to undo slowly one of those endlessly long zips in one of those one piece dresses and to see her naked back gradually revealed. Did he really want to cross that threshold?
Absolutely he did.
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” he replied. They skied down to the bottom a final time and then removed their skies and trudged through the snow to the cabin. She lay back on the bed in crisp white lingerie and he removed it from her, piece by piece. When he entered her, she told him how she was lying naked on her settee in real life, with her legs open and her toy playing the role of his penis. Nick discovered that his mouth was dry and his pulse was racing. The next hour slipped by as though time did not exist, and when they emerged eventually from the other side of their personal oblivion, Cando told her truthfully that he had never experienced a night quite like that before. They neither of them logged off. They each fell asleep in real life and left their nude avatars spooning in front of a log fire that would never go out.
The next morning, Nick awoke in a cold sweat from a dream in which he’d been standing to be sentenced in front of a judge. The jury had delivered their verdict of guilty in under ten minutes, shaking their heads at him in revulsion. The judge had become Victoria Kent, and she’d leaned forward and spat in his face. He was sentenced to death in the electric chair. The event was to be televised live.
He stared at himself, wide-eyed in his bathroom mirror. What had he done?! Had he broken the law? Was this a form of rape? What was he going to do? What would she do when she found out? Would he go to prison? Would he be sacked? Would he ever be able to get work again? Would he have to go on the sex offenders’ register? Would this one night become the mistake that ended up defining his entire life? Would he never be rid of it? Had he crossed a line there was no going back over? Had he done something which could never now be undone?
He forced himself to take calming breaths. It was just a night of sex in Second Life, he told himself. He’d had plenty of those before. Consenting adults. Everyone understood that not knowing who the other person was was part of the deal. And virtual sex at that – the safest form of sex in existence. There was no law against it.
There were laws against stalking though, weren’t there? Wasn’t this a form of stalking? Wasn’t it a gross invasion of Vicky’s privacy?
No! he told himself defiantly. It would have been stalking and an invasion of privacy if he’d obtained her SL identity by going through her rubbish or spying on her place through binoculars. As it was, she’d displayed her details through her own choice in an open plan office. How was it his fault that he just happened to be looking in that direction at the time?
Back in his bedroom, his laptop showed his avatar still in bed in the log cabin, but by himself now. There was a message waiting for him from Curiosity: Had to leave. Early meeting today at work. Thanks for the evening. Your skiing sucks. Cx
Early meeting? He checked his calendar, swore and raced to the shower.
Want to read another story by me set in SL? I’ve also serialised ‘The man who had an affair with his wife’ – the first part is here (scroll down past the text on NaNoWriMo to get to it).