Like (Social Media #2)


by J.A. Huss

Chapter One

HappinessIsHacking

I CHUCKLE to myself as I lounge on my couch back in LA. I’ve been watching Grace’s Twitter feed for twenty-four hours now, ever since I sent that tweet, but she’s gone silent. Black, they call it. Dead.

I laugh again.

“What’re you smirking about?”

I sit up and peek over the back of the couch. Felicity’s back is to me and she has the fridge open, staring at it. “She’s hiding,” I tell her.

“Of course she is, you just embarrassed the f**k out of her—”

“Felicity, language, please.”

“—in front of her entire community of online friends. What’d you think would happen?”

I stare at my adopted daughter for a minute, noticing how tall she seems. She is all legs. I hate it. “Your skirt is too short. I hope you’re not going to wear that out of the house.”

She glares at me over her shoulder. “It’s a tennis skirt, Vaughn, relax. I told you, I’m trying to get better at a sport this year so I can be all jocky and shit.” She finally grabs a sparkling water and slams the refrigerator door with a sigh.

“‘Jocky and shit?’ First of all, language. Second—” I have to stop here and think about my word choice for a moment. Twenty-year-old girls are sensitive to any criticism, and while I do not think what I’m about to say is a criticism—it’s the whole reason we met—I do not want her to take it the wrong way. “I love the non-jocky version of you. So whatever jock you’re trying to gain attention from does not deserve you if he can’t appreciate your nerdy side.”

I smile. That was perfect.

She comes into the family room and plops down on the overstuffed chair across from me with a whoosh of cushions. The bottle cap snaps as she opens it and the fizz bubbles into the air. “I hate you.”

“What?”

“I love the nerdy you,” she says in a fake voice. “Of course you do. You’re seeing me in a non-sexual way—”

“Oh, Jesus, Felicity, please—”

“—but I’m trying to get laid by a hot dude, OK?”

“OK, this subject is over.”

“Yeah, let’s just talk about your current relationship, that’s much better. And you know what, you adopted me at sixteen. It barely counts. I’m your best friend, not your daughter, so stop with the parenting, V. I can’t take it.” She takes a long swig of her water and then wipes her mouth. “Anyway, having me figure out who she is on Twitter for you is one thing. The games you’re playing are not nice. She’s gonna flip out. And all seven thousand members of Dirty Heaven Twitter group will see every bit of it.”

I let out a long breath. I have to admit, playing this game with Grace has really injected some fun into my pathetically boring movie-star life. I have been busy most of the year with production schedules and charity benefits, but most of the sex has been… disappointing. I’ve had no real romantic fun until this past weekend. Grace has got me all distracted and bothered. I hate that she left the island before we could have a real date. Fucking her in the forest is not the same as seducing her and making her submit to me in private. Public is fun, but private has so many, many more options.

“Oh, by the way,” Felicity says, “your douche of a brother called. Says he’s gonna be gone on a business trip for a couple weeks and he’ll pay you when he gets back.”

I make a face at the change in subject. Fucking Conner and his business deal. If my parents knew what he was up to, they’d flip. But I promised not to tell them while he gets it off the ground, and I’m a man of my word.

“What’s that all about, anyway?” Felicity asks.

“Nothing,” I say to stop the conversation. “I don’t want to think about Conner.”

“Well, I’m gonna dig up some info then. I barely know anything about him.”

“Felicity,” I say in my stern father voice. “Do not hack into his stuff, do you hear me? He will know.”

“How’s he gonna know?” she laughs. “I’m careful. You know I’m careful.”

“It’s not ethical, anyway.”

“Pfft,” she says. “Please. You have me hack stuff all the time, V. Like your new girlfriend’s Twitter account? Ringing any bells?”

“That’s harmless fun, Felicity.”

“What I’m doing is harmless too. And it’s fun. For me.” She smiles broadly as she takes a sip of water and it dribbles out of her mouth. “Besides, I’m pretty sure Miss Kinsella will not be thinking it’s so funny when you start playing for real. She’s gonna be mortified. She might change her name and move away to escape the public humiliation you’re about to unleash.”

“It’s not public. It’s her Twitter account. She hides behind that FilthyBlueBird handle for a reason. So no one knows it’s her.”

“Whatever you say, boss.” And then she looks at her watch and gets up. “Well, I’ve got a two PM tennis match scheduled to perfectly coincide with my future man’s football practice so I gotta jet.” She walks over and then leans down to peck me on the cheek. “Later, V.”

“Be good!” I call after her. “And be safe if you’re going to—”

“Vaughn! That’s too far.” She waves me off with her hand as she skips down the hallway and a few seconds later I hear the door to the garage slam.

I sigh. She’s so different from the girl I found sitting in a jail cell a few years ago. Brought in on felony hacking charges after she broke into my production company’s database looking for dirt to sell to online Hollywood tabloid shows. She was living on the streets. No parents, no home. No money. No future.

I wanted to press charges, teach her a lesson and make her pay for it all at the same time. I was still reeling from a lackluster performance in an independent project I had help produce a few months earlier, not to mention the constant headlines in Buzz Hollywood accusing me of living some kind of dark, sordid double life. I wanted to make her pay.

Luckily Samantha talked me out of it after learning what Felicity’s situation was, and I ended up not pressing charges. But I still wanted to teach her a lesson. So I made her work for me as my personal assistant that entire summer and decided to become her foster parent.