As soon as she saw the flight information, Carolyn made a decision. This was the plane she would book, regardless of her doubts about whether it was the wise thing to do. Would another opportunity ever present itself? Definitely not. Seeing the transfer location on her laptop screen made her giddy. She didn’t even know if he would be willing to meet her. There was even a good chance she would spend the transfer time at the airport, daydreaming about what could have been. But she was getting ahead of herself. She clicked on the flight and filled in the forms. When she confirmed the payment, she felt a familiar stir in her crotch.
Oh my, I’m already getting horny with just the idea.
She looked at the clock on her menu bar. It was too early to go online. He wouldn’t be there. She messaged her sister in Berlin about her arrival time. Lorrie soon replied that she was excited about Carolyn coming to visit her. She asked why Carolyn wasn’t flying directly.
“It’s much cheaper,” Carolyn lied. “And spending half a day in Amsterdam isn’t that bad, is it?”
Lorrie agreed with her, but Carolyn didn’t feel right lying to her sister—even though she realised she was actually smiling while she typed it. The secrecy added to her excitement. She pictured herself in his arms, feeling his skin, smelling him and tasting him.
Oh god . . .
She took her laptop upstairs to the bedroom. She positioned herself on the bed as she often did, lying on her belly, the laptop open in front of her, one hand on the keyboard, and the other between her legs. She flicked her finger over the trackpad, going through her so-called secret files. She had buried them in a folder called Temp Reports, which was a sub-sub-sub-folder of a document folder she used for her administrative work at the local primary school. Tim was a jealous husband; he didn’t like her spending so much time on the computer. He was always suspicious and trying to peek at what she was doing. Over the years, she’d become very adept at keeping The Box hidden from him. Her excuse to Tim for the time she spent on her laptop in the evening was her love for music. She had even shown him the website she said she frequented, a place where people would post songs they loved and chat about it. It was true that she had an account on that site and that she was a music lover, but most of her time online she spent visiting The Box. She knew she was in there too much. It was a double life of sorts. It was an addiction. She had quit a few times over the years, but soon enough she had reinstalled the software and logged on again.
Scrolling through the secret folder, she found the video file. Only last year she’d found out about the possibility that enabled her to record her screen. The first time she tried it out was when she spent a private hour with him. They had gone to one of his rooms, and for the first time since they had met, they had virtual sex. She opened that recording and started watching.
The Box was a visual chat environment. You needed to download a client interface to get access and be able to move around in its world. It was actually a 2D predecessor of Second Life, but quite advanced when it was set up during the nineties. People frequenting The Box remained loyal to it long after Second Life had appeared. To Carolyn, it was like a favourite local pub where you always end up and probably will for the rest of your life. The smart thing about The Box was that users were able to create their own Homes in which they could make rooms decorated with picture backgrounds of their own choosing. Users who built and managed them were called Prodigies, and they knew the code The Box was written in. It was a basic computer language anyone could learn. Even Carolyn, who had no interest in computer science, had learned a few things over the years. She was able to create her own rooms, decorate them, and write simple programs for certain user interaction. Her speciality was making and distributing avatars. The Box interface offered standard sets of avatars, all very childish and cartoonish. In the adult Homes, people used cut-out sexy pictures of celebrities and models. Looking for good pictures and creating avatars out of them had become a hobby of hers. She could browse the Internet for hours, collecting and downloading them, cutting them out in Photoshop and converting them so they would work within The Box interface.
Needless to say, the adult Homes had become places where people celebrated their sexual desires. For some, it was an extension of their real lifestyle; for others like Carolyn, it was only virtual. There were Homes for everyone: vanilla, BDSM, gay and lesbian, goth, transgender, you name it. There were even Homes that were dedicated to something called Wrath. It was a lifestyle based on a series of fantasy novels about an SM-like society where masters enslaved their submissives. There was a strict set of rules about how to behave in any situation. Carolyn had visited one of these Homes a few times out of curiosity. The people in there were actually very friendly, and one master had explained Wrath and its history to her. He was extremely serious about it all, and she had laughed out loud behind her laptop. To her, this was just nuts. She herself was vanilla without a doubt, although she had to admit she had a healthy curiosity for BDSM.
Homes would come and go. One year a Home could be immensely popular, and suddenly it would just be dead. Homeowners would often get into an argument and split up into new Homes, taking their visitors with them. It was like real life. Friendships and relationships bloomed and withered. There were fights and betrayals, but also a lot of fun and a lot of sex. Some people in The Box knew each other in real life, some were married or siblings, but most were in there to remain anonymous, hiding behind their usernames and avatars, living a double life.