Can’t even wake up on a Saturday morning without hearing my asshole of a father insulting John and pissing off my mother. She is reaming him out again, but Oh My God why can’t the woman just get the law involved, I mean he’s here like three times a week! He doesn’t even have visitation rights or any real reason to be here and yet he is!
Throwing her freshly written in journal back onto the piece of furniture that was a statement representing her bold personality, the 17-year-old girl put on her glasses, bath robe and slippers, and ran down the stairs for breakfast. To her surprise and delight Penelope found a table full of both food and people. “Princess Penelope!” John half said, half shouted, with an enormous goofy grin as he came over to give his girlfriend’s daughter a big bear hug. Rolling her eyes, but very obviously happy to see her basically-step-dad, Penelope hugged him back just as hard if not harder, before eyeing him, and responding “What the hell are you doing back old man? You are supposed to be in Venice enjoying yourself away from any and all excuses to work!”, “Missed you too much I guess” said john smirking facetiously towards his girlfriend, who did not look any more pleased with him than her daughter, as he ventured back to his seat at the breakfast table. Penelope sat down opposite him and her mother, pretending not to see her grab his backside as he sat down, “What are you really doing back?”, Penelope asked to a jovial and matter of fact reply of “ohhh, Toni called me freaking out because the publishers were on strike, which I could have left him to take care of, but I was having a hard time enjoying my vacation and itching to get back to work anyways.” “mmmmhm” Penelope’s mother said licking her teeth under her lip and raising her eyebrows at her daughter who seemed thoroughly annoyed. “John! You need to stop working for more than three hours! I don’t care if you’re struggling to relax, force yourself, and if you can’t, you need to be seeing someone for that. I understand you enjoy your work, but there needs to be a line, you’re unnecessarily working yourself to the bone. You built yourself a company and life with other people to run day to day things, so that you wouldn’t have to do stuff like this! This is Toni’s Job! And did you cook this breakfast? So not only did you fly home to deal with work, but you didn’t even take a nap, and cooked us a breakfast instead! Ridiculous! Don’t you know that we love you and want you to have some time for you! STOP BEING SELFLESS!” By the end of Penelope’s rant, her basically-stepdad was smiling and shaking his head, while her mother had a satisfied look on her face.
At that moment there was a knock on the door that disturbed the conversation. Rubbing her head in her hands and mumbling “I swear to God if this is my husband…” Penelope’s mother pushed her chair back a little more aggressively than was necessary before starting across the room with an exaggerated swagger of purpose. Looking through the peephole Mrs. St. James gave a sigh that was somewhere between exasperation and satisfaction. “Just the man I was hoping to speak with” she said licking her teeth again as she unlocked and opened the door to let in the sharp looking Italian man reclining against the woodwork of the door, “Toni, my daughter and I would like to have a word with you”, she said, ushering him in with a grim smile. Simultaneously, Penelope pulled up another chair from the counter, and John put out another plate “Join us Toni, you might as well have a last meal before these two murder you with words and looks” “Thank you John I haven’t eaten all morning, and I already know what you lovely ladies are going to say, I didn’t expect this stugots, to give up his entire vacation, and fly all the way back here to solve the problem. I guess I should have seen it coming but, I literally just wanted to ask what I should do, I could have handled it from there. The Fricken publishing agents went on strike because their foreman says that we hire an unfairly large number of writers to that of the number of publishers, and they can’t keep up with the workload. Vic says we have the money, but she won’t sign off on wages for new publishers unless John here signs off on the new positions. I called him to explain and get the sign off so we could go forward with our new horror program, but the idiot decided he needed to speak to the foreman himself to make sure it’s the right thing to do for the company and came back to take over. If he trusted his COO he would have stayed put, but noooo Mr. Fix-It-All had to come back. So, it’s not my fault.”
Now all eyes were on John, where they stayed piercingly for about five minutes of silence, and his own on his plate, before the man of everyone’s keen interest took a deep breath and changed the subject with a forced smile. Clicking his tongue John turned towards his best friend and asked, “Any leads on that other thing?” Toni nodded his head and then shook it towards the door with a grim smile. Still, neither of the girls spoke until the two were outside and the door shut almost cautiously behind them. A little smirk tickled at the corners of Penelope’s mouth as she gave her temple an itch that was more of a communicatory gesture than the action of a physical irritation, yet involuntary none the same, “You know mom, you really couldn’t have more inconsistent taste in men” They both allowed themselves to give a hearty little chuckle, before Rebecca’s smile widened and her response came with a shake of her head, “truer words have never been spoken….” She was grasping for the right words “Your father: he’s a dick, he’s selfish, and scheming, and inconsiderate, my biggest mistake was not leaving him earlier than I did. But hey, one good thing came out of the relationship” she said, gesturing towards her daughter, and giving a loving smile “John on the other hand” Her smile grew wider “He is so sweet and romantic and hardworking and selfless….” She paused and shook her head “too selfless, I love the man to death, but I just wish he could love himself even a fraction as much as he loves us. Did I ever tell you the story of our first date?” Penelope’s mother asked her, blushing a bit as she glanced towards the door behind which the man in question and his best friend were standing discussing some new venture.
Penelope shook her head and said, “Bits and Pieces” Pretending like she had not been waiting to hear the whole story since that day four years prior when her mother had been up at six in the morning singing, cleaning, and cooking breakfast, in pure joy from whatever it was that she had done the night before. “Well, you know how we met right?” Penelope nodded her head thoughtfully, “You were at a bar after a fight with dad, and Toni was there with Vic. They both started hitting on you, but they were respectful and interesting enough to draw you in. The three of you talked for the whole night and Vic wanted to take you home” She said this with a little chuckle “but Toni could tell that you weren’t really interested in either of them in that way, and he said right off the bat he could tell you were perfect for John, so he set the two of you up the next night. It that…. Is that right?” “Almost, only it wasn’t Vic, she’s too much of a prude to go to a bar and hit on some girl with Toni. No, it was Lilly that was hitting on me, and Bill was with them too, but he was too busy checking out the hunky bar tender to even notice me. And you know what, I’ll tell you a little secret The whole thing was a circle, because my eyes kept wandering to Bill’s backside.” At this Penelope’s mouth opened in mocking exasperation “Mom! He’s ten years younger than you and openly gay” “Oh shut up! Anyways, so yeah, I gave Toni my number for John, and I was certain he had given my number to Lilly and I would be getting a call from her asking me out, and that he had made John up to get my number, but sure enough the next day I got a call from the owner and CEO of Miami Novella Inc. The man on the other end of the call said his name was John Veritolze and asked if he could speak to one miss Rebecca St. James. I was so caught off guard I quickly said, ‘She’s not here right now’ and hung up. You can imagine how embarrassed I was at that point, but luckily, I had caller ID on him, so I added his name to my phone, composed myself and called him back. I had to have apologized at least fifteen times, before letting him speak, at which point he invited me to a candlelit dinner at his place. He was so detail oriented and matter of fact about the whole thing, I had to scramble to right down the details he was listing off. He said he would pick me up at six sharp, and that he would be in a dark green suit, so to dress however I saw fit. He then told me that I didn’t need to bring anything, but if I wanted to bring a bottle of my favorite wine, we would be having Chicken Bruschetta. It took me about ten minutes to gather myself and realize what had just happened. A handsome, and from what I could tell, romantic businessman had just invited me to a fancy dinner of my favorite meal, which I still have no idea how he found out. What more I was still dressed in a waitress uniform and I had two hours to get ready before he would be picking me up.”
Becca continued her story more rapidly than before “I spent the whole afternoon rushing around getting ready for my first big date since your dad. Luckily (and no offense to you), you were at your fathers for the weekend, so I didn’t have to worry about feeding you or you poking at me for details about what I was doing. I wore a white dress to match the green suit and did my makeup, hair and nails, (And they looked pretty good too If I do say so myself), and I was just barely ready when I looked out the window and then down at my phone and realized he had been waiting in the driveway for me for over ten minutes. I rushed downstairs and almost broke my ankle on the way. I was fixing my shoe as I crossed the street to him. He didn’t laugh or get mad, he just smiled his usual understanding mysterious smile, which I very quickly learned to love, as he opened the door for me, and apologized for making me feel so rushed. When we got back to his house he did that thing that I thought you only saw in the movies where he rushed out of the car, quick enough to get to my door before I could open it, but not so quick that he looked awkward or rushed, the tail of his suit coat billowing out in his own tailwind as he elegantly opened the door for me, bowing deliberately and holding my fingertips in the palm of his hand to gently pull me onto my feet, and slip my head right past the low ceiling. This was just the beginning, for when we got into his small fancy apartment, love songs were playing low from somewhere undenounced to me, the lights were turned down just low enough to create a romantic ambiance, and there was a white rose pedal path, neatly lain leading up to a candle lit two-person dinner table. He pulled my seat out before taking the wine from me and pouring us each a glass of it. After we ate, he led me out onto the large back lawn which he had reserved for the night and set up a projector and screen large enough for one hundred or more people to watch. There was a bin full of blankets pillows and snacks to last us years, and when we got comfortable, he told me I could pick the movie. And that was only the first date.”
Just as Becca’s mother began to blush much harder than before, her boyfriend came back in to the house alone looking very satisfied with himself. “What’s with you? And where did your boyfriend go” Penelope asked her basically-stepdad as he sat back down, and her mother composed herself from the embarrassment of whatever memory had come to her mind from the conversation. “Ohhh, he had a meeting with Bill about the new hires.” John said whimsically as he finished his breakfast, but by the time he looked up again all eyes were on him for the second time of that day, and his girlfriend who had apparently managed to compose herself was now looking highly suspicious. “Soo, why are you dodging my daughter’s other question John?” Becca asked her boyfriend eying him ever so suspiciously and succumbing once more to her habit of licking her teeth. “Dodging? I’m not dodging anything.” John replied with a sly smile, “You know who is good at dodging is Mikey, I saw him playing dodgeball the other day with the other kids and…” but his girlfriend cut him off abruptly “Johnathan Frank Veritolze! What the hell is going on? Why are you dodging our questions and why did Toni just pull you aside like some capo telling his boss he made the hit and then just up and leave. Oh, and another thing, since when does Toni drop by our house and then have a meeting at bumblefuck early in the morning. Something’s going on and we want answers!” Even Penelope was surprised at this for it was usually her who had these rants and not her mother. Generally, Becca sat back with a satisfied smile and nodded as her daughter tore people new ones, but it seemed that this time Mrs. St. James was just not having it. “Ok, I can see you really care about this, so I’ll explain. Remember a few months ago when we talked about how suspicious Oliver was being?” She didn’t know about her mother, but Penelope could sure remember this. Her father had been remotely hacking into just about everything of hers, and no matter how many times she changed the passwords at that. She was certain that it was her father because she constantly got notifications from various apps, and accounts that somebody had signed in on another device and soon after he would know things about her that she had never told him. He had also never given them any clarity as to where he worked, as the story used to bounce around from Microsoft to Samsung to whatever else. Finally, when she had been with her father for a day, she had caught a glimpse of his banking app and the number was multiple zeroes larger than it should have been based on the ballpark salary he told them he got. John, Penelope and Becca had discussed this oddity at length, sharing their hatred for the man and each coming up with their own theories as to what was behind it, but the whole incident had stuck in her head. “Yes, what about it?” Becca responded looking more suspiciously at her boyfriend but also ever more delighted at where this was going. “I don’t want to give you any details yet in case it doesn’t pan out, but I have had Toni looking into Oliver and it seems like he has been getting involved in some pretty shady shit. Toni has a lot of connections, and we may be able to take him down with this stuff, but I don’t know yet so don’t get your hopes up.” By the time John was finished speaking a smile had cracked open Penelope’s face “So what I’m hearing is that you and Toni think you can put my asshole father behind bars, and out of our lives.”
One might think that this breakfast left for an awkward day, but in fact all Penelope and Becca heard from John that morning was that he and Toni had dirt on the bad guy and were going to take him down. It was a Saturday and during the summer at that, plus John was supposed to be on vacation anyways, so the three spent the day making merriment. First Penelope giggling as he playfully struggled, dragged John to the couch and play tackled him to it telling him that if he didn’t take the nap that he deserved she would fill all his socks with toothpaste. Once Penelope was satisfied that her basically-stepdad was resting, her and her mother cleaned up breakfast and planned some activities for the rest of the day. They would give John some time to rest, letting him wake up on his own, and then they would pack lunches and snacks into the daypacks for a hike up a mountain nearby and a nice Picnic at the top. After that, depending on what time it was, they would head back home to get cleaned and changed up, and possibly hang out there before taking john to his favorite restaurant, the Roasted Clove, a local Italian restaurant owned by Toni’s uncle. Finally, the three would come home for a family movie night with popcorn candy and soda. The day went according to plan, and everyone went to bed content, and wondering what Toni might dig up on their good pal Oliver in the near future.
“Penelope get up you’re coming with me!” Penelope heard a voice from somewhere nearby and woke up startled and angry, “What the Fuck are you doing in my bedroom dad, get the fuck away from me!”, Oliver seemed completely unphased by how rightly furious his daughter was to find him in her bedroom this early in the morning, “don’t you talk to me like that girl, I don’t feel right about your mom’s new boy toy, so I am taking you away from him.”, but she retorted with venom “The fuck you are you lunatic! You are an excuse for a father, an excuse for a husband, an excuse for a man! You have no power over me! Mom has custody, we have officially moved in with John and are done with you. You will not speak to me like I am your young child and expect respect that you do not deserve. Do us all a favor and sign the divorce papers and never speak to any of us again”, Penelope had had enough and said the last bit literally spitting with rage and pushing her father in the chest. “Just as Penelope went to push her father again, John came whipping around the corner looking just as furious, but a lot more resolute. Penelope’s basically-stepdad grabbed the back of the collar of her bio-dad's shirt and dragged him down the stairs and into the driveway. By the time the pair had reached their destination a spot right in the center of the driveway, Becca was with her daughter watching out of Penelope’s window. Even as John threw Oliver onto the pavement and he landed on his elbows, scraping them and having the wind knocked out of him, he still looked as arrogant as ever, and spat at John’s feet. It wasn’t until John picked him up by the collar, brought him close, and said something that the girls couldn’t hear, when the asshole’s demeanor changed. In a matter of seconds Oliver’s entire face had changed from that of a man with the universe as his plaything, to that of one scared for his life.
John went back to business-as-usual mere seconds after scaring the living daylights out of the husband of his lover, and Becca spent the day pestering him about what he said, that did so, but it took until late that afternoon for Penelope to calm down from the rage at waking up to her relentless father standing in her room, ordering her to come with him as if she were a child in his care. “I mean, how the hell did he even get into the house. We changed the locks last month, didn’t we? And I know I locked up last night. He had to have literally broken in! Is he off his fucking rocker?” Penelope shouted the last bit throwing her grilled cheese sandwich down in frustration. “The more important question is what you said to him that scared him so much John!”, Becca responded, eyeing her boyfriend grudgingly, apparently oblivious to her daughter’s continued frustration. The man was not perturbed, nor amused by this question, instead a steady, calm, knowing smile held his face as he repeated, “I’ve already told you, I just said that I knew about Uoykcuf. It’s a name Toni dug up relating to some shady shit that he was involved in, we have no idea what it means yet. However, judging by how scared he was, I’m guessing it’s a good lead.” He said all this with a look so far in the distance, one may think he was alone in the room having a conversation with his own mind. “I think I’ll call Toni, and tell him about this new development, and then.... I’ll make you ladies some hot tea.” He seemed to be coming back to the conversation with his girlfriend and her daughter, as he placed a hand on Becca’s, and turned his gaze back towards them. Please don’t worry yourselves about this. I can’t make any promises as to taking him down, but I can promise that I will not allow Oliver St. James in this home. Although, I have a pretty good feeling that after our conversation this morning he won’t be trying to get back in for a while.” Everyone finished their lunches, and the rest of the day was spent relaxing before the coming work week.
Monday morning, Penelope woke up at six AM, and although she could not see or hear him, she knew her basically-stepdad would be doing the same. Penelope worked as a junior writer for the writing agent at MNI, and as they have the same schedule, Penelope rode in to work with John everyday. Becca managed a small diner in town that didn’t open until eleven, so she didn’t need to get up until later. Out of decency, the two got up quietly at six every morning and got ready for work. Once they were ready Penelope would practice her typing while John cooked breakfast, so that by the time Becca got up at eight, food was on the table, and the three could eat as a family, before John and Penelope left for an eight-thirty shift, and Becca got ready herself. Today was a good day for Penelope. A good day? A great day was more like it. Penelope new from John that Toni was rolling out a new horror program, but she expected that Lilly would be putting only the most experienced writers on it, as the company’s reputation in the horror genre was banking on it. As the writing agent, Lilly would oversee the first stage of the project, the actual writing, then it would be passed onto editing, and then onto Bill for publishing, and then advertising, and finally retail. However, that whole process was Toni’s job to worry about, all Penelope, or any of the junior writers for that matter cared about was coming up with prompts and ideas for the experienced writers, as that would most likely be her assignment. However, this did not end up being the case. Penelope had only been in the office for about twenty minutes when Lilly’s assistant Sam approached her with her assignment on the new project. Penelope could hardly believe her eyes, It seemed she would be writing two of the books for the project. “Does this mean...? Am I...?”, Penelope asked her boss, holding out the assignment folder as she leaned uneasily on the frame of her office door. Lilly smiled and nodded her head “Yes Penny, you are a writer now, unfortunately we don’t have any open offices for you, so you will have to stay at your desk in the main office, and the junior writers, as you know, will be prioritized to the more experienced writers so you will have to do most of your own brainstorming and clerical work, but you will be receiving a pay raise, and full-time assignments effective immediately. I know that two whole books on the same project is a lot for a newly minted writer, but I have seen your work and I know you can do it.” The rest of the day was full of elated, productivity for the young girl. By the time her shift had ended at six, Penelope had written five chapters of her first book, and she rode home on the coattails of self-satisfaction.
“Mom! Guess what!”, Penelope was hardly in the door when she was shouting her news to her mother, “I got promoted! I’m a full writer, and I have a two-book assignment on the new horror project.” According to her face, it took Becca a few seconds to register what her daughter was telling her. “Y-y-you.... you’re a writer. You’re a writer! My daughter is a writer! My Penelope is an author at only 17 years old!” At this point Becca was shouting with joy, as she crossed the room to hug her daughter, huge grin’s cracking both of their faces. An enormous smile had also crossed the face of John who had silently followed his basically-stepdaughter into the room. “Guess what else? Penelope said after a few minutes of enjoying the hug, as she held her mother at arm's length, and looked from Becca to John. “In my excitement today, I wrote five whole chapters, that’s sixteen-thousand words in one shift, eighteen-hundred words an hour, thirty words a minute! That’s a faster creative writing speed than Fricken Stephen King, who shits out books like a rat in a library. I mean I know that it was just a writer’s high from being put on a full-time project, but I already had a certain pride in my naturally fast writing, and this just made me feel like I was fucking walking on clouds.” The night was spent partying, laughing, gaming, eating, drinking, and just enjoying their time together. For that night, there was no thought of lost vacations, or asshole fathers, or any of the tribulations of the outside world. For that night they were a family and that was enough. They were a couple madly in love, with a teenage daughter who admired that loved, and received just as much from them both. That night was love.
The next few weeks were spent following the same, happy, eventful routine in which Penelope would come home from work ranting happily about her writings for the day, Becca would have some funny story from the diner, and John would share in a hopefully manor that his best friend was getting ever closer to uncovering whatever the fuck skeleton was in Mr. St. James’s closet. They were living comfortably off the salaries of a small-town CEO, Manager, and Author, and every day they would rotate turns cooking breakfast and dinner. Every weekend the family would enjoy their time with one another, playing games and watching movies, and going to movie theaters, and mini golfing, and the mall, and the zoo. Yet still ever in the backs of all of their minds, was the fear, frustration, and curiosity of what Oliver might be planning and hiding, and the hope that Toni would be able to pull something worth something up on him. It wasn’t until the fourth week after the incident with Oliver, and Penelope’s promotion that anything of note happened. Penelope was cooking dinner on a Friday night when there was a knock on the door. “Tell him to come in, it’s Toni!” Penelope heard John shout from the other room, just as she was about to step away from the stove to see who it was. “Come In!” Penelope shouted at the door as she stepped back over to the Chicken Picatta cooking in her mother's favorite cast iron pan, “Will you be joining us for dinner?” Penelope asked without turning around as she heard the door close behind Toni. “Not what I came for, are you offering?” Toni responded, with a tone of voice that suggested that he had something he was dying to tell. “There’s plenty, but you’re helping clean up after” Penelope said, finally turning to face the man as a hardly daringly hopeful smile played at her lips “You’ve come with big news on the case about my father haven’t you?”. Now Toni looked about ready to pop from excitement, and it seemed to take just about every bit of his effort to restrain himself from letting all the news out right then and there, “Why don’t we wait for John and your mother.” So it was that Penelope finished cooking, and the four sat down to eat before Toni spilled the beans.
It appeared that Uoykcuf was an infamous hacker on the FBI’s most wanted list, and as it turned out, either an alias, or an accomplice of one Oliver St. James. “Dad’s a super hacker?” Penelope asked, looking shocked from one person to another across the table. “Yes, and I have proof. Our tech guy at the company, is working towards a career in security analyzing and has been doing some off the books work for me. He’s quite the diamond in the rough, when it comes to coding, and more specifically, tracking other coders, because he has been able to do what the FBI hasn’t. Jim has not only followed but documented your father’s extremely elusive digital footprint connecting him to a crime committed under the alias, which legally connects him to the rest. Now the problem is that someone like that is going to be well connected beyond what we know. He is going to find ways to pose this as faked, and he is going to find a lawyer better than anything we can find. Our main goal should be to stay undetected on this until we have a lawyer and we have put together a case and a plan. So, both for the practicality of the mission, and all our safety, we must not speak of this outside of this table. Do you all understand that?” The three nodded, but they couldn’t help themselves from smiling, for they knew that there was a lot of logistics to work out and work to do, but everyone at that table knew what the verdict of the conversation was. They had won. Oliver St. James was going down.
The next few days were spent anxiously waiting for Toni to find more proof and the right lawyer, and John to compile a contingency plan for if things didn’t go their way in court. In the end it took a week for the four to feel that they had covered all their bases. Toni had pulled a lot of favors, and John, most of his savings, both personal, and professional to get a high-end lawyer to fly in from New York for the case. They would speak to him more in person to come up with a court plan, but for the time being it was to appeal for a same day hearing, so that he doesn’t have time to make up alibies, and then present the hard evidence with three witnesses that Toni had found through hard digging through online channels, under the pretense that his criminality was indisputable. As soon as John, Toni, and the lawyer had gone to court, the girls would start spreading the word, through any forum they could find, that Oliver St. James was the super hacker known as Uoykcuf, so that he would have no safe place to hide, and neither would any trace of his crimes. If the case didn’t go as planned, MNI would make a press-conference, announcing that they were in full assurance that the rumors about Oliver St. James were true, and that he conned his way out of the court room. From there, they would all watch his life be destroyed, and hope that some private coders would find some sort of new hard evidence, and that those who believed in the theories and in MNI, would never stop trying new cases against the man. From that day on, these four people were at official war with Penelope’s father, and while Toni was the face of the operation, John was calling the shots, and he wasn’t doing it just out of personal hatred for the man. One night John pulled Becca aside to let her know that he loved her with all his heart, and that although he knew that he did not need to prove his love for her, this mission was the perfect opportunity for him to channel that pure passionate love. John had been watching as Oliver played with the lives of Becca and her daughter for years, and he had been cooking up a way to take him down all the while. He knew it probably wasn’t the healthiest process of protection in the name of love, but to the St. James girls, John was acting as a knight in shining armor, and Oliver was the evil dragon of the story. Toni was John’s great and trusty sword, and the Knight was about to sweep him through the air with a burning hot love-filled rage at the mighty plague upon the kingdom.
David Priceman was an upscale New York Lawyer acclaimed for successfully prosecuting fifty-two different super-hackers, ten of which being on the FBI’s most wanted list, brought in by the agency’s top men and women. As they were not Law enforcement, these men could not get their enemy arrested and on trial themselves, but they had the proof to bring to the authorities, and Dave had the leverage in the court system to prosecute him. This was exactly what they did: Dave got in Friday night, and John cooked a big dinner of spinach and garlic tortellini with an oil and butter sauce. The Lawyer stayed with Toni for the remainder of his time in Miami, and the next morning Toni and John went to the local police precinct with all of their evidence prepared to make an official accusation, and Dave representing them. Over the course of the night that he came in and the next morning, the lawyer had gone tirelessly thought all of the evidence with his clients, refining their claims and formulating his legal plans. Despite all three men leaning on the officers of the precinct and very clearly and carefully presenting their accusation, the lieutenant told them that they would have to compare the notes from their discussion with information of active cases of theirs, and the FIB’s, and call them back. After another week of waiting and wondering how “hush hush” the police were able to keep this, Dave got a call from a special agent of the FBI. It appeared that the MPD had made an executive decision that this case was national jurisdiction, and called the FBI to get more information. To none of their surprise the FBI had an active case on the hacker Uoykcuf, but no clear suspects, and the information provided them indirectly by David in representation of Toni and John was enough to make a connection between him and Oliver. The Special agent in charge of the case had called David to let him know that he was currently petitioning for a warrant of arrest with no chance of bail from the Florida Supreme Court, and once they got a court date, hopefully soon, they wanted him to prosecute for them.
The next day the court date was set. They were wishing way too hopefully asking for a same day hearing, but luckily, they got one in only a month. The warrant was signed alongside the setting of the court date, and by the end of the week Penelope’s father was in FBI holding. One month later John, Toni, and David clad in their finest business suits rode in Toni’s car to the hearing of Oliver Saint James Versus the State of Florida. Just as the hearing began Becca and Penelope began plastering their large social media platforms, and calling every news agency they could get a hold of saying that Oliver Saint James was the super hacker known as Uoykcuf, and currently being taken down in court. In the end the case took ten days, and the jury brought back a unanimous guilty verdict on one hundred and five counts of “computer hacking” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, five counts of Grand larceny, and one count of high treason, to which the judge gave him two consecutive life sentences.
They did it! The family had finally officially won, David took his leave of them all after much celebration, Becca was granted a divorce despite her husband’s refusal to sign the paperwork on grounds of his life sentence. Being free to do so, Becca married John, taking his last name and they became the Veritolze family. Without Oliver in their lives, and newly wed, the young couple became the leaders of a new great world. They grew their family, their businesses and the community. The friend group all kept in touch and slowly found love. Lilly married a woman named Dominique, and they adopted three young boys from Africa whom they renamed Bill, Toni and John after their best friends , Vic married a man named Kevin, Toni married Bill, Becca and John had a son named Pete, and Penelope met a boy named Vinny whom she later married and had four kids with named Valerie, Donna, Alexandra, and Fredrick. John and Becca’s relationship was inspirational to those around them, and by their old age they were being asked what their secret was. It didn’t matter who was being asked, it was always the same answer “Love isn’t a question, it’s an answer”. Around Ten years later John started the tradition of every first Sunday of the month being family and friends’ day with a big dinner, and an even bigger game night. Every year their was a sort of friendly competition between Becca and John to see whom could come up with the bigger romantic gift or surprise. Although one may think so, this was not just a showmanship thing, as it got extremely personal, and nobody but the friend’s and family knew about it. One year John had thirteen books written about their relationship but published under all fictional names, and didn’t show her until Christmas morning. Another year Becca bought the title of a star and had it named after John and a plaque put up in his office while he was away on a business trip. Their children followed suit in this tradition and so did their friends. If you asked any couple in the vicinity of the Veritolze family they would tell you they learned the meaning of love from John and Becca. Love was not all that was thriving, so was business. Becca bought out the diner she managed, and both MNI and the muffin corner became large chains across the state of Florida, spreading the message of art, love and morality. The Young Penelope and her family settled down, and MNI became the family business as she took over the writing outfit, and her own children began to work it. And so it was that Love was not only the hacker’s demise, but the hacker’s demise was a spark for love.
My name is Donna Veritolze, I am 70 years old and this is the story of my mother Penelope. I pieced this together from stories I heard from my childhood, records of what happened in the past, and accounts from my mother’s actual journals which I found in the attic. My Nono and Nona Veritolze are a legacy of love. I am gratefully to say that I was blessed with a family that understands the meaning of the word love. I now have my own grandchild whom I hope to pass this story down to. So, this is to you Veronica Veritolze when you are old enough, I have asked your parents to share this with you and whatever brothers sisters and cousins you may have. This is the story of your ancestors, of your family, of love, I hope that you will pass it on.
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