The internet is huge. But not huge enough for Ava to never meet her soul-mate. When Ava comes across the blog of someone with the pen-name 'retrac', somehow her life is transformed. With one simple message, a new love begins to blossom between two very different people. But whilst these two internet-crossed lovers exchange messages, a normal family gets along with their everyday life, just down the street. But behind every perfect scene, is a fault. What hides behind the darkness of the computer screen?


18. Isabel


As soon as Ben has been picked up to go to his friend's house (turns out he doesn't want to spend a whole day with me), I track down Carter's computer that Ben was playing on earlier. Hands moving swiftly across the keyboard, I type out his password. It's not long before the screen loads and I'm onto his desktop. So much covers the page and I don't know where to start. I've wanted to know the truth since Ben slipped his password, and whether he really has been going to these work meetings. Or not.

Flicking through files and documents, nothing gives a hint to what he's been up to. Even his email shows nothing. I sigh, head in hands. Maybe I should just confront him about it. Maybe I'm just worrying for nothing.

Giving up, I look at my watch. 9:30. He's going to be back soon anyway. Hopefully. I better start ordering the weekly shopping for tomorrow, as we're running out of food. I blame it on the kids; they're growing up too fast.

But when I click on internet explorer, a peculiar site appears. The word 'retrac' covers the front page, a blur of multicoloured letters. Creeped out, I'm about to type 'ocado' into the search bar to continue with shopping, but then I see something popping out at me. At the top of the page a button flashes.

*Chat here*

*One new message*

*Chat here*

*One new message*

What the hell even is this?

Shrugging it off, I go to press the button anyway. It's not like it's going to make a difference. It's just a stupid, stupid...

My breath hitches. I glare at the screen. The letters, words, sentences reach out at me, strangling me inside till I feel like I can't


Scrolling up and down, I see her name over and over and over again.

Ava. Ava. Ava. Ava. Ava.

Oh my gosh. My husband has been speaking with our BABYSITTER.

My mind flashes back to the night when she entered, awkward as ever. The way Carter froze in her presence. Hah, no wonder the breath of my voice hung in the air like someone's life was at stake. BECAUSE IT WAS MINE. 

MY life was at stake. Because whilst he's been going around sending all these messages, he thinks he can get away with it. That nooo, someone like me will never find out what he's up to behind closed doors. But I've had enough. She's fifteen - FIFTEEN. And he's going about pretending he's some little kid as well.

My body shakes, vibrates, repels all the signs that I should just punch in the screen of his frickin computer. But then I let my head fall into my hands and the tears are already pouring, steaming down my face. How could he do this to me? 25 years of marriage and now I feel like it's for nothing. He lied to me. He frickin cheated on me with a fifteen-year-old. How could someone do that and not feel an ounce of regret? 

My cheeks redden as I click the button to the printer and wait for it load, my knee jogging up and down impatiently. C'mon. Just print the frickin messages and I'll have proof it was all his fault that we ended.

The pages print, but not quick enough. Soon enough the headlights of his car are flashing through the blinds, flooding light into the darkest of rooms, the darkest of hearts. Hands shaking, I lift the vibrating papers, fingers to my forehead. 

I can do this.

I can't take this pain any longer.

So as he unlocks the key to the door and heads inside, I'm waiting. Right before him. Papers clutched in my shaking hands, tears staining my cheeks.


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