The accidential Hacker

Harriet is a struggling painter.. One day she accidentially hacks into someone computer and it turns her whole life upside down

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5. His identity revealed

 

 *Harri POV*

Three days after our Shakespeare night, I suddenly got an email from the Missoni

Galleries. I knew them, of course, they were a fairly well known chain of galleries, 

with a gallery here, one in New York and their head gallery in London and known 

for their pop culture inspired works.

Their email said that they had found some of my work online, unfortunately they

weren't using my professional email (that would be geekfreak@hotmail) they

were using the one I'd used to send pictures to Zac, which was my initials and

age (well it was my age, when set the account up)

I'd left my phone in my studio so I tried the webcam app and surprisingly, Zac

answered almost immediately.

"Darling." I could still see his smile but not much else.

"I just got an email from a gallery asking me to bring some samples of my work

in. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?" I was cross

and it showed.

 "Ah !" Was all he said.

"Ah? Is that all you have to say? You had no right to show those pictures I

emailed, or my site, to anyone without my permission!"

"But you're so talented! You deserve recognition and if I could help you get a

little, I didn't see the problem with that."

"It's because I want to make it on my own, not because you have a friend. Now I'll

always be wondering if my work is good enough or if they were doing you a

favour."

"I see your point but please, darling, let me assure you, they won't take your work

if they don't like it, not even if they do know me and besides, everyone needs a

hand. People helped me get a foot in the door and I was hoping I could do the

same for you. Whether you succeed or fail will be down to you, I just made a

phone call."

I felt like a total bitch now.

"You're right, I'm sorry, I-”

His phone rang

"One second," he said and pushed his chair away from the desk, turning to reach

behind himself for his phone and for a few moments, his face caught the light. It

wasn't much light, probably from a street lamp outside the window, but I knew

that face. The whole frigging world knew that face!

Zac, my Zac, wasn't some jobbing actor, he was Zachary freaking Levi!!!

I closed the webcam app and proceeded to freak out, wandering around my

apartment with my head in my hands, wondering how I had been so blind! I'd

actually sat there and watched him in Less than perfect a few nights ago and discounted

him as being too famous. Why hadn't I noticed his voice? Surely I'd know that

voice anywhere, wouldn't I? I was such an idiot.

Oh, and the email address! I just assumed that the real Zac wouldn't ever use

that name. I mean, why would he? It was a double bluff, because only not-him's

would use that as their email handle. Oh, he was a crafty son of a bitch, that one.

I heard my phone ring a few times but I didn't really notice until it rang while I

was in my studio, where I'd left it. I picked it up and the caller ID said Captain

Hammer.

I couldn't talk to him, not yet so when the call ended, I brought the phone back

into my living room, curled up on the sofa and opened the texts.

He'd already texted me.

 

'Darling, are you all right? It was stupid of me to do anything without

discussing it with you, I'm sorry'

 

'I'm not mad,'I assured him. 'I was about to apologise for over reacting.'

 

'So why disconnect? Why aren't you taking my calls?'

 

'I think I found out something you didn't want me to. I saw your face when you

turned away.'

 

No reply. The silence in my flat seemed to multiply as the minutes ticked by, until

it was almost an oppressive presence.

Was he angry with me now?

'I'm sorry,'I texted. 'I didn't mean to find out that way.'

 

'You aren't angry with me?'

 

'I told you, I was wrong. You were trying to do something nice and I was being

a bitch.'

 

'I mean, you're not anqry that I lied to you?'

 

He thought I was angry about that?

'God no! You must be hounded day and night, I don't blame you for wanting to

stay anonymous. I'm just sorry I found out before you were ready to tell me.'

 

'Well, you would have found out eventually. It's hard to take someone to a play

and not show your face.'

 

'You could have worn a paper bag, then I'd just have gone on in my blissful

ignorance, thinking you were a descendant of John Merrick.'

 

'I'm surprised you didn't realise when I told you about Less than perfect.'

 

'I thought you were a jobbing actor, that there was no way Zachary Levi

would take time out of his day to call little old me. I had you pegged as someone

called Zac McCall actually.'

 

My phone rang and as expected, it was Zac

"Hey." I answered, sounding hesitant.

"Why did you cut the webcam?" he asked

"Because I just found out I've been spilling my guts these last few weeks to one of

my favorite actors and he now knows how big an idiot I am and I needed a

moment to deal." The words came out in one big breath. "I mean, you're Zachary

Freaking Levi, and I hacked your computer, accused you of sleeping with

my mother, insulted you too many times to count and, oh God, you've seen my

paintings of Fandral!"

I wished for the ground to open up and swallow me whole. Unfortunately, the

ground was not obliging.

"That's funny, I could have sworn my middle name Zachary Levi Pugh, even though

 Freaking does make an awesome middlename".

He was so sweet, trying to joke me out of my mortification. Did he really not care

how big of a fool I'd made of myself?

"Well according to my phone, your name is Captain Hammer." Oh God, why did I

have to say that? I'd seen the memes about his 'hammer. I should just shut up

and never speak again. It could open up a whole new career in mime, maybe I'd

be more successful at that.

No, I simply had to get over my embarrassment and try to act like a normal

human being... Wait, did I say normal? I was doomed.

No, he was still just Zac. My Zac. The same Zac I'd happily chatted to through

the duration of Much Ado, the same Zac who called me when he was bored at a

party. The Zac who had sent me that awful meme pun about having a one night

stand but way too many books to fit on it. My Zac was just a normal guy. I could

do this.

"So... were you worried I'd taken straight to twitter or something?"

"A little," he admitted.

"Is that why you didn't want me to know who you were, because you didn't trust

me?"

"No! Lord, no. Well, I didn't trust you in the beginning, I had no clue who you

were, that's why I turned all the lights in here out and taped a little filter over the

web cam lens."

"A filter? That's why your image is so dark?" I smiled. "You're a regular

MacGyver".

"I had some cheap cardboard 3D glasses lying around. It did the trick."

"So why wouldn't you tell me?"

"I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to treat me any differently. Strange as

it may sound, I've come to like the way you insult and belittle me, and I was

worried that would change."

"Have a lot of people changed since you became famous?" I asked.

"Some. People I didn't know that well, they sort of become sycophantic. In the

end I often feel that I am left to choose friends from other famous people and 

while there's nothing wrong with that, I'm aware that our perspective can 

become skewed, and the. close friends and family, and they're great, don't get me 

wrong, but it's kind of hard to think that the few good friends you have now, 

are likely the only ones you'll ever have."

"I can see why meeting new people could be an issue. Of course, if I didn't know

who you were. I'd tell you to suck it up, grow a spine and go out and find yourself

a new buddy.”

I was expecting a laugh but instead he said. "I think I may have found one."

He said it with such feeling that I reacted the same way I do when Kerry tells me

I'm her best friend, I'm moved to have been given such a title by someone as great

as she is.

It had been a long time since I'd forged a new connection that strong with

someone, and it really touched me.

"Oh no, Levi, you do not do that!" I said, my eyes prickling.

"What?" he sounded genuinely perplexed.

"Get all soppy and make me want to cry! I am a hard arse, god damn it, and I do

not let people I've never met make me teary!'

"Well if it helps, I've been your friend for a few weeks now, even if we haven't

met."

I laughed and although there was a little bit of a sob in there too, I think I covered

it, I fanned my face. "Ugh, okay, I think I've got it under control now," I said. "

The danger of blubbing has past, no thanks to you, you charming bastard."

This time he did laugh. "Nah, I think the truth is, you're just a big cry baby. I bet

you probably cried when Bambi's mother died."

"Only a sociopath wouldn't cry over that. I cried at the end of Watership Down

too".

"And Titanic?"

"Yes actually, but not for Jack and Rose."

"Oh?"

"No, near the end, there's a scene where a woman in steerage is trying to settle

her little kids into bed, knowing they can't get out and will all die but trying to

stay brave so her children aren't upset. That made me cry my eyes out. By the

time Jack died I was cried out and like, 'whatever, dude, there was room for both

of you on that door."

He laughed

"Kerry is going to freak when I tell her that my mystery man is you."

"And Kerry is?"

"My best friend. Her company sent her to Paris for two years, so we don't

see much of each other, but we still chat all the time."

"And you've told her about me?" He was using his smooth voice.

"You're so sure of yourself, aren't you? Yes, I told her about the weird freak who

can't leave me alone."

"Uh, excuse me, you hacked my computer, love."

"Accidentally, I swear." Then I realised something. "Did you think I was some

crazed fan who was stalking you?"

"Uh, well, the thought did occur to me."

"Oh god, I'm so sorry! You must have been so worried, I feel like such an idiot."

"Don't worry, darling, as soon as I saw your cheeks turn bright red when you

realised your mistake, I knew you weren't stalking me."

'Yeah, but I insulted you for a good ten minutes before that."

"A gross exaggeration."

"You must have wondered what kind of freak you'd encountered"

"Maybe, but your rant certainly helped prove that it wasn't intentional."

"Now I'm starting to see the possibilities I may have missed though. I mean, if I'd

known it was you, I'd have looked for a sex tape to flog to the tabloids, or sold

your emails to the papers or something."

"That was indeed a missed opportunity," he chuckled. "Sadly though, there is no

sex tape".

"Damn it! I could have been set for life! I mean, you're a celebrity for god's sake,

it's remiss of you not to have made a sex tape! How are hardworking hackers

going to earn a living now?"

'You'll just have to hack the Kardashians."

"Pahlease, you don't need to hack them, they'll show their arses to anyone with a

camera".

Zac didn't even laugh at my joke and he was silent for just a beat too long.

"Zac ?"

"Since we're being honest, I have another confession to make. Well, two actually."

"Okay." What the hell could he have to confess to?

"I didn't show Michael Missoni your website."

 "Okay." He must have shown him the pictures I emailed him.

"No. I had a friend showe him some of your canvasses."

"What!" I sat upright so quickly that I saw stars for a second.

"He ordered those Avengers pictures, I told him of your website and I asked

 him to show rhem to Missoni".

"Your friend is Luke?"

"Luke is his publicist actually, my friend is Tom Hiddleston"

"Okay."

"Is that all you have to say?"

"No." I didn't know what to think. I was pleased that he liked my work enough to

 show it to someone like Tom, and that he had liked it enough to

buy it, but at the same time, mad at the idea it might have been charity.

The silence stretched out between us.

"Harriet, say something, please."

"Don't call me Harriet,"

"Harri then. Talk to me."

"I don't know what to say."

"Tell me how vou feel."

"I feel..." How to explain the maelstrom of emotions I was feeling, was more than

my brain could handle right now. "I feel like its charity," I finally admitted.

"It wasn't charity, darling, I really liked your work and Tom loved it. For the record, 

Mike Missoni did too, or he wouldn't have emailed you."

I didn't reply because I still didn't know which emotion would win.

"I told Tom to show them to Messoni, because I knew he had a

superhero exhibition coming up soon and I thought he might be interested. He

didn't tell him anything about you, other than your email address, and  he left him

to make up his own mind about your work and contacting you."

"Okay.

"And he didn't buy the paintings out of any charitable notions, or because I told him to,

 he bought them because he thought they'd make excellent Christmas presents for the cast."

"Oh God." My reaction should be a lot more severe than that, I should be

hyperventilating at the idea of the Avengers actors actually being sent my

paintings. I think it was just one shock too many and I didn't have the energy to

worry about something else.

"He really liked them?"

"He said that your paintings seemed designed to enrich the senses, and created a

wonderful sense of energy and activity within the canvas. He was quite taken with

them".

"He really said that? You're not making it up?"

"Seriously ? Does that sound like something I would make up ? I swear, he really said that."

"Oh wow." That came out as a breathy sigh and I think my brain literally froze for

a few moments.

"Harri? Harriet? Darling, are you all right?"

I started to cry, which was ridiculous but I couldn't help myself.

"Darling? Darling, please don't cry."

"I can't help it!" I wailed.

"Okay, give me your address, I'm coming round."

"NO!" I tried to get myself under control. I'm an ugly crier, so no way would I let

him see me like this. "They're happy tears," I assured him. "It's just... I've beern

through most of my life never quite measuring up, and not knowing why. Even

when I found out I was dyslexic, it felt like an excuse for my failings, not an

explanation for them. I just... I talk about becoming a great artist but I never

really thought I could be taken seriously. And I know it's silly to take your friend's

words to heart because he hasn't even met me or seen a range of my work but

hearing that someone like Tom actually respected my work.."

"Surely other people have told you your work was good? They must have."

"Sure, but I didn't believe them. My parents would call a doodle high art if I or my

siblings did it, and my friends are just being kind. So were my teachers because

art was almost the only subject I was any good at."

"You seem to spend a lot of your time discounting your abilities."

I shrugged, even although he couldn't see me. At least my tears were drying up

"For some reason, the ability to differentiate there, there and they're was

considered far more important than being able to draw or being good at maths.

People are expected to be bad at those things but being crap at English was the

end of the world."

"I'm sorry you had to go through that, darling, truly I am. But I want you to know.

I will never lie to you and if I think your work is rubbish, I will tell you. And if my

bum looks big in anything, you have to swear to tell me too, okay?"

My laugh came out part sob, but still mostly laughter.

"Well I can't go on a red carpet with a gigantic back side, can I?" he tried to justify

himself.

"I don't think there's anything you could wear that will make your look

unattractive."

"Not even the back end of a donkey costume?"

"You'd make even that look sexy, and you know it."

He laughed. "So, when are you meeting with Mike?"

"Mike?"

"Michael Missoni, the reason you called me and yelled at me earlier."

"Sorry, I'm also crap with remembering names. Um, I haven't replied to him

actually."

"Well. I happen to know he is in his LA gallery currently and I am free for 

most of this week, if you want some moral support."

"Thanks, truly, and for everything, not just your offer to go with me but..."

"You're worried he won't be honest if I m there?"

"Yeah." I admitted. It seemed churlish but I wanted his honest opinion, and I had

a feeling that Zac, given all his charm, could convince him that I was the next Da

Vinci, were he so inclined.

"All right," he agreed, "on one condition."

"Oh, you're setting conditions now, are you?"

"So it would seem. Meet me afterwards for a celebratory drink."

That was very tempting. "But what if it doesn't go well?"

"Then it ll be a commiserative drink."

I really wanted to say yes but if it didn't go well? I didn't want him to see me in

person, looking a blubbering mess.

"Go on, say yes. You know you want to." He taunted me.

"You think you're really hot shit, don't you?"

He burst out laughing. "Is that a yes?"

Yes, fine, I'll meet you afterwards."

"Fantastic! Now you'd better email him back now because I find that I'm getting

impatient to meet you in person."

"Fine. I'll text you the day and time. I assume you know where the gallery is."

"Of course. Are you sure you don't want me to go with you?"

"Positive."

"Do you have a car?"

"I usually take the bus."

"What about your paintings."

Damn, hadn't thought of that. "I have a friend with a small van, I can probably

borrow it for the day."

"Let me take you, darling, I'll wait outside, I promise."

I shook my head at myself. "You could talk the hind legs off a donkey."

"Of course I can, I am an ass's ass." He teased. "So is that a yes?"

"Yes, fine." I might have sounded grudging, but I was grinning

"Wonderful. I look forward to seeing you very soon. Good bye, love.”

"Wait, you're hanging up on me?" I was just getting back to acting normal again.

Besides, I could listen to him all day.

"Always leave them wanting more." He teased. "Now as soon as I hang up, I want

you to call Mike and arrange to take your paintings in."

"Wow, you're really bossy."

"I'm a regular dictator," he answered. "And I wouldn't recommend defying me, 

my punishments can make a grown woman scream."

The tone of voice he used made me think he meant 'scream in pleasure' and it

sent a little thrill down my spine, oh shit did he just say that ?

"Okay."

"Good girl". He purred down the phone line. "Now I'm hanging up."

"Okay."

"Good bye, darling."

"Okay". Seriously, I was a grown woman, so why did he reduce my vocabulary to

one word with such frequency? It was like he bypassed the reasoning areas of my

mind and spoke directly to the primitive cave-woman centre of my brain.

I'm not sure how long I laid there until realised I still had the phone pressed to

my ear, even though he was long gone.

I got up to call the gallery before my courage failed me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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