Chat Room Romance

Part 1

by Lady Ragnall

Erika sighed with relief as she walked through the front door of her apartment. All she could think of was getting out of her shoes and settling into a warm bath. Her fingertips rubbed her temples to alleviate the headache that had been brewing since her boss first entered her lab this morning.

"Maybe I'll get lucky and draw his name for Christmas so I can present him with his own dictionary. I swear the man has no idea of the meaning of the word patience," she said to herself as she walked into her bathroom and ran a tub of hot water. Feeling like treating herself to something nice, she added some bubble bath for good measure.

Erika finished undressing and put on her robe; noticing the tub was full she turned the water off. Reaching into the medicine cabinet she grabbed a bottle of aspirin and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. She shook out two little pills and placed them in her mouth, grimacing at the taste as she quickly washed them down with the clear liquid. Shaking her head to the remaining aftertaste, she made her way back to the bathroom and within minutes was closing her eyes as she settled back against the tub.

The aggravations of the day began to fade away as she felt her body relax. She decided to think only of things that would make her smile. Rusty of course was first to come to mind, as was the thought of a certain Lieutenant. The first brought her a feeling of maternal joy but the latter a feeling of something else. Erika could feel the blush come into her cheeks as she allowed her mind to wonder about the man behind the machine, so to speak.

He was handsome and smart. She chuckled as she thought about his quick wit and smiled at the memory of his sweet shyness. Sometimes she wished that he would notice her as more than just "Doc Slate" but had long ago given up on that possibility. With a sigh she resigned herself to the knowledge that, like herself, Lieutenant Dwayne Hunter was married to the job. Not only was he a career military man, but the human factor for the BGY-11 Project as well. His loyalty to his country would by far outweigh anyone or anything else in his life.

Not liking the way her thoughts had turned, Erika went about finishing her bath. She stepped out of the tub and was relieved to notice that her headache had gone away. Drying off and slipping back into her robe, she decided to put on a pot of water for some tea, then return to her room to change into her pajamas.

Hearing the teapot whistle several minutes later, she went about preparing a cup of the relaxing brew. That done, she returned to her living room and, grabbing her laptop from the counter, she settled down at the end of her couch. Erika sank back against the soft cushions and pulled her legs up under her as she opened the mini computer. She took a sip of her tea as she typed in her screen name 'Jane Austen' and waited for her system to connect.

"You've got mail," was the first thing she heard as the system came online. A smile crossed her face as she checked her mail. Most of it was from lighthearted joke sites that she had subscribed to, along with some scientific ones too. Erika didn't have many friends and her family rarely kept in contact with her.

After sorting through it all she decided to join one of the many singles chat rooms that was available. It wasn't something that she normally did, considering how cautious one had to be when meeting new people, but every now and again it gave her an opportunity to let her other side shine through.


Dwayne was bored. He was standing at the railing of the carrier, looking at the ocean surrounding him from all sides. There had been no major crisis for the Big Guy to handle lately and since they had the extra time on their hands he was in tip-top shape as well, each taking turns to leave the ship and visit with family and friends away from the SS Dark Horse. Because of the importance of the BGY-11 Program to the nation's defense it was standard procedure to have at least three members of the crew available at all times.

Dwayne had chosen to be last to take a leave. As much as he wanted to see Darlene and Jeffy he knew that Garth, Jo and even crusty old Mack needed the break just as much as he did. Their jobs gave them little time for a real life beyond this hulking ship so any chance they got to rejoin the real world was precious in itself.

Garth won out in a straw-drawing contest and was the first one to go. His home state was Virginia and he couldn't wait to get home and see his mom and dad. Dwayne had wished him well, while secretly envying him of his opportunity to see his parents, his own having died while he'd been away at boot camp and Darlene was a senior in high school.

Shaking his head to the sad memories he decided to try and focus on something happier instead. Suddenly his thoughts were filled with the picture of a pretty brunette. She was more than pretty, Dwayne thought with a smile. Erika was beautiful inside and out. His attention was drawn to the stars as he wondered what she was doing tonight

'Probably working some highly scientific math equation or something,' he thought to himself. 'She has the brains to go along with the beauty, all right.'

There had been many a time that he had wanted to ask her out but decided at the last minute against it. What could she ever possibly see in him? He could offer her no future, no family. Not that he was even sure of what she wanted in her future. Yes, she nurtured and cared for Rusty, but that was different. The boy robot was her creation. For all he knew and could tell she was too engrossed in her career to think of anything beyond that.

"Oh well, Hunter. No sense in dwelling over what will ever be. She'll probably end up marrying some scientific genius just like herself and they'll have brilliant kids with extremely high IQ's or something like that," he said sarcastically out loud to himself as he turned around and headed to his quarters.

After showering and preparing for bed he decided to go online for a little bit. What could it hurt? Being a superhero allowed him some useful privileges, like his laptop. He didn't websurf much but tried to, every now and again. It was also a good way to keep in touch with his sister and nephew.

"You've got mail," was the reply he got as he connected to the server. For security reasons many people didn't have his screen name or main address.

There was only one message from Darlene. She just simply told him hello and that they were thinking about him. She also told him that Jeffy was excited that his uncle would be home soon because he had a new football for them to play with. Dwayne smiled to himself as he replied back, wishing them well and telling her to tell his nephew that he couldn't wait to play ball with him. As soon as it was sent he decided to do something he'd never done before. He was going to enter a chat room.

On to Part 2!

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