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I wasn't supposed to let it hurt me.

Did people know how hard it was to open a single social media account because messages like that kept rolling in? Sometimes I didn't even want to look at my phone. I felt queasy even seeing the screen light up. Sometimes I wanted to delete the app altogether, but the gut feeling I had wouldn't let me until I got a response from Mrfresh.

So far, anything I'd sent had been left untouched. Unread.



peppy[y/n]

Hey, Harley?

It's [Y/N]. You know, Peps from Fortnite?

I saw your stream the other day.

I'm getting a lot of hate and I don't know what's going on.

Can you please respond to this?

Please. I didn't do anything wrong.

But if I did, I'm sorry. Just explain whatever this is to me.


Was this breaking the rule of no double texting? Was it clingy and pathetic? Was this desperation? Was I supposed to feel embarrassed? No! No. This was me fucking sticking up for myself because there's only so much someone can take before getting sick and tired of all the drama.

These people thought they knew me from a single stream. They thought they knew me on the word of someone with two million subscribers. They didn't. They had no clue and I knew that I shouldn't be bothered by the opinions of strangers but, when they come flooding in a mass, I had no choice but to let it get under my skin.

I did what I told myself wasn't going to happen. I got hurt. And over what? A video game player I wasn't ready to cross.

"[Y/N]." Nana's head popped out from the kitchen threshold, her native Australian accent at the peak of its lilt whenever she spoke. Her and grandad were the only ones in the family who retained the accent. It died out when mom and dad moved to the Americas ages ago.

Putting a pause on my editing work―though there wasn't much work getting done; I'd closed the Twitter tab on my laptop. As if staring at it long enough would make Mrfresh answer―I answered her. "Hm?"

"Would you take Chewbacca on his walk this evening? My hips don't feel like they can handle chasing after a pup at the park tonight."

Saving my photography edits, I answered back a, "Sure, Nana." Photography was how I made quick money on the side. It was senior year and students were paying various amounts to get their senior photos taken by a good photographer and editor. I made the cut. It was a real job, unlike what some people did.

Like streaming.

I shouldn't be this shady and butthurt, should I? I got up from the living room and went to the front door, where Chewie's leash and the keys to mom's car hung on the wall. As soon as I pulled on a jacket to counteract Australia's winter weather and picked up the other two items, claws clicking on wood skittered all the way from the back of the house to here.

"C'mon, Chewie." He scampered out the threshold and darted onto the lawn. I followed him out after locking the house, but headed to pop open the door. The pup knew exactly what was going down and hopped right in.

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