PART 5: Dear Charlotte - Chapter 4

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Wow, I think

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Wow, I think. That's a lot of notifications.

And then I think: Shit, I overslept.

Not that it matters, exactly, but I still groan and roll over, one arm flung out and falling through empty space, landing on Charlotte's side of the bed. Just one more night, I remind myself, one more night and then tomorrow she'll be back.

I yawn, stretching out and kicking the covers halfway down the bed, wriggling up onto the pillows and grabbing my phone again. I clear the notifications from my lock screen – I'll look through them properly on my computer later.

I've got a bunch of messages on WhatsApp, which does surprise me. One of the group chats must've kicked off this morning.

I also, more worryingly, have a ton of missed calls from Jack.

Grimacing, my stomach churning as I wonder what the hell is so wrong that he's calling me, I take my phone with me to the kitchen, setting the kettle on. I call him back as I reach for Charlotte's mug, barely taking hold of it this time before I remember and let it go, just getting my own mug instead.

"Ethan, finally. I've been calling you for like an hour. Where the hell have you been?"

"Sleeping," I say, my voice sounding thick and irritable. I knock my glasses out of the way to rub my eyes. "It's like, eleven o'clock. It's not that late."

It's pretty late, even by my freelancing schedule.

"Dude," Jack says, his voice so deadly serious it makes me feel cold.

"What's going on? Is it your dad?"

Jack's dad had been in and out of hospital for the past six months with heart problems, and I'm not really sure this whole 'pandemic' thing is the low-stress environment they've been trying to maintain for him.

"Nah it's not my dad," he says, "but we've got bigger problems. Or at least, you have. Have you checked your phone yet today?"

"Not really. Oh, shit, please don't tell me I've, like, been cancelled for my opinions on Minecraft."

"I think it's worse than that, mate. Just... go check your computer."

I forget about making myself a cup of tea and hurry to the living room, clicking the computer back to life. It pings with emails and more notifications, and I don't think I've ever seen that number on the YouTube bell so high...

I wrack my brain, trying to think what in the hell is going on. I don't think I said anything that controversial in today's video or on the stream last night... I don't use Twitter enough for someone to have unearthed a Tweet from me from like, 2012, saying something rude...

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