Sarah sat in front of her laptop. Sweat began to drip down from her smooth pale forehead. Strands of her black locks stuck to the edges of her face. She had not planned on her secret getting out. It was all part of a well-executed plan. Jerome hurt her, and she struck back. Sarah was sure she hid her tracks well enough, but somehow Jerome found out, and now he was taking his revenge.
Six hours earlier their YouTube channel was demonetized. Sarah lodged a complaint as Denise and claimed the videos contained copyright violations with their background music, and that she had written the scripts used by the actors. Her complaint alleged that payment was under dispute and the content was protected by her copyright until the dispute was settled. The channel was actually about their relationship, and Sarah knew the disruption was temporary, but that did not matter. He deserved some drama after leaving her for some young woman he met at a cocktail party.
The star-struck twenty-year-old was in awe of Jerome. Any woman would be. After all, there were not too many self-employed thirty-two-year-olds with a seven-figure portfolio and a well-known public persona. Jerome seemed to have forgotten he and Sarah were a team. So, Sarah would teach him a lesson, but it all went horribly wrong in rapid succession.
Sarah had forgotten Jerome had connections with the media giant. He placed a simple phone call and found out the alias she had used to lodge her complaint. It did not take long for Jerome to put the pieces together, and then, he doxed her. Fans who at one time lauded them both turned on Sarah. Social media had exploded with #shutdownsarah. She watched in horror as her once prominent fashion review channel lost subscriptions by the minute. Somehow the revenge she had planned for Jerome had turned about and was taking Sarah down instead. She was no longer the innocent victim, but the bully.
Sarah wiped the wetness from her face and slipped on her headphones. She did not want to take Jerome’s call, but things were now out of control. Maybe she could stop it. Maybe Jerome would forgive her. The familiar Skype ring emitted from her speakers, and she let out a long breath and answered. Jerome’s face filled her screen. Despite her anguish, his black eyes and strong jawline pulled her in for a moment. She felt herself once more desiring to make him happy, but then she saw her. That woman. Valerie was just over Jerome’s shoulder typing furiously on the keyboard.
Jerome gave Sarah a wink. “What’s up girlfriend?”
Sarah tried to keep her rage in check but felt the blood rushing to her face. “I’m not your girlfriend anymore.”
Jerome chuckled and shook his head. “You know that’s right. Look, we had a good thing going, why did you want to ruin it?”
“I wasn’t the one who ruined it. You did. You and Valerie.”
Jerome pushed his chair back slightly and positioned himself between Valerie and the camera. “Look, I don’t want to see you hurt yourself anymore than you already have. I’m willing to call a truce. I’ll even put out a video asking people to forgive you as I have.”
“Why the change of heart? After all, you’re the one who outed me.”
Jerome’s forehead wrinkled slightly. “You are one crazy woman. You shut down our channel. Don’t you realize we both get that money?”
“I wasn’t worried about the money.”
Jerome humphed and said, “Looks like you’re worried about the money now.”
“I don’t care about the money. I cared about you. Getting paid to do stupid stuff for people living in their basements was just an added bonus.”
Jerome leaned forward, “Do you mean you don’t care about our viewers.”
Sarah shook her head and said, “Nope. I just did it to get time with you, but if I can’t have you, then I’ll take the money.”
From behind Jerome Sarah saw Valerie jump up and pump her fist in the air. “What’s going on?” asked Sarah.
Jerome smiled, “Just a little insurance. We’ve been recording our video chat.”
“You what?!” Sarah jumped up, and her headphones flew off and bounced off her chair. Jerome watched her as she paced and then beat on her desk. Sarah reached down and grabbed her headphones off the floor. “Why? Why would you do that?”
Jerome crossed his arms and spoke into the camera. “As I said, insurance. I want you to contact YouTube and withdrawal your complaint. Trust me, babe, it’s a win-win. We both get the revenue, and with all the drama you created, we’re sure to see a rise in viewers. I promise I’ll tell our fans to resubscribe to your channel. After all, hell has no fury like a woman scorned. I think you’ve proven that. It’ll give you cred with your fan base.”
“And if I refuse?” Sarah fumed.
Jerome sat there with a smug look for a moment, and then he finally answered. “If you refuse I release the video of our phone conversation and you lose everything.”
Sarah sat down in her chair. She was defeated, but then an idea popped into her head. Sarah pulled the mike close to her mouth and whispered. “Fine, release your video.” Jerome’s surprised face was the last thing Sarah saw when she quickly shut Skype.
Sarah’s mouth formed into a twisted smile. Once Jerome released his video she would hit him with a bullying charge. He would not be a YouTuber much longer. As for her channel, Sarah no longer cared. Let it all burn to the ground, she thought to herself. I’ll have my revenge.