Go back to the beginning or back to Part 2?
A whole host of people came to Podkayne's F2F, cramming snugly into the living room. Most of them were people I'd already met at previous parties. We introduced ourselves to the new people, chatted and laughed and generally had as good a time as was possible without Toxic Punch being involved (this party occurred in the grim days before Toxic Punch had been invented). Somewhere in the midst of these festivities, a slim, rosy-cheeked guy with twinkly blue eyes and thinning blond hair inserted himself into the party. My first thought was that he looked vaguely familiar, although I couldn't place him. I wasn't all that surprised to discover that this was Captain Midnight.
After he introduced himself to the crowd, there was a quick round of introductions by alias. I don't remember what I said by way of introduction, but his response was, "Oh, so you're The Pirate King!" I deduced by this that I'd made some sort of impression on him, favorable or otherwise.
Later, he buttonholed me and asked why it was that Podkayne and I looked so familiar. We spent about ten minutes ruling out different places where we might have met, until finally I mentioned Podkayne's birthday party and his eyes lit up.
"You were at that party too?" he asked. As it turns out, he was George's roommate -- yes, the one who had barely made an impression, to the point that I hadn't even remembered his name.
I don't remember much of anything else that happened at the party, probably because we spent most of the time talking to each other, recreating in person the same kind of verbal banter we'd been writing on the BBS. Captain Midnight was funny, smart, personable, and (unlike many of the guys I'd met via BBS) socially savvy. And hey, he was boyishly cute too. What can I say, I've always been a sucker for twinkly blue eyes.
Even though I still had my eye on Captain Clueless, I did notice Captain Midnight, in my peripheral vision, showing up at a lot of Podkayne's parties. (It's a shame life doesn't have a soundtrack, or I'd have heard the Warner Bros.-style orchestral tiptoe sound he was making as he started sneaking up on me.) We'd hang out together at F2Fs; we swapped books and music and computer games; and I let him see me pretty much as I was, warts and all. I was pleased when he and I both got hired on at WordPerfect around the same time. Between chats on the BBS and intra-office email at work, we were in almost constant communication for months -- and rarely did a week go by when I didn't get an email from CM inviting me to join him for lunch at the Hard Disk, the company café. And I started wondering... what was up with this guy, anyway? If I didn't know better, I'd say he was, well, interested in me. This set off alarm bells. I began, subtly at first, then more overtly, to steer conversations back toward his girlfriend Beatrice.
Then came The Letter.
On to Part 4!