I don't even know why I'm telling this story because no one will believe me. If they do believe me, they'll think I'm crazy. They'll judge me. They'll think of me as "one of those girls."

I don't want to be one of those girls, but I am.

I've always been that girl — the one who's never been kissed, never had a boyfriend, never even so much as touched a guy in her life. I was the quiet girl — the one who would rather read during lunch than talk with a friend. I was the one who stayed in on Friday nights because going out seemed like too much of a fuss. When I went to one of the middle school dances, I had to stand in the corner alone during the slow dance. The male population avoided me completely, and it seemed that nothing I did changed that.

I guess I knew why guys treated me this way. I wasn't the skinniest, the prettiest, or the most outgoing girl. I didn't wear lip gloss to class, I didn't pull down my shirt a bit too far, or talk to guys for the fun of it. I stayed close to home because I didn't care for going to the movies with a group of acne-ridden, sweaty-palmed, hormonal guys who wanted to do something dangerous in the dark. I wanted to stay in my bedroom, dressed in my pajamas, and read a book by myself. Even though I was repulsed by these thoughts, I wanted someone to love me.

We met on a game that was probably designed for ten year-olds. I cringe every time I think about it. What was I doing playing this game? I have no idea.

He stood out to me immediately. There was something about him that was intriguing, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It was as if he was sent to me by some force of magic, some heavenly being—someone who wanted me to fall, and fall, and fall until I couldn't fall any further.

Somehow, his confidence radiated through the screen. I could feel it. This guy was someone worth noticing. I, on the other hand, was terribly invisible. But to him, I wasn't. He gave me more attention than any guy had and I didn't know how to take it all in. I wasn't used to being noticed.

Not only was he interested in me, but he was nineteen, from England, and knew how to play guitar. Let me just say that again: he was a British musician. It doesn't get any hotter than that.

We exchanged email addresses (not phone numbers—my parents would have been suspicious if the phone bill suddenly notified them that I had sent out thousands of texts every month). Immediately we talked every day during every free moment we had.

After awhile, I realized that I didn't even know his name. Hesitantly, I told him mine, wondering afterwards if that was a stupid move. Whatever. He was real. I told myself that until I believed it. He told me his name. From that moment on, it ran through my head on a constant loop.

Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin.

I don't know what I thought would happen. I didn't think that I would fall for him as fast as I did. I didn't know how love worked; I didn't even know what it was. Sure, I had crushes before, but they consisted of me admiring a cute guy from afar and hoping my stares weren't too obvious.

I began to wonder why he even liked me at all. How could someone like him be interested in someone like me? I was the awkward chubby girl who read far too many books and he was the good-looking popular guy who wrote his own songs and had the bluest eyes I'd ever seen. He was perfect. I couldn't find a single flaw.

And then I found one: his girlfriend.

We didn't stop talking. We should have, but we didn't. I was his "other girl," and I didn't do anything to stop it. I needed him too badly.

He knew what he was doing to me. He would talk about his girlfriend like it was nothing, like every word wasn't another jab at my heart. Was he trying to make me jealous or was he just so ignorant that he didn't realize I was obsessed with him? I hung onto his every word, overanalyzing everything he said. Does he like me too? Is he leading me on? Am I being too eager? The mind games were killing me, but I could have just been playing mind games with myself. Except I wasn't; these mind games were real.

All of a sudden, his girlfriend (that bitch) was gone and when he asked me to be his girlfriend, I told him yes, smiling behind my computer screen.

Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin.

He was everywhere. My mind was filled with everything he said. These thoughts consumed me.

Hey you. I've been thinking about you. I haven't stopped smiling since you got here. I actually think I'm falling for you. Love ya, babe. I miss you.

I couldn't think of anything but him. I thought about what he was doing, where he was at, and what he was thinking. Was he thinking about me? Did he miss me? Did he love me?

Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin.

I began to realize that he was as crazy about me as I was with him. We couldn't go more than a few hours without talking. I'd sit at school and watch the clock, counting down the hours until I could talk to him again, replaying our last conversation in my head over and over. I fought the urge to write his name all over the margins of my notebook in fear of my friends questioning me it.

It wasn't fair. Under normal circumstances, dating a British guy would have scored me major points. I would have been one of the coolest girls in school, but I wasn't because we were dating over the Internet. All of my friends had stories about risky kisses under the bleachers or stolen glances from across the hall. All I had were a mish-mash of words that meant nothing to anyone but me, because they were never spoken. I had stories that I wanted to share, but I wasn't allowed. He was worth keeping secrets, I kept telling myself. I hoped I was right.

Even though I was happy, I couldn't see how much my life was being affected by this secret relationship. I chose talking to him over studying and my grades were starting to suffer because of it. I was a junior, and I needed to get my grades high enough to get into the college of my dreams, but with each day that passed they only lowered. I didn't care, he was the only person—only thing that mattered. It got to the point where I couldn't even wait until I got home from school to e-mail him. I had to talk to him as soon as I got into my car; the ten minute drive home felt like forever before I could message him again.

Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin.

Gradually, I stopped talking to my family and friends as frequently as I had before. It didn't matter though because I woke up every morning to an email that told me I was pretty. I didn't go to prom, but it didn't matter because he wrote me a song with lyrics that were cheesy, horrible, and completely perfect. I almost failed my French class, but it didn't matter because I could talk to him whenever I wanted to. He made me feel normal— as normal as I could feel with a secret boyfriend who lived on the other side of the world.

Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin.

Then he stopped talking to me.

I didn't know why. Well, I did, but I didn't want to admit it. He had met another girl, so he cheated on me to be with her, just as he had cheated on his ex to be with me. He was no longer that perfect version of a boyfriend that I thought he was. He was just a lying, cheating bastard, and I hated him.

For a while his named continued to run though my head. I became mad at myself every time because I wasn't allowed to like him anymore.

Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin, Jason Gavin.

We were over. It was time for a new name to take his place.

Out of nowhere, I met Mark. I met him on that same stupid game. But this time, things were different. Mark asked me for my email, he asked all of the questions, he wanted to talk all the time. I answered his questions and talked to him when he wanted me to, but it wasn't the same. He wasn't Jason, but he was someone who paid attention to me, that was all that mattered.

He was thirty-nine. If he was forty, things might have been different. Forty sounds creepy. But thirty-nine is still in the thirties, so it couldn't be bad, right?

He was my rebound. He became my new favorite guy. He was the one who would listen to me complain about school and comfort me when I was crying over Jason. He was always there when I needed him to be, but he wasn't my boyfriend.

We exchanged pictures—nothing sexual—and it opened up my eyes to who I was really talking to. He was tall and burly, with a big red beard that looked kind of scratchy. I imagined that it would be painful to kiss him (even though I would never want to kiss someone like him.) He looked like some kind of lumberjack, a man who would strike fear in other people's eyes. I wasn't afraid of him, but the thought of seeing him in person someday made me uneasy.

He saw my pictures and told me I was pretty and it made me feel a little better until he asked me what I thought of him. I didn't really know what to say. I wasn't attracted to anything about him, and yet, I continued to talk to him. I saw him as simply a friend. I never wanted him to be something more. I'm afraid to think of what he saw me as.

He had an ex-wife. He told me her name and I told him it was pretty, but I was lying. He had kids, too. Two I think, somewhere around the ages of six or seven; one was a boy and the other was a girl. He showed me pictures of them. I lied and told him they were cute.

I believed that he was who he said he was. Who would lie about being a thirty-nine year-old divorced man? Even though I trusted him, in the back of my mind, I knew that he wanted something from me. I couldn't figure out what, but the feeling that something was wrong itched at my skull.

And then it happened.

We had decided to stay up late that night. We talked until my eyes strained from looking at my phone in the dark. I quickly became tired.

"Do you want me to seduce you?" He asked.

I was wide awake when I replied saying, "Sure."

I didn't know any better. I was sixteen and naïve. I didn't know what it meant to be seduced. I just liked the sound of the word— seduction. It sounded dangerous and glamorous. It was the kind of word that sophisticated girls used. I wanted to be sophisticated. I wasn't like those girls in my class with boyfriends who called them "babe." I was talking about seduction with a man. That was sexy. That was what grown-ups talked about. I was mature for my age, (or so I thought.) I could handle it.

In reality, I couldn't.

I wasn't even sure if my vision of sex was right or not— that's how Catholic my family was. I was so incredibly innocent for my age that it was actually kind of embarrassing. My encounters with the topic of sex were almost nonexistent.

There was nowhere for me to learn about sex. My friends were too nice to talk about it, my parents were too religious, and my cousins were all guys. I had no one to learn from, so I relied on every little mistake that slipped through the cracks of my family's overprotective wall.

One time, when I was a sophomore in high school, I was in Biology and a girl was reading out loud from the textbook. She mispronounced the word "organism," and accidently said "orgasm" instead. Everyone burst into a fit of laughter, while I sat there looking confused.Eventually I forced myself to fake laugh, feeling like an awkward outcast. My innocence was getting embarrassing. What I didn't realize was that it was also getting dangerous as well.

Here I was, sixteen and faced with this word—this choice—that I was nowhere near ready to make. Seduction. Why shouldn't I try it? It was finally my time to learn, to laugh along with the others about this beautiful mystery. Why should I continue to let myself be left out? This was my chance. I wasn't going to let it pass me by—I'd do it even if it was with some thirty-nine year-old stranger that I met online.

I just thought he'd flatter me and tell me that I was pretty, and smart, and wonderful. He wouldn't try anything on me. That would be wrong. He wouldn't do anything bad to me. I trusted him. I was so desperate for knowledge that I couldn't see how wrong this was.

All of a sudden he was walking me through it -his hands sliding down my thigh and his tongue on my neck. I honestly can't remember much after that. I remember he said the phrase "whispering sweet nothings into my ear," and it surprised me because I had only ever heard that phrase in the movies. I didn't think anyone actually said that. I guess it's because if he were my age, he wouldn't be saying something like that, but he was more sophisticated than some sixteen-year-old boy would be. In a way, it was kind of romantic.

I remember I sent him messages right after that to tell him stop. It took him a few seconds to actually stop because he was so caught up in the moment that he didn't realize that I hated it. It scared me more than anything I had ever experienced before, though he had barely even started. I was shaking. He was pushing me to be sexual and I didn't realize it. I knew it was wrong—I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. It was deeply unsettling. I went to bed that night with a bad taste in my mouth and a tight throat. He eventually apologized and told me it would never happen again. I wanted to believe him.

A few weeks went by, and things seemed like they had gone back to normal. And then, out of nowhere, it happened - again, and again, and again. Each time he tried to start something with me, I'd immediately put a stop to it, but he didn't care. He kept it going, threatening me that if I ever stopped talking to him, he'd come after me.

I began to realize just how stupid I had been. With Jason, I felt safe. He lived across an entire ocean, so there wasn't really any danger in him coming after me if he wasn't who he said he was. With Mark, things were different. I lived in New Jersey, but so did he. I wasn't exactly sure which part of the state he lived in, which forced me to remain alert at all times. I had to be ready to accidently run into him at any moment. I kept expecting to see him at the grocery store, or have him show up at my school, or worse—my house.

I wanted this to end, but I didn't see a way to make it stop. How could I let this happen?

Mark frequently asked if I told my parents about him and each time I assured him that I hadn't. That would be stupid. I wasn't stupid. My parents would kill me if they'd found out what I had done. They would never know. I was their good daughter; I could have gotten away with anything without them finding out because they trusted me. I could have chosen to sneak away to a party in the middle of the night, or kiss a boy in the dark for a bit too long, or smoke behind the dumpsters at school. Instead, how I chose to rebel against my parents was to talk to a thirty-nine year-old man online. It was such a stupid rebellious act and I hated myself for it, but I couldn't go back now."

Every ring of our doorbell was accompanied by a sense of absolute dread that pulsed throughout my entire body. What if today was the day that he would come after me? I didn't want to think about what he would do to me if we ever met in person, but I found myself having these sick fantasies pop into my head whenever I let my mind wander. I'd be in the middle of doing my homework and suddenly I'd picture him forcing me to kiss him, his scratchy beard suffocating me. I'd be driving home from school and I'd see him sitting in the car next to me, ready to jump out of his car and into mine. I'd be in class and let my eyes drift out the window, and he'd be there, lurking in the bushes, his eyes never once leaving me.

None of that ever happened.

A week went by without us talking to each other. It was one of the most relaxing yet nerve-wracking weeks of my life. I was so incredibly happy to have a break from talking to him, to finally be able to spend my free time how I wanted to. At the same time, I was worried sick that he had put some plan into action to finally get his hands on me.

After days of silence and worry, I woke up to a new email from him, expecting the worst. I knew this was it. This was going to be the time when I could no longer fight Mark off. But it wasn't.

I opened the email with my heart in my throat, my hands shaking. I read the only sentence that was on the page and let out a sigh of relief.

I don't think we should talk anymore. And that was it.

Deanna is a sophomore majoring in English with a minor in Psychology. She is a self-proclaimed introvert who enjoys dancing, chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and experimenting with makeup.