“Ah, whatever. I needed to pee.”
I rolled my eyes as I unlocked the door. “And they said romance is dead.”
It didn’t matter how many times I saw it, it was always weird to see myself on the laptop screen talking at, well, myself.
Aside from cleaning up a few timing issues and removing some duplicate sentences, this video was completely unedited, and had been approved by both my agent and my publicist.
After our walk, I’d explained to Theo what Noelle had said to me on the phone—that I could use my platform for good in this situation. My team agreed it was the best option, and once the decision to not hide anything was made, the words had come pouring out of me.
Now, it was uploading to YouTube, and my three-minute-long statement was about to go out into the world.
Where I knew my life really was about to blow up.
“I should watch it one more time,” I said, leaning forward and minimizing the window. “Make sure it’s right.”
“Elle, it’s fine,” Theo reassured me, putting a glass of wine on the coffee table. “We’ve watched it ten times. Your publicist has approved the same video three times. It’s perfect.”
“Just one more time.” I double-clicked the file and the video player loaded, filling the screen with my big face. A couple of seconds passed before screen-me started talking at us.
“Hey there, everyone,” Screen Elle said with a lame little wave. “I’m sure by now many of you are aware of why it’s been two weeks since I last uploaded a video. For those of you who aren’t, here’s why: a private tape of me was sold and made public without my knowledge or my consent. Until that moment, I had no idea of the tape’s existence. I was just as shocked as the rest of you.
“The moment I found out, I made the choice to leave my apartment in New York and go somewhere else. Because of that, I’ve been able to handle the situation privately, and I have now taken legal action.
“If there are any media outlets watching this, please consider this to be my formal statement on the matter, and you will find it in text form on my website, www dot life of Elle Evans dot com, and in a press release to those who have contacted my publicist.
“The tape was released without my knowledge or consent. I was not aware it existed, so not only was it released without my consent, it was also filmed without my consent. Neither I nor my team will be responding to any further requests for comments while legal action against necessary parties is in process. Thank you.
“For everyone else, I will be releasing new content this week. A new friend of mind said something that stuck with me, so I will be releasing videos discussing safety, online and otherwise. There are many dangers out there, especially on the internet, and you need to be aware of how quickly one moment can change your life.
“Until then, I hope you’re all safe and well. We will be disabling comments on my videos for a short time, and a small team will be monitoring my social media accounts while I continue to come to terms with this unexpected situation.
“Thank you to everyone who has sent love and support so far. I appreciate it more than you know, and hopefully we’ll be able to return to normal soon.”
Screen Elle blew a kiss at us and the video cut out.
“Do you think it’s too much? Too formal? Too…”
Theo leaned forward, shut down the video screen, and looked at the upload page.
Then he hit the button.
I gasped, covering my mouth with my hands. “Why did you do that?”
“Because you’re gonna sit here for three hours umming and ahhing over it if I didn’t!” He shut the laptop down and sat back on the sofa, propping his feet up on the coffee table. “Problem solved.”
I sagged back, staring at the closed laptop. “Shit.”
“Hey. It’s done. You had to do it, Elle. You had to have your say, and now it’s done. Now, you can move forward.”
He was right in a way. I could move forward. There wasn’t much I could do until the police found Mitch, so now I could relax and breathe a little.
And continue my straight avoidance of social media, because it was rough out there. There was going to be a whole bunch of people who didn’t believe me, and that was fine. That would probably be my knee-jerk reaction if I was honest. Denial is always easier than responsibility if you’ve messed up, but I hadn’t.
I still didn’t want to hear it.
I texted my agent and publicist to let them know the video was live, plus Emily, then put down my phone.
Ever since I’d arrived here, my life had been consumed with the tape and finding our what happened. Now that I knew, I didn’t know what to do.