Chapter 1: The Beginning
Darrell opens the door to his apartment and smiles as he lets the pair of television personalities into the house. He had sent them the e-mail about two weeks ago, and received a response last week that they were coming to help him get to the bottom of his little problem. He made sure that they were coming over on a day that Ryan wasn’t home.
“When we read your e-mail, it reminds me of so many of the Catfish scenarios that we run into,” Nev, the host for the MTV show Catfish says as he sits on the couch. “But yours is unique and that here is a famous star that is getting catfished, supposedly.”
“It’s interesting that we don’t hear about this more because everybody would want to do this to someone who’s famous to get close to them,” Max adds as Darrell shakes his head. It was exactly why this situation with Ryan worried him.
“Well, most famous people are on the watch for this or have someone looking out for them. They would set up meetings and such – that’s why we don’t hear about it.” Nev then turns back to Darrell. “So, what’s up with your friend?” Darrell takes a deep breath. He knew that he was doing the right thing as he had to find the truth for Ryan. However, it still felt weird to be telling these two guys about their little problem.
“I don’t even know where to begin, honestly,” Darrell comments with a slight laugh. “About six months ago, he got this random DM from this girl that he had been following back on twitter. He does random Q&As and she wanted to do a little private chat. He accepted, thinking that it was some innocent fan and stuff. It started that way. then, as they went back and forth, he learned more about her and started asking more about her. it was like an instant connection between them.”
“So when did it become serious?” Nev wonders as Darrell thinks back to the discussions with Ryan.
“About two months ago. He told me and our friend Chase that he was really interested in this girl. He also talked about details of their conversation, and it seemed great. Honestly, I was happy for him and I suggested that he should meet up with her.”
“Great step…” Max comments as Darrell remembers how that has gone.
“The past two months, we’ve been trying to get her to come out to a race, or come out to North Carolina. She supposedly lives in Georgia, and Ryan offered her VIP tickets for the race for her and a friend, and to come out and actually meet face to face. I mean, if you’re in love, you might as well meet face to face. She didn’t accept. Any other offer that has been offered her way to meet up, she hasn’t accepted.”
“What about video chatting or other communication methods outside of twitter?” Nev wonders as Darrel shakes his head, remembering that conversation with Ryan as well.
“They’ve never video chatted because she doesn’t have time when he has time,” Darrell explains what Ryan told him. “They’ve only messaged each other via twitter, and via text message. She doesn’t have a facebook profile because I searched up her supposedly name to see. Her twitter picture is not even herself – but a flower.”
“Did he ask for a photo?” Max wonders and Darrell shakes his head yes.
“She sent it to him and I have to say, she’s pretty hot-”
“If the photo is real,” Nev cuts him off and Darrell shakes his head yes. “Everything that you’ve told me, it reminds me of the perfect catfish scenario. It fits the profile that we’ve seen many times before on the show. So, why did you contact us now?” Darrell lets out a sigh as he glances around the apartment.
“He’s my best friend,” Darrell starts. “We’re really close, almost like brothers. If someone is doing this to him, I want to find out and I want them to feel the heat that has to be offered. I’m just afraid that somebody out there is deceiving him and I hate that. I want to know the truth, and I’m not the only one. His sister is always very curious about this and has tried her own conversations with the girl without any success.” Nev shakes his head, fully understanding, as he starts to put a plan into place.
“Why don’t we get a hold of Emma and hear what she has to say? You also said there’s a third frien-”
“Chase Elliott. He believes that Emma and I are worrying for no reason and we should leave it alone. He feels that Ryan is smart enough to know how to handle the situation.” Nev shakes his head, also having heard that type of reasoning before.
“So let’s get Emma and Chase together and hear what they have to say about Ryan and this girl. Then, we should get a hold of Ryan after and see what he has to say. From there, we’ll do what we normally do – find out who this person is and meet them.”
Chapter 2: Chase’s Thoughts
Darrell knocks on the door of the pool house and Chase opens up with a smile. He motions for them to come inside, closing the door behind them. They then go and sit in the living room.
“Chase, meet Nev and Max,” Darrell starts, motioning to the other people with him. “Remember that show we watched a couple weeks ago – Catfish?” Chase thinks back and shakes his head yes with a glance towards them.
“I remember – interesting show,” Chase comments. “Nice to meet you both.” He then glances over at Darrell. “So you still won’t let this thing go with Ryan?”
“I’m not letting it to go till I see a girl standing in front of me.” Chase rolls his eyes, having had this debate many times.
“You still won’t let it go? He’s not being catfished, or whatever. He would be able to tell if that was happening.” Darrell raises his eyes in surprise, with a glance towards the pair, before looking at his friend.
“I’m telling you that he is. Besides, these two say that the whole situation fits the profile.” Chase rolls his eyes and shakes his head, not believing this for one bit.
“Just because it seems like it’s true, it’s not true.”
“If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.” Chase shakes his head no.
“Just because it looks like your girlfriend is cheating on you because she hangs out with another guy a lot since they’re close friends doesn’t mean that she’s cheating on you.” Darrell then looks at Chase, surprised by the example. That didn’t seem like something normal.
“What’s that suppose to mean?” Chase puts his hands up, defensively.
“It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just an example.” Darrell then glance over at Nev and Max.
“Do you see why I called you now? Welcome to the defensive group!” Nev shakes his head, understanding, focusing his eyes on Chase.
“Darrell sent us an e-mail explaining everything,” Nev comments. “It reminded me of a bunch of scenarios that we saw before, and there’s added interest since obviously someone would want to do this – if it is – due to Ryan being a NASCAR driver.” Chase shakes his head, understanding where they were going. But, yet, he was certain that wasn’t the case.
“Sure, he’s a NASCAR driver, but why go after him?” Chase questions. “If I was going to do something as ridiculous as this, I would go after someone more famous – like Kasey Kahne. Might as well go after someone that you could brag about and have lots of money.” Nev shakes his head, understanding. It seemed that would make sense – if the motive was fame and attention.
“So you don’t think this a catfish scenario for that reason?” Nev questions and Chase shakes his head no.
“Besides, if that was the reason, why would they be fine with keeping it in hiding? Wouldn’t they want to be in public with Ryan if they were going after him for those reasons?” Nev thought it over, thinking that Chase’s reasoning was beginning to make more sense. Perhaps this was one of those good scenarios that they had landed their paws on.
“Doesn’t it bug you that she hasn’t accepted any meeting offer?” Max wonders and Chase shakes his head no.
“People have lives,” Chase comments. “And they can be really busy lives. Perhaps she’s just really busy and can’t take a break to come see him or whatever. It could be possible as I know people who are up to something all the time.”
“So why not offer for him to come see her at like a workplace or somewhere?” Nev questions and Chase shrugs his shoulders. That may have been a good request for Ryan to put in.
“She could’ve offered but maybe she never thought it. Ryan never thought of it, either.” Chase then glances over at Darrell and shakes his head in disbelief. “I can’t believe that you went as far as calling the guys from Catfish to see what they had to say. Do you realize how pissed off Ryan will be when he finds out?” Darrell lets out a sigh as he knew that Ryan wasn’t going to be pleased when word spread to him.
“I worry about him and I want to know the truth,” Darrell starts. “These guys find out anything and everything. I did what I had to do as a friend. Sure, he’s going to be damn mad when he finds out, but think about this…. If your theory is correct Mr. Elliott, what will his reaction be when he finally meets this girl?” Chase smiles, as that seemed like a good trade off. It’d be nice to finally let Ryan and this girl meet.
“Okay, one point for you,” Chase comments as Darrell smiles.
“But what if he is being catfished?” Nev offers the alternative, catching their attention.
“It’ll be a lot of relief in knowing the truth and knowing that he isn’t being tricked any longer,” Darrell comments as Chase shakes his head.
“He’s not being catfished, man,” Chase states. “I’m not even going to let that be an option.”
Chapter 3: Emma’s Thoughts
Darrell walks into the boutique, immediately catching Emma’s attention.
“Come to buy Shelby a new outfit?” Emma questions from her spot behind the counter. Darrell shakes his head no as he points to the three people behind him – Nev, Max and Chase. “Oh….okay….”
“My name is Nev and this is Max,” Nev introduces them as they both take turns shaking Emma’s hand.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Emma Blaney.” She then looks over at Darrell and points to the back room. “Can I talk to you, please?”
“I wasn’t wrong being frustrated with you calling them,” Chase comments as Darrell glances over at Chase.
“It’s ecuase you think that everything is all great since you can’t believe that someone would do something wrong, right?” Darrell questions before glancing back at Emma. “Lead the way, your highness.” Chase chuckles as Darrell follows Emma towards the backroom.
“You know you’re in shit right now….” Darrell simply flips him the bird as he goes into the back room with Emma.
“You messaged them about Ryan’s girlfriend?” Emma questions once she slips the door closed.
“Listen, we both have said that she’s playing him, right?” He questions as Emma crosses her arms. “We both said that it’d be great to get to the bottom of this. I’m just doing that. They know how to catch people like this, and they say that she fits the profile.” Emma lets out a sigh. She knew that Darrell had a good argument as she agreed with him fully. However, this still didn’t seem right.
“I know that we’re both concerned – but you’ve just gone and told somebody else his business. Do you really think that’s fair, Darrell? I don’t need everybody in my brother’s business!” Darrell rolls his eyes, knowing hat he should’ve expected this from Emma.
“But it’ll be worth it if we find out that she’s truly catfishing him and help him get out of the mess, right? It’ll show him what we’re both been telling him.” Emma lets out another sigh. She’d do anything for her brother’s happiness, and do anything to find out if someone was screwing with him. However, this still felt wrong.
“The whole public is going to know when the episode is aired on MTV. What do you have to say that?” Darrell knew that was going to be a huge issue, and knew that’d come with attention from all angles. However, a sponsor or team couldn’t leave you for this so he didn’t need to worry about that. the only thing was on the line was Ryan’s reputation.
“Ryan’s reputation won’t be ruined in anyway as he still comes across the sweet guy, no mater what. If she is a catfish, he comes across as the sweet innocent boy that got hurt by deception. If she isn’t a catfish, then say hello to a fairy tale for the world to hear. It’s not as bad as you think it is, Emma.” Emma raises her eyebrows, shaking her head.
“I just…I can’t agree to this. I can’t agree to his whole personal life being plastered across network television.” Darrell then leans back against the wall, knowing that he had to find a way for her to agree. They needed to get to the bottom of this.
“I’ll make you a deal, and I’ll tell them the same deal. If Ryan doesn’t want this shown, it won’t be shown….deal?” Emma thinks it over and slowly shakes her head yes. It seemed fair in the long run. “Good. Now can we go back out there?”
“Make them agree first.” Darrell then leads the pair out of the back room, lying his eyes on Nev and Max.
“Emma is worried about Ryan’s personal life being plastered all over the television. We need to make a deal before we move forward – the episode won’t air if Ryan doesn’t agree to it airing. Is that fair?” Nev glances over at Max, who turns to look at Emma.
“That’s not an agreement that we pu-”Max starts.
“We’re done,” Emma says as she walks towards the door, holding it wide open. “Leave.”
“You have to understand that this is unique circumstances with a celebrity,” Darrell tries to reason with them. “This isn’t just some random person. This is a person that is in the public eye, that has sponsor and a race team underneath him. I think it’s fair.” Max thinks it over before letting out a sigh.
“Fine….” Max gives in as Emma comes back over to the group, leaning back against the counter.
“Thank you,” she tells them. “So, what’s next?” Nev clears his throat, getting her attention.
“Before we go see Ryan, I wanted to get your thoughts,” he starts as she shakes her head, agreeing. “As you know, Darrell told us everything. It immediately screamed a repeat of past episodes, with an interest factor.”
“Hence why I say that he’s being catfished since everybody would want to be near a driver. It’s why I’m always worried about the girls that he sees.”
“They call her the cockblo-” Darrell starts.
“Bubba!” She yells, smacking his arm.
“So why go after Ryan?” Chase then interrupts the pair before they start an argument. “Why not Kasey Kahne? He’s the bigger star.”
“Perhaps they’re a teenager and Kahne is too old for them,” Emma reasons. “Perhaps they don’t have the hots for Kahne. Or, perhaps they’re just doing this to play a cruel trick on Ryan. Did you ever think of that, Elliott?” Chase shakes his head no, sticking to his guns.
“I still say that he isn’t being catfished.”
“It seems as though you all have discussed this multiple times?” Max questions and they all shake their heads yes.
“That’s why I e-mailed you – I want the truth,” Darrell states.
“It’s the only reason why I haven’t kicked you out because I want to know what’s going on,” Emma adds.
“Well, why don’t we go see Ryan then?” Nev suggests, having heard enough to understand where everybody stood.
Chapter 4: Meeting Ryan
“So they’re coming today?” Chase questions Darrell as they stand in the kitchen. The pair were getting some snacks and drinks as Darrell had invited Chase and Emma over to enjoy a movie with him and Ryan. In truth, it was a good decoy to make sure everybody was there when Nev and Max showed up later that afternoon.
“That’s the plan,” Darrell answers. “They’re supposed to be here in like five to 10 minutes. We won’t even get the movie started.” Chase shake his head as he watches Darrell gets four glasses down, and get out the bottle of pop.
“What are you going to do if Ryan is mad at you for calling?” Darrell then glances over at Chase, having made his decision earlier that morning.
“I’m going to handle it, just like I handled the anger from you and Emma. I don’t think he’s going to be mad, anyway. I’m helping him find out information about this girl, right?” Chase shrugs his shoulder, as probably that was the case. However, he couldn’t help but predict a possible shout across the room from Ryan when he opened the door.
“What if he isn’t as accepting as Emma and I were?” Darrell shakes his head as that wasn’t an option. Ryan was going to be accepting one way or another, as they needed answers.
“Why do you have to stand there and be so negative? How about being positive about this, Chase?” They then hear a knock on the door as a smile forms on Darrell’s face. “Ryan!!”
“Why can’t you answer it?” Ryan calls across the small apartment as Darrell holds up the glasses and pop. “Who could it be anyway?”
“Maybe it’s one of your friends,” Emma comments, rolling her eyes immediately. She was fully prepared for an argument to happen in the next couple of minutes that would involve her separating Ryan from Darrell. She just hoped that they didn’t screw up friendships over this.
“Did you invite anyone else?” Darrell shakes his head no as he glances towards the front door from the kitchen. Ryan lets out a sigh as he walks up to the door and opens it. He immediately looks between the pair of men at the door, also noticing the camera that is in Nev’s hand. “Can I…help you?”
“Are you Ryan Blaney?” Nev questions as Ryan slowly shakes his head yes. He felt every nerve coursing through him, wondering if Darrell had set him up for some prank show. “I’m Nev, and this is my partner Max. We’re from the show Catfish.” Ryan then glances over at Darrell with a glance and a roll of the eyes, before returning his eyes to the pair.
“That’s great,” he starts. “While my dear friends here say there’s something for you to worry about, there’s not.” Nev takes a deep breath, having heard that type of response before from previous show participants.
“I understand that you may not have any worries about your girlfriend. However, your friends are concerns. Now, I don’t know whether they have a right to be concerned or not. That’s why I was hoping to talk with you this afternoon about your relationship. Also, whether it’s a catfish scenario or not, perhaps we could help in arranging a meeting for you and the girl. Isn’t that something that you’ve wanted?” Ryan takes a deep breath. He had been wanting to meet her face to face and had tried to set up a meeting without success. Perhaps these were the perfect people to help in doing that, and perhaps having them at his door wasn’t the worst scenario.
“Just give us a chance, please,” Max adds, seeing the part of Ryan that was set to cave and accept without hesitation.
“I’m surprised you’re still alive,” Chase whispers, earning a smack from Darrell.
“He knows that I’m doing this because I’m concerned,” Darrell adds quietly as they both watch Ryan closely, awaiting his decision.
“I don’t know…” Ryan comments as he thinks over whether this is a good idea. It would be great to have someone that could set up that meeting, but was he willing to lay his heart out there on the line to two strangers? That didn’t seem calm at all.
“Ryan, I have cleared it already with them that if you don’t want the episode to air, they won’t air it,” Emma adds, hoping that helped push the decision over the edge. While she was angry with Darrell for making the call, she was hoping that the pieces would fall together so the answers would finally be laid before them. “Even if you want to kick Darrell’s ass for saying something, do it for the truth.”
“In the end, it is you that will benefit from learning the truth more than anyone else,” Nev says as Ryan lets out a sigh.
“Fine,” Ryan states before backing away from the door to the pair can enter the apartment. Darrell then glances over at Chase with a slight smile.
“I told you that he’d accept,” Darrell whispers before taking the drinks to the living room. He then sets the six glasses on the table, before taking his seat.
“Just because I’m accepting doesn’t mean that I’m not kicking your ass later!” Chase then share his own grin as he sits down beside Darrell, as if to say ‘I told you so’.
“It’s understandable that you’re mad, but you have to understand that your friends did this because they care about you,” Max offers as Ryan rolls his eyes. He didn’t care if that was the reason.
“They could’ve given me some warning at least!”
“You would’ve told me that it wasn’t needed and not to do it,” Darrell defends his reasons as Ryan shoots him a glare.
“How do you know that?” Ryan questions as Darrell shrugs his shoulders. This discussion should be easy.
“Look at how many discussions we’ve had over the past couple of months! I even mentioned the show and you just scuffed it off! That should tell you enough!” Ryan crosses his arms.
“You kept saying that she was catfishing me – you never gave out the option that it could be the truth, as I’ve stood by from day one. So get off your little high horse, Mr. Perfect, and realize that accusing someone obviously isn’t going to work out for you. Not everybody can find Ms. Perfect, either.”
“Ryan, I’ve always told you that the perfect girl for you is out there, and it will happen when it’s meant to happen,” Emma repeats a phrase that she had used many times. Ryan just rolls his eyes.
“And how can I do that when I have someone accusing that I don’t know what I’m doing, and another not allowing me to go out on dates due to her own fears about little brother screwing up?” He questions as he glances between the pair. “Darrell, you’re like a brother to me. Emma, you’re an amazing sister. But you both suck at your part in my love life!”
“I just don’t want you to get hurt by a track bun-”
“I’m a big boy. I’m 21 years old. I can things handle myself!”
“Hey, I never stopped you,” Darrell starts to defend himself, knowing that Emma was probably at a lost cause in defending her actions. “I’m just warning you that perhaps you’re on the wrong track with this girl. Perhaps it is a catfish scenario. I just want to warn you and let you take the right precautions.” Ryan rolls his eyes, as he glances away from the group.
“Again, I’m 21 years old,” he repeats. “I think I can figure out these things for myself, and realize if something is wrong. Thanks for the warning, I appreciate the concern, but I’m fine.’
“Do you see what I get to listen to on a daily basis?” Chase questions as he looks towards the pair of hosts.
“Perhaps it’d be best if we talk to Ryan without anyone else around,” Nev suggests. “It’d probably kill the tension that we’re experiencing and truly allow Ryan to say what he wants without judgment from anybody in this room. As I said, I want to do this to help you find answers, Ryan, and will do it without judging.” Ryan starts to stand up, having grown frustrated enough with Darrell and Emma.
“Please join me in my room and I’ll be happy to entertain the option,” he tells them. He then leads the pair to his room, closing the door behind him.
Chapter 5: The Discussion
“Thank you for co-operating, despite their comments,” Max comments as Ryan just keeps his eyes locked on the pair of them. He still wasn’t sure about doing this, but he needed to.
“While they may have gone about it the wrong way, their intentions were in the right place,” Ryan shares. “I want the truth. Anybody would want the truth.” Max and Nev both shake their heads in agreement.
“So tell us about the girl…” Nev requests as Ryan takes a deep breath.
“Well, her name is Kristin Gibbons. She’s 21 by the way. She goes by the name Kristy21 on twitter.”
“And I’m guessing your car number is 21?” Max questions and Ryan shakes his head yes. “So that’s why she’d catch your attention during a Q&A….”
“How did the Q&A turn into a direct message?” Nev wonders.
“I was doing a Q&A one night and she sent me a message, asking if she could ask me a question,” Ryan starts. “I said fine because that’s what Q&As are for. She then mentioned something about being scared of the question. I told her not to worry and that if I was uncomfortable, I would just not answer. That’s when she asked if she could just DM. I thought no harm in that so I let her DM me.” Nev and Max glance at each other, growing a little curious.
“So what was the question, anyway?” Max asks and Ryan shrugs his shoulders.
“I honestly don’t remember, but it wasn’t a question that I was worried over, either. I easily accepted and we moved forward. She then asked a couple other questions, in which I continued happily answering. She seemed like a nice girl so I finally turned the tables and asked her about herself. She was very observant, it seemed, about my answers and how I was handling things. I mentioned something to her about that and she just answered that she was curious.”
“So when did you begin to learn about her?” Nev wonders and Ryan smiles.
“A couple nights later, I sent a message to her asking if she wanted to chat again,” Ryan recalls. “I don’t know why but I felt drawn to her – maybe it was the mystery, or how well the conversation went. It took awhile to get to know her – she’s one of those people that’s hard to get to know. She’s also a little shy, finally admitted it, and says that she spends a lot of her time being by herself.” The pair of men smile, so far pleased wit hthe story. However, the fact that she “hard to get to know” worried Nev a little. Could the girl have been trying to put together the right story to cover for whatever reason?
“Okay. She sounds like a great girl and someone that you like, even despite the harsh beginnings. When did it become serious?”
“About three months ago, honestly. I then admitted my feelings for her, in which she was surprised but accepting. I then suggested messaging each other via text message, and requested a photo – out of curiosity. She easily accepted to both.”
“Now for the past two months, you’ve been trying to meet up with no results?” Max cuts to the chase, having heard enough details to make him pleased with things.
“She says that she’s very busy and doesn’t have a lot of time – something that I can understand,” Ryan shares. “I suggested paying for her flight, meeting her somewhere in Texas, and even suggested paying for VIP access for her. The pieces just haven’t fell together.”
“Doesn’t that worry you?” Ryan thinks it over and shakes his head no.
“People have busy lives – I get it. Not everybody has the time to go out and do things, and when they do, they have to keep it limited. I wasn’t worried about that one bit, unlike those clowns.”
“But if you love this girl so much, don’t you want to meet her?” Nev wonders and Ryan shakes his head yes.
“That’s why I am agreeing to this right now,” Ryan states. “I want to meet her and I want to put the pieces together for that very reason. Like I said, I understand that she’s busy – but there’s got to be someway to make this happen, right?”
“That’s why we’re here. If you could hand over her phone number, we’ll get to work on investigating the pieces and seeing what we can find for you.”
“Did she say her occupation?” Max wonders as Ryan writes down the phone number.
“I never bothered to ask, but she is a very psychological philosopher type person and shared some of her thoughts in that realm of belief.”