Enter password: fuschia
Okay, we’re back in business. Hi. I’m home right now. I have to go back to LA for the trial. The lawyer I’ve spoken to seems very certain that Rob will be found guilty.
I used to be such a big fan of Rob’s. Part of me thinks that if I was a better, truer fan, I would have hidden the evidence. Should I have ignored Nathan’s body and gone home and never told a single soul? Let Rob bury him in the woods somewhere and hide this whole thing from the world’s ugly gaze?
He had more than enough chances. I don’t understand why he just left him there for so long. Nearly two weeks. How could he be so cruel, to someone he cared about? Did he invite me over because he wanted me to be the one to find the body? Was part of him hoping that this would be the outcome, because he couldn’t stand the guilt? Have I helped him, in some way?
These are the things I keep thinking, over and over, in an endless loop. I don’t have an answer. I don’t know how to feel about any of this.
My future in the fandom
I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few months, and I’ve decided that I’m not going anywhere. As long as the Loch & Ness fandom exists, I’ll be here. I still care about Rob. I still love Nathan. He isn’t dead, at least not in the fandom. There are enough fic and gif-sets and videos to keep us going for years and years. NBC have announced that Season 2 is going to be aired next fall, after it was taken off the schedule out of respect for Nathan.
In Loch & Ness, Rob isn’t a murderer. He’s our favourite boy, Jayden Ness, the way he’s always been. I know that version of him isn’t real, but when is a fandom’s view of their favourite actor ever real? It’s always an illusion, a constructed persona, an act designed to please the fans. How is this any different?
I’ve found that I can ignore the truth for the sake of my OTP. It’s like I’ve drawn a boundary in my mind between the fandom’s Rob and the real Rob. They don’t even feel like the same person anymore. Real Rob is going to prison, where he belongs. Fandom’s Rob is good and kind, and I am going to care about him for a long time.
Taking responsibility for my actions
Over the last few months, a lot of people have told me that I’ve done bad, illegal things, and that I should be ashamed of myself. I’ve broken the law, stalking and hacking and stealing documents and files. I’ve invaded many people’s privacy and revealed confidential information to the whole internet.1
Honestly, most of the time I knew I was doing things that I shouldn’t be doing. But I didn’t care. I still don’t care. This essay is the best, most exciting thing I’ve done in my entire life. I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. It was so, so worth it.
Fandom keeps me alive. It consumes my every waking moment. I’m always thinking about it, always planning. I wake up smiling, excited to get on my laptop and get back to work. When I look at the depressed, miserable, moaning, stressed people around me, I feel unbelievably lucky to have found the thing that makes me truly, incandescently happy. It’s too precious to throw away just because it’s a little bit Wrong. Everyone has a guilty pleasure, and this is mine.
It’s not an exaggeration when I say that fandom has taught me more skills than anything else I have ever done, including my entire high school education so far. This essay is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I am willing to sacrifice Nathan and Rob for that.
I do not feel the least bit guilty about treating Rob and Nathan like public commodities, because that’s exactly what they chose to be. They knew that they would lose all their privacy for the rest of their lives when they became actors. They are the ones who made that decision, not me. That’s a price you have to pay for fame.
You might hate me for all of this. I acknowledge that I have issues. I know that I’m obsessive and unethical and nasty and selfish and thoughtless. That’s all true. But right now, I choose to be that way.
I have no interest in changing who I am, just so that some strangers on the internet will approve of my behaviour. The only person’s opinion I care about is my own, and right now I’m fine with the things I’ve done (and continue to do).
I might be ashamed of myself in a few years, but right now I am going to ride this out and have a good time. It’s better than doing drugs, right?
Feel free to stick around and join me. I’m very excited to see what I can dig up on a certain unnamed politician in the coming months (I need something to write about in the student newspaper, after all).
For everyone asking me to admit that I was really Rob’s publicist trying to create drama in the fandom before the new season aired: I’m very flattered. NBC probably do owe me a few million dollars in back-dated publicity work. If I did work in PR, I’m either doing the best or the worst job ever.
The truth is, I’m not anyone special. I’m not a relative of someone in Management, or Nathan’s ex making up lies to try to ruin his image. I’m just a normal girl, in her bedroom, with a laptop. I have no insider connections to help me write this essay.2
But I do have some skin in the game, I suppose. A little bit.
I was @effiemeral. Back in 2014, on LiveJournal. I was thirteen, and precocious, and I wrote fic about Lyra and Jayden from this book series I borrowed from my mom. I started following @silentwakes early on – he was huge in the fandom. Everyone followed him.
When he posted for his fundraiser, I used the money I was given for my birthday to donate ten dollars to help him move away from his horrible parents. It really upset me when I saw that someone had given him thirteen grand – I wished I’d kept my money for myself.
That was why I was paying enough attention to notice that he was using a sockpuppet. That’s why I was the one to prove it. But then @silentwakes turned around and accused me of plagiarism in a fic I’d spent six months writing, every day after school. He took the fic that I’d been so proud of writing and ruined it for me.
I knew that he was lying but I had no way to prove it. I couldn’t exactly say that I was only thirteen and had never even read the book he was accusing me of copying. I just panicked and deleted my account.
I knew that he must have been doing something illegal with the fundraiser, but I had no idea what. I didn’t know how to prove it to anyone, either. I was mortified about writing fanfiction. It was my biggest, deepest, darkest secret. I thought that my parents would disown me if they ever found out what I was doing online. There’s no way I was going to tell them what had happened.
For years I tried to work out what @silentwakes had done, and why he’d come after me like that. It completely ruined Loch & Ness for me. I’ve still never written fanfiction again – I’ve stuck purely to the non-fiction, like this essay.
But then the TV series started and Mom made me watch the first episode and I was just – hooked. I was completely sucked back in. I made a Tumblr account and never told anyone that I’d been on LiveJournal years before.
I didn’t ship Lyra and Jayden anymore – it was obvious from the first episode that Jayden and Fang was the ones that fandom would ship together. I looked up the names of the actors and followed them on social media. I started to suspect after a few months that the facts didn’t add up, and that they might be dating.
I became a hardcore Rob/Nathan shipper for the whole of the first season. Then one day Rob tweeted this:
@Rob_Hennings My dad was an old school sci-fi fan. I got the nerdy gene from him, as well as the fighting one – I’ve been involved in more than a few fandom flame wars over the years myself, just like he was! I once caught someone plagiarising fic from an old space opera.
Dad used to make these lithograthic zines though, way more arty than me.
@Rob_Hennings For everyone asking, I spoke to Dad and asked him what he’d call a Loch & Ness zine if he was going to create one today. He said ‘The Paranormal Press’. Get that tumblr URL saved, stat.
@Rob_Hennings By the way, I showed @Nathan_ODonnell some of his old zines and he didn’t understand any of it, up to and including the word ‘fic’. He tries his best, but it’s just not in his genetic make-up like me.
He told a story about discovering someone in fandom had plagiarised a novel, back in the day. Reading that tweet was like a blow to the heart. I was probably the only person out there who would remember the incident. The only person who knew the names of the users involved. Because I’ve spent four years obsessing over what happened, knowing I was wronged but unable to prove it.
I still had all of @silentwakes’ posts saved from when I was trying to work out what he’d been doing with the fundraiser, so I transferred them from the back-up copy of my old laptop’s C Drive, which was saved on my dad’s storage harddrive.
I started going through them, searching for any sign that @silentwakes, the person I hated more than anyone, was Rob – my Rob, beloved Rob, Rob who I’d been in love and lust with for months. That’s where all the blog entries come from, the harddrive. You can’t access most of it online. I lied about that.
When I realised it was really him, I was furious. Completely livid. I’d always hoped that whoever @silentwakes was in IRL, they had a terrible life. I’d wanted him to be completely miserable. That’s what I told myself: that he was probably some depressed, sad little internet dweller who never left their house.
But that wasn’t true. Rob was a famous actor. The “sexiest man of the year”! He was rich and popular and gorgeous.
It wasn’t fair. None of it was fair.
I was desperate to share the information online and get people as angry as I was, but I had hardly any followers. I knew that if I claimed Rob was some random LiveJournal user, it would be ignored because it wouldn’t mean anything to them. They were only interested in one thing, the thing I’d been interested in, before I’d found out the truth: whether Rob was dating Nathan.
So I started writing this essay. I made up a story about sitting in a coffee shop and seeing Rob deleting an email from LiveJournal with ‘silentwakes’ as the username. That was just a way to explain how I knew that it was him without giving away my own involvement in the events.
I jumped on the chance to start posting when the courthouse sighting happened, because I thought that would be more believable than pretending I’d just run into Rob into a random coffee shop.
I knew I had to talk about him and Nathan in the essay, because that it would help me get enough followers that people would take the @silentwakes narrative seriously. I needed you to help me find the evidence that would finally uncover what he’d been doing with the fundraiser.
What’s ironic is that Rob was the one to introduce me to the idea of a fandom essay in the first place. He told me about The Msscribe Story, back when we were friends on LiveJournal. I only knew this kind of thing existed because of him. I bet he never thought I’d write one about him.
That was all I was looking for. Just the question I’d been desperate to have answered for four years. I really had no idea that he would kill Nathan over it. I never meant for him to be caught in the crossfire. I just wanted the truth. I didn’t need revenge. Not really. I would never have taken it to the police. I didn’t really want Rob to go to prison like this.
But I stand by everything I’ve done. I’m glad he was finally caught. He deserves it.
That’s it. That’s my big secret. That’s all I was trying to hide from you. My name is Margot Garcia, and I promise that if you try and investigate me, all you’ll find is a smutty Rob/Nathan Tumblr and a few too many secret purchases of gummy bears on my Amazon account (oh, wait…..you guys already found that….).
I have no other secrets. No inside connections.
Everything you read here was found through hard work, through clicking link after link until the evidence slotted into place. This kind of stuff is out there about all of us. Our secrets aren’t really so secret, if you know where to look.