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I Stayed With My Roommate and His Parents Over The Holidays
I was so nervous and excited about starting college. I didn’t really have a great time in high school—who did? I didn’t have a lot of friends and—god, I hate talking about myself like this. Blah blah blah, right? Anyway, I was just glad to begin a fresh start in a place where people didn’t know me at all. I thought it would be refreshing to walk down a corridor without being called a ‘freak’ every single day. But I won’t bore you—let alone myself—with the details of my pre-college teen trauma. Not right now, anyway.
I got accepted into Creekwood University, majoring in American Literature. Creekwood, for those who have never been, is like some sort of utopia. It’s honestly one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen and that alone sold me on my choice when I decided to apply. I went to one of those college open days and decided there and then that Creekwood would be the place for me. Shallow, I know, but when you’re a small town boy, anything else will do.
My parents begrudgingly drove me to Creekwood on a Friday. It was a massive inconvenience to my father who said he had far too much work to do. The whole way there my mother dropped hints about how hungry she was and how she could use a coffee, but my father ignored her in between work calls. Despite the five hour drive, with no food stops or bathroom breaks, my parents couldn’t wait to make the journey back home. They helped me with my bags upstairs in such a haste. I saw other students cringe from their crying mothers and their camera-happy fathers. My mother scanned the room I was staying in and simply said: ‘I can’t believe this is what we’re paying for.’ Just like that, they were gone—no emotional goodbyes necessary. After they left, I ended up collapsing onto one of the bare mattresses. I was too tried from the trip to even unpack yet and I assumed my roommate hadn’t arrived judging by the bare room.
I don’t know when I dozed off or how long for, but I was woken up by someone poking me in the chest. In my hazy state I saw a dark-haired guy towering over me, furrowing his brows. I’m a bit of a grouch when I wake up, so my first instinct was to punch him in the shoulder.
‘Ouch!’ He cried. ‘Dude, I was just trying to wake you up, there’s no need for the violence!’
Disorientated, I shot up from the bed and held my hands over his shoulder like I was some sort of healer. ‘I’m so, so sorry. I er-‘
‘It’s okay,’ he mumbled, rubbing his shoulder a little bit more than he really needed to. I have zero upper body strength, so I know I didn’t hit him that hard. That was the first time I saw his infectious grin. The type of grin that could get someone out of trouble, because you couldn’t help but grin back at him. ‘Good reflexes though. I’m Tris by the way. I’m your roommate, in case you hadn’t already guessed. Or maybe I’m a psycho who just broke into your room, I’ll let you decide.’
‘I’m Cole,’ I said, extending my hand which he grabbed with force and then used to pull me into a hug. A ‘bro hug’—that’s what he called them. His phrase, not mine, by the way. We would have a lot of those as we got to know one another. I wasn’t a massive hugger as you can imagine with what little background I’ve shared so far, but he turned me into one straight away. With him only, at least.
‘So, I’ve gotta grab the rest of my stuff and then I need to grab something to eat because I am absolutely starvin’. Do you want to come along?’
I stared at him, slightly bewildered because no one had ever invited me to have dinner with them. Ever. Especially within minutes of meeting. ‘Erm . . .’
He rolled his eyes. ‘Look it’s on me, and I don’t like eating alone. So please don’t make me beg.’
Tris clasped his hands together, like he was praying and pleaded at me to agree. I know he didn’t need me to eat with him, he was just being friendly and trying to make a good impression, I guessed. ‘I don’t really have a choice, do I?’’
‘Awesome! Okay, so first I’m gonna need some help getting my shit upstairs. I paid a guy a fiver to watch it, so it’s probably been stolen by now. But if it hasn’t can you give me a hand with it?’ Tris had already walked out the door before I agreed, so I followed. Even as we walked down the halls, which was full of students and parents carrying their duvets and cardboard boxes, he greeted people he didn’t even know. He raised his hand awaiting high fives from strangers and some even attempted to reciprocate whilst carrying heavy items, which caused them to drop them, of course. Tris exuded this I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude and confidence from day one. It made him so popular, everyone loved him. From day one, I loved him.
Tris and I became best friends instantly. We spent most of our free time together just hanging out, playing Xbox, watching movies. Our other friends barely saw us unless we were together. Even when we should have been studying, he’d tempt me into going out or hanging out with some of the other guys from American Lit. I got a job working in some independent superstore a few weeks after starting college, and on my third week Tris got bored. Because he didn’t have me around as much, he called the store and pretended to be my brother.
My shift supervisor came up to me whilst I was stacking a shelf with a glum face, I honestly thought I was about get fired or something. ‘Cole, your brother’s on the phone. Something’s happened to your grandmother. . .’
I didn’t question it. I knew who it would be on the phone. My supervisor led me to the office, saying she’d give me some privacy and closed the door. As soon as she did I picked up the receiver to hear Tris snickering like a child on the other end. ‘You’re a dick,’ I said. ‘I can’t believe you’re Ferris Bueller-ing me right now!’
We literally watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off the night before, so it wasn’t hard to work out where he got the idea from. ‘You’re totally getting fired. I bet you were all like ‘’I don’t have a brother’’, weren’t you?’
‘I’m not as gullible as you think,’ I said.
‘Excellent, I’ll come and pick you up then,’ Tris said, sounding very pleased his plan had worked. ‘Okay, start crying. You can cry on command right?’
To keep his idle hands and mind busy from making bad decisions like that again, I ended up convincing him to apply for a job at the superstore. He even charmed his way onto the same shifts as me. During our shifts, I worked and he mostly just talked to me whilst I worked. But I didn’t mind, it made it so much more fun.
By the time Christmas break came around, I got a phone call from my parents telling me that they wouldn’t be able to pick me up. They decided to go and see my dad’s brother for Christmas but said they left the key with the neighbour and they would transfer me some money for food and a train ticket so I could get home. I honestly wasn’t even disappointed. Although I’d have free reign of my house, I decided to stay at the halls because, quite frankly, I preferred it to being at home. When I told Tris he was so angry with my parents for basically abandoning me during the holidays.
‘That’s cold. Why can’t you go and see your uncle too?’ He asked.
To be honest, I could of. But if I wasn’t even invited, why would I even ask? ‘I really don’t care. I hate Christmas anyway and I’d rather just stay here. There’s a couple of people who are sticking around. Plus I can work more shifts and get double time so . . .’
It was very rare that Tris got pissed off. I could tell he was not only angry, but upset. He knew I didn’t have a close relationship with my parents and he just couldn’t fathom why. If I’m telling the truth, I couldn’t exactly pinpoint a reason myself. ‘Then I’m staying with you,’ he said abruptly.
‘No please, you can’t do that. Your parents will be heart broken.’
He shrugged, furiously grabbing his dirty clothes and socks off the floor and throwing them into the basket. Something I usually ended up doing for him, but he didn’t know what to do with himself. His emotions were all over the place. ‘I’ll invite them here. I’ll even cook them dinner.’
‘Can you even cook?’ I asked.
‘No, but I’ll do it anyway because I’m not leaving you here by yourself.’
In the end, Tris’s parents insisted we came to them for Christmas—no questions asked and no excuses. That was their response when Tris told them I wasn’t going home. I also think it was so he didn’t burn the halls down by attempting to roast a turkey. I was so overwhelmed that I went into the bathroom to cry. Whilst I was in there, Tris knocked on the door.
‘Dude!’ I shouted, acting like I was doing something other than sitting there.
‘Sorry!’ He whispered behind the door. ‘But er, I just wanted to say I’ll make sure you have a good Christmas with us. I’m really happy you’re coming with me. You’ll love my parents and my house is huge, and there’s so much to do, and it’s—honestly, Cole, I’ll make sure it’s the best Christmas you’ve ever had . . . I love you, bro.’
I’m not a crier but this sort of generosity was a lot to handle for me. I wasn’t used to it and I’d never experienced it before. Not like this. ‘Me too,’ I said, behind a cough to clear the chokehold inside my throat.
There was a silence between us. I wiped my tears away and I could of sworn I heard him sniff away some of his own. ‘Anyway! Can you hurry up? Some of us need to jerk off too!’ And just like that, he was back to good old Tris.
Most of the other students had already gone home by December 18th. It was so strange to be in the common room when it was so quiet, but there was still a few students who stayed there for the holidays. Myself and Tris weren’t leaving until the 23rd and I wanted some extra cash so I put myself down to work up until then. Although Tris didn’t need the cash, he took on the same shifts too.
The night before we were due to leave, we had the night off so I made sure we were all packed and ready for the morning so we could just chill out for the evening. Although I was immersed in this weird documentary we were watching, I noticed that Tris was staring into space rather than watching it. He had been since I put the documentary on.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked him.
Snapping out of his trance, he turned to me and gave me a half-assed smile. ‘Nothing.’
He put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a little rub. ‘I’m just happy to have a friend like you.’
‘Brother,’ I said, correcting him. He nodded, even though I wasn’t convinced that that was what he was thinking about. But I left it at that, it took him several minutes before he went back into a trance again.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I was so anxious about meeting Tris’s parents and staying in their house—well, it was an estate, actually. I just felt awkward spending Christmas with people I didn’t know. Sure, I know I’d be with Tris, but I know his family were well off and I had all these perceptions about how they would act or be.
Boy, was I wrong.
Tris drove us to the Warrener Estate early the next morning. It took us about three hours and of course, Tris made the journey fun with a playlist full of 70s and 80s tunes he could sing badly to. He loved music, especially from those decades. Tris lived in a town called Silver Oaks, which I had never heard of. It was a artsy town, apparently, that thrived on farming and old money. The outskirts contained huge country houses, and a lot of oak trees. I spotted an old radio tower that looked down on the town from the woods. The whole area looked picturesque due to the heavy snowfall.
‘Impressed?’ Tris asked, grinning at me.
‘Something like that,’ I said. ‘This place is absolutely stunning.’
‘Don’t let the postcard image fool you, some weird shit happens here.’
‘We’re just up ahead. Brace yourself.’
We drove through two huge iron bar gates and when we drove down the drive, I was blown away by the size of the estate. It looked like something from a period drama or something, and the fact it was covered in snow only made it more magnificent. Outside the huge black double doors stood Mr and Mrs Warrener, waving as we drove closer to the house.
When we got out the car, they walked straight over to greet us. Mr Warrener was a huge man. Tall and obviously spent a lot of time in the gym, or at least he used to. He was very clean cut and I could smell his expensive aftershave before he even shook my hand. ‘Cole, we’ve heard so much about you.’
‘Yes, we’re so happy you’ll be spending the holidays with us,’ Mrs Warrener said whilst she embraced Tris in her arms. I’d never seen anyone as beautiful as Mrs Warrener. She reminded me of a model in one of my mother’s magazines. I noticed how surgically pristine her makeup was, and how there were no flyaways on her long dark hair. And she looked so young. I did suspect she may have had a bit of help with that. ‘Come on, lets get you boys inside, it’s freezing out here.’
Inside was very modern. Far from what I would have expected in terms of décor and colour scheme judging from the outside. I was too afraid to even sit down. There was a lot of ceiling to floor length windows in the living room, and it was painted in neutral tones that somehow didn’t make it feel bland. It was very homely, accompanied by an already lit fire.
I caught Tris looking at me, and he seemed so happy to see my mouth-wide-open reaction. ‘Make yourself at home, I’ll take our shit—‘ he stopped mid sentence when Mrs Warrener raised her eyebrow at him. ‘Sorry. Our STUFF upstairs.’
Tris and Mr Warrener disappeared with our duffle bags up the huge staircase at the front of the house. I still couldn’t bring myself to sit down, plus Mrs Warrener didn’t move from where she stood. She stared at me with a warm smile, but it was a smile that made me feel awkward, so I broke the ice.. ‘I can’t thank you enough for this, letting me stay here I mean, it was very very kind of you.’
‘It’s no trouble at all,’ she said as she approached me. I had the strangest feeling when she rubbed her hand on my shoulder. The gesture made my heart pound, not because it was awkward, but because it was something my own mother had never done. ‘He thinks of you as family. And any family of Tristan’s is family to us too.’
I nodded. ‘I feel the same way—he’s family to me too, I mean.’
Mrs Warrener released her hand from my shoulder, and walked over to the door. The sound of her stilettos echoed throughout the room. ‘Please, feel free to look around. I’ll go and make us all some hot chocolate,’ she said before walking out. I took in the room on my own and as wowed as I was by everything so far, and as welcoming as The Warrener’s had been, I still didn’t feel at home.
Despite the size of the exterior, the inside of the house was easy to navigate due to the wide open rooms and huge corridors. I eventually found a study that was full of books and a pristine white piano. The bookcase had all the classics, some modern titles and some of my all time favourite books. There was also big square spaces in between the books with framed photographs. In every single one it was Tris and The Warrener’s with a different boy. They all posed like they were in family portraits, backdrops included. I guessed Tris must have been about 15 or 16 in the photos, he didn’t look any different other than his hair style varied with each photo. I figured he must have gone through a lot of phases as a teen.
‘How did I guess you would be in here?’ I jumped back to see Tris leaning against the door frame. He grinned liked an idiot, getting a kick out of the fact he scared me. ‘Pretty impressive collection, huh?’
‘Impressive is one word for it,’ I said. ‘This is immense.’
He walked over and pointed to a copy of a Dickens book. ‘That’s a first edition. Cost my dad a pretty penny.’ He wasn’t showing off, he knew I loved stuff like this.
‘I couldn’t even imagine how much. So, who are all these guys in the photos?’ I asked.
Tris cringed. ‘So embarrassing. So my parents always insisted on taking in exchange students when I was in high school so I could learn other languages and about other cultures. They weren’t even through the school programme. They were university students. My parents also insisted we had our photos taken together.’
‘God, that’s so adorable,’ I said pointing to a photo of Tris with some emo hair style, which earned me a middle finger in return. I counted up the photos and there was at least twelve of them. ‘Do you still keep in contact with any of them?’
‘Through Facebook with some, but mostly no. To be fair, they only stayed for like three weeks at a time and we didn’t really talk much after that. I don’t even know why my parents bother to keep the photos up.’ Tris sighed, examining the pictures. Almost like he was seeing them for the first time. ‘Hey! I’ve not even shown you my room yet, come on!’
Tris practically dragged me out of the room and across the hall which had a circular window in the centre that reminded me of the famous Amityville house. Tris’s bedroom was absolutely huge with a super-kingsize bed, an en suite bathroom and a mini living room area. It was at least four times bigger than our dorm room.
‘So bedroom options,’ he said, clapping his hands together. ‘You can either take one of the guest rooms, my sofa pulls out into a bed too or you can share with me. It’s up to you.’
‘Erm, I don’t even know what to say.’
‘Awesome! You can stay in here then,’ he decided. ‘I’m too used to having you around, I don’t know if I could even sleep without you being close to me.’
I put my arm over his shoulder and gripped him into a headlock. ‘Awh, shucks.’.
Christmas Day with Tris and his family was amazing—well, it started off that way. When I woke up, I was surprised to see a pile of gifts with my name on the tags. And when I say a pile, I mean a mound. I opened them with a sickly feeling in my stomach. Video games, books, a new laptop—honestly it was insane. ‘Mr and Mrs Warrener, I can’t accept these . . .’
Tris sighed. ‘Actually . . . They’re all from me, those extra shifts came in handy after all.’
I felt bad that all I got him was one video game, one he’d actually got for me too. I didn’t know what to say. ‘Tris—this is—‘
‘Yeah, yeah. I love you too,’ he said, wrapping his arm around me whilst Mr and Mrs Warrener smiled at us admirably.
The atmosphere was like something I had never known. Mr and Mrs Warrener cuddled up together, Tris, with his hair all matted, ripping through presents like an actual child on Christmas morning. Not to mention the Christmas songs that played in the background and the sweet smell of spiced apple that filled the room, or the size of the tree that rested in the corner, decorated like it was for a window display. I was so used to Christmas morning being short and sweet. My mother would be in the kitchen making dinner, my father would sit working on his laptop. When I opened my presents there was never any joy from either of them. They just saw it as a box they felt they needed to tick—I did, at least. That’s how it always felt.
Later on, I stepped outside to call my parents and wish them a happy Christmas. It was my mother who I decided to call, knowing that she would actually pick up. My father was always ignoring my calls or texts. ‘Merry Christmas,’ I mumbled when she answered.
‘You too,’ she said, distracted. ‘Did you get into the house okay?’
I frowned. ‘I told you I was spending Christmas with Tris. Didn’t you get my messages?’
There was a long pause on the phone. ‘Why are you inconveniencing someone else? You could have just come home. We were going to surprise you tomorrow and come home and cook you dinner. For god sakes, Cole!’
‘It’s not my fault you didn’t read my messages! I’m sorry, but I didn’t exactly want to sit at home alone with a frozen lasagna.’
‘Do you know what? Merry Christmas, Cole.’ She hung up. I threw my phone into the snow, wanting to scream, to hit something.. Her reaction didn’t surprise me. Somehow I knew she would ruin this day for me. She always did one way or another.
‘Is everything okay, Cole?’ I turned around to see Mrs Warrener standing by the backdoor with a cigarette in her mouth, cuddled up in a black mink coat. I didn’t even hear her come out and I wondered how long she had been standing there listening to my conversation. She noticed my eyes immediately drawn to her cigarette. ‘They both think I’ve quit. Our secret, okay?’
I nodded. ‘Of course.’
‘So, you and your mother had a fight?’ She asked, taking a long drag. I shuffled some snow with my feet, feeling a little embarrassed. ‘I’m sorry they didn’t want to spend Christmas with you.’ There was something in her tone . . . I wouldn’t call it disgust for my parents, but she didn’t say it with any respect for them. ‘I’m glad you’re here instead.’
I met Mrs Warrener’s eyes. Although she’d been warm to me, I detected something in them that night. Something that unnerved me. I reached down into the snow where I threw my phone and picked up. The frost stung my knuckles. ‘I’m gonna get back inside, I’m freezing.’
She seemed to hesitate, taking a drag from her cigarette before she asked: ‘Do you think your parents love you?’
It took a moment. It felt like being winded. I tried to read her, indicate what her intention was for asking me that, as blunt as she had. There was no regret in asking her question, that was clear. She crossed a line, and Mrs Warrener knew it. I could tell by the way her expression didn’t change.
‘Excuse me,’ I mumbled as I marched past her and made my way back into the house.
We spent the rest of the evening watching some TV. Mr and Mrs Warrener cuddled up together on the sofa together and laughed at the unfunny parts of whatever it was were watching—I can’t even remember. I was glad when Tris suggested we go upstairs to do our own thing. He managed to sneak up a bottle of wine for us to share. In his room, we opened the bottle and shared sips.
‘Okay,’ he said abruptly, ‘what the hell is wrong with you? You’ve been a misery all evening. Is it your parents?’
‘Sort of,’ I mumbled, taking the bottle to have a massive swig. I avoided eye contact with him.
Tris rolled his eyes and snatched the bottle from me, slamming it down a little too hard on his glass table. ‘Fuck them, Cole. FUCK. THEM.’
I squinted my eyes, attempting to speak. ‘And—what,’ I stood over Tris, feeling blood bubble all over me. ‘Do you know what? Who the hell are you to disrespect my parents?’
Tris’s eyes widened and he started to bite on his thumb nail. ‘Erm. I just—‘
His eyes focused on the bottle of wine. The liquid still squishing at the top from how hard he slammed it down. I saw the cogs turn in his head. I may have only known him for three months, but we’d spent that much time together that I knew what was coming next. ‘You’ve had too much to drink. Maybe we should just call it a night.’
I nodded, pouting my lips. ‘Yeah, maybe we should. I’m gonna go and sleep across the hall.’
I picked up my phone and stormed out of Tris’s room. Instead of objecting or trying to stop me, he just picked the bottle back up and drank from it. I didn’t bother to close the door behind me.
I tossed and turned in the guest bed. Obviously I felt like shit about snapping at Tris, especially in his own house—on Christmas Day, of all days. It was the question that Mrs Warrener asked that played on my mind.
I was so fidgety that I couldn’t lie down any longer, so I got out of the bed and walked over to the window. The snow was coming down heavy outside, but the it lit up the pathway from the pitch black sky. This side of the house looked out at The Warrener’s enormous garden which I could barely see, but I found my eyes burning into the brightness of the snow, until I was distracted by a flicker of light.
It seemed to be a flashlight moving about near the bottom of the gardens. I knew The Warrener’s usually hired help to maintain it, but I didn’t see anyone else on the estate. I assumed they would of gone home for the holidays. But no, there was definitely someone down there. It was hard to make out what they were actually doing due to the heavy snowfall.
I waited near the window long enough to see the flashlight coming up the path towards the house. The closer the figure got, I thought it was Mrs Warrener, with a big, black fur coat. She had a hood over her head and a shovel in her hand. But then I noticed the white hair that snapped into the snowy wind. It was hard to make out but it was an older lady who struggled to keep herself up right. My initial thought was that it may be Tris’s grandmother, but he had never mentioned having one. And even if he did, why would she go that far down into the garden at night?
I got close to the window to see how much more I could make out of this older woman. The closer she got to the house the more I could just about see. And I noticed she was not only holding a shovel, but in her other hand was a black bin liner that seemed heavy judging by how she was pushing herself forward. She stopped in her tracks all of sudden, and slowly she bent her neck up and stared right up in my direction. Her face was undetectable—indescribable in the dark, shielded by the black hood, but the way she craned her neck up to my window told me she knew she was being watched. I only got a quick glimpse of her shadowed face because I jumped right back from the window so I wasn’t detected, but I feared it was already too late for that. She definitely saw me.
I waited anxiously for about a minute before I looked down again. She was gone, but the snowy path below was covered in black spots from where she had walked. They could have been footsteps, it was hard to tell without any light, or something from that trash bag . . . I remember how I felt a queasy ball in my stomach. It take over me all of sudden. I told myself that it was because of everything that had happened that evening. But what it really was, was seeing that woman in the garden. It didn’t make sense and it didn’t feel right.
It was my first indication that something was very wrong at The Warrener Estate.
I woke up the next morning with an arm around me. All I had to do was look at the chewed down nails to know it was Tris. The moment I raised my head, he tightened his grip around me. I tried my best to escape, but it was useless. He was actually quite strong.
‘Nope,’ he said. ‘We’re hugging this one out.’
‘Technically, we’re cuddling this one out and actually, you’re suffocating me.’
‘Okay, we’re cuddling this one out then.’
I shuffled away as he got closer. ‘That’s fine an all dude, but your morning wood is literally poking into me.’
‘Oh come on, like you haven’t seen it before!’
I started laughing. ‘Right, but I’ve never felt it and I don’t think I want to start now.’
He giggled as I managed to wriggle out of his grip.. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said.
‘I’m sorry too. A lot of bottled up emotions, you know? This was my first Christmas away—‘
‘Cole, you don’t have to explain to me. ‘
‘That’s why we’re friends.’
‘Brothers,’ he corrected.
Tris stretched out on the bed, unwrapping himself from the duvet. His exaggerated pose reminded me of a commercial for memory foam or something. ‘This bed is really comfy, did you sleep alright?’
I remembered the woman in the garden, and how it took me ages to sleep after. About an hour after seeing her, I couldn’t keep still and I had to look out the window again. The snow had covered over the marks on the path. ‘Tris, do you have a grandmother?’
‘Had,’ he said, ‘I never met them.’
Outside it was bright, the snow had stopped falling but covered everything. In the daylight I could see how far the gardens extended. What I failed to see last night was there was a graveyard at the back of the estate. I found it unusual, but I assumed generations past would have been buried there. It wasn’t particularly big, but I tried to replay the events from the night before and that was where I first saw the flashlight moving about. ‘Are they buried out there?’
Tris screwed his face up. ‘Morbid, much?’
‘Sorry, I just assumed.’
Tris got off the bed and stood beside me at the window. ‘That graveyard is ancient. Nobody’s been buried there for years. My parents bought the estate from the family who owned it sometime ago. It’s pretty grim I know. Apparently this place was the definition of American Gothic before my mom remodelled it. My parents wanted to get rid of the graveyard, but, they’re kinda superstitious.’
‘I saw someone—an old woman, I think, out there last night.’
Tris shrugged. ‘You sure you weren’t dreaming?’
‘No, I saw her,’ I said. I could tell by Tris’s face he didn’t believe me, and he showed no sign of knowing who it could have been. I had no reason to believe he was lying or hiding something from me. ‘You know what, forget it. I was probably a little drunk.’
Tris smiled and gave my shoulder a light bump with his fist. ‘It’s beautiful out there, isn’t it?’ He said, turning his attention back to the gardens.
I joined him and scanned over that graveyard one more time. ‘Breathtaking.’
I took a shower in the guest room and Tris went back to his room to do the same. When I emerged out of the bathroom in nothing but a towel, I was surprised to see Mrs Warrener sitting on the bed. She sat with such a disciplined poise; legs crossed, hands rested on her knee.
‘Mrs Warrener!’ I yelled, using my hands to cover my upper body. ‘Good morning.’
She didn’t return the greeting. Instead she smiled. ‘I’m sorry to disturb you unannounced. I felt I should apologise for last night.’
I didn’t know what else to do, other than sit in the arm chair and hug the cushion to conceal my bare chest. Couldn’t it have waited until I was dressed?, I thought. Instead I said: ‘Oh, don’t worry about it.’
Her face was blank. Something about her body language, her tone of voice, everything about her was totally different this morning. She even looked tired, a little less . . . Perfect? I know that’s a shallow word to use, but she didn’t seem like the same woman. She eventually raised herself up from the bed and her warm smile returned. ‘Cole, I just want you to know, I suffer from insomnia and I get a bit restless. So if you were wondering what I was doing outside in the middle of the night, I was just taking a walk.’
‘So it was you?’ I said.
Mrs Warrener cocked her head and frowned. ‘Who else would it be? I hope I didn’t scare you.’ ‘No, no,’ I said, shaking my head. ‘I just thought it was someone else, that was all.’
‘Well, there’s only us four here,’ she said as she twisted a strand of her dark hair—which seemed dull that day—with her polished finger. It was almost as if she was trying to draw my attention to it, and it only made me think of the white hair I saw on her last night. In fact, I was still convinced it wasn’t even her at all. Even in the dead of night, there was no mistake about it—it was someone completely different.
Mrs Warrener and I stared at one another in silence for a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity. She finally broke it when she said: I’m gonna make us all some breakfast.’ She opened the bedroom door to leave but stopped before exiting the room. She didn’t turn to face me. ‘I’m sorry again if I scared you . . .’ And then she disappeared down the corridor, the sound of her stilettos echoed through the wing.
As soon as she left, I closed the door and locked it.
Despite our little chat on Boxing Day morning, things weren’t awkward between me and Mrs Warrener. She didn’t make them weird, she carried on without even a cautious glance my way. It was nothing but smiles and laughter. It ticked at the back of my head all day long, how she felt the need to say anything to me at all if she wasn’t hiding anything. Of course I never questioned her about the shovel or the trash bag—why would I? It was her house after all.
Tris got extremely drunk that evening. We were in his bedroom and he hadn’t slowed down all day. I’d never seen him drink like that before and it was apparent that he couldn’t handle it. After he threw up in his bathroom, I helped him into bed. I removed his sweater, trousers and socks for him so he could cool down. I considered getting one of his parents to come and check on him, but I thought it would only piss him off the next day. I started to walk over to the sofa bed, when he held his arms out. ‘Don’t leave,’ he slurred, with his eyes shut.
‘I’m not going anywhere, I’ll be right over there.’
Tris licked his dry lips and shook his head side to side on the pillow. ‘They always promise they won’t leave . . .’
God, he was wasted, I thought. ‘Who is “they”?’
‘My brothers,’ he said. ‘You’re my brother, aren’t you?’
‘You know I am,’ I said, rolling my eyes. But something snapped in my brain that never even occurred to me. ‘You have brothers?’
‘Had . . .’ The slits of his lids opened slightly and he grabbed my arm. Even in his lucid state, he had a strong grip. He attempted to pull me in closer, but he couldn’t quite find the strength for that. So I bowed my head down so he could whisper in my ear: ‘You’re my favourite.’
That night I couldn’t sleep again. One word was on my mind: brothers. Plural. It confused the hell out of me. I wondered where they were, who they were, and what happened to them. There wasn’t even a photo of them. All the portraits and photos were of The Warrener’s and Tris. Just them together. The only other photos I’d seen without them was, of course, the ones with the exchange students. I don’t know what possessed me, but I opened up Facebook on my phone to stalk Tris’s friends list. I didn’t have any names to go off, but I would recognise some of their faces if I saw them.
I spent about an hour doing this and I had pretty much gone through every friend Tris had on there. There were several profiles with no facial pictures, but I thought it would be too much of a coincidence if it were them. Also three of them had girls names—all the exchange students in the photos were boys. I found nothing. Tris had no reason to lie to me, so I don’t know why he told me he had a few of them on Facebook.
I decided to go to the guest room across the hall to look out the window to the back again. I tip toed out of Tris’s room and made my way over, but when I attempted to open the door, it was locked. I tried all the other doors on that side where the view to back of the house was, but again, they were all locked. I tried a few doors on the other side, facing the front and they all opened fine. It was pretty clear that Mrs Warrener had done this on purpose.
I looked at the time on my phone: 12:06am. The Warrener’s would hopefully be in bed. Their room was on the other side of the house and the study was downstairs. I just hoped Mrs Warrener wasn’t planning on going on another walk.
I crept down the the staircase, using the torch on my phone to guide the way. All the lights were off in the house and I heard no sound from the downstairs area. The coast was clear as I made my way into the study. The door was left open ajar. It was strange, in the dark the room felt eerie, cold and very isolated. I thought about turning a lamp on, but I thought to be on the safe side I would continue to use my phone torch.
I flashed my phone over the pictures with the exchange students and examined them all. All the boys were around the same age, just like Tris had confirmed when I first saw them. But I paid special attention to The Warrener’s this time. Tris may have gone through some phases, that was clear by the clothes and different hair styles, but I couldn’t fathom why The Warrener’s also seemed to have done the same. I didn’t notice it before, but there they were in outdated clothes and strange hair styles. This literally happened a few years ago.
There was one picture where Mr Warrener was sporting a mullet and a moustache. Mr clean cut, preppy Mr Warrener. I found it hard to believe. It was a gamble and I didn’t have any idea what it would achieve. My parents used to write the dates on all of their scrapbook photos, I guess that’s where I got the idea from. So I picked up the photo and removed the backing. At first I doubted it. Shook my head. It was impossible. Literally FUCKING impossible.
On the back of the photo it said:
I picked up another at random and did the same:
The furthest date the photos went back was 1975. And in that time The Warrener’s hadn’t aged all. And Tris wouldn’t have been born. But there he was, the same age, nearly forty-five years ago.
The snow fall was heavier that night, more so than the last and I was absolutely freezing when I stepped out into the gardens. I didn’t bother grabbing my coat, It was a risk getting caught as it was just from being out of the bedroom. It was pitch dark, with no security light or anything to guide the way, but the path was linear and I knew where I was going. I turned around to check the house was still in darkness.
I could barely make out the graves when I finally got to them, I didn’t want to draw much attention to myself, so I put my hand over the torch of my phone to read what the stones said. Nearly all of them had been spray painted with first names over the original markings. And there was a lot of them. All boys names. And some of them I recognised from the photos upstairs.
I could hear my heart in my eardrums, and I even developed hot beads on my brow despite the cold weather and snowflakes hitting my head. I felt a hot sludge of sick travel up my throat and I puked right onto a gravestone with MICHAEL sprayed on it. Tris wasn’t referring to any deceased blood relation when he talked about his “brothers” earlier. It was those guys in the photos. They were his former ‘’brothers’’ and they were all buried in the garden on top of old graves.
What is DIGITS? A guide for the most confusing T-Mobile Feature.
Hi! Welcome to my guide to DIGITS. Let me start by saying I do not work for T-Mobile, but I do use DIGITS heavily, I was a beta tester, and I have confirmed many points with staff before posting this guide.submitted by InvincibleSugar to tmobile
This guide will have TL;DR's for each section, then more technical details mostly intended for T-Mobile employees and nerds. If you're just a customer trying to understand the basics, stick to the TL;DR's. Each section starts with an image with a cute character and a question.
TL;DR: DIGITS is a family of tools and services which allow customers to use phone numbers more flexibly than before, on multiple devices, and/or with multiple numbers per device. It's not one thing, and there are many different use cases and possibilities with DIGITS. DIGITS is just an umbrella term for the whole suite of services, not the name of any one use.
One of the biggest misconceptions about DIGITS is that it's just one thing. Some people only know DIGITS as that thing where you can use an app to put your number one more than one phone, and other people only know DIGITS as that thing that let's you get an extra phone number, without realizing both of these, and more scenarios, are all just types of DIGITS. DIGITS itself is just the blanket name for the entire family of products offered.
I'll get into each scenario separately below, but for now just keep in mind that DIGITS is not one thing. Some uses cost money, some do not. Some can be used by all T-Mobile customers, some can not. DIGITS as a whole is just the program T-Mobile launched which separates phone numbers from SIM cards, allowing these more flexible options.
TL;DR: DIGITS has many common scenarios, including adding a new (extra) phone number to your phone, using your existing phone number on other phones with their own existing service (even non-T-Mobile phones), and using your existing phone number on new phones that didn't previously have service at all. DIGITS for wearables also enables number sharing, with smart watches!
Adding a new phone number to your existing device requires adding a new line of service called a DIGITS T&T LINE, which costs $10/mo. PROXY by DIGITS is just a free, rebranded T&T line.
Using your existing T-Mobile phone number on a second existing device with its own existing cellular service requires downloading the DIGITS app from the App Store or Play Store. This is free for all T-Mobile postpaid customers on all voice plans.
Enabling service on a new second device which did not already have cellular service (or a wearable) requires adding a new line of service called a DATA W/ PAIRED DIGITS LINE. This costs $10/mo and can be added to all Magenta, One, and Simple Choice plans. It's internet speeds are slow, but for $20/mo you can add a HIGH SPEED DATA W/ PAIRED DIGITS LINE to all Magenta and ONE TI plans.
That was a pretty long TL;DR! But this will be even longer. If you work for T-Mobile and really wanna know your shit, please keep reading. There are all sorts of fun gotchas and asterisks to get into.
First let's talk about pricing. All those $10/mo and $20/mo assume the customer has autopay. Otherwise they'd each be $5 more. And, even if a customer has autopay T-Mobile limits $5 autopay discounts to 8 per account, or $40 total. So even if a customer uses autopay if they also have 10 lines they will be paying $15 or $25, not $10 or $20. That goes for all types of service with autopay discounts on all consumer plans! Not sure about business plans, you'd need to ask your manager or something.
If the base voice plan is taxes included than all added DIGITS lines will also include taxes and fees. If they are on an older taxes excluded plan, or Essentials, etc, they will be paying taxes and fees on these DIGITS plans too. I think these plans don't charge voice taxes in states that have those, only data line taxes, but I might be wrong about that. I know T-Mobile's billing system does treat all DIGITS lines as data, not voice. Clarification is needed.
Next let's talk about DIGITS T&T lines a bit more. These lines are used when a customer wants to add an extra voice line to their phone. They cost $10/mo ($15 w/o autopay) and can be added to almost any kind of plan. They work with all flavors of Magenta, One, SC, and probably any older voice plan that can add data lines. These lines only work in the DIGITS app, the DIGITS web app (for PCs), and the native DIGITS experience built in to some older LG and Samsung phones. Don't worry about that last point, while there are millions of phones out there with that feature, there's probably a baker's dozen of people in your whole state that use it... I'd be shocked if you ever met a live customer who uses it.
T&T lines do not provide data. They can not be activated on a SIM card or eSIM. They only work in the DIGITS app, as a way to add an extra phone number beyond the voice lines the customer already has. If you are familiar with the new PROXY lines, this is the exact same concept. In fact a PROXY line is a DIGITS T&T line, literally, just with a different name.
All the free DIGITS offers so far, except for the free beta lines, have been for T&T lines ONLY. If a customer has a "free DIGITS line" from their old "Add One Plus for $5 a month and get a free DIGITS line!" offered in, uh, 2017?, or a free DIGITS line that comes bundled with their Amplified plan, or a free DIGITS line they got with their iWireless transition, or any other free DIGITS line offered in the past or today, it's a T&T line. So it won't work on a SIM card or provide data. If the customer thinks it does, they are mistaken.
And of course, since PROXY lines are just rebranded T&T lines, they also do NOT provide data or work in a phone without the app (and its own internet connection).
Now let's talk about the DIGITS app. The app works on iOS and Android, there is a PC version for Windows and Mac, as well as a Web App which works on all of these systems mentioned (yes, even on mobile) as well as some more exotic hardware like the video game systems and those Kiosks that sell lotto tickets in Arizona (yes, I've tried). Signing in uses your existing My T-Mobile account, and will require a SMS verification sent to one of your devices. However, in the event that you lose your phone the SMS can be sent to a different voice line on your account. You only need access to one voice line to get in, then any voice line or DIGITS T&T line linked to your My T-Mobile account can be accessed.
The Primary account holder can link any and all voice lines and DIGITS T&T lines to their own DIGITS log in, however child accounts will need permission from other lines first. Either way, when a line is turned on in a DIGITS app instance the SIM card for that line will get a text message alerting them that someone is using their number in DIGITS. If it's a voice line. T&T lines don't get those alerts.
Multiple people/My T-Mobile IDs on the same account can use the same number. A single line can be active on up to 5 devices total, including SIM cards. In my own experience you can enable more than 5, but things get a bit glitchy. Nothing stops you, but not all calls and texts will make it to all devices with that line enabled if you exceed 5. There was also a limit of 5 lines being activated per app instance, but that has either been lifted or broken, as now you can enable more than 5. I don't know the new limit of lines active per app, but I've done 9 before without issues. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
There is no cost to using the app. It works with VoLTE and older GSM voice calls, as well as VOIP on WiFi or non-cellular clients like PCs. It does need internet to work, though. Even though the mobile DIGITS app can work with VoLTE/GSM voice calls using minutes instead of data, it still needs data to initiate the call, as the data connection is used to tell the network what's going on and to change the caller ID of the outgoing call. If a T-Mobile customer uses the DIGITS app on a CDMA phone to place a call, and has their app set to use minutes instead of data, that will also work. In theory it would even work on a 2G cell site, as long as there is also an internet connection before the call is placed.
Without getting too technical, when the app is set to use minutes instead of data the call just uses the phone number of the device itself to place a call like normal, through the standard dialer app, using minutes, but it also sends metadata telling the network to display the caller ID and cell number of the DIGITS line instead. This doesn't always work, but at least on paper, that's how it's supposed to work. For maximum security customers should place calls using data, on a device with an internet only connection. They could dox themselves by mistake when using the minutes feature, as DIGITS is just kinda broken and doesn't always work... don't shoot the messenger, I'm not T-Mobile and I can't speak to why they allow a half baked system to be out there.
My tangent on Native DIGITS, feel free to skip! As mentioned previously, there is also this amazing and rarely used feature called "native DIGITS", also known as built in DIGITS, or as multi-line settings. Sadly, T-Mobile pulled the plug on it in 2019, and Samsung has even removed it from existing devices with the Android 10 update. However, it does still work on some older T-Mobile branded LG and Samsung devices. You will almost certainly never, ever, in an infinite number of lives, meet a living flesh and blood person still using this feature, but just for the sake of full coverage, let's chat about it.
Originally offered on some LG, Samsung, and I think maybe the first Revvl? phones this feature was truly epic. It allowed users to log in to their DIGITS account on their phones directly, in the settings app, just like a Google account or a Samsung account, with no need to download an app. It would display calls and texts on multiple lines in the native, built in dialer and SMS apps of these phones, cleanly, with multiple perks including less app clutter (no DIGITS app! It was just built in to the EXISTING calling and texting apps!), support for some fancy texting features like seeing when the other person is online or typing before this was added to the app, and my personal favorite, legitimate screenshots.
Let me explain that last point. It's bad enough that you might not trust someone so you'd give them a fake or extra number instead of your personal number, but worse, when you use the DIGITS app (or other things like it, such as 2nd Line or Text Now) your screenshots of conversations clearly show you're using a 3rd party app. But with native DIGITS your conversation would look just like any other, in the stock SMS app of your LG or Samsung phone which other people would recognize, which, I don't know maybe it's just me, but that was a killer feature for me. Sure, on my Note 9 there was a small icon added to show it's an extra line, but most people would not know what that is. They'd just see a normal looking, non-sketchy app used to text, which adds legitimacy to whatever happened, vs an obvious fake number with the DIGITS app.
Unfortunately Samsung removed the feature from the Note 9, S9, and Note 8 with the Android 10 update. T-Mobile stopped paying to include the feature after the Note 9, the S10, Note 10 and beyond never had this feature. LG also dropped it when T-Mobile stopped paying to add it, I believe with the G8.
Currently, these phones still support native DIGITS even on the latest system update:
On phones that support the feature, they must be running the T-Mobile version of their software, and the feature must be "unlocked" online via the DIGITS Portal. They also must be on a T-Mobile postpaid voice line. Even running the T-Mobile software the feature can not be unlocked if the SIM card is missing or from a different carrier.
The feature is also very insecure. When I had it I could request access to numbers I shouldn't have had access to, including data only lines. That's why I'm "DIGITS Breaker" on the T-Mobile Discord server. I used the poorly coded and maintained native DIGITS on my Note 9 to unlock access to the phone numbers on multiple data lines on my account, not just voice lines. I also had access to a phone number on a voice line which I added for a Costco AAL deal then cancelled, and even after cancelling the line from my account I could still use it in my native DIGITS. Really. Some other person got that number a few months later and I started getting texts from his girlfriend. And I could answer them. The fact that it's even possible is, scary. But T-Mobile doesn't care about native DIGITS anymore and isn't updating it, so uh, hopefully no one reading this is interested in identity theft! Because man, that feature is super insecure. /rant
Time to discuss Data w/ Paired DIGITS! This is the option where customers can activate a new line to share their number with a second device which does not already have service. It costs $10/mo ($15 w/o autopay) for the slow version, or $20/mo ($25 w/o autopay) for the high speed version. This plan gives the customer a new SIM card which shares the same phone number as one of their voice lines. It works natively, so no app is required.
The slower version, known as "Data w/ Paired DIGITS" can be added to any Magenta, One, or Simple Choice plan, and possibly even older grandfathered plans. It includes unlimited data at 512 Kbps (or maybe 600 Kbps? But I think it's 512 Kbps) and minutes and texts used count against the voice line it's mirroring. When someone calls that voice line both SIMs ring at the same time. As well as any app instances. This line can be used in wearables, tablets, and phones. It's probably not a good fit for smartphones and tablets since it's so slow, but it will work, it is compatible 100% and intended for use in phones and tablets, it is not only for watches. And some people may only need the slow speed option, for example to get calls on a flip phone or car radio system. They'd just be wasting money if you tried to get them on the HS plan.
The High Speed Data w/ Paired DIGITS option is exactly the same as the option above, but data is full speed, subject only to network management at 50 GB. This type of DIGITS line is $20 and can not be added to Simple Choice or ONE TE plans. Only to Magenta and ONE TI. I'm not too sure about Essentials, it may or may not work there. I asked 5 reps on T-Force and got 5 answers so, who knows. This plan also works in all the same devices but is targeted more at phones and tablets, it would be a bit overkill for watches (except for the Apple Watches, those can take better advantage of the faster speeds).
This option can be very handy for devices like flip phones which may not have the ability to use the app or web app, since the DIGITS stuff is handled by the SIM and network. To the device, it just places a call or sends a text like normal, no DIGITS app needed! It may also be cheaper than adding a voice line, depending on the situation with the customer, and it can be added without impacting how many voice lines the customer has, since some numbers of voice lines can require a plan change, which could also mean losing promos, but DIGITS lines can be added safely. And, it's a great option for customers who've maxed out their voice lines, since consumer postpaid T-Mobile accounts are all eligible for up to 20 DIGITS lines, separate from their voice line and data line limits. These lines do need to share a number with an existing voice line, but it's still an option for someone with 12 voice lines who wants even more phones.
These lines can not be used in T-Mobile Tuesdays, and can't add on One+ or Magenta+. But they can often be used for EIP phone promos! Great option for BOGO deals that require one new line and one existing line, since the DIGITS line can often be used as the existing line if other voice lines already have EIP deals.
TL;DR: Yes. Enabling a voice line in DIGITS will send an alert to that person's phone, SMS 2FA is required to sign in to DIGITS, and high security short code texts don't get forwarded to DIGITS instances of numbers. Things can still go wrong though, so read beyond the TL;DR if you're paranoid.
Oh boy, security. Always a fun topic. "Can people spy on me?" is a valid question, and for the most part the answer is no, but let's get into the nitty gritty. When you sign in to the app or web app you have to have access to one of your voice lines in person, to get a SMS to confirm your identity. So you don't need to worry about a complete stranger hacking into your DIGITS account, at least. Once you're signed in, you also have to have access to other lines on the account to turn them on. The account holder can grant themselves access, but any other lines with their own account need permission first from the other line.
As an example, say Dad is the account holder, and on his account he also has Jessica and David, his two kids. Dad's My T-Mobile ID, which is the same as his DIGITS account, can access Jessica and David's lines if needed. He can grant himself access. However, if Jessica has her own My T-Mobile ID, she can only access her line, and to get access to even look at other lines, say David's, she would need to request permission first via the DIGITS Portal.
This still does not totally rule out a nosey parent spying on their kids, though. The account holder can use DIGITS to spy, however the kids (or whoever) would get a text message which would tell them someone is now accessing their number in DIGITS, so you'd know. Sure, they could also delete the text on your phone, but that's really getting conspiratorial... and they'd need your phone, if they can unlock your phone to delete a text then they could also just check your phone in the first place and not even use DIGITS!
Don't worry, though. You can sleep easy tonight, maybe. It is possible for the account holder or other "authorized users" to call 611 and speak to the tech support department. Not the regular team of experts, but the specific tech support people. You can ask them to block numbers on the account from DIGITS, and then they will never be able to be used again within DIGITS! This is great for college friends splitting an account or families with trust issues.
Although, my own anecdotal experience tells me this is not fool proof, as I did this some time ago to prevent myself from accidentally turning on my own daughter's line, since it would freak her out to think I was spying on her when I am not that kind of mom, and I have a lot of lines so, I just wanted her line off entirely, and, well, about 5 months ago it reappeared magically! It was genuinely disabled, I couldn't even see it in my account holder DIGITS portal, but now it's back. So, uh... yeah it's not perfect. But that's just me, I am not aware of this being a wide spread issue.
Another point to keep in mind: although short code SMS messages are blocked in all instances of DIGITS access, both app and physical second SIMs, other methods sometimes used by companies to confirm ownership of a phone number like calls with spoken codes, or SMS like those used by Facebook with normal 10 digit numbers, are not blocked.
I would not worry. DIGITS is far from the least secure thing most of us use every day, there are far easier ways for people to hack or spy on you.
Time for some FAQ's! Some of these may have already been answered above, but not everyone will have time to read this entire 4414 word post... and I can't say I blame them.
Q: Do DIGITS lines include data?
A: Only the "Data w/ Paired DIGITS" lines do. The "DIGITS T&T" lines, or the free "PROXY" lines, do not. Those only offer an extra phone number for use in the DIGITS app. The "Data w/ Paired DIGITS" lines offer a second SIM card with data and full service for a second phone or device.
Q: Does DIGITS cost money?
A: Sometimes. If you just want to download the app on a second phone you already have service on so both ring with one number, no that's free. Enabling any and all of your existing voice lines on other devices with the app is always free. If you want even more phone numbers adding a DIGITS T&T line costs $10/mo with autopay, although ONE and Magenta customers can get one free PROXY line per account, which is just a T&T line anyways. Sweet! You also need to pay if you want a second SIM with the same number, which is $10/mo with autopay for the slow kind, and $20/mo with autopay for the fast kind. Slow and fast refer to the internet speeds.
Q: What is a PROXY DIGITS line?
A: It's just a normal DIGITS T&T line, rebranded. It's an extra phone number with no physical SIM, which can be activated in the DIGITS app or web app by anyone on your account with access granted to them. It works for calls and texts, but not for short codes. No DIGITS access will work with short codes.
Q: Should I really worry about people spying on me with DIGITS?
A: Nah. Like I said, it's technically possible, but it's already a PITA to do, and you can always call 611 to turn off DIGITS for your line if it really worries you.
Q: Will Sprint customers get DIGITS?
A: Probably, yes. Right now they can't use it, not with ROMAHOME, not with the TNX, only if they go to a T-Mobile Store and fully transition their account to a T-Mobile account on a current T-Mobile plan. However, I personally suspect that at some point all Sprint customers will be fully T-Mobile customers, with T-Mobile billing and T-Mobile accounts, on their current grandfathered plans. At that point, when you can sign in to My T-Mobile with your Sprint number, then you should have DIGITS as well, since they are the same login info.
Q: Why are the masks on the characters not the ones they actually gave out on Tuesday?
A: Ok, lol, probably no one asked. But, it's because I've been researching and planning for this post for months, and at the stage when I had my comic artist rework these old assets into modern COVID friendly ones, there was no official T-Mask. Now there is, but it's not worth the time and money to redo them a second time. No one is paying me to do this, it's just a labor of love. <3
Q: Is there any point in a T&T line? Why not use a free app like Text Now?
A: That's a great question! When LG and Samsung phones still had native DIGITS built in I think the answer was a clear yes, it is worth it because of the experience. Now though, it would be a harder sell. If you can get a free one with your amplified plan, there is no reason not to. Unlike apps like Text Now, DIGITS T&T lines never expire, don't run ads, don't sell your text messages to 3rd parties, and work with sync on many devices. For $10/mo though, I think you would struggle to justify it unless you really need a number that syncs on many devices, that's the strongest selling point, in my opinion.
Q: I love DIGITS! How many lines can I add to my postpaid account?
A: 20. You can add 20 DIGITS lines. Even if you already have 12 voice lines and 5 mobile internet lines, DIGITS get their own line limit of 20. So I guess you could have 37 total lines. Seems excessive bro, but the High Speed Data w/ Paired DIGITS is genuinely a cool way you could get around a 12 voice line limit if you needed too, so long as it's 12 or fewer people and you just need more phones per person. People rarely mention that selling point.
That's the end! Thanks so much for reading this far! I really hope this can help clear up some confusion, DIGITS is really a powerful tool, and I think a lot more people would enjoy it if they just understood it! Feel free to discuss further in the comments, too!