By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
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By Kyle Swenson
A few weeks after he arrived in Miami, RJ did begin to take something seriously. While surfing on Myspace.com, he spied a massive tribal tattoo splashed across a milky-white back. Gazing at the viewer over a shoulder, and framed by shocking red hair, were black-rimmed eyes and candy-apple lips.
"Kaytlynn," read the profile. "27 years old. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla..."
"Twenty seven year old mother of one perfect 6 year old girl and a terminal lip gloss addict, I live in Ft. Lauderdale but I've been everywhere (including crazy -- but I'm back now). Redheaded, bipolar, obsessive and somewhat skwed. My life's mission is to continue my work as an Agent of Chaos. I'm imfamous for kissing gay men, sleeping with water brothers (and sisters) naked Cowboy Bebop, strip charades, drunken tantrums and my superpowers are having men ask me to marry them and summoning old friends to my presence by shere will. Hail Eris!"
Intrigued, RJ sent Kaytlynn an e-mail complimenting her on her tattoo art. "I myself have over 24 hours with no end in sight," he said of the unfinished geisha girl sprawled across his back. The two began instant-messaging each other.
RJ put up a comment on Kaytlynn's Myspace.com/users/401187 page: This girl is soo hot and sexy. Litle does she know that I am secretly practicing to kick her ass in[the Xbox video game] HALO. Whatdasay babe a little side bet. winner gets boot privledges[a reference to their fetish confessions] ;)
After a week they were on the phone. "I never met anybody that I could so instantly communicate with," recalls Kaytlynn, who spoke to New Times on the condition that only her first name be used. As an office manager for a Fort Lauderdale escort service, Eye Candy Escorts, she spent her days in front of a computer. Between directing customers to this girl or that, she talked to RJ. Dreams. Music. Eastern philosophy. Ambitions. Their childhoods. What they would buy if they won the lottery.
They began to make plans -- to jump on a motorcycle and head down to the Keys, fly up to Washington to meet his friends. "He wanted to teach me to DJ," she remembers.
After two months in Miami no lighting jobs materialized for RJ. He was consistently poor. In December he took work painting a condo on South Beach. But a look at his cell phone bill shows that his full-time job was talking to Kaytlynn.
Minutes turned to hours. VonFouts and Webb would tease him as he spent practically his entire day on the phone with her. Soon RJ was telling friends and family that he was in love. Kaytlynn kept her love a secret but today says she was also madly in love. For both this was the one. The soul mate. Every hyperbole that comes to mind in trying to explain how this one person was put on Earth to be with you. This was for real.
And they'd never met.
RJ and Kaytlynn had a 21st-century love affair, almost virtual in its substance. Hours upon hours of communication, without being in each other's presence -- even though they were only 30 minutes apart. Not that RJ hadn't tried.
They had set up a meeting in mid-November. But Kaytlynn bailed. They set up another. She bailed again. RJ was confused.
By early December, Kaytlynn came clean. "When I realized I loved him," she recalls, "I told him about [my boyfriend]."
She was living with a bouncer at a Fort Lauderdale strip club. The two had been friends for six years, she says, but had been a couple for just one. "It wasn't like I was looking for someone to hook up with, someone to cheat on my boyfriend with," she adds. She and her boyfriend "were falling apart even before I started talking to RJ."
RJ was shocked when he learned the truth, but he was in too deep to let her go. He made her promise to never lie to him again.
"I told him that I loved him," she says, "and I promised to make it right."
They agreed to keep their distance until she could end things with her boyfriend. But within days RJ had reached a point where he couldn't stand to not see her.
"I don't actually know what prompted him," Kaytlynn recalls, "but he called me and said, 'Listen, we have to do this. We have to be face to face.' And I wasn't going to argue."
On the afternoon of Wednesday, December 17, RJ had a friend drive him to the Fort Lauderdale apartment Kaytlynn shared with her boyfriend, who was away at work.
"It was perfect, everything we thought it would be," she remembers of their first and only encounter.
During their six-week cyber courtship they had both confessed their sexual exploits and preferences, which Kaytlynn describes as "wild." They liked to turn each other on over the phone, and the sexual tension was bubbling over when they finally met.
That day the two went to a Fort Lauderdale bar and shot pool, Kaytlynn drinking Corona, RJ Jack and Coke. At one point Kaytlynn had just made her shot when she turned to find RJ standing inches away. He put an arm around her waist, moved in for a kiss, and "the whole world just fell away," she says. "It was like heaven. I can't even convey how amazing it was."