Not THAT Rich — Teaser #3

Photo by Paul Garaizar on Unsplash

Who is The Stranger?? This is an excerpt from The Stranger’s point of view in Chapter 7 of my book, Not THAT Rich. Enjoy :)

The Stranger never understood the world of the SGV. He didn’t understand the insane struggle for success and recognition, nor did he understand why a person’s self-worth was decided by a piece of paper from some fancy college that only rich people could afford. He didn’t understand any of it.

Ever since he could remember, he had always felt like an outsider — within his family, within his community, within the region. Yet, he went along with conforming and becoming the “perfect” kid anyway.

The Stranger flipped open his laptop and let his fingers flow at his usual 112 words per minute speed across the keyboard. In a few minutes he was on the Dark Net,[1] pinging other users about his latest successful hack into a large financial institution for their customer data. He always vetted his data before selling it — only those with a bank account amount of $1 million and over would have their data sold to other users.

They could afford a few hacked accounts.

At the age of one, the Stranger was enrolled into Montesorri, a school founded on the principle of “holistically” developing children, or in other words, kid geniuses. It worked, but not in the way his parents had hoped. He developed an avid interest in technology from an early age, and the wealth of knowledge on the web allowed him to see what was actually going on in the world compared to the superficial bubble his parents created for him.

“Meowwww.” A fat, orange tabby cat hopped onto the Stranger’s desk, attempting to sit on the keyboard.

“Buttercup!” he scolded. “Not now. You can’t just jump onto my laptop whenever you want.” The Stranger plucked up Buttercup and plopped him on the ground.

He ignored Buttercup’s glare and continued typing furiously, taking various bids for his dataset containing 100,000 customer names and personal information. He scratched his neck and winced. His neck had an itchy, painful sunburnt glow from getting dragged off earlier in the day to some outdoor philanthropy event.

By day, he was enrolled in all the best tutoring that money could buy. In monetary terms, that meant $29,870 for music and art classes, $104,000 for a Chinese tutor, and $56,600 for golf lessons per year. This did not even include the private school tuition, admissions counselors, college preparatory courses, college tuition, and study abroad programs he had, or would need, to spend money on in the future. All in all, through some quick mental math, the Stranger concluded that his parents would spend approximately $1.7 million on educating him by the time he graduated from college.

He was spoiled. He was privileged. And he hated it.

By night, the Stranger prowled the internet for new techniques to hack into accounts and amass an income that even towered his dad’s. The internet was the best education he had ever gotten.

If only they knew their money is all pointless,” the Stranger muttered out loud. Buttercup jumped onto the desk for a second time at the sound of his voice. This time, he acquiesced his position and allowed his cat to sit on his forearms while he typed awkwardly on his keyboard.

The Stranger’s parents focused solely on expanding their wealth and power. Consequently, in order to exude a perfect image, his parents controlled everything about his life with firehose douses of intensive parenting and having their kids compete with all the other children in the area.

The Stranger pressed enter on his keyboard and heard a ding on his phone almost simultaneously. The edge of his lips curved upward. Pay day. Five hundred and fifty thousand dollars just deposited into his offshore bank account under a false name.

In a way, his parent’s quest for perfect, high-achieving children forced him to become one of the most brilliant and youngest masterminds on the Dark Net. He had an IQ of 161, photographic memory, and the ability to speak four languages. He also suffered from OCD, exacerbated by his suffocating parents, and experienced extreme introversion because he couldn’t figure out how to talk to normal kids his age.

Buttercup began to knead the Stranger’s arm. “Do you really have to do that?” He picked up Buttercup and held him like a baby. Buttercup wasn’t too happy with it. In one twist, he jumped down onto the floor, nicking his arm on the way down.

“Buttercup!” he shouted in exasperation. The scratch hadn’t drawn any blood, but it laid perfectly on top of one of the Stranger’s scars. Hmm. Haven’t thought about this one in a while.

The scar was of the many injuries that the Stranger sustained from a family member growing up.

[1] A small part of the deep web that is often used for nefarious purposes.

If you enjoyed this teaser, you can find out how the world of Winchester unfolds by pre-ordering my book on Amazon or follow me @blei_writes to be part of my author journey.



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Belinda Lei

Belinda Lei

Author of YA novel "Not THAT Rich.” Check me out at