The Trouble With Love

Summary: Jaiden Siv, ever the pushover, gets forced by his twin brother, Zac to court the girl of Zac's dreams. As Zac. He had prepared, made tactics and planned everything. Everything that didn't include him falling for her, anyway.

—Prologue—

"She's The One."

Hesitantly, I looked away from the book I've been engrossed on since three hours ago and peered closely at the person who had invited himself in my territory. Without looking, of course, I already knew who it was but I always wanted to make sure if my guess was right or not. It was correct, as always, even though I usually wished it wasn't.

"Hello Zac," I said edgily, slightly irritated that my 'alone time' had been, once again, disrupted by my annoying little brother. Ok, so I wasn't older by much—a minute only, to be exact—but I always liked to think of myself as the mature one. The rational one, you know? Which was true most of the time because Zac, being the happy-go-lucky, I'm-just-going-with-the-flow guy, was never the one to think and analyze the situation first before actually doing something. That was, unfortunately, my job.

Zac smiled his famous heart-melting grin and sat himself down on the chair opposite the bed I was occupying. Unlike most twins, we didn't have to share a room—something I was proud of. Because really, it was bad enough that we looked alike, that we lived in the same house and attended the same school. Trust me on this one.

"She's the One," Zac repeated, his tone, this time, more enthusiastic if possible. It was all I could do to try my hardest to do anything but roll my eyes. Was this guy for real?

I sighed and marked my book with a piece of paper, plopping it down on my desk. "Isn't that what you said about Coco?" I asked, raising a brow.

Zac emitted a soft chuckle. "No," he said a little too defensively. "I believe my words for dear Coco were, she's one of a kind not she's the one."

Now it was time to do the eye rolling. How could this same guy be the school heartthrob? Because I really want to know why girls are flocking over him. Not for his brains, I'm sure since he's never had an A in his life. His looks? The only difference between us was that his eyes were at tad bit more blue and people barely even noticed that. It's true, sadly, that all my life I've been mistaken for my brother—which I despise more than anything. This twin thing was really over-rated if you ask me.

"So who's the girl?" I said, not even bothering to mask my bored voice.

Zac exhaled deeply, as if whoever he was in love with right now was just really something. "Her name's Rhea and she works across Marketeer."

I just looked at him, telepathically daring him to go on if he had anything else to say. Because if that was it, all that was amazing about his new chick was that she worked in that bookstore across the place where he was a day-time employee, then he was really, truly wasting my time.

Zac sensed my impatience with the kind of brother bond we had and he put his hand in the air, wordlessly pleading me to stay and to listen to him. "That's not just it," he continued, messing the brown-blond hair we had in common up like he always did when he was excited. "She's gorgeous."

I nodded. "Uh-huh," I said, not quite convinced. She's gorgeous? Was that the only standards you had to have to get the attention of Zac Siv? Maybe so since he'd had at least fifty girlfriends already. Not less, maybe even more than that. And most of them, sad to say, were indeed lacking in other departments such as the brain area. "Great."

"Wait, wait!" Zac called as I made my way to the door. It was strange that I had to be the one to walk out of my own room but I'd really do anything just to stay away. Clearly, my brother is not my most favourite person in the world.

"What?" I asked, not unkindly but definitely not pleasantly either.

"Ok, so here's the deal." Zac's face morphed from ecstatic to sad, a frown replacing his all-star smile. "I met her three weeks ago and she's just…she's really different. First of all, she's smart. She's going to Harvard after the summer and believes no bullshit. Meaning, of course, that my usual tricks won't work. Second, she's funny and charming and witty. Third, she thinks I'm stupid and she hates my guts."

There was silence for a minute and then I burst out laughing. This girl, Rhea, was probably the only girl to ever hate Zac's spirit because, as I've heard, all the others love it so dearly. Maybe she was different somehow but then I never know, right? All I was certain of was that this was hilarious.

Zac stood up and shoved his hands in his pocket, looking forlorn and embarrassed. "Ok, you can't quit it now," he said. I stopped cackling after a few minutes and dried my eyes up of tears of joy. "This is why I came to you."

"So I could laugh at you?"

He came up to me and flicked my head. Ouch. I turned serious in an instant. Flicks—or even slaps—were my wake up calls to get back to reality. "No, stupid, to ask for your help."

I stared at him, perplexed. My help? Was he drunk today or what? I looked out my room and saw that the sun was up and shinning. It was barely noon so he can't have had any beer. That just wasn't Zac.

"Why?" was the first thing I could utter. Because, really, it was shocking. We've been together for, what, seventeen years—eighteen next month—and never has he begged me for help. Maybe for his academics, blatantly suggesting I do his homework or help him make cheat codes for the examinations but never for his dating problems.

See, obviously, I was the studious twin. The brainiac. The loser. The nerd. He was the sporty one, the charmer and everything people looked up to. I was invisible at school and he was everywhere. So what if we looked exactly alike with the same eyes, the same face, heck, even the same body. Everything else about us was diverse anyway. And believe it or not, I was happy about that.

"Because, according to her best friend, the type of guys she dates is your type," Zac said, scratching his arm uneasily.

"My type? Gosh, Zac, you hurt me," I teased, putting a hand over my heart, mocking pain and scrunching my face up.

Zac shook his head and sat back down helplessly. "I really need you, Jaid." Then he looked at me and I was shocked by the sudden intensity of his gaze. Maybe this really meant something for him. Maybe he had changed. "Please."

Tick, tick, tick. The noise of the clock echoed throughout the silent surroundings as I figured my way out of this jumble. I fished my brain for any possible excuse or advice I could give. Nothing. My head was starting to ache and at this moment I understood that, even though Zac said my life was boring and predictable…yadda, yadda, yadda, I wouldn't trade anything in the world to have, well, girl dilemmas. Even if, you know, everyone was so into getting in the dating arena.

Finally, after a moment, I held my hands up. "Ok, I surrender." Then, I leaned against the wall next to me and brushed the loose locks of hair that had fallen over my eyes, like always. I know that what pretty much took me to give in was a mere look because after Zac had stared at me like that, I was a goner. But, hey, sue me for being the good guy.

Zac grinned and just like that, he was back to his old self. I sighed. There was no turning back then.

"Ok," he said, clapping his hands together. "The thing is, they don't know I have a twin so—"

"What does that have to do with anything?" I asked, cutting him off, suddenly confused. I thought I was just going to help him get smarter or something—an action I've been trying to fulfil ever since that day he got an F on a stupid English essay and my parents blamed me for it, saying it was my fault because I didn't help him and stuff. Favouritism sucks, believe me.

Zac just stared at me, waiting for me to get it. One, two, three seconds. And then finally, I caught on. Oh no. No, no, no, no, no.

No.

"Yes," Zac said, probably seeing the flash of realization upon my face. "This is my plan. You, Jaiden, dress and pretend to be me." He smiled, looking pleased at himself as if he had created the solution to the problem of poverty instead of simply creating a preposterous—and impossible—plan to get the girl he wants.

"I don't think you thought of that well enough," I told him because, well, I didn't think he did. "First," as I said this, I lifted a finger, "they'll definitely find out. I mean, this is the town we've lived in since forever and everyone knows of the infamous Zac and the fantastic Jaiden."

"Hey, why do you get to be fantastic?" Zac pouted, a look, I knew, that gave flutters to every woman around but made me shudder tremendously.

I shook my head. "Not the point, Zac. You know that someone's bound to tell them you have a brother that looks exactly like you."

I saw Zac bite his lower lip, fortunately, getting rid of the insipid expression on his face a while ago. I saw him ponder on this. "Good point," he said at last. "But then again, you'll be me and I'll be you so she won't know we've switched, will she?"

"Unless she's a total moron." I rolled my eyes. "Look, I don't think it'll work. Sorry." With that, I turned around and opened the door.

"JAIDEN!" Zac, once again, stopped me from emerging by shoving me by the shoulders. "You promised!" At that moment, he looked so desperate it was hard to resist. Because, really, that was just the kind of person I was. I had pride somewhere in me, sure, but most of the time I stooped low to help others go higher. This, I always thought, was something that could work to both my advantage and disadvantage. Today, unfortunately, it was the latter.

"Fine," I grumbled, glaring at him. I was doing this, ok, but I wanted to make it clear to him that I was not the least willing. Curious about it, yes, since this girl had to be really hard to find if Zac was so damn persistent but I was—and will—never be keen on doing the dirty work. Especially not for Thomas Zachary Siv.

"So the plan's simple," said Zac, beaming. "You just go and live my life."

"Wow, Einstein, how long did it take you to think of that?"

"I put two days into it so don't go mocking me. God." My brother shot me a glower and I did all to resist smirking at his childishness. No luck.

"Just please don't make me sound like a fool," he told me, squeezing my shoulders tight. "This really means a lot."

Tentatively, I levelled my eyes to his, this time searching for the truth. This was Zac so Ria or whatever her name was would probably last just as long as the other girls. If I messed up, maybe it wouldn't even begin at all. But, then again, it was the first time I saw him really, truly nervous. His cheeks were even red like tomatoes—although I think that's more because of the fact that he was actually asking me for an enormous favour, something he probably could never own up to except if he saved my life. Literally.

Finally I nodded and successfully marched out of my room, totally ending the conversation. I turned back, thinking Zac would probably pester me more on the subject but was happy to see that he had remained in the domains of my room.

There was a lot to do, I thought, and I should start as soon as I can. How did I end up in this mess? I had already forgotten. But in mere minutes, ten to be exact, I knew that the summer I had planned—the one where I pictured myself just reading, writing and working for my college tuition—was over. And now, I was to embark on an even bigger adventure. Something I never imagined coming my way.