Jack Olsen, Private Investigator
I went back to high school for one reason: money.
Well, I suppose that isn't entirely true. The thing is, I'm a detective. A fairly good one, as well. In any case, I was hired by a newspaper to go back to high school and get some information so they could write an article on modern high school kids.
I know what you're thinking. Never Been Kissed, except with a less geeky protagonist. That's what I thought too, and I was going to turn them down on the basis of that (and the fact that it's not exactly a detective job), but then they told me how much they'd pay me.
I'm not going to say how much, as your jaw would probably hit the ground, causing some serious bruises.
Let's just say that it was more than enough incentive for me to agree.
That isn't entirely true either. The real clincher was when they told me I'd be attending North High School. Where I went to high school about ten years ago. Now, I know it's not natural to want to return to your high school, but there's one very important fact to know about me:
I am a gay man.
I am a gay man who didn't come out until after high school. I am also a gay man who would like nothing better than to scandalize the students at the school I once attended. It's not like there's any possibility of anyone recognizing me. I've changed a lot since high school; everyone tells me that. (It might have something to do with my getting contacts, and shaving every day. Also, I don't let my hair be as messy as it used to. I have the kind of face that is easily forgettable; at least, so I've been told. The CIA has tried to recruit me more than once because of my rather generic appearance that can be altered with a change of glasses and a haircut.)
So I accepted the assignment.
That was my first mistake.
"Your name?" the woman asked me.
"Ben Holden," I told her, tapping my foot. Not my real name, of course. My real name is Jack Olsen, and I'm actually twenty-seven years old. A very young-looking twenty-seven, if I do say so myself. Wearing teen clothes, it wasn't hard to mistake me for a seventeen year-old.
"You're seventeen?" she droned, looking at my id. "Your mother called yesterday about your transfer…I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather."
"Thank you," I said as sincerely as possible, not entirely sure what the woman from the newspaper told her. "I'll convey your kind thoughts to my mother."
"I've got your schedule here. Do you need someone to show you the way?"
I wanted to laugh aloud, but I restrained myself. "No thanks. I think I can find my own way."
"All right." She handed it to me. "Your locker number and combination are on here as well. You better hurry to make it to homeroom in time."
"Thanks." I practically ran from the office. It still smelt the same, even after ten years. The halls of the school were empty, the lockers looking new. They weren't the beat-up metal I remembered from my own school days.
I sought out my locker, trying to remember how the lockers were laid out. I peered at the numbers, and was satisfied to see that they were increasing. Good. My locker was 392, and I had just passed 306. Perfect.
I found my locker a few minutes later. I looked at my schedule to get the combination and turned the dial quickly. The old wrist movements came back to me quickly and I opened it to put my notebooks inside.
Slinging my messenger bag back over my shoulder, I slammed the locker shut and looked around. I was in the east wing of the school; that meant that I was near the 20s. And my homeroom class was 27.
Sometimes I think I'm damn lucky.
I entered the classroom in a rush, flicking a strand of hair out of my face. I have this wavy chestnut hair that won't stay out of my face. It's really quite annoying.
Anyway. I looked up and met the teacher's eyes.
These were my thoughts:
What the hell is Brett Nielson doing as a teacher?
Let me explain. Brett Nielson was this kid who was in my grade in high school. And he was easily the most gorgeous guy in school. Everyone agreed on that.
He was also kind of a bastard. Well, really it was just that he was very sarcastic and people thought he was being mean when he wasn't. I was acquaintances with him, but I was never really anything more than a 'Hey, s'up?' in the halls. You know. The kind that if you saw in ten years, you might say hi, but probably not.
But the thing is, Brett had never been the kind who was patient with people. If you had told me that Brett would be a teacher in ten years time, I probably would have eaten my hat. Not that I had a hat. I'm not the type for hats. I don't exactly look good in them.
In any case, I stood there for a moment before I recovered myself. "This is Nielson, right?"
"Yes," he said. Goddamn, his voice was sexy. "And you are?"
"Ben. Ben Holden." I gave him a half smile.
"I'm Mr. Nielson. Take a seat, Mr. Holden."
I glanced about the room for an empty seat. Several girls were giving me desirous looks, and at least one guy was letting his glance linger for a bit longer than necessary on my pants. True, they were rather tight, but there's no need to stare at my crotch.
Not that I really minded.
I headed towards the back, wanting to stay as far away from Brett as possible, afraid of the possibility of him recognizing me. On my way, I finally let my dick do the thinking.
This is what it was thinking:
'Holy shit, I didn't think it was possible, but he got even sexier over the years. Is that even legal? God. And those jeans aren't much looser than mine…Goddamn, I'm going to have problems concentrating in this class.'
"Mr. Holden," he called. "Wait. Where did you transfer from?"
I turned slowly, trying to remember what the newspaper told me. "I transferred from Sacred Heart of Richmond."
"You're from Virginia?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.
"Well, from all over, really," I told him, smiling. "Virginia's the most recent, however."
"Cool. What do your parents do?"
"Ignore me," I joked, eliciting laughs from my classmates.
"I think it would be hard to ignore you, Mr. Holden," Brett commented. I raised my eyebrows at him.
"Are you allowed to say things like that, Mr. Nielson?" The class was glancing back and forth between us, trying to keep up. I fought back a laugh at Brett's surprised face. My guess was that he wasn't used to people keeping up with him.
"Probably not," he confessed. "Take a seat, Mr. Holden."
I flopped down next to a blond boy and dropped my bag on the floor as Brett ran a hand through his dark hair.
'Goddamn,' my dick thought.
As it turned out, I also had him for English. Great. My life is increasingly becoming that of Drew Barrymore. I should just go shoot myself now before I fall in love with a Red Sox fan and then lose my memory.
"Mr. Holden, it's a pleasure to see you again," is all he said when I entered his class at third period.
"Well, Mr. Nielson, I just couldn't stay away from you," I drawled.
He shooed me. "Take a seat."
I sat next to one of the guys who had been checking me out during homeroom. I smiled seductively at him, and took a perverse pleasure in the way he shifted.
"Hi," I purred. "What's your name?"
"Logan," he gasped out. He wasn't a bad-looking kid, a carrot top with no freckles, and lovely eyes.
"Has anyone ever told you that you have beautiful eyes?" I asked him, using my very successful half-smile.
"No…" he said hesitantly.
"Mr. Holden! Mr. Meyers! Stop flirting or get a room!" Brett barked from the front of the classroom. I smirked.
"What, you want in?" I turned to Logan. "What do you think about a threesome?"
I heard snickers throughout the class, and Brett raised his eyebrows at me. "You say you came from Sacred Heart?"
"Yeah. You have no idea how glad they were when I left."
"I imagine nuns dancing for joy," he answered dryly. "I'm cutting you some slack because you're new, Mr. Holden. But I would advise that you watch your tongue in the future."
"What's with all the formality, Mr. Nielson?" I wanted to know. "Do you always talk like that? When you're going at it, do you say, 'Please take me, Ms Whatever?' Or Mr. Whatever? I'm not sure which way you swing."
I could see him fight to restrain his temper. "That's enough, Mr. Holden."
"Just testing you," I told him. "You passed. You're a cool guy, Mr. Nielson."
This was my second mistake:
We were reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd in class. I'd never read it before. I don't make a habit of reading mysteries, in all honesty, mostly because I figure out the endings too quickly. I figured out the ending to The Usual Suspects and The Prestige, as well. Ah, the downsides to being a detective.
In any case, we were reading it, and a few pages after he had been murdered, Brett asked, "Who do you think did it?"
There were a multitude of answers, of course. I sat there, mulling over what I had heard, and then I raised my hand.
"The narrator did it," I announced. A hush fell over the classroom as they listened to what I said. "It's kind of obvious."
"Mr. Holden, have you read this before?" he asked, frowning.
"Never," I said honestly. "You see, there's a lot of unaccounted-for time, and the narrator twists the words in such a way to tell the truth while making it seem like something else. Like here…" I opened the book and pointed to a passage. "'I did what little was necessary.'" I held up my hand. "I know I'm kinda misreading it, but the point is that he most likely took the letter at that time, or possibly when he was left alone in the room. He's the only one with the opportunity."
"Mr. Holden, that's not nearly enough evidence to support your theory," Brett informed me.
"Hypothesis," I corrected. "You mean hypothesis. And no, not right now, but I'm sure that the further I read, the more the evidence will support me."
"Well, the book is officially spoiled," Brett sighed. "Apparently, we have a detective right here in our own class. Are you quite sure that you're only seventeen, Mr. Holden?"
Great. Now even Brett was following the story of Never Been Kissed.
"Sometimes I doubt my own age," I said dryly. The class took it as a joke and laughed accordingly, but Brett gave me a sharp look.
"You remind me of someone I used to know in high school," he said slowly. "He was a lot like you; very smart, very quick-witted, and a detective. Have you ever met Jack Olsen?"
"Can't say that I have," I said after a moment of pretending to think about it. Of course, internally I was thinking, Goddamn it, he's on to me.
Because I had totally forgotten about the one time I solved a mystery for Brett.
So Brett had this girlfriend. She was nice enough, I suppose, but every Saturday, she would disappear and no one would know where she was. I, of course, knew where she was because I followed her one day to satisfy my own curiosity.
It turned out that she was sleeping with the soccer coach.
That's not the mystery.
One day, the girl showed up at the police station, claiming she had been raped. Brett freaked, and wanted to know who did it. He grabbed me and asked me to find things out.
I won't go into the long boring details, but I eventually discovered that the soccer coach dumped her for another girl and that Brett's girl was pregnant and freaked out. She attacked the soccer coach, who, of course, fought back, resulting in several marks on her. They then proceeded to have sex.
Somehow, she hit her head or something, woke up naked in a motel room with marks all over her, and no memories of what happened except a trip to a bar earlier, and a guy buying her a drink. Naturally, she panicked, thinking she'd been slipped a date rape drug and assumed the worst.
The kicker is that Brett dumped her soon after I figured out what had happened. May I add that I figured it out in a day and a half? I suppose it helps that I knew the soccer coach was having an affair with her. Not that I blame her. He was one fit guy. If he'd been into guys, he'd probably been banging me as well.
But yeah. At that point, I was pretty sure that Brett was on to me. He wasn't stupid. I shouldn't have been so dumb as to reveal my talents to him.
So. I walked around the halls of the school, befriending everyone I met in the hopes that they would help me out with my work. The newspaper had given me a little voice recorder, which I used subtly to record the conversations flowing around me.
It was like high school again. I was the semi-but-not-really-popular guy who everyone knew but wasn't the god of the school. And that was who I was determined to meet.
So when I walked into the cafeteria at lunch, I knew what kind of kid I was looking for; gorgeous, fit, with a dozen or so cronies catering to his every whim. And there he was, sitting with his blond hair shining in the harsh lights overhead, and a dozen or so girls simpering around him. The girl he was sitting next to smirked at them, and draped her arm around his shoulder. She was aesthetically pretty, I suppose, tan and brunette, but it didn't take a genius to see that she was some manipulative bitch.
One of the girls saw me and practically screamed, "New kid! Ben! Come sit with us!" I recognized her from my first period, and thought, Well, I do need to talk to these kids.
I joined them with my tray of horrifying lunch foods and smiled charmingly. "Hello. Name's Ben."
The god from across the table looked me over with a pair of unintelligent blue eyes. I have to admit, though, he was fairly attractive. Tall and buff, and genetically blessed. He asked me, "Are you the kid who was heckling Mr. Nielson earlier today?"
"Yeah, what of it?" I demanded.
"Good going. Mr. Nielson is a bastard."
Then, that voice came from behind me. "Thank you, Mr. Jansen, for letting me know that I am in fact an illegitimate child."
The boy across the table looked horrified. I twisted around in my seat to look up into Brett's face. He ignored me in favor of the kids I was sitting amongst. I quickly glanced down to make sure that the voice recorder was still on.
"Mr. Jansen. It is not considered appropriate to make disparaging remarks about your teachers' parentage. If I were a crueler man, I would suspend you. As it is, you have detention with Ms. Hinchi tomorrow." He pulled out a slip of paper and scribbled something on it. "Have fun, Mr. Jansen."
He then looked down at me and gave me a look. "I felt sure that you would have better taste, Mr. Holden."
"Well, you're not exactly available," I joked. He glared at me, but I could see that he was fighting back a grin.
"I'll see you in class, Mr. Holden." He nodded to us and left. I watched him go, admiring the way his ass looked as he walked. He had a great walk.
"Ben…" one of the girls said slowly, "are you checking out Mr. Nielson?"
"Is there a problem with that?" I asked, turning back around to see a group of staring faces.
There was a momentary pause. Then:
"Nah," the god said. "You're cool." He held out a hand. "Dane Jansen. Nice to meet you."
"The pleasure's all mine," I assured him.
"Here are today's recordings," I told the woman at the newspaper office, handing her the disk with the files on it. "I do this for a month, right?"
"Yes," she told me, taking the disk. "Unless we decide that we don't need you at some point."
"Do you have the money?" I asked. "You told me that I could pick it up when I turned in my recordings."
"Sure." The woman – I think her name was Shirley – bent down to open her desk drawer. She pulled out a check and handed it to me. "I've got to tell you, Mr. Olsen –"
"Jack," I interrupted.
"Jack. I've got to tell you, I'm impressed. You really look like a teenager." She grinned. "You're the only one who could have pulled it off. No one here looks nearly young enough."
"Thanks. I'll see you tomorrow." I metaphorically tipped my hat to her and left the building. Whistling to myself, I strolled through the streets. As I approached my street, I turned the corner and ran into someone.
This was my third mistake:
I looked up and exclaimed, "Brett!" I then panicked, and clapped my hand to my mouth. He looked at me in amusement.
"How did you know my first name, Mr. Holden?" he asked me curiously.
"I heard some teachers talking about you," I said lamely. "In any case, we're not in school right now. Do you think you could possibly call me Ben?"
He smiled slightly. "Why would you call me by my first name instinctively?"
I decided to throw caution to the winds and flirt with him. "Why, don't you like it? I just…can't help but think of you as Brett…not Mr. Nielson." I batted my eyelashes at him.
"Mr. Holden –" I held up my finger. He sighed. "Ben. I am your teacher. Stop flirting with me."
"If I weren't your student, would you flirt back?" I asked him, leaning against the wall. When I saw his expression, I sighed. "I'm not hitting on you, Mr. Nielson. I'm just curious."
"If you weren't underage, if you weren't my student…maybe." He raised his eyebrows at me. "Really, Ben, you know you're attractive. Why are you even asking me? Just to enlarge your ego?"
"Just wanted to see if I was right. I thought you might go for guys." I pointed at his pants. "No straight guy would dress the way you do."
"I suppose you'd know that for a fact?"
"Well, no straight guy would dress the way I do, either," I shrugged. "I've got to get home, Mr. Nielson. I'll see you tomorrow."
I walked down the street very quickly. When I got the end of the block, I turned right and snuck a peek back to the end of the block. Brett was still standing there, smiling faintly in my direction. I smirked and continued on my way home.
I dropped my bag on the floor, calling, "Ernest? You there?" A soft mew and my calico cat padded into the hallway.
"Hi Ernest," I said, kneeling down. He butted his head against my hand. "You won't believe this. Brett Nielson is a teacher!"
He meowed and twined itself between my legs as I stood up. I walked into the kitchen of my apartment and opened the freezer. Hmm. Chicken teriyaki, beef sukiyaki, Cornish pasties, roast chicken, and pot stickers. I had rice in the refrigerator, and good god, I was turning Asian.
I pulled out the chicken teriyaki and popped it in the microwave. As it heated, I turned on my stereo and danced to the music of U2's Joshua Tree as it thumped through the speakers. I didn't immediately hear the phone because the music was so loud, but after a moment, I noticed it. I grabbed the phone.
"Jack? What's going on? Are you having a party?"
"No, Shannon. Just listening to some music." I turned down the volume. "What's up, little sister?"
"Just wanted to call to tell you the big news! I'm getting married!"
"Yes, of course Gene. Who else?"
"I dunno, I haven't seen you in a few months." The microwave beeped at me. I yanked my dinner out. "I suppose congratulations are in order."
"You coming out for the engagement party? It's next week Saturday."
"Sure, I'll see if I can. You still living in Chicago?"
"Yes, of course."
I winced. "Oh, Shannon, the thing is…I'm kind of in the middle of an assignment. The thing is, I don't have time to come out. I'm undercover as a student at our old high school."
"You're what?" Shannon shrieked. "You've got to be kidding me!"
"Shut up, Shannon!" I hissed, sitting down at my kitchen table and ripping open the plastic cover to my meal. "Look, I'd love to come and see you and Gene, but I just can't. I don't have the time. I have school, you know."
"Good one," Shannon scoffed. "You've already been through all the damn schools. You went to Princeton, for Christ's sake!"
"You know what, Shannon?" I snapped. "You're the one who went through boyfriends faster than you went through hair colors, so I wouldn't be making comments about the way I choose to live my life if I were you."
"Ooh," she mocked. "I got burned."
"Yes you did," I told her with a hint of malicious triumph in my voice. "You're going to need some damn ice for that burn."
"Right. I'm going to talk to you later, big brother," she hissed. Then she laughed. "Good luck with your 'assignment'."
"Good luck with your engagement," I responded. "Talk to you later." I hung up the phone and speared a piece of chicken with my fork. "Shannon needs to stop acting like a little sister," I told it. Ernest meowed sympathetically.
I stared at my closet, debating. Should I wear my bondage pants or my really tight black jeans? Choices, choices.
I decided to go with the bondage pants.
"Hey, fag!" some kid called out as I strutted into school, surreptitiously flicking the recorder on. "What are you –"
"Shut up," the god snapped, coming out of no where. "Holden is cool." He slung his arm around my shoulders.
"Sorry, Dane," the kid muttered.
"Sorry about that, Holden," he said as he navigated me through the halls. "Some kids are just close-minded, you know? My brother's gay, so it's kind of a pet peeve when people make fun of them."
"It's cool, people were like that back home too," I shrugged, adjusting the weight of my bag. "I'm used to it."
"You shouldn't have to be," he grumbled.
I was beginning to like this kid.
Opening up my locker, I fished out the books I needed for my first few classes. "Don't you have to get to class?"
"Nah, I'm in your class." He flashed me a grin. "I'm surprised you didn't notice. A man like you should have noticed a guy like me."
"Wow, the size of your ego is larger than Canada," I joked. "But you're right. I should have noticed you."
"Damn straight." He opened the door and we went into Brett's classroom. He looked up as we came through the door and seemed surprised when he saw us walking together.
"Mr. Jansen," he acknowledged. He hesitated for a moment before saying, "Mr. Holden. Nice pants."
"Hi, Mr. Nielson. Thanks," I said with a grin before I took my seat. From my seat at the back of the room, I subtly checked him out. He was wearing tight dark jeans, a tight black t-shirt, and a blue sports jacket, all of which accented his perfect body. The blue of his jacket brought out the color of his eyes.
My dick went, 'Oh my god.'
I felt sure that he was wearing those clothes just to torture me, and torturing me it was. The image seemed permanently burned into my retinas. Whenever I closed my eyes, I could see him standing at the front of the classroom, smirking slightly.
It got worse when I went to English. I sat down next to Logan, who was admittedly an attractive enough guy. He smiled hesitantly at me, and blushed fiercely when I grinned back.
God, this kid was like butter in my hands.
"So how many of you are planning on going to the Winter Formal?" Mr. Nielson demanded as the bell rang. Hands went up all around me. I slowly raised my hand as well, figuring I might as well while I was pretending to be a student. "Just remember that tickets are being sold in the office, the student store, and the auditorium."
Logan turned to me shyly. "Ben?"
"Will you…go to the formal with me?" he asked shyly. "I know we just met, but I already can tell that I like you. You're funny, and nice, and, frankly, gorgeous."
"Thank you," I said, touched. "You're very sweet. I'd love to go to the formal with you, Logan. But I have one question: who's going to be the girl?"
He giggled – yes, giggled. Goddamn, he was adorable. "It doesn't matter."
I paused, a thought occurring to me. "Wait. How old are you?"
"Eighteen," he told me. "Last week. Why, are you worried about that?"
Eighteen? Thank god. I won't be arrested for statutory.
"Not at all," I assured him. "Happy belated birthday."
"Thanks," he replied, blushing.
I looked up to see Brett fixing me with a piercing look. I grinned at him. He shook his head slightly and pulled out a book.
"We're going to be reading Romeo and Juliet next. Luckily, it's not a detective story, so we don't have to worry about our own Detective Holden spoiling the ending." The class laughed at this. "In case you didn't know, the author is William Shakespeare. It's not his best play, but it certainly the most famous one."
I leaned back, raising my eyebrows as he passed out copies. Opening it up to a random page, I found a page covered in my cramped handwriting.
This was my third mistake:
"What the hell?" I muttered, trying to figure out why my writing was all over the page. Brett raised his eyebrows at me.
"Is there a problem, Mr. Holden?" he asked me.
"No. Um, there are just notes written all over my book."
"Yeah, some of them are like that." He plucked it from my hand and flipped to the front. "Oh, it looks like it was Jack Olsen who last owned this. Weird. This must be the oldest copy of the book we have. And it hasn't been loaned out in about ten years. That's very strange." He frowned and flipped back. "He had really small writing."
Yes, and it hasn't changed.
Shit. He knew my handwriting now. If I turned anything in to him with my real handwriting, he would figure me out.
"You're lucky, Mr. Holden," he told me, handing the book back. "Jack Olsen was a brilliant guy. His notes should be very helpful."
"I'm sure I know it all already," I assured him, smirking at him.
"You're very cocky, Mr. Holden," he informed me before continuing down the aisle.
I have to say that my dick went, 'Holy crap, Brett Nielson just said a word derived from cock in regards to me.'
So I knew there were ways of him not seeing my real writing. You know, I could write in cursive and such. But we had turned in an assignment the day before.
You know, before I had realized that I had to hide my writing.
Basically, I was fucked.
Ignoring that little incident, my day was pretty good. I had lunch with Dane and his posse, I turned in the recordings, they thanked me, I went home, and I had dinner. I didn't run in to Brett (thank the stars), and I fed my cat. It was like being back in school again, but not really.
You know what I mean?
No, I guess you don't. In any case, I went to school the next day prepared for anything. I felt sure that something crazy would happen. The day before, I had received my old copy of Romeo and Juliet, I got asked to the Winter Formal by a cute redhead, and had my honor defended by a god.
I remembered why I hated high school.
So I went to class as usual, Brett gave one of his looks, I sat down and tried to ignore how well dressed he was. Homeroom was boring, my other classes were typical. Math was incredibly boring. I'm very good at math, and doing Calculus over again wasn't exactly a challenge.
I slid into my seat next to Logan, giving him a friendly smile. "Hey Logan. How are you today?"
"I'm fine, thanks," he said softly, blushing again. The kid blushed ridiculously easily. He was like a freaking cartoon character. "I like your coat," he told me.
"I like it too. It covers me up." I stuck a leg out of the folds of my black trench coat. "These jeans aren't very warm and it's freezing out there."
"It suits you," Logan murmured embarrassedly.
"Thanks," I said, amused by how shy he was. "You're sweet."
I opened my book to the first act and looked up as Brett began his lesson. "We're going to be reading the first few scenes today. We'll just go around the classroom and have everyone read one part."
I pretty much tuned the whole thing out, honestly. I'd read it before – what did I care? Two households, both alike in dignity and all that shit. By the way, never see Shakespeare in Love. That movie is such crap. It was just an excuse to get Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes naked.
Not that I objected to Joseph Fiennes's state of undress. Never mind.
Class went by quickly, but Brett called me up as we were filing up. He looked up at me as I approached his desk, and he held out the assignment from the day before.
"Your handwriting is quite like Jack's," he commented to me, pointing at the paper. I took it from him and squinted.
"Hmm. Yeah, I see what you mean," I answered. "Well, maybe I'm his clone or something." I forced a laugh.
"No, you don't look much like him," Brett murmured. "Just the eyes."
I handed the paper back to him, and took a step back. "I hope you don't mind me asking this," I began, feigning nonchalance, "but were you in love with him? Or are you? Because you talk about him quite a bit."
"Frankly, I don't see how it's any of your business," Brett responded tartly. "If you must know, I was not. And I am not. I just wish that I had known him better in high school, is all."
"Fair enough. May I go now?"
He sighed and waved me out. I glanced over my shoulder at him and saw him pulling out a thick phone book.
Damn. He was probably looking me up. I'd better think of a plan.
I was sitting in my apartment, brooding, when I heard a knock at my door. I stood, and checked my reflection. Perfect. I had morphed into an older version of my high school days, complete with the emo glasses and slight stubble. I looked older than I did as Ben, and, may I say, sexier. I don't know if being seventeen actually suits me.
I opened the door to see Brett (of course) standing there. "Hello," I said cheerfully. "May I help you?"
"Hi, Jack, it's Brett Nielson." He grinned. "Remember? From high school? You figured out what happened to my girlfriend?"
I pretended to think before allowing my face to light up. "Oh, Brett! Wow, it's good to see you again! Come on in! You look great, by the way."
I let him in, and he sat down at my kitchen table, grinning sheepishly. "Thanks. You look exactly the same, just…older, I suppose."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
"A good thing," he assured me. I smiled and sat across from him after pulling out a case of beers and setting it on the table.
"So what brings you around?" I asked after drinking from one.
He accepted my offering. "Oh, nothing much. I teach at our old high school, you know."
"Really?" I feigned shock. "Never would have pegged you for one."
"Me neither. I teach English." He sighed, and leaned back. "And there's this new kid named Ben Holden. He reminds me a lot of you, and I thought I'd look you up."
"How does he remind you of me?" I asked him, knowing full well what the answer was.
"Well, on the first day, we were reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – have you read it?" At my negative response, he continued. "He figured out the end before we were even halfway through. We'd barely read any of it when he'd figured it out. That reminded me of you. I see you've put that skill to good use."
I looked around and nodded. "Yeah, I make fairly decent money as a detective. It's okay work, I guess. I get a lot of people asking me to tail a significant other who is suspected to be unfaithful."
"Yeah, anything interesting?"
I laughed. "I remember this one time, a woman came to me and told me that her husband disappeared every night and she didn't know where. She said he always came home smelling of expensive perfume. And once, she found a…rather racy item of clothing in his pocket, like it had gotten stuck there." Brett raised his eyebrows in amusement. "So I took the job and followed him around." I paused to take a drink.
"And?" Brett prompted.
"And it turns out he was going to a transvestite club every night dressed as a lady of the night, so to speak, and making it with men who are into that kind of thing. I must say, it was rather the opposite of what I was expecting."
Brett chuckled, to my satisfaction. "I should think so. Anyway, this kid. Somehow he ended up with your copy of Romeo and Juliet from senior year. His writing is a lot like yours. Tiny. Also, he just talks and acts a lot like you. It's kind of uncanny."
"Interesting. So he reminded you of me and you thought you'd come look me up?" I leaned forward. "Is that all?"
Brett worried his lip between his teeth nervously. Hm. Never noticed that habit before.
"To be honest," he began, "I began thinking about you. I never really got to know you before in high school, and I regret that now. Do you think we could get to know each other?"
"Sure." At this point, Ernest padded in and leapt onto my lap. "Oh. Brett, this is my cat, Ernest."
"He's a gorgeous one," Brett commented, reaching out to scratch Ernest's head. Ernest closed his eyes and purred contentedly. "Why Ernest?"
"I like Oscar Wilde?" I offered. Brett laughed again. He had a beautiful laugh, and (embarrassingly) it went straight downward between my legs.
He glanced at his watch. "Oh, I have to go. Sorry. I'd love to chat more, but I have papers to grade." He rolled his eyes. "I'll talk to you later?"
"Sure, and hey, be easy on my seventeen year-old clone, okay?" I said jokingly. He laughed again and left.
Well, I thought. That went remarkably well.
So I went to school the next day, restored to being Ben Holden, clutching my messenger bag to my chest. I went into homeroom and nodded to Brett, who semi-ignored me.
Oh, and English.
After class, Brett asked me to stay. As I stood there curiously, he finished writing whatever the hell he was writing and looked up at me. "It's funny, but you and Jack have exactly the same body type, height, and very similar voices."
"Did you go to see him yesterday?" I asked, feigning curiosity.
"I did indeed." He pushed himself away from his desk and stood. "And you know something? You didn't say a word in class today. Is there a reason why?"
"My sister's getting married," I told him. "Just thinking about what her kids will look like, because her fiancé is kind of a strange looking guy."
"Hmm. So you've never met Jack?" He inspected my face.
"Not that I can recall, although there is an Olsen branch in my family tree…maybe we're distant cousins or something." I shrugged, hoping that he couldn't tell that I was lying through my teeth. "We just moved here, so I dunno. Also, the Olsens are on my dad's side, and I live with my mom."
"That would make sense." He nodded. "It's just very strange."
"I agree. I guess I'm his doppelganger?"
"I suppose. You can go to class now, Mr. Holden."
I nodded, and got the fuck out of there.
I (that is to say, Jack) didn't have any more interaction with Brett. At school, I continued to be a good student, and I continued to tease Logan. He was an easy blusher, that one. I just hoped that he wasn't falling in love with me, as that could present problems. I made a mental note to find him a boyfriend for after I was gone.
Then one day, Brett returned an essay that we had written in class to us. On mine were the words, 'See me', and a discrete A+.
More than a bit confused, I approached Brett after class, my brows knitted in bewilderment.
"What's wrong, Mr. Nielson?" I asked him.
"Your essay was brilliant, Mr. Holden," he informed me. "I never expected someone to be able to write an essay on Mercutio that profound and insightful. There's not much of him in the text, so I applaud you. I was wondering if you had ever considered being an English major."
No, I hadn't. Frankly, that essay on Mercutio had been stewing at the back of my mind for the better part of a decade. In my original senior year, I had written it on Juliet, as everyone had. I mean, the prompt was to show how a characters development, or lack thereof, demonstrated the themes of the book. Everyone wrote about Juliet, a few wrote about Romeo, and a very few wrote about Lawrence.
No one wrote about Mercutio. I don't think any one had the guts.
"No, I've not given real thought to my major," I confessed. "All my applications had 'undeclared' on them."
He gave me a disapproving look before straightening his shoulders. "In any case, I'd love to have a chance to sit down and talk to you about some of the conclusions you drew. Is tomorrow a good day for you?"
Tomorrow was a Saturday.
"Tomorrow we don't have school," I pointed out.
"I mean we'd go out for coffee or something," he sighed. "There's a nice place I know where we could talk about your essay. It has a very bohemian air about it."
I smiled sneakily. "Mr. Nielson, are you asking me on a date?"
He sighed in frustration. "Mr. Holden…"
"Don't worry; I'm just winding you up. Sure, we can talk about it. Where's this café?"
I sat casually in the café, waiting for Brett to show up. The newspaper had told me that they wanted me to keep attending the school until after the winter formal, which was a week away. Apparently, it was on a yacht. I'd given my money to Logan, who went and bought a bid for us. It cost some obscene amount of money.
But no matter. Brett walked in, even more casually dressed than he was at school, wearing jeans and a Led Zeppelin shirt. (Goddamn it, does he always have to look so good?)
"Hi, Mr. Nielson," I said as he took a seat across from me. "You took your time."
Brett rolled his eyes. Interesting. That was the second time I'd noticed him do it. "My step-mother called. She says that my ex-girlfriend is back in town and that I should get together with her, hint hint. Never mind the fact that I told her that I never want to see that woman again, and am in fact more interested in a male from my past rather than an ex-girlfriend." He blinked. "That was far more personal information than I had intended to give you."
"I've had days like that," I nodded. "It's good to purge your emotions on someone else. Keeping it bottled up inside isn't good." At the look he gave me, I laughed. "My sister likes Oprah, if that's what you were wondering."
He chuckled (oh god, why must he keep doing that?) and signaled the waitress to come over. "I'll have a coffee, black," he told her. He looked over at me.
"I'll have Earl Grey," I told the pretty girl, who was making no bones about giving both of us the once-over. "With lemon."
As she sashayed away, Brett raised his eyebrows at me. "How very British."
"I know." I pulled my essay out of my messenger bag. "Here's my essay. What did you want to discuss?"
"I was interested by the argument you made here, regarding Mercutio's attitudes toward love," he began, leaning forward. "Could you explain where you drew these conclusions from?"
As I began to explain, I watched his reactions closely. He seemed genuinely interested, and I enjoyed seeing his face light up when he saw an opportunity for debate.
And thus I spent one of the most intellectually stimulating mornings of my life, with a man who had become my teacher through a fluke of my job, and a raging hard-on.
Such is life.
I returned home after lunch, prepared for a night of wanking, to put it quite bluntly. Spending a great deal of time in Brett's company, especially when I was growing fonder of him, was not conducive to the well-being of my mind.
The answer machine was beeping, so I hit the play button while I fed Ernest.
"Hey Jack, it's Brett. Just wanted to know if you'd like to grab a bite to eat tonight. I know this great place – it's downtown and it has really excellent Japanese food. If you're interested, call me back on my cell phone. The number's 209-8879. Oh, and if you didn't guess, this is a date. You are into guys, right? If I've totally misread you, I'm sorry, and I hope that we can still be friends. God, I've made such an ass of myself. I'm going to hang up before I make myself sound even more asinine. Talk to you later. Bye."
"That was strangely adorable," I remarked to Ernest, who merely meowed in response. "I'd love to go out with him, but would that be a bad idea?" Ernest looked at me with his wide eyes. "I agree," I told him. "I'll go out with him."
God, two dates in one day. I am so good.
"This place is fantastic," I remarked to Brett as we entered the restaurant. "It looks busy, too. I hope you don't mind me asking, but how do you afford a place like this on a teacher's salary?"
"I have my ways," he said enigmatically, shooting me an amused look. "I'm not as poor as a church mouse."
"Where does that saying come from?" I asked rhetorically. "Surely church mice aren't any poorer than regular mice. They're all just mice."
"I never thought of that," Brett commented, sending me an amused glance. "That is a very good point."
We ordered dinner and ate while discussing various things, such as what happened to our old classmates. The night seemed to be going very well.
Note the seemed.
Towards the end of the meal, Brett leaned forward and sighed. "Look, Jack. I have had a lot of fun with you. And I have liked you for quite some time. But the thing is…I was going to see if I wanted to date you on tonight's date. And I would love to date you. But I keep looking at you and I keep thinking about the student who reminds me of you."
I'm not sure what my facial expression was, but it must not have been good since he looked horrified and leaned forward. "I'm so sorry, Jack. I know it must seem horrible that I'm not dating you in favor of a boy ten years younger than you."
"Believe me, that's not what I'm thinking." Internally, I was thinking, Great. The reason I can't date the man I've carried a torch for for ten years is because he's in love with my alter ego. "Well, I'm glad you gave it a shot at least. Are we done here?"
"Yeah, we're done."
So that was…wonderful. I paced around my apartment, wondering what the fuck I was going to do. I came to the conclusion that it was best if I stopped being Ben Holden and just forgot the whole thing. So I called up the newspaper and told them that I was dropping it. They were fine; they said they had more than enough to write their piece and told me they'd let the school know. So things went back to normal.
I had to pay a visit on Logan to apologize to him for ditching him – I mean, it wasn't very chivalrous of me just to run out on him.
"Hi," I said when he answered the door. "I moved, so…I won't be able to go to the formal with you."
He nodded wisely. "Mr. Nielson, right?"
I frowned at him. "Pardon?"
"Well, obviously you like him. And he obviously thinks you're pretty damn fine." Logan seemed to have lost his shyness. "So is that why you moved? So that you could date him?"
I tried not to laugh. "Not at all."
"Oh." He looked disappointed. "Well, it's okay, Ben." He blushed. "Max Harper is taking me to formal."
"You like him?"
"He's gorgeous. I've liked him forever." He looked embarrassed, but radiantly happy.
"Sounds good." I felt extremely weird about the whole thing. "I should be going, then."
"It's nice to see you again!" he called as I walked away.
This was my penultimate mistake:
I was walking down the street when I heard a surprised voice say, "Ben?"
Before I could stop myself, I was turning and Brett looked stunned. "I thought you moved," he said after a moment.
"Um, yeah," I finally murmured. "About that…I, uh, came to pick up some stuff from a friend's house. I'm just on my way to my mom's car. I'll, uh, see you later." Because I can't seem to restrain myself, I gave him the once over – tight jeans, collared shirt that opened up, and a pair of awesome boots.
"Nice outfit," I said before making my escape.
This was my final mistake:
After wallowing in my own misery for a few days, I decided to go out drinking. Nothing better for misery than some good, old-fashioned liquor.
"Gin and tonic," I told the bar tender. "Except without the tonic."
She laughed appreciatively. "Rough day, Olsen?"
"You have no fucking idea," I answered as she slid the glass across the bar to me. "I'm such an idiot, you know that?"
"Believe it or not, I'd had some inkling." She laughed again at my injured expression. "It's a joke, Olsen."
"Whatever, Rita." I downed the drink and handed her the glass. "The same."
As she was fulfilling my request, a shocked voice demanded, "What on earth are you doing here, Ben?"
Fucking shit fuck goddamn fuck fuck fuck –
"Who?" I turned and gave Brett a wide-eyed, innocent look. "Oh, hello Brett."
"Ben, you're only eighteen! You can't be in here."
"Who's Ben?" Rita asked, frowning. "Olsen? Care to explain this to me?"
"'Olsen'?" Brett looked even more confused. "What the fuck is going on here? I'd like an explanation, please."
I sighed and pulled my wallet from my back pocket. "Dude, I'm totally allowed to be here." I handed it to him, my driver's license prominently displayed.
"'Jack Olsen'," he read, and his face twisted before he threw it back at me. "Yeah fucking right. You only did this because I mentioned him, Ben. You decided to pretend to be him."
I sighed. "Rita? Some help?"
"Sir, this is Jack Olsen. He's been a regular for the past two years. He often comes in here after solving a case." She turned to look at me. "Olsen, why does he think you're named Ben?"
"Because I pretended to be called that."
"Bullshit!" Brett looked understandably upset. "If you're Jack Olsen, you can prove it. What favor did you do for me in high school?"
"I solved the mystery of whether or not your girlfriend was raped," I replied promptly. "It turned out that she wasn't, even though she was banging one of the coaches."
Brett took a step back, mouth falling open. "What the fuck." He pointed at me, hand shaking as he tried to form words. "You – how? You can't be Jack, you look nothing like him."
I sighed again, pulling my glasses from my pocket and putting them on. With a quick ruffle, my hair was askew. "Add stubble, and you've got Jack," I said dryly.
He gaped at me still, looking for all the world like a fish. "What the fuck? You're Jack. Holy fuck, you're Jack. Why were you pretending to be a fucking student, Jack?"
"Newspaper paid me to," I answered with a shrug.
He swore again, and ran a hand through his hair. "Fuck. Fucking shit. You let me go on about you and – fuck! I dumped you for your fucking alter-ego. I – fuck. I'm going to leave."
I watched him leave, my mouth slightly open. I have never seen him so distraught before.
I went home not long after that, completely miserable. I'm such a twat sometimes, I swear to god. Not knowing what to do, I called my sister to bitch to her. She laughed so hard I thought she would break.
"God," she gasped, and I could imagine her face red and tears running down her cheeks. "God, you are such a fucking idiot, Jack."
"Don't I fucking know it," I grumbled. "I really fucked this up. And what am I supposed to do about it?"
"How am I supposed to know?" she demanded. "Are you coming out for my wedding or not?"
"Fuck, when is it?"
"Next week, asshole." I heard her breathing hard, and then she giggled. "Do you even have a tux to wear?"
"Yes, I do," I answered primly. "Don't be a bitch. As long as it can be pink." I heard her gasp on the other end and I burst into laughter. "I'm totally kidding."
"Don't do that to me, you sadistic fuck," she exclaimed, sounding annoyed and amused at the same time. "Knowing you, you probably have a suit covered in pink sequins."
"Please, I'm not that tacky." I grinned despite my sadness. "They're silver."
"Of course," she said dryly.
Shannon was kinda surprised that I bothered to show up for her wedding, but whatever. She has little faith in me.
Eh. Gene was an old classmate from high school, which is actually how he and Shannon met. He greeted me very warmly, especially considering that we hadn't seen each other recently. Not to mention that I'd been kinda out of his social sphere back in the day. Whatever. He's nice and is good for Shannon.
"Hey Gene," I said brightly, shaking hands with him. "I pity you. What on earth possessed you to marry my sister?"
Shannon hit me across the back of my head and I ducked, yelling.
"Don't be an ass, Jack," she ordered, but I could see that she was laughing. "You've already fulfilled your fuck-up quota for the year. And then some."
I rolled my eyes, but conceded the point. She led me to my hotel room, where Mom and Dad said hello, disapprovingly – Private Investigating was not Olsen material, especially since Dad's a cop and Mom was a forensic detective back in the day. It's probably their fault that I'm a detective, actually. Genetics.
So they left after my mother waxed tragic over the fact that I would never produce any grandchildren for her to coddle, and I relaxed in my room, basking in the glow of my own stupidity. I rubbed my stubble and debated shaving it, but I decided that I liked it. As long as I didn't try to go undercover so ridiculously again, I was fine.
From what I heard, the newspaper had decided to write an article on modern teen attitudes towards homosexuality, but I didn't bother reading it, because frankly, I didn't care.
It was dinnertime when I got up the energy to pick myself off the bed and turn the TV off. It was time for the rehearsal dinner, after all. I went downstairs and that's when I realized that fate is a bitch.
Because talking to the handsome groom was the sexy and equally (if not more) handsome Brett Nielson.
"Fuck," I said, and it was a little louder than maybe I wanted, because everyone turned to look at me and Brett's face darkened.
"Um, Jack?" Shannon said after a moment. "I want you to come with me." She led me away from the room and into a little alcove. "Look. Brett's the best man. You're the bride's brother. You two will get along and not drag your petty little arguments into my wedding." She glared at me until I looked down at my feet.
"Dude, this is fucked up," I groused to no one. I tied my bowtie expertly and straightened my dress shirt. "I'm going to have to sit there and stare at Brett – and my sister, but that's not the point."
I shook my head at my reflection and went downstairs.
I sat in the front row of the room that they rented out for the wedding and watched as Shannon and Gene pledged to love each other for the rest of their lives. Brett kept sneaking glances at me; I know because I was sneaking glances at him.
The reception had lots of alcohol. That was lovely. I indulged, wanting forget that Brett was there and I couldn't fucking touch him because he hated my guts.
Or that's what I thought until he came up to me somewhat grudgingly and said, "Would you like to dance?"
I stared up at him, slightly tipsy and distracted by how edible he looked in that dammed tux. It took a moment for his words to sink in, but when they did, I gaped at him until I could manage to string together a coherent sentence.
Unfortunately, that sentence was one word long: "Sure."
Well, this isn't awkward at all, I thought sardonically as we somewhat clumsily waltzed around the room. Brett said nothing, just gripped my hand a little too tightly for my comfort. His hand on my back slipped lower and he pulled me a little closer.
"Jack," he murmured in my ear, "I want so badly to hate you, but I find that I can't. Not when you're looking so sexy in that tux."
"If it helps," I answered in an undertone, "I'm really sorry about everything." I shook my head, sighing. "If I had known that you would be there, I never would have taken the job."
"What do you mean by that?" he breathed into my ear. I chuckled faintly.
"Brett, come on. Everyone had a crush on you in high school. That includes me." I let my hand slip down his back and I pulled him flush against me. In a soft, seductive whisper, I murmured, "And I still want you, if you're still interested."
"I will never be uninterested in you, Jack, even if you are an asshole," he told me in a somewhat annoyed voice. "To put it the way you did, I had a crush on you in high school as well."
"Why on earth would you have a crush on me?" I asked him, somewhat surprised.
He grinned. "You were perfect, unattainable, that slightly pretentious genius who was so gorgeous. God," he groaned as I rocked against him. "If I don't get you up to my room in two minutes, I'm going to shoot a load in my pants."
"Well, if you put it so eloquently," I said dryly, and he pulled me up the stairs after him.
See, right now, I really want to say something clever about having never been kissed, or fucked, or blown, but see, all of that would be completely untrue. I have kissed and been kissed, fucked and been fucked, rimmed, blown, and wanked – because, damn. I'm a gay guy. I believe there was a study that showed that gay men are actually hornier than straight men. Which would explain so much, actually.
But that's not really the point. The point is that, finally, Brett kissed me. Um, a lot.
The moment we were out of the room, he pushed me up against a wall and kissed me hard, tongue already in my mouth before I even had a chance to bring my arms up and wrap my legs around his waist. A maid who passed us in the hall said something in surprised Spanish and hurried away – not that Brett noticed, as he was rather preoccupied with his hard-on.
"My room," he gasped, "now."
Somehow, we made it back to his room without engaging in any lewd or lascivious behavior (well…no more than we just had in the hall), and once we arrived in the room, he threw me down to the bed, my jacket forgotten on the floor.
"Forceful," I remarked teasingly. "I like it."
"Shut up, Jack," he growled. "Because of your lies and pretending, we missed out on weeks of great sex. And now I'm going to make up for more than ten years of lost time." With that, he pulled my bowtie apart with his teeth before tearing my expensive shirt open. I winced, but then his lips came into contact with my neck.
God, was he good, and he trailed his lips down my chest on a path to my waistband. As he unzipped my pants, I managed to gasp, "This isn't fair! You're still fully clothed!"
He looked down at himself in surprise and grinned. "So I am." He winked at me. "You want to take care of that for me?"
"Would I ever," I breathed, ripping his shirt off with little regard for how much it must have cost. He groaned as I fastened my lips to a nipple and licked a path down to his groin. I pulled his slacks from him and breathed over the already slightly damp patch on his cotton briefs. He groaned even louder.
"Jack, you fucking tease," he gasped, and I grinned into his thigh before blowing into the skin noisily. He jerked and laughed breathlessly before pulling me up to kiss me again, slow and long. His mouth was warm and wet and tasted like champagne. I let my hands wander down to his cock and slid my hands under his underwear to grasp him lightly. He sucked in his breath hard.
"Fuck, if I don't get my cock in you soon, I'm going to fucking explode," he muttered and I shoved the briefs from his hips as his hands slid down to the cleft of my ass, sending chills down my spine and a sharp bolt of pleasure to my cock.
"Fuck," I hissed, and he chuckled in agreement before miraculously producing a condom and some lube. His slick fingers teased at me and one slid in, almost as though by accident. A crook of his finger made me cry out and I gasped, thrusting against the hard line of his thigh.
"God, you're a slut for this, aren't you?" he murmured.
"Kinda," I told him. "Though I think it might just be you. And if I'm a slut…" Leaning forward to breathe in his ear, "…then you should fuck me like one."
He shivered and his fingers danced inside me. He slid the condom on after lubing us both up and pulled my legs over his shoulders. "It would be my pleasure, Jack."
And then he was inside, and fuck, I've never felt so good in my entire fucking life as I did as he fucked my mind out, one hand curling around my dick as he thrust, muttering obscene things with that gorgeous mouth, things like, "Fuck, Jack, you're so fucking tight, how is that possible?"
And as he pressed into me, hitting that spot inside that made me arch off the bed and into his touch, I cried out for more.
"You're beautiful like this," he gasped out between thrusts, hand gently tugging at my cock and I could feel the pressure building. "I've wanted to fuck you so bad, to see you spread and debauched," and as he spoke, the dam burst and I came with a harsh cry, my muscles contracting around him. He cut off abruptly, shuddering, and I could feel the heat of his orgasm through the condom. He collapsed, boneless, against me, breathing hard.
It was a while later that he finally worked up enough energy to pull out, and we both shuddered at the sensations against our too-sensitive skin. He threw the condom aimlessly at the trashcan, and I didn't get to see if it landed in because he was kissing me again, languorously. When he released me, he said quietly, "You're moving in with me, Jack, because even though I tried to hate you, I couldn't get you out of my mind and besides, you're a great fuck and I bet you give good head."
My mind spinning, I answered dazedly, "Yeah, I do give good head." I smiled mischievously up at him. "I'll show you later, if you want."
"God," he groaned as he leaned down to kiss me again. "So will you move in with me?"
"Sure, as long as you don't mind me bringing my cat with me."
"As long as I get you?" He pulled me closer and kissed me until we were both breathless and bright spots of color shone on his cheeks. "Of course. Just promise me you won't do any more undercover jobs for the newspaper."
I grinned and licked his ear. As he shivered, I whispered, "That won't be a problem."
And, surprisingly, we lived happily ever after.
A/N: Why oh why did this story take so long to write?? I started writing this in December, and I only finished it today. Um. Yeah. I hope y'all liked it.