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Jack Collier: Private Eye (Chapter Four)

Jack Collier: Private Eye

A Jack Collier Story

By Brett N. Lashuay

Chapter Three can be found here.

 

 

Chapter Four: The Last of Three Lovers

 

            I was lying in my bed, playing my favorite game, which was raising my right hand. I’d managed to raise my hand seven inches high and hold it there. If I could move it ten inches to the left I could have it on my crotch and could just about not masturbate because it would have been more effort than I would have been up for. Getting my hand there would have worn me out, and I don’t think I could have bounced my wrist for the full action. So I was raising my hand and lowering it, before trying to raise my legs, when she walked back into my life.

 

            It doesn’t seem fair that the years should have only added ten pounds to her and then left her otherwise in tact. She still had a small, compact and tight frame, her face showed almost no signs of aging, all that had happened was that in thirteen years she’d gained ten pounds. Less than a pound a year, just doesn’t seem fair when you mount up what had become of me. Of course, if one wanted to argue the point, I was probably lighter now than I was all those years ago.

 

            She was dressed well, if casually. A sweater, some jeans, and unless my eyes deceived me she had on the same leather jack she had worn back in the day. I couldn’t tell just then if she was wearing it because she still always wore it, or if she had worn it specially for me. Seeing how she would later dress, I think she pulled it out as a talisman, or possibly armor. In that respect, she and Debbie were a lot alike.

 

            “Hi Jack,” she said, as the light fell on her nearly white blonde hair and reflected back a pale and cold light.

 

            Her silvery gray eyes sparkled as she looked around the room I was laying in. The light made her look cold and beautiful, but that could also have been the fact that it was the middle of winter and all the light that was shining through the room was filtered through the gray clouds and then reflected off the white snow. If there had been any warmth in the light, it had been sapped away by the cold it had traveled through.

 

            “Hi Karen,” I said, trying to sit up a little.

 

            “Been a long time.” She smiled at me.

 

            “Yeah, it has,” I said, realizing that for some reason I never took Debbie up on the idea of going with her to see Karen. Not once. “What, ten years? Since Angela and Pete got married?”

 

            “Almost twelve,” she said, and I could tell she felt the pang that I’d never come with Debbie as much as I had. “You’ve got to remember how long you were away.”

 

            “Right.” I nodded. “That’s still not sunk in.”

 

            “It will,” she said, “Don’t worry.”

 

            “Okay,” I said, and settled back against the pillows behind me. “So what have you been up to?”

 

            “Over the last decade?”

 

            “Yeah.” I nodded. “You still with Pete and Angela?”

 

            “Yes.” She laughed and looked embarrassed. “And I have a son named Paul and a daughter, Eloise. Nine and six.”

 

            “So what are you doing these days?”

 

            “I’m... is this what you want to talk about?” She was suddenly flustered.

 

            “What should we be talking about?” I asked her, watching carefully for her eyes to do that trick. “Do you want to talk about the past? Should we start at the beginning or the end?”

           

            “I’m supposed to be the psychologist,” she said.

 

            “Is that what you went to school for?” I asked. “Or what you ended up going to school for anyway?”

 

            “I’ve had my own practice for a couple of years now,” she nodded.

 

            “They send you in here to crack me?” I asked, only remembering that such a joke probably would have the wrong effect after it escaped my mouth.

 

            “Jack,” she sighed, “I’m not here to work on you, I’m here to see you, as you. Can’t you trust me? You used to trust me.”

 

            “That would require us to be like we were long ago,” I said, “And then we’d have to discuss long ago.”

 

            “I know that,” she agreed.

 

            “And you said we shouldn’t discuss long ago,” I told her, “Pretend like that summer never happened. That’s what you said.”

 

            A look of confusion crossed her face as she looked at me. I’ve always thought she was a smart cookie, but she couldn’t seem to work out the words I’d thrown back at her. She must have known they were hers, but she seemed mystified as to what she was supposed to do with them.

 

            “You’ve been holding on to that promise for fifteen years?” she asked, “You really just never talked about it?”

 

            “You said, she said,” I told her, “After her birthday we all agreed that we wouldn’t talk about it. I promised.”

 

            “For fifteen years?” she asked.

 

            “I don’t recall promises having a shelf life,” I said, and maybe I sounded a little testy, but it was getting on my nerves. Why does everyone act surprised just because I keep my word?

 

            “That’s why Debbie has...” She stopped and shook her head. “Okay, if I say it’s okay to talk, will you talk to me about it?”

 

            “Yeah,” I nodded.

 

            She then sat and just looked at her shoes for a moment. I watched her, but she didn’t do or say anything for a long time. Then, she sort of laughed and threw her head back, blinking back tears and biting her lower lip. She sucked in a big breath of air and held it for a second before sighing it out in one puff.

 

            “When we broke up, I sort of thought of all the things I would say and all the things I would ask when we finally had this talk,” she started, and then paused for a long time. “But then it all seemed so silly. Sometime, around the fourth or fifth year I started to think that maybe it was pointless to be mad at you or try to get answers from you. I mean I started to think that maybe you didn’t know why you did everything you did either.”

 

            “Maybe I do,” I tried to shrug, but the pain stopped me from doing much more than a weak motion.

 

            “I think the best you could manage is the reason you think you did it, seen through a fifteen year old filter,” she said. “I know a little bit about this sort of thing. You know that, right?”

 

            “Yeah, I guess I do,” I said. “So what do we do then? Do we ignore the old days? Do we try and talk about your kids and your husband and your wife?”

 

            “No,” she said, giving her lovely head a shake. “We have to talk about it, or it’ll hang over us.”

 

            “Do I tell you my reasons for going and then you tell me how I hurt you?”

 

            “If you’re just going to mock me,” she said and started to look angry.

 

            “I’m not mocking you,” I said, “I’m asking how you want to proceed. I can’t help it if I know a little bit about how these things are done too.”

 

            “You did hurt me,” she said. “You hurt us both.”

 

            “I know,” I said, “But I thought that it would be worse if I was around than if I wasn’t. You got hurt and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I couldn’t protect you, and I couldn’t really take care of you. I sort of figured that at any moment you’d decide you didn’t need me and then I’d be abandoned at the side of the road. I was really worried I was preventing you from being what you two wanted to be.”

 

            “You were scared?” she asked, “I don’t believe it. I was scared. You’re not capable of being scared.”

 

            I just looked at her for a while, because how could I tell her everything? Even if I wanted to tell her all that I thought I was feeling at the time, the memory was old. This wasn’t opening old wounds, there were hardly scars to show anymore. There were just a set of faded white lines, ones that had a lot more criss-crossing scars that had been laid over them in the years after those. It would have been fruitless to try and say who was right and who was wrong. We know who was wrong, I was wrong.

 

            “What you did to me, it affects a person,” I told her. “That’s not an excuse, it’s more by way of an explanation.”

 

            “Well, maybe we girls were a little inexperienced at the group thing, but you were a man of the world,” she said. “I mean, you’d been around, you’d done it.”

 

            “No I hadn’t,” I shook my head, “You were my first.”

 

            “What?” she asked and she looked at me as if I had spoken Chinese with a Dutch accent. I could tell that she had completely failed to comprehend my words.

 

            “The last day of school,” I said. “With you. That was my first time.”

 

            “Wait, what?” she stammered. “No. Then Debbie was your first. I blew you, and then you had sex with her and then had sex with me and...”

 

            She trailed off because I was shaking my head at her. She looked at me, with her jaw hanging only slightly open. It was a cute, but flabbergasted look that she had on her face. She was having to process something that she couldn’t quite comprehend. I’ve always said that my myth is more important to people than my facts. I was just banging up against another example of that truism. She put her hand on the bar that kept me from falling out of the bed and shook her head at me.

 

            “My reputation has always had more fun than me,” I told her.

 

            “Are you kidding me?” she asked, “You can’t… No.”

 

            “Debbie was my first all the way organ on organ sexual experience,” I told her and with great effort didn’t show how much pain and concentration it took to place my hand on hers.  “But you my dear, were my first ever anything. You were the first person ever to bring me to climax. Before you, there was nothing but getting to touch Suzy Jenkin’s left breast in a movie theater.”

 

            “I... I never knew that,” she said, “I thought you must have had hundreds of conquests before us. I didn’t even think it was your first three-way.”

 

            “First anything,” I said, “And there I was out to sea without a map, charts, sexton or even a paddle. I had no idea what I was doing or who I was supposed to be doing it with.”

 

            “You never said.” If there had been scales on her eyes, they would have fallen away.

 

            “No,” I agreed. “I never said a lot of things. One of my charms if you ask the right people.”

 

            I don’t know how much I’ve mentioned it, but I’ve noticed that myth is important to people. The myth of Jack Collier for example. Jack Collier is supposed to shrug off pain, laugh at danger, and be an all around stud. Women are supposed to throw themselves at his feet and thugs are supposed to throw up their arms at the very sight of him. If I ever actually meet the Jack Collier that everyone is talking about, I’m going to shoot the bastard for making me look bad.

 

            The myth is important though, and someday I should really address just how many people have put their faith in the Jack Collier Myth. I think the number might just be a lot bigger than I suspect even now. If I really made a list, and if I tried to take some interviews to back up that list, I might find out that everyone has made me into a bigger myth than the one I have worked so hard to make myself. It’s so easy to be a fraud when you have so many willing accomplices to do all the heavy lifting for you.

 

            “Oh,” was all she said after that. “That’s kind of funny really.”

 

            “What is?” I asked.

 

            “That you were the least experience among us, and yet you let us think you were the most experienced.”

 

            “I didn’t let you think or not think anything,” I said.

 

            “You let us trick ourselves then,” she said, “You knew we thought you were more experienced than either of us, and don’t try playing innocent like you didn’t know because you did.”

 

            “You’re sure?” I asked.

 

            “Positive,” she said, “You knew what we thought, you just never corrected us.”

 

            “Maybe,” I said, “That’s hardly important now though, is it? I mean if we go on with this now, we’ve got to talk about how I dumped you and left you scared of the world.”

 

            “I wasn’t scared of the world.” She said. “Not the whole world.”

 

            “And you got over that,” I stated.

 

            “Yeah,” she nodded.

 

            “So where do we go from here?” I asked.

 

            “Did Debbie tell you what we did the day you officially dumped us through her and walked away?”

 

            “You went back to Stony and you thought she was going to dump you,” I said.

 

            “There was more,” she said. “I started to cry, and she told me she loved me. And then we did it for the first time without you.”

 

            “That was the first time?” I asked, “Without me being around?”

 

            “It was sort of beautiful.” She smiled a wry little smile and slid her leather jacket off. “We recaptured the magic, we were able to start again. It saved us, her and I.”

 

            “Is that what you want to do, try and start again?” I asked.

 

            She smiled at me in an impulsive and delightful way. I had no idea what she was going to do, and I sort of thought she only had the vaguest idea. In fact, I could see that the germ of an idea had only just struck her and it was crystallizing in her mind as she toyed with the top button of her blouse.

 

            She pulled a hanger from that damn untalkative cabinet and put the jacket on it, and then proceeded to hang it on the door so that the coat obscured the window in the door. I watched what she did and watched as she trotted back to the bed where I was laying. She had already undone the top three buttons of her blouse and was scoping my hand up to slide it under her bra and press against her breast. She then swooped down and gave me a kiss.

 

            “What are you doing?” I asked as she pulled her bra off and let my hand go free.

 

            “Starting over,” she said, “I’m recapturing some magic.”

 

            “I can hardly move,” I said.

 

            “That’s okay. I’ll do the moving for you this time,” She smiled at me as she ruffled the blankets. “We’ll start at the beginning, and we’ll see if we can’t find that magic again.”

 

            I’m quite proud of myself, not only did I manage not to pass out but I actually got my hand to raise up high enough to toy with her left ear while she performed. I have no idea why, but that always would drive her on to deeper depths and more forceful action. Someday I might remember to ask her why rubbing her earlobe makes her perform better, but usually I’m too exhausted to bring it up.

 

 

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