The Twist

by Bensiamin

Many thanks to my editor, Michael, for the time and effort to proof and edit this story and make it a much better experience for you, the reader!

The boys heard the knock on the door, and saw it opening quietly even before they could reply to the "Hey you guys. Can I come in?"

Eric and Kim looked up at the same time as Susan walked through the doorway, a soft smile on her face.

"Sure, we need a break from studying," Eric said as he looked at Kim, then continued, "right?'

As Kim nodded in agreement Susan brightly said, "Well, I wasn't sure you were studying, you know… that's why I knocked."

"Oh really? But you were already halfway in here before we heard you knock. I thought the drill was knock first and then wait for a reply." Eric was trying to be stern with his sister, but the grin gave him away.

"Yeah, Susan," Kim added, "What if we hadn't been studying?"

"Well, it's not like I haven't caught you guys doing some heavy making out before, you know."

"Yeah, but… it's still my room," Eric replied trying to sound stern, "and the door was closed, you know? You've heard about privacy?"

"You mean you're worried I'd walk in on you while you were getting it on, or something?"

"No! Well, yeah… kinda. That would be uncool and maybe embarrassing."

"For you!" Kim added for emphasis.

"Okay, I get it," Susan said, trying to sound contrite. "But I need some help with something weird that happened at school today."

"Something weird happened at school today and you're asking us? We don't even go there anymore, remember? We're in college now."

"I know that! But you guys are the only ones I know that can help me because you're gay."

"Well, then," Eric quipped, "when you put it like that! What do you think we are, experts on the subject?"

"No. If I needed experts, I'd ask Uncle David or Uncle Jackson. But this is a high school thing, and you were there last year, and you guys are hip, so I figure I'd start with you." She was grinning mischievously.

"So, you're telling us that you don't know any other gay kids at school," Eric said, "or is it that you think we're so together?" He was starting to grin, too, wondering where this was going.

"Well… I guess," Susan paused, and then continued, "I know you guys are hip and have your shit together, and I guess I really don't know any other gay kids. Or lesbians, even. Does that make me pathetic?"

"Maybe not pathetic, but since your brother has a boyfriend, and you have two gay uncles, it kind of seems like you'd understand the whole scene and be in the loop or something. You know what I mean?"

Susan paused again, her fourteen-year-old eyes switching back and forth between the two boys, and then she said, "Well, I guess I just haven't been fortunate yet to meet someone else who had a run in at the skatepark!" The mischievous grin was back on her face.

Eric looked at his boyfriend and rolled his eyes. Then Kim said to Susan, "You know that how I met your brother was an unfortunate circumstance and a real one off. We're talking about you having broader horizons, a wider range of friends, stuff like that. We're living in the 21st Century so I don't know how you can't know gay kids in your high school when we live in Portland."

"Maybe I don't need to know gay boys at school because I have the coolest gay brother and he has an equally cool boyfriend. Now, are you going to help me, or not?" Susan was starting to sound a little petulant, as if she hadn't expected to be grilled by Eric and Kim.

"Yeah, I guess we can," Eric said laughing, "since you think Kim and I are so cool. What's up?"

"Super! Well, here's the deal. It's about a note."

"A note? You mean like some writing scrawled on a piece of paper? That kind of note? I thought everyone texted these days?"

"Yes, a note like that, and the thing about texts is that it's kind of hard to send one and not know who it's from, right?" A triumphant smile was appearing on her face.

Kim had sat up straight in his chair and said, "You're right about the anonymous part, but where does that fit in. Is this some kind of mystery? Are you setting us up like it's some kind of joke?"

"Oh, no, no! Trust me, I wouldn't do that. When was the last time I did anything like that?"

"Oh, let me think about the last time you set us up… for maybe two seconds. How about last summer when Jerrod and Roger were over, and we were all sleeping in the tent in the back yard. Remember?"

Susan's grin widened. "Oh, yeah, I do. That was great. But to be precise, it wasn't a setup. It was a prank, but not a set up, and in the end all four of you were laughing. So, there you go!"

"Okay. Point taken. Now, what's the deal with the note?"

"Well, I was walking behind this guy at school today, on the way to lunch. This is his first year at our school 'cause his parents bought a new place and he ended up in a different school district."

Eric jumped in. "This guy you know, or a guy you know of? There's a difference, you know?"

Susan scrunched her eyebrows. "Brother of mine, don't be a wise ass." Then she tried to shoot arrows at him with her eyes, but it came off as a squint. "Alright, so I don't actually know him, I know who he is… I know of him, I guess." She paused. "But I really would like to get to know him. Does that satisfy you?"

"That's better. You're giving us the straight scoop. Kind of a necessary approach in you want help with this little note problem you have. So, go on. You're behind this guy you don't know but that you'd like to get to know, and this note appears."

"That's right." Susan smiled evilly. "You have to understand, though, it's not me that has the problem with the note. It's this guy."

"How does that work," Kim asked.

"Well, first you have to know what the note said, right?" Both boys nodded and she pulled a torn piece of paper from her own pocket and looked at it. She went on. "The note says, 'Hey, if you're not gay, my friend thinks you're cute. Here's her number.' And there's a phone number."

Eric looked at Kim and back at Susan and said, "Well, sister of mine, just which class in human relations did you miss? Some chick is trying to set this dude up with her girlfriend, right? Maybe he's quiet and inhibited and the chick doesn't want to scare him off."

"Or, maybe, "Kim added, "he just broke up with someone and she's being careful. The problem is what?"

Susan knew she had their attention now. "How do you know any of that? How do you know the note was written by a chick? How do you know she's trying to set her girlfriend up? In fact, how do you know this is about getting the guy set up with her? Aren't you assuming a bunch of stuff?"

"No. I'm working on the info you've given me about this note. How'd you get it anyway?"

"I saw it drop out of his coat pocket when he was walking ahead of me to lunch."

"And the guy is? Like, does he have a name?"

"Yeah, he does. His name's Dale."

Kim chimed in. "And you didn't say, 'Hey, Dale, you dropped something,' and give him back the note?"

"No, because I was going to lunch and he wasn't, it turned out. He turned into the office and by the time I'd picked up the note and looked around for him he was in there talking to the school secretary."

"Still, you could have waited till he came out and given him the note, right," Eric asked?

"Well, you'd think so, but then I read the note, and then I wasn't sure what to do. So, I thought about it over lunch and then was less and less sure and decided I needed to talk to you guys first."

"Why? This is some kind of 'my friend wants to get to know you' note. What's the big deal?"

"The big deal, brother of mine, is what the rest of the note says." Susan smiled smugly.

Eric, who normally had a lot of patience with his little sister was starting to get a little irritated by Susan's glib attitude. "So, go on."

"Well," she said in a tone that was a mix of triumph and mystery as she looked down at the note in her hand. "The rest of the note said, 'If you are gay, here's mine.' And there's a second phone number."

"Whoa!" Eric looked at Kim as he said it, his expression breaking into a grin.

"Whoa is right," Susan responded. "I told you the scene changed with the second part of the note."

"You're right about that," Eric replied. "So, now it appears that the note was written by another guy, one who presumably has a crush on Dale, right?"

Susan nodded her head in agreement but said nothing.

"And just what is wrong with that," Kim asked? He was looking directly at Susan.

"Well, nothing, really," she replied.

"Nothing really, but… but what?"

Susan looked back and Kim and said, "What do you mean 'but what?' There's nothing wrong with that. I mean with some other guy having a crush on him. You had a crush on my brother before you met, right?"

"That's true. There's nothing wrong with a guy having a crush on another guy. Except?"

"Except what?"

"Susan!" It was Eric now talking to his sister like brother's do. "Give us the straight story."

She looked at him but was quiet.

"Okay, let me guess. What's going on here is that you've got a crush on Dale, and now you find out that not only do you have competition, but that the competition is a dude, and that maybe Dale is gay. Is that the story?"

Susan blushed, a rare experience for her. She said quietly, "Yeah, and I don't know what to do. I mean I know I should give him the note back tomorrow. He'll probably realize it's gone tonight and freak out or something." She looked down at her hands.


Susan looked back up at Eric, "But, I don't want to be embarrassed, I want to do the right thing…." She left the sentence unfinished.

"Sounds like you don't want to find out what the deal is," Kim commented from the side.

"Well, yeah, I guess. I mean you guys are gay and I love you totally and all, but I like this guy, and if he's gay then that's that, right?"

"Maybe not. He could be bi."

Susan rolled her eyes, understanding the implications. "Eric, our parents are bi, so I get it. But that also makes it more complicated. You do remember all the stuff they told us about when they were in high school and in college. Nothing was simple."

"Susan, life isn't simple. Why don't you just do the right thing?"

"Which is?"

"Given how bright you are, a straight A student and all, I'm surprised I have to say this. Find Dale in the morning, give him the note, explain what happened, and talk to him. For sure he'll appreciate it. Like you said, he may be freaked that he lost the note… meaning he lost the phone numbers! Then you guys get a chance to talk. Maybe this is all rumors, or a mistake? Maybe it'll turn out to be no big deal."

Susan was quiet, thinking.

"Is this the first time you've heard anything about Dale being gay?" She followed the sound of the question and was looking at Kim. "Is Dale an athlete, some macho guy? What's he look like?"

Susan swallowed and then said, "He's cute and he's on the track team. He's got sandy hair and blue eyes and a nice body. I think he's a runner. He's not one of those macho football guys. And he's an artist, but otherwise he's like everyone else, I guess."

"So, this could all be a mistake about him being gay. Meaning just people drawing the wrong conclusions, or something, right?"

Eric glanced at Kim and said, "Except that if the note was written by a guy, that means the dude probably has gaydar and he's testing the water as neutrally as he can." He looked back at his sister. "You should talk to him tomorrow. It's Friday, so if it blows up for some reason, you have the weekend to recover and won't have to see him till Monday."

Susan slowly drew in a breath as she looked at her brother. "Sometimes I wish I had an older sister instead of an older brother. You know that don't you?"

"Ha, ha. You know I'm just giving you shit. You know you need to do the right thing, as in give him the note and talk to him tomorrow and see what happens. Kim is staying over this weekend, so we'll both be here tomorrow night and you can fill us in on what happened, and we'll do some therapy or an intervention with you if it all blows up."

Susan had to bite her lip to hold back the smile, and slowly said, "I love you but sometimes you are a real shit, Eric!"

Eric and Kim were late getting home after class the next day because while they both went to different colleges, they were both on the tennis teams and had practice. Then they met up with their best friends, Jerrod and Roger on the way home for a cup of coffee and to catch up on the week. When they came into the house Susan was in the kitchen with their mom working on dinner.

Both boys stopped to say hello, and they learned that Eric's dad was on his way home and dinner would be served in about forty-five minutes. Eric said that he and Kim would wash the dishes and clean up after dinner, and were going to take showers to clean up after tennis practice. Susan had been quiet the whole time.

Before they left the kitchen, Eric caught her attention and said, "Everything go okay at school today?"

Susan said "Yeah," but gave him a look that clearly said, 'don't be a smart ass!'

"We can talk later," Eric said as he and Kim headed down to his room to clean up.

"Don't do anything I wouldn't do," she called after him. Her mom looked at her like she had a problem.

At dinner Eric let everyone know that Jerrod was picking him and Kim up at seven o'clock and they were going to see The Thomas Crown Affair. Eric's dad raised an eyebrow. "You know it's a remake, don't you?"

"Yeah, that's what Jerrod said. He and Uncle Jackson talked about it, and Jackson was telling him about another movie that had high performance car chases with Mustangs. Steve McQueen starred in both of them. Still, the reviews are pretty good about this one." He paused, starting to grin softly. "How do you think the Nova would do against that Mustang?"

His dad grinned. "I wouldn't have a chance. That baby is a Shelby GT 350, much bigger engine than my Nova has and undoubtedly equipped with a racing cam, monster carburetor, all that stuff. You know what would be fun, though?" He paused to watch Eric raise his eyebrows. "It would require some kind of time travel, but it would be a gas to see Pierce Brosnan race that Shelby GT 350 against Steve McQueen driving the Mustang GT from the movie Bullit. That would be something to see."

"I guess the message is that we've got to rent Bullit after we see the flick tonight, right? So, we know what you're talking about."

"That'd be a plan. I'm up for watching it again. We could have David and Jackson over and make a thing out of it and then the next day we'll get out the Nova, and Jackson can get out the Challenger, and we'll go burn some rubber."

Eric grinned, then looked at his boyfriend. "My dad, the director of the music department at Lewis and Clark College, wants to go burn some rubber." He got up and walked to the end of the table and wrapped his arms about his dad's shoulder's and gave him a giant hug. "It's why I love you so much."

Then he looked at Kim. "Let's clear the table and wash the dishes." As they did so, he glanced at Susan and said softly, "If you want to talk before we head out, we're all ears."

The dishes were rinsed and in the dishwasher, the pans washed and put away, and Eric and Kim had changed and we're hanging out in their room knowing Jerrod and Roger would pull up in twenty minutes or so, when they heard the knock on the door.


"What's with the French," Susan asked as she opened the door? "You noticed I knocked and then waited, right?"

"Very thoughtful, in case we were getting it on before Jerrod picked us up. And the French? Well, I'm taking French so it's good to practice. So, what's on your mind, sister of mine?"

"You know what's on my mind. You don't have to ask."

Eric shot a glance at Kim and grinned, then said, "We sure do. So, how'd it go?"

"It was incredibly embarrassing. I mean, why does doing the right thing—meaning giving Dale back the note he dropped—have to be so humiliating?"

"Why humiliating?"

"Well, you can imagine. You start out saying something lame like 'I saw you dropped this note yesterday' and then you've got to come up with a reason you didn't give it back to him yesterday… and then you know that he's wondering if you've read it… because of course there's no way you couldn't have."

"And by 'you,' of course, you mean 'I,' right? As in you."

"Yeah, and don't be a wise ass. It was obvious he was glad to get the note back and had been worried about what happened to it and stuff."

"How do you know that" Kim asked, "did he tell you?"

"He didn't have to. He acted kind of embarrassed, too, like he re-read the note when I gave it back to him. He blushed and was looking worried. Then he looked up and said, 'You know, this is kind of private, don't you?' Of course, I told him I knew it was and that he could count on me not saying anything."

Kim raised he eyebrows, unsure of Susan's concern. "Why all the privacy drama?"

"Well, he was acting embarrassed, like I told you, as in remember the second part of the note, the part about 'if you're gay here's my number?' Well, why else would he start to blush unless he was gay. I mean, like you said, the first part was just about some other girl wanting to meet him. Nothing to get embarrassed about there."

"So, then what happened?"

"Well, I told him I picked up the note and I tried to give it back to him and that he'd gone into the school office, and I hadn't seen him after lunch and I didn't have his phone number to call him last night, so the best I could do was give it to him this morning. But I told him I understood it was kind of private and as far as I was concerned, I'd already forgotten it had happened."


"Yeah. I said, 'you know I think I heard something about a note, but I don't even remember seeing a note yesterday.' Then I looked him straight in the eyes and asked him if he knew anything about a note."


"And… don't rush me, Kim. This is where it gets cool. He looked at me and smiled, and his eyes were sparkling in the light. Did I tell you he has blue eyes? Anyway, he smiled at me and then he said, 'Susan, you're very cool.' That was a surprise."

"Why a surprise?"

"Well, he'd acted a little panicked, and suddenly it was like he calmed down and then it was him and me talking, like we connected somehow."

"That was pretty thoughtful of him to say," Eric commented, "don't you think?"

"Yeah, it was. It was thoughtful and nice. And then he said, 'Can we get together and talk some time?'"


"Yeah! And that's when I said something really stupid."

Eric and Kim's eyebrows both went up at the same time.

"I said, ' Sure. But why do you want to get together with me? I thought you were gay,' and I pointed at the bottom part of the note that was still in his hand."


"Yeah. He looked down at the note and then back up at me, and we just looked at each other for a few seconds, and then he slowly started smiling and it turned into a grin, and you know what he said? You won't believe it."

"What? Don't leave us hanging here."

"He said, 'Now I get it. You were embarrassed 'cause you thought I was gay, right?' And he was looking right at me with those nice blue eyes. So, what could I do but tell him I was and… and then I didn't know what to say!"

"My sister, speechless. That's priceless. Then what happened?"

"He smiled at me, kind of… I don't know… evilly or something, and then he said, 'Is that 'cause you didn't want me to be gay?' And he was so sincere that I couldn't lie. So, I told him yes, that I kind of liked him even if I didn't really know him, but that I have a gay brother and he has a cool boyfriend and I understand… and I guess I started babbling 'cause that's when he put his arm on my shoulder and said, 'Relax.' I mean, like I just totally spilled my guts, and he tells me to relax!"

"Go on!"

"And he says, 'You've been honest with me, so I've got to do the same. I was embarrassed and kind of panicked, but not because of me, but because of my brother.' And I was totally confused, and said something dumb like 'What? What brother?' You know, a really lame response."

"Wait! Where did the brother come from? What the fucks up with the brother?"

"That's the twist, you guys. Dale has an identical twin brother named Damon."

"And what does that have to do with the time of day?"

"Damon's gay but not out!"

They were silent, then Eric said, "Oh! So, Dale thought the note was for Damon and that someone had outed his brother?"

"Pretty much. Damon's still struggling with coming out. You know, like Jerrod and Roger's friend Nate was a year ago. Plus, they're new to our school. So, Dale panicked that the note was given to him by mistake, and someone had outed his brother. Anyhow, I told him that I hadn't said anything and that what he was freaked out about probably wasn't happening, and he could relax about it."

"He must have liked that, right?" Eric asked.

"For sure. He relaxed and then got kind of a sly look on his face and said since he and Damon are identical, how did I know it was him that I liked and not Damon?"

"Good point! How did you answer that one?"

Susan grinned at her brother. "I know you guys have gaydar or something, right? Anyway, don't you think girls have boydar?" She paused and looked at them questioningly with a glint in her eye. "Or should that be straight-dar? Anyway, I just smiled back at him and told him he could count on it, that I knew." She looked at Eric and Kim and the grin told them she was enjoying this part.

"He must have had something to say about that," Kim responded.

"Oh yeah! He wanted to know how I could be so confident 'cause sometimes their parents can't tell them apart. And how they used to play this game where they'd play each other and pretty well no one could tell. But then the bell rang, and we had to get to class."

"So, it worked out okay in the end?"

"Yeah, we're connected now. And guess what?"

Both boys eyebrows went up.

"I told Dale that I knew something about the gay scene because of you guys and Jerrod and Roger and Nate who's in our GSA." She paused and took a breath and then continued, "And that he should talk to his brother, and make sure he knew that there's a really good GSA at school, and that when Damon was ready to come out, he should start going and that Dale and I should go with him."

"You said what?"

"Yeah. It seemed like the right thing to do. So, just in case you missed it, I may not have a bunch of gay and lesbian friends at school, but I have learned a thing or two being around you guys and Jerrod and Roger."

They all dimly heard the doorbell chime, meaning Jerrod was there to pick them up.

Eric got off the bed and hugged his sister. "Dale was right, you are very cool."

"Thanks. And guess what?" Susan's eyes were twinkling.

"Tell me."

"Well, actually, he told me that one of them has a birth mark."

"Oh really? Why would he tell you that?"

"Because he's a smart boy and knows a good thing when he sees it, obviously!" The grin on her face was now triumphal. "So, he's got a birth mark somewhere… meaning somewhere covered up by clothes."

She stopped and started walking toward the door of Eric's room, and then turned in the doorway and added, "Oh, and guess what else? We're going to meet for coffee tomorrow afternoon. Maybe he'll let me do some exploring for that birthmark!"


This story is part of the 2021 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: The Note". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 17 Dec ember 2021 to 7 January 2022 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

2022 Inspired by a Picture Challenge - The Note

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The Twist

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