When I was fourteen years old, I snapped pictures of Jack Callaghan doing the horizontal salsa in the back seat of a car with Greta Pritchard. That’s when I knew for sure I’d grow up to be a private eye.
I’d hidden under the bleachers at the high school, followed him to the levy, even disguised my voice and called his mother to find out his plans so I’d know where to set up my surveillance. It had taken a month of steadfast determination, and at least four rolls of film, before I got proof that Jack was messing around–no, having sex–with Greta while he was supposedly dating Laura something-or-other.
My mother called him un mujeriego–a player. I didn’t care. I just wanted him to do to me what he’d done to Greta.
Back in high school, Jack and my brother, Antonio, made their way through the cheerleaders, then the Future Female Leaders of America. But Jack didn’t give me, little Lola Cruz, the time of day.
“I’ll never get to do that with him!” I’d wailed to my sister Gracie when I showed her the pictures I had of him and Greta.
She’d looked longingly at the photos. “Yeah,” she sighed heavily. “But at least you can look at him whenever you want.” Then she got serious. “And, more importantly, you discovered what you’re good at. Now you won’t be stuck working at Abuelita’s for the rest of your life.”
If I hadn’t been determined to figure out why the hottest guy at school, and my brother’s best friend, completely ignored me, I might never have discovered my proclivity for surveillance and undercover work.
Gracie was right. I’d never confess that I’d taken photos of Jack, but once I had them in my hot little hands, there was no way I was parting with them. He was my fantasy.
My favorite picture of Jack still had a place in my dresser drawer, fifteen years later. He stood bare-chested, his business with Greta was done. He was just seventeen years old and his smoky blue eyes seemed trained directly on me, as if he was staring through the shrubs to where I was hidden.
I was pretty sure Jack Callaghan didn’t know I’d been a teenage stalker. Even though I still had a secret longing that he’d do to me what he’d done to Greta Pritchard, my embarrassment at invading his privacy, and my anger that I’d never be anything more to him than Antonio’s little sister, kept me far, far away from him. I avoided him at all costs so that I wouldn’t break down and confess in a moment of guilty Catholic repentance.
I’d been in and out of relationships, but those old photos of Jack reminded me of what I’d lost, even though I’d never had it. Or him.
Still, while Jack–and his untamed libido–had never given me an orgasm (well, at least not person-to-person), he had done something earth-moving for me. I was Dolores Cruz, a.k.a. Lola P.I. Thanks to him, I’d answered my calling.