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Disclaimer: All characters depicted are 18 years of age or older.
Chapter 3: Breaking the Code
“Wait, so what you’re telling me is you and Chuck cleared the room,” Andre rubbed the bridge of his nose, “by having sex with each other?”
“Yes,” Kenji nodded. “That’s how we came to, um, interpret the instructions. Like, helping your teammate and doing what feels right can mean–“
“Yeah I know what they mean,” Andre raised a hand. He sighed. “This is fucking wild. I mean, what if…”
“What if… what?”
“What if this is the point of kidnapping us? Think about it. Whoever did this probably doesn’t need money from us — they built this entire place anyway. They don’t seem to want to hurt us either. So, what if the reason they kidnapped us is so that they can see us… fuck.”
Kenji frowned. “But… that’s… no, who the fuck would… no. You mean they built this whole creepy replica of our school just to see us fuck inside it? That’s sick.”
“Yeah, it is sick. That’s for sure. But why the vague instructions? Why not just tell us to- Well, I guess it’s more fun for them, but…” Andre crossed his arms and stared at the floor. “How could they be sure that we would be able to… perform? It’s not like they can make us get hard and stuff like that.”
“Shit,” Kenji’s eyes went wide. “Wait, do you think they, like, planted a chip inside our dicks or our brains or something? So they could make us horny whenever they want?”
Andre cocked his head to the side. “Uh… I don’t think that’s very likely. Did you see any scars around your dick earlier?”
“Well, no, but it makes sense, right? Like, when I was taking that shower with Chuck, I just got super horny for no reason. Chuck is hot and all but I literally spent all of high school mastering the art of not getting hard in the showers with other guys. And somehow I couldn’t get it down. If it’s not a chip, then… then they must’ve drugged us. Pumped Viagra into our blood or something.”
“That sounds more feasible, but we would feel the effect more quickly if that was the case. And nothing happened to Joel and I while you two were in there, so maybe that’s not it either…” Andre fixed his eyes on the floor. He always did when he had to think hard about something.
“Oh, wait, Andre,” Kenji said, which made Andre snap up in attention. “You’re… gay, too, right?”
“Huh? Oh, uh, yeah. I guess all of us are, which really buffs up the kidnapped-us-to-see-us-fuck theory,” Andre said, racking his mind for who could know that all of them were gay. It must also be someone from their high school, because the only way someone would go out of their way to build a replica of Fairview High was that they had some kind of connection to–
“Wait, so,” Kenji let out a nervous chuckle. “Sorry to keep bringing this up, but um… the rumours back then about you kissing another guy. Was that true?”
“Uh, yeah…” Andre said, bracing himself for the inevitable question.
“Woah, really? Who was it with?” And there it was. “No one ever found out, at least I don’t think so. All I know is that you were seen kissing some guy in a car up in Rosewood Cliff, you know, the place where you can see the whole town from? So who was it?”
Andre sighed. There was no point in hiding it. There was even less point in hiding it from Kenji. “It was Joel.”
“What?” Kenji’s mouth turned into a wide O. “Joel? The Joel that’s here with us right now?”
Andre scratched the back of his neck. “Yeah, we, uh, kinda… dated for a while during senior year.”
“Holy crap. That’s so cool. Damn, I wish I had a boyfriend in high school,” Kenji let out a sigh, then turned his attention back to Andre. “So… do you think one of the next rooms will be you and him?”
“Yep, that seems likely.”
“Ooh, exciting. Rekindling an old flame? That’s cool, right?” Kenji beamed. “Assuming you’re single right now?”
“Yeah, but I’m not particularly excited about it, to be honest. When you and Chuck were in the first room and Joel and I were out here, it was so awkward. Like, I could tell we were both trying not to talk about it, you know what I mean? We just talked about random shit like where we live now and our current jobs and things like that. I know it’s been ten years but he was my first love and,” Andre took a breath, then exhaled, “it still feels fresh, somehow.”
Kenji nodded. “Yeah, I feel you.”
“But hey, if I have to have sex with Joel to get out of here, I’m gonna do it,” Andre said. “I mean, Joel and Chuck in there right now? I can’t even imagine how that’s going.”
Andre and Kenji rushed to the door as soon as they saw shadows moving behind the frosted glass. First to emerge was Joel, then Chuck. Andre noticed dark spots on their suits, like they had been splashed with water.
“You’re back,” Kenji said. “Uh… you two okay?”
“Why are you… wet?” Andre said, peering through the door that Joel and Chuck left open. He saw the white ceramic sinks and Düzce Escort the tiled floor.
Joel combed his hand through his hair. “It’s… part of the instructions,” he said. “We were supposed to step into each other’s shoes, which we interpreted as me shoving Chuck’s head down the toilet.”
Andre’s mouth fell open. “You’re serious?”
“Yeah, that’s kinda how we sorted things out.” Chuck ducked his head. “I let Joel bully me.”
“That’s fucking wild,” Kenji said with a laugh. “Wait, but after that you two…”
“Fucked, yes,” Joel said. “We fucked after I shoved Chuck’s head down the toilet, but that’s not important. What’s important is that fucking seems to be the theme for today.” Andre’s eyes met Joel’s for a split second, before he averted his gaze.
“Yeah, Andre and I were talking. It seems like the sick motherfucker who put us in here wants us to fuck our way out of it,” Kenji said.
“Sure…but what do they gain from us fucking?” Chuck asked.
“There are probably hidden cameras in all the rooms,” Andre said. “Like in actual escape rooms, right?”
“Which means they’re probably recording this, too.” Joel groaned. “Whatever, not like anyone cares about a sex tape this day and age.”
“What do you mean no one cares? What if they send this to our bosses or something?” Chuck scowled. “I could lose my job.”
“It could be worse,” Andre said. “At least they’re not threatening to kill us or our family or anything. They’re not torturing us–well, I guess you could say this is a form of torture, but…”
“Hot sex as torture? Sign me up!” Kenji smiled, but he was met with Chuck’s glare, Joel’s frown, and Andre’s sigh. “Damn, tough crowd here today,” he rolled his eyes.
“The point is,” Joel turned to Chuck, “in the range of things that happen to people when they are kidnapped, we still have it pretty good for now. I’m sure your bosses won’t care about a sex tape, and besides, you could always quit and do OnlyFans. Monetize that shit.”
Chuck put his hands on his hips. “You can’t be serious.”
“Chuck, if you start an OnlyFans, man, you’ll make so much bank,” Kenji said. “I’d subscribe. Hell, I’d send you 30 dollars just for a torso pic.”
“Oh, and you know what you can do?” Joel grinned. “Sell your used underwear. People love to sniff used gear. Get on that.”
“Yeah, that’s a great idea, Joel,” Kenji added. “You’ll probably need a porn name, though. Chuck Fredericks doesn’t roll off the tongue that well. How about… Chuck Megafuck 5000?”
“Not bad, not bad.” Joel pursed his lips in deep thought. “We’d want to play up his beefy, muscly, ex-quarterback body type more. Something like…”
“Oh, I like it when pornstars have punny names.” Kenji said. “What about, I don’t know, Tom Bra-dick, or… or.. Peyton Manhole?”
“Those are… fucking awful,” Joel said, breaking into laughter with Kenji. Andre couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Haha, haha,” Chuck said. “Can we go back to the part where we’re trying to get out of here?”
“Right.” Andre nodded while Joel and Kenji regained their serious faces. “Next door.”
There were only two doors left, both near the end of the hallway where the exit is. Andre stepped in front of one, while Kenji took the one opposite to him. Andre’s handle didn’t work, but Kenji’s did.
“Alright, let’s see who’s next,” Kenji said, turning the handle while the group anxiously followed behind him. When the door opened, they saw the same closet-sized room lit by the same red light bulb with the same metal door with a piece of paper stuck to it. But that wasn’t all.
“What the…” Andre muttered. There were two outfits hung on metal hangers on opposite sides of the room. One was olive green chinos, a light yellow shirt, a brown felt blazer, and a tie with thin, diagonal brown and yellow stripes. The other was a pair of white basketball shorts, a jersey, and a pair of white sneakers tied to the hanger with its strings.
“We get…costumes?” Kenji said, surveying the blue and white basketball jersey. On the front was the logo for the Fairview High Pelicans, and when Kenji turned the jersey over, they saw a big number eight printed in blue. Above it was the name Tamura.
“So this is obviously for me,” Kenji sighed. “What about the suit?”
“It’s for Andre,” Chuck said with the piece of paper in his hand. “Room Three. Players: Andre Hicks and Kenji Tamura.”
Andre read the words. He looked up at Kenji, who gave him a reassuring nod.
“Alright, Chuck and I will step out. You two have fun in there.” Joel patted Kenji on the back and was about to do the same to Andre when their eyes met. There was something about the way Joel was looking at him that made Andre pause. Joel was so handsome, he thought. He hadn’t changed much from high school — his skin had cleared up, his face tightened to reveal a hint of cheekbones — but he was still unmistakably Joel with his kind brown eyes, thick dark eyebrows, and wide lips. Finally, Joel blinked and averted his gaze.
“See ya in a bit,” Joel said Düzce Escort Bayan and placed a hand on Andre’s back.
“See ya…” Andre replied weakly as he watched the door close behind Joel. When he turned around, he noticed Kenji’s eyes staring at him.
“What?” Andre asked.
“The sexual tension is just… phew!” Kenji fanned himself with his hand, to which Andre rolled his eyes.
“You know we’re the ones fucking right? Not me and Joel?”
“Yeah, yeah. Speaking of which, why hasn’t the light turned green yet?” Kenji asked, and they both stared up at the menacing red glow above them.
“Oh,” Andre glanced to the side and saw the suit hanging on the wall, “we probably have to put these on first.”
Kenji’s eyebrows shot up. “Oh, of course. That makes sense,” he said, and immediately began to undress in front of Andre, which made him blush. He was about to ask Kenji if they could change with their backs against each other, but decided that it was pointless to do so. Thus, Andre took off his suit jacket, then his shirt, then his pants, stealing quick glances at Kenji as he did so. He admired Kenji’s creamy skin, his long, taut limbs, and his flat stomach and toned chest.
“You’re checking me out, aren’t you?” Kenji said, and Andre brought his eyes up to meet Kenji’s. They were both only in their underwear, and Kenji was grinning at him.
“I– I mean… yeah,” Andre said. “You look good.”
“Aw, thank you.” Kenji flashed him a smile. “You look really good, too.”
“Oh, uh, thanks,” Andre nodded, before grabbing the yellow shirt he was given, self-conscious of his lanky body. The shirt, he realized, was a perfect fit for him, and when he put on the trousers and the blazer, he noticed that they, too, hugged his torso and legs like a glove, as if these clothes were tailored for him. There wasn’t a belt nor a pair of shoes — so he figured he could just use his own. Finally, he threw on the tie and tightened it around his collar. As soon as the knot slid up to his neck, the light turned green.
“Ready?” Kenji asked.
“Yeah–oh, wait,” Andre said. He collected his clothes from the ground and quickly put them on the hanger, first the shirt, then the suit jacket over it, then the trousers he folded in half and hung it over the bottom of the triangle. He put the hanger on the hook on the wall, and turned to see Kenji’s expression.
“I just like to be organized,” Andre said.
“Yeah, no, it’s great. Couldn’t be me, though,” Kenji said. “So, ready?”
Andre took a deep breath. “Ready.”
Kenji stepped forward and pushed his hands on the metal door. Andre watched it open into a darkness that was expanding in front of him. Kenji threw him a glance before stepping inside, and Joel followed him. As soon as his feet made their way across the doorway, the room was basked in light.
“Oh, it’s a–” Kenji said when the door slammed shut, making Andre jolt with surprise. His eyes took in the set before him — it was a classroom.
“Wow,” Kenji walked forward to the teacher’s desk right across from them. Andre inhaled. The room didn’t smell like anything, which made him uneasy. Classrooms at Fairview High always smelled of old wood and dusty chalk mixed with teenage hormones and whatever snacks people were sneaking into class. Yet this one, like the hallway, was conspicuously clean and devoid of traces of humans. The desks, wide and rectangular, were neatly lined up and separated the room into two. Cabinets and cupboards, which Andre was sure were empty, lined the other end of the room. The blackboard was a spotless black, and the whiteboards on the wall adjacent to the door a shiny, untampered white.
“Hey, look,” Kenji said, standing at the teacher’s desk. “There’s a glass of water and a folder. And a pen.” Indeed, there was a tall glass of water — well, Andre thought, let’s call it suspicious clear liquid for now — and an orange paper folder, which lay next to a red pen. Kenji held the folder up to show Andre, and he saw the word “Hicks” written in black ink on top of it.
“What?” Andre took the folder from Kenji’s hand. He felt the smoothness of the paper under his palm as he stared at his last name in the middle of its cover. The handwriting seemed familiar, he thought, but he couldn’t place it just yet.
“Oh, there’s something over there,” Kenji said. Andre looked up. Kenji was pointing to a desk on which another glass of suspicious clear liquid sat next to what looked like a thick sheet of paper. Kenji walked over and picked it up. It turned out that it wasn’t a single sheet of paper, but multiple sheets stapled together at the corner.
“A physics test?” Kenji frowned. “Come, look.”
Andre slid through the rows of desks and stood next to Kenji. He was right. It was a physics test, but not just any physics test. It was Kenji’s test, evidenced by his name scribbled on the top right of the answer sheet.
“Okay…what am I supposed to do with this?” Kenji asked, lifting an eyebrow at Andre and flipping through the pages. “It’s Escort Düzce already filled in, see?”
Andre stared at the circles of black ink on the test. A, B, D, A, A, C,… He looked up at the red pen on the teacher’s desk, and it clicked.
“Wait…,” Andre moved towards the desk, Kenji’s test in hand, and grabbed the orange folder. He opened it, and sure enough, inside was the answer key.
“I think I’m supposed to grade your test,” he said.
“Damn, alright. That’s supposed to be your dad’s job but–oh, you know what?” Kenji cocked his head to the side. “Your outfit reminds me of what Mr. Hicks used to wear to class.”
Andre blinked and looked down at his clothes. “It does? Doesn’t every male high school teacher dress like this?”
“Yeah, but I remember Mr. Hicks always matched the colors pretty well. Like how the yellow shirt and the brown blazer match the tie? Or more like the tie matches the shirt and the blazer, but you get the point.”
“Oh, I see what you mean.” Andre pressed the tie on top of the blazer’s lapel and saw the two shades of brown merge into each other. “Huh, I guess he did make sure colors carried over. I never noticed, though. I’m surprised you did.”
“Yeah, well, I always thought Mr. Hicks was kinda hot, so…” Kenji said.
Andre chuckled, but then he saw the look in Kenji’s eyes. “Shit, you’re not kidding.”
“Hey, your dad was a very attractive man, okay? When I was in his class, I probably paid more attention to his clothes instead of physics. Grade my test, you’ll see.”
Andre quirked an eyebrow. “You know this isn’t actually your test, right?”
“Who knows? Maybe it is. The way they wrote my name looks pretty damn close to my handwriting, not gonna lie.” Kenji visibly shivered. “Oh, I just realized how creepy that is.”
“I’m not a fan of being dressed up like my dad and having to grade your exam, either.” Andre came up behind the teacher’s desk and sat down on the cushiony chair. He popped the cap off the red pen. “But let’s see what we have here.”
Andre darted his eyes from the key to Kenji’s test, crossing quick red lines through the black circles where the answers didn’t match and skipping where they did. It became obvious that Kenji had to use his pen pretty frequently.
“I did a pretty shit job, huh?” Kenji asked. Andre glanced up and saw him slouched over a desk, a pout on his lips.
“Again, you didn’t actually take this test, Kenji,” Andre said, flipping a page. “But yes, it’s pretty bad.”
Kenji sighed. “I was never a smart Asian, you know?. My parents used to want me to be like an engineer or something. And then they saw that I sucked at maths and the sciences and they thought I could be a lawyer, but it’s not like I was that much better at English or the social sciences. The only thing I was good at was sports.”
Andre clicked his tongue. “I’m sure that’s not true.”
“I don’t know. I always thought that I only had two talents. One is basketball, or just athletics and sports in general. Two is acting straight.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“No, it’s true, it’s true.” Kenji slightly raised his head from the desk. “I had a girlfriend, remember? Kristy Nguyen. Poor girl. I fooled her into thinking I was straight, too. I was planning to apologize to her at the reunion if she’s coming, but guess that’s not happening.”
“Don’t beat yourself up over it,” Andre said, slicing through a circled B with his pen. “You did what you thought was necessary at the time. That’s alright.”
“Yeah,” Kenji said, drawing out his syllable. “I was the only Asian on the basketball team, and one of the few Asian guys that–ugh, I hate to say it, but… one of the few that were ‘cool.’ Like, top of the high school food chain kind of thing. If people knew I was gay, that’d send me right back down to the bottom.”
“Mmm, it was kinda the same for me, too.” Andre nodded and sighed. “The Black community I grew up in, especially the men, was…there was just a lot of toxic masculinity and shit there, so I was scared of coming out, too.”
“Did your dad know? Or does he know now?”
“When the rumor about me kissing a guy went around, he confronted me about it and I told him the truth. He was chill about it, and then I told my mom, too, but that’s it. Not my relatives or my neighbors or anyone else.” Andre tapped the pen on the sheets of paper, before turning back to his task.
“That’s nice. I didn’t tell my parents until after college when I could move out. I think they’re disappointed but they still seem to love me, so…” Kenji let out an exhale, before his head snapped up. “Damn, we got so deep all of a sudden.”
“I don’t mind. We never talked back then so it’s nice to finally get to know you.” Andre smiled. “I mean, we are about to have sex, right?”
“Oh, right. Not gonna lie, I almost forgot about that.” Kenji snickered. “Wait, then why do you have to grade that thing? Can’t we just fuck and get it over with?”
“Good point. I don’t know.” Andre flipped back to the first page and wrote down the score in big numbers under Kenji’s name. “I’m done, though.”
“Oooh, exciting. What did I get?” Kenji shot up from his desk and bounced over to Andre. He took the paper from Andre’s hand and the second he saw the number in bright red ink, his face fell.
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