So apparently, I haven't fooled anyone into thinking that I can keep my head in one story for more than twenty minutes. This is further evidence towards their point, and as such, a new story. A bit of introduction is necessary for this one. The story is set in late 1800's Europe, though I need to work on showing that in my dialouge, and stars Mary, a british author on holiday, and Charles, her unlucky suitor/stalker/friend, who, working together, create a fake detective and accidentally make him famous. This is early on in their working relationship.
The man I had collided with was not, fortunately, a stranger. The shaggy brown hair and startled eyes were extremely familiar, coming as they did attached to a beanpole of a man, shabbily dressed, and headed towards the inn where I was staying.
"Oh! Good day, Charles!" I said, trying to regain my composure.
“Mary!” Charles looked startled, nearly falling backwards into the woods as he stumbled to regain his balance. “What's going on? I heard there was a murder!”
“There was!” I whispered, pulling him off the lane towards a small stone bench. “But keep your voice down, I'm not supposed to have left.”
“What happened?” he asked, a little more quietly, glancing back up the road to the little inn.
“The desk clerk was poisoned. Looks like Arsenic to me, but they haven't let me inspect the body well enough to tell for sure.”
“You're trying to investigate?”
“Of course I...”
“Mary, just leave it to the police!” Charles implored, interrupting me. “They know what they're doing.”
“No they don't,” I retorted heatedly. “That inspector is a first class idiot—he's been promoted because of some rich uncle or something, I'm sure of it.”
“He can't be all that bad.” Charles glanced from side to side, making sure we were completely alone. “Can he?”
“He saw my name on the desk register and assumed it was a man.”
“”Well, Augustus is a man's name...”
“Well, yes, but when he came up to speak to me about the clerk's death, he assumed...” My embarrassment took over at that point. I turned bright red, and broke off abruptly.
I took a deep breath, and attempted to continue. “I had to tell him Augustus was my brother, and not, in fact, my lover.” I had to look away as I spoke, trying to hide the burning blush on my face.
“He what?” I should have known better than to tell Charles that. His face turned redder than mine. “Why, that's an insult to your honor—I won't stand for it, I'll...”
“You will do nothing!” I caught his arm, holding him back. “The last thing I need right now is for someone to imply that I lied to a police inspector in the middle of an investigation!”
“But...” He sighed, calming down under my watchful eye. “Right.”
“Thank you.” I gave him a brief smile, before glancing back down the lane towards the inn. “But now he's looking for my supposed brother—he wants to interview him about where he was and what he was doing last night.”
“Oh.” Charles stood thinking for a moment and running a hand through his hair. “Well, that is troublesome.”
“I don't suppose you have a plan to divert them?”
“Not as of yet, no.” I sat down on the little bench with a sigh, momentarily stymied. “I've really gotten myself in deep this time.”
“No joke.” He sat next to me, thinking, before he suddenly stood again. “I've got it!”
“Got what?” I inquired, staring up at him.
“I'll masquerade as your brother!” he said triumphantly.
“Charles, we look nothing alike!” I objected.
“Well, not naturally, no.” he admitted. “But you've caught me before in disguise—I bet I could fool that police inspector!”
“But...” I trailed off. “I don't like it.”
“It's the only plan we've got.” He sat again, shrugging his shoulders. “Unless you've got a better one.”
“Unfortunately, I don't.” I sighed again, brushing the dirt off my skirts. “But do you really think you could pull that off?”
“I said you've caught me before.” His eyes twinkled as he spoke. “I didn't mention the times you haven't caught me.”