By age seventeen they had been half working, half studying for several years. Although they had the equivalent of the highest degree of education possible, their parents had not allowed them to take traditional college courses. Of course, the greatest minds in education were eager to personally tutor the boys, and they usually took just a few weeks to cover material that most students learned over the course of a semester. But when they turned seventeen, their parents decided it would be good for the boys to take classes…separately.
Both twins were initially aghast at the thought. Even though they had separate rooms, almost every other aspect of their lives was spent working side by side. But when they started looking at the college catalog, they grew excited.
“We can’t take both Music Theory and The Art of Translation…”
“…because they overlap by a half hour…”
“…and they’re across campus from each other…”
“But if we split up, we can each take one, and share with the other!”
This decision was met with applause by their mother, and a certain amount of dread from Eshana who had decided it was her job to show her brothers around campus. Of course, there would also be the usual curious onlookers who would have to be kept at bay, and certain security precautions.
Cole remembered absolutely nothing from the first day’s lecture. He and Sanjay were taking Dante together. Sitting a few rows in front of them, and a little farther from the center were a couple of girls who were obviously twins. They were the most gorgeous women he’d ever seen. Usually, Sanjay would have poked him and brought his attention back to the instructor, but for once Sanjay was just as distracted as Cole.
Dating was heaven and hell all mixed up. In spite of all their parents’ efforts to give the boys plenty of interaction with peers throughout their lives, the simple fact was they were outsiders. They were socially awkward, and even Eshana’s best efforts were for naught when it came to the more subtle social interactions. Fortunately, there were plenty of girls who were willing to overlook the innate geekiness of the twins for the sake of not just their brilliant minds and celebrity status, but for their genuine capability of and desire for warmth and human companionship.
They stayed with their parents well past their eighteenth birthday. Both sisters were still living at home, although Eshana was considering spending her senior year at the University sharing a flat with some friends.
“We should move out too. We make plenty of money, even going to school part time. And since we turned eighteen there’ve been all those other offers for interviews and appearances and stuff like that…” Cole said to his brother.
Sanjay was quiet, and he didn’t meet his brother’s eyes. They were both busy in the lab, and it didn’t seem too strange to Cole that his brother didn’t immediately reply. When he did, his voice was soft. “And my visions? What do I do about those?”
Cole had envisioned maybe actually having a love life that consisted of something more than frantic groping in the backseat of a car. He’d lost his virginity to a girl who apparently had just wanted to have that claim to fame. It was humiliating, but it didn’t make him want to give up on the idea of romance completely.
He selfishly had not taken into account his brother’s illness. There was no question in his mind that the two of them had to be together. It might be their mother who rocked Sanjay until his head cleared, but it was Cole who was the receiver of the randomness that spilled out afterwards. More than once, he’d traced some of the solutions or discoveries they made back to something from either the vision, the monologue, or Cole’s post-monologue dreams. It was part of how they worked, although it was a burden Sanjay bore with only the superficial help of his twin. If Cole could take the burden from his brother, even only for a short time, he would.
So they stayed. Of course, the other advantage to staying at home was Glorianna’s friends. Often they would meet girls who had no idea they were famous; they were just Glorianna’s geeky big brothers. They celebrated their twenty-third birthday with girlfriends whom Glorianna only reluctantly relinquished under a very specific social contract.
“They were my friends before you guys started going out!” she was fond of reminding them, but she did so with love. Cole was only too happy to thank her profusely over and over for bringing Eileen into his life; he was completely besotted. Sanjay was equally in love with Nikki, who didn’t seem to mind the thousand times a day her boyfriend put his foot in his mouth about one thing or another.
The night of their birthday, Sanjay had a vision. Cole woke up not because his brother was sitting on his bed, but because daylight was breaking and his brother had not come to him. Worried, he climbed out of bed and knocked quietly on his brother’s door.
“Yeah?” came the muffled voice, so Cole crept in quietly, hoping not to wake their parents.
Cole sat on the end of Sanjay’s bed, just as Sanjay had done to him a thousand times. “Are you OK?”
Sanjay didn’t immediately answer. Cole waited.
“I’ve had flashbacks before. Sometimes the visions are just flashbacks.”
“OK… so this one was a flashback. Was it a scary one?” Cole tried to remember something scary that happened to them. The worst he could remember was lightning striking a tree in the back yard. It was incredibly loud and startled everyone in the house, but he remembered them both being hyper-excited about the event. It was the most exciting thing that ever happened to them.
“It wasn’t my life I flashed back to.” Sanjay took in a gulp of air, and it sounded like a sob. “It was his.”
After reading the answers to my SciFi Question of the Day about cloning Nicola Tesla, I decided to expand on the idea. This story is broken up into 3 parts, about a thousand words each.
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