30th July 2000
Fred stared at the clock on the wall as he sat down on his usual seat. He could hardly believe what he saw, even with the extra pair of lens in front of his deep blue eyes that were like bluish steel of the midwinter sky.
There was a loud sound of silence echoing across the room as everyone focused on the pieces of papers in front of them. One could even hear the sound of the clock ticking. It was that quiet.
Fred glanced at his reflection who sat beside him, staring at the same clock.
"James, stop staring at the time," Fred said. "Miss Hilson is looking at us."
James smiled and looked down at the paper on his desk. He picked up his pen and faked a confused student charade.
Fred chuckled under his breath and picked up his pen to follow his brother's footsteps, after all they were identical twins.
They remained in the same confused state until Miss Hilson told everyone to hand in their papers. One could notice the relief in the boys’ faces, as they returned their exam papers to the invigilator. They had completed their exam thirty minutes before the finish time, and had to bear the agony of waiting for other students to complete theirs.
"How was it, Fred?" James asked as he packed his bag.
"It was okay," Fred replied smiling.
"You never use the word easy. Okay, let me help you. It was easy," James said stressing the word easy.
Fred smiled and picked up his bag that was beside his desk. He placed his arm over his brother's shoulder as they walked towards the exit.
"Hey, wait up," Melanie called.
The two boys turned back in a heartbeat; it was as though the sound of her voice heightened their senses.
"How's the paper?" Fred asked.
Melanie gave a warm smile that stretched across her flushed cheeks. This in turn drove chills down the spines of both James and Fred. There was something about this girl that made the boys grow goosebumps, perhaps it was her long blonde hair that fell perfectly on her shoulders, or her warm bleached eyes that resembled the great sea, or even her perfectly modelled figure. One thing was for sure, Melanie Monroe was the center of their universe.
"It was okay, a bit tough, but okay," Melanie said, grinning. "I can't believe this is our last exam."
"Yeah, me neither," James said.
"So, where have you chosen?" Fred asked her.
"I'm not sure yet. I got a response from Stanford and Yale, so I'll be going to one of them. How about you Fred?"
"Harvard, Prinston and Cambridge in London," Fred replied.
She smiled and turned to glance at his brother for his answer.
"Same, except my overseas choice happens to be Imperial," James replied.
"That's amazing you two. I'm so happy for you," Melanie said.
"Thanks Mel, we're happy for you too," James replied.
Melanie smiled and hugged the boys.
"This year, I've decided whoever asks me first to Prom I'll accept," she said. "It's hard to say no to either of you, so I'll just say yes to the first person."
James looked at his brother, who in turn frowned.
"What's the matter?" Melanie asked.
"We won't be around for Prom night. Our grandfather's celebrating his birthday in Southampton, UK and we must be there," Fred said.
"Aw, what a pity. It's our last prom night, and you decide to move round the world for your Grandfather's birthday that's an annual tradition. Not fair at all," Melanie said. Her once smiley face turned to a sob as her flushed cheeks became pale.
"We're sorry, Mel, but we've already booked our tickets," James said in a low voice.
Melanie looked down at the floor and walked out of the boys' sight. She couldn't bear to look at their well sculptured faces. The thought of not staring into either James or Fred's lovely colored eyes drove coals down her spine. Her pulse jolted as she ran out of the exam hall. To her, the boys had just left her on the altar.
"I hate it when this happens," Fred said.
"What? When has this ever happened?" James said with raised eyebrows.
"Hmm, perhaps because it feels like dejavu," he replied.
"Oh well, we've booked our tickets. The worst aspect is that GrandPa's day coincidentally falls on the same day with our last Prom night as high school students," he said.
Fred shook his head in regret and walked to the exit of the building with his brother.
As they stepped outside the exam hall, Anton grabbed James by the arm and tried wrestling him. Sadly, James had more experience in that particular sport, plus his chiseled body gave him the upper hand. Anton was tall, dark and handsome. As for his physique, he was averagely built, like an athlete but not a wrestler.
"I give up," Anton screamed, as James wrapped his arm around Anton's head, in what seemed to be a head lock.
Meanwhile, Fred stood beside the two boys, laughing and shaking his head. He was the quiet and cool twin. Not that James wasn't cool, he just chose to exhibit his cool nature in a more aggressive form.
"Wow, you almost killed me," Anton moaned as he took deep breaths.
"I'm sorry," James replied, panting as well.
"How was your paper?" Fred asked.
"It was really easy," Anton replied.
Fred looked at his brother as he heard the word 'easy'.
"What? Did I say anything wrong?" Anton asked.
"Nah, you didn't say anything. Fred's just allergic to the word 'easy'," James said with a subtle smirk.
"Oh, yeah I forgot about that," Anton said. "You're a joker, Fred. You always say it's okay, but when your test results come out, you top the class, including your twin."
"Whatever you say, Anton," he said.
"Yeah, and I say you're a joker," Anton repeated. "Also, I saw Mel crying as she stormed out of the hall. Do you guys have anything to do with it?"
"Kinda," James said.
"We told her about our trip to Britain, and how it clashed with Prom night," Fred added.
"Oh, that's pretty bad," Anton said.
"Yeah, we know. We wish we could change the date of the Prom, but we can't," Fred said.
Just then, James nudged Anton on his shoulder.
"Are you still travelling with us?" he asked.
"Yup, I've booked my ticket online. There's no way I'd go to Prom without my wing men," Anton replied. "This time around, we're going to celebrate our Prom with British girls ."
"Oh really?" James asked in a somewhat British accent.
The boys laughed, as they strolled to the parking lot. James kept looking around; he couldn't believe he was leaving his alma mater so soon.
"I'm going to miss this place," he said.
"Yeah, me too," Anton agreed.
Fred remained quiet, savoring the moment as it went by. He wasn't a guy of too many words. His hand reached for the keys in his pocket and drew them out as the other two boys talked about what they were going to miss about the high school.
"Well, see you soon Anton," James said.
"Yeah, I'll come over to the house during the weekend, so we can discuss about our overseas escapade," he said as he strolled towards his car.
It was their last day at high school, but the three boys weren't sad that they were leaving high school. To them, they had more challenges to conquer, which in Anton's case meant ladies. In all, they were happy to move on to the next level, though sad they were going to leave Melanie. She was the only girl they ever liked, at least during their four years at high school.