Outside the open garage the world was just waking up as the sky became tinted with a pink and purple ombre, light from the sun barely peeking over the horizon. As the new day started and the rest of the world slept, Reagan and Ronan Jacoby took advantage of the picturesque early morning to partake in dawn patrol.
At least, Reagan was actively participating. As she sat in the early morning lineup of those waiting on the perfect wave to ride Ronan sat on the beach with her ever present camera in hand. Even from where she sat on her short board, far from the beach, Reagan noticed each and every flash that erupted from the camera. A little piece of light magnifying against the dark water.
Pulling at the neck of her wetsuit, Reagan watched as the sun started to rise higher and higher, she probably only had time for one more wave before heading in to get ready for school. But judging by the older men and other teens her age that patiently waited in the lineup before her, Reagan guessed it would take too long.
Besides, her feet were starting to turn cold. She had put up a big fight against wearing them to her dad the day before, emphatically stating that she would lose her grip on the board. But, as usual, he was right. As far as she knew as long as he had been on the police force he probably had seen someone’s feet freeze while staying out in the ocean for too long. There had been plenty of stories he used as a warning for her and her sister.
Not enough to listen all the time, but enough.
After gently punching her surfboard in disappointment, Reagan lay down and pulled her feet out of the water. She pivoted her board so that she could paddle into shore. Ronan was waiting for her with a big red beach towel when Reagan arrived, which she eagerly wrapped herself up in.
“You didn’t want to try one more?” Ronan asked.
Reagan shook her head, dark hair plastering against the side of her face. She imagined she looked like a drowned rat. There were plenty of pictures around the house after her competitions as proof. “I was this close to landing the rodeo flip and as usual school gets in the way.”
“The waves weren’t that great anyway, sis. I’m sure you’ll get it soon.” Ronan lifted the bulky camera that sat around her neck, knocking out the earbuds that were almost ever present in her ears. They landed in the sand between them, blasting the latest rock hit. “And besides, I got some good shots.”
“I’m sure they’re great, Ro,” Reagan said, falling into step with her sister as they walked up the beach towards the bus stop. She sighed. “But I’ve been trying that trick for weeks now and I still can’t get it.”
“Well, if you force yourself you’re just going to get worse,” Ronan commented. She placed her hands on her hips. “I know you didn’t manage to land anything today, but you’re just psyching yourself out.”
Reagan bobbed her head back and forth, twisting her mouth to the side as she thought about it. She had been putting a lot of pressure on herself after the competition she had entered last week. Those girls seemed to have been able to improve quicker than she had. She had placed well, but it still wasn’t something she was ready to brag about unless she could land the rodeo flip more than a few times. Reagan was sure she would have gotten it if she weren’t risking the bus back to the neighborhood. It was one of the few times she hated that neither of them had their license.
“You’ll get it,” Ronan said. She reached up and pushed her purple strand of hair out of her blue eyes, chuckling when Reagan did the same movement at the same time, but with her red strand of hair.
Being twins Reagan and Ronan had become susceptible to the common questions and trappings of being a multiple.
How do you tell each other apart? They were color coded since birth; with Reagan’s color being pink and Ronan’s color being yellow thus dictating everything that was bought for them to be specifically in those colors or an off-shoot of the color. Then when they were young enough to make their decisions of their own desires, Reagan switched hers to red and Ronan switched hers to purple. Despite having the same shoulder length dark hair and standing at the same height, Ronan was bestowed with a mole on her chin and birthmark on her forehead, while Reagan had a birthmark on her left knee. On the other hand, their laughter and voices, though similar, were slightly different.
What’s it like to be a twin? The same as being a single person…considering they didn’t know anything about not being a twin. The quickest answer was being born with their best friend at their side.
Who’s the oldest? Reagan was born five minutes before Ronan and used it to her advantage as much as possible…though it always backfired in her face when she questioned “Why do I have to do it?” where Ronan would then say, “Because you’re the oldest”. And that was that. . It was an injustice, not to mention the strange sort of responsibility that was thrust upon her shoulders at differing moments. Was it her fault she was born first? For all she knew, with what little space they had in the womb, Ronan had pushed her out just to get some space. People always said that babies played together while they were in the womb, no one knew it could have potentially been a war for dominance.
Do you fight a lot? Not very much but that didn’t mean there weren’t odd moments of bickering every once in a while. In the Jacoby household there were fights over very small and petty things. The biggest repeat offender being who got into the bathroom first, though the runners up in competitions were who got to use the ‘good bowl’ for cereal, who got to ride shotgun, who got the bigger brownie for desert, and who was the one to go first when they had a driving lesson. Just about anything could be turned into a not-quite-serious argument of equality.
Can you feel each other’s pain? Typically that responded in a light laugh, a short story of the only time they had managed to do it—if it weren’t an outright lie—and say that it was impossible. However that question was then followed up by ‘can you tell what your sister is thinking?’ where a random guess would be the answer.
What amused them and others the most were the times where the twin girls would move or say something in the same way at the same time, creating some sort of a stereo effect that would result in surprised laughter.
Arriving at the house Reagan sighed as she gently laid her surfboard against the wall of the garage doing her best not to scratch it. It was more valuable to her than the most sought after jewelry. Then she picked up the large beach towel that lay across her shoulders and used it to her body free of the ocean water and sand that stuck to her skin.
Ronan then called the first shower as the girls tramped into their house being careful not to drag sea water and sand all over the immaculate flooring of the kitchen. Their father set aside the garage and accompanying laundry room to collect their water and sports gear to finish his endless battle of combating piles of sand that managed to sneak its way inside. Their maltipoo puppy, Zack, greeted them at the door, lifting up on his hind legs tail wagging at high speeds and licked at their hands.
“Sorry, Zack, you know the vet said you’re going on a diet,” Reagan said as she scooped him up in her arms. “I don’t think licking away all of the dried saltwater is going to help much.” She giggled as his tiny tongue flicked over her chin and she headed towards her room to get her clothes out for the day.
Along the hallway she passed a portrait that held her sister and her father and stopped to smile at it, as she did every day. Though their family was small with only the two of them and their father, Elijah Jacoby, she wouldn’t trade it for the world. Seeing her father stick his fingers up behind their heads in bunny ears always made her laugh. Neither she nor Ronan had noticed it when the picture was being taken the last father’s day.
As Reagan glanced at the photo, her mind wandered to her mother which was strange in itself as she didn't particularly dwell over the woman she didn’t get to know before she was out of her life.
For as long as she could remember it had always been herself, her sister, and their father and it was all she wanted, she loved her life. But then there were the vulnerable moments where the mysterious woman managed to creep in; late nights when she couldn’t fall asleep, when she got her period for the first time and had to call her father at work, Mother’s Day…holidays were always some of the harder days to get through.
During polite conversation, once the topic that they were indeed twins passed, someone would mention her, question how their mother managed to carry twins to term, or their father would suddenly fall silent and look off into space remembering a time the girls didn’t know. It helped their father was just as good of a mother as he was a father and the missing spot in their lives diminished in size.
Not completely gone but small enough not to notice.
Reagan went to their room and dropped Zack onto the ground, picking up her phone. She navigated to her MugShot profile, one of the biggest social media networks she and her friends were using, and checked the notifications. A few handcuffs—she smiled seeing some of her predictions of new relationships coming true, some new pictures posted, and a comment on a status she had followed the day before.
But then a colorful image caught her eye as she recognized a member of her school’s cross country team as the headliner for the article. Grinning, she clicked into the article, hoping to read about the win her school had at the latest meet but the longer she read, the lower her jaw dropped.
“What?” Ronan shouted over the running shower water.
“They mixed up our school names again! They said that Ashburg Arts was the team that got the state record at our last meet!” Shaking her head, Reagan continued to scroll the news article, hoping Ashburg Academy’s name would pop up somewhere. “I mean, sure, they can probably afford the steroids as many rich alumni they have donating to their school, but we get our wins with hard work.”
Reagan continued to look through her phone, checking out the scores of her favorite sports teams before becoming sucked in to Flutter, catching up on the musicians, actors, and athelets that had posted the night before, then catching up on her classmates. Her buzzed in her hand as a text came in.
Tristan: We’ll be there in a half hour, Nic needs to get to school early.
Reagan: No worries, already up anyway.
Tristan: Never thought I’d see the day you willingly get up early for school.
Reagan: For the beach, actually. We can’t all be overachievers like you. See you when you get here.
Putting her phone away, Reagan glanced at her watch then sighed heavily when she noticed how much time had passed and the shower water was still running. Must be payback for how long I spent at the beach this morning. Picking up her clothes, Reagan walked over to the bathroom door and banged her fist against it, causing the hinges to shake, rattle, and roll. As she continued to knock the surrounding walls trembled and quaked in danger of knocking photos to the floor.
“How much longer are you gonna be in there?” she shouted. “I have to get dressed!” Reagan pressed her ear against the door, trying to hear the water over the blood pounding in her ears.
Receiving no response, she let out a sigh then alternately slammed both hands on the door with the repeated chant, “Ro. Ro! Ro-your-boat!” On the last few swings she missed and whacked her hand against the hinge of the door, scraping her knuckle. Sticking her finger in her mouth, Regan pictured herself hitting the door and realized how ridiculous she must have looked. It wasn’t like she hadn’t locked Ronan out of the bathroom; but in her defense, nothing was better or more relaxing than reading in a bubble bath after a long day at the beach.
Finally, Reagan got a reply—albeit an exasperated one—from her sister as she heard the nickname that had been given to her since first grade. “How long have you been waiting to use that one?”
“About as long as I’ve been standing in the hallway,” Reagan said. She crossed her arms. “I thought about going to get Dad’s taser, too. But I thought that might be overkill.” She smiled; sure it was evident in her voice. “Though it’d be a good way to be an only child again. Those first five minutes were pure bliss.”
“Like you even remember them. Besides, Dad took his taser to work with him and if you used it on me it’d be considered assault and you’d go to jail!”
“Not if it’s my first offense,” Reagan corrected.
Of all of the lectures, warnings, and explanations her father had given her and Ronan over the years, it was ways of getting out of trouble that seemed to stick with her the most. Then again, there was nothing better than the camaraderie and familial closeness she got from the Ashburg Police Department. They practically grew up there and had gotten to know the rest of the officers and detectives as their own family.
Especially the day before.
She and Ronan had been complaining, once again, about not having even their permits and Nic, fed up, pulled his car over to teach them a few things about driving. It had gone well at first, but then pulling onto the highway where the speed limit increased and drivers’ patience seemed to decrease at the same time, soon resulted in consistent swerving along the roads that caught the attention of the Highway Patrol. Once the officer saw Reagan, who was driving at the time, didn’t have a permit the four were brought back into Ashburg and directly to the police station.
“Great,” Nic sighed, crossing his arms impatiently as they sat in chairs in the lobby. “Mom’s going to kill us.”
Tristan eyed his twin brother warily. “What do you mean ‘us’? I was the one that said it was a bad idea in the first place.”
“Well, you couldn’t have imagined this was the way Nic would’ve landed you two in jail,” Ronan said. She teasingly elbowed Tristan in the ribs. “You’ve been saying he’s your downfall for years, you should’ve seen it coming.”
“Besides, this is nothing,” Reagan agreed with a calm wave of her hand. “If anything they’re just going to give us a warning and let us go.” Her calm demeanor then changed into that of slight panic when the police sergeant walked over and announced, with an amused grin, that the girls’ father was going to get them and to ‘not move a muscle’. He also couldn’t help but add he was glad he wasn’t the teens sitting in front of him and to tell their father to ‘go easy on them’.
“Can we stay in jail instead?” Reagan pleaded.
When their father had arrived he sent Nic and Tristan on their way, but not before sternly reminding them how dangerous it was to drive without a permit or license, how stupid their decision had been, and demanding that his colleagues stop snickering behind him because it ‘wasn’t funny’.
Of course Reagan could see he was trying his hardest not to smile either. It wasn’t the first time he had to bail them out of trouble and probably wouldn’t be the last. “At least we keep you young,” Ronan piped up.
Now, instead of giving Reagan a clever quip in response Ronan conceded and said, “Whatever. Hold on.” Before turning the shower water off.
Reagan’s attention turned back to the bathroom as the door opened and an avalanche of steam followed her sister out of the bathroom. Casually, Ronan ran a fluffy purple towel over her hair as she exited the towel in a matching bathrobe.
Reagan faced her sister with a raised eyebrow, which Ronan mirrored perfectly. “Did you really think that I would go and get Dad’s taser?” Reagan asked. There were a lot of things she joked about with her father’s profession but assault wasn’t one of them.
“You’ve done worse things,” Ronan remarked. “Miss. You-have-to-listen-to-me-because-I’m-the-oldest. Don’t think I’ve forgotten the time we took Dad’s car for a joyride.”
“So I’m creative,” Reagan defended. The rest of the precinct had given them a hard time about that one, too. And while the girls had ended up grounded for a month after that, she knew it was a bit reluctant. They both remembered their father’s infamous story of his first joyride with his father’s car. Unfortunately he didn’t like Reagan’s adding that he was just leading them by example. “I like to have fun. That’s not a bad thing.”
“You get bored easily.”
“That too.” A light sigh escaped Reagan’s lips and she turned her attention back to her sister. “I hate it when you do that, Sis.”
“Do what?” The corners of Ronan’s mouth twitched into a smile.
“Prove me wrong. Especially because you’re younger than me.”
“I know.” Ronan beamed. “That’s why I do it.”
Regan sighed once more, lowering her voice. “Did he even come home last night?”
“I don’t think so,” Ronan replied with a frown. She reached up and scratched the back of her head. “I stayed up as long as I could. I think he might’ve slept at the office again.”
Reagan nodded and slipped into the bathroom. It’s the only place he seems to be nowadays.
So, for those of you that have seen the post on our Facebook page it is November. Or. as those in the writing world know it as, National Novel Writing Month. This month we're not officially participating but are using it to get ahead in some of our works as well as to set time aside and work on some previously written things.
This time around Jess announced she'd work on Two Pair and the blog post with the finished product of the first chapter is now up. We please ask for some feedback, in particular of pacing and characterization. Thanks!