Twins, Rory and Stuart were universally held to be a credit to their parents. Six foot, blond, blue-eyed, identical twins, everyone loved them, said they were just perfect, model sons. A common comment was that they had inherited the best physical, intellectual and behavioural qualities of both parents.
The only criticism ever heard about them was, that they were simply too identical! Even in their twenties, people still couldn’t tell them apart! You expected twins to be dressed alike when parents were making all the choices. But they had just continued to grow so alike in their appearance and style of dressing. Both wore their hair longer than was fashionable, had the same beards and exactly the same taste in clothes. Identifying who was who when they were together was difficult but when apart, it was downright impossible.
Elizabeth, their mother, always used to laugh when folk asked how she managed to tell them apart. She used to grin and say that having changed their nappies and bathed them, she had a way of identifying one from another. The fact was, but never revealed, Rory had a rather telling mole ‘down there’!
Church and school had kept them together, with both singing in the choir and playing in the same rugby and cricket teams. They had both shown an early interest in science and mathematics and easily attained and retained their places at the top of their year. Elizabeth, used to say that they might have inherited Robert (their father’s) physique, sporting prowess and scientific brain but it was her purity of voice and closeness to the Lord that kept them on the path of righteousness.
Straight A’s in all their many O & A levels combined with their sporting attainments, ensured offers for both from Cambridge colleges to read natural sciences. Success followed with firsts in their undergraduate degrees. Then a divergence of subjects to pursue for their Masters degrees followed. Rory decided to specialise in Mathematics while Stuart preferred Chemistry. Now, at separate colleges, they decided to find accommodation in the city that they could both share.
So focussed had the twins been upon their studies, that relations with the opposite sex had been neglected for both. It had just seemed so natural that, despite the advantage their undoubted intellectual ability provided, they had maintained an incredibly single-minded focus upon their studies (all the more necessary given the competition at Cambridge). Following in their family tradition to study at university, they seemed to share an unspoken belief that they had a duty to excel. And as STEM subjects were still largely male dominated, their day to day exposure to the fairer sex was more limited. The women seemed to gravitate more to medicine and the social sciences. Now as postgraduates, they began to notice the rather different lifestyle of their contemporaries and started to ease into some more of the social activities that abounded.
Probably influenced by their strict religious upbringing & education at a boys’ school through most of their young life, they had both felt inhibited and ill at ease in the company of the fairer sex. Of the two, it was Rory who was the more forward in pursuing the opportunities presented by the sheer number of eligible female students around at Cambridge. He hadn’t shared other than the vaguest details of his activities with Stuart. Taking advantage of the various parties and pub gatherings, he had, in fact, “scored a home run” to use a sporting analogy and was beginning to achieve a certain level of prowess in the matter.
However, it was Stuart who first intimated to Rory that he had met a charming young lady, called Rachel Cavendish. It seemed that they had met waiting for a lecture to begin, found each other interesting and had followed up with coffee together. It transpired that she came from Cumbria, fairly close to where the twins lived and since then they had been on several dates. Despite Rory’s careful probing, he couldn’t get Stuart to open up any further concerning the details of their relationship. It was his guess that matters were still at a very early stage (with, er, Stuart yet to go in to bat).
A week or so later Rory gate-crashed a party held in one of the ladies’ colleges.
‘Stuart, darling!’ came the greeting from a particularly striking brunette and a rather amorous kiss was planted full & lingering on his lips. Rory returned the greeting with a wink and a squeeze, suspecting, but not knowing for sure, that he had just been greeted by a mistaken Rachel.
‘I thought you said you couldn’t come, too busy studying!’ She went on.
‘Well, when I thought about it, I just couldn’t leave you all alone! Why, anyone would try to snap you up!’
She sniggered, pulled him close and whispered ‘It’s a bit crowded in here. Why don’t we grab a bottle and just…disappear? It’s about time I showed you my room…so you can see where I do all my studying.’
The following morning, at an ungodly hour but with the broadest grin upon his face, Rory sneaked out, managing to avoid the watchful eye of the porters, by climbing over a wall.
Over the next few weeks, he kept to a careful routine, avoiding any of the places Rachel was likely to frequent. He also went to lengths to head off any chats§ with Stuart that looked like they might involve any detailed discussion on the fairer sex.
All went well, until one morning, the door to his room crashed open, waking him with a start.
‘You bastard!’ screamed Stuart, hurling himself at Rory who deftly, rolled out of the opposite side of the bed.
‘What on earth are you on about?’ Responded Rory, although he had a fair idea.
‘Have you been screwing Rachel?’
‘Who? I don’t know a Rachel & what on earth gives you that idea?’
‘Then why would Rachel ask me why I had my mole removed?!!!’
Image courtesy of MIT Admissions