Holly rang the doorbell of the Callahans’ sixteenth floor apartment, and waited for someone to open the door. A lot of things passed through her mind as she waited. She wondered if Jeannie would still recognise her. They did chat online from time to time, but hadn’t seen each other in the past four or five years. She wondered how Mrs. Callahan had replied to her letter so quickly—as far as she remembered, the lawyer barely had time to chat with her own kids. After some time, a short, dark-haired girl who peered quizzically at her opened the door.
“OH MY GOD, IT’S YOU!’ Jeannie shrieked as she opened the door wider.
‘Hey, Jeannie, how are you?’ Holly smiled.
Jeannie laughed and hugged her.
‘Gosh, you’ve become way taller since the last time I saw you,’ Jeannie said.
‘Jeannie, the last time you saw me was over four years ago, when I was thirteen and you were ten.’
‘Is it?’ Jeannie frowned, ‘It doesn’t seem that long. Maybe it's because we talk every now and then on facebook.’
Holly came in and put her bags near the sofa in the living room.
‘So, where is your Mom?’ she asked, looking around, ‘Gee, you got a big condo here.’
‘Yeah, it’s an improvement from theBostonhouse.’ Jeannie said, ‘Anyway, Mom flew toParisan hour ago.’
‘You’re kidding me!’ Holly said, frustrated, ‘What do you mean-‘flew toParisan hour ago.’ You can’t be serious!’
‘Well . . .,’ Jeannie frowned, ‘Granddad died a few months ago. His will clearly stated that vineyards would go to Dad, but some distant cousin challenged the will in the court, saying that he was entitled to the vineyards. Dad went weeks ago to . . . um . . . convince this cousin to stay off, but it seems like he is hell-bent. Dad asked Mom to fly there to read over all the clauses of the will.’
‘Right. Legal trouble.’
‘Yeah. She’ll be gone for a long time-a couple of months at least. She has some deal with a client of her firm inLondontoo.’
Holly collapsed on the sofa in the hall, tired. Jeannie silently surveyed her. Since the last time she had seen her, over four years ago, Holly had really grown tall. She was well above five and a half feet now. She had lost a lot of weight too, and her waist-long hair was now until her shoulders. She was wearing contact lenses instead of her old pair of spectacles. Jeannie thought she looked nice, sporting a pair of oversized sunglasses in her hair. She was never one of those candyfloss girls. Some might even say that she had haunting good looks now.
‘You can’t be staying alone for a couple of months, right?’ Holly asked.
‘WHO IS IT, WACKO?’ a voice called out loudly from an adjoining room.
‘WHO IS IT, JEANNIE’ a slightly deeper voice asked.
‘WHY DON’T YOU STOP YELLING, NUTCASES?’ She shouted back.
Before she could continue with her explanation, one of the doors on the far end of the dining hall opened, and a sleepy, dark haired person came out to look. He literally froze on the spot on seeing Holly sitting. She quickly got up.
‘MATT, C’MERE,’ the person shouted.
An identical dark haired person stepped out, wearing a pair of spectacles, looking just as sleep-deprived as the first one.
‘So, you see-,’Jeannie started again.
‘Hey, I know you two,’ Holly said suddenly, her confused expression giving way to understanding; ‘You’re the Callahan twins, aren’t you? Matt and Randy?’
‘Yeah’, the bespectacled person said slowly, ‘I’m Matt, and he is my younger brother Randy’
‘I’m Holly. . . Holly Monaghan’, she smiled a bit, eyeing those two critically.
‘Okay!’ Jeannie intervened, ‘Let’s go, Holly. Leave those two jerks to their work.’
Holly tried to say something; probably object, but Jeannie dragged her away from there. She paused to pick up her bags, and followed Jeannie to her room reluctantly. As she went, she gave them a fleeting glance, checking them up from head to toe. They caught a slow smile creep up on her face, and then she turned and walked straight into Jeannie's room.
‘Oh boy, she’s all mine.’ Randy whispered to Matt.
‘She’s not that pretty’, Matt smiled, ‘And besides, you already have a girlfriend.’ Randy was always looking to hit at girls, and Matt was used to his reaction.
‘No, it’s not that. It’s . . . just the way she looked at us, you know, as if she was challenging us to go after her. Like whatever we do, we won’t be able to impress her.’
‘Did she?’ Matt shrugged, ‘I didn’t notice’
‘Yeah, she totally did. You didn’t see because you have glasses, four—eyes.’
‘Well, in that case, count me out of your little plan’, Matt said curtly.
‘Why?’ Randy whined, knowing that Matt gave in whenever someone pleaded with him.
‘That’s because I’m notinterested’, Matt continued in the same tone, ‘And don’t you dare try begging me to be your wingmanyet again.’
Randy frowned and looked away. He felt a bit bad about ridiculing Matt. For as long as he could remember, Matt had always been a helper-of-sorts when it came asking girls out, ridiculing them, even breaking up with them. Though Matt had been kind of disinterested when it came to girls, he had never refused Randy any help, and the fact that they were identical twins actually helped. Randy smiled as he remembered how Matt had got rid of one of his girlfriends, Leah, last year by pretending to be him.
‘Hey, Jeannie’, he called Jeannie over as she came out, ‘Is Holly single or something?’
“Nah’, Jeannie said, ‘As far as I remember her, she has never been single.’