''Johnny? Hey Johnny, you in there?'' Jonno stood outside the door of the hotel bathroom, twiddling with his room-key card. ''The photographers are downstairs. They want to know if we're ready.''
The door opened and his ''twin'' came out, dressed in black jeans and a tight white T-shirt, his hair slicked back and gelled, his face shiny from a new application of man-moisturiser.
''Yeah, washed and brushed. You?''
''Yep.'' He smoothed his own white T, identical in size and style to John's, as were the jeans. The only way their fans knew to tell them apart was that Jonno had a small crescent-shaped scar just below his bottom lip, on the left side, due to a playground accident when he was three.
''OK. They coming up here, or do we need to go somewhere?'' Johnny looked in the full-length mirror on the closet door, flicking a stray strand of hair back into place.
''Nah, they're coming up – I said to give us half an hour.''
John E Holtz and John E Ingman, inseparable since childhood, had gone to the same schools, taken up the same hobbies, and had the same aspirations and ambitions. Most importantly, they liked the same music, so much so that they decided to start making their own. At the age of twelve, they had begged their respective adoptive parents to buy them each a guitar. By the time they were sixteen, they had written twenty or so songs. Great songs, sensitively arranged by the boys, who sang them in a close harmony which was unusual and beautiful.
They would have been happy to continue making music for their own and each other's pleasure, but at seventeen, urged by their parents, they had reluctantly sent a demo to a major recording company. The A&R man whose desk it landed on played it, ready to consign it to the slush pile, along with the other ninety-nine point nine percent he received. He stopped what he was doing, which happened to be an online game of poker, muted the volume and snatched up the phone to call the number on the covering letter. While he was waiting for the reply he saw the enclosed photograph. Twins. Good-looking ones at that. With a unique sound. These boys were special, of that he had little doubt.
He had no idea of the unconventional method in which they had come into being. The fuss about these boys and their brothers had long ago died down and they had deliberately not mentioned it in their letter.
He arranged a meeting for the next day and signed them there and then. Within a year he had been promoted and his salary trebled on the strength of his good judgment. The twins were hot property and his company had never seen anyone who came close to their talent and marketabilty.
These days they were John-Jon. The name had been chosen by the A&R man even before he met them. It was snappy and clever and it fit them perfectly.
The twins were now half-way through their second world tour. They were in Rome today, about to embark on the first of seven dates in Italy, and this photo-call was for a popular magazine. They had lost count of the number of interviews they had given over the last couple of months, and the number of times their images had been captured. Still, it was no hardship, and the magazines paid well. Not that they needed it.
Jonno went to the small fridge in their suite and pulled out two light beers. He handed one to Johnny and popped the tab on his, just as there was a knock at the door. He put his can down on the table and opened the door.
Instead of the pair of photographers he had expected, one man stood there. A man who looked just like him and Johnny.