Today's the day. Bonding... and results.
‘Oh yeah, go ahead.’
‘I love crisps!’
The wind ruffled Guy’s hair as they rode along the highway the next morning. It was another warm day and so all the windows were rolled down in the taxi, Guy’s tie flapping somewhere behind his head. The taxi driver had been startled when he pulled up outside the venue, and wondered how he’d survive the journey without staring at the passengers the whole way, such was their similarity.
Both had been too het up for breakfast so they’d clubbed together for a mid-morning snack, which Guy was rifling through eagerly. It was crazy, the amount of favourite foods they had in common. On this thought Guy opened a can of Coke and took a large gulp, his mouth already full of Lays.
Ryland snorted with laughter as some of the crisp mush dropped to the floor, Guy starting to join in.
‘Oh, do beg my pardon, how greedy of me…’
‘That’s one crazy accent you got there. It’s like… proper Queen’s English, man.’
‘Yes, well… I was educated at Eton, you know. It’s very wealthy and…’
‘…Well, yes. I suppose so.’
They sat in silence for a while.
‘Will you do an English accent for me?’
Ryland cleared his throat. ‘Why yes, I suppose it wouldn’t do any harm.’
Guy grinned in amazement. It was a perfect match.
The clinic was what they’d both expected it to be: white, sterilised beyond belief, with sleek machines in corners and medical posters adorning the walls. The pair walked in together, checking in at the front desk.
‘Hi, we’re here for the, uh, DNA test.’
The receptionist, who had been staring at them with her mouth open, shook her head slightly and smiled at them.
‘Of course. Just let me take your names and you can find a seat in the waiting room.’
They signed in a little register and made their way into the waiting room. There were only three seats empty: one right by the door, another by a fish tank and a third by an elderly woman, who coughed continuously into a lacy handkerchief. The pair took the first two seats and looked down at their shoes in the awful, awkward silence.
It soon got a little too much to bear. But just as Guy opened his mouth to speak the old dear wheezed loudly, so loudly that he cut off his statement and gave everyone a small smile instead, as if to apologise for trying to speak. Upon receiving frowns back he picked up the nearest magazine and buried his face into it, cringing with shame… before realising he had picked up a women’s health magazine. The caption blazed across the page: How to Deal with Menopause.
‘Guy Ripley and Ryland Blackinton?’
Guy fumbled with the magazine and it dropped to the floor, embarrassingly still open at the same page. The men either side of him looked at Guy, then down at the article, then back up at Guy with puzzled expressions as he scurried out of the door.
‘Alright then, what have we got here…’ The doctor’s cheery voice trailed off as Guy and Ryland entered the room. But by now, they were used to the stares. Ryland sighed.
‘You can sort of guess why we’re here, huh?’
‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a likeness…’ The doctor edged round the bench and peered closely at their faces, stroking his chin. Guy with his long face, tousled hair and pale blue eyes. Ryland with his... long face, tousled hair and pale blue eyes. Even their stubble seemed to grow in exactly the same places.
The two sat down and looked at each other nervously as the doctor headed for the needles. It was soon evident that they both had a phobia of needles, and Ryland edged away from the doctor as he came over, making an ‘after you’ gesture to Guy. As Guy gingerly held his finger out, he screwed up his eyes and tried to remember the word for needle phobia. He knew he’d learnt it back at school. Achy… something? No, there was an ‘i’ in it somewhere… And a ‘mo’…
A sharp pain shot through his finger.
‘Aaaargh!... Aichmophobia!’ he yelled in triumph.
The doctor frowned at him for a moment before moving onto Ryland, quickly pricking him, who consequently yelled something much shorter and ruder.
A short while later the two were waiting outside in the lobby with cups of coffee, which they held in their non-pricked hands. They had been offered the waiting room again (which they had naturally refused) and were getting impatient for the results.
Ryland had been pacing up and down, but now he stopped and looked at Guy, who was sat in an old chair tapping his polystyrene cup.
‘We don’t exactly behave the same way, do we?’ Guy looked up. ‘I mean, there’s me pacing around and complaining, and then there’s you sat there all quiet and composed and… English.’
‘Well, some things are bound to be different. We’ve been brought up with different parents, different cultures. But I will admit, the English are decidedly calmer.’
Ryland sat on the floor next to Guy wearily.
‘I can’t see this working out. It’s just… too weird,’ he sighed, sipping his coffee. ‘But I can’t think of any other explanation for it. If we’re not related how else do we explain this?’
Guy sighed as well. ‘Well… we’ll know soon enough.’
And right on cue, the nurse came out.
‘Doctor Rhodes has the results. Would you like to come through?’
And before they knew it they had finished their coffees and were sat down in the doctor’s room. He came over and sat down, removing his glasses and wiping his forehead with the back of his hand.
‘Well, gentlemen… it’s what we were all expecting.’
They exchanged a brief look. They hadn’t been expecting anything.
‘What were we expecting again?’
The doctor paused momentarily, before handing the results to Ryland. He took a deep breath.
‘Are you sure you wouldn’t rather do this, Guy?’
‘No! No, I’m quite sure. Please, just do it quickly.’
Ryland sighed, and suddenly tore the envelope open and scanned the page. His eyes widened.
‘What? What is it?’ Guy sputtered impatiently. Ryland looked up from the slip of paper, slightly pale and shaken, and with a strange look in his eyes.