The twins were born minutes apart, the female at 12:03, the
male at 12:12. Their father hadn’t been able to make the event, being
on duty in the Philippines at the time. No one from the immense
horde of relatives had come from their scattered homes to the Denver
event, so the mother had no one to prevent her from indulging her
whims. When the nurse asked her what she wanted to name the
children, Mrs. Smith-Riley replied, “Guinevere and Arthur.” They
were doomed for life.
Both of them took after their mother in appearance, with
clear, almost translucent skin, flaming hair and deep green eyes.
Those ethereal good looks were to be very useful to Art, who
discovered at age ten that his lifelong passion was to be the
theatre, his dream to be a Shakespearean actor in London. He and
his sister would hide in their cluttered attic, and he would declaim
monologues while she brandished a fireplace poker as a makeshift
sword. Luckily for her, she quickly grew bored with the theatre,
and lucky for the theatre as well, since she had all the dramatic
talent of a block of wood. Gwen channeled her passion into
living, living dangerously, and Art became the shy, silent type, only
coming alive on stage. Then they went to college.
Not much changed there; they just became more themselves,
somehow. Freed from the restrictions and tempers of her rather
arbitrary mother (their father had died ingloriously in a barroom
brawl years before), Gwen went to college and raged. She’d chosen
the University of Chicago, rather an odd choice; but it turned out
to be a school well-suited to her brilliant mind and headstrong
ways. Not a place that had many rules about its students’ social
lives…nor really cared if they had them at all… It left Gwen,
when she wasn’t excelling in her Psychology classes, free to spend her
time in lewd and lascivious pursuits.
Stories were told about her on campus, legends almost. They
said that she had taken on all of Alpha Delt and lived to tell the
tale, that she had seduced every TA she had…to the point where
they fought to get her assigned to their section, and that she
considered it a personal slight against her honor to become friends
with a virgin and let him, or her, remain so.
Art lived a very different life at Northwestern. He was
silent in his required classes, never speaking unless pushed, never
volunteering anything. Like his sister, he had no trouble with
exams, and wrote complex, witty papers on the correct way to tie up
your hose in the Renaissance, and the symbolism of color in
Ibsen. But he had few friends, and no lovers. In Northwestern’s
vibrant theatre life, he was a presence only on stage, and all
attempts the female drama students made to befriend him were met
only with bewilderment and flight on his part. He became more and
more technically skilled, more and more passionate on stage…and
far lonelier elsewhere. He told none of this to his sister,
who found little time in her busy social life to visit him. So things
remained until the end of their senior year.
It was June 9, 1994, their mutual day of celebration.
Twenty-one today, and classes were over and graduation was imminent.
Their mother would be flying into Chicago in the morning. At 8 pm
the twins had only a precious few hours left to themselves. They’d
wound up back at Gwen’s apartment after a raucous tour of her
favorite campus hotspots, such as they were. Art rarely drank, but
tonight was a special occasion…birthday, coming of age, and
graduation all at once. The champagne was flowing freely and he
was well past the tipsy stage. At that moment, he was standing on
her bed, muddy shoes and all, reciting the monologue he hoped to
play in London that summer: “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and
tomorrow…” It was almost painfully appropriate.
“I think you should shut up,” Gwen bellowed, over the rising
chant “and get laid! You’d be a lot happier.”
Art’s voice suddenly cut off, and he peered at his sister from
behind thin glasses and strands of hair. “And what makes you think I
haven’t, oh sister mine? Just because I don’t trumpet my conquests to
the world doesn’t mean I don’t have a nice piece of ass stashed away
Gwen laughed. “Dear brother, you wouldn’t know a nice piece
of ass if it came up and bit you.” She walked towards him, waggling a
forefinger at him to emphasize her point as she said, “You…are…
a…virgin. Just admit it and then we can do something about it. I
have some nice friends I could introduce you to…open-minded girls
with a taste for redheads. And I promise they’re good in bed.”
Art blushed scarlet, and suddenly lost his balance, plopping
down on the bed. He quickly regained his composure, and reached for
his champagne glass, downing its contents before remarking, “Well,
maybe I am. A virgin.” He blinked owlishly at his rapidly advancing
sister, whose forefinger was now pushing his chest, so that he fell
backwards on the bed.
Gwen crowed in triumph! “I knew it! Little brother, you have
no secrets from me. Now what would you like? A slim brunette, a
curvy blond? A virgin would be hard to find, but I can guarantee you
disease-free.” She sat on the bed next to him, counting women on her
“Ah, big sister, how could any maiden compare to you?” Art
proclaimed hastily. “I remain chaste only because I have not yet met
the woman who could compare with you. Shall I compare thee to a
summer’s day? Thy eyes are nothing like the sun’s! Hark! The fair
Ophelia! To be or not to…oof!” Art’s words dissolved into laughter
as his sister furiously attempted to pummel him into silence.
Gwen tickled his stomach, his armpits; she pulled off his
muddy shoes to tickle his feet…and that was suddenly too much. Art
grabbed her wrists and pushed her backwards across the wide bed. He
fell forward against her, pinning her body beneath his own, using his
weight to full advantage against the suddenly scratching, wriggling
mass beneath him.
Gwen slid her wrists up, still firmly grasped in his, until
she had her fingers around his throat. Her knees pressed his arms
against his body, so he couldn’t use them to full effect. Her fingers
began to tighten. “Give it up, little brother” she panted. “You
know I always won our wrestling matches.”
Art couldn’t quite speak, but he could still move. Suddenly
he rolled heavily sideways, landing on his back with Gwen above him.
In the confusion, he managed to twist away from her constraining arms,
and pull her fingers away from his throat. He held her arms crucified
away from her body. His long legs wrapped around hers, pinning her
dangerous knees. Then he said, “The last time we wrestled was five
years ago, big sister. I believe you are now in check.” Art laughed
up at his sister’s helplessness. “What are you going to do?”
Gwen suddenly smiled an oddly wistful smile. “Mate?” she
asked. With that, she tilted her head down an inch…and kissed him.
‘Predictable,’ was Art’s one startled thought, before he lost himself
in the joy of kissing those well-kissed lips. He still held her arms
straight out from her body. Gwen’s breasts weighed heavily against
his chest through the thin fabric of her t-shirt, and her hair fell
uncontrolled against his face.
If there was one thing Art had learned, it was kissing, after
hours of stage kisses with cold women under hot lights. Before he had
only met the semblance of passion — now passion was hitting him full
force, a desert storm. The room was burning in Gwen’s kisses. He was
drowning in the sand.
She was writhing against him, and finally he let her hands go,
uncertain what else to do. Gwen seized the opportunity, and quickly
reached down to her waist, lifting herself up as she pulled off the
shirt. She wasn’t wearing a bra, and her soft breasts hung free in
the glaring light. Art reached out suddenly and turned off the
bedside lamp. It was too much, somehow. Having his beloved, and
beautiful, sister staring him in the face, with breasts he hadn’t
seen since they shared a bed in grammar school. Asking him to do
this in bright light was too much.
Before he could start thinking whether it was too much even in
darkness, Gwen was pulling off his shirt as well. She muttered curses
at him when he moved too slowly to help her, and was soon skinning off
both their jeans. Long before he could have finished “Tomorrow and
tomorrow” she had them both naked as the day they were born.
“What are we doing?” Art asked her softly. Gwen didn’t
answer, just lowering her sweet body to his eager one. Their skin
burned at the touch, yet Arthur shivered under the assault. He took
her silence as his cue, and from them on silence reigned, broken only
by her softly moaned encouragement, and his startled sighs.
Gwen gently directed Art whenever he seemed lost, and he took
her direction flawlessly. Obviously Gwen’s talent in bed was a shared
family trait. Familiar hands caressed skin, sweaty bodies entwined
on the mud-stained bed. They separated only briefly enough for Gwen
to reach out and grab a condom from her nightstand. She thought
briefly that she was quite positive she didn’t want any children from
this union. Then the thought was buried in long-suppressed desire. She,
at least, had wanted this for a long, long time. It had just taken
her a while to admit it, and a little longer to maneuver it into
Much later, Art lay there humming, his sister’s head cradled
in his shoulder. Gwen said to him, “You sound happy, little brother.
What are you humming?” Art shook his head and laughed softly. “You
don’t want to know” he replied. Gwen twisted her head to look up at
his face. “Don’t try to tell me what I want,” she said. “Would you
have predicted tonight?”
Art kept his memory of that first startled thought to himself,
and gallantly answered, “No, though I might have dreamt of it
occasionally.” Gwen continued staring up at him, obviously waiting
for her answer. Art laughed and gave in.
“It’s from Camelot. It’s the song where Arthur wins Guinevere
by telling her about Camelot’s scenic beauty.” Gwen punched his side
indignantly. “We pledged that we would never, ever see that show.”
Art tried to fend her off, “Enough, big sister! I was auditioning for
it, what could I do?” Gwen didn’t seem particularly calmed by this
explanation. Art continued, “If it’s any consolation, I was
auditioning for Arthur, and I didn’t get the part.”
That won a startled laugh from Guinevere. Arthur took the
opportunity to lift himself up on an elbow and begin to sing to her in
a low tenor, “And there is simply not, a more congenial spot, for
happy-ever-aftering than here….”
Art paused suddenly, his eyes locked on her smiling face. “We
can’t ever do this again, you know” he said. His eyes were suddenly
wistful. “I know,” she replied, as she put up a hand to caress his
face. “Thank you for the lesson, big sister” he said softly. Gwen
suddenly laughed again, rolling around so she was seated on his
stomach. “We’ve got at least five hours till mom gets here. I think
you need a little more tutoring before I let you go.”
With that, Gwen leaned down to kiss him, and Art gave up the
last of his worries and kissed her back. He started humming
softly…until she bit him. Then it was silence once again.