You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore but let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of heaven dance between you. -Kahlil Gibran
In this life we will never truly be apart, For we grew to the same beat of our mother's heart. - Daphne Fandrich
Chapter One: 1987-1992
A lot of preconceptions about twins are incorrect. But the bond formed when being born together is unlike any other in this world. Fraternal twins might not be identical, but nature combined with nurture will win out every time. Neil and Susan Hargrove gave birth to twins Billy and Maxine in San Diego, California on June 18th, 1987. Gemini was the sign of The Twins, after all. Being a huge fan of classic rock, Susan knew that their birth date was the same as that of The Beatles’ bass player, Paul McCartney.
Billy was named for the Billy Shears mentioned in the song Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Max came from Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. By the time they realized Susan was carrying boy and girl twins instead of two boys, they already had the names picked out, so she just added -ine to the end of Max’s name to make it feminine. Billy was born at 6:21 AM screaming and healthy. Maxine came into the world exactly 10 minutes later, and much quieter. It would seem that their distinct personalities were already coming out.
Billy had a thick head of dirty blonde hair and bright blue eyes like his dad. Though he was born only 10 minutes earlier, he always referred to himself as the older sibling. Maxine resembled their mom with deep red hair and darker blue eyes. She followed Billy’s lead everywhere without question. Neil and Susan knew that raising a baby would be tough, but weren’t quite prepared for the harsh reality of twins. It put a strain on their marriage that would never quite heal.
The babies tended to hit their milestones together. Billy was always there first, looking at his ‘baby’ sister with challenge in his eyes. Always wanting to make her ‘big’ brother proud, she would learn shortly after. Since Billy had a hard time pronouncing the name Maxine at first, he started calling her Max for short...and it stuck. Though he corrected anyone else who tried to call her that.
As they grew, Maxine began favoring her left hand for eating and coloring. It was soon discovered that she was left-handed, which along with her natural red hair made her a minority. Billy’s right was dominant, leaving more evidence of the twins being mirror images. Though they always had separate bedrooms, they would end up in the same bed more often than not. After a handful of tantrums on both sides, the parents stopped trying to separate them.
Billy started developing an overprotective nature with his sister at a very young age. When they were three years old and started daycare, a larger boy took Maxine’s snack cake during recess. The girl cried out in outrage. Before the teacher could intervene, Billy had pushed the older kid down and taken her snack back. Maxine smiled over at her twin, who brightened under her attention.
Susan gave birth to another child on September 22, 1992, a boy they named Dustin. Unlike the twins, who were physically fine, the youngest was diagnosed with cleidocranial dysostosis before birth. This meant that he would be smaller than kids his age and might develop his teeth much later than others, among other things. Their mother had a known pill problem by this time, and not everyone was convinced she’d given up the habit while pregnant. Maxine was excited to have another sibling, but Billy wasn’t so thrilled. He didn’t want to share his sister with anyone, even then.
When they started kindergarten that same year, the twins were originally placed in two separate classes. Once Billy got into a fight with a smaller classmate and Maxine withdrew from her peers, this mistake was quickly rectified. The girl took to school like a duck to water. She had an insatiable quench for knowledge, ending up in the Talented and Gifted program in first grade. Billy was also smart, but he took more to the athletics side of things rather than academics. Sports was a way of getting out his random spurts of energy, along with the angry attitude he inherited from daddy dearest.
They occasionally made friends over the years, but it seemed that nothing could pierce the intense bond between twins. Billy always insisted that Maxine’s friends only be girls. Any time a boy in their grade tried to talk to her, he would end up with a bloody nose or busted lip. Billy’s behavior was mostly excused as overprotective brother syndrome. But in this case, that wasn’t it.