We're twins. I'm Ruby. She's Garnet.
We're identical. There's very few people who can -tell us apart. Well, until we start talking. I tend to go on and on. Garnet is much quieter
That's ~ because I can't get a word in edgeways.
We are exactly the same height and weight. I eat a bit more than Garnet. I love candy, and I like salty things too. I once ate thirteen bags of potato chips in one day. All salt-and-vinegar flavor. I love lots of salt and vinegar on french fries too. French-fried potatoes are my special weakness. I go munch munch munch gulp and they're gone. So then I have to scarf some of Garnet's. She doesn't mind.
Yes I do.
I don't get fatter because I run around more. I hate sitting still. Garnet will sit hunched over a book for hours, but I get the fidgets. We're both good at running, Garnet and me. At our last intramural sports day at school we beat everyone, even the boys. We came in first. Well, I did, actually. Garnet came in second. But that's not surprising, seeing that I'm the oldest. We're both ten. But I'm twenty minutes older. I was the bossy baby who pushed out first. Garnet came second.
We live with our dad and our grandmother.
Dad often can't tell us apart in the morning at breakfast, but then his eyes aren't always quite open. He just swallows black coffee as he jumps into his clothes and then dashes off for his train. Dad works in an office in London and he hates it. He's always tired out when he gets home. But he can tell us apart by then. It's easier in the evening. My braids are generally coming undone and my T-shirt's probably stained. Garnet stays as neat as a pin.
That's what our grandmother says. Gran always used to have pins stuck all down the front of her cardigan. We had to be very careful when we hugged her. Sometimes she even had pins sticking out of her mouth. That was when she did her dressmaking. She used to work in this exclusive boutique, pinning and tucking and sewing all day long. Then, after ...
Well, Gran had to look after us, you see, so she did dressmaking at home. For private customers. Mostly very large ladies who wanted the latest fashions. Garnet and I always got the giggles when we peeped at them in their underwear.
Gran made all our clothes too. That was awfuL It-was bad enough Gran being old-fashioned and making us have our hair in braids. But our clothes made us a laughingstock at school, though some of the mothers said we looked a perfect picture.
We had frilly dresses in summer and dinky pleated skirts in winter, and di-an knitted tooangora boleros that -made us itch, and matching sweaters and cardigans for the cold. Twinsets. And a very silly set of twins we looked too.
But then Gran's arthritis got worse. She'd always had funny fingers and a bad hip and a trick knee. But soon she got so she'd screw up her face when she got up or sat down, and her fingers swelled sideways and she couldn't make them work.
She can't do her dressmaking now. It's a shame, because she loved doing it so much. But there's one Amazing Advantage. We get to wear store-bought clothes now. And because Gran can't really make it on the bus into town, we get to choose.
Well ... Ruby gets to choose.
I choose for both of us. T-shirts. Ilights. Jeans. Matching ones, of course. We still want to look alike. We just want to look normal.
Excerpted from Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson. Copyright © 1999 by Jacqueline Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Yearling, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.