Chapter 1: Planes, Twins, and Automobiles:
Kicksburg. A small town located in the middle of nowhere, Montana. Closed off from the rest of the surrounding state by a thick cluster of pine trees surrounding it, and accessible only via a dirt road that cut through the forest. Said town was known for a number of things, such as its lack of chain establishments and tight-knit community. Not the most eventful place to live, but hey, it did prove popular among those looking for places to retire, or anyone who simply hated city life.
Today had been an ordinary, quiet, beautiful, and quite frankly boring day. As was the case almost every other day in this town, there was nothing special happening. Everyone was keeping to themselves and going about their daily lives, but surely there was something noteworthy going on, even if it didn't affect the entire population, right? Well the answer just might lie in a mansion located on the outskirts of town, in a neighborhood of higher class than the other homes in the area.
That mansion belonged to none other than the Simmons family, who were the wealthiest to ever reside in Kicksburg, and not to mention America as a whole. At the moment, a young Caucasian man with honey-colored hair was walking up towards the front door, carrying a stack of two pizza boxes, one smaller than the other. He politely rang the doorbell, which echoed throughout the manor. Soon after, a tall, well-endowed woman fast-walked over to the door, sporting pale skin, avocado-green eyes, and curly, butt-length black hair that was flecked with gray. Clad in distressed daisy dukes and a cropped polo shirt.
"Your order, ma'am- oh, hi Katrina," the delivery guy greeted. "I got a large pizza margherita, an order of blue crab arancini, and a family-sized caesar salad."
"Holy hell, Ike?! I thought ya' died!" Katrina replied in a coarse Brooklyn accent.
"No, it's me, Lucius," the delivery guy chuckled.
"Haha, I know. I'm just messin' with ya'. Man, look how much you've grown up. Seems like only yesterday you were only five years old while your dad preached at my weddin'," Katrina continued. "Oh, and that reminds me, how's your mother doin' managin' my dad's restaurant?"
"Things are going great. And fun fact: the delivery service was my idea," Lucius said.
"And a great one at that," Katrina replied as she accepted the boxes.
"Speaking of which, that would normally be $28.47, but seeing how you're the daughter of the owner, it'll just be five bucks," Lucius continued.
"Alrighty then," Katrina pulled out a hundred-dollar bill and slapped it into his hand. "Here, keep the change. Use it to buy somethin' nice, why dont'cha?"
"Thanks a ton, Mrs. Simmons," Lucius gave a courteous smile as he left.
After locking the front door, Katrina carried the food into the dining room, taking the opportunity to stop by the living room along the way. Her husband was located there, clad in a striped rugby shirt and khakis. He was a tall man about as old as Katrina herself, with a full head of graying chestnut hair, olive-toned skin, and brown eyes. At the moment, he was busying himself examining a series of framed photographs of himself on the wall before him, depicting him doing things ranging from playing football in high school, to getting married, to even standing on-stage at a presidential debate. Safe to assume he had lived a pretty eventful life so far.
"Hey, Mark?" Katrina asked, prompting him to turn around. "Dinner's here."
"Oh, good. I'm starving," Mark replied, taking one last glance at the photographs before following her out of the room.
A few minutes later, the two were sitting at the dining room table, waiting patiently as the pizza boxes sat open, causing some pent-up steam to billow out into the air.
"Ugh, what's taking them so long? I know I called them down not too long ago," Mark grumbled.
"Kids?!" Katrina yelled towards the ceiling. "Come on down and eat!"
Within half a minute, a young man with gold, thin-framed glasses hurried into the room and took a seat at the table. He was essentially the spitting image of his father, though he wasn't quite as tall, and his nest of hair was curly and black like his mother's.
"Ah, there you are, Junior. We ordered your favorite," Mark said, serving himself a slice of pizza.
"Yeah, I could smell it from upstairs," Mark Jr. replied, about to serve himself as well, before his mother cut him off.
"Say, son. Uh, y'know where your sister is?" Katrina asked.
"I dunno. She's probably still up there draining her uterus. I really look forward to scrubbing off that tub ring tonight," Junior rolled his eyes as he grabbed a slice.
"That's not supposed to happen until next week, moron!" a female voice called from upstairs.
Right on cue, a young woman just as old and almost as tall as Junior entered the room. She looked almost exactly like her mother, right down to having a similar body-type and set of proportions, though while her hair was long as well, it was straight and tan like her father's.
"And by the way, it's not nice to speak about a woman's period behind her back," the girl continued.
"You'se a real piece a'work, y'know dat? Can't the two of you go a single day without strikin' up some petty argument?" Katrina sighed, taking a swig of her water.
"Well this argument wouldn't have happened if Justine here could take a joke," Junior sneered, popping an arancini into his mouth.
"And maybe I could take your jokes if they were in better taste," Justine scowled, taking a seat opposite to her brother.
"That's enough out of you two," Mark interjected, grabbing his second slice.
"Yeah, because we've got some exciting news for ya'," Katrina added, cutting into an arancini.
"Really? What?" Justine asked, helping herself to the salad.
"Well, do you remember a few months back on your eighteenth birthday, when we asked you if you wanted to go on a trip as your graduation present?" Mark asked.
"Yeah," both twins replied in unison.
"Well we finally made all the arrangements, and you'll both be headin' out tomorrow," Katrina said.
"Wow, cool! Is it to Fiji? I hear the beaches are gorgeous and the people are really friendly!" Junior asked excitedly.
"Screw that! What about Mexico? I hear they have a lower drinking age, and the women are hot!" Justine replied.
"Neither. You two will be taking a trip to Florence, Italy in order to spend the summer with your grandparents," Mark explained.
"And Aunt Priscilla will be payin' you guys a visit durin' that time," Katrina added. "It'll be the first time you'll see her since Uncle Collin's funeral."
"Better than nothing, I guess," Junior shrugged, eliciting a nod from his sister.
"That's the spirit," Mark grinned. "Now as soon as we finish up here, I suggest you two get a head start on your packing. And be sure to have some room left over for any souvenirs you might wanna get."
"Yeah, but your spendin' budget will be up to your grandparents," Katrina butt in.
"Goddamn it," the twins muttered.
"What was that?" Mark perked an eyebrow.
"Er, nothing, Dad!" Justine quickly replied.
In mid-afternoon the next day, the family of four made their way over to an airstrip well outside of town. Mark and Katrina stood before a large, silver private jet, with the word "Simmons" written on it in black capital letters. The S in the logo was bright red and encased in a greenish-gray star.
"Alright, guys! We're all set!" Mark called out behind him, only to see his children lagging behind. "Come on, guys! Hurry up!"
"I'd really appreciate it if you didn't rush us, Dad!" Justine hollered back, dressed in a tan leather jacket and black leggings as she dragged her midnight purple suitcase behind her.
"You know, he does raise a good point. The sooner we get to Italy, the more time we'll have to explore the place," Junior chimed in, dressed in a graphic T-shirt and white sweatpants as he dragged his azure suitcase.
"Your brother's right, young lady," Katrina butt in.
"Fine, gang up on me. See what I care," Justine rolled her eyes.
"Oh, lighten up, pumpkin. I'm sure your trip is gonna be a blast," Mark put a hand on his daughter's shoulder. "Hell, your mother and I would come along too if it weren't for obligations here in America."
"Yeah, well so long for now," Junior hugged both of his parents before bolting for the steps onto the plane.
"Yeah, what he said," Justine followed suit.
"Arrivedirci! Be sure to call us every so often to keep us posted!" Katrina called after the twins.
"Yeah, sure, whatever," Justine muttered.
"We'll try, but I don't think there's much of a signal in that old cottage they live in!" Junior called back. "Bye guys!"
Mark and Katrina proceeded to wave their children off before the plane took to the skies. They could only hope that they would enjoy the senior trip they'd been looking forward to for several months now.
Several hours later, both Junior and Justine were busying themselves as they waited for their private jet to land in Florence. The former had his nose buried in a travel brochure about Italy, while the latter sat across from him, completely engrossed in the various social media apps on her tablet. A large plate of ballpark nachos was on the table between them, which they occasionally snacked from.
"Hmm... interesting," Junior mumbled.
"What's interesting? You found some old cathedral or museum to check out? Well I've got news for you, bro: count me out," Justine replied. "I'm happy to try the food, I'm happy to walk around town, and I'm more than happy to visit my grandparents. But I'm treating this as a vacation, not an educational field trip. If I wanted to wrack my brain, I'd have signed up for summer school."
"Well if you'd let me finish, you'd know that I wasn't talking about any museums or cathedrals. I just found out that Italy has no drinking age whatsoever," Junior explained.
"Cool, but the question is, will Grandma Renata and Grandpa Alfonzo let us do it?" Justine asked.
"I have no idea," Junior replied. "Speaking of which, I can't help but wonder what those old geezers do when they're not paying us a visit."
"Probably consummating several decades of marriage. Like making out so hard they swap dentures. Or maybe humping each other so forcefully that they dislocate their hips," Justine pondered.
"Blecch! And I thought most women lost interest in sex by the age of fifty," Junior shuddered.
"Speaking of which, I can't help but wonder if Aunt Priscilla's doing okay. She seemed pretty shaken up after Uncle Collin's overdose," Justine said morosely. "I remember those two were like a pair of ass cheeks; despite all the shit that occurred between them, they always got back together and worked things out."
"Here you are, you two. Hope you enjoy," a coiffed waiter stopped by, lowering a silver platter for the twins to grab their drinks off of.
"Thank you, sir," Junior replied politely.
"Yeah, what he said," Justine muttered. "Say, it's getting a little hot in here."
With that, she proceeded to strip off her bomber jacket, revealing a tube top in the colors of the Italian flag that revealed about two inches of skin all around. She let out a content sigh as she let the cool breeze from the air conditioning hit her skin.
"Uh, isn't that Mom's top?" Junior asked.
"Well hey, since we're going to Italy, I figured I might as well look the part," Justine shrugged, sipping her virgin piña colada. "Besides, she's getting way too old to wear shit like this. Not to mention she's probably owned it so long that it's gone in and out of style five times."
"If you say so," Junior rolled his eyes as he sipped his virgin strawberry daiquiri.
Without warning, the lights in the passenger area started to flash on and off as a slightly muted siren started to go off. Both twins looked up at the sound of a beep, noticing that the "Fasten Seatbelt" sign had been turned on and quickly buckling themselves in.
"Attention: this is your captain speaking!" the captain said over the intercom. "You've probably noticed all the turbulence going on right now, and that is the result of turbine failure on the right wing... in more ways than one, I might add. All we can say is prepare for a rough landing."
"Well this is just groovy!" Junior spat sarcastically.
"And just when I was about to leave a snarky comment on Mom's slutty Instagram!" Justine groaned.
The only thing the occupants could do was brace themselves as the plane quickly plummeted below the clouds, a thick trail of smoke emitting from its right turbine as it got closer and closer to the ground.
It was approaching sunset at a tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. A profusely smoking plane wreckage was located on a cluster of rocks just offshore. It didn't take long for someone to disturb the silence, and that someone was Justine, frequently coughing as she made her way out of the cabin. She was taken by surprise as her first step brought her into the ankle-deep saltwater. This was enough to make her look around, noticing her unfamiliar surroundings.
"Yeah, this definitely doesn't look like Florence," she remarked, stepping onto the black sand beach before the sound of some nearby coughing caught her attention.
That coughing came from none other than her twin brother, Mark Jr., as he stumbled out of the wreckage.
"Oh, thank God. You're alive," Justine sighed in relief as she tightly hugged him. "You okay? Nothing broken?"
"Yeah, I'm good... but I can't say the same about the staff who came with us," Junior replied, thumbing to the plane's cockpit, which was flooded to the brim with blood.
"Ugh... well it looks like we're all alone here," Justine grimaced. "Now the question is what do we do next?"
"Maybe we should have a look around before we make a decision," Junior suggested. "Who knows? Maybe we can find a way to get out of here."
Before his sister could respond, an odd orange glow could be seen through the jungle in front of them, growing brighter as it grew closer. Junior and Justine both backed up nervously until they were standing in the water, wondering just what was going on here.