twenty

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His blue eyes examined the gold and silver medals that decorated the twins' room. He saw his reflection from the hundred of achievements the boys had accomplished. Nicholas was astonished.

He skimmed through each shimmering plate that wrote their names like a prized possession in the palm of their hands. The only difference was Nicholas didn't think the boys were arrogant or overbearing. He didn't even know who they really were until his fingers brushed over the surname.

Younes.

He recoiled backwards, wondering if he read the name correctly. The Younes twins were one of the most likeable students at the university. They ruled the school in a way that no one else did. Their kindness and generosity was always a hot topic on campus. Girls swooned over them more than any other guy, but the Younes twins were untouchable.

They were the forbidden fruit that women desired, the green apple that men envied. Humaid and Haroon were sworn to purity, never crossing the river of immorality.

Although Anthony was also popular in some sense, he was only an ignorant student who believed the universe rotated around him. Nothing could go wrong in Anthony's world and God forbid if anything did. He would pulverize each dark imperfection that dotted his reputation much like Nicholas's parents.

However, the Younes brothers were nothing like that.

"You done admiring the trophies, sport?" asked a familiar voice.

Nicholas jumped in surprise. "You scared me," he breathed, putting a hand to his racing heart.

Humaid smirked.

He was dressed in his casual red sweater, his black hair sticking to his forehead, water droplets rolling down the sides of his chiseled jaw. He rubbed the towel over his hair again, his muscles flexing at the movement.

Nicholas wondered if Dina was into guys with muscles like the rest of his class. He glanced down at his lengthy arms.

I could really workout a bit more, he thought.

Pushing the thought away, he turned his attention back to Humaid. "You and Haroon really won all these awards?" he asked incredulously.

"Yeah," chuckled Humaid. "The really academic ones like debate, essay contests, science fair, and math team awards are Haroon's. I've never been that engrossed in school like him."

"Really? But you're both really smart."

Humaid shook his head with a small smile. "Nah, Haroon's the whiz genius of the family. I took more interest in sports."

"I came to that conclusion on my own."

"Harsh, sport. Real harsh," commented Humaid in a joking manner.

Nicholas glanced back at the endless rows of awards, all stacked neatly on multiple wooden shelves, shined to imitate the radiance of their success. It blinded him. The twins' achievements together trumped Nicholas's whole life.

There was something the boys had in common though, something he never knew was a talent, something that sounded very familiar. Qur'an recitation, he read.

"Hey, Humaid?"

"Yeah, what's up?"

Nicholas pointed to the trophy. "What's that one about?" he questioned, trying to understand how both brothers were given an award for it.

Humaid squinted his dark eyes at the trophy, mumbling the words to himself, before he broke into a wide grin. "Ever heard of the holy book that Muslims read?"

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