At 5:44 AM, Forks, Washington was completely silent. The peace was undisturbed by birds, cars, or human voices.
A minute later, the opening notes of I, Don Quixote broke the silence, playing from an alarm clock/CD player in a bedroom in a house on Park Lane.
Brian Hannel blinked a few times, still half-asleep. His incomplete wakefulness did not keep him from singing along when the verse began.
"Hear me now, oh thou bleak and unbearable world-thou art based and debauched as can be…"
With these lines, he got upand began to do his morning rounds of push-ups on the floor of his room.
"And a knight with his banners all bravely unfurled now hurls down his godlet to thee!"
When he had finished his morning exercises, and Sancho began singing, Brian padded to his closet and pulled on his usual attire-a black t-shirt and jeans. As always, he timed his dressing so that his head was free of his collar in time to join Don Quixote for the third verse of the song.
"Hear me, heathens and wizards and serpents of sin, all your dastardly doings are past…"
Brian had always admired Don Quixote. Sure, he was supposedly insane, but that was never how Brian had thought of it. In a way, he was a knight errant-he'd lived his life to follow the Quest, he'd faced the Enchanter, and he'd even rescued a damsel in distress. The impossible dream-that was what Brian strived for every day. His father had taught him to do that.
The aforementioned father had left the house about an hour before his son woke up. He hated leaving so early, but there was nothing he could do about it. Currently, he was driving down the highway to Seattle. He'd stopped at a Starbucks on his way out of Forks, and had downed about half of his Venti-sized coffee in the intervening time.
Finally reaching the turnoff, Aaron Hannel entered the city of Seattle. He took a series of turns most would find very confusing, then parked. He had to walk a few more blocks to his destination, a nondescript building with windows tinted to almost black.
A few minutes later, he was standing in front of a desk, behind which sat a tall, balding man with steely gray eyes.
"Your report?" asked the man.
"No evidence of Hostile Sub-Terrestrials in my area, Sir, but I'm sure they'll strike there. It's always the Christian towns."
The man nodded. "Very well. Search the town's files; see if there's been any past activity."
Aaron nodded. "I'll be off to the town archives, then," he said, taking his leave.
Thirty minutes after Brian's alarm went off, Hugo's began to play Here Comes the Sun. Honestly, Hugo wasn't a huge fan of the song-he was really more of a Strawberry Fields person-but he'd had to give up nearly all of his British Invasion music when he'd moved to Forks, and Here Comes the Sun was at least a good morning song.
"Idnwnnageddup," Hugo mumbled his voice muted by his pillow, in which his face was buried. However, at that moment, he remembered the previous evening and his agreement to meet Brian before school. He suddenly felt much more motivated to spend the effort to leave his bed. He nearly jumped out from under his covers, actually grinning. He hadn't felt so lighthearted in a long time. Quickly, he showered and dressed, having to consciously keep himself from humming.
Mary met him downstairs. "You look happy," she observed.
Hugo concentrated hard on the box of Cocoa Puffs he was taking down from its shelf to keep her from seeing him blushing. "Well, it's a nice morning," he said. "God seems to be happy with us," he added quickly.
"Yes, I suppose He does," said Mary, snatching the cereal from Hugo.
Hugo could hardly stand to look at his stepsister. It wasn't that she was mean to him-and that was what made living with her so hard. She honestly meant well. He couldn't merely pass her off as malicious because she wasn't. On the other hand, he could never really feel comfortable around her either.
"I offered to show the new boy Brian around the school," he said, taking a bite of Cocoa Puffs.
"I'll come with you," said Mary enthusiastically. "He was really cute," she added.
Hugo nearly choked on his cereal.
"Oh, I forgot," said Mary, misinterpreting his reaction. "You boys don't like romantic stuff." She rolled her eyes. "You know, I bet if you were a little more interested in girls and less interested in The What and The Bugs and all that, you'd actually have a girlfriend."
Hugo nodded absently, still a little shaken. It had been a stupid thought, really. Of course he wasn't going to be the only person to notice how handsome Brian was. It was impossible not to notice it.
His thoughts continued in this manner for the remainder of breakfast. "Shall we go, then?" he asked when they had both finished.
Mary, who had been checking her makeup in the back of her spoon, looked up. "Okay," she said.
As the two set off, they noticed an unfamiliar car heading towards Town Hall.
"I wonder who that is," said Mary. "I've never seen that car before."
"Must be one of Brian's parents," said Hugo. "I wonder what he's doing at Town Hall, though."
Shrugging, Mary set off, with Hugo at her side.
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