Brian walked to school, singing Tonight to himself as he went. Admittedly, it had some of the sappiest lyrics ever, but it was still a good song musically.

"Tonight, tonight; it all began tonight. I saw you and the world went away…"

He smiled at this. Maria was quite an idiot, it was true, but at least she was cute about it.

He'd just finished the song when the boy he'd met the previous night, Hugo, appeared around the bend. With him was a girl-short, brunette, with big brown eyes and quite a bit of makeup. She was wearing a pink strapless shirt and a matching skirt that fell just above her knees. Was that Hugo's girlfriend or something?

"Hey, Hugo!" called Brian, smiling.

"Hi," said Hugo once he'd reached the gate. "Brian, this is Mary, my stepsister. Mary, Brian." So she was his stepsister then. Okay. Brian held out a hand.

"Pleasure to meet you," he said.

"The pleasure's all mine," Mary said in a high, giggly voice, taking his hand daintily.

A few minutes passed in silence. "It sure is cold," said Mary, shivering. Though inwardly wondering why the hell she was wearing a tube top in this weather, Brian, always the gentlemen, handed her his coat. "Here, that may help," he said, earning himself a lipsticked grin. Oh, joy.

"So, why don't you tell us about yourself?" asked Mary.

"Well, I like musicals-"

"Ohmygod, me too!" Mary squealed.

"Uh, haven't you only seen, like, maybe two musicals ever?" asked Hugo.

"Silly!" said Mary, reaching over Brian's shoulders to slap Hugo playfully on the arm. "I adore musicals." She turned back to Brian. "My favorite is Jesus Christ: Superstar. How about you?"

Brian had to think about this question. West Side Story had one of the best soundtracks, for sure, but Cabaret probably won for cutest pairing (Freulein Sneider and Herr Schultz). In the end, though, there could only be one that was his favorite of all.

"Man of La Mancha," he said.

Mary looked at him blankly.

"You know, based off of Don Quixote?" Another blank stare.

Hugo sighed. "Remember that book we read in English last year, Mary? About the old guy who thinks he's a knight?"

"Oh, that one?" said Mary, looking contemptuous. "Why would you like that? He's old and icky and crazy!"

So, it seems, is this entire town, Brian thought. Then again, his dad wouldn't have been assigned here if it was a sane town. Well, Hugo seemed sane. But Mary certainly didn't. "I like it," said Brian defensively. "And he's not crazy. He's just substituted his own reality for ours. Who are we to say he's wrong? That's the whole point of the musical-questioning reality. To Sancho, an in. To Don Quixote, a castle. To someone else, something entirely different. Who are we to say who's right?"

His rant was interrupted by two people showing up, waving at Mary and Hugo.

"Hey, Hugo!" came a high-pitched voice, not unlike Mary's, as a brunette crashed into the boy. "How are you?"

"Hi, Erin," sighed Hugo. "Erin, Carlisle, this is Brian. Brian, Erin and Carlisle. They live over on Castle Row." Brian smiled and greeted them.

After the introductions, Erin scooted right to Hugo's side. She'd had a crush on him for several years, and kept acting like they were nearly going out, though Hugo had repeatedly stated his lack of interest. He shot a glance at Brian, trying to send a "What're you gonna do?" look.

Soon enough, other students began arriving, and Hugo suggested they head to the office and get Brian's schedule. As it turned out, he had first-period English with Hugo. Mary seemed disappointed that the only class she shared with Brian was p.e., last period. Finally, the group parted ways to go to class.


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