Author's Note: This one is for everyone I drafted into beta reading for me. Thanks, friends, I wouldn't be past the prologue without you.
The Bronze was full that night, as it was a Friday and the movie theater was closed for repairs. Seventeen-year-old Hunter Summers-Harris sat at a table with his friend Jesse Seneca. The two were waiting for Trevor, who would complete their group. The three boys had been friends since they were in diapers, and were alternately called the Three Tenors or the Three Musketeers by various exasperated teachers. Hunter spotted their friends as he came weaving through the crowd while balancing three drinks.
Everyone in town agreed that Trevor looked exactly like his father. This knowledge came from the occational Mr. Mannix sightings made between his many business trips. But it was obvious from even these brief glimpses that that was where Trevor got his dark green eyes, dirty blond hair, and the build that had won him a spot as a quarterback for the Sunnydale Razorbacks.
Trevor passed the drinks around, and somehow Jesse managed to spill his the moment he touched it. Automatically, Trevor handed him a wad of napkins, brought for that purpose. Jesse's knack of spilling any liquid that he was handed was legendary, and by the time he was ten everyone had given up on trying to keep his drink in its container, and had resorted to carrying lots of napkins - or in his father's case, a sponge - in preparation for the inevitable. Everyone, that is, except his mother. Willow Seneca watched her firstborn with hawk eyes whenever any liquid was handed to him. And always gave a little sigh of dissapointment when the liquid ended up on the floor. His father, though, took it in stride.
"He had to inherit one bad trait from each of us," Oz Seneca always said, "be glad that all he got from me was bad luck with water." Mrs. Seneca always acknowledged her husband's point, but continued her crusade to reform her son. When discussing this statement, none of the boys could ever really understand it. In their eyes, Jesse had inherited his parents' only bad traits. His mother's fear of frogs, and his father's water luck. He had also gotten an extra helping of their combined intelligence, some of his mother's shyness, and his father's dark hair and build. Sadly, the last part meant he was doomed forever to be short and wiry.
While both Trevor and Jesse were constantly told about how much they resembled their fathers, Hunter was never subjected to that statement. He didn't look a thing like his father, though he was just as tall. His hair was a much lighter brown, though still a mahogany color, and tended to either spike or hang in his green eyes. From the way girls reacted to him, he gathered that he was quite a bit handsomer than the norm, but all adults tended to comment on was how much he reminded them of his mother. He personally couldn't see much of a resemblance from the many pictures of her that his father had hung on the walls of their house, or kept in their many photo albums. So when he asked why, the answers were vaguer than he would have liked. The most common ones were: 'you have her eyes', or 'you have her sense of humor'. Once, Jesse's mother had told him: 'you have her spirit'. She had then turned away, blinking quickly to hide tears.
But such thoughts were far from Hunter's mind tonight. The boys commented on the band, and the girls, and chatted about a large history project coming up. Trevor left after his girlfriend showed up, and Jesse had to get home early to watch his little brother, Asher, who had been born a year after his sister Jenny's death, which his parents never spoke of. Hunter stuck around for a while longer, hoping that the pretty girl who sat next to him in English might show, but finally gave up. He was just fishing around in his pocket to check for his keys when he felt an odd prickling sensation at the base of his neck. As if someone was watching him. He spun around, but all he saw was the usual Friday crowd. A few people called out greetings, and he waved, firmly shaking the feeling off. Ignoring the lingering unease, he headed for the door. He failed to see the two men detach themselves from the crowd to follow him.