Fred and George woke unusually early the next morning. They shared an uneasy glance as they headed down to the shop, for today was Lupin's first day of training. Today would be the deciding factor as to whether or not they could leave their shop in his hands while they spend a year in America. It wasn't even seven o'clock when they opened their shop for the day. They sat in anticipation for a little while, no shoppers were ever up this early and Lupin wasn't due for work until around eight. Time seemed to creep by and Fred and George found themselves growing more and more restless. Fred locked and unlocked the door three times, George suddenly seemed the realize the thin coat of dust that settled around the shop over night and began to run around frantically, making sure there was not even a speck of dust to be found. Fred was about to rearrange the entire inventory when there was a knock on the door. He hurried to the door to let Lupin in. Lupin entered looking tired and worn out.
"I'm not late, am I?" Lupin asked timidly.
"No not at all!" Fred said joyfully. Lupin looked around and asked,
"Ohh, he's probably in the back, dusting something or rearranging inventory." Fred said absentmindedly. Just then George came around the corner carrying a large stack of boxes.
"Hello Lupin," Greeted George, "I was wondering who Fred was talking to, thought he might of went mad and had been talking to himself."
"So," began Lupin, "Shall we start? I do have some experience working in retail."
"Excellent." The twins said in unison. Just then there was a scratching at the door.
"Ohh mum, will she ever leave us be?" Sighed Fred. But when he opened the door he was not greeted by an owl. He was surprised to find not on owl, but a messenger hawk on his door step. He looked around, assuming it was some kind of prank, but there was no one in sight. Most of the shops weren't even open yet. He was about to close the door when the hawk flew up and landed right on his fore arm.
"Aghhhhh!" He yelled as he jumped back in surprise.
"What?" George asked, surprised by his brother's outburst, maybe he had gone mad.
"This bloody bird is trying to attack me!!" Fred yelled, trying to get the bird to dismount his arm. It just sat there quietly, as if it didn't notice that Fred was flailing his arm like a mad man. When Lupin realized what was happening all he could do was laugh.
"Why are you laughing?" Fred cried out in distress.
"Just stop, Fred, stop flailing, it won't let go. That's a messenger hawk. It won't let go until you read the message its carrying."
"Messenger hawk?" The twins asked.
"Yes, a messenger hawk. Americans use hawks instead of owls to send their messages. You see, America is quite a bit larger of country than England is, so they needed a bird that was better on distances. So they use hawks."
"Well I got to hand it to those Americans, they sure do send their mail with style." said George, clearly impressed. "So brother, what does the letter say?"
"Letter? oh right, the letter." He removed the parchment that was wrapped around the hawk's leg and read:
"10 of June in the year of 1996,
Mr. Fred and Mr. George Weasley,
On behalf of the Mannaro family we cordially inquire as to if you would be obliged to spend a portion of the summer holidays before beginning schooling. It has been a special request by mistress Thalia of the Mannaro family that perhaps you would enjoy celebrating the fourth day of July with the family. It is her understanding that the celebration that takes place on the fourth of July happens only in America and yourselves would find especially entertaining. We are expecting an immediate response and will further correspondence to decide the time of departure.
Thank you for your time,
The Mannaro family."
"What's so special about the fourth of July?" Asked Fred.
"Well, it's the celebration of American independence."
"Sounds boring." Added George.
"Ohh, its anything but boring." Informed Lupin, "On the fourth of July, also called Independence Day, Americans celebrate their liberation from Britain by having cookouts and setting of fire works."
"A day of eating and blowing stuff up?" Asked Fred.
"Ohh we are so there." Added George.
They sent a letter in reply to the Mannaro's that they wouldn't miss it for the world.
They awoke the next day to find another messenger hawk at their front door carrying a letter and a package.
"But how could they have already gotten our reply?" asked Fred.
"Its like they knew we were going to say yes." Added George. When they read the letter, they saw that the date read for June eleventh, the day after the first letter was sent. How could they already know their answer? Maybe they were just predictable? Maybe a fourth of July celebration was truly irresistible..?
They went on to read and realized that this letter was not written in the neat cursive the first letter was written in, but a messy scrawl, as if the writer had been very rushed: "Fred and George,
It has been cleared for you to arrive by port key on the twenty eighth of June at exactly noon. The contents of the package are the port key. I also thought you might like to know that there is a five hour time difference, so even though you will leave at noon, it will be five in the evening when you arrive. Best of luck.
"But how did she know we would say yes?" They wondered.