I walk in to the cafeteria and look around uncertainly. It's big with whitewashed walls with many posters around. The one closest to me had a picture of some running for class president. The slogan is crummy.

Michelle pulls on my elbow. "C'mon. You can sit with me if you want."

I agree with a light nod and a slight smile. "Sure."

"Do you have money for lunch?" she asks, heading into the line.

"Yeah, but I'm not very hungry."

"Okay. I'll be just a sec." Hardly a minute later, she emerges from the front of the line carrying a Styrofoam tray. "Let's go."

"She leads me to a table with several girl and guys sitting together. Some are eating from lunch bags; others have hot lunches like Michelle. Conversation stops when we reach the table.

"Hey guys. This is Ember, she's new."

"Oh, your in my first hour, hey." A skinny-ish boy wearing an argyle sweater-vest smiles at me. His teeth are lined with rows of blue braces, and it looks good on him.

"Hi," I say.

Michelle makes room for her and me to sit down. I fold myself carefully into the place next to her. "Ember, that's Craig," she tell me, pointing the who spoke to me. She proceeds to introduce me to other people at our table. They all dress alike, in classic jeans and Gap sweaters.

Suzie, a rosy cheeked brunette, offers me a bit of her sandwich and I decline politely. She and Michelle talk to me for a bit before going into their own conversation.

A boy named Michael, sitting across form me, leans towards me and asks, "So, where did you used to live?"

"Minnesota."

"Yeah? Where?" His eyes are curious. I've never seen such a clear blue in anyone's eyes. They're almost translucent.

"Winona. You've probably never heard of it," I answer, folding my hand on my lap.

"No. What's it's like?"

"Small, I guess. And green."

He nods, and takes a bite into his sandwich. "How long have you been here?"

"About a week. This is my first day here."

"Yeah. There's no way I could've missed someone as pretty you." I'm unimpressed by his comment, but I smile lightly anyway. Out of the corner of my eye, Michelle flashes us a look. I turn to stare at the wall and Michael goes back to talking with the rest of the group. I listen quietly, never adding anything, and soon, the bell rings and it's time to move on.

--

Math is bane of my existence. The formulas are too complicated, and I don't understand proofs to save my life. The notes I take are nonsense to me; they don't stick. Looking at them is like looking at a page written in French, and my hand is too busy writing to rise for a question. It's like a heavenly choir when the bell rings.

I ask the girl sitting next to me how to get to my history class, and she kindly tells me, even going as far as to offer to take me, but I politely refuse. I'm pretty good with direction.

This is my first chance to walk alone in the school. The people here don't seem to act much different from the kids at my own school. Blending in should be easy enough.

In class, the desks are set in groups instead of apart like most of the others. I'm actually rather early, and at once I'm inside, I don't know where to sit. There are very few people who I recognize, and none of them notice me come in. While I deliberate, I see a hand wave. My eyes find Michael and he motions for me to come to him. I make my way to where he is, towards the back of his room. He pats the desk next to him, and I set my books down. The other two people – the only ones I know in the class – are sitting across from us.

"Hello," Michael says with a grin.

"Hi. Thanks for the seat." At the sound of my voice, the other two look up and upon seeing me, engage me in conversation.

The class quiets when the teacher walks in. He has a regular build, and isn't as old looking as the rest of my teachers. In fact, he looks barely thirty.

"I've been informed that I'm getting a new student?" he asks, putting his briefcase on the desk. I stand up quietly, and almost cringe the class turns to look at me. "Ah, you are then?" he asks. "Just hand me your papers, will you." His voice is not what I expected it to be. It's a deep, with an Australian accent. I shuffle to the room and hand him the papers. He smiles warmly at me, and when our eyes meet, I have the impression he was seeing more than he should. "I'm Mr. Bald," he introduces himself. "Nice to meet you, Ember." I nod quickly walked away.

Back in my seat, I open my notebook, ready to take notes. Michael leans his elbow on the desktop and looks at me.

"So, tell me about yourself."

"Uh, I don't know if this is the best time," I say, glancing at him.

"Oh, no. Mr., Bald won't care at all. He's beyond that." I look at him questioningly. "Come on."

"Uh…what do you wanna know?"

"I don't know. What do like to do?"

"Er…" I pull the sleeves of my sweatshirt over my knuckles. "I read a lot. And that I guess, makes me want to write so I do that, too." I find it curious that he's curious about me.

"Yeah? what are your favorite books?" He begins trace his finger along the desk.

"I've got a lot." I tell him. "The classics, of course. But I mean, I find a lot of books that I like and they all vary, so it's hard to say."

He leans a little closer to my desk, until his elbow I directly next to mine. "What's the most recent thing you read?"

"The Vampire Lestat," I answer automatically. Something crosses his face, a mix between humor and surprise, but it's gone in an instant.

"That's a really good one. Have you read any other Anne Rice novels?"

"Yeah, almost all. What about you?" His face is distractingly close, but can't move away.

"Oh yes," he says with a lazy smile. "I'm a wiz at Anne Rice novels." His voice is almost teasing.

From then, we turn back to our teacher and take notes on the pages Mr. Bald's assigned the class to read.

--

I need to get no books from my locker, since I don't yet have one, so I leave the school immediately. But just as I'm walking out of the front door, Michelle catches up to me.

"Hey, Ember."

"Hey. Um… how are you?"

"Good. And you? Are you going home? Do you want a ride?"

I deliberate for a second, and then decline. "Thanks, Michelle, but I'll walk."

She nods understandingly. "Alright, I'll see you tomorrow. Call me if you get the chance!" I nod and walk away, heading in the direction of my house. It's only about ten minutes away and soon enough, I'm walking into the kitchen of my new home.

"Hello, darling. How was your day?" My mother is hovering her fingers over the sink, watching the dishes wash.

"Interesting. " I answer, pulling up a chair.


A/N: So…. There's the second chapter. We're making progress here, no? Yes, I believe we are. Reviews anyone?

Well, anyway, I've decided to introduce Michael in this chapter. I don' know how much of his personality you'll get form this, but ah well. He wont play a huge part in the story, but it's pretty moderate.

tell me whatya think...

-jora