So…chapter 4! Hope you're liking it so far, and don't worry if you think it might be moving a little slowly- it'll speed up a bit as the story progresses. Again, I'd love reviews, no matter how long or short. Just something to give me an idea of how I'm doing

I'd like to thank the two Guest reviewers who reviewed the last chapter- you guys are awesome! Enjoy the chapter, and review maybe?

Although Tally distinctly remembered Shay telling her on the bus that he, Eimear and Nat would be in the same base class as her, none of them made an appearance in any of the first two classes. Third period was for options, or electives as the secretary who had given Tally her schedule that morning had explained. Tally had chosen Business Studies as her first option, Home Economics as her second, and French as her language subject. When Tally reached her Business class, she was relieved to recognize Evan and Mia in the small crowd of students waiting outside the classroom.

At first she wasn't quite sure if they'd even speak to her after the things she'd said to Kit earlier, but when Mia waved her over enthusiastically, she didn't question it. "Didn't know you were in this class, Tally!," Mia exclaimed. Tally nodded awkwardly. "Yeah, well I didn't really know what other subjects I'd actually be able to do- you know Art, Music, and all that. I signed up for Home Ec too."

Mia's face lit up. "So am I, maybe you'll be in my class! We could be cooking partners!" Tally grinned, relieved that she would have someone to talk to at least. "What about you, Evan?," she asked, "What other options subject do you take?"

Evan looked a little shocked at being directly spoke to, and appeared both startled and shyly delighted at Tally's including him in the conversation. Tally got the impression that he didn't talk much. "Tech Graph," he responded, voice so quiet Tally could barely make out his pronounced accent, "I'm in Nat and Shay's class."

"Speaking of Nat and Shay, where are they? They're meant to be in my base class, they said, but I haven't seen them all morning. Haven't seen Eimear, either."

Mia cursed under her breath, and Evan gave a weary sigh. Tally was getting quite curious now. It seemed that this new group of people she was getting to know seemed to get themselves into an awful lot of trouble. "I'm willing to bet Nick's missing too so, probably Kit as well," she said cryptically, seeming irritated. Seeing Tally's confused expression, Evan explained. "They bunk off school and smoke on the pitch. You can't see the far goalposts from the building because of the trees in between the pitch and school."

Tally was hardly surprised, she had had some friends back home who had skipped classes occasionally, and she had even done so once or twice herself when she knew she wouldn't be missed. She'd never smoked though- Aden Lanning, her ex-boyfriend and all-round terrible human being, had smoked like a chimney and refused to quit when Tally had suggested the idea. Tally would never smoke, but that hardly made her a saint.

She just shrugged in response to the information, almost indifferent. What had she been expecting? That she would finally make some friends with somewhat responsible people who obeyed the rules? If it weren't for Mia and Evan, who obviously disapproved of the whole smoking and bunking off situation, she'd almost go out of her way to avoid them. It was looking like some of her new friends were exactly the kinds of people she'd been hoping to avoid this time round.

The teacher arrived five minutes later, to the great disappointment of the class, who had been hoping for a free period. She was on the older end of things, with iron-grey hair and what appeared to be a similar disposition. Barking at the class to sit down, Mia tugged Tally to the back row, where she said there was an empty seat. "That's Ms O' Mara," Tally whispered to her as they made their way through the room, "She's a bit…strict. Actually that's putting it nicely- she's more of a bitch, to be honest." Tally sat herself in between Mia and Evan, glad she had someone whose book she could look into, as she wouldn't be getting hers until break-time. This Ms O' Mara didn't sound like someone who'd happily lend her a textbook.

"I understand we have a new student," Ms O' Mara barked from the front of the classroom. A Thalia Nolan, from America. If Ms Nolan could please stand up and introduce herself to the class?"

Tally gulped nervously. Her teachers for the last two classes had foregone making her introduce herself, and had instead said a few brief words to the class about the new student. Clearly Ms O' Mara would be making no such allowances. Tally stood slowly, gulping again as the entire class focused their attention on her.

"Ummm…. Hi, my name's Tally, I just moved here from Florida…" She trailed off uncertainly, not sure what else she was supposed to be saying. The teacher gave her an abrupt nod, and a relieved Tally took that as a sign that she could sit down. The rest of the class had been whispering furiously under their breath, probably about Tally, but shut up quickly with one vicious glare from Ms O' Mara. The rest of the class went by quite quickly, and very silently.

§ § § §

After the bell had rung for her last class, Tally grabbed her homework books from her locker and made her way outside to the line of school buses. She had gotten her books at break-time, then gone to the cafeteria with Evan and Mia, where they had sat with Kit and Toby. Nat, Shay and Eimear hadn't shown up for any of the classes they had with Tally all day, and at lunch Kit mentioned that Nick had not been in class either. From the accepting and unsurprised reactions of Mia, Evan and Toby to this news Tally quickly surmised that this was a common enough occurrence. Thankfully, things between Kit and Tally at lunch weren't at all awkward, and Tally guessed that Kit wasn't the type to hold grudges for no good reason.

As Tally made her way down the bus line, hoping to catch a glimpse of a familiar face in one of the buses so that she wouldn't have to ask the drivers, when she caught sight of Kit and Toby standing by Kit's motorcycle. While students weren't technically allowed to have motorcycles, Kit somehow seemed to get away with it (although Tally guessed that that had a lot to do with the fact that he always parked it in the blind spot of the security cameras). Just then, Toby saw Tally and tried successfully to catch her attention by flailing his hands in the air wildly, smacking Kit in the nose in the process.

"HI TALLY!," the younger boy yelled, despite the fact that he wasn't further than twenty feet from Tally. Tally's face flushed with embarrassment as several students looked on curiously, and skidded to a halt. One tall, bulky-looking guy who was probably about sixteen or seventeen glared hatefully at Toby. Toby responded with a bright, shit-eating grin and cheeky wink, angering the older boy who snarled viciously in Toby's direction. Apparently not seeing Kit, who was at that moment bent over the motorcycle adjusting something, the older boy stormed over to Toby and grabbed hold of the smaller boy by the collar of his shirt.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP, SPARKY, YOU STUPID LITTLE FAG!," he bellowed, spittle flying into Toby's face, who winced. From the limited view of Kit that she had, mostly of his back and legs, she could see that he had tensed up.

When her attention turned back to Toby, she stifled a gasp of horror as Toby opened his smart little mouth and Tally realized that he planned o respond to the bully's taunts- not the best course of action, considering the bigger boy now had Toby suspended about a foot of the ground by the collar.

"You know, Greg," Toby said in a clear, matter-of-fact voice that carried over the background noise of babbling teenagers, "I'm not actually gay. I am, however, flattered at your obvious interest, but you're not really my type—"

Toby was cut off by Greg's outraged bellow and a fresh spray of spit. Unable to help herself, she burst out laughing. That would prove to be a grave enough mistake.

Greg whirled round to glare furiously at Tally, ignoring Toby's pained groans at being pulled around by the collar. "YOU GOT A PROBLEM, BITCH?," he bellowed angrily at Tally, who just burst out laughing again. This guy clearly thought that he was tough shit because he could beat up smart-mouth fourteen-year olds. Tally had seen a real bully- it was the ones who didn't have to depend solely on physical strength that you had to worry about. Aden Lanning came to mind, making Tally shudder. Greg, however, most likely had the IQ of a particularly stupid pebble, and looked more idiotic than threatening to Tally.

"Not at all!," she called back cheerfully, "Don't let me interrupt you and your boyfriend!" Greg growled at that, shaking Toby violently. The smaller boy's head snapped backwards and forwards on his neck like a ragdoll, and he let out a small whimper of protest. That was apparently enough for Kit, who decided that it was time to intervene. He straightened up and shrugged off the leather jacket he had been wearing before striding up to where Greg stood, about to punch Toby in the face. Stricken, Tally lurched backwards and forwards on the balls of her feet, unsure as to whether or not she should run over and lend Kit a hand.

That question was answered for her when Kit calmly delivered a swift sharp kick to Greg's shin, making the bulky boy groan and involuntarily drop Toby. Kit steadied his brother and pushed him out of the way, before stepping up so that he was toe-to-toe with Greg, who was seething with fury, and started to speak calmly to him with a pleasant expression. Enthralled and terrified, Tally drifted forwards towards the scene to hear what the boys were saying.

"…so if you'd kindly depart from my brother's vicinity, Gregory, that would be greatly appreciated," Kit said pleasantly with an icy undertone as Tally came to a stop beside Toby, who was standing a few feet away from the two older boys with his arms crossed and a surly expression on his face. "I could so have handled it," he hissed at Tally, without tearing his eyes away from the scene. Tally snorted humorously, earning her a sharp jab in the ribs from Toby. "Irritating little bastard," she hissed good-naturedly at him.

"You think you're so fucking brilliant, Sparks, with your leather jackets and fancy words, don't you?," Greg snarled. Kit smirked evilly. "Why yes, Gregory, yes I do, as a matter of fact. Since you don't appear to have understood what my prior words meant, I'll clarify: fuck off."

With that, Kit bent his knee upwards and grabbed Greg by the collar of his jumper, jerking the bulky boy forwards onto his outstretched knee. "You bloody fucker, Sparks," Greg wheezed, obviously in agony. Kit smirked sadistically as he shoved Greg away and moved back towards Tally and Toby.

"Oh and Gregory, by the way, leather jacket are the height of sophistication," he called over his shoulder, to which Greg raised a middle finger before stumbling away. Kit turned to Toby and Tally with a wide grin. "Some people just never learn," he said , not sounding too bothered. He picked up the leather jacket he'd tossed to the ground, dusted it off, and slid it back on before throwing a leg over his motorcycle, motioning for Toby to do the same.

When both boys were seated on the bike, Kit looked up at Tally with an amused grin, before nodding towards the bus line. "Might want to get a move on there, darling. Your chariot is departing."

Tally whirled round only to see her bus pulling out of the line, about to leave. Cursing under her breath, she swung her backpack onto her shoulders and ran for the bus as fast as she could. She barely caught it, and stumbled towards the back as the bus began to move again, holding on to the seats and arm rests to keep her balance. "Hiya Tally," Mia called cheerfully. Tally took that as an invitation, and sat by Mia and her friends, nodding in greeting. There was a distinct smell of smoke off Nat, Eimear, Shay and Nick, but apart from that they acted no differently to how they had that morning.

"So…how was the first day?," Shay asked with a friendly grin. Tally smiled back. "Well," she sighed, "t was something alright." Shay ad the others just laughed.