Riley had a habit of assuming things, he knew that. So when Sister Martha had announced that a new student was joining the class, he had dismissed the new person as a loser, a public school kid that couldn't handle the torture of regular secondary education. Blessed Mary's Catholic Institute for Young Men and Women had become sort of a haven at times for those sorts of kids. The parents often made the foolish mistake of believing that, since the school had the world "Catholic" in it's name, it was some sort of paradise where their kid would be treated with utmost respect and given "a good, moral education" to boot. Little did they know, that rich parochial snobs were much much crueler than their poorer public counterparts.

He had unwrapped a piece of gum and stuck it in his mouth, chomping loudly. His fingers twitched, and he knew he was due for a nice long cigarette break in the boiler room during lunch. At the blackboard, Sister was droning on about Le Chantlier and Boyle. The few overachievers in the class were frantically scribbling down what she was saying. Everyone else was either asleep, looking out the windows, or watching the clock like him. A few notes were being passed around, and he could only imagine the gossip in them. Since today was Monday, by Thursday, whatever was being talked about would be all over the school. By next Monday it would be over and done with. Thankfully.

Ryder then marched in, without knocking, and interrupted Sister Martha mid-sentence. The old nun's eyes gleamed angrily underneath the crisp habit, but she said nothing to the assistant principal. Riley seriously doubted, that even if Sister Martha did tell Ryder off, Ryder would care. As he saw it, Ryder didn't care about anything but the latest supply of Twinkies and Devil Dogs to the cafeteria.

Grossly overweight and balding, she was the brunt of many a fat joke going around the school. It really wasn't fair to make fun of someone because of his or her weight, but he had to smirk at the memory of Joe calling her Porky Piglettle only two periods before. Ryder was wearing an almost fluorescent pink suit, and had stuck hot pink clips in her hair. If it was at all possible, she looked twice as big in that color. Riley briefly thought of slipping a copy of the South Beach Diet under her door as a gentle push, but then decided he didn't care if she exploded and covered the world in all that crème filling she consumed.

After debating with Sister, Ryder motioned outside the door. A few moments later the new girl entered, nervously pulling at the Gothic style cross at her neck. All other actives in the room ceased, and the girl seemed to pick up on this, dropping her eyes to the floor. Riley figured there would be a rumor about why she had gotten kicked out of her last school by the time the day was over. He almost felt pity for her. Almost. Riley loudly cracked his gum, causing him to receive a harsh look from Ryder and a shake of the finger from Sister. Inwardly, he snorted and folded his hands under his chin.

Ryder, meanwhile, had walked behind the girl and placed both of her chubby hands on each shoulder, almost engulfing them. "Class, I'd like you to meet Adèle Devereux." The assistant principal then gave the girl's shoulders a hearty squeeze. "I expect that you'll show her the same kindness to which everyone who enters Blessed Mary's is entitled." The girl- Adèle- paled visibly, and suddenly seemed more interested in her shoes than ever before. Poor kid, he thought, pressing his gum against the top of his mouth and straightening it out with his tongue. Having been forced to attend Catholic, private schools for his entire academic career, Riley had made a habit of being able to size up new enrollees and how long they would last. He gave Adèle Devereux six months at the most.

The girl had her shoulders squeezed again and then Ryder released her and wandered out of the room, much to Sister's delight. The nun clapped her hands once (anyone who didn't know how much Sister Martha and Connie Ryder hated each other would have thought the gesture was just to clear chalk off her hands) and announced cheerfully that, if no one had any other problems or issues, they could get back to the topic.

A snort erupted from the girl in front of Riley, who was nearly failing off her seat in laughter. Sally Rivers, she was called, a short redhead with a nasty streak and a penchant for blaming others for her misdeeds. In character, she pointed at her lab partner, and Sister bellowed for both of them to get out. Adèle was feigning half interest, still waiting to be told what to do. After being silent for a full minute, she finally asked where she was supposed to sit. Sister, who had turned her back to the class and was scribbling in chalk on the blackboard, motioned for the dark haired girl to sit wherever she felt like.

Riley had turned his attention back to the clock, counting the minutes until he could sneak down to the boiler room and light up. Smoking was a nasty, horrible habit but Riley found himself savoring the edge it added to his character. People who smoked and drank were considered to be the rebels. And Riley was happy with that label being affixed to him, for the sole reason that it made the little underclassmen move out of his ways in the hall.

"Est-ce que je peux m'asseoir ici?" At least, that's what Riley thought she said. It was too soft and muffled to really be certain.

He looked up, to see Adèle standing at his side. "What?" He managed to choke out, being taken by surprise. The French was familiar; thanks to classes his Mother had enrolled him in when he was just a kid. But, it was fast and mumbled rather than embarrass himself, he asked: "In English, please?"

She reddened. "Sorry, the French is a nervous habit. Uhm," Adèle paused and shook her head firmly. "Could I sit here, please?" She translated, even softer than before, lowering her head and allowing the few dark strands that had escaped from her braid to fall across her face.

Riley looked at his books scattered across the table surface. He had chosen the far right corner so that he could both look out the windows and watch everyone else in the room without easily being watched himself. "Sure, whatever." He finally replied, waiting long enough to make her think he was going to say no.

Adèle smiled gratefully and plopped down on the stool, carefully helping him gather his books and shove them into the cubbyhole cut into the wooden frame. "You're Riley, right? Riley Cross." She tucked a strand of dark hair behind her ear and waited patiently for his reply.

She had stopped playing with the cross charm, and it had come to rest against the stark white of her buttoned blouse. Just enrolled and she was already decked out in the schoolgirl chic of the uniform code. Except, he noted with growing amusement, for the worn sneakers on her feet. She noticed him looking and muttered something under her breath that Riley didn't catch, along with rolling her eyes. "Well, are you?" Her voice was more impatient this time.

"How did you hear that?" Riley replied with a question of his own, not bothering to answer her question first.

Slight laughter. "You should read the writing on the bathroom walls about you," She paused, a sweet, impish grin growing on her face. "Cher Dieu. You have quite the following, did you know that?"

He decided in that moment that he didn't care for Adèle Devereux. The bipolar factor of her personality was starting to seriously irk him. "Yeah, I'm Riley, and yeah I know, and, so?" He leaned back and cracked his gum again. "And the French is annoying. You ought to drop it. Nervous condition or not. People will regard you as a weirdo." Too late. He already thought she was a total spaz. He moved up his prediction for her demise at Blessed Mary's to four months, at the most.

"Really." She regarded him with her flat eyes, and Riley noticed that they were near black, with light blue surrounding the pupils. He felt himself take a sharp breath and her critical gaze. "Wouldn't that have happened anyway?" She then muttered something else in French.

Riley was utterly lost in what to reply with. He wondered if skipping out of those classes as a kid really was a good idea in the long run. Luckily the bell rang, and he was saved from Adèle and questioning eyes. Cher Dieu indeed, if he was going to have to sit next to that girl for the entire year.

Edited version, because it drove me nuts, because stuff was pointed out (I have a funny way of writing like I talk in the narrative), and because I didn't like how Adele came across. Still, shred it. I'm always open to hear any suggestions.

-Clare