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The first rumor that Mark heard about the new guy, was that he looked really, and I quote, "weird". Which wasn't much to go on.

This enlightening new information came from his best friend, Wade, as they were walking to their first class bright and early on Monday morning. The two had been friends ever since they were little kids and they had a running joke about their height difference. Wade boasting about having to kneel down to hear that Mark said and Mark resorting to calling names.

Mark lived in a small town which meant that anything new was on the tip of everyone's tongue. Rumors spread like wildfire, hence the first thing that came out of Wade's mouth was the groundbreaking news.

"I heard his name's Jack," he announced as they waited outside their history class. "According to Bob, he's moved over from Ireland with his Mom. At least, I think it was Ireland, maybe it was England. I can't remember."

Mark shrugged, not caring much either way. "I wonder why they're coming over to America. That's a long-ass journey."

Wade shrugged, heaving a low sigh. "I dunno. Nobody I've talked to knows much. Maybe they wanted a change of scenery or something?"

Mark hummed in agreement as they finally shuffled their way into the classroom. The chatter of their classmates suddenly seemed to increase tenfold and they quickly grabbed two seats beside each other before their teacher, Miss Fletcher, clip-clopped into the room in her too-high, high heels.

Her pale blonde fringe always flopped into her eyes, wisps of hair falling out of her messy bun as she clapped her hands to get the teenager's attention. "Alright everyone, welcome back, I hope you all had a wonderful summer." There was a low hum of agreement. "I'm glad to hear it. But before we get started I would like you to give a warm welcome to our newest student, Sean McLoughlin." She gave a big smile and looked towards the door. A few beats of silence ticked by, during which every pair of eyes fixed on the peeling white paint of the classroom door.

"Come on, Sean, there's nothing to worry about," Miss Fletcher promised, clearly prepared to go out and fetch the student herself when he finally walked through the door, hands shoved deep into his pockets and eyes glaring at the floorboards as if they had done him a personal wrong.

"Good, Sean," she said, clearly glad the awkward situation had defused a little. "Do you want to tell us something about yourself?"

Mark raised an eyebrow at Sean's appearance when he eventually raised his head to shoot daggers at the class, lips pressed together in a thin, stubborn line.

It was safe to say that in this town, anything overly 'different' was avoided like the plague. Yet here was this boy, his brown hair shot with bright green and his eyes such a piercing blue that Mark imagined they could freeze a person in place with a single look. Mark had rarely seen someone who stood out as much as this boy, sticking out like a sore thumb in a sea of browns and blondes.

Mark gave Wade a nudge with his elbow. "I thought you said his name was Jack?" he whispered, watching the new boy out of the corner of his eye. Sean was now glaring defiantly at Miss Fletcher who waited expectantly for his answer.

Wade shrugged, confusion evident on his face. "I swear that's what Bob said. Maybe I heard it wrong or-"

"Does he even speak English, Miss?" came a shout from the back. Mark closed his eyes with a sigh. He would know that voice anywhere. Ethan, the class douchebag. Wonderful. A glance behind him confirmed it. Summer had done little to fix Ethan's less than handsome features, the band tee he wore stretched tight over the muscles he'd developed to make up for his face. He was kicked back in his chair, his arms folded casually behind his head. "Like, are you sure he's not retarded?" Definitely Ethan.

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