They sat in class, and as they would always do before Miss Konkline arrived and sorted her papers, they chatted and the room turned to a merry hubbub.
"Hey, look," Rebecca told her friend. "Is this a new kid?"
Sally turned to see a boy with semi-long hair sitting at a table, observing around him. He had the cool composure of someone who didn't care, and his tie and the upper buttons of his shirt were undone, in a rebellious demeanour. He was lean and pretty cute-looking, with a surprisingly silky-smooth pale skin, when all the boys of their age were struggling with acne spots or growing whiskers. Suddenly he turned in the girls' direction, and Sally saw he had the most beautiful green eyes she had every seen. He looked at her, smiled, winked. She looked away swiftly, and Rebecca noticed she was blushing.
"Are you looking at the cute new kid?" she teased.
"Absolutely not! Even if he's, like, very cute... I wonder where he came from?"
"Silence, please!" Miss Konkline called aloud when she was finally ready. "Today, we have a new student in our class, so before we began, I would like you all to welcome Mister, err..." she looked at her papers. "Crowley! Would you mind coming in front of the class to introduce yourself, young man?"
The boy rose and walked coolly to the front, and the kids giggled as he passed by them when they noticed he was wearing cow-boy boots. Then he faced everyone and spoke, and everyone giggled even more, surprised by his thick American accent:
"Hi, y'all! My name's Randall Crowley, but my pals call me Randy, so I guess you can do the same. So, yeah, I see y'all laughing at my accent, so you musta guessed I'm not from around here, but you know what, where I'm from it's you who have a funny accent!" he smiled teasingly. "Anyway, I'm actually from Batesville, Texas, guess you've never heard of it. And, well, I'm here now in the land of rain and crumpets cause my Ma's an air hostess, and she just got a job at British Airways, so she had to move and, I'm here now, hello England!"
"Thank you, Randall," Miss Konkline said. "By the way, I know you are not used to uniforms in America, so I will be tolerant for today, but I expect acceptable footwear in the future. And please tighten that tie properly."
"Yes Ma'am," he replied with a cowboyish attitude as he returned to his seat. His mocking demeanour worked like a charm, as the boys were amused and the girls were giggling nervously and playing with their hair when they looked at him. Including Sally.
At lunch, Rebecca was on her way to meet Sally in the dining hall, lost in her thoughts, when she bumped into someone.
"Hey, watch out!" Donnie yelled at her, indignant, as the notebooks she was carrying fell to the ground, spilling papers at her feet. Rebecca mumbled an apology and quickly knelt down with her to help her pick up her things, but Donnie shoved her away, claiming she didn't need her help. Donnie had been very different since her kidnapping. She was still acting bitchy and snob, but she was also more and more discreet, lost in her thoughts, when before she would never miss an opportunity to impose herself at any occasion. Rebecca watched her pick up her papers and shove them nervously inside her notebooks, and she noticed with surprise that they were full of little drawings. Donnie was a terrible artist, to be honest, but still Rebecca recognized the shape of her helmet, and of the Cross.
"What are you looking at?"
"Nothing. Just... is that the guy they talk about on telly? The guy who saved you?"
"I don't see how it is your business, but yes it is. We call him The Knight, by the way."
"What, you believe he's some kind of superhero or something? Come on..."
"I don't care who or what he is, I just wish I had the chance to thank him. Now, if you'll excuse me, I got a cute Texan boy to catch."
And on these words she paced towards Randy Crowley, who had been here for only a morning and was already surrounded by a swarm of girls impressed by his American charm. Whatever! Rebecca thought as she went her way.