Everyone, listen upthis is your new classmate.
There was no need for Mrs. Westbrooks statement. They had all seen the unfamiliar blonde boy standing in the doorway, and all conversation had ceased immediately. Although new students came to Wammys House every few months, it was extremely rare for one to enter this class directly. In addition, there was something about this particular boy that drew the eye and made it impossible to look away. Everyones heads turned in unison as he strode to the center of the classroom, and there was a collective surprised hiss of indrawn breath when he dropped his stack of notebooks on Mrs. Westbrooks desk.
Then some students tore their gazes away from the kid and looked at Mrs. Westbrook, waiting for the storm of furybut though her eyebrows creased into a frown, she chose not to lecture the new student on his first day.
Why dont you introduce yourself to the class? she suggested.
The new boy tilted his chin downward just a hair, and his lips spread into a sly grin. He swept the room slowly with piercing blue eyes. Matt was already watching him attentively, but when those eyes met his for a brief fraction of a second, his stomach
tingled. It was a very uncomfortable feeling, and it left him extremely unnerved as the new boy finished his survey of the class.
You can call me Mello, said the blonde. Then he swept his things off of the teachers desk and strode to the nearest empty seat in the classroom. He sat down and dropped a fresh notebook onto the center of the desk with a resounding thud. Paper crinkled loudly as he folded the cover back for the first time. Ill sit here, he informed Mrs. Westbrook.
The room was gripped by another pregnant pause. No one assigned their own seat in Mrs. Westbrooks classroom. Again, everyone waited for the outraged lecture to beginbut it didnt. The teacher raised her eyebrows, but all she said was, Very well
that seat is acceptable.
Then she turned to the board and picked up a fresh piece of chalk. Now, well begin where we left off last time
And class was back to normal.
But not for Matt. He was still recovering from that bizarre feeling in his stomach, and he couldnt concentrate on the lecture at all. The sheer unfamiliarity and unexpectedness of the experience had left him flustered and a little bit shaky. He wanted to know what had caused it.
So he began parsing his impressions of the new boy. He had stood out from the moment he walked into the room, but why? All he had done was cross the classroom, and every new student had to do that. Hed put his things on Mrs. Westbrooks desk, something that no one familiar with her severity would dare to dobut Mello was brand new, so he obviously didnt know that she ran the strictest classroom in the House. Matt couldnt put his finger on what it was about him.
Things got easier once he began comparing his first impressions of Mello to those he had made of other new students in the past. Most of them trailed after Mrs. Westbrook like shadows, clutching their new school books nervously to their chests, and looked at the sea of unfamiliar faces in front of them with wide, fearful eyes. Not Mellohe had waited calmly in the doorway until Mrs. Westbrook had reached her desk and stopped. Only then, when all eyes were guaranteed to be drawn to him, had he strode into the classroom. And of the intimidation that other students felt upon entering the most elite classroom in the world Mello had shown no sign. He didnt avoid eye contact; quite the contrary, he had sought it out briefly with each one of them. That conveyed
confidence, that was the word Matt wanted. That was the realization that he had been working toward this whole time. Mello fairly oozed confidence. Everything he did, from picking his own seat to scathing the class with his imperious gaze, said that this boy was afraid of nothing. He looked like he was ready to take rank number one tomorrow.
Matt abruptly halted his train of thought. He was surprised at how far he had let his mind wander. Somewhere in the midst of his reasoning he had strayed from deductive analysis into wild speculation. It wasnt logical to conclude that Mello had no fearsor that he was smart enough to take a high rankjust from his brief introduction to the class. Near would chastise him if hed spoken that aloud.
Matt couldnt shake the feeling that it was all true.
He blinked eyes that had gone dry during his distraction and forced his attention back to the lecture. He would run his thoughts by Near later. If Near disagreed with his conclusions, he would forget about them.