She has the most startling grin in the world, though she's not really pretty, and she looks up from time to time to flash an even more brilliant smile at Jacob Rearden from across the room. Like sunlight on daisies, that smile, so brilliant and happy and cheerful -- and eight year old Jake's not quite sure what to do with it. Or her.
It's his first day at Hunter Elementary, and he doesn't quite know what to do with himself. The kids here are -- scary; they're too soft and too quiet and they make Jake want to run. They're foreign, and everything about this new city that his parents have taken him to scares him. It's different, not at all like San Martin, and the boy shivers slightly as he leans into himself.
He doesn't like being in this different place. He wants to be back home. Home where it's warm -- he hates this cold climate with its wind that cuts straight through his clothes to his bones.
He pushes dark brown hair out of his face and stares anxiously about the room, biting his lip. I don't want to be here ...
There were roughly twenty other students in the room: four rows by five columns of desks, which made it twenty even. And the teacher.
He feels lonely, but that isn't anything new, so he doesn't know why it hurts so much.
And then that smile. She's grinning at him, but at least half of that humor is reserved for herself, as if there's some private joke that they both have. Jake doesn't know what the joke is, but looking at her, he wants to know. Like maybe understanding that joke's the meaning to life.
He doesn't know what it is he does the rest of the day, but when the bell rings to mark school's being out, she's suddenly there at his side. Wide brown eyes and quirky grin -- breathless "Hey." as she snags his wrist and drags him backwards out the door.
"Um --" he starts to say, and she laughs at him (There's that private joke again ...)
"Come on," she says, and now she sounds a little exasperated. "We're going to be late."
"For -- what?"