"Good morning, class." Our French teacher, Mrs. Green, chirped, "I have some exciting news, today!"
Almost the entire class groaned because we knew it was probably something really lame like a pop quiz or something (There are pop quizzes in French, right?).
"We have a new student!" Mrs. Green exclaimed, scrunching up her face in a grin.
We have had a lot of new students this year and, for some reason, a lot of them have arrived during French class, like Kevin.
Secretly, I really hoped this new kid wouldn't be as bad as some of the others.
Some of the new kids I didn't mind, like Harold, but others, like Mabel and Geoffry, really got on my nerves.
A really cute Asian boy stepped into the room and Chris and I went slack-jawed.
"He's hot!" I mouthed to Chris.
"I know!" Chris mouthed back.
Okay, maybe having a new student won't be so bad. I thought.
The new boy smiled and walked to the front of the room to Mrs. Green.
Mrs. Green smiled her creepy rat-ish smile again and said in that squeaky voice, "This is Mr.... Um... Nam Tae-Hyun."
The teacher probably mispronounced his name to an embarrassing level.
"Actually, it's Nam Tae-Hyun*." The new boy said.
"And everybody can call me Tae-Hyun." Tae-Hyun said, smiling.
He still had a really thick Asian accent... Of some sort.
I almost melted from that smile. Tae-Hyun had braces, but he was still adorable.
I glanced back at Chris, who was blushing and staring at Tae-Hyun shyly.
"He's not gay." I mouthed. I could tell.
Tae-Hyun was wearing a hoodie that was a couple sizes too big and black jeans that were also too big (but he had a belt so he wouldn't sag. What a gentleman!)
Chris shrugged, "He's hot."
Chris and I have mastered reading lips for mandatory situations like this.
"You have a boyfriend." I mouthed, assuming that would make him back off.
Chris didn't 'say' anything for a minute, but then he mouthed, "He's hot."
I was sure he was talking about Tae-Hyun again.
I rolled my eyes and turned back around in my seat.
"Tae-Hyun is from Seoul, South Korea." Mrs. Green explained, "He just moved here last month. Now, time for a pop quiz!"
The whole class groaned and Tae-Hyun sat down; In a desk. Not just a desk, the desk next to mine.
I smiled and turned back to my desk.
At lunch, I spotted Tae-Hyun out of the corner of my eye. He was looking for a place to sit.
"Now!" Chris whispered.
"Hey, Tae-Hyun!" I said, "Want to sit with us?"
Tae-Hyun turned to us and smiled. He said quietly, "Oh, sure."
Chris and I bumped fists under the table.
Tae-Hyun sat at our table and the new-kid-protocol began.
"So, Tae-Hyun," Kathy appeared suddenly and sat across from Tae-Hyun, right between Chris and I, "You're from Korea? Oh, how cool!"
"Don't they drop bombs there?" I hadn't noticed Michelle, Leo's ditzy ex-girlfriend sitting next to Leo.
"When did she get here?" I asked.
"Uh, no." Tae-Hyun said, "I live in Seoul."
"How can you live in a soul?" Michelle asked innocently.
Kathy pitifully patted her on the back and said gently, "Michelle, Seoul is a state. Most people know that."
Tae-Hyun looked like he was going to say something, but he didn't.
"So," I said, trying to change the subject, "What made you decide to go to Withrow?"
"Oh," Tae-Hyun said, shrugging, "Kids didn't seem to really understand me at my old school. They were really prejudice."
"What do you mean prejudice?" I asked.
"Homophobic?" Chris blurted out, staring at Tae-Hyun.
"Shut up, Chris." Mouse groaned.
Tae-Hyun eyed Chris and said, "Um... No. I'm not..."
"Try to ignore the obnoxious gay kid," Mouse said, adding in a loud whisper, "We're working on getting rid of him."
"Clam it, Tiffany." Chris scoffed.
I bit my lip and glanced at Leo.
Mouse pushed Chris off his seat and onto the floor and she dumped his lunch on him and it was over.
There was an awkward silence before Leo said quietly, "Mouse doesn't like it when people call her Tiffany."
Mouse reached over the table and grabbed Tae-Hyun's collar, pulling his face close to hers.
"So, I'm Mouse, to you." She said, "Got it?"
Tae-Hyun nodded quickly and Leo said casually, "Mouse, put him down."
Mouse glared at Tae-Hyun, who really hadn't done anything.
She studied the nervous boy's face for a second and let go of his collar.
Tae-Hyun sat back down and swallowed nervously.
Mouse's proud smirk returned to her face and Leo said, "So, Tae-Hyun.... What do you like to do?"
Tae-Hyun shrugged, "I don't know..."
"Do you like skateboarding?" Leo asked.
Tae-Hyun nodded, grinning, "Yes, I do like skateboarding."
"He's not gay." I mouthed to Chris, who glared at me.
"I like rap." Tae-Hyun said.
"Yeah? Sweet, man." Leo said, holding out his fist.
Tae-Hyun looked from Leo's fist to his face, confused.
Mouse took Tae-Hyun's hand, curled it into a fist, and touched it to Leo's.
"Thanks, Mouse." Leo said sarcastically.
"No problem, my man." Mouse said, hitting Leo hard on the back and making him loose his balance, "Trust me, kid, you don't want to hang out with this loser."
Tae-Hyun looked from Mouse to Leo, and back to Mouse.
"Why not?" He asked quietly.
"He's a loser," Mouse said, "He's lame. Not cool. You understand what I'm saying?"
Tae-Hyun nodded and Mouse sighed, "Never mind, Leo, you can have him."
Tae-Hyun blinked and Leo sighed, "Please, don't be friends with her."
"I, um..." Tae-Hyun said.
"Okay, okay..." Chris said, holding up his hands, "Stop. Leave the poor boy alone. Okay, Tae-Hyun, I'm sure you're very confused right now. Be friends with whoever you want to be friends with and listen to whoever you want to... Except for Mouse, Leo was right."
Tae-Hyun blinked, confused, but smiled, "Thank you. I am sorry, what did you say your name was?"
"I didn't," Chris said, giggling and holding his hand out, "It's Chris."
Tae-Hyun shook his hand and said, "It's good to meet you."
I love his accent. I thought, beaming. It was a little hard to understand what he was saying sometimes, but it was adorable the way he talked.
Tae-Hyun started to retract, but Chris didn't let go of his hand right away.
I leaned over Kathy and whispered to Chris, "You know, by liking this guy, you're cheating on Geoffry."
Chris face fell and he swallowed nervously, but then he narrowed his eyes at me and said, "And it's cool for you to flirt with him?"
I shrugged, "I'm single, so it's totally legit."
Chris sighed and said, "That's not fair."
"You could break up with Geoffry." I said hopefully.
Chris gave me a look.
"No?" I said, sighing sadly, "Darn."
Tae-Hyun came outside with us to recess.
The rest of us were walking and talking, talking, talking.
Then, something caught Tae-Hyun's eye and he stopped walking.
We all stopped to see what he was looking at; A few yards away, a group of kids from our school had a radio and they were breakdancing.
"Cool!" Leo said, turning to Tae-Hyun, "Let's watch!"
"Oh, I will do more than watch." Tae-Hyun said, walking over to the breakdancers.
My friends and I all "Oohed" and Leo said, "Alright, let's see it."
We walked up closer to the breakdancing kids and Tae-Hyun jumped in easily.
Dang, that kid can dance! I thought as I watched him.
Tae-Hyun did all sorts of top rocks and freezes and floor rocks..... Haha, did you really think I knew all those breakdancing words? Leo told me what they were.
Eventually, the other dancers backed off and people started to gather to watch Tae-Hyun.
When he finished with some sort of freeze, everyone cheered.
Tae-Hyun looked up and got out of the freeze, standing up.
Mouse patted him on the back and said, "Way to get all the attention on your first day, new kid."
Tae-Hyun grinned and Leo went over to him.
"Dude," Leo said in awe, "How did you learn to do that?"
Tae-Hyun grinned again and crossed his arms, "You think we don't have breakdancers in Korea?"
Leo laughed and said, "That was awesome, man."
Tae-Hyun smiled and said, "Well, that is a good way to start my school year here."
We all laughed.
"Wow, he's funny, too." Alice teased me in a whisper, "Have you fallen for him yet?"
Without thinking, I nodded and said, "Oh, yeah."
"Are you gonna ask him out?" Kathy asked, pretty much magically appearing between Alice and I.
I blushed and said, "You think he likes me?"
"Oh my God, you are such girls!" Chris said, groaning.
Kathy, Alice, Leo, Mouse, and I all stared at him.
"Hypocrite." Mouse said, "You're girlier than Angie is."
"Wow, thanks." I said flatly.
Chris crossed his arms and said quickly, "I don't know what you're talking about."
Leo and I exchanged a 'sure' look and didn't say anything.
Confused Tae-Hyun stood staring at us, blinking.
I smiled tightly at him and laughed fakely, "Heheh... Well, I think recess is gonna be over soon. Let's head toward the school."
Tae-Hyun glanced at Leo, who shook his head.
He whispered to Tae-Hyun,
"Sorry, my friends are kind of weird."