“Ah, a newbie, I should pay more attention to the loud chatter in the halls. I’m Ben. Pleased to meet you.”

I could only nod, still not trusting my vocal chords to work properly.

The boy grinned at me in an irrevocably annoying way. “You have do have a name, don’t you? Or do I have to call you ‘Mouse’ since you refuse to speak to me?”

“My name is Nalyne, not Mouse.”

“Mouse speaks! Oh, I’m sorry, Nalyne, you said? That’s an odd name for a Brit.”

I decided to ignore “Ben” and ask a question of my own. “And what is an Aussie doing in the States?”

“Could ask the same of you, what are you doing ‘across the pond’?”

“I live here. Do you?”

Evidently, he decided to ignore that remark because he moved on to a different topic. One revolving around the smell of food flooding in from the other end of the hallway

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