"Hey, cool hair. "

It was her first day of school, and Coraline Jones was sitting on the school bus next to Wybie, who had fallen asleep almost immediately after getting on the bus. Coraline was currently staring out the window and dreamily wondering how long it would take her to get sent home because her hair was "against dress code" (as the bus driver had bluntly pointed out as soon as she stepped onto the bus). She looked up in annoyance as a voice startled her out of her thoughts, and frowned at the source of the voice, a boy who was staring at her over the back of the seat in front of her.

"Thanks," she said curtly, in a tone that indicated that she did not desire a conversation. The boy didn't take the hint.

"Like the gloves, too. So, you new around here? I don't think I've seen you before."

"Uh-huh." Coraline shot the boy a look that clearly indicated 'leave me alone'. He still didn't get it.

"So, you hair… Um… It's nice. Very… bright. And… blue. You probably didn't know this, seeing as you're new and all, but having unnatural hair coloring is against the school dress code," he said chattily.

"Yeah. The bus driver already told me about that."

"Oh, well I just thought you might want to know, I don't want you to get into trouble or anything."

"Why do you care? You don't even know me."

"Well, y'know… New student, it's your first day at a new school and all and you don't know anybody, it's gotta be kind of scary."

Coraline snorted. "I know Wybie," she nodded to the snoring boy beside her, "And besides, nothing scares me anymore," she added darkly.

The boy laughed nervously. "Okaayy… Scary girl. So you know Wybourne, eh? He's a strange kid. Keeps to himself. I can't say much, as I don't know him too well myself."

"Then don't talk," Coraline snapped, getting frustrated with the annoying guy.

"Sheesh! Touchy, touchy."

Coraline scowled warningly. "Will you please leave me alone?" she asked tightly.

"Okay, okay, sorry, Blue-Hair. Oh, that's right! I didn't introduce myself, how stupid! I'm Jake. Jake Miller. What's your name?"

"If it'll make you leave me alone-"

"Oh, wait, wait, wait, don't tell me! I want to guess. I'm pretty good at guessing people's names," Jake declared, with a proud smile.

"Oh, really?" Coraline asked, a tiny barely noticeable smile twitching at the corner of her mouth.

"Yep. I usually get somebody's name right within the first few tries."

"Huh." Coraline said, while thinking, "You'll never guess mine, you overconfident jerk wad. "

"All right, Miss Blue-Hair. Is your name… Mary?"

"No."

"Emily?"

"Nuh-uh."

"Caroline?"

"Ha ha! Nope. Will you leave me alone now?"

"Not until I've guessed your name! It is Jessica?

"No."

" Ashley? …Jennifer? …Brittany? …Susan?"

"No! Leave me alone!"

On the ride all the way to school, Jake kept suggesting names, and Coraline shook her head to each and every one of them. When the bus finally pulled up at the school, Coraline woke Wybie up and got off the bus as fast as she could. "Thank goodness, now I can get away from that annoying weirdo!" Coraline thought with relief, as she waited impatiently outside the bus for Wybie to get off.

"Is it… Alice?" a voice piped up near her.

Coraline made a sound of irritation and snapped, "Urrgh, NO! Look, stop bothering me! My name is Cor-"

"No, no, no, no, no! Don't tell me! I want to guess it!" Jake said, putting his hands over his ears and walking away quickly into the school.

Coraline made a sound of exasperation and muttered, "Jerk wad… Speaking of jerk wads… Wybie Lovat, what's taking you so long?!"

Wybie finally emerged from the bus and Coraline grumbled at him for taking a long time, and he protested, then she punched him in the arm and told him not to wreck her first day of school by making her late, and that she'd had her fill of jerk wad-ness for the morning.

--

That afternoon after school on the bus, Coraline found herself stuck in a seat in front of Jake, which actually turned out to be worse than having a seat behind him, since he was talking in her ear. Nonstop. Wybie had somehow managed to find a seat to himself in the front of the bus (where nobody ever sat unless there were no more seats in the back), where he sat contentedly by himself, doing homework so his grandmother would let him go outside as soon as he got home (she was a stickler about homework), not paying any attention to Coraline. Coraline made a mental note to punch Wybie to jog his memory about how friends are supposed to bail each other out the next time she saw him.

"So is your name… Hannah?"

"No! Leave. Me. Alone. Now!" Coraline hissed through gritted teeth.

"Can you tell me the first letter of your name?"

"Arrgh! C! My name begins with a C! All right? Happy? Now go away!"

"C? Okay, C... Claire?"

"Nuh-uh."

"Carly?"

"Go away!"

" Carol? …Charlotte? ...Christie? ...Chloe? …Courtney? …Christine? …"

Coraline ignored him while he continued to rattle off a list of names, occasionally shaking her head slightly.

"Is it- Ah! This is my stop! Okay, um, before I get off… is it…Cindy?"

"No, it's not! Listen, you annoying jerk wad! I'm going to say it once and only once-Ah! Don't interrupt! My name is CORALINE! Got it? CORALINE JONES! And. Don't. You. Dare. Forget. It!" Coraline yelled in frustration. "Now get out of here before I give you a knuckle sandwich!"

By this time, everybody that was left on the bus was staring in amazement at the new girl with blue hair who was screaming at the top of her voice. A flurry of whispers started up round the bus.

"That's the new girl?"

"Who's the blue haired kid?"

"She's picking a fight on the first day of school?"

"Woo! Go Blue-Hair! Punch him!"

"Shh!"

"What's a jerk wad?"

"Yes, a fight!"

"Her name's Caroline?"

"I thought she said Coraline."

"Coraline? Weird name."

"I think it's a nice name."

"Shut up, nobody asked you."

"Oh, yeah? Well you-"

"Shh! I can't hear!"

"How come she didn't get sent home 'cause of that hair?"

Coraline ignored the quiet murmuring around her and glared at Jake.

"So your name is Carolin-"

"CORALINE! Get it right!"

"QUIET DOWN BACK THERE OR YOU'RE ALL GETTING DETENTION TOMORROW!" screamed the bus driver.

Everyone on the bus suddenly went dead silent.

"If this is your stop, get off. Now!"

"See ya tomorrow, Caroline," Jake said, grinning.

"Get. Out. Of. Here." Coraline snapped, glaring daggers.

"Jake, you have ten seconds to get off this bus! There's other people on the route, you know!" the bus driver yelled.

Jake scrambled up and hurried for the front of the bus, foiling Coraline's attempt to trip him in the process by jumping over her outstretched foot in the aisle. He got off the bus, and stood on the sidewalk, still grinning.

As the bus pulled away, Coraline opened the window of the bus and screamed out, "IT'S CORALINE, YOU JERK WAD! NOT CAROLINE! CORALINE!!"