New term, new start, Jerome thought, as he stared back up at Anubis House. Summer had been memorable, and Jerome had actually had fun. Although he didn't realise it, Jerome had matured this summer, finally growing up to make his parents proud of him – though, now he was back here, it was time to become the Jerome that everyone knew and – well, he didn't really know what they thought of him. He opened the door, and dragged his suitcase to his room. He opened the door and was immediately struck by the ordinariness of it all. As he started to unpack, Alfie came in. "Dude! You're back!" The boys hi-fived and gave each other a hug. "Good to see you, mate," Jerome replied. "How was your summer?" Alfie shrugged. "It was okay, nothing special…spent a lot of time with Amber." Jerome stared at him in surprise. "I didn't hear you two were an item, congrats man!" Alfie smiled. "Yeah, we're pretty happy. So, Nina and Fabian, Mick and Mara, me and Amber – what about you and Patricia?" Jerome did a double take, stared at Alfie, and began convulsing in laughter. "Me – and – Patricia?" he laughed. "What on EARTH would give you that idea?" Alfie began to laugh, then him and Jerome headed out to greet the others, who were now filling the hall with laughs and chatter.
"Nina!" Fabian cried, catching sight of his girlfriend and pulling her into a hug. "Fabian! I missed you so much!" They kissed passionately, but broke apart to laughter and wolf whistles. "Phew, get a room you two!" Jerome shouted, but a look from Mara and he was instantly sober again. "Hey, Mara." Mara smiled at him shyly, then squealed as Mick hugged her from behind. Alfie ran to help Amber with her bright pink bags. Jerome stood there in the middle of it all, soaking it all up. "Bit of a mess, isn't it?" said a voice beside him. "Yeah," he agreed absentmindedly, before realising that the voice wasn't anyone he knew. Jerome turned to face the person beside him. She was smaller than him – but that was no surprise, he was tallest in the House now. She had dark glossy hair which was iron-straight, glinting chestnut brown and coppery red wherever her hair touched the light. She was very pale, her skin fair as sunlight, with a slight spattering of freckles across her nose. Her eyes were pale blue, almost icy, yet with navy rims along the iris – Jerome had the strangest sensation that he'd seen similar eyes before. "Hi," he said, looking down at her. "I'm Jerome." She smiled shyly. "Hi, I'm Rebecca. Please to meet you." They smiled at one another, before Nina came over to say hello.
"Hey Jerome, good summer?" He nodded in consent, then disappeared back to his room. Rebecca stared after him. "Is he always like that?" she wondered aloud. Nina hid a smile. "Yeah, he's not very sociable to begin with. But hey, I'm Nina. I think you're sharing with me and Amber. I love your hair! It's so good to meet you!" Rebecca grinned. "Thanks, but it's not this naturally. Straighteners do work magic after all!" The two girls smiled, and began to make their way upstairs with their bags. They had just made it onto the landing when Victor came out to say hello – or shout, which seemed to be his preference. "All right, just because you're all back doesn't mean that we must be loud the very moment we walk through the door." He caught sight of Rebecca, who went even paler at the sight of him glaring at her. "Who is this, Miss Martin?" Rebecca regained herself. "My name is Rebecca Onez," she said in a clear, strong voice. Nina was impressed – she herself rarely had the guts to speak like that to Victor. "I'm new here this term. Nina was just showing me where to put my things. I have a letter for the housemaster." Victor extended his hand, and Rebecca handed him a large brown envelope with the words "Extremely private and confidential" printed in bold red on the front. Nina watched all this curiously, before heading through the door. Rebecca stared at Victor, almost as if recognising him, but then shook herself out of her trance and followed Nina to her new room.