Éponine stood at the bus stop near her house with her sister Azelma, today marked the first day of her sophomore year at Victor Hugo High School in Paris, New York. Despite the early morning chill the sun was shining bright and it was slowly beginning to warm up to the pleasant late august feeling. She glanced at her sister who was rubbing her arms, it could have either been from the cold or the nervousness of her first day as a freshman. "'Zelma... You alright? You know you really don't have anything to worry about."
"I know, I know, you've told me that at least a million times," Azelma sighed, "but I just can't help it."
Éponine smiled at her younger sister, "don't fret, I'm sure you'll be just fine," then in the distance the could here the rumble of the bus's motor, "well here goes nothing." When the bus arrived they quickly boarded and where lucky enough to find an empty seat where they could be together.
"Well look who it is..." someone called from the seat across from them, once she placed her backpack by her feet Éponine looked up to see who was speaking to her.
"Oh it's just you... Good morning Antoine," she greeted the older boy who was now a junior, as she did so she couldn't help but think that he appeared to shudder.
"You know I hate it when you do that..." he huffed.
"Do what?" Éponine asked him innocently.
"My name... Why can't you just call me Courfeyrac like everyone else?" he asked.
She smiled cheekily, " you didn't know that my one joy in life is annoying you?"
He sighed and ran his hand through his dark curly hair, "if that's true you really need a hobby..."
Azelma laughed quietly at her sister and her friend, ever since Éponine had become friends with Antoine Courfeyrac early last year via Marius their fights, bickering, and banter had become practically legendary.
"Hey who's this?" He looked over at Azelma, "she looks new."
"She is," Éponine explained, "my sister Azelma, didn't you meet her last year?"
"Don't think so..." He then reached over Éponine to shake Azelma's hand, "my name's Courfeyrac and despite what your sister says there is not a first name with that."
Azelma smiled, "nice to meet you... Courfeyrac."
Courfeyrac grinned and quickly turned back to Éponine, "see... She gets it!"
Éponine simply rolled her eyes, "whatever you say... Antoine." she finished with a smirk.
"I'll pick you up here after school," an older woman hugged a young girl with light brown hair.
"Very well Toussaint," the girl smiled and noticed one of the buses pulling into the parking lot, when it came to a stop students came flooding out and she recognized one of her friends.
"'Ponine!" she shouted and ran over to her friend, when she reached her she hugged her tight.
"Umm... Cosette... Can't breath..." Éponine complained, her friend then released her, "damn... You have a vice like grip when you give hugs."
Cosette giggled, "sorry, I just missed you... We hardly saw each other all summer!"
This was true, over the summer Éponine had a job in order to help her family's lack of funds (which were later taken from her and swindled away.) She scarcely saw any of her friends except for the very rare times she was over at Cosette's house or when they were able to all meet up at the Cafe Musain downtown.
"You know I had my job," Éponine replied.
"I know... Did it help at all?" Cosette asked.
"What do you think?" Éponine asked glumly.
"What?! Oh no, 'Ponine, I'm so sorry..." Cosette frowned, she then glanced at her watch, "we better go, don't want to be late on the first day." They both started running to the schools doors and into the hallway to find the sheets of paper that listed the names of every student and their locker numbers. The way the lockers were set up Hugo High was a little strange, the even numbers on one side with the odds on the other, no one knew why that was just the way it was.
"Let's see..." Cosette scanned the list for her name, "oh they've listed me as Euphrasie again! Nevermind that... Locker number 54, 'Ponine you found yours yet?"
"Got it! Number 52," Eponine replied, "hey that means we are next to each other!" she smiled, "so who has number 50... Oh, it's Marius!"
"Well that's nice, better then last year where we were all at different parts of the hallway," Cosette smiled as they walked to their first class in order to receive the slip of paper with their combinations on them.
"That was horrible, and I was stuck next to Alain the whole year," Éponine hated to speak Alain Montparnasse's name, especially after this summer where she had found herself in a horrible situation involving him.
"That's right... It still amazes me that they let him return, I think that nearly every week he must have had a suspension for something or another," Cosette replied and opened the door to the classroom.
"Miss Fauchlevent, and Miss Thenardier it is good to see you girl's again," the English teacher Mr. Dumas greeted them, he then proceeded to find the slips of paper with their names, "here you are, go put your bags away and when you come back make sure you have a notebook and pencil."
The two girls nodded and went out the door to their lockers, while there Cosette spotted her boyfriend Marius Pontmercy who was putting away his backpack, "hello," she greeted him. He stopped what he was doing and looked up, "Hi," he smiled warmly, "oh 'Ponine's with you too? Good to see you!"
"Thanks Marius," Éponine smiled as she opened her locker and tossed her bag inside.
"Oh come on 'Ponine..." Cosette laughed, "you and I both know if you start off this year with your locker being a mess this will be the last time we will see it without an avalanche of papers."
Éponine sighed then hung her backpack up on the hook inside and grabbed what she needed for class, "so how was your summer?" she asked Marius.
"It was good, nothing really special or exciting," he shrugged and shut his locker door, "what about you?"
"Ehh..." she shrugged, "same old, same old, nothing too thrilling... Just a regular old summer job." she then slammed her door and together the three of them started back to the classroom. She noticed Cosette was giving her a look that clearly read, "why don't you tell him?" But instead she chose to ignore it.
"You sure your okay?" he asked again.
"Yeah, I'm fine, all is good, nothing to worry about," Éponine replied trying to sound chipper, but deep down she knew he suspected something, she was never able to keep secrets from Marius. He always seemed to have a sense when something was troubling her and rarely was she ever able to avoid talking about it. While he may leave it on the back burner for now, she knew that at some point she would tell him everything.
"Alright... If you say so... But you always know if something is wrong you can talk to me," he opened the door for them and they stepped inside to take there seats. Soon after the bell rang and every student took there seats and Mr. Dumas stood up to start them off with a brand new year.