Eponine Thenadier sighed as she grabbed the letter from her father. "I don't see why you're bothering," she grumbled. "Anyone who lives here is going to be as poor as us."

Her father glared. "Did I ask for your opinion?"

"You never do," she said, turning to flounce out the door. She looked behind her in time to catch Montparnasse's sly grin and raised eyebrows: an offer of a place to sleep tonight other than here. She might take it.

She kicked a stone on her way over to the house. It landed in the drain and she silently congratulated herself on her superb aim before knocking on the door.

She didn't know much about their new neighbor. He went to a different school, some fancy private thing, which made it even stranger that he lived here, in the Gorbeau housing units. She rang the doorbell and slouched against the frame, the letter getting limp from her tight grip on it.

He opened the door and she straightened up, the words ready to fly from her mouth.

"Hello, would you like to help us help a child in need?" she rattled off automatically. The boy looked at her, confused. "I'm Eponine Jondrette, I-"

"You live next door, don't you?" he said, stepping back. "I'm Marius Pontmercy, come on in."

She shrugged and strutted into the house, looking around. Empty pizza boxes littered the floor. It looked exactly like what you'd expect a teenage boy living alone's house to look like.

"Sorry it's such a mess," he said, shoving his hands into his pockets. "I don't get a lot of company."

She nodded, looking around. She suddenly remembered the letter and handed it off to him. He was cute, she thought. Freckles and big, sweet eyes with chestnut-y curls falling in front of his face.

"So, like I was saying," she said. "I'm working with this charity, and any money you can give is welcome."

"Yeah," he said, opening the letter and reading it. "This paper smells like tobacco," he said absently.

"Yeah, well, cigarette smoke's a bitch to get out of your hair. Must be the same for paper."

He looked up at that. "You smoke?"

"You don't?"

"Of course not, smoking kills you."

"On the list of things that could kill me, cigarettes are the least of my worries."

"That's terrible," he said.

She shifted uncomfortably. "I don't need your pity."

He held up the letter. "I thought that was the point of this brochure. To evoke my pity."

He really was cute, Eponine thought. A pity to cheat such a sweet boy out of his hard earned money. He sat down to peruse the letter further and Eponine meandered into the hall, looking herself over in the full length mirror.

She had on skinny black jeans and a tight, low tank-top with Montparnasse's jacket over top. Her red socks peeked through the worn leather of her combat boots. Her eyeliner had been on for three days now and was holding up rather well, though it seemed to be attempting to escape down her cheeks.

"Do you want the money now?" she heard Marius say from the living room. She wandered back in.

"Yeah," she said, "the sooner the better."

He pulled out his wallet. "I only have a twenty on me," he said. "Is that okay?"

"It's fine," she said. His eyes stayed on hers the entire time he spoke to her. She didn't think she'd ever met a boy who didn't think her eyes were on her chest. He handed her the crumpled twenty and she hesitated before taking it.

"It's really good to finally meet you," he said. "I knew there was someone my age living over there but I didn't know who. I'm glad it's someone whose nice enough to do charity work."

"Yeah, I'm a freaking angel," she muttered.

"Hey, do you want to stay for- pizza, I guess? I don't really have anything else."

"Tempting, but I should get home."

"You sure? I have an episode of How I Met Your Mother recorded."

She bit her lip. "Which season?"


"Is that the one with Stella?"

"I think so."

She should go back home, her father was waiting for this money, there would be hell not even Montparnasse could stop, but-

"Scoot over," she said. "I love this episode."