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Chapter 16

Oliver didn’t call me all weekend and avoided me Monday morning. I noticed he was avoiding Alex too. It must have been hard since they do have to sit together. I didn’t even have to ask Alex either because I saw how his eyes had red in them. He was pissed. Alex hasn’t asked me what is going on, but I’m sure he will.

During second period, Mr. Lewis started talking about weird things well no weirder than I’ve already had to deal with. At one point in the period he said, “Class I will be spending time with each and every one of you separately. Not all of you know it, but you are not average kids”. I wonder what he is talking about. I mean we can’t all be shape shifters. The only people I’ve ever seen with the weird eyes are Alex, Evan and I. From what they tell me both their parents are shape shifters too. I distantly wonder how many more like us there are.

Once the bell for lunch rings Evan asks me to sit with him and Alex at lunch, and well I’m not going to say no since I don’t want to sit by myself. I’m sure we need to go over a few more details about what is going to happen this weekend. “So, just us three then?” Alex asks, looking around, no doubt for Oliver. I nod my head and raise my shoulders because I really don’t know what is going on. I thought for sure Oliver would have texted me or called me to let me know he will still talk to me, but he didn’t. I even thought he would talk to Alex since he has fallen pretty hard for him. “Oh, well I guess,” Alex says with a huff.

“So we talked to the pixies that broke into the lab.” Evan says to me in a hushed voice. “Only one of them has agreed to help us though. The others think it is too dangerous. Personally, I think the less we have with us the better. You already said you don’t want Oliver helping us anyways.”

Grunting Alex says, “Like he’d help us now anyways Evan.” He looks around again hoping to find Oliver sitting at another table nearby to at least get a look at him. He looks so lost without Oliver already and they just met. If only his dad could be more understanding. I guess it is one thing to accept that his son is gay but a whole other thing to accept that his best friend and his possible boyfriend are shape shifters.

I must be staring at Alex because I get a nice kick in the shin from Evan “OUCH!” I yell, “What the heck was that for?” All Evan does is open his eyes a bit wider and then jerk his head towards Alex whose eyes have found Oliver standing in the cafeteria lineup. Alex starts to get up before I grab his arm and pull him back down. “I’m sorry Alex, but I don’t think that is a good idea. Not now.” I say my voice full of pity, my eyes dark purple full of frustration and sadness.

He grunts “Why not? What happened? What did you do Riley?” He demands answers.

“Hey don’t blame Riley, maybe he is just going through some stuff right now.” Evan says, trying to sound hopeful, more trying to get the blame off of me.

“No he’s right, it is my fault. If you’d calm down a little and sit down I can explain what happened,” I say, trying to swallow the lump that is growing in my throat and trying to ignore the sting of tears wanting to escape my eyes I explain to them what happened this weekend. All about how he told his dad he is gay, to me telling Paul I’m a shape shifter, then the hard part of Paul’s reaction to that news. “He said “those people always get others hurt” almost like he has had this happen to him or someone he knows before. I didn’t realize it until after I had left, but I was too shaken to go back and ask what happened before. You should have seen how red his face was. I’ve never in all my years of knowing Oliver and Paul seen him that angry before. Whatever happened before, must have been serious,” I finish with a chill going up my back; I put my arms around myself to try and warm up.

There is a distant look on Alex’s face; he is still longingly looking in Oliver’s direction, who decided to sit alone.

Loud laughter comes from Mila and Lindsay’s table. I see them pointing at Oliver. They are clearly making jokes about him sitting alone. Lindsay says all too loudly, “Look at that loser! He must have had a fight with his freak of a friend.” I can feel my body get warmer, I already know there is red in my eyes. Evan or Alex don’t do anything to stop me when I stand up and walk over to the other table.

“What the hell is your problem Lindsay?” I spit in her face, so close she can no doubt see my eyes. I don’t even care right now; she has no right to call Oliver a loser.

Mila laughs and says “Back off, I know what you are. I don’t think you want your little secret getting out do you little miss Riley?” with an evil smile on her face as she says this.

Lindsay’s eyes grow wide with wonder, “What do you mean “what you are”?” she giggles like she is about to find out some juicy gossip. I start to panic, but manage to not show it too much.

Mila starts to say “She’s a...” but gets cut off by Evan who yells “Shut up Mila. Don’t you say another word! You have a secret too and I can blow it for you right now if you finish your sentence.” His glare is as cool as ice. I wonder what her secret is; looking at her there is nothing different about her. She definitely isn’t a shape shifter because her eyes are light green that get darker around the edges. She is extraordinarily pretty, although I’d never admit that out loud.

With a shrug Mila says, “Fine, just get her away from us.” She gives a wink over to Evan, which makes my skin start to crawl.

Right before the bell rings to go back to class, Oliver walks up to me and gives me a hug. “You didn’t need to do that, especially not with how I have been acting the past few days.”

With a heavy sigh I tell him, “It’s okay. You’ll always be my best friend. You should be more worried about what lover boy will say. He has been really upset about this. I think he will understand though. I kind of told them what happened at your house, he didn’t get a chance to say anything before the rude show.”

At that Oliver laughs and says “I never knew you could be so... aggressive Riley. I like it.” Laughing I roll my eyes. “I thought you didn’t like attention? I think you hanging around Evan has done you some good. Are there any developments on that topic anyways?” His eyes full of joy, hoping I have some good news on that.

“No. I don’t think there ever will be either. He just isn’t interested in me, definitely not the way Alex and you are into each other. Is he your “one” as your dad would call it?” I ask already knowing the answer is yes, on both of their parts. It was very obvious with how Alex was looking at Oliver with longing eyes.

He coughs then sighs, “I don’t know Riley. With how dad reacted to him being told you are a you know what. I don’t think he would be accepting at all of my “one” being a you know what too.”

Remembering the fight I ask “Do you know what your dad was talking about the other day? When he said “people like you always get the ones around you hurt”? I mean he must know something to be able to say that. Maybe you could ask him? I wanted to go back to your house to demand answers, but he was really freaky, no offense.”

“Yeah, no kidding. I’ve never seen him that upset before. He fell asleep in his chair the last few nights holding moms wedding picture. He hasn’t said much to me since then except to stay away from you.”

I laugh and say, “Look how well that’s going”. With a wink, we link our arms and walk to the next class.

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