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Chapter 21

Once we are back at the cars, the sun is already past the middle of the sky. It is warm and there aren’t any clouds in the sky. It would have been nice for a little rain, and then I realize that there isn’t enough room for everyone in the two vehicles that are here.

“Don’t worry, I’ve called Mr. Collins to come and pick you and Evan up.” Alex says to me when he notices I see how little vehicles there are for everyone.

“No! Evan can come back with me.” Mila pipes up. Evan looks at me and shrugs.

“Its fine, you go with Mila, you can go on the big date. Alex can call them back to say I don’t need to be picked up. I can walk home from here. It isn’t that big of a deal.” I say. I don’t even need to see the color in Alex’s eyes to know how happy he is about his parents being back. The joy is written all over his face. Even his body language is different than before.

“Oh yeah mom, dad I forgot to introduce you to Riley.” Alex says to his parents.

“Hello Riley. Thank you for helping our son do something very stupid and dangerous. I am Liam and this is my wife Jamie” Liam says shaking my hand, Jamie on the other hand goes in to give me a great big hug.

“Um. You’re welcome?” Unsure of what to do next, because I am feeling really awkward being here when they are having a family reunion. I go to sit on the curb. Looking at them all they look so happy. There are tears in Alex’s eyes, his dad looks stern, and his mom is crying. The guy we helped out is awkwardly standing around. Alex had an extra shirt in his truck so he is wearing it. Too bad, I think to myself well I hope just to myself and no one else. I look around at all the faces and no one is looking at me but him. Oh god, please, please, please tell me I didn’t say that to him. He must have heard me because he has a small smile on his face, only for a second though, I can’t be sure I really saw it. His face gives nothing away, and his eyes barely show any extra color. He must be good at controlling his emotions. It almost looks like there are black flecks in his eyes, but my mind must be playing a trick on me. Before he thinks I’m weird, I look away and look into the trees. There are small patches of flowers that lead into them and a path. I distantly wonder where that path leads. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the boy is coming over here. I notice that as he is walking towards me, he walks with confidence.

“Thank you for helping me,” He says in a smooth deep voice as he sits down.

“You’re welcome.” I say after I find my voice. “It would have been rude of me not to help, since you were in the same room.”

“Most people would have just left a stranger. I know they would have.” He says nodding his head in Alex and Evan’s direction. “The girl might have tried, but pixies tend to listen to the person they are in love with.” Looking over my shoulder, I see that Mila is standing very close to Evan. He doesn’t seem to notice, he is too busy staring at me. The look in her eyes is very clear how much she cares for him. I inwardly cringe. I see Alex look at me and shake his head, then go back to conversing with his parents.

“So, you never did tell us your name. I’m Riley, but I think I said that earlier.”

“Yes you did, right before you helped me. My name is Caleb.”

“Well it is very nice to meet you Caleb.” I say extending my hand. He takes it and kisses the back of my hand like they did in the old days. I can feel my cheeks heat up with embarrassment.

“Hey, aren’t you the kid who was supposed to be starting school here? The teachers were going crazy that you didn’t show up. I’ve never really seen them that worried about a student before.”

“Yeah, that would be me. Some of the teachers knew I was a shape shifter; I met a few of them when I picked up my books. Most of them are something too hey? I thought it was pretty cool. Then those people took me right before school started.”

“Didn’t your parents look for you? I mean they must be worried sick. Have you called them to tell them you are okay?” I ask frantically.

“I don’t know how to say this. They aren’t around now. I don’t really want to talk about it right now...”

“Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you or anything. I just thought…”

“Yeah, well don’t. It’s fine.” He looks away, not before I notice a bit of red in his eyes. When he looks back at me it is gone. “So, how is school going? Boring as usual?” he laughs, but the laughter doesn’t reach his eyes and it doesn’t even sound sincere.

“You know it. Wait, you said some of the teachers are something. What do you mean by that?”

“Don’t you know? I thought all the kids would know.” He looks confused.

“No? I just found out not that long ago that I’m a shape shifter.” At that he starts laughing, this time it reaches his eyes and the colors come out. They are gone before I can focus on what colors they are though.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me. You had no idea you were a shape shifter? Wasn’t it kind of obvious since you could change?”

“That’s a funny story. I’ve never changed since the first time when I was a kid. Well not until a few days ago.” He just looks at me, trying to figure out if I’m telling the truth or not.

Someone clears their throat behind us, I look up and Evan is standing there. “So Riley, and um, you are?”

“Caleb.” He says with a cruel tone, maybe upset because he thinks that the boys would have left him behind? I mean Evan did tell me to leave him.

“Ah, Caleb. Sorry to interrupt, but Riley I’m leaving. Are you sure you don’t want a ride? I’m sure Mila would be fine to drop you off. Or we could call back the Collins to get someone to come get you?”

“No it is fine. You know how fast I can run.” I say with a smile. It doesn’t change his face though; he has a concerned look on his face. His eyes, they have aqua and dark orange in them. I could go with them, but I don’t want to be near Mila. “I’ll be fine.”

He hesitates for a minute, then nods slightly and looks directly into Caleb’s eyes. His face hardens as he concentrates. Oh sure, everyone else can say something to someone else without everyone hearing but me, I have to broadcast it to everyone around. When he is done saying whatever he decided to say without me hearing to Caleb, he looks back at me and in my head said “I’ll talk to you later. Promise.” then walks back towards Mila’s car. She is waiting there with a huge smile on her face. I already know my eyes have dark green in them because I am jealous of the fact that I wish he was walking towards my car. Alex and his parents wave good-bye.

With everyone gone, it is just Caleb and myself. I start to feel more insecure about being left alone with someone I’ve never met before this day. “I think I should head back home now. My best friend wasn’t allowed to come with us today, so he must be worried sick I haven’t told him we make it. I’ll see you at school Monday, right?”

“Sure. Do you want me to walk with you?”

“No, it’s okay. I’ll see you then.” With a smile I wave.

“Thanks again Riley. One day I will repay you.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

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