Chapter 6

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The rest of the morning went by pretty slowly. The anticipation of getting picked up for the official adoption pushed all school related thoughts to the back of her mind. Even her upcoming meet up with Brandon seemed a dull second. Luckily for Evelyn her other teachers didn’t seem to notice her lack of focus and the rest of the morning went by without incident. As it turned out, making the adoption official and legal wasn’t a very exciting affair.

She met Becca in the office between classes. She was busily chatting up the secretary in her usual bubbly way looking very official and un-Becca like in a navy skirt suit. Evelyn laughed to herself at the sight of her, it was the first time she had ever seen her foster mother in anything other than bright and oftentimes overwhelming colors.

“…that’s all you need to get your birdfeeders buzzing!” Becca was telling the secretary as Evelyn walked up. The look of relief on the woman’s face when Evelyn put her hand on Becca’s shoulder was almost comical. She turned around quickly and pulled Evelyn into a hug. “Oh, I’m so excited! Come on now, Larry’s in the car waiting!” Becca nearly pushed Evelyn out the door with her excitement before she could regain her footing from the quick embrace.

“Congratulations again, Mrs. Jensen!” The secretary called out as they walked out.

Becca and Evelyn didn’t even hear her. Becca was excitedly chatting away about the day’s plans and her excitement about making the adoption official while Evelyn smiled and nodded her head. Evelyn had learned it wasn’t much use trying to get any words into conversations with Becca when she was in one of her chatty moods.

    Larry smiled at Evelyn knowingly when they climbed into family’s small, dark blue car. The rest of the trip to the courthouse was surprisingly quiet. Becca and Larry had a whispered conversation with each other, allowing Evelyn to lose herself within her own thoughts. The idea of meeting Brandon later on made her feel mixture of unease and excitement.

Evelyn had always pictured her life as if it were a path she walked along through the woods, like a dark-haired Riding Hood. Sometimes that path was wide and clear, full of sunshine and birdsong during those periods of her life where time seemed to fly through her hair and past her skin like a cooling breeze on a hot day. The last two years had been like that clear path, as happy and stable as she had ever been. At other times the trail became rocky and steep, offering never ending challenges as she tried to navigate through the hardships and confusions her life drew in like a wolf to the scent of young flesh. Bouncing from family to family, hiding her powers from others while suffering ridicule and fear whenever she let them slip. Evelyn had seen more than her fair share of hardships, giving her mind’s eye more memories of running along stone and cliff than trees and grass.

Behind closed lids her mind pictured this new path. It was narrow, jutting out sharp and dangerous from the wide and comfortable path she currently wandered along hand in hand with the Jensens. Its trees, thick and ancient, stood as hardened soldiers in rank along the path’s twisted lengths, hiding sunshine behind dark shadows. Thorny vines grew up the great trunks like thick and leafy snakes, choking out any other life that dared to grow amongst the wooden sentinels.

Brandon stood alone at the entrance to the new path with hand extended. The question of his intent remained, was he offering companionship along the path as a guide and friend? Or would he pull her into the depths of shadow where she would find even sharper rocks and steeper cliffs?

Evelyn felt strongly that she had to find out, had to get to know him. An intuition far deeper than simple curiosity was driving her to find out if those thorny vines would blossom into a path of beautiful roses, or if they would reach out to ensnare her with sharp embrace, holding her still until the wolves could find her.

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