Chapter 14

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Brandon was once again waiting for Evelyn outside the school, a welcome habit that gave Evelyn something to look forward to each morning. Seeing his face light up as she approached brightened Evelyn's mood almost as much as Puck's surprise reappearance the afternoon before. Even the shocking news of her birth mother's murder did little to dampen Evelyn's spirits that night. It was a stinging blow, sure, but one numbed by the fact that she had never met the woman, nor intended to. Lenny and Becca were were her real parents as far as Evelyn was concerned.

Forcing some of her remaining inhibitions down, Evelyn grinned as she ran up to Brandon, nearly knocking him over as she half jumped into his arms and embraced him in a tight hug. "Good morning!" she said brightly, pulling his shoulders down and kissing him on the cheek.

"Well good morning to you too," Brandon said laughing, "and what's got you in such a good mood?" Not wanting to give Evelyn the chance to back out of her hug, he wrapped his own arms around her and pulled her in tightly.

Evelyn was immediately flooded with warm energy as she allowed herself to be pulled in, enjoying the pressure of his arms around her back and the feeling of his wildly pounding heart against her own chest. Between them her gem warmed and vibrated as if it were a ball of pure energy ready to explode. Out of habit she almost pulled her body back in fear that he would feel the gem's movements, but after a split second's thought she didn't care. Let him feel it, she thought, I'm telling him everything anyways, to hell with keeping secrets.

"An old friend came to visit me yesterday," she said, "someone I didn't think was real for the longest time."

Brandon cocked an eyebrow, "Someone... you didn't think was real..." he said, curiosity evident in both his tone and expression.

Evelyn laughed and pushed herself out of his embrace. Taking Brandon by the hand she smiled mischievously and led him to the furthest bench from the crowds of students she could find. "It's going to sound a little strange," she said when they had finally walked out of earshot of their fellow classmates, "but I hope you believe me. I want to introduce him to you later."

Brandon laughed, "Evelyn," he said, dropping his backpack to the ground and sliding beside her on the bench, "I've seen you heal a horse simply by touching it, seen you grow a tree out of an acorn, and felt that necklace of yours heat up and vibrate every time we hug. And don't even get me started on that little milk trick you pulled yesterday." He said lightheartedly, nudging Evelyn with his elbow before putting his arm over her shoulders. "I doubt you could say anything at this point that would truly surprise me."

"Hey!" she said, incredulous, "how could you think I'd do something like that to you?"

Brandon faked a sigh, "Oh, I don't know. I just figured you were probably so intimidated by my extraordinary generosity that you were trying to cut the date short before you felt you owed me too much. After all, it's not every day a girl gets treated to such fine dining."

Evelyn burst out laughing, "Oh really? Still full of yourself I see!"

Brandon smiled, "I know, my confidence is overwhelming. I'll try to tone it down a bit," he said with a grin, "Now, tell me about this friend of yours."

Evelyn rolled her eyes, leaning her full weight against Brandon. "Like I told you before, when I was a little girl I got bounced around a lot, house to house, family to family. It made it hard to make many, if any, friends. Especially when foster brothers and sisters occasionally caught you growing plants or talking to birds who sat in your hand like some kids movie..."

"Birds sit in your hand too?" Brandon interrupted.

"Yea, but I'll get to that later."

"I'll hold you to that, long as I get a demonstration. How have you not been found out by now if other kids had seen you doing stuff like that?" Brandon asked.

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