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Chapter 3

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"Don't make me come after you, little man," Claire jokingly warned. She rested in a half crouch, arms wide and feet more than shoulder's length apart, and watched her little brother closely, ready to chase him when he ran.

Charlie giggled, flour all over him. It was in his hair, along his arms, and even all over his clothes.

Charlie faked right and then sped past Claire. He dashed right out of the kitchen and into the living room, his tiny legs carrying him as fast as he could go.

If Claire wasn't a shifted wolf, she might not have been able to catch him.

But she was, so catching up to him was easy. She feigned exhaustion and huffed and puffed even though her heart was barely going faster than normal.

"Charlie! I'm gonna get you!" she sang.

Her heart leaped with glee when she heard his trilling laughter. It was so perfect, so completely free of worry, and something she hadn't heard in a while.

"No, Care!" he squeaked, taking a running leap over a stray blanket and heading upstairs. Claire followed right on his heels, leaving her own cloud of flour mixing with the one Charlie left behind.

She followed the trail of white footsteps up the stairs and down the hallway. They stopped outside Charlie's room, where they abruptly disappeared behind the closed door.

Although she saw him escape to his room, she still held back for a bit to let the tension fill the air. After a moment, she slowly opened his door. It made a quiet creak as it swung in.

Charlie's soft, quick breathing sounded from his closet. She tiptoed into the room, purposely stepping onto a toy that began to sing.

"Hmm, I wonder where he could have gone?" she asked herself a bit too loudly.

Charlie giggled almost silently from the closet.

"Hmm..." She grabbed the knob on the door in her hand. Twisting it quickly, she pulled it open and pointed right at her little brother. "Ah ha! Thought you could get away from me, didn't you?"

He launched his teeny frame at her. She caught him easily, smiling at his utter happiness.

"You got me, Care." He swiped at the curls on his forehead and pushed some sweaty ones back. "You're too good at this."

"It's all about practice, little man. Practice."

"Are the cookies done yet?" His eyes glittered with excitement.

The timer on the oven decided right then to buzz. "It would seem the deliciousness is done being made."

Charlie gave a squeal and jumped out of her arms. He was halfway down the stairs before she could stop him.

"Hey!" she yelled down to him. "You're helping me clean this up, little man!"

"Okay, Care."

Claire glanced around at Charlie's catastrophe of a room. Toys were everywhere. Patches of white were all over the floor and on his bed sheets and so many other places where they really shouldn't be.

This was what she got for having a flour war with a six-year-old.

She threw her head back and groaned. Oh, he was so helping her clean this up.



Marcus waited at the end of the terminal for his brother. He could see in his line of sight the baggage claim where his brother would soon be standing, and the excitement of finally seeing him again was getting to him.

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