Chapter Three

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Today, I stayed home from school. The pain from my last age-shift was unbearable. That was one of the worst perks of being an age-shifter. You would experience a lot of pain after your first couple of changes. Mom said that they were called blow backs. My aunt experienced them a lot and complained to my mother about it. She was the one who always got the heated water bottles for her back.

Also, the pain of seeing Joel would have been unbearable. Joel had called five times last night, but I let them all go to voicemail. He never left any messages. When the phone rang, I went into my safe haven until it stopped. The smell of my mother's perfume comforted me. I missed her so much. I wish she was here to tell me that everything was going to be okay.

As I was sweeping the floor in the kitchen, I heard a couple of knocks on the door. I froze where I was, letting the broom hit the floor. I quietly tiptoed to the door and looked out the peephole. It was Joel and he had papers in his hand. I assumed that the papers were homework. For the past couple of days, the homework load was getting bigger and bigger. I would be up to all the hours of the night working on math problems.

He was about to knock again when I finally opened the door. "Hi," he said, looking at me. "Come in," I said, moving away from the door. He walked in and wiped his feet on the mat. "Thanks. I have your homework here for you," he said, holding the papers and books in front of me. "How did you get my books?" I asked, confused. "The books are mine, actually. I knew you weren't in school, so I'm letting you borrow my books," he explained. "Oh," I replied back.

"Is everything alright, Breanna?" he asked, concerned. His face didn't show the concern, but his eyes said otherwise. It was still hard for me to explain to him what was going on. "I'm alright. I just wasn't feeling well this morning." I said even though I was lying. "You can tell me, you know. It doesn't matter how silly it is," he replied back. If only he knew that it was serious to me. "Trust me, everything is fine. If I want to tell you, I will." I said, giving a fake smile.

"Alright, but if something is up, I want to know about it," he replied. "I'm just figuring stuff out too. The homework is just too much and I just have no one to help me." I explained. "Why doesn't your mother help you?" he asked. I should have just kept my mouth shut. How was I going to explain that I had no mother and my father was somewhere in the world? No one knew that my mother died, so my father never came back to check on me. As far as I knew, he was engaged to some new woman that I didn't know the name of. I wish to never see him again.

"My mother wasn't very good with math. She said that as a kid, she struggled with it. I must get my math struggles from her." I said in a joking matter. "I can help you if you want. It's not a problem," he said. The way his eyes shined when he said that. It would be hard to decline that offer. "Sure, if you have the time," I replied. He smiled at me and took his shoes off. "I have tons of time right now," he said.

I walked down the hallway and grabbed my math binder. Out of all the textbooks, I could have forgotten, I didn't forget my math textbook. I walked to the table and set my schoolwork down. "Do you want anything to drink before we start?" I asked. "I'm fine, but thank you," he replied, smiling. I smiled back, as I sat down. We were at the table, working on math problems for hours until his phone started to ring. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and checked the ID. "It's Cristal. I think we had plans tonight," he said, giving a sad smile. "Get going, then. You don't want to keep her waiting." I said, packing up my schoolwork.

"Bre, I can cancel my plans with her. I'd rather help you catch up than spend time with her," he said. "No, you don't want to make her mad. I'll see you tomorrow in school." I said, getting up and taking my books. All of a sudden, he was up and grabbed my wrist. I ignored the electric shock that went up my arm and hoped my face wasn't giving anything away. "Put the books down on the table. You are getting caught up," he replied. Before I could reply, he went into another room and answered the phone.

I walked down the hallway and looked at pictures of my mother. I only looked at one I treasured the most. It was when I was four years old. Mom and I decided to get our picture done at a park. We sat by a tree and wore matching outfits. The picture was taken while we were laughing. We were so happy and I still wish that I could turn the clock back, so I could figure out how to save her. I walked back into the kitchen, where Joel was patiently waiting

I must have had tears in my eyes because he looked at me with concern. "Now I know there is something wrong. Tell me, Bre," he said. I sat down on the chair and looked at him. "It was just my father. When my parents divorced, he left and never came around to see me. He just wanted to forget that I ever existed. He came around eventually when I was in the hospital at one point, but after that, I never heard from him. I just miss him a lot." I explained. It wasn't exactly a lie, but it wasn't the real reason I had tears in my eyes. "Well, it's his loss that he's missing you grow up. He'd be proud of you," he said, giving me a hug. I breathed in his scent and it calmed me down.

While we were working on my math, I started thinking about Christmas. It was in a few weeks and I still haven't decorated the house. This weekend would become decorating weekend and it made me happy. I would need to shift, but it would be worth it. I was going to do some Christmas shopping too. I might just get Joel and Cristal something too. All I knew was that this week would be the best Christmas yet!

A/N: Hey everyone! Sorry that this chapter is late. I just want to say that I'll be doing a Christmas chapter over the weekend and I'll be posting it on Tuesday next week, which is my birthday! So, after the Christmas chapter is posted, I will not be writing until January. Hope you guys don't mind and enjoyed this chapter.

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