“Well tell her our agreement in the morning then,” I whispered to my brothers.
s**t! She was such a light sleeper.
She blinked and looked at me, her pretty face confused.
I touched her cheek.
“I’m sorry for waking you, Luna!” I murmured.
“Alex?” She mumbled.
“Yes, Princess,” I said.
“Did…um…did…” she began, pausing with a nervous glance at Felix.
She probably did not want to reveal him if he had not asked us about helping find Chasity’s parents yet.
“Yes, I talked it over with them,” said Felix, guessing her thoughts.
“Your boys want to help as much as I do, okay.”
Chasity looked at Calix and me for confirmation, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
Calix winked at her.
I tweaked her nose.
Her little smile widened.
She rushed into my arms and I wrapped her up in them, holding her tightly to my chest.
I instinctively buried my nose in her fragrant silky curls and inhaled the sweet familiar scent.
I kissed her ear and whispered in it.
“I promise to do everything in my power to find your parents, Chasity, but you must promise me three things,” I said.
She pulled away slightly to lock eyes with me, her expression startled.
“What three things?” She asked, unnerved.
“The three promises relate to the three possible outcomes of the investigation of your parents’ disappearance,” I said, holding her shoulders and giving them a squeeze.
She nodded to show she was following.
“One, if we find them alive and well, you must not go running off with them,” I said, holding up my index finger.
“Yeah, she knows, trust me,” muttered Felix.
“We spoke about that.”
“It bears repeating,” I said.
“If they’re somewhere avoiding their responsibility to you and they’re just peachy then they don’t deserve to reunite with you, Chasity,” I said gently, cupping her face.
She opened her mouth to say something but I spoke again first.
“Even though they wouldn’t deserve a reunion in such a case, I shall still allow it against my better judgment,” I said, my jaw set.
She sighed and cast her eyes downward.
I grasped her chin and encouraged her look at me again.
“I would do anything for you, Luna Chasity,” I murmured.
She smiled slightly.
“Two, if they’re found alive but somehow incapacitated, then you must not expect to go live with them when they are brought back to the pack.
As often as you like but within reason.
You’ll be happy to know if this is the case, they will be pardoned on all accounts, debts and negligent abandonment included,” I said.
Chasity nodded eagerly.
“Three, if they’re found…to be no longer with us, you must not attempt to avenge them or investigate their case, Chasity!” I said sternly.
Her eyes were watery and my heart hurt for her but I had to lay out the three main outcomes and what was expected of her in each case.
She was a Luna now, marked and mated.
Everyone with two brain cells to rub together would see and smell that plainly when we returned to the pack.
“In this case, Felix, Calix and I will investigate further and avenge them, assuming there was foul play, “I promised her earnestly.
“Tell me what you just promised,” I said.
“Um,” she said.
“Alex, c’mon! You said like a million things just now,” said Calix.
“I went home to Winter Moon, took a nap there and came back all while you were talking,” said Felix.
I rolled my eyes.
“I remember,” said Chasity softly.
“Of course you do, my clever Luna,” I purred.
“Remind me of your promises.
It’s ok if you want me to say them again.” She shook her head.
“One, if my parents are alive and well, I promise to not go running off with them.
Two, if my parents are alive but unwell, I promise to not go live with them but to just visit.
Three, if my parents are…
not with us, I promise to not try to…investigate or…avenge them…but you all will do that…if necessary,” she said, struggling with the last possible outcome.
She was holding back tears as she pondered on the possibility that her parents were already dead.
I kissed her forehead and gathered her up in my arms again.
“On the bright side, Baby, your fantastic memory has Alex hard as stone,” said Felix.
I gave him an indignant look for joking at a time like this but to my surprise, Chasity giggled a little.
“It’s turning me on too,” said Calix slyly with a wink.
“You’re gonna dazzle them when you start coming to pack meetings with a recall like that.” Chasity blushed and smiled but there was still so much sadness in her eyes.
I nuzzled her to comfort her.
I hoped her parents were alive.
Chasity deserved a fully-fledged happily ever after.
“And one last promise,” I said.
“This one is simple I swear,” I chuckled.
She eyed me suspiciously.
“Do you promise to enjoy what’s left of our vacation as much as you possibly can?” I asked.
She looked at me, astonished.
“I’ll try my best,” she said as she smiled.
“Ok, now tell us everything you want to do today!” Said Calix, extending his hand to Chasity.
Chasity wanted to go to the beach.
We sailed to the nearest one and docked nearby.
“Tortoise Bay! Isn’t it beautiful, Goddess?!” | exclaimed as Chasity and I walked hand in hand across the white sand, marvelling at the perfectly clean clear waters frothing as the waves crashed against the coast “It’s beautiful.
The sand and water are so clean! It’s like living in a painting or something,” she said.
I could tell she was trying her best to hide her apprehension about the water still.
I looked at our interlaced fingers and gave her small hand a gentle squeeze.
“Wanna build sand castles?” I offered.
“We’re grown, Calix,” grumbled Felix.
“Yeah,” said Chasity sheepishly.
“See, Chasity agrees! We’re too old for..,” began Felix.
“Yeah to building sandcastles I mean,” clarified Chasity.
I grinned, Felix scowled.
Alex was impassive.
The next hour was spent trying to build a castle around Chasity.
There were huts further up away from the sand on a grassy knoll selling refreshments and beach items including bathing suits, surf gear, snorkeling gear, floats and most importantly plastic shovels and buckets with some containing sand castle moulds.
We had gotten every mould they had and we were currently testing them all out as we added them to Castle Chasity, “I have an idea!” Said Chasity suddenly.
I knew instantly that she was thinking what I was thinking! “Sand Castle Building Contest?!”! said eagerly.
Felix took a deep patient breath.
Alex actually looked excited.
He did not like Felix’s ” lumpy” buildings and my “crumbly” buildings.
Now, he could perfect his technique without hindrance.
“You have…three minutes,” decided Chasity.
“To build the best sand castle! On your marks…” “Wait, what does the winner get?” Asked Felix, a sly smile forming on his face.
“Can’t we just do it to entertain Goddess Chasity? Does there have to be something in it for us?” I said pointedly.
“Calix doesn’t want anything,” said Felix dismissively, “Felix, on the other hand, will take cash, credit or his personal favourite Chasity as payment.” “HI decide the prize when I see the winner’s castle,” insisted Chasity.
“What are we being judged on?” Wondered Alex.
Oh good grief.
“Um, like…” began Chasity, seeming stumped.
“Style?” “What about Structural integrity?” Suggested Alex, “And creativity?” “I have a suggestion,” I said.
“How about Felix and Alex go home back to the yacht and Chasity and I enjoy an uncomplicated beach day.” Chasity giggled at this and my two elder brothers stopped their questioning.
“On your marks! Get set! Go!” Squealed Chasity, jumping up and down.
She was usually so self-conscious.
It was nice to see her so happy and free.
We all got to work.
I wanted something that resembled a fairytale with a drawbridge and a moat.
After digging the moat around the castle, I barely had time at the end to rush the water and fill a bucket.
I dashed back at Werewolf speed and filled the moat.
I had wanted to find hermit crabs and place them as guards of the moat.
I found three! When, she called time, they began walking away from their posts.
“No more touching your castles!” Chuckled Chasity.
“Were we allowed to use materials other than Sand?” Asked Felix pointedly.
“Alex has used rocks and Calix has used water!” He tattled.
“There’s semen at the tip of yours so be quiet,” snapped Alex.
I roared with laughter.
Felix’s castle did look a lot wetter than the others.
“There’s extra water in my sand mix so it’ll be smooth!” Said Felix, annoyed.
“There’s extra what, Felix?” I asked pointedly.
“Water! In the mix to…” he began.
“Oh, yeah, I guess water and rocks can be used,” he said, grinning He tried to shove me playfully but I dodged him.
“Protective is the perfect word for this one.
Thank you, Alex,” said Chasity brightly.
“Felix?” “Er#ct,” said Alex.
“That’s how you make him feel.” I collapsed onto the sand, laughing.
Chasity’s face was so red, it was a few moments before she could speak again.
“It’s Felix’s turn, guys,” said Chasity sheepishly.
“The castle is modern as Chasity rightfully said.
Chasity is my muse, my stimulant so I would describe my castle as stimulated,” said Felix, knowing exactly what he was doing.
Alex and I were beside ourselves.
“Calix! Your turn!” Said Chasity happily.
I composed myself.
“I put a moat with hermit crab guards and shells on the roofs for decoration because I wanted my castle to be like the ones from fairytales because Chasity is my happily-ever-after!” I said.
“That’s not a word! That’s three!” Said Felix, annoyed.
“In the context of that sentence, it could be one hyphenated word,” said Alex.
Always picking up for me like decent big brother should ! Felix rolled his eyes.
“If I have to pick just one word…then I pick enchanted,” I said.
Chasity lit up.
“You’re all winners in my eyes,” said Chasity.
We began to complain but Chasity put her palm up, silencing us.
“So you will each get your individual prize later,” she announced.
We exchanged glances.
“Can the individual prizes be based on the castles?” Asked Felix.
“Like my prize could be, you know, a stimulus of some kind.
Alex’s prize could be something protective like a…padlock or something and Calix’s prize could be imaginary,” suggested Felix.
Alex snorted with laughter.
I gave him an indignant look and he took on an apologetic expression.
“I already decided on all of the prizes,” said Chasity simply.” And I want to see you with them all the time!” Huh? “Ok, deal!” said Felix eagerly without knowing what he was agreeing to.
I nodded too.
“Water time!” Said Felix.
“Oh and I call holding Chasity!” Said Felix with a pointed look at me.
I knew he was still kinda pissed at me about the pool incident.
I did not blame him.
I was angry with myself too.
I should have carried her out of the pool as soon as she asked.
I also should not have told her that secret while in the pool in the first place.
She had had her full share of bad experiences with water.
Three Promises, she did not need anymore.
I would make it up to her.
Felix I picked up my little minx and walked into the water.
Chasity gave a nervous glance at the frothy water lapping at us.
“You’re ok, Baby.
I’ve got you,” I murmured in her ear.
She smiled slightly and tightened her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist, clinging to me.
I found a spot where I could sit with Chasity on my lap and we still would not be submerged completely.
The water was about mid-chest level when we sat.
“What’re you thinking about?” I asked her as buried her head in my neck.
“Fries,” she said simply.
I burst into laughter and so did my brothers.
“Ok, you’ll get fries soon then,” I promised.
I have to tell Chasity something..
well ask her something…
said Alex in my head.
Calix was listening in too.
I don’t want to upset or offend her though, he added.
Chasity seemed relaxed now.
She did not venture into the water on her own.
She remained in my arms but she no longer looked at the waves with apprehension.
She seemed to marvel at them.
Wait until after she eats her fries! I said.
Later, when we’re watching the sunset! / told her we’d watch the sunset on deck this evening, suggested Calix.
Ok! You guys are right.
Later, then, he agreed.
Did Alex just listen to me? I had earned myself some major brownie points today.
I could not help the smug smile that spread across my face.
“What’re you thinking about?” Wondered Chasity.
“Fries,” I said simply.
Chasity burst into laughter.
“Let’s go,” chuckled Alex.
“Luna was clearly hinting at something earlier.” “Was she? She was being so subtle.
These women never know what they want to eat!” I complained sarcastically.
Chasity vengefully pinched my upper arm.
She did not make much of a dent as it was solid muscles.
These biceps were the truth.
“Fries time,” said Calix.
“Chasity what would you like to eat?” I asked innocently as I carried her back to shore.
She refused to answer me.
“Baked potato?” I suggested.
She glared at me.
“Give me fries or give me death,” said Calix.
“Paraphrasing Shakespeare?” I wondered.
“The original ‘Give me liberty or give me death quote was said by another human by the name of Patrick Henry, I believe,” said Alex, clearly hoping one of us would ask who that was so he could explain Thankfully, no one asked and we made it back to where our yacht was docked without having to know.
We had called ahead so our world-renowned chefs could fry Chasity’s fries and have them ready.
“Are you ready for elevated fries?” Said Chat, the head-chef as we neared the bar.
There were many dishes, all clearly fries but with some twist: curly truffle fries, steak fries with chilli, bacon Cheddar fries, spicy sea food boil on a base of lobster Mac n’ cheese with a side of cajun fries.
Chasity frowned at the complicated fries.
“I had a feeling,” said Sachin, revealing a basket of plain thin crispy salty fries.
Calix began taking some of each of the elevated fries to Chat’s delight though.
I attacked the sea food boil.
I was a protein fiend.
Alex was eating the chilli, a favourite of his and Dad’s.
Chasity munched happily on her plain salty fries, no ketchup, no mustard, nothing.
Just potatoes, oil and salt.
This girl was hardcore.
What is the thing we re gonna ask Chasity post-fries? I asked.
I want to ask her she’ll agree to go to therapy, said Alex with a nervous glance at Chasity who only had eyes for her basket of fries.
Like a shrink? I asked, alarmed.
She has PTSD, Felix.
I’m no doctor but Chasity’s past is traumatic and she keeps getting these flashbacks.
She seems pretty textbook, said Alex sadly.
I squirmed with guilt.
It was all my fault.
Stop blaming yourself, said Alex as though he could read my mind.
I sighed but nodded.
She’ll be okay with it, said Calix confidently.
How are you so sure? I asked.
She wants to move on from all that.
Can’t you tell? Said Calix.
She’s trying as hard as we are in her own little way.
Don’t you think?
I looked at Chasity.
She felt my eyes on her.
She looked up and smiled brightly.
Yeah, she is, I realised.
She most certainly is.