Pointing fingers at each other was getting us nowhere. My parents were, far from perfect but t they wouldn’t harmed Chasity’s parents. My Morn could have killed her own little step-brother. Mom obviously resented the fact that she had been made to take care of Chasity in his absence. Why would she have gotten rid of him in the first place then? It didn’t add up. She had no motive where Chase and Chalice were concerned. She would have benefitted more from them being alive and present to care for Chasity.
On the other hand, Chance also had no motive in my opinion. Some might say that wanting custody of Chasity was a motive. However, if he had killed his own daughter just to gain custody of his granddaughter; why stop there? Chasity had been left with my parents. Chance could have kidnapped her or attacked my parents if he had been deranged enough. Chance seems quite level-headed to me, possibly more so than my Mom. Now that I knew Chance existed, Mom begrudgingly raising Chasity seemed more spiteful than charitable.
“Let’s assume neither our parent nor Chance killed Chasity’s parents,” I declared loudly before they start arguing again.
I sighed sadly.
“For the time being;”’I added.
My wolf was mournful over the childhood Chasity had missed out on. We knew she would have been happier with Chance. I could barely look at my Mom.
Felix and Calix agreed with me, Mom opened her mouth to protest but I put my palms up, signaling for everyone to remain quiet.
Great. Now I had everyone’s full attention.
“We need to work together. We need to find Chasity. No one is here is totally blameless and our focus should be Chasity!! I said sternly, reminding them what was at stake here.
Chasity’s life was on the line and meant my brothers and I hung in the balance too. We were so closely linked.
We’d be crushed and vulnerable if we lost our luna.
We also couldn’t let her down like that. We had promiseChasity a lifetime of wedded bliss and happiness to make up the cruelty she had experienced during her childhood. I couldn’t show weakness in front of my younger brothers and father or in front of the pack members but I couldn’t live without Chasity. If I couldn’t have her for my Luna, I had been hell-bent on ruling alone assuming she was safe and sound just not interested in me. Now that she was marked as mine but had been snatched away. The cracks in the veneer would begin to show. I needed to find Chasity before I went crazy without her.
A knock on the door diverted my attention. A pack warrior, who had been awkwardly standing guard during our family feud, rushed to open it, clearly eager to diffuse the tension in the room.
It was the Private Investigator, Danny, Danny’s eyes swept over Chance in curiosity before he addressed the room, I have a lead in Luna Chasity’s case, Alphas.”
I felt like a huge weight been lifted off of me. Finally! A break in the case! The P.l. was actually getting stuff done. I knew I shouldn’t rejoice this much so prematurely but I couldn’t help it. I had been on an emotional rollercoaster in the past few days. I was ready to latch onto any shred of hope.
“Shall we go to the conference room?” Suggested Danny.
I nodded and headed for the stairs without another word to my parents, Thankfully, Mom and Dad remained downstairs. My brothers followed and Chance lumbered up the stairs after us. We sat in the conference room. Danny pulled out an old-fashioned-looking tape recorder.
“Tell us about the lead before you play us any of the interviews!” Insisted Felix impatiently. “Brief uS?’
I could feel Felix’s anxiety coming off of him in waves.I didn’t want to be kept in suspense either.
“The lead came from your exes began Danny.
Felix jumped to his feet and Slamedled his palms down on the table.
“Which one of them did it?!” He snarled, his eyes turning black instantly.
“None of them from what I gather said Danny, perfectly calm.
He had not even flinched in the face of an angry Alpha. That was pretty impressive.
“What are you saying then?” I demanded.
“Was it Avery?” Wondered Calix, looking horrified.
“l highly doubt that,” I muttered.
It amazed me that Avery could get dressed each morning. She exceeded my expectations anytime her socks matched. She was no mastermind.
I want to play you the most pertinent part of the recordings first. This is the interview Of Sandra, Tonya, and Avery regarding their whereabouts when Luna Chasity was kidnapped which would have been after the party you all attended?” Said Danny, looking at me for confirmatiön.
I nodded. Felix was still standing, his knuckles white from gripping the table. The furniture in most pack houses tended to be extremely strong but Felix still managed to break a couple of things each month. He was an overachiever that way.
“In the interview, the three girts reveal that a person of interest was in town that night,” stated Danny matter–of–factly.
“Who?” said Chance, my brothers, and I in unison.
“Deidre Binx” replied Danny.
Huh? Chalice’s old friend? The retired supermodel? I knew she was one of the key persons in the disappearance of Chase and Chalice. I slowly sat back down and relinquished my grip on table. I had left deep claw marks in the reinforced wood; A few more moments and I would have reduced the wood to sawdust, crushing it with my bare hands,.
“Danny, let’s hear it, said, Calix.
Danny pushed play on the tape recorder without further ado.
Hey girls, I’m the P. I and my name is Danny. it’s nice to meet you,” said Danny.
I pictured Danny smiling warmly at the girls while an awkward silence fell over them.
“So, were you the triplets ‘ exes?” He asked, his tone conversational.
“Yes, l am Alex’s ex. Tonya used to date Felix and Avery was with Calix, “said Sandra stiffly.
“What were the triplets like as boyfriend ?” Asked Danny trying to get them talking with an open-ended question.
“They were romantic, attentive,” responded Tonya.
I smiled. At least, my ex had something nice to say about me. Psycho Sandra and Spacey Avery had kept quiet.
“How long were yöu dating the triplets? Continued the P. I.
Maybe five weeks said Avery, sounding unsure which was nothing new for her.
”Did you girls know Chasity while you were dating the triplets? Asked Danny, beginning a round of more pertinent questions by bringing up the only person who really mattered right now, Chasity.
Yeah, vaguely, lied Sandra.
She knew very well who Chasity was and would be super annoyed when Alex brought her up. Tonya to get pissed at me too for calling her Chasity by accident. I doubted Avery would even notice if someone called her wrong name the accidentally.
“She was just some a servant that cooked and cleaned at the pack house, “said Tonya dismissively.
I could hear how the harsh tone of her voice was practically dripping with jealousy.
The triplets complained about her from time to time. Also, we had thought her was Charity with an R not Chasity with an S because the triplets called her Charity, ” explained Avery.
I was impressed, that was the most knowledgable statement I’d ever heard Avery make.
“On the triplet’s twenty-first birthday, did you know it was also Chasity’s eighteenth birthday?”Asked the Private Investigator.
Danny paused the tape.
“At this point, they shook their heads to indicate no; they did not know it was Chasity’s birthday also,” clarified Danny.
He pressed play again.
“When did the triplets break up with you? He asked.
There was a long pause. That was a touchy question. Danny had a small satisfied smile on his face and a mischievous gleam in his eye. He seemed pleased with himself, He had managed to ruffle their feathers. Perhaps, that was one his methods: emotional people spilled more secrets than calm ones.
‘They broke up with us on their birthday itself before the party,” said Tonya after the long awkward silence.
“And it was via text!” Complained Avery.’
That’s not true!” Interrupted Calix.
Danny paused the tape,
‘We asked them to come meet us via text and broke up with them officially in person’ said Calix defensively.
“l think they had an inkling what it was all about, It was a ‘we need to talk and it can’t wait’ kinda text said Alex with a shrug.
Danny looked at prompting the to say something.
“I don’t even remember what I said in the text to Tonya,” I admitted ‘honestly, ” How relevant is it?” I asked, feeling annoyed.
My Baby missing and I was supposed to account for these stupid little details regarding my ex.
“Either way, we did the right thing!” I said, raising my voice slightly. “We broke up With them respectfully for our mate No cheating, no ghosting, no stringing people along. A clean, honest, healthy, respectful l break”, I said.
Danny pressed play again.
“ We had all been together deciding on what to wear for the party and we all get texts from them saying they‘re sorry but they‘ve found their mate. They refused to say who she was so we were in the dark about their mate being Chasity. We went to the party anyway though we’d been unceremoniously uninvited . Chasity was there doing server work and we asked her if she knew the triplets made was and that little b*tch lied to our faces,’ snapped Sandra.
There was a low growl from Alex at Sandra calling Chasity a B*tch.” My wolf snarled too. Sandra was confusing Chasity with herself.
“Oh wait, I think my text did say something like ‘I think I found my mate so we need to talk’ and if they were all together when Avery got the text, they would automatically we had all found our shared mate, meaning they would all gel broke up with,” admitted Calix.
Danny had paused the tape again to listen to Calix’s revelation. I was getting antsy.
“No more pausing the tape,” I commanded in my Alpha voice.
Danny looked taken aback.
“Felix; chastised Alex indignantly.
“Press play,” I ordered.
He was compelled to obey.
“So you were quite upset and weeks later decided to Confront Chasity at a different party on the night of her disappearancé?” Danny asked.
More awkward silence.
“ We just talked to her that’s all!” Said Avery, her tone sounding earnest but I wasn’t buying it.
I had n’t seen it myself but I just knew they meant to corner and her intimidate her and maybe cause a rift in our relationship by messing with my Baby’s confidence. I felt a pang of guilt when I recalled how we had been on bad terms right before she had gotten kidnapped. Her confidence had already been shaken that night from my brothers and Imismanaging the whole party. That should have been a fun safe night and she should have had our undivided attention. I felt like I couldn’t breathe for a second when I thought about it but I managed to calm myself down.
“We told her the truth,” said Sandra letting out the ghost of a humorless laugh.
“What truth did you tell her”?Asked Danny.
Yeah, I wondered . which version of the “truth “ had she gotten from them?
“ That the triplets complained about her constantly. How ungrateful she was, how unfriendly she was. She was always in a sullen bad mood. She was fat, poor, a loser, “said Tonya, going for the jugular.
It was my turn to growl. What the f**k was her problem? I felt another twinge of guilt. I had said many mean things about Chasity but I honestly didn’t mean any of them. I adored that girl. Even before the mate-bond, her safety had been a top priority for me. Now, I worshipped every curl on her head. I buried my face in my hands. My Baby was probably so scared right now without me. We were supposed to be living happily ever after right about now to make up for all the s**t we put her through. I groaned thinking about my poor Baby scared and sleeping alone when she should be sandwiched between me and one my brothers.
“They use the words fat,poor and loser?”He asked.
Another uncomfortable silence followed.
I’m paraphrasing? Was this Shakespeare?
“So after you confronted her Chasity ….” began Danny.
“She vomited on us!” Blurted out Avery, clearly keen on getting to the crux of the matter.
“And Alex came and took her away,” continued Sandra.
“That’s it, nothing else happened,” said Tonya.
What did you girls think when you found out Chasity was missing ?” Asked Danny nonchalantly though it was a loaded question.
“That she’d run off to find her Parents!” Said Sandra without hesitation.
“Hmm, so what were you, girls, doing around the time Chasity was allegedly kidnapped?’ Asked Danny, again keeping his tone measured.
“We went to a bar, after the party, after we’d cleaned up a bit,” narrated Sandra.
We needed to destress, “ said Tonya with a heavy sigh.
“0k, what bar? Asked Danny.
I knew Danny was slick enough to find out if they were fabricating this alibi.
“The Serpent’s Tongue, “said Sandra blankly.
Alex’s eyes widened in surprise until they were the size Of saucers while Calix’s mouth was agape in shock. l stifled a laugh at their expressions.
Danny seemed like he had been unpleasantly surprised by that bar choice as well.
“That’s a pretty rough crowd. You girls were comfortable there?” He asked outright on the tape.
“Anything interesting happened at this bar? Asked Danny.
“Yeah! Exclaimed Avery excitedly. We met a celebrity, a supermodel! Well, an ex-supermodel. She’s retired. Deirdre Binx. She was with this young hot guy. All those retired supermodels have boy toys! Said Avery, giggling.
Did you talk to her?” Asked Danny, clearly intrigued.
” Of course! Squealed Avery .” I asked for an autograph. She talked to me for like fifteen minutes! The model-looking boyfriend had left to go somewhere so we all got to chill at the bar with her!” Boasted Avery.
Yeah,” said Tonya coolly. “We were too shy to talk to her before but we worked up the nerve at the bar.”
“Before? “Asked Danny. “What do you mean?”
I had caught that too, Before what? They had met Deidre before? My stomach churned. I had a bad feeling about all of this.
“Deidre knew the party-throwers family and she was there at the party for a short time. She was there early! And left before the triplets and Chasity came and the whole vomit incident happened,” snarled Tonya, still angry at my Cohesity over something beyond her control.
“What was a big celebrity doing hanging round ? Wondered Danny.
What celebrity crashes a high school party? It didn’t surprise me that Beta Keaton’s family knew Deidre, She had been Chalice’s best friend and Chalice was the sister- inlaw to the Alpha and Luna. Thus the Betä could have easily met her when they were younger. Perhaps, all the way back at Winter Moon High.
“She said she was visiting an old friend, said Tonya.
My brothers and I looked at each other. We knew instinctively we were all thinking along the same lines. Could she have been trying to visit Chalice? Was Chalice really dead? If Chalice was dead, was Deidre visiting Didi? She could have even been looking for Chasity. Alarm bells went off in my head. Chance claimed the real Deidre was dead, Had the im[oster returned to finish tying up loose ends? Was Chasity a loose end?! growled instinctively.
‘Did she say who?” Asked Danny, his voice louder on the tape now as though he was leaning in.
“l am stopping it because that’s the end of their interview,” said Danny quickly with a slightly nervous look at me. “The girls shook their heads no. They didn’t know who Deidre was trying to meet.
” My brothers and I were quiet, all three of us lost in thought. My head was spinning. “The interesting thing…. is that Deidre was photographed at a Hollywood even that night,” revealed Danny.
“So the girls were lying about running into her? Asked Alex quickly.
Danny smiled slightly.
“Deidre was seen in LA that night but I also went through social media posts from the party attended by you three Luna and Deidre was in the background of the of them. Or at least someone who looked exactly like Deidre!'” Said Danny.
We were all puzzled. Well; my ‘brothers and l were puzzled.
Chance was nodding as though he had reached an epiphany.
The lead had led to even more questions but at least we were getting somewhere. We had a potential suspect.
“Is this the only incriminating information you found during your interviews thus far? I asked.
“Regarding Deidre?” Asked Danny.
“No, everyone. Not just Deidre being in two places at once and attending a high school party as weird as that is. What about all the other interviews? Like Roxie and Moxie? It was their party Deidre attended and our exes said they knew her!” I pointed out.
“Chalice and Chase knew her and Mom and Dad knew her too so of course Keaton would know her,” said Felix.
I felt like he was trying to defend Roxie and there was no space for that. Anyone could have something against Chasity. He was willing to accuse our own mother but hesitated to accuse Roxie.
‘l asked Danny,” I snapped.
Felix glared at me.
“Let’s be nice to each other,” said Alex. “We only have each other.
“Don’t talk like Chasity’s dead!” I snarled, my voice crackling a little.
Alex tried to put a hand on my shoulder but l shrugged it off and he simply sighed.
“l interviewed Moxie and Roxie .Moxie …. nothing interesting there. But Roxie…” Said Danny, nodding.
Ha! I gave Felix an ‘l told you so’ look. He rolled his eyes.
“What did she do?” Asked Felix bluntly.
“Do you want to hear her whole tape? Asked Danny.
“Just the pertinent parts,” I said.
“Get to the point,” grumbled Felix.
“Why are you Protective of Roxie but not Mom?” I snapped at Felix.
“Are you kidding me?” Snarled Felix, “I am suspicious of everyone including Roxie, I just know how obsessed a person feels regarding their own mate. Roxie has her own mate.” Said Felix with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“And I’m not defending her! I let her be interviewed, didn’t I? And when she and Keaton complained, I told them to pipe down, didn’t j?”
I sighed, fair enough, I didn’t reply though. i wouldn’t give him satisfaction.
“Danny, play the tape,” I ordered.
Danny instantly produced Roxie’s tape and found the relevant segment, He played it for us.
“ I have a mate!” Scteeched Roxie indignantly, sounding like a broken record, Spilling the same rhetoric Felix had just spewed.
I snorted with laughter. Felix rolled his eyes at me again.
“Ok, Ms Roxie, I know, just answer the question, please,” said Danny.
“I would never be jealous of Chasity. Felix and I were happy for each other when we found our mates, , Roxie said stiffly her voice shriller than normal.
She was agitated. I could tell. He had gotten under her skin. He had touched a raw nerve.
“The question was did you tell Chasity to go to the landing bathroom knowing full well that Sandra, Tonya and Avery were waiting thereto confront her?” Asked Danny, sounding firm but exasperated.
Whoa! That was the question she had been dodging, Alex inhaled sharply. I stiffened, I saw Felix tense, beside me.
“Well ….yeah” she admitted.
Alex and I both growled. Felix shot up from his seat. “Felix?’ Said Alex sternly but Felix’s eyes were already coal black.
Both Felix and his wolf were pissed. He picked up an empty chair and flung it straight through the window, shattering the glass. I ran to the jagged hole and peered down into the snow. The chair was actually fine. We really had some great sturdy furniture. The window was another story. I returned to my seat and so did Felix.
Danny looked comically flabbergasted, his hanging open and his eyes wide.
“l just needed to vent?’ said Felix in a deadpan voice.
“Venting means talking through your feelings not demolishing the house;” grumbled Alex.
Alex had paused the tape during Felix’s outburst since Danny had been forbidden from pausing it.
Danny‘s finger trembled a little as he pressed play again.
“And why would you do a thing like that, Roxie?” Asked Danny indignantly.
Yeah, Roxies, why are you such a hateful b***h? I grumbled to myself. My poor Chasity. Chasity had trusted Roxie had been plotting against her behind her back. My Goddess deserved so much so much better.
“Be I…I don’t know. Chasity was never popular before and now she’s like this….superstar or something. It was annoying. It was annoying.I just thought it’d be funny if the girls ruffled her feathers. They were not gonna hurt her. No violence. Just b*tchy insults. And well she vomited on them pretty good,” said Roxie, Snickering like the immature dope she was.
I couldn’t believe how feeble her excuse for setting up Chasity was. Her reasoning was Chasity’s overnight popularity threatened her. She didn’t even go to that school anymore. She had graduated from Winter Moon High with us three years ago. Danny pursed his l*ps in disapproval as he listened to his own interview. He was clearly not feeling Roxie and her jealous pettiness.
“Ok, thank you, Ms. Roxie, send the next person in, said Danny curtly.
This tape went right into another interview, I could hear the clicking of Roxie’s heel as she left the room and the click-clack of another pair of as the new interviewee entered.
“How would you describe Chasity? Asked Danny. She… .great, “came Ronda’s voice.
As soon as my brothers and I recongnised her voice; we all groaned in unison.
“Pause it, said Felix, releasing Danny from his earlier command.
Danny stopped the tape.
Nothing relevant happened there right? Confirmed Alex wanting to be meticulous.
He was right. We needed to make sure we weren’t overlooking anything.
Ronda’s answers were useless,” said Danny.
“Fitting,” Said Alex.
“Well, it’s your turn,”I said, turning to Chance who has been extremely quiet.
“I almost forgot you were here,” you were here,” admitted Felix, looking back at Chance.
Alex was on the same page as me.
“Your turn to tell us what you know. You don’t seem the least bit surprised by Deidre’s alleged omnipresence,” said Alex,
“Thank goodness you do to use your word the day before dinnertime, Alex. You’ll ‘have enough time to a second word of the day,” teased Felix.
“Start talking, Grandpa, “ said Felix gruffly.
Chance looked affronted but wasn’t afraid of Felix which was actually pretty impressive for an old wolf. I threw Felix a disparaging glance. Alex gave him a dirty look too.
“Fine… please,” said Felix as though the word tasted bad to say.
Chance took deep breath and then launched into his theory.