I was afraid for my goddess. I was grateful for what April and June had done for Chasity, but that didn’t absolve them of all guilt.
They had risked their lives standing up to that bodysnatcher. In doing so, they had given Chasity time to find her parents, and they had given my brothers and me time to get to her.
Chasity was pregnant so l owed them twice as much. No, four times as much, since she was pregnant with triplets, Four members of my future family were safeguarded by them.
However, those were-fox girls had been part of the problem in the first place. They would have known what their leader intended to do. Even if they hadn’t known specific details, they would have atleast had an inkling of what could have befallen Chasity.
They could’ve reported the kidnapping anonymously before the supermodel imposter had been this close to hurting my one and only and our unborn babies.
Reducing their sentences as accessories to my Luna’s kidnapping was reasonable. Even pardoning them altogether was repayment enough. Befriending them and adding them to the bridal party was way too lenient.
They should feel lucky to even get an invite to our wedding. I felt especially panicked and suspicious about the whole thing after finding out there was a chance that the head bodysnatcher could be at large. Sure, it was a slim chance, but it was still a possibility.
Alex said that if the were fox got back to her original body in time, she could be alive somewhere,” I said with a sigh, sharing my concerns with my Mom.
Mom frowned. she twisted her mouth to one side as she pondered on our predicament. She had been trying to be more sensitive towards Chasity’s plight after we had had a heart-to-heart in which I had shared my plans for the future. All of these future plans involved Chasity ruling at my side, so Mom cultivating a relationship with Chasity was nonnegotiable for me.
“We don’t even know the exact time limit for getting back to your body!” I added. “What if it’s like three days or something?! I guesstimated worriedly.
A chill crept down my spine at the very thought of that villainess being alive and well, plotting her revenge on my little goddess.
“I really doubt the time limit for returning her consciousness to her body could be that long. Also, wouldn’t the body starve or become dehydrated while the were-fox was in her new body?
Wouldn’t her old body wither away long before she tried switching again? Who says she even has an old living body to go back to?” Wondered Mom.
“Alex hypothesized that the old bodies are probably kept somewhere safe on drips and hooked up to a respirator or something,” I said, growing more anxious by the minute.
“Alex is right” said Dad, walking into the bedroom.
I was sitting in an armchair across from Mom, who sat at her Vanity, clutching an antique hairbrush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, Dad was used to finding me sitting with Mom in their room for one of our talks,
He usually gave me a stark look of disappointment, but he had stopped doing that recently. Maybe he was finally seeing me as more of a man instead of a boy. When I was little,I admit I did go crying to Mom a lot. Those days were different.
Nowadays, I would ask for her advice instead of just venting or seeking comfort
“I highly doubt the time limit for returning to your body is anything close to three days,” reiterated Mom, letting the brush glide through her thick hair.
I liked the soft sound of girls brushing their hair. The whoosh of the brush was comforting. I used to watch my Mom get ready at her vanity, and now, I would watch Chasity do the same.
Watching my goddess was fascinating enough for me. Alex was the one who felt the need to try to brush her hair. He still hadn’t had much luck in hat department. It was honestly kinda funny how peeved he would get every time she refused his help with her hair. I didn’t laugh at him like Felix did though. Alex and I hardly ever teased each other.
We both got enough of that from Felix.
“I agree with Alex. Her original body probably wasn’t far away enough to require a long time limit, Countered Dad, standing behind Mom. “If she were smart, she’d keep her original body close by and relatively healthy!”
“Perhaps” said Mom, nodding absentmindedly.
Mom wasn’t as worried as I would have liked her to be. I knew she was actively trying to be more involved with all things Chasity, but I kinda wished she had more natural love for Chasity. Chasity was so easy to love in my (albeit biased) opinion. My wolf and I couldn’t comprehend how Mom could struggle to love someone so lovable.
How could the two most beautiful women, inside and out, not get along? They probably had so much in common.
The supermodel snatcher had more than enough time and resources to figure out the logistics, said Dad. “I’m glad you’re being realistic about the threat she still poses if she’s alive. A good Alpha anticipates potential dangers and puts measures in place before the dangers are actually upon us, explained Dad. “Prevention is the best remedy! Said Dad encouragingly.
I nodded, smiling slightly because Dad was actually commending me for once.
He hardly ever did that with me, Mom beamed, clearly happy for me. She knew Dad’s praise meant a lot to me because it was hard to come by.I was much closer to Mom but her praise wasn’t really a good indicator of if l was doing a good job or not. Mom still kept the macaroni necklaces I used to make for her in kindergarten in the same display case as the million-dollar diamonds Dad had purchased for her. Maybe that was partially why I irked Dad so much.
“It pisses me off that the snatcher didn’t even really need a body to live forever. Were-foxes are immortal too, aren’t they?”I grumbled.
“Yes, in a way of speaking, but they age like humans do, added Mom quickly.
She said the word age like it was the most horrifying of fates.
“And that’s reason enough to kidnap young people and steal their bodies?” I said incredulously.”Just so you can look youthful?” I said, annoyed.
“Well, I would never do a thing like that, responded Mom indignantly, clutching her hand to her chest.
“I don’t mean you, Mom. I know you wouldn’t, I said, backtracking quickly.
“Yes, she would,” chuckled Dad.
“Excuse you!” She responded, glaring at Dad.
His grin slipped off of his face as quickly as it had formed.
I just mean..I know you enjoy having a youthful appearance. If we had to look our age with these grown boys of ours, we’d be greying and wrinkling already,” joked Dad awkwardly.
Mom stared at her own reflection, probably trying to picture herself with wrinkles and white hair
“You two aren’t that old,” I disagreed.
Dad was acting like they were senior citizens.
“Middle-aged humans and were-foxes have flecks of grey in their hair” said Dad, tugging on a strand of Mom’s hair.
“There’s dye for that, if it bothers you so much,” I said dismissively. “Stealing another person’s youth is despicable,” I said firmly.
“Look at you disagreeing with your parents,”‘ said Dad proudly.
“Chasity has certainly made a man out of you,” said Dad, looking pleasantly surprised.
“It’s the whole ordeal..and the experience he gained..its matured him, said Mom.
It’s mostly Chasity,I said, getting up to go find her. “Felix said the same thing to me. I think she changed all three of us for the better.
Mom’s expression was impassive. I sighed inwardly. i knew she was trying to be less suspicious of Chasity’s motives, but it wasn’t enough for me. Chasity deserved to be fully embraced by this family.
She was blameless in all of this. I was shocked to find Chasity waiting patientiy for me in my room.
“Hey, i chuckled, a huge grin forming on my face.
She grinned back at me.
“What are you doing in here?I asked. “Not that you re not completely welcome!”I added quickly, sitting next to her on the bed and pressing my lips to her forehead.
She showed me what she had in her hand. It was a game console controller.
“I thought we could play together, since we usually do stuff I like to do, she said with a shrug. “I want to know more about all of your hobbies,” she said, somewhat shyly. “Plus, I need a distraction,” she added simply.
She looked a little embarrassed.
“I don’t know how to…you know, she said, using the controller to point at the console under my television.
Oh. She’d never gotten to play with one of these growing up, so she didn’t know how to use it. I showed her the basics. I found a game that amused her for a few minutes but she still quickly lost interest and ended up in my lap.
No complains here. She seemed to like watching me play and keeping me company, so I played with her in my lap. She was snuggled against my chest with the top of her head just under my chin. I kissed her forehead and nuzzled her periodically.
Her presence transformed the most mundane of activities into sweet, heartfelt moments. Chasity stiffened in my arms suddenly. For a second, l attributed her reaction to the trajectory of the some. I was about to light one of the Epic Bosses.
“I could play a less scary game” I offered.
“No, I’m not scared. I like scary movies, you know that, she mumbled, her eyes darting to the door.
That was true. I’d seen more horror movies with Chasity in the past few months than I had seen throughout my entire life. My ears perked up and I realized why she was tense. There were angry voices coming from downstairs.
Before l could stop her, Chasity slipped out of my arms and headed towards the argument. I was close behind her, watching over her as she carefully traversed the stairs. I didn’t want to carry her everywhere needlessly like Felix and Alex always did.
She needed at least one mate who would let her exert more independence. My heart sank as the topic and participants of the downstairs argument became clear.
“If I had known that you’d brutalise my little girl, I would’t have dropped her off here! I thought you would at least treat her humanely if not like your own!” Bellowed Chase.
“Brutalise is a very strongword!” Retorted Mom, looking deeply offended.
“And you are a very weak person!” Yelled Chase, “Taking out your grudges on a child!”
My inner wolf growled but l gave no outward reaction. No one wants to see their soon-to be father-in law shouting at their Mom, but this was a delicate situation. The logical side of me knew chase would need time to process how less than stellar Chasity’s childhood had been. I felt a pang of shame. He had probably thought he had left her in good hands. He must have spent years thinking Chasity was being doted on or at the very least treated with some kindness.
You were a DRUG ADDICT! YOU LEFT HER!” SCreamed Mom, practically hysterical.
No one was intervening yet. I couldn’t stand to see my Mom close to tears but she had done Chasity such a disservice. I couldn’t defend her in good faith without making my bride and the mother of my pups uncomfortable. Chasity could end up thinking I was being dismissive of all that she had gone through If l said the wrong thing.
Her eyes were fixated on the argument. She almost didn’t seem to notice I had followed her at first, Grandpa Chance and Chalice were standing just behind Chase, Chalice seemed to be crying on Chance’s shoulder. She was probably horrified now that she was beginning to understand how bleak Chasity’s childhood had been. Dad was standing at Mom’s side with one arm in front of her protectively.
I glanced behind me. Where the hell were my brothers?
I couldn’t f****g believe this. Mom had the nerve to argue with her estranged ex step-brother or daughter-in-law’s deadbeat Dad or whatever he was. His past drug problem and his abandonment of Chasity pissed me off, but it did not justify Mom’s resentment of an innocenit child left in her care. Two wrongs did not make a right.
I didn’t even care to go down there until I realized Chasity wasn’t playing Mario Kart or whatever stupid game Calix had in his room like I had thought. My younger brother’s bedroom was empty. F**k
My baby and my babies were down there in the midst of potential stressors then. Not on my watch.
“I WAS ON THE RUN AFTER CHALICE AND I SAW THE BODY SNATCHERS IN ACTION!” shouted Chase so loudly that the houseshook.
A small part of me was mildly impressed, I had figured Chase was a Sigma, which was basically a Lone Alpha. A pack less Alpha. No wonder Chasity was too perfect for words. She was technically fromAlpha stock. I could hear her little gasp of fright in response to her father’s show of power. I practically flew down the staircase, shoulder to shoulder with Alex, who had abandoned his ledgers for the same reason. Chasity.
Where have you two been? Complained Calix.
Trying to pretend like our parents aren’t an embarrassment in my room, I snapped.
I knew Calix was torn between defending Mom and seeking justice for Chasity. I loved my parents, but their lack of a proper apology was pathetic. I was supposed to be the most unreasonable one in the house. They were making me look like Oprah. It was time for them to communicate, to make amends. They should have sat everyone down and begged for forgiveness the moment our entire family had been reunited. They needed to atone for what they had done. You don’t just treat your ex-step-niece like s*t and shrug it off like it’s nothing.
My brothers and I could possibly blame our actions on our relative ages and our parents’ bad example but (a big b*tt, round and inviting like Chasity’s) I still felt an incredible amount of shame and guilt. I felt crushed under the weight of it at times. It scared me how litle guilt my parents seemed to have. Where was their remorse?
Why wasn’t this eating away at them like it did with me? Good grief. Were they psychopaths or something I had thought was the brutal one in this house, the coldest Alpha in the north, was far from it. My Dad took the cake and every other dessert available with the help of Mom, of course.
“Stress is bad for the pups, goddess,” murmured Calix, putting a comforting hand on Chasity’s shoulder.
She seemed slightly startled, like she hadn’t realized he had been right behind her.
Without any further ado, Calix SCooped Chasity up and carried her back up the stairs. He had probably been waiting for us to monitor the situation. I knew he wouldn’t want to leave Mom unattended with Chase this angry, but I highly doubted Chase was the type to strike a she-wolf.
Chase, you have every right to be angry but let’s sit down and talk about it,” said Alex, in hushed tones, ever the voice of reason.
Chase simply turned to glare at Alex. Chalice raised her head up from where it had been on Chance’s shoulder.
“I’m sure you all want to know some of the details,” I said softly.
“You have a right to know what Chasity’s life was like here.”
Chalice and Chance were definitely listening to me.
“What our parents did wasn’t at all what Chasity deserved. She deserved unconditional love and acceptance. She was just a kid, I said, feeling emotional about it all over again, “But everyone in this room right now let her down” I admitted, including her family in this.
“Except possibly Chance” I reasoned.
Chance had recently driven a moving truck to the Pack House With the years and years worth of stuffed animals, dolls, clothes, letters and cards he had been keeping for Chasity.
She had gotten every Christmas and birthday present she had missed out on, and she had shown such appreciation for every single one as per usual. it had me thinking. I wanted to buy her Christmas and birthday gifts for each year I had missed too.
I had already started ordering them online. They were based on what l assumed she might’ve wanted at each age. Alex didn’t think she needed an easy-bake oven to play with, but I had banned her from real cooking so I might as well provide an alternative.
“I just want you to know how deeply sorry my brothers and I are, “said Alex to Chase.
He turned to Chalice and chance.
It haunts me, I mean it, he said.
I put a hand on Alex’s shoulder
“It haunts all of us,” I said, meaning my brothers and myself.
Chase softened, seemingly assuming I meant my parents as well.
Mom nodded stiffly before I could clarify. Insinuating that she wasn’t all that sorry wasn’t helpful anyway, so I kept quiet, which is not something I’m good at, but l needed a peaceful environment for my baby and our unborn babies.
I know Calix is really bent out of shape about it,”‘ said Chance, blowing his nose in his handkerchief.
The old werewolf had taken a special liking to Calix, who was already referring to him as “Grandpa.”
“He’s apologized on his parents behalf several times, Chance informed us.
I was not sue why this in particular upset Mom but it did. She legit left. She walked out of the house without saying a word at that exact moment and got in her car and f****gdrove away. if I had been twelve years old I would’ve been devastated, but twenty one year old me really didn’t give a s**t . How hard was it to be half-decent enough to feel bad for making a maid out of a little girl?
“Did she seriously just leave?” Said Chase, flabbergasted.
I want you to know I hold no malice towards Chasity,” said Dad, his expression grim. “…I wasn’t supportive of Ronnie keeping Chasity here with us, and I think she closed herself off from Chasity because of me.
Alex and I exchanged a glance in mutual shock. Was Dad trying to take the full blame here? If he was, he was closer to being the exemplary father I had thought I had.
I would rather apologize over time with actions than all at once with flimsy words,”‘ said Dad curtly, and with that, my father sighed and retired to his room.
Chase, Chalice and chance were momentarily stunned at how quickly both Mom and Dad had exited the conflict.
“Wow, great talk, tell your parents thanks,” said Chase sarcastically, sitting down on the living room couch.
“Should we move out?” Whispered Chalice to me specifically.
“Nol”I practically hissed.
HELL NO. I wasn’t playing that game. If they left, the fallout would involve Chasity wanting to go back and forth between wherever they were staying and the Pack House. Alex was definitely on the same page as me. In fact, we were reading between the very same lines.
“You have all been through so much trauma and it’s all fresh.
You’ve only just been reunited. Why move after years of being gone?
Chasity would…not like that, to say the least. She really benefits from this extended family living situation and the Pack House is huge. It’s fine. It doesn’t have to be forever but please stay while Chasity is pregnant,” said Alex.
“And three to six months postpartum,” I added quickly, sounding like a textbook, something that was usually Alex’s schtick not mine.
Chance, Chalice and Chase gave me weird looks but they all nodded, seemingly in agreement that staying in the same house as Chasity was best for her and the pups.
I could only hear snippets of the conversation downstairs despite my amazing hearing, as everyone was speaking in such low tones and my video game was on loud. I didn’t want Chasity to fixate on the argument, so I kept raising the volume on the game. I had her in my lap while I played. I wanted to distract her and she seemed to like watching me play.
She alse got a kick out of sneakily pressing buttons. I let her think she was pranking me successfully because, honestly, her mischievous glee over this was so cute l even pretended to get frustrated with my lack of progress in the game. i could feel my Mom’s outrage when she left.
We were very close. I didn’t feel her emotions as well as with Chasity or my triplet brothers though. Her leaving like that left me Truly disgruntled, so I didn’t even have to lake my frustration anymore.l was truly annoyed just not at the game or Chasity. Mom was not trying Ihke she had promised me she would.
I never got to go to my therapist!” Chasity blurted out suddenly.
Instinctively, I paused his game. I looked at her. I was immediately filed with concern. She really should be in therapy. She had been through so much. I felt like a shitty husband- to -be for having not kept abreast of this. She could’ve had several therapy sessions already if l’d kept a better handle on this.
My inner wolf reminded me that I tended to rely on Alex a little too much, expecting him to do all the scheduling. There was no reason why I shouldn’t handle this. Alex had made the initial appointment a couple of days before that disastrous party after which Chasity had been kidnapped. I winced just thinking about it.
“Let me re-make the appointment I said without hesitation.
I knew the doctor’s name and had saved the contact Alex had sent on our group chat. We had a triplet group chat that Chasity had been added to when we bought her that iPhone for her eighteenth birthday. We then had to make another triplet group chat without Chasity to plan out the vacation, renaming the yacht and the proposal.
I quickly found the contact on my phone.
“Make one for a big family counseling session too,” insisted Chasity quickly.
My heart plummeted. Ugh. Chasity needed to focus on herself.
Clearly, Mom was focused on herself. Family therapy could wait until certain relatives had come to their senses.
Ugh, that’s gonna be so much drama Chas…”I began.
she silenced me with a glare. I sighed. There was no harm in actually making the family appointment. I suppose Mom could storm out of the therapy just like today if she felt so inclined. I just had to get her to at least show up in the first place. She just needed to give it a try.
Maybe a professional would get through to her better than I could. I just had to get her there. I had no doubt in my mind about Chasity benefiting from therapy though. My goddess was very willing and focused on improving in just about every aspect of her life right now.
I was honestly so proud of her. She took her tutor sessions on pack laws so seriously. She was also studying for her regular classes every day. She was even eating much less sugar because she didn’t want her “sweet tooth to affect the pups.
She claimed she would return to her sugary ways when they were born. Felix was trying to make low sugar versions of everything she liked in the hopes that she would never look back. Alex was the researcher behind the low sugar recipes.
Chasity stared at me expectantly. I called the number and put the phone to my ear. I would make two appointments, the solo one for Chasity first and then the drama-filled one for all of us.
“OK, one solo appointment, one family fiasco, coming right up”!
I said just before the Doc’s receptionist picked up.