Chapter 1: ChaSity the ChaRity Case
The blanket of pure white snow seemed to sparkle in the early morning light. The Pack House was buzzing with excitement about the upcoming festivities. Tomorrow was my birthday, not that anyone cared or even remembered because it was also the birthday of the Thorn Triplets. The Thorn Triplets were the pride and joy of the Winter Moon Pack. They were the sons of Alpha Romeo Thorn. They were filthy rich, devilishly handsome and disgustingly arrogant. All the young she-wolves adored them wholeheartedly and stroked their egos on a daily basis. I was cursed to share a birthday and a home with them.
At the tender age of nine, my parents left the pack to go rogue and had not been seen or heard from since. They left no instructions regarding their wishes for me so I was taken into the pack house under the care of Alpha Romeo and his wife, Ronnie. As if I had not been devastated enough, I now had three twelve-year old tormenters. The identical triplet sons of the Alpha were, in order of birth, Alex, Felix and Calix. They despised me and ensured that I knew I was beneath them. My parents had incurred a huge debt. Thus, I had to earn my keep and repay my debt by doing as many chores as possible while the triplets enjoyed an idyllic childhood in the very same house.
In some packs the new Alpha ascends at age eighteen when they first shift but in mine, the age for ascension was twenty one. Thus tomorrow, on November eleventh, the triplets would turn twenty-one and take over the pack while I would turn eighteen and experience my first shift. Eighteen was also the minimum age when werewolves found their fated mate but I did not care about that. All I wanted was to come of age so I could leave this hell behind.
At least, the pack house had beautiful scenery. We were close to the north pole so snow was an everyday affair though there was no sign of Santa Claus. I certainly did not expect any birthday presents this November or Christmas presents come December. The pack made it clear that I owed them money and they were subtracting everything they did not spend on me from the huge debt. They also subtracted my “wages” from the debt so I was never given any money. I was allowed food, clothes and shelter, the basics.
I slowly got out of bed. The sun was just peeking out from behind a snow-covered horizon. Everything glistened. I gazed out my window at the wintry terrain. I sighed. I had to start making breakfast for everyone. Despite the huge size of the pack house with its luxurious bedrooms and bathrooms, I was given a small empty storage room to stay in. I had a cot, a shelf of second-hand books and a single drawer full of second hand clothes. The other drawers contained extra cleaning supplies as I did the housekeeping work also.
I used the common room’s bathroom, showering quickly. I looked at myself in the mirror. My parents had name me Chasity but everyone in the pack called me Charity. This was started by the triplets as a joke and because they said it so often, even decent pack members thought it was my real name. I was so shy and scared as a child that I never bothered to correct them so it had stuck.
I detangled my waist-length dark blonde curls and put them up in a huge bun. Whenever I left them down the triplets would pull my hair ever since we were little. They had not grown out of this habit even in adulthood. I sighed. There were dark circles forming under my large brown eyes. My light brown skin looked sallow. I had been overworking myself or rather the Thorn family had been overworking me. They used to have a maid and a cook with me as the sole assistant of both, but they had fired them last month after numerous conflicts between them and the spoilt triplets. For the past month, I had been drowning in work while attending my final year of high school. I had seven more months of high school before I could leave this place. That was the deal. At eighteen and after high school, I got my freedom and whatever I had paid off by then would be the end of it. The current Alpha and Luna seemed to think they were being extremely generous.
The pack house had a really good heating system so despite the fact that outside looked like the frigid tundra, inside was pretty warm. I put on a long-sleeved white babydoll top that covered my behind as I was wearing just black leggings underneath. I started on breakfast. As it was the Triplets’ “birthday week” and they would soon be Alphas, everyday was a feast day. I made waffles, pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs and sausages. I put the butter and maple syrup on the table. I made coffee. I quickly drank some sweet, milky coffee for some energy and started setting the table.
Luna Ronnie entered the dining room, eyeing me, scrutinising my handy-work. She was a tall woman with dark brown long straight hair, pale skin and green eyes.
“The table looks nice,” she said, a rare compliment. “But have you washed all the wares? Wash them all before you eat!”
Alpha Romeo sauntered in, kissing his Luna gently. He nodded in approval at the breakfast spread. I smiled feebly at him. I heard heavy footsteps on the stairs and I took a deep breath. The Triplet Terrors were coming. They towered over me at six feet and four inches each, exactly a foot taller than me. They resembled their father with their shoulder-length thick shiny black hair, chiseled faces, baby blue eyes, dimples and chin-clefts. As they were Alphas they were all broad-shouldered and muscled blessed with super speed and super strength even beyond what was considered extraordinary for a werewolf. They were perfectly identical and perfectly heinous or at least they were to me. Their deep voices boomed as they shouted excitedly, shoving each other playfully. They would be twenty-one tomorrow but they still acted like they were twelve.
Alex was the eldest and the most serious and severe. He would surely rule with an iron fist and a surly demeanour. Felix as the middle triplet loved being the centre of attention and was naturally filled with wise-cracks, jokes and quips. Classic middle child. The youngest, Calix, was the charmer, a professional sweet-talker and Mommy’s favourite. He almost treated me like I was human.
“Did you make all of this, Charity?” Asked Calix, immediately trying to pull my hair out of its bun. I nodded, dodging him, only to bump into Felix who smirked and slipped my hair tie off. My curls tumbled down all around me. Felix and Calix laughed.
“Stop!” I implored them, reaching for my only hair tie. Felix held it high above my head. He threw it to Alex who caught it and put it in his pocket. I tried to lunge towards Alex but Felix grabbed me. Felix and Alex started shoving me back and forth between them like I was a ball and they were playing catch.
“I give up! I give up!” I said while they snickered.
Calix said, “All right. Cut it out. Let her go wash the wares. Mom wants the place kept as clean as possible so there’ll be less to do tomorrow.”
The elder two relinquished me. I ran into the kitchen. My heart was racing. I started on the dishes. By the time I was done, the family of five hungry werewolves, four of them from Alpha stock, had devoured literally everything I made except for one pancake. The chairs were all empty. I went to get the last pancake but Felix snatched it up. He had zoomed in out of nowhere, fast as a cheetah and quiet as a mouse.
“I haven’t eaten anything,” I told him, my eyes wide.
“Good, you’re fat enough as it is,” he said, sneering. He ate the pancake in two bites.
I sighed. I refused to cry. I had not cried in front of them since the first year of torment when I was nine. My tenth birthday marked a very important vow I had made to myself after crying almost every single day at aged nine. The vow was that I would never let the Triplets make me cry ever again. I would be strong. I had kept that vow successfully for eight years come tomorrow. The comment stung though. The Triplets were widely regarded as the most handsome eligible bachelors in the Pack. They constantly attacked my weight. I was not overweight but I had a curvy hourglass figure. My waist was slender. I wore about a size 4 in clothes which was small enough in my opinion but all the Triplets had stick-thin size 0 girlfriends.
I had to take the bus to school. I had thrown on a man’s black coat over my white top and leggings, another hand-me-down. I managed to find another hair tie but this was truly the last one. The Pack high school was called Winter Moon High after the pack. Our pack colours, and therefore also the school colours, were white, blue and silver. The whole school was decorated with streamers and balloons in celebration of the new Alphas, the Triplets.
“You’re so lucky, Charity,” said Mina Toros, the most popular girl in my senior year. She tossed her long dark hair back and pursed her plump red lips in her locker’s inside mirror. She was wearing a pink skirt short enough to qualify as belt. Thank goodness she had opaque tights on underneath. She usually ignored me except for the occasional pronouncement of how “lucky” I was.
“The things I’d to those Triplets if I lived in that house,” Mina said, licking her lips.
“You’d have to drop out!” Squealed her best friend, the second most popular girl, Tina Gregory. “You’d get pregnant the first month there.”
Tina had flawless dark brown skin with curly hair. She was tall and waif-like and also wore a pink skirt short enough to be a belt with opaque tights. Mina and Tina usually matched as though they were twins. Mina cackled at Tina’s joke.
“You know, Charity,” said Mina suddenly. “You’re not totally hideous.”
“Ok,” I said, clutching my books. The girls were blocking my locker which was sandwiched between their two lockers. Lucky me, indeed.
“Yeah,” agreed Tina. “Your hair is actually pretty. You’re like a biracial Goldie Locks.”
I smiled. That sounded like a real compliment.
“Thanks Tina!” I said.
“Ohhh! And those Triplets are the three bears!” Shrieked Mina. “If I were their Goldie Locks I’d make sure everything was just right, get it?”
“Or too big,” said Tina, giggling.
“That means one of the triplets has to be too small,” I said softly.
Being werewolves, Mina and Tina heard me and they burst out laughing. Wow. I was actually getting along with them for five minutes.
“That was a good one, Charity, surprising,” said Tina, looking at me like she was now seeing me for the first time.
“Yeah,” said Mina giving me the same strange appraising look. “You know, if you had the money, imagine how cute you could look.”
I fidgeted uncomfortably, suddenly hyperaware of the patches in my clothes. Mina and Tina strutted off and I hurriedly opened my locker and got out my Math book. Mr Johnson who coached football and taught Math looked like he should be an Alpha too. He was huge and really attractive for a teacher. He was married though to his mate, the Art teacher, Mrs Johnson. He handed out our graded tests while Tina and Mina made flirty faces at him. Those flirty faces were not doing them any good. I noticed they got an F and an F minus respectively. I did not know F minus existed before today. He smiled at me and winked. My heart skipped a beat. “A plus as usual Math champ,” he boomed. Mr Johnson was one of the few people in my life who was nice to me.
“Mina and Tina, see me after class,” Mr Johnson said.
After class, Ashton Peters, a tall buff redhead who played football and was well-liked in the pack, pretended to knock into my desk.The stack of papers on my desk went flying all over the room. Mr Johnson spotted it.
“Stay and help her pick those up, Aston, my boy,” boomed Mr Johnson.
“Aww, coach, I’ll be late for football practice,” he whined.
“And we’ll be late for cheerleading practice,” said Mina and Tina in unison, pouting.
“I’m the coach, Aston, go ahead and be late. I’ll explain to your cheerleading coach ok, girls,” said Mr Johnson.
Ashton grumbled. He glared at me as if this were my fault. He started picking up papers at werewolf speed which cause the ones I was picking up to fly around due to the displaced wind. I eavesdropped on the meeting with Mina and Tina.
“Mina, Tina, I’m giving you a homework assignment to make up those grades. If you don’t ace it there won’t be any cheerleading,” he said.
The girls gasped. He handed them a stack of papers each and told them they could work on it together and that he set the questions himself so they would not find the answers online. I snatched up the last few papers from the floor and took the stack Ashton was handing me without looking at me.
“Thanks,” I said softly to him.
He glanced down at me, surprised by my thanks. He looked a little guilty all of a sudden. Mr Johnson left the room, leaving Mina and Tina looking dejected. Ashton grabbed the hair tie from my hair just like Calix had this morning. My curls came tumbling down again. I shrieked. I was so fed up. Ashton laughed and ran away to football practice. There went my last hair tie and my birthday was tomorrow.
“Aren’t you going to cheerleading?” I asked the girls, actually feeling sorry for them as they had been sort of nice earlier.
“No,” said Mina.
“What’s the use. We’ll never ace this homework so we’ll fail the class and be banned from the squad anyway,” explained Tina.
I walked up to them and looked at the homework assignment. I snorted. I could get 100% in this in my sleep. I was suddenly struck by an idea.
“Remember how you girls said I had…potential,” I said, looking at them.
“I’ll do the assignment and you copy it over in your handwritings and ace it ok,” I offered.
The girls squealed. They jumped up hugging each other and me.
“Wait!” Said Mina, raising her eyebrows.
“What’s the catch?” Asked Tina, narrowing her eyes.
“I’m turning eighteen tomorrow too,” I said.
“You have the same birthday as the triplets?” Mina asked.
“Wait that means everyone ignores your birthday like every single year,” said Tina.
It was my turn to shrug.
“And they will this year too but I at least wanna feel…special. I’m gonna shift for the first time at midnight and who knows…I might see my mate at the big party…not that I care…” I rambled.
“You wanna look hot! Is that it?” Mina said smirking.
“Yeah you want us to make you over?” Tina asked, smiling.
Thanks for reading! I love reading comments! It's so encouraging!
A/N: I have a F a c e book page now. It's Joanna J just like my name here. The username is @joannajwriter :)