“Come on, Sis! You’re sixteen today!”
“Go away. It’s five in the morning.” I shooed my brother, Paul, away. He laughed and yanked me out of bed. I attempted to tackle him and, laughing, we tumbled down the stairs.
“Happy birthday!” It was my mom, Patience, and my dad, Peter. As breakfast was served in the kitchen, the music blared at top-notch. The day passed in a blur of frenzies and festivities. That night, a big “wolf out” party took place. Partners and mates squared up, leaped into the air, and shifted.
My boyfriend, James, came over to me. “Found your mate yet?” I shook my head. “Let’s pair up.” Both of us could easily keep with the pack as humans and he wasn’t yet sixteen. I leaped into the air and tried to shift, but when I failed, I landed on my feet. I tried again, but nothing happened. My father’s face was pained. My mother tried to comfort me, but nothing she said or did could mask what I saw as their disappointment
A few days later, James turned sixteen, found his mate, and broke up with me. Despite knowing it was bound to happen, I cried for days. I became the pack’s omega, the lowest of the low. My brothers and parents were the only ones who still accepted me.
At eighteen, I moved to the city, got a job, and bought a house. I also became the neighborhood pet sitter, because for some unknown reason, dogs and cats both, seemed to like me. Life was “normal” until Alistar Blackman showed up at my door four years later.
The day was dark and stormy. He was beyond soaked. I offered him a hot meal and the couch for the night, being the lady my mom raised me to be. I couldn’t put a finger on it, but I knew there was something off about him. Readily, he accepted. I thought it was mere need and desperation. Now, I know differently.
When he left the next day, I never thought I’d see him again. That weekend, I felt I was being followed, but couldn’t find my stalker. So, to calm my nerves, I slipped into my favorite bar and ordered a tequila.No sooner than I’d downed it, Alistar slid into the seat 15 beside me. I figured it was a long shot, but I had to ask.
“Why are you following me, Alistar?” He waited until I’d dowed tequila number four.
“Your mother wants to talk to you, Virginia.” I laughed.
“If she wanted to talk, she’d call.”
“Not Patience. I mean your biological mother, the reason you could not change into a wolf.”
“My mother is Patience Dare. My father never had an affair. Try again.” It didn’t dawn on me that he knew a tad too much about me, not until I was sober.
“If you change your mind, call me.” He slid me a card with his name and number. I slid it into my wallet and he left. I downed three more drinks and there was something about the way he said, “birthmother” that irked me. At some point after seven drinks, I must have blacked out.
The next thing I knew, I woke up in my bed with a pounding headache, a massive hangover. My first red flag that something was wrong was when I smelt coffee and bacon. I drank tea and only cooked bacon as a treat for myself when I met that day’s exercise goal. I stumbled into the kitchen with my pistol, not my brightest idea, but it’s what I did.
“Morning, Virginia.” He turned with a platter of bacon. “Woah there” Not going to hurt you. I brought you back last night, stocked your fridge and freezer with fresh foods and your pantry with teas, soups, crackers, etcetera.” He set the platter of food down. “Besides, if I was going to hurt you, I’d have done it while you were drunk as hell.” Deciding he had a point, I set my pistol down.
“What do you want, Blackman? How do you know so much about me?”
He laughed, soft and rich, like music to my soul. “Told you, Dare.” A knock sounded at my door. “Ah. There she is.” Cautiously, I answered it. Before me stood a woman about my height. Like me, she had black eyes, black hair, chocolate skin, and a slim build. She could’ve been my twin.
“Who are you? What are you? What do you want?” “Virginia Richardson. A werecat. To meet you and help you understand some things about yourself.” 16 I sighed and stepped aside. “Nice place. I see you’ve met my bodyguard.”
I went to my room and called my dad. “When were you going to tell me?” I was pissed, beyond pissed. “Or were you just going to never tell me?”
“Well, hello to you too. What’re you talking about Virginia? What’s going on? Who’s bugging you?”
“Virginia Richardson.” I heard his intake of breath. “My werecat mother. I’m almost twenty-three, Dad, not five. You could’ve told me when I couldn’t shift that there was an actual reason, Dad, when I was sixteen."
“I’ll be over in ten.” I pushed the button to hang up, probably harder than I should have, and stalked back to the living room.
“Why now, Richardson? Why not almost seven years ago? Or even four when I moved here?” She pursed her lips and sat down. I sighed and plopped onto the couch. Today wasn’t the day for this. I had a massive hangover and it was too early for me to be up on a Sunday.
“You know, if the werecat gene is dominant, you should shift when you hit twenty-three.”
“Great! A werecat in a family of werewolves! Splendid! All I need is another bloody reason for me to be my pack’s omega!” Dad barged in, no knocking, nothing.
“Leave my daughter alone, Virginia. You lost her when you walked out the day she was born. We could’ve had forever but you rejected me after her birth. Thank God I found Patience!”
“So, Paul and Daniel aren’t even my real brothers? That’s just great Dad! Nice to know my whole life has been, quite literally, a lie! I need a damned drink. You two best be gone by the time I get back home. Alistar, we need to talk later. I’ll be out all day.”