Authors: Stephanie Hale
“Leave me alone,” I say, turning to walk away. Charlie grabs my arm and pulls me to him. I hate that I still have such a strong urge to kiss his pillowy-soft lips.
“Tell me the truth about Edwina Fay,” he says, loosening his grip on my arm but not letting go. I hear myself gasp.
“She’s my aunt?” I answer, but it comes out sounding like a question. Charlie obviously knows the truth somehow but I still can’t bring myself to admit it.
“No, she isn’t,” he says looking distraught.
“How do you know?” I ask indignantly. I figure I’m going down in flames either way, I might as well do it in style.
“Because she’s mine.” He lets go of my arm and storms out of the Omega house leaving me gaping after him in a very un-princess like way.
Hours, days, then weeks pass just waiting for my world to crumble. I know any day now Charlie will tell Lindsay and the other sisters that I lied about being a legacy. After today, I only have four tasks left. Lindsay is already planning Sloane, Jentry, and I’s initiation ceremony for the day we get back from Thanksgiving break, which is only eight days away. I know that the sisters should hear the truth from me but I’m just so close to being a full-blown sister. The least I can do is finish out my tasks.
I trudge across campus, dressed all in black. I push all thoughts of being kicked out of the sorority out of my head. I have to be sharp for these three tasks. The likelihood of being initiated at this point seems as likely as life on Mars, but I still want to complete all my tasks to show the sisters that completing the tasks and becoming one of them was important to me.
I slip into the Omega house undetected to complete tasks; J, O, and R. I’m almost more familiar with this house than I am my own. The active sisters all came together last night for an emergency meeting after hearing a terrifying rumor at the Monster Smash. I only know this because I was informed by text message this morning that I should Raid the Omega house to steal back our panties just in time (J, O, R). If I hadn’t heard the rumor last night about the Omegas planning to raffle off our panties for the Greek auction, I wouldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. But there is no way I’m letting random perverts bid on my silky pink panties.
Apparently the guys aren’t too concerned with cleanliness because I’m pretty sure some of the garbage on the floor is left over from their party almost three weeks ago. Gross. Unfortunately not all of the Omegas have the same commitment to education as Charlie so one of the sisters had to place an anonymous phone call to the house inviting them to the grand opening of a new donut shop where the servers are all dressed in bikinis. She gave them an address of a vacant building across town and told them they should wait in their cars and when the shop opened the girls would roller skate out to take their orders. When I saw them piling into their cars, still hung over, I almost felt sorry for them. Then I remembered they were about to put my unmentionables on the auction block.
I tiptoe up the back stairs and search frantically for a pile of underwear. I see bras and panties here and there, but I’m pretty sure those are just from random hookups. Double gross.
I’m not having any luck and I try to think if I were an oversexed, beer-drinking, average intelligence guy, where would I put my most valuable possession? It might sound a little extreme but the Greek auction is the most competitive Greek competition of the year. All the sororities and fraternities complete to see who can make the most money by auctioning off random items then all of the money goes to local charities. It’s one of those everybody wins kind of situations. Except being the biggest moneymaker entitles you to bragging rights for the entire year.
I don’t even notice the glass trophy case on the wall until my foot gets snagged on the corner of it. It throws me forward and I slam into a closed bedroom door. I spin around fearing the entire trophy case is about to land on my head but there isn’t so much as a trophy wobbling. I wipe invisible sweat off my brow in relief. I’m about to search another bedroom when a silky white Victoria Secret tag hanging off the edge of a giant gold metal cup trophy catches my eye in the mirror back of the case. It would have been the perfect hiding spot if it weren’t for the errant tag.
The trophy case has a sliding door on each end and is locked by a simple key lock. Not exactly Fort Knox but I’m not trained on breaking and entering either. I survey the case trying to think of a way to get it without smashing the whole thing to smithereens with an ax. That wouldn’t exactly be subtle. The Alphas want the Omegas clueless about the raid for as long as possible so they don’t have time to find something else good to auction off. I spin my Alpha pin on my collar in frustration trying to figure out a way to get in the case.
I go from room to room looking for something that could be used to try and pry one of the doors open enough to reach my hand in. When I open Charlie’s door I can smell him. It is a symphony for my olfactory senses. I’m nearly giddy when I spot a metal letter opener on his desk. I go to grab it but stop when I spot my panties in a plastic baggy in the corner of his desk. Written on them in black Sharpie is ‘Grace Kelly, not for sale’. My heart nearly bursts with joy.
I grab the letter opener and jam it in the lock. It turns as smoothly as if it were the key. The Omegas seriously need to consider investing in better security. I shove my hand into the trophy cup and pull out all the sister’s underwear. I jam the huge bunches into my pockets, relock the trophy case and put back Charlie’s letter opener. I leave the baggie of panties knowing they are in good hands.
“I can’t believe you woke me up for that,” an angry voice booms from downstairs. The front door slams and I hear several grunts of agreement.
I try not to freak out when I realize that I’m trapped on the second floor of the Omega house with pocketfuls of girl panties dressed like a cat burglar. I don’t want to know what Charlie would do if he found me in the house. I’ve only seen him in passing on campus and he always looks past me like he doesn’t even see me. The only way they would believe I belonged here is if I was naked and asleep in one of their beds. I consider that option, but only for a second, then I quietly open Charlie’s window, pop out the screen, and shimmy out onto the trellis climbing the length of the house.
This would be a bad situation for a normal person, but for someone with my accident-prone injury record, it’s surely going to result in a full body cast. I guess I can look at the bright side; I won’t have to admit to the sisters that I lied about being Edwina Fay’s legacy. I can just imagine the laugh Sloane will get out of this. What are the odds that I would lie about being the niece of the aunt of a guy I am totally crushing on? I’ll have plenty of time to run the numbers when I’m not a Greek anymore. I lower myself down the trellis slowly and carefully.
Suddenly my foot slips and I’m hanging onto the trellis for dear life trying to get my foothold again. But the vines growing on the trellis are slick with morning dew and I can’t get leverage. The trellis pulls loose from the house, and for a second, I’m in mid-air dangling from a flimsy piece of vinyl. I try to calculate my distance from the ground and my likelihood of survival but the trellis flips back too fast. Before I can compute anything, I’m sprawled out in a huge pile of leaves with the trellis on top of me.
“I’m alive,” I tell no one and push the trellis off me. I cover myself up with leaves and play possum for a minute in case the ruckus gets the attention of the guys. After a few minutes I realize they are still too busy licking their wounds over the non-existent donut shop to care about their frat house falling apart. I bolt out of the leaves and down the street to the Alpha house.
“What happened to you?” Lindsay asks, trying hard not to laugh. I sneak a glance in the mirror hanging in the foyer of the Alpha house. My hair looks like a rat’s nest with leaves sticking out of it at all angles. I have a big scratch on my left cheek and something black on my right eyelid.
“You should see the other guy,” I joke, wondering how long it will take the Omegas to notice the broken trellis in their front yard.
“You did great, Grace Kelly,” Lindsay says, holding out a plastic bag for me to empty my pockets in. “You’re almost done. There isn’t much standing in the way of you becoming a real sister now,” she says, sounding relieved. She pulls down the J, O, and R and crumples them up. I gaze up at the E, F, L, and T remaining. E and F will be done if I can just bribe Amber and Eve with a big box of Edwina Fay cosmetics instead of a visit like they have been begging for.
“There is nothing I want more than to be an Alpha,” I tell her. I know I should come clean about my lie and just get it over with but I can’t seem to bring myself to tell Lindsay the truth.
“Our sorority is special. Not all sororities have the bond that Alpha girls have. Your aunt made sure of that. She was a visionary when she created a sorority that focused on picking girls who would enhance each other’s lives. She took a stance against hazing and inter-sorority competitiveness. It would be really great if you could get her to visit for the Greek auction. We’d win for sure.” Lindsay says, her eyes glazed over a bit. Oh, sure. I’ll just dial up the CEO of the most powerful cosmetics company in the world and invite her over.
I can’t do this anymore. Lindsay has been so nice to me from the very beginning and I’ve just been lying to her face. How can I even think about calling myself a true sister?
“Lindsay, there’s something I need to tell you,” I say, spinning my Alpha pin one last time.
“Sure, Grace Kelly. You can tell me anything.” Lindsay says, guiding me over to a loveseat.
My eyes start watering immediately at the thought of never being allowed back into this beautiful house. I take a couple of deep breaths and push back the tears.
“I haven’t been completely honest with you,” I start out. Lindsay cocks her head to the side in surprise.
“Is this about your age again?” She asks. I wish that was all this was about.
“Not exactly. Do you remember the night of rush? When I came back to tell you that I was a legacy? That Edwina Fay was my aunt?” I drag out.
“Uh, huh,” Lindsay says.
“Well, I wasn’t really telling the full truth,” I admit, ready to collapse in a heap onto the floor.
“Which part did you lie about?” Lindsay asks confused.
“GK, there you are,” Jentry says, busting into the room. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” she bluffs, giving me a look that tells me she just heard everything.
“No offense, Jentry, but Grace Kelly was just in the middle of telling me something really important,” Lindsay says trying to shoo Jentry away.
“Oh, Grace Kelly, I keep telling you that you don’t need to keep feeling guilty about practically being Alpha royalty. I’m sure that Lindsay will understand why you didn’t come clean about being a legacy in the first place is because you wanted to get into the sorority on your own merits.”
“Is that what this is about?” Lindsay says, placing a hand on my knee. Jentry bores her eyes into mine, daring me to disagree.
“Um, kind of. I wanted the Alphas to want me for me,” I answer. At least it isn’t a lie.
“Don’t be silly, we all love you here. The only reason you weren’t on our list was because Nationals capped new enrollment at two pledges, but luckily, they made an exception for legacies.”
“I keep telling her to quit worrying,” Jentry says, dragging me off the loveseat.
“Just think, Grace Kelly. In just a few days, you’ll be going through your initiation ceremony and then you’ll be an official Alpha.”
“I can’t wait,” I tell her as Jentry drags me out the front door.
“What were you about to do?” Jentry asks after we get far enough away from the Alpha house that there is no chance of anyone hearing us.
“Tell the truth. Finally,” I admit.
“Are you insane? You are this close to getting everything you want,” she says, gesturing with her thumb and index finger.
I never confided in Jentry about Charlie knowing the truth. As hard as it was to keep it from her, I knew that she would be as disappointed as I was. I didn’t want to crush her like that but now I see that I should have told her the truth first.
I gesture to a bench on the quad for her to take a seat. I sit down next to her, wishing I had more than a sweatshirt on to fight the brisk November air.
“Do you remember the night of the Monster Mash?”
“Sort of. That punch the Omegas served was wicked good.” She laughs.
“I found out that night that Charlie knows I lied about being Edwina Fay’s niece.”
She gasps and holds a hand to her mouth. “How?”
“He knew I had lied because she is his aunt.” I reveal.
“SHUT UP!” She screams burying her face in her hands.
“I know. Talk about your rotten luck. I need to do the right thing and tell the sisters the truth.”
“But he hasn’t told yet and that was three weeks ago,” she says brightly.
I realize for the first time that my lies haven’t just hurt me. They have hurt all the people around me. All the people I cared about and wanted to care about me. They are going to suffer because I chose to lie.
“It’s time for me to grow up,” I say, knowing that no matter how much I tried to convince myself I was acting mature, I haven’t been.
“But we’re going to be initiated soon,” she pleads.
“That will just make it worse, besides, I don’t want to embarrass the sorority like that.”
“Can you just wait until tomorrow?” Jentry whispers while pulling her legs into her chest and rocking back and forth on the bench.
She is so upset that I can’t help but agree. I want to clear things up with Charlie first anyway so he knows that I’m going to finally tell the truth. In less than twenty-four hours, I won’t be an Alpha anymore.
“Don’t think I’m done with you,” Sloane growls as I pass by her room, soaking wet, having just come from the shower. I figured showing up at the Omega house with dirt on my face and leaves in my hair might be a dead giveaway that I had stolen the panties.