Chapter 3

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Two weeks in a home with wolves like her was more than Giselle had ever hoped for. She felt like she had finally found her niche. She could be herself without hiding. No more excuses, no more lies, no more feeling like a freak when her secret inevitably came out. And best of all... no more packing her bags.

Years of struggle with who she was melted away as she began to see that life did not always have to revolve around watching your back for the next person to screw you over or leave you cold in the street. There was hope.

She'd grown to really enjoy being surrounded by other wolves, and dreaded the end of the winter break. The end of vacation meant one more hurdle she'd have to overcome on the road to the perfect new life now within her grasp... a new school.

Diana scooped up her arm and pulled her along the path towards the school office. "C'mon. Depression and defensiveness don't look good on you. This will be fine. Remember, you're not a lone wolf anymore. We got your back."

Giselle had to admit, it was nice being part of a built-in clique... and a trendy one at that. She'd never had such nice and fashionable clothes before. And her new family was more than willing to help her fill in all the gaps she'd had in the past. Hair, makeup, clothes, jewelry... she'd never had such nice things. She was spoiled... and liked it, though she did hold on to her flannel shirts. You never knew when grunge would come back. All trends were cyclical. At least that was the reason she gave the girls when they threatened to burn her old things in the bonfire to celebrate the New Year.

"I'd still prefer homeschool," Giselle said, allowing Di to drag her inside the large brick building, which looked more like a prison than a school. All the way through the corridors and even into the courtyard, the place had a very two-tone, institutional feel. Neat walkways, lockers that blended in with the brick work, hardly a sign or bit of personalization to be found, except for the bulletin board in the center of the yard with flyers for the various clubs and special meetings. That was the only bit of real color in the place.

Thank the gods she only had two years in this place before she'd be off to college. Community, probably, unless she could qualify for some scholarship money, but dreams were few and far between and she'd blown her karmic wad on the new family she'd lucked into.

Still, the prospects were looking up - although not at this particular moment as she walked into the main office and found a sour-faced lady manning the counter.

"Giselle Richards, new transfer," she said as politely as she could.

Di stood by, checking her makeup with a small compact mirror.

"You have any paperwork for me?" the sour-faced woman asked.

Giselle rummaged through her bag and pulled out a folder. "I believe it's all here."

The woman took it, gave a quick glance at the contents, and tapped a few keys on her computer. "Richards, you said?"

It was right there on the damn paperwork in front of her... Couldn't she just look herself? Giselle took a calming breath. Be good. Be nice. It's the first day, she chanted to herself, and then forced a smile on her face and nodded.

A printer behind the woman fired out a few quick pieces of paper, and she snatched them up just as fast. "Here's your locker assignment, code, and class schedule. Have your teachers sign off on each page and return it at the end of today."

"Thank you." Giselle grabbed her schedule, happy to be able to leave the office, and she and Di made their way through the packed hallway toward her locker.

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