Read Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 140
I didn’t have long to accept the fact that I’d just spoken to my dead mother’s spirit because we were on our way to find my grandmother, whose uncovered heritage I was also trying to process. Bright spot, grandma was with the rest of the town at the bake sale hosted in Carson’s memory.
The plan was to grab Grandma and head back to the house to get the blood we needed. Cordelia had every other ingredient on the list and was surprised that the spell itself was a simple reversal spell. What made it complex was the final ingredient, grandma’s blood.
Rowena was right, bake sales had a different meaning around these parts because what I had in mind involved perky PTA members with plates of store-bought chocolate chip cookies and children with fists clenched full of old ones and quarters.
What I hadn’t expected to see was every sorority and fraternity milling around outside, hanging out in clusters of ten or fifteen. All of them shouting over one another, yet the conversation seemed to be flowing. I was pleasantly surprised to see fists clenched full of ones and quarters, but instead of eager children it was excited frat boys.
You could tell who belonged to who because of the matching clothing and face paint. Chi Omega made sparkly tank-tops with Carson’s face on the front and their last names on the back, which also happened to match Kappa Sigma’s football jerseys. Delta Sigma had on crop tops, only Carson’s face was on the back instead of the front.
The larger sororities and fraternities occupied the houses around the University, forming a large U shape. The smaller ones were a couple blocks away. For nearly a mile college students could be seen walking down the street, all trickling towards the center of town.
“Wow, they really do use every excuse to party.” Breyona said, her voice full of wonder and disbelief.
She had her face close to the window and was watching some of the students intently. One of the sororities were positing for pictures just outside of their house. They lined the porch and steps, shifting into a quirky pose as though they’d done this a thousand times before. Once the camera was put away, drinks were passed around.
We passed a photo of Carson that had been placed on a little wire stand and stuck into the ground when Breyona asked, “…how are Carson’s parents doing?”
Asher glanced up at the rearview mirror and said, “I gave them access to the jet to fly out and see some family. They’ll be flying back for her memorial. From there I’m not sure what they’ll do. I gave them permission to transfer packs if it’s what they wish.”
The roads that circled the center of town were blocked off for today, which meant the closest parking spaces were a ten-minute walk away. Asher pulled the car up to the ‘road closed’ sign and got out. He sauntered up to the parked police car ten feet away and leaned down to speak through the open window.
His hand rested on the roof of the car, giving me a clear view of his biceps and toned abs. The shirt he wore was tight in all the right places, including his broad shoulders. His lips curved up in a grin as he talked to the officer, flashing him a smile that was all teeth before coming back to the car.
The officer stepped out of his car and moved the barrier to the side, giving us access to the road.
“Using your Alpha status to get us premium parking.” Breyona grinned, sounding just a tad jealous. “I like it, let’s go!”
It wasn’t hard maneuvering our way through the growing crowd of college students, parents, and sugar crazed children. They parted for the three of us like we were royalty – or like we carried some sort of contagion.
Canopy tents of various colors sat all around campus square. Along the pathways and beside the fountains, even in between the hedges of blossoming flowers. Plastic tables sat beneath them, each one loaded with baked goods. Refrigerators had been hauled in by trucks earlier in the morning, which really drove Rowena’s point home.
I spotted grandma and Claire manning a lavender colored tent with the words, ‘magical desserts’ printed in cursive along the top. The two of them were swamped by people, their tables so crowded that I wondered how they had anything left at all.
Asher didn’t budge as I tugged him towards grandma’s tent. His eyes were narrowed, locked on Brandon who was leaning against the pole of mint green tent, talking to Cassidy.
“I’m going to talk to grandma.” I told him, giving his hand a soft squeeze before letting go.
“I’ll be right there.” His eyes flitted down to me and some of the tension within them faded.
As Breyona and I headed to grandma’s tent, I glanced back to see him talking to Brandon, and caught Clara’s name as it left his lips.
“Oh thank the Goddess you’re here. Can you two man the booth with your grandma while I run to the fridge and grab some more pastries?” She asked. The bun she hastily put her hair into was falling out, forcing her to brush the hairs away from her face every couple seconds.
“Sure thing, we’ve got this.” I nodded, waving to grandma as I rounded the tables with Breyona in tow.
I was aware there were dozens of eyes on me, but that didn’t stop me from grinning stupidly when Claire marched up to two jocks in football gear and said, “you and you, come help me carry these pastries before my son spots you gawking at his mate.”
Both gave me one last look and followed Claire, who told them to keep up and pull their weight.
I turned towards grandma and watched as she greeted a group of sorority girls, a kind smile on her face as she showed them her inventory. The truth was right there on my tongue, but when she turned and welcomed me it wasn’t the truth that came out.
“You stayed up all night stress baking didn’t you?” I smirked, since it was a lot easier to fake than a smile.
“Hush and stop bullying the elderly.” She scolded me, which made Breyona snicker.
I got to work, greeting people as they approached since there was no clear line forming. Just a sea of people that inched closer as we sent others on their way. Helping collect money and pass out bundles of cookies or brownies gave me the chance to talk to the townspeople, to get to know the people Asher and I were trying to protect.
From a distance, I spotted Asher. I’d never be able to miss him, not with how easily he towered over everyone, exuding an aura of intimidation. Cassidy was talking to Asher, but Brandon was no where in sight. I glanced at Asher and then Cassidy’s smiling face before scanning the crowd for his brother. Brandon was slippery enough, and I trusted Asher not to lay into him on today of all days.
“You want me to go over there and break that up?” Breyona lowered her voice, but it was clear who she was talking about.
I laughed and shook my head, while Maya gave an exuberant, “yes!”
“I knew having a mate would be all intense, but I never knew how jealous it would make me.” She teased, using a set of tongs to place a few chocolate chip cookies in a to-go bag.
The crowd was dwindling enough to where we had a handful of seconds in between customers to drink and restock the tables. Breyona and grandma were helping an elderly couple with a large order when I heard a sour voice that instantly put Maya on defense.
“You wouldn’t happen to know where Carson’s parents are, would you?” Devin Armstrong, the asshole who tried to pick a fight with me the night of Carson’s death stood at the edge of the table. Perhaps in another life he would’ve been considered attractive, but his bad attitude contorted his face into a permanent sneer. “Or did you kill them too? Tying up loose ends, am I right?”
It wasn’t everyday a Luna was disrespected outright, so it took me longer than I’d admit to form a coherent response. It took even longer to convince Maya that tearing his throat out wouldn’t win us any awards.
“You know they went to see family, stop playing dumb.” Asher’s cousin snapped in a voice full of poison as she approached grandma’s booth. The chunky green stripe in her hair looked radioactive bright in the sun. She smiled sweetly when grandma greeted her and held out a twenty in her hand. “Can I get one of them brownies for my girl, and I’ll take two of your brown sugar cookies.”
Grandma grabbed what she needed and handed her the lavender paper bag. Alex pocketed her change and glanced at Devin one last time, “Luna trumps the son of a judge, just saying.”
Devin’s face contorted in anger, which wasn’t all that different from his ‘it’s Tuesday’ face.
“Fuck you.” He spat.
“Not even if you begged.” Alex tossed over her shoulder, laughing silkily as she joined a curvy she-wolf on one of the park benches.
“Are you done trying to cause trouble?” I asked him, knowing well that he hadn’t come here to support Carson’s family like everyone else.
His beady eyes narrowed, “don’t get comfortable, I’m not the only one who sees your kind for what they are…”
“And what’s that? By all means, share with the class.” His death-glare paled in comparison to Breyona’s, who even made Zeke stop in his tracks. “Just another prick with rich parents.”
Grandma finished up with another round of customers and walked over just as Devin was gearing up for a hasty retreat. I could see the fire leave his eyes the more the crowd turned their attention on him. He was the center of attention, but not in the way he anticipated.
“Watch out, old woman. That she-wolf’s a killer.” He snarled, desperate to get the last word in before rushing off in a huff.
“Oh, piss off.” Grandma tossed over her shoulder, tugging Breyona and I to the next wave of customers as the sound of Devin’s stomps faded in the distance.
Fifteen minutes later Claire returned with Asher and Cassidy in tow. The two frat boys set their platters of desserts down where Claire directed and high-tailed it in the other direction, their faces pale, and eyes on Asher.
“Grandma, we need your help with something back home…it has to do with the binding spell on my magic. Would you mind leaving early?” I asked, biting back the words before I blurted them out in front of everybody.
“Go ahead and help them, I’ve got some extra hands coming.” Claire reassured her, a grateful smile lighting up her face. “I can’t thank you enough for all the work you did today.”
“Nonsense, as my grandchildren like to remind me, I have a problem with stress baking.” Grandma grinned and wound her arm through mine. “Now what magic binding spell would call for an old werewolf?”
I was saved from answering when Cassidy’s squeal filled the air.
“I should’ve figured you were here!” Cassidy beamed when she spotted Breyona and me. Her golden locks were twisted into a messy bun that looked purposefully perfect, and her smile was perfectly white. It faltered when she noticed us packing up, “Oh, are you leaving already? I’ll walk you to your car, I actually wanted to talk to you about training.”
As we walked, grandma and Asher ended up taking the lead a few feet in front of us. I could hear her talking to him and caught her saying, “…you know she’ll be pissed at you if you kill the judge’s son.”
“Have you thought about when you’ll start training? All of the students are eager to see what you’ve got-honestly, I’m a bit curious too.” Cassidy smiled sheepishly.
“I’ve been wanting to get back into training. Even though I can’t shift, it’s a nice energy outlet.” Breyona replied, not at all opposed to the idea.
I thought about it for a few moments. My schedule was already hectic, but Breyona was right. We had enough stress in our lives to not take advantage of every healthy outlet available.
“How about we start tomorrow?” I asked her.
“I can’t wait!” Cassidy cheered but paused mid-celebration when a couple girls called her name. She held a finger up and turned to Breyona and me. “I’ll text you both the time and location of the class. See you tomorrow!”
Asher and grandma were already at the car, engrossed in a conversation. I didn’t have the chance to eavesdrop because a masculine voice called out my name.
“Hey, Luna Lola!” Lar’s jogged up to us, his messy hair even more windblown when he finally came to a stop. He was wearing his usual leather jacket t-shirt combo and gave Breyona a look that instantly made her eyes narrow. “Saw you talking with Cassidy, but then I noticed your friend here.”
“Her friend here has a mate.” Breyona replied dryly, pointing to the mark on her neck that was exposed by the off-shoulder design of her top.
“Honest mistake.” He raised his hands in surrender, not at all fazed by Breyona’s glare.
“Was there something you needed, Lars?” I asked him, wondering why he tracked me down when we’ve barely spoken more than fifteen words to each other. I had gotten to know him well enough at the coffee shop and wasn’t interested in his idea of friendship.
“Yeah, actually. Some friends of mine are throwing a party this weekend for summer break. Goal is to make it the biggest of the year, bigger than Devin’s twenty-first at his dad’s lake house.”‘ Lar’s rolled his eyes, “…if I got the Alpha and Luna to show, everyone in the pack would be fighting for an invite.”
I was going to answer him, but then I glanced down.
The world around me spun until the sun faded and the clouds vanished. The scent of pastries faded, replaced with that of wet soil and grass. Stars speckled the sky, and the University courtyard melted into a winding backroad surrounded by dense pine trees.
A pair of scuffed black boots was the last thing I saw before pain and darkness had claimed me-the same black boots Lar’s was wearing.