Read Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 149
“She’s not answering me.” I tried to sigh, but it was hard to do in my current position.
Cassidy’s pouty frown and furrowed eyebrows flipped upside down as she bent forward and brought her head in between her legs. As I did the same, her expression was flipped right side up. Each of us were in the same pose, stretching our hamstrings as we mixed our own routine with the recommendations of our trainer.
Emilia carried an air of intimidation as she walked into the room, but it melted away the moment her tan lips lifted into a welcoming smile. Her voice was a steady soprano that provided instruction end endless encouragement, despite her height and broad shoulders. It was unsurprising that she towered over me, but she had almost every male in the room beat as well.
A jolt of excitement danced in my stomach when she pulled the oversized t-shirt she wore over her head, and I saw the muscle that coated her body. Any decent warrior could see her commitment and perseverance through the definition of her muscles. It was clear Emilia had the strength and poise of a warrior, which made me even more excited to see her skill. I wondered if a killer lurked behind her soft jawline and large hazel eyes.
We were both sprawled out on the floor, reaching forwards to touch our toes when Cassidy whispered, “…hey, mind-link me real quick.”
Her eyes darted to Emilia, who had her attention on the students she was helping. Her hand gestured to various parts of the body as she explained various warm-up stretches. Her ear was in our direction, but there was no telling if she was listening or not.
‘Everything alright?’ I lifted an eyebrow at her.
Cassidy’s head was a luxury walk-in closet filled to the brim with every article of clothing, and accessory a she-wolf could want. Instead of jewelry there were glittering dreams plucked from her subconscious, and razor-sharp nightmares took the place of expensive stilettos. Becoming Luna is what led to this development, but it wasn’t one wildly talked about. There wasn’t anything particularly useful about seeing the well-oiled or crumbling structure of a pack members psyche.
‘Just a bit of gossip really…’ She trailed off, and mischievousness lightened the cerulean tones in her eyes until they reminded me of a clear oasis.
‘With all the dirt you have on everyone, why hasn’t Asher made you into some kind of super spy?’ I teased, crossing an arm over my chest to stretch my triceps. The muscles groaned from not being used in so long.
‘Oh, because I’m useless at sneaking around. Even a shit -faced Brandon would make a better spy.’ Her laughter was like a twinkling bell, which was cut short when a flash of guilt crossed her face. She brushed the wispy strands of her bangs back from her face, ‘I’m not telling you this to dredge anything up, but I feel like you still know so little about some of the people in town, people Asher and I grew up alongside.’
There were times where Cassidy reminded me of my ex-best friend Chelsea-well, she was never really a best friend, but that wasn’t important. Both were blonde, though Cassidy’s looked to be natural while Chelsea’s came from the snooty salon down the street, and both had that sun-kissed, family vacation at our beach house’ vibe.
It was their personalities that really set them apart.
Chelsea couldn’t spell sincerity, let alone successfully paint it across her face. I’d seen Cassidy display an array of emotions, and each one seemed just as true as the next. Even now, the honesty on her face was evident in the worried line her lips created and the indecision burning in her eyes.
‘Oh, just tell me. You look like you’re about to explode.’ I kept my voice playful even though she did have me curious.
Gossiping was one of the many things Chelsea and I didn’t have in common, but in this situation I figured the more information I collected, the better.
‘I do, don’t I? I’ve always been crap at keeping things in, but I am an excellent secret keeper in case you ever need to make use of me.’ She winked, then quickly got down to business. Her eyes narrowed into little slits, and I could feel her thoughts flitting a million miles per minute. ‘So way back when, Emilia had a thing for Asher. Like, big time. I’m talking more than just ‘A & E’ in a notebook type of thing. She used to hang around us a lot, but one day she just stopped. If you want my take on things, I think he shot her down and she got upset.’
A flare of jealousy roared to life inside of Maya, but even she wasn’t rash enough to brazenly maul a random she-wolf. I couldn’t help but turn my head and look at Emilia, at her bun of her russet-colored curls when I shifted my eyes down an inch and found her staring at me.
The last thing I expected was a surprised but warm smile to tug at the corners of her lips. Even her eyes crinkled, and the sight was so genuine that I couldn’t help but return the gesture. It was the way that friendliness vanished when her eyes slid to Cassidy that had me feeling a bit confused.
‘She doesn’t seem too torn up about him anymore.’ I said in Emilia’s defense, who was now back to helping other students, her full attention on coaching them through warm-up.
‘Oh, I can’t imagine she would be. The lucky bitch found her mate last spring, and of course they’re adorable together.’ She huffed and blew a strand of hair from her face. With a dramatic swipe of her hand, her pout vanished and was replaced with a teasing grin. I’m only stating facts since bitterness creates wrinkles.’
Our conversation collapsed as Emilia took the head of the class and began speaking loudly. She did a quick run through of the muscles in the body and followed with stretches for each.
We were only halfway through warm-up, but I was seconds away from ditching to track down Breyona since she couldn’t answer a simple mind-link. Either her thoughts were too chaotic and disorganized to focus, or something bad had happened to her. I felt uneasiness in the pits of my stomach, almost like I were missing something. Still, it wasn’t anything like the feeling of knives twisting into my gut when Tristan said those chilling words.
“You want me to come with you?” Cassidy asked, keeping her voice low. “I don’t mind ditching to help you find Breyona.”
I thought over her offer, but before I could take her up on it, I heard a familiar huff from down the hall. Cassidy gave me a funny look since I had opened my mouth to respond and quickly shut it, but it was fleeting since seconds later Breyona came bursting through the door.
With her hair disheveled and her cheeks flushed she took a deep breath and said, “…so sorry, car broke down.”
“It’s alright, you didn’t miss much. We have one other student that’s absent for today, so you’ll be partnering with me. I’ll make sure you get caught up.” Emilia nodded, her eyes understanding as she scribbled something onto her clipboard and officially began today’s class.
I caught a glimpse at what made Emilia qualified to teach when she launched into a brief introduction of Krav Maga. Chris drilled every punch, kick, and hold into my head until I could recite them by heart while also not getting my ass kicked.
After enough leg takedowns and elbow strikes to the liver, both of which hurt worse the next day, I learned I memorized things quickly when under pressure. I also learned I’d do just about anything to kick Chris’s ass, even once.
We didn’t do much sparring, but what little we did showed me no matter how she felt about Emilia, she truly was paying attention. I could tell she was holding back, if not from the playful twinkle in her eyes, then from the persistent nudge in my gut. Any time that look crossed her face, I’d smirk and silently dare her to push harder. She didn’t take the bait, but it did make class interesting.
“You could’ve answered my mind-link, you know.” Breyona wiped the sweat from her forehead as she scolded me. The second Emilia called training to an end she made a beeline for me. “I had to leave the car Asher loaned me on the side of the road, then I hitchhiked. Do you know how many women go missing while hitchhiking?”
I blinked at her, “I’ve been trying to mind-link you up until you walked through the door, there’s no way I would’ve ignored you.”
As all the mid-day classes let out, Cassidy decided to stay behind and catch up with a few acquaintances from another training group. My question about her date with Lars was right on the tip of my tongue, but there hadn’t been a moment where the two of us were alone. If I told her my suspicions and someone else were to hear, it could easily spell disaster. She promised to catch up in a few minutes, but I was beginning to learn how easily she could get distracted.
“You didn’t ignore me?” She frowned, and for some reason that seemed to trouble her more.
I shook my head and said sincerely, “I’d never.”
“You know, I mind-linked Mason too and didn’t get an answer. I figured he must’ve gotten distracted; it wouldn’t be the first time. I knew when you didn’t answer something was up.” The fear that flashed across her face was all too familiar. When she spoke her voice was low. “You don’t think the witches were trying to kill me again, do you? Or what if they’re trying to mess with our mind-link so we can’t talk to each other when they finally do attack? Maybe I shouldn’t go with Gio…maybe it’s safer here.”
Feeling myself pale, I hopped onto the trunk of the car and watched streams of warriors in training as they exited through the two sets of double doors. From there they fanned out across the vast parking lot.
“Those are both good points, I just wish there was a way of knowing for sure. I think you might be safer going with him and getting far away from me and this pack for a few days.” I never had a hard time telling Breyona the truth but telling her she’d be safer by leaving me behind, it was a little hard to swallow. “Hopefully, Holly sees something that gets us the upper hand, because until I learn some real magic, I have no clue how to stop them.”
“I won’t be gone for long; you can count on that. We’ll figure this out together and I’ll be at your side through it all. Even if you weren’t my best-friend, you’re the Vampire Queen. You and Gio are essentially a package deal…which sounds a little strange now that I think about it.” She narrowed her eyes playfully, and slowly the emotion simmered into something familiar and calming. “There was something I wanted to ask you before we left. I only remember bits and pieces. So, I wanted to know…what exactly happened last night?”
Breyona sensed the change in my demeanor instantly and sank her teeth into her lower lip, something she did only when she was nervous. I slid from the trunk of the car, too consumed by guilt to stick a graceful landing.
“Look, I know it has something to do with…the shadows.” She said with furrowed eyebrows, lowering her voice dramatically towards the end. “I just don’t remember anything else…and I’d like to know every detail considering I almost died.”
The fact that she knew did little to deflate the balloon pressing against my insides, slowly suffocating me until all I could see was red. Instead I nodded numbly, because why wouldn’t she want to know?”
When are you leaving?”
Some of the severity left her face and she managed a small but genuine smile. It hinted at her fear and her budding excitement over meeting her mate’s family.
“Tomorrow, which is why you and I are having a sleepover tonight. Oh, and it’s taking place at your fancy new house, so tell Asher to make himself scarce.” Her lips twitched into a playful smirk.
“I heard something about making Asher scarce and knew I needed in on the conversation.” Cassidy’s laughter sounded from a few cars away, and slowly she came into view. She spotted Breyona and her cheerful expression brightened. “I’m so glad you were able to make it! I’m horrible with cars, but you could’ve always mind-linked me for a ride.”
“I’m awful with them too, I think that’s why I got all frazzled when it started filling with smoke. I couldn’t piece my thoughts together let alone mind-link anyone.” Breyona lied smoothly, and I know I’d have to do the same. I tried not to anticipate the sour taste it left in my mouth.
A thought popped into my head, and I asked on a whim, “How did you get here if you had to ditch the car?”
“It’s uh-a long story, one I’ll explain tonight.” Her voice jumped an octave, and I knew there was something she was leaving out.
“Oh, I knew I heard something about a sleepover!” Cassidy squealed then dropped her voice to a whisper as Breyona shushed her. She held back her laughter as she quietly asked, “…can I come?”
“Of course you can.” I replied quickly, then mind-linked Breyona to let her know I’d explain on the way to the witches’ house.
It was smartest to get Cassidy within the safety of the house before asking about Lars. With all the wandering ears in this pack, someone was bound to hear. All it would take was a single mind-link and he could have enough of a head start to slip through the boundaries.
Breyona and I were seconds away from taking off when I noticed Emilia through the dwindling crowd. Her eyes scanned the crowd and stopped on my face. She walked with purpose and took long strides past the crowd until we were feet away.
“Glad I caught up to you before you left. It’s an honor to have you in my class, Luna. I’m eager to see if you live up to your reputation…same goes for you, even if you did show up late.” It was the respect in her eyes that surprised me most, and the way it brightened the splotches of gold and green within them. If it weren’t for the wide smile she flashed Breyona, I wouldn’t have noticed the way it dropped when her eyes settled on Cassidy. “I’ll see you in class tomorrow, Cassidy.”
“See you tomorrow, Emmi.” Cassidy replied, and the venom she laced into the nickname told me it wasn’t for endearment.
Emilia’s eyes hardened into stakes of blackwood, but she said nothing as she turned on her heel and walked away.
“Do you trust her?” Breyona asked once I finished explaining my plan, her filled with simple curiosity.
It took me a moment to answer truthfully. I listened to the soothing hum of the road as I debated on what words to say. We still had a few minutes until we reached Rowena’s, which meant I had plenty of time to think.
“No, but I’d like too someday. I know so little about her, which is partially my fault because I could’ve easily asked Asher anything I want to know, but I didn’t want to come off as weird and suspicious.”
“Oh, I have no problems coming off as weird and suspicious. I want to know every woman that’s ever batted their eyelashes at Gio.” Breyona wrinkled her nose, and quickly the two of us descended into laughter.
The light-hearted mood we set in the car lasted the entire ride, up until we walked into the witches’ house and saw Grandma in the kitchen, her eyes lit with a soft lavender glow.