Read Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 173
Judging from the small building the wedding was being held at, it was initially meant to be an intimate event. As grandma mentioned earlier, the couple in question had high hopes that a wedding was just what people needed to lift spirits. As it turns out, they were right.
There were cars spilling out of the little parking lot, parked alongside curbs and even up on the flat, grassy areas. Dainty paper lanterns suspended on thin fishing wire were what led guests to the front doors, though many just walked around the building to where the party was overflowing into the grass. A hastily thrown together dance floor had been constructed out back, along with a dozen or so tiki torches and streamers in various shades of violet.
The sign out front read, ‘Chatham Recreational Center.’ The music pouring from within was loud and upbeat, matching the laughter that drifted throughout the air. Children darted in and out, weaving between adults who were either drinking, eating, or dancing.
There was no order to any of it, but the chaos gave it a homey feel that reminded me more of a family reunion rather than a wedding.
“So many children…” Holly said thoughtfully, nervously fidgeting with the hem of the dress I loaned her. She twisted the lace around her fingers only to release it and repeat the motion.
She was lodged in between Tristan and I, sticking close to our shoulders as we maneuvered throughout the crowd. I noted the way her eyes scanned everything with both hesitation and a budding sense of curiosity. It seemed to shake her whenever someone would look her way for too long. They’d hold her gaze until they noticed me standing at her side, then their attention would flit between the two of us until the similarities between Holly and I answered their unvoiced questions.
“I’m not entirely sure I like weddings.” She said quietly, lowering herself so she could speak the words in my ear. As two children zoomed by, one covered from head to navel in bright splotches of sugary frosting, her look of discomfort faltered. Her lips twitched and eyes followed the children until they were lost from sight. “I do like children, though.”
We approached the back doors, both of which were propped wide open so that people could run in and out, in search of Cassidy. Further inside I spotted my grandma, who was chatting with Claire and a woman in a sparkling white dress. The veil she wore was thrown back and dotted with little diamonds that twinkled like newborn stars. All three looked relaxed and joyful, laughing like old friends would. Before grandma could spot me standing there and inevitably uncover my plans, I made a beeline for where Cassidy said she’d be.
She wasn’t alone when I approached with Holly and Tristan but was giggling and very clearly flirting with a guy almost three times her size. The guy, whose grey eyes were bright in contrast to his dark skin, grinned and devoured every second of the attention.
“Oh, Kendrick! This is the one and only, Luna Lola.” Cassidy said smoothly, tossing her blonde mane of curls over her shoulder. She sauntered over to me and looped her arm through my own, paying no attention to Tristan or Holly in the process. “Lola has been such a friend lately. She came right to my aid the other night and kicked some serious-”
“Really, it was nothing. You would’ve done the same for me, I’m sure.” I interrupted her, not wanting to relay the details of what it was I did that night. I was still figuring it out myself, and the last thing I needed was for everyone else to make up their own interpretations.
“Oh, of course! I owe you one, seriously.” Cassidy nodded exuberantly, her sparkly eyeshadow shimmering as it caught the torchlight. She lowered her voice as the thunderous pop music melted into something soft and slow. “This is the guy I’ve been telling you about. He wanted to meet the Luna, like every other wolf I know.”
Her voice took on a teasing note as she winked at Kendrick and cozied up to his side. There was a small part of me that wanted to bring up Lars considering she’d been more than interested in him up until the events of last night. Emilia’s warning came to mind, and rather than get on Cassidy’s bad side, I said a warm welcome to Kendrick and continued to push things along.
Once he ventured off in search of food, I managed to give Cassidy a quick run-down of tonight’s plan. I hadn’t been sure of how she’d react when telling her why I had to come up with a plan in the first place. She’d been Asher’s best-friend since childhood, and I wasn’t sure if pissing him off were something she’d feel comfortable doing. Turns out, Cassidy had no qualms over angering my mate. That fact made me like her even more.
During the hour we spent at the wedding party, I could hear snippets of Asher’s voice in my head. A few times he spoke through the mind-link, attempting to ease my anger but to no avail. Here and there I let a few details slip, little things I happened to see or hear. The music, children laughing, the scent of food hanging in the air, even a quick flash of the dress I gave to Holly to wear.
A giddiness settled over me as the time neared to act on my plan. Tristan, Holly, and Cassidy ventured inside the Recreational center while I hovered near the doors and waited. A few minutes passed, turning giddiness into budding anxiety, when I began to grow impatient and decided to peek my head inside. Rather than look in the direction of the restrooms, which is where Cassidy and the others went, I found myself looking towards the other side of the room.
Apart from a few people here and there, most of the guests had wandered outside to continue partying under the light of the moon. There were a few people perched on bleachers, paper plates on their laps piled with food, but that was it. The lack of people made it all too easy to spot his head of salt and pepper hair, which he seemed to have brushed and styled specifically for tonight. Judging from who he danced with, I could see why.
Dad and Flora were practically invisible, absorbed within their own world as they swayed to the gentle beat of the song that filled the room and spilled into the night. One of his hands rested on her hip, while the other cradled hers. There was an awkwardness that would’ve told me dad had never slow danced before if I hadn’t already known myself, but it wasn’t that which robbed me of breath and made my insides twist with guilt.
It was the very obvious limp in his left leg, and the constant flashes of pain in his eyes that sent me thinking back to the events of a few days ago, when grandma had attempted her hand at healing his leg. He’d sounded more than defeated when she’d been unable to do it, yet here he was, still doing his best to dance with the mate he thought had died long ago.
It wasn’t a wish I put into existence, but a need so strong it overshadowed everything else, even the risky and partially insane plan I was about to follow through on. Dad’s pain and beautifully innocent desire to dance with Flora coaxed the electrifying feel of magic from my blood until it rang in my ears and warmed the amulet nestled against the hollow of my throat.
There was no time for me to question what I’d done or how I’d done it, because Tristan had returned. The missing presences of Holly and Cassidy, paired with Asher’s snarl vibrating down the mate- bond, told me the plan was officially under way.
“Your plan’s working so far. They’re tailing after Holly and Cassidy, but sooner or later they’re going to realize they were tricked.” Tristan grunted, pulling me away from my hiding spot and around the side of the building.
“It’ll take them even longer considering I gave Cassidy the keys to my car.” I smirked and fished a different set from my pocket, one’s Cassidy had slipped into my hand when Tristan wasn’t looking. I dangled them in front of his nose, a grin developing as his momentary look of surprise shriveled. “Hope you know how to drive a motorcycle, because I sure as h**l don’t.”