Read Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 177
“What’s with Vampire’s and abandoned warehouses?” I asked, speaking to no one in particular.
The breaks of the rusty minivan we were crammed into squealed as we pulled into a handicap space close to the front doors. I could make out the symbol painted on the spot, though it had faded over time.
Within the parking lot were a few cars, but most looked like junkers rather than functioning vehicles. There weren’t any windows apart from the ones that lined the front, but they were blacked out by scraps of cardboard boxes and old newspapers.
“This one won’t be half as luxurious as your father’s.” Tristan muttered at my side; his face marred in a permanent scowl.
From the front seat, Dina snorted. She turned around and glared at Tristan.
“With how flimsy your loyalty is, you got no room to be judging anybody, Tristan.” The pale-haired Vampire at my side lifted an eyebrow, but Dina didn’t falter in her rant. “That’s right, I know you. You don’t know me, though. I was a nobody back then, a body for her father’s military.” She jutted her chin in my direction. “I saw you a couple times, scramblin’ to obey the King and all his whims. It’s ironic you’re doin’ the same for his daughter now, isn’t it?”
I wanted to come to Tristan’s defense, and I had planned to, but Dina’s words struck a chord in my chest that left me silent.
Tristan had been my father’s right-hand man. He’d been closest to him, even though my father trusted absolutely no one. Part of me wondered if Tristan’s loyalty to me had anything to do with the mark that sat on my neck, or his lingering hopes that I would choose him over Asher.
I didn’t have to wonder for long if Tristan would speak up.
“Thank you, Dina, for dredging up the years I spent serving a monster who deserved not a speck of the loyalty he received. Everything you said was correct. I don’t remember you because I never cared to look your way. As you’ve already stated, I was busy trying to prove my worth to a King who viewed us all as disposable.” He said with a clipped tone.
The pale blues of his eyes glittered menacingly as he leaned forward in his seat. Dina remained rooted in place, but from the harsh set of her jaw and the way her grip tightened on the arm rest, I knew she was preparing herself for if he decided to attack.
“Our new Queen, she doesn’t see us as disposable. I might’ve had to prove my loyalty to her, but never my worth.”
Tristan leaned back in his seat, his severe expression unwavering, even as Dina slid her eyes over to my face. The brooding Vampire at my side wasn’t one to speak idly, especially when it came to paying someone a compliment. I knew without asking that every word he said, he truly meant.
My heart flipped in my chest and took off, pounding harder with each set of eyes that found my face. I couldn’t read the emotion in their eyes other than obvious suspicion, not that I had much time to.
The door of the minivan slid open, clambering against the side of the vehicle with a loud thud. A shaggy haired man with a toothy grin and a thin scar above his brow appeared, but the expression fell the moment he and I locked eyes.
“What the fuck, Dina.” He grunted, but the venom in his voice felt flimsy. “You we’re ‘supposed to come back with dinner.”
The stranger pulled open her door and crossed his arms over his chest. Like a Queen herself, Dina slid from the seat and patted the man on his shoulder. He visibly relaxed under her touch, and as his eyes softened, I could read the truth within them.
He and Dina were mates.
“Deacon inside?” She asked him, then jutted her chin in my direction. “Our Royal Highness here decided to pay us a visit. She needs to speak with him.”
Within an instant, Dina’s mate lost his cheesy grin and replaced it with a scowl so fierce I was almost fearful.
“Why the hell would I-”
“It’s about Bridgette. Believe me, baby, he’s gonna wanna hear what she’s got to say.” Dina said curtly, though the sour tone was was reserved for Tristan and me alone.
Just then, the oddest thing happened.
Rather than bark out another sharp reply, or huffin defeat, Dina’s mate turned his attention to my face, staring at me long and hard. He pursed his lips, and the scar above his eyebrow rippled from the intensity of his scrutinizing gaze.
“She don’t know, does she?” He asked, still not taking his eyes off my face.
Dina shook her head, glancing my way for a fraction of a second. “No, she don’t know, but she’s gonna.”
Her mate’s toothy grin returned as he clasped his hands together and rubbed them eagerly. “Wonderful, I love surprises. Let’s go then.”
A sinking feeling encased my stomach, weighing it down like I’d swallowed a ton of lead.
Tristan had been right about the warehouse, and other things, but I had no intention on admitting that anytime soon.
Upon entering, we passed through a set of broken metal detectors, and ventured into a small room.
There were nearly a dozen cots laid out in what I assumed was once an employee break room, though the lockers had been torn out. I could still see the imprint of where they’d sat against the wall, and as I looked even harder, I spotted a few broken combination locks scattered about. The counters still remained, along with a sink that looked as though it hadn’t properly functioned in the last ten years.
Two Vampire’s perched on a single cot, huddled close together, stopped their whispering as we walked into the room. The woman, whose freckles were dark and cinnamon colored, wrinkled her nose at me. At her side was a man young enough to be her son, whose hazel-eyed gaze remained curious as we passed through.
It wasn’t until we slipped through a second doorway that I began to hear voices. One was deep and booming, easily commanding the attention of the others, who murmured anxiously in response.
As we passed rows and rows of metal shelves, nearly all of them empty apart from a few moldy boxes, I scoured our surroundings, trying to glean what information I could about this place.
“Looks like it was some kind of make-up warehouse.” Tristan said gruffly, his eyes darting towards the ground. “See all the trash?”
Sure enough, there were flattened boxes belonging to various brands of make-up. I recognized a few, having owned some myself, though the packaging we walked on looked to be a couple years old.
Growing closer with each step we took, I heard someone call out.
“What we need to do is help the witches!” A shrill voice cried out, one bordering on hysteria. “They promised us a place with them-promised we’d have our own land once the werewolves are extinct. If we don’t put our trust in them, we have no one. We have to take their offer while it still stands!”
An eruption of murmuring filled the warehouse, echoing lightly before fading into nothingness. The voices overlapped one another, some frenzied and other’s tainted with worry and fear. From what I could hear, many of the Vampire’s were agreeing with the hysterical woman.
The sound of my own kind contemplating joining the Blood Witch, set my teeth on edge and made a cold chill skitter down my spine.
I picked up my pace, slipping past Dina’s arm as she reached out to stop me, and blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
“You’re all wrong. The witches offer you nothing but death.”
Tristan’s hand came down on my shoulder seconds too late. The words had already been breathed into existence, and all attention was now on us.
We stood at the center of the warehouse, a place where the employees would meet up before every shift if the peeling stickers on the floor were any indication.
There were more Vampire’s than there were cots, and all of their eyes were on me. Well, all except for one.
The man with the booming voice, he had his back turned to us all. I could tell it had been his voice I heard not because of his giant stature, but because of the sheer force of his presence alone.
“The girl is right.” His deep baritone rippled across the crowd, silencing them. “Even though her kind offers us the same thing.”
I was seconds away from lashing out with a response, but Tristan of all people rendered me silent.
“There’s no way…” He said in utter disbelief, slack jawed as the Vampire turned around to face the room.
The moment I latched onto those pale blue eyes, I understood.
They were the same-exactly the same, identical to the ones I watched turn glossy seconds before severing his head from his shoulders.
It was my father’s eyes I stared into, but this man, he wasn’t my father.