by Jane Doe
An hour later, I found myself sitting in the passenger seat of an old work van, listening to Breyona recount the moments before she vanished from Giovanni’s bedroom and reappeared in the forest.
Calling her name back in the forest seemed to trigger her human side. She’d quickly shifted and accepted Tristan’s shirt before scaling the hill and finding us a ride. By the time she pulled up with the van, whose paint was peeling so badly I almost missed the picture of the plunger on the side, Tristan and I had hauled Dina most of the way.
The Vampire who had helped save my life was still unconscious. Her heartbeat was muffled, not nearly as strong as it should’ve been, but all that mattered was that it was there.
Not only had Breyona gone the extra mile by helping Tristan and I carry Dina the rest of the way, but she’d also offered up some of her blood to help speed their healing.
“I was laying in bed when I heard screaming, but it was in my head. It wasn’t like the mind-link, though. It was like you were there with me, sharing my thoughts.” Breyona explained, “Once I made the connection that it was you, I could feel that you were in danger. I stared seeing flashes of trees and fire, along with those two witches that were attacking you. When you called out for help, it was like you opened a door for me, and I just walked through.”
She shrugged where she sat in the driver’s seat, as though everything she’d said made perfect sense. As confusing as it was, I couldn’t deny feeling a connection to her, one that definitely wasn’t there before.
“Giovanni is probably losing his mind right now.” I said, unable to formulate anything else.
Breyona shook her head, seemingly unworried about her mate.
“There was a phone in the van. I called him before I destroyed it. He’s catching a flight back to the pack as we speak.”
I frowned, “how was he able to get a flight so soon?”
There was one major airport inside of our pack, but the flights coming in were scarce at best. It would make more sense for Giovanni to catch a flight to one of the airports outside of our territory, but then he’d have at least an hour to drive before hitting the boundary lines.
Tristan answered my question before Breyona could, his voice only a tad bit dry.
“Giovanni’s parents might not have power in the Vampire world, but they have plenty in the humans.”
Breyona nodded, agreeing with Tristan’s explanation. The brooding Vampire that was so ready to give his life for my own it left me seeing stars, outright refused even a drop of Breyona’s blood. I wasn’t sure if he were trying to make sure Dina had her fill, or if he were worried about Giovanni might react to him feeding from his mate.
“They were able to delay all other flights and get one straight out of their local airport. I had him contact Asher’s parents, so the airport will be expecting them to land soon.” She explained.
Curious, I asked. “How does his family have that kind of power?”
“Gio’s dad is an uber rich businessman. He owns some fancy Italian super car company.” She shrugged, and I swore I heard Tristan scoff. “His dad’s thinking about running for Senator.”
“The last thing that state needs is Giovanni’s father at the helm.” Tristan muttered, turning his head to stare out the window, offering no further explanation. A moment passed before he turned and said, “…back to the whole shadow thing. This isn’t the first time you’ve shifted since Lola got you your wolf back. So, how come this time you’re made of shadows and whatnot?”
Breyona sighed and brushed the stray hairs that had fallen from her pony tail out of her face, a surefire sign that she didn’t know the answer to Tristan’s question.
“Maybe it had something to do with Lola being afraid?” She suggested.
I hated to shoot down her theory, but it just didn’t sit right with me.
“I was afraid a few days ago and you didn’t feel anything, much less show up as a giant shadow wolf.” I pointed out.
Breyona cocked her head at me. “Did you call out for help, though?”
A voice sounded from the back, still weak but not hovering on the cusp of death.
“Sorry for interrupting, but about how many times have you shifted since Lola here…uh, got you your wolf back?” Dina asked, drawing our attention to where she lay in the back seat.
Hearing her voice, Tristan turned his attention to her legs, which rested on his lap. Gently, he peeled back what remained of her charred clothing, exposing the leg she had broken in the crash. There was no longer any bone protruding from the skin since we’d set it an hour ago, but there had been a nasty gash left over. That gash was now nothing more than a faint pink line that stood out against her dark skin. Breyona’s blood was doing its job and speeding the healing process.
“Quit fussin’ over me.” Dina snapped, swatting at Tristan though she didn’t have the strength to truly make him stop. “Her blood did the trick, even if it did taste funny.”
Breyona’s eyebrows dropped into a confused scowl, “Funny? What’s so funny tasting about my blood? Gio’s never had a problem with it.”
“Yeah, well has ‘Gio’ tasted you after you turned into this shadow beast?” Dina shot back.
“Well…no, I guess he hasn’t.” Breyona replied, now sounding uncertain. “You think the shadow’s make my blood taste different? Oh, and I’ve shifted about six or so times since Lola got me my wolf back. I got a bit excited in the beginning. It’s uh-it’s been a while.”
“I don’t see what else it could be.” Dina shrugged, “About what time would you say you shifted during each of those times?”
Breyona replied, “Oh, it’s always early in the morning, after the sun rises since Gio’s knocked out by then-oh, I understand now.”
Dina nodded slowly, “Shadows can’t form during the day. At least, not enough to turn you into a whole shadow beast.”
Upon seeing the understanding on all of our faces, the snarky Vampire in the backseat shook her head and mumbled, “It’s a damn miracle you all survived this long.”
Giovanni pulled into the driveway just a few minutes after we all slipped inside. I could hear the tires of the car he rented crunching on the gravel and was thankful we had dropped Dina off at the house Tristan and Holly were staying at beforehand.
Dina would be safe with Holly; I was sure of it. Besides, I didn’t want an audience for the bomb I was about to drop on Breyona.
I’d spent the entire drive home stewing over how I’d tell her what the witches had said. It didn’t matter if I had another three days to think it over, nothing would erase the inevitable heartbreak she’d go through once she found out her parents were dead.
I hated it. I hated it so much. Not because I’d have to tell her myself, but because I couldn’t stand to see the happiness drain from her entire being. Losing a parent, especially one you had a good relationship with, takes a chunk out of you.
The moment Giovanni crossed the threshold into the house, Breyona launched herself into his arms. Like a lithe ninja, she pounced at him. His eyes had been lit with worry but melted the moment he accepted that his mate was safe and sound. Physically, she was. Mentally? Well, that was about to change.
I didn’t dive into things right away. Instead, I herded everyone into the kitchen, listening to Breyona gush about transforming into a wolf made of shadows. As she squealed about how ferocious she was, Tristan turned to me and spoke with a lowered voice.
“Have you gotten ahold of Asher?”
I shook my head, adding yet another thing to my growing list of worries. Contacting Asher, both over mind-link and our bond, was akin to talking to drywall. Not only did I receive no response, but there also wasn’t even the barest hint of acknowledgement on his end. Either Asher was asleep, or something terrible had happened.
He was alive, that much I knew for certain.
“Let me know when he’s back, alright? I’m going to check in with Holly and Dina. I know you and Breyona have some things to talk about.” Tristan grimaced, looking both reluctant and impatient to leave.
I swallowed down the knot rising in my throat and nodded, “Yeah, I’ll let you know when he’s back.”
“You can do this, Lola. I might not be overly fond of her, but she’s strong. There’s a reason she’s survived this long as your friend.” Tristan murmured, the corner of his lips lifting into a dry smile, the first one he’d managed in a while.
Alpha Asher by Jane Doe
Author: Jane Doe
Native Language: English