by Jane Doe
Really?” I scoffed, staring open-mouthed at Asher through the glass of the holding cell he was in. “Is this necessary?”
Asher paced back and forth, his head snapping in my direction whenever I spoke. His eyes were still that violent shade of gold, telling me his wolf was still in charge and very much feral.
The holding cell he sat in was a part of the newer renovations Asher had orchestrated. There were dozens of these cubby-like rooms, each one with a cot and a small table, reinforced with military grade equipment to keep the prisoners contained.
I bet Asher never thought he’d land himself in one.
Both men standing before me were grim, their lips pursed, and eyes cloaked in shadows. I was used to seeing that particular expression on Brandon, but not Zeke. Neither one appeared too happy about how things played out, but I needed to keep the conversation going. If I didn’t, I’d start thinking about what they barged in on and have no choice but to drown in embarrassment.
Brandon spoke first, snorting dryly at me before glancing Asher’s way. In between the brothers was a two-way mirror, not that the wall of glass kept us from hearing one another.
“You might’ve been enjoying yourself, but I promise, it’s necessary.” He said, not reacting in the slightest when his older brother snarled and pounded on the glass.
Zeke grimaced, “Don’t provoke him, and quit being a jealous dick.”
“You’re right, I shouldn’t provoke him. I’d hate for him to break out of here and kill another Alpha. Seeing as you’re the only one close by, I’d watch out if I were you.” Brandon replied, a brittle smile playing across his face.
Instantly, my stomach began to plummet at his words and what they insinuated. Zeke, on the other hand, was unfazed and even rolled his eyes at Brandon.
“Explain.” I demanded, my eyes darting between the two of them. When neither answered and Brandon’s expression twisted into a smirk, I snapped. “Now.”
“Mason’s witchy friend-” Brandon began, only to get cut off by Zeke.
Brandon sighed loudly, then continued.
“Right. Clara, Mason’s witchy friend, found one of the towns the other witches were staying in. The place was deserted, but we ran into a few friends on our way out.”
Zeke rolled his eyes again, much more fed up with Brandon than usual. He propped himself up on the edge of the table we hovered around, running a hand through his already messy hair. After a long, drawn-out yawn, he chimed in.
“It was Alpha Bran and some of his men. They’d been circling the town the witches had stayed in, almost like they were keeping it safe for their return.” He grimaced, unease filling every facet of his once warm voice. “Alpha Bran challenged Asher. I think he could sense that something was off about him, that he was on edge from everything going on. I’m not too sure, but Bran thought he could win.”
“Surprise, surprise. He didn’t.” Brandon snorted, but the sound had an edge to it.
I had the distinct feeling they were holding something back, and that something was currently twisting my stomach into knots. What was even more troublesome was the weight to Brandon’s words.
When one Alpha challenged another, they battled to the death.
“Alpha Bran is dead.” I stated, looking between the two of them even though a confirmation wasn’t needed.
The answer was written across every tense line on their faces, mapped out within the thinness of their lips and in the way their eyebrows furrowed. For once, Brandon didn’t look the least bit jealous of his older brother.
“Sure is, which makes Asher their new Alpha.” His voice was dripping with sarcasm when he said, “How wonderful.”
“Look, he’s going to be here awhile. Why don’t you head back and get some rest? You look like you’re about to fall over.” Zeke said kindly, ignoring Brandon’s jibes.
“You have no room to talk about anyone looking exhausted. When’s the last time you slept?” I asked him, taking in the dark circles around his eyes and the way his shoulders slumped with exhaustion. His usual charm was nowhere to be found.
Brandon grunted, “Hard to sleep when you’re chasing a rabid Alpha through the forest for seven hours straight.”
I blinked at the two of them, again getting that feeling that there was something they were leaving out.
“Clara will explain the rest. She’s on her way here with Mason and the others.” Zeke sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “When Asher went… feral, we had no choice but to follow. She won’t be here for another couple hours, so try and catch some sleep until then.”
“We both know that none of us are going to manage any sleep until we figure out why my brother went f**king psycho.” Brandon rolled his eyes, pushing off the wall he leaned against.
Zeke glared at Asher’s younger, more disgruntled clone as he left, promptly slamming the door behind him. murmured.
Nodding, Zeke replied. “Trust me, I’m just as confused as you are.”
There was so much going on, so many questions that needed answering, yet we weren’t any closer to solving them than we had been months ago. The more I thought about it, I began to realize there was something in our possession that could help. It wouldn’t solve all our problems, but it might shed some light on a few. I’d been waiting for Asher to get back to break it out, and while I wanted him lucid, there was no longer any time to waste.
“I’m going to run out and grab a few things. Anything you want me to bring back?” I asked Zeke, already heading for the door.
He called out, “Coffee, lots and lots of coffee.”
When I returned an hour and a half later, the old text on the Renaldi line in my hands, instantly I knew something had changed. Zeke was sitting at the observation table, his hands clasped behind his head as he scowled at the two-way mirror.
I shoved the book and the cups of coffee onto the table when I spotted Asher.
He was sitting on the cot, his back against the wall and his head turned towards the ceiling. His eyes were closed, yet somehow I knew that whatever had affected him had come to pass.
I called out to him, and his eyes snapped open. They found me through the layers of glass and stone, once again their warm shade of honey and chestnut. There was a spasm in my chest, a tugging of sorts that pulled me in his direction. Had it really been days since I’d last seen him? The urge to tear down the door and be near him-to feel him and bask in his scent was overwhelming, drawing me closer to the locked door.
“Lola?” His voice was hoarse.
The sound of it caused a visceral reaction in my body, resulting in another sharp tug to the bond that sent me rushing forwards. Zeke startled from his seat, nearly knocking over our supply of energy in the process.
“Let me in.” I commanded, nodding in the direction of the door.
There was a split second of hesitation from Zeke, but he did as I asked and disconnected each lock until the door slid open just a fraction. I slipped inside, barely noticing when he closed and locked it behind me.
Before I could launch myself into his arms, he held out a hand and shook his head.
“Tell me what I did. I can’t remember anything. I keep getting these flashes, but none of them are making sense.” He grunted, nearly shattering my heart in two when he looked up at me with eyes full of torment.
Zeke cleared his throat, his voice muffled until it came through the small speakers in the ceiling. “Well, for starters, you killed Alpha Bran. Not that it wasn’t warranted since the prick did challenge you. Congrats on expanding the pack, though.”
“Yeah, I remember that.” Asher swallowed, the muscles in his throat reacting to the movement. “Everything after that, not so much.”
“You said you were getting flashes of memory. What were you seeing?” I asked, lowering myself to sit beside him on the cot.
Asher frowned, those full lips of his turning down at the corners. “I think I was running, but I have no clue for how long. Then I remember…well, I remember you.” His voice lowered and a flash of gold hit his eyes, vanishing in a whirlpool of warm hazel. “You were naked. I can still taste you in my mouth. How is it that I forgot something like that?”
Even exhausted and confused, Asher was a sight to behold. His hair was messy, like he’d been gripping it in hopes his memories would resurface, and beneath the thin blanket on the cot, he was completely bare. That note of huskiness in his voice brought me back to when he barged into our bedroom.
It wasn’t the sex I feared, or the fact that he practically forced himself onto me. Neither one I minded, even if the line of consent was a bit skewed. It’s the fact that something had driven him to madness, and that something left him unable to recognize me and made him starved for chaos and blood.
“Maybe because you weren’t entirely present for it.” I admitted sheepishly.
Asher wouldn’t take well to the truth; I knew that for certain. This game between us often teetered on the cusp of non-consensual, but both of us knew that we had the power to stop things if we wanted. As for earlier, I don’t think it would’ve mattered if I’d fought. A fact I knew would torment Asher to his core.
Sure enough, his eyebrows dipped into a grimace, one that darkened his eyes and made him look identical to the stone-cold Alpha most of the world knew him to be.
“You kicked me, or-or you tried to.” He grunted, clenching his eyes shut.
Down the length of our bond, I could feel a dull pain radiating across his forehead, throbbing across his skull to the tune of a frantic heart. No wonder he couldn’t remember anything, his head was symphony of pain that refused to let up, playing piece after piece until even the strongest memories turned fuzzy.
Alpha Asher by Jane Doe
Author: Jane Doe
Native Language: English