by Jane Doe
Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 248
Ember & Brandon
Seven Years Later – Ember’s P.O.V.
“Darcy Mathews, if I see so much as a single snowflake in the bathroom’s you’ll find yourself in detention for a week.”
This was the fourth time this month that the pipes had nearly burst from being frozen solid. Damn water elementals.
The squirrely brunette with her spattering of cinnamon freckles jumped a foot off the ground at the sound of my voice, unwittingly letting out a pulse of elemental magic that spiraled down the corridor in a gust of chilly wind. It slammed several lockers shut, startling a handful of students.
“Sorry Headmistress.” She hung her head sheepishly.
There was once a time where Tessa and I couldn’t control our magic. It was easier for my twin. No one looked twice when you sprouted flowers in your wake or animated the topiary bushes. trimmed into animals. Starting fires, however, that drew attention.
“It’s alright…” I sighed, taking it easy just this once. I already had a reputation of being a hard ass, but one more incident and I’d have the Witches council up my ass for the rest of the school year.
The shrill tone of this morning’s bell sounded, chiming through the corridors of the Magisterium. Young witches flitted about, snatching books out of lockers, and ending conversations in a hurry to race to their classes.
“Everyone make their way to their homeroom, and remember ‘it is not the magic that makes the witch, but the quality of her character’.” I bellowed, reciting our Academy’s motto as I made a beeline for my private office.
The moment my hand touched the handle and I pushed it open, I was grabbed and yanked inside. A jolt of surprise knocked me upside the head, even though I knew whose hands pawed at my hips and waist.
Magic crackled from my skin in a sharp burst, tainting the air with the scent of burnt fabric. There was a flash of crimson followed by a masculine grunt that made my lady parts clench. Brandon stared at me with wild eyes, his shirt singed straight down the middle. It cascaded down the hard lines of his chest in pathetic scraps.
“What the f**k, Ember?” He closed in on me a second time, forcing me against my office door which clicked as our combined weight forced it shut.
His breath hit my face in hot waves, the scent made stronger by his anger. This mate thing never failed to amaze me, even after all this time. The thought of breathing in someone’s stale breath was revolting, but not when it came to Brandon.
Nothing he did managed to disgust me. The man knew how to work my nerves and stoke my anger, but nothing-not the vulgar words he spoke or his annoyingly pushy demeanor- erased the need for him that was coded in my very DNA.
I stared up into his eyes, tracing the singular line of his blown out pupil with a defiant tilt to
my chin. This battle between us had been ongoing for the past seven years, and both of us were still holding strong.
“What do you expect, Brandon?” I let his name roll off my tongue like a praise and a curse, each syllable sinful in its own right. “You can’t corner a Witch with dominion over fire and not expect to get burned.”
To emphasize my point, I placed my bare hands against his chest, through the scraps of his t- shirt. Magic warmed my insides, flowing down my arms to where my palms rested against the hard grooves of his muscle. I didn’t exert much energy, not nearly enough to leave an actual burn, but enough to sting his skin with the thrill of heat.
“Give me one f**king reason why I shouldn’t mark you right here, right now.” He hissed, forcing each word through clenched teeth.
Purring like a f**king cat, I ran my lips along his jaw. Pretending to mull over the answer, I hummed against his skin. His nails scraped along the door, along my waist which he gripped hard-so hard that I wondered if he thought he’d float away if he let go.
A growl built in his chest, warning me I was running on borrowed time. This game between us would come to an end, and with how long it had been going on, there would be nothing silent or peaceful about this crescendo.
“You haven’t actually won anything.” I reminded him. “I told you if you caught me, I’d let you put your wolfy mark on my neck, but I never specified when.”
Brandon’s growl turned into a groan, one full of so much longing and pain that I nearly relented. “What better time than the present?”
“Oh, but I have something better in mind.” He shuddered as I whispered the words along his skin, tasting the thin sheen of his sweat on my lips. “You and me, the forest by our house. Midnight. If you catch me, I’ll let you mark me, but only after you tear off every article of clothing on my body.”
It wasn’t the first time we’d slept together, not by a long shot. Call me crazy, but it was easier having sex with somebody, no matter how intense and consuming the connection, than opening your heart to them. Hell, I married the man without blinking twice. Yet the thought of his mark on my skin, our souls tied together for eternity, filled me with an insecurity that I loathed.
Accepting Brandon’s mark, completing the bond that snapped and sizzled between us anytime we were near, was the same as opening my heart and soul to him. I hadn’t been ready-hadn’t been sure. He had ample opportunity to leave. To grow tired or bored. To chase someone else, someone easier, but he hadn’t.
Brandon had stayed.
His groan of utter relief coiled around my legs, tickling my skin as it slithered up my blouse and into the folds of my bra. My nipples grew hard, grating against the rough fabric to the point of blissful pain.
If he didn’t get the f**k out of here, there would be no tonight. I’d burn the rest of his clothes off his body and wrestle him to the floor.
As if he could taste my impatience, Brandon chuckled. The sound was low and throaty. “Fine but wear that cute little skirt I love so much.”
“I will.” I promised, trying hard not to pant. “Now get the hell out before I change my mind.
Brandon pulled back, a lopsided and horrendously charming smile befalling his face. “Yes, Headmistress.”
“You’re a nuisance, you know that? I’m supposed to be working.” I huffed, straightening out my blouse and blazer.
Brandon was halfway out the door when he shouted behind him. “You love it, firecracker!”
Breaking my own rule of no magic in the corridors, I shot a small plume of flame after him. His painful whoop echoed all the way down to my office, leaving a grin on my face that lasted the next several hours.
I managed to plan out several events for the year before an inevitable distraction knocked at my office door.
There was the Hallows Eve fundraiser followed by the Samhain ritual to mark the end of the Harvest Season, which paved the way into our yearly Festival of the Witches, a large-scale event that showcased all forms of magic and the incredible things they could accomplish. Last year had been an absolute hit, even with the Vampire’s and Werewolves’.
Painting a murderous expression on my face, I wrenched open the door and glared at the interruption that dared pull me away from my ever growing mountain of work.
“Is there a reason you’re bothering me during school hours, young lady.”
Breyona’s eyebrows launched halfway up her forehead. She let out a startled laugh and held. her hands up in surrender, a feat that was no doubt difficult with the baby bag she had slung over her arm.
“You’ve gotten pretty good at your Headmistress voice. For a second, I was afraid I’d get suspended.” Her face broke out into a grin. It was so damned cheery that I couldn’t fight the urge to return it.
“Get the hell in here.” I chuckled, yanking her through the doorway and into my arms. Pulling out of the quick hug I smirked, “you get suspended a lot in school, huh?”
She waved me off, winking at Giovanni as he sauntered into the room. “Oh, you know. Here and there. It’s Lola that was the troublemaker. I just tagged along for the ride.”
“Hah! I can believe that.”
As I settled into my chair, I quickly realized we were missing a head. Breyona and Giovanni were both here, but their little one wasn’t.
“Where’s Vince?” I asked curiously. It had been too long since I’d last seen the curly-haired pipsqueak.
“We dropped him off at the daycare.” Breyona replied, referring to the service we offered all our staff here. There were a few single parents working at the Magisterium, and I’d be damned if I left them without a safe means of childcare.
Giovanni grunted, which seemed to be his main form of communication. “The daycare was a good idea.”
“Wasn’t it?” Breyona gasped, her enthusiasm evoking a wave of pride that swelled in my chest. “Holly’s been thinking about opening one back home.”
“I can confidently say it’s changed the way the professors and staff work around here. They don’t have to worry about where their children are or who are watching them. Tell her to give me a call if she has any questions. I’d be glad to help out.”
“I’ll make sure she gets the message.” Breyona chirped.
Just then, the door to my office swung open a hair. The face of my assistant, a young witch named Mariam, poked her head through the opening.
“Sorry, ma’am. There’s been…uh, a bit of an incident in the daycare. There’s a young boy that was just dropped off that’s…well, he stole a child’s toy and made it vanish.”
A curse slid past Breyona’s lips. “Was the toy wolf themed, by chance?”
Mariam nodded, her dimpled chin bouncing hurriedly. “Yes. It was a figurine, actually.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll handle this. Stay and chat before we head out.” Breyona ran her fingers along her mate’s shoulder before slipping out the door, following the delicate clink of Mariam’s heels along the linoleum.
My lips peeled back in a grin that was all teeth. “I see Lola isn’t the only troublemaker. My only question is did Vince inherit it from you or from Breyona?”
Giovanni’s unusually stoic demeanor shifted as his eyes twinkled and the corner of his lips. quirked up. The man was the Vampire equivalent to an unbreakable safe. Coaxing more than a handful of words from him was difficult for most, but I’d often get the feeling Giovanni and I had more in common than I initially thought.
“Do I look like a troublemaker?” He asked in a slightly accented voice.
I made a show of looking him up and down, starting with his mess of curly hair. He’d thank his Italian ancestry one day when he was ninety years old and still had a head of ebony hair. Not only that, but his skin would remain the same rich bronze that I had to bake under the sun for hours to emulate.
“You’ve got a calm exterior; I’ll give you that. I’m still willing to bet there’s a troublemaker just below the surface.” I said teasingly. “Vince has a thing for wolves?”
“Calling it a thing is putting it lightly. He’s obsessed with them. Breyona believes it’s a sign he’ll shift later in life. There’s no telling which side he’ll lean more towards genetically.”
“He’s still drinking blood though, correct?” I asked, taking Giovanni’s grunt as confirmation. “Seems he’s falling right in the middle of the spectrum. Only time will tell, but I’m excited to keep watch. Remember to send me any new developments so I can record them. It’ll be beneficial for future mixed generations. Anyhow, tell me about things in your pack. How’s Lola and the twin’s doing?”
“I’ll make sure you get what you need. Lola’s doing well. The twins just turned five. It’s a bit eerie how much they take after their parents. I’m sure you’ve heard the news. If you haven’t, you will when you head over and see them.”
Since Tessa’s pregnancy announcement eight months ago, the pack has been even more hectic. than usual. Both the Wolves and Witches are bursting with excitement to welcome in the newest leader. It’s why Lola and Asher made the trip all this way, along with Breyona and Giovanni. The others would be arriving any day now as well.
Soon, the celebrations would begin.
There was a weight to Giovanni’s statement that gave me pause, something I couldn’t help but feel 1 was missing. The pieces snapped together with an audible click, and my mouth dropped in surprise.
“She’s pregnant again, isn’t she?”
The slight tilt to Giovanni’s head told me I was correct. He ran his fingers down his neatly trimmed beard. His dark eyes flashed once, then twice. For just a moment, they seemed far away. I recognized that look because more than once Brandon had pointed it out on my own face.
“Things are so different now, aren’t they?” I mused, my voice no louder than a whisper.
“Sometimes I think I’ll wake up and find myself still working for the Vampire King, and that all of this was just one big dream.” Giovanni said, folding one of his legs atop the other. Despite the thoughtful tone his voice had taken on, there was a weight to it that wrapped around my heart and squeezed to the point of pain.
“It doesn’t feel real, does it?”
His eyes slid across the room to meet my own. “No, it doesn’t.”
“You and Breyona came from different worlds, yet you made it work How’d you give in so easily?” I couldn’t help but take advantage of this moment alone with him and ask. The question had been weighing on my mind ever since finding out about their history. Even now, the mark on his neck shone brightly, a beacon that warned off all unmated Vampire’s and Werewolves.
Giovanni seemed to consider my question for several seconds, staring down at the palms of his hands as though they held the answer.
“I knew I wanted her the moment I felt the connection between us. I might’ve grown up wealthy, but that meant nothing to the Vampire King. You were either his servant, or you were his enemy. I’ve had to fight for what I wanted the entirety of my life, but I’d never wanted something the way I wanted Breyona. When you’re that desperate for just a fraction of happiness, the consequences just fade away.”
I nodded slowly, trying my best to understand even though there were parts I couldn’t fully grasp. “You weren’t afraid she’d leave you?”
Giovanni tilted his head, regarding me in a way that made me feel like a specimen on display. “ No, never. Even if I had been, the prospect of a life with her was worth enduring that fear. Whether it be weeks, months, or just a few short years, any amount of time with her is well worth it.”
All day Giovanni’s words tumbled in my head, fueling the fire that Brandon had ignited earlier this morning. By the time the final bell rang, there was an aura of certainty that filled my entire being. I hadn’t realized it until now, but with it came a sense of security I’d been searching for my entire life.
I drove home with a grin plastered on my face and excitement thrumming through my veins. Slipping in through the front door, I could feel the warmth of eyes on my back, peering out at me from within the forest.
Inside, I was greeted by the remnants of cinnamon and apple. The potpourri I’d been boiling this morning had cooled, filling our house with its mouthwatering scent. The skirt Brandon had been talking about was in our bedroom, tucked away in the top drawer of our shared dresser.
It was a last minute decision to forgo underwear. A squeal created by the pull of pure adrenaline built in my throat, but there would be plenty of time to let it out later on.
Tonight was the night, I’d decided. Brandon wouldn’t have it easy. I’d fight back, I’d make him work for the hunt, but the end result would be the same.
Finally, I’d let my mate put his mark on me.
The wooden slats of the front porch were cool against my feet. With a hint of elemental magic, my skin began to warm, chasing away the chill of midnight. I took each step slowly, with purpose as a single pair of eyes watched from the forest line.
“Come and get me, big bad wolf.”
Alpha Asher by Jane Doe
Author: Jane Doe
Native Language: English