Alpha Asher chapter 139

“Spirits from the other side…

…hear my words, hear my cry…

Only one of you we do seek…

…a mother of two, whose secrets still sleep…

We ask you to cross the great divide…

…to share the truth you chose to hide.”

I hadn’t realized I was holding my breath until I felt Asher’s eyes on my face. Still, I couldn’t exhale. There was this part of me that was terrified I’d be disappointed, that the worst would happen, and she wouldn’t come.

Through all the fights I loved the mother I knew, but I wished she were here to tell me this herself.

Cordelia repeated her chant a second time, and then a third. The air around us was thick and heavy, like a tangible substance that weighed us down. I watched as Breyona wiped the sweat from her forehead with the sleeve of her hoodie. She pointed at it and grimaced, regret in her eyes.

Asher was stoic, his face a mask that revealed nothing. Even Rowena looked a bit flustered and was using her hand to fan her face.

Just when I thought she’d say it a fourth time and s**k the rest of the oxygen from the room, something happened.

They were too light to be shadows. More like whisps of smoke that rolled across the floor, gathering within the ring of candles at the center of our circle. They coalesced, swirling like smoke under glass.

First, the figure of a woman formed.

As the smoke faded, absorbed into the corporeal being standing feet in front of us, I found myself looking into the eyes of my mother.

She looked different than what I remembered, but it had been an entire year since I last saw her. We had fought tirelessly over Tyler, but she hadn’t argued with me when I told her I wanted to live with grandma-she hadn’t said much of anything.

Her hair was longer than I remembered it and curled softly at the ends. Sean had told me what she looked like when he went to identify the body, the wounds that she had. The button -down shirt she wore was spotless and held no evidence of the way she’d been k****d.

The longer I stared at her, the more I could’ve convinced myself that she was actually here-alive and safe. It was the translucence to her body that sent me hurtling through space, crashing towards earth as I remembered she wasn’t here, she wasn’t coming back.

I would never get the closure I wanted, the answers to my thousands of questions but maybe I’d get this one chance at a goodbye.

I promised myself I’d stay strong, that my mask would be as indestructible as Asher’s, but something inside of me broke when my mom got down on her knees and said, “…you make such a beautiful Luna.”

She smiled at me, one of her genuine smiles I seemed to witness less and less as I aged. There was no anger in her eyes, no guilt or disappointment. They shimmered with happiness, filling with tears that refused to fall.

“Hi, mom.” I croaked, barely able to get the words out. The knot in my throat grew, aching every time I held back a sob.

Cordelia’s face was serene, but the intensity of her eyes and the sheen of sweat on her face served as a reminder that we were on borrowed time. I had to pull myself together long enough to ask the important questions, then I could break down.

“We called you here to ask you some questions …” I took a few seconds to find my voice, oblivious to the tears that trailed down my cheeks.

Mom’s lips fell and she reached for me, stopping at the barrier of candles that separated us. “…there isn’t much time, but we need your help.”

“I’ll help how I can, I promise. I was supposed to tell you these things myself, Lola…” Her eyes held everything we had missed together.

The conversations and secrets, even the arguments and silly way’s we would make up. “…you weren’t supposed to go through this alone.”

“She’s not alone, she never was.” Even though I had promised myself I wouldn’t take my eyes off her, that I’d memorize every detail of what she looked like, I couldn’t help it when my head turned towards the sound of Asher’s voice. “Me, Breyona, Mason, Sean, her dad and grandmother, we’ve all been with her every step of the way.”

He looked up at my mom with the confidence of an Alpha, but there was a softness in his eyes that rivaled his fierce protectiveness, one that showed exactly what he felt for me.

She could see it; I know she could. It was one of the reason’s she had hated Tyler, because no matter how many cocky smiles he flashed, he never looked at me the way Asher did.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you in person, Alpha Asher.” Mom’s smile was knowing and gave me a look I had never seen before-one that said, ‘I approve’.

“Likewise.” He nodded stiffly.

“Mom…we need to know how to remove this binding spell you had put on me.” I wiped away the tears that fell, blinking past them until I could see clearly again. “…I need to know why you did it. Was it because you couldn’t tell Dad about me?”

“No, baby…It wasn’t about that. The more people I told, the more dangerous it was for you. Your magic had to be bound…I tried every other option, but I had no choice.”

Her voice broke at the end, and that one crack in the armor of the strongest woman I knew released all the anger I’d been holding inside me. “You were showing signs of magic when you started walking…all you wanted to do was explore, but soon things started happening.

Car keys would disappear, and eventually so would your toys. They’d always turn up in the strangest of places. On the roof, in the neighbors washing machine, even in the lobby of the police station around the corner.

For awhile I could lie and shrug it off, but as you grew so did your power. They would’ve noticed you, Lola. He would’ve noticed you.”

“You did it to keep me safe, but now it’s putting me in danger. I need to be able to defend myself, because even though my father’s d**d there are still threats out there.”

“She told me you would need this list someday if you ever wanted the bind removed. It’s ingredients for a spell, and the last one is the blood of the witch who bound your magic.

The witch is with me on the other side…” My heart dropped, then soared fast enough to leave me lightheaded and fumbling over her words. “…but her sister is still alive. Her blood can undo the spell too.”

“She’s alive.” I exhaled; the rush of relief was so strong I had nearly mistaken it for adrenaline. “Where can we find her?”

“She’s close by…” Mom’s eyes twinkled mischievously, “…she has a son and two grandchildren to look after.”

“No, that’s not possible.” I started to shake my head but paused.

Grandma’s always been too smart for her own good, following those instincts of hers that never once led her astray. I lost track of the number of birthdays and Christmases she ruined by guessing her gift before we had the chance to pick it up from the store.

Plants quite literally flourished under her touch. I had watched the woman revive countless rose bushes and saplings that were far beyond repair, only to grow them into vibrant showpieces.

“You’re telling me Grandma has a sister and that sister is a witch…” I trailed off, “…which means Grandma is a witch.”

“Why do you think I never liked the woman? No one’s baking is that good. No one.” Mom chuckled, and I memorized the outline of her smile before it fell into something softer. “I needed to keep you away from magic, Lola… which also meant keeping you away from her.

There’s not enough time in the world to ask for your forgiveness, but I don’t want you to walk through life holding onto anger. It’s not worth it–I’m not worth it.”

“I don’t think I can be angry at you anymore.” Even though my throat tightened, my voice came out strong and confident. Perhaps it was because I believed what I was saying, or because I wanted my mom to know that she didn’t have to ask for forgiveness.

It was there for her to take and had been all this time.

“You aren’t the only one asking for forgiveness…” To anyone else Asher probably looked like an emotionless ae, but through the bond I knew exactly what he was feeling.

He felt the same thing I did whenever I looked at Mason or Breyona—a soul-crushing sense of guilt. Just this once, Asher dropped the indifference in his eyes and let every ounce of emotion shine through.

“I want to formally apologize for my hand in your d***h. It was my decision to punish Tyler’s disrespect by attacking his pack. I wasn’t thinking of the d***h I would cause-of the lives I would ruin, but I should have. Yours is one I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”

“Since you’re my son-in-law and I’m d**d, I think I’m going to risk calling you Asher.” A mix between a laugh and a sob escaped my lips because I hadn’t realized how much I missed my mom’s attitude.

What was even worse, it took me all this time to realize how identical we sounded. “You have one chance to make this up to me, Asher.

Protect my daughter at all costs, and make sure there’s never a moment where she doesn’t knowhow special she is, and how much she’s loved.”

“I won’t fail you, or your daughter.” His promise brought a smile to her face.

Mom rattled off the ingredients for the spell that would unbind my magic, and with each one I felt like we were one step closer. I knew what some were like bay leaf and anise, but others like black thistle left me drawing blanks.

“I’m afraid we’re out of time, folks. Say your goodbyes so I can release her to the other side.” Cordelia’s voice was strained, but her spine was rigid and her eyes still burning with determination.

“How am I supposed to say goodbye to you?” I sobbed, a hand against my mouth as though that would hold back every ounce of grief I’d been shoving down for the past year. “I’ll make you proud, Mom. I promise, I will.”

“My strong, fearless daughter…I’ve always been proud of you. It’s never goodbye, Lola…” Mom’s voice trembled, and a watery smile formed on her face.

Bits of her translucent form began to fade, curling back into the smoke that had once filled the room.

First it was the curly ends of her hair, then her slender hands and arms. “We’ll see each other again, but only after I’ve watched you grow into the Luna and Queen you’re destined to become.”

That crack I felt in my chest, it had been the dam that held everything back-every beautiful, painful moment that I missed desperately.

One last fight, one last chance to see her eyes light up in anger, to smell the gardenia and pear perfume she’d wear every single day. I’d never get those moments back, I’d never get another chance to live through them, to appreciate them the way I should have.

As I watched the spirit of my mom vanish in mist and smoke, carried from the room by a gust of wind that seemed to emerge from nowhere and everywhere all at once, my heart and head felt a million times lighter.

Cordelia closed her eyes and whispered, “I release you to the other side…may you find happiness and peace until the ones you love are called home.” And one by one the candles went out.

One last breeze carried the echo of her voice, an echo no one else seemed to hear.

‘Lola, be warned…the kind of magic you have, it hasn’t been seen for a long time. They will want it…’

Seconds passed in utter silence. I barely noticed when Rowena stood and glided towards the cs, tugging them open enough to let a few rays of sunlight creep inside.

Both Cordelia and I jumped, visibly startled when Breyona’s ragged sob filled the air. It was followed by a wet sniffle and a few hiccups.

Cordelia handed her a powder-blue hanker chief, which Breyona took and loudly blew her nose in. Her eyes were bloodshot and swollen from crying, and the make-up she had spent half an hour applying was smeared halfway down her face.

She looked at Asher and I with a trembling lip and sniffled, “that was beautiful, you guys.”

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