The Rise

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Chapter Thirteen

“Damn, gurl. Who you been seeing lately? You look like you just had the best sex of your life,” Aaisha said while stuffing her face with chicken wings. The sauce was smeared on her lips like some new kind of lip gloss. She quickly licked it up and raised a sharp brow. “Huh? Who is it?”

“I have been fucking nobody.”

A mischievous glint glowed in her eyes. “One woman show. I see you. Miss. Mae-I-Don’t-Need-No-Man.” The corners of my lips curled up as I stole a wing from her plate. After a quick slap from her hand, she glared at me. “I know you ain’t getting any, but how you gonna steal from a pregnant lady?”

I rolled my eyes and bit in. “Mmmhm,” I teased.

“Maybe we should get you a man, sounding like that and shit.”

“I have a man.”

She rolled her eyes. “I know Valerio is sexy, but him and Nakida are gettin’ it in.”

I glanced down at my now orange-stained fingers. Valerio was not who I was talking about. But they were.

But, with Vihaan making a surprise appearance last night, I wasn’t sure if Nakida still wanted to be with Valerio. Vihaan meant more to her than Valerio ever could. It saddened me more than I thought it would. They were the so damn cute together.

“Are you even listenin’?” Aaisha asked, snapping me out of my thoughts.

I shook my head and gazed back up at her, plastering a smile on my face. “Aaisha, would I ever not listen to you?”

“Mmhmm. You better listen. I’m your pregnant best friend. Everything I say is important.”

A pitter-patter of feet raced down the hallway and then a group of three pups appeared at the door to the kitchen. A pup with freckles smiled brightly up at Aaisha. Her cheeks were a light pink. “Alpha Aaisha! Can we go running on the trail?”

“Y’all best not be goin’ out there alone.”

The girl glanced back at her friends, her pigtails bouncing. “Can you come with us? You’re strong enough to keep all the monsters away!” The other pups nodded vigorously behind her, agreeing.

Aaisha smiled, then looked down at her half-finished wings.

The pup grabbed Aaisha’s wrist. “Pleeeease. You are so much stronger than all of the warriors put together!”

I laughed silently to myself. This pup really knew how to play Aaisha. Scratch that – Aaisha probably taught her how to get exactly what she wanted when she wanted.

“You can even bring your yummy wings!”

Aaisha grabbed her box of wings and stood. “Come on Mae. If the pregnant chick is walkin’, so are you.”

The girls squealed and ran outside together to the trail. We followed after them, watching them run back and forth on the path from tree to tree, picking Moon Flowers every so often. The Moon Flowers have been glowing extra bright lately – probably because the full moon was approaching again.

“So, you dating that sexy guy that showed up at your place last night?” Aaisha asked, licking her fingers as she finished her last wing.


“Nakida said a guy came over last night and gave you an envelope. She said he was eying you up.”

I raised a brow. “Is that what she said?”

“That’s what I got from our conversation. She seemed kinda pissed about it. Don’t know why. She got herself a fine ass man.”

“Well, the only person he was eying was Nakida. All I did was rest.” I didn’t even go through the file like I should have. I was exhausted.

“Girl, same.” She rubbed her hand over her growing bump. “This one is driving me crazy.”

I gazed down at her bump and smiled. I couldn’t wait for the little pup.

But, my smile to her quickly disappeared when I felt someone watching me. At first, I thought it was Valerio, but after a quick scan of the forest I saw – and smelt – no sign of him. But I did see a glimpse of those daring green eyes.

“I’ll be right back.”

As I walked toward them, I called for Aaisha’s warrior wolves to keep a watch on her and the pups. This wolf knew where the divine would hit next, but I didn’t know what his intentions really were. I couldn’t put my friend and her pack in danger.

Just as I walked closer, he turned in the opposite direction and sprinted. I glanced around the woods and found no sign of him. So, I sprinted after that wolf for miles until we reached the big oak tree on my property.

That’s when I let him disappear into the woods because I found that sign.

A single Moon Flower.


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