There are a lot of things that I haven’t been ready to do in my life but I still did. Thankfully, this wasn’t one of those situations.
“Are you ready?” Valerio asked.
I smiled. Was I ready to bring happiness back into Ashur’s mother’s life? Was I ready to return her son to her? Yes and yes.
The only reason I was a bit sad was because I just lost a dear friend, but I couldn’t be sad today. Ayodele wanted this. He was more than happy to meet Ashur’s mother, to chat with the pups and to play with them.
Eventually, Ashur’s mother would be happy, but how would she take it now? Would she be weirded out that her son’s soul was in someone else’s body?
“I’m ready.” I nodded my head and turned to Ashur. I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Ashur, please stay here with Valerio.”
He nodded. “Am I going to see Mom?”
“Yes, you will see Mom.”
Before I could leave, Valerio pulled me close, his hand lingering on my own. “You don’t want me to come with you?”
I gave him a teasing smile. “I’m beginning to think you just want to spend more time with me, V,” I linked him, keeping this conversation between him and I. I didn’t know if Ashur was one of those kids who repeated everything he heard out loud at the dinner table and I would like it if Valerio and I kept this little thing to ourselves for now - whatever it was.
He chuckled. “Is that my new nickname?”
I took a deep breath, deciding to play along. “I can call you other things, if you’d like.” After winking, I teleported out of the packhouse.
When I appeared in front of Ashur’s mother’s house, I fanned myself briefly. I wasn’t sure if my cheeks were heating up from my slight nerves or from Valerio. Both, maybe.
I knocked twice and waited for her to answer. One of her pups answered the door, his little brown eyes wide. “Moon Goddess.” He bowed, then turned around. “Mom!”
His mother appeared at the door with a smile on her face. “Moon Goddess, come in, come in.” I entered the house, suddenly feeling so much more nervous. We sat in the living room where her pups were playing video games.
“Can I talk to you alone? It’s quite important.”
Her brows furrowed momentarily. After a few groans from the boys, she ushered them out by promising them she’d make them brownies later. The boys raced up to their rooms and began bickering back at forth.
She took a deep breath. “Those boys drive me wild.”
I gazed over at the picture frame above the fireplace. Ashur was smiling brightly with his brothers. They all had video game controllers in their hands. “I bet they all did.”
His mother followed my gaze and smiled. “They did, but I wouldn’t have traded them for the world. I love them too much.” After a few moments, she wiped a stray tear off of her cheek and smiled. “What did you want to talk about?”
I gulped. “I have someone that I know will make you extremely happy in the future. I have seen you smiling and laughing with him. I-”
Her eyes widened and she shook her head. “Oh, dear. I know he’s good with my boy, but I can’t be dating Samuel right now. He’s the alpha and… and I’m so much older than he is and-”
I giggled. Oh, goodness. I guess I should’ve made this clearer. “No, no. I’m not talking about Samuel.” She raised her brows, her cheeks turning a light pink. She looked a bit... disappointed. I reached across the couch and placed my hand on hers. “I could arrange that you know.”
Her cheeks turned an even darker shade of red as she fanned herself. “Oh, uhm… no… I-I couldn’t.”
I smiled at her. She could and she knew it. I made a mental note to talk to Samuel soon about his pack, his love interests, casual stuff.
“Let me clear this up for you.” I pulled up my sleeve to show her the mark where Ashur’s soul once was. Now, it was just a scar or another empty void in me that could be filled with another unfortunate soul.
She gazed down at my arm. I took her fingers and brushed them against my skin. “Ashur is no longer within me.”
Her eyes began tearing up again. “Where did he go? Is his soul gone forever? Did that woman come take him away from me again?”
I shook my head. “I found him a new body.” I continued to explain our situation. Ayodele was now Ashur. Ashur was now Ayodele - physically. I didn’t go into much detail with her because I think she stopped listening at one point.
Tears filled the brim of her eyes, threatening to spill out. Her gaze fell on the wood floors and her hands began shaking. “He-he’s alive? My boy is alive?” Her hands covered her face. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I took a deep breath, unsure if she was angry or happy. “I didn’t know if I could transfer his soul successfully.”
“How long have you known?” she asked.
“A few months,” I said quietly. “Ayodele was happy to trade his life for Ashur’s.”
Her chin quivered. “And that’s why he wanted to meet me?”
I nodded my head. “Yes.”
She began hiccupping, her body shaking. I knelt next to her and wrapped my arms around her body, trying to soothe her. When she finally stopped crying, she looked up at me. “Can I… can I see him?”
I nodded. “Why don’t you tell the kids and meet me at the Protectors’ home for dinner?”
She nodded. “Yes… yes… that would be perfect.”
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