Chapter 17 - Damn Destiny

Raine

Finally, he glanced up at Kieran, nodded and turned to walk out with me.

We entered his suites quietly, neither knowing what to say. I collected a pair of sleep shorts and tank top before walking to the bathroom to change and brush my teeth. When I finished, I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I looked different. I didn't know how. Maybe it was because I felt so incredibly different than I had just a little over three weeks ago.

Damn Destiny for bringing a man so completely captivating and mysterious and sexy into my existence. I had been bored. I thought I was missing excitement in my life. I never could have imagined just how ridiculously exciting my life was going to get.

I took a deep breath and stepped out to find Cage sitting on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. He had stripped down to just his boxers. The room was cast in shadows by a single light flickering from the small lamp next to the bed.

I walked to stand in front of him. He looked up at me, and the tortured expression on his face took my breath away. His voice was gruff, "I don't want you to think I'm a monster. The look in your eyes before—disappointment, fear, repulsion—I never want to see that look again."

My heart melted. He was so vulnerable before me. It was such a stark contrast to how he had been with the Council and Kieran. I reached out to trace the outline of his face with my fingertips.

He gripped my hips and pulled me to him, resting his forehead against my belly, and exhaled heavily. I ran my fingers through his hair, still unsure what to say. After a long moment, he brought his troubled eyes back up at mine. "Lay down with me?"

"Of course," I murmured.

He slid over and I climbed into the bed next to him. We faced each other in the dim light. Finally, I spoke, "I understand that this level of violence is normal and natural for you. But it isn't for me...and I can't promise that I will ever be okay with it."

He nodded. "I don't think I would ever want you to be okay with it. It would change who you are—take away your innocence. I am sorry that you were subjected to such knowledge."

"I know," I whispered. I noticed he didn't apologize for the acts he had committed—for torturing and killing the hunter—only that I found out about them. A part of me struggled with that. But it was unrealistic for me to think he would change. If I did end up staying with him, I needed to reconcile myself to the true nature of what he was—a vampire. 

He interrupted my internal musing, anger flashing over his features. "I should have anticipated Vlad's interference. It was stupid of me not to protect you from him."

I grimaced, remembering the ever-present cruel glint in Vladimir's eyes.  "Yeah, he doesn't like me very much."

"Humph, that isn't the problem. The problem is he likes you far too much. I knew it the moment he first laid eyes on you."

I shuddered hard remembering his undisguised looks of anticipation toward me, and replied through clenched teeth, "Well, I do not like him in the least."

He chuckled, "I think you made that perfectly clear when you called him a perverted fucker. If I hadn't been so worried for your life, I would have laughed. He deserved to have someone put him in his place, and who better than a tiny human girl?"

I blushed and challenged him, "Was I wrong?"

"No, you were not wrong. I will never understand why Armand keeps him on the High Council, but it isn't my decision to make."

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