Chapter 51 – Poolside – Raine's POV

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Chapter 51 – Poolside – Raine's POV

Alaric and I spent the rest of the day talking. He really was fun to be around, and all in all, the situation was as favorable as it could be, because we were building a very solid friendship. Realistically, it was more than I could have hoped for, given most vampires cruel behavior.

As the sun began to descend in the sky, he ordered playfully, "Go fetch a bathing suit. I am taking you swimming."

"What?!" I asked excitedly. I adored being in the water, and it had been such a long time since I enjoyed the feeling of the cool liquid encase my body. My heart turned painfully when I realized the last time was the night I met Cage. I forced the bittersweet memories out of my mind.

Alaric didn't pick up on my tension and smirked, "You heard me. Go get changed."

I jumped to my feet and hurried into our bedroom closet. I had brought two different bathing suits with me, both black; one was a single piece and the other a bikini. Both were quite revealing. In the end, I decided on the one piece. I was hugely grateful for Alaric's patience when it came to initiating a physical relationship, and even though he indicated he didn't care if I wore ultra-sexy things, I still felt bad about teasing him, because I knew I still wasn't ready to take the next step.

When I emerged, he unapologetically drank in my features from head to toe. I blushed. He murmured thoughtfully, "You are going to need to wear a cover-up while we walk there. I wouldn't want one of my subjects to lose their damn mind suddenly, and try to take you from me, all because they couldn't control their behavior at the site of you in that."

I blushed again. Even though his words for teasing, I could tell he seriously did want me to put something over top of the suit. I ran back into the closet and pulled out a matching tank top and sarong. When I met him again in the living room, he nodded in approval.

"Before we go, there is one last thing," he murmured as he tugged on my wrist, guiding me to sit back down on the couch.

I sank down onto the comfortable cushion and looked at him in confusion. His intensity was a little overwhelming as he pulled out a small jewelry box and said, "I have something for you. It is not a ring, as I will give you that during our ceremony. But I had this made for you as a token of our friendship and hope that you will wear it always."

My hands trembled as I opened the delicate little box. I inhaled sharply at the exquisite cobalt blue pendant I found inside. It had to be at least five carats and I was certain it wasn't crystal. It hung from a sparkling silver chain. It was stunning, but simple enough that I could wear it every day.

"It's beautiful, thank you!" I whispered past the lump in my throat.

He smiled brilliantly at my response and took the necklace from my hands so that he could put it on me. He said, "The stone is a sapphire. It reminded me of the color of your eyes."

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