Chapter 52 – Taking Chances – Raine's POV

Talia continued to explain softly, "He was a perfect gentleman. We did kiss, but he didn't try to take things any farther."

My eyebrows rose. Her answer surprised me, although truthfully, even though I knew Felaern was an incorrigible flirt, I had no details on his actual sex life. I asked carefully, "Did you want him to take things farther?"

"Yes... No... Maybe, I don't know!" She sputtered.

In my peripheral vision, I saw Alaric's expression grow even darker. He was clearly furious by her response. Talia wasn't facing in his direction, so was unaware of the anger her answers were causing him.

If she and Felaern spent the night together, but not gotten physical, I was curious what they did over that extended period of time, and questioned, "What happened?"

She giggled and said pointedly, "He certainly is charming. We danced several more times during the ball, and when I told him I needed to leave, he offered to return me here, so that we could spend more time together."

I smiled. I had no doubt Felaern was an unending pit of charm.

She gushed, "You should have seen the convoy we rode in! It makes our luxury tour bus look like a Jack-in-the-Box. I still can't believe he had his entire entourage travel seven hours out of their way, just so that we could talk longer."

I suspected that when Felaern wanted something, neither time nor money was of consequence to obtain it. I asked curiously, "What did you talk about?"

"Everything. He told me quite a bit about his kingdom and asked me all about my family, and what I liked and disliked. He is incredibly well-connected, and personally knew several of my extended family members."

"Are you going to see him again?"

She bit her lip and replied, "I don't know. Obviously, he didn't make me any promises, but it wouldn't surprise me if he initiated some future contact."

I contemplated her answer.

She asked, "Do you know him well? He didn't try to conceal his fondness for you whenever you came up in conversation."

"I'm not exactly sure how to answer your question. On one hand, I've spent very little actual time with him. But on the other hand, he feels incredibly familiar to me. Does that sound strange?"

"Maybe," she admitted as she thought about my words.

I tumbled over the mystery in my head and added, "I always just assumed the connection I feel with him is somehow related to Brialle. There is still so much about me that remains unknown. I have a feeling those unanswered questions will remain secrets until my mother can be located," I sighed heavily.

Her eyes tightened with concern as she murmured sympathetically, "I am sorry that you are going through this. I know if you had a choice, you wouldn't pick our world."

I sighed again and admitted, "I honestly don't know what my decision would have been. I had been lost for so long on my own, completely devoid of any family. Not one single relative. That emptiness is gone now. Not because I feel a connection to Armand or Brialle, but deep inside of my bones, I do feel I belong to this world."

She looked at me in surprise. Honestly, I was shocked as hell as well, to find I genuinely felt that way. I murmured, "What hurts me the most isn't the people of this world, but rather my lack of freedom. But none of us gets to choose what family we were born into. Since I cannot change the fact that I am Armand's daughter, I am trying to resolve myself to it. Truly, Alaric has helped me beyond words."

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