Music: I Get To Love You by Ruelle

Chapter 85 - Forever - Cage's POV

Before Felaern could speak, I realized we were missing a critical piece and interrupted, "Wait! I don't have the ring." Obviously, I never expected to be standing by her side in this moment, so hadn't brought it with me. Personally, I didn't need a ring to signify our union, but it was a necessary part of the ceremony.

Raine looked at me in distress. I knew she wanted this over with. She didn't want to take any more chances with our future and I completely agreed with her.

Brialle came up behind Raine and whispered softly, "My darling, your father and I want you to have this." She extended her hand, holding the glittering diamond band Armand had given her many, many years ago.

A tear came to Raine's eyes as she gasped, "I can't take that from you!" Honestly, I was shocked by the offer as well. I knew how much the ring signified.

Brialle took Raine's hand and placed it over her own as she lovingly replied, "Nonsense, my dear. The ring symbolizes you. You are the result of the love we share, our best and most perfect deed. And what good are family heirlooms if they are never passed down? It would bring us honor for you and Cage to accept it and cherish it as we have."

Brialle's speech was convincing. I could see Raine wavering. Her eyes found Armand's in the room, and her question to him was clear. He nodded his agreement, staring proudly at her.

It still shocked the hell out of me every time he did something fatherly. It was so far out of the character I was used to seeing. But, I guessed I would understand his transition for myself one day when Raine and I conceived our own children.

Raine bit her lip and breathed, "Thank you."

Brialle handed the ring to me and walked back to Armand's side.

Felaern cleared his throat to silence the room and then began, his rich dark voice filling the space, "The ancient ritual to mate is far more than simple tradition. Once you are joined today, you will be irrevocably bound together. The choice is permanent and cannot be undone. Do you consent to proceed?"

I answered readily, "I offer my consent."

Felaern turned to Raine.

She breathed, "I offer my consent."

Felaern nodded his acknowledgement and instructed me, "You may begin."

Similarly to a marriage ceremony, the vow portion was flexible. A couple could choose to use the standard vows or alter them as desired. Raine and I had decided to alter the format a little to suit our relationship. However, neither of us knew what the other planned to say. I faced her and took her delicate hand in mine. I held the ring in the air above our hands and spoke:  "I am not a man to easily endure frustration...And yet from the instant we met, your very nature completely disregarded my demand for an orderly life...You tried my patience and pushed my limits...When I pushed back, you responded with even more ferocity, never taking my bullshit and always standing your ground."

She grinned, her blue eyes sparkling mischievously because she knew I spoke the truth. I took an unsteady breath in, overwhelmed by the sheer radiance in her expression. She was truly breathtaking and she was mine. I rubbed my thumb along the back of her hand and continued: "But I could never lose my heart so utterly and completely to anyone less....Your strength and determination are the very qualities that vex me the most, cause me to reconsider my own actions...and compel me to love you with every fiber of my existence."

Tears of happiness glistened in her eyes. I loved that I could make her feel like she was the most loved and cherished woman in the world, because she was. My voice turned gruff with my own emotion: "I swear my unconditional protection and allegiance to you...Wherever you are, I will be by your side. I will love you forever. Everything that I have belongs to you...I offer you my life."

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