My blood is frozen.
At least that’s what it’s felt like for the past twenty four hours after learning that Carden lives with Raphael. He’s here, I felt his skin, heard his voice. Jade had slept in my room last night, holding onto me the entire time. I hadn’t slept at all. Just as I thought I’d be able to move one, here he is, graduating from lurking in the shadows of my mind to real life. He looks the same, sounds the same, feels the same. But he isn’t. The man I met yesterday wasn’t the Carden I knew and loved. He’s someone else, a snarkier quick to judge version that just might be a side effect of being a vampire.
A soft knock echoes on the bathroom door and I sink lower into the bubbles in response. Eden and Scarlet can go to hell for all I care right now. I’d much rather sit in the bath for the rest of my life than brave a breakfast table I know Carden will be sitting at. The door cracks open and my irritation spikes until Raph pokes his head through the door, his eyes covered with one hand. The sight makes me chuckle softly. He’s seen every part of my body naked, and yet he’s covering his eyes to respect my privacy. I guess chivalry isn’t dead after all.
“Good morning Blair. May I come in?”
“I suppose so,” I reply, sitting up in the bath. “Did you draw the short straw of coming in to gauge my shit mood this morning?”
He laughs, hand still over his eyes. “Maybe I did, but I don’t mind. It’s my fault anyhow. I meant to warn you, even tried to several times, but then. . . well, you know what happened.”
Yeah, I think sarcastically. I had a mental breakdown about Carden and wouldn’t let him speak, even to utter that very important detail about us going to see Carden. The entire day was a mess before I even rolled out of bed. So no, I don’t blame Raphael or any of the other lords. I know that he meant well by taking Carden in and helping him acclimate to his new vampire lifestyle. I just didn’t think it’d hurt so much to see him again.
“I’m not mad, really. I was already in shock, and then I saw him and. . . well, you know what happened,” I reply, mimicking his words. “And would you take your hand away from your eyes? It’s nothing you haven’t seen before.”
His cheeks color, telling me that he’s had blood already today. “No can do, I’m not sure I could resist you when you’re dripping wet and naked in the bath.”
“What kind of dripping wet are you referring to?” I purr, thighs clenching at my own words.
My eyes take him in hungrily as he shifts from foot to foot, that being the only sign that he’s uncomfortable. Uncomfortable, or turned on? I’m not sure because I can’t see his eyes. His fangs are slightly longer than usual which is as good of an indication as any. But I shouldn’t tease him, shouldn’t egg him on. Now isn’t the time for it, not if all I want is a distraction from the reality waiting for me downstairs. I move to the edge of the tub and lean my arms against it, hiding my breasts and body from view.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I’ll stop teasing you, you can look now. I’m covered, I promise.”
He peeks out between his fingers before sighing in relief and dropping his hand. “For being a human woman, you’re quite alluring.”
I narrow my eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He holds up both hands, eyes widening. “It wasn’t supposed to offend you. As you know, vampires have magnetism magic, it’s literally in their blood to lure a human in. I just meant that it feels like you have the same qualities, is all. Much like the other women we’ve been with. . .” He trails off lamely, knowing full well that he’s rambling.
I smirk at him. “Right.”
“Right, well, I’ll wait out in the sitting room for you to get dressed, then we can head to breakfast together,” he replies, the tips of his ears turning pink.
Before I can say anything else he slips out of the room. Sighing, I pull the plug from the drain and let all of the water rush out as I sit there, watching it swirl around and around. Minutes later I’m cold and shivering in the polished wooden tub when Eden pulls me up and out, wrapping a plush cream towel around my body. Her face is full of quiet worry, but she doesn’t voice it aloud as she leads me into the closet.
“Pick out what you’d like to wear, these are all Scionset style clothes. I think they’ll suit you,” Eden says.
I step forward and run my hands over the tunics. All of them are in the rich colors of fall. The dresses are the same but have interesting fauna designs etched into the hem and cuffs. I finger the material and am surprised to find it soft and warm, a complete contrast to the dark itchy material of Divian royal clothing. Eden’s right, this style will suit me just fine. I pull a deep orange tunic from a rack at the end of the closet and she helps me into it before twisting my hair into a French braid down my back.
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