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They continue to explore each other.
His skin was alabaster white, his eyes molten gold. Eyes that knew the twinkle of mischief and wit, she would wager.
A golden god, Raine thought, as she watched him take the woman's dainty hand in his strong one.
"It is safely parked two miles from here," he answered. "Come, ma ch__rie. This frowning woman is not you."
"I am worried, Seth," Melisande admitted, shaking her head. "If he finds out..."
He? Raine wanted to know who they were talking about. Judging by the expression on the woman's face, Raine could tell that she was more than worried: the vampire Melisande was scared. If there was a person that could inspire such fear in a vampire...
But who could?
"He will find out, so it will be better if you tell him about it yourself," the one called Seth told her. "It was a mistake, ch__rie. You did not know that the slayer had been claimed."
Melisande gave out a bitter laugh. "The truth is, I knew. But it was already too late when I found out."
"It could not have been," Seth said. "You could have walked away."
"Are you mad?" Melisande asked, incredulous. "That woman is a slayer! She would have killed me."
You're wrong, Raine thought groggily. If you had left me, I would not have followed. And it was not because Raine did not want to kill the vampire; quite the contrary. But Raine knew that she had no chance against Melisande at all. She thought the woman so far above her level that it would be folly to fight her.
Melisande ran her fingers through her hair and continued, "If you had not come the moment you did, mon amour, I'm afraid she would have succeeded."
"But I came, as I promise you that I will whenever you need me," Seth told her. "Listen, ch__rie. There is still a way to fix this. Go to your sire and explain everything to him. Ask for pardon. Tell him that you realized she was claimed, but that you had no idea that the woman does not know."
Does not know what? The couple's conversation was confusing Raine more and more each passing minute. Maybe she was dreaming, after all. Nothing was making sense, and the pain she was suffering through was enough to cause delusions...
"She does not know?" There was disbelief in Melisande's voice.
"We yet live," Seth answered, the hint of a smile on his voice. "That alone proves that she does not know."
Raine tried to focus on the vampires' image, and saw-or at least, thought she saw-a smile on Melisande's face. Raine almost swore that her heart skipped a beat.
What was it that she did not know? Was the information so crucial that the difference between her awareness of it and her complete ignorance would be key to the female vampire's mood? Now that the woman knew that Raine was completely without knowledge of whatever that was, would she want to kill Raine?
Maybe it was the thought of dying helpless and alone, or maybe it was the pain and dizziness that seemed to increase by the second, but before Raine knew it, she had once again lost consciousness.
The vampire sank elongated fangs into her mother's neck... And then a blood-curdling scream.
Who was it? Raine thought, slipping between sleep and wakefulness as a pair of strong arms carried her limp form. Who was screaming then?
Ah, yes. The vampire.
For her mother's hand-with fingernails extremely long and sharp-had reached out to grab the vampire's hair, hauling the monster away. The vampire had screamed then, spitting out the blood that she had sucked.
Raine had been shocked into inaction, staring at her mother, who turned to her while clutching at her bleeding neck. Her eyes-those green eyes that her father always likened to the brightest emeralds-had turned yellow, so yellow that it was already the colour of the citrine ring that her mother favoured.
"Run, Raine," the yellow-eyed woman had said, and Raine got a glimpse of short fangs that was definitely not her mother's.
Raine did not have to be told twice.