It was difficult steps that Raine had to take to come closer to Torak, but she managed to do it with shaking hands and trembling body.
The only things that could make her to keep going was those eyes, those blue eyes that were saying; trust me.
Raine did trust him.
That was the reason she took these difficult steps to be close to him. Once Raine's trembling fingers touched his opened palm, the spark that erupted from skin to skin contact managed to cease down a little bit of her nervousness.
Torak pulled Raine close to him and held her slender waist firmly to keep her steady.
In front of hundreds influential people and thousands to million viewers online, Torak kissed Raine's lips only for three seconds long, but Raine felt like eternity as it took her breath away when those eyes stared at them intimate action.
Raine had never been in front of this many people, moreover to be the center of their attention. She blinked her eyes and grabbed the edge of Torak's black outer clothes anxiously.
When Torak ended their short kiss, he whispered to her ear encouragingly. "You are very brave tonight my love and very beautiful as always."
Through her gritting teeth, Raine whispered back to him. "Can I just look at you? I am so nervous to see those people" She glanced briefly at the sea of people below the stage and then retracted her gaze on those calming blue eyes.
Torak chuckled when he heard that and nodded. "You must always have your eyes on me only." He kissed Raine's forehead that erupted another cheerful commotion among the guests that made Raine shuddered. "Let's cut the cake first."
Afterward the MC of the events took all the talking job as he followed the flow of the time table for this event.
Raine looked the giant birthday cake that look so beautiful until she didn't have a heart to cut it. With all the meticulous decoration, the eleven tier birthday cake looked inedible to eat in Raine's eyes.
However, when the knife that she held cut through the first tier, it went deep into without any difficulty as if this was the softest cake.
Raine could see the black color of the sponge as the inside part of the cake, beneath the layer of something like white foam on its surface.
Someone gave Raine a small plate to put the first slice of the cake and a small spoon.
Then came the MC's voice that asked a rhetorical question about; who the lucky person would receive the first cake.
Of course the answer to it was very obvious, it goes without saying that Torak would receive it, as if Raine could give the cake to anyone else aside from him.
And another clicking sound and flashes of camera to capture this moment.
After that, Raine stayed for another thirty minutes while greeting the guests who came to approach her and congratulate her birthday and her relationship with Torak.
Most of them were being too friendly to her until she felt it was so fake, but Raine tried to maintain her smile and Torak handled their small talk about trivial things.
Among the guests there were lycans, elf, dragon shifter, witches and human. Torak explained it to her patiently.
During that short thirty minutes, Torak had never left Raine's side and always made sure she was safe in his arms as he rested his hands casually on her waist, inviting jealousy from all the single women inside the room.
Raine would only answer them with smile or nod her head, she was too afraid to make a small talk or talk unnecessary things.
With Raine was being there, smiling ever so softly without complain, instead of scurrying away and hiding at the corner, was considered a good progress.
Thus, after the twentieth person that congratulated Raine, Torak thought this was enough for her and leaned over. "Let's go home, shall we?"
Raine's eyes glimmered beautifully as her smile bloomed more cheerful than the last thirty minutes she was there.
"Yes, please." She replied eagerly.
Thought they would leave early, but the guests could stay there, enjoying limitless food and drink with Raphael in charge to greet every one of them.
"Can I change my shoes before we go?" Raine asked hopefully, the high heels started to kill her.
"Sure, you can go with Belinda and Calleb, I will join you inside the car." Torak rubbed her head and took her to where Belinda and Calleb were arguing about something, again.
However, half way to approach them, someone cut in and greeted Raine and Torak politely. "Happy birthday Raine" He said with rough voice.
The man's golden eyes stared at Raine intensely as his lanky body blocked the sight of Belinda and Calleb behind him. "It had been a while since the last time we met." He mused seeing Raine's attempt to hide behind Torak's body. "Hmm? Still afraid of me I guess" He stroked his chin.
Torak didn't want to entertain the devil and didn't want to stay any longer there as he said coldly. "Enjoy your stay Mr. Reiz."
With that, Torak walked past him with Raine closed to him.
Belphegor grinned at Raine when the angel stole a glance at him but hurriedly retracted her gaze.
Raine wondered why the devil was there, did Torak invite him? But then, why Torak invited their enemies to this place? She couldn't understand.
"You can go change with them, I will be waiting for you inside the car once you are done." Torak gave Raine's hand to Belinda and let both of them escort Raine away from the party room.
Belinda helped her to undress her beautiful dress and changed into something more comfortable like sweater and jeans.
When Raine came out from the changing room, Calleb was leaning his back against the door, waiting for them.
"I like the dress from before." That was the first thing that Calleb said when he saw Raine went back to her sweater and jeans attire, looking at her with disapproval look.
"You can have it if you want." Was Raine comeback that made Belinda was laughing out loud and Calleb pouted his mouth.
Together, they walked to the front lobby where Torak had been waiting for them inside the car.
Torak helped Raine to get into the car by holding the door open, like the gentleman he was, and sat down beside her.
The initial driver opened the car door for Calleb as he would drive them home and Belinda sat on the shotgun seat.
Once the car left the splendid celebration and moved further away from the luxurious hotel, Raine turned her head to face Torak.
"Why Belphegor is there?" Raine asked softly when their car was running on the highway under the street lights in the dark night.
"Belphegor? The devil?" Belinda turned around to look at Raine and her Alpha. "He is in the party as well?" She asked in disbelief. "How he could be there?"
Even before Torak could answer Raine's question the duo on the front seat had started to answer it for her as they started to squabble again.
"Yeah, unfortunately he has become our partner now as he is the representative of the de Medici family, replacing Remy de Medici because he was killed by his younger brother, Ramon de Medici, who was now in the jail." Calleb explained it.
"How he could enter the de Medici family and became their representative?" Belinda eyes grew wide as she was so agitated with the news. Lycans and Devil didn't have a good history together.
Calleb shrugged his shoulder. "I don't know, the devil has many ways to get what they wanted."
"Knowing the devil will be part of the company, why don't you cut ties with that de Medici family?" Belinda chastised Calleb even though that kind of act was only Torak could make the decision.
"Do you think cut ties with them is as easy as cutting onion? There are a lot of things need to consider." Calleb retorted as they exited the highway and ran on the normal road with many food stall along the way.
Because Raine had known the reason why Belphegor was attending the party, so she didn't have any interest to listen to the rest of Belinda and Calleb's argumentation.
Raine etched her face on the glass window while staring at every food stalls. She didn't eat anything at the party, as she didn't have appetite because of her nervousness.
However now, she could feel her stomach grumbled.
Torak leaned over and rested his chin on Raine's shoulder as he looked at the food stall along the road with her. "Are you hungry?" He asked and felt Raine nodded her head.
"I want to eat sweet and sour b.r.e.a.s.t chicken" Raine pointed one stall before it disappeared because of the speed of the car.
"Stop the car and turn around." Torak said immediately to Calleb.
"Huh?" Calleb was confused by the sudden order, but he hit the brake nonetheless. "What happened?" He asked while making u turn to drive back.
"Raine wanted to eat chicken b.r.e.a.s.t." Torak informed Calleb casually.
"Didn't you eat in the party?" Calleb glanced at Raine through rare view mirror.
"No, I didn't eat anything" Replied Raine as she kissed Torak's cheeks because he granted her wish.
"There were a lot of delicious foods there. It such a waste that you didn't try it." Calleb himself had pigged out every dishes, there and almost forgot about his duty to entertain the guests as he entertained himself.
"How can I eat" If I was so nervous even to breathe Raine said inwardly.
When the car pulled over, there were two more cars stopped with them, apparently they were the bodyguards that Torak had hired for their safety.
One car filled with Lycan warriors and the other car was human. There were eight of them in total and they secured the area once Raine got out of the car.
She looked around and found the eight of them surrounded the area of the stall where she would eat. Thankfully, there were not a lot of people here tonight, or else they would surely become the center of attention again.
And that was the last thing that Raine wanted as she had had enough with the attention that she had gotten in the party.
"Torak" Raine tugged Torak's sleeves, didn't like with the situation.
"It's alright, they are here to keep you safe." Torak rubbed Raine's head to reassure her. "Just ignore them and let's eat."
Torak grabbed Raine's hand and took her inside the stall to order two plates of sweet and sour chicken b.r.e.a.s.t that she wanted, but Raine asked for more plates for the eight people that guarded them.
The stall was small and empty and the four of them took a table at the corner.
It didn't take long time before two plates of chicken b.r.e.a.s.t appeared on their table along with another dishes that Calleb and Belinda had ordered.
Seemingly Calleb had a big hole inside his stomach because after all the foods that he had eaten, he still managed to dig out a bowl of noodles.
Raine ate her chicken b.r.e.a.s.t slowly as her mind reeled at her plan to ask her gift from Torak. She still couldn't figure out the best way how to communicate her wish
"There is something in your mind?" Torak asked, now that he had caught Raine's blank expression for the third time.
Raine hurriedly shook her head and ate her food like an obedient little girl.
Once they were done, they went straight to the house and Raine became as quiet as a bunny.
"Good night Belinda, good night Call." Raine bid them farewell before Torak brought her to their room.
Belinda and Calleb occupied rooms downstairs while Raine and Torak's room was on the second floor along with Raine's painting room.
And when the door closed, Torak hugged Raine tightly as his warm breath fanned Raine's neck and made her slightly shuddering with the intimacy.
"I am sorry to make you to go through this, but bear with it for a bit longer." Torak said thoughtfully.
Raine nodded, but her mind was thinking another thing, the most important part of her birthday.
Torak then retracted his hands and turned Raine's body as he pulled out something from his pocket. It was a red box as big as Raine's palm.
"Happy birthday my love, I wish you a safety and happy live." He prayed for his mate softly.
Raine smiled and took the box from Torak's hand as he urged her to open it. When the lid of the box was opened, it displayed the exquisite of Torak's gift inside.
It was a necklace with a white pearl, which glinted dimly under the light of the room, as its pendant. The necklace didn't look so fancy, but beautiful and elegant regardless. Suited Raine perfectly.
Torak took the necklace from Raine's hand and put it on her neck as he brushed away her hair to clasp it. The pendant hung right on her chest as it gleamed faintly.
"This is beautiful" Raine appreciated the gift.
"But not as beautiful as you." Torak held her chin so Raine could see the rare soft smile on his lips as he leaned over to lay a kiss on her soft lips. "I mean it."
Raine could feel her stomach did somersault by what Torak said and what he did.
Despite this wasn't the first time Torak had said something so lovely and this wasn't also their first kiss, but every time Torak did that, Raine could feel butterflies fluttered its colorful wings on her stomach.
Raine wrapped her arms around Torak's neck as she tiptoed and pulled him closer to her, as the same time Torak held her slender waist to keep her balance.
Torak teased her lips with his warm tongue while saying, "What the gift that you wanted, my love?"
"Mark me." Raine answered between their kiss. She just blurted out that words like that, her meticulous plans that had cracked and occupied her mind since days before were useless when she answered him plainly that way.
Torak stopped as he pulled away from her.
Raine also suddenly became alerted by Torak's reaction.
Did she say something wrong?
Did she upset him?
Did he not want to do it?
A lot of question swarmed on her mind as her body tensed up because Torak didn't say anything for a while.
"I am sorry" Raine became self- conscious as she apologized for something that she didn't know. Was it a mistake to ask something like that?
Raine was unsure.
Seeing the trouble expression on Raine's face, Torak's expression softened as he caressed her blushing cheeks with his thumbs. "Who told you about the Lycan's mark?" He asked softly.
Raine lifted her head to see Torak's shock expression had changed into a concern one. "Calleb" She replied.
Torak nodded, but didn't say anything further. The silence between them was uncomfortable.
"Will you mark me?" Raine asked gingerly. "They said a lycan will mark their mate so their souls will be bonded for life." Raine loved the idea of being together with Torak.
Yet, apparently Torak had another idea. His expression looked trouble now as if Raine's request had bothered him greatly.
"You will not?" Raine asked, but it almost like a conclusion. Her eyes stung as her tears ready to fall. She blinked her eyes to fight back the urge.
"Oh, don't make that sad expression my love, you know I can't bear to see your sadness." Torak kissed away Raine's tears and her forehead before he carried her to the sofa near the opened window and sat her on his laps.
The breeze night winds fluttered Raine's hair as she rested her head on Torak's shoulder, she felt dejected.
Raine had learnt how important for a mate to bear their mate's mark, but Torak was being reluctant for her to bear his mark. Why?
Torak cradled Raine in his arms. "I will definitely mark you, but not now" He said in hoarse voice.
His beast was banging his head to mark Raine and claimed her as his, but Serefina's warning kept ringing in his head and Torak couldn't ignore it.
Even when Raine said those beautiful words, he almost lost his control over his beast.
That was the most beautiful words that Torak had ever heard from her and also the most tempted thing that he had to resist.
Raine didn't truly understand how important for the Lycan male to give their mark to their mates. Was the pride of every lycans if their mate bore their mark. After all, it was a sacred ritual.
But, Torak couldn't fulfill Raine's tempted wish yet.
This wasn't only Raine, who felt bitter, but Torak also felt depressed as well.
"Why?" Raine asked with small voice and looked at Torak with sorrow in her obsidian eyes. "Why you can't mark me?"
"Because your body will not be able to take it" Torak explained.
Werewolves' bite was dangerous, but Lycans' was fatal. It was very rare for Lycan and werewolves for having mates out of their own kind, and even to their own kind, the marking process could be unsafe.
Moreover, in that very rare case, there wasn't even a case that werewolves or lycans was mated to guardian angel and human, unfortunately Raine was both.
Even in normal situation, Raine couldn't stay in Torak's territory because her soul couldn't take it being surrounded by beasts and became vulnerable, that was the reason why they were in this city instead stayed safe in Oriole City, Torak's territory.
Not to mention Torak had to bite her now, the result would be terrifying and Torak couldn't take the risk no matter how desirable the temptation that Raine's words carried and how dejected his little mate expression now.
She had been stressing herself over this matter.
"That's why I can't mark you now" Torak said regretfully. "If I could, you would have already bear my mark by now."
Torak would have marked her the first time he met her under the rain of that faithfully night, if it wasn't because the fear on her eyes, no, she was terrified.
Not to mention to mark her, Torak even had to make an extra effort only to be close to her.
When Raine's condition started to improve and she became so close to him, Torak had thought about to mark her, but then came Serefina's warning about the consequences.
After Raine heard Torak's explanation, her heart slightly felt better, because there was a complicated situation and condition behind his reason, yet she felt sorrowful regardless.
Raine nuzzled on Torak's chest. "I thought you don't love me enough to mark me" She whined.
"Don't be silly." Torak kissed the crown of her head. "There is no such thing."
"Calleb said that every lycan will mark their mate when the first time they met but, you didn't so I become anxious" Raine whimpered pitifully as she rubbed her face against Torak's chest.
"How can I mark you when the first time I met you. You were so afraid of me and thought I would hurt you." Torak reminded Raine.
Raine bit her lips, felt embarrassed when she remembered her reaction. "I was afraid of you for no reason."
"It's expected my love for someone who had endured all of those horrendous experiences, but now you had overcome your fear and I couldn't be more proud of you." Torak praised her.
"Thanks to you" Raine giggled and kissed his chin. "So, how long until you can mark me?" She asked.
"I think until you are strong enough and able to control your power." Torak said. "Or else, it will be so dangerous to do it."
Raine pouted her lips as she thought about that. "I need to work harder then"
"You don't need to bear my mark to be convinced that I love you" Torak chuckled. "Don't you believe me after all this time?"
Raine mumbled something unclear like; 'I believe you but'
"I know you love me but, I want that mark it feels so romantic to be bounded with someone that we love." Raine voiced out her thought.
"Romantic?" Torak raised his eyebrows. "Is that what you think? Romantic?"
Raine nodded. "It feels like we are in relationship, but we are not going to get married." She made a random analogy.
Torak laughed when he heard that. "We just let the public know about our relationship and now you are talking about marriage?"
"No no" Raine waved her hands frantically because of Torak's teasing. "That's not what I meant"
"I know" Torak hugged Raine in his arms as he whispered. "Let's not rush this matter, we will take one step at time"
"So, my birthday gift is postponed?" Raine asked.
"Yes. But, I will definitely give it to you." Torak kissed the sweet on the crook of her shoulder, where he would put his mark. "Here"
Raine scrunched her eyebrows and squirmed because it tickled. Torak closed his eyes to gather his conscience, he was too reckless and overestimated his self- restraint.
"But, my love" Torak tipped her head up by pushing her chin with his finger as he stared intently at her. "Don't talk about this kind of thing again with anyone, alright?"
Raine frowned and nodded, but she still asked. "Why?"
"Marking is an intimate topic and I don't like you to be intimate with other person." Torak said sternly. "Understood?"
The following days passed and the blink of an eye, today was the day Raine would be a college student.
After her appearance on her birthday, a week ago, the news about her and Torak didn't cease down even a little bit.
At first Raine was so stressful when she read all the hate comments and felt slightly depressed when they depicted her as an awful girl with many horrendous baseless backgrounds.
But then, Torak confiscated her phone and said to not bother with those rumors because at time it would pass.
However now, Raine needed to go out and enjoyed her first day as a college student.
She was so eager to go, yet anxious at the same time.
"Don't be so stressful." Torak said when he saw Raine was staring blankly out of the window's car. "If something happened, call me immediately."
Torak handed her phone and kissed her forehead when the car reached the entrance gates of her university.
"Stay close with Stephan, but if he is bothering you, tell me and I will teach him a lesson." Calleb said cheerfully from behind the wheel.
"Thank you" Raine grinned. "I think you had taught him enough lesson last time."
"Dragon shifter is haughty and arrogant creature by nature, so there is possibility he will repeat the same mistake again." Calleb explained.
"Stay safe, okay? Don't do anything recklessly and avoid to being alone." Torak added.
"In emergency situation, act first, think later." Raphael chimed in as he halted what he was doing on the laptop and turned to add another advice for Raine.
Raine couldn't help but laugh on their advices, apparently it wasn't only her who was being nervous.
"Okay, I have to go now or else I will be late." Raine kissed Torak on his lips and waved goodbye to Calleb and Raphael.
Then, Raine walked to the entrance gates where Stephan had been waiting for her.
The university that Raine entered was an elite one, there were many children of public figures and influential people, also heiress from famous business family, who study there, thus it wasn't strange if they have the best security to prevent journalists from entering the university area.
Torak stared at Raine's back, who was approaching Stephan, both of them exchanged a polite greetings before they entered the building together.
"Are you sure to leave her like this, Torak?" Calleb asked, he still had his eyes on Raine though her figure was getting smaller and smaller. "Don't you want to add more protection around her?" He was like a father who took his child to the first day of school, getting anxious and overwhelmed with worry.
Torak closed his eyes when he couldn't see Raine anymore, but her scent still lingered in the car. "More than this, she will realize that I am stalking on her."