Pure, p.43
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       Pure, p.43

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 43


  “That’s a shame. ” I kicked off my shoes. My toes immediately sighed and thanked me.

  “You really are going—”

  I dove in. The water wasn’t as heated as I’d thought and was a shock to my system, but after a few seconds I grew used to it. Staying underwater, I swam to the opposite side of the pool.

  The water immediately killed all of Laadan’s hard work. Twisting around, I found Seth at the pool’s edge. Amusement and satisfaction played out across on his face, which made him look sort of normal.

  “So childish, Alex. You’ve ruined her dress. ”

  The vibrant red silk floated around me as I treaded water. “I know. Bad me. ”

  “Very bad. ” He sounded more appreciative than chastising.

  Grinning, I sank underwater again and closed my eyes. Under the water, it was a quiet, blissful world. I didn’t have to think, or worry… or love.

  I inched my way back up and caught Seth shrugging off his shirt. I saw maybe a second of his bare upper body before I hastily ducked underwater. It wasn’t bad—all golden skin and hard muscles.

  Seeing his chest wasn’t a big deal, for crying out loud.

  On the nights Seth stayed with me, he did so fully clothed—thank the gods—but

  it was just weird. Seth was weird—I was weird—and I couldn’t stay underwater all night. Using my legs, I pushed off the bottom of the pool.

  Seth had moved to the center of the room. His head was tipped back, arms stretched high in the air as he stood on the tips of his toes, completely at ease. “Stop staring. ”

  I floated forward. “I’m not staring. ”

  He chuckled. “How’s the water?”

  “Nice. ”

  His arms dropped to his sides. “Do you remember the last thing I told you in training?”

  I pushed through the water, coming to where he stood. “You tell me a lot of stuff in training. Honestly, I don’t pay attention. ”

  He snorted. “You do wonders for my self-esteem. ”

  Rolling my eyes, I pushed off the cement wall and floated on my back. The dress streamed out around me as water glided over my skin. “I feel like a mermaid. ”

  Seth ignored that. “Tomorrow, when they ask you about what happened in Gatlinburg, only answer their questions. ”

  I sighed. “I know. What do you guys think I’m going to say? That I love daimons?”

  “Just don’t elaborate on anything. Answer yes or no, and that is it. ”

  “I’m not stupid, Seth. ”

  Seth arched a brow. “I didn’t say you were. I just know you tend… to talk a lot. ”

  “Oh. Like you’re one—”

  Seth dove in, sending a wave of water crashing over me, and I lost my balance. I sank under, only to find him swimming toward me. Recognizing the wild grin plastered across his face, I pushed back, but he caught the edge of my dress. I smacked his hand away and resurfaced. He came up a few feet away, shaking his head, sending beads of water flying.

  I splashed him. “You talk more than I do. ”

  He floated over to the side and swung one arm over the edge. Squinting through water and hair, he made a face at me. “You look like a drowned monkey. ”

  “What? I do not. ” I ran a hand over my hair, then under my eyes. Come to think of it, I probably had brutal raccoon eyes right now. “Wait. Do I?”

  Seth nodded. “Honestly, you look like a mess. This was a bad idea. What was I thinking?”

  “Shut up. You don’t look so hot yourself. ”

  That wasn’t entirely true. Seth looked rather… nice soaked. The whole shirtless thing probably helped. A little bit. Not much. For some bizarre reason, I thought about the day the rune had appeared.

  His lips curved into a mad sort of grin as he placed his hand over the water. “Watch this. ”

  I tried keeping the edges of my dress from floating all the way up. “Watch what?”

  The water under his hand spun, much like water going down a drain. Then it shot straight up in the air, reaching for the ceiling. The cone of water twisted in midair, arced, and then came down.

  I couldn’t move back quickly enough.

  Water funneled around me, pulsating and drowning out everything. Then it froze. I couldn’t see beyond the wall of still water. I tilted my head back and smiled. Being stuck in a Seth-made typhoon was strange, but also cool. Tentatively, I reached out and poked a finger through it. Wrong move. It all came crashing down.

  The weight of the water pushed me under, and when I came back up, an all-out water war ensued. We both were acting like two bored kids who’d snuck away from their parents, but this was fun. It didn’t matter I was sorely outmatched in the water arena and Seth seemed intent on drowning me.

  I wasn’t thinking about Aiden, or the Council, or anything.

  Laughing and swallowing way too much water, I backed off while Seth pushed clumps of blond hair out of his eyes. “You’re such a girl, Seth. Do we need to take a grooming break?”

  “You need to give up. ” He reared back, sending his arm crashing against the surface of the water. “You can’t beat me. Ever. At anything. Give it up. ”

  I swam back, slipped under and resurfaced quickly. “I don’t give up, Seth. ”

  He inched closer. “Well, we all have to learn how to someday. Besides me. I’m secure in my awesomeness. ”

  “More like you’re secure in your douchiness. ”

  “You are such a goner. ” He shot across the water, and I dropped underneath. I aimed for his legs, thinking that if I could take them out, I could take him out.

  But it didn’t quite go as planned.

  I got one arm around a leg and tugged. Seth retaliated by reaching down and tugging me back up to the surface. The moment my head broke through the water, I struggled and cursed. Unsurprisingly, a long, wet gown really hindered the use of one’s legs.

  “That’s cheating, Alex. ” Seth planted both hands above my hips. “You know what happens to cheaters. ”

  I tried prying his fingers from my waist. “Don’t you dare!”

  He lifted me until over half of my body was out of the water. I stared down at his face. His smile went up a notch as I dangled above him. “Cold up there, huh?”

  Yeah, it kind of was. “Stupid down there, huh?”

  Seth’s brows flew up. “For one in such a precarious position, you sure don’t know how to talk yourself out of it. ”

  “That’s because it’s hard to reason with idiots. ” I gave him a cheeky grin. “Why bother?”

  “Oh? Is that how it is? Well, my little Apollyon-in-training, have a nice flight. ”

  “Seth! I swear I will—”

  Using the air element, he launched me out of the water, cutting off my words. I went up… and up another couple of feet, and back down in a mess of arms and red silk several feet away. Water went up my nose as I sank to the bottom of the pool.

  Breaking the surface, I immediately started yelling things only Seth could truly appreciate. A lot of four letter words that rhymed with other four letter words. This resulted in me flying back through the air again and again.

  “Okay. Okay,” I gasped, hanging above him. “You’re awesome. ”


  “And… you’re not a douche… all the time—Wait!” I stalled as my knees came out of the water. “You’re just a great person. ”

  Seth frowned. “That doesn’t sound very sincere. ”

  My hands slipped off his. “Okay. You’re the best Apollyon there is. ”

  He tipped his head to the side and arched a brow. “I’m the only Apollyon there is right now. ”

  I grinned. “You’re still the best. ”

  He sighed, but he lowered me back down. “Now you really do look like a drowned monkey. ”

  “Thanks. ” I started for the shallow end of the pool, but Seth pushed through the water like a damn fish. He circled one arm around my waist and flipped me back aroun

  “Where do you think you’re going?”

  I went to push against his chest, but remembered there was literally nothing between my hands and his skin. I opted for his shoulders, which turned out to be rather pointless. “Don’t throw me again. ”

  “I’m not going to throw you. ”

  I considered that for a moment. “Then I win the water war?”

  “No. ”

  “Damn. Well, I guess you have to be better than me at something. Congratulations. ”

  “I’m always better than you. I’m—”

  “Egotistical?” I supplied helpfully. “Narcissistic?”

  He pressed forward, and I backed up, trying to keep as much space between us as possible. Not that it did any good in water. My legs floated everywhere I didn’t want them to—like closer to him. “I have some words for you, too. How about stubborn? Impudent?” he countered, slowly pushing on until my back hit the rough edge of the pool.

  “Was ‘impudent’ your word choice of the day?”

  He put his finger on my lips. “Well, yes it is. I could even use it in a sentence if you like. ”

  “That won’t be necessary. ”

  He removed his finger and planted his hands on either side of me, effectively caging me in. I looked up and our eyes locked. An immediate level of awareness passed between us. It was powerful, almost like the charge that’d shot through us when I’d touched his rune.

  Something I never planned on doing again.

  The atmosphere was no longer playful or light, and as the silence grew, so did the nervousness in the pit of my stomach. Seth had that look on his face—all intent and purpose-driven, and it was directed at me. He liked to flirt, liked to the push the line between us, but this—this was different. I felt it inside me, waking up and stirring.

  Suddenly I thought of the heaviness I’d felt leaving the ball. “I think… we should head back now. I’m cold and it’s getting late. ”

  Seth smiled. “No. ”


  “I’m not done being stupid yet. ” He leaned in. Strands of his wet hair brushed my forehead. “Actually, there’s a lot of stupid left in me. ”

  At once, I placed my hands against his chest to stop him. His skin felt incredibly warm for being above the water. I opened my mouth to respond, but found myself at a loss. A strange edginess swamped me. Somehow, he managed to get closer and I… I didn’t push him away or move my hands. Seth seemed to read something in that, because his hands slipped away from the edge and fell to my waist.

  “You know what?” His breath was warm against my cheek. “There are a lot of stupid things to do, but I really want to do the stupidest thing possible. ”

  “What’s that?”

  “I want to kiss you. ”

  My stomach hollowed. “That is crazy. I’m not Elena… or any other number of girls. ”

  “I know. Maybe that’s why I want to. ”

  I turned my head in the other direction. Or at least I thought I did. That was what I planned, but for some reason my head went the direction I didn’t want it to—toward him and his warm breath. “You don’t want to kiss me. ”

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