When they get back to the estate, Raeliana wanders upstairs, citing a need for a bath. Noah agrees with her. He massages his arm and elbow, tentatively checking the movement of the muscles in his arm. There is a bit of a strain, but the magic seems to have returned his arm to him whole and well. Other than some tightness, there is no pain.
He would not have cared if he had lost his arm, as long as Raeliana was safe and alive, that was all he cared about. Though to use that magic on him... he wasn't sure if he was completely alright with the idea, but her confession of love was still swirling in his head and he found himself following her figure upstairs without conscious thought.
She was already inside the bathroom when he reached it, and he slipped inside right as she made a sound of contentment, lowering herself into the bath. She shoots up at the sound of Noah closing the door behind him, however.
"Noah?! What are you--Get out!" She gasps.
Raeliana begins to rise, her hands covering herself protectively, before she seems to think better of it, and quickly sinks back down in the bath, trying her best to cover herself under the water. Noah watches her in amusement as she glares up at him from the water.
"Get out." She tries again, but Noah ignores her and goes to test the water from the faucet. It is hot, very hot even, and Noah hides his wince by shaking out his hand. He subtly turns the water down and then flicks the excess water at Raeliana fondly.
"Noah." She says, her teeth gritted and her cheeks high with color. Her irritation and embarrassment are as much an aphrodisiac to him as her intellect is. It is why he so often finds himself seeking her out, teasing her until she goes red, or storms out of a room. But for his purposes now, he wants her comfortable and relaxed.
"Turn around." He says, indicating his desire with a turnabout of his hand. She glares at him suspiciously and he continues, amused. "I am not going to get in," he raises an eyebrow, "unless that is what you are hoping for--"
She sputters indignantly, going an even darker crimson before whirling around so Noah has a view of the fall of her hair over one shoulder, and the pale line of her spine. His eyes linger a moment on the curl of hair that lies tantalizingly across her shoulder and falling across her shoulder blade. His fingers twitch, to reach out, to cup her neck and lay a finger across her spine, to dip down, to see her shiver, to see her react.
Noah leans forward and grabs the bottle of shampoo on the lip of the tub and distracts himself by rubbing the soap into his palms.
Because he is allowed now. Raeliana has shared his confession, it is mutual, and the elation it brings him, the utter disbelief and surprise and relief, soars through him desperately like a young fowl getting to its feet for the first time.
It's a little pathetic, if he's honest with himself, to become so pleased so quickly after a returned confession.
Raeliana becomes impatient, as Noah rubs the soap between his fingers, and turns to look over her shoulder at him. The bright shine of emerald in her eyes draws him in as she purses her mouth at him, "What are you doing?" She asks, suspiciously.
"Washing your hair." He replies simply, and rests soapy fingers against the sides of her head, right under her ears. She startles, surprised, and then looks straight ahead, flushing again as Noah begins to run his fingers delicately through her hair.
And then he gets to work. He occasionally cups water in his hands and runs it through her hair, and then suds up the soap as he begins washing her hair with it. Raeliana slowly, very slowly, begins to lose the tension in her shoulders.
"Isn't this nice?" He needles, smiling behind her back as she relaxes against the side of the tub, her shoulder pressing into his chest. His shirt is beginning to become wet, but he ignores it when he hears her huff.
"Yes, it is." She responds. "You could have just said this was what you had in mind in the beginning."
As she moves her head, Noah can see the little love bite he'd left just between the juncture of her neck and her shoulder. It is a dull color, purpling only a little bit, just enough to be visible, as he'd intended.
He wants to press his mouth to the nape of her neck, nip at the skin, suck another love bite right beside the first, and then lave over it with his tongue. He smirks instead, and continues to rub soap into her hair. "Then I would have missed your reaction."
She snorts and side-eyes him but doesn't move away and the quiet stretches between them, comfortable, with the sound of water and Noah's hand working their way through her hair.
Her hair looks darker when it is wet, and Noah begins to rinse out the soap as his fingers play with the strands. He takes his time, too much time in fact. Raeliana must notice him stalling, because she leans out of his hands and turns around to stare at him. She has one arm covering her breasts modestly, the other holding the rim of the tub, but despite the vulnerable pose, nothing about her looks vulnerable. Her eyes are too sharp; they've always been too sharp.
"What is this, Noah?"
Noah quirks an eyebrow at her, "What does it seem like to you?"
She frowns at him. He waits, kneeling beside the tub, his fingers tense around the rim where she can't see. He's always waiting for her, anticipating her. Waiting, hoping, desiring her, on edge with want. It's a burn that he's seen in the reflection of a wine glass in his eyes, a familiar look, the same his father once had. He'd believed himself doomed to the same fate, always wanting, always waiting, for something that would never be. A fool.
The taste of her mouth is still lingering from a few hours ago. A handful of kisses between them, not nearly enough. It's this that has brought him following after her.
She sighs as she looks at him, and then opens up her arm for him, the one not covering herself, an invitation. Noah takes it gladly.
He leans in close, skimming his lips over the side of Raeliana's neck, collecting water droplets sliding down her skin. He can feel her flushing underneath his mouth. "I love you." He murmurs, into her skin and he can hear her intake of breath. Her hands reach out, gently cupping his neck and head and Noah nuzzles even further into her. She caresses his hair, getting him wet, and then presses a light kiss to his bangs. "I love you." She says back to him.
He shudders. He can feel it running through his body, to the tips of his feet. A part of him had been afraid that she might take it back. That after the danger, after his arm is returned whole, after they had slept off the adrenaline, that she would deny him again.
The relief is all encompassing.
Almost involuntarily, he skims his teeth across her skin and hears her make a decidedly different kind of noise. All of a sudden, she's pushing him off and way from the tub. When he looks up, she's red again and scowling.
"That's enough! Let me bathe in peace now." She orders, turning quickly around and hunching into the water. Her ears are red.
Noah smiles and stands, drying off his arms with a towel. "Don't take too long." He cautions before he slips out of the room.
It was some time ago when he was left watching after her, wondering if all he would get would be cold shoulders, sleeping in the same estate but not the same bed, her presence at his side, but still a thousand feet away. At the time, he'd been prepared to accept that, now he finds he cannot bare the thought of it. Not when he has this.
He's changing into a dry shirt, Adam standing at his side, when he hears the scream. He and Adam glance at each other before Noah waves him off and begins to head upstairs.
He's pretty certain what it is Raeliana is upset about. He breathes in as he reaches her door and begins to enter.
And dodges the pillow that she lobs right for his face.