Peering the direction Theiandar pointed worked to stir up the butterflies in Caityn’s stomach. She knew how to swim and had jumped from heights before, just none that high.
“I like to dive off that one. The first time my father brought me to Negeen I was too afraid to do it, but I finally worked up the courage. It’s exhilarating, Cait. You should try it.”
“Dive? Off that one?”
Theiandar’s laughter brought her attention back to handsome his face. Caityn didn’t bother suppressing her annoyance. Really, it was just a cover-up for her fear, but he didn’t need to know that.
“You don’t have to if you’re afraid.”
“I’m not afraid,” she said without a second thought while looking back at the cliff overhanging the deep pool of shimmering water. “But . . . what if someone sees me?”
He laughed again and wrapped her damp hair around his fist. “This place is completely secluded, and it’s just me and you. No one will see.”
She pursed her lips and did her best to ignore the teasing glint in his eye while absently unraveling her hair from his hand. Caityn rarely ever backed down from a challenge, but to dive off that cliff . . . the idea was just too frightening.
“What if we jump together?”
“Can we do that?” she asked, her voice sounding timid even to her own ears.
“Of course,” Theiandar said and pulled her to her feet.
They climbed up the incline leading to the cliff. The spot he’d pointed out was situated to the right of the falls and not quite as high. Caityn could hear the rush of water over the edge as the mist wafted upon the breeze. Even in the warmth of the day, a shiver passed over her.
Still holding hands, they stood at the edge of the precipice and looked down. Caityn’s breath caught in her throat. The water was so clear she could see the bottom except for the space near the base of the falls where the water was churning violently from its rapid descent into the natural pool.
She stood up and squared her shoulders, but the fear lingered, tightening in her gut and sending her heart into palpitations.
She glanced over to see her husband studying her profile. “What?”
“You don’t have to dive from here, Cait.”
“I know,” she said, breathless. “But I lied before . . . about being afraid.”
“I know, love.”
She rolled her eyes at the hidden amusement in his tone. “I’m going to jump, though, not dive.”
“On the count of three then?”
Caityn swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded as she looked over the edge again.
“One . . . two . . .” Theiandar counted loud and slow, his hand still grasped in Caityn’s, “THREE!”
In two large steps they were off the edge, their hands no longer connected, and nothing but nothing under their feet. Caityn went from scared to panicking in the span of three seconds as she screamed in free-fall. The blue-green pool below moved at her with such rapidity she had no time to do anything else. But she had just enough sense to pause from her screaming and take a huge breath before plunging under the water.
The cool crystalline waters enveloped her like a tight corset as she passed through the surface, but once under the water, the rush of her movement in its depths felt like a thousand fingers caressing her skin. With a few hard kicks she broke the surface, her head tipped back and long hair trailing behind.
Theiandar was close by and swam toward her. Without a second thought she said, “Let’s do it again.”
This time when her husband laughed, she laughed with him.