Hello everyone! I'm back with a new story! Here's the full summary:
After the sudden death of Rose's fiancé, she finds solace in her friends and, surprisingly, in her fiancé's former best friend Dimitri, who unexpectedly turns up at the funeral after disappearing for over a year.
Secrets start to unravel and Rose comes to the realization that her fiancé may not be the man she thought he was. To make matters worse, she might be falling for the one person she shouldn't.
Like usual, it's all human.
Important note: There will be lots of flashbacks in this story. I don't want to confuse you, however, so I'll write down the date with every new POV so you can still follow the story (I hope). But don't worry yet, there won't be any flashbacks in this chapter. This will be a regular one ;)
Disclaimer: I do not own Vampire Academy. It belongs to the wonderful Richelle Mead. This story is inspired by the movie "Catch and release".
RPOV – JULY 3, 2015
I stared around the room, at all the people who were here in our house – my house now, I guess – to show their support. To show their grief for Adrian. My Adrian.
I'd been going on without him for a week now and I could still hardly believe it. Even now, after we'd just buried him, a part of me believed that this was all a dream, or better yet, a nightmare. A part of me was still expecting my fiancé to walk through the front door any minute now, coming home from his business trip. But he wouldn't walk through that door. He couldn't. He was dead.
It all still felt so unreal. But I knew it was true. It happened. I'd seen his body at the morgue. His face so, so pale. His eyes closed so it looked like he was just sleeping.
Last week, everything had still been normal. We'd had breakfast together, he'd kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me before he left for his trip. Just like always. He was supposed to come back after three days, but he never did. At least not alive.
And now…now I was here with all these people I barely knew – who kept patting my arm in a consoling gesture, with their apologetic looks on their faces as they told me over and over again how sorry they were that Adrian had passed away – and soon I'd be all alone in this big house.
"Excuse me for a second," I said to Adrian's colleague, an older man with graying hair who went on and on about all the houses he'd sold with Adrian.
If anyone should have died from a stroke, it would have to be that old man instead of Adrian. I mean, how could a twenty-sixth year old have died from a stroke? You know why, Rose, I thought wryly.
I'd known his excessive smoking and drinking hadn't been good for him – hell, that wasn't good for anyone. I'd told him time and again that he should quit, but he never listened. As if the smoking and the drinking hadn't been bad enough, he'd also had high blood pressure thanks to the stress from work.
To top it all off, there was a family history of stroke – apparently Adrian's uncle died a few years back of a stroke. I hadn't known. That is, until last week.
I pushed my way through the crowd, desperate to be alone for a few minutes. I couldn't bear to look at Adrian's parents any longer. His mom was constantly crying, making me tear up as well. But his father…he pissed me off. He was telling jokes and laughing his ass off as if this was some nice and fun party. Well, I guess everyone dealt with death in a different way.
Keep it together, Rose. Quickly, I went upstairs and was relieved when no one tried to stop me. I started walking faster and practically ran into the bathroom, locking the door behind me before sinking down on the toilet seat. Okay, now you can cry.
And I did. Burying my face in my hands, I broke down into huge, ugly sobs. I hadn't cried like this in years; I hadn't had a reason to. But now I felt like I was entitled to cry like this.
Adrian is gone. He's truly gone.
The disbelief I was feeling earlier was fading quickly. Yes, it was all real. Adrian was gone; I'd buried him just a few hours ago. He was never coming back.
A knock on the door startled me upright. Suppressing my sobs, I wiped the tears from my eyes. Standing up, I checked my make-up. Thank God I was wearing waterproof mascara!
"Rose, it's me. Liss," a voice from outside said. "Can I come in?"
"J-just a second," I said, my voice wavering.
Taking a deep breath, I tried to compose myself and walked over to the door to let her in. A look of sympathy crossed her face upon seeing me. I gave her a watery smile in return.
"Oh, Rose," she said, embracing me. I started crying again. "I'm so sorry."
She hugged me tightly as I cried my heart out on her shoulder. When I was done, she pulled back to look at me.
"I wish there was something I could do to help you," she whispered, tears in her eyes.
"You already are helping me," I whispered back. "You're helping me by being here."
She squeezed my hand. "I wish I could do more than that."
"This is enough, Liss," I answered, squeezing her hand back. "Thank you."
A small smile crossed her face. "I'm always here for you, you know that."
I gave her a grateful smile before sitting down on the edge of the bathtub. "I know."
"Why are you hiding in here?" Lissa asked, sitting down next to me.
I sighed, wiping at my eyes again. "I couldn't bear to talk to all those people any longer," I told her, sniffling. Lissa handed me a tissue. "They keep going on and on about how amazing Adrian is – was. Dammit." A sob erupted from my throat again. Don't start crying again, Rose. "Sorry," I muttered.
"It's okay," Lissa said in a soothing voice. "I know this is a hard time for you, Rose. He was your fiancé after all. And it must be difficult to hear all these stories they're telling about Adrian."
"It is," I whispered. "And all I want to do is cry, but I just have to stand there and listen and talk about Adrian. I don't want that. I don't want to talk or think about him anymore, because every time I do, it hurts," I cried. "It hurts so much."
"I know, I know," Lissa murmured, putting her arm around me.
I let out another sigh and leaned my head against her shoulder, closing my eyes. "I'm so tired."
"Have you been sleeping?"
I shook my head. "My doctor prescribed me some meds to help me sleep."
"But you haven't taken them yet?"
I shook my head again.
I shrugged. "I don't know."
"You should take them if the doctor prescribed them," Lissa said. "I know you're not a big fan of medication, but you don't have to take them forever. Just for a while… until everything has calmed down again."
"Okay," I muttered. "I'll take them."
Lissa looked relieved. "Good."
We sat in silence for a few more minutes. If it were up to me, I wouldn't leave this bathroom for the rest of the day, but I knew I had to go back downstairs eventually. After all, I had guests to attend to.
As if Lissa could read my mind, she asked, "You want to go back downstairs?"
"No, but I guess I have to."
"It'll be okay," Lissa reassured me, helping me stand. "It'll be all over soon and then you can get some rest. I'll stay with you until then."
"Thank you, Liss," I said gratefully.
My eyes were puffy from all the crying. I tried to cover it up as best as I could, then went back downstairs. Lissa followed me down and squeezed my hand as she returned to her boyfriend, Christian. Mason stood with them and gave me a concerned look as I passed the group. I gave him a little wave, then made my way to Adrian's mother.
"How are you holding up, dear?" she asked quietly, her eyes filling with tears.
I shrugged, trying my best not to burst into tears. Thankfully, I was distracted by the doorbell. I excused myself and walked to the front door.
When I opened it and saw the person standing at my doorstep, I think my heart stopped for a moment. Recovering from my shock, I wanted to slam the door closed. I didn't want to cause a scene in front of all my guests, though.
"What are you doing here?" I hissed.
"Hello, Rose," Dimitri said quietly in his Russian accent.
He still looked the same since he'd left well over a year ago. Shoulder length chocolate brown hair framed a handsome face. He had a straight nose and a strong jaw line. His eyes were the same color as his hair.
And they were boring into mine right now.
"What are you doing here, Dimitri?" I repeated. I had to crane my neck to look at him; he was so freaking tall.
"I heard about what happened," he said, a contrite look on his face. "I'm very sorry for your loss."
I clenched my jaw as I stared at him. Stay calm. "Thank you," I said after composing myself. Clearing my throat, I continued, "Would you like to come inside?"
Dimitri gave me a grateful look. "Yes, thank you."
I walked him to the kitchen. "Please help yourself to the refreshments," I said politely, gesturing towards the kitchen island. "Excuse me for a moment."
Briskly, I walked out of the kitchen and back into the living room. "Was that Dimitri Belikov at the door?" Lissa asked, her eyes wide. "Why's he here?"
"I don't know," I answered. "To pay his respects like everyone else, I guess. He and Adrian used to be best friends after all," I added with a shrug.
"Used to?" Mason asked, puzzled. He didn't know Dimitri.
"Yep," Eddie said with a sigh. "They stopped talking to each other last year. Neither of them explained why."
Eddie had attended university together with Adrian and Dimitri. They'd been friends ever since. When Dimitri and Adrian stopped speaking to each other, Eddie tried to mend their friendship, but that hadn't worked out. Just like me, he didn't know the reason why they'd stopped talking to each other.
I'd asked Adrian several times, but he never really explained it to me. He'd just told me that Dimitri was angry with him. Back then, I'd called Dimitri a few times to get some answers from him, but he'd ignored me completely. At first, I'd been really angry that he'd dropped Adrian just like that – his best friend since childhood! After a while, I'd let it go because Adrian had obviously let it go as well.
Seeing him now on my doorstep, I felt angry again. I wanted to know why he was here all of a sudden – and why he'd stopped talking to Adrian in the first place.
But, on the other hand, I'd rather he didn't tell me. I was a little scared to find out – what if it had something to do with me? The thought that Dimitri might have said something to Adrian made me nervous. No, it can't be, I reassured myself. Adrian would have surely let me know, then. And Dimitri had promised he'd never tell anyone…
It must've been about something else. Something guys fought about. Whatever that may be.
"Strange," Mason muttered.
I nodded in agreement, feeling a little bit unsettled. Why is Dimitri here?
"Where is he? I'd like to talk to him," Eddie said.
"I left him in the kitchen," I answered.
Lissa gave me a worried look when Eddie left. I forced a smile onto my face, silently telling her not to worry.
"Are you okay, Rose?" Mason, concern edged in his voice.
Christian snorted. "What do you think? She just lost her fiancé, Mason."
He hadn't said much today. I knew that, even though he'd never admit it, he was upset as well. Since he'd started dating Lissa nearly two years ago, we'd gone on a lot of double dates. After a few dates, they'd started hanging out without Lissa and me and that's how they'd become close friends.
I knew Christian well enough to know that he didn't have a lot of friends – probably because he was so snarky all the time, which was actually a trait that I liked in him – so losing Adrian must be painful for him.
Lissa gave him a warning look. "Christian."
He sighed. "Sorry," he muttered, glancing up at Mason.
"It's fine," Mason replied, waving his apology away. He looked at me again, waiting for my reply, that worried look still on his face.
"I'm okay, Mase," I lied, not wanting him to be so anxious about me.
I'd known him since high school and he'd always been kind of a big brother to me; he was always there for me when I needed him and he was the first to protect me if something went wrong. Usually, I didn't mind his protectiveness of me, but today I really needed some space.
I was relieved when everyone started to leave. I couldn't wait to be alone, open up a bottle of wine and drink until I wasn't sad anymore, until I stopped thinking about Adrian.
"You sure you don't want me to stay and help you clean up?" Lissa asked when we were the only ones left.
Christian was twirling his car keys, impatient to leave. He looked exhausted.
"No, it's fine. I'll do it," I told Lissa. "I'd like to be alone for a bit."
She hesitated, but then nodded. "Okay. I'm just a phone call away. So if you need me…"
"I know. I'll call if I need you," I promised. "Bye, Christian."
He looked at me, a hesitant look on his face. Then, he walked over and hugged me tightly. Astonished, I awkwardly patted his back. I don't think he'd ever showed this much emotion since I'd met him. He must be really broken up about Adrian's death. So am I.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, letting go of me.
I gave him a brief, small smile, then walked them to the door. I waved them goodbye as they backed out the driveway, then turned and locked the door behind me.
Sighing, I walked back into the living room, picked up a few empty glasses and went to the kitchen.
"You need some help?"
I almost jumped ten feet when I walked inside, almost dropping the glasses. One of them slipped through my fingers, but Dimitri caught it just in time before it smashed onto the floor. Carefully, he placed it on the countertop.
"Sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to scare you."
My heart thumped in my chest as I stared at him, unable to utter a word.
"I was at the burial earlier," Dimitri said, breaking the awkward silence between us. "I don't know if you saw me."
Slowly, I shook my head.
"It was a beautiful service," he said softly.
I nodded. Realizing I was still staring at him, I quickly looked away and cleared my throat. "Why are you still here?"
He looked at me, then shrugged. "I haven't gotten a chance to talk to you yet."
"Why would you want to talk to me?" I said, walking around the kitchen island. Grabbing the empty plates, I put them into the dishwasher. I needed something to distract me from him. Jeez, he was so tall! I'd nearly forgotten. And that Russian accent of his… "I mean, why now? After abandoning me – Adrian," I corrected myself quickly, "after ignoring us for over a year. Do you know how many times I've tried calling you?"
"Because Adrian's dead?" I cut him off. Angrily, I turned to him. "I don't want your pity, Dimitri."
"I know that," he said softly. He took a step closer to me and I stepped back immediately. A look of hurt flashed across his face. "I just…" He sighed and ran his hand through his hair, obviously frustrated. "I wanted to check on you. See if you were okay."
"Well, as you can see I'm okay. I'm more than okay. I'm just fine," I exclaimed, still angry. "You can leave now."
"You're not okay," Dimitri whispered.
I gritted my teeth. "Don't tell me how I'm feeling!"
"But you are definitelyangry," he noted, flinching at the tone of my voice.
With good reason! "I am not angry," I snapped.
He raised his eyebrows at me and I suppressed a sigh. Now I was angry at myself for proving him right. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm down.
"You never answered my question," I said, my voice calm and steady again.
He looked at me in confusion.
"Last year, I called you a couple of times – and Adrian probably called you a hundred times more – but you never called back," I said. "Did your phone break? Did you lose all your numbers? Or what?"
He glanced away from me. "Maybe I should go. You're clearly angry with me."
Great. He's never going to give me a straight answer, is he?
"Yeah, maybe you should," I said curtly.
Dimitri sighed and started to leave. Glancing over his shoulder, he said, "I'm really sorry about your loss, Rose."
Then he was out the door.
"Goddammit!" I exclaimed, pissed off, as I smashed a glass against the wall.
It didn't satisfy me at all; it only pissed me off some more because now I had to clean up the shards, too. Leaving it all on the floor, I reached for the bottle of wine, opened it and took a big gulp. I would clean up the mess tomorrow.
So this was the first chapter. I realize that it was a little bit depressing, but it'll get better! And guess what, I've made Rose and Lissa best friends again and I can promise you that they'll stay besties so that's a good thing, right? ;)
Well, I hope you liked it. If this story is worth continuing, please leave a review and let me know, thank you! I hope you're all having a great start to the week! :)