I pulled the car into reverse and drove out into the night with the now rising half moon leading me forward.
With speed that extends way over the speed limit, I rolled the windows down to feel the wind whipping my face and clear my head. And before I fully realized it, I was already starting to see the changes between the houses which indicated I was at the slightly trashy and kind of poor side of town, where dhampirs live, in less than 15 minutes.
A couple of days ago I had to ask a few passing by Russian Moroi if they knew of a place where dhampir women live. So after a few general directions, I already knew where to go since I pass by that area on my way to and from my hotel.
Although I had no idea which house Dimitri's family lived in but I figured I could ask other residents if they knew where the Belikov family lived. I rested my head on Dimitri's chest, taking comfort in his warmth…. "No! Stop Rose!" I told myself. "Snap out of it! Don't relive the past!"
I sighed, swallowed back tears and scanned the houses for any friendly houses to knock on or any neighbors outside at this time of night (day in moroi time). As I passed, none of the houses seemed very friendly and through open windows from my car and my dhampir-hearing, I could hear EVERYTHING going on in these houses. These dhampir women had…guests and it makes me mad because this is why the Moroi men call all female dhampirs blood whores and which in my case is not true.
I passed another block of houses still unknowing if I passed Dimitri's house or not. Something tells me to just keep going and that these were not the houses I am looking for. That's when I see an elderly women sitting on a wooden rocking chair outside on the porch of a 2 story, golden brown house.
I parked my car next to the driveway and got out of the car. I vigilantly crossed her yard towards her surprised to even see her outside in this cold weather. As soon as I was in earshot of her I stated to say, "Hi, I was wondering if-"
"Ahh, Rosemarie Hathaway." she said in recognition with a sweet, heavily accented Russian voice. I stopped in my tracks. "I've been waiting for you." After a moment I said, "I'm sorry, but do I know you?" To my surprise she chuckled and said, "Rose, I have much to explain. Please come inside where it's much warmer." She deftly got up and led the way inside.
I followed her inside to a very home-y feeling living room. The house smelled of light cinnamon and was very quiet so I assumed she lived alone. The living room was also a light golden brown and had a set of comfy looking sofas with a matching reading chair. The little old lady told me to sit so I chose to sit myself on the longer of the two sofas, while she quickly walked to the kitchen and returned shortly with two cups in her hand. She then parked herself in the shorter of the two sofas facing me and politely asked me, "Tea?"
Not wanting to seem rude, I accepted and she handed me a cup while she silently drank her own tea peacefully. After a silent, awkward moment I finally asked her, "So…well, how come you know my name and what did you mean you were expecting me?" she looked up at me and observed my face for a short moment and replied, "I'm sorry, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Anastasiya Belikov and I believe you know my grandson, Dimitri." I know the last part was supposed to be a question but she said it with such finality, it sounded like a statement. But then her words finally sunk in and my heart stopped then restarted and went wild.
Still slightly dumbfounded, I said "wait, you're his grandmother?" I can't believe I found her this easily. I mean, I thought it would take half an hour at the least to find her. She nodded and said "Yes. My grandson was so young and handsome; it's such a shame of what he's become." Snapping out it, I murmured, "oh, so then you already know….?" Thank goodness I wouldn't have to tell her. I did not want to cry in front of this woman. "Why, yes, indeed I do. And I also know all about you, Rose." I just gaped at her in confusion. Then she continued, "You ran away from your Academy with Vasilisa for two years then returned to shortly thereafter have Victor Dashkov torture your best friend, Lissa Dragomir. You have a bond with her that almost could have killed the both of you. And dear Rosemarie, I know you were in love with my grandson and know what you're doing and I must say I greatly admire you to take such risks for love, while carrying a child too!" She beamed at me.
I was at loss for words so I just spoke my mind, "Wait, WHAT?!" I practically yelped I surprised myself but quickly but on a sweet face. And Anastasiya certainly looked surprised at my outburst. Before she could speak I said, "Sorry. But I don't understand. What do you mean the bond could've killed me and Lissa? And what- did you say I was pregnant?"
Anastasiya looked very excited and said in a rush "Ooh, yes. You have been caching Lissa's madness indeed? Well all that madness could have driven you insane and most likely would have led you to suicide. And if you had died so would Lissa." I just stared, trying to process this. "That day," she continued, "when Lissa shadow kissed you, she put a part of her soul into you to revive you to life. But if that part of her ceases to live then so does her other part of her soul, herself. So you see what I'm trying to say?"
"Wait, so you're saying that if I die, Lissa dies?" Anastasiya nodded. "And if Lissa dies first, then I die too?"
"No. you have enough soul to stand on your own, without Lissa. But her soul is divided and she can not live without her other half of her soul. So it wouldn't work the same way with Lissa. So you must be very careful Rose."
"Oh. My. Gosh. This is so horrible." As my mind was reeling another thought came to me. "Why did you say I was carrying a child?"
"Honey, I know Dimitri has told you I'm a ведьма (means witch to Americans), so you would know that I have extra senses and you would believe me when I say that I can…feel another presence in this room coming from where your sitting, perhaps if I feel your stomach I would know for sure…"
Really creeped out, I abruptly stood up and said, "I'm sorry but I have to go but, err thanks for the tea and the…talk, Mrs. Belikov." That's all I said before I darted out of that place, got into my car and slammed the gas pedal as fast and hard as I could.
I wasn't sure where I was going, I was still trying to process this. None of it can be true! I mean Lissa didn't sacrifice that much to save me?! It can't be. And what's wrong with this woman? How could she possibly know this? Why? And could it be true? Then another thought came to me that could determine if she's right. She said she felt another presence coming from me so that doesn't mean I'm pregnant?! It doesn't make sense, I only had sex with one guy, and he was a dhampir for Christ's sake! Dimitri and I could not make kids together! We are both dhampirs! Or, well he was a once a dhampir, but still! I mean what the hell?!
I didn't realize tears where streaming from my face until I couldn't see the road anymore, so I pulled into a half empty parking lot and waited until I could regain my control or at least until I could see again.
Once I did, I realize I had parked into the parking lot of a Russian 24 hour pharmacy. Without hesitating, I got out of the car and went inside. I used the credit card Adrian got me and purchased 3 different brands of pregnancy tests.
I was cleaning the kitchen when I was sucked to one of the many visions I have been waiting for. Rosemarie has finally decided to come and search for me and the rest of my family.
I had been expecting her visit for about a month now. I knew that she was coming to find out anything she could about my grandson, Dimitri. I already did my research on Rose. She has just turned eighteen years old, she dropped out from her dhampir education to search and kill the man she loves, Dimitri.
I have already prepared to give her the information she needs and the crucial bit is something I'm very eager to share with her. Although my psychic ability comes in real handy, it does not tell me what he or she is thinking. So I'm not sure what she already knows or doesn't know. I figure I should just start out by telling both, things she already knows and things she may not know.
I see Rose driving out here in a red car. Her face determined. Then I see her passing along the few houses that live on my block. The time in her car says 12:23. Seeing as her surroundings are very dark, it only means that this is night time.
So Rose still follows the Moroi time. I heave out a sigh; I just hope I can stay awake for about seven more hours.
The house is quiet I could hear soft conversations flowing from upstairs. This from by the sounds of it means that my granddaughters Katerina, Natalya, Sofya and my daughter Arina won't be asleep for a while.
I make my way upstairs where all the bedrooms are located, and knock on the first door on the right. The door opens to reveal my two youngest granddaughters Natalya and Sofya dressed in comfortable nightgowns and supposedly getting ready for bed. Natalya and Sofya share one of the five bedrooms in this house. Since they are the most talkative it was almost passé to give them a room to themselves.
"Почти готовый к кровати? (Almost ready for bed?)" I ask.
"Да, великая мама.(Yes, grand mama)" Sofya replies.
"Хорошо, хорошо получите к кровати рано Вас два.(Okay, well get to bed early you two.)" I sweetly say then gently shut the door.
I move on to the next door on the right to Katerina's bedroom. Underneath the door it was dark, as if she had turned out all her lights and is asleep already. My poor Katerina. She works so hard everyday at her job she barely gets any sleep. But seeing as its Saturday night she has the afternoon off so it's wonderful she's catching up on her sleep. I am always so proud of Katerina when ever she is not working she always puts on a happy face and spends whatever time she can with her family. I swear, my Katerina is the nicest and kindest person you'll ever meet in your life. Instead of bothering her, I silently move on to the last door on the right to Arina's room.
Her bedroom door is open but when I look beyond the doorframe I see my daughter lying on the bed reading a large book written in Russian. For a few short seconds, I take in her face. Her face is very beautiful, even without makeup she had the prettiest face in town. But that was before she got involved with Isaak. Isaak was the man that returned to Arina almost every night. He had constantly used her and he was not very nice about it. If she were to have defied her or said something he did not like he would hit her. Arina's face is now covered in multiple scars. He was a very sick man, he both hit her and scraped her face with his long nails or he'd get crafty and use…other things. Even though Dimitri had beaten up Isaak a long time ago, the scars he left her are permanent. Since that day he has not returned to this house anymore. Thank god.
I softly say, "Доброй ночи, моя дочь.(Goodnight, my daughter.)"
She replies in a kindvoice, "Доброй ночи, мама.(Goodnight, mama.)"
I head downstairs and tidy up the first floor. When I realize, how would Rose find me?
I walk to the basement where I have all my psychic equipment such as tarot cards, my psychic books, spell kits, essential oils, candles, herbs, etc.
I bring out all my essential oils and mix a couple together, and then I dip my fingers and use my fingertips to surround the entire stick of one of my candles. I light the candle then I focus all my magic on attracting Rose only to this house. I concentrate on that for a few minutes until I feel confident that she will come to this house.
I walk back up to the first floor and look at the time. Its 11:31 pm. I was starting to feel drowsiness coming over me so I decided to sit outside for a while. I trudged outside and almost immediately after I open the front door I feel exactly what I needed. The cold air refreshes me and makes me more alert.
Instead of thinking about Rosemarie or Dimitri, I reminisce back to my dhampir days. I was a pretty damn good guardian back in the day. I remember how fast I was and all 16 of those strigoi's I took down. Yeah, I was a badass then. But then I met Anton. He was one of the nicest Moroi men I have met. We had love and we often made love but I had wanted to carry his child so we did and then I had Arina. It was a happy story in the making; I cut my guardian duties to take care of my child that I loved so much. And me and Anton still continued to see each other but then 5 years after Arina was born, he was killed by a blonde strigoi.
So after then I never hooked up with another man again. He was the love of my life. And this is why I completely understand why Rose feels like she could do this, with or without that promise she and Dimitri made.
I didn't realize how long I was out here but then I felt a settling feeling in my stomach. It was then I saw a red car park in front of my house. I saw Rose approaching me and she barely got out a few words before I said, "Ahh, Rosemarie Hathaway." She stopped and I continued, "I've been waiting for you." She finally got her voice and said "I'm sorry, but do I know you?" I laughed; perhaps I came out a little too strong. But I was already so eager to tell her what I know.
"Rose, I have much to explain. Please come inside where it's much warmer." I got up and lead the way inside. I told her to sit down while I went to get the cups of tea I had prepared. I offered her one and she took it. I then felt the weirdest sensation that it was not just me and Rose in this room. I carefully took in the room to be sure that none of the girls were in this room. They weren't. So I channeled my ability to find out who else was in this room, when I felt the extra presence coming from exactly where Rose was sitting. Whoa. Wait. That can only mean that Rose is…
"So…well, how come you know my name and what did you mean you were expecting me?" Rose interrupted my thoughts. I introduced my self kindly and whisked through what I already knew about her. I was about to tell her the crucial bit about Dimitri when she stopped me and practically shouted, "Wait, WHAT?!"
I admit I was surprised by her outburst; she apologized and then questioned everything I just told her. I had thought she was already aware of all this. Of Lissa's bond and of her pregnancy. I thought she of all should know that she was pregnant.
"Oh. My. Gosh." She spoke. "This is so horrible… Why did you say I was carrying a child?"
Suddenly keen about telling her this, I tried to calm down but messed up in the end. "Honey, I know Dimitri has told you I'm a ведьма, so you would know that I have extra senses and you would believe me when I say that I can…feel another presence in this room coming from where you're sitting, perhaps if I feel your stomach I would know for sure…" I slowly inched my way towards her. Because now using my senses, I could also sense something that I know happens through reproduction and I could feel the tiniest, tiniest bit my blood running through her. No. this can't be. If my blood runs in her body then that could only mean that she is carrying Dimitri's child! If I could just touch her stomach then I would know for sure…
Abruptly she stood up and said "I'm sorry but I have to go but, err thanks for the tea and the…talk, Mrs. Belikov." I could sense her discomfort. She quickly walked across the room, opened the front door and ran to her car. I could hear the car accelerate and like that she was gone.
I may have gone a little overboard unleashing all this information to her but I did not mean to creep her out or anything. I had thought she would've known all this, well I guess not.
I was pulled into another vision. I could see Rose entering the pharmacy and purchasing a handful of pregnancy tests. She had been crying. Perhaps she already knows that if/when it comes out positive she knows whose baby it is.
When she realizes that I was right then she would come back and be ready to open her mind so we could save Dimitri's soul.