FROSTBITE- Demitri's Point of View
I was standing next to the Honda Pilot checking the time. Rose was late again. She was always late, so it was not surprise. That's why I always told her to meet me twenty minutes before the actual time she needed to meet me, that way she was actually on time. I looked up just in time to see her jogging over.
"I know, I know", she said. "Sorry I'm late". I gave her a stern look to show my disappointment, but inside I was laughing. If she only knew.
Rose stood in front of me looking deep in thought. Her dark hair was pulled back into a messy pony and she looked as though she had just rolled out of bed. I couldn't help thinking she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Just then the snow started to fall turning her into a Rose angel.
"Who else is going?" she asked, pulling me from my babbling mind. I shrugged "just you and me" hoping to pull off like it was not big deal. Roses mood changed and it looked as though I had told her she had just won the lottery.
"How far is it?"
"Five hours" I told her wishing it was five days.
"Oh" was all she said.
The road was dim and covered in snow, but it didn't matter for my dehampir eyes. I could see just fine. The car was quiet except for the light music I was listening to. Rose sat next to me starring out the window deep in thought. I knew she must be nervous . We were headed to visit a guardian that would give her the most important test of her life, The qualifier. It was a test usually given junior year to determine if a novice was committed enough to stay on the path to becoming a guardian. Usually, the test was given during Junior year, but Rose happened to be on "vacation" at that time.
"Don't they usually come to the academy?" she asked. "I mean, I'm all for the field trip, but why are we going to them?"
"Actually, you are just going to a him, not a them." I told her. "Since this is a special case and he's doing us a favor, we're the ones making the trip."
"Who is he?"
Rose jumped a little in her seat and stared at me with wide eyes.
"What?" she squeaked
I knew she knew who he was. They had to study about his exploits as part of their curriculum.
"Wasn't....wasn't there anyone else available?" She asked in a small voice.
I had to hide a smile. "You'll be fine. Besides if Art approves of you, that's a great recommendation to have on your record."
The car once again fell silent. Rose sat next to me biting her lip thinking. I could almost see the wheels turning in her head.
"You'll be fine," I told her again. "The good in your record outweighs the bad." Rose smiled over at me. Just that one action melted my heart turning me into butter. I didn't understand how this girl could cause such reactions within me. My heart was beating a mile a minute just from a smile. I knew it was wrong, but I was in love with Rose Hathaway. It's a really good thing I have such good control, because she could never know.
"Thanks coach," she teased snuggling back into her seat.
"I'm hear to help," I said. I kept my mind focused on the music playing and relaxed a little myself. This was nice just the two of us in the car. I could handle it.
"You know what would really help?" she asked not looking at me.
"If you turned off this crap music and put on something on that came out after the Berlin wall went down."
I did have to laugh at that. "Your worst class is history, yet somehow you know everything about Eastern Europe."
"Hey, gotta have material for my jokes, comrade."
I really hated when she called me comrade. But that was my nickname from her. If she didn't call me Dimitri, it was comrade and I had gotten used to it. Still smiling I changed the radio to a country station knowing well that she would hate it just as much.
"Hey! This isn't what I had in mind", she said.
I was almost about to laugh again. "Pick, It's one or the other."
She sighed. "Go back to the 1980's stuff."
Arthur and the family he protect (the Badicas), lived in a small town along I-90, not far from Billings. Rose had convinced me to stop for food at a 24 hour diner so between that and stopping for gas it was around noon when we arrived. The house was built in a rambler styler, all one level with gray-stained wood siding and big bay windows- tinted to block sunlight of course. Pretty much what I expected from a member of the royal family.
As we got out of the car I could feel my stomach turn with anticipation. I was actually nervous for Rose. I knew she was going to do fine, but still, I was nervous none the less. We jumped out of the pilot sinking into an inch of snow and headed towards the house. Rose slipped on the ice covered sidewalk and I instantly reached out to steady her. It brought back the memory of the night we met, when I had caught her from a similar fall.
"You okay?" I asked her releasing my hold.
"Yeah," she said, glaring at the sidewalk. I could tell she was probably using some pretty fowl language inside her mind.
"Haven't these people ever heard of salt?"
I came to a stop in the middle of the walkway and tensed ready for anything that might come at me. The untouched surroundings nipping at me. Something was not right. Slowly, I approached the front door and studied it. It wasn't open, but it wasn't shut all the way either. It looked as though someone had left in a hurry. I jiggled the loose handle and it felt as though it had been broken. My heart started beating faster. Something was defiantly not right here. I looked at Rose and my heart sunk. She should'nt see this. She is not ready. I knew what I would find when I walked into the house.
" Rose, go wait in the car." I told her
"GO." I cut her off filling that single word with enough force to put a little fear into her. I just hoped she would stay in the car.
I waited until she had quietly shut the door to go in. When I stepped inside, the house was cold. I could feel a slight breeze coming from the other room. That's when I saw them. There were bodies everywhere. Their throats had been torn out, and they had been left here to rot. If we hadn't come today, who knows how long it would have taken for someone to find them.
I walked towards the back of the house not touching anything, but making sure it was safe and trying to mentally take notes of the surrounding horror. A few minutes later I heard a door sliding open. I grabbed my stake out of its sheath and quietly made my way to the other room.
Rose stood their, her eyes wide taking in the horror. I could tell she was about to scream. I put my hand over her mouth to quiet it. She struggled for a few moments and then became still.
"Why," I asked, "don't you ever listen? You'd be dead if they were still here."
I removed my hand from her mouth and she stood their staring at me with wide sad eyes. I didn't want her to see this. She was so young. It broke my heart.
"It's daytime," she whispered. Bad things don't happen in the day" I could hear the desperation in her voice.
"Bad things happen anytime," I told her. "And this didn't happen during the day. It probably happened a couple of nights ago."
Rose turned and took another look at the bodies. Her eyes scanned the room and came to stop at one in particular.
"Arthur Schoenberg", I told her.
"He's dead" she said as though it wasn't perfectly obvious. "How can he be dead? How could a strigoi kill Arthur Schoenberg?"
I didn't answer her. Instead I moved my hand easily to the stake that she held. She flinched a little, but released her grip and handed it over. "Where, did you get this?" I asked.
"Outside, in the ground."
I held it up studying it. "It broke the ward."
Rose was taking it all in. She looked as though she was fighting with herself. She must have been thinking the same thing I was. Because she repeated my thoughts back to me. " Strigoi cant touch stakes, and no moroi or dehampir would do it." My heart sunk as I said the next thing to her, because this would change everything forever. "A human might."
She met my eyes. She looked so sad and scared. "humans don't help strigoi-". She stopped in the middle of her statement. She looked like she was about to lose her lunch right then and their. The realization hit her at that moment, that no one else would have helped a strigoi. It had to be a human. She was fighting an internal war, trying to understand what she was feeling. What was going on around her and how things were forever going to change. "This changes everything, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, it does."