Watching her now, it baffles me how we got here. As her chest and stomach rises and falls, with her breathing. I can't help but wonder how this all came to be.
The city is alive as a busy New York morning takes place. I'm still not quite used to the noise and movement, but it's only because Baia was so calm and hidden.
Roza said it was only until she could go back to work again and then we were going to find a calmer and suitable place to live. I honestly didn't care where we lived, just as long as I had my family with me, we would be okay.
I stare out the balcony window, drinking my hot chocolate and think back to the moments that have been so vague to me. The time I found Roza outside the shop, bleeding and crying. The moment Stan kicked the door open and yelled, rushing me and Roza out of there because Viktor sent his men after her. The time my mother was crying hysterically after my so called father came for his "visits". The vaguest memory was the night I nearly lost myself in the fight against my father. It was more of a beating then a fight. I wouldn't let him harm my mother or sisters anymore, I'd had enough.
The times where I was always sad and depressed, those memories have faded. Now I had better things to remember, times that always bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. The moment I first saw Rose; how her messy hair and confused yet sad expression, ate at me like acid. I wanted to ask her what was wrong, try and make her feel better, but I didn't even know her then. The moment she first talked to me and how she didn't let her image fade her. She looked broken and pained, but her strength in herself surprised me. It kept me interested.
One of the greatest memories I have was when she kissed me.
It was raining, it rained that whole week. I remember quite exact. We just got back from my house, after my mother had me bring Roza to dinner. She asked her to stay in the house with us, but Roza felt like she was intruding.
She was so wrong, they liked her. My family knew her past and accepted her anyway, because it was just that, her past.
"You could be forgiven of the wrong in your life, as long as you are looking to make it right" Yeva told her.
Roza seemed to be amazed by how kind my family and friends were towards her. She even asked if I had to pay them to act like they did. I laughed and told her no, it was just the way we were.
We got to the shop and I opened up the door for her, she reached over and closed it softly. We were standing in the rain.
"Rose, it's raining. Let's get inside."
She smiled and looked up to the sky with her big beautiful brown eyes. "Come on Comrade; enjoy the rain with me for like two seconds. Quit being so serious for once"
I looked to her, speechless the whole time while she was closing her eyes and letting the rain grace her beautiful face.
Comrade. I hated that name, but when I didn't hear it for a long amount of time; I have to admit I missed it.
She focused back on me and caught me staring at her. "Why do you look at me like that?" she asked with a slight smirk on her lips.
"Like what?" She smiled fully now, letting me see the lines on her face caused by her action. It didn't make her look old, it made her look amazing and young.
Slowly she stepped closer to me, making me warmer at the closeness of our bodies. Her face was so close to mine, I could hear her whisper. "Like you see something?"
"I don't know, I just do, Roza."
She gets a flirty and playful look in her eyes. "You see something you like, Comrade?"
I smile and lean closer, tempting, but I already know that I'm not going to kiss her. "Yes."
She doesn't move her body, just her arms as they wrap around my neck and she stares in my eyes. Then her lips as they part and capture mine in a kiss. I instantly forget giving her space and not fighting to kiss her. I hold her hips as close as possible to my own and kiss her back with everything I have.
She pulls back, making me ache at the space between us. "How come you didn't do that sooner?" I look confused and embarrassed but just shrug and squeeze her to me. She smiles and kisses my lips quickly. "Goodnight Dimitri"
As she walks in the door, I see her face in a confused expression. This was when she didn't think she deserved me, she didn't think she was worthy of me. So she pulled away and a week later she left.
Once that memory ended, a new one quickly rushed into me. In the back storage room: the fold out couch was old and uncomfortable, but Roza insisted on staying here. I even stayed a couple nights with her, as she often asked me to.
She didn't want to be alone some nights. Some days it was easy to tell if she did sleep or not. When I'd ask her, she mumble something about not wanting to make a pest of herself and there were probably better things I had to do then stay with her.
She was wrong, I would be there gladly. Most times she didn't have to ask me. I would lay awake in my empty bed and stare out the window- wondering if she was warm enough or lonely.
So I'd get up and sneak out of the house, although Karolina caught me a couple of times and even had food and hot chocolate ready to go for me and Rose. It was after I brought her back to Baia. I found her easily after she left, since she didn't know Russia well.
Rose was cleaning the tables and we were sort of dating already. I wanted her to move in my house, but she refused. I asked her and asked her, only to be told no every time. I wanted her with me always.
So as we were closing up shop one night, I got the itch again. Expecting her to once again tell me no and that if I askedagain, she would hurt my favorite body part. It was silent as we cleaned; it was comfortable as always though.
"Karolina says she's tired of coming home from the late shift and making you food..."
She kept her back to me and shrugged. "So tell her not to. I never asked her to do that you know?"
I smiled and shook my head. "She said it would be easier if you were there, you could just do it yourself and maybe make some for her..."
I smiled at myself and her as she turned around and glared at me. She already knew where I was going with this. She sighed and stands quiet as I put things away on the counter.
Silence with Rose was always comfortable and easy, but this one was kind of suspenseful. I didn't look up to her, keeping my head down and awaiting for her rejection.
"Why?"She asked simply. I look up, freezing from my work. I look at her in confusion, but after a moment I grasp what she was asking.
I shrugged. Yeah, stupid I know. She sighed and folded her arms against her chest. "I'm going to need a better reason than that!'
I stared at her in hope, realizing she wanted a good enough reason to do this. I would give her that reason, not just a good one, a great one. A reason she wouldn't and couldn't deny me anymore.
I needed to tell her already. She needed to hear it or so I assumed. I was breaking inside, hiding my true feelings from her. I had to let it out and see where it goes. If it goes anywhere.
I shrugged and went back to work, looking her in the eyes as I did so. "Because I love you," I said it like it was the most natural and obvious thing in the world. It was that simple really, I did love her.
After another quiet moment and possibly after she came out of shock, she answered. "...Okay."
I looked over at her and searched her eyes, finding what I needed to see. She smiled and called me over. I smiled and quickly made my way to her, holding her in that moment. We stayed like that for awhile, just taking each other in and kissing every once or twice.
A loud horn outside snapped me out of the memory. Looking out the window, it was sort of cold outside, but the sun was out. We only had about an hour in a half to get where we were supposed to be today. So I had to wake up my love and get ready. This was always fun to do, not really.
When I got up from the window and turned around, her eyes were wide awake and focused on me. I smiled at her. "Morning baby."
Leaning in for a quick kiss to her forehead. "Morning Comrade..." She smiles and stretches, sitting up in the bed. "What time is it?"
I look to the clock and sigh, we were going to be late. Again. "It's time to get ready for the day baby. We only have little while to get there."
She sighs and rubs her stomach. "Okay, okay I'm going..." She gets up and walks to the bathroom in our one bedroom apartment. It's small for us, but that's all we need at the moment. Now that there's family coming to visit, I wanted to get a bigger place.
I walk to the kitchen and began making breakfast. I could be ready in minutes, she however, took her time and even more now and days it seemed.
She walks out and heads to the closet, getting clothes for the day. Those also changed for the time being. "How long is the train ride Comrade?"
I laugh to myself. "It's called the subway and you will look beautiful in anything, just put some clothes on."
She turns to me and glares. I know any minute now that sarcastic attitude is about to take place. We have this argument almost every morning. "Says the man with no style. I have to look good, okay..."
I smile and set breakfast on the table. "Okay, come and eat."
She walks to the table and sits across from me. Dressed in her loose top and skinny jeans, she looks more 10 than 6. She looks at me with a smug smile. "What?"
She shakes her head. "Can you tell me again, please?"
I finish chewing my eggs and look to her and shrug. "Okay, but you have to try and hurry when I'm finished"
Her smile gets bigger and she sticks her tongue out at me. I shake my head and try to attempt to keep my laugh away. It reminds me of something.
"Dimitri in the three years we have known each other, I'm surprised you still think you can lie to me. You forget Comrade, I can read you like a cheesy western novel." She laughs at her attempt at a joke. "So admit it, you want a boy..." I just shake my head and try and keep from laughing myself. Rose just sticks her tongue out at me.
Out of all the memories, good and bad, I will never forget the one distinct memory that makes me feel like this- like I can do anything. My heart was Rose's when I met her. I got to know her and fell in love with her. That woman, whose strength still surprises me today.
I never knew I could love anything or anyone else as much as Rose. When it happened, I knew it was what I wanted. I knew it was what she wanted, there were attempts before. We lost two along the way, Rose blamed herself and grew distant because she thought she couldn't give me what we wanted. What I deserved, she said.
When Roza said she was pregnant and everything was okay, I nearly lost my mind in happiness. It's the memory I will carry with me, along with the moment said she loved me.
We were walking home from the diner as usual. Rose worked there in the mornings and sometimes during the evening. She was quiet all that morning and even after work.
We headed for the stairs and stopped at our door, but I didn't unlock it yet. "Are you okay, Rose?"
She snapped her attention back to me. A small nervous smile at her lips. "Yeah..." I took a minute and waited for her to continue but after she didn't, I opened the door. I followed her inside as she turned on the lights in our home.
I caught the box on the kitchen table. It was a pregnancy test and I lightly heard Rose's footsteps slowly coming towards me. I looked inside and did a double take. It was positive, we were having a baby.
I turned towards Rose and back to the test in the box, holding it carefully. I looked to her and her to me, in our silent gaze, she nodded. A thousand messages were passed through both of us. We were expecting a child together, something I couldn't be more proud of.
Once I was looking at the ultra sound picture of our baby, on the fridge. It's been there since the doctor took it all those months ago. We were careful with this pregnancy.
Rose didn't want to take any chances and I found myself more protective of her than ever. We decided that we didn't want to know the sex of the baby at first, but curiosity kept getting to Rose. So she found out wewere expecting a girl.
"A baby girl can you believe it?" I smiled and asked my mother.
She called just as we arrived back from the doctor. "That's so wonderful Dimka. I'm truly happy for you and Roza. Where is she? Where is my future daughter in law?"
I laugh quietly. "She's in the restroom; she has to pee every five minutes she says. It's only been fifteen."
We both laugh and Rose comes out of the bathroom and heads to the kitchen. "Mama asked how have you been?"
I hand her the phone and they begin their girl chit chat. I watch observantly as Roza is in conversation, absently rubbing her stomach with her free hand.
Waiting for Amelia to get her coat and backpack, I remember those moments about her.
It was the most treasured time for me. I gained two beautiful women to love in my life. For the past six years, during every breakfast, I've told Amelia about the day we discovered she was coming into our lives.
Or the moment her mother found out she was having a girl. Her favorite is the story about how Roza and I fell in love and how we went through so much to be together. My favorite memory of Roza, was the last time I'd seen her truly happy, it was when she decided to name our daughter Amelia.
"Amelia Belikov and she is going to be the most beautiful and smartest baby ever."
I laughed. "How do you know that?"
She smiled. "Cause she's ours, Comrade. I'm going to love her so much." She said as she gazed at her oversized belly, both hands on it.
I couldn't wait to meet my future tiny version of Rose. It was everything to me.
When Amelia was born, Roza had lost a lot of blood.
It was why we lost the first two. She wasn't even aware of her illness, until it was too late.
Amelia was born around two o'clock in the afternoon. Roza died ten minutes later. My world came crashing down. I was alone. Without my soul mate, but then I looked at Amelia and how much she looked liked her mother.
I would take care of her, protect her and love her as I promised Roza I would do.
"Okay I'm ready, Comrade.' I smile at my daughter.
I should have never told her the nickname her mother had for me.
A huge thank you to Tani Mar for doing her Beta thing.