I was walking through the Moroi Court to get to my room when I saw him. Dimitri was sitting at a café table drinking coffee. I knew I would only find more heartbreak if I tried talking to him. I didn't want to go anywhere near that table but after several minutes of studying the surrounding area I found that there was no way out of it. I had to walk past the table of my past lover. The lover I was still in love with.
I squeezed my purse closer to my body for a quick second before speed walking past the table. I was starting to exit the café area when my heart finally started to calm down. He hadn't talked to me and I hadn't talked to him, we hadn't even looked at each other. Everything had gone as planned.
Then I heard his voice.
After a few seconds I turned around to find him running at me. He stopped right next to me and said.
"What the hell is this?"
He was holding out a piece of paper, one that had been in my purse as of a few minutes ago. Shit, it must have fallen out. Why did he have to be the one who found it?
The piece of paper in Dimitri's hand was my suicide note. It went something like this.
To whoever finds this note,
You've probably figured out by now that I'm dead, I killed myself. Everything hurts too much now. So I've decided to stake myself in the heart, the part of me that hurts the most.
I looked Dimitri in the eyes to find that he wasn't trying to hide his emotions. The pain and worry were as obvious as his Russian accent.
I chose to answer in a very Rose Hathaway fashion.
"What do you think it is Comrade? Isn't itself explanatory?"
"Rose . . ."
He was trying to find something to say to me, but he couldn't find the right words. He was looking at the floor, not daring to meet my eyes.
After a few seconds hesitation he looked me in the eyes and said.
"You honestly think that just because you say that I shouldn't do something I won't do it? You know me better then that Dimitri."
"I'm not going to let you do this,"
"Don't Dimitri, nothing you say or do is going to change my mind. This is what I want now."
I started to turn away despite the fact that I wanted to stay and talk to him forever, when he grabbed my arm and spun me back around to face him. He yelled.
"No Rose this isn't what you want! You don't want to do this! I know you don't want this!"
He whispered, he was almost begging.
"You can't do this . . . you can't do this."
I caressed his cheek and whispered.
"Yes Dimitri, I can do this."
"You can't leave me like that! You can't just kill yourself!"
Anger burned through me like a scorching hot fire as I said.
"I can't leave you, but it's alright for you to leave and break my heart as you go?"
All the pain in Dimitri's eyes left and was replaced with uncontrollable anger, we were just like each other.
"This is completely different! I'm still alive! You're threatening to kill yourself! If you died I wouldn't be able to see you . . . wouldn't be able to see you."
By the end of his emotional monologue Dimitri was back to almost crying. It irritated me that he was flipping between anger and pain so much. I wanted to scream at him.
"Chose Dimitri! It's one of the other! Anger or pain! Me or Tasha!"
Instead I said.
"You of all people should be happy about my death."
Tears spilled down his cheeks as he said.
"Why would I be happy right now?"
"Once I'm dead you and Tasha can continue your romance without me interrupting."
"Rose you know why I can't be with you . . . ."
"Then you shouldn't be trying to talk me out of suicide. Let me die, and whatever feelings you have for me will die along with me."
Why? Why would Rose even think of this? Had I hurt her that much? Had I hurt her to the point where she thought death was the only escape? I had, I knew I had, she wanted to die and it was all my fault.
I wanted to pull her into my arms and scream.
"You can't kill yourself Rose! If you die you'll take a part of me with you! You'll take the only part of me that can feel happiness!"
But I couldn't do that, I had to hide my feelings. I continued to try and talk her out of it.
"Rose think of Lissa, you can't leave her without a guardian."
I had honestly thought that Rose would crack there. That she would give up her crazy death plan and say that she wouldn't stake herself. But this was Roza, and Roza wouldn't give this up easily.
"That's what you're for Dimitri."
Shock ran through me, making my heart ache even more then it had a few moments before. I said.
"W-what do you mean?"
"You refuse to leave Lissa's side since she saved you. You won't let a Strigoi touch her. She'll be perfectly fine with you as her guardian."
No! No! No! NO! She was not using my promise to protect Lissa against me! She couldn't! I had to protect Lissa! She turned me back into a Dhampir, I owed Lissa my life! I also owed her my only connection to Rose, something I treasured more than anything else. I lied and said.
"Lissa has nothing to do with this! I owe her my life! You're a part of her through the bond! If I let you die I won't be protecting her!"
I looked into her eyes, hoping she bought the bait. What I saw in her eyes scared me; I thought I might have been having a heart attack.
I saw the pieces click into her brain, her plan for suicide turned to concrete. There was no talking her out of it; I had glued her plan together with my words. The words that said I was only trying to save her for Lissa, the words that were a lie.
She didn't have to say anything, her eyes told me everything and she knew that. I said.
"Rose . . ."
But I was too late. Tears were pooling in her eyes and all of her emotions were plan on her face. There was a trace of sadness, but mostly pain. Pain that squeezed my heart and made me want to die. Pain that I had placed there, pain that had been caused by me.
She started to walk away from me. I stumbled after her and said.
She shook her head and continued walking.
I started sobbing and my guards came and grabbed me. They started to handcuff me and one of them said.
"Come on Belikov, a little time in your cell should do you some good."
I pushed both of them off of me and ran to Rose. I grabbed her arm and spun her around to face me. I said.
"Rose you are not going to kill yourself! I'm not going to let you kill yourself because I love you too much! I can't live knowing that I let you die!"
I fell to the ground and buried my face in my hands. A few seconds later I heard my guards running up to grab me again. Rose said.
"No! Stay away from him!"
I felt her arms wrap protectively around me, blocking me from their view. She said.
"Don't come any closer to him!"
What? Was this really happening? Was Rose protecting me? Can she still love me? After I nearly got her to kill herself?
I felt her cup my cheek in her hand, she said.
"Dimitri, lift your head up. Look at me."
I met her eyes, her big brown eyes that let me pear straight into her gorgeous soul, she said.
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."
I knew, I knew she was lying. She knew she wasn't fine, knew that she wasn't in a safe place right now. I said.
"I can tell you're lying Rose."
She took a deep breath and said.
"Some wounds take a longer time to heal then others. I'll be fine once the hole closes."
Hole, she had a hole in her heart just like I did. I knew that pain, and it wasn't getting better and it wasn't getting worse. It just sat there, a permanent reminder of what I had done to Rose.
"Everything will be fine Dimitri,"
I could hear the uncertainty in her voice. I said.
"No Roza, this isn't fine, you aren't fine."
"It's just a little depression; it'll go away in a few months. If Lissa can turn you back into a Dhampir then I can kick this thing in its ass."
"I don't want you to cut yourself; I don't want you to go through that."
She gave me a sad smile and said.
"It's a little too late for that."
"Rose tell me you didn't . . .?"
She pulled one of her sleeves up to reveal about five slits. The skin around them was red and puffy, she had an infection. I said.
"Rose they look infected!"
"They are, it's hurts more that way."
I pulled her to her feet and started leading her to my room. I had a first aid kit there and I needed to clean out her cuts. She asked.
"Where are we going?"
"My room, I need to clean those cuts out."
After the short walk across court we reached my room. It wasn't very big, a small kitchen with a table for two, a family room with a couch and TV and my bedroom. I sat her on the couch before going into the hallway and grabbing the first aid kit from the closet.
I sat down next to her and held out my hand for her wrist. She placed it in my hand and a shot of electricity ran through me. Judging by the look on her face she had felt it too. I stared into her eyes, drinking them in as if I was dehydrated and only her beautiful, dark brown eyes could save me. Then I mentally disdained myself. I was here to give her medical attention, not to spark the romantic feelings we shared.
I directed my attention to her wrist, I poured rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and dabbed it on her wrist. It must have hurt because she tried to pull away. I tightened my grasp and continued to clean.
The silence between us wasn't uncomfortable, it was warm and heated. I enjoyed being with her like this, and I knew she liked it too. Which meant I couldn't let it continue. I brought up a subject that I knew would be a sore spot. I said.
"How are things with Adrian?"
She flinched again and I knew it wasn't from the first aid; she didn't want to talk about Adrian either. But that didn't stop her from answering. She said.
"He's pissed at me."
I knew Rose would answer, we trusted each other.
"It's starting to bug him that part of me is still devoted to . . . someone else."
"Oh . . ."
I knew that "someone else" was me. Part of me rejoiced with the fact that she still loved me. But a different part told me that it was a good thing, she needed to move on with her new boyfriend and her feelings for me were destroying their . . . relationship.
"Yea, it's safe to say that Adrian hates you. I don't understand why my feelings for you are starting to bother him now. He knew I still loved you when I came back from Russia."
I had started cleaning her other wrist; I tightened my grip in shock. I said in a somewhat pissed voice.
"This has been going on that long?"
"I needed money to go after you; I got that money from Adrian, all he wanted in return was for me to give him a chance. So I agreed. He actually funded my trip to Las Vegas with Lissa."
I didn't see how that had anything to do with what we were talking about. But I found something to add anyway.
"You shouldn't have taken Lissa there, do you know how many Strigoi are in that city?"
"We didn't have a choice, Victor's brother lives there and we needed to talk to him."
"You tracked down Victor Dashkov's brother? After what Victor did to Lissa?"
I was in complete shock. I never thought Rose would put her charge in danger like this. I was wrapping bandages around her wrists and took my anger out by pulling them tighter. She looked up at the ceiling and said.
"Actually I tracked down Victor and had him take us to his brother."
I shook my head.
"No, that's impossible. Victor's in jail."
"You really need to catch up on guardian news. Victor "escaped", they still don't know where he is and who helped him get out."
"You broke Victor out of prison."
"I told you I did things for you that were outrageous, even for me."
That was erratic and risky, even for Rose Hathaway. She could be killed! She could lose her job!
"Why in hell would you do that?"
I was losing control; Rose realized this but didn't change anything about our conversation. She said.
"They had information I needed, information about how to change a Strigoi back into a Dhampir."
Rose broke someone out of prison for me! She really did love me. My heart was pounding in my chest; Rose and I were in love. She knew that and I knew that. But why couldn't I act on it? The answer: my guilt from when I was Strigoi, I didn't deserve her after what I did to those people . . . what I had done to her.
"But why did you let him go?"
"That wasn't the original plan, but when a pack of Strigoi attack your charge you forget to watch the prisoners."
"Oh . . ."
I remembered that fight. Rose had prevented Eddie from killing me, and I had taken more than several lives. Guilt coursed through me and I hung my shoulders in shame. Rose placed her hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes and said.
"What you did then has nothing to do with who you are now."
It was then that I decided to come clean to her. I said.
"I'll never forgive myself for killing those people. But they're dead, their suffering is over. You're the only one I didn't kill; you're the only one that's still suffering because of my actions."
"Dimitri do you remember when I didn't let you feed on me? That one time I told you no?"
"Don't you see Dimitri? I let you feed on me, if I had something against it I would have told you no the first time you tried to bite me. I let you drink from me because I love you. That's why what happened in Russia doesn't bother me."
At first I got angry at her for not trying to understand how I felt but then her words sunk in. She had let me drink from her, she had the ability to tell me no the entire time we were in Russia but she never used it. What happened in Russia really didn't bother her.
That's when I decided that I wasn't going to pretend not to love Rose. It wasn't good for either of us. We could help each other with our problems. I could help her battle her depression and she could help me work on my guilt.
The next thing I did was very Rose Hathaway. But at the same time it was very Dimitri Belikov, because Roza and I are similar.
I pulled Roza into my arms and kissed her with a blazing passion that set our bodies on fire. Our bodies seemed to connect to each other and then join as one. After we had been kissing for a few minutes I pulled back and asked the question that I knew was what I needed to feel like my soul was whole again.
"Will you marry me Roza?"
Her face filled with joy as she pulled me into a hug and said.
"Yes! Yes! Are you sure you want this? I know I do but you're being really emotional right now and I think you might be a tad confused about what you want."
"I know what I need to make my soul whole again, I need you Roza, you've made that clear today."
Tears escaped from Roza's eyes and I wiped them away with my thumb. I said.
"Do you just want to go to the court house and do this now or have an actual wedding?"
"What do you want?"
I smiled and said.
"I want you to be my wife today."
We got up from the couch and left my room for the court house. Rose was going to be my wife in a few short minutes. That day went a lot better than expected!
An hour later
Dimitri's hand was in mine, we were back in the café having a snack when Lissa and Christian walked up to us. Our hands separated before Christian and Lissa could see us. They sat down with us, Christian and Dimitri started talking.
A wave of anger hit me through the bond. Lissa was glaring at me. I said.
"What did I do?"
She spoke in my mind.
"Leave Dimitri alone. I'm sorry I have to be the one to remind you of this but he doesn't love you anymore. Nothing you do is going to make him love you. I'm sorry Rose."
That's when I realized what this must look like to her. I said.
"Lissa it's nothing like that I swear, we're just talking."
Her anger was gone and was replaced with pity for me. She said.
"Talking about what?"
The correct answer: Our life together, how to have babies in a few years (he wanted them and marriage has sacrifice), where we were going to live, the important things married couples talk about.
The answer I told Lissa-
"You're a terrible liar Rose,"
"It was nothing, just talking."
Dimitri cut in and said.
"Can we tell them our good news Mrs. Belikova?"
I smiled and said.
"Dimitri and I got married today."
Happiness hit me through the bond as Lissa threw her arms around me and said.
"Ohmigod! You're married! Why didn't you tell me you guys were dating?"
"We weren't dating. Today just happened to be the day that we realized that our love is too strong to be ignored."
"Awww! Rose you never told me that Dimitri was a big, romantic teddy bear!"
I laughed and said.
"You have your own teddy bear, this one's mine."
"Did you tell your Mom that you got married yet?"
I felt the blood drain from my face and I whispered.
"I don't want my teddy bear ripped up just yet."
Lissa took my hand and said.
"She can't hurt him over the phone, she deserves to know."
I sighed, knowing Lissa was right. I said.
"I guess this means I'll have to call Abe too."
The table fell silent and I said.
"I forgot you don't know about him! I met my Dad while I was in Russia."
"Your Dad's Russian?"
I laughed and said.
"No, he followed me there. Your family knew him though."
"Abe . . . are we talking about Abe Mazur?"
"You've heard of him?"
His eyes widened in shock as he said.
"That's your Dad?"
I laughed and said.
"Who do you think I got my sarcasm from?"
"Rose you do know he does a lot of illegal things?"
"Yep, but I don't know much about him. I should warn you though; he likes to threaten the men I'm involved with."
Dimitri laughed a purely blissful sound that I hadn't heard in far too long. It lifted my spirits even higher.
"So if your Mom doesn't kill me he will?"
Dimitri put his arms around me and said.
"Don't worry Roza, neither of your parents will hurt me. Shouldn't you be worrying about how my family reacts to this?"
"I've already met your family, they'll be happy as long as you're happy."
Dimitri smiled and said.
"You're probably right."
"Of course I am, I'm Rose Hathaway."
He pecked my lips before we said good bye to Lissa and Christian.
Once we got back to Dimitri's room, we sat on the couch and Dimitri pulled out his cell phone. I said.
"Let's call my Mom first, she'll be the worst."
I dialed her number, surprisingly she answered after the second ring. She said.
"Hi it's um Guardian Bel . . . Hathaway."
"I know it's you Rose, what do you need?"
"I don't need anything, I just wanted to tell you that I um . . . got married."
"You got married? Rosemarie you're only eighteen! Are you pregnant?"
"No Mom! I broke up with Adrian!"
"Then who are you marrying?"
Now for the hard part.
"Belikov, Dimitri Belikov."
"ROSEMARIE HOW COULD YOU? HE WAS YOUR MENTOR! WAS THIS GOING ON WHILE YOU WERE AT THE ACADEMY?"
I looked at Dimitri who said into the phone.
"Guardian Hathaway your daughter and I have had feelings for each other for a long time."
"WERE YOU ACTING ON THOSE FEELINGS BELIKOV?"
"We controlled ourselves as best as possible."
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN AS BEST AS POSSIBLE?"
"Guardian Hathaway your daughter and I knew what we were getting into."
"ROSEMARIE DID YOU AND DIMITRI HAVE SEX WHILE YOU WERE AT SCHOOL?"
I looked at Dimitri who mouthed "lie". I said.
"No! I'm still a virgin! I'm giving myself up to Dimitri tonight."
I heard my Mom take a deep breath before she said.
"Belikov I'm going to beat the life out of you if you hurt my daughter!"
"I won't hurt her Guardian Hathaway, I love Roza."
"Suuuure, Rose I have to go my guardian shift is starting. I'll be talking to you more about this the next time I see you."
"Okay Mom, I love you."
I hung up and said.
"That went well, I expected her to yell at us more."
"I think Abe will make up for that."
I snuggled closer to Dimitri and dialed Abe's number. He answered on the first ring.
"Rose is everything alright?"
"A girl can't call her father without him thinking that something's wrong? Because everything in my life is perfect just to let you know."
"That's good Rose, I was just worried about my little girl."
"Well . . . I just wanted to tell you that I'm married now."
"Married? You got married? To who? When? Are you pregnant?"
He sounded like the critical Abe I knew.
"I'm not pregnant, I married Dimitri Belikov this morning."
"Belikov . . . isn't he the one that was changed back into a Dhampir?"
"Is he safe? I don't want him beating you or anything!"
"Dad! Dimitri is harmless!"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes I'm sure!"
There was a pause, then Abe said.
"Does he make you happy Rose?"
Finally! A parent that cared about my happiness!
"Then I'm not going to object en less he hurts you. Then he's going to be tore apart limb from limb!"
I sighed and said.
"Love you Abe,"
I hung up. I turned to Dimitri who looked worried. I said.
"What's wrong Comrade?"
"Did we make the right choice getting married so fast? Your Dad might be right, I might hurt you."
"If you try to hurt me I won't let you, that's what's so great about being married to another guardian."
He gave me a small smile and then said.
"But did we rush into this commitment?"
"I view it like this; we were practically dating our last few months at the academy. People usually get married after a few months, so I don't think we rushed. Besides, it's not like we don't know anything about each other. You know everything about me."
"You aren't hiding anything else from me?"
"Nope, are you hiding something from me?"
"No, I trust you."
"I trust you too, I love you more than anything else."
"I love you so much I can't even begin to explain how I feel when I see you Roza. It's like my heart is on fire in a good way, my whole body tingles and I want to reach out and touch you. I've never felt that way about someone before."
I looked him in the eyes and said.
"That's the exact same way I feel when I look at you."
He smiled and I laid my head on his chest. He put his arm around me and he called his Mom.
She answered on the first ring.
"Dimka? Is it you baby?"
"Yes Mama, it's me."
I could tell that Olena was sobbing into the phone as she said.
"Rose said you were Strigoi!"
"I was Mama; I was changed back into a Dhampir."
"I heard that but I couldn't believe it! It was too good to be true!"
"I'm perfectly fine Mama, better the perfect really, I've never been this happy."
"Oh Dimka that's fantastic! I'm so happy you're okay! You have to come see us soon!"
"I will Mama, can I bring my wife?"
Olena stopped sobbing and said in an excited voice.
"You married Rose?"
Dimitri laughed and said.
"How did you know?"
"It was obvious when she stayed with us that you two had something."
"And you don't mind? You do know that Rose was my student?"
"Dimitri she's your perfect match, I spent a few days with her and I know that for fact."
Dimitri's eyes were shining with glee; I snuggled closer to him and said.
"We'll come to visit soon, I'm sure you all miss Dimitri."
Olena started to say something but a beeping noise cut her off. She gasped into the phone. Dimitri said in a worried voice.
"Mama? Are you okay? What's wrong?" After a few seconds she said.
"Nothing Dimka, it's just that . . . Abe Mazur is calling me."
I suppressed a giggle and said.
"You don't have to worry about him Olena, he's my Dad."
"Do you know what he wants to talk about?"
"No idea, you never really know what to expect from Abe Mazur."
"I should take his call, Dimka you visit whenever you want to. You know we're always home."
"I love you Mama,"
"Love you baby."
Then Dimitri hung up the phone, I said.
"That went really well, she was purely happy for you."
"No Roza, she's happy for us."
"Oh yea, I'm still getting use to the us part of marriage."
He kissed my head and said.
"I'm sorry it took me this long to come back to you,"
"You're here now. We don't need to dwell in the past. We have a great future ahead of us."
He smiled one of his rare full smiles and said.
"Since when are you so optimistic?"
"Since I married the love of my life,"
Dimitri and I laid down on the couch and started making out. His hands explored my back and mine found their way into his hair. It felt wonderful to be close to him again, to finally have the world right again.
As I finally started to believe that my world could be perfect I heard a knock at the door.
Dimitri and I gripped each other tighter for a few seconds before getting up. I went to the door and opened it to find Tasha standing there. If I had been pissed before then I was f**king angry now. I said through clenched teeth.
"Dimitri, it's for you."
Dimitri walked over to the door, slipped his hand around my waist and pulled me closer to him. Tasha noticed the close contact and said.
"This is why you broke up with me? So you could date a teenager?"
"Rose is an adult Tasha, and she's my wife as of a few hours ago."
"You date me for two weeks and don't marry me but you date her for five minutes and you both run to a church?"
"Rose and I are happy, we were meant for each other Tasha, can't you let me be happy? Even if it isn't with you?"
She hung her head and tears poured down her face. After a few seconds she looked Dimitri in the eyes and said.
"Yes, I can."
Dimitri kissed Tasha's forehead and they said their goodbyes.
When the door was closed Dimitri started pulling me towards the bedroom. I yanked my hand from his and said in a sharp tone.
"Go read one of your cowboy books Comrade."
Dimitri's eyes flashed with hurt but he composed himself and said.
"Rose what did I do?"
"I think I'll have Adrian over so we can make out later."
He understood what I was referring to, the kiss he gave to Tasha. Dimitri said.
"Oh Roza it didn't mean anything, at least not to me. She's a friend, just a friend."
"I still don't like it; I know you guys probably went farther than what I did with Adrian."
Dimitri said in harsh tone.
"Even if me and Tasha went all the way it doesn't matter, it's not like I let her drink from me!"
Tears filled my eyes and I couldn't meet his gaze, he had practically called me a blood whore. Dimitri tried to caress my arm but I moved out from under his touch. He said.
"Rose I am so sorry, I didn't meant that!"
Without looking at him I whispered.
"I'm not a blood whore, Adrian and I didn't have sex."
He sounded relived; I smiled but still didn't meet his gaze. I said.
"No, I'm not one for unprotected sex with Moroi."
I looked him in the eye and said.
"So how many times did you and Tasha . . .?"
He cupped my chin in his hand and made me look him in the eyes. He said.
"We didn't. We slept in the same bed sometimes, kissed and hugged, but I never made love with her."
"She wanted to though,"
"Probably still does, but I'm solely yours and you're mine. I'm not going to let Tasha ruin that."
I laid my head on his chest and he hugged me. Fire ran over my body in the places he was touching me, and our innocent hug slowly turned into a passionate kiss. Before I knew it he had picked me up in his arms and we were leaning up against a wall. As our lips parted I said.
"This would be a good time to either lay me on the kitchen table or carry me to the bedroom."