Hi Everyone... I know, I know... I'm sooooo late! I'll explain at the end of this chapter...

Sandy


Chapter 10 Charity

Greed… Something given to a person or persons in need. A benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need.

DPOV

After confessing that I was in love with Rose on Monday, I felt... an ease wash over me. I no long felt anxious that it was going to blurt out in a moment of passion and scare her away; I knew that I could say it whenever I liked now and it would be welcomed. That thought alone made me smile... every time!

When she text me on Tuesday to ask if she could see me, I was more than a little eager. I was only miffed that I hadn't heard the message come in straight away. When she said she felt 'out of sorts', I sort of knew how she felt... Now that the words were out there, I wanted her now more than ever, to have my arms around her and never let go.

I'd looked at my watch every couple of minutes, eager to hold her again when a call came in for me to go a girl on the third floor that I worked with. I was actually her fourth therapist after the car accident she'd been in that had claimed her mother's life. She had a lot of guilt over it as her mother had just picked her up at her boyfriend's house after she'd snuck out of the house. As far as she was concerned, if she hadn't have done that her mother would still be alive, and as a result of her guilt, she was a very difficult patient; unwilling to get better as a way to punish herself.

They thought that with her age and my 'reputation' for making girls do whatever I wanted them to do, that I would have more luck than anyone else. When I arrived in her room, the look on her face said everything... She was not going to co-operate with her doctors. I asked everyone to leave and for the next ten minutes, I sat beside her and talked her feelings out. She was a very damaged young girl... both physically and emotionally. I really hoped that one day, I could see her heal.

After getting Abby to consent to her treatment, I went back to the therapy ward to make sure Roza had arrived, Rhonda informing me that she had and that she looked terrible. So I quickly said my goodbyes and made my way to the parking garage. I opened the door, my eyes going straight to the Hummer; I smiled when I saw her sitting inside. A second later, she looked up in my direction and smiled back, even from this distance I could see that it wasn't her normal happy smile she gives me, but I knew exactly how to get one there...

She was obviously as eager to hold me as I was her... And having her body and scent wrap around me made that 'itchy' feeling I'd had since she'd left this morning, melt away. I could tell she didn't want to talk, so I took her home as fast as I could without looking too eager. Even knowing she was feeling the way she was, I had to consciously stop myself from moving the hand that I held on her leg, further up to get her ready for what I wanted to do to her once we got inside my apartment. If I could live inside of her, I would... My mouth twitched when I remembered my mother saying to my sister… 'Sonya, after boys are born, they're only sane for a few years before they start spending the rest of their lives trying to get back in, we just have to be strong enough to say no.'...

I wanted her to start to relax, so I thought a warm bath would be best. When she realised where I was taking her, I could tell exactly what went through her mind... 'The chair!'... I knew how much she loved it but I need her to relax first... and she did. So much so, that she actually told me more about her childhood than she ever had before. My heart broke over how her parents had treated her, her whole life... No-one deserved that, especially my beautiful Roza.

When I first saw her in the parking garage, I could see it wouldn't take much for her to fall apart; she came to me to help hold her together. A thought had gone through my mind a few times in the weeks we'd been together; I knew she needed to learn a bit of self-control, restraint if you will. Until she did, I had to be the one in control and my past 'self' constantly wanted to come out to play. Images of the life I led where I was very much in control… of everyone passed through my mind. I didn't regret those times as such, I just regretted that I let that side of me too much rein…. I let that side of me bleed into every aspect of my life and it wasn't healthy; for me at least. Tasha, Bertie, Tae Kwon Do and yoga all helped me in different ways, but tonight, tonight I think the dominant side of me would come out in order to teach her how to control her body and emotions. Internally, I smiled at the thought of not only controlling her body's responses, but of her controlling mine in the future.

Her face fell when I walked past the chair, but the bath was worth it in the end. Afterwards, I got her to call her friends. In order to force Rose to control herself for an extended period of time, the lesson I needed to be learned would be best done in public. The fact that others were around would show her just how strong she could be. In the end, the lesson had been good for both of us; I had my own control issues where Rose was concerned and it was about time I relearned how to 'tame the beast'.

I knew that I wanted to be able to surprise her with a night out at some point and considering she spent a large portion of the week at my place, I needed to have a dress handy in case the occasion ever cropped up... I'd asked Lissa a few days before if she could sneak one to me and she'd given me one that Rose had bought a while ago but never worn.

Even though we did nothing but 'clean up' in the shower, I knew that the slightly more than innocent touches I'd bestowed had worked her up again, so the look in her eyes when I slapped her on the ass after giving her the dress had me smiling that her mind was right where I wanted it to be... I could literally see the hunger in her eyes. In an arousal scale of one to five, one being orgasmic... she was a five...

At the look she gives me, I almost relent on my plan for the night so before I did, I took myself off to the closet while she started to get dressed. I took the opportunity to get my 'means of control' for the night; the little bullet vibrator and put it in my pocket. The remote for it was a clever one, it was a watch that when fitted correctly could be turned on and off simply with a turn of my wrist, the intensity changed by turning the face dial. Coming back into the bedroom, I stopped and watched as she pulled the dress up her body and pull the zipper up her back before turning to face me... Only one problem with the vision in front of me; for me to do what I wanted to do tonight, the panties had to go!

"I'd just like to make one... little... change." I said. I moved my hands down her side, careful not to take my eyes off hers. I knew that with the thoughts and images currently in my mind, if I saw her standing there bare, I'd take her again and I needed her strung out and horny. "You don't need these." I felt my lips start to curl as her pupils dilated in understanding.

She was building to a four... As I watched her arousal increase, I felt my dominant nature flare. I'd turned this side of me inwards a long time ago, using it to control myself instead of others, but Roza needed this in order to grow and she most certainly had a way of bringing it back out in me.

At the restaurant, I watched Rose's state of arousal wane slightly and that would not do... I took the bullet into my hand and moved closer to her... "How good is yourself control, my Love?" She looked a little confused, so I moved the tips of my fingers to the inside of her thigh but I think the gesture was lost as she kept thinking about my question... "As you know, I always have a reason for the things I do and say Roza."

Then she got it... Her arousal hitched back up to a four... but I wanted more. She whimpered softly when I finally moved up and touched her uncovered pussy. I was pleased to find her as wet as she was. It didn't take long for her to get to the point where I could insert the bullet and start the lesson.

And so the night began….

The upping and lowering of her arousal was as maddening to her as it was to me, but I felt with everything in me that it was a lesson that would benefit her in every aspect of her life. I knew the moment Chris saw the watch he'd know what was going on; I knew he had one of his own and it was especially fun to watch the moment it 'clicked' to Adrian what was going on…

The nightclub was… fun. Seeing the girls rubbing up on either side of Rose had the dominant side of me revel in seeing her at my mercy. Now that we weren't sitting in a restaurant, I didn't stop myself from taking her into my arms and kissing her the way I'd wanted to for the last couple of hours. I knew we were getting carried away and it took everything in me to pull back.

"Fuck... this is torture." She whispered. I knew it was, but she was doing so well and I told her so... Apparently she didn't think she was... "Fuck doing well Dimitri, I'm gonna burst!" I had to gain more control, I had to put her back into the right frame of mind.

"Not yet, you're not... When you burst, I want to be there... lapping it all up!" I could see her eyes and body submit and I revelled in it more than I'd planned to. I had to move away from her for a bit; reign myself in. The guys came with me to the bar for drinks. The comments started as soon as they were ordered.

"You... are the master!" Adrian said in a slightly awed tone.

"Why is that Adrian?" I asked trying to keep the smirk off my face.

"I know what you're doing and I must say that I would never have thought that you swayed that way man... but Holy Shit! I think I need pick your brains when I'm ready to go further than first base!"

"You're really mean, Cuz..." Chris said smiling. "Although, I didn't think she'd last as long as she has."

"She's stronger than she thinks she is." I said, knowing the truth of those words. "You need lay off the comments Chris; I want her attention on me." He conceded just as the drinks were placed in front of us and then we made our way back to the girls.

Rose didn't get to drink much before the girls had her up on the dance floor once again. I was already worked up and the performance they were putting on was only making matters worse, but this night was for my benefit too... I had to regain at least some of my self-control, but her smouldering look and 'come hither' gesture was all it took. As much as I wanted to be by ourselves when this happened, I also knew that once I took her into my arms on the dance floor, I wouldn't be able to deny her the release she'd craved all night. With all my teasing, she'd done so well and I can't help but admit that I wanted to see it as much as she wanted it.

I turned on the bullet one last time, starting it off at its lowest setting and knowing that I wouldn't be stopping it until she came. The heat of her kisses and body as we danced turned me on even more than I had been all night. I was taken aback by the sudden desire to do something that I haven't done since I was nineteen…. Sex it up on the dance-floor.

And watching her shatter in my arms, in such a public way, made my inner Dom roar…

She wanted to leave right then and there but I still wanted the night to continue with what I'd planned. Her disappointment in my decision was not hard to miss, even on the darkened dance floor; I couldn't help but kiss her.

As the night wore on, her desire to leave didn't wane. The others were busy with each other, Adrian and Mia included and I knew that I wouldn't be able to hold her off for much longer. Rose leaned into me as we sat at our table and seeing the look in her eyes, I finally relented… "One last dance…"

As we walked to the dance floor, I looked over to the DJ; I'd already teed up a song that I hoped she would finally hear the meaning behind….

You Da One…

"This next song is for Roza!"

I heard her soft gasp and then I pulled her into my arms. As the song played, I could feel her body mould into mine. Her hands moved up and down my back, she'd occasionally nuzzle into my chest and before I knew it, the song was finished and we were on our way back to my apartment.

=x=

The rest of the week went by much better at first. Wednesday morning I woke up to a very happy Rose… The dream I'd been having was more of a recap of the night before but then it suddenly changed….

"Not yet baby. Don't you dare cum until I tell you; hold it." I was hard and throbbing as I watched her struggle to control her body from erupting in orgasm.

"Please…" she breathed out in a soft stutter. "….I… can't… I don't know how much longer… please, please…."

I watched her body shiver, knowing that the bullet inside was probably being squeezed to death by the strong muscles inside of her hot pussy. I was suddenly a little envious of the small inanimate object.

"I'll do anything… please…"

"Tell me… what would you do?" I felt her hand gently pass over my rock hard cock and I clenched my jaw at the feeling. My eyebrow rose slightly as I felt her hand slip down my abs and into the waistband of my pants. Looking down, I didn't find anything wrong with the fact that I was dressed in nothing but black satin sleep pants, nor did I find anything wrong when she lowered herself to her knees in front of me. I looked down smirking as she slowly eased the elastic down to the top of my thighs. I looked upward to all the people milling around us; people with absolutely no facial features… no eyes, no noses or mouths, just faceless people. The feeling of her hot wet tongue sliding up my cock brought my attention back to her… completely.

My eyes closed as I moaned, my hand weaving into her hair to help guide her… "That's it baby…" Suddenly, the feelings became too… real. The heat; too hot, too wet…

I don't know what it was, but my eyes were suddenly open. Confusion assaulted me for a second or two as I took in my surroundings before my brain registered the feeling between my legs… I looked down my body only to be met with deep brown, smiling eyes looking back at me… Deep brown eyes above deep pink lips that were currently wrapped around my hard as fuck dick! "Oh, fuck…" My hips moved of their own volition as her eyes closed before taking me in deeper. I quickly realised that I could definitely get used to waking up like that on a regular basis…

Thursday morning though, I woke up alone… Looking over at the empty side of the bed, I did as I'd done many times before; I pictured Rose there and cursed the fact that she wasn't. Our relationship had moved so fast, it was only a matter of weeks since I'd first laid my eyes on her beautiful face but I also knew that she was the one for me. I could feel it in my bones. I'd never been an overly romantic guy; I'd certainly bedded my fair share of women over the years. I'd even go so far to say that I'd grown quite fond of a few of them too, but never have I fallen so fast and as completely as I have for Rose. Seeing her in that art studio, I felt as if I'd been hit by a freight train and by the end of that night, I knew that I couldn't let her leave without speaking to her at the very least. As it turned out, the night ended up better than I could have ever hoped.

I know that we'd only been together for a few weeks, but that didn't stop me from wanting her here with me… always.

Friday morning rolled around and after showering and dressing for work, I made my way into the kitchen for some much needed caffeine… "Shit…" I grumbled as I looked down into the empty container. Fridays were not a good day to run out of coffee. Quickly I thought of where I could pick up a coffee on my way to work. I most certainly wouldn't be getting one there, that shit was like toxic waste. The two places I'd only go to were the one closer to the college or the one that I'd sometimes gone to after work, but that was even further away… 'Bean Me Up' it was…

=x=

I pulled out my wallet as I made my way up to the counter. "What can I get you man?" The barista asked.

"A double espresso thanks." With a quick nod, he walked off to fill my order. I paid the girl and less than a minute later; I stood at the counter and let the strong, dark, life giving force of caffeine course through my veins, not able to wait any longer. With a shrug, I turned to walk out when a sniffle made me look to my left. The smile of recognition soon fell as I took in Tasha's face. "Tasha?"

She was just staring, like she was lost in some sort of memory. She looked my way when she heard me call out her name before she dropped her head to the cold coffee in front of her. The only other time I'd ever seen her like this was when she'd lost Pavel.

"Sweetie, what's wrong?" Her face crumpled at my question and she furiously wiped at her cheeks and shook her head. "Tasha, you're scaring the shit out of me, talk to me, please…" I quickly made my way over to her, wrapping my arm around her shoulders.

"You didn't call…" she sobbed. Her voice was scratchy like she hadn't used it in days. "You never called me back."

"What? I don't understand…"

"I sent you a text on Tuesday, I needed you…"

"What? I didn't get a text from you Tasha. I would never not call you back." I fished out my phone from my pocket and went into my messages… Nothing… "See…" She pulled out her phone and then scrolled down to my name, sure enough; there was the text she'd sent. Tues 2:38pm I tried to think of what I was doing at that time. I was with Rose on Tuesday, she'd had a bad day and she'd come to work. I only had a few patients that day and was able to leave early after seeing Abby and getting her to agree to therapy. I met her at my car… where she'd waited for me… with my things… my phone… She wouldn't, would she? As a feeling of what can only be described as 'disappointment' fell over me, I realised… Yes… she would, especially on Tuesday.

"I'm sorry…" Tasha wailed, "...I know you're busy. I just… I just really needed to talk to you."

I tightened my grip on my friend as I not only took in her words and state of distress, but also the realisation that Rose had more than likely deleted her message. "You have nothing to be sorry for Tash. I'm sorry I didn't get your message; I would have been there for you in a heartbeat. Please, tell me what's wrong."

That started off the tears again to the point where I had to pull her onto my lap. I sent a text off to work saying that I had a family emergency and would call when I could as Tasha got herself under control, and then for the next forty minutes I was told in absolute devastation as to the reason for her need of me on Tuesday. When she finished, all I could do was hold her while her tears fell again my shirt. My eyes stung as they started to water and the tennis ball in my throat made it impossible to speak; just swallowing was hard enough. I'm not sure how long we sat there for but when the tightening of my throat released, I finally spoke.

"Are they sure?" She slowly nodded her head against my neck. Just then the bell over the door rang out and I looked up to see Adrian walk in and I could do no more than kiss her forehead in sorrow. "Would you like another coffee?" I asked her. After her nod, I motioned him over to me and got him to order one along with his. When he got back to the table, I expected him to ask what the problem was, but he didn't, much to his credit, he just sat and tried to make conversation.

"Are you okay to sit and drink your coffee babe?" I asked once I felt Tasha stop sniffling. She gave a nod and I kissed her forehead but before I could move her into the chair beside me, I heard an odd sound to my right. I looked up to three sets of eyes on me; two sets that were almost spitting fire at me, one set that were pained. It didn't take long for me to realise what this must have looked like to her… "Fuck… Rose."

"Come on Rose, let's just go." I heard Mia say as the door closed behind them. Within seconds, they were out of sight...

"Shit… Tasha, I'm sorry, I've…"

"Go, I'll be fine." Tasha said sniffling.

"I'll stay with her." Adrian said when I looked to him. I didn't want to leave Tasha right now and as angry as I was at Rose for deleting the message, I knew I couldn't let her leave thinking what she must have been thinking. I jumped up and raced out into the street.

"Rose! Stop please." They weren't too far in front of me but they were moving quickly. "Rose…"

"Fuck off you… you two timing, back stabbing…"

As much as I understood what she must have felt, I clenched my jaw in irritation of the vitriol being spewed at me.

"It's not what it looks like."

"Oh, you've got to be fucking kidding me…" Lissa yelled as she and her sister kept walking with Rose in between them. "You couldn't think of something better than that old line? Prick…"

"It's not a line… Rose, please… just stop for two seconds. Please." When she turned to face me, my angry heart tempered a little… "Rose, it's not a line, I promise."

"You have thirty seconds Dimitri." Lissa said coldly. I wanted to tell her to back off but I couldn't take my eyes off Rose.

"Tasha got some bad news recently, she's… I can't tell you what it is because it's not my place, but she's… shattered; so am I to tell you the truth. I was only comforting her, I promise…."

"What's wrong?" Mia asked me. My eyes flicked over to her when I heard the change in tone but I quickly looked back to Rose.

"I can't say,"... I could see Lissa was about to start again so I quickly continued, "...if she wants to talk about it or gives me permission to tell you, then I will, but I promise that's all it was. I came in here on my way to work and I found her sitting here, crying and staring off into space with a cold coffee in front of her. When I asked her what was wrong, she burst into tears. I grabbed hold of her because she was sobbing so much I thought she'd fall off her chair and it took ages for her to calm down enough to tell me what was wrong. Adrian came in about five minutes ago and we were just talking. I promise Rose, that's all it was."

If she wouldn't believe me now, then I wasn't going to beg; what happened next was up to her. I held out my hand and waited. Her eyes bored into mine, searching for the truth in my words most likely and then I watched as she found whatever she was after. She took a step towards me only to be held back by Lissa. With a smile and a quick, silent conversation, Rose hugged her friend and asked if she could tell her professors that she was sick. Lissa glared at me before her and her sister walked away mumbling vitriolic anti-men ramblings.

"I'm sorry you got hurt over what you saw, I don't like being a source of pain for you." She nodded but didn't speak. "Can I hold you?" I was still reeling from what Tasha had just told me, I needed… comfort, and I wanted it from the woman I loved. I wrapped my arms around her when she walked up to me. The pain I was in wanted to come out but it wasn't the time or the place for that. I pressed a kiss to her temple before lifting her feet off the ground. I don't know what we must have looked like, standing on the sidewalk wrapped up in each other but I needed to rein in my emotions. As I gently swayed us, I buried my face into her neck and breathed in her soothing scent. When she pulled back, I knew my 'time out' was at an end... "Do you want to go inside? I'll see if Tasha is okay with me letting you know what's going on."

"Okay." She whispered.

"Thank you." I lowered her to the ground and took her face in my hands, needing her to hear my next words. "I'm sorry you were hurt by what you saw. Come on."

We'd get to the consequences of her actions soon enough, right now; I needed to deal with Tasha and her shocking revelation. I pulled her into my side, needing the closeness and kissed the top of her head, praying that I'd hold it together long enough to be of help to my friend. We walked back into the coffee shop and saw that Adrian was now holding Tasha who was once again crying. He smiled and winked at us, alerting Tasha who sat up nervously. "Rose…" she whispered.

"Tasha." I looked down at Rose, after what I'd just told her, I was shocked to hear the bitterness in her voice, bitterness she had no right to.

"Hi Rose… good to see you again." Rose never replied before turning her attention to Adrian.

"Hi Adrian. You're out and about I see."

"Yeah, I only go into that God forsaken hospital now to see his ugly face." Adrian said smirking. "Imagine my horror when I walked into this place and find it here too…" Hearing Rose scoff at his sarcastic, conversation ice breaker, I decided to keep it going…

"You love me." I said to him half-heartedly, trying to lighten the atmosphere. I pulled out the spare chair for Rose to sit in and then grabbed another for myself.

"I'm sorry Rose." Tasha said quietly, but she had no need to feel that way so I quickly told her so.

"You have nothing to be sorry for Tash, but can I…?" I flicked my eyes towards Rose, hoping that Tasha would pick up what I was asking. She looked over to Rose, knowing that for me; right now... the truth had to come out.

"Please don't let it go any further than you Rose; I'm just not ready for everyone else to know just yet. I need more time, okay?"

"Okay." I could see Rose had no idea what she meant, but I did… She was worried that it would get back to Christian before she had a chance to tell him herself.

"I'm gonna go." Tasha said standing. I went to tell her to stay but she just shook her head. "You guys stay…"

"No, I'll walk you home if you want." Adrian said standing up too. "I'm afraid we won't break any land speed records yet, but I'm told that I'm not too bad company… in a pinch!"

"I'd like that, thank you." Tasha turned her wet, red rimmed eyes to Rose and offered her hand. "I'm sorry for the misunderstanding Rose. Talk to you again soon Dimka and… thank you… for being here."

"Always sweetie." Then I watched them slowly make their way out onto the sidewalk…

I took a deep breath; knowing that I needed a few minutes before I could talk about Tasha's sickness. "Wanna get a coffee before we start?"

"That sounds good. I'll have a cappuccino." I nodded and kissed her on the top of her head before going up to the counter.

"Everything alright with your friend?" The barista asked motioning to where Tasha had just left once I gave him our order.

"No… not even close unfortunately."

"Sorry to hear that." Soon enough, I was back at the table and using Rose's closeness to centre my thoughts…. Wanting to get it all over with, I started….

"When I first saw her sitting here this morning, her face was... empty. When she finally looked up into my face, the utter devastation I saw in her eyes ripped my heart out. I'd only ever seen that look in her eyes once before, no, twice. The first time was when her husband, Pavel was murdered by some psycho strung out on ice on his way home from work; the next was when she miscarried their child... So I knew that whatever was wrong... was bad."

I could feel my emotions getting the better of me, so I took the chance to take a sip of my coffee. I just had to remember that no matter how hard it was for me, it was worse for Tasha and she got through the telling of it.

"As soon as I asked what was wrong, she... just broke. I rushed over to her and she collapsed into my arms. I pulled her onto my lap and tried to get her to tell me what had happened but she couldn't put two words together. So, I just held her until she could." When I felt Rose take my hand in hers I looked at her and took the strength she was offering me. "A couple of weeks ago, I finally got her to go to the doctors. She'd been complaining that she was really tired but then told me that it was because she'd been waking up with stomach pains for a while; probably anxiety over the anniversary of Pavel and her baby's deaths. The doctor sent her for some tests."

"What did they find?" Rose asked. I knew she could tell what was coming…

"End stage colon cancer; M…1B or something like that." My voice broke slightly at the end.

"Shit… Can they treat it?"

"It doesn't look like it. From the tests that were done, it's metastasized to her liver and lungs as well as some of the other organs in her belly; surgery would tell them more. They want to start Chemo but barring a miracle, it wouldn't cure her, it'll only give her a little longer."

"I'm so sorry." I looked at her and wanted to accept her sorrow but all I could think about was the text that she'd deleted; the text that Tasha had sent when she was given the bad news…

"We've been friend since… I think I was twelve or something."

"How could she be so sick, she doesn't look it? When she posed that night with you, she looked amazing."

Her words reminded me of that night at the college but she wasn't as amazing as Rose remembered. Bertie and I both knew she wasn't well, we just didn't know how much. I rested my face against my hands on the table willed myself not to break down. I felt so much sadness for Tasha; she'd lost so much in her life… her parents, her home, her husband and child and now she was to lose her life too… It just wasn't fair.

"Come on." Rose said after a few minutes. I looked up to see her holding her hand out to me. I took it and silently we made our way to her apartment. I was numb as I followed Rose through the front door. I was numb as she led me through to her bedroom. I was numb as she sat me down on the bed and proceeded to take off my shoes and socks. When she pushed me onto the bed and curled me up in her embrace, it was all I needed for the walls to crumble.

As I lay against her chest and listened to her heart, my pain for the friend I loved as a sister leached out. Memories of our lives played through my mind, memories of how we'd come to each other's rescue over the years; I honestly couldn't fathom a future where she wasn't in it. I couldn't help but wonder how this was going to affect Chris… he'd lost almost as much as she had. Though he didn't have as many memories of his parents as she did, he'd still lost them. Nor had he lost a wife and child… but he loved his sister immensely and to lose her was going to hit him hard. He would be the last of his family and he would see it as him having no-one left. My only hope was that his new relationship with Lissa was strong enough for him to lean on.

If it weren't for the fact that Rose's hands hadn't stopped moving up and down my back, I would have thought she'd fallen asleep ages ago. I was still upset with her over what she'd done, but it was just something that I couldn't deal with right now. I just wanted to forget… everything. The heat and scent of her around me was too much to resist. As I moved my lips up her neck, I reached up to bring her closer to me and my cock flooded with desire…

Behind her ear was one of her most sensitive spots. The taste of her skin on my tongue soon had my mind right where I wanted it to be. I pulled the lobe of her ear into my mouth, the soft skin so like that which was between her legs. When she didn't pull away, my hand moved up her side, gripping and rubbing as it went. One thing about Rose, the thing that always made my heart race was the way she responded to me and at the moment her almost instant submission to my advances had me feel as if someone had flicked a switch. I felt my long dormant, dominant persona flair back to life.

Slipping my hand up under her shirt, my inner Dom smiled at the feel of her flesh prickling. Slowly I inched my way up her body and when she turned her face to mine, I greedily took what she offered. As much as I loved her, I took what she was offering as an escape, I needed to forget even if it was for only a short time, and she was very good at making me forget.

=x=

Afterwards, we lay silently wrapped around one another but my mind couldn't help but cycle through the last few hours. My morning had started off so well, I'd woken with a smile on my face, knowing I'd be seeing Rose by the end of the day, but it soon turned out to be one of the worst days of my life so far... Thinking of Tasha's devastated face made my chest feel as though it was going to crack open. I honestly felt as though my heart was bleeding for her. But at the back of it all, was the nagging knowledge of what Rose had done.

The deletion of a text, in and of itself isn't all that big of an issue. I had nothing to hide. The issue was that she didn't trust me or my relationship with Tasha, that she felt the need to keep us apart by removing Tasha's plea to a friend in a time of need. I understand that at the time, Rose didn't think about the full ramifications of her actions but that's neither here nor there... it was something she should never have done.

The more I thought of this, the more I could feel the anger rising inside of me. I was angry at what was happening to my best friend... I was angry for her... I was angry for me, because of everything that I was going to miss with her; that Chris was going to miss with her. But besides all of that, I was angry with Rose too... She's put me in a position where I'm going to have to confront her about her actions and with the way I've been feeling lately, with my former self, rising to the surface, it was a dangerous thing to do on her part. I knew I had to rein in the anger before I said something that could seriously hurt both of us.

I just didn't know why she was having such a hard time trusting me.

I needed to get some space, so I told Rose to take a shower while I checked in with work. I wanted to make sure they were able to bring someone in to cover my shift; I hated leaving them in the lurch like that, but I knew I was in no shape to do my job professionally. By the time she came outside, I had cooled down somewhat and was sitting on the lounge chair. The anger was still swirling in my mind and heart and thankfully, Rose gave me the space she obviously saw that I needed.

"Do you want me to stay tonight or would you prefer to be alone for a while?" She asked me after the movie she'd put in had ended. I think it was some James Bond movie, not sure which one though, I wasn't really watching it. Now... how to answer. We hadn't seen each other since Wednesday morning and the days in between had felt like a lifetime, I'd needed her with me... but now... now I didn't know what I wanted.

"Stay..." I said. My voice sounded off, even to me. There was so much going on in my head. I knew I didn't want to be alone; I'd missed her like crazy. When Rose's phone lit up later that evening with Lissa's number, I took the opportunity to go have a shower.

"Don't say anything." I reminded her.

"I won't. Enjoy your shower." I gave a quick nod of my head before walking into my room.

"Hey Liss." I heard her say quietly. I hadn't stopped to eavesdrop, no matter how angry I was feeling at the moment, her voice still calmed me; the melody of it calming me deep inside. "Yeah... No, it's all good, I promise... Yeah, he was telling the truth... Yes, Liss,I believe him, I believe them both." I could tell by the tone of her voice, she was telling the truth. That bitterness I'd heard earlier was now gone. I took a deep breath and walked to my drawers to get out a pair of sleep pants. "It's not my place Liss, okay." I didn't hear anything else as I shut the door to the bathroom.

As I stood under the stinging, hot needles of water, I felt the pain rise up in me again. Though, this time I didn't break down, tears still flowed from my eyes. I just couldn't understand why someone like Tasha, who'd lost so much in her life, had suffered so much heartbreak, had to seemingly suffer right up to her last breath... a breath that was approaching faster than I wanted it to. When I finally made my way back out to the lounge room, Rose looked up with a sad smile and opened her arms to me. I walked over to her but instead of letting her wrap her arms around me, I grabbed her hands and pulled her out of the chair. Without a word, I pulled her over to the front door, making sure it was locked and then switched of the lights as we made our way back to my bedroom.

Again we just laid there with Rose in my arms; my mind was blank all while buzzing with a million thoughts. I felt Rose relax into sleep and I watched her eyes move jaggedly behind her lids. I wished I could just turn it all off... After a while, I untangled myself and slipped out of the bed, I just couldn't lay there any longer. Walking out onto the balcony that came off the lounge room, I took a deep breath of the cool night air and focused my thoughts on the one thing that I could do something about... Rose. I knew I had to confront her about her actions, but I knew that I couldn't handle the thought of it coming to a fight and possibly losing her if things were said out of anger... and I was just too bloody angry at the moment. I made the decision to put that aside for a few days, I needed to be there for my friend and her brother when the time came. Everything else would be dealt with in time...

=x=

When I'd noticed the night sky was starting to lighten, I stood up and went back to bed; Rose instinctively curled her body around mine as I joined her. I loved that... I loved her. I gently pressed my lips against her forehead and took a deep breath of her scent. It wasn't long before I fell asleep.

It was nearly midday when I woke up on Saturday and once again, Rose's side of the bed was empty and cold. I turned to my bedside table and with one look at my cell phone, the anger I felt over her actions returned... I sat up and reached for it anyway, scrolling down to her number, I pressed 'send'.

"Hello?"

"Hey Tash, how are you sweetie?"

"As good as can be expected. What do I owe the pleasure of you call, D?"

"You were just on my mind."

"Do you always have me on your mind when you wake up Dimka?"

"No... And it's nearly midday, why would you think I'm just waking up?"

"I've known you long enough to know your 'sleepy voice'."

"Whatever." I scoffed.

"You're not going to wallow on me are you?"

"Who me? I don't wallow..." I lied...

"Mmmhmm... Anyway, is everything with Rose okay?"

I didn't want her thinking that there was something wrong because of what Rose believed she saw at the cafe so I fudged the truth a bit... "She's good."

"I'm glad... Hey listen, I'm glad you called. I wanted to ask you something; you can say no if you don't think you can handle it."

"Spit it out woman." I growled...

I smiled when I heard her small giggle: it was good to hear. "Well, I was wondering if you'd come with me to go see Chris tomorrow. As much as I don't want to do this, it's better that he knows now so that he can... prepare, I suppose. It's gonna take some time for him to... come to terms with it all I think."

The pain returned to my chest at her words... Chris wasn't the only one... "Yeah..." I cleared my throat. "You know you're not alone in this right, Tash? You need me, any time, all you have to do is call and I'll be there."

"I know... I've always known Dimka. So... how about midday tomorrow?"

"That's fine. I'll pick you up just after 10 at your place and we'll go over together." Just then the bedroom door opened and Rose poked her head into the room.

"That sound like a plan. Hey, bring Rose..."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah..." I could tell she had more on her mind about Rose, I just didn't know if she was going to say it now or not. I motioned for Rose to come in with my finger but I still felt a bit... torn. On one hand I was so happy to see her, to have her close, but I was still so fucking angry at her. "Can you ask her to make sure Lissa's there too, I know how Chris feels about her and I think he'll need her there."

"Okay, I'm sure that won't be a problem, sweetie. Do you need anything?" My eyes never left Rose's as she sat gently on the bed at my feet.

"Nah... I think Adrian bought enough shit for me to last a life... time..." I heard her gasp, realising what she'd just said... "Shit..."

"Tasha..."

"No... I'm fine." she said quickly interrupting me. "Um, listen, I'll see you tomorrow alright?"

"Okay... please... call me if you need me, no matter what time it is. I mean it. If I find out something was wrong and you didn't call me, I'm gonna be fucking pissed at you, alright?"

"Yes boss..." she said with a little attitude. I was glad to hear it...

"You got that right, woman!" I said grinning.

"Yeah, whatever..." she said with a snort. "Piss off and let me enjoy the rest of my day."

"OH! Fine... I wouldn't want to stifle your plans..."

"Good... See ya!" And with that, she hung up!

"Cow..." I muttered under my breath. I looked up to see Rose with a sad smile on her face.

'I feel like such a bitch... the world's biggest." She looked down at her hands that were in her lap and I wondered if she was going to 'confess her sins' so to speak.

"Why would you say that?"

She didn't look up as she started to talk.

"I've just been... so jealous of her, for many stupid reasons and I had no right... no reason to feel that way. I know this is going to sound so... 'Woe-is-me'... But I've just had so... little... in my life; I've had to fight for every tiny... thing, scrap I was given or I got it myself. It's like that fighting instinct is ingrained in me, part of who I am. It's like my default setting... I just..." My heart broke for her, at her words... I could see that everything she said was the God's honest truth. I honestly felt that Rose didn't have a nasty bone in her body but with her upbringing, the parents she had; her instinct to fight for and defend any morsel of good she got and saw as hers was strong... I knew I couldn't, didn't, hold that against her, but I was still too angry at the disease that was going to take my friend to deal with her indiscretion as fast as I should... I only had room in my head for one heartache at the moment; I needed to file the 'Rose/text issue' for another day. She took a deep breath and stood up, still not looking at me. "I made lunch..."

She started to walk to the door, but I didn't want her to leave just yet. "Rose." She turned her sad eyes to me and I wondered if she knew that I knew about the missing text and was waiting for me to blow up at her, confirming her fears first in case I didn't. I needed to hold her, needed comfort, so selfishly I opened my arms to her instead of talking and she quickly and willingly snuggled into my embrace.


A/N: I'm sorry for how long it's taken me to get back to this story. I've had the WORST case of writers block ever... After more than 3 years of constant writing, I just couldn't seem to write even one paragraph! I want to thank my good friend Angela who helped me through some rough patches and pushed me forward at night to get this finished... I haven't completely got my groove back, but I'm getting there, so I won't promise the next chapter, next week... but I do promise not to give up this story... I WILL finish this... so please be patient with me.

That said, I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I hope you'll let me know what you think.

Till next time... Sandy!