Life Will Turn Around.
Huge thanks to sebsbadkitty for the title!
This is going to be a short story, no more than ten chapters I think, but we'll see how it goes. I was going to originally set this story in America, but then decided to set it in Leicester, which is in England. Since I'm English, I find it slightly easier to write about things that are happening here or places that are here, rather than in America as I've never been there. I hope that won't put you off reading this story though!
Also, this story is rated M. Though the majority of it is probably T-rated, there will be one or two M/M+ scenes. However, I will mark where they start and end, so that if you want to read the story and skip these scenes, you can do.
The first chapter's a bit slow, but it's needed as it introduces us to Rose and her life, and so sets up the 'stage' for the rest of the story. Right at the end of it, we'll be introduced to Dimitri, and from then on he'll feature heavily. I hope you'll enjoy this story, and please let me know what you think! Denicia xx
Rose Hathaway lives a hard life for a twenty eight year old. Recently divorced, she's been forced to leave the comfort and security of the home she shared with her -now ex- husband, Adrian Ivashkov.
After falling pregnant at such a young age and following the dreams of her then husband, she now finds herself working three jobs and barely earning enough to get by. With three children to support, and no help from the courts, she has nothing. There's no family living close by to support her as she struggles, and her friends have moved on in the world, with little time for their former friend who was forced to cut all ties to her previous life or lose the father of her children. A tiny flat, barely big enough for one person to live in now has to situate all four of them, and it's tough trying to find even enough money to cover the rent some months.
With few qualifications and skills to her name, Rose finds herself falling into depression and despair. In a last ditch attempt to improve the quality of her family's life, she signs up for night classes at the local college… where she meets Dimitri Belikov.
He's kind, gentle, caring and interested… something Rose hasn't known for a long time. But with her self confidence at an all time low – after all stretch marks, a wobbly tummy and all the other accessories that come with having kids and not having the time to work out are more than enough to make a woman feel 'unworthy', especially when faced with a six foot seven Russian Hottie… with abs that even Michelangelo would be proud of – can Rose find the belief that all things happen for a reason, and that just once, things are about to go her way?
Can Dimitri break down the walls that Rose has built to protect her heart? Can Rose learn to trust, and more importantly – love – again?
Will love grow between the two of them - something Rose thought she'd never experience again - and give her the chance for her own happily ever after?
I sigh as I reach to scan the first item and notice who's standing in front of me. Camille and her two spoilt brats. Immediately, I chide myself for holding such mean thoughts, and plaster what I hope to be a friendly and approachable smile on my face as I repeat, in my head, the mantra that's been drilled into my head over the past two years. The customer comes first. Make sure that everything is to their satisfaction, and that they leave with a smile on their face – or in this case, faces.
"Hi, how's your day going?" The haughty look on her face only increases as she practically sneers at me before answering.
"Fine. Thank you." The words are short and clipped, indicating that she either doesn't want to talk to me… or doesn't think I'm worth talking to.
So, for the moment, I fall silent as I scan more of her items before asking my next question. "Do you need any bags or assistance in taking your shopping to your car?" I hate working at Tesco. A minimum wage salary, long working hours and interacting with people who think the sun rises and falls as they wish. I fact, I hate all three of my jobs, but you have to do what you have to do.
She smirks, and this time her brats join in. "No."
Alright, alright, I get the picture. I want to shout and scream at her to not look down her nose at me the way she does. That not too long ago, I had a husband, and a five bedroom house. My kids didn't have to share a bedroom and the majority of their clothes weren't fished out of charity shops or out of a pack of fifty from a Cash and Carry store. Once upon a time, everything was perfect in my world. I had my prince… but he turned out to be a lying, cheating, abusive scumbag. And now I'm stuck living on the edge, scrabbling to make ends meet. Worrying every month about whether I'll get paid on time. Scared that the electricity meter will run out, and I won't have enough money to top up the card. Or that the gas company, or the water company will shut us off – fed up with my late payments.
But I can't say any of that. If I did, it would be unprofessional, and I can't afford to lose this job. I really can't. So, instead, I bite back the comment I want to make and say the last thing that my contract requires me to ask - at least while the store is still running the offer.
"Are you collecting the 'Equipment for Schools' vouchers?
This time she doesn't even bother to answer me. Instead she throws a curt nod in my direction before her beady eyes fix upon the bag that I'm placing her shopping into – most likely checking to ensure that I haven't squashed her caviar or whatever other overpriced rubbish she's purchased.
I rip a few vouchers off of the pad that's tucked in next to my till and place them in the bag before reading out the cost of her shopping. Two hundred and fifty four pounds and thirty six pence. I try my best to not gape or stutter as I read the price and she hands me her credit card, no expression across her face. Though she comes in here almost every week, this is the first time she's been served by me. I can't help but steal another glance at the figures on the receipt as I hand her back her card and the receipt. That's more that my entire monthly shop – food, clothes and everything else included.
She doesn't say thank you as she takes the card and paper from my hand, whilst ensuring that we don't touch. Almost as if she thinks that living on the breadline is contagious and she's afraid to catch it.
She starts to push her trolley away and her spoilt son – Bradley I think his name is – follows after her. But the daughter, the one in Alyssa's year hangs back for a few moments. Her name escapes my mind, but I'll ask Alyssa when I get home.
I look at her in confusion as she looks at me almost pityingly before speaking. "Do you think that it would be possible for Alyssa to come to my birthday party on Saturday? I gave her an invitation two weeks ago, but she still hasn't told me whether you said she could or not."
I frown at her for a few minutes, trying to wrack my brains for any memory of being told about a party. There's nothing there, but I smile and nod anyway. "I'm pretty sure she could. Where's it being held?"
She smiles brightly at me before replying. "At the Siam Corner restaurant on London Road. At five o'clock."
My heart sinks as she speaks those words. It's one of those places that you can tell, just by looking, that it's expensive. Too expensive, though it's probably worth the amount they charge. "And how much would it cost?"
I cross my fingers under the counter in the hopes that her parents will be covering the price of the meal, since it's their daughter's birthday.
But it seems like God isn't smiling down on me today. Her smile fades slightly as she answers. "Between twenty and thirty pounds."
My face drops as I try to work out if I'll be able to work our budget around so that Alyssa can go. Maybe if I buy nappies from the Cash and Carry rather than Boots. They're cheaper, but they'll probably give Sophia a rash, and then I'll have to buy cream for that. Tom might be able to wait another month for his shoes, and I can use the money to pay for Alyssa's meal. Or-
My internal ramblings are cut off by Katrina – remembering her name makes me smile. A slight frown adorns her face as she watches me. "It's okay if she can't go. She said she wasn't sure if you were busy or not this weekend.
My heart drops once more. Alyssa was embarrassed. Well, not at me, but at the fact that we couldn't afford the things that all the other children in her class could. My heart broke as I thought of my little girl, only ten years old, but already trying to figure out how to make things easier for me, so that she didn't add to my list of anxieties. It wasn't fair for a child to go through that. She shouldn't have to go through that, not at this age.
I paste a smile on my face and try to speak as confidently as possible. "She'll be there. Thank you for inviting her Katrina."
She smiles her bright smile at me once more before running over to her mother who's been waiting surprisingly patiently by the exit.
I sigh tiredly as my key turns in the lock and I step through into the flat. The sounds of the TV drifting through the walls soothe my frayed nerves, letting me know that Alyssa and Tom are home safely. Sophia wriggles in my arms, eager to go and see her brother and sister after a long day at nursery, and I don't blame her. She's two and full of energy, much like Tom, her five year old brother. Alyssa, the eldest, is ten, but her personality is much more reserved. It wasn't always like that, but then again, she wasn't always a witness to what happened when Adrian went on one of his drunken rages… I shake my head to remove the memories.
Sophia wriggles in my arms again and I set her down gently, smiling as she hugs my legs for a moment before running through to the front room where all of the noise is coming from, and I continue on to the kitchen.
I sigh again as I sift through the few bags that I hold in my hands, before placing the items in their designated places; milk in the fridge, cereal and bread in the cupboard, meat in the freezer.
A slight smile works its way onto my lips as I pull out the last few purchases. They had used up the last of my spare change for the week, but at least Alyssa would have something a little bit special for Saturday, and she would have a decent present for Katrina too. That would put a happy, genuine smile on my little girls face and fill her with excitement rather than dread.
Just as I'm about to call out to her, I feel a small pair of arms wrap around my waist from behind before squeezing me gently and letting go.
Turning, I see that it's none other than Alyssa, her big green eyes staring up at me in earnest as she smiles. She, like Sophia and Tom, had inherited her father's eyes. Huge, emerald green irises with long, dark eyelashes that framed their eyes beautifully. I'd named her after my best friend in college – Lissa. She was the only one who had stood by me when I'd found out I was pregnant and decided to keep the baby, and had supported me with every choice I made. Some of the choices had been for the worse, but like a true friend, she was there to pick me up and offer me the advice and help I needed to get back on my feet. She'd begged her parents to let me stay at their house when my own parents had threatened to disown me, and had even offered to sell her car for me so I could use the money to find somewhere to live. We'd fallen out of contact just after Tom was born, well; I'd stopped getting in contact because I was too embarrassed to speak to her anymore, but I didn't doubt that if I rang her tomorrow and asked for her help, she'd offer it without a second thought. I smiled before pulling Alyssa into another hug and kissing the top of her head. "How was school?"
Normally she'd have nattered on endlessly, telling me all about the gossip that was travelling the playground, and the things she'd studied during her lessons.
But instead, she buried her face in my stomach and squeezed me tightly before shrugging.
"Did something bad happen?"
She started to shake her head before changing her mind and nodding, still hiding her face from me.
Gently, I pulled on her arms so that she had to step back, before tilting her face up to face mine.
Tears were making a slow, sad pathway from the corners of her eyes down to her cheeks as her lip trembled with the effort of not making a sound.
"Hey, hey. What's wrong?" My voice was soft as I lead her over to the dining table and sat down before pulling her onto my lap. Her head leant against my shoulder as she wrapped her arms around me once more, clinging to me like I'd disappear if she didn't.
We sat there in silence for a few minutes, as I rocked her in my arms gently and hummed a lullaby under my breath, dotting kisses across her forehead as her tears slowed and eventually stopped.
"Do you want to tell me about it now?"
She bit her lip for a moment before nodding and taking a deep breath. "Katrina asked me to her party again because I didn't reply to the invitation I gave her."
I nodded. "She saw me today at work and asked if you could go." I held off from telling her the good news just yet, first I wanted to know what had happened that had made my little girl cry.
"I said that I didn't know yet… because I thought we might be busy. But the real reason was because I know we don't have the money."
"And that's what's making you upset?"
She shook her head. "No. Katrina was fine with it and said to let her know as soon as possible. But Caitlin and Molly heard…" she sniffled again before continuing. "And they said that it was because I was too poor to go, and that I couldn't even afford to buy my own lunch and that's why I have to have free school meals, because you were a bad mum and shouldn't have had me or Tom or Sophia… And, and that I'd be better off dead or in care."
Her shoulders started to shake as she started to cry again, while my hands balled into fists. What I wouldn't give to beat the crap out of those two b- brats.
"Honey, what they say isn't true. You know it's not true. And I'm sorry that I can't afford to buy you all the things that the other kids in your class have."
She nodded forlornly against my shoulder. "It's not your fault mum. I know dad doesn't do what he should…" She trailed off, and I felt as a few more tears splashed onto my shoulder.
"But…" I let my voice trail off, and she looked up at me curiously. "I do have something that I think will make you feel better."
She shook her head. "I don't think anything could make me feel better."
I grinned at her. "Just have a look in the bag on the counter. I think you'll be surprised."
She glanced at me doubtfully before her curiosity got the better of her and she slipped off of my lap.
"OMIGOD!" And millions of squeals were all I heard before she flung herself at me, the biggest grin I'd ever seen spread across her face.
I laughed and patted her back before prying her off gently so that the clothes in her arms didn't get crumpled.
"Is this seriously for me? For Saturday? I get to go?"
I nodded, a smile breaking across my face at her pleased reaction.
"Wow." She whispered softly as she stared at the item in her hand. It wasn't anything special, just a Hello Kitty t-shirt from H&M. But the significance was that it was a brand name t-shirt, something she hadn't had since she'd gown out of the clothes she'd had before the divorce.
In her other hand was the present I'd bought for Katrina. It was a small bracelet in a proper jewellery case. I'd forgotten that the continental market was still set-up in the middle of the town centre, and so had stopped for a few minutes before picking up Sophia to see if they had anything worthwile.
There'd been a small jewellery stand that held all sorts of things. A few necklaces and pairs of earrings had caught my eye, but the charm bracelet had seemed perfect. It was fine and delicate, the chain made of silver. Little pearls, no larger than a pinhead hung from it at random intervals along with small pieces of gemstones in every colour you could think of. Something unique and tasteful, that she could wear with almost anything.
"Oof!" The breath was knocked from me as Alyssa pulled me in for another fierce hug.
"Thank you mum. So much." I could see the earnest gratitude across her face.
"You're welcome sweetie. You deserve it."
She grinned again before catching me off-guard with her next question. "Do you need help with dinner?"
I laughed and waved her off. "You go and enjoy yourself, go and relax. I've got it covered."
And just like that, the bad comments of her classmates were forgotten as we slipped back into our easy routine.
Nerves built up in my stomach as I glanced through the door of the classroom.
About ten people were in there, laughing and joking with each other as they perched on desktops causally, waiting for the lesson to begin.
I was fine with meeting new people, but it had been years since I'd been in a setting like this. I hadn't been in school myself for ten years, and when I did leave, it was with a huge, pregnant belly and the scorn of all my classmates and teachers. But back then, I was young and naïve… and believed every word that came out of Adrian's mouth.
I laughed inwardly to myself. If only I'd known back then what I knew now…
I sighed regretfully and stole a glance at my watch. Five minutes until the lesson was supposed to start. In a desperate attempt to gain some more qualifications other than my GCSE's and A-levels, I'd signed up to night school at the local college. The course I'd signed up for ran three times a week from six til eight pm, and because I earned so little I'd been able to sign up for free. It was a course aimed at getting people into trades, as well as into the business world, and so Monday's covered I.T, Wednesday's covered advanced maths and Fridays focussed on languages. The Friday class was optional. Well, optional in that you got to choose which language you wanted to learn out of French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, Japanese or English, for those who's first language wasn't English. I'd chosen French in the hopes that someone else in the class would be just as bad – if not worse than me, at learning languages.
As quietly as possible, I pushed the door open and stepped into the room, my eyes focussed solely on the desk at the back. The chatter had died down for a moment as I'd entered, but then started up again as they saw I wasn't the teacher. Once I'd made it to the desk in the furthest corner of the room and sat down without anything seemingly going wrong, I breathed out a sigh of relief.
Fumbling around in my bag, I pulled out a pad of paper and Alyssa's pencil case before glancing around the room. No one was paying me any attention, and I felt my body relax further. No one's judging you Rose, I chanted in my head. No body cares that your top's faded or that your jeans have a couple of tiny stains from where Tom spilled his paint as you were about to leave and you barely had time to dab at it with a dishcloth unless you wanted to be late. Or about the fact that you have a saggy body that clearly shows you've not recovered from having three babies. Or that you're not dressed in designer clothes and your hair's tangled…
My internal babble shut off as my ears registered the near silent whisperings of the class. My eyes lifted from where I'd been unconsciously doodling on the cover of the pad, to the rest of the people in the class. There were a few more of us in here now, about twenty people of assorted shapes, sizes, races and nationalities scattered throughout the room.
But that wasn't what had caused the silence to descend. The man who'd just entered had.
He was tall, probably a good four to five inches taller than Adrian, which meant he'd tower over me. Making a rough guess, I'd say that he was around six foot six, or six foot seven. He's not gangly or lanky though, despite his height. Instead, his white t-shirt, black jumper and jeans show off a body that has to have been perfected through many hours in the gym. Rather than being bulky or stringy, he's lean and defined. His muscle tone is clear to see through the way that his clothing fits him, but it's not done in a way to show off. Draped over his arm is something long and made of leather, which isn't cheap, and from his height I'd say he'd have to have the majority of his clothes made specially. He has chestnut brown, shoulder length hair that's pulled back from his face, a face that like his body is defined and strong looking. Chiselled cheekbones, a strong jaw line and a sturdy looking nose are all held in his face, which is impassive as it swivels from side to side, his eyes searching for a free chair.
My eyes dart around the classroom, and dread grows in my stomach as I realise that the only free seat is right next to me. At the free half of my desk.
Once he sees it, his eyes light up slightly and he starts towards me, even his walk sure and confident. I shrink into my seat, feeling intimidated even though he's halfway across the classroom from me, as his eyes lock onto mine.
I gasp silently, shock radiating through me. His eyes are the most beautiful chocolate brown I've ever seen. They appear warm, gentle and kind, a stark contrast to the raw strength that his body portrays.
I drop his gaze and feel as my cheeks flush slightly as he slides into the seat next to me. Desperate for something to do, I literally stick my head in my bag, pretending to look for something so that he doesn't have to look at me. Fat, squashy, comfortable mummy next to him, Mr… man from every woman's fantasies.
The door slams and my head snaps up to see our teacher make their way to the front of the class. As the rest of the students quieten down and wait for her to organise her papers, I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder.
Taking a deep breath, I turn to face the man sitting next to me.
Perhaps noticing my apprehension, he smiles at me, and that smile does strange things to my insides as well as making me relax.
"Since we're going to be sitting next to each other for the next year, it's probably best that we introduce ourselves. I'm Dimitri." He holds his hand out towards me and I hesitate before placing mine in his. His huge hands dwarf my small ones, making me feel petite and delicate, as a spark runs up my arm and throughout my body.
He shakes my hand firmly before pressing a tender kiss to my knuckles. His lips barely brush my skin, but my heart jumps into my throat and I feel tingles in places that haven't… tingled in years.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Rose." His voice holds a slight accent, one that I can't place, and I feel a twinge of disappointment as he lets go of my hand.
"It's nice to meet you too."
He smiles at me once more, the corners of his eyes crinkling slightly as he opens his mouth to speak. But whatever he's about to say is interrupted by the teacher, who is now ready to begin.
He smiles at me apologetically before reaching into the bag I didn't notice him carrying, pulls out a pad of paper and a pen, and focuses his attention to the front of the class.
I follow suit, but can't help the smile that passes over my features quickly and lifts my spirits. Perhaps this won't be quite so bad after all.
So what do you guys think? Please leave me some feedback and reviews, as I'd love to know whether you think this is a story worth reading or not. What was your favourite part? Any predictions for future chapters? xx