Chapter 1

Rose POV

"Roza… I'm—I'm… So, so sorry. I don't expect for you to forgive me and I… I—"

"Don't." My quivering voice stopped Dimitri's. "Stop it. Leave me alone."

I could feel his hesitation as he took another step towards me. My back was towards him, but I could see his tortured face, his grimaces and winces. I knew that he was shivering, just like I was, but it wasn't from the cold. It was from the pain, betrayal… and sadness.

"I have always loved you." His firm voice said, filled with regret. "I have never, ever used you, Roza. And—and… since you want me to leave… then, I shall. I shall leave you alone for as long as you want. So… Goodbye, Rose."

I didn't have to listen to the deafening steps to know he had actually left. I waited until I heard the door close, until I heard no one else but my breathing. Right then, I choked a sob and tears streamed down my cheek. The strength in my knees finally gave up and I slumped to the ground, still crying. When I heard the door open, I froze as I let a feeling of hope in me. Could it be that he came back for me?

The bouncing and the sudden shock zipped me awake. I moaned in annoyance, and swatted away whatever was bothering me. Two small hands grabbed my hand and tugged, as if trying to pull me up. I opened one eye and felt a grin spread over my face. It was Camilla and Max, my two babies, already 9 years old. Even after Dimitri left, he had given me something to remember him with. But I didn't really care. I just loved them so much, even if they were my ex-lover's children.

"Mama, I'm huuuungry," Max groaned. In response, his stomach grumbled too, making the three of us giggle.

With a sigh, I got up and slid out the bed, which resulted in the twins squealing in excitement for their breakfast. 9 years ago, I wouldn't even touch the stove, much less the frying pan. In fact, I probably would've burnt down our old house, 4 years ago, if I hadn't learnt how to cook.

I reached for the refrigerator handle and opened it, craning my neck to look for some eggs. When I found them, I got to work and pulled them out. Then, using my awesome ninja cooking skills, in fifteen minutes, I had made fried eggs, some pancakes from the day before, and sausages that went straight to the microwave and came out hot and ready to eat.

Camilla and Max came out, all dressed with their stuff packed and ready to go. I smiled as I saw them gobble up all the food. No, to be precise, Max gobbled up his food while Camilla calmly used her fork and knife. It was a wonder how Cam was so much like Dimitri and Max was so much like me. And usually, dhampirs can't get pregnant, but most likely because of my Shadow-kiss thingy, I probably was able to have them. For once I was thankful that I had been revived from the dead. The true mystery was the fact that they had a bit of darkness too except Max could take some away from Camilla, and Camilla could take some away from Max.

"Mama, mama!" Max called. "We're dooone! And Camilla thinks your dozing off to much lately."
With a smile, I picked up Max and Camilla's plate as I rolled my eyes at Camilla. The two of them could talk to each other in their heads. Not only that, but Max could read other people's minds, which I found out almost after I had burn out house down, and Camilla could feel and change the emotions of the people around her.

"Okay, get to the car, kids." I waved them out our small flat. "Hurry, we don't want to be late again."

Right then, the phone started to ring. With a sigh, I picked it up, and tried to put on my jacket too. Then, I put in the emergency Ivashokov card in my pocket and just as I was about to answer, his voice interrupted me.

"Hello, Roza."

My eyes widened. "Dimitri?"

"Mm… Yes. It's me. But… a new me. I've become reborn, Rose. You have no idea how… exhilarating it feels. You made it very, very hard to find you, Rose. Rest assured, I didn't tell anyone about how you left Lissa and such. And I saw how you're living with three people… Already making friends, Rose?"

I froze. He didn't know they were children—his children. And his third sentence sent chills down my spine. "You're a… Strigoi?"

"Yes, yes. But that doesn't matter. I want you back, Rose. I want you so, so much. I regret it, you know, leaving you. But don't worry. I'll take you back, sooner or later."

I grit my teeth. "Dimitri, don't you dare. Leave me alone. And leave them alone too!"

"Them? Oh, you mean the other residence. It's fine, but I did send Brook out there to search for them. Just so, you know, we can have a friendly chat about who can have you and who can't."

That was all I needed before I slammed the phone down and sprinted towards my car that was outside. It was a scrawny Honda, but it was enough for us to roll around in since I was the only financial support we had. Except for the occasional emergency Ivashkov card. But that was for true emergencies. Like now.

I could see the Strigoi lurking in the sidewalk, and he saw the children. A broad grin stretched onto his face. He thought they were "them's" children. I headed straight for him and pulled out the stake that I always kept in my jacket pocket. Then, I pushed it straight through his heart, before he even realized I was there.

I swung the driver's seat open and sat down, slamming the door. I could see the frightened look on Max and Camilla's face. I quickly turned the car ignition on and backed out of the driveway and headed straight towards the highway.

"Mama… Where are we going?" Cam's startled voice said. "This isn't the way to school."

"I know, Camilla." I shivered. "I know. But… there's a change of plans."

"Again?" Max whined. "But we didn't even pack our stuff this time."

I felt so bad for my little babies who had to go through so much pain and torture. We always were on the move, avoiding Adrian's people and Lissa's people. Apparently, Lissa was next in line for throne since Queen Bitch face suggested her. This meant she had a lot of power and was always searching for us, which never really succeeded.

"I'm sorry babies." I sighed. "Maybe we'll head over to Mark and Oksana's house later, okay?"

This got their small, but excited looks. They knew Oksana and Mark because we stayed with them for a while before.

That had also been when I had gone to Oksana to ask her to help me destroy the bond between Lissa and I.