I know it's been awhile, and I apologize for that.
Thank you so much for the reviews for last chapter!
If you keep this story on alert, I will post a little blurb when I start post the first chapter of the next story. Just a reminder...things will not be resolved for Dimitri and Roza at the end of this one, but it isn't the end for them. They only think it is. ;)
After making sure his mother was comfortable, Dimitri pulled out his own chair across from her and sat down. He rested his elbows on the table in front of him and propped his chin in the palm of his hand. "I know you have something you want to say."
Her mother studied him for a moment before she spoke; even in the dim lighting of the little French bistro, he could see the wariness in her eyes. "She's young," she remarked gently as she straightened her napkin in her lap.
"She's a fighter," Dimitri insisted.
His mother smiled up at the young woman who filled their glasses with water, waiting until she walked away before commenting. "And you want to save her," she said softly. "Dimka…you've always been wise beyond your years, but this…"
"How do you know she's not?" he asked.
"It doesn't matter if she is. She's too young, and to be quite honest, your lack of good judgment shocks me."
Dimitri felt his jaw begin to tick at her words. "You don't even know her," he said through gritted teeth.
"I'm not criticizing her," his mother informed him as she reached over and gave his hand a gentle pat. "I'm trying to save her from making a commitment she is too young to keep and then regretting it."
"I'm not pressing her for a commitment," Dimitri said. "I'm not going to push her to give anything she isn't ready to give."
"Something tells me you already have," she said softly.
"And what would that something be?" he asked.
"I saw the way you looked at her. It's obvious that you're in love with her. Is she in love with you?"
The ticking in his jaw became more persistent and Dimitri had to look away. He couldn't lie to his mother; he didn't know if Roza loved him, and it was something he hadn't quite been able to come to terms with.
"You're intense, Dimka," she reminded him in her motherly tone. And that was the problem. If she could be judgmental-if he thought for one second she was scolding him-he could be mad at her. But she wasn't. She was matter of fact, and the fact was she knew him better than anyone.
"You push with a look. You push without knowing you're pushing. Does she feel pressured?"
Dimitri swallowed past the lump of uncertainty in his throat and returned his gaze to his mothers. "I'm not sure what she feels," he finally admitted.
Dinner with his mother had brought new information: His oldest sister was expecting a new baby, and his grandmother had fallen and broken her ankle, but recovered in record time.
Unfortunately, it had also brought doubts. Roza hadn't said she'd loved him yet, and what if his mother was right? He knew he was intense; he always had been. He was more than willing to wait until she was ready to give him the words, but what if he unknowingly pushed her into saying them when she wasn't ready? The thought that he was pushing her—even if he wasn't trying to—shook him. He knew her—thought he knew her better than she knew herself. If she gave too much too soon, she'd panic. And then she'd bolt.
His mother was right; Roza was young. She had her entire life ahead of her.
And he couldn't be the one to take that away.
Rose put her car in park and made her way up to Dimitri's apartment. It was nearly noon, and she hadn't heard from him since last night. She knew she was running the risk of seeing his mother again, but it was a risk she was willing to take to see him.
She knocked on the door, not waiting for an answer before she opened it."Di-"
The word died in her throat as she looked around. There were boxes strewn all over the room. Where there had been lamps and books last night, the end tables were now bare; the large screen television that had been hanging on the wall was gone.
Her eyes flew to his bedroom door, where she could hear him moving around, and she practically flew across the room.
"What the hell is going on?" she asked as she marched into his room.
He looked up in surprise from the box he was dropping things into; his bed had already been stripped, and just like the living room, all the furniture was bare.
"What does it look like?" he shot back.
She looked at him for a moment before she took an instinctive step back. "You...you're leaving?" she asked.
Rose licked her lips as she watched him pack; he wouldn't even look at her. "What about your job?" she asked.
He shrugged. "It was a semester to semester gig. They wanted to try me out, I wanted to try them out. It didn't work for me."
She laughed bitterly. "Were you even going to say goodbye?" she pressed.
"I was going to text you."
"You...you were going to fucking text me?" she asked angrily.
Dimitri finally straightened, putting one hand on his hip, the other in the air palm up. "What do you want from me, Roza?"
Fury flooded her entire body, and she reached for the first thing she could find—a stupid paperback western novel—and tossed it back in the box, reaching for the hardcover before flinging it at him. "Are you kidding me?" she screamed.
"Dammit, Roza!" he said as he ducked, the book missing him by mere inches.
"It's Rose," she yelled. "And don't I at least deserve a face to face? I mean—I thought we were in a relationship!"
"Relationship?" Dimitri shot back. "What relationship? Rose, you can't even tell me that you love me."
Rose's heart felt like it stopped in her chest, and she realized how close she'd come to giving him the words he'd wanted. Words that, thankfully, she hadn't spoken.
"No," she whispered. "No, I can't." Apparently, he hadn't wanted them that badly, as he hadn't been as willing to wait as he'd claimed. Without another word, she spun on her heel and walked out of his apartment.
She drove home in a state of shock, her eyes wide and unblinking as she relived each and every moment she'd spent with him.
It wasn't until she arrived home that she allowed herself to feel. She tossed her keys on the end table, and slumped against the door. Once the sobs started coming, they were impossible to stop. She sunk to the floor, and wrapping her arms around her legs, she lowered her forehead to her knees.
She looked up at the sound of her name.
"Are you...are you OK?" Christian asked hesitantly.
Rose choked on a sob and gave him a wobbly smile. "No. But you know me." She swiped at the tears on her cheeks. "I will be," she whispered determinedly.
Here is the summary for the next story; I'm still working on the title:
When Rose Hathaway moved to New York City to be closer to the only family she has—Lissa, Christian, and their new baby—she had no idea that it would lead her back to the only man she's ever loved.
Dimitri Belikov had made the mistake of letting her get away once—he wasn't about to let it happen again. Roza Hathaway would be his—forever, this time—no matter what it took.
I've begun posting the sequel, and it is called Tempting Fate. Thank you again so much to everyone who took the time to read Fated; I hope you enjoy the next story!