I woke the next morning with a start and immediately groaned as I felt the repercussions of my actions the night before. Rose hadn't exactly been delicate in her reactions. I sat up and noticed a slip of paper on the floor in front of my door.
I can't do this again. I'm sorry, but I've already given up on you. I've moved on, and you should too. I never expected to see you again after I left Court, and honestly, I think it's best that it doesn't happen again. I loved you dearly, but you hurt me in a way I can never forget. I forgive you for your actions as a Strigoi, but as a dhampir you hurt me far worse. We can't and won't ever be the same. It's time we both find someone who won't hurt us. You said you'd given up on me, well I've given up on you. It's time to move on. I wish you the best of luck wherever life takes you.
Gone. Again. No. My ability to comprehend the reality was frozen. She'd been found once, and I was sure she'd make sure not to be found again. My heart broke even further than it had two years ago. I'd squandered the opportunity I'd been given, and now she was long gone. Never to be found again.
I put my head in my hands, unable to comprehend the hollow, numb feeling that consumed me. I felt unable to function. This note was the confirmation I'd been searching for. After she left, I'd always wondered if she regretted it, if she'd acted recklessly and wanted to come home, but pride kept her at bay. Now, I knew for sure. She had a life in Russia- if she even was in Russia- a life with no regret, and no intention of ever returning home, if she even considered Court her home anymore. I felt a single tear run down my face as the reality of it all hit me. I had lost her officially.
I always needed time on my own
I never thought I'd need you there when I cry
And the days feel like years when I'm alone
I had always been a loner, but Rose had a way of bringing me out of my shell of grief over the things and people I'd loved and lost. I never thought I'd be so solely dependent on one person. I never thought I'd count the days apart.
When you walk away I count the steps that you take
Do you see how much I need you right now?
I reread the letter. Over and over and over and over again before crumpling back onto the bed, breathing her scent still lingering on the pillows. I needed her, desperately. She was like an addiction, without her I was useless. I was a lost half, needing it's other to become whole again. I wasn't me without her.
When you're gone
The pieces of my heart are missing you
When you're gone
The face I came to know is missing too
When you're gone
The words I need to hear to always get me through the day and make it ok
I miss you
I'd spent two years of numb hell without her, praying that I'd find her soon. At this point, knowing that I'd never see her again, I knew not a reason to live. What was the point of living if you're absolutely sure you'll be miserable? I knew I'd never be happy again, not truly happen. Everything would be bittersweet if I wasn't sharing it with Rose. She always had a way of brightening my day and making everything that much better. She could turn my entire day around with a single smile. She brought light into my life like no other could. I missed her terribly, and knew that the feeling of dread would never leave me as long as she evaded me.
I've never felt this way before
Everything that I do reminds me of you
And the clothes you left, they lie on the floor
And they smell just like you, I love the things that you do
I'd never felt this incompletion before, this feeling of numb dread that encompassed me. I unfurled myself, knowing that I needed to make an appearance at breakfast to prevent suspicion. I trod down the stairs heavy hearted and miserable.
"Hey there, big brother! Where's Rose?" Vika said with giddy suspicion and a smirk on her face. Karolina and Sonya started to bust up laughing.
"Gone. She left me a note saying she was leaving and not returning. What's for breakfast?" I mumbled, deadpan. I wasn't going to try to hide that she left. Everyone froze, except Yeva, of course. She probably knew Rose was leaving a long time ago.
"Why?" Mama asked, letting the bacon burn in her shocked curiosity. I sighed; I really didn't want to discuss it.
"It's not important. She left. She's not coming back. Ever. Ok? Now can we please just have breakfast? I'm starved." I faked. I really wasn't hungry. Okay, I wasn't hungry at all. Not after the horrid feeling in my stomach settled in, making food sound absolutely repugnant. I needed to change the subject quickly before they blew up.
"Are you kidding me? Tell us RIGHT NOW! Why would she leave like that? She promised me she wouldn't!" Vika yelled, sticking her chin up defiantly, just like Rose. Except Rose was no longer like that, she'd lost that spark, that rebellious part of her that withstood conformity and stood up to the world fearlessly, without a doubt in her mind that everything would be okay.
"She left because she couldn't bare to be near me. She couldn't stand to see me. She left just like she did last time. Because of me. It's my fault the same as at Court. I ruined it again. I completely alienated the only woman I've ever truly loved and now she can't even exist near me for more than 24 hours. Any other questions?" I snapped, pouring out the raging emotions tearing me apart mercilessly, my frustration and pain hitting its breaking point. I stormed out the door, unable to breathe with so many pitying stares gawking at my outburst. I felt suffocated. I started walking, then jogging, then running, and finally I was in a full on sprint. I had no idea where I was going, but it didn't matter. I was dead inside and there was no remedy for it. No attainable remedy, at least.
We were made for each other
Out here forever
I know we were, yeah
All I ever wanted was for you to know
Everything I'd do, I'd give my heart and soul
I can hardly breathe I need to feel you here with me, yeah
Rose was everything. Everything. I was nothing without her love. It was supposed to be Rose and I taking on the world together. I needed her, I'd give anything, anything, for another chance, a chance to tell her how much I loved her, how much she meant to me, how much I needed her. I felt suffocated without her. I needed her, I needed to see her beautiful face, see her smile, taste her lips on mine, feel her in my arms, smell her scent on my pillow, play with her hair, tell her how beautiful she is and how much I loved her, every day. I'd go to hell and back for her without a doubt in my mind. I'd die for her, if it meant she'd be happy. And that's when it hit me.
I no longer made her happy. She'd made a life for herself, a happy life, without me. She didn't need me in her life like I needed her. After all, she was an independent, strong woman who'd moved on and found a way to be happy, without me. She may love me, but she didn't need me. It was time to let her go, to let her be happy. It was for the best, just like she'd said. She'd grown out of me, I was a thing her past. If I no longer made her happy, than it was for the best that she moved on. It was time for us to move on. If she couldn't be happy with me, than I wanted her to be happy with someone else, no matter how much it hurt, I had to let her go.
With this new resolve in my mind, I headed back to my family to spend the holidays as cheerfully as I could, then I was heading back to Court. As I ascended the steps to the house, I made a promise to myself, to Rose, that I would live my life in the present and not dwell on the past, I would move on completely and let myself be happy to the best of my ability. I felt the sick feeling in my stomach subside, just for the moment, and I knew that I would keep to that promise.