She had been in a coma for 4 days. It was the most frustrating thing to watch. Her bruises were almost faded, her ribs reset and mended, her cuts had scabbed but she wouldn't wake up. At first it was an induced coma to stabilize her, but that was only for a day. After that, she just stayed asleep. The doctors told us that the longer she is comatose, the less likely it is that she'll ever wake up, and that she suffered some severe head trauma, that by some "miracle" (that we call dhampir genes) didn't kill her. However, this head trauma may have caused severe brain damage, and that if Rose wakes up, she may be a completely different person and may not remember anything.
It was torture sitting there, waiting for my love to wake up and find out if she even remembered me. I knew it was selfish, and that I should be grateful she's alive, but I wouldn't be able to bear it if she didn't remember me. It was terrifying. Yet there was an even more selfish part of myself that wished she'd forget only the past few years, ever since I broke her heart in the church at Court. I knew it was too good to be true, but the possibility of redemption solaced me during those long hours spent at her bedside.
It was so dark. I had no idea where I was. All I knew was that the velvety voice with the strong hands and familiar scent had taken me somewhere safe. I still couldn't place who it was, but decided it must be a stranger. I tried to think of anything before the strong hands had grasped my shoulders, but as soon as I conjured the memory, it would float away, leaving me to grapple my way through the darkness, unaware of time or my surroundings. It was endlessly boring but oddly peaceful, compared to the anxiety I faintly remembered from before the velvety voice came and took me away.
The silence was deafening. I strained to hear something. Beep. Beep. Beep. I had no idea what it could be, but it was irritating and I regretted the effort it took to listen for it, preferring my quiet. There was something else though, every once and a while amid the incessant beeping. It was the velvety voice. Just like before, it was too far away to make out what the person was saying, but it was comforting to listen to. It was a man's voice, deep and baritone with what I believed was a slight Russian accent, but the words were scrambled. As I listened though, they became clearer. After what felt like forever, I could finally make out a word. Roza.
Was that my name? I liked the sound of it. I couldn't remember my name. I was convinced that the darkness had invaded my brain and stolen all my memories because every time I tried to remember something the darkness whisked it away, leaving me once again with nothing.
The velvet voice felt closer and I could make out full sentences. Come back to me, Roza. I need you. I sincerely hoped I was Roza, even though I was sure this was all a figment of my imagination. I wanted to melt in the voice and it's gloriously husky tone. I could hear the stupid beeping accelerate and groaned.
"Will someone shut that stupid beeping up?" I yelled into the darkness, but this time, the darkness didn't swallow the noise like it used to, I could hear the words out loud, in a raspy voice. I pushed against the darkness, the blackness turning to grey which gave way to colors as I felt my eyes open and I became aware of a man staring wide eyed at me with tears in my eyes, holding my hand.
"Roza?" He whispered. It was the owner of the velvety voice, and boy was he beautiful. It finally registered in my brain that I was indeed Roza.
"Who are you?" I've never seen someone's face so devastated in my life. I grimaced. The guy looked like his puppy just died.
"You don't remember me." It was more of a statement than a question. "Can I ask what you do remember?" With the darkness no longer swallowing everything I thought I paused and tried to remember. I remembered Lissa, and Andre, and Mr. and Mrs. Dragomir who were basically my adoptive family. Then there was my mom, Janine. I remembered being at St. Vlad's, but the connection to how I'd gotten from St. Vlad's to a hospital bed was very fuzzy.
"Can you tell me your full name?" He asked, tears threatening to spill.
"Rosemarie Hathaway, daughter of Guardian Janine Hathaway. My best friend is Vasilissa Dragomir. I go to St. Vladimir's Academy." I stated with confidence.
"What's the date?" I furrowed my brow. The last date I remembered was being written on my paper in Stan's class. I guessed if I added two days I'd be close?
"It's December 10th, 2007?" His head fell and he removed his hand from mine before leaning back. I could tell my answer upset him deeply but I was so confused as to why.
"What's wrong? Is that not the date?" The man shook his head and sighed, a rueful look in his deep brown eyes.
"No, Roza. It's November 27, 2013. You suffered severe head trauma that has resulted in amnesia, which is why you don't remember me. You just woke up from a coma that you were in for four days." His voice was gruff and raw with emotion.
"Oh." It was all I could manage. I was completely numb. I couldn't remember six years of my life. I looked down at my hands, unsure if I should allow myself to cry in front of this man. For all I knew he was just another Guardian, but would a Guardian show this much emotion? I let a tear escape, then another, and before I knew it my body was wracked with horribly painful sobs, and this man, of whom I still didn't know the name, was holding me.
"Oh, Roza, my poor Roza. I'm so sorry. I didn't protect you like I promised. I let them hurt you and I'm so, so sorry." He had begun to cry, which somehow stifled my tears and began to make me feel very uncomfortable. I had no idea who this man was or what he was talking about and it felt awkward. He immediately noticed my discomfort and released me. I curled up my legs under me and watched him wipe at his eyes.
"Excuse me, I momentarily forgot. My name is Dimitri Belikov. I was your mentor during your last year at the Academy." His voice was strained and I could tell he was hiding something. No guardian mentor would be so upset about a student, would they?
"Is that it?" She asked. I paused. I had a very dangerous choice to make, with three paths to take. I could tell her everything, heartbreak and all. I could tell her about our relationship and leave out the details. Or, I could save her the heartbreak and confusion and leave out the romantic side of our relationship. The selfish part of me wanted to take the second choice, but I knew it was wrong. I couldn't do that to her, but did I really want her to know everything, or even worse, completely forget me?
"I'm going to go find your family. They told me to call them the second you woke up." She gave me a curious look but accepted the fact that I wasn't going to tell her everything.
I listened to the machines that kept me alive. The drip of my IV, the beeping of my heart monitor, and the whoosh of some pump that was connected to the little tubes in my nose that helped me take in oxygen because apparently one of my lungs had collapsed or something along those lines. I didn't really pay attention to the nurse when she rattled off the laundry list of injuries that required a laundry list of procedures, casts, machines, medications, and a miracle from God to fix. I wasn't interested in why I was stuck in a bed in a little white room; I was interested in how I could convince the doctors to let me out of this stupid hospital so I could get back to protecting Lissa, the only thing I was any good at.
"ROSE!" I felt a smile creep on my face as a saw a mop of platinum blonde hair come dashing across my tiny little window and into my room. Lissa was here, and that's all I needed. Following her was a moody looking guy around my age with jet-black hair and piercing blue eyes, wearing a smirk and looking beyond irritating. I noticed the bandaging that could be seen under his black t-shirt and briefly wondered how he had been injured, but dismissed it when I noticed the rest of the welcoming committee enter the room. Behind him was, to my utter surprise, my dearest mother, Guardian Janine Hathaway and a Moroi man with dark brown hair, wearing an expensive looking charcoal suit and a shockingly bright turquoise scarf. I paused to reexamine him as I noticed his proximity to my mother. He had a single gold hoop in his left ear, completing his mob-boss look.
"Lissa! You're here!" I beamed, choosing to ignore my mother and the two strangers that crowded my room. Lissa sat in the chair that Dimitri had vacated and grasped my hand.
"I would give you a hug but the nurse said it wasn't allowed. I can't believe you're alive. Adrian and I tried to heal you but we could only do so much. Adrian passed out after we healed you and hit his head on the pavement when we were moving you into the back seat of Abe's car, so he's in the other room with a nasty concussion, but he'll be just fine. He's been more worried about you, we all have. Dimitri never even left your bedside he was so worried. How are you feeling?" I was starting to feel very overwhelmed. Who was Adrian and Abe? How did they heal me? Why did Dimitri not leave my bedside if I was just his student at St. Vlad's?
Lissa noticed my bewildered stare and froze. "Oh. You don't remember, do you? Oh, Rose. Dimitri didn't mention the amnesia. I'm so sorry; you must be so lost. What's the last thing you remember?" Her voice cracked and her eyes watered, grasping my hand tighter.
"I've lost six years. I don't remember a thing. The last thing I remember is sitting in Stan's class back at St. Vlad's, then there's just blackness. I faintly remember someone speaking and a pair of warm hands lifting me up but that's all I have from that period." I removed my hand from Lissa's and began picking at my cuticles. It was better than looking at the disappointed faces that faced me around the room. The man with the turquoise scarf turned and left, but I didn't look up to see his face. I had no idea what I meant to that man. I shut my eyes tight, trying to remember him, trying to place why he seemed familiar, but it was like shooting darts blind folded. I didn't even know where to aim.
"Who was that man?" I whispered to Lissa, my voice timid and shaking. Lissa looked at Janine who had begun to cry. I had never seen my mother cry; it was absolutely terrifying.
"That was your father, Abe Mazur. You met him when you ran off to Russia a few years ago, and you found out he was your father a few months after that. We didn't tell you because his line of work is very risky and I didn't want to put you in danger. I'm so sorry, Rose," Janine's voice was rough and raw with emotion, the most I'd ever seen her show.
I couldn't tell which was more upsetting: the fact that Janine had kept me from my father, or the fact that I had met my father, and didn't remember it. Both were equally infuriating. I could hear my heartbeat accelerate on the monitor, increasing with my rage.
"How could you keep this from me? I thought my father was dead, or left us, or both! You only told me because I ran into him in Russia? How could you? I can't believe you. No, actually I can. I mean what should I have expected from you? You're the mother of the year. You abandoned me at the Academy, barely ever visited or called, and you didn't even tell me about my father. What business could be so risky that I couldn't know him? Or even know of him?." Tears rolled down my cheeks as years of disappointment and bitter anger welled up inside of me, spilling out and filling up my tiny hospital room. I felt so crowded with all the nasty emotions swirling around me. "Just get out. All of you get out now." The claustrophobia failed to ease as I watched their backs walking down the hallway and around the corner, taking them out of sight.
All the shocks of the day had worn me down and I felt emotionally drained. I tried to adjust myself to a more comfortable position, but a sharp pain in my ribs reminded me of my condition. It was like the universe had it out for me. I reached with my good hand and grabbed the pillow off the chair next to my bed, wincing as the scabs and lacerations were stretched with the effort. Every single emotion released out of me as I screamed into the pillow. My machines struggled to keep up with the energy needed to scream, but I didn't care. The pain in my chest and the lightheadedness from lack of oxygen were nothing compared to the pain I felt inside. I had lost the most precious years of my life, and I wasn't sure if I had it in me to piece them back together.