I can't believe I'm back here, the Moroi Royal Court. Tasha and I have been living in Russia for the past two years, as far away from her as we could get. The her that I am referring to is Rose Hathaway, former student and the love of my life. We had fallen in love but the circumstances in our lives prevented anything from coming of our relationship. I left to be Tasha's guardian right after the incident in Spokane, hoping that time and distance would help me get over her. It hasn't really, I still think about her all the time. Tasha knows about what happened between Rose and I, and she seems to think I've recovered, but I haven't. Tasha is a good distraction some nights, and now as result, we are expecting a baby. On one hand, I am so happy. I always wanted to be a father. But on the other hand, I feel so guilty because I wish Rose was the mother of my child. But what's done is done. You can't change the past, no matter how hard you wish you could.
The reason we're coming back is purely political. Tasha has been campaigning for Moroi to use offensive magic along with their guardians and the Queen has finally relented, letting a committee form to discuss the details. Tasha is head of this committee, so we're going to be here for a while.
I help Tasha up to our room and unpack the bags then help her get settled into bed. It was a long trip and she is five months along, so she tires quickly. I'm not tired yet, so I decide to go down to the Court bar to see if I can find any guardians I know hanging out there. I go up to the bar and take a seat at an empty stool. I order a beer and look around the room until I see a couple guardians I used to work with back at the academy. They see me and nod in recognition. I keep scanning the room and almost fall out of my chair when I see her. She's sitting at a corner table with a very drunk Adrian Ivashkov. My heart starts beating faster as I look at her, still as beautiful as the last time I saw her. Her gorgeous brown hair that I always loved to touch is a little shorter now, hitting just below her shoulders. Looking at her now, I still have the urge to run my fingers through those silky locks. Her eyes look a little sadder than when I used to get lost in them, but I can still see the spark in them. I really messed up when I left her two years ago. Now she has Adrian with his arm around her shoulder and talking very closely with her. You would think they were a couple if it wasn't for her annoyed expression. I laugh softly to myself thinking about how he was always following her around the school trying to get her attention. Looks like some things never change. I see her check her watch and get up from the table and walk in my direction. She leans forward against the bar to my right, not noticing me, and talks to the bartender.
"Hey Sam, it's time for his coffee." she says like it's a schedule or something. The bartender, Sam I guess his name is, chuckles and pulls out a mug.
"Has he proposed to you yet, doll?" he asks amused. She lets out a big sigh and laughs lightly.
"No, not yet. Oh and please turn off the karaoke machine. If I have to hear him sing that damn song to me again, heads will roll." she says seriously. This must be a regular thing. She still hasn't noticed me so I figure I'll have to take the first step.
"Hello Rose. How are you doing?" I ask from beside her. She freezes and doesn't say anything for a moment, maybe trying to figure out if it's really me. She slowly turns her head and looks over at me. She looks stunned at first, but then a smile spreads across her face and she jumps into my arms.
"Dimitri, holy shit. Is it really you? Om my gosh, where's Tasha? Is she here too?" Wow, that was a little unexpected. She acting like we're just old friends and I never broke her heart. Maybe she never loved me like I loved her. At least she's happy to see me and not wanting to kill me.
I hug her back, not wanting to let her go, she smells so good. She pulls out of my embrace and looks at me with a big grin, waiting for me to answer her. "Yes, Tasha is in our room laying down, long flight." She nods in understanding, still seeming happy to see me.
"Maggie told me we were getting a new guardian. That must be you. Damn," she says a little disappointed. "I was hoping it was a single guy I could get to before Lord Shitfaced over there could get to him and threaten to send him to guard someone in Greenland if he dared ask me out. This shit is getting old." she says with a big sigh. I must look as confused as I am because she lets out a humorless laugh. "I'll explain later. Right now, I have to get him home and into bed." She grabs the cup of coffee and starts to head back to his table. She turns around to face me again. "It's good to see you again Dimitri. Maybe we can all get together tomorrow and catch up. I'd love to see Tasha again." she smiles as I nod in agreement. Man, this is so bizarre.
One of the guardians I recognized earlier, Guardian Conner, comes over and takes the seat next to me. "She's still hot as ever, hey Belikov. She used to drive me insane back at St Vlads, still does. Too bad she's still off limits. Ivashkov is so in love with her, he won't let anyone get close to her, even though she won't have anything to do with him outside her guarding duties. It's quite amusing to watch. See." he points in the direction of Rose's table. I look over and see Adrian on one knee holding her hands like he's proposing. Rose looks sympathetic and tries to get him off the floor. "Happens just about every weekend. He goes on some date with a Royal and then ends up here, trying to get Rose to marry him. Well, if he's anything, he's persistant." he says as he takes another drink of his beer.
I then hear Adrian yell something to the Sam the bartender with Rose shaking her head frantically and waving her hands in front of her face behind him. The guardians around me start to laugh to themselves. "Sam. where's the microphone. I need to show my Little Dhampir how much I love her and need her. Where is it?" he slurs. Sam looks a little uneasy lying for Rose, but he looks over and sees the murderous expression on her face and does the right thing if he wants to live.
"Sorry Lord Ivashkov, the machine has broken down again. The repairman can't get here to fix it until Wednesday." Rose looks relieved as Adrian pounds his fist on the bar. He finally looks my way and we lock eyes. We never got along, and I'm not going to start pretending now.
"Dhampir." he says dryly as a greeting to me.
"Moroi." I respond back. He smirks at me but turns around and clumsily walks back to Rose who puts her arms around his waist to keep him up. She walks him back over to the table and sits him down. She starts to walk away when he reaches out and pulls her into his lap and tries to kiss her neck. Pulling away from him, she pries his hands off her and stands up. Rose strolls over to a table of guardians and gives them that man eating grin that few can resist.
"Who wants to help me get him to bed. If he grabs my ass again I swear I'll beat him to a pulp. And if I do that again, Tatiana said she'll send my to guard some Moroi scientist in Antartica counting penguins, so I need your help." she says so sweetly I'm surprised they all don't jump at the chance. No one seems to be volunteering and Rose looks desperate. What the hell, I'm not doing anything right now. This should be interesting.
"I'll help you Rose." I tell her and her face beams in appreciation. She grabs my hand and I feel the same electricity I felt the time we were under Victor's lust spell. She must have felt it too, because I saw her flinch when we made contact, but didn't let go of my hand.
"Come on Adrian, Dimitri and I are going to get you home." She told him as she placed one of his arms over her shoulders and lifted him out of his seat. I get his other side and we drag him out and walk over to his building. Of course he would live so close to the bar. The whole way there he wouldn't shut up. He just kept going on and on about wanting Rose.
"Rose, you know we're supposed to be together. I can never love anyone like I love you. Please, just stop this rediculous charade and marry me already. We can have a houseful of little baby dhampirs running all over the house. Doesn't that sound wonderful?" Rose just rolled her eyes, like she's heard this a hundred times before. I kinda feel sorry for the guy, if he really loves her this much.
"Adrian, you know we can't be together. You need to find yourself a nice Moroi to be with and have little baby moroi running all over the house. That sounds even better. What about Denise you had dinner with tonight? I thought she was very nice." she tries to convince him but he isn't paying attention to what she's saying at the moment. We step into the elevator and Rose hits the button for the third floor and we step back against the wall. Adrian manages to take his arm off my shoulder and wrap Rose up in a big sloppy hug.
"Oh god Rose. I hate this world we live in." he wimpers. "Let's just run off and live among the humans, then we could be together, just you and me. No one would judge us. We could be happy." he cries into her shoulder. She pats his back and tries to push him off a little so I grab his arm again and stand him up straight and off of her. The elevator dings and the doors open at our floor. We drag out a now passed out Adrian and get to his door. Rose digs into her pants pocket looking for the keys. She finds them and fumbles slightly trying to get the key to go into the lock. Finally she pushes the door open and we pull him in the apartment and his room and throw him on the bed.
Rose puts both hands hands on the back of her hips and stretches out her back. She walks over and stops a couple feet from me. "Thanks Dimitri. Even though he doesn't live that far away, he tends to get heavy." She looks over to the bed and his sleeping form. "I guess I should get him undressed so he can sleep comfortably." she says while rubbing the back of her neck. She seems to act more like his mother than his guardian. She plops down on the edge of the bed and starts taking off his shoes and throwing them into the closet with a loud thud. I can't believe she does all this for him. I have a feeling she loves him more than she'll ever let him know. She looks over to me and smiles. "I know it looks like I put up with a lot more than I should with him, but I owe him a lot. After you left, he helped me put my heart back together. He's my best friend. He really is a lot better sober. How about tomorrow, you and Tasha come over for lunch and we can get reaquainted?" she asks. Well, since tomorrow is Sunday and Tasha doesn't start working until Monday, I don't think Tasha will mind. I'm about to tell her that lunch sounds like a good idea, when l see her yanking off his pants and nearly falling to the floor. She throws them into the hamper and starts unbuttoning his shirt. "Hey, can you help me hold him up so I can get this off him?" She struggles to get his arm out of the sleeve so I do what I can to help keep him from falling on her.
Once he's undressed she pulls the covers over him and kneels down by his head. She gently brushes his hair off his face and kisses his forehead. "Goodnight Adrian." she whispers to him and stands up to walk over to me. We walk out and she locks the door behind her.
"Tomorrow for lunch sounds nice, Rose. Are you sure Adrian won't mind?" I ask.
"Are you kidding? He'll do anything for me. Haven't you been paying attention all night?" she teases. She must have him wrapped around her little finger. Lucky bastard.