Holding hands we walk to the center of the crowd, they've backed away creating a circle around us.
"Just like in practice Comrade." I whisper as I lean up and kiss him on the cheek. "Points, no stakes." He nods and squeezes my hand before pulling me in for a hug. I feel his body relax as he kisses my neck, just under my ear – goose bumps graze my arms and he smiles.
We break apart and start circling each other. We're both smiling, our eyes dancing with anticipation of the first attack. Normally I wait for Dimitri to attack first, but I see my opening and go for it. He's too quick and sees me coming, stepping aside my punch catches the air. That's when I realize my back is exposed, too late, he grabs me from behind. Luckily I react quickly, breaking away from his grip and spin around to face him. He smiles at me, proud I'm sure. I smirk back.
I hear the cheering of the crowd in the background causing me to slightly lose focus. That's all the opening Dimitri needs. He swoops to my left side with his shoulder low, I react late but am still able to block him. Spinning around he catches my leg and we both tumble to the ground. He's hovering over me, smiling. I feel his grip loosen and flip him over. Now I'm sitting straddling him, holding his arms above his head. We're both breathing heavy, his breath on my face makes my heart flutters. I smirk, rather pleased with myself.
"Had enough, Comrade?" I tease. In one swift movement, he's rolled us over, him now straddling me.
"I'll never have enough of you." He says raising an eyebrow in his signature look. I giggle and smash my lips into his. His grip loosens, as I thought it would. I flash back to the last time I did this and it caught him off guard, I wonder if it'll work again. My right hand pulls free and curves around for a blow to his temple. Dimitri breaks the kiss, smirking at me with amusement dancing in his eyes.
"Not this time, Roza." He says, grabbing my fist and holding if firmly in place. We stare at each other both of our eyes softening. I hear laughter from the crowd.
"Caught you off guard Belikov? Nice one Rose, you're so resourceful sometimes." Christian's laughter is contagious. "The kiss of death." He murmurs into the crowd. Dimitri and I both begin to laugh as we stand up ending the show. Dimitri wraps his arms around me, holding me close. I do the same taking comfort in his embrace.
"Well, that was quite the show." Raymond says walking toward us with a smile on his face and Sarah next to him. "No wonder you two are so highly regarded, your skills surpass anyone we've ever seen." I'm not sure what to say, I've never been well at accepting compliments without sounding cocky. I decide to follow Dimitri's lead and gracefully bow my head. I gaze up at him in wonder, he's always so proper, such the gentleman, pride surges through my body for the man I love.
"I guess I'll continue to take your stupid lessons." Angeline says walking toward her father. I smirk at her attitude.
"You should come to the Academy with us. We could teach you a lot more and really hone in your skills." Eddie says to Angeline as he walks up behind me. I look to Angeline, her eyes widen with excitement at the possibility of leaving. I leave the group as they begin discussing the intricacies of enrolling Angeline into St. Vladimir's. Since Eddie and Christian will be there, Raymond is more inclined to allow her to go.
"Hey Little Dhampir." I hear a familiar tone. Turning on my heels I smile a playful grin at Adrian. "So, is that what you and Belikov call foreplay?" He smirks as I roll my eyes. "Because I can think of some other things you may enjoy better." He says, licking his lips, his tongue lingering on his fangs. If glares could kill, he'd be dead.
"Behave." Sonya says, smacking Adrian on the back side of the head. A one sided grin tugs at my lips. "So I hear we're going to Russia?" She asks turning her attention toward me.
"Yes. Well, Dimitri and I are, Adrian decided to tag along." I say.
"Someone needs to supervise you." Adrian says. Sonya and I both stare at him with puzzlement, then start to laugh.
"Adrian said there is another Spirit user there?" Sonya asks after our laughter dies down.
"Yes, Oksana. She is the one that helped me with Lissa. Adrian nods remembering the Spirit battle we had with Avery. Sonya's eye squint not knowing the events that took place. "Somehow Oksana was able to use my bond with Lissa and link us together." I quickly explain.
"Oh wow, very impressive." Sonya says. "Yes, I do think I would like to meet her."
Looking over Adrian's shoulder I see Joshua standing alone, eyes glazed over. Though I never saw myself, from what I've been told that is what I would look like. I have no doubt he's been pulled into Adrian's head…and now he's blushing. I look up to see Adrian gazing upon me with roaming eyes and a sly grin.
"Adrian!" I groan, slapping him on the arm.
"You'll never be able to stop me from dreaming about you." Adrian says, all tone of playfulness gone. Flames from the fire are now dance in his green eyes. Gritting my teeth I decide it time for bed.
"Goodnight Sonya. Adrian." I say, turning toward the direction of our tent. Walking past Dimitri I catch his eyes. He smiles and excuses himself catching up to me.
"Everything all planned out?" I ask as we settle in our tent, ready for sleep.
"Yes. We'll take Angeline to St. Vladmir's and enroll her. Though, we'll have to meet with the Headmistress, I'm not sure if Christian alone can get her in –no questions asked." I nod my head which is already perfectly positions in the crock of his shoulder. "Oh, and they want Joshua to come with us to Russia."
"What?" I ask. Rolling over to look at him squarely in the eye, a bit annoyed that I moved from my very comfortable position. He shrugs his shoulders.
"Being shadow kissed is an honor to them. They want him to stay with Adrian."
"Whatever. That's up to Adrian." I say, snuggling back down into my comfy spot, drifting off to sleep.
The next couple days are uneventful. We train, practice, eat, and train more. I admire everyone's enthusiasm throughout the grueling days. You can tell the Dhampir's are made for this – they're excelling. But I have to give credit to the Moroi and Humans…they get an A for effort.
Our last night there we have another big bonfire with music and dancing. They're even passing around a bottle of something they call moonshine. Based on the smell of it, I passed. Though I did have a bite of the peach they pulled from the bottle. I glance across the fire to see Adrian sipping on entire jug all by himself. I shake my head. Dimitri catches my attention, he's standing along the exterior of the group, speaking with Mikhail. I've always enjoyed admiring him from afar, my adoration going unnoticed.
"Hey Rose." Christian says sitting down next to me. He follows my gaze. "How are you two?"
"We're good." I say, my eyes not moving from their subject.
"He doesn't hurt you, right?" My head snaps so quickly it may have popped off.
"What?" I question. Confusion plastered on my features.
"Lissa is concerned. She hears noises, not so nice noises, and sometimes lots of yelling and screaming at night." My eyes harden before turning soft again.
"No, I appreciate her concern, but we're fine. We just don't sleep well." I say, shrugging. He nods.
"Give it time, it'll get better." He finally says. I furrow my eye brows and wrinkle my forehead. "After my parents…I had nightmares for a while." He says looking down to the ground. I reach over and pull him in for a hug.
The next morning we say our farewells and pile into the SUV. Since we have two extra passengers this time around, Eddie and Mikhail sit on the floor. I smile at them arguing over who it will be, Christian and Adrian wanted to, however the guardians wouldn't allow it. I smirk.
All too quickly we arrive at the location Abe had given me. We pile out of the SUV and head toward the private jet awaiting us on the tarmac. Much to my surprise a golden-blonde haired girl is standing at the top of the stairs with her arms crossed over her chest waiting for us.
"Sydney!" I squeal in delight.