I push aside all my emotions from earlier as I get ready for the day. Looking in the mirror I know Lissa will worry about me. What can I say? What should I tell her? I walk into the kitchen ready for breakfast and find her with Adrian. So much for pushing down my emotions. One look at him and a tear wells up in my eye. I quickly blink it away as I approach, hopefully no one noticed. Yet he did, he's watching me. What does he see? The color of my aura use to fascinate him, but now that I'm no longer shadow kissed, I wonder what my true aura shows? When I'm a few feet away from them I put on the best smile I can muster.
"Good morning, my Queen." I say slightly bowing to Lissa and giving her one of my mischievous grins. Her eyes widen, staring at me in confusion and disbelief.
"Good morning, Adr…er, Lord Ivashkov." Our eyes meet and I feel the heat under his scrutiny.
"Guardian Hathaway." I wince at the coolness of his voice. It's Lissa who spoke next.
"Rose what's wrong? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Never better." I lie. She stares at me in disbelief.
"It looks like you've been crying." She persists. "I heard Dimitri came to see you last night," her voice trails off. I glance at Adrian not wanting to talk about Dimitri in front of him. I don't want to hurt him any more than I already have. "Did he do something to upset you?"
"No." I cross my arms in front of me and roll my eyes. We're interrupted by a servant I've never met. Lissa is needed to review a few documents.
"This conversation isn't over." She says as she exits the room. I turn and glance toward Adrian, half expecting him to excuse himself too.
"Adrian," I say.
"Don't. Just don't." he cuts me off.
"I'm so sorry." I say. He stares at me for a while without saying anything. His stern look bores into my head. Tears threaten my eyes under his scrutiny.
"Exactly what are you sorry for?" He finally asks.
"Everything." I say. A deep, billowy dark laugh escapes his lips.
"Everything?" He asks. "You always take the easy way out, don't you…"
"What do you want me to say?"
"You know exactly why you're sorry. For using me, lying to me, cheating on me. Take your pick." He retorts.
"Adrian, I never used you or lied to you. I did cheat on you and I am very sorry about that. I really did love you, I still do, just not in that way. Not how I love Dimitri. I tried. You know I did. I really wanted us to work out." He tries to interrupt me. "Stop, I need to say this. I wasn't over Dimitri yet. It was too soon. My time with him as a Strigoi still haunted me. His memory still lingered in my heart. I tried to get over him, making new memories with you. And who knows it may have worked with time. But then Lissa saved him and…"
"I know the rest. Auras don't lie. I knew how you two felt about each other, even when you wouldn't admit it." He says. "I knew what would happen when you two were alone together."
"Then why did you support the idea?" I ask.
"What other choice did I have? You'd be tried and executed." His eyes soften. "I hoped your stubbornness would be enough to keep you two apart." My eyes squint in question. "You were pretty upset with him our last night together." I blush.
"How do you know?"
"Little dhampir," He muses, his lips curling into a smirk. "There isn't much I don't know."
"It wouldn't have worked out between us anyway." I change the subject. "Everyone knows a Moroi and Dhampir don't live happily ever after."
"I would have for you." He whispers.
"Adrian, your family never would have allowed it." He nods knowing what I say is true.
The door opens and Lissa enters the room."Now where were we?" She says walking toward us.
"Lissa, I'm okay. Everything's fine." I calmly say.
"Then what happened last night?" She persists.
"He told you, didn't he?" I'm shocked when I hear Adrian's voice.
"Told you what?" Lissa asks.
"That Christian's accepted the position at St. Vladimir's to teach Moroi how to fight." Adrian calmly replies.
"What does that have to do with Rose?" Lissa asks.
"Guardian Belivok will accompany Christian." He continues.
"Of course he will. He's his assigned Guardian." Lissa says.
"Not anymore." Christian's voice carries through the room. We hadn't noticed him enter.
"What?" I exclaim.
"I don't need a Guardian. I told him that before." He says to me. Turning back to Lissa and Adrian, "And besides, it was a charity case. I took him because no one else would."
"But, it'll destroy him. How could you?" Lissa's tempter is building. I know she's fighting against that darkness.
"It won't destroy him. I'm sure he decided something else was more important." Adrian's words caught everyone by surprise. Well, by everyone I mean Lissa.
"More important? Being restored as a Guardian is all he wanted. Being a Guardian is who he is, it's part of him." Lissa's voice carries through the room. "Christian what have you done?"
"He didn't do anything." We all turn to stare at Dimitri. Man, I'm really off my game today. That's two people that have caught me by surprise. Walking straight to me he smiles and continues talking.
"Life is too short to let it pass you by. Too many things have happened in such a short amount of time. I need to do soul searching and rediscover myself."
"Is that why you couldn't sleep last night?" I ask in a whisper.
"Yes. Some things in life are so fragile, balancing on a tightrope. If you're not careful you can lose everything you love in the blink of an eye. I should know it's happened to me, more than once. I'm not going to let it happen again." He finishes with a kiss to my forehead.
"But you'll be in disgrace." Lissa persists.
"My Queen, I'm already in disgrace. No one trusts an ex-Strigoi and no one wants me as an instructor for fear of their daughters' innocence." I was grinning ear to ear.
"I'm really not sure how innocent she was before she met you Belivok." Christian stifles a laugh.
"What will you do?" Lissa asks. Dimitri looks at me and shrugs his shoulders. I know what he wants to say, 'it doesn't matter what I do as long as I'm with Rose'.
"Lissa," I begin with a shaky voice, pulling out of Dimitri's arms I walk closer to her, "we've always been best friends, we'll always be best friends. But our lives are now headed in different directions. You're Queen and going to college. I'm,"
"My Guardian, just as you always have been and always wanted." She says.
"Yes, I'm officially your Guardian. But as you just said, I've always been your Guardian even without the fancy official recognition."
"What are you saying Rose?" Lissa eyes me warily.
"I've always been the strong one, for everyone. I've always pushed aside my feelings, my wants and desires for the mission in front of me. I've destroyed countless lives all in the name of my end goal. Without a second thought of what would happen in the end. Well scratch that, I did think about it and decided I couldn't think about it and finish my goal. So I pushed the thoughts aside." I take a deep breath.
"Lissa, I need time to heal. I need to take a journey on the road to self discovery. I need to learn to forgive myself and repent for all I've done."
"What will you do?" she asks.
"You won't last long playing house. Neither of you." Adrian's voice catches me by surprise. "Of course, if you ever decide to have kids I'll offer my services. Strictly business of course."
Whatever game Adrian is playing, he's clearly amused. Dimitri on the other hand is trying to remain in control of his tempter. I gently squeeze his hand.
"We'll travel and see all the beautiful things this world has to offer." I say, ignoring Adrian's offer. My smile widens as I look to Dimitri. His eyes are twinkling.
"Where will you go?" Lissa presses.
"First, we have an appointment with a corn palace." Dimitri lets out a laugh. Man, I love his laugh. It's contagious too, we all begin to chuckle.
"You're leaving me? You really are leaving me." Lissa finally says.
"Lissa…" I begin. I'm interrupted by a courier.
"My Queen, please excuse the interruption. I have an urgent message for Guardian Hathaway." He slips me an envelope, bows to Lissa and exits.