“Rose.” Dimitri’s voice startles me, it’s low and shaky. I turn to look at him. His guardian mask is down, an array of emotions shine through his deep brown eyes. “What happens in three days?” I watch him carefully.
“We go to Russia. Abe is on his way to Baia to personally check on your family now. He’s sending a plane for us on Friday. We’ll drop Christian and Eddie off at the Academy on our way.” His eyes wide, full of fear. I feel a lump in my stomach and I run to him. His body is rigid and tense as my arms wrap around his midsection.
“Rose, I…I can’t go.” He whispers. I look up to him. My arms still wrapped around him, but his arms stay at his side. Anger starts to build inside me, anger and frustration. Why won’t he go to see his family? He’d rather stay here and train these people? Mentor Angeline? I know a relationship is suppose to be a two-way street, but right now, I don’t think he’s thinking straight. I don’t like fighting with him, but sometimes it’s the only way to make him understand. I take a deep breath and release my hold on him.
“Well, in three days I’m going to Russia – with or without you.” His face twitches at my words. A new emotion crosses his face, I can’t place it. My jaw is set, I’m not backing down. I turn on my heels and begin to walk away, but he grabs my arm and pulls me to him, encircling his arms around me holding me tight.
“Don’t leave me, Roza please.” He whispers in my ear. “I need you.” He squeezes me tighter. I hear the desperation in his voice and it stirs my heart.
“Come with me.” I whisper into his chest, blinking back tears. I hadn’t thought of it like that, leaving him behind. I assumed he would go with me. But, what if he calls my bluff, will I really go without him?
“Roza…I…” I look up to him, his face full of agony, and a single tear shinning on his cheek. That’s when it clicks. I reach up and grab his face between my hands, pulling him down, our faces only inches apart when I speak.
“Oh Comrade! I love you so much you know I’d never leave you. Not now, not ever. I get it now, I understand. I know it will be hard for you to return to Russia. I’ll be by your side the entire time. It’ll be hard for me too, I need you. Let’s face it together. Together we can do anything.” His arms pull me tighter and his lips find mine. Our kiss starts out slow and gentle, but quickly picks up to something more, full of passion and desire. I need him as much as he needs me. He sighs at my moan.
“Ahem.” Someone clears there throat behind me. We slowly separate out lips, but our bodies stay pressed together as one.
“I don’t mean to interrupt,” Adrian says, yes you do I think as a smirk crosses my face, “But I think they’re ready for their instruction.” He gestures to the group not too far from us. Dimitri nods, giving me one last squeeze and kissing the top of my head before letting me go. I quickly grab his hand and walk next to him, he looks at me and smiles. Together we can do anything. I smile back.
“Adrian,” I say as we walk, he falls in step next to me, “in three days Dimitri and I are headed to Russia and Christina and Eddie are going back to St. Vladimir’s. I guess you’re going back to Court.”
“Russia sounds nice. I’ve always wanted to see the homeland.” Dimitri and I both stare. “What?” He says flashing a mischievous grin. We both just shake our head and laugh.
“I guess Mikhail and Sonya won’t mind more time away from Court either. OH!” My eyes light up with excitement. “You two can meet Oksana.” I snuggle in closer to Dimitri his arm instinctively wrapping around me. This trip may end up okay after all, I smile to myself.
Everyone turns to face us as we approach the front of the group, standing next to Mikhail and Eddie, both of whom are smiling. I’m still wrapped in Dimitri’s arms, Eddie winks at me and I blush.
“Can I have everyone’s attention,” Dimitri says in a loud voice. Glancing down at me he continues, “We only have three days, but in that timeframe if you are dedicated and work hard we can teach you the basics. Today we will work on basic offensive and defensive moves. Tomorrow we will pair you up and turn those moves into combat fighting.” Eddie and Mikhail nod in agreement.
“Alright, you heard the man. Line up in rows with enough space to maneuver around. The quicker we get in place, the quicker we’ll get started!” Raymond’s voice echo’s through the silence as everyone scurries about to get in a mock formation.
The first day’s lesson went better than expected. I even saw Christian and Sonya in the group following our direction. Mikhail and Eddie stood upfront and demonstrate the moves, while Dimitri and I walked around correcting and critiquing everyone’s form. Angeline did not like being criticized; thankfully she’s a quick learner.
During dinner when they asked for battle stories all our faces dropped. Christian, Eddie and I did not want to relive our battle in Spokane, that’s when we lost Mason. Dimitri and I did not want to relive the battle in the caves at St. Vladimir’s, that’s when Dimitri was turned. We also did not want to relive any of our battles in Russia, those were when Dimitri was Strigoi and we were trying to kill each other. And the last time we fought together, Donovan, I know Dimitri does not want to think about it, he almost lost himself after that one. My hand finds Dimitri’s and he pulls me into his lap.
“Our school was attacked,” Christian breaks the silence with a shaky voice, “Rose and I fought together, side by side. I’ve never seen her fight before, she was incredible. Her moves were quick and deadly, a flawless performance.”
“I remember that.” Dimitri says looking upon me, “What you two did was amazing. I’ve never been so proud.” He gives my forehead a kiss. The crowd asks questions about the battle. Christian gives me a knowing smile and thankfully answers all of them. Dimitri pulls me tighter against his well sculpted chest, my head fits perfectly in the crook of his neck. We fit together like puzzle pieces – perfectly made for each other. I sigh. The crowd is relentless, they keep asking for more stories.
“Dimitri and Rose can tell you one.” Adrian surprises me when he speaks up. I glare at him because I have no idea where he’s going. His face turns to mock horror; my aura must’ve turned jet black. “Dimitri fought the entire Royal Guard protecting Rose when she was arrested.” He quickly says. This softens my mood, Dimitri’s too, his body turned stiff when Adrian spoke. Dimitri rubs my back and smiles.
“I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.” He smiles lovingly at me. I know if Dimitri tells the story he will down play it, he deserved to be worshiped. He is an amazing fighter. That morning, he was my one-man army. That was the first time I actually saw him fight to his fullest potential. I was dumbstruck, in awe. The only other time I felt like that was when he was still a Strigoi. He protected me against the other Strigoi, I recall my thought ‘alive or undead, the love of my life was a badass.’ I look up to him and a smile spreads across my face, adoration pouring out of my soul. Turning to the crowd I describe the events of that morning, painting Dimitri as the God he is. When I’m done talking I look at him, he’s hiding a smile, but I see it in his eyes.
“Have you two ever faced each other?” A voice from the crowd asks. We both freeze.
“They are mentor and student, they fought daily in practice together.” I hear Eddie say in the distance. Dimitri and I smile a weak smile at each other. I know we’re both remembering our training sessions.
“If you two are as good as you claim to be, I bet that would be entertaining. Hmm?” Raymond asks.
“It would be educational.” Another voice calls from the crowd.
“To see our teachers in action would be very inspirational.” Another voice says. I roll my eyes.
“They’re very persistent.” I whisper to Dimitri.
“Yes they are.” He growls.
“Well, what do you say Comrade? Just like old times?” I eye him warily. He raises an eyebrow; a smile stretches across my face.
“I’ve always wondered if you went easy on me during my field experience.” I smirk.
“I do believe a rematch is in order.” I giggle and he grins. We both turn to the crowd and nod.
A/N – Thanks everyone for your continued support! Who do you think will win this time - Rose or Dimitri? Or will it be a stalemate?