"Dimitri, it's okay. You don't have to." Lissa words are comforting. She told me that Rose confided in her. I'm glad she did, after what I did to her, Rose needed to talk about it. I glance around the table, Christian and Tasha are on the edge of their chair, anxiety coursing through their body. Even Adrian looks attentive. I nod and take a deep breath. I start out slow...
"She came to Russia to find me." It's funny, I went to Russia to get as far from her as possible. And she came to me. I shake my head.
"Did she find you?" Hans asks.
"Yes, she found me." I take another deep breath.
"How?" Another guardian asks. I look up, it's Mikhal. He never found Sonya, his lover. A smirk briefly crosses my face. Rose knows me so well.
"Rose is the bravest woman I know. She's the most fierce warrior and she marches into danger head on." I sigh, shaking my head. "Stalking the streets of Novosibirsk, she made it known to all Strigoi that she was looking for me. The death count she racked up made her a prime target. When I heard she was in Russia, I found her."
"And then what?" Hans asks, his voice void of all emotion.
"She hesitated." I whisper through a strained voice. I close my eyes, erasing the memory of that moment when she first saw me across the street. I wasn't sure what would happen when I saw her again. I didn't know what my reaction would be - or hers. I've always wondered if she didn't hesitate if she would have been strong enough to kill me, and if I would've let her...
"You took mercy on her?" Christian broke the silence that filled room.
"No. I took her captive." I painfully say. They say it helps to talk about your troubles. Hopefully this will help. The agony of the memories - the nightmares - is unbearable.
"Dimitri, it's okay. We don't judge you. You couldn't help it, you were Strigoi. It wasn't you." Lissa's soothing voice helps me to retain composure.
"Captive?" Adrian asks. I nod. "You fed from her." His words cut like glass. A deep sorrowful numbing pain that won't go away arises in my chest. I nod again. My hands begin to shake as I remember the things I did to her. Her neck, so many bite marks. I'm glad she was able to get them healed. The worse part, knowing that we both took extreme pleasure in it. I from the blood and her from the endorphin's. All the intimate times we shared during her captivity was heaven. I told her she was the only one I took pleasure in during a feeding and it was true. Everyone else was just food, quick and meaningless. But her. She was so much more. It was just me and her, our emotions unleashed. We had no other concerns. The passionate kisses, the pleasure I brought her. I remember every inch of her body, I thoroughly explored it on several occasions with my hands, mouth, and tongue. Her warm touch against my cold skin. She always begged for more, but I never gave in. I used sex as a carrot dangling in front of her, to entice her to join me...pathetic.
"Why not kill her or turn her?" Hans asks pulling me out of my painfully erotic memories. This time I see a look of curiosity on his face.
"I wanted her turned. But I wanted it to be her choice. I resented the fact that I didn't have a choice." I say shrugging.
"And she wouldn't turn so you let her go." Tasha smugly says. I slowly shake my head. If only I was that strong.
"No." Another smirk reaches my lips as I remember how many times my Roza surprised me that night. "She's incredible. The things she can accomplish against all odds." I close my eyes and keep them close as I speak, "She staked me with a wooden stake to get out of the room I kept her in. Somehow trapped another Strigoi behind a bolted door, retained her charmed stake and would have succeeded in getting out of the house, but she chose a poor exit. The fury I felt from her rejection fueled my need for her. I killed the other Strigoi in the house while she escaped. Then I set out to hunt her. I needed her. At that point, I was going to turn her with or without her permission." I look up to see everyone staring at me, waiting to hear the grand finale.
"We fought several times that night, but in the end she surprising me yet again." I say lowering my head. I always wonder what she would have done if I said the words she was so eager to hear. If I told her I loved her, would she have chosen eternity with me? I shake my head. If I would have realized what she needed to hear, I know I would have said it, used those words against her, even if I didn't mean them how she would've thought. Strigoi don't feel love. They remember love, but they don't feel it. My former love for her fueled my desire, but in the end, she was merely a possession that I needed.
"What do you mean? What happened?" Tasha asks a little too anxiously. I take another deep breath.
"We were fighting on a bridge. She jumped over the ledge and I saved her." Taking another deep breath I continue. "She staked me...and I fell."
"Impossible! You're alive and you were still very much Strigoi in that warehouse." Christian says.
"It wasn't deep enough. The stake fell out during my fall." I say. "I mailed it back to her as a gift." The memories of all the love letters I wrote her fill my mind. I wrote one a week until she graduated. I wrote about everything we ever did together, both before and after my turn. Every detail of our intimate escapades, relaying my thoughts and feelings during each moment. I loved her and in a way I still did, the only way a Strigoi could love. Though, knowing what she needed and wanted to hear, I made sure to profess my love in every single letter.
"And?" Tasks impatiently asks.
"She was mine. I'd move mountains for her. No other Strigoi was going to lay a finger on her." I say, slightly shrugging.
"So you came back to the US to stalk her." Adrian's eyes were dark and menacing.
"No. I came to kill her." I say. It would have been a mercy killing I told myself. She was on top of the Strigoi most wanted hit list. Everyone was out for blood, they would have tortured her. I would have made it quick and pleasurable for her. I quickly brush away a tear that almost escaped my eye.
"Yes you made that evident in Vegas." Adrian's words cut me again. I'll never be able to make up all the pain and suffering I've put her through.
"Why did you attacked Lissa and Christian?" Tasha asks. "Did you specifically target them to get to her?" I nod.
"Lissa was bait." I say in a hushed tone. Lissa already knew this, but I caught a slight frown cross her features.
"All those guardians were killed because of a twisted love affair between a strigoi and dhampir..." I hear a guardian mutter in the back. My chin falls to my chest in defeat.
"I've heard enough. This won't do. It'll only fuel the fire and make things worse." Hans stands abruptly. "You," he says pointing to me, "Go back to your room. I don't want you out and about today. And don't do anything stupid. It's bad enough I may loose one good Guardian, I don't need to loose two." And that was that. I was being escorted back to my room.
Adrian crossed paths with me as he was leaving. "Sweet dreams Belikov." The way he said it gave me an eerie feeling.
Lissa, Christian, and Tasha walked with me back to my room in silence.
"Dimka, just remember at the hearing tomorrow don't do anything foolish. There is more to this world than you and Rose. And there is more to your life than her too." Tasha said.
"Thanks for your support today." I say to everyone. Lissa pulls me into a tight embrace, she must see defeat in my eyes.