"Save it Belikov." He cuts me off with the wave of his hand. "This isn't about you, it's about Rose."
"Where is she? What happened?" I ask walking toward him.
"She must've woken up." He shrugs. "So, did she succeed?"
"With what?" I eye him curiously.
"I visited her, well, in her dream, they won't let anyone in to physically see her." I nod. "I went to talk to her and see how she was and all she wanted to do was talk about you. Then she got this crazy idea and begged me to try and connect you two."
"Why'd you do it?" I sit next to him on the beach, curious at his motives.
"I wanted to see if I could." He looks at me with a seriousness I've never seen him have before. "And, I'd do anything for Rose." I nod.
"Thank you." I whisper.
"For what?" The bitterness rolls off his tongue.
"Everything. Thank you for being there for Rose when she needed comfort. Thank you for all that you've done to help her over the past few months. Thank you for..." I pause, unsure how to continue.
"Stop, just stop right there. I know how you two feel about each other, I've always known since the first time I saw you together at the Ski Lodge." My brow furrows in question.
"Your aura's light up when you're together. They're like a beacon calling each other home. I've always known her feelings, what I haven't been sure about is yours." He studies my face before continuing.
"Your aura says one thing, but your words and actions are confusing, sometimes they're at odds with one another. I know you love her, even though you try not to. You push her away every chance you get. Why do you treat her so harshly, why do you hurt her with words? Why fight your feelings?" He takes a deep breath before continuing.
"I guess I shouldn't complain. I wouldn't have had a chance otherwise, but..."
"Adrian I'm so sorry." I turn my gaze downward to my hands. I can't look him in the eye right now.
"I don't want your pity." He snaps. "I'm not surprised. Hurt and jealous, yes, but not surprised." I nod, quickly dispersing any feelings of shame or guilt that were starting to form.
"So, I'll ask again. Did she succeed?" Adrian's face is showing no sign of emotion.
"Succeed in what exactly?" I cock an eyebrow.
"She pleaded with me to see you, because she said she needed to talk some sense into you. To make sure you wouldn't do anything rash or stupid." I nod, a small smirk playing at my lips.
"Oh. No, she didn't succeed." Adrian's eyes light up.
"What do you mean? She was so determined. How did you win that battle?" He asks clearly amused.
"We didn't talk about it much." I casually say.
"Then what did you do?" He asks. I look at him assessing if it was a rhetorical question. Closing his eyes, he covers his face with his hands and starts to laugh, a full belly laugh. "Never mind Belikov, based on your face and the light show I saw earlier, I have a pretty good idea, no details needed you kinky bastard."
"Light show?" I ignore his remark.
"Oh yeah, light from your auras were intensified. It was a weird sensation having Rose dream walk through me. I couldn't hear or see anything, but I could feel. Not direct emotions, just in general. They were whirling around like a hurricane." Looking at me he smiles. "It's hard to explain." He quickly adds. I nod.
"You...she...she relaxes around you. You take away her darkness, it just fades away when you're together." Adrian whispers with a tone of sadness.
"What are you going to do?" He asks.
"I...I don't know." I honestly haven't decided the best course of action.
"When they ask if someone can verify her whereabouts, she will never name you." His words hurt, but I know they're true. "If she says she was alone, there is no way she can recover from that. Even if you debunk her statement and say you were with her, she would have lied on the stand, under oath, committed perjury." I hadn't thought of that. Damn. My time is running out.
"Adrian?" I test my voice.
"Hmm?" He looks at me questioningly.
"What would you do?" My voice is low, barely audible.
"Belikov, the infamous and legendary guardian, are you asking me for advice?" I hear the amusement in his tone.
"No, not exactly. Not advice." I quickly reply. I rephrase my question. "If the tables were turned and you were in my seat, what would you do?"
"That's a no brainer." I look at him expectantly. "I love her and I'd do anything in my power to protect her." My head falls.
"Belikov, what are you really asking?" Adrian's voice cuts through the silence that wrapped around us.
"I want nothing more than to protect her. But, in all honesty, giving her the alibi won't really protect her. If anything it'll hurt her by damaging her reputation even more." I begin to shake my head as I look down at my feet. "It pains me to not step up to defend her."
"She'd do it for you in a heartbeat. She wouldn't think twice about it." I wince at the words, knowing they're true. She's gone through hell and back, all for me. No second though as to the consequences.
"Are you afraid of tarnishing your reputation?" Adrian scolds.
"No!" I snap.
"Then what's really holding you back?" He asks.
"How can I save her if I'm in jail with her?" With that a smirk played across Adrian's face.
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. I'm pretty sure Abe has it covered." My eyes throw daggers in him.
"What do you mean 'Abe has it covered'?" My voice low and menacing, full of rage.
"Abe was the first person I called, well, after Janine of course." His voice faltered a bit.
"Abe, as in Ibrahim Mazur?" The name rolls off my tongue full of disgust.
"Yes." He replies, less sure of himself. The anger in my eyes suddenly amuses Adrian. "You don't know do you? Rose hasn't told you?" Adrian's slightly chuckling, still unsure of my mood.
"In Russia, she told me someone hired him to find her. That he found her in Baia." All my anger snaps and I lose control as Adrian's chuckles turn into loud, echoing stomach tensing laughs.
"WHAT IS SO DAMN FUNNY?" The venom and fury seeping into my words. Adrian jumps at the change in my mood. Searching my face he furrows his brows and then dismisses his thought.
"Well, upon her return from Russia...she, um, met her father." Adrian's voice low and shaky. My eyes pierce through his, no words needed, I understood.
"Abe." He nods. He's still watching me with a curious express, waiting for my next outburst. Instead my lips curl into a grin.
"Of course he is! That explains so much." Now I am uncontrollably laughing, gasping for air. Adrian joins in, clearly relieved at my response.
"I get it now." Adrian says, breaking the silence after we finally calm down. I glance at him with my trademark look Rose loves so much.
"The connection you two have. You're the same, you just have better self control. But I see it now, you fight to remain in control, to keep your emotions in check. You strive to be the perfect, responsible, and respectable guardian." No words needed, my eyes answer his question.
"Honestly Dimitri," Whoa, did he just call me Dimitri? That's when I realize we're bonding. My lovers ex/boyfriend, I don't know, have they officially broken up yet? When did my life get so complicated and spiral out of control? Oh yeah, the day I met Rosemarie Hathaway. My lips curl up into a smile thinking about her and... this is awkward, having a heart-to-heart with Adrian after...
"Are you listening to me?" he snaps his fingers in front of my face.
"Good. As I was saying, you just need to let loose. Lose control in the court room. Show your other side, the side you keep bottled up." I eye him warily.
"How will that help Rose?"
"Well, it won't directly help her." He smirks. "But indirectly it'll give a good show. You know the Royals and how they love juicy gossip. And well, if we play it right, it would go far beyond juicy."
"We?" His eyes light up. I've never seen a smile so dark or dangerous cross Adrian Ivashkov's lips.
"So, what do you say Belikov?" He asks. I guess our male bonding time is over.