The silence is so heavy and oppressing it makes me want to run from the room. Problem being I wouldn't be able to see where I was going, I was blinded by tears and all I could think about is how they are such traitors. I wish I'd held onto the anger, screamed, yelled and thrown something at him. Anything but this, anything but deafening silence and my head weighed down by humiliation and salt water.

I didn't want to be in my own skin anymore, my own head.

"Rose." He says softly.

An involuntary sob breaks through my lips and I raise my hands to my face. Protecting myself from his eyes and stopping me from crumbling completely.

"Roza please." His fingers brush against my wrists and I pull away.

"Don't please, don't."

"Look at me, Roza look at me."

I am so pathetic.

"No you aren't Rose. Please look at me." He's captured my wrists and pulled them away. He takes them in one hand and pushes away my hair that had been acting as protective veil. I refuse to turn and look at him. The hand that isn't holding my wrists wipes my cheeks. His knuckles across my cheek bones, his thumb under my bottom lip and every touch I shy away from.

Because I craved it.

"I'm sorry I'm just drunk, I'm alright I-you can go, please go away."

"Oh Roza." He says, pulling my name across velvet and silk.

"Stop saying that." I shriek and try to jerk away from his reach but he's inescapable.

"Look at me." He orders.

"No."

He sighs and his fingertips wipe away stray tears and it's like he means to make it worse. "You are not pathetic. You are incredible and brave and loyal and brilliant and sarcastic and stubborn and beautiful and a million things but you are not pathetic."

I pull on my restraints again.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry I've hurt you, that I'm still hurting you. I hate myself for it and I hate I can't be who you need and we can't have what we did. I wish I could give you everything you want, I wish for things to be different every moment of the day but they're not and I hate it. I am not what you deserve Roza, you deserve so, so much and I can't give it to you."

"Please stop it…please stop apologising for not being able to love me." The last word catches and breaks in my mouth and I bow my head as my ribs collapse in on my heart. He releases my wrists and I move to cover my face but his hands get there first, cradling it between his palms. My fingers curl around his wrists. I could feel the roughness at the tops of his palms against my cheeks, calloused from handling weapons and training, and where the skin changed, where it became smooth and warm.

"No Roza, no." He says so fierce and defiantly that I look up. I'm caught off guard by his expression or maybe of how close he was, I could see the individual lashes that framed his eyes. Those eyes were trained on me with so much emotion blazing within them that I stopped sobbing. A stray slid out from the corner of my eye and he caught it with his thumb. "That's not why I'm apologising, never." Gone is the stoic mask that had been all I'd known for months. His eyebrows are drawn, face pained and gaze candid as it held mine. "I will always love you."

My heart stops. Everything stops. "What?"

"How could I not… things I learned to enjoy again I learned by you. How the sunlight caught your hair or how you laughed at your own jokes. I have never not loved you, only been scared and shamed to."

I might have actually gone insane.

"But you – you said you couldn't at court, love fades and you said, I, you said you couldn't love someone again and… I don't understand."

His fingertips curl in, caressing my cheeks and jaw, his eyes wandering over my face until they meet mine. "I lied. At Court I lied. I was too overwhelmed, the guilt was so much it felt like it was literally hanging around my neck and waiting to string me up. How did I deserve to have this amazing woman? I couldn't learn to be in love someone else or find it again because of you, it will always be you."

My hands drop from his wrists, completely limp.

My mind has stopped being able to process information.

He takes a deep breath, never breaking eye contact. "I'm apologising because I cannot be what you need. I'm not who you think I am Roza, not anymore. I'm not the same as before… I'm ruined. I'm not the person you fell in love with."

"What are you saying?" I ask quietly.

"You're in love with who I was before, before I turned, and once you realize that you'll be free from it. You'll let me go."

My mind is working very fast. "You think…Your telling me what I feel is wrong? That I'm under some delusion?"

He frowns. "I wouldn't quite put it that way but yes-"

I punch him so hard he falls sideways off the coffee table he's been sitting on. There's such a rushing in my ears that it takes a few seconds to realize that I'm on my feet and screaming at him. He looks up at me from the floor in a mixture of shock and what I hope for is fear. He better fear me, he better be scared for his life because I right now I could put his head through the table.

"YOU IDIOT. YOU ABSOLUTE STUPID FUCKING BASTARD. ALL THIS TIME YOU'VE LOVED ME AND TREATED ME LIKE THIS? LIKE I DIDN'T MATTER? LIKE I DIDN'T EXIST AND YET YOU LOVED ME? YOU STUPID IDIOT. YOU STUPID RUSSIAN ASSHOLE. YOU'RE TELLING ME HOW I'M SUPPOSED TO FEEL AND THAT I'M THE IDIOT? THAT I'M UNDER SOME MISCONCEPTION? FUCK YOU! HOW DARE YOU AND ADRAIN, YOU SHOVING ME TOWARDS ADRAIN? HOW TWISTED IS THAT? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU. YOU FUCKING IDIOT!"

My rant cuts off involuntarily as my lungs demand oxygen. My chest heaves and my fists shake at my sides and all the while he's just lying on the floor looking at me in astonishment. All those times I tried to tackle him and not once could I catch him unaware, not even once would he even let me win.

He better start talking. He better start explaining this to me or I was going to kill him.

"I-"

"DON'T SPEAK TO ME." And I proceed to call him that list of names I said I'd been working on. When I run out of adjectives I turn away from him and try to collect myself. I run my hands through my hair and clasp them both at the nape of my neck and try to breathe. I hear him start to get up and fire rages in my blood. I may actually hurt him properly.

If I could even look at him.

I storm out of the living room, ignoring his calls and start running when I hear him come after me. I run through the kitchen and into the back hall, ducking into the down stairs bathroom. I slam the door behind me, pressing my weight onto it until I slide the blot across and secure it. My hands are shaking against the white polished wood… I feel like putting my fist through it.

I push away from the door and begin pacing. I'm so angry I could smash the tiles under me, the marble counter, the mirror above it and the window. I could pull the shower to pieces and strangle him with it.

I don't understand. I don't understand anything. He was going to be Tasha's stand in when he loved me? How twisted, how fucking wrong. He was going to kiss her and sleep with her and make her happy when he loved me? He'd rather see me with someone else than with him? How messed up was that.

I didn't understand.

I clutch my hair and try to concentrate on things that won't make me combust. Like the coldness and texture of the tiles under my feet.

He loved me and still didn't want me.

"Rose?"

I'd been in mid stride toward the door in my circuit when his low voice carried through. Without thinking I kick it and pain flashes through my foot. My mouth drops open but no sound comes out and before it can I shove my fist between my teeth.

I reach out for the door and slide down to the ground in a heap, clutching my foot in my hands. This was all his fault, all his stupid bastarding fault. His stupid reasons and now he's broken my foot.

"Roza are you okay?"

"No I'm not fucking okay!" I shriek and then clamp my mouth shut. My whole body was a volcano due for eruption. Every time he looked through me, every time he didn't acknowledge when I spoke I'd stuffed down how it made me feel and all this time… all this time… "I don't believe you." It bursts from my lips into Lissa's pristine decorated bathroom.

Why couldn't I just stay quiet? My head falls back against the door, more stupid tears sliding down my face whilst the only sound was my erratic breathing. I massage my foot and clench my teeth as pain rolls under my skin.

Get yourself under control, get this under control. You are not weak.

I hear him turn the handle and I smack the door with my fist. The side of my hand burns like skin does when it's been slapped. Physical pain was better to concentrate on, better than all the shit stirring up inside. I take juddering breath and focus on inhaling through my nose and out through my mouth, wiping angrily at my hot, damp face.

"Rose please let me in."

Stupid fucking fuckety fucker.

I keep rubbing my foot. The pain begins to recede to a dull throb and I draw my knees up to my chest, wrapping my arms around them. I let out a great exhale, my lungs finally regulating my air supply…I was still shaking.

I listening for him, for any movement at all and after a couple of seconds I get this cold sinking sensation. What if he left?

There's a muffled brushing sound against the door, it starts away above my head and then stops right behind me. Dimitri's mirroring my seating arrangements.

"I've really messed this up haven't I." he says in a way that doesn't need clarification.

"Just go away Dimitri." My chest tightens and I take another gulp of air, the ceiling blurs.

"No. No I'm not running away this time."

"I hate you." I whisper.

"You have every reason to." He says, voice dragging across gravel. "And I wouldn't blame you for not believing a word I say but it is true."

"Ha, which part?"

I count three inhales before he speaks.

"The truest part is I love you. That I will always love you."

I shake my head. "And the rest? The rest is just what, bullshit?"

"No…the rest isn't bullshit."

I run my hands over my hair. "I don't understand, I really don't understand. How could you – It's so stupid and it doesn't make any sense and Tasha and … I should have hit your harder!"

"If it helps I'm currently seeing two of things."

No, it didn't. I should have definitely knocked him out. There were so many questions, so much traffic in my head and I was glad there was a barrier between us and that he could no longer see me. I was a complete wreck and I didn't suit being a wreck. No one could break me down like this, no one else could make me so vulnerable and even after months of silence between us what I felt hadn't deteriorated. It had just been dormant and now had erupted in the worst way possible. And he said he felt the same but we still weren't together and it wasn't because of our age, our jobs, our positions… it was because… well I didn't really understand why not but I knew it was his choice. It was because he didn't want it.

I stare at the dark stone beneath my legs and rest my chin on my knees. The under floor heating should be coming on soon.

The last time I'd been so conflicted with my emotions I'd been with Lissa and that had been over Dimitri. God, my dignity really was taking a battering. Never would I have thought I'd be the type of girl that got all angst tied and bent out of shape by a boy. Well not a boy, a man, a man who had the reasoning of a chimp at the moment. A man who had made me feel like an equal, a professional, powerful and loved. Key word being 'had'.

Lissa had come to me and said very delicately that Dimitri was going to be her other guardian… and I had gone ballistic. She's never seen me lose it like that before. She's never seen me under the influence of spirit and how unstable that made me but I think this was worse because it was all me. It was me begging her not to accept his guardianship. I'd been fine when I saw him around Court with his escorts, bottled the irritation when Lissa, Tasha and Christian trooped off to meet him but when Lissa told me I'd have to work that close to him … I just snapped. Lissa had never looked at me with so much pity before, it was weird, for both of us and the next day it was like it had never happened.

She declined his offer to which the backlash didn't resonate from Dimitri, it came from the community. Here was the Moroi that had so adamantly defended a restored Dhampir declining his guardianship. It seemed to contradict everything Lissa had ever spoken for in his defence. And my brilliant friend wouldn't tell them why. She dodged their questions (most of them from Tasha) and found a way around it and so he became Christian's guardian.

Dimitri hadn't said a word about it until tonight, it had been easy to ignore but what had happened tonight would be impossible to avoid… what kind of mess had we made?

An electronic jingle breaks through the dismal silence. When it ends he speaks.

"I don't know where to begin."

"How about starting from where your bullshit story isn't bullshit?" I cringe at how shaky my voice is.

"When I realised I loved you it was too late." He begins quietly. "You were with Adrian and you looked happy, he made you laugh. I didn't have right to impose with what I felt."

Goddamn idiot.

"You think I got over you that easily?" The question lashes out before I can stop it. "That I could?"

He hesitates. "You're young Rose."

"Don't you dare use my age against me."

"I'm not! This is all… past tense and wishful thinking."

"I thought you knew me better…" I wipe my cheeks. It was true; he used to surprise me by telling me things about myself before I'd figured them out.

I hear him take a deep breath on the other side of the door. "I do know you Roza. I know you stopped smiling when people turned away and sometimes… after he'd kissed you or looked away you'd get this distant look on your face. I just wanted to believe you felt the way you were pretending to be."

"Maybe it's me who doesn't know you then."

"And that's where my story isn't bullshit. I'm not the same person anymore."

I test my foot and flinch. I stretch out my left leg and lay the inner part of my foot against the cold tiles trying to soothe it. "How aren't you the same? Beside the fact you have idealistic and shitty ideas about romance."

His voice is quiet and controlled compared to mine. "I wouldn't have gone through with it you know. With Tash. Not when it came down to it…"

A part of me wants to disagree, to say no I didn't know that, and draw out how wrong he was but I was done arguing for the sake of it. I swallow and work on making myself audible. "Even though she can give you a family? Wouldn't you want to try?"

"No. I couldn't start a family for the reasons you've pointed out… it would be forced. She deserves better than to know I'd started a life with her because it seemed right on paper."

"And you don't believe…there could be someone else?"

"There will never be anyone else."

"Now… this is the part I don't understand. At all…why don't you want to be with me?"

"I'm not good for you Rose." There's a catch in his voice and it makes me turn to the door, as if I'd be able to see him.

I swallow. "Not that you're in a position to even think I'd take you back right away because you know that would make me punch you again but shouldn't I get a say in what's good for me?"

I hear him chuckle and I look at the glossy wood like it's spurted out a branch. "Sometimes Roza, you don't know what's good for you."

"And what you do?" I snap.

He sighs. "I thought I did."

"So tell me why you don't want to be with me then. That's what it comes down to."

"It's not that I don't-"

"So explain to me then!" In the small, shiny, pristine space my voice sounds strikingly shrill. It makes me feel cripplingly alone.

After long few seconds he speaks and his voice matches how I feel. Hurt and isolated. "I don't sleep anymore. I can't. I dream of one or two things and on the worst nights I dream of both. What scares me is they aren't dreams, they're memories. I dream of being back at that place with you… feeding on you, abusing you and having you dress up so beautifully that I become violently jealous of myself for having you. But it's you I take it out on. It used to make me physically ill when I woke."

"Dimitri-"

"And the other dream always starts the same. I'm watching a playground from a thicket of trees at dusk. The shadows are creeping closer to the swing set where a little girl is sitting. She must have been no more than six years old and she was so blonde…she reminded me of Lissa. I don't know why she was alone at that time of day but I suppose it doesn't matter. It wouldn't have changed anything. I killed her Rose. I killed her when I could have gone anywhere else, to the city and killed some thief or rapist but I wanted her. I wanted her because she was innocent. I wanted her because I felt above everyone else and I had right to her. I wanted her because she did remind me of Lissa and having royal blood was an empty claim to achieve class and control. I had claim to blood because I had real power." He takes a deep breath. "Other faces sometimes appear blurred in with it all but those two are the most prominent. The most terrifying but they serve to remind me…I am tainted Rose. There is something dark stained on my soul."

I never expected that. Hearing him talk about that time in Russia leaves me cold. It had all the makings of our worst nightmares, to be a strigoi and to be a strigoi's play thing but it had been real. It had been so terribly real. I dreamed of it sometimes too but most of the time Adrian would interrupt the nightmare and by the morning I would have nearly forgotten. Nearly.

What he said about Lissa and the little girl unnerved me.

I lick my lips and I scramble around my brain to phrase this right. "Dimitri…you forget you were a victim too. This happened to you as well as everyone what you can't seem to grasp is that it was out of your control… you didn't choose to hurt people because you were not you… you lost your soul. Your nature was different, you were different."

"And I'm not who I was before it. I'm not the man you fell for. Compared to now I was innocent."

He sounds so raw, like he's actually bereaved. He really believes he's lost the good in him. I can't believe that. I don't. I scrape my hair back and clutch it. "But it doesn't mean you're a bad person, it means a bad thing happened to you and it made you do terrible things…" The silence that stretched out and coated the door between us had desperation clawing up my back. I turn to the door, lining it up with my side and rest my head against it. I wince as the movement sends a sharp pain through my foot. "How can you not see that Dimitri? Why can't you accept it?"

"Because it seems too easy and it's not right! That little girl… that little girl has no future anymore. She's still presumed missing and her parents will never know what happened, they will never have closure. And all I can think about is what if she were my child…I could never forgive the monster that took her even if the monster one day woke up and would do anything to take it back."

I'm sitting up on my knees now, both hands flat against the wood. He was suffering so much more than I ever thought, more than he'd let anyone know. So much guilt radiated off him I could choke on it. When people have been cut so deep that the wound starts to fester and the only remedy is love. To feel that you are loved and valued, and he felt neither. The worst kinds of wounds are the one's that we don't allow to heal because we infect them ourselves with our own doubts, guilt and self- punishment. He said Tasha had fought her way in but she hadn't otherwise he wouldn't be like this. He hadn't let anyone in.

A tear tickles my chin and I wipe it away angrily. "Listen, listen to me. I'm one of those dreams and I'm here in reality and in reality I have forgiven you! No that doesn't sound right to me and you know why? Because it wasn't you, you weren't my Dimitri then no matter how badly I wanted you to be and most of the time I wanted you to what you did because I was living that fantasy. I can't stress enough how I see you then and you now as two different entities. If I didn't… how could I stand to be near you? How could I even still love you? And I do, I really do and you know why? Because your soul is not tainted and I know that because you're feeling this way, you feel so much remorse that it's crushing you but that's what makes you human, that's humanity and your salvation. Please see that."

I expect for him to agree or argue with me but I'm only met by silence. It begins ringing in my ears.

"Dimitri please."

The electronic jingle cuts through the silence like an unwanted house guest. His voice carries through the door rough and thick. "I should…I have to take this."

I don't hear him get up but I do hear his heavy footsteps retreat down the hall. I close my eyes and my fingers curl into a fist against the wooden panel. I was losing him. He was losing himself. I was breathing rapidly as I tried to sort through the emotional swamp in my head. He had hurt me. He had hurt me by ignoring me and abandoning me, making it seem so easy to leave me behind like I had no impact on his life. But he was hurting. He was hurting so much he kept everyone at arm's length, in my case as much space as possible, because he thought there was something dark in him.

I had something dark in me. I felt the edges of spirit every day and fought to keep a wall between it and myself. But I didn't abandon Lissa… I didn't think it meant there was something twisted and evil about me. I didn't think it meant I couldn't be loved. My darkness was a real thing, his he generated himself. Sort of… It could be treated if he were willing.

How do I fix this? How do I make him let me in?

The similarities between me and Dimitri were we are people of action. We believed in doing and not sitting around and thinking about it. I didn't like to be coddled and neither would he… it would push us in the opposite direction of the person trying to get through to us. It was time for some tough love… also known as my last hope.

I grab the door handle and pull myself up, cautiously testing my foot. It was tender (it smarted like a bitch) but I could walk on it. My hand hesitates on the bolt and I take a steadying breath.

Does he even deserve this? Look at yourself Rose.

Right now I was a mess, I was hurt, I was still angry, I'd cried, I'd screamed, I'd thrown a punch, I'd battered my dignity and I'd sacrificed my pride, and all I'd gotten was a few answers and clarified lies… that had made me angrier. But I needed to focus on the bigger picture instead of the medium sized pit-of-hell-picture. If there was the smallest chance we could be together I had to try...or I'd never forgive myself. The anger and hurt would recede into me and start to rot but if I tried and it didn't work out, well, at least I tried. And that makes all the difference.

I take a deep breath and straighten my shoulders. I catch movement in my periphery, my reflection. The mirror stretched above the marble counter top showed me in all my bedraggled state. My cheeks were flushed, my eyes were wide and my dark hair was tousled.

It doesn't matter.

I slide open the bolt and turn the handle slowly. The hallway was empty and I couldn't hear anything from the kitchen. Quietly I half hobble/ limp back through the house. When I'm just shy of the living room I pause, not able to hear anything I panic that maybe he left. My heart seizes when I hear his voice hushed in a murmur.

"I'm sorry Tash. I should never – no it isn't that. Of course…"

My heart is in my throat and it's only when I'm staring at the back of his head I realise I've moved into the room. He's sitting on one of the arm rests, looking as if the weight of the world weighed on his shoulders. I dare to hope that he's told her his decision and its no. I have a complete lapse of conscience and forget my second instincts. My foot brushes across the wooden floor. His head cocks to the left, it was a small noise but he heard. He turns at the waist to look at me and then stands up.

"I have to go...I'm not sure, soon." He says into the phone, his wary eyes trained on me. "Thank you… for everything. Bye Tash."

The hand holding the phone drops to his side. "I um, told her my decision."

"I thought as much. Sorry, I didn't mean to eavesdrop…"

"It's okay."

I fold my arms. "So you've seen the light then?"

He forces a small smile to humour me, a push of the lips that drop after they've risen.

Get straight to it Rose.

"You didn't answer me." I say in rush. "Before, you didn't say if you believed me or not."

His gaze drops. "I want to Rose. I really do…"

"Do you trust me?" I ask suddenly, unable to stand the forlorn look on his any longer. It didn't belong there.

His eyes snap back to mine. "How do you mean?"

"Do you trust me? Do you trust my judgement?"

He hesitates for a second. "Yes."

My chest heaves. "You're not tainted. There isn't something dark in you. You are good. Your remorse proves it. You've made some dumb decisions but for… the right reasons. You just haven't healed from what's happened. You haven't let anyone in…until now and I'm not letting you push me back out."

"I appreciate that, I do. Maybe your right but-"

"There are no 'buts'!" I cry and throw up my hands. "You trust me or you don't. You say you do and I'm not saying you can instantly move past this I'm saying you need to start to. You need to start accepting it's in the past and it was a different person."

He looks like he's battling to accept what I've said and to cling on to the guilt.

"Or maybe you're not strong enough to do that. Maybe you're too cowardly."

The look he gives me could cut through steel. Good, that's what we need.

"Well? Are you a coward?"

"I know what you're doing." He says tightly.

Jesus couldn't he just let himself be manipulated. "If you are then you were right. You're not the man I fell in love with, he was not a coward and he did not stand to play the victim."

Fire blazes in his eyes. "I am not a coward."

"So fight for what you want!"

His jaw tightens and he looks at me like a thief would look at a blood diamond.

"Fine! Say you were. Say you were this terrible monster. I'll buy into that or a minute… what I If still wanted you? What would you say to me then?"

"I'd have everything." He responds instantly.

"Take the monster part of the equation because it isn't true, it simply isn't." I take a small step toward him, "Or is it easier to walk out. Would you prefer to see me with an Anton or an Adrian? Just easier to throw it away than fight for it?"

"I can't stand the thought of you with anyone else." His voice is as soft as velvet but some emotion is scratching underneath trying to break free.

I take a deep breath. "If you want me you walk over here ready to let go of the guilt… and you can have me because I love you. And no, you don't deserve me after how you've treated me. You don't deserve this chance so you can be damn sure this is your last one because I am not prepared to hurt over you a day longer."

And there it was, my last hope laid up on the alter. It would either be worshipped or crucified. My heartbeat was in my ears. His eyes were calculating, some conflict was going on behind them and in a blink of an eye he's walking towards me looking worried the ground was going to crumble underneath his feet.

The beating in my ears ceases as he raises his hand to my face, fingertips brushing my cheekbone. He's looking at me as I'm the most precious thing in this world. "If this is my choice then I choose you. I choose to fight for and with you every day, to love you always. And if by some great accident Rose Hathaway is wrong and there was a different way in which I should have atoned for everything I've done then I'll serve my sentence in the next life."

All I can focus on is his touch as I stare up at him. "Well, encase you didn't know Abe's a part time lawyer so I'm sure we'll get you off."

He laughs and the great weight I'd been carrying evaporates. Then his lips press are against mine and I'm stunned. My mind is wiped blank and I have no use of my limbs. He sighs against my mouth. I'm perfectly still and he pulls backs slightly.

"Sorry, I shouldn't have just-"

All sensation rushes through me and electricity lights up my veins. My hands slide up his chest into his hair pulling him down to me and cutting off his lame apology. His kiss was chaste and mine was greedy. Although I don't think he minds as his arms wrap around me and pull me against his body. It's like breaking the surface after being under water. It's like coming into a warm room from the cold. It's like eating dessert for breakfast and a million other glorious things that don't quite describe it properly.

It's like coming home.

His hands are clutching the fabric at my back and he's so damn tall that holding him and trying to kiss him requires effort. As if reading my mind his hands slide lower and he stoops, running his hands over my butt and the tops of my thighs before lifting me up. I wrap my legs around his waist, pressing against him where I can, closing any gaps.

I gasp when my back hits the wall and he takes the opportunity to explore my neck and my eyes flutter shut. It was no secret that my throat was an extremely sensitive spot and when his tongue presses against my skin I moan. He kisses the hollow of my throat and dips lower to plant one between the curves of my breasts before reaching for my mouth again. It was gluttonous kissing, fierce and consuming. My fingers are laced in his hair and I take his bottom lip between my teeth. He makes a noise low in his throat, it was somewhere between a groan and a growl. Hot tingles rush all over my skin. I release it and then slowly run my tongue between his parted lips. His hands grip me tighter as he deepens the kiss.

I was mess of hyper nerve endings and need.

His hands slide down to my hips and I feel his touch on my bare skin. My dress was disintegrating. He rolls his hips against me and I break away needing to breathe.

"Dimitri."

He pauses in his trail down the side of my throat that he hasn't explored yet. His breathing is ragged. "Too much?"

"Actually I was just going to suggest going upstairs."

He lifts his head to lean it against mine. "Are you sure?"

I tighten my legs round him and kiss his jaw. "Yes."

He begins to move and I continue my journey along his jawline, my hands untangling from his hair to yank at his shirt.

I stir from a lazy doze and when I feel a strong arm around my waist I pry my eyes open. My duvets barely covering me and I turn my head slightly to see Dimitri sleeping soundly. The duvets hardly covering him either, I'm more of a blanket. I shift carefully so I don't wake him and stroke a tendril back from his face, letting my hand drift down to his chest. I couldn't help but check him out… it had been a while and the only thing stopping me from waking him up was how peaceful he looked.

Yeah we were nowhere near being perfect but I didn't regret sleeping with him. I needed him and he needed me. We had the rest of our lives to work out the rest and completely untangle the mess we'd gotten ourselves into.

An unpleasant thought niggles in my mind… Adrian. So much talk about him deserving better and I've gone and done this… somehow I think he'll see this as worse than Anton. But I'd deal with it. I'd go and find him in the morning. Well… our morning, I'm pretty sure it was nearing dawn if it wasn't already.

I draw my fingertips back toward me until they rest over his heart and I feel the slow beat under his skin. This is what I needed. This was necessity. I felt as peaceful as he looked in his undisturbed sleep.

We were bent not broken. We still had a way to go to getting completely right but we were on the road back to us. With his heartbeat under my fingertips I close my eyes and smile.

#####

Tiiimmmmeee tooo SaAy GooodByYEeE

So this is the end, well, of this story anyway. Romitri are still out there kicking ass and taking breaks from it to love each other. I really hope you guys are satisfied with the ending and if not I'm sorry. I was going to write a scene with more explicit smut but sometimes that can ruin a story and I didn't want to risk it… I'll happily write an epilogue smutty scene if it's wanted.

I have to say a great fat thank you for every kind and encouraging word given as this was being written. It kept me so motivated and eager to please you guys and I appreciate every review beyond words. I love you guys.

If any ones interest I have an idea for my next Romitri project which would be much longer, around thirty chapters. I'm thinking modern day slavery of dhampirs who were not as lucky to attend an academy or know their basic human/vampire rights. Rose would be a slave and Dimitri a guardian… I'll leave it there. What do you think?

PS. Msg me with any questions you have and thank you again for being wonderful people. xo