Stay with me
The bruises were doing a perfect job of making me forget about the pain of seeing them.
"This is the last night I'm spending here." I said to myself as I did the buttons on my pajama. Tomorrow everything would hurt more and I hoped I would wake up and not remember anything.
Putting a glass of water on my nightstand, I let myself dwell on the fact that Dimitri looked healthy. That was good, wasn't it? Not really, because I secretly hoped he felt as hollow as I did. What a wonderful and healthy relationship we had…
Just as I put the covers over me, the doorbell rang. My heart beat faster, it was way too late for my neighbor Doris to be looking for me…
I grabbed the pink Taser my old man had given me in the rare case something like this would happen and I walked into the living room quietly.
I can do this! I said to myself, giving me the strength to open the door. I expected a strigoi or Lissa, but I never expected Dimitri would be the one sent after me. It was kind of funny seeing him standing there casually, while I pointed at him with the pink object.
I rolled my eyes, putting the Taser down on the bowl I kept my keys. "I would ask you how you found me but that'd be a waste of time since you probably followed me. What I do want to know, is how you got roped into coming for me?"
I walked into the kitchen reaching for a glass, making myself busy before I launched myself into his arms. Sadly, he had other ideas as he closed the door behind him and got real close and personal.
"Is that what you think, that I'm here against my will?" he said as he sat down on a stool in my kitchen.
"I think you got the shorter end of the deal and had to come here, yes. Maybe not against your will, but to make your conscience feel better." I said as I placed a glass of water in front of him. Even though I wanted him to leave immediately, I still had manners.
"You can call me anything you'd like, if it makes you feel any better." He leaned over the counter. "I deserve everything you say and think of me."
"That's kind of you. So if I curse you to hell and back, will you leave me alone to enjoy the rest of my night? I really am pooped."
He cracked a smile. NO! How dare smile at me, and make me remember how much I'd adored stealing those from him.
"You know what, I decided against wanting to rip you a new one. I don't care. I want you to leave." I pushed him off my counter and tried to drag him away from the kitchen when he turned on me. Caging me up against the wall. What was it with the walls, lately?
"I know deserve everything you say to me, but I'm done." He said looking down at my face with sincere regret. "I fucked up, Roza. I've made make many mistakes and have many regrets when it comes to us—"
"Mostly everything, I guess." I said bitterly.
"NEVER. I don't regret us. Ever. So don't you ever let those words come out of your mouth again or else I'll find it in myself to give you a good spanking." He said as he cradled my face in his hands. What the... "What I meant was that if there's one thing I regret, was telling you that I didn't love you. How could I stop loving you when you're the reason I am alive?"
"You're a good liar." I felt my voice crack.
"I'm so fucking sorry, Roza. I don't know if I'll ever be able to live with myself for what I've done but I am such a selfish bastard that I can't let you walk away from me again."
He crashed his lips to mine and showed me how much he missed me. His lips seeking forgiveness in my mine. For a moment, I let myself enjoy the happiness I felt when he kissed me. That he was alive, that I was alive. Before I tore my lips from his and slapped him on the cheek.
"That was for making me suffer," I said as I watched him rub his cheek. "And this is because I must be a freaking masochist, to love someone with such high morals enough to push me away."
I reached for the lapels of his duster and brought him close to me again, kissing that beautiful mouth of his. When I felt like I could no longer hold my weight he seemed to understand, as he reached under my knees and wrapped my legs over his hips.
"Bedroom?" he asked between kisses.
"It's only one room," I said as kicked the door open.
Dimitri laughed against my neck. "Always impatient, besides I was making sure you didn't have a roommate."
I flicked him on the head. "Two years, I haven't seen you. Can you blame me?"
"No, I am barely keeping it together as is." He set me down on the bed removing his duster and his shirt. It was amazing how after all this time I could still feel the same butterflies in my stomach at the thought of seeing him without it.
When I moved to reach for my own, he froze in his tracks.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Let me see," he said as he leaned down to pull my shirt over my stomach.
I cracked a smile. "Dimitri, I'm too old to get tickled."
When he didn't answer, I looked down to see at what he was looking at. My bruises.
Yikes, they looked worse than they felt to be honest but from his perspective I could understand the concern from his gaze.
"Do they hurt?" he said as his fingers briefly touched them, making me feel ticklish.
"Only a little," I answered him while I touched the silky hair that hung around his face. "But I'm fine."
He looked over me, with sad eyes. "You're not. And it's okay because I'm not either."
"Then I guess were a match made in heaven," I said as I pulled him to my lips.
It wasn't until the wee hours of the night, that I understood exactly how much he'd really missed me.
"Don't worry she's fine. She's sound asleep right now. I'll make sure she doesn't go anywhere before you speak to her… Believe me, I won't let her leave us ever again. See you later." Dimitri whispered.
I didn't need to be a scientist to figure out who he was talking to. I sighed, this was about to get awkward. I put on my robe and walked out into the living room where Dimitri was sitting down, fully dressed with his head in between his hands.
"Morning, comrade." I said as I made my way towards the fridge. "Do you want breakfast before you go?"
The smile he had on his lips vanished. "Not a chance in hell I'll be leaving soon. I thought you'd understood, Rose."
"Yes, I understood that we still have chemistry and it worked itself like out like it always did." I lied. "Don't feel like you have to keep your side of whatever promise you made to Lissa, I won't hold you to anything you said. Tell everyone I'm okay, as much as I can ever be, and that you tried to bring me back but I escaped."
"You know I'm not a person that gets angry often, but I'm way past livid that you'd think I'd sleep with you just because of a promise. Don't cheap us out. I would never make love to you without it meaning anything!" He yelled as he grabbed me by the arm. "I fucking adore you, I may have a shitty way of trying to explain it to you, but get it straight. I. LOVE. YOU!"
"So what are we going to do now?" I asked. "Are you going to let me love you and not hold back, just because of things you've done things in the past? Will you let me help you heal? Because if that's not what you're offering, you can go back from where you came from. I'm not going back."
"Well if you don't want to go back home, it's a shame because everyone misses you like crazy. But that's okay we'll figure out where to go from here, together."
"You'd never leave Lissa alone. You're excellent at your job," I replied, trying not to get my hopes up. "Just because I don't want to go back doesn't mean that you shouldn't."
"You stubborn, stubborn girl." He said as held me close. "I can't be without you, I've tried and it's been hell on earth. From what you've said and from what I can see hasn't been a walk in the park for you either, so why don't we worry about us first. And the rest will fall into place later."
I shook my head. "What happened to the old Dimitri? What happened to our obligations?"
"He died, I'm afraid. But this new Dimitri is trying his best to live and if that implies throwing our obligations out the window, then so be it."
I laughed. "You have an answer for everything, I'd forgotten how irritating you can be."
"As long as you stay with me, I'll give you as many answers you want and need."
I stared into his eyes and sighed. "I can't let you go, comrade. I don't want to live without you. Besides, if I continue on my own I would have to look into getting a cat and you know how well I'm with animals, he'd probably eat me."
Dimitri laughed and for moment I felt like everything was right in the world again.
One year later…
"After all this time, you still haven't told me the truth," I said as I laid down the forks on the table. "How did you find me?"
Dimitri smiled, as he put down the salad next to the spaghetti bowl. "It was Adrian's crazy idea. He'd thought it'd be a bright idea take Lissa to her first nightclub experience, and it had to be the flashiest and luxurious place in Las Vegas."
I nodded. "Yeah, Sydney has helped but I think that crazy nature is still lurking inside him."
"So he insisted we go there since the music and the drinks were the best in town and thankfully we did, because if we hadn't—"
"If you hadn't, we wouldn't have been able to see each other again." I looked away, thinking what I would've done if they hadn't shown up. I could've died.
"No, it would've taken me a little longer getting your father to tell me where you were, but I would've still found you. And I would've told you the same thing I tell you every day, that I love you and that I can't live without you." He said as he wrapped his arms around me and kissed me.
"I'm not going to be able to keep my food down if you two keep that up," said a voice coming from the entrance of our house. The small house we'd bought in a small town.
We turned around to find Adrian with baby Declan strapped to his chest and Sydney, looking at us.
"You're in our house, Ivashkov." Dimitri said. "Hello Sydney, hi little fellow."
"Excuse me, but we have a baby now and we're trying to keep things pg-baby." Adrian replied.
"Don't listen to him," Sydney laughed, taking Declan from Adrian. "He's becoming a dad, and that has seriously affected his brain. The worst are the jokes."
Adrian looked offended. "You said you loved my jokes."
Dimitri and I laughed. "Why don't you sit down, we're just waiting for the rest."
"If they make it," I said, thinking of Lissa's tight schedule.
"Lissa and Christian were just behind us," Sydney replied.
"We're here!" said my very blonde best friend bursting through the door. While poor Christian carried the million bags she travelled with.
I rushed to hug her. After deciding not to go back to court, it had been very tough on her, but after some time she understood that I had to find the path that made me the happiest. And that was spending my life in a small house far into the woods with Dimitri. "Hey there your majesty. I've missed you like crazy."
She hugged me tighter. "Me too, you have no idea how much. But it's good to get some time off being queen and just being Lissa, and to be honest your house is the perfect place for that."
"Well we're glad everyone could make it," Dimitri said. "Why don't we have some food before it gets cold, then we can give you a tour of the place."
While everyone ate their food enjoying the chatter and the company of my dearest and closest friends, I thanked the deity that didn't frown upon half-vampire women slaying creatures of evil, for everything I'd been given that fateful night.