One word: Covid. It really has ruined so much! I hope this chapter makes up for my absence, but I am not giving up on the story! So you don't have to go reread to remember, let me do a quick recap.

Rose's mom was murdered, and she went to live with her Aunt Sonya in Maine, who was also murdered in front of Rose.

Rose is now at St. Vladamir's, where she just won the test to be admitted as an actual student.

She and Lissa are trying to figure out their bond, and there is trouble in paradise with Rose and Dimitri.

The roar of the crowd was deafening. My head ached at the high octave of the cheering around me. Pair that with the pounding caused by Dimitri's blow to the side of my head, and I nearly lost my balance. I brought my hands up to my temples and rubbed, hoping to alleviate some of the pain. Once it subsided a bit, I was able to focus on what just happened. I did it. I really did it. I looked around the room, searching the faces of my peers. Their expressions were lit up with glee and adrenaline. The buzz of excitement was suffocating. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to take the victory, and more proud of myself than I could even say, but I needed a second to process. A second I wasn't going to get until later, I realized, as my friends rushed towards me.

"Holy FUCK, little dhampir. You kicked that giant's ass!" Adrian yelled as he wrapped his arms around my waist and lifted me off the ground, spinning me in a circle. I couldn't help the laugh that escaped my throat. I really did kick his ass.

"I'm so proud of you!" Lissa squealed, throwing her arms around me. "You are a total bad ass!" pride gleamed in her eyes, making my heart swell with love for my best friend. Her excitement shot through me, making the pounding in my head disappear completely.

A hand clapped my back, and I turned to find its owner. Christian stood there, grinning. "I have to say, that was pretty impressive. For a girl." I rolled my eyes, but grinned back.

"Thanks, guys." I shook my head and laughed. "I can't believe I didn't know I had that in me." How could I not know that that kind of power lived inside of me? Compulsion or not, there's no way that could have been kept deep down much longer. A startling thought suddenly occurred to me that whoever my mother had compel me, they were way stronger than I could even imagine. That kind of strength couldn't be easy to bury for so long. Not to suck my own dick, but I definitely have some intense power in me. Add that in with the bond with Lissa we've had yet to figure out, and I could do some serious damage.

"I can't believe it either." Lissa said. "Whoever did this to you is insanely strong. No one I know has compulsion that strong."

"We need to figure out who did it and why." I mused.

"Can we focus on that tomorrow? We need to celebrate!" Adrian cheered. His arms wrapped around my waist again, pulling me into a hug. He leaned his head down until his lips were so close to my ear, I could hear his hot breath. "I can't stand seeing you in those tight pants anymore. They're doing things to me, little dhampir."

Just as I was about to push him off of me, my eyes collided with Dimitri's. His eyes focused on Adrian's hands on me, then slowly came back up to meet mine. Anger flashed briefly in his deep brown eyes before disappearing again. Anger rolled through me at the stone cold look he gave me. Why couldn't he let himself show me how he felt? If he couldn't care enough to tell me how he really felt, then I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing me hurt over him. I obviously needed to move on, and I had an extremely sexy vampire prince more than happy to help me do that.

Keeping me eyes locked with Dimitri's, I leaned up and put my lips to Adrian's ear. "Then help me get out of them." Just because I was deciding to move on, that didn't mean I couldn't still have some fun, right? And I've always felt poking the bear is very, very fun. Adrian stiffened against me, obviously shocked, then grinned down at me.

"Oh, baby, you have no idea how badly I was hoping you'd say that." I flashed him a sly smile, and turned my attention back to Christian and Lissa, who were so busy making googly eyes at each other they barely noticed anything that just happened.

"So, a celebration? When and where?" I asked, snapping my finger in their faces to get their attention. I gave it about a week before they finally started ripping each other's clothes off. You know what? Based on the way Christian very reluctantly removed his eyes from Lissa's, I made that two days.

"Are you sure you aren't too tired?" Lissa asked, worry flashing through the bond.

"I'm fine, Liss." I flashed her a reassuring smile, and her worry melted.

"Okay then. Let me worry about the where, and I'll text you when, okay?" I nodded, and the three of them left me.

"Rose?" a voice behind me called my name. I froze at the beautiful accent. I so did not have for his shit.

I turned to meet the most amazing eyes the world has ever seen. "Yes, Guardian Belikov?" I asked innocently. A flash of hurt lit his face for a brief second before his guardian mask slid back into place.

"You did very well today. The headmaster is thrilled to have you attend your classes as normal tomorrow. Our training sessions will continue mornings and after school, but you will be free to attend your combat classes after lunch." I nodded.

"Great. Anything else?" I crossed my arms. I knew I was being rude, but I didn't have it in me to care. Call me wounded, but I was not backing down to him easily.

Dimitri hesitated for a moment before he finally gave in to whatever inner battle was waging inside him. "Adrian is dangerous. You need to be careful with him."

Shock hit me in the face, almost knocking me back a step or two. "Who the fuck do you think you are to tell me who I need to be careful around?" The audacity of men truly never fails to surprise me. "You are the one I should have been careful around. So what if he just wants to get in my pants? At least he's honest about his intentions. You could use a lesson from him." I turned to leave, but Dimitri's hand wrapped around my wrist, stopping me in my tracks. So much for my dramatic exit. Sigh. The familiar electricity ran up my arm and down my spine. As hard as he tried to ignore it, he felt it too. He always did.

"You need to get over what happened." Dimitri snarled. "I lost control, and for that I am truly sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you."

I let out a sarcastic laugh. "Hurt me? You think you can hurt me?" I mean, he did, but that's for me to know and him to absolutely never know. "Compared to my mother being murdered and then my aunt closely following—right in front of me – this is nothing. I'm a child, remember? I'm too immature for emotions that come along with caring for someone in that way. Right?" When he doesn't answer, I nod my head once. "That's what I thought."

"For what it's worth, I am proud of you." He said, his voice barely above a whisper. My eyes started to fill with angry tears, and that only made me angrier.

"Thanks. Now if you'll excuse me, I have shit to do." I nodded to where I saw Tasha watching us. "Your girlfriend is waiting. I wouldn't want to keep you waiting."

I wrenched my hand out of grip, and walked away without looking back. The ache in my chest was bad enough to knock me down, but I couldn'tt let that happen. Not while Dimitri was watching. Instead, I held my head high and headed to my room to get ready for my party, where I planned on following through with my words to Adrian. After all, the best way to get over someone, is to get under someone else, right?

After a long shower and some pampering, I finished curling my hair and sprayed some setting spray over my face to keep my makeup intact. I took in my appearance and smiled a little. I looked good, really good. My long sleeved black shirt was short enough to show my midriff, and my tight jeans just annunciated my curves. Lissa texted me to meet her at her dorm room across campus at eight o'clock. A quick glance at the clock shows I had ten minutes. I slipped some shoes on, and headed out.

It was strange seeing the sun out, when I'd grown so accustomed to the dark. I stopped for a moment and let the sun warm my tanned skin. My phone buzzed in my pocket, breaking me from my trance. I glanced at it and saw I'm late. I pocketed the phone and ran the rest of the way to the Moroi dorms.

When I reached Lissa's floor, the party was in full swing. Students swarmed the large room, laughing and passing drinks around. One of the perks of being the only living Dragomir is that she gets the whole top floor of the dorms. Her bedroom is adjoined, but closed off to the party. Lissa saw me enter, and waved me over to her.

"You made it!" she squealed.

"Of course I did." I smiled back. "I wouldn't miss this. I badly need to let loose."

Adrian caught my eye over Lissa's shoulder, and his heated green eyes swept my body. I can tell he approves by the way he shifts his body. I threw him a sultry smile, and he immediately walked over to me.

"You look amazing." He handed me a drink, and I eagerly took a sip. The tequila in the cup burned its way down my throat, and I welcomed it.

"You don't look so bad yourself." I complimented.

"Drink up, princess. We're going to have some fun." A devious twinkle lit his eyes. Indeed we are, Adrian.

I downed the rest of my drink, and another quickly found its way into my hands. Lissa led me around the room, introducing me to everyone. There were so many people there was no way I'd remember all their names, but I appreciated the gesture. We ended up on the small area designated as a dance floor, and Lissa quickly found Christian. His eyes ltit up at the sight of her. She giggled and turned to me.

"Lets dance." She gulped down the rest of her drink, and I did the same. The alcohol coursing through my veins felt so good, and it felt even better when Lissa started moving her body against mine. I normally wouldn't entertain that kind of thing, but I could see that Adrian and Christian were watching, and she was drunk and obviously trying to put on a show. Fuck it, why not? I moved my hips with hers and let the music tell my body what to do. I felt good, way better than I had in a long time.

Shortly after, I felt strong arms wrap around me from behind and turn me around. I came face to face with Adrian. The alcohol on his breath was strong, but I'm sure mine was too. I knew what I was about to do was wrong, but I so badly wantedto forget Dimitri and how much he hurt me.

I wrapped my arms around his neck and fisted his hair. Slowly, I brough his mouth down to mine. When our lips met, I let out an involuntary moan. Even if I didn't like him like that, I had to admit his lips felt good against mine. He went rigid against me, and I felt his grip on me tighten.

"We need to get out of here, now. Before I take you on this floor." Heat spread through my body, and I let him lead me to the guest dorms next door. As soon as the door shut behind him, Adrian was on me. His mouth greeted mine hungrily. I slid my tongue along his bottom lip, and he happily let me enter. His tongue moved with mine, making my need for him nearly blind me. He groaned into my mouth. The sound was so sweet it makes me shiver.

Adrian's mouth left mine to trail hot, open mouthed kisses down my neck. My knees started to wobble, so he picked me up and placed me on his bed. His hands tugged at the bottom of my shirt, and I happily obliged when he yanked it over my head. His lust filled gaze took in my lacy black bra, and my breasts nearly spilling out of it. His head dipped down to my breasts, and he ran his tongue along the tops of them. His hands fumbled with the clasp on my bra for only a moment before he had it off and on the floor. His mouth took in a hardened nipple, and I arched my back, letting him get closer. A loud moan left my lips, and he looked up at me with primal satisfaction. His tongue teased me while his other hand massaged the other breast. I lifted my hips off the bed to feel the hardness in his pants. He groaned, letting his hips mold into mine. I reached behind him, tugging his shirt up his back. He sat up for a moment to remove it, and then leaned down and attached his mouth back to mine.

As soon as his hands went for the button on my jeans, a loud pounding on the door stalled us both. Adrian bolted off of me, and I quickly reached for my bra and shirt.

"Who the hell is that?" I asked. The pounding grew louder and louder.

"Open this door, NOW!" A Russian accent called through the door.

You have to be fucking kidding me. What the hell did I do to deserve this type of punishment, universe? I'm snarky and I swear way too much, but dear lord, give me a fucking break, would you?

I scrambled to get my shirt over my bra on, but I was too late. Adrian shot me a sorry glance before he swung the door open. Dimitri strode into the room, and froze when he saw me sitting on Adrian's bed, my shirt halfway over my head. His gaze traveled from the bottom of my stomach, resting on my breasts for a moment. Heat scorched his eyes, but it disappeared quickly. Rage took over easily.

"She is a student." Dimitri barked at Adrian. "You have absolutely no business having her in your room."

I finished pulling my clothes on, and marched up to Dmitri. "You don't get to decide what I do with my time and who I spend it with." His shirt was wet from rain. I could hear the soft drizzle outside the window.

"Just go, Rose. It's okay." Adrian reassured me. "I'll find you tomorrow."

I nodded an acknowledgement at him, and stalked past Dimitri and out the door.

The rain picked up, now pounding the ground angrily. How badly I wished I could just let go like that. I raced through the pouring water, praying it would cleanse me of my feelings. I didn't get far, however, before a strong hand wrapped around my arm and tugged me backward. I turned to come face to face with scorching brown eyes. Fury like I'd never seen before raged in Dimitri's normally soft features. I almost stumbled, seeing that rage directed at me.

"Let go of me!" I demanded. I tried to break myself free, but he wasn't having it. "I said, let me go!" I screamed. "How did you even find me?"

"The dorm supervisor busted the party and called me. It didn't take long to figure out where you were. What the hell were you thinking?" Dimitri shouted. "Adrian Ivashkov, Rose? Really? You're better than this."

At those words, I snapped. "I wasn't! That's the whole point! All I've been doing is thinking!" I shouted back. The hurt and anger of the last month were rushing through my veins, and I couldn't stop the fury that ripped through my words. I found the strength to pull away from Dimitri and took several steps back. "My heart keeps getting shattered over and over and over again. I wanted to feel good for once, and not care about the consequences! So yes, Adrian Ivashkov. You do not get to judge me." At that point, I couldn't stop the angry tears rolling down my face, and that just made me angrier. "Since my mom was murdered it's been, "keep moving forward, Rose" and "be strong, Rose". Well, I did that. Then Sonya got murdered right in front of me, and I STILL couldn't break down, because when has there been time? I've been busting my ass the last week trying to prove I'm capable of even being here!"

I start to pace back and forth. Now that I started to crack open, I couldn't stop. My hands came up and ran frantically through my hair. "My whole world has been turned upside down, and I don't want to be strong anymore. I can't. I found strength in you, in us. In what we could be, and that blew up in my face, too." Regret so deep flashed across his face, it almost brought him to his knees. My voice became nothing more than a whisper. "I just wanted to be normal for once. I wanted to make a normal teenage mistake." Dimitri stepped toward me, holding out a hand.

"Roza—" he started.

I held both hands up, pleading with him not to break me any further. "Don't. Please. I can't handle any more." His tall figure became blurry through my tears and the rain. "I need a fucking minute to let myself feel things before the pain in my chest breaks me in half. So please, don't come near me. Not right now." A powerful sob racked my body. I clutched my stomach, wrapping both arms around myself to try to ease the hurt. Dimitri looked downright tormented, and I couldn't help the sarcastic laugh. It came out as another choked sob. I stared at him another second longer, before I turned and ran the opposite direction. This time, he let me.

I hated the things he made me feel. How weak and powerless I was against him. I was strong, always. I never cried. And lately that didn't seem to be a thing anymore, considering all I could do was cry. Never break down the way I needed to, but fuck did I cry. I ran down the path to the dorms, but kept running. I kept running till I found myself at the old guardian outpost. I threw the door open, and slammed it shut behind me. Slowly I sunk to the ground, and let despair envelope me until I felt numb.

Thoughts? Let me know! Thank you all for your love and support and kind messages. I'm okay, it has just been a hard past few months. Have a great rest of your day!