Chapter1: Distraction

Ugh! My back hits the mat again for the fourth time in a row. I stare into those chocolate brown eyes again and those gorgeous lips are moving but I hear no sound coming from them because the only senses that seem to be working are my sight and touch. I feel his hands wrapped tightly around my wrists on either side of my head and his body is hovering over mine, so close that I can feel the heat coming off him. His knees are on either side of my hips and his feet are at my knees, he is so close but yet so far away from me. I look down from his lips to his chest which is breathing just as fast as mine.

The next thing that I know is that I am being pulled upward and placed on my feet, but it is so unexpected that I start to fall backwards and I feel his hand snake behind my waist to support me. Once I regain my balance, my other senses begin to work again and I hear Dimitri say "Rose, have you heard a word that I have said".

"What?" I said, "I'm sorry Dimitri, what were you saying?"

"I was asking you if you were alright. Your head does not seem to be here. I have taken you down four times today, much easier than it should have been. The only thing in your favor was that each fight lasted about five minutes. But I expect more from you at this point. You should have been able to take me down at least once. What is going on? Why are you so distracted? Are you having nightmares again?"

"No, no nightmares lately. I am sorry I don't know why I am so distracted lately." I said. But I thought to myself, I know exactly why I am distracted and it's your scent and body and wait Rose pull yourself together. I started shaking my head to clear the thoughts and I look back at Dimitri as he is opening his mouth to say something, when the gym doors open. We both look in that direction of the door to see Tasha walking in and I notice she is wearing jeans, a really tight shirt and more than enough makeup.

"Hi Dimka, Hi Rose, how are you doing?" Tasha says with a big smile that seems a little fake.

"Hi Tasha" I smile and wave, trying to be as polite as I can. I still can't stand her after I heard about the proposition that she made to Dimitri and I also don't like the fact that she says she is on campus hanging around to keep an eye on Christian, but she seems to be keeping a closer eye on Dimitri. And I hate the fact that she calls him Dimka, like his family does and I know Dimitri does not like it either and has asked her not to call him that especially in his work environment.

"Dimka, I was wondering if you were done with your little lesson here, if you were free for dinner?" Tasha asked.

Dimitri sighed "No, Tasha, unfortunately, I am unavailable for dinner, I am scheduled to guard the Princess." Turning towards me Dimitri says " Rose, try to get a good night sleep, I want you focused in the morning."

Dimitri picked up his gym bag and headed to the men's locker room; he gave Tasha a nod and then went thru the door to the showers. I grabbed my bag and looked up to see Tasha walking out the gym door. I went to the women's locker rooms and turned the shower on hot. I just stood under it and just let my mind wander to Dimitri and our sparring which led me to thinking about his body. After a while, " Rose" I said to myself, "snap out of it, this is your problem!" I don't know why my mind was wandering all the time and why I was having such a hard time concentrating. I quickly finished my shower and got dressed and gather my belongings.

As I started walking to the cafeteria for dinner, my phone starts dinging, I look down and realize I have three texts, two from Lissa and one from Adrian. I looked at the time and realize that I had been in the shower for 45 minutes. I look at Lissa's texts, and she was asking where I am, I sent a quick text that I am on my way. I look at the text from Adrian, which says "Cradle robber is here, where r u?" I just roll my eyes at that message. I walk in the cafeteria and see Lissa looking at me intently, I can feel through the bond that she is worried. I give her a smile and walk over and drop my bag down at the empty chair and tell her "I'm fine Lissa, no need to worry. Hey everyone, anything good for dinner?"

Eddie snorts "Is there ever anything good for dinner."

I walk to the food line and I can feel Dimitri's eyes on me, as I look over to where he is sitting with the other guardians, he is looking at me with concern in his eyes. He looks back down to his food, I see a huge portion of food that I know he is trying to wolf down before starting his shift in ten minutes. I quickly go through the line not really paying particular attention to what I am getting, just grabbing food, because I now realize how hungry I am. I get back to the table and set my food down just as Christian says "Hey piggy, do you have enough food there?"

"Shut it Sparky or I'll shut it for you" I spit out as Christian laughs and Lissa hits him upside the head. "Ow" Christian says.

I felt a warm hand on my shoulder, I knew even before I saw him that it was Dimitri because I could smell his aftershave. Ever the professional guardian, Dimitri addressed Lissa first. "Princess".

Lissa ever the diplomat said, "Hello, Guardian Belikov"

I heard Adrian state under his breath" Cradle Robber" I just hoped no one else heard it.

"Novice Hathaway, may I have a word with you" Dimitri asked.

Lissa looked from Dimitri to me with worried eyes, "I'll be right back" I said and gave Lissa a look that said, don't worry about it.

I stepped over to where Dimitri was standing near the wall away from everyone. "Yes?" I asked Dimitri.

"Are you sure you are all right? Your friends were worried about where you were when I got here. What took you over an hour to get here?" Dimitri asked me.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I was taking a shower, I guess I just lost track of time. It's nothing really." I replied.

Dimitri grabbed the bridge of his nose "Rose, please tell me what is going on, what is distracting you so much? "

"I don't know, I just start drifting off thinking about other things, it is not anything specific, my mind starts wondering" I said.

"Okay" Dimitri said with a sigh" What do you have for homework?"

"Just some reading for Moroi Studies and work on a paper for Alto's class, why?" I asked.

"Bring your paper with you in the morning, so I can look at it." Dimitri stated.

"Why? It's not a western" I joked.

Dimitri gave me that look, like really. "Sorry" I said "but why do you want to look at it?"

"I want to see if you are as distracted in your studies as you are in practice and with your friends. Rose, I am really starting to get worried about you. I don't know what is distracting you, but we need to figure this out. You know as well as I do that as a Guardian a moments distraction can cause..." Dimitri stopped talking.

"Yeah, I know" I stated looking down at the ground.

"Look" Dimitri started "Rose, everyone here is here for you, we all want you to succeed. We want you to be the Princess's Guardian. "

"Your right Dimitri" I stated "I can't believe I am letting myself get distracted. I don't know why I am letting myself get like this."

"Don't worry Rose" Dimitri said, as he put a hand on my shoulder "Like I said, we are all here for you, to help you. Bring your paper tomorrow morning, I'll read what you have while you run laps. If your writing is just as distracted, we will go talk to Guardian Petrov and see what we can do."

"What?" I started to ramble "you can't tell her…"

Dimitri cut me off "Rose, relax, this is not a punishment, we are just going to help you through this. We are here for you, you don't have to go through this alone. It could be an after effect of Spokane, maybe it just senioritis, maybe an effect of the bond. But we are here to help you." Dimitri took a small step towards me and lowered his voice "I'm here for you Roza. Okay?"

I looked up into those warm chocolate eyes and said "Okay, Dimitri, Thanks. I promise I will get it together for Lissa's sake."

"Okay Rose, go eat dinner and I will see you in the morning." Dimitri stated as my stomach growled on cue. We both laughed at that and the hand that was on my shoulder lightly turned me around and fell to the small of my back as he guided me back towards my friends at the table and Dimitri went to take his place against the wall, relieving Guardian Mathews.

I sat down and began inhaling my food. As I did, I looked around at my friends and realized that they were worried about me. Lissa's eyes were practically boring a hole thru me and I could feel thru the bond all the worry she was feeling. Christian was looking at me thru the corner of his eye and then to Lissa and then back at me. The fact that Christian didn't say another word about the amount of food I was eating or how fast I was eating, made me realize that he was worried as well. At this moment, he reminded me of how Andre, Lissa's older brother, would be overprotective of me at times. Even though Christian and I fight like cats and dogs, I guess it is really a sister and brother relationship ever since Spokane. Speaking of Spokane, I glanced over at Eddie who was eyeing me definitely like an older brother.

Since Spokane, Eddie and I have become even closer than we were before, he was always looking out for me. We were two of the top fighters, he had been working out a lot lately and had put on a lot of muscle lately. He wasn't up to Dimitri's standard, but he was getting close. It was funny at times, Moroi guys stopped approaching me, or would abruptly leave anytime Eddie was near me. I had an undeserved reputation as being an easy girl thanks to Jesse and Ralf, but thanks to Eddie, the rumors were dying down. Eddie's presence and the fact that I spend the majority of time with Dimitri, in class or working on homework and had not been to any parties since Lissa and I got back was helping to keep the boys away. I knew because of all the extra workouts, my body was definably in good shape and I knew that I was getting more stares, but thanks to Eddie and Dimitri, I was considered untouchable by most males. This was fine by me since there was only one male I wanted, my sexy Russian god. There I go again, my mind wandering off. Just then Adrian speaks "Rose" everyone's head turned to Adrian, he never called me Rose, "Are you taking darkness from Lissa?"

"Not intentionally, Why?" I asked.

"I don't know, it's just your aura is all different shades of gray and swirling really fast, like you are indecisive about something" Adrian said.

"Oh, I've just been distracted lately. I think it's just realizing we are nearing the end of our senior year, you know getting senioritis or something." I said. I finished my food in record time and started to get my stuff together. As I stood up, Adrian grabbed my arm and said to me "You know I'm here if you need me, little dhampir, anytime no matter what."

"Thanks Adrian, I fine, but I will keep that in mind. Right now you will all have to excuse me, I have some homework to work do." I said to my friends.

I stood up and grabbed my bag and tray, Lissa stood up with me and said "Christian if you don't mind, I am going to walk with Rose, I will talk to you later tonight?" Lissa asked.

Christian replied "Yeah, sure no problem, talk to you later babe, see you Rose".

Eddie chimed in "See you in the am Rose, night Lissa"

Adrian piped in "Night little dhampir, cousin."

Lissa and I walked to put our trays away just as Jesse and Ralf came up to us.

"Hey Rose, Lissa" Jesse spewed.

"What do you want Jesse?" I asked. "Eyes up here" I said as I watched Jesse's eyes look up and down my body. I could sense Dimitri behind us. I swear I thought I heard a growl, but no one else seemed to react so I figured I was just imagining things.

"I was just wondering if you wanted to party tonight, you know for old time sake's?" Jesse asked.

"Sorry, Jesse, I got homework tonight, come on Lissa, let's get going." I said as I dropped my tray off and turned to go to the door. But Jesse grabbed my arm and said "Come on Rose, you know you want to". Before I could respond to Jesse, Dimitri growled "Jesse Zeklos, I believe I have warned you in the past about touching Rose, kindly remove your hand from Rose's arm and step away." Jessie quickly let go of my arm as he and Ralf walked away.

I walked to the door and Lissa followed me and Dimitri followed Lisa. We walked across campus towards my dorm, Lissa started chatting about needing a day to go off campus shopping and thought she would ask Kirova if she could get permission to go. She was wondering if she should invite Tasha, Christian's Aunt to come with us. I knew she wanted to make a good impression on Tasha seeing how she was Christian's only family. I personally did not want her to come because she would probably hang on Dimitri the entire time, but for Lissa's sake, I kept it to myself. "I think you should defiantly invite Tasha to come, I am sure she would love it." I said to Lissa.

"Alright, that sounds great. I am going to talk to Kirova in the morning to see if we can set it up for this Sunday, since you don't have practice or anything." Lissa replied happily. "We can start looking for graduation dresses and dresses for our last senior dance. "

"Yeah, sounds great" I tried to sound enthusiastic, but my financial situation was not as well off as Lissa's and I know with her Trust Fund, she didn't mind buying clothes for me, but I didn't want her to think I expected her to buy things for me and I always felt bad asking her for things. I looked back at Dimitri and he gave me a small nod and smile, as if to say he understood my position.

We made into the novice dorms, Lissa and Dimitri followed me up to the third floor, because there were few female novices, there was just me and two other girls on the floor. Sometimes I enjoyed the quietness, but sometimes I missed how the male novice dorms were, where it was total chaos and everyone had their doors open and everyone was back and forth between each other's rooms. When I really missed it I would hang out with Mason and now I would hang out with Eddie.

Lissa and I walked into my room and put our bags down, Dimitri stood in the doorway and surveyed the room, then looked at Lissa and said "Princess, I will be right outside if you need me."

"Thank you Guardian Belikov" Lissa said.

I looked up as Dimitri was closing the door and our eyes met for a brief second. I sighed as I thought about how much I love those chocolate eyes. I had been jealous of Lissa for many reasons over the years but I was never more jealous when I knew Dimitri was guarding her. I knew it was stupid but ever since we came back to the Academy and he was assigned to her, I wished he was always outside guarding my door just like he was doing right now.

Lissa started talking about Moroi studies bringing back my attention to her. We worked on it for two hours until it was almost curfew time. I was so thankful that she came over and that we got thru a lot of the work we needed to do for Moroi studies. We even got thru enough that we wouldn't have to worry about doing anything this weekend, therefore, we could go shopping. Plus Lissa was able to keep my attention on the subject, I am not sure how, but I was thankful that she did and that I was able to retain the information. Just as we were closing our books, my phone rang. I looked at the caller id, there must have been a look on my face, because Lissa almost shouted "Oh my god Rose, who is it calling you"

It was loud enough that I knew Dimitri heard it because I saw the door knob turn and the door opened ever so slightly, I said to Lissa "It's my Mom" and noticed the door open just a tad more.

I answered the phone" Hey Mom, what's up?" I was trying to be upbeat because I know she was trying ever since Spokane.

"Rosemarie, I am well, how are you doing?" She said.

"Okay, how about you?" I replied.

"I'm good, my charge is going to court for a few weeks, so I am taking advantage of that time and taking a few weeks off as well." My Mom stated.

"Oh, that sounds nice" I replied.

My mom took a deep breath and said" I am going to come to the Academy for at least a week, maybe more. I have a few thinks to discuss with you. First, I have been thinking about my future and my plans for the future and I wanted to get your thoughts about that. And I also spoke with Alberta when I let her know I was coming and she shared with me that she felt you had been distracted lately. I just thought we could talk about things, and maybe discuss your future as well."

"Okay" I said trying my hardest not to be annoyed, since I knew she was trying, I felt I should give it an effort as well. "That sounds good, when do you think you will be here?"

"Probably Saturday, but I will give you a call when I know for certain." She said. "Have a good night"

"Bye Mom, talk to later." I said and then I hung up the phone. Lissa was staring at me with questioning eyes. I looked at her and told her the rest of the conversation, when I finished I noticed the door had been shut. Apparently Dimitri had heard what he wanted to hear and a small part of my heart grew bigger, I loved how he seemed to always be looking out for me. Lissa collected up all her belongings and I walked her to the door and just before she opened the door, she said "Don't worry about your Mom, you are going shopping with me on Sunday even if I have to use compulsion on her."

I laughed out loud and was holding my stomach as I imagined Lissa using compulsion of my mother, part of me knew she was joking and part of me thought she might be actually telling the truth because I know how much she loves shopping. I opened the door and saw Dimitri who was nodding at Lissa but I also noted that there was a quick smirk on his face, before his guardian mask went back up. But I knew he heard what Lissa said but he was pretending he had not heard it as it was illegal to use compulsion on Moroi or Dhampirs.

"Princess" Dimitri stated "Novice Hathaway I will see you in the morning"

"Bye Lissa"

"Bye Rose, see you at breakfast" Just then I felt love pour through the bond.

"Thanks, Lissa"

I watched Dimitri look back and forth between us, how he also seems to look at us when he knows we are communicating thru the bond as though he is trying to figure out what we are saying.

I closed the door after I watched Lissa and Dimitri walk down the hall to the stairs. I starting packing my bag for the gym with Dimitri tomorrow and started straightening up my room. I took a shower trying to do anything to procrastinate from working my paper. Finally, I walked over to my desk and started up my laptop and started looking at my paper for Alto's class and prepared myself for an hour or two of complete boredom.