Chapter 43: Surprise
Dimitri and I were comfortably relaxing on the plane home from our short weekend in Baia, it was definitely what I needed. Matt and Vika had sequestered themselves at the back of the plane and they were making out while Dimitri was pretending, he couldn't see them.
The movement of Dimitri retrieving his phone from his duster brought my attention back to him. He looked at a text and then put it back in his pocket and continued reading his western. His phone vibrated again and he pulled his phone out again, checked the text, sighed then put it back in his pocket.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Nothing" Dimitri said and went back to reading his western and then with his other free hand he kissed the back of my hand. Again, the phone in his pocket vibrated and he sighed while taking it out again, read the message and I could feel him tense up as well as see it.
"What is it Dimitri?" I asked giving him a look and added "No secrets".
"Your right Roza" Dimitri said and then put his book down and took my hand again. "Celeste texted to let me know that she is worried about Eddie, he has been over training and being a little aggressive in training. Then Pavel texted twice saying that Abe wanted to have a meeting after dinner to discuss some issues. And apparently there have been sightings of both Tasha and Adrian in Turkey."
Now it was my turn to sigh, I looked up at Dimitri and said "When I told Eddie about Mason, I let him know when he was up to it, we could go outside the wards, daytime obviously, to talk with him."
"Okay, Eddie's trauma is so fresh that I don't know if it will help him or hurt him. But I'll have a talk with him and see if Pavel or any other of the guardians can help with his situation,"
"Thanks Comrade, Eddie's one of my oldest friends and they seem to be disappearing at a fast rate." I said with sadness.
Dimitri leaned over and kissed my hair "I'm sorry Roza, unfortunately that is how it is as a guardian, but remember you have Celeste, Yuri, Abe, Janine and me plus a bunch of other guardians here to help you."
"Thanks Comrade." I said as I leaned up to kiss him. "I had such a great time with your family this weekend. It was so relaxing and just what I needed. Do you think we could make it a regular thing if your family doesn't mind?" I asked slightly pleading, plus biting my lip trying to hide my nervousness.
The biggest smile that I had ever seen from Dimitri graced his face. "I would love to take you back and stay with them, plus I know my family would love it. And so would Vika, however, I'm not sure Matt is too keen, since he kept getting caught by Babushka trying to sneak into Vika's bedroom at night." Dimitri said as we both burst out in hysterics to the point that we were crying.
The captain came over the intercom to let us know that we would be landing shortly. Once on the ground, we jumped into the waiting SUVs and were whisked off to our quarters. We stopped on the 3rd floor to grab food since we arrived just in time for dinner. Vika, Matt and Eddie joined us on the fifth floor to eat as Celeste and Yuri had opted for some alone time.
Dimitri reminded our group about tomorrow's meeting after practice and that the purpose was to discuss a bunch of topics including trials, graduation and allocations. I could feel Vika tense up, probably since she was from St Basils and Eddie and I would be doing our trials at St Vlad's if possible. Plus, we needed to discuss the needs for Lissa and Christian to have their finals on their moroi and magic specialties.
Once we finished with dinner, the excitement of the weekend was catching up to me and I was suddenly exhausted. We said goodnight to Vika, Matt and Eddie, then headed to our suite. I only had enough energy to brush my teeth, take off my clothes and crawl into bed. I think I was asleep before Dimitri even got into bed with me.
I woke up to Dimitri's alarm blaring and I flailed my arm over to shut it off realizing too late that I would hit Dimitri. However, I didn't connect with Dimitri but the empty side of his bed.
"Dimitri?" I called sitting up and looking around for him. As I rubbed my eyes, I found a note on his pillow that said:
My darling Roza, once you are dressed, come out to the kitchen.
Happy Birthday my love.
I couldn't help the smile that took over my face. With everything that was happening in our lives, I wasn't concentrating too much on my birthday. I knew if Lissa wasn't so stressed, she would have made a big deal about it. Plus, my birthday has never been a source of happiness, as it reminded me of the family I didn't have. Lissa's family would make a big deal when they were alive, but since then I usually did not bring it up.
I quickly got ready for training this morning and when I opened the door to the hallway, the most delicious smell wafted over me.
I walked into the kitchen to find my love making me breakfast. He turned to face me "Good morning Milaya, Happy Birthday, did you sleep well?" he asked as he pulled me to his chest, kissing the top of my head.
"Yes, until I woke up in a huge bed all by myself." I mock pouted.
"Well, I hope this will make up for it. I made bilini, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit and got you two chocolate donuts from downstairs."
I looked around to see the donuts had candles in them, plus there were a bunch of flowers around the kitchen including tulips, lily's, lilacs and sunflowers and they were all gorgeous.
"Thank you, Comrade, this is perfect." I said leaning up to kiss him.
"Have a seat" Dimitri pointed to where the counter was set up with juice and coffee for him and hot chocolate for me. He plated the food and set it in front of me. It was at that time I noticed two small boxes wrapped in front of me and I was so excited since Lissa usually was the only one whoever got me presents on my birthday.
Dimitri saw my gaze and said "Eat up before it gets cold."
I rolled my eyes at him but quickly started moaning as I began eating.
"Comrade, this is so good."
"Thank you Roza" he said with the huge smile that he reserved only for me.
"So, what's the plan today?" I asked curiously knowing at least Lissa would be wanting to make a big deal for my 18th birthday.
"After breakfast, we will train and then back to the suite with Lissa, Christian, Eddie, Celeste and Yuri for lunch. A shortened afternoon training session and then we will meet with your parents at 5pm and the rest of the team will join us at7pm."
I clapped my hands like a child, but hey, this is the first time that I was spending my birthday with my family, friends and the love of my life.
Once I finished my breakfast, Dimitri lit the candles and sang Happy Birthday to me in his baritone voice. It was one of the best sounds I think I have ever heard in my life. I blew out the candles and dug into my chocolate donuts but I did manage to give him a few small bites.
Dimitri picked up the first box and handed it to me and I wasted no time tearing off the wrapping paper. It was my favorite lip gloss, I asked "Where did you get this?" since we had not been anywhere near a store where he could have picked it up.
"Guardian secrets" he said and I rolled my eyes at him but thanked him with a kiss on the lips. He handed me the second box, it was long and thin like something that would carry a nice pen or a stake. I looked up at Dimitri before I opened it and he seemed to be nervous. I opened the box and gasped, it was a charm bracelet with a few charms on it.
"I know you can't wear it all the time but maybe on special occasions" he suggested still seeming slightly apprehensive.
"Comrade, I love it" I said as I threw my arms around him and gave him a passionate kiss.
Dimitri took the box and removed the bracelet and started explaining the charms that were already on the bracelet.
"First, this is a heart and a key because you definitely have the key to my heart. Next, this round charm has your initials on one side and my initials on the other side. This one is a passport for all the travel I hope we will be able to do. And we can add to it as time goes on."
"Thank you, Dimitri, this is one of the best gifts, I have ever received." I said pulling him down for another passionate kiss. We broke apart sooner than I would have liked. Dimitri rested his head against mine "if we don't stop now, I won't be able to teach without extreme embarrassment."
I laughed at him and he said "But I'm glad you like the bracelet; I wasn't sure if it was your style."
"I love it, it's perfect" I said hopping off my stool "Let me just put it in our room."
We left for the gym hand in hand and I couldn't help the huge smile that was plastered on my face. As soon as we entered the building, I heard "Surprise!"
I jumped a little but then looked around seeing my parents, friends and most of Baba's guardians. The gym was also decorated with balloons and banners and through the bond, I could tell Lissa had spent the weekend decorating for me.
Baba and my mom walked over giving me huge hugs and Baba said "Enjoy your day kiz and we will see you at 5pm."
"Okay, thank you for this" I beamed as I looked around. Next was a big hug from Pavel which began the passing of me from person to person. The last person I hugged was Lissa "Thank you so much Lissa, the gym looks great."
"It's only the beginning" she said with a wicked grin. "We will meet you back at your suite for lunch after your training."
"Lissa, you don't have to do anymore for me, the gym is perfect."
She retorted "Don't make me compel you!"
I held my hands up in surrender "no ma'am" as I backed away from her. We both laughed and then Lissa and Christian took off to do god knows what. I appreciated how my parents and Lissa didn't give me any presents, if they had them, in front of the other dhampirs.
"Alright, let's stretch then a five mile warm up." Dimitri said. We ran side by side and I still couldn't wipe the grin off my face and when I looked over neither could Dimitri.
We went to weights next and I watched as Eddie was pushing himself really hard. I gave Dimitri a worried look but he shot me back a look that said 'Don't worry, I'll help him'.
We got to the sparring mat and Dimitri taught Vika, Eddie and I a new move. We practiced it at slow speed but once we started to get it, we went at full speed. Dimitri switched and partnered with Eddie and Celeste and Yuri worked with me.
I quickly realized that Eddie was getting out of control and sloppy which can be dangerous while sparring causing injuries especially as a novices. Dimitri being 6'7", a very muscular 250lbs plus a blood master seven, he was the best opponent for Eddie so no one was in any real danger.
After a while, I watched as Dimitri left with Eddie and I figured they were going to talk but just before they left the gym, Dimitri's eyes found mine and conveyed that everything was all right.
Once we were done sparring, minus Dimitri and Eddie, Celeste led us in a cool down yoga session. Vika and I filled in Celeste and Yuri about our weekend in Baia, including Matt's various attempts to go upstairs to see Vika at night and being caught be Babushka every single time. Vika and I were laughing so hard that I was gasping for air and my stomach was cramping up as well.
We finished our cool down and Dimitri and Eddie were still not back, so Celeste walked up to the fifth floor with me until Dimitri came back. I jumped in the shower and as soon as the hot water hit my aching muscles, I sighed in relief, maybe I could talk Dimitri into a bath later tonight. I was just rinsing the shampoo out of my hair when the shower door opened and I could feel a presence behind me.
"You better make it quick, my boyfriend could come back at any moment" I smirked.
"Well, I am always up for a challenge but lunch is waiting for you, so we will have to postpone that activity for later this evening" Dimitri said.
We quickly finished our shower and as we were getting dressed, I asked "How's Eddie?"
Dimitri sighed "He's okay, I still want to speak with Pavel about the best way to help him. And in the interim, I am the only one who will spar with him. I don't want Vika or you getting hurt."
I nodded at that information, then Dimitri said "If you are up for it, Eddie would like to go outside the compound with you to speak with Mason."
"Absolutely, we can do it after lunch if he is up for it" I suggested.
Dimitri pulled me to his chest and kissed the top of my head "I love you. I love the way you take care of your friends, it's one of your best qualities."
"I love you too Dimitri Belikov".
"Come on birthday girl, lunch awaits." Dimitri said and grabbed my hand leading me out to our kitchen. "Now, I know the potential danger in standing between you and food but there is one quick thing we need to do before we go downstairs."
On the kitchen counter was my laptop and a huge box beautifully wrapped. "What's this Comrade?"
Dimitri started fiddling with the laptop when I realized he was skyping his family despite the fact that we were just with them yesterday. Vika approached us just as Dimitri had connected over skype.
"Happy Birthday Rose" Dimitri's family yelled.
"Thank you" I cried as I covered my mouth.
Olena spoke first "We didn't say anything this weekend because we didn't want to ruin your surprises. Anyways, the box is for you from all of us."
"You didn't have to get me anything" I said feeling guilty as I knew how tight money was for them.
"Just open it!" Babushka yelled and I wasn't sure if she was being serious or sarcastic.
I tore the wrapping paper off and then I lifted the lid off the box. I gasped in surprise as I pulled a gorgeous quilt out of the box. "This is beautiful" was all I could say as I was in awe of the quilt.
Dimitri spoke up next "I had intended to give it to you for your birthday at the academy but then things changed. I let mama know your favorite colors but they did the rest."
"How long have you been working on this?" I asked looking at everyone. But no one answered, they a;; just gave me cheeky smiles.
"Turn it over" Karo said.
When I did, I heard Dimitri gasp, I looked at him for answers but he was in awe just as I was so Olena spoke back up "The other side are Dimitri's favorite colors, it's sort of a melding of the two of you."
"Wow, thank you, I love it." I said, but somehow it didn't seem enough to explain how I felt. We talked for a few more minutes and then we signed off. Dimitri put the quilt in our bedroom and then we went downstairs for lunch.
The third floor was decorated similarly to the gym and I knew that Lissa and Christian had done it. The chefs had made all my favorite food and all too fast, I was stuffed to the point where I didn't think I could move.
Dimitri looked at me as I leaned back in my chair with my hands on my belly and a satisfied look on my face. Dimitri chuckled "Well, I kind of anticipated this outcome, so afternoon training is cancelled."
"Comrade, just when I think I couldn't love you more" I said and gave him a quick kiss.
"Um, Rose, do you think we could see if Mason is here?" Eddie asked. I looked to Dimitri and he nodded his head yes then he stood up to let the other guardians know the plan. The majority of the guardians would be outside the compound but a few would stay at the gates. Dimitri then called Pavel to let him know what we were planning on doing.
We finished up lunch and then headed for the front gate. Once we arrived, Dimitri ordered Guardians Volkov, Ludwig and Zimmermann to stay inside the wards. I turned to Eddie and asked "Are you ready?"
"I think I'm as ready as I'll ever be." Eddied said looking like he was trying to psych himself up. I looked up at Dimitri and he nodded and then he stood behind me brushing my hair to one side then removed my necklace. He slipped the necklace in his pocket and then grabbed my hand squeezing it and leading me out of the gates.
The moment I was outside the wards, I was bombarded by faces and black orbs. But once I closed my eyes and concentrated on Ivan and Mason, the other faces and orbs went away. "Hey Mason, hey Ivan" I started when they came forward. I heard a small gasp from Eddie, most likely because he hadn't really seen me talking to ghosts.
"Where is he?" Eddie asked and I pointed to where Mason was standing but to everyone else it just looked like I was pointing at dirt. Ivan stayed in the background on alert, letting us speak with Mason. I think everyone could tell this is what Eddie needed.
We talked with Mason for about an hour. Initially, Eddie and I apologized to Mason for getting him killed. But just like with Ivan and Dimitri, he didn't blame us. We reminisced about the past and Mason described a little bit about where he and Ivan were.
Eventually, Ivan spoke up and told us we needed to get behind the wards. I alerted Dimitri and we said our goodbyes. Once behind the wards and gates, Dimitri placed the necklace back on me. All of us went to the common area on the fourth floor after speaking with Ivan and Mason. Besides our immediate group, a few guardians joined us curious I assumed what took place. After Eddie's initial questions about what it was like, I started answering everyone else's questions.
Eventually, the other guardians left leaving Vika, Matt, Celeste, Yuri, Eddie, Dimitri and I continued enjoying the afternoon. We started talking about the kidnapping incident and I could feel Dimitri getting more and more tense. I looked over at him and he seemed really nervous "Comrade, what's wrong?"
"I think there is something about your kidnapping that I need to tell you before we have dinner with your parents." Dimitri said now with a guilty look on his face. I raised both of my eyebrows at him when Eddie said "This is going to be good". I noticed that everyone in our group had seemed to get closer to Dimitri and I and seemed like they couldn't wait to hear the story.
Dimitri looked at the group and said "Really, all of you? Did I not threaten you enough?"
"Yes and no" Yuri and Celeste said at the same time.
"Don't worry, we will let you tell Rose what happened and then fill in what you leave out" Yuri offered. I couldn't stop the giggle that came out of me while the rest of the group, sans Dimitri, started laughing. I couldn't even imagine what Dimitri may have done that was making him nervous and the rest of group amused.
Dimitri grabbed my hands in his hands and was rubbing circles on the back of my hand. I wasn't sure if this was for my comfort or for his.
"On the night of the staged kidnapping, I woke up and realized you were not in the bedroom with me, I checked our floor for you than I ran to the second floor waking everyone up. Vika reminded me that your phone would tell me your location. So, we all ran up to our bedroom and when I reached my phone, I found your phone plugged in right next to mine."
"I called Pavel, Abe and Janine and I got no response. At this point, my mind is racing wondering if they were all missing as well. I called the control room to find out what was going on and they told me that someone was on their way over. Abe and Janine showed up and wanted all of us to go to the fourth floor to talk."
"You always wanted to know where my limit was and at that point, I was rapidly approaching it. When Abe told me what he had done and I lost it. Matt, Yuri and Eddie tried to hold me back plus someone had a syringe of god knows what. I threw every swear word I knew in Russian and English at your father. I said more swear words in thirty seconds then I have ever heard come out of you in total."
I couldn't help but erupt in laughter and the more I laughed Dimitri seemed to be getting slightly annoyed with me. Once I had stopped laughing and was trying to get my breathing ago, Dimitri said "It's not that funny."
"Yes, it is" I laughed beginning another round of hysterics from the group and me.
After some more down time, Dimitri and I were the first to leave since we needed to meet with Baba and Mom at 5pm. The rest of the team would be joining us at 7pm.
Dimitri and I walked over to Baba's house, I wore a dress and the bracelet Dimitri had given me and he wore dark jeans and a button up shirt. It was nice to dress up since we spend most of our time in sweats and active wear.
There was a guardian outside the door to Baba's house "Good evening Novice Hathaway and Guardian Belikov, your parents are waiting for you on the third floor."
"Thank you" I said as he held the door open and Dimitri placed his hand on the small of my back guiding me through the doorway. We took the stairs to the third floor and when we reached the floor, there were balloons and flowers lining the hallway towards a room. I could hear my parents talking and I slowed my walking down as I became nervous since I had never celebrated anything with them. Dimitri sensing my mood, stopped walking and turned me to him and said "Your parents are probably just as anxious as you, this is the first birthday they have celebrated with you in fourteen years."
Dimitri squeezed my hand and I said "You're right, I hadn't thought about it in that way." I turned to Dimitri "Thanks for always being there for me."
Dimitri let go of my hand and cupped my face with both of his and said "I will always be here for you. You are my life." Then he placed the sweetest kiss on my lips.
We walked into the room and I noticed an eloquently set dinner table similar to what the Dragomir's did on holidays. "Hey Baba, Mom" I said as Dimitri and I walked into the room.
"Hi kiz, Dimitri" Baba said and he came over and gave me a hug "Happy Birthday". My mother came over and gave me a hug while Baba was shaking Dimitri's hand.
A guardian came over with a tray of four glasses of champagne and as we each grabbed one Baba toasted "Happy Birthday, Rose"
"Thank you" I said as we all clinked glasses and then I took a sip of the champagne.
"Come, let's sit down and talk first, then we will have dinner." Baba said.
Dimitri led me to one of the couches and sat down next to me and my parents sat across from us.
"First, your mother and I would like to apologize about the incident last week. We made a poor judgement call when we didn't know the true extent of your abilities. It's very common in royal households to have a mock kidnapping to test everyone's skill level between security and the royal's ability. It was our error in executing this plan without your knowledge since had you been with us your whole life, you would have known this was going to happen at some point." Baba stated.
"I appreciate your apology and I understand why you did it. But two of your guardians were killed trying to protect me." I said trying to control the quiver in my voice at the end. I felt Dimitri's hand come up on to my back and start rubbing it.
"I know Rose, and that is on us. Not that it will bring them back, but I have heavily compensated their families."
I just nodded at him as I didn't know what to say to him. Dimitri continued rubbing my back, giving me his strength.
"I hope in time you will forgive us, but we would like to celebrate your birthday with you, if you think you are up for it?"
I nodded at him.
"Good, we have a few presents for you and a few things we would like to discuss with the two of you privately. Then after dinner Princess Dragomir and Lord Ozera, plus the rest of the team need to meet to discuss trials and graduation." Baba stated. As he started to reach for something behind the sofa he was sitting on.
"I don't need any presents" I said. But stopped quickly when I saw that he pulled out two thick binders and handed them over to Dimitri and I.
"Per Dimitri's request, these binders contain all the information about all the properties I own. It includes house plans, maps of the area and anything that you could want to know. In total I currently own 15 properties throughout the world, each one contains a separate living area for you and your guardians."
I opened it and started to look through. Baba continued "These binders contain information about each location including sensitive areas. Pavel will have someone make copies for your team to study, but I ask that the two of you keep the sensitive area to yourselves."
I was not understanding what Baba was talking about until I saw a diagram of the basement from Baia. "Jail cells?" I all but yelled and felt Dimitri tense a little beside me.
"Yes, as I have explained my dealings are not always legal and sometimes people who work for you can betray you and I will leave it at that. But this is all the information you shall need so that the two of you can set up residence at all of my properties. There are contacts listed for each residence of guardians who will help you coordinate."
Baba reached back again behind him and brought out a big legal sized envelope and handed it to me. "These are copies of documents for you which need including a copy of your birth certificate and all the bank accounts in your name. The originals are kept in a safe here in my private office, which one day I will let you know how to access."
I gave the binder and envelope to Dimitri, since he was the most responsible one out of the two of us. Then Mom handed Dimitri and I smaller enveloped and started "In here, Rosemarie you will find Passports and Driver Licenses for various countries, some with your real name and some with aliases. The same for you as well Dimitri, like your father said most time you will fly private but on the chance you don't you will have what you need."
"How did you get this stuff?" was all I could ask as I looked through the envelope.
"Some legally and some not so legally, and I have some talents." My mother said as Baba looked at her proudly, I heard Dimitri chuckle and I outright said "What counterfeit?"
"Maybe" my mother said as she and Baba stared adoringly at each other. I passed the envelope off to Dimitri who was collecting a pile of our stuff while I shook to clear my head of the thought of my mother behaving like my mobster father.
Next, Baba handed me a present and I cautiously took it from him as I could not handle too many more surprises. I opened it to find a book, more like an album of my life called 'I wrote a book about you.' "Your mother and I have been working on this for a while. Your mother did most of the work, but Lissa and Alberta helped a lot as well. So did Dimitri."
I started flipping through the pages and there was so many pictures and stories about me since before I was born. It had information about my parent's families, the early years when I lived with them, me growing up in the academy, it even had pictures from Lissa and I on the run. It ended with a lot of pictures and stories of Dimitri and I training right up to and including here in Turkey. I'm not sure when the tears started but I was trying to wipe them away as fast as I could with my hands before they fell and ruined the pages. Just then I found a tissue passed to me and realized that Lissa was sitting down next to me.
I could wait to sit down and read it cover to cover but realized that everyone one was staring at me and we still were going to have dinner.
"Thank you" was all I could get out and I turned to give Lissa a big hug and felt Dimitri sliding the book of my lap. Next, I got up thanking my mother with the longest hug ever, as I whispered "Thank you" over and over into her ear. Then I hugged Baba, repeating the same sentiment and then walked into Dimitri's waiting arms.
He grasped me so tight picking me up off the ground and whispered "Happy Birthday, my love."
Pavel, whom I had not realized was in the room, came up next to Dimitri and said "Rose, may I take your present for you? I am going to over to your house to gather the guardians for our big meeting and I can bring all of these documents over to your suite. There is a safe in your closet behind one of the walls that opens by the biometric of only the people in this room."
"Okay" I said thinking, how could I have missed a safe in our closet.
As if sensing my train of thought, Pavel laughed slightly saying "I'll show you where it is located and how the two of you can access it at a later time."
"Alright, how about we all have dinner." Baba said standing pointing to the table.
I apologize for the really long absence; I have been working on my two stories when I can and hope to have more time over the summer to work on them. Thank you for everyone for your patience and support, I hope you enjoy the chapter.