As you may tell from the length of this chapter, writing this epilogue came naturally to me compared to the last few chapters.
These are the songs I listened to whilst writing this chapter if you wanted to have a listen: Usher – Oh My Gosh, Lee Hi – No One, James Arthur – Say You Won't Let Go and Ed Sheeran – Perfect.
If you've come this far, I hope you've enjoyed the story and the ending! In 2015, when I was trying to get back into writing I tried my hand at writing another VA FF, which I'm going to try continuing on this profile. If you'd like to check it out, it's called 'A Truth Unexpected' by RosexDimitri15.
I hope this epilogue is worth it! Thank you again to all the readers who have come and gone J
One month later
"This should be fun." I heard someone laugh from the circle of guardians around us. There were whoops and cheers, egging us on. The beat of the music thundered through the sound system down to the sparring mats.
Baby let me love you down.
There's so many ways to love ya.
As usual, I tuned out the music but let the beat absorb into my system, giving me that fighting energy I always relished.
We circled each other, fists raised, getting into our fighting stances. His dark hair was pulled back in a man bun. His eyes trained on me. His lips turned up ever so slightly in a small grin.
"Comrade," I grinned back, raising an eyebrow signalling to get started.
"Let the games begin," I heard someone say. More whooping and cheering.
I lunged forward, aiming a jab at his ribs, which he skilfully deflected. He then aimed an uppercut my way. I raised my leg and managed to kick his arm aside. The force of my kick had him stumble, but only for a heartbeat. He was bouncing on the balls of his feet once more, letting out a small chuckle. My heart skipped a beat at the sound. Don't get distracted, Rose! I reprimanded myself.
The next few moments continued, aiming punches and kicks at one another. Many we easily defended. We knew each other's moves like the back of our hand. It was almost impossible to make contact. We knew the other's moves before we had even made them.
Just as that thought raced through my mind, I aimed a punch his way. He immediately grabbed my fist, twisting me around so my back slammed into his chest.
"That was naughty, Rose," Dimitri growled in my ear. "Nothing above the neck, remember?" I could feel his heart pounding through his chest, against my sweat soaked back.
"Since when do I play by the rules, Comrade?" I said, gritting my teeth as I elbowed him, forcing him to release me. I quickly swivelled on the spot to face him.
"You're willing to bruise your man on our wedding day?" he asked, eyebrows raised, wiping the blood from his lips.
"Scars are sexy," I replied, winking at him. He chuckled again, his eyes creasing as he grinned.
I knew he would take this opportunity, presuming I wouldn't be on guard. Boy, was he wrong. He aimed a blow my way, but I saw it coming. I grabbed his fist, twisted him with all my energy, flipping him over my back. He landed with a deafening thump to the ground. But Dimitri was a quick thinker. Before he had even landed, he had pulled me towards him so as soon as he hit the ground, I'd toppled on top of him. Within a heartbeat, he'd rolled us over. However, instead of the force that I'd been expecting, he cradled my head in his hand. His other hand clasped both mine easily in a strong hold.
"Looks like Belikov gets it!" someone shouted in the distance. Some cheers and some grumbles, as people handed over money from losing their bets.
"Let's get you cleaned up," I said huskily to Dimitri as his eyes bore into mine.
"Hmm," he grumbled, his eyes flickering to my lips. We were only a breath away.
"Rose, hurry up! We're going to be late!" yelled Lissa exasperatedly.
Dimitri sighed, kissed my forehead before helping me up. Lissa stood at the edge of the mats as the guardians dispersed around her. She had her arms crossed and tapped her foot impatiently.
"You've had your fun, now let's go!" she said in annoyance.
Neither Dimitri nor I said anything, but we looked at each other from the corner of our eyes and hid our grins. I felt like a pair of chastised teenagers.
Suddenly, Lissa's eyes widened as she took in Dimitri's appearance.
"What. Is. That?" she pointed at his face. Dimitri's eyebrows furrowed, confused. He looked at me questioningly. I knew what Lissa was referring to. I bit my lip, hiding another smile, as I looked at his blood-stained ones. I gently wiped the corner of his lips in a soft caress, while his eyes fixated on my lips.
"Some foreplay," muttered Christian, shaking his head in disbelief.
I ignored him and placed a soft kiss to Dimitri's lips. "I'll see you in a couple of hours," I said against his lips.
"Hmm… can't wait," he replied, his brown eyes hypnotising me.
Before I knew what was going on, I was dragged by the arm away from my husband-to-be.
"You said nothing above the neck," Lissa reprimanded me as we headed over to my apartment to get ready.
"Sorry," I said. Lissa glared back in response, noticing that I was not sorry at all. I laughed at her seriousness. "You were never this bad for your wedding. What's the deal with mine?"
"I just want it to be perfect."
"It will be," I assured her. I could sense her worry through the bond. "We have everyone we love together. That's all we need."
"I know. I just don't want anything to go wrong," she said, avoiding my eyes. And now I knew why she was acting this way. After all, her wedding had been anything but perfect.
"Hey," I stopped in my tracks and touched her arms. She stilled too. "You don't have to worry about that. That's my job remember? Besides, we've got extra protection at court and we'll be in the daylight. It's going to be ok," I assured her again. She looked at me tearily, a small smile wobbled on her lips. Suddenly, she embraced me in a hug and I knew I'd managed to ease her stress and worry.
"I love you, Rose. You're my best friend, my sister," she mumbled into my hair.
"Same. I love you too, Liss," I hugged her back, rubbing her back.
"Ok, but you really need a shower." She pulled back, her nose scrunched up at the smell.
"Mummy, you look beautiful," Kady said in awe, as she looked up at me.
"Thank you, angel," I smiled down at her. "You look beautiful too."
"I love my dress!" she exclaimed happily, as she spun around. "Do you think daddy will like it too?" she looked at me with those gorgeous brown eyes she shared with her father.
"I know he'll love it," I laughed. "What about me? Do you think daddy will like what I'm wearing?" I asked her as I looked in the mirror. My hair hung down in natural curls to one side, held back by beautiful crystal hair clips borrowed from Lissa. I wore minimal makeup, a hint of blush kissed my cheeks. I wore a silk wedding dress that cascaded elegantly to the floor, hugging my figure in just the right places. For the first time in my life, I felt like a princess.
"He'll love it, mummy! He'll say 'Roza, you look beautiful'," she imitated in deep a voice as she could. I bent over double, laughing aloud. Her eyes twinkled as she watched me. Eventually I sighed, and hugged her to me. "What would I ever do without you, Kady?" I asked, holding back my tears. She remained silent, but hugged my legs in response.
There was a small knock on the door. "Yep," I answered. In walked my father, whistling when he took in my appearance. I rolled my eyes but couldn't contain my grin.
"Well, aren't you a sight for sore eyes? And who's this angel?" he asked, pretending not to recognise Kady. "You must be the bride. M'lady," he bowed at her.
Kady giggled. "You're being silly Grandpa. It's me, Kady!" Abe's eyes widened in sudden recognition. "And mummy's the bride."
"Rose…" gasped a voice from the door. We all turned around to see my mother. I'd never seen this expression on her face. As a guardian, she always remained impassive. But right now, there were a million emotions darting across her features; pride, wonder, love.
"Mum," I smiled in response.
"You've always looked beautiful, Rose. But today…" she couldn't finish, lost for words.
"Want to make another one?" Abe asked cheekily, wrapping an arm around my mother's shoulders. Both she and I glared in response. Mum elbowed him in the ribs and he doubled over in 'pain'. Who knew if he was being genuine or not. "Oh yeah," he wheezed. "Dimitri wanted me to give you this." That's when I noticed the bouquet of red roses in his other hand. "And another rose for his daughter," he smiled, bending over to hand a rose to Kady.
We both took our roses with identical grins on our faces. Mine came with a note. 'Dear Roza, I can't wait to see you walk down that aisle. I can't wait to make you my wife.' My heart fluttered at the word 'wife'. 'I love you, Comrade.' I chuckled silently at the use of his nickname, which I knew he secretly liked.
"I'm ready," I announced suddenly. "Let's go."
I watched as Kady rounded the corner to walk down the aisle. I could hear a collective 'aww' from the people seated within.
"Are you ready?" Abe asked me. I could feel my heart beating loudly in my chest and my breathing picking up. "You've taken on how many strigoi in your lifetime, but this your nervous about?" he chuckled.
"Shut it, old man," I said, narrowing my eyes at him. He continued to laugh but sobered up within seconds, a serious gleam lighting his eyes.
"I know I've not been there for you all this time, Rosemarie. And for that I can't convey how sorry I am."
"You're here now," I smiled. He smiled back, the most genuine smile I'd ever seen on him.
"Thank you for letting me into your life now, into Kady's life. Thank you for letting me share this new chapter with you."
Tears brimmed my eyes. I blinked several times, holding them back. And then he took me by surprise by wrapping his arms around me, squeezing me to his chest. I hugged and squeezed him back.
We let go and without needing to say another word we got into position. I laced my arm through his and we walked towards the entrance of the ceremony. I could hear the soft strum of a guitar begin to play.
My gaze focussed on walking up the short steps, holding my dress and rose bouquet in one hand. I unconsciously squeezed my father's arm. I heard the soft rush of feet standing up. Once I was on a level surface, my gaze gradually lifted, straight ahead where I caught that of my love's. His deep brown eyes bore into mine with such intensity, it could have lit the whole room. I'm sure our auras did exactly that. I bit my trembling lips, a wave of emotion sweeping over me. He looked incredibly handsome in a black tailored suit and bow tie, his hands clasped in front of him. His long hair, tied back tightly in a bun. It felt like an eternity before my father and I reached him.
I finally broke contact from Dimitri's loving gaze and turned to face my father. Once again, my father wrapped me in his arms and whispered in my ear, "I love you, my little angel." He kissed me sweetly on the cheek.
"I love you too, dad," I said honestly as I met his eyes. After everything that had happened recently, I realised how precious family truly was. I was never going to take it for granted again. He blinked a few times and graced me with another genuine smile.
He then turned to Dimitri, whose eyes finally left me to my father's. Dimitri smiled politely. "I'm trusting you with my daughter and granddaughter, Belikov. Don't make me regret it," he threatened, clicking his fingers and producing a burning red flame in the palm of his hand.
"Dad!" I whisper shouted. No one behind us could see what was happening and I wanted to keep it that way. "Put that out before you burn something!"
Dimitri looked from the flame and then slowly back up to meet my father's stare once more. Dimitri didn't give anything away.
"I'll protect them with my life, sir," Dimitri said sincerely. This seemed to be what my father wanted to hear because the flames disappeared as instantly as they had come.
"Good," he smirked, his threatening manner suddenly forgotten. He then placed my hand into Dimitri's awaiting palm.
With that one touch, everything with my dad was forgotten. Despite having seen Dimitri a few hours ago, it was like I was seeing him for the first time all over again. Meeting his touch sparked a flame within, spreading a warmth of love right to my very soul.
Dimitri led me up the steps and then we stood to finally face each other. I swallowed, nervous. He sensed this, his lips turning up into the sweetest smile and his eyes crinkling as he did. His smile was contagious. Without breaking the spell, he lifted my hand slowly to his lips to place the softest of kisses to the back of my hand.
"Roza, my love…" he paused, finding his words. "You look spell-bindingly beautiful." My heart soared at his words and my cheeks flushed at the compliment. His thumb caressed my cheek. "I've finally managed to make you blush," he laughed quietly.
"Don't get too used to it, Comrade," I joked, my usual flare coming back to me.
We quickly took a step back from each other. I could hear giggles from the guests. I looked over at them. I caught Adrian and Christian shaking their heads in amusement and flashed them a charming smile.
We went through our vows and now it was my turn to place the wedding band on Dimitri's finger.
"You know, Comrade," I spoke casually, "if I see any woman try it with you, despite this ring on your finger, I'll knock 'em out," I promised.
"I don't doubt that," Dimitri said under his breath as he began to slide the silver wedding band on my wedding finger.
Once again, he lifted my hand lovingly to his lips, his eyes meeting mine as he did. The butterflies I was feeling multiplied tenfold with that one look.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride."
Dimitri shifted his lips to place a tender kiss to my right cheek, then my left and then my forehead. He left it there for a long second before releasing me.
"I love you," he said, his voice raspy.
"I love you, too," I whispered, my eyes swimming in happy tears.
A soft smile graced his handsome face and finally he lifted my chin up and bent his head forehead. Our lips met in the briefest of kisses, before he deepened it, one hand lacing around my waist to pull me closer and his other weaving from my neck into my curls where he grasped it there. I could hear cheering and applause from the guests, causing both Dimitri and I to smile and break our kiss. He rested his forehead against mine. He pecked my lips and then wrapped me in a sweet embrace, his head resting on my shoulder. I could feel his intake of breath as he took in my scent and he lay another soft kiss just under my ear, causing a shiver to run down my spine.
"Mommy, daddy!" I suddenly felt small hands wrap around our legs. Dimitri bent down to pick her up. She hugged us both tightly to her precious little body. When Kady released us, I looked from Dimitri and Kady in wonder.
"How did I get so lucky?" I asked, smiling a teary smile.
"No, Roza," Dimitri shook his head, squeezing me. "How did we get so lucky to have our daughter, our little angel?"