Hi guys *ducks head in shame* I'm so sorry from the bottom my heart that it has taken forever and a day update this story. I got a new job – which was a great move for me – but I stayed at the same company and I had to take care of the old job and do the new job. It was hell, but I'm finally done and my stress level has reduced about seventy percent, yay!

I cannot tell you how much support and encouragement my readers have given me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! For all the emails and the reviews, you guys are the best readers. I'm so lucky.

Thanks and love goes out to JS Hagen for pre-reading and ruthless527 for her mad beta skills. Thanks girls!

See AN at bottom with my update schedule and how much of this story we is still to come.

My Milaya – Chapter 26

Zander insisted I give him his bath alone tonight. This worried me because I knew Dimitri had a conversation with him about me being his everyday mom and the kid was so damn smart, he always posed me with questions I wasn't sure I could, or should, answer.

"Laya, can I use my soap paints for my bath?" Z asked me as he stripped on his way to the bathtub. We passed Dimitri who was reading a western I got for him. He was laying on our bed…oops I mean his bed. He winked and smiled at me, then pointed to Z's naked butt that ran by. Who wouldn't smile at that cute little bottom running naked down the hall towards the bathtub?

"Sure Z, but be careful don't run on the tile. You might slip."

"Okay, Laya," Z hollered as he opened the cabinet to get his soap paints.

Z was very methodical about everything, including bath time. He insisted we wash his hair first, which I did, then it was time to wash his body. We got all the business out of the way so he could have playtime for the rest of the bath.

"You're silly, Laya!" Z giggled as I painted his face with stripes so he looked like a warrior.

"You make me silly, little man." I tapped Z's sweet little nose.

"Laya?" Z said in a small serious voice. "You're my everyday mom now, right?"

"Right, Z." I smiled, I loved that he called me this.

"So, can I still call you Laya or should I call you mom?" Good question.

"Uh…" Once again, the kid had me stumped and I didn't know what to say.

"Call her what you'd like. She's your mom, but she will always be your Laya." Dimitri came in to save me. It's like he had some kind of sixth sense that I needed him and of course he was there.

I looked from my sweet boy to the man I loved, my heart felt so full. A few short months ago, my life was in shambles and now everything was perfect. I just hope it stayed that way.

"Okay." Z said casually as he played with a boat. Dimitri winked at me.

"Hey Z, why don't we let Roza get dressed for dinner," Dimitri turned to me. "We don't want to keep your mom waiting."

"Okay. Z you'll be okay with your dad finishing up the bath and washing off the war paint?' Z shrugged as if he didn't care, but was teasing Dimitri since he attempted to wink at his dad. Dimitri and Z both chuckled, which was my favorite sound in the world.

Just as I was about to walk into the guest room to get dressed I heard Z slosh his legs in the tub, which was an attempt to stomp his feet. Something I've learned he did when he was not a happy camper.

"Why can't I go with you to dinner? S'not fair, dad." Z crossed his arms, which were coated with bubbles, over his chest and gave Dimitri his best pout.

"Because it's an adult dinner," he said. I proceeded to walk into the room, but listened out of view. I wanted to hear how Dimitri handled Z, and god knows I needed to learn his ninja skills at dealing with a very convincing and stubborn three year old. "And, it will be boring. You'll have more fun with Aunt Icky, trust me." Dimitri sounded like he was not looking forward to dinner with my mother and would rather stay with Z.

Actually, I think I would rather stay home with Z and Dimitri, but my mother wanted to talk to us. She was not supportive of our relationship, but I was hoping she would come around soon. I loved Dimitri and no matter what Janine Hathaway said, Dimitri and Z were my future.

I was all about forgiveness with her, and our relationship has improved greatly from when I was at St. Vlad's, but if she wasn't on board with Dimitri, Z and I as a family then she needed to hop off the boat. Besides, I was Z's mom now. I still couldn't say that without smiling. Which in turn made her Grandma Janine, so she had better get on board with us quick.

As I stepped into my red wrap dress, I felt Dimitri slip his warm calloused hands over the sides of my torso. He growled in my ear. "I'd rather stay in tonight, but I can't wait to see you in this dress. Do you know how much that color drives me wild?"

My Evil Rose smile adorned my face. I did know. That's why I wore it. I wanted to drive him crazy and get him worked up. I knew he wouldn't touch me in front of my mother. His mother and grandmother would be here tomorrow, so tonight would be our last night together in his bed for a few weeks, while Yeva and Olena were visiting.

"Really, this old thing," I said with a smile to my voice as I slipped into the dress. I pulled my hair aside, which was down and curled in loose ringlet curls.

"You aren't fooling anyone, my Roza. I know what you're trying to do and it's working." Dimitri's voice had a husky tone and it almost shook with anticipation. As usual, he knew exactly what I wanted and zipped up the dress. He put a sensual open mouth kiss at the top of the zipper at the back of my neck when he was done.

He wasn't the only one that was getting worked up. I turned and ran my hand up his toned chest. My eyes traveled up from a half mass Comrade Jr. until they landed on Dimitri's warm brown eyes.

I wrapped my arms around Dimitri's neck, straining on my tiptoes and gave him a closed mouth kiss. If I slipped Dimitri tongue, I knew we would be late to meet my mom.

When Dimitri tried to deepen our kiss, I mumbled my concern about Z being just in the other room.

Dimitri pulled my hips into a growing Comrade Jr. and ran kisses down my neck behind my ear. "Viktoria is here, they are setting up their cartoon viewing schedule for tonight." I don't know how my sexy man did it. Nevertheless, with that accent and the way he touched me and made my body sing, he made talk about cartoon viewing sexy.

I closed my eyes, enjoying the feel of his lips on my neck, sending chills of lust through my body. However, as good as it felt, I knew I had to stop it and leave. You don't want to be late when you meet Janine Hathaway.

I pushed Dimitri away and almost laughed aloud when he pouted like Zander. "Guardian Hathaway is waiting, Comrade. Not a good idea to be late."

Dimitri closed his eyes, let out a settling breath and dropped his head in a defeated manner, giving a small nod. "You're right." He looked up, put on his Guardian mask and adjusted Comrade Jr. I couldn't help, but snicker. Dimitri grunted his disapproval of me teasing him and pushed me towards the front room.

Z jumped off the couch and made a b-line towards us. He clung to my legs and looked up with his best puss and boots sad eyes. "I don't want you to go, Laya." He had a huge pouty lip. The kid knew my weakness and was playing me.

I picked him up and he laid his head on my shoulder. I patted his hair that was just starting to grow back. "I know, little man. I'm sorry, but your dad and I have to go. It will be boring you'll have more fun here with Aunti Vicki."

Zander played with one of the tips of my curls and wouldn't look at me. "But, I'll miss you and I want you to tuck me in." He was breaking my heart.

I looked to Dimitri for help. "Hey Z, we have to go. How about you stop giving your mom such a hard time and let her go." Both Zander and Vicki snapped their eyes to Dimitri. It was the first time he had referred to me in this context as Z's mom and my already full heart swelled with love.

Dimitri knew exactly what he was doing, because referring to me as Z's mom was just the thing to get his mind off us leaving. Z gave me a famous hug. "Bye, Mom, I love you."

I fought them, but a few tears escaped. Z, who now seemed okay, ran off and turned the television on. Viktoria gave me a frown and walked towards the couch sitting next to Z. After her outburst when I first met her I was waiting for her to run her mouth, but she stayed quiet. I knew that she was not happy that Z called me mom. Thankfully, she stayed quiet, but it was just one more thing to add to the worry list. Dimitri and I mumbled a quick goodbye and ducked out before Z got sad again.

I stopped outside the apartment and pulled Dimitri into big hug. He pulled away and rubbed my cheek lovingly.

"Not that I'm complaining at all, but what did I do to deserve that hug?" Dimitri gave me a small sexy smile.

"Thank you." He pulled me to his side and kissed my temple.

"You're welcome, Roza."

On top of the million other things, this is what I loved about Dimitri the most. He was in tune to me. Without words, he knew that I was so thankful to him for loving me and allowing me to be a mother to Zander.

We had such a good night, let's see if a stiff and uncomfortable night with my mother could not ruin it.

Dimitri and I walked toward the restaurant in silence, it was eerily quiet, almost like the calm before the storm.

My mother was dressed in a simple black dress, which was rare. It was my first clue that there was nothing normal about this dinner.

"Rosemarie, Dimitri, please come sit." She was already at a table for four and had half of her water drunk. I wondered how long she had been waiting for us. We were right on time, and she was early, even for her. Tip two something was off about this dinner.

She hugged each of us and I felt like the shoe was about to drop. Dimitri seemed nervous as well. Still riding my high from Zander, I tried to ignore the tension and viewed the menu while Dimitri and my mom engaged in polite small talk. Well, it was mostly Guardian gossip, but small talk for them.

I glanced at the fourth chair, "Is Henry joining us?" I wondered if my grandfather was coming. I'd hadn't seen him awhile and I kind of missed him.

My mom bit her lip, a nervous tick of hers I rarely saw. "No, uh, he had to go home to take care of some business. He'll be back in a few days."

She was not with him, tip three something was amiss. "Really, and you aren't with him, because…?"

"Rose, he has two other Guardians and I was off shift. It's uncommon, but I do take days off." She had her usual sarcastic tone, maybe I was imagining things, and she finally seemed to be her normal self for once.

We chatted about nothing and everything. Mostly Zander. I hated those parents that talked about their kids too much, but being a mom was new to me so I had some catching up to do. Plus, I think my mom liked hearing the tales of Zander. I loved how bright Dimitri's eyes got and how a special smile adorned his face when he talked about our son.

Our son, as I said the words I got watery eyed. "Rose, are you okay?"

"Oh yeah, just missing Zander." My emotional state passed and I engaged in the conversation. We switched to Guardian talk and how the roles were changing and the Moroi world in general with the OMP program.

Dinner was good, not what I expected, and that was a good thing. I thought my mom would give us the third degree, but she was pleasant to Dimitri and me.

I was itching to leave, hoping we could catch Z before he passed out and we could tuck him in.

Dimitri had his hand on my leg, He had found his way into the slit of my dress and was rubbing small circles at the top of my knee. His touch gave me shivers a few times. I was not only anxious to go and see Z, but once he was asleep and Viktoria was gone, I was hoping we could spend the rest of the night wrapped around one another.

My mom noticed me scan my watch. It was pretty obvious I was busting to leave. So it confused me when she snatched up the dessert menu, "How about something sweet to end our day?"

"Sure, that sounds good." Dimitri piped up and I gave him a confused look. His hand moved from my leg and he grasped my hand closest to him. He and my mom were acting weird and I was getting suspicious again.

The waitress came and took our order. With each second that ticked by and each small squeeze Dimitri gave my hand, the more suspicious I became.

"Rose, I have an ulterior motive for this dinner. I already approve of you and Dimitri and I'm happy for you." She smiled, like she held some secret. "I, too, have found someone I'd like to share my life with!"

"Okay," So unlike her. What was going on?

"Rosemarie, I know I have told you very little about your father, but I did love him. We loved each other and he wanted to raise you and wanted us to be a proper family." Her voice sounded sad, "But his family forced us apart."

"Are you going to tell me now, when I'm almost twenty-two years old, who my father is?" Why now? Oh! "Wait, the person you're with now, it's my dad."

"Yes, Rosemarie, and I love him very much. I want you to love him, too. And we can finally be a family."

"B-but, I thought his family kept you apart? Why now, why the change?"

She got a sad faraway look on her face. "I kept you hidden, your birth. I mean, he knew I was pregnant but I lied. I pretended I lost the baby, well you."

"You kept me from him and hid me away at some school. Is that why you never came to see me?" Tears stung my eyes.

"Rosemarie, stop. They, his family, his father, would have enslaved you as some family Guardian. Treated you horribly and made you a protector of your siblings. I didn't want that for you. I wanted you to have a chance at real Guardian career, a better life." In rare form, a single tear leaked out of her eye.

My head was spinning. "So, now he knows about me?"

She wiped her tear. "He's known for a while, since the news got out of you and the Princess running away. He figured it out by your picture. You look just like his sister, it was obvious. And I had changed my name, so he was able – "

"You changed your name, Hathaway isn't our name?" This was too much. Dimitri knew I was losing it. He squeezed my hand and put his arm around me.

He didn't seem shocked at the turn the evening took, which made me wonder if he knew. Did he know then, when he was sent to retrieve Liss and me? Did my dad – that sounded so weird – did he possibly send Dimitri to get me?

I must have zoned out from all the internal chaos going on in my head.

"Rose? Hello?"

"What, oh sorry, it's just a lot to digest." I shook my head to clear it so I could try to listen to her.

"Anyway, yes, I changed our name to protect you. And, it worked until you decided to run off. But, A-uh, your father, after he found out, helped me hide you from his father. Because trust me, if he would have known, you would have been shipped off to the family compound in a heartbeat."

"What's changed? Why now is it suddenly safe?" This was all too much.

"Well, your father's father, I guess your grandfather." She grimaced, "Uh, he's passed so there is no longer a threat. And your father is divorced now, so there is nothing keeping us from being together." My heart sunk, he had another family.

"So you two are together, together?" It was obvious she was with him intimately and now it seemed she loved him.

In ten minutes, my life has now turned into some human soap opera like the ones Lissa and I were addicted to when we lived in our apartment in the human world. "Okay, well, when do I get to meet him."

"Right now," Abe Mazur stepped up to the open chair with a five thousand dollar suite, decked out in all of his gaudy jewelry and with a huge smile on his face.

"Oh, hell no," I stood and pulled Dimitri along with me.

"Rose, stop." My mom looked at me with pleading eyes, but there was no way. All the unknown pieces of my life clicked into place and anger quickly replaced my shock of a few minutes ago.

"Rosemarie, stop, I am your father and you will listen to me."

I turned and glared at him– we had the same eyes and for one second that thrilled me – but I was so pissed I couldn't let our resemblance falter the speech I had to get out.

"My name is Guardian Hathaway, which apparently is some made up name, and you are nothing but a sperm donor who raised a spoiled rotten daughter, who I will never call my sister and you will never be my father." I dragged a stunned Dimitri with me and away from the table.

"Rosemarie, get back here." My mother said in her stern Guardian voice, but I ignored her.

I turned and pulled Dimitri to my side. "I have a son and a family." Abe Mazur gave me a look of shock as his eyes traveled between Dimitri and myself. "You two can go be some made up family and have your sweet little reunion, but keep me out of it."

I turned on my heel and dragged Dimitri with me. We passed our waitress who had our coffee and desserts. She smiled nervously and I wondered how much of the drama she just heard.

Dimitri silently kept his arm around me as we trudged towards his apartment. We were just about to head up the stairs when he pulled me aside.

"Hey, slow down. He's probably asleep." He put his finger under my chin and made me look at him. "It's me, Roza, the man who loves you no matter what. Talk to me."

"Did you know?" Probably not what he meant by me talking to him, but I had to know.

"Yes and no. I knew she had been in contact with your father and now he wanted to be a part of your life, but I had no idea the identity of your father or the other parts of the story she talked about. I'm sorry, Roza. Guardian Hathaway wanted to be the one to tell you." Dimitri pulled me into a hug. "I'm so sorry, Roza. Are you mad at me?"

I hugged him tighter. Of course I wasn't mad at him. "No, Comrade, I'm not mad, well at you anyways."

He pulled away and held my face in his hands. "Roza, you have to give yourself some time to cool off. Your mom was obviously trying to protect you."

I shook my head and squeezed my eyes shut, how was I going to explain this to him, without hurting him. "I'm not mad at her, if anything it explains why she did what she did. I just thought she didn't want to be a mom, but now I see that she was scared for me and that's why she stayed away.

"It's just him and his daughter. He's the one who pushed Jake and Soraya together. And Dimitri, I am so happy I am with you, it's not that I want to be with Jake. It's just that he knew and if he was a real father he would have cared."

Dimitri studied me. "You might not know the whole story. You might want to give yourself some time and think before you cut him and your mom out of your life. No matter what Roza, Zander and I will be here for you always."

"I know and thank you." He wiped a few stray tears that leaked out of my eyes.

"Let's go home Roza." Dimitri led me upstairs and for once, it didn't feel like just his apartment. He and Zander were my home, no matter where we lived.

Okay here's the deal. I am back to a normal schedule and a normal life so I'll be updating every two weeks. But, the next update will be of the Janine and Abe story. I feel it's crucial to the path of this story.

So in two weeks we will get Part III - Janine's side of events when she was pregnant with Rose and deceived Abe along with Part IV – which will be Abe's point of view when he first finds out Janine never lost the baby and when he sees Rose for the first time.

Thanks again for everyone who has stayed with me on this story. I'm glad to be back and I can't wait to finish this story. I'm thinking about 5 or 6 more chapters and then an epi, but I can get wordy so it could be longer, but that's what I have outlined so far.

See ya in two weeks…