Chapter 23

Rose

I was more than happy, I was ecstatic, I was on cloud nine, I just … I was so, so relieved! When Dimitri came back from his operation, the doctor told us everything was alright. And really, everything was more than alright, it was great.

Dimitri was fine and his arm would be back to normal over time. It would take Dimitri actually quite a long time to learn how to use his arm again, but that was okay, it was totally okay!

Olena hadn't woken up yet, she still lay on a bed in another room. I visited her a few times and talked to her about everything and nothing.

Viktoria left a while ago, said now that everything was okay, she wanted to give Dimitri and me some 'quality time'. I thanked her over and over again for everything and especially her trust in me and waited for Dimitri to wake up again.

While I was by Dimitri's side, thinking about everything and nothing, I realized I didn't think of everything... I was in my own little world and the only people who existed were Dimitri and me.

My mother, my dad, my little sister, I didn't think of them.

Lissa and Christian or Mia and Ivan, Jill and Eddie, I thought of none of them.

Don't get me wrong, of course, I still cared for all these people, but right now my first priority was Dimitri and only Dimitri. And to be honest, I was quite shocked how okay I felt with that, how … normal it felt to put him first.

When I met my little sister for the first time, I was … I was overcome with emotions. She was so tiny, so fragile and so, so beautiful. I honestly couldn't see anything from my dad or mum in her, but she was a baby, I never understood how anyone could see one of the parents in a baby. All I saw was a beautiful tiny girl that was my sister: Aleana Hathaway-Mazur.

She was gorgeous and didn't cry all that much like all the other newborns did, she was a little angel. My mother took her home after two days and Dad glowed with happiness and pride. I loved the little image of those three. They always invited me over, but I refused and stayed with Dimitri. They visited and I was glad they did because I missed them terribly.

"Mrs Belikov", the doctor interrupted my thoughts.

"Huh?", I asked. "Oh, hey doc."

"Are you alright? You look a little stressed", he said concerned.

I smiled a little and nodded. The doc went to Dimitri's bed. He had one of those clipboards you see in every hospital show under his arms and looked at it. He then looked at the monitors and scribbled something down. While I watched him I suddenly realized something.

"Hey doc, I never asked what your name is."

"Yeah, I know", he answered and smiled a little.

He looked at Dimitri again, then at another monitor and scribbled something down again. The doc – whatever his name was – was probably around 35. He had blond hair, brown eyes and was taller than me, but not as tall as Dimitri. A little shorter than Ivan probably. He looked kind enough and had a ring on his finger, so he was married.

"Well, what is your name?"

He chuckled again, put the clipboard under his arm and turned his body so he was facing me.

"I'm Dr. Maxwell", he smiled.

"Nice to meet you", I smiled. "And sorry I never asked before."

"It's alright", he smiled. "If I was in your position, well ..."

He shrugged. Dr. Maxwell nodded once and left the room again. He was nice, I decided. I liked him. He seemed like a really young dad like you could do something horrible, but he would always love you and be there for you. He would understand you, stay by your side and only want the best for you. I liked this 'vibe' I got from him.

You know these movies where you see someone waiting for something? The part is about what? Two? Three minutes tops? In reality, it takes a hell of a lot longer. To stay in a room with nothing but a sleeping person. It's actually pretty boring, but you still try to stay awake, because you want to be there when the person wakes up. But it's honestly really hard to keep yourself awake when it's slowly getting dark outside and you have nothing to keep yourself occupied with. I tried to keep myself busy with stupid little games on my phone, but that only lasted about 20 minutes.

In the end, I did fall asleep. I dreamed of something I can't remember anymore, but I remember waking up with a warm feeling, so it had to be something good. When I looked over to Dimitri he was still asleep.

Suddenly the door opened and a smiling Viktoria came into the room. She held two cups in her hands.

"Morning", she said.

"Morning", I yawned and apologized right afterward.

"No worries", Vika told me and shook her head lightly.

She held a cup of coffee out for me and I took it gratefully. I thanked her and took a big gulp.

"Got one for me, too?", I heard the raspy voice of Dimitri

The second he did I spit my coffee out ... and right on Vika's top.

"Ew!", she screamed, while Dimitri chuckled.

"Oh Vika, I'm so sorry, it's just he- you- Dimitri you - and I -"

"Yeah, yeah", Vika said and rubbed a little coffee from her face. "I get it. Guess I'm gonna go change now. Glad you're awake big brother. Please choose a different time if this ever happens again, okay?"

Dimitri nodded with a bright grin on his face. Vika gave him a quick kiss on his forehead – to which he frowned – and said goodbye to me.

"Thank you", I whispered into her ear, while she hugged me goodbye.

She winked at me and left the room. Not without muttering how disgusting her shirt felt on her skin. While I still looked at the now closed door, I took a deep breath and spoke.

"I swear to God, if you ever do this to me again, I'm gonna kill you with my bare hands."

And then I turned to Dimitri and saw him with a serious expression. He nodded and opened his arms up for me, well only one arm because the other was still bandaged, hold secure in a weird metal thing. Without hesitation, I went up to him and hugged him tight.

"Sorry, I worried you", he whispered.

"Sorry is not enough, Comrade", I joked.

"Comrade?", he asked and backed away a little bit. "Seriously?"

"You owe me big boy for scaring me to death! So yes, from now on it's comrade", I said. "And that's only the first of a series of bad nicknames."


-o-o-o- Thrown Into His World -o-o-o-


After tons of checkups and whatnot, Dimitri was able to go home after a week of staying in the hospital. And trust me, nobody was happier than Dimitri! He was literally glowing with happiness and had a little bounce in his step. It was actually quite cute to see him this excited about something so trivial.

But I loved it. I was going home. Home with my husband.

"Dimitri, you're going home. Not to a strip club", Ivan joked.

Ivan lay in his bed and smirked. Yes, he finally woke up four days ago! We were all so relieved, especially Dimitri and well, Mia of course. I was extremely happy he was awake, because he was able to make everything, and I mean everything seem so much brighter and better than it really was. I was also glad he was fine because I learned to love Ivan as a dear friend and had missed him.

"As if you want to stay here", Dimitri scoffed.

"Sure I want to, I got my own hot nurse" He winked at Mia. "And get sponge baths whenever I want one. This, my friend, is heaven."

Mia, Dimitri and I laughed lightly. Mia's laugh was a little forced, she was still really worried about Ivan. Dimitri could leave, but Ivan had to stay here and well, it didn't matter in how much pain Ivan was, he would never tell Mia the truth. He was too manly for that. Dimitri was too, but that was another story ...


-o-o-o- Thrown Into His World -o-o-o-


In front of the hospital as well as in front of our home were paparazzi just waiting for us, so we had to try to avoid them. Luckily Victoria came to our rescue. With tears streaming down her face, she came out of the main entrance of the hospital. Instantly every camera clicked, took pictures and started filming. The reporters screamed at her and rushed towards her.

This gave us an opportunity to leave through the back entrance. We hailed a cab and it drove us straight into the garage of our building.

"Oh, how I missed you", Dimitri murmured and let himself fall down onto the couch.

I giggled lightly and watched him cuddle with one of the cushions.

"Should I leave you two alone?", I asked still giggling.

"That would be great", Dimitri murmured and with closed eyes, he rubbed his face against the couch.

Really, that was a site to see. Shaking my head I went into the kitchen to grab myself a snack. I found some chocolate – who doesn't love chocolate? - and went back to the living room to ask Dimitri, if he wanted anything. When I got there, he was already fast asleep and a smile involuntary formed on my lips.


-o-o-o- Thrown Into His World -o-o-o-


Dimitri

After my little nap on the couch, it was clear I couldn't sleep at night because I felt like I've slept for days.

About two hours ago Rose went to bed and told me to come get her if there was anything I needed. Of course there wasn't, I could do whatever on my own. After all, I was a man and I sure as hell was capable of feeding myself or whatever there was to do.

While I was awake I watched some of the videos the cameras in our apartment recorded. I was in search of the guy who could have broken our firealarms, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. But there had to be something. Rose was poisoned for God's sake, I needed to find this guy.

Sighing I closed the laptop.

I didn't know what else to do about those damn firealarms and the guy behind it and I seriously hated not knowing what to do. Whoever did this had to be caught and had to be punished. I had to find him, but how? I didn't even know where to start anymore and I -

Suddenly there was a small bump, like something small fell to the ground. Frowning I turned around and thought about what that could have been.

Again I waited for something to happen, but I heard nothing. Strange ...

"Aaaahhhhhh!"

A loud scream echoed from the walls and this time, I knew exactly where it had come from. As fast as I could, I ran up the stairs, taking two or three at a time. My mind was running wild. What happened to Rose? Was someone there? Impossible, I would have noticed. But what was wrong? I pushed the door open and ran into the room, seeing Rose in bed, thrashing against her blanket.

"Rose", I said. "Rose, what's wrong?"

I took several long strides into the room and went to the side of the bed she was sleeping in.

"Roza?"

She was still trashing around and her face was looking like she was in pain. But her eyes were closed and her breath ragged. Rose was having a nightmare.

I sighed in relief. Nobody was here. She was just having a bad dream.

Gently I put my hand on her shoulder and shook her lightly.

"Rose", I tried again. "Wake up, come on, you gotta wake up."

"No", she groaned. "No, please."

I shook her a bit more frequently.

"Rose, wake up", I said.

My fingers pulled her hair away from her face and I felt sweat on her forehead. What was she dreaming about?

"Aaaahhh!"

Rose screamed bloody murder again and suddenly sat up straight. She breathed heavily and uneven. Out of nowhere Rose began crying.

"Rose", I whispered, trying not to scare her.

It didn't work because she gasped and turned towards me. She looked like a deer caught in the headlights, her eyes wide and her mouth open.

"Oh my God", she rushed out.

Rose practically threw herself at me. Her arms went around my shoulders and her legs suddenly tangled around my hips. She pushed her face into my neck and sobbed uncontrollaby.

"Hey, shhh", I said. "Everything's fine."

I had no idea what she dreamed about, but it was clear it wasn't a happy dream. What I did for the next four to five minutes was telling her sweet nothings and trying to tell her everything was just a dream and she was fine.

And then her iron grip around me lessened a little and her breathing became more controlled and regular.

"Wanna talk about it?", I whispered into the dark while I caressed her back.

She shook her head on my shoulder.

"I should and I shouldn't", she mumbled.

"What is that supposed to mean?", I wondered.

Rose sighed and backed away from my shoulder, so she could look into my eyes. For a moment that was all she did … staring into my eyes. I don't know if she searched for something in my eyes, but after a while, she sighed again and seemed a little defeated.

"You were dead", she whispered.

For a second, I must have looked like a total idiot because I just stared at her with wide eyes. What the hell?

"You were dead", she said again. "You left me and I was alone. You were dead."

"Rose -", I tried to start, but she wouldn't let me.

"No", she said, shaking her head. "You were, you could have easily been. Dimitri, you were gone, then you were back and then I get a call you're half dead lying in a hospital bed and -"

She started sobbing again and tears started streaming down her cheeks.

"And I didn't know if you were ever – ever -"

"Shh", I said and hugged her again, so her head was on my shoulder again. "I get it."

I carressed her back again and again and tried to reassure her.

"I'm here", I said. "And I'm not going to go anywhere. I will stay right here and I won't leave you alone."

"Promise?", she mumbled into my neck.

Shivering I promised her something nobody can. I promised her to always be there.


-o-o-o- Thrown Into His World -o-o-o-


Rose

After my … not so little breakdown, Dimitri pulled me into his arms and we lay down together. And sleeping in his arms should have probably made me feel better, but it took only a few hours (that's what Dimitri told me) for me to wake up screaming and crying again.

I should probably be embarressed about my breakdown, but I wasn't. Hell yes, I was scared of losing Dimitri and whatever I did, I would never be able to act like I didn't.

It was … scary to let him know how scared I was of losing him, to let him know how much I … cared for him.

I just hoped he wouldn't run away scared and would stay with me. Because right now, I didn't know what I would do without him and that thought alone scared me – a lot.

While Dimitri was in the hospital my feelings for him obviously grew stronger, but just because my feelings for him intensified didn't mean his did too. How could they? He was unconscious the whole time.


-o-o-o- Thrown Into His World -o-o-o-


"Are you coming to school with me today?", I asked Dimitri the next morning at breakfast.

"Sure", he said. "Why wouldn't I?"

"Your arm?", I reminded him. "Your broken bones that are still healing? The fact that you're home for all of one day from almost two months at the hospital? Choose one."

"A month and eight days", Dimitri said and rolled his eyes.

"Ha ha", I replied in a monotone voice, because I was not amused by this.

"Come on", Dimitri said and took my hand in his. "I'm okay. My broken bones are almost fully healed and my arm is in this … sling or whatever. And I won't use my arm, so I'll be totally fine at school."

I sighed. To be honest, I didn't agree with Dimitri. He should stay home for at least a few days, but he was more stubborn than I was, so I decided not to argue.

"Hey", Dimitri said. "Something else. Yesterday I looked into the footage from the cameras, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. Did anything unusual happen to you while I was … was not here?"

Right, I thought. That. The broken firealarms. The plumbism. How come I hadn't thought about that? Oh right, my husband was in the hospital along with his friends and I still had no idea why he nearly died and two others actually died!

"No", I answered. "Nothing. Mase and Eddie kept me company and Eddie even trained me a little like you wanted."

"He trained you?"

"How to properly punch someone", I answered laughing. "Yeah."

Dimitri looked at me with fascination and a little bit of awe. A warm feeling spread inside me and I couldn't help, but smile.

"I'll have to thank him", Dimitri said and nodded lost in thought.
"So no nothing", I repeated.

Silence fell upon us and we both ate our breakfast. From time to time I looked up at Dimitri, but he was engrossed in his food.

"Mr. Belikov, is there anything else I can do?", Rachel asked.

"No, thank you, you can leave early today if you want to."

"Thank you, Mr. Belikov."

Rachel smiled at us and left. Again we fell silent.

"Are you ever going to tell me what happened?", I asked.

I didn't dare look into Dimitri's eyes. I don't know what I was afraid of seeing in them but I was afraid I would see something I didn't want to see.

I heard Dimitri gulp and lean back in his chair. He took a deep breath and then exhaled really slowly.

"Rose", he started. "It's better if you not know."

"For who?", I asked.

Seriously, why wouldn't he ever tell me anything?!

"For both of us", Dimitri answered. "Really."

He tried to convince me with his eyes and I made the mistake of looking into them. But this was way too seriously, so I wouldn't give in.

"This again?", I asked, not really wanting an answer. "Dimitri we had this whole secret thing before and I told you -"

"If I don't tell you everything, you won't either", Dimitri sighed.

There was a moment of silence again.

"I'm going to tell you, okay?", Dimitri interrupted all of a sudden.

With wide eyes, I looked up at him.

"Really?", I asked shocked.

"Really", Dimitri nodded. "But this doesn't only involve us. We should do this with the whole group."

"But we -"

"Come on", Dimitri said and took my hand in his. "We're going to be late for school."

For a moment I just frowned at Dimitris back, but I guess I had a foot in the door, so why try to force it open? He said he would tell me and I believed him.

"After school?", I asked, holding him back a minute.

I wanted to make sure he would tell me the story behind all of this because I just had to know. He looked into my eyes and gave a small nod.

"Then let's go."

"I will go grab our things", Dimitri said and went upstairs.

While he went upstairs, I waited by the elevator. The moment I hit the button, my phone vibrated in my pocket. I received a text from Mason.

You coming to school today?

I write a quick reply.

Yes

My phone dinged again.

I'll be there in ten ;)

"Who are you texting?", Dimitri asked, while going down the stairs.

I looked up and he gave my bag. I nodded in thanks and smiled at him. A smile he returned.

"Mase", I replied.

And his smile turned into a frown.

"Ashford?", he asked.

I nodded and wrote an answer and send it to Mason.

Thanks, but I'm going with Dimitri ...

"What does he want?", Dimitri asked and tried to get a glimpse of the message I just wrote.

"Hey", I said and pulled my phone away. "Ever heard of privacy?"

"Yeah, yeah", Dimitri replied, rolling his eyes. "Now what does he want?"

"He asked me if I wanted to go to school with him, so I wouldn't have to go alone and I said thanks, but no thanks."

"Good"

Dimitri put his arm over my shoulders and pulled me to his side. Together we got into the elevator and rode down.

The drive to school was quiet. Dimitri and I just sat in the back, not talking, just sitting there. My head was on his shoulder and his arm around mine. He drew little patterns on my arm and we listened to the radio.

The paparazzi in front of the school didn't surprise me after everything that happened, but I still didn't like them being there.

"You okay with answering a few things?", Dimitri asked.

"Sure", I sighed.

We both got out of the car and only seconds later, paparazzi were screaming and running towards us. Dimitri put his arm around me and shielded me as good as he could. Our driver and another man I somehow recognized from somewhere, but couldn't pinpoint from where exactly got in front of us.

"Everybody shut up!", one of them shouted. "You stay quiet and ask one question at a time, they will answer some question. You don't, they will just walk on by."

They didn't really 'shut up', but a few of them stopped talking and it all grew a little more quiet.

"Good."

"Before you ask anything", Dimitri started. "As you all know, I was in the hospital, yes. No, I will not tell you what happened, what is important is that I'm feeling better and will be okay in a few weeks. I am grateful my family" He squeezed my shoulder. "was with me and helped me through everything. None the less are we all grieving the loss of Andre Dragomir and Jesse Zeklos. Those two young men died way to early and the police will find out what happened to them and who is responsible for their tragic deaths. Our thoughts are with their families and with our dear friend Christian Ozera, who is still in a coma."

Dimitri stopped for a minute and took a deep breath.

"Through all this, my wife and I grew even stronger and we hope that you will all now see this marriage more seriously."

"But Mr. Belikov", a young man interrupted Dimitri. "Our sources say your marriage wasn't even legal. What do you have to say about that?"

The shock on Dimitri's face was clear to see, but he was quick to cover it up. How the hell did they know about this? It was just something Sonya had said at the hospital and I was sure it was because she was scared of losing Dimitri, not because she really thought that way.

"I don't -"

"Your sources are wrong", I said.

"But -"

"Next question", I interrupted the reporter.

"Rose, why were you seen with Mason Ashford at the Belikov banquet?"

Oh no, I thought. Just like Dimitri had predicted, I would get in trouble for bringing Mason with me.

"If your marriage is so strong, why weren't you there with your husband? Did you cheat on hi -"

"Enough", Dimitri growled. "Mason Ashford is an old friend of Rose and has become a friend to me, too. Rose took him to the banquet as thanks. I had a lot of things I had to talk about with different acquaintances of my father and I didn't want Rose to be alone, so she came with Mason while I came with my family."

I looked up at Dimitri and saw the anger on his face. Of course, he wasn't happy about this question, who would be in his position? I lay a hand on his chest and he looked down into my eyes. I smiled a small smile, thanking him for defending me and telling him everything was okay. The anger slowly vanished from his face, but not completely. He smiled a little and kissed my forehead.