Richelle Mead owns these characters.

Chapter 10: And in between it's never as it seems.

Fear. Fear is something I have lived with since I was a kid. It was something that was constant in my childhood. I was afraid of a lot of things as a kid; people hurting my mother or Mer, Janine's drunken rampages and the impact they would have on us. I was mostly afraid of waking up one morning and finding my mother lifeless somewhere in the house. That used to scare the shit out of me completely then I grew up and couldn't care less. Now different things scare me, things that no normal person would ever be scared of.

Things like an unknown future and planning ahead. Things like letting people in, which I have had a difficult time doing since I was a kid. The thing that scared me the most though, the one thing I couldn't handle if it ever happen again was being disappointed by someone I love. Someone who was supposed to be there from the get go and never let me down.

I have to thank my mother for that trait though because if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have woken up in bed alone yesterday. I wouldn't have felt like that gaping hole in my chest was sinking in all over again, just deeper now. I wouldn't have told the love of my life that he should go on and be without me. I wouldn't be regretting it with every fiber of my being at this very moment. See fear, it makes you think in a defensive way. It makes you cautious and think way too much. It makes you ask yourself, what if? I had thought, for some stupid reason, that I was doing him a favor. That I was pulling my shit aside and letting him go on and achieve his dreams without having any burden to stop him. I thought that this was the right thing to do but I had realized, very quickly, that I wasn't doing any kind of right by pushing him away.

And that's just what I did, I pushed him and so he left.

No goodbyes or see you soon or kissing and hugs, no nothing. I just woke up yesterday morning cold from the chill of my open window and the missing warmth from the body that was supposed to be next to me. It only took me the two seconds from laying down to sitting up on my bed to realize, I was a dumbass. But the thing about being a dumbass is you don't actually realize you're being one until Dimitri Belikov leaves you, in bed, nakey.

As the morning went on I went through the routine fighting a quiet war within myself. Did I do the right thing or did I just completely lose him? Did I make the right choice telling him to go or was I a bigger dumbass than I realized? And the answers were clear as soon as Meredith opened her mouth that morning. 'Why didn't he tell me goodbye, Roses, he said he would come see me before he left?'

I didn't know how to answer that and I was wondering the same thing myself. So with a shrug I put the focus on getting ready for school and gave her some half-assed lie about going to the Belikova's after I picked her up. We didn't go over and Mer was pretty upset with me -again- but what could I do? It was too late, he was gone or so Viktoria had said and it was my fault.

Now I didn't think I deserved a goodbye from him but I knew he would at least see Meredith before leaving. Well, at least I thought he would but when he didn't, that was strange to me. He would never not talk to her because he was upset with me, Dimitri wasn't like that but it did piss me off a little. I think I was more pissed off at myself because I caused it; I pushed him to leave like that. However, growing up the way I did, being let down quite a lot in life by the one person who was supposed to be there no matter what; it has it's effects.

And, well, here we are back to square one.

The fear of being let down by someone else I loved and someone else who was supposed to be there no matter what. I had grown a lot my senior year of high school and I became sure of the person who I wanted to be. I just didn't trust it or myself of being capable to be that person. Too many things and people have given and taken from me for me to be able to trust it. It was a harsh way of looking at life but it was true. I loved him, yes, with my whole heart but words were just words to me. Promises were just a lie if you couldn't prove it and when I realized we were out of reach from each other, it just made the fear prove itself, not the promise. Janine Hathaway had cursed me in some way and I lost someone I loved because of that curse. My inability, as I've come to call it.

'You still haven't talked to him?' I come to and look up from the inventory list I was going over as Lissa watches me mope around.

I gather some air into my lungs and release it heavily, 'No.'

She nods and then turns her head looking around the cafe. It was really quiet now that lunch was over but I could feel the heavy tension in the air. She wanted to say something and I didn't know what or if I wanted to hear it. The only thing I knew was that Lissa was never able to hold back her curiosity and I was right. 'Well, what about your friend Sydney, maybe she's talked to him? You should call and ask her, you know, see what his problem is...'

I shake my head at the thought and think to myself if that was a good idea, but I knew better. He didn't say goodbye for a reason. 'No. I think Sydney's busy with school and stuff anyway.' And just to try and shut her up about the subject, 'We'll talk when we're ready.'

Of course, Lissa knew better but that didn't stop her from continuing on. She nods twice and then looks to the floor nervously before speaking again. 'It's just, you know you look so sad and everything… I don't know, I thought maybe if you talked to him, you can at least feel a little better about it.'

I knew she didn't understand why I wouldn't call him but she understood why I did it. At least, I hope she did. 'I do feel good about it. It was the right thing to do.' I had made the mistake of looking at her when I said that and the word bullshit didn't have to come out of her mouth for me to know she wasn't buying it. It was in her eyes but I couldn't let it bother me anymore, especially in front of her. 'I'll get over it, Liss.'

She sighs exasperated, 'I don't know how you do you it, Rose.' This captures my attention and I look at her again as she goes on. 'How you go through all this and still show up to work without breaking...' She shakes her head in disbelief. 'You're a lot stronger than me, than most people I know actually.'

I nod in agreement and my eyes go back to the paper. 'I have to be, there's no time to break.'

It's quiet for a long while before she talks again but when she does, it comes out as a soft whisper I'm not sure I was supposed to hear. 'Or you're incredibly terrified...'

The words come out low but I still hear them, well, most of them. I lost her voice as my head snapped up and I caught what she was actually saying. 'What is that supposed to mean?'

Lissa's jade green eyes widen at my accusing voice and her shocked expression proves I wasn't supposed to hear that. She stumbles a bit at first, her mouth opening and closing without a sound coming out and the nervous glances to everywhere but me give her away. 'N-nothing. I didn't-I didn't mean to pry, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Rose.' I put the clipboard I was holding down onto the counter and watch as she smiles nervously at me. 'No, if you have something to say then by all means, Liss, say it.' She swallows loud and thick before shaking her head no but I wasn't letting it go so easily. 'No, come on, tell me what you said. I want to know what you mean by that; I'm incredibly terrified of what?'

'Say it.' I voice aloud and wait for her as she gathers some courage and looks to the floor again before talking. 'Liss?'

It takes a deep breath and a nod of her head for her to reassure herself before she finally looks at me and opens her mouth. 'I just- from what you've told me, I think that you're, well, you're maybe a little… afraid.'

She had no idea but I wasn't going to let her know she was right. It would be easier for me to just drop this subject and busy myself with work but she wasn't letting it go. 'And what am I afraid of exactly?' Intimidation was key at the point.

She swallowed again and fidgeted with her hands as she spoke. 'Rose, you were pining for this guy not a few days ago, telling me you missed him and how much you love him, and then he gets here and you're all in love and happy... And now-now you're telling me you told him to leave? To just go about his life without you like it's the easiest thing in the world for either of you. It makes no sense, Rose, that's really stupid logic if you ask me.'

'Well, no one was asking you, so drop it.' I snap and turn to leave into the back room.

'Well as your friend, I'm giving you my advice whether you want it or not, Rose.' Her voice was now loud and booming throughout the cafe, making me angrier. It was a good thing no customers where here and that Ms. Voda was off somewhere else right now because I was sure we would've gotten into some serious trouble if anyone was hearing this. 'If you love him and want to be with him you should work it out. You wouldn't be telling him to leave like it's some noble selfless act, you're just afraid.' And there it was she had figured some of it out. 'I just don't understand, why?'

As I turn to face her the bell above the door goes off and my mouth opens in surprise instead of anger. 'Mer, what are you doing here?' Meredith rushes to me and I bend down to hug her. I had never seen her face so happy than it was right now, her smile was wide and joyful and my frustration with Lissa quickly fell. 'What are you doing here, Mer, you're supposed to be in school. What's going on?'

She smiles big again, glowing with eagerness and then she turns around to face the door, my eyes follow her and I freeze at the figure in the doorway. 'He came back, Roses.'

Meredith's voice echo off in my head but my brain doesn't seem to catch up. There in the doorway with this loving defiant look in his sweet brown eyes was Dimitri. He stood tall and proud like we hadn't just had all these heartbreaking things happen between us. As if we didn't have this emotional mess happening before us and all these things left undone. He stood there in his boots, jeans and long sleeved shirt with this glint in his eyes like he was about to save the world.

And in a way he kind of was.

'Dimitri? Wh-what are doing here? I thought you went back to school already?' He shook his head no and then looks down to Meredith with a slight smirk and she smiled right back. It was like they knew something I didn't but my mind couldn't focus on that yet because what the hell was he doing here?

He looks back to me and walks up to where Meredith as I stood in front of the counter. They gave each other another knowing glance and then he spoke. 'Ivan dropped me off... I uh, I picked up Meredith from school and we walked straight over.' He holds my eyes for a long lingering minute and just as I'm about to ask why he had picked up Mer or why didn't he say goodbye, he reaches into his back pocket and holds out a folded piece of paper to me.

I don't take it at first, a little too stunned and possibly shocked that he was actually here. It takes an encouraging nod of his head for me to slowly reach my hand out and take the paper. I glance at him before unfolding it and reading. The words aren't making any sense and my brain hasn't fully processed what I was reading from his sudden appearance. 'What is this, why are giving it to me?'

Our eyes finally meet and his gaze is proudly gleaming in the light, like he knew he had done something right but there was still some uncertainty shining through. As if he wasn't sure what I would say or do but he was still going to take the chance anyway. 'What is this, Dimitri?'

He swallows hard and loud, his jaw clenches a few times before he licks his lips and opens his mouth to talk. 'Proof, Roza.'

He doesn't say anything else for an extremely long minute. He just leaves me in anticipation, waiting with the paper still in my hand as I watch him take a deep breath and gather himself for his next words. 'It's a lease.'

A lease? I silently think. I don't say my thought out loud yet because he gets that knowing look in his eyes again and glances back down to Mer who was just watching us both with this excited glint in her clear blue eyes. Now I knew she knew something that I didn't and it was starting to annoy me. 'A lease? A lease for what?'

'For an apartment right across campus.' Once those words settle into my brain I don't have time to ponder over it because he's already ranting off. 'It's got two bedrooms and two bathrooms; it's a good space, Roza. And there's this school like two miles from the university, Meredith can go there it's a good school. I looked into it online this morning...' He steps closer to me and grabs my free hand, clutching it gently but the grip was strong. He was excited and I had a feeling it was because of everything he was saying to me right now. 'There's also this mall nearby, we could find work there or on campus, the bookstore is always looking for people to help out. And the student center is full of help wanted ads, we can find something I'm sure of it, Roza.'

'I've been looking into it online all morning-' I pull my hand out of his, shaking my head at everything that had just spewed out of his mouth.

'Wh-wait, what? Dimitri, how in hell did you get a lease on an apartment? What are you even doing he-' He shakes his head this time and grabs my shoulders pulling me back to as close to his body as he could.

'I sold the truck and I took all my savings out of the bank, it's fine though my mother knows, she help me find the apartment.' Wait, what?

'She what? Dimitri, you sold your truck-wait! What is going on, what are you talking about?' I couldn't comprehend what he was saying to me. It was like my mind was about to burst from all the sudden information and the shock of what he did. This wasn't right; he left yesterday morning back to school, back to a life he worked hard for. 'No, no we decided- I thought we agreed-'

'You didn't say we couldn't do both, Roza!' After those words were spoken, there was this silence that followed.

It was the loudest sound in my brain because it caused me to think about and actually take in what it was he was saying. He had went off and sold his truck and found an apartment and what? What did all that mean, for him, for me and Mer? But before I could voice those questions, he slowly and gently cupped my face into his hands and started talking to me with the most sincere look in his eyes I have ever seen.

'We can do this, Roza, I truly believe that.' He swallows hard and licks his lips and I fight not to kiss him hard because of the way he was looking at me. 'I know you're scared and I know I put that fear inside you when I let myself make all those stupid mistakes but we can do this. We can work it out, Roza, I want to help you. I want to be with you and prove to you that I will never disappoint you again, I swear it.' I swallowed the choking lump that was growing in my throat and fought back the gloss of tears that were threatening to spill over. Those damn eyes, those dark chocolate depthless eyes reeled me in and had my heart pounding away. 'I want us; I want to raise Meredith with you, Roza. I want that more than anything I've wanted in my whole entire life.'

'Oh my god!' Lissa's gasp and words sound off in the background but I can't take my eyes from his to look and see. I just know her and I know she's standing there covering her mouth and watching as this romantic moment happens right in front of her like some cheesy romance movie.

Dimitri leans in closer, our lips just about to touch in the softest of kisses but he doesn't make the connection. 'We can do this, Roza. We can do anything, as long as we do it together. I won't let you down, ever again, I promise. Please, please, I'm doing the best I can here, for us, for me you and Meredith.' I close my eyes not being able to fight against the loving longing look in his eyes and he leans his forehead on mine touching our lips together barely. 'We're a family, Roza, you said so yourself. This is what I want more than anything. A life-my life without you, that isn't an option for me. I could go back to college, make something of myself and make lots of money but that wouldn't make me happy.'

At this my eyes open and the salty tears fall. There was so much going through my head all at once and his words were promising so many things, I didn't know how to take them. He kisses me again and I react, kissing him back barely able to move my lips along with his as all this goes through my head. 'You make me happy, so happy, just being with you... that's all I want.' He whispers that last part softly against my lips and I ache to kiss him hard but my head is a swirling mess.

A giant moving mess of everything he's just said and everything I'm feeling. I didn't know where to start or what to think or what to say? And then there were his eyes, looking at me with all the love he could conjure up inside.

'If you you're not going to go with him, I will.' We both snap our gazes to Lissa as she held her hand to her chest and looked at us with wide eyes. She watched us, amused and I threw her a glare for interrupting the moment. Then my eyes were back on his and I can't think straight again.

All the worries and sacrifices he would be making were slamming themselves against the doubts in my mind. The thoughts about how kind he was for thinking ahead like this, for going out and doing everything he's done. All the plans he's made and the words he said, and how they were the most touching romantic thing anyone has ever said to me. He meant them, I seen it in his eyes how much he meant them. There were still doubts though and they were fighting their way into the happiness I was feeling crawling through my body. There were so many things he didn't take into consideration and so many things he didn't think through and- 'Rose!'

I shake my head and snap out of it to face Lissa. She stood there with her hands on her hips and this knowing glare in her eyes. She knew I was thinking and working my brain on overdrive to try and get out of this but why? I asked myself as I looked back to Dimitri and noticed he was anxiously waiting for my answer.

Thoughts and worries and things swirled in my head but I couldn't think of one reason why I shouldn't agree to this. The doubts seemed to have shut up or evaporated as I caught Dimitri's eyes shift into slight worry. I didn't want to disappoint him, not after all he's done for me and Mer. Not after he went and thought of all these things and made all these plans for our life. Yeah, our life, a life we could make together... Fuck it.

'When do we move in, Comrade?' As soon as the words left my mouth this wide sexy beautiful smile stretched across his handsome face.

And then his lips were on mine, hard and passionate and so many other things. It was like he was finally able to breathe; like I was finally able to breath and in that moment my heart has never felt more at peace.

The swarming thoughts of doubt in my head were non-existent. The panic and fear that had made me push him away had been swallowed by the heat of his body close to mine and his thoughtfulness, and his good heart and all these other things that had my heart swarming. He was here and he was staying, and I could feel it with my whole being how much he loved me. How dumb I was being about trying to give him a chance at his own life when really, I should have seen that I was a big part of his life.

I finally pull my lips from his and we're both left breathing heavy. 'Are you sure, are you sure this is what you want-' He shakes his head no before I can even finish the question and once again cups my face in his strong gentle hands. 'Stop asking if I'm sure, I'm positive. I've already done it, Roza. This is it for us; this is where our life truly begins. A life of our own and you don't have to be afraid of it, ever.' He meant every word; I saw it as he spoke and heard it in his deep velvety voice.

'Okay.' And with that leaving my mouth, we went right back to making out in the middle of the cafe.

...

'I still can't believe you went and got a lease on some apartment-'

'On our apartment, Roza, it's ours now, it's our home.' I smile and crawl deeper into the warmth of his body.

We had put Meredith to bed after having dinner at the pizza parlor after I got off work. He and Meredith ended up staying there and when Ms. Voda came in she said I could leave early. I suspected Lissa talked her into it because they went off in the back room and I could hear them giggling like school girls, so I'm sure Liss told her what happen.

Then Lissa and I hugged it out after our little heated spat. I knew she was just trying to make me feel better and figure things out but I shouldn't have got upset at her for it. I was just trying to block out how much I missed Dimitri and how much I screwed up by telling him to leave. I think it was just years of Janine disappointing me that had scared me into thinking I had to prevent that from happening again, even though I should've known Dimitri wouldn't risk it.

Now we were in my bed, still partially clothed, just enjoying each other's company because now I didn't have to be afraid of being with him. I knew for a fact that we would work it out and do the best we could with what we had, a little sister included. 'How did you find a place so fast anyway?'

He smiles and tucks my head under his chin before answering. I inhale his smell and close my eyes as his voice rumbles through the soft skin of his chest. 'It was actually Ivan's idea. I was moping around the dorm just getting back and he was going on and on about getting this place he saw on the other side of campus, since we're able to move out of the dorms next semester. I was driving myself insane trying to think of a way to get you to give us a second chance... I knew I had to prove myself to you.'

He takes a deep breath as I listen and feel right at home all tangled up with him like this. 'You remember when we first started going out, when I first promised to always be there?' I nod somehow smothered in his body and he goes on. 'You said I had to prove my word, not just say it but mean it and show you that I did.'

'And then you re-broke your nose and got grounded for a whole month for beating the shit out of some asshole.' We laugh at the memory and he holds me tighter.

'Yeah, not a good look for me. But I remembered what you said and I knew that was what I had to do, make you see that I would never make that mistake again. I know how what you've been through with your mother and I know her going back to drinking had hurt you so much. I didn't want you to feel like that towards me. I didn't want to be another person who let you down when you needed me the most.'

I nod again and my arms squeeze themselves around his waist somehow. 'I know you didn't mean to and that we both sort of got lost in other things. I just thought for some reason giving you up was the right thing to do, mostly because I didn't want you to disappoint me again. I think I just tried to play it off like I was doing you a favor but really, I was only splitting us even more apart than we were...'

He sighs deeply and kisses my head lightly. There's a silence that follows and even though it's short I know why he needed it. This was a lot to take in, things have been happening to us both so rapidly but now we were in control. And now we were going have our chance at something we both wanted more than ever; to be together. And we were going to take everything that came with it, Meredith and college, and growing up included.

'You remember when I told you that if you ever got tired of all the drama of my life, that you could leave?' He nods at my mumbled question and I know he thinks I'm going to start that again but no way. Now that I had him and I knew this is where I wanted to be, I was keeping him. 'I hope you never leave me... I want you to stay with me forever.'

I close my eyes tightly against him and feel his lips leave light kisses in my hair and on my head. 'I will, I promise I will, Roza.'

I look up to him and see the reassurance deep in his eyes; we kiss and become lost in it for a minute. Until he breaks away barely and whispers against my lips. 'This is going to work, Roza, you could still be with Meredith... and I could still be with you.'

And that was all it took for me to flip him on his back and take advantage of his superbly sexy body. A whole bunch of times.

...Moving Day...

'Do I have my own room?'

'Yes, Mer.'

'So it's all mines and I can do whatever I want with it?'

'Yes, Mer.'

'Can I paint it purple... with yellow flowers on the walls and clouds painted on the roof and, oh, can I put stars that glow in the dark on there too? And some purple curtains with purple blankets and giant pillows covered in purple-'

'Meredith!' My voice booms and echoes in the nearly empty house as I finally get my sister to stop talking.

It turned out she knew Dimitri's plan the whole time and since then has been harassing me with all things purple to put in her room of the new apartment. We were moving the rest of our things today and would actually be staying there tonight. We had started little by little to move everything out, the big stuff first but since Mer and I didn't have much it didn't take too long. Dimitri and I wanted to buy our own furniture for our place, so all we were taking were the necessities.

'Let's just worry about getting everything moved and set up before we start talking about purple rooms and clouds and what not, okay?' She nods reluctantly and then heads to door where Dimitri was loading the boxes into Ivan's car.

'Just remember, Roses, you said I could do what I want with it.' I roll my eyes and nod as she goes outside to help Dimitri with the last load of our things.

I was taping the last of the boxes and was just about to take them outside when my awesome boyfriend walked in the house. He was sweaty and excited and I couldn't fight the immediate smile that spread across my face when I caught sight of him. He smiled tenderly and pulled me in for a kiss which I returned gratefully. 'I almost got everything packed up then we can head over to mama's and say our goodbyes. Then we'll head on home?' I nod and smile at the word home, I loved when he said that.

I had gotten lucky to find an opening at the campus bookstore and would start in a few days. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back to school yet, I think when things finally get settled and Mer is a little older and able to take care of herself more I would go back. I just had to get the timing right and really think about what I wanted for myself. And Dimitri had no problem supporting that. Now we still had some kinks and things to talk and work out, which we will but we were just trying to live in the now. To get everything started.

To live the moments we had together right now because it felt like we had missed so much time together after everything got mixed up. We were taking it one day at a time and we were talking about everything a lot more. Dimitri was adamant on us not screwing things up again just as I was about taking care of Meredith. And for the first time in a long time, I felt happy.

I had the two people who I loved most in the world with me and we were starting a new life together, our own life. And we weren't going to let people, plans or fears get in the way anymore.

'Okay, well, it's just these last three and then we can be on our way.' He nods and bends to lift one of the boxes at our feet. 'Oh, actually, I better take Mer to Alberta's she wanted to say goodbye before we left.' He nods and I make my way outside to Meredith.

'Hey, let's go see Ms. Petrov before we go, okay?' Mer nods and runs over to Alberta's as I check the mailbox one last time.

We had already switched addresses but I just wanted to make sure there was nothing left behind. As I watch Alberta open her front door and greets Mer, my hand comes in contact with an envelope and I pull it out of the metal box. I see it's addressed to me and place it in my back pocket as I walk up to Alberta's door and smile. 'I'm going to miss you so much, Meredith, you and Rose have to come back and visit me. Don't stay away too long, you girls still have family here, you know?' Meredith nods and hugs Alberta tightly as she makes eye contact with me in a knowing glance.

I nod in understanding and then I'm pulled tightly into Alberta's arms for a strong comforting hug. 'I mean it, Rose; you bring yourselves back here and come talk to me. I'll always be here for you girls, you're like daughters to me.' I nod and hug her back swallowing the growing lump in my throat.

'We will, I promise, Alberta.' I finally pull back and come face to face with her, remembering all the times and things she did for us. 'I don't know how I can thank you for everything you've done...'

She smiles and waves her hand waving off my words. 'You girls being happy and healthy are thank you enough, Rose. That's all I care about is that you're okay and Meredith is taken care of.'

I nod and we end up in another hug again. 'I'll take care of her, I promise.'

'I know you will I'm not worried about you girls anymore. I know you'll be okay now, you've got big strong hearted Dimitri with you now, so I don't have to worry.' We laugh and break apart standing in the doorway of her home.

A home we were always welcome into and I will never forget Alberta or what she has done for me and Mer. She was a mother to us when ours wasn't there and she was part of my family, blood relation or not. I would always hold her close to my heart and I meant when I said we would come back and visit her. She was a big part of Meredith's and mine life and always would be.

'I don't want you to worry about her, Rose, not anymore. You understand, she made her choice and now she has to live with it. You don't blame yourself and never let Meredith think that either.' I nod in understanding and my eyes water at her concern.

'I know. I know it's on her and I'm okay with that. I just, I know Mer's going to ask about her and miss her... that's the only thing I'm concerned about when it comes to Janine.' Alberta nods as we watch Mer run off to help Dimitri load the car. 'You tell her the truth, Rose, when she's ready and remember that Meredith is a smart girl. So she'll be ready, even when you think she won't be, she's strong.' I nod and turn back to Alberta with a last smile.

We hug again and this time it's long, comforting but a little sad too. 'I don't know what I would've done without you...' She laughs it off but squeezes me once more before letting go.

'You're a strong woman, Rose; you would've figured something out. Just remember to stay strong and enjoy yourself, you'll be fine, Rose. I know it; you're going to do great.' And with that she smiles at me and I can see in her eyes she truly believes her words.

'You okay?' I nod as we buckle ourselves in and Dimitri starts the car.

'Yeah, I'm fine, just tired… and sad' I look out to see the house I grew up in for the last time and spot Alberta watching from her front door. I wave and she returns it. 'I think I'm actually going to miss this place.'

He reaches across the seats for my hand and squeezes softly before putting the car into drive and heading onto the road. I look over to him and smile, thinking about all the memories I shared with him in that house. Our first time together and how he showed up after I had thrown out my mother. I think of all the times Meredith and I had there too. The breakfast for dinner we had and the laughs we shared even the bad times and how it made us closer to each other.

I think about my mother and where she is and what she's doing, and I hope it was worth it for her. I hope choosing her addiction over her children was worth it because I wasn't going to waste another thought on her and what she's done. This was it, like Dimitri had said, it was our life now and we were going to live it the best we could. I reach for my phone in my pocket to call Lissa since she wanted to know when we were leaving. She had a few more months to go and then she was headed to California since she saved up just about enough for tuition. I told her to meet us at Olena's, so we could say our goodbyes there but when I got my phone I remembered the letter.

So pulling it out, I turn it to read the address and notice it had come from Utah. 'Utah? I don't know anyone in Utah.'

Dimitri turns to face me as I open the letter, 'What is that?'

'I don't know it was in the mailbox when I checked it. It's addressed from Utah; I've never even been to Utah...' I open it and right away recognize the messy handwriting.

It was in pen and the words flowed in long paragraphs, even popping out a little on the paper like the words were written hard. I almost didn't want to read it when I spotted the name at the bottom of the page but decided, with a long sigh, to just go ahead.

'What's wrong?' Dimitri catching my long frustrated breath was watching me from the corner of his eye and I lower my voice so not to alert Meredith in the backseat.

'It's from my mom.' He throws me a glance and then looks back to the road as I begin reading.

Rosemarie

I've tried many many times to write this as best as I could. I threw away many letters before this and I only chose this one because I don't think you will even bother reading it. However, in case you do, I thought this explained best what I wanted to say. So, here it goes...

I am in Utah, at a facility where they specialize in fighting addiction. I'm sure you're well aware that I had left shortly after you kicked me out of the house and I'm sorry I didn't tell you. In all honesty, I didn't know I would be coming here at all. I had thought we were headed for Nevada, where a friend of mine lives who I met back at rehab. She was the one who drove me here under the instructions of Pavel, who called her and told her that I needed help.

Now I know you two have met and to answer your question, yes, he is the reason I began drinking again. While during my stay in rehab, I met and fell in love with Pavel except he was in a relationship. They were on and off and while they were off he was with me, then he left rehab and they got serious. So I took that heartache and turned into an excuse to drink. I chose to throw away all the progress I made with myself and Meredith, and even with you.I can apologize for that and for everything else that I have put you through but I don't think I would be given your forgiveness so easily. And I understand that completely, in fact I don't want it. Not yet, I want to earn it and the only way I can think of to do that is to stay here and clean up. To take control of my life and deserve the wonderful girls that I have been blessed with.

I won't ask you to forgive me; I know how hard that is for you. I also will not ask for Meredith's forgiveness because I know what that answer will be and I don't deserve it from her. All that I ask of you and all that I ever will is that you'll be strong for her show her that you're not a disappointment like I am. Tell her how much you love her and hug her every day because I want nothing more than to do that every single minute I'm here and I can't.

I don't deserve that and I know it but you, Rosemarie, you have every right to feel the way you feel towards me. I don't blame you and I never will. I just want you to know how proud I am of you. I don't know if that means anything to you but I'm hoping it does. You are what Meredith needs and I'm not worried about her if she's with you. You'll take care of her, you'll take care of each other, and I know it.

Thank you for stepping up and taking responsibility for my Mer bear. Thank you for not taking any more of my crap and doing something about it. Thank you for making me realize what a great daughter I have even though I had nothing to do with the way you turned out. I'm just sure Meredith will turn out very much the same and I'm grateful for that.

There's an event later on in the program where patients can get visitors. In this time it's supposed to be family and friends and all they do is talk about how everything got screwed up and how it made everyone feel. It's not for a long while and I know the answer before I even ask but I was hoping you would come so I can at least see Meredith. Just think it over; it's not for a few months from now. I leave it completely up to you and respect your answer no matter what.

I gave you a reason to not trust me and I hate that more than anything. You are my oldest and the strongest, and I miss you like crazy but I understand your distance. And I'll respect it whole heartedly. I know I have a lot of making up to do and that I will never get the chance to make it up to you but I can try. I can do that for Meredith and be the mother that she deserves, the mother you both deserve. The one I should have been from the very start.

I know this letter might not mean anything to you or possibly not even be seen but I mean every word of it, Rosemarie. I am so proud of you and the woman you've become. The women you and Meredith will both become. I love you Rosemarie... I love both my girls.

Janine.

I think this is a tad cheesy but that's just me and at least I tried. Also one more chapter and this story is kaput. Thanks for reading, you guys are awesome. (: