I was startled when the door opened a few minutes later. When I looked back I was even more startled still to see Dimitri emerge. My heart gave a small flutter, and I turned away, unsure what to think. His boots crunched in the snow as he walked over to where I was sitting. A moment later, he took off his long coat and draped it over my shoulders.
He sat down beside me. “You must be freezing.”
I was, but I didn’t want to admit it. “The sun’s out.”
He tipped his head back, looking up at the perfect blue sky. I knew he missed the sun as much as I did sometimes. “It is. But we’re still on a mountain in the middle of winter.”
I didn’t answer. We sat there in a comfortable silence for a while. Occasionally, a light wind blew clouds of snow around. It was night for Moroi, and most would be going to bed soon, so the ski runs were quiet.
“My life is a disaster,” I finally said.
“It’s not a disaster,” he said automatically.
“Did you follow me from the party?”
“I didn’t even know you were there.” His dark clothes indicated he must have been on guardian duty at the party. “So you saw the illustrious Janine cause a commotion by dragging me out.”
“It wasn’t a commotion. Hardly anyone noticed. I saw because I was watching you.”
I refused to let myself get excited over that. “That’s not what she said,” I told him. “I might as well have been working a corner as far as she was concerned.”
“You should take it.”
He flinched. “What?”
“Tasha’s offer. You should take her up on it. It’s a really great chance.”
I remembered my mom’s words about being ready for children. I wasn’t. Maybe she hadn’t been. But Tasha was. And I knew Dimitri was too. They got along really well. He could go be her guardian, have some kids with her … it would be a good deal for both of them.
“I never expected to hear you say anything like that,” he told me, voice tight. “Especially after-“
“What a bitch I’ve been? Yeah.” I tugged his coat tighter against the cold. It smelled like him. It was intoxicating, and I could half-imagine being wrapped in his embrace. Adrian might have been onto something about the power of scent. “Well. Like I said, I don’t want to fight anymore. I don’t want us to hate each other. And…well …” I squeezed my eyes shut and then opened them. “No matter how I feel about us … I want you to be happy.”
Silence yet again. I noticed then that my chest hurt.
Dimitri reached out and put his arm around me. He pulled me to him, and I rested my head on his chest. “Roza,” was all he said.
It was the first time he’d really touched me since the night of the lust charm. The practice room had been something different … more animal. This wasn’t even about sex. It was just about being close to someone you cared about, about the emotion that kind of connection flooded you with.
—Frostbite, Chapter 17