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Dimitri rubbed his eyes. He was tired. The day had been a long one and there were many things that weighed heavily on his mind. The girl was one. He had walked into his room in the early hours and was glad to see her asleep on his bed. Her small frame took up little space and he was impressed that she had felt comfortable enough to fall asleep. His room lacked a feminine touch and it was strange to see her in his space. She had awoken when he came in and he doubted she had gone back to sleep. Vladimir had taken her back to Sergey as the sun came up.

There were other concerns on Dimitri's mind. As summer reached its height the captains would meet. This annual meeting although important for strategy, brought with it a fair amount of tension. The heat and the full city always meant fighting and strife. Old arguments flared up again and too often women were at the root of the conflict. A long month lay ahead of Dimitri.

He heard the footsteps before his door was flung open.

'Dimitri!' Vladimir was first through the door.

'There has been an attempt on her life.'

Dimitri was momentarily dumbfounded. 'Whose life?' he asked.

'The girl you chose; Lia'

Dimitri felt the blood drain  from his face. 'Is she alive?' he could barely say.

'Here's the strange part Dima, she is alive. She killed the assassin. 'said Vladimir.

Dimitri couldn't believe it. 'Take me to Sergey's compound ' he ordered.

The drive to Sergey's compound seemed to last forever. Dimitri couldn't believe that she had survived. Either the assassin was a beginner to the job or she had been lucky to have someone nearby to save her. Either way, Dimitri had no doubt that his public singling out of her was the reason why Lia was attacked. He felt a surge of guilt. This was why he had never chosen a girl before now. Too much risk and the potential for someone to hurt him was suddenly there. 

When he arrived at Sergey's he saw straight away where the attack had happened. People were congregated in the entrance hall. In the middle was a body, covered with a sheet. Dimitri walked in and lifted the sheet. Lifeless eyes stared back at him. The face was unfamiliar and Dimitri noted with interest that the cause of death was a deep wound in the chest. A disturbance made Dimitri look up. Sergey walked into the hall.

'Where is she?' Dimitri asked Sergey.

'In the next room,' Sergey answered. 'my men are questioning her. This is a serious incident. We haven't had a death in the compound in a long time'.

'She needs to come with me,' Dimitri said. 'You cannot keep her safe here'

Sergey agreed. 'Your woman has brought us only trouble. Take her and leave us to clean up this mess. '

Lia walked out of the room. Her shirt stained with blood and her face paler than it had ever been. She looked tired as she walked across to Dimitri.

'Do you have your things?' he asked her.

'Yes,' she replied.

Wearily she walked out of the compound, following Vladimir. Lia didn't look back as she left the only place she could remember as home.

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