Chapter 22. Her Birth and Her Death.

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Author's Note.

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Read on.

- star

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Belle's POV

I did not want to interrupt them and so I just walked out of the cabin. I know how important Yelena's memories are to both Nikolai and Alexei. Perhaps they just need time alone with her especially with all the things going on in New York. They miss her. She's Nikolai's only blood related sibling and Alexei's ex fiance'. They think it was their fault that she died tragically, the reason why until now, they both could not move on.

Yelena kissed her brother on his lips. And then Nikolai said this one particular word that registered in my mind so clearly because it was spoken with so much love and affection-- 'Malyshka'.

When I saw how the word rolled out of Nikolai's mouth like she's his everything, I just looked away and went out of the cabin because I did not want to overthink things. We have been on this road before with Alexei. It almost ruined us to a point that I honestly believed that we could not recover from it. I will not make the same mistake again.

There is nothing that I should be worried about. Whatever memories they are watching right now, I am sure it's because they miss her and nothing more. I despise myself for even thinking these thoughts in my head.

My heart skipped a beat when I felt someone touch my arm.

"Hey." Said Nikolai, he looked me in the eye with a confused expression. "Are you okay?"

"Uhm. Yes."

"You flinched to my touch. What's going on?"

"You startled me Nikolai. You should be thankful I just flinched." I retorted in a futile attempt to lighten up the mood.

"Are you sure?" Said Alexei while cupping my face with his palm.

They are both looking at me worriedly. I had to compose myself fast. "It's just this man who sells milkshake from the state fair. He got me so riled up."

"I see." Said Nikolai, signaling Andrey to come to him and I think I know why. Geez.

"No, Nikolai. It was nothing really, I got my milkshake so no worries. How's New York?"

He looks at me so unconvinced, obviously noticing my attempt to change the topic. He gazes at Alexei who is now talking to Andrey from not too far. I did not even follow the way they looked at each other because I am afraid they might see through me.

I just stared at the blanket of pine trees covering the mountains in the background of the lake. Fog is starting to crawl over the surface of the water as the sun starts to set. It is such a beautiful view but such an ominous atmosphere.

Nikolai slowly pulled me to him. I just closed my eyes as he kisses my forehead.

"Uhm, when do you think we can go back to the city?"

"You want to go back home? You don't like it here anymore?" He asks so gently like he's talking to a little girl.

"It's beautiful here Nikolai, it's just that—"

Yelena has memories here and I don't have a chance in hell competing against her for yours and Alexei's time even if she's only just a memory.

His phone vibrated and so I had the chance to think of an excuse, "Nikolai you should answer that. It must be important."

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