But she couldn’t do that anymore.
She had burned her bridges with him and the other boys, and although she knew she could explain and apologize—-
If Sergei chose to reject her, she didn’t think she would be able to bear it.
In the end, it was better to pretend she was a gold-digging slut. At least when she was pretending, the rejection wouldn’t be so…personal, and she could allow herself to dream that maybe one day, when they found out the truth—-
They would think she was worth loving again.
A girl could dream, couldn’t she?
Taking a deep breath, Seri forced herself to look up at Sergei with a coy smile. “Did you miss me, Sergei baby?” When he only gazed at her with inscrutable dark eyes, she pouted, saying, “Don’t you? I know you did.” She lowered her voice, saying throatily, “And you know the good thing about missing me now?” She forced herself to laugh. “I’m not your sister anymore. So you can do more than hug me. You can do more than kiss me.” And to illustrate her point, she reached for his cock—-
Sergei caught her wrist in a grip with a shake of his head.
Seri wanted to throw up. Oh God, it was like that night all over again, and she had to force herself to hit on Fyodor, who had been the only father she had ever known.
But that night had been her choice, and this – this was her only choice, too.
With Sergei still staring at her, she said bitterly, “I know what you’re thinking. You probably think I’m sick and disgusting and that you wish I had never been—-”
And then Sergei smiled, that gentle, beautiful smile which he had always given her every time she went to him as a child, wanting his reassurance that he would always be her big brother forever.
Seri’s fingers tightened around the swing’s chains.
“All I was thinking, Seri, was to let you have your say because it was clear to me that you seemed to think it was what I should hear. And now it’s my turn. Why didn’t you answer any of our calls?”
She didn’t answer, couldn’t bear to tell him she had been too afraid to even check if he or Misha had contacted her.
Because if they hadn’t—-
It would have been the final nail in the coffin, and she wouldn’t be able to go on dreaming that one day she would be their little sister again.
“Do you have your phone with you?”
“Call your voice mail. I’ll be waiting in the car. I’d like to think that I know you well enough to know that you couldn’t be like this to me and Misha if you had listened to our messages.”
She watched him walk away from her, and she nearly, nearly cried out for him to stop.
Please stop walking away.
She was so, so tired of always getting left behind.
Taking her phone out, she shakily dialed her voice mail and played back the messages.
Sergei: I heard from Papa. Call me.
Misha: Vassi told me what happened. Where are you? Come back home.
Sergei: Let me at least know you’re fine, baby. We can still fix this, so please just call me or Misha.
Misha: I know you’re scared, Seri, but you don’t have to be. We’re here for you, and I’ll beat the hell out of anyone who tries to hurt you. That includes Vassi.
Sergei: I know you’re in Tokyo now. I’m glad you’re taking some time off. Take care there. We love you and miss you, baby.
Misha: Welcome back, little dove. It pisses me off that you’ve chosen to ask help from Max and not me, but I’m just glad you’re back home. The only reason I didn’t visit you in Tokyo was because Sergei told me you needed time and space to figure things out on your own. Is he right?
By the time she finished reading their messages and listening to their voice mails, her iPhone’s screen was completely wet and she had to wipe it with her shirt before she could type a text for Misha.
I’m sorry it took me so long to answer, Misha. I love you.
Misha: I understand, little dove. Love you. I can’t call you right now, if I hear your voice and you start to cry, I might start picking a fight with Vassi and Papa again. Come visit your poor, lonely brother in uni when you have the time.
Seri: I will. I really miss you.
Misha: Miss you, too.
Sliding her phone back in her pocket, she slowly made her way to where Sergei’s car was idling. It was fairly easy to spot since like the other boys in the family, Sergei mostly preferred being driven around in a limousine.
She knocked on the window, and the door opened. Sergei stepped out of the car, and she threw herself in his arms.