If he hadn’t seen her, Peter wouldn’t have believe that Roman, his strong, god-like, so fucking beautiful, Roman, would have a child. But there she was, sitting among the children her age, dress white against the bright colors around her. She reminded Peter of the day he met Roman. Roman who sat preached on top of a strong wall like he didn’t belong in the world he lived in. Like he was meant for better and greater things. She carried the same air around her and maybe that’s why the kids around left her to her own devices.
She looked like Roman and Peter meant she really looked like Roman. Her hair, the same caramel color, was tied back with a single red ribbon. Hair dropping down her back in little ringlets. She was beautiful just like her father, eyes green as mint, skin white as silk. Her body thin like his with legs that went for miles. She looked elegant in a way that only Roman had been, something completely real and nothing fake like Olivia.
Peter rubbed his chin before peeling himself out of his car, the leather seat giving a mild squeak as he did so.
This was a bad idea…a really bad idea but it didn’t stop him from crossing the school yard, eyeing the children that began to load buses leaving the little girl alone. She didn’t move, didn’t even lift up her head as he came to a stop in front of her.
“Hey,” he said when she didn’t look at him. “I’m Peter.”
It was almost unnerving just waiting for her to say something and for a sec he thought about turning around and racing to his car, leaving behind the town he worked so hard to get to. But then…she opened her mouth, “You smell like wet dog.”
Peter blinked, “Thanks?”
She folded her hands over her lap, eyes shifting to stare up at him, “Do you have a dog? Father won’t let me have a dog. Not that it matters, I prefer cats really.”
“Do you have a cat?” he asked when she moved over to make room for him.
“No…Father said that cats will only get hair on my clothes,” she smoothed down her dress. “I don’t like hair on my clothes.”
He nodded like he understood when really? He didn’t know what the fuck she was talking about. “So?” she asked.
She sighed, reminding him of something Olivia had done the few times he’d met her. It made him feel stupid. “Do you have a dog?”
“No,” she frowned like she didn’t believe him but didn’t push. “Do you mind if I ask what your name is?”
She paused, playing with the bracelet on her wrist, “Talaitha…”
Talaitha?...a Romani name? Roman had give his daughter a Romani name? “Are you lying to me?” he just had to ask. Because really only Roman’s daughter would fuck with him.
“No,” she scowled. “Why do I have a reason to lie about who I am?”
“I don’t know…Some people do.”
Green eyes narrowed at him, “Are you some of those people?”
“I didn’t lie about who I am.”
“No,” she harshly stated, “You didn’t lie about your name, but that doesn’t mean you don’t lie about who you are.”
He thought about how he made himself fall in love with Letha, knowing she was the safer, when he in fact had loved Roman first. How much it had pained Peter to fucked Letha, how much he wished it was a tall, thin, lean body instead of the soft, round figure under him. He had hoped that doing this would make him fall out of love with Roman but in the end he was the only one to blame for the betrayal he saw in those green eyes.
“You should go…” Talaitha’s words caused Peter to frown. “You should go Peter Rumancek. Your Gypsy blood would not be tolerated by my father.” His back stiffened. “Father talks about you all the time. Mostly in anger and I don’t believe he’ll be very happy to see you with me.” She turned to look at him, face drawn into a familiar look and he knew what she was about to do. It was the same look Roman would get in eyes before….
He sighed and smiled, letting her do as she pleases. “You will forget about meeting me Peter Rumancek. You will go back into your car and go home. You will forget ever meeting my father and loving him. You will leave us be and live a happy life…now sleep.”
His eyes drifted close, but not before he noticed the tinkle of blood running down her nose.
“Did you have fun at school today?” Talaitha closed the book she was reading and smiled up at her father.
“It was…decent. I meet someone.”
“I hope it wasn’t a boy,” he gave her a side way glance. “We are still both too young to be dealing with boys at our age.”
She giggled, “It was a dog in fact,” she paused a little and hmmed. “He was beautiful. Dark hair…Blue eyes.”
“Blue eyes?” Roman frowned. Blue eyes on a dog…Had it been a Husky? It wasn’t uncommon for Huskies to have blue eyes but…where was there a Husky in this town. “Do you think you’ll see him again?”
Talaitha frowned, glancing out the window, watching as trees blurred together and thought about Peter. Peter and the soft look in his eyes when he stared at her. A look of guilt and sadness, something completely different form her father’s angry and bitter eyes. Only…they both held the same pain behind guilt and bitterness. The same pain she saw in Roman’s eyes on the day of her birthday was the same pain she saw in Peter’s today. “No…I don’t think so.” She answered back, turning to smile at her father.