"My name. My birth name. It's Mihnea."
His eyes widen as he glances over my shoulder. I turn my head to Blake standing next to Vlad and Dresden, their mouths slightly open, shocked expressions on their faces.
"Let’s go in the office and talk, okay?"
I turn and hurry to Blake. I reach up, grip my hand around the back of his neck, and pull his lips to mine, giving him a hard but brief kiss. My heart's pounding in my ears at this new revelation. Nineteen years and I've never been able to recall this detail of my formative years. It's like something has lit a fire under my ass, and for once, I'm eager to share this with my good doctor.
I rush into his office and shut the door, more forcefully than I intend.
"I was asleep and had a flashback. I don't want to use that name, but I wanted you to know. It was Mihnea. My name was Mihnea," I say quickly.
"Well, Lily, I think, for once, you're moving in the right direction."
I smile at him, running my fingers through my hair. "I don't know if I want to remember, but . . . maybe it will help me figure all this shit out."
He grins. "I think you're right. Tell me about the flashback."
I sit on the chaise and take a deep breath.
Here we go . . . again.
The team is huddled in my office for last minute planning. Blake's charity event is two days away and he's spent the last four days putting this thing into overdrive. After our family dinner the other night, he dove into planning headfirst.
"So, are we missing anything," I ask, shuffling through all our paperwork for a fourth time.
"No, ma'am," Vlad says, straightening himself from the front of my desk.
"Well, let's all get some rest. This event is going to give us all gray hair," I say, dismissing them.
I rest my elbows on the desk and tangle my fingers in my hair. Blake is going to give me more reasons for therapy. This was supposed to be a small event. No more than two hundred attendees. He handed me a guest list this morning with close to a thousand and informed me he'll be selling tickets to late comers at the door. We know how important this event is for him, so we're trying to be lenient, but he's pushing my patience for what I will and won't tolerate.
I sigh, leaning forward to rest my head on the cool surface of my desk. The framed picture to the right is a sketch of Blake, Sorina, and I. She drew it, framed it, and gave it to me after dinner. It's my most prized possession.
Grabbing the frame, I stare down at the picture like sketch. Sorina has a gift. I'd love to enroll her in some art classes once we're on safer ground. Blake bought her a shit load of canvases, paints, and other stuff yesterday while he, Dresden and Vlad ran out. Somehow, he sweet-talked his way into going without me. I was a nervous wreck the entire time.
Sitting the picture back, I quietly make my way to Sorina's room. Her doors open, and the soft beat of bagpipes drifts to my ears. She's taken a liking to the Celtic style music Jameson introduced her to the other day. She's standing in front of her easel, a pallet of paint in her left hand, brush in the other.
Her movements are small and precise as she adds colors to her work. She's fluid and graceful, no hesitation or second-guessing. We received her paperwork this morning. She's only thirteen and wise beyond her years. Her folks sold her when she was ten. Regardless of her maturity, I've made her take sessions everyday with Saladinya.
She deserves the best of everything, and all the help she can get to overcome her time in the rings. I don't want her to end up like me. Angry, bitter, resentful . . . she deserves so much better. She and Blake both do. I still don't understand why they're willing to settle for me, but I'm selfish enough not to change a damn thing.
Sorina turns around, meeting my eyes and smiles. She sets her tools down and skips to the stereo, cutting off the music.
"What are you painting today?"
"You, actually," she says, moving to block the canvas.
"Can I see?" I sit on the edge of her bed.
Her lips curve downward, she taps her toe, something she does when embarrassed.
"I'm afraid you'll be angry."