estate was filled with females. Poor Claudius had to
be getting overwhelmed at this point between a
pregnant Sierra, Ewwiekewwieikkie, Callista,
Drusilla, and Jelena. Jelena had been left alone for
the remainder of the evening as Sierra and her
husband spent time behind closed doors. Eventually,
the teenager fell asleep with hopes of a better
tomorrow. She couldn't move backwards and fix the
problems between her and her best friend. She hoped
they could, instead, move forward. It was with that
in mind that she stood in the kitchen making a
breakfast for everyone. It was time to join in
together and leave behind all the bull shit. It had
been too long since this family was together. She
was feeling infinitely better after a good rest, and
a small bacta patch over her healing nose. Sierra
hummed a happy song to the infant growing in her
womb. It would be interesting to see how long her
good mood stayed.
The first sounds of other life forms sounded across
the whole second floor. Ewwiekewwieikkie came
bounding out of her bedroom with the little child on
her back. Callista's arms were wrapped around her
best friend's neck for dear life. Her giggles and
excited shrieks said that she was happy. . . and
oblivious to the fact that she was a hostage. "To
the kitchen!!" Sierra could hear Callista shout
before the sounds of them crashing down the stairs
together. "*Yay*! *Ewwie*!" Sierra looked towards
the staircase. At the very base, the girls' limbs
were entangled. Callista had moved on to tickling
opened slowly, but the pounding in the sides of his
head dominated everything he felt in the early
morning. "Ugh," he groaned, as he rolled over onto
his side to look at Sierra. "My dear, I don't mean
to be sexist, but..." he said, offering her a
sympathetic smile. "Could you make sure they're both
still alive?" he asked, shirking his duty, as he
placed the pillow back over his head. He was
retreating from his duty and delegating his
authority much as he did as Grand Moff of the
Ringali Shell Oversector. The absentee father that
Jelena often spoke about was beginning to rear its
ugly head. He needed just a little more sleep he had
decided, and since Sierra was younger, he assumed
she could get by on less.
Sierra lay on
her side, comfortably nuzzling her pillow against
the front of her body. She was awake, but reluctant
to actually rise from bed until she heard the girls
outside in the hallway. "Mmrrrmmmm.." She mumbled
incoherently, rolling over to her opposite side. She
snatched the pillow from on top of his head. "Nooo.
You can't send me out there alone. I'll become a
casualty to the war." She stated dramatically while
attempting to wiggle her way on top of her husband.
From there, she continued to wiggle to rouse him
fully. "Okay. *Fine*." He didn't even have to
verbally debate with her. "I'll get up, however..."
She said, making her meanest face whilst poking him
in the nose. "In six months when I'm round with our
baby, I'm going to pull the pregnancy card on you
all the time." He could sleep in for now. She would
*not* be abandoned with so many females for the
entire morning. Sierra slid off of him. She lazily
made herself semi-decent, then slipped into his blue
robe so she needn't try any harder to get dressed.
Ewwiekewwieikkie was letting out a loud series of
giggles as she and Callista rolled around at the
bottom of the stairs. "Yay!" she said, as she saw
Sierra at the top of the stairs. "We need food! We
need candy! We need pie! We need ice cream! We need
cake! We need cookies!" she demanded in rapid
succession before running into the kitchen. When she
was alone in the kitchen she ran back out towards
the stairs. "Hurry, Sierra!" she said, before
running back into the kitchen. Another moment went
by and she ran back out to the stairs. "I said
hurry!" she said, frantically, stomping her feet
excessively, before starting to shake. With that,
she ran back into the kitchen, before moving into
the cabinets to try and find something to eat
herself. "Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!" she chanted, as
she began making an awful mess of things.
the sleep from her eyes, Sierra paused at the top of
the stairs to watch Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista.
The small human girl went darting back and forth
after her friend, all the while chanting. "We need
food! We need candy! We need pie! We need ice
cream!" A very tired Sierra realized that she had
gotten her wish: they now had *two*
Ewwiekewwieikkies living under their roof. She began
darting down the stairs. She wondered if
Ewwiekewwieikkie would take to her son as well as
she did with Callista. The matter of Drusilla was
beyond her right now. Even the children couldn't
know at this point. "I'm coming!" She said,
appearing in a kitchen that looked as messy as if
five human children had gone through it, each their
own mini-tornado. She didn't seem aggravated or
anything, she simply began collecting things to make
pancake, bacon, and eggs for the whole family. To
keep Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista at bay, she
handed each an open jar of fruit. "A better
breakfast will be ready soon. You like pancakes,
seated herself on the floor. She held a large pot in
her hand and a spoon in the other. "Ewwie! Let's be
in a band together!" The ruckus that followed was
*more* than enough to wake the rest of the house.
Rodney slowly descended the stairs, wondering who
the little brat that had occupied the Squib was. She
could not be bothered with such a house guest, but
at least she allowed for her to get some peace and
quiet. "Oh no! Oh no, no, no!" she said, as she saw
Sierra get to work on preparing breakfast. "You must
*never* do menial labor," she said, as she took her
seat at the breakfast table. "You must bring back
the servants. Or better yet, have papa arrange for
some slaves ... you don't have to pay those you
know," she observed, with a happy smile, as she set
to the task of finding some juice to drink. "No
aliens that are too ghastly, though. We must have
handsome slaves," she instructed Sierra, as she
waited for whatever awful culinary creations would
be delivered to her. She was determined to never,
ever, get her hands dirty for the remainder of her
away from the cooking food briefly. While there had
been servants in her home growing up, it was
strictly for appearances. Coming from what she did,
it was no surprise that Sierra had worked hard her
whole life. Cooking was a task she enjoyed. It was
always rewarding...because who didn't love breakfast
foods? "Good morning, Drusilla." She was laughing,
"On your eighteenth birthday, I may allow you to
hire one handsome *servant*. We're above slaves.
Or... I could gift you with some cooking classes,"
she winked, prodding at the food briefly. She
crouched down to level with Callista. "Why don't you
go sit at the table with Ewwie? I'll set you both up
with something to color." She saw the little, brown
headed girl grin, then dart over toward the table
and seat herself extremely close to Drusilla.
Her legs swung back and forth beneath the table. She
was presented with a basket of crayons and some
paper to color on. Thankfully, the crayons would
only work on *that* paper. The walls wouldn't become
a canvas for beautiful artwork. Sierra moved back to
her task, looking to Drusilla. "Where's your sister?
Breakfast is almost ready. Can you go wake her,
classes? Ick. No," Drusilla said, as she rolled her
eyes at Sierra dramatically. "If you don't wish a
slave then perhaps a droid can do the work. You are
Countess of Leiliani ... you should *not* be
cooking. You should not be doing anything, frankly,"
she said, as she took a gentle nibble of the toast.
"Ah. Full," she declared, as she ate very little, to
preserve her figure to ensure she would attract the
finest suitors when she came of age. "Can I go wake
her?" she asked, as she looked to Sierra
incredulously. "See. You need a servant already.
They actually do the things you ask them to do ...
instead of ignore you," she said, with a smirk,
before she pursed her lips, turning to the HoloNet
instead. She did not move a centimeter ... she was
*not* Sierra's messenger.
her shoulders. Countess or not, Sierra liked to
remain useful. She would continue to work, cook, and
whatever else even once the baby arrived. "Thank you
for that tidbit of advice, dear." Was she *really*
done? The piece of toast looked virtually untouched.
A small bird would have eaten more. Sierra started
turning off burners now that breakfast was finished.
She moved towards the table. "Drusilla, you are a
gorgeous young lady and any man will find you to be
a trophy worth limitless credits..." She tapped on
the plate containing the toast. "But please, for all
that is good and holy, eat a little more? You don't
need to starve yourself. One more bite?" At that
point she was already begin ignored by the HoloNet.
She realized that Drusilla was not going to help
her, or even care that she tried to comfort her into
eating like a teenager should.
reluctance, Sierra made her way back to the second
floor. Jelena's room *had* been untouched. She had
made the mistake of entering it at one point when
she meant to go to Ewwiekewwieikkie's room. She
stood at the closed door. This was going to bring
about Round Two of the Jelena vs. Sierra fight ...
or was it Round Three? She sighed, knocking on the
door loudly enough to be noticed. Claudius owed her
*big time*! "Jelena?"
Jelena called out, mockingly, as she sat on the edge
of the bed, looking at the similarly aged girl who
was moving into her room. She gasped suddenly as she
noted some of the bruising on her face, unaware of
the extent of her injuries following the accident.
"Well, I must say. You certainly are starting to
look closer to my father's age at least," she said,
in full catty mode, before raising from the bed and
moving towards the vanity. "Would you like to borrow
some of my makeup to cover your face up?" she said,
before spinning around to look at her. "Or maybe you
would be better off going down to the guard house,
finding one of the Stormtroopers, and getting
whatever paint they slap onto their walkers ...
maybe *that* will cover up your ugliness," she said,
before shaking her head at the woman. "What do *you*
want?" she demanded, folding her arms in front of
her chest in a defiant huff. She was nineteen
rolled so hard that it seemed like they'd get stuck
in place. Sierra lingered in her friend's room,
having only ever accompanied her to Delaya, not
Esseles. "Good morning, sweetie." Two could play
this game. Without a speeding vehicle involved, they
could verbally attack each other without any serious
injuries. "I appreciate your willingness to help.
I'm not worried about my face. It certainly didn't
stop your father last night either. Though, I
suppose you know that. Sharing a wall with us..."
She looked towards that very wall, clicking her
tongue against the top of her mouth. Tsk tsk. "It
must *suck*." Sierra couldn't help it. Jelena made
her feel immature, like she was *actually* a
nineteen year old. "I made breakfast. You will come
down and eat with your sisters. Don't make me drag
at nothing to enrich yourself and increase your
station," Jelena said, as she rose from her chair,
and moved towards Sierra in a flurry. "You were my
friend. You thought I was dead, and how do you
respond ... by taking my father's bed?" she said,
getting her face right in Sierra's, her cheeks
flushing red as the anger consumed her. "If my
father saw you for what you really are he never
would have made such a mistake. But he is a dirty
old man who has *always* preferred younger women. I
suppose the fact that Htaere was approaching her
mid-20s meant it was time to find a *girl* whose age
still ended in teen. Enjoy your time next door. It
won't last," she said, before moving past her to
exit the bedroom. As she did, she slammed her
shoulder roughly into the woman, before moving
towards the stairs to join the others for breakfast.
hair on the back of Sierra's neck was standing
upright. She was angry and deeply hurt all at the
same time. After enduring several more low blows,
Sierra felt so furious that she didn't want to join
the rest of the family for breakfast. As badly as
she wanted to mend her friendship, it seemed that
Jelena inspired a monster to rise inside of her. Not
only that, but Jelena successfully knocked her
confidence on its ass. She had only just proven
herself to Claudius...now what? Sierra seriously
considered if she should spend some time in Delaya
to defuse her anger. Instead, she leaned on old
reliable: her violin. She made a brief appearance in
her bedroom, unaware if her husband had awoken to
his wife and his daughter yelling at each other. She
plucked her black violin from its spot on the wall,
then disappeared out of the house entirely. She hide
herself in the garden. Seated on a cool bench, she
let herself cry while she placed a sad, sad song.
Losing Jelena like this was like her dying again. At
this point, she'd prefer they didn't utter a word to
each other to stop the turmoil between them from
a brief shower to rouse him from his slumber while
Sierra stormed the bedroom to retrieve her violin.
When he was finished he dressed himself, descended
the stairs, and spent a few moments with his three
daughters and his niece. He wondered where Sierra
was, as he was blissfully ignorant to the fact that
there was any animosity in the house. He thought
everything was *perfect*, because to him it was.
After eating a meager portion of food, but decidedly
more than Drusilla, he moved out of the estate where
he saw Sierra. He moved down the path towards the
bench, and coming up behind her he wrapped both of
his arms around her. It was only then that he
noticed she was crying, and he released his grasp in
a panic. "What is wrong?" he asked, genuinely
concerned for his young wife. He was arguably the
least perceptive man in the galaxy.
relieving to release her emotions. She had been
clinging to this since the very moment Jelena had
slapped her. The sound of her crying violin was a
dead give away in the garden. She was only alone for
so long before the warmest arms wrapped around her.
The music stopped abruptly. *Claudius*. What the
hell did she tell him? He hadn't even had a chance
to bask in the happiness for a full twenty-four
hours. Her sad eyes met with his. She debated
unloading on him. She even thought about suggesting
distance from Jelena and the rest of the family, so
that they could be happy *without* an outsider. She
frowned deeply, blinking away new tears. Her
hormones were so far out of whack. Try as she might
to blame them, her sadness was the underlying cause.
She sniffled. "Jelena hates me..." The words dripped
in drama. As her violin met with the bench, she
failed to fill him into the various fights they had.
"And I don't..." Her hands touched with his. "..I
don't want to ruin the family's happiness. I would
sacrifice our friendship again and again for this. I
can leave, if you think it best. Briefly enough that
she can get comfortable here." Tears continued to
run down her cheeks. She hated burdening him.
me ... those three words shattered Claudius to the
core, causing him to stumble backwards slowly. By
the time he managed to sit down almost all of the
color had left his face, leaving him a terrible
shell of a man. He thought he had everything, but it
turned out he had *nothing*. Just like his failed
administration of the Ringali Shell, his lack of
attention to detail had caused him to mismanage his
family as well. "No. No ... you must not leave me.
You must not leave *us*," he stressed, as he reached
for her desperately. The entire planet suddenly felt
like it was spinning off its axis. He felt
lightheaded and immediately regretted not eating
more. "Why?!" he asked, raising his voice, as he
desperately searched for answers. "Why does she hate
you?" he asked again, exasperated, as he raised his
hands dramatically and then dropped them back down
on his lap. "You two were always so close..." he
said, trying to make sense of it, but of course he
was just guessing. In a decade he only saw them
together a handful of times, but what he remembered
was happy. He had a terrible case of rose colored
lenses when looking upon the days before the
destruction of Alderaan.
This was *not*
what Sierra wanted to happen. She was conflicted
when it came to not telling him the truth. It felt
like lying by omission when she hadn't mentioned the
'cunt' incident of the previous day. She grasped his
hands, notating how the color had sunk from his
face. Sierra couldn't leave him, not even for a day.
The man needed someone to take care of him. She
instantly caught on that he had avoided eating. She
would shove food in his mouth until he vomited if he
kept this up. She was no longer just taking care of
Drusilla and Ewwiekewwieikkie, she was caretaker to
her husband as well. Sierra sat close to him. Her
hands touched his. Leaving them would hurt her
infinitely more than remaining standing in the
middle of the storm that her and Jelena had created.
she admitted, resting her head on his shoulder. "I
married you. That's the over simplification of why
she hates me. She sees this as the ultimately
betrayal. The first time I saw her on Delaya, she
slapped me and called a cunt." She rolled her head
against his shoulder. "She claims that I'm *fucking*
you for nobility, title, money, *whatever*. We just
fought." She admitted to him. "Claiming I have an
expiration date...you'll bore of me once I'm older."
She tilted her head upwards. It was the fact that *Jelena*
said those words that hurt the most. "I don't know
how to patch things up with her, because every time
we see each other, I lose my composure." She didn't
want their happiness to sink. She was determined to
keep it going. Her hands clutched his. "Don't be
unhappy." She pressed her forehead against his. "I'm
happy she's here, I am. You should be too.
Everything else will smooth out." She tried to
comfort her own husband while she ached. Maybe he
really should replace her. It wasn't the first time
she'd caused unhappy times.
you a what?" Claudius asked, unable to believe his
innocent little girl could have used such a word. He
was horrified, but in every problem he saw the need
to cast blame. "The Rebellion. It must have been the
Rebellion. I always knew they must have brainwashed
her," he complained, bitterly, clenching his hand
into fists at the thought of them. "You must use
your skills as a psychologist to fix here, Sierra.
Your talents will prove to be a blessing in this
difficult time. You can save this family," he told
her, as he moved to wrap his arms back around her.
He could not accept any of what she was saying. In
his mind the Rebels were to blame. They were
*always* to blame.
Sierra was not
on board with blaming the Rebellion. She had spent a
lot more time with Jelena when she was growing up.
This was about years of complaining to each other
about their parents. Sierra would have felt the same
way if Jelena had gone off and married her
father...or worse: her mother. She couldn't very
well tell Claudius that his daughter hated him, so
she was forced to go along with him. He embraced her
once more, spouting nonsense about saving the family
and fixing Jelena. Her face grew more and more pale
as she felt she was setting herself up for more
failure. She wanted to cry because Claudius wasn't
the only one losing things. Jelena was no longer her
friend. Letting her husband down... Sierra didn't
want that. Her hands touched with his arms. "You
can't put all of this on me..." She told him
nervously. "I love you. I love Jelena. I will *try*.
I can't make any promises and you can't hold me
accountable if I can't do it..." She looked sad
again, *really* sad. Usually, Sierra could think of
a pretty solid plan of attack when it came to
'fixing' people. None of her other clients had the
same personal ties that Jelena did, which threw the
game off entirely. Horrible feelings had taken root
inside of her.
Ewwiekewwieikkie came bounding down the hillside
towards Claudius and Sierra with Callista in tow. On
her plate she had a piece of cake, topped with ice
cream, candy, and whipped cream. "You left without
eating, Sierra!" she said, before offering her the
plate of overloaded sweets. "We make this! Eat it!
Eat it! Eat it!" she exclaimed, excitedly, as she
practically shoved it at her. More of the
ingredients found their way into her blue fur than
it did the plate. She was a mess and so was Callista.
The happy young Squib was glad to be of help,
sensing that everyone was sad. "Smile!" she
demanded, before giving a salute, mocking the
actions of the Imperial stormtroopers that
surrounded the estate. If only everyone had her
Callista was having the time of her life at Uncle
and Auntie's house. The kitchen was a wreck, as
Sierra would soon see and give in to hiring some
cleaning droids instead of trying to play catch up
by herself. The girls bore something that only could
be explained as a diabetic's dream. All those sweets
involved in the concoction were delicious alone, but
all together, Sierra wasn't so sure. The sweet
gesture from Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista was a
thing of beauty. She looked at Callista, who had
whipped cream in her hair, then over to
Ewwiekewwieikkie, who wore almost as much of the
food as she offered. Finally, she looked up at her
husband. She was teary, but now for a totally
different reason. Ewwiekewwieikkie turned her frown
upside down. Sierra took the plate. "Mmmm. Whipped
ice cake candy, my favorite!" She plucked up a
gigantic spoon and began to eat it. It caused an
instant sugar rush ... and it wasn't all that bad
either. If Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista put their
heads together, they could have one hell of a sweets
shop together. "Mmmmm! It's so yummy!" She scooped
up a little, offering to her husband. "C'mon, try
some." She persuaded.
looked at the girls and the food they had brought
for them. He could not believe that Sierra was brave
enough to eat it. "Oh. Thanks," he said to Sierra,
as he looked at the scoop of sugar she had offered
him. He never would have eaten it, but
Ewwiekewwieikkie and Callista were looking at him so
excitedly that he felt as if he had no choice. He
closed is eyes and moved his mouth forward, taking
the spoon into his mouth. It was the sweetest thing
he had ever tasted, and the most vile. His blood
sugar spiked almost instantly, but for the sake of
everyone, the smile never left his face. "Mmm," he
said to them all, before extending his arms wide to
embrace them all in a loving, but messy hug. At
least part of this family was doing well.
know how much she could eat of this before she
suffered from gestational diabetes. Good god, it was
like eating sugar straight! If she had to suffer,
then it only made sense her husband had to as well.
It was in their vows, right? Whatever special
ingredient that was inside of the concoction had
helped Sierra to feel better. As with everything
else, they would all get through this mess together.
Mind you, she thought that *before* she saw the
kitchen. She did her best to sweep everyone into her
arms, squeezing the girls and the love of her life.
At least a fraction of the family was happy. She
wasn't sure if Drusilla was ever happy when she
wasn't shopping. Jelena certainly wasn't going to be
pleased any time soon. She allowed the sweetness
from the girls to transfer onto her clothing. "Okay,
okay. Let's head inside and check out the damage."
She stood, heading up the group towards the house.
She didn't eat any more of the food. She didn't
think she could without keeling over. She remembered
to glance around the garden for the orange armor of
El-Nay, as she had failed to report her position to
Kerrie. Hopefully she was gone. Sierra cringed as
she stepped back inside. Her foot met with a pile of
whipped cream. Well, today was awesome!