Bitten Sisters Book 5
Fiction, Fantasy, Dark, Mystery
June 23, 2021
Victoria is so excited with the expectation of a new sister. However, she is finding she is no longer the center of attention. She is feeling some resentment. Meanwhile, all the changes within the Council, the Bank, and Hell aren’t going smoothly. Uri and Nattie are feeling the stress and are being stretched thin. The Bank under Uri’s command is threatening to collapse, and he gets arrested. Hell is becoming Hell again. The Council with its reduced power is losing its touch, but they have a new project for Natalia.
Asister doesn’t have to be family. What is loved can be hated. And sometimes better can be worse.
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Natalia opened her eyes. Her body felt sweaty. Every breath was a strain,yet she knew she wasn’t in labor. Uri shifted beside her, but didn’t wake. He had been working so hard of late, that when he went to bed, he slept deep.
She mulled over what had woken her. The last time she waspregnant, she suffered from nightmares about her own child biting her. Those had been unfounded.
This nightmare was a memory.
All the Council members had gathered. She, Tia, and Mirren were the only ones not new on the Council. They were all there to witness Sherri’s execution.
Sherri was naked and in the death chamber cell. It was all concrete and piping. She was ranting and raving about how they were making a mistake.
Natalia remembered the end. Water sprayed from above, soaking Sherri. Then they electrocuted her.
In the dream, however, the water continued to flow and drownedthem all.
She rose with difficulty, swinging her legs out of bed.
‘What?’ Uri said in a sleepy voice.
‘Bathroom,’ she said.
He didn’t answer. She knew he was already back to sleep.
She rose with difficulty. By the time she reached the doorway to the bathroom, she could hear six padded feet following her.
‘What are you doing out of bed?’ Natalia said, easing herself onto the toilet.
Two sets of eyes, one blue and one gold, stared at her.
‘I thought I heard Matilda,’ Victoria said.
‘Matilda is sleeping.’
However, the moment she said that, Matilda kicked.
‘Ouch,’ Natalia said, rubbing her side.
Tail, the cat, settled between her legs, curling her tail around Natalia’s ankles.
Victoria smiled and giggled. Her blonde hair was sticking up in a wild hairdo.
‘Tell your sister to be good,’ Natalia said, still rubbing her side.
‘Be good, Matilda,’ Victoria said with a gleeful smile.
Merrup, Tail chirped.
‘Tail said so, too,’ Victoria said.
Natalia felt the baby shift, causing her to groan.
‘Is Matildacoming today?’ Victoria said.
‘No, not today.’
Natalia finished and flushed. She didn’t know if she would ever get used to having an audience when she was in the bathroom. Both Victoria and Tail always seemed to know when to show up if they weren’t following her around.
‘Where’s your nightgown?’
‘The air conditioning is on. Viperians don’t get hot. Go get your nightgown. You don’t need to run around naked.’
‘The big girls run naked.’
Natalia glared at Victoria and lifted a lip to show a tooth. She was getting the hang of Viperian parenting.
‘I’ll go get my nightgown,’ Victoria said, showing a slightly mopey look. ‘It’s almost light. I can get dressed.’
‘What time is it?’ She hadn’t looked when she got out of bed.
‘Almost light time.’
Natalia stepped out of the bathroom to see the clock.
“Almost five am. Go get dressed.’
She knew there was no more sleep for her, not with Victoria awake. Once she woke, she stayed awake. Thankfully, once she dressed, she stayed dressed.
Natalia followed Victoria out of the bedroom. She watched her go to her room while she headed to the kitchen. They were still staying in the apartment in Hell.
It had taken months to get a construction crew to work on their house. However, they found more structural damage than originally thought, increasing the repair time. The last estimate for completion was a few more weeks. It always was just a few more weeks, even after a few more weeks had passed.
She hadn’t seenthe house in months and didn’t know if Uri was making any additions or changes that affected the repair time. He wasn’t telling her, and she found she didn’t want to know.
She poured sanguine tea into two cups.
‘Tea party by the window?’ she said to Victoria when she came into the room.
Victoria wore shorts with a top that didn’t match.
Natalia set one cup on Victoria’s play table by the window, along with two cookies. She returned to her own cup and drained it.
‘I’m going to dress,’ she said to Victoria, so she didn’t follow her.
Tail had situated herself across from Victoria.
‘Okay.’ Victoria sipped her tea, but her focus was out the window.
Natalia went into the bedroom and sat on the bed. A hand reached up to fondle one of her breasts, which felt huge and swollen to her.
‘Don’t ever touch me again,’ she said with a slight hiss.
‘My lovely, cranky wife,’ Uri said in a murmur.
He pulled her down beside him.
‘How’s my girl, Matilda?’ he said.
‘She kicked me earlier.’
‘My feisty girl.’
‘All your girls are feisty.’
‘Are you going to the Council meeting this afternoon?’
‘Yes, required attendance.’
‘Why? What do you know?’
‘I know what is being presented.’
‘How do you know? I don’t even know.’
‘I can’t say.’
She jabbed him with one of her elbows.
‘You’re up to something,’ she said. ‘As usual.’
‘Nope, not me.’
He snuggled against her. His hand moved down to caress her bulging belly.
‘Matilda is quiet,’ he said while he continued to caress her.
‘She likes that, when you massage.’
‘You do too. Roll over onto your side. You will both be more comfortable.’
With grunts, she rolled over.
‘Victoria is up,’ she said. ‘I only want to lie down a few minutes.’
She sighed, and her body relaxed with his gentle massaging. The next time she opened her eyes, Victoria was staring at her.
‘Tea party over?’ she said to her.
‘Lunch,’ Victoria said.
Natalia glanced up to see it was almost eleven.
‘I didn’t want to sleep this late. Is Mag here?’
Natalia knew Uri had left for work. She cursed him for letting her sleep. With a grunt, she heaved herself out of bed to head into the bathroom. Both Victoria and Tail joined her.
‘Are you two going to take a shower with me, too?’
Victoria shook her head.
When Nataliafinished peeing, she turned on the shower and slipped offher nightgown. Victoria and Tail ran out of the bathroom.
Natalia kept her hair dry, washing only what she could reach without bending over. She only needed a good rinsing. Tonight, Uri would give her body his full attention in the shower and lather her up.
She wished he werehere when she stepped out. It was hard to dry herself. She gave up and walked around the bedroom, getting her clothes readywhile she waited for her body to dry. Her strawberry blonde hair was long, reaching past the middle of her back, and she wrapped it up into a messy bun. She was too pregnant to care about makeup, and her only jewelry was her necklace that was also a knife. The blue gems glittered the same color as her eyes. Her fingers had swollen and she couldn’t wear any of her rings, not even the ring that she usually wore on her right hand, the middle finger that indicated that she was part of the Viperian women’s community. Instead, she had looped her necklace through the ring and it dangled beside the knife that almost looked like a cross.
She figured she was dry enough and pulled over a cotton dress. It usually hung past her knees, but her belly caused it to pullup to reveal them and part of her thighs.She didn’t care. It was loose and comfortable.
She slipped her feet into sandals, then headed out of the room.
‘Good morning, Mag.’
‘Morning, Nattie. Do you want some lunch?’
Mag was already pulling out a plate from the fridge. It contained a large sandwich surrounded by pickled vegetables.
‘I already had some sanguine tea this morning,’ Natalia said.
Mag also wore a cotton dress, but was barefoot.
‘How is Bonnie doing? I need someone to drive me to a council meeting,’ Natalia said, sitting down to eat.
‘She’s still stuffing her face,’ Mag said with a frown, but her voice wasn’t disapproving.
‘I know she can’t drive me. If I’m this uncomfortable, I’m sure she’s not comfortable.’
Mag chuckled. ‘I heard them bouncing around her bedroom that night after festival, I should have known he was doing a breeding. Caught her during a weak point. Don’t worry, I’ll drive you.’
‘Becky,’ Victoria said.
‘Yes, I’m sure Harold will bring Becky and you two can go hunting in the park,’ Natalia said.
Victoria clapped her hands with glee and bounced around the room.
‘Someone needs to expend a little energy,’ Mag said.
‘I need to be there at two, but I need to take a walk. Did you check…?’
‘Yeah, I climbed the building to look. There are now four baby goats.’
‘Apparently, goats have more than one.’
‘I’ll have to talk to Yiggy. I’m only allowingtwo goats.’
‘They have to refresh the milk,’ Mag said. ‘That requires baby goats. And don’t complain about the chickens. I like the eggs.’
Natalia sighed with resignation. She knew she shouldn’tcomplain. Yiggy’s building wasn’t the only one with a small farm on the roof.
‘I’ll take someone with mewhen I go for my walk.I take it she’s had her lunch?’
‘And more. I bet she’s going through another growth spurt.’
‘She and Bonnie can have an eating competition.’
Mag broke out laughing.
Natalia finished all of her sandwich and the vegetables.
‘Let me pee again and we’ll go for a walk. Are you coming with me?’ she said to Victoria.
Natalia headed to the bathroom, knowing she had a following. Tail dashed in and jumped into the tub. Victoria was dragging her wand cat toy, but Tail seemed more interested in chasing her tail in the tub because she could slide around.
‘Go get your shoes on,’ Natalia said, rising from the toilet. She had to use the counter to push herself up.
Victoria raced out of the bathroom, closely followed by Tail.
Natalia finished in the bathroom with one quick look in the mirror. She hadn’t gained as much weight with this pregnancy, but her face was full. Uri said she glowed with health. She thought she looked a little tired.
‘Coming?’ Victoria said.
‘Yes, coming. See you later, Mag.’
‘Don’t go too far.’
‘Just the bank and back.’
Victoria raced to the front door. Natalia came up behind her to open it.
‘Walk down the stairs. I don’t want you falling again.’
‘Tail has four feet to keep her balance.’
The stairwell was warm. The window on the landing was open to allow air to flow.
Natalia took her time going down the stairs. Just like her last pregnancy, her feet swelled and became painful. Walking helped, even though she complained it didn’t.
Outside on the sidewalk, it was hot and humid. There were many people out walking since there was a car ban during the day. Hell had become a busy place.
Natalia looked up the block. She felt pretty good because all of their buildings had renters. They didn’t have a single vacancy. In fact, few in the entire area did.
“Afternoon, Nattie. Victoria.”
When they were at home, they tended to speak Viperian. Now that they were outside, they would only speak English. Of course, there were always exceptions.
“Afternoon, Grazie. How’s business?”
“Very good. I’m just out collecting some rents.” Grazie was a tall, slender Viperian man. He was best friends with Uri. He was letting his black hair grow longer than most because he didn’t have an office job, other than to manage their rentals. His dress was khaki shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt. He didn’t look like a building manager.
“We have some freeloaders?”
“Nope, just a community service to pick it up so they don’t have to walk to the bank.”
“The bank is two blocks away,” she said with a slight roll of her eyes.
Grazie shrugged. “Is that where you’re headed?”
“Yes, I need to walk and might as well check to make sure I’m still in business.”
Grazie laughed. “Your savings and loan company is what got all the people moving here.”
She smiled. “We are doing well.”
They walked past the custom clothing shop called a Stitch By Design that she owned. As usual, it looked busy.
“Clothes?” Victoria said. She loved practicing her English.
“On the way back.”
Grazie laughed. “You can’t go into that shop when your clothes don’t match.”
Victoria ignored him by running ahead.
“She’s going to be an influencer in the clothing market,” Natalia said with a laugh.
“Have a nice walk,” Grazie said.
She watched him cross the street toward the furniture store. A golf cart slowed down to let him pass before speeding off.
“We’ll have speed limits for those things soon.”
Victoria waited for her at the end of the block. She danced around a flower container positioned on the edge of the curb. Natalia caught up with her to take her hand and lead her across the street. Even though there was no car traffic, Natalia insisted because of the golf carts and that it was good practice when they were in other neighborhoods.
“Lunch time,” Victoria said.
There was a steady stream of people walking toward the alley behind her businesses. Yiggy, the seamstress who worked at her sewing shop, also ran a restaurant in the back of the shop. People loved the food.
A big white hairy horse, pulling a cart, trotted by. The cart carried a load of produce.
“Horsie,” Victoria said.
“Yes, horse. The grocery store is getting their fresh produce delivered.”
Since they banned truck traffic until after nine pm, an entrepreneur came up with the cart service. The carts added to the ambiance of the area. Visitors loved feeding the horses carrots or apples, which were available for purchase by the same guy who ran the cart service.
Natalie felt surprise that Victoria continued to hold her hand to the next corner and across the street. But once they were on the street with her bank, Victoria let go and ran to the door.
“Wait for me, now.”
The building exterior looked fresh and inviting. They had replaced all the windows and hung curtains so it didn’t look so institutionalized.
Victoria pulled on the door, but it was too heavy for her. Natalia gave it the slightest tug, so Victoria thought she had opened it.
“You’re getting stronger every day.”
She felt refreshed by the blast of cool air from the building.
Ravi was looking casual and professional at the same time. He wore tan dress slacks and a brightly colored collared shirt. His smile was friendly and welcoming. He was a tall, thin man with a head of white hair. He used to be the president at the Bank where Uri worked, but now he was the manager of her savings and loan company while Uri moved up to the president’s position at the Bank. It was Ravi’s retirement plan to step back and relax.
“Afternoon, Ravi. How’s business?”
She could see that the three tellers each had customers, but there was no one waiting.
“Steady,” he said. “Would you like a lollipop today?” He said this to Victoria.
“No, thank you.”
“She’s not a candy girl,” Natalia said. “Glad to see all is well. I needed to get out for a walk, but I’m already feeling it. We’re heading back.”
“You take care, Nattie.”
He opened the door for them.
The heat and humidity hit her like a slap in the face.
“This is hot.”
“Not hot,” Victoria said.
“This isn’t hot, but it’s hot in your bedroom?”
Natalia turned into the alley to check if Yiggy’s kitchen has oozed out into the alley. They were to keep it clear. She only spied three tables with chairs. No one was sitting in them since it was too hot. Before she reached the door, two of Yiggy’s grandsons stepped out to grab a table.
“Too hot out?” she said.
“Yes, Ms. Nattie.”
They held the door open for her.
Nattie stepped through, holding Victoria’s hand.
“Ms. Nattie,” Wang Fang said.
Natalia knew she was the head cook.
Victoria grabbed one before Nattie could respond.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Thank you,” Victoria said.
Natalia munched it down before she stepped out into the clothing shop area. Lisa, her best friend and seamstress, waved at her. She was busy. Natalia knew there was no time for a chat and headed out of the shop.
“I need to sit down before I go to the Council meeting.”
“Hands dirty,” Victoria said.
“We can wash them.”
Natalia walked slowly up the stairs to the apartment, feeling the weight of Matilda.
“You’re getting big girl.”
Mag had the door open, expecting them.
Natalia felt as if she had just sat down when Mag came through.
“Time to go if I’m going to get you there on time.”
“We have to walk to the parking lot unless we can snag a golf cart.”
They were half a block into the walk when Grazie pulled up in his golf cart.
“Get in,” he said. “You’re supposed to call me when you need a lift.”
There was no more conversation. He drove them right to Natalia’s car.
The drive to Vipera was quick because Mag knew to skirt around the city. They drove through one of the gates and to the building where the Council met. Now that they were in Viperia, they would only speak Viperian.
Mag came around to help pull her out of the car.
‘I’m getting way too big.’
“If you think that, then you should go see Bonnie.’
‘It’s a lie. Misery does not like company.’
‘Victoria,’ came a scream.
‘Becky,’ Victoria screamed back.
Victoria ran to wrap her arms around Becky, who, despite being almost seven years old, was hardly as tall as Victoria, who wasn’t yet two.
‘Oh, my word,’ Harold said. ‘Victoria, you are taller than Becky. And Nattie, you look ready to explode.’
‘Thank you. Just what I want to hear.’
Harold laughed. He himself was only a head taller than Becky.
‘Park?’ Victoria said.
‘Yes, off to the park. See you later,’ Mag said. Victoria and Becky had already headed off.
Natalia followed Harold into the building. They were the last to arrive.
Sitting in the waiting area was a Viperian man. He was the most handsome man that Natalia had ever seen. She thought most Viperian men were handsome, but this man was gorgeous.
‘Take your seats,’ Mirren said. ‘Let’s take a quick roll call.’
‘Welcome, everyone. This afternoon, we have Ian, who wants to address the Council. We don’t know the topic yet.’