This is just a quick thank you to Roza-Dimka-Reader for looking over this chapter, and for giving me a great idea for the next one :).
Oh, yeah, there was something else I was meant to do… oh yeah. *Clears throat* Any recognized characters are not mine, and belong to Richelle Mead. Not me. That is all.
Normally, I love spending time with Dimitri's family. Really, I do. They're sweet, they're funny, they actually accept me as I am, which believe me is pretty rare. But today… well I spent most of today on tenterhooks, waiting for someone bring up Tasha. Thankfully, no one did. I really thought we could get through this visit without her coming up. I really, really did. I was wrong.
I heard the front door open and close, and heard Dimitri and Christian chatting as they came in. I hopped up from my seat, signaling to the others to be quiet as I went to meet them at the door.
"Why hello there," I said grinning as I nearly crashed into Dimitri at the door to the sitting room, pushing him back into the hall pulling the door shut behind me. Behind him I could see Christian, who in turn had nearly crashed into Dimitri.
"Had a good day?" I asked, giving Dimitri a quick kiss.
"It was okay," Dimitri said, scrutinizing me carefully. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong," I told him, though the smile on my face was slightly forced. "Why would you think something's wrong?"
"Because you're smiling like a maniac," Christian bluntly informed me.
Okay, maybe that was true, but I was pretty stressed, having been worried about Tasha coming up all day. Not to mention wondering how I was going to handle it if she did come up.
"Well, guess who decided to show up for a surprise visit today? Giving me absolutely no warning what-so-ever? You know what," I continued, not giving him a chance to say anything. "Close your eyes, and go on in."
After a little cajoling from me and Christian, Dimitri did so and entered the living room, with me holding his arm. Christian followed us, giving the Belikovs a little, confused wave. Paul enthusiastically waved back, making Christian grin.
"Can I open my eyes now?" Dimitri asked, a little exasperated. Karolina put her hand over her mouth to keep herself from laughing. Olena stood up in front of him.
"You have three guesses Dimka," she said smiling.
Dimitri's eyes snapped open. "Mama!" he exclaimed, stepping forward to hug her. His sisters and grandmother stood up, and greeted each other in a flurry of Russian. I'd been learning it for the last two years, and thanks to the daily practice with Dimitri, I was pretty good at this point. But the Russian was flowing far too fast for me to keep up. They were all pretty happy to see each other, despite us visiting Baia only five months ago. To be honest, I think they all saw Dimitri more in the last two years, than they had done in the previous six.
I'll admit, I used to have remind Dimitri to call his mother. Not because he didn't want to speak to his family, but it seemed to be a bit more painful to keep saying goodbye so often, which was the main reason for his silence over the years. It was an opinion shared by my mother, I'd recently learned. I was the one who normally called her.
"I'm guessing the in-laws," Christian murmured. The two of us were left to the side as the family greeted each other.
"Yup," I murmured back. "They just showed up this morning. I got a phone call just before eight o'clock and there they were in the foyer."
We kept our voices low, but there was really no need. Dimitri was being introduced to his newest nephew, and was enthusiastically telling Viktoria how beautiful he was. They were talking slow enough for me to understand them now. Sort of.
"Guys at the door must have been just thrilled with the surprise."
I just gave him a 'what do you think?' look, because that was the point that Dimitri remembered that he hadn't introduced Christian yet. We stopped our whispered conversation as Dimitri ushered him forward, holding Yulian in his arms.
"It nice to finally meet you," Christian said, shaking everyone's hands. "But I should probably go." To Dimitri he added, "I need to tell Lissa about Drozdov." He shook his head. "She is unbelievable. See you all at dinner."
"We're having dinner with the queen?" Sonya questioned, once the door closed behind him.
"Don't worry," Dimitri said reassuringly, rocking Yulian back and forth. "Lissa's lovely. You'll like her."
"We already met her," Paul piped up.
"Yeah, she came by earlier," I told Dimitri. Everyone then proceeded to tell Dimitri about Lissa stopping by, and about the tour I'd given them around the Court.
"I didn't get to take everyone to Geoff's though," I said, balancing Yulian on my shoulder – I'd taken him from Dimitri. "We should definitely go there for lunch tomorrow." Geoff's was a café in the centre of Court, that Dimitri and I loved.
Dimitri thought that was a great idea, and we were just fixing on a time to meet, since Dimitri and I had work tomorrow, when the front door opened, and a second later Lissa and Christian came in. I hadn't even realized how long we'd all been talking. The time had passed quickly and though I'd enjoyed the conversation, and was relieved that Tasha hadn't come up, I was still a little put out that no one had asked Dimitri how he was doing. He was still feeling her loss, no question, but seemed to be doing better since he'd had drinks with Christian. Honestly, the two of them were.
Like before, the Belikovs sprang to their feet. Well, most of them. Yeva slowly rose, taking much longer than I knew her to be capable of. That to be honest bugged me a little. She seemed like she was being forced to her feet. I was also pretty sure she'd once referred to Lissa as 'that silly little girl' in front of me, back before we'd told her I was learning Russian. Dimitri of course denied that she'd said any such thing.
"Please, you don't have to do that," Lissa told them again, waving them down. "Really, I mean that." She was smiling, her long, platinum hair brushed to one side. She was dressed casually in dark jeans and a cream coloured top. Christian as usual was her polar opposite, dressed in a dark button down shirt, and black jeans.
"Really, you don't," Dimitri said softly. We'd both stayed seated, and his family slowly resumed theirs. Lissa came around and sat on the arm of my chair. I pulled her down so we were both squashed on the seat.
"Rose!" she giggled.
Christian rolled his eyes, and sat down next to Viktoria. "Children. So what's for dinner?"
"We have macaroni and cheese, steak and french fries, frozen pizza, and take out menus," Dimitri listed off. "What does everyone feel like?"
After a few minutes of arguing we eventually decided on the pizza. Lissa and I stayed squashed in our armchair for the whole evening, having to stretch around each other to reach the food, giggling while we did.
I'll be honest, I really thought that everything was going to be okay. Everyone was getting along really well, the conversation flowing smoothly. By the time we'd nearly finished dinner, I was truly relaxed for the first time that day. It didn't last.
"I suppose Your – Lissa," Viktoria corrected herself. Lissa had repeatedly said to call her Lissa. She'd joked that she'd even prefer 'Vasilisa' over 'Your Majesty'. "I suppose you're probably happy that justice has finally been served?"
Lissa, who'd been reaching forward for another slice, froze. She slowly sat upright, wiping her hands on her napkin.
"What exactly do you mean?" Lissa asked politely. Next to Viktoria, Christian froze. Dimitri was acting as though he had no idea what his sister was talking about, but I could have sworn I saw his shoulders tense, ever so slightly.
Not seeming to notice the reaction she'd just caused, Viktoria continued "Natasha Ozera's execution. I thought you'd be pleased her sentence was carried out. Two years is a long time to wait."
Lissa was shocked, but managed to retain her composure. Unfortunately, she didn't have time to come up with a response.
"Oh, yeah," Christian burst out furiously. "Yeah, we're thrilled. Over the fucking moon. Couldn't be fucking happier."
I could that Olena was shocked at his language, Karolina likewise. Yeva looked bored.
"Christian," Lissa tried to calm him down, but it was a lost cause. Christian had shot straight past 'mad' arriving at 'livid'. "No, we're not," Lissa told Viktoria coolly. Her demeanor had suddenly turned very frosty. Viktoria actually recoiled a little, realizing just how much she's pissed Lissa and Christian off.
"No, we're not pleased that my aunt is dead!" Christian leapt to his feet.
"Okay, Christian look," Dimitri started, "I'm sure Viktoria didn't really mean that – "
"Don't tell me what I do and don't mean," Viktoria furiously told her brother. "I mean that I'm actually happy the woman who shot Rose in the chest is dead!"
"That woman was my aunt!" Christian roared. "Don't you dare talk about her! Don't you say another word!"
"And you don't scream at my daughter," Olena said firmly to him. "And Viktoria, stop being so insensitive. Natasha was Christian's aunt, and Dimka's friend." Olena acknowledging that actually seemed to calm Christian down slightly. Viktoria's next words however just angered him again.
"What a great friend, considering she shot Rose, and murdered Tatiana!"
"I thought I told you to shut the fuck up?"
"Christian, calm down," Dimitri tried to intervene. He found Viktoria's words upsetting as well, but did not appreciate Christian talking to his sister like that. Christian turned on him.
"Don't tell me to calm down!"
"That horrible woman tried to kill Rose," Sonya burst out suddenly. She looked as angry as Viktoria. "And don't talk to my brother like that. Just because he's your guardian doesn't mean you get to order him around like that!"
I thought that was an absolutely ridiculous remark, seeing as I'd never heard Christian order Dimitri around once in the two years he'd been his guardian.
"Okay, this is getting way out of hand." I tried to get to my feet, which was difficult seeing as Lissa and I were wedged pretty tightly into the armchair. "Why don't we all just take a deep breath, and – "
"I am not putting up with this bitch," Christian snapped, waving a hand in Viktoria's direction. Dimitri'd had enough. He got to his feet, and advanced a couple of paces towards Christian.
"Do not speak to my sister like that," Dimitri kept his voice low, and Christian's anger was checked for a moment. Dimitri was scary when angry, and not even Christian was immune to it. Hell, I wasn't.
"Screw this, I'm out of here." Christian stormed out of the room, Lissa hurrying after him. Before she left the room however, she turned back.
"In the future," she began, all warmth and familiarity completely evaporated. "If you could not speak of Tasha in that manner, I would greatly appreciate it." She quickly left the room, leaving the rest of us alone.
I turned to look at Viktoria. "Really?" I asked her furiously. "What were you thinking, saying all that crap? She was Christian's aunt, for God's sake. You're lucky he didn't incinerate you!"
Viktoria was surprised at that. "After what she did to you?" she asked incredulously. "How are you even still friends with him?"
"Because it was Tasha who did all that. Tasha not Christian," Dimitri pointed out. He was just as annoyed as I was. Maybe even more so, seeing how long he'd known Tasha. "Don't get them confused. And please, if you have an opinion about Tasha, keep it to yourself."
"She tried to murder your girlfriend," Sonya said furiously. "Surely you hate her more than the rest of us."
"No, I don't!" Dimitri was growing more upset.
"And neither do I," told her. "So just do us all a favour, and keep your opinion on Tasha to yourselves."
Sonya opened her mouth to say something else, but Olena cut her off. "You heard your brother and Rose. That topic will not be mentioned again."
"After everything she did – "
"Sonya, just stop," Karolina joined in now. Karolina ganging up with her mother seemed to stop the conversation. There were a few minutes of awkward silence, before Dimitri announced that he was going for a walk. It was what he did when he was upset. Either force an awkward conversation, or go for a walk.
The rest of started to clean up, not talking to each other. After that, everyone went into their rooms to unpack, leaving me sitting on my own in the kitchen with a cup of tea. I wanted to go check on Christian and Lissa, but had a feeling that they just needed some time alone. I also wanted to see if Dimitri was okay, but knew he needed time as well. That had to be the worst dinner ever.