by Max Barry

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by The Empire of Romilija. . 63 reads.

A Sister's Worry

Marija opened the refrigerator door enough that it was halfway ajar, when she spotted something peculiar about the refrigerator magnet. Pushing the door back in, she leaned in closer, now clearly able to see what was on the magnet: a recent photo, of her, Stjepan, and Mihaela. In the photo, she was seated on a sofa beside Stjepan, little Mihaela perched atop his neck. She smiled, but let out a sigh on seeing how much thinner she was back then. And this was only a few months ago.
"It seems my husband takes too good care of me," she frowned as she squished the soft pudge of her belly with two hands. But her smile returned soon enough. That was a good thing, she thought.
She took the magnet in her hand and looked to the picture again, at her own smiling face pictured there. Each moment she spends with Stjepan; with Mihaela, makes her life a little bit brighter, and reminds her why life is worth living.

Neda always told her that she'd marry when she met the right man. But even before Father died she was making little attempt to find the right man, always busying herself with schoolwork or sports, and now, ruling over the whole Empire.
The thought that Neda should go without a husband truly worried her. And not because of the public unease about an Empress without an heir; no, that was far from the front of her mind. But that Neda, her beloved sister, should not experience the bliss that is found in marriage, in togetherness with a loving spouse who one loves in turn? The thought never failed to make her blood boil—and eat too much pie at dinnertime. Damn that pie!

She had to do something about it. But how?

Then, just as she had mentioned it, a revelation! Her birthday was coming soon; the 10th of October, was it not? For sure Neda would celebrate with her—she just had to make sure she came into contact with as much men as possible. And what a fine idea she had on how to do that.

The Empire of Romilija