Chapter 31: Epilogue

All week long Emmett and Rose teased, flirted and were all over each other. She surprised him each day she came home from work with secrets under her clothes. Tear drop and open tip bras, and an array of lacy, cheeky boy shorts, thongs and string bikini bottoms. His favorite was the criss cross bar until today. Today she came home wearing a white lacy corset with matching garter belt and accessories.

He was starting to worry about men at work catching on what she was doing and getting too brazen and coming on to her.

So far he wasn't ready to put the kibosh on it, since he was the sole benefactor of her naughty bedroom attire.

But damn . . . where the hell was she getting this stuff?

If she started wearing fish net stockings with dominatrix looking leather spike heeled boots to work he might have to say something.

It probably made people around them uncomfortable but considering they didn't get to have a proper honeymoon it was understandable.

"I have something for you!" Emmett sang as he walked into the room with the mail.

"What is it?" she signed. Her mouth was busy chewing and it was unusually raw. She was starved after last night's exertions. They went dancing and by the time they got home they were reduced to ravenous rampaging hormones.

Even though she was kissing him the entire time to keep her mouth quiet, her throat was hoarse like she was screaming for hours on end. It was probably all of that deep throating and heavy breathing. It was a very good night.

Needless to say, she was kind of tired today, but with a little touch from him she was energized again.

And oh, how she planned to hug him and squeeze as much as she could. She loved wrapping her arms around his big chest. It was such a comforting place to be.

"The letter you've been waiting for," he said, grinning to ear to ear.

Did he already know what it said?

No, but he could guess.

"That was fast," she said, snatching at it.

She tore the envelope open and began hungrily reading the words quietly to herself.

Emmett was thoroughly entertained watching her facial reactions as she went along.

To: Rosalie Hale

C/O: Clarissa Hale

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you have received a full ride scholarship for the NAME OF SCHOOL HERE for the Spring semester.

Rose gasped and her eyes lit up like the northern lights. They twinkled, shined and cried a little.

"I can't believe this!" Rose said excitedly, jumping a little bit and nearly bursting into song.

"I knew she'd get it," he replied confidently.

"How? How did you know? 'Cause I sure as heck didn't," she said.

"Think about it. They owe you big. They need to stay in your good graces so you won't decide to sue them for Clarissa's broken arm." He pulled the letter out of her grip so he could read it for himself.

He mocked her, jumping up and down, and making silly little sighs.

She laughed.

"I did not look like that, and I didn't sound like a mouse having its tail stepped on either. . ." I hope! "Besides, what are the chances I would sue them when I just married you?"

"I could easily quit my job; they know that. Plus, Clarissa's already going there, so your chances were much higher to get this. Her teacher," he pointed his thumbs at himself like a dork, "me, may have put in a good word for her too."

Oh, dimples, dimples, dimples . . . He was playing hardball.

"Oh, really?" she said, sidling up to him, using it as an excuse to shamelessly fondle his chest.

"Yes, really. I was going to make sure she got it so you wouldn't have to worry about a thing," he said, kissing her adorable nose.

"Thank you. I love that you did that for her," she said. Her eyes followed her hands. Why was he always wearing so many damn clothes? It was not right.


Approximately one year later, day after Thanksgiving . . .

"Who's grand idea was this?" Rosalie signed and huffed as she climbed up into the Surrey rental bike.

"What?" Emmett signed back and flashed a wide grin. After a year of marriage she still couldn't take her eyes off him or keep her hands to herself.

No wonder she was in this state!

Poor Emmett. He was lugging around two rugrats and dealing with a whiny woman. Yes, she was whiney. But in her defense, the zoo was very large and they were going on an hour and a half of hoofing it.

That's when the bike came in. Emmett wasn't about to carry these two little ones the whole time and help his wife out too. He was strong, but dear God, he wanted to be able to move his arms and legs tomorrow.

She snagged the bag of snacks and began munching on some popcorn. Thank goodness Violet made her some homemade kettle corn. That stuff cost five bucks a pop at the zoo.

It irritated Rose to no end how the zoo had become so commercialized. She came here years ago when she was visiting Eric before she moved here.

Now the moment you walked in you were surrounded by a hoard of pushy photographers who insisted they immortalize your ugly mug.

Rose pushed right past them and didn't say a word.

Emmett chuckled. His wife still had it. Nobody messed with her.

He pulled the kids up into the bike but Lucas jumped back out and ran off to see another animal a few feet away. Rose enjoyed the shade from the canopy. It was a cool day but very sunny, and she was hot. She was always hot now. Never brought a jacket with her.

Emmett got in, snagged a handful of popcorn, and rubbed her belly.

"Why you slow today, momma? Did my mom's turkey do you in?" he teased, signing in grandiose, large sweeping movements. He was in a very goofy mood.

"I'm having a helping of her leftovers when I get home, just so you know. So don't even think about eating what's left of it," she signed bossily.

She lorded over the fridge.

Rose felt bad she was such a grouchy pregnant lady. Really, she wasn't that bad. She wasn't sleeping well. Lately the kids were in the habit of joining them in their bed. They wanted to be close to the baby bump, so all four of them were crammed together. With her big belly, the body pillow she absolutely couldn't sleep without, Clarissa, Lucas and Emmett in the bed, she barely got more than thirty minute increments.

Why did she get rid of her old bed? It seemed like a good idea to get Clarissa her own little princess single size bed.

Now she was kicking herself for being so hasty to lose the big bed.

Sometimes Rose would have to sneak off and go the guest room and snooze in there, but it always resulted in a groggy, sexy man chasing her down and snuggling next to her, where she was more cramped.

They needed to lock the door. But Emmett was a big ol' softy and couldn't stand the thought of the kids being scared to sleep alone. What he planned to do when the baby came was beyond her, because she'd be damned if she sat up all night rocking a baby to sleep.

She needed her sleep or she'd be even crankier than she already was. Plus, she was worried she might not hear the baby cry if the baby wasn't sleeping in her bed with her.

Rose and Emmett agreed she'd be breastfeeding, and she remembered nursing with Clarissa in her bed was hassle free, and a necessity to keep the baby from waking up her parents.

They needed to build a wall to wall bed in their room and call it the communal sleeping room.

Ugh! The baby kicked hard and she winced a little. This kid loved messing with her ribs. Just like his father. Emmett was always fondling that area, and massaging it for her. Uh huh, right . . . for her.

She knew better. He was trying to find an excuse to grope other body parts that were swelling and increasing in size practically every day.

"Hey, my mom made that turkey for me. She knows I'm a growing boy," he signed, lifting his shirt and patting his six pack like it was all round and doughy.

She laughed. There was not an ounce of fat on that man. He was still rock hard and drop dead gorgeous.

"Dad! Dad! Come here!" Lucas yelled.

Emmett rubbed the beautiful belly mound one more time, kissed her and let her sit and relax while he ran after his boy.

Clarissa was content to share snacks and rest on the padded bench on the bike.

"What is it, buddy?" Emmett signed.

They decided for the day they were going to sign while at the zoo. They needed to get the kids proficient again. Everyone was lazy about it now that Rose was using her voice around the house all of the time.

Rose was trying to be a good example. She applied for a job at the school, hoping to get the secretary job. There were more options there. She'd be able to bring the baby to work with her.

Emmett argued she could quit her job and stay home with the baby. They had enough money, no problem.

Not happenin'. Rosie did not like the idea of not earning her keep. She was still paranoid about money. Nobody would accuse her of not pulling her weight and using her husband with an obscene amount of money stashed away, that she did not find out about until after the wedding.

Yes, what was his was hers. But she didn't relish the idea of ploughing through his, oops, their, nest egg and watching it dwindle to nothing. She wanted to live frugally.

You would have thought she was homeless and starving at one point.

She kind of was, Violet pointed out to her son. Violet reminded him yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner that when she used to babysit for Rose at her townhouse, the cupboards barely held any food at all, and her furniture, which her ex bought for her, was being sold off piece by piece.

Rose didn't pay that rent, Royce did. So in essence, yes, she was homeless. She didn't have a place or furniture to call her own. And Rosalie never wanted to be in that position again. It was like the survival instincts she learned during that time were branded on her brain, forever making her a cautious spender.

Violet knew this was hard for Rose, having money again. Having too much money almost scared Rose more than not having enough. She was worried she would fritter it away and not be responsible, and then Emmett would resent her.

What she failed to repeatedly recognize was Emmett learned good and well that money did not make his world go round at all. It had at one point, and it almost ruined who he was. He didn't like that guy. Never again. Money was something he didn't dwell on or worry about.

If his wife wanted to buy a new car, she could. If she wanted to get a new wardrobe, which she kept fretting about as her waistband expanded, she very well could.

It did not matter to him at all. He trusted her. There was no way she'd go out and buy some outlandish car that would eat a large portion of their savings.

Rose adjusted the rubber bands around her jean button. She was really pushing it. Her round derriere had a hard time squeezing into her loose fitting jeans. She was five months pregnant. The double rubber band trick of hooking the two together and then looping them around the button, then through the button hole and then back around the button was being stretched to its limit. The rubber band was digging into her tummy.

"Daddy, look at this! It's a man eating huge monster snake!" Lucas squealed with delight.

"We have one those at home," Emmett turned and signed to Rose.

She giggled. He was pointing at his groin.

Yes, they did own one of those, and she enjoyed feeding that thing.

"That's really cool," Emmett signed to Lucas.

Rose and Emmett still used sign language for their dirty flirting sessions at home around the kids. It was fun being sneaky like that.

And damn, the woman had a dirty mouth that surpassed his own. Nobody would ever believe that.

Emmett dragged Lucas back to the bike after several moments of them signing about how superb snakes were. Emmett's mind was in the gutter the whole time, and he was snickering like an prepubescent boy in sex ed listening to his elderly teacher saying words like 'vagina' and 'penis' and 'vulva.'

Emmett got everybody situated and then began pedaling.

Burn, burn, burn. His legs were feeling it, being taxed. He pressed on and ignored it. They were having so much fun and since Rose thought it would be fun to do something with the kids during the Thanksgiving weekend he suggested the zoo.

The place was crazy packed. They had to park in the extraneous parking lot and walk a long ways just to get to the entrance. The zoo was all hilly and required a lot of hiking. Rose wasn't going to survive it or the kids without him being a human pack mule.

They had a big bag of snacks, tons of water bottles, sack lunches, and a blanket. As it was, they were barely hacking it. Lucas complained his legs hurt, Clarissa wanted to be barefoot, and Rose was tired.

But fun times . . . yes, they enjoyed the animals. It was the travelling to get to them that was a little harrowing at times.

As he pedaled them up the hill to get to the elephants Rose's cell phone rang. They left the Forest of Uco, a slice of South American jungle with the black bears who were always sleeping in the shade behind them. Emmett liked those bears even though they never did anything. Something about them was really cool to him. Lucas really enjoyed them too and made it clear he wanted to see those bears today.

"Bye bears," Lucas hollered behind him.

Emmett politely shushed him so Rose could answer her phone.

"They're finally going to give you the good news," Emmett cheered.

Rose wasn't so sure. Why would they hire her? She wasn't a good example for the school to entice new students to join. Once parents talked to her in the office and heard how poor her diction was they'd run, thinking if this was how the school trained the kids, then it wasn't worth investing a pretty penny in.

Her stomach clenched as she clutched the phone. She took a deep breath and went for it.

"Hello?" Rose answered her phone gruffly. She rubbed her throat with her free hand to warm up her vocal chords. It was the school calling. Maybe they'd finally tell her if she got the job or not.

"Hi, Mrs. McCarty," the principal greeted her. Rose got a happy chill at that name. She loved it every time somebody addressed her that way. It sounded so wonderful!

Rose was surprised anybody was working today. Wasn't the whole country struggling to awake from a turkey tryptophan induced coma? She was barely able to move after the way she stuffed herself yesterday.

Rosalie was shocked to find out that Violet used to own and operate a local Paradise Bakery. Her mother-in-law was a magnificent chef and had a penchant for feeding pregnant woman.

At first when they told Violet Rosie was expecting, she was kind of insulted at Violet constantly dropping by with meals and baked goods. They were all delicious, but Rose worried her mother-in-law doubted she could take care of Emmett and their kids. Rose was a decent cook. Nothing fabulous, but she could make enough edible dishes to sustain her family.

"How are you doing today?" the principal began.

"Great," Rose said, trying to sound chipper, even though the baby was seriously working that rib on her right side raw. Her heartburn was acting up too. She was all kinds of pregnant woman troubles today.

Damn excessive Thanksgiving meal. She ate some for breakfast too and overstuffed herself before leaving to the zoo. Yet, somehow, she was still starving. This baby was going to be a huge eater like his father.

"That's good. Well, listen, I don't want to waste your time, I'm sure you're enjoying spending it with your family. I'm calling about the office secretarial position you interviewed for."

"Uh huh," Rose said, feeling sick at the thought of being turned down. This job was really going to be good for her and her family. If she didn't get it, she didn't know what she'd do. Staying home with a baby didn't sound like something she'd be able to endure.

At least not in good conscience, not while Emmett was out dealing with their other children and working hard to help people.

I have to contribute!

"Good news. We would like to offer you the position . . ." he said happily.

Rose's eyes lit up and she gasped, but only after gripping Emmett's arm in excitement.

He pumped his fist in the air and hissed a delirious, "Yes!"

She beamed at him as she listened to the principal detail her salary, a start date and what a mess she'd be stepping into.

The previous secretary spontaneously upped and quit. Her mom was dying of cancer in Colorado and so she left to go be with her before she passed on.

People in the office tried to cope without a secretary, but they couldn't keep up with the ever present mounds of paperwork and phone calls.

Rose was confident she could get that place organized in no time, faster if she wasn't pregnant, and get it running smoothly and efficiently. She was a damn good secretary.

She ended the call with a whispered, "Yes, I accept and I'll start on the date you specified. Thank you."

Emmett pulled over the bike and hugged her so tight the baby kicked him, trying to keep him away.

"Owww . . ." he teased, rubbing his gut.

"See, this baby is brutal!" she sighed.

He laughed. "I can't even imagine . . ." His eyes twinkled at her.

"I can't believe I got the job," she said in awe.

"I knew you'd get it. I told you it was a done deal." He taunted her about how she could be his secretary in the tight sweater, typing his memos about a pregnant amorous wife was hot, and how he was up to the challenged of feeding all of her 'cravings' because he was an awesome husband like that.'

He had a very active imagination. But not as active as hers. The way she imagined attacking him behind her desk, and using the copy machine as a perch for her lascivious ways would probably frighten him.

"But . . . I'll have to talk to people . . ." she signed, hesitating to share her trepidation.

Of course she took the job regardless of needing to speak to strangers all of the time, but it definitely worried her.

"Honey, you are in luck. Because I know this terrific speech therapist, and he just so happens to barter for beautiful women such as yourself." He winked and his dimple tugged up a little.

Man, that was so hot.

"Barter? What would he want to exchange?" she signed. This conversation was heading in a direction that probably wasn't for rated G ears.

"You know, he's very flexible, kind of like you, but I'm sure something could be arranged."

Was this a good idea? She was still insecure about her voice, and now that she felt like she looked like a beached whale and sounded like one too since she was starting to lose lung capacity from the encroaching baby inside of her, it sounded very scary. Emmett seeing each and every flaw was . . . a little overwhelming.

He knew this was a vulnerable spot for her, so he never offered before. But better that he help her out than some stranger who wouldn't be sensitive to her needs.

"I'll be very gentle," he signed, his features soft and very loving.

"You always are," she signed back. Her smile full of worship.

"That's because I love you," he signed.

She kissed him and said simply, "I love you too. And yes, you can teach me. I want to learn."

"Well, it's about time I get to teach you something," he teased. She was always teaching how to do things better, more efficient. Some of it even happened in the bedroom and he wasn't threatened by it at all. It felt good to do something for her that she wanted.

They smiled at each other like newlyweds on their honeymoon, and then rode off to go see some more animals.

He'd share his snake with her later . . .

And she would feed it a classic case of cornflakes, as she used her voice and made it very clear how much he meant to her.