Chapter 38 - Epilogue
Edward was an extremely attentive father to little Angela. She absolutely adored him, and since he only ever called her Angel, that was all she'd answer to. When I called her Angela, she'd scrunch up her face and look at me confused, like I was saying her name wrong. I guess I should've just let Edward name her Angel. I thought Angela would be more traditional for when she started school. I just had to convince Edward that going to school, rather than having tutors, would be a good idea. I was sure it'd take me the full four years to convince him, and then I wouldn't doubt him becoming one of those parents who sat in the parking lot the whole day waiting. I just hoped he couldn't see the playground from where he waited for her. One wrong move by a little boy, and I could just see Edward tying the kid up and hanging him upside down from the jungle gym.
"She said it! She said it!" Edward came running in. "My little Angel said Da-Da. Say it again, say Da-Da."
She giggled at his enthusiasm, kicking her little legs. Edward went on, coaxing her to say it, and she finally reached out, grabbing his nose and cooed da-da. He looked at me so proudly. "See, she's a genius, Bella." He attacked her little face with kisses, making her squeal and me giggle as well. "This is a cause for celebration!" He started dancing around with her. She loved her daddy so much. Sometimes I felt left out of their little club, but I tried to push that aside and just be happy for them.
I closed my books, through with my homework, and stretched my back. "Where are we celebrating, here or at the hospital?" It was a valid question. His mother was there, and Rose had turned out to be a really good almost-sane aunt. She was still in counseling herself, we all were, but we all were making progress.
"The hospital, Elizabeth will want to learn of this new development, I'm sure of it." He was right, his mother found every little milestone amazing, taking pictures of Angela's first clap, first tooth, and her barely-their ponytail. I'd swear she and Edward mirrored each other in that way. They just about threw a parade, when she rolled over for the first time and the first time she sat up by herself. I had a feeling there would be one when she started walking.
"Do you think your mother would consider babysitting tonight?" I asked. I'd really like to reconnect with my husband. Rhianna had been pushing Edward to balance his time with me, and I needed to balance my time with my schoolwork and family.
His eyes lit up. "Are you sure, I know finals are coming up."
"Yes, I really need a good release. I probably should pay some retribution for denying you for so long." I'd put him off for nearly two weeks now due to school, and to my queasiness, which I'd been able to keep to myself so far. I was so NOT looking forward to the nutrition Nazi again.
He stalked toward me like a prowling animal. "You'll pay in the most wonderful way, my Precious," he whispered in my ear.
If I didn't love my baby so much, I'd have tossed her aside and taken him right there. Instead, I just kissed him deeply. "Be sure to pack her an overnight bag."
He squeezed me tightly against his side and bit my neck, growling. It would've been so hot, if his little Angel didn't grab his hair and point her little finger in his face. "No! No! No!" she glared at his mouth. No had been her first word, she'd picked it up when she was teething, because we were always telling her not to bite. You couldn't blame her for enforcing the rules.
"You're right, little Angel. I'm sorry, Mommy." He kissed my shoulder, and then our daughter grabbed his face, pressing her open mouth on his cheek. That was her version of a kiss. "Oh, thank you," he kissed her little cheek in return. Then he smacked my cheek, my butt cheek, and told me to get ready while he packed.
He ran out the door and left me so twisted inside. I was hot and bothered, but I just adored him at the same time. As part of his therapy, I'd gone back to school. He'd decided to stay home and care for our daughter, or work from home, but honestly, I didn't know how much work he actually got done. Every time I saw him in his office, she was on his lap, and they were playing with a toy, legitimate baby toys.
He did make me take self-defense classes and carry pepper spray, but I couldn't fight him on that. My father had his back. I was starting to resent how much those two agreed on. I wanted to point out to my dad, on more than one occasion, that he'd thought Edward was crazy. I did once, and he said, "He can never be too crazy when it comes to my baby girls' safety." Yeah, no help at all! Dad retired from his job out in Forks and now was in charge of our family's security team. I about died, when Edward asked him to take the job. After that one guard had turned on us, Edward wanted to have someone he knew he could trust to weed out the traitors. There were two more who ended up in the hospital. My dad rationalized it was as good as another jail for my crazy in-laws' minions. The counselors always deemed them insane, so they were committed legally. Turned out the obsession to kill a person was enough to be considered crazy.
I did have to admit that things settled down once my father was put in place. He knew all about my husband's upbringing now and didn't want to know what kind of "kinky BDSM stuff" we did behind closed doors. He must not have been too opposed to that stuff, though, as he'd asked Carlisle some pretty extensive questions about it and had smirked when Carlisle had slipped him a catalog from his favorite fetish toy company.
Edward seemed to relax with my father in charge of security. I guess it was because he knew there was someone he could completely trust with his family's safety, and he started to enjoy having us around, without the stress of wondering who he'd have to kill to keep us safe.
I adjusted my collar and twisted my cuffs. They had a tendency to turn when I was doing homework. I hurried to our bedroom and pulled out the little leather straps, which would be my underwear for the night. I hoped he liked them. He still liked me completely covered whenever I went out, as he was sure the cadence in my walk and small stature was just asking to be dominated. I didn't think he'd ever recover from his family's interest in me. I didn't even consider going against him, because he was right to worry. There were so many people who still revered his family. The Cullen's weren't the only sick ones out there.
The dress I wore reached the floor and flowed, so it wouldn't accentuate my body. It wasn't a moo-moo, but more like the gown he'd introduced me in at the Owner's Club. I put my hood on, and just as he walked in, he stopped in his tracks. I knew this, because I was focused on the floor and saw his feet stall. He walked over, lifting my chin, and our eyes met. He kissed me so deeply I melted.
When our daughter grabbed the hood, pulling it back so she could see me, I started a game of peekaboo.
"Boo," I smiled, and she'd squeal and giggle, covering me again. I felt Edward take my hand and kiss where my ring sat.
We'd married when our daughter was three months old, just before I started school again. I didn't want to be trying to plan a wedding and pass classes at the same time. The wedding was much larger than I would've liked. He was still considered royalty in the Dom community, and so a spectacle had been made of our marriage. It was amazing to see how many came out of the woodwork. It really was shocking.
Rhianna stressed the importance of him maintaining his role as a leader, one who set a positive example for those who looked up to him. It took some convincing to have my dad lead me down the aisle on a chain, but he finally grasped the concept of passing the chain to Edward, once Rhianna stepped in and clarified the significance. He also saw the slow trickle of Subs entering the hospital and knew an example of some sort needed to be made, even though he didn't think we were perfect.
When Edward's mother brought our daughter forward after the ceremony, and he took her into his arms, there were several gasps. He kissed her little head, removed my hood, and lifted my chin. He kissed my lips one more time, and then he handed me the baby, turning me to face everyone. "My family, my life." He then took my hand and his mother's and walked us out to the limo that took us to the reception hall. It wasn't traditional, that was for sure. The Subs were sent to one room, and the Doms mingled in another.
If it hadn't been for Elizabeth, I was sure I would've gone nuts. She helped keep the Subs at bay and the topic on my daughter, who was so much easier to talk about. I knew she also had a some cards she handed out to a few Subs, who looked particularly worse for the wear. The shelter had a phone number that was easy to memorize. That night, she set up the extraction of two Subs, and three who'd belonged to particularly cruel Doms went "missing."
When the Doms of the missing abused Subs became angry, Edward got right in their faces, shaming them for not treating their Subs properly. "A properly-treated Submissive would never want to run away. You're the Dom, you're in control of what happens to them. You're the one who's at fault."
The men backed down. It was the three brothers who'd lost their Subs that night, the Volturi's. The rest of the community turned their backs on them after that. They also silently "disappeared" a week later. They were now living on the top floor with crazy Alice and Jasper.
Emmett had made amazing progress, and with the help of his mother, he'd learned to forgive Rosalie for shooting Alice and now understood the need to keep her locked up. He and Rose were now in couple's counseling, so things might eventually work out for them, if he could ever get off the secured floors. He wasn't on the top floor anymore, but a couple of levels under it. It took a lot of convincing, but Edward finally had him moved, after his mother and Aunt Sandra implored him nonstop for a month.
When we arrived at the hospital, we found the gym had been decorated with balloons that said "Da-Da" on them. It was actually really cute. Elizabeth, Edward's Aunt Sandra and Rosalie all organized the residents to make a quick party for our little Angela.
The floor was padded in that room, and that was where Edward held all of her "parties," when he'd actually let her on the ground. She'd started pulling herself up at a young age, and now at nine months, she liked to try and pull herself up and "walk" around while hanging on to stuff. She'd only fallen and bonked her head once. I think Edward had been more upset about it than she was. He ended up padding the nursery and toy room. He was well on his way to padding the rest of the house, including the walls, but his mother somehow convinced him not to. I didn't know how, but she did.
Edward kept trying to coax Angela to take a few steps. He was able to get her to balance and stand on her own. She was startled, when everyone started clapping, and she fell down on her diapered bum on the padded floor. Once she noticed everyone was clapping, she started to clap herself, even though she was crying. It was nothing some good snuggling with daddy couldn't fix.
When Edward's back was turned, I noticed my dad slip his arm around Elizabeth. He leaned in and spoke softly to her, making her smile. I didn't know if something was going on with them, but I hoped Edward would be alright with it. It was strange how he thought love clouded everyone else's judgment but ours.
Rosalie couldn't be fully trusted, because she loved Emmett. Aunt Sandra couldn't be fully trusted, because she loved her son, and since Elizabeth loved her sister, Sandra, she couldn't be fully trusted, either. Only my father had earned the right to love and be fully trusted with our little family.
Edward let Elizabeth babysit, because Charlie worked security when she did. I really thought my dad would babysit, except he felt a little out of practice caring for babies and left that for Elizabeth.
When we left the hospital/shelter that night, I made sure I had a handful of new cards to pass out. Edward wanted to stop in at the Owner's Club to show me off. "You look amazing. I want show off how proud and beautiful a well-kept Sub can be."
He led me in, and the whole bar went silent. "It's been a while since my young bride and I have stepped out on the town. We thought we'd get out, before we went in." There were several chuckles, and I was led to a barstool. Edward ordered me sweet water, and then he led me to the Sub room, where kept Subs could mingle if owners wished to speak. I'd let him know I wanted to check on the other Subs and showed him my stack of business cards. He told me I was a gracious queen, and the community was very lucky to have me.
He kissed me deeply at the door, and I looked him in the eye, smiling and winking, for which he swatted my backside. I entered with a smirk and heard him tell a Dom next to him that I liked being spanked and was just looking to be punished when I got home. It was true. His open hand across my ass gave me the most delicious shivers.
It was funny that, even though I was a Sub, the other Subs would drop to the floor when I entered the room. I told them to rise and checked them all out. I passed out the cards as I spoke with a few, making sure they knew if they needed help that it was out there, and we could get them out safely.
A timid girl in the back of the room kept looking at me and then everywhere else to see if anyone was looking at her looking at me. I made my way over to her, and she just about hid behind me when the door opened.
My eyes went to the floor, but I remained standing. The other Subs were on the floor, including the girl who was hiding behind me. I could feel her shivering, and I knew something had to be done. I gently reached behind me, lifting my cloak and dress, hiding her under it, silently thanking Edward for his insistence on the design of the gown.
"Where's my pet?" the man snapped. No one answered, but the girl in my dress jumped and hugged my calf. "Where's my bitch!" he started to yell, and Edward came in, ever protective, and stood next to me.
"What's your problem?" Edward stared him down.
I could feel the man's dark eyes burning into me. "It seems wherever your queen goes, chaos follows. Another Sub has gone missing!"
"Missing?" Edward played shocked perfectly.
Edward looked around the room. "You don't see your girl here?"
"NO!" He took a harsh step towards Edward, and two men grabbed him. "Get your hands off me!"
"If you don't have a Sub in this room, you're not allowed in it," one of the guards growled.
He yanked away. "She was here!"
There was no place for her to hide, but I could feel the man had not taken his eyes off me. "I know she did something. She has her somewhere! I'll get you back, bitch!" he shouted, and I felt the girl quiver harshly against my leg.
"Alec, I don't approve of these allegations," Edward snapped firmly. "My Precious knows the deep bond between a Sub and her Dom. She'd never step between that."
"Cut the bullshit. Everything has gone to hell since your father died. All you preach is that 'take care of your Sub' bullshit. They service us, not the other way around!"
"A Dom's responsibility is to provide for his Sub, and if she's not provided for, if her health is not seen to, then you've failed as a Dom. You've not failed, have you?"
"Never!" Alec barked.
"Very well, then she'd have no reason to run away." Edward made it sound so simple.
"You, you ruined it all! You should've been the Submissive!" Alec shouted. "I'll bet your Master has my girl hidden in her clothes!" he growled at Edward. I heard more scuffling. "Let go of me, damn it!"
I did my best to keep my breathing steady.
"She does not have your girl. If you try to approach my Precious again, you'll not walk out of here."
I heard a scuffle and the rustling of clothes, and then a loud smack. Alec fell into my vision, he was out cold. His body was slung over a guard's back and removed.
I think Edward had caught on that I had the girl hiding under my clothes, and so we walked very slowly, so the girl could comfortably shuffle on her knees. I lifted my gown in the front, before I stepped into the car, so she could quickly crawl in. Once my door was closed, Edward slid into the other side and told Carter to take us to the house.
"What about the girl?" I asked.
A whimper came from under my dress. Edward helped me uncover the cowering woman. "Carter can take her to the hospital once he drops us off. I'll get Chief Swan to pick up Alec."
The girl started crying, causing Edward to scowl.
"Don't worry, the Chief will lock him away so he can't hurt you anymore, and our driver will take you to the shelter."
She looked up at us with so much hope in her eyes.
Edward pulled out his phone. "Chief Swan, there's an unconscious Dom named Alec Volturi at the Owner's Club. He's one of the sons of the brothers. He'll need to be placed in the same level as the rest of the family. His brother, Demetri, was there as well. Have your men raid their house and free any more girls they may have trapped. Hold on a minute." He looked down at the girl. "How many are being held in your castle?"
"There are four others Alec keeps, and his brother, Demetri, has five as well, but I think one of them may have died. He was talking about finding a new girl to take the place of another."
I hugged her tightly to me, as she broke down sobbing.
"Did you hear that? Of course, I'll talk to you in the morning," he sighed, before he hung up. "We're going to have to open the Maris House shelter a few months early at this rate."
I had to agree with him there. I'd been crushed, when I'd learned that Maris hadn't made it out alive, but Edward suggested we build a second shelter for Submissives who'd progressed enough physically and mentally to move on with life. It helped with furthering education and job placement. It also helped reunite families who'd been separated.
Edward called up to Carter, "Would you please bring our Angel home and watch over her for a bit? It looks like the hospital and shelter will be busy checking girls in all night." I saw Carter give us a sympathetic smile and nod in the rearview mirror.
Edward sagged in his seat, until we'd arrived at the house. Carter was surprisingly the only unrelated person Edward trusted with our Angel. I was not sure why. I was never made privy to that information. At one point, I mentioned it to Elizabeth, and she just smiled and nodded, confusing me further.
"Go to the playroom," Edward ordered.
"Do you think she'll still be awake, when Carter brings her home?" I asked.
"Not the toy room, Precious, the playroom," he smirked.
I ran down the hall, very excited for our night.
"Leave your clothes on. I plan on taking my time," he called behind me.
We'd still have fun, though I'd have to make sure he kept it gentle now. I couldn't wait to see the look on his face when I told him why.
It was pretty late, so chances were our baby girl would be asleep. I ran to the room and slid across the floor. I was quick to get on my knees, eager to please. I tucked my dress around me and looked around the room. I smiled when I saw the ropes. The original ropes he'd "shown me" that first night we'd gotten together and I'd gotten my first taste of bondage. It'd turned out to be the best misunderstanding I'd ever had. This was one man I was happy to be bound to now, and I'd never want him to set me free.