Chapter Nine - God Delivers Justice
One month later, there was a wedding in Marseilles. The Morrels, the d'Epinays, and the household of Monte Cristo were the only recipients as they watched Edmond and Suzette exchange vows at the altar. Edmond's heart raced as he realized that this long awaited day was no longer a wish nor an out-of-reach goal, but reality. Suzette Chevalier was a vision in white, her dark hair free (at Edmond's insistence) and covered with her veil, decorated with Baby's Breath. Her dress had been bought in Paris; a simple, yet elegant gown, with off-the-shoulder sleeves that puffed out before they returned to cling to her slender arms all the way to her tiny wrists. Her bodice was embroidered with silver and gold in the shapes of delicate roses and leaves, while her silken skirt and train remained a pristine pearl white, trailing behind her.
Smartly dressed in his proper tuxedo, his hair slicked back, he felt strange not having some sort of facial hair on his cheeks and chin. After sixteen years of not being able to shave, it was an odd but liberating feeling to have the sun and wind kiss his clean-shaven face. His heart began pounding faster as they placed their rings on each others fingers, both thin, plain gold bands. Then the words he's been longing to hear came at long last…
"You may now kiss the bride, Monsieur," the priest smiled.
Blush came to his bride's cheeks as he leaned forward and kissed her rosy lips. Pulling back, they smiled at one another as their loved ones stood and cheered for them. Hand in hand, they left the church and headed for Jacapo's new ship, a gift from Edmond for his loyalty and help throughout this adventure. No sooner had they boarded the ship did a wagon pull up.
"Mi amici!" called a large man, grinning from ear to ear.
"Luigi!" Edmond smiled, running to the man and embracing him. "You made it after all!"
"Well…we had to deal with some business, if you know what I mean," the smuggler winked at his friend. "We may have missed the service, but we figured it was better to be late than never come at all! We've brought you gifts-"
"That wasn't necessary," Dantes shook his head.
"Ah, but you have given me so much, a gift or two wouldn't hurt," he shrugged. "Thanks to your position and employment, I've become even more well-known and respected, and I may consider giving up this life…for a little while anyways." He chuckled. "But now, let us join you in celebration!"
So it was that a band of smugglers, miscreants from far away lands, a Grecian princess, Parisian nobility, and the salt of Marseilles gathered together to the wedding feast of a sailor-turned-Count and his childhood friend. When it came time to throw the bouquet, Suzette was wasn't surprised and extremely pleased than Haydee caught the bunch of white roses, causing the Count to wink at his son, who blushed furiously.
Afterwards, everyone said their goodbyes and left, wishing the couple well before they went home. Only Jacapo and the other servants remained behind with the couple and Albert and Haydee. After saying goodnight to the group, Edmond picked up his wife and stepped into a cabin that seemed more of a suite.
"I would've taken the Captain's cabin, but this is Jacapo's ship, and it's his own room…" Edmond rambled on, causing her to giggle.
"It's all right," she reassured him. "This is beautiful."
"We could've stayed in Paris for the honeymoon," he started, only to be silenced by her finger.
"We're going to travel to Janina and other places you've been to, remember?" she smiled. "That's a perfect honeymoon."
Holding her in his arms, alone in the dimly lit cabin, the Count of Monte Cristo felt his heart suddenly racing. Setting her down gently on the bed, he nervously untied his cravat. "Well…"
She remained silent, taking her veil off, careful of the flowers. She felt her hands trembling as she set the veil aside and took off her shoes.
She looked up to see his face observing her. "No…just…nervous, I suppose," she shrugged, rubbing her arms for warmth.
He took her hands in his own, gazing into her blue eyes and said, "I am, too."
"But…" she felt her cheeks turn crimson as she asked, "Didn't you do this before…with Mercedes, I mean?"
"Yes, but…that was long ago…and we weren't married. I'm ashamed of myself for that, but I suppose it wasn't all bad. We had Albert."
"Yes," she smiled. "That's true."
Holding her chin in his hand, he said quietly, "If you're frightened at all…or it hurts you…you let me know. I'll try to be as gentle as I can be with you."
"I trust you," she said, her eyes filled with love and devotion for him. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she leaned forward and said, "I love you, Edmond."
"And I love you, Suzette," he whispered, placing his hands on her waist and leaning forward to claim her lips. It started as their kisses usually did – soft, sweet, and cautious. However, when Suzette felt him nibble her bottom lip, she released a gasp of surprise. Her mouth now open, he slid his tongue in and tasted her. Pressing her to his chest, he began to undo the buttons on the back of her gown, working deftly as he passionately kissed her. She could scarcely breathe with him kissing her so hard, and suddenly, she found herself yanking his jacket off, then his vest.
He had finished with the buttons, but he wasn't finished with her. Moving his mouth from her lips, he planted kissed over her cheek and began working his way down to her jawbone. His hot breath on her skin made her heart race, her mind numb as she felt herself become warmer, addicted to him. Her fingers clumsily struggled to unbutton his shirt as she felt him lick her neck, hungry.
Shivers running down her spine, she could feel his hands rubbing her shoulders, sliding the dress off of her body. She gasped once more as he pulled the gown away to reveal her in her undergarments.
"Edmond…" she whimpered, her head in the clouds.
"Are you all right?" she heard him ask, his nose buried in her hair.
"…your…shirt," she breathed, striving to clear her mind. "Your stupid shirt won't come off and I can't think straight…"
He chuckled in her ear, sounding absolutely attractive as he helped her to unbutton his top and rip it from his body. He gently pushed her down onto the pillows as he continued to worship her with his mouth, his hands now working to pull off his shoes and pants. Nuzzling her lavishly on her collarbone and shoulders, she was dying in ecstasy. She felt her nerves work up when she felt him slide the skirt off her body, tugging it down her thighs and past her legs. Her eyes fluttered open to see him above her, looking like a god. She felt her skin flush a bright red hue as he continued to work at her undergarments. As she wrapped her arms around him, she gasped, feeling his scars from the Chateau d'If.
"Edmond…! What happened…?"
"Just some reminders of my stay at the Chateau d'If," he shrugged, kissing her forehead.
"Oh, Edmond," she whispered, her eyes tearing up as she clung to him, kissing his neck affectionately. "I'm so sorry…"
"Don't cry, Suzette, it was a long time ago," he reassured her, smiling as he tenderly held her to his bare chest. "It was worth the wait…"
At long last, the candles in the cabin blew themselves out, enveloping the couple in darkness as the two became one…
One Year Later...
Gazing over the pristine sea, Edmond planted his sword in the ground before the daunting structure of the now-empty Chateau d'If. "You were right, Priest," he said sadly with a smile. "God delivers justice to those who deserve it. From this day forward, your riches will be dedicated to helping others."
Turning around, he saw his small family walking up to him from the prison. Jacapo, Bertuccio, Baptistin, and Ali had remained faithful, never leaving their master's side though he continued to offer them their freedom, as well as many rewards. His son, Albert Dantes, continued to grow, handsome and bright, along with his fiancée, Haydee, who remained as graceful and beautiful as she had that first day they met. And then, there was his beloved wife, Suzette, her arms occupied with a little bundle of joy that had been born just last month which she had named Louis, after Dantes' own father.
"I had planned to tear this place down," he told them as they approached him at last. "But I can't bear to do it now…"
"Let it be a reminder of your time spent, the time that changed you into the man you now are," Jacapo suggested. "And for your friend, the priest. We still don't know what happened to his body…"
"Most likely, it is long gone in the depths of the sea, my friend," Edmond sighed. "But his spirit remains here…that much I know."
"And your promise?" Haydee spoke up.
"Faria's treasure will be sent to hospitals, orphanages, churches, and especially prisons," he replied. "For food, blankets, and medicine to those who are as I was. We will only use what we need from this point on."
Wrapping his arms around his wife and child, he couldn't help but smile at the way the baby's blue eyes lit up upon seeing his father. "Yes, Faria, you were right all along…God will give me justice."
Without another glance at the structure, he led them to Jacapo's ship awaiting them below, ready to begin a new adventure in this life…
10 Years Later…
1842 – The Chateau d'If
"'God Will Give Me Justice,'" a man read aloud. "Hmph…just as he said, Auguste."
Two men stood alone in the abandoned fortress, once a terrible prison. One was tall and slender with a moustache, appearing very much like a proper French gentleman. The other was a stout fellow, his eyes sparkling as he read the message carved onto the stone wall.
"Well…it looks like that Dantes fellow told the truth after all," the stout man noted.
"Yes, Alex, he told the truth about the message in the Chateau d'If…that doesn't mean that this fantastical tale is entirely true," the other argued, brushing off his coat.
"Either way, it's a magnificent story!" Alex grinned. "We must return to Marseilles at once to speak with out friend, Edmond Dantes!"
"As I recall, another fellow dealt with a similar situation like the one that Dantes spoke of," Auguste said, stroking his chin. "I'll have to check the records. I can't recall the name at this moment."
"It must be himself," Alex insisted as they continued to walk along through the gloomy place. "Who else could it have been?"
"Pi…caud…Yes! Pierre Picaud! I remember now! That fellow was arrested as well and-!"
"Oh, poppycock!" Alex waved it off. "Auguste Maquet, you are an unromantic coworker!"
"And you, Alexandre Dumas, and the most unrealistic daydreamer I've ever known," remarked his partner.
"Perhaps…but as I recall, about ten or twelve years ago in Paris, a strange Count came and turned the world upside down for many people…"
Auguste rolled his eyes at this, but he, too, was excited at the prospect of writing such an intriguing tale. "And what shall we call it?"
"What else? The Count of Monte Cristo!"