Saturday, September 29, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Sin & Innocence Chapter 26 - Epilogue

CHAPTER 26 – Epilogue
Three months later... January...
"Him moved, Mommy!" Bethy gasped, her eyes wide as her hand was splayed flat on my stomach.
"Him did," I giggled, tucking her hair behind her ear.
I laughed, not because she hadn't felt Samuel kick before, but because he'd kicked her in the back while we were laying together on the couch. It was like he was shoving her off of him. The sibling rivalry had already started.
"What's so funny?" Edward asked, emerging from the hallway.
He was dressed in heavy boots, jeans, and a thick hoodie, because he said that if he didn't shovel the snow off the sidewalk, someone – and he wasn't naming names – would end up on their ass. Personally, I think it was himself he was referring to, but he would never admit it.
And he was a damn good sight for sore eyes, because he'd just gotten back from helping Jasper and Emmett make some emergency repairs to Jasper's dad's house. A storm had damaged the roof pretty badly, and the boys offered to help. Edward had flown them all to Texas, and it had taken almost four days to get it finished.
"Him kicked me!" Bethy told him, her voice incredulous and clearly offended, and I had to hide my laugh behind my hand.
Edward grinned, shaking his head and kneeling next to us. "Ah, he did, huh?" he asked, placing a warm hand to my stomach, but I moved it to where the wriggling was still going on.
"There, baby," I told him, watching as his face softened to a loving expression.
"Easy, Samuel," he crooned, placing a kiss over my shirt and rubbing my stomach soothingly. "We all have to share Mommy. Enjoy having her all to yourself for now, buddy," he chuckled, giving me a wink. "And you can totally blame the chili dogs for lunch on your sister."
"He has to like chilwi dogs," Bethy stated, and I half expected her to roll her eyes. "Who doesn't like chilwi dogs?"
"You tell him, little sweetness," he chuckled, kissing her sweet nose before standing up. He cupped my face, bending down to kiss my lips. "I'm going to shovel the snow. And then I'm going to try and finish the changing table. Okay, love?"
"You're staining in the winter?" I asked him.
He laughed, shaking his head. "I had heaters in there, but it's stained. I just need to add the knobs and attach the top part. I didn't get a chance before I left."
"Oh," I sighed, nodding a bit. "I should waddle out to the office and check on the girls. They had a few security jobs and one prospective client call to make."
"Just...don't overdo it, sweetness," he ordered, helping me to my feet. "The doc said..."
"I know," I whined, rolling my eyes up to his. "I'm only walking in there. It's not like I'm guarding some rock star. And I should thank you for setting Alec on me for four days like a rabid mother hen."
He smirked, but nodded, walking me to the front door, because there wasn't a force of nature that could stop his over-protectiveness. Not that I wanted him to stop, because it was one of his most loving features.

Tuesday, September 25, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Sin & Innocence Chapter 25

"Mrs. Cope says that Bethy hasn't missed much, that she's caught up just fine in class," Edward said, his back to me as he flipped over my eggs.
I nodded silently behind him, sleepily dipping my spoon back into the jar of peanut butter and bringing it straight to my mouth. I was barely listening to a word he said, because he was just basketball shorts and his backwards baseball cap – just like he had the first time he'd cooked for me. His ass was so fucking perfect that I was willing to bet a quarter would bounce off of it, and then I tried to remember if I had any quarters in my purse, because I suddenly wanted to try that shit, for real – minus the shorts. I smiled with the spoon still in my mouth, but my eyes traveled up his strong back to his broad shoulders, finally landing on the new, dark, just about healed ink on his upper arm.
He'd gone the day after the Halloween fundraiser, considering we were already in Seattle, and gotten it done by Barry. He hadn't wanted to put it off any longer – something about "new starts" and "finished fucking business." I didn't care why; the damn thing was fuck-hot on him. Just sexy and dark, bold and rough, all black and smooth scrolls – all cuffed around his bicep. It was a touch of his history for him, a memory of his mother, and an enormous turn on for me, which only grew every time he flexed that damn arm. I wanted to trace my tongue over every curl, every inch of the lion, and every swirl, and I found myself licking my lips as I stared at it.
"Are you listening?" he asked, taking the jar of peanut butter from me.
"To what?"
"Um, me," he laughed. "And if you'll wait, love, I'm making your breakfast."
"I was hungry," I huffed, swinging my legs on either side of him as I sat on the counter. "You let me sleep through breakfast with you and Bethy."

Friday, September 21, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Sin & Innocence Chapter 24

"West entrance clear."
"Games area clear."
"Domestic disturbance at the rec center, but it's breaking up now."
"I've got a group of teenagers I'm keepin' an eye on by the haunted house. They look like they're just bein' pains in the asses."
I snorted at that last check in, but looked over the gaming area. I could see Emmett standing guard just outside the rec center, the couple that had been fighting now gone. Jasper was walking slowly along the line of small childrens' rides. Alec wasn't far from the main entrance or from the girls. Bella, Alice, Rose, Sarah, and Makenna were all watching Abby, Bethy, and a handful of other little kids their age play some sort of treasure hunt, where they were all rooting around in some hay to find candy or prizes or some shit.
I grinned, trying my damnedest to fight it, when my baby girl was ruthless in that game. Sometimes, she was way too much like me – though her cleverness at being able to find whatever she was hunting came from Bella, I was sure. I chuckled silently when she stood up – hay sticking to her everywhere – proclaiming to have found the big prize.
"God, she's just like you," my dad chuckled from beside me. "I half expect her to punch some-damn-body."
I laughed, my head falling back to the post I was leaning against. "Wait for it. High school's a bitch," I chuckled, giving him a glance, before resuming my scan of the games.
"That's very true," he snickered quietly. "Anything?" he asked, because he wasn't wearing an earpiece.
"Nah," I sighed, shaking my head. "A few small things, but normal. Some drunk and disorderlies, Em broke up a couple fighting over some stupid shit, and the guard at the east entrance has been keeping an eye on some rowdy kids, but nothing major. Shouldn't you be posing for pictures or something?"
He grinned and shook his head. "Those are done. I should be talking to that group right over there," he said, jerking his chin toward a small crowd of about eight people. They were dressed like they had money, carried themselves like they owned the fucking world, and gave some of the people around them a snobby, scathing look. "But they're kinda assholes," he chuckled. "I just want their money for this project, not idiots inviting me to play golf and shit. Do I look like I play golf?"
I grinned and shrugged. "No, but hell, I don't know. Maybe. They don't know you past the big office and the BMW, Dad. You'd really scare the shit out them if they knew what you used to do, what you're capable of."
"You think?" he asked, almost beaming like a kid, and I rolled my eyes at him, causing him to squeeze my shoulder and laugh.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Sin & Innocence Chapter 23

"You know, I didn't sign up for all this heavy labor," Alec growled, rolling his eyes and hammering a nail into the board. "I'm a special ops soldier, capesce? Not a construction worker...not a farm hand," he continued to bitch, but Jasper's and Edward's unstoppable laughter just made him smile.
"Hmm, but they look so freakin' good doing those things," Alice muttered from the deck chair beside me, and we snorted into shameless giggles, because it was so fucking true.
It was just me and Alice on the porch at the moment. Rose and Emmett were spending some time with their parents, showing off baby Caleb now that they could. Makenna and Wes probably hadn't seen the light of day since we got back to Washington, and Carlisle had gone back to Twi Towers with Esme.
We'd been home for about two weeks. Edward had immediately gotten to work on the baby's new room. Instead of hiring a crew, he wanted to work on it himself, only bringing in outside resources when it was something he couldn't do himself, like pouring the concrete foundation, the wiring, and he'd most likely get someone to do the roof, as well. Everything else, he insisted that he try. I was proud of him, because he was treating it as a rehabilitation thing for his leg, but he was willing to admit when he couldn't do it alone, like today. Today, they were building the frames for the outer just jeans, on a rare sunny day, sweating and flexing.
I brought my mug of warm tea to my lips, trying to tamper down my horny hormones. They were out of control.
"And he's so working the fact that Abby's mother is just inside the house," I added in a mutter. "Alec's been salivating since she stepped onto the damn property." I chuckled, rubbing my hand over my now just barely there baby bump. It was just big enough to make all my clothes not fit, and just small enough that Edward's hand could still spread over it – though his hand wasn't the only thing he put there, because just under my shirt was a love bite that would make a hooker blush.
"No shit, the sly dog," Alice laughed softly, her eyes flickering from the computer screen on her lap, to the boys, and then back to me. "That's some thick-ass charm he's workin'."
I smirked, but it was true. "Five bucks says he invites her to Preacher's Halloween Fundraiser."
"Oh yeah," she agreed, going back to her computer, where she was still looking for Lilith.

Friday, September 14, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Sin & Innocence Chapter 22

"What do you mean it wasn't Lilith in that fucking cabin?" I asked, speaking slow and deep, practically seething.
Eleazar flinched, tossing a file my way. My wife caught it as it slid to her. "It wasn't. We accounted for Walter Bridges and Johnny Thornhill, but the body of the woman inside that cabin was not Lilith Laray. The DNA didn't match."
"Who was she?" Bella asked softly from the end of the table.
"A Jane Doe...unknown," he answered her. "She could've been with Thornhill, but we're not sure."
"She doesn't matter. Lilith does," I growled, pacing in the dining room simply because I could, because it didn't hurt my leg as much any more. "This bitch is dead. Lilith needs to be, too."
"Edward, sit down, please," Bella requested calmly without even looking my way, and then turned her attention to the file folder, speaking to Eleazar. "Alice enhanced the camera that Jasper was wearing the night of the fight. It's impossible to see who shot Walter. All you can tell is that it is a woman..."
My head spun to her as I took my seat beside her, because that shit was news to me. I didn't think Bella or the girls had even looked back on that fight. They just seemed so fucking relieved that it was over. I felt small, warm fingers link with mine, giving them a squeeze.
Eleazar took a deep breath and let it out. He turned to my dad, who was looking over Bella's other shoulder at the file. "It is quite possible that Thornhill decided Walter and Lilith were too much trouble, had drawn too much attention. It would explain why someone on their side shot Walter, instead of letting us have him."
"A hit?" my dad clarified, sitting up straighter. "So then you're assuming Lilith was already dead...before we even approached the cabin."
"We think so," El sighed, shaking his head, and then shrugging. "We're not sure. She's not popped up on any radar, but she's done that before. She doesn't use credit cards, rent cars in her name, or even get hotel rooms."

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Sin & Innocence Chapter 21

As the sun set, I shifted on my crutches. I wasn't sure what I was feeling as Bethy, Bella, and the rest of the girls placed flowers on a freshly covered grave. My girls were beautiful and sad, and I wasn't sure what my daughter understood, because this was her first taste of the reality of life. This was her first funeral. I didn't know what she'd take away from it.
My own first taste came with the death of a grandparent at about her age, but it didn't really hit me until I lost my mother. I suddenly went from being a starry eyed kid, to seeing the world for what it really was – fucking cruel and harsh. At least, sometimes it could be fucking cruel. And then there were moments when I realized that the world would try to make shit back up to you by handing you something amazing to keep, to hold.
My leg gave a dull, deep throb, and I winced, shifting on my crutches again. It had been three days since Esme had removed the shrapnel in my leg. It had taken that long for everyone involved to catch up on sleep, because I'm pretty sure my wife wasn't the only one that had stayed up for practically two days straight. The men were no better. Those that had stuck around at the cabin had a shit-ton of work to do, cleaning up, making it look like something it actually wasn't – because technically, while Eleazar had the authority to capture and destroy a threat, he didn't have the authority to do it in another country – and accounting for every body that we'd left there. We'd destroyed them all, and then some. Walter's and Johnny Thornhill's bodies were both recovered, and it seemed even Lilith had fallen victim, because they'd found the burned remains of a woman inside the closet of the top floor bedroom. And there wasn't a life lost back at that fucking cabin that I had remorse over – except the man we were burying today.
I hadn't given much thought at the time as to why Sam had requested to be on my team, why he'd stuck to me like glue and watched my ass like a hawk. Apparently, he'd seen Bella's worry and taken it on as his own personal mission to make sure his "little one" got everything she ever wanted, and what she wanted most was me home safe. He knew that. And I was pretty fucking sure that Bella being pregnant just made him all the more protective of her, which by proxy, included me.

Thursday, September 6, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Sin & Innocence Chapter 20

The truck was eerily quiet as we trundled down the road. It had been that way since we'd left the farm. The only sounds I could hear were weapons checks, the shifting of boots, and the occasional sound of velcro ripping open as someone made sure they had all their gear.
I watched without really seeing as Mickey taped her wrists with black tape across from me, only to tug on the gloves she always wore. The fingers were exposed, leaving her knuckles and palms protected from the heat and kick a gun could generate. She silently offered me the tape, but I shook my head and waved it off. However, Jasper took it. He liked giving his fingers a non-skid surface when it came down to his sniper. It kept sweat from making his grip slippery.
My eyes traveled down the line, and memories of missions before this came flying to the surface – both military and mercenary. I snatched my hat off, running my hand through my hair, and tugged it back on. I'd been a cocky, ballsy motherfucker then. I'd been single, young, confident in my abilities, and I'd had absolutely no fucking fear.
Now, I wasn't any of those things.
I was a father and husband – two roles that took precedence above all fucking else – but for one night, I needed to shut it all off. I needed to lean on my abilities, find the confidence that I still carried, which was currently hiding behind my fear of leaving my girls and my new little one on the way.

Tuesday, September 4, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Sin & Innocence Chapter 19

"I wanna see Goliaff tomorrow, Mommy," my baby girl said, yawning widely as Bella pulled the covers up to her chin.
"We will," Bella chuckled softly. "I've kinda missed him, too."
I was leaning in the doorway of what used to be my mother's room, but which Aunt Kate had now turned into a really pretty room for Bethy. It was still flowers and lace and frilly-girly shit, but not so grown up. Paintings of landscapes had been replaced with princesses, pictures of me and my dad were now in brighter colored frames, not the silver ones my mom had put them in, and there was an overflowing toy chest in the corner that seemed to have grown since Christmas.
"I'll take you both out to the barn in the morning, little sweetness," I vowed, walking into the room. "Before work," I added with a raised eyebrow to Bella. Both my girls beamed happily, and I chuckled. "Crazy old horse likes you two better than me, anyway," I muttered sourly, which was the fucking truth, although it didn't bother me one bit.
They giggled at the same time, and the sound just did things to me. I sat on the edge of the bed, kissing Bethy's forehead, nose, and then her forehead again so that I could breathe deep the sweet, clean smell of her. Tiny hands grabbed my face, and I smiled down at her, because she was completely unaware of all the shit that was waging around her. She was happy and content, without a fucking care in the world. Meanwhile, my looming mission was tearing me up on the inside, because the unknown could be fucking scary. I was pretty damn sure that that was why my wife had wanted to keep our new little one a secret, though that shit was blown completely out of the water now.