Home > Indebted Epilogue (Indebted #7)(12)

Indebted Epilogue (Indebted #7)(12)
Author: Pepper Winters

And today, all that hard work had come to fruition.

My heart burst as roses spewed from all around us, kissing our feet.

Nila clung to my forearm, breathing hard, combating any vertigo spell she might endure.

I’d done my best to find a cure for her. I’d scoured website after website, consulted doctor after doctor. Some said it was an iron deficiency, so I stocked her up on vitamins and minerals. Some said the brain would eventually cease granting dizzy spells as it grew to equalize. However, seeing as she’d had it all her life, I didn’t see that happening.

The best solution I’d found so far were a series of exercises called the Canalith technique. It helped, but hadn’t fixed her.

But we had time, and I wouldn’t stop trying.

For now, I would be her anchor, holding her close in a sea of tilting worlds.

“They adore you, Needle.”

Her face met mine, painted with camera flashes. “They adore the collection. Not me.”

I shook my head, looking over the carpet of journalists, photographers, and celebrities.

Fashionistas and reporters from all over the world had come to witness Nila’s Rainbow Diamond Collection. The collection she’d started when she’d stood naked on Hawksridge lawn about to run for her life through the forest.

She’d told me being naked that day and wearing only diamonds had given her the strength to run. It’d also been the inspiration to create her best showpieces and couture designs yet. Her brand, Nila, graced not just the high fashion world but shops and local department stores, too.

I’m so fucking proud of her.

Tonight, she hadn’t shared the limelight with any boutique or label. The entire two-hour production had been piece after piece she’d created at Hawksridge and a few pieces she’d saved from Bonnie’s wardrobe made courtesy of Emma and her ancestors. Those vintage pieces were heralded as a fashion comeback and the words ‘Victorian lace’ and ‘crinoline skirts’ wafted on the warm air inside the theatre.

“You did it. Be proud.” I nuzzled into her neck. My teeth ached to bite, but I restrained myself. Tonight. Tonight, I would bite her and show her just how fucking proud I was.

“I couldn't have done it without you.” She leaned into my embrace, bringing her scent of vanilla and orchid perfume.

“That’s not true, but thank you all the same.” I kissed her ear, careful not to disrupt the intricate up-do Jasmine had helped her with. The past few weeks had flown by and the shorter cut I’d given her in the stables had grown, thick and glossy—the perfect length to fist while her mouth fitted around my cock.

I hardened, remembering her swirling tongue last night.

We’d arrived two days ago in Milan—in the very same theatre where I’d stolen her all those months ago.

Time had its own strange irony.

I’d ended her life in this place.

And yet she’d come back to life here, too.

A year ago, I’d come to steal her from the limelight and prevent anyone from enjoying her creations. Now, I shared her with those who valued her skills and fought each other for the prestige of wearing her art.

All around us stood the models from tonight’s show. The Rainbow Diamond collection truly was spectacular. Pastels, pinks, purples, teals, yellows—an array of fabrics Nila had educated me on and cuts and gathers and fancy needlepoint she’d explained every time she worked.

Standing beside her, I couldn’t for the life of me remember a single stitch’s name. All I could remember was how much I loved her and how stunning she was in a gown made of bewitching smoke.

Obviously, it wasn’t smoke but silk and tulle and any number of materials she forced me to recall. But the panels of midnight down her tiny waist and the glitter of black beads down the front made her the crown of the show, the black diamond of her empire.

Every time she swished in front of me, I wanted to throw my tuxedo jacket over her shoulders to hide the scrumptious line of her spine and the swell of her arse below.

I appreciated the skill and design of the dress, but I didn’t appreciate the way men gawked at my wife.

One of the boutique shops that’d already bid at auction and won Nila’s new collection climbed on the stage and presented her with a bouquet of white roses. The dark-skinned man kissed her cheek, smiled at me, and faced the audience to reinvigorate the clapping.

For once, I didn’t mind being in a crowd this size. Not because Nila was beside me and I’d become accustomed to tuning into her thoughts when in a gathering such as this, but because everyone had one focus: impressed awe.

Nila waved at the cameras, bowed—hiding the little wobble by digging her fingernails into my cuff—and turned to leave.

Not so fast.

I held her a second longer. I wanted to bask in the moment. I wanted to absorb every thought and feeling because tonight was special for Nila but special for me, too.

Tonight was my thirtieth birthday.

I’d made it.

Nila wasn’t beheaded, her body wasn’t rotting on the moor with her ancestors, and I wasn’t dead at the hands of my father.

We’d turned evil into benevolence and lived a life worthy of deserving.

“Come on, it’s time to go.” She tugged on my hold, swaying in her stupidly high heels.

I cupped her elbow, turning her to face me. Unfortunately for her, she couldn’t keep surprises and I knew tonight she’d already planned a birthday party for me. I didn’t know where or what it would entail but I felt her excitement at surprising me and her enjoyment at celebrating such a huge milestone. A milestone we both feared would never come to pass.

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