Home > Indebted Epilogue (Indebted #7)(15)

Indebted Epilogue (Indebted #7)(15)
Author: Pepper Winters

The chubby fingers around ours pinched, demanding more attention. “Okay, okay, demanding little thing.” Jethro let me go, bending over to kiss his son one last time. “It’s time to go to bed.”



The little boy shook his head, loving his favourite game.

I stood quietly, watching son and father interact. The name we’d chosen couldn’t be more apt.


Kestrel ‘William’ Hawk after Jethro’s original ancestor and closest brother.

Jethro sighed dramatically. “If you don’t go to sleep, you won’t get to enjoy tomorrow.”

“Yes. Tomarrooww.”

I smothered my chuckle. Kes was beyond intelligent for his age. He’d learned to talk far earlier than normal, but his little accent cracked me up.

“No, if you don’t go to sleep, there is no tomorrow.” Jethro grinned, blowing another raspberry on Kes’s neck. “Know why?”

Kes frowned as if the question was incredibly important. “No.”

“Because if you don’t sleep, tomorrow can’t come because you’re still in today. That’s why we sleep, Kes. So today can pass and our dreams can conjure a new beginning. You don’t want to ruin that tradition, do you?” Tucking the sheets tighter around him, he smiled. “After all, Mummy and I will be in the future, living tomorrow while you’re stuck in the past living today. We’re going to go to sleep. That means you should, too.”

Kes suddenly froze, his inherited golden eyes latching onto me. “True?”

“Very true.” Pressing the button of his nose, I murmured, “Go to sleep, little one, so we can have a good day. We’ll go riding. Would you like that?”

He yawned wide, finally letting tiredness take him.

“Good boy.” Removing my hand from the cot, I moved quietly toward the door. Jethro remained, bending to give Kes another kiss. Patting his son’s tiny chest, he checked the nightlight was secure and the baby monitor switched on and synced to his phone.

The little boy who looked exactly like his namesake with cheeky golden eyes and floppy dark bronze hair snuggled in his covers, already falling into dreams as his father sneaked across the room to me.

“You do know he manipulates us to drag out as many minutes before bedtime as possible, right?”

I laughed quietly; stepping into the corridor of our wing, I left the door open a crack. “Did you sense that or just parenting 101?”

His arm snaked around my waist. “A bit of both. If we’re not careful, he’ll have us completely wrapped around his little finger.”

“Eh, I think that’s already happened.”

Leaving the nursery, we padded down the corridor of the bachelor wing. Not that it was the bachelor wing anymore. We’d transformed many of the rooms into playrooms, media rooms, and revamped the bedroom with soft whites and greys rather than overbearing brocade and maroon leather.

It’d been the only part of the house we’d renovated and removed the symbolism of Hawks on plasterwork and architraving. The rest of Hawksridge was a monument to architecture and history. It wouldn’t be right to tear apart something so rich and detailed.

The thought of heading to bed to do more than sleep crossed my mind.

After Kestrel’s birth, I’d returned to running. It wasn’t a chore. I ran for freedom, for peace. I ran because it was something I enjoyed. The baby weight came off, and I returned to designing gowns for my figure. The caesarean scar was just another mark on my body proving I’d lived a life and won. But unlike the many others scars I’d earned fighting an age-old debt, this one I wore proudly because it’d been given to me by the greatest gift I could imagine.

And soon, I would have another gift.

I had another secret.

A secret I’d managed to keep far longer than the first. Sneakily hiding my growing bump with excuses and masquerades. I’d kept my surprise hidden for two reasons. One, I wanted to see how long it would take Jethro to sense my news. I constantly expected him to suddenly drop the dishes or stop doing paperwork and announce what grew in my belly.

But ever since Kes had come into our lives, his condition had mellowed. He now had two of us who loved him unconditionally and didn’t walk a razor blade of hypersensitivity—he didn’t need to. All he needed to focus on was happy thoughts and contentment.

Before Kes was born, I’d catch him having a stressful day and try to soothe his condition by giving all the love I could share. I’d grant him sanctuary in our connection and hold him as long as he needed. Being in crowds was still too much for him. Dealing with company travel didn’t often happen as his need for silence hadn’t diminished.

At the start of our relationship, when he’d told me how much he would drain me, how much he would rely on my love for him, I hadn’t fully understood the ramifications of what I’d agreed to.

But now I did and it was the least I could do.

He’d given me so much. On a daily basis, he gave me more of himself than I could ever ask for, and to be able to help cure him after a long day dealing with people granted me power and connection.

But our son.

Well…he was the true cure.

Jethro only had to hug Kes and the stress in his eyes would melt. The strain in his spine would vanish, and the need for simplistic silence came from holding the two-year-old in the tightest embrace.

Two years.

I couldn’t believe we’d had Kestrel Hawk II in our lives for two years.

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