Chapter Twenty-Seven

“I have enough information to bring Mr. Whitlock in for questioning,” Tyler said. “After we talked with him, I will keep you updated with what we find out.”

“Let me know what we can do to put this asshole away?” Edward said, his arm wrapped around Bella’s waist. 

After her breakdown from hearing Peter’s name, she found her comfort and strength from her family. She would not be a victim anymore. Peter Whitlock held no power over her, and she was going to make him pay for what he did to her. “Thank you, Detective Miller.”

“We will get him, Mrs. Cullen,” Tyler promised, as he stood and walked the Cullen’s to the front door. Edward, Carlisle, and Emmett shook his hand before walking out the door. 

Their security staff were still on guard and quickly got them into the back of the limo. They had a little over two hours before the news conference at Edward and Bella’s home. Maggie would have their lunch ready when they arrived back and Bella hoped to have time to freshen up her makeup before facing the news crew. 

When they were on their way back to the compound, Esme reached over and patted Bella on the leg. “You were very strong in there and I am so proud of you.”

With a small smile, Bella answered. “Thank you, mom. I know I couldn’t have done it without all of you there.”

“Sweetheart, you will never have to face anything alone again,” Carlisle replied. “We Cullens stick together.”

The news of who had viciously assaulted his sister-in-law had been eating away at Emmett. He couldn’t believe his friend’s half-brother was the animal who had attacked Bella. “Edward, Bella, I need to tell you something.”

“What is it, brother?” Edward asked, seeing the concern in his eyes.

“Jasper Hale is Peter’s half-brother,” Emmett advised.

“Excuse me. Did you say Jasper is Peter’s brother?” Edward asked. His mind raced. Jasper had been in their home. Had he put bugs or cameras in the house? Did he help his brother to get access to the compound?

“I’m sorry, Edward, Bella. I didn’t know, I swear,” Emmett said, running his hand through his hair. 

“FUCK!” Edward yelled, pushing the button to talk to Sam. “Sam, we have a serious problem. Put down the privacy screen so we can talk.”

The screen came down and Felix turned to survey the issue in the back. “What is going on Mr. Cullen?” he asked.

“Sam, we need you to get a team in the house now and sweep the house for bugs and cameras,” Edward rushed out. 

“What happened?” Sam questioned. 

“Peter Whitlock is the man who attacked Bella and broke into her condo. His brother...”

“Half-brother,” Emmett interjected.

Edward turned and glared at Emmett. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Son, I know you’re upset, but Emmett didn’t know,” Carlisle said, trying to diffuse the situation. 

Shaking his head, Edward took several cleansing breaths. “Peter’s half-brother, Jasper Hale, was at the house yesterday for the Gentleman’s party. We don’t know if he placed anything in the house.”

“I’ll have the team go through right now. We will take you to your parent’s house until the sweep is over,” Sam instructed.

“We have the news crews coming in less than two hours,” Bella said. 

“DAMN IT!” Edward growled. He had forgotten all about that and they couldn’t cancel because it would raise red flags. “Sam, send the men in and sweep the bottom floor. Have the gate triple check all the credentials of every person in the news teams.”

“On it, sir,” Sam said. “Felix, call the team and get them working. We are thirty minutes out and I want the majority of the downstairs completed before we arrive.”

Edward flexed his hands into fist several times. He had promised to keep Bella safe, and he allowed the enemy’s family into their home. Then he remembers something. “Sam, Jasper’s wife, was at mom and dad’s house. Have the team sweep their house as well to be safe.”

Bella reached out and placed her hands over his. “Sweetheart, calm down. I am here and safe. We don’t know for sure if Jasper and Alice are helping Peter.” 

He knew she was right, but it was still a shock. Taking several more cleansing breaths, and center himself. “Emmett, did Jasper say anything to you when you went out to dinner?”

Emmett thought back to the dinner and replayed the entire conversation. They caught up and Rose talked about all the details of the wedding. Then he remembered Jasper's conversation concerning being in town. “Jasper said that his mother made him come to Boston to help his half-brother move into his new place. He looked like he hated having to do so.”

“When you were in Seattle, did he talk about his half-brother or did you ever meet him?” Edward asked.

“I’ve known Jasper for five years and he never talked about his family, other than his step-father was a dick.”

Edward took what Emmett had said into consideration, and maybe Jasper was okay. He hoped so, because the look on his brother’s face showed how much pain he was in.

When they arrived at the gate of the compound, several news vehicles were already there. Sam had already notified the guard of their impending arrival, allowing them to drive straight through the opened gate. As they passed the reporters, they were yelling and snapping pictures.

“Fucking vultures,” Edward growled. He hated these assholes. He couldn’t believe he had invited them into his and Bella’s home. 

“Son, I know how much you hate them, but you need to put your animosity away,” Carlisle said, patting Edward on the leg.

“I know, but I am scared these assholes will say something about Peter,” Edward replied.

“If they do, we will just say that it is an ongoing investigation and can’t comment. The worst thing we can do is not to say anything,” Carlisle advised. “If they get pushy, let Nahuel handle the questions.”

When they pulled up at Edward’s home, the security staff met them at the door. Sam went over and spoke to them before allowing the Cullen’s to exit from the car. After he felt sure there was no threat, he stepped over to the car and opened the door. “Mr. Cullen, the entire downstairs, has been swept, and they found no devices. 

Emmett let out the breath he didn’t know he had been holding. He knew this didn’t clear Jasper completely, but it made him feel better. Once Edward and Bella exited the car, he got out and helped Rose out, wrapping his large arm around her. 

Rose knew Emmett was beating himself up over knowing and trusting Jasper. She laid her hand on his arm. “Baby, it is not your fault.”

“But I put my brother and Bella’s life in danger,” he whispered.

“You didn’t know, and he doesn’t blame you. He is just running off emotions right now. He has never had these feelings for a woman before and she is in danger. Give him time to come around,” Rose urged.

Emmett gave her a small smile, though it didn’t reach his eyes. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” she said.

Everyone walked into the house and were met by Richard and Maggie. “Lunch is ready on the deck.”

“Thanks, Maggie,” Bella said, pulling her into a hug. 

Walking out the French doors and they all stopped. Sitting on the loveseat with a rock glass of dark liquid in his hand, was Aro. “I thought I would come and make sure the pond scum understands that your marriage is legal.”

“How did you know?” Bella asked.

“My friend called me last night to give me grief,” Aro chuckled, raising his glass towards Carlisle.

“Well, I thought we might need another voice to prove you are, in fact, married,” Carlisle said, walking over and sitting beside his friend. “I see you have already raided the liquor cabinet.”

“Damn right. You need to take stock of Edward’s cabinet. He has some fine bottles in there,” Aro instructed.

“Alright, everyone, grab a plate and eat. The news crews will be here in forty-five minutes,” Esme said. 

The couples obeyed Esme’s suggestion and fixed their plates, taking seats on the deck. The day was hot, but the breeze blowing across the water cooled the deck. Bella was careful not to eat too much, since her stomach was still nervous. She hoped she made it through the press conference without throwing up. 

Edward could tell Bella was on edge. Wrapping his arm around her shoulder, he leaned close and whispered. “Just remember, once they leave, you and I will be in the playroom. We won’t have much time, but I promise to relieve the stress of the day.”

Bella crossed her legs, her inner muscles clenching over the thought of what her Master had in store for her. Yet it was more than the thoughts of phenomenal sex she would surely have. It was the knowledge her Master would always be there for her, even when they were not playing. Being in a Dominant/submissive relationship wasn’t something they turned off once the time of play was over. Edward would always be a Dominant and she would be a submissive. Those personalities were ingrained into their core. Reaching over, she placed her hand on his jaw. “Thank you, Master.”

Hearing her call him Master caused his body to tingle and his cock to grow hard. He turned his head and kissed her palm. “You are very welcome, my pet.”

Aro watched Edward and Bella. He hadn’t had the opportunity to see them together before the wedding. It was very apparent just how much they loved each other. He was happy his godson had found someone to love. Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t see Esme come over and sit down beside him.

“It is the real deal,” she said with a loving smile on her face.

“I can see that it is,” Aro replied. “I know you and Carlisle are ecstatic over the fact that both of your sons have found the love of their lives.”

“We are beyond ecstatic and we are looking forward to the beautiful grandchildren they are going to give us,” Esme confessed.

“Damn, Esme, give them some time to enjoy each other before they have babies,” Aro chuckled. 

After everyone had finished their lunch, Maggie and Richard cleaned up the deck. Bella excused herself to go upstairs to freshen before the press conference. Rose linked her arm around Bella’s and they walked upstairs together and into Bella’s bedroom.

“This is an enormous bedroom,” Rose said, looking around the room. 

“I know and wait until you see the bathroom and closets,” Bella replied, pulling Rose towards them.

Once Rose was in the bathroom, she couldn’t help but laugh. “I think this is bigger than our entire dorm room our freshman year.”

“I think you are right,” Bella said, as she opened up the drawer and started freshening up her makeup. She didn’t notice Rose had left until she heard her call out.

“Bella, it is a shame that your husband has more clothes than you do.”

“Yeah, we were going to have all my clothes brought over from my condo, but I just can’t have them here, not knowing if Peter had touched them.”

Rose walked back in and wrapped her arms around Bella. “Well, that sounds like a perfect excuse to have a major shopping excursion.”

She tried to give Rose a smile, but it was impossible. “I just hope he didn’t destroy my pictures or jewelry.”

“When can someone go in and find out?” Rose asked.

“I forgot to ask Detective Miller,” Bella answered.

“Edward will find out and set up to have your valuables brought here,” Rose said. “I’m sorry I doubted your love for him and his for you.”

Hearing those words made Bella a genuine smile. “We do love each other and it is time for the world to know.”

“And next week we will be sisters,” Rose beamed.

“Rose, I have thought of you as a sister for years. I love you for always being there for me, through the bad times and through the good.”

When they arrived back downstairs, everyone was in the foyer talking. Bella noticed Nahuel had arrived and was speaking with Aro. She couldn’t believe that Aro had come to quash any doubts about the legality of their marriage.

Edward hadn’t heard Bella come downstairs, but he could feel she was close. Turning, his face broke out in a massive smile when he saw her. When she was right beside him, he leaned down and placed a kiss on her lips.

After Edward had pulled away, Bella saw her lipstick smeared on his lips. Taking her thumb, she wiped away the mauve color from his full lips. “Don’t want the press to think you have become a cross-dresser,” she giggled.

He brushed his finger along her jawline, down her neck, and to the top of her breastbone, all the while never taking his eyes off hers. “I would much rather undress you and I will, soon.”

A delicious shiver shot through her body. Her husband was one dangerous man. “I look forward to it.”

“Edward, Bella, it is time,” Carlisle said.

Edward grasped Bella’s hand and brought up to his lips and placed a kiss before they walked in the room with their family. The majority of the furniture was moved out of the formal living room to make room for the press corps. Edward and Bella sat on a small loveseat which was in front and center of the press, while their parents and Aro sat to the right. Emmett, Rose, and Nahuel sat to the left. Chairs were placed for the press corp to sit in, while their camera crew had space in the back to set up their equipment.

Edward held onto Bella’s hand as he spoke. “Thank you for coming today. Let me introduce everyone to you,” Edward said and pointed towards his parents. “These are parents, Esme and Carlisle Cullen. Beside them is my Godfather, Judge Aro Volturi.” Turning towards the other side, he motioned. “This is my brother Emmett, his lovely fiance Rosalie King and our attorney Nahuel Padro.” 

He glanced out across the crowd of reporters. Edward took a moment before continuing. Looking at Bella, who turned to his gaze with eyes full of love, he smiled. “And this stunning woman beside me is the reason why you are here today.”

“Are you engaged?” a reporter yelled out.

Edward smiled at the reporters before continuing. “This is Isabella and no, we are not engaged, we are married.”

The reporters looked at each other with a shocked expression on their faces. They knew Emmett Cullen was getting married next week, but Edward Cullen was never seen with the same woman more than twice. 

Carlisle could see the surprise look on the reporter’s faces. “We know this is a shock, but Esme and I are thrilled beyond words to welcome Bella into our family.”

“When did you get married?”

“Yesterday morning,” Bella answered.

“I had the great honor to officiate their marriage,” Aro said.

“Bella, you didn’t want a large wedding?” a female reporter yelled out. 

“No, I wanted something special and private. Nothing could be more special than to have Edward’s godfather marry us,” Bella said and looked towards Esme. “We plan to have a large reception at a later date.”

“Miss King, what do you think about your future brother-in-law upstaging your special day?” the same female reporter asked with a smirk.

Rose put on a forced smile and gritted her teeth. “What is your name?”

“Betsy with Channel 3 news,” she chirped.

“Well, bitchy,” Rose began.

“BETSY,” she yelled.

Waving her hand in dismissal, Rose continued. “There is no upstaging. Emmett and I are thrilled that Edward and Bella are married. The only reason you are here today is so we can get the story straight instead of the fabrication the press tends to invent and dish up with each story you broadcast.”

Betsy huffed and crossed her arms. She hated to be called out.

“Was a prenup signed?” another reporter asked.

“No,” Edward answered quickly.

“Isn’t that a poor decision, especially since your attorney has been arrested?”

“Our marriage and my prior attorney, Mr. Black, have nothing in common. He is the one who broke the law,” Edward said and draped his arm around Bella’s shoulder and pulled her closed. “We have hired a new attorney who is looking out for our best interests concerning Mr. Black’s illegal activities.”

“Where are you going for your honeymoon?”

Edward looked down at Bella and sighed. He wanted to take her far away from Boston until Peter could be arrested. However, they couldn’t leave. Emmett’s wedding was next week, and they had a new club opening in two months. When the club was opened, he planned on taking her on an extended honeymoon. She had commented she would love to spend more time on the yacht and they could travel down the east coast to the Bahamas. He had never done that, and the idea of it made him excited.

“A honeymoon will happen, but after Emmett and Rose have their special day,” Edward said. “Thank you for coming and allowing us to make this announcement in our home.”

“Mr. Cullen, Mrs. Cullen,” the reporters started shouting, but that didn’t stop Edward and Bella, along with their entire family from exiting the room. Once they were out, Sam and the security team came in to escort the reporters out of the house and off the property.

“Well, I think it went well,” Nahuel said. “No one questioned the validity of the marriage, thanks to Judge Volturi’s presence.”

“Damn right they didn’t,” Aro replied. “Those blood-sucking vampires are always looking out for blood.”

“Thank you again for coming,” Edward said as he reached out and gave his godfather a manly hug.

“No problem, Edward, I enjoyed watching them at a loss for words.”

An hour later, Edward and Bella could finally climb the stairs to have some alone time before the next event at the nightclub. When they walked into their bedroom, Edward turned and looked at Bella.

“You have twenty minutes to change into the outfit I have laid out on the bed in The Pearl and be in inspection position in the playroom. Do you understand, Isabella?”

Trying to control her excitement, she lowered her eyes. “Yes, Master.”