A Woman of Conviction Ch 23
Six years Later
I smile, looking in at my seventeen-year-old son sleeping with books scattered around him from studying too much. Lucian is going into his senior year with mounting college credits and the fact that he is the varsity football captain, varsity basketball captain, and is the star of the track team.
I move his books to his desk and cover him up gently. I make my way to Damon’s room next; sports paraphernalia is scattered everywhere. He’s going into his sophomore year as captain of the junior varsity football team, and he took up wrestling instead of basketball. He’s got a good grade point average, but he’s a jock all the way.
Mike is the next door down. I peek at him and see his mom’s picture next to his bed. Mike and Lucian’s friendship only grew as they got older. When his parents divorced, and his mom passed away in a car accident, Mike begged to live with us. After many discussions, and Edward bribing Mike’s dad, he came to live with us when he was thirteen. He quickly became another son to Edward and me.
The next bedroom is Maddi, one of our four-year-old twins that were conceived the night we got engaged. Between her and Masen, it was a rough pregnancy. A little more than a year later we had Lillian, who is now three. Our youngest, and our last, is six-month-old Wyatt. All of our kids have their father’s hair color, but Masen and Maddie have my brown eyes, where Lilian and Wyatt have green eyes.
Life is great all around; my center is in full swing. It helps single parents who need babysitters, rides, and anything that they might need for their children. We’ve started a shelter for domestic abuse, and we help people get GED’s and get into college. We also help with job placement.
Of course, Edward and I aren’t the only ones to grow our family. Rose and Emmett have a little six-year-old girl, Emmie. Alice and Jasper were next with five-year-old Jackson. This past year Tanya and Irina adopted brothers; Kenny, who is three, and Thomas, who is seven. It’s been a shaky start with them, but after being around our rowdy crew and seeing the love they have for their aunts Tan and Iri, things seem to be calming down with the adopted siblings.
I walk into our master bedroom where I see my husband rocking Wyatt to sleep. Nothing compares to watching my man handle our kids.
“I think it’s time for the little one to be put to bed.” I move forward to take Wyatt from Edward.
Edward tucks his youngest closer to his chest. “Just a little longer; the kids are growing too fast, and before I know it, this one won’t cuddle with me either.” The whining coming from my adorable husband makes me snort.
“The only ones that don’t cuddle with you are the teenagers, baby.” I gently take Wyatt out of his arms, cradling him against me and breathing in his innocent smell, humming in contentment.
“I think you just wanted him to yourself,” my sexy husband smirks at me as he puts his hands behind his head.
I shake my head, taking my sleeping baby into his bed and turning the baby monitor on as I head back to my room. Edward is reading in bed as I climb in next to him, laying my head on his shoulder.
“I have some news for you about two of our boys.” He set his book on the stand near his side of the bed.
“What would that be?” I tuck myself closer to him.
“Lucian is still a virgin who is feeling pressured because of his choice to stay that way until he’s married. But Damon, unfortunately, is apparently a lady’s man, and not a virgin. Looks like he took Mike’s route.” He wraps his arm around me for comfort.
I feel my heart break at the news about Damon. He’s just fifteen. “He’s being safe, right?”
I hear him sigh. “I think after the sexual education that this house had because of Mike, yes.”
I snort, thinking back to when I caught Mike having sex with his girlfriend. I forgot some project plans and had to go back to the house to grab them when I heard the sounds coming from his room. I still can’t get the image out of my head.
Edward took over with the sex talk and he took it seriously, from watching videos and going to a counselor, then to a clinic. I don’t know all the details, but I can only assume that it put the fear into them about being safe.
I shift gears and think about my oldest. “How is Lucian doing with the pressure?”
Edward shifts in the bed a bit. “He’s scared, love, he said he doesn’t want to be like him.”
My heart breaks again for my other son. He’s had the hardest time over his sperm donor, even more so when Jake went to trial for Leah’s assault and he was also being charged for statutory rape, finally.
Lucian wrote letters to his half sisters, but only two wrote back. I am in constant contact with their grandparents, who have custody of them. One is now eleven; Sara lives in Michigan. The other one is in Florida; Julia is nine. He never received any communication from the other two. I assumed, since their moms never got back with me either, that they want nothing to do with us, which is fine. But Sara and Julia come out for a week in the summer to visit with Lucian and Damon. It’s actually very sweet watching them.
“I told him that he is nothing like that man; the fact is, he’s kind and sweet. Lucian also thinks about the consequences,” Edward defends our oldest.
I nod my head in agreement. “Lucian has always worried, but there is no doubt he gets that from his dad.” I smirk up at my husband.
A proud grin breaks out on his face. “Yeah, he does.”
I chuckle, but sober up when I think about Damon. “You’ll talk to Damon, right, make sure he’s being safe and all that?” I nibble my bottom lip.
I feel his lips kiss the top of my head. “Yes, love. Are you ready for the girls next week?”
“Yes, I have a trip to the zoo planned, then I thought we could do Wild Waves Theme & Water Park. I know that will be at least a two-day trip, then on Friday I have the photographer coming to do the family pictures for all of us.” I give him a pointed look, because last year he weaseled his way out of it by planning a meeting.
Edward narrows his eyes at me. “I had to go to that meeting, we needed him as an endorser for Cullen Center.”
I roll my eyes; he’s right, but I still find it interesting he had to plan it on the same day we had the photo session.
“How long are Sara and Julia staying for this summer?” he asks, changing the subject.
“This year they will be with us for two weeks.”
He hums in response. “What do we need to do to get Seth on board for possible job placement at the restaurant?”
Seth now owns Paul's Diner, which he renamed Seth’s Place. Paul is in prison for selling heroin, which gave Seth the opening to buy the place for cheap. He’s turned the diner into something amazing and brings in a fantastic profit. We’re hoping to have him sign up with our center, so we can employ people at his restaurant that really need a job.
“He just wants assurance with background checks, and wonders how the pay works; if we’re paying the employees that we’ll be placing there, or if he is.”
“If it’s a position that needs to be filled there, he would treat them as a hired employee and he would pay them. If it’s a favor and a position he doesn’t really need filled, we can compensate him the difference. I suppose I would preferably want them to be hired in, and not something we have to pay for, because I feel that defeats the purpose.” He shifts to get his laptop.
“We can talk about work, but no actual work in bed,” I scold him, stopping his hand from grabbing his laptop.
He huffs and takes me back in his arms. “How many businesses have signed up for the job placements so far?” he asks, still eyeballing the laptop.
“Four restaurants, Emmett and Rose both have agreed to take people on, and Alice said she can take people at each of her shops,” I answer, proud that we have this many places agreeing to help people out.
“Daddy, Mommy!” I hear Lillian call for us outside our door.
Edward smirks at me before answering our daughter. “Yes, angel.”
Her little feet pad their way into our room by our bed. She looks at us with big eyes. “I had a bad dweam, can I sweep wif you?”
I chuckle silently at our little girl who is working her dad over with her puppy dog eyes.
“Yes, my angel, you can sleep with Mommy and Daddy.” Edward lets me go to pick her up and snuggles her in between us.
He turns the lamp off by his side of the bed and I do the same, both of us curling into our daughter.
I look to my husband. “I love you,” I mummer to him as I kiss our daughter's head.
“I love you, baby, let’s get some sleep,” he whispers back.
I never imagined my life would change this much when Edward over tipped me all those years ago, but I am so happy that it did.