Possessing Bella Ch. 25

byxelliebabex©

"I love him," she said simply. "I love our life here, and at the Cove. I love that we both have demanding careers and manage to make it work. I love that he listens to the silly things that run through my mind and takes them seriously, even acts on them," she turned to face Dorothea, "Like having you here for this." She smiled, "I want this, I know the timing is bad with the memorial, but I am not acting on impulse or emotion about that. I'm am surer than I have been about anything since, well for a long time." She touched the collar at her throat and smiled. "I am ready to commit to this and a life with Sir Stephen."

"Good enough for me, but," Rob said with a grin, "You know there is always a but," he chuckled.

"As your guardians," Kurt continued for him, "It is our place to protect you from gold diggers and scoundrels like the good Sir Stephen so we will need to have a longer conversation about your portfolio, particularly in light of that rock you have attached to your finger."

"Well fuck me," Rob whistled. "Nice pick up there." He congratulated Kurt.

"My god when did you two morph into Tweedledee and Tweedledum," Dorothea exclaimed and stood up going to Bella and hugging her. "I am so happy for you, let me see the ring!"

Stephen had said nothing during the whole exchange, but when Bella looked up at him, he wore a smile and did not seem unhappy about being called a scoundrel by Kurt.

"You've done well, Sir Stephen. Congratulation," Dorothea said with feeling as she moved to embrace him as well.

"I thought so," Stephen chuckled. Reaching out a long arm and pulling Bella to his side. "Why don't you two beautiful ladies go and ask Charles to order some champagne to celebrate while I make sure Tweedledum and Tweedledumber spell Gold-digging scoundrel right on the prenup," he laughed.

"That's a bit unfair," Rob said with a smirk, "Come here little Brat." He held out his arms to her. "I couldn't be happier for you." He pulled her into his lap and kissed her. Kurt too picked her up and embraced her tightly.

"You realise how many girls will want one of those now too," he picked up her hand and looked at the ring she wore.

"Let's go order that champagne so the men can talk about how lucky Sir Stephen is," Dorothea took her hand and the went out into the restaurant.

Bella and Stephen remained in the restaurant all evening entertaining a variety of guests who sat with them at times including most of the stakeholders and their girls who oohed over her collar and ring. By the time, Stephen finally took her upstairs to bed she was exhausted and fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow.

Stephen stroked her hair back from her face revealing his collar and smiled. This girl was everything he had ever wanted in a submissive and life partner. She was his world and if they could get through the memorial, this weekend he knew that everything else would be plain sailing.

*****

Bella sat quietly between Stephen and her father in the front row of the memorial for Mel. The event was held in the function room of the Marcol building and was attended by invited guests only. While the crowd was quite large, there was also an intimacy in the room because of a shared need to acknowledge the man who had left such a legacy in his wake. Right up until the moment, she stepped onto the stage Bella had not known if she would speak at the memorial. She hadn't felt brave enough or worthy enough to face the people who knew him so well, loved him and respected him. It was as she listened to one after another of his friends and associates speak of the tragic accident that she decided to tell her story.

Standing before the sea of faces she smiled shyly. "I would firstly like to publically acknowledge that without the strength and kindness of one man here today, I may not have been here myself. I hope that at some time in those dark days follow the incident that I thanked him properly but here and now I would like my family and friends to know what Leon Watt did for me and thank him for being there when no one else could have been." She paused and a rippled murmur of surprise ran through the crowd and smiled at the man who obviously shared their surprise at her words.

"As I have listened to so many people today I realise that there is little understanding of the actions of some very brave men, so I have decided to tell you my story, and if Leon wouldn't mind, I could use his support again right now." She looked at him and seemingly unsure of himself he stood and made his way onto the stage. He stood partially behind her, close enough that she could feel him there and placed a hand on her shoulder.

"I know that it is easier to refer to Mel's death as an accident, I use the word incident more often than not but it is time we acknowledge that his death was no accident. It was murder. Premeditated and vengeful murder." Bella began with what had caused her to stand up on the stage in the first place.

"I cannot say exactly what led to the cold-blooded shooting that occurred on that lonely road a year ago only that it occurred unexpectedly for Mel. A tree had come down on the road and Tony our driver had stopped the car as we came around a bend and almost crashed into it. I didn't understand what the noise was when Mel dove over me and pushed me to the floor of the car shielding me with his body. I didn't understand why I was wet and sticky with blood but felt o pain. I couldn't fathom why Mel wasn't moving, even when Tony had opened the door with his gun in his hand and told me to stay down. I know now I was in shock and the heroic actions of both Mel and Tony, who drove for such a long time with mortal bullet wounds need to be acknowledged, for both of them acted heroically that day and saved my life." Once again she paused and looked out at the sea of faces who hung on her every word. The real story of what happened having been buried under rumour and myth for some time.

"I had thought the muffled voice I could hear was Tony talking to Mel but he had called Leon who immediately swung into action. He was there when we got to the hospital. I remember him pulling me from the car before the doctors and nurses took me from him. I remember seeing them pull the unconscious bodies of Tony and Mel, the men who had risked everything to save me, from the car, before being wheeled inside. Through all of that, the thing I remember most is the hand that never let go of mine. Leon never left my side even when I ran like a mad woman through the hospital searching for Mel and finding him in intensive care." She swallowed and her tears glistened unshed in her eyes as she remembered that horrible sight.

"Each time I woke from a drug-induced stupor he was there, holding my hand until Rob Collins arrived and brought me home to my family and friends. The one tangible thing I had there, this hand," she patted the hand on her shoulder, "Kept me from going insane, kept me safe and kept me alive. I am forever grateful to this man and while we are here to remember Mel, we should also celebrate those hero's among us who do amazing things every day just by being themselves, people who make a difference every day to the world around them just like Mel did, but without the fanfare."

"I know you would have saved us all if you could have, but you saved me, and I will be eternally grateful to you for that." She turned and kissed his cheek embracing Leon. Then they walked off the stage.

"I had no idea you felt that way," Leon said as they moved slowly back toward their seats.

"I know, and I am sorry it took me this long to tell you," she gave a half smile and embraced him again. "You couldn't have stopped what happened, or saved Mel but what you did for me was beyond anyone's expectations. You saved my life, and I would like us to be better friends now that I can look at what happened and not feel so afraid."

"I would like that too," Leon smiled for the first time, his guilt over the whole incident dissipating slightly with her story. He knew that she had avoided him and he had hated the thought that she associated him with not getting to them quick enough in Italy to make a difference or that his outlandish public playboy persona at the club had caused her to think badly of him in the months following the incident.

"I'm glad because I think my parents and maybe a few other people might want to meet you after that," she laughed lightly. "I'm am sorry that I left it until now to tell you, but I haven't been ready to think about it clearly until recently."

At the end of the memorial Rosie and Joe did indeed seek out Leon and thanked him for his role in saving their daughter.

"You must come to dinner," Rosie insisted, "Tell him, Joe, he must come and eat, I will cook anything you like. I'm a good cook," she said to convince him.

"Now, now, my love," Joe put a restraining arm around his wife's waist. "Let the man answer before bombarding him," Joe smiled and added, "Yes, I am afraid you must come to dinner."

"I would like that," Leon agreed, "Perhaps I could come with Bella and Stephen."

"Perfect," Rosie gushed. "I will go and see when they are available," she walked off in their direction before Joe could stop her.

"Tell me," Joe said conversationally as they walked toward the exit with the remains of the guests. "Do you like vintage cars?"

"Not the old ones so much, I like cars with a bit of grunt," Leon grinned.

"I've just started restoring a 1967 Mustang," Joe said testing the waters.

"Eleanor," Leon whistled.

"I think you and I are going to be great friends," Joe laughed slapping him on the back. "You know I restored that little Sunbeam Alpine Bella drives?"

"Very nice," Leon approved. "I wouldn't mind seeing your workshop sometime. Have you ever worked on James Bond-type car? You know gizmos for shooting flames and hidden gems in the hubcaps."

"Oh no, not another one that likes to tinker with cars," Rosie said approaching them.

"A man's gotta have a hobby," Leon said easily liking both Rosie and Joe very much. "We'll talk more about the Aston Martin," Leon grinned. "If you will excuse me, though, I have a wake to attend and it just wouldn't be the same without me."

Stephen and Bella drove her parents back to their hotel before going on to the club where the wake was being held.

"You did well today," Stephen said as they pulled into the garage of her building.

"I was angry that they all kept calling it a tragic accident. It wasn't an accident. There was nothing accidental about it. I wanted to tell them that," Bella said softly. "In all of my dreams about it I am trapped in that car, and I keep reaching out for that hand," she continued. "I have been thinking about that hand a lot lately," she admitted. "It was time that I thanked him properly for being there."

"You did well," Stephen repeated helping her from the car. She was surprised when Stephen took her up to her apartment rather than the club and she looked up at him inquiringly as they exited the elevator.

"It's more of a man thing downstairs," he opened the door for her, and she was surprised to see her friends including Belinda and Gian all sitting in her living room and chatting happily.

"Thank you, my Lord," she said quietly and kissed him.

"I trust you girls will all be well behaved tonight," Stephen said in a serious voice then left them to their wake while he went down to join the men in Rob's office.

*****

Dorothea's health continued to deteriorate and to ensure she was present for the wedding Stephen hired more tradesmen and landscapers to push ahead the restoration of his abbey in record time. It had put a substantial drain on the Abbey's finances, even with the huge donations that had come from Kurt and the company. He knew that holding events at the Abbey would make back far more than he paid out in the long run, so he forged ahead with their plans.

Bella had cancelled the originally planned engagement party much to her mother's distress and had begun to plan a wedding. Or rather as a consolation she introduced her mother to the Wedding co-ordinator at the Abbey and allowed her mother to organise her wedding with the stipulation that she gave Bella choices and that Bella chose her own wedding dress.

Bella was happy and despite the frantic pace of their lives, she and Stephen had made everything work for them. As Anissa had predicted, more of an overlap occurred between the Brotherhood of the cove and the Gorean men. Even Mike Millar became a frequent visitor participating in the most recent battle between the Brotherhood of the Cove and the Knights of Stowe. With the medieval festivals and battle days being such a huge success word quickly spread and as the interior renovations came to an end he hired more promotions staff to handle the traffic on the Abbey's website and promote its availability through the wedding shows and events marketing days.

"Are you happy?" Stephen asked as they stood on the top of his tower watching the sunset.

"Deliriously," Bella laughed and turned in his arms to kiss him. It was the first weekend that they had been at the cove entirely alone in some time. The Abbey's interior was now complete with the new bed and breakfast room upstairs and the domed library restored to its original glory. The entrance foyer and the grand staircase were the stuff of fairy tales and the banquet hall ceiling was festooned with ribbons and strings of lights in the shape of small candles. Every detail in the castle like Abbey had been carefully placed, and it looked exquisite, nowhere more so than the chapel.

The original tiny chapel had been expanded and lengthened at great expense, but again Stephen knew this was for the best in the long term, the pews were original for the most part, and the others had been purchased from similarly aged buildings that were upgrading to a more modern ethos. It was the stain glass windows though that Bella adored, each one framing a pious looking medieval knight or a saintly looking young woman in flowing robes. The colours of them poured into the chapel in the afternoons and gave Bella the feeling of walking through a kaleidoscope.

After months of construction work, two medieval festivals and the ever present group of friends arriving on Sundays, Stephen had been frustrated in his need to be alone with his bride to be here in his home. After putting off all invitations offered or asked for by friends he had picked her up early from work and Friday afternoon and sped down to the Cove knowing that this would be their last opportunity to be alone there before the wedding and short honeymoon he had planned. He smiled as she winced while stretching up to place her arms around his neck.

He had spent the last twenty-four hours satisfying his lust for his soon to be wife down in the dungeon and the walled garden confident that they were entirely alone. He groaned and pulled her tightly against him.

"Already?" she murmured rubbing against his growing cock and purring.

"What do you mean already? It's been at least an hour," he chided her, and she grinned. "I'm always ready when it comes to you," he bent his head to kiss her as his hands travelled over her nakedness beneath the blanket she held wrapped around her body. He swallowed the whimpers she emitted when his nails grazed over the welts lining her ass. "I am not finished with you by a long way this weekend," he grinned. "You have become far too cheeky lately, princess,"

Stephen had begun calling her princess when they had first started living together. It had always been Pete's name for her and he enjoyed using it when she was a brat. While Pete was more than happy that his brother was marrying Princess Bella he had not wanted to return for the wedding and change his plans to see more castles. He had toured extensively in Italy and Germany with Jarod and Sophie and was about to travel to Scotland where his sister lived with her husband and children. While disappointed not to have him home for the wedding Stephen also felt some relief. He wasn't good with change and the idea behind the trip with Sophie and Jared had been to avoid any distress when Stephen started the big interior renovations he had planned and their older sister had welcomed the opportunity to have Pete live with them for a few months.

"Okay enough torture," he said finally. "If your teeth chatter any louder I might worry that they will fall out. Let's find some food and look at the wedding stuff your mother has sent for us to approve."

Bella stopped in their bedroom and pulled on one of Stephens shirts rolling up the sleeves and letting it hang on her like a dress. When they were alone like this, she enjoyed being able to wear the comfortable oversized shirts that seemed to please him as much as the figure hugging clothes she wore every day.

Bella went to the kitchen and considered her options for making them something sustaining to eat. Smiling she began to peel some potatoes. They had other people cook for them so often that when they were alone, he liked to keep things simple and she had introduced him to the joys of having typically breakfast foods in the evening. They discussed the plans and last minute changes while she made chunky hash browns, eggs and toast to go with the small steaks that had been left for them by Anissa, who still maintained the residential part of the abbey until Sophie and Jarod's return this week.

Stephen picked up the folder that had been left for them and flicked through it scanning notes left by the wedding co-ordinator and Rosie. Stephen had very strong ideas about the wedding, and it was him that had worked with Rosie on creating exactly the wedding he wanted. The only thing he had left to Bella was her dress and that of her attendants after choosing a basic colour scheme and urging her to take the medieval theme into considerations. For a man used to being very much in control of all aspects of his world, working with Rosie had been difficult and often he had invited Joe to arbitrate on his behalf rather than deal with a dramatic outburst.

"I'm sorry about mum," Bella apologised again. When she had first cancelled the engagement party and moved the wedding to a closer date, she had offered her father an open chequebook claiming that she had more money than she could ever need or use. He had claimed that it wasn't necessary but as things blew out he understood why she had done it. Being Italian parents they wanted to give their daughter the best wedding possible, and Rosie argued constantly with Stephen over the fact that they would be paying for their daughter's wedding. His job she had informed him very early on was to take care of the bar tab and provide a wonderful honeymoon for her only child.

"Now that I have a few of your father's secret moves I quite like sparring with Rosie," Stephen chuckled. "They only want the best for you and luckily for me, they agree that I am the best."

"Do they now?" Bella laughed. She loved the fact that Stephen made such a big effort with her parents and had allowed Rosie to be so involved with a wedding he had obviously planned in his head the moment she had said yes.

"Do you think they would let you marry anyone who wasn't?" Stephen pulled her into his arms and kissed her.

"Let me finish cooking, my Lord," she laughed and wriggled out of his arms. While strict protocols were observed in the club and with their lifestyle friends, so much of their time was spent with people, particularly here at the cove who, while not entirely vanilla, were less formal in their approach to dominant and submissive lifestyle. There was never any doubt as to Stephen's dominance of their relationship, but Bella had been able to relax and let more of her personality shine through.

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