tagBDSMThe Twelve Tables Ch. 19

The Twelve Tables Ch. 19

byxelliebabex©

Authors Note: This chapter is set out differently but I hope you enjoy it non-the-less. Thank you to everyone left comments or sent me feedback about previous chapters of this story. Thank you again to Margaret who proofread for me. ~ellie

*****

"I was thinking," Dante said as he and Josh returned to his apartment late one night after leaving the hospital. "If we started the renovation now, we could turn Lio's apartment into a place for you and Peri to stay when you're in the city or at least a place for the babies and nannies when and if she decides to come back to work with me. I don't want to sell it or rent it out, and it's just sitting there."

"Where did that come from?" Josh asked grabbing a couple of beers. "I mean it sounds like an ideal solution to being able to spend a night in the city without being away from the children, but that place is yours to do what you want with." He was tentative feeling that Dante was still grieving for his twin.

"You know Lio was happy with his secret life. He and Matteo loved each other deeply, cared about each other deeply. They knew they wouldn't ever have their happily ever after, and he was good with that. They were content with what they had, and they were happy. You know?" Dante asked.

"Yeah I hung out with them quite a lot before I met Peri, it was easy to see how in love they were," Josh nodded. "They were good together. It's a shame not everyone got to see that side of him."

"Yeah Lio and I both kept our emotions pretty well hidden. Possibly only Charles knows the real story of what happened between Celeste and me after she ran from the farm. Though Papa has made it clear he knows all," he gave a rye smile and told Josh the story he hadn't ever spoken about since the day he had walked away from the woman who all but destroyed him.

"Fucking bitch! Screw this beer we need a drink," Josh felt his anger rise not just at the story but at himself for not realising there was more to the story of Dante's dark moods than just a broken heart. He was pleased at least that Lio and Charles had done something about the gold-digging tramp. He grabbed a bottle of Sambuca and two glasses returning to his brother. "Salute!" he said after pouring two glasses and downing the two finger amount in one gulp.

"Salute!" Dante echoed him and gulped down the fiery liquid.

"It's good to have Bridgette staying at the hospital during the nights now," Josh said refilling their glasses. He and Dante had been there close to forty-eight hours until Peri had all but kicked them out to sleep, shower and change. They'd managed to shower and cat nap at the hospital, but changing meant coming home. "Alright, so what does your sad sack story have to do with turning Lio's apartment into a playroom for my kids?" Josh chuckled as he sat back nursing his beer again.

"Well I guess you might have noticed that my dark, brooding, family grouch persona has lifted over the last year or so," Dante said downing another Sambuca before picking up his beer.

"Yeah there's been more than one comment about it. I just assumed you met someone new. At first, I thought maybe Louisa but that fizzled pretty fast," Josh mused. "I'm guessing after what happened with Celeste you weren't letting anyone new near any of the family. Lio would never force you to make it public like Nik did to me," he said with feeling. "Yet another fucking bitch," he took a slug of his beer and feeling unsatisfied poured more Sambuca.

"Yeah," Dante agreed, "But she was our bitch, and we helped create her," he said sadly.

"Izzy's a self-absorbed bitch, I can't imagine she would kill anyone," Josh said disgustedly.

"I imagine it could come to that if Giovanni ever took a Kept. You let Nik treat you like a surrogate boyfriend, as far as she was concerned Peri was the other woman, and she was protecting her territory," Dante shrugged. "I wouldn't have been surprised to find that you two lost your cherries together."

"Fuck no," Josh scowled at his brother. "I like my women softer and curvier and far more feminine than Nik ever was," he admitted.

"Lio and I lost ours together. I mean not together-together but with the same woman at the same time. His heart was never in it though I think he did it just for me," he admitted as Josh chuckled. "He hadn't declared himself back then and how would he know unless he tried it," Dante explained. The conversation took another turn away from what Dante had been psyching himself up to say to his brother bust Josh brought it back on track.

"So your mood changed last year," Josh frowned. "A woman finally mend that broken heart of yours?"

"In a manner of speaking. More like restored my faith in the female race," he chuckled not sure now about opening himself up to Josh's possible rejection. It was highly improbable at this point; he consoled himself, but he wasn't sure about risking his place within his brother's life now that they had left the hospital and Peri. Her radiant, smiling face as she held all three of her babies filled his mind.

"So do I know her?" Dante prompted further swilling the last of his beer and getting up to grab another. "Someone at work maybe?"

"Yeah," he answered honestly, "She belongs to someone else though so I am just happy being close to her every day. She makes me happier than I have been in years, probably since Celeste destroyed me if I think about it. She's smart and sassy and gives as good as she gets, but she has a submissive side that just makes me wonder..." his voice drifted off as if his mind took over for his mouth. "Anyway, she's married now, and I respect that, it's enough to be close to her and I have a Kept that has a similar sort of look that I can work out my frustrations on."

"Okay let's stop fucking around," Josh came back to the couch and put the beer on the table. "Pour," he commanded in a grumbling voice pushing his glass towards Dante and waiting until the clear liquid filled the bottom of the glasses. "You're in love with Peri, and I'd like to hate you for it, but I can't and I don't."

"How long have you known?" Dante asked quietly.

"Since the night Lio died," Josh spoke with the same quiet tone.

"You still let me into your life, into Peri's life the way you have?" Dante frowned. "You don't share well, you never have." He was confused now. "Why?" he asked.

"You needed us, you needed her more precisely, and I am not quite as selfish as you think," Josh said in a hurt tone. "I've watched the two of you since then. I believe she cares for you more than she is willing to admit as well," he sighed. "She loves me have no doubt of that, I am her husband, and we have a new family together. So where does that leave us?" Dante downed his drink in one gulp and shrugged unsure what to say.

"The line was never crossed, by either of us. Fuck Josh, I'd never do that. I am happy just to be such a big part of your life at this point," Dante ran his hands through his hair.

"I didn't want her to go to the Battaglia, the thought of sharing her made me crazy. We made a pact that we wouldn't talk about her time there even before she left. I know one, if not all of those guys who came to the engagement party, fucked her. I dealt with them being there because she is mine, and she loves me as much as I love her," Josh tried to explain what had been going through his head over the last month since he had finally seen what everyone else obviously could.

"My money was on Francesco," Dante poured another drink wondering how this conversation had gotten to this point. "I could have wiped that smarmy smile off his face a few times that night," he admitted making Josh chuckle.

"Fuck," Josh sighed. "That's just it. I trust you to look after her, to look after my family. I want you in our lives. I want this," he gestured between them. "I want this fucking honesty between us. This bond we have that I had when Nik and I were kids, and she ruined," he said his emotions showing in his face and voice. "I don't know if I can share any more than I already am, I don't know how I will feel if that line gets crossed. I can't guarantee I won't become the world's biggest bastard, but I am okay with things as they are," he finished lamely.

"Get up," Dante said abruptly lurching to his feet. Not having eaten much when they stopped for dinner on the way home, the alcohol had affected him more than he would have thought. As Josh came to his feet, Dante embraced him and kissed him fully on the mouth. "I love you man, the bond between us will be stronger than any bond you ever felt with Nik. Lio would be proud if he could see us now."

"I love you too man," Josh said as he returned the fierce embrace. "Now I'm sharing a lot here, tell me about this Kept you mentioned," he grinned.

"I'll do you one better, let's take a trip downstairs," Dante chuckled. "At least you know what she looks like, sort of," he continued to chuckle taking his seat and picking up his beer. Better yet she can come up here."

"My wife just gave birth less than forty-eight hours ago to not one but three children, I think the only thing I will be sleeping with tonight is my pillow," Josh shook his head.

"Suit yourself," Dante raised his drink in salute to his brother as Josh staggered to the bedroom knowing the kept was a poor substitute for the real thing.

*****

"Hello, baby girl," Peri grinned accepting her daughter from the nurse's hands. She knew that the babies would probably need to have supplementary feeds, but she enjoyed the bonding moments of trying to feed each of them. She hated the pain in her womb as she tried to feed them but seeing the little face nuzzle into her breast gave her a wonderful warm feeling she couldn't explain.

She ran her finger over the little elf-like face and saw Eden turn toward the warmth of her hand. None of her babies had to stay in the NICU, and she was beyond grateful to the doctors who had looked after her and them during the unplanned birth. Peri unwrapped the bundle and began to change the nappy with Bridgette standing nearby to hand her what she needed.

"She's perfect, isn't she?" Peri asked for the hundredth time in the forty-eight hours. Eden squawked at the cool air on her flesh and began to cry as Peri changed her nappy and wrapped her tightly again. The nurse helped her with the twin feeding pillow and supervised the positioning of Eden before handing her Cruze. Peri worried that she didn't seem to have enough milk, but the midwives had assured her that on day three she would regret her worries as the milk came in and filled her breasts to aching point.

Peri stared down at her babies. The love she felt was automatic, deep and unconditional. She had made these little people; they had lived inside her, and she grinned like a Cheshire cat as she marvelled all over again at just how perfect they were. Peri looked over at the nurse cradling Blaze feeling the loss of him as she held the other two while they fed. When Josh was here, he had fed the third child a small bottle but without him here she felt like she was neglecting the baby. He would be first next time she promised.

She had a large private room, and the babies were able to stay with her there, although on the first night the doctors had insisted she sleep and leave them with the nurses in the nursery. She had begged Josh and Dante to stay with them, so they knew they weren't alone as the small sedative they had given her began to kick in, and she slept for the first time since she had woken after wetting the bed the night before.

All this time she had thought she was helping Dante with his grief and keeping him close to make sure he was doing okay without his twin. The reality was that he had kept Josh and her close and had been there to fill the gaps in their lives. He'd been there all through her pregnancy when Josh couldn't be and then at the birth, she stroked Eden's cheek again waking her from her sleepy suckling to try harder, at the birth he had been there for her while Josh looked after his children. Without him, she would not have been so calm, without him Josh would have been torn between her and his newly born babies. She was grateful to him beyond words and she knew Josh felt the same way.

"I think this little one is far more interested in sleep than food right now," Bridgette said gently as Peri gazed at her children lost in thought.

"Get some sleep that brother-in-law of yours managed to keep the visitors at bay today but they will come again tomorrow. Your mother is coming in early as well." Bridgette advised.

"Dante has been wonderful helping to look after me," Peri smiled as she spoke. "I'll just have a little cuddle with Blaze first," Peri whispered turning to look at the nurse holding her son.

"You're going to be a busy mama with so many babies to nurse, get as much rest as you can while you are here in the relative quiet of the hospital," the nurse advised reiterating what Bridgette had said.

"With all of you helping me, and Josh and Dante acting like bodyguards I don't think I will have any problems with visitors overstaying their welcome," Peri laughed lightly letting Bridgette take Eden and taking Blaze from the nurse. "Hello handsome," she said softly stroking his cheek as he looked up at her with wide dark eyes. "Don't look so serious, little one, you are loved by so many people. You are so lucky to be born into such a big and loving family. You will never want for anything, and your Mummy and Daddy will make sure of it."

After a few minutes, she reluctantly let the nurses take her babies away for the remainder of the night and settled down into the bed pulling the blankets up to her neck. As she fell asleep, her thoughts pictured Josh as he had been when they first met, formidable and frightening, standing in the research department demanding who had messed up the research on one of the books he was editing. He was a known perfectionist who raged and railed at anyone who was less than perfect in their work. She had stood toe to toe with him and explained her actions; that was the moment she realised that her fate had been sealed. He had told her as much, but as she looked back, she knew it too. Her mind scrolled through their first date as she drifted off into sleep her dreams taking over where her conscious mind left off.

She was at the art gallery with Josh on their first date and once again she felt eyes following her around the rooms as she looked at the exhibitions. Josh left her to speak to Charles but somehow rather than Pete standing beside her as she looked at the picture of a girl in bondage Dante appeared.

"I bet you look good like that," he murmured huskily in her ear. She looked around for Josh and could see him still talking with Charles but catching his eye she saw that he nodded and smiled almost indicating that she should stay with his brother. She looked back up at Dante and saw the look of desire in his eyes that she had seen so often in Josh's eyes. He took her hand and rather than saying something or pulling her hand away she let him lead her out of the gallery and away from the party and Josh.

"Wait, I'm with Josh," she looked back over her shoulder, but the art gallery was gone.

"You're with me now. I know what you need. I knew the moment I saw the way you looked at that portrait," Dante said opening the door to his apartment and dragging her inside. "Enough talk, remove your dress."

"Here? Now?" Peri tripped over her words.

"Yes, leave it on the floor where it belongs, you can keep the boots. I like the boots," he smirked. "They make your legs look longer," he paused before adding, "Less stumpy looking."

Somewhere in her mind she knew she shouldn't want to do this; she shouldn't crave this man's attention but in the end, it wasn't hard to remove the dress and her underwear revealing her flawed figure in all of its glory.

"Exquisite," he murmured advancing on her. She had thought he would run his hand over her as Josh tended to do but instead she found herself pushed to her knees. "You will crawl like a good slave in here. This way," he turned and walked away from her.

Startled she took a moment to take in what he had said. She wasn't a slave she was; she was what? A nobody that his brother had taken on a mercy date to an X-rated art gallery? She put her hands on the floor and crawled after him. She wasn't sure why, but his disregard of her feelings and his abrupt speech aroused her. She followed him into a bland looking room that held a strange chair at its centre. She remembered seeing one of these in her early research for Josh on a book about the BDSM culture.

"Have a seat and get comfortable," he said in a matter-of-fact tone that seemed to assume she would obey him. She looked at the chair as she approached it. It was leather, the narrow back and armrests seeming elongated and the seat though cushioned was segmented with three distinct and deep seams. The leather was cold against her bare skin as she slid into the seat.

She watched as if from far away as he bound her wrists and ankles to the chair. This was Dante, not Josh. She had gone to the gallery with Josh she reminded herself and went to lift her hand to stop him but it was too late, and she had forgotten how to speak, her protest coming out like a squeak. He moved behind her and after a series of loud clicks, the part of the chair under her bottom fell away leaving her resting her weight on her thighs. She looked up at him nervously as he came back into view and stood in front of her. He placed his hands on her knees and what remained of the seat split in two as he pushed her knees apart, the base of the chair swivelling outward moving her ankles apart simultaneously.

"Look at you so wet and willing," he said in a deep rumble so similar to Josh's voice when aroused. "I always knew you were a pain slut," he accused, and she blanched at the word slut. He gripped her nipples and pulled them out from her body raising her breasts to unnatural peaks before releasing them to bounce back to her chest. She whimpered as he gazed at her a moment longer, before moving from her view again.

"You'll need a safe-word though I am sure it is unnecessary for such a needy slut," his voice was emotionless as he spoke from somewhere and everywhere around her. A sharp crack punctuated his words making her jump and she strained to see where he was in the sterile room. He appeared again with a long leather flogger in his hand. "You're safeword will be Wah-wah," he said in a mocking tone. She blushed deeply and hung her head what would Joh say if he found out she was here like this with his brother. He was a jealous man; they had talked about his feelings of her being with someone else during her trial, and she knew he would not approve of this.

"Are you going to use your safeword already like a scared little bitch?" he taunted her. "You know you want to be here with me as much as I want you." His wrist flicked out, and the stinging tendrils of the flogger caressed her breasts leaving their mark on her skin. She gasped and looked up at him. "You know this is going to happen. It's inevitable. You've known for some time how I feel, why deny that you feel the same way," the flogger whirled before her eyes as he moved it in a figure eight, colouring her breasts from both sides with painful red welts.

"Admit it, admit you fantasise about being with me, just like this," he demanded letting the flogger rest at his side so she could take a moment to answer him. Peri was hurting, and she knew her body was betraying her arousal at being here at his mercy, she looked up at him trying to focus on the man who seemed to morph between both himself and Josh. "you're even more beautiful when you cry," his voice softened, and he bent to kiss her tenderly. Accepting the kiss, was as if she had accepted his use of her, and he stepped back with a smile.

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