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Taken By A Sinner: Epilogue


Fifteen years later…

Sitting in the Dolby Theatre in LA, with my queen next to me, I couldn’t be more proud.

Theresa has not only given me two beautiful children but has made an enormous success of her career. Yeah, I’ve funded every single film she’s directed, but it was all her hard work that has led us to this moment.

The Oscars.

I glance down at my exquisite wife, and noticing how she sucks in a trembling breath, and her tongue darts out to nervously wet her lips, I lift my arm and wrap it around her shoulders.

Leaning in close, I whisper, “You’ve got this, kardiá mou. No one deserves this more than you.”

She gives me a thankful smile. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.”

“It is the director…,” Julianne Sparks, last year’s best actress, starts, and instantly Tess grabs hold of my thigh, her nails digging for blood. “whose creative touch is imprinted on every frame.” There’s a round of applause, the sound almost deafening in the theatre. Julianne waits with grace, then continues, “It is the director who works tirelessly with the crew to create a story we can get lost in. It is the director’s vision that takes an ordinary movie and turns it into a masterpiece.”

“Oh God,” Tess whispers next to me, her voice tense with nerves. “I’m going to puke.”

“No, you’re not. You’ve got this,” I try to encourage her. The camera focuses on Tess, and I instinctively hold her tighter. “Smile, kardiá mou.”

Honestly, it looks like she’s in pain, and I start to worry that she’s really going to vomit.

“Deep breaths, baby,” I order, so she can get some air into her lungs. “You’ve worked your ass off for this moment, and you’re sure as fuck not puking at the Oscars.”

“These four directors have each created their own masterpieces over the past year. Here are the nominees for best director.”

“Nikolas,” Tess whispers, her nails digging even deeper into my thigh.

I press my mouth to her temple and close my eyes, willing all my strength to her.

The screen lights up with the first nominee. “Nolan Price. The light has left your eyes.” Two more nominees are announced, followed by, “Theresa Stathoulis. Diávolos.”

The corners of my mouth lift, because little does the world know, the movie is based on my life as head of the mafia and aptly named Devil.

Julianne smiles brightly as she starts to open the envelope. “And the Oscar goes to…”

Time fucking stops, and every muscle in my body tightens.

“Theresa Stathoulis.”

Tess doesn’t move, and with the camera on us, I tug her to her feet and wrap her up in a hug.

“What?” she whispers in total shock.

“You won, baby.” I press a hard kiss to her parted lips. “Go get your Oscar!”

‘This is the second nomination for Theresa Stathoulis and her first Oscar win,’ a voice fills the theatre, blending with the loud applause.

I nudge Tess into the aisle. “Just walk to the stage and smile. You’ve got this.”

Looking like a vision, dressed in a pale blue shimmering gown, the love of my life takes the stairs to the stage, tears threatening to overwhelm her.

With pride bursting from every inch of my being, I applaud the incredible creature I get to call my wife as she wraps her hand around her first Oscar.

That’s my girl.

Once the theatre settles back into their seats, Tess lets out a nervous chuckle. “I… I.” She takes a step back, and I watch as she struggles to regain control over her emotions.

Deep breaths, baby.

Three seconds pass, then my queen lifts her chin, steps up to the microphone, and smiles that sparkling smile that stole my heart. “Thank you to the Academy, to everyone in this room, and the other incredible nominees.” She sucks in a deep breath, her nerves threatening to steal the smile from her face. “Thank you to the fantastic crew who worked tirelessly to bring Diávolos to life.” Tess’ gaze searches mine out, and once our eyes lock, she shakes her head, still unable to believe she won. “Mostly, thank you to my own devil. My husband has single-handedly raised our beautiful two children, allowing me to pursue my dreams.” She blows me a kiss, my heart overflowing with love and pride, then she holds the Oscar up. “This is for you because you’ve been my biggest fan.” Her smile brightens. “You financed every film I set my heart on making. Thanks for that, by the way.” The attendees all laugh, giving Tess and me a moment to just stare at each other.

Once it quiets down again, Tess finishes with, “I love you, Nikolas. Now and forever.”

Through thick and thin, baby.


The End.


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