Still the One

Author's Note: This is the last chapter, and serves as an epilogue.

June 2016

"Come on, let's get ready for dinner!" Sam called. It was their ten-year wedding anniversary, and the whole family was going out to celebrate.

"Okay," said Austin. He held out two dresses. "Grace, which dress do you want to wear to dinner tonight?"

Three-and-a-half year-old Grace pointed to both dresses and said, "That one."

"Boy, I'm looking forward to the shopping years," said Austin. "Grace, you can only wear one."

"Okay. The blue one, then."

Matthew, now seven and a half, came in and said, "Dad, how do I look?"

"You look fine, Matthew," Austin assured.

Twelve-year-old Michael called, "Where's Mom? I need a new suit. Tiger Lily shed light fur all over my dark suit."

"Just brush it off," Austin told him.

All the drama finally ended, and soon they were on their way to dinner.

"Now, Grace, this is a very nice restaurant," Sam told her. "That means you need to be on your best behavior."

"Got it."

"And Michael, Matthew, you two need to set a good example for Grace. Especially you, Michael."

"Don't worry, Mom. I will," Michael assured her.

As they pulled into the parking lot, Austin told Sam, "Can you believe we've been married for ten years now?"

"And together for almost fifteen," added Sam. "We've come a long way, haven't we?"

"We sure have."

When they reached the table, Grace asked, "Mommy, what can I get to eat?"

"You can get whatever you want, Grace," Sam told her.

"This is a very big day for the two of you, isn't it?" Michael asked.

"Yes, it is," Austin agreed.

"We made a card for you," Matthew added. "It's from all of us."

"I, of course, wrote for Grace," Michael told them. He handed Sam and Austin the card.

"Thank you, Michael," said Sam. "I remember this day ten years ago. You were the ring bearer. Uncle Carter walked you down the aisle, since you were only two years old then."

"I know. I've seen the pictures," said Michael.

"Where was I?" asked Grace.

"You and Matthew weren't born yet," Austin told her. "Matthew wasn't born for another two and a half years, and it was almost another four years after that before you were born."

"What about Caroline?" Even Grace knew about Caroline. When she had asked why she didn't have a sister, Sam and Austin had told her that she had a sister in heaven.

"Caroline was born after Matthew, but before you," Sam told her.

After dinner and dessert, they headed home. Dinner had been very pleasant, and all three kids had been very well-behaved. On the way home, the song "Still the One" came on the radio. Sam and Austin loved that song because they felt it spoke to them, especially the lines, "They said 'I bet they'll never make it.' But just look at us holding on. We're still together, still going strong." A lot of people had thought they would never make it, especially after the tragedy they had suffered with losing Caroline. But they had gotten through that and were still together.

"We took the long way, didn't we?" said Sam.

"We sure did," Austin agreed. "Sam, when we first met almost fifteen years ago, could you have ever envisioned us being where we are today?"

"Not in a million years," Sam said. "After all, you were Austin Ames, football star, Prince Charming, and all that, while I was a nobody. But look where we are now. Great life, great kids, and pretty much great everything."

"And I have some big news," said Austin. "You know how ever since we lost Caroline, I've thought about writing a book about grief and coming through it?"

"Yes, I know that," said Sam.

"Well, I got a deal for it!"

"Really? That's great, Austin!"

As they went to bed that night, Sam smiled. Even after almost fifteen years of being together and ten years of marriage, she knew Austin was still the one. And she knew he felt the same way about her.