Epilogue

March 20, 1918

Rose sat in the old rocking chair, gazing out the window as the sun rose on this, the first day of spring. Abraham Fabrizio Dawson lay in her arms asleep, contentedly full of warm milk. She gazed down at him, her eyes lighting at the sight of her precious newborn son.

Jack had named their son, naming him in honor of his brothers, he had told Rose. The doctor had looked confused, trying to figure out how Jack had come to have an Italian brother, but Rose had understood. Fabrizio had been like a brother to Jack, and it was only fitting that he should name his son after both of his brothers.

Rose looked out the window again, watching as Jack carried water to the horse trough. One of the horses trotted up to him, and he stopped for a moment, scratching the animal's head, before moving along. His limp was barely noticeable.

As the sun broke over the hills to the east, Rose sat back in the chair, rocking gently, her mind filled with the memories of the years and of the people who had brought her to this moment. Alice...Robert...Tom...Esther...Marietta...even Cal had been an important part of that past, for it was he who had set her on her way. Had she not left that long-ago afternoon, she would never have come to this moment.

And even as she remembered the events of the past, she knew that the years of running were over. She had found a home and a family, and she had no need to run further. What had happened in the past was over, done with, and she had learned to forgive herself.

Jack walked slowly into the bedroom, seeing Rose sitting at the window with the baby in her arms. The growing light of the spring morning fell on her face, giving her an almost angelic look.

As though sensing his presence, Rose turned, her face lighting in a smile as she held her hand out to him. He walked over to them, kneeling down beside them as he embraced her. Drawing her closer into his arms, he kissed her, then whispered, "I love you."

"And I love you," Rose whispered back, returning his kiss with all the love and passion in her heart.

A ray of sunshine shone through the window, surrounding them, and in that moment Rose was filled with a sense of peace and love that she had never known before. Smiling brightly, she pulled Jack close, bringing both him and little Abraham into her embrace.

She had finally found her absolution.

The End.