A/N: I think this is it. :'( I'm soo sad. Sniff sniff. But I'll be back in a bit. Just putting the pieces together. Probably sometime next week I'll be able to get the first chapter up.
Hope you like my ending. It's sort of superfluous – but I don't think I'll hear anyone complain. ;) Thanks once again for all the joy you bring to my otherwise tedious days. LOL!
To Katie, Melody, Bethany, Terri, Ali, Kathy, Livvie712, Carlie, CAGirl, susiej, Imagine04, my long last Nat and anyone else I might have missed I will do my best to write about your favorites in my next story. I'm always happy to take requests – unless you want me to write about Cali or Rivvie. I know this is kinda obvious but just to be clear - those are 2 requests I won't EVER honor. LOL!
Until next time! Enjoy! xox-G
"If you don't give me that back – I swear I'll pull every strand of your hair out!" Lia screamed.
"JULIA!" Abby cried, shocked at her daughters words.
"She took my necklace." Lia said with a pout.
"I DID NOT!" Lynnie insisted.
"Julia – you sound like a five year old. My God. Can't you two behave yourselves even on your wedding day?" Abby sighed as she stared at them both.
"Yes." Both Lia and Lynnie said at once.
"Well then act like it." Abby scolded.
Kate stifled her laughter from the corner of the room where she was busy feeding Alex. "Lia – your necklace is right there on the bed."
"OH." Lia said softly as she caught sight of it.
"OH." Lynnie rolled her eyes and went back to doing her makeup.
Alison walked in and immediately her eyes filled with tears. "Oh don't you look lovely." She said with a sigh.
"What's the matter Mom?" Kate laughed as she stood. She patted Alex's back and rocked him back and forth. "Something's going on – I can tell – you've got that look."
"It's nothing." She said with a shrug.
"It's snowing isn't it?" Lia said, her face falling.
"Not snowing - flurrying." Alison clarified. "It's going to be fine. The car is out there all warmed up and the boys are waiting with umbrellas. I promise you - you won't get a flake on you."
"Whose idea was it to get married in November?" Lia grumbled as she stood and straightened the skirt of her gown.
"Danny's." Lynnie said smugly. "It wasn't our idea. Ethan and I would have gotten married months ago."
"Then why didn't you?" Lia snapped back. "You're such a liar. You're the one who wanted a double wedding."
"I did." Lynnie grumbled. "Though the reason why I'd ever want to share this day with you is totally escaping me now."
Chloe appeared in the doorway, radiant and glowing and six months pregnant. "Oh my." She sniffled. "You both look so beautiful."
Realizing something was up she giggled as she looked at her friends. "Are you two fighting?"
Both Lynnie and Lia remained silent.
Chloe walked slowly into the room and sat down on the chair Kate had just abandoned. "Don't." She said with a sigh as she ran a hand over her belly. "This is a wonderful day. You should just relax and enjoy every minute of it."
Kate began to laugh. "This coming from a girl who planned her wedding in the span of an hour."
Her sister-in-law laughed back at her. "Well - I knew exactly what I wanted." Chloe looked back over at Lia and Lynnie. "And you both do too – so stop being so silly. Think about what's waiting for you at the end of the aisle."
"And what's that?" Lynnie asked, though she already knew the answer.
"The rest of your lives..." Chloe replied. "…and happily ever after."
"Saying goodbye to two at a time – Cameron, you're a stronger man than me." Rafe said with a laugh.
"Yeah – well. Maybe you'll get lucky and Becky and Ella will both elope." Cam mumbled in reply.
Rafe's face fell. "That's not funny."
"Then stop harassing me." Cam shoved him playfully. "It's actually easier this way. Kind of like a band aid – you just close your eyes and get it over with quick."
"It's amazing isn't it?" Rafe commented.
Cam nodded. "It truly is – when Abby and I went back to Colorado this summer, it was like reliving all the moments that made me fall in love with her. I can't believe I was so lucky and got a second chance. I'm bound and determined not to ever take it for granted. I think that's the same for all of us."
"Even Caleb." Rafe said with a sigh.
"It kills me to say it but yeah – even him. He and Livvie were meant to be."
Rafe began to laugh. "Well let's face it – who else would put up with her?"
"True." Cam laughed louder. "Well, you know - some might say the same thing about our wives." He stopped laughing and gazed over at Rafe again. "Do you think things will calm down now?"
"No." Rafe answered honestly. "I don't – but you know what? They shouldn't. Because it was conflict that brought us all together. As much as it frightens me – honestly - it keeps things interesting. As long as we all come out of it safe and sound – I'm through fighting the inevitable."
"So – in other words - whatever life has in store – bring it on?" Cam said with a smile.
"Yeah." Rafe smiled back. "Because we all know it's going to come anyway."
Ethan stood in the vestibule of the church, pacing back and forth a bit. "Nervous?" Grant called out as he watched him.
"Me? No." Ethan replied.
"Yeah. Right." Grant laughed at him.
"No." Ethan insisted. "I'm not at all nervous about marrying Lynnie. I guess I'm just a bit stunned."
"Well – I'll tell you something. I'm nervous." Danny said with a sigh.
"That's because you're in this predicament because you screwed up your chance with my wife." Colin said with a chuckle. "Thanks for being an idiot by the way."
"You're welcome." Danny grinned. "I thought Katie was a handful." Danny sighed again. "Then I went and fell for Lia."
"I never thought I'd be here." Ethan said as he stared down at his hands, which were shaking with nerves in spite of his protests. "I never thought I'd have this chance."
Grant recognized the look on Ethan's face. "I know." He said with a grin. "But you're here buddy. It's going to happen."
Danny began to laugh in spite of himself. "I didn't think Lia would ever let me anywhere close. She thinks she's so tough."
"She's incredibly tough - except when it comes to you." Quinn replied. "She loves you Danny and that makes you one fortunate man – because she's unbelievably good to the ones she loves."
"I know I am." Danny said with a nod.
"Be good to them – both of you." Quinn said softly, his voice holding a bit of a threat. "I may be younger than all of you but I'll totally kick your asses if ever forget how lucky you both are."
"There's no danger in that." Ethan promised solemnly.
Music began to play, which they all knew could only mean one thing. "OK guys." Colin said with a smile. "You're on."
It seemed like they'd all been here before. Friends and family gathered once again to celebrate something they all knew about.
Alison's mind wandered back to her own wedding. Even though it had been over twenty five years she couldn't believe how she could still envision every moment.
She could still smell the roses that filled the barn, still feel the way she felt when she saw Rafe standing at the end of the aisle. She smiled to herself as she reached out and grabbed for his hand.
The snow falling outside reminded Abby of her wedding night. She smiled as she remembered how Cam stuttered and stumbled and had to be prompted to say his vows.
Jack's hand moved to run over his heart, as if trying to ease the ache there. In his mind he saw only Melissa, and how hard he had fought to get her down the aisle. He glanced at Chloe, her face beaming as she stood beside the altar, her eyes locked with Grant's. His only wish at the moment was for Chloe to have a long and happy life and a long and happy marriage. With Melissa watching over them he was sure it would all be alright.
Everyone in attendance was more than happy to celebrate how in love these two couples were.
Cam stood with a daughter on each arm, and for the first time in a long while, he was almost unable to tell them apart. Lynnie, in a rare moment of vanity had abandoned her glasses, still too squeamish to use the one pair of contact lenses she owned. Other than the obvious difference in the color of the girls' eyes, their dresses also couldn't have been more dissimilar.
Lynnie wore a fairy tale concoction of taffeta and lace, a tiara perched on top of her head full of chestnut curls. Lia wore a simple column of ivory silk, her hair pinned up in a sleek coil at the nape of her neck.
As they reached then end of the aisle Lynnie was over anxious. She pulled away from Cameron quickly and stood to one side, smiling up at the tuxedoed figure before her.
A wave of hushed giggles went over the crowd. Lynnie squinted and blinked and tried to focus. This was her wedding. What could be so funny?
"Lynnie." She heard someone whisper with a laugh. It was Ethan but the voice came from behind her.
Danny couldn't hold his laughter any longer. "Lynn, sweetie. Ethan and I aren't twins. I thought you'd be able to tell us apart."
Cam took hold of his daughter's shoulders and turned her around, kissing her brow as he did.
Mortified, Lynnie turned toward her fiancé, her face flushed crimson. Ethan's nerves had vanished completely when he saw her expression. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Nice try but you're stuck with me beautiful."
"Ethan…" Lynnie whispered as she reached for his hands.
Smiling widely, Lia kissed Cam's cheek and moved to Danny's side. She grinned madly as she linked her arm with his and turned to face the minister.
And as Cam moved to stand beside Abby - the ceremony finally began.
Snow continued to fall softly outside but the party inside was still going strong.
Lynnie swayed in Ethan's arms, still dressed like a princess but now she sported a much nedded accessory. She was wearing her glasses.
"We're married Ethan." Lynnie sighed and leaned back in his arms.
"Yes I know." Ethan replied with a grin. "I was beginning to get worried that we'd never get here. Especially when I thought you'd chosen Danny over me."
She ignored his teasing, too worried to really notice. "I know it's my fault…" She said, biting her bottom lip.
"It's OK." He said softly, "I'd have waited forever to be with you. I'm not going to be greedy about it. I know it's a miracle I ever got this chance."
"You're my miracle." Lynnie said as she stared into his eyes. "The things you do for me, Ethan - I can't even believe…" She trailed off, unable to put her feelings into words.
Ethan had a lot he wanted to say in response to her, but decided to wait until they were alone. He leaned close and held her tighter, chuckling a bit. "I'm glad you finally put your glasses back on." He whispered in her ear. "Now you look like you did the day I first met you."
"I wasn't quite this dressed up when we met." She giggled as his lips trailed down her throat.
"No." He replied with a nod before touching his mouth to hers. "But you were just as beautiful."
Nearby, Danny held Lia tightly as he spun her around. "You're making me dizzy." She laughed as she held onto him tighter.
"I'm sorry." Danny said as he slowed their pace.
Lia shook her head at him. "No." She whispered. "What else is new? You've always made my head spin. Ever since the day I realized I loved you."
"When was that?" He asked as he kissed her quickly. He chuckled as he continued. "Yesterday? Last week?"
"Don't tease me, Danny." Lia said as she blinked back tears.
He noticed the look in her eyes, it wasn't one she got often. This wasn't a time to joke. "OK." He whispered back to her, gently touching a hand to her cheek. "OK."
She stared up at him and began to speak. "I know I'm not easy." She said solemnly. "I know I can drive you crazy but I love you Danny. I think a part of me always has."
"Shhh." He said as he kissed her softly. "It's alright. I'm not easy either."
Lia took a deep breath and began. "I know what people say – they say that you're a saint for putting up with me."
"I'm stubborn and I'm annoying and I can't promise you I'll change." She said with a sigh.
Danny framed her face in his hands and kissed her soundly. "And I would never want you to."
"Who's that?" Billie asked Chloe who was happily munching on her second piece of cake.
"Oh." Chloe said as she licked whipped cream off her fork. "Delilah."
"The Delilah?" Billie said, her voice tightening a bit. "Quinn's ex Delilah?"
"One and the same." Chloe said with a nod. She eyed Billie's plate longingly. "Are you going to eat that strawberry?"
"No." Billie replied as she pushed back from the table and stood. She straightened her skirt and smoothed down her hair. "Excuse me Clo, I'll be right back."
"Where's she going?" Grant asked as he came to sit beside his wife.
Chloe shrugged as she took the plate he held in his hand. "To see Quinn I think." Her eyes lit up as she took another forkful of dessert. It was her third slice but who was counting?
"mmmm." She murmured with her eyes closed. "This cake is really good."
"No kidding." He replied as he bent down to place a kiss on her belly. "I hope the baby likes your third slice too."
Becky stood at the edge of the dance floor her eyes scanning the crowd for a glimpse of Kyle. He'd been gone for a while now.
"Hey sweetie." Abby said with a grin as she moved to stand beside her niece.
"Hey." Her brow wrinkled with worry as she searched for Kyle again.
"What's the matter?"
She sighed heavily as she replied. "I can't find Kyle. He went to get me a drink a while ago but he hasn't been back."
"OH GOD." Abby cried. "CAMERON!" She bellowed.
"Yes dear?" He said with a smile as he came up behind her and snaked his arms around her waist.
She spun around to face him. "Where are your brothers?"
"Huh?" Cam feigned innocence.
"Don't huh me, Cameron. Connor and Matt. Where the hell are they?" She looked at her husband's face and almost growled at him. "I thought I hid that whisky well this time." Abby eased away and grabbed for Becky's hand. "Sweetheart. I apologize in advance."
"Aunt Abby – I don't understand." Becky said as she followed behind.
"Trust me in a few minutes – YOU WILL."
Billie marched over to Quinn. His face lit up as he watched her approach.
Without a word she wedged herself in between him and Delilah. Her hands moved up to thread in his hair as she pressed her mouth to his, kissing him hungrily.
"Belinda?" He said, his voice surprised as she pulled away.
She twirled around to face the woman standing nearby; as she did she fought to catch her breath. "Hello. I'm Billie, Quinn's fiancée. And you are?"
"Delilah." The woman replied, her eyes wide with shock.
"Nice to meet you. Now I'm so sorry to interrupt, but I need to steal Quinn for a moment." Billie replied as she linked Quinn's hand in hers and tugged him away.
She pulled him out into an alcove. Once she was sure they were alone she grinned up at him.
"Mind explaining yourself?" Quinn asked with a laugh.
Billie laughed back at him. "That was silly of me – wasn't it?"
"I'm not sure. I still don't know what you're up to." He replied.
"I was just..." She trailed off.
"Jealous?" Quinn finished for her.
"No…" She said with a shake of her head. She blushed a bit. "Not exactly."
His arms closed around her and held her close. "What is it then…exactly?"
"I just felt like kissing you is all." She said with a shrug, trying to sound convincing.
"That wasn't a kiss, Billie – that was an invitation." Quinn laughed at her again, pulling her closer and kissing her passionately. "And trust me. I intend to RSVP when we get home."
"He's drunk." Becky gasped.
"He's not drunk." Abby replied, laughing in spite of her anger at her brothers-in-law. They took the most incredible pleasure in plying innocents with liquor. "He's good and plastered."
"Rebeccahhhhh." Kyle slurred as he caught sight of her. "Now there's the prettiest lass in all the land."
"Oh dear Lord." Becky's eyes flew wider. "Is he talking with a brogue?"
"He's trying to apparently." Abby sighed.
"Come here to me, a ghrá mo chroí." Kyle swayed towards her, trying his hand at Gaelic.
Her heart melted as she heard him. Love of my heart he called her. She decided there and then that even though he was a complete puddle it was worth it.
She caught him in her arms and giggled as he tried to kiss her, missing her lips completely and winding up pressing a kiss to her eye.
"Let's go Cassanova." Abby laughed as she helped Becky bring Kyle over to a nearby seating area. As soon as he fell onto the couch he had completely passed out.
Rafe gazed down at Ella who stood on his feet as he danced with her. "You're an excellent dancer Ella Bella." He said with a smile.
"Thanks." She grinned up at him. "Hey Daddy?"
"Can I ask you something? It's kinda important."
"Sure. Ask away." He said as he scooped her up in his arms and spun her around.
She giggled as he set her back on her feet. She put her tiny hands in his again as she asked. "Aidan's my cousin right?"
"Yes. He's your cousin." Rafe replied.
"Because he's Aunt Abby and Uncle Cam's kid right?"
"Like Quinn. Quinn's my cousin right?"
"Yes honey. Quinn's your cousin and so are Lynnie and Lia." He stopped dancing and stared down at her. "What's the problem sweetie? You look a little worried."
"I'm just wondering if Ty is my cousin too – you know because Billie's gonna marry Quinn and all."
Rafe laughed. "Technically – no. He'll be part of your family but you won't actually be related."
Ella's little face lit up. "Whew." She said with a sigh. "That's a relief."
"Were you worried?"
"Yeah." Ella nodded. "Because cousins can't get married and someday I think I might like to marry Ty."
Rafe's heart rose to his throat. "You what?"
Her eyes were bright as she nodded again. "Yeah. I think he'd be a nice husband. He's pretty strong and he's really good at baseball and he can build things and the other day he let me have half his sandwich at lunch so he's a good share-er."
"Ella…" Rafe's face was full of horror.
Alison watched the change in Rafe's expression and walked slowly over to them. "May I cut in?" She whispered as she got close.
"Hey Mommy! You wanna dance with Daddy?" Ella asked with a smile.
Alison face broke into a huge smile of her own as she gazed down at her disheveled daughter. There was a flower drooping out of her hair and Ella's brand new dress had a smear of chocolate down near the hem. How on earth did she manage that? Alison thought with a sigh.
"Yes, please." She replied. "Thank you Ella."
" 'welcome." Ella grinned. She tugged at Alison's skirt to get her attention. "Just be careful. Sometimes he steps on your toes, but not if you step on his first." She warned as she scurried away.
"We're locking her up." Rafe said without explanation as he took his wife in his arms.
"Sure we are. Rafe." Alison stared up at him dreamily. "Do you hear that music?"
Rafe's thoughts were elsewhere. "In the attic maybe. She likes it up there. There's spiders up in the attic. She'd have a ball." He continued.
"mmm hmmm." Was Alison's response as she laid her head on his chest and pulled him closer. "This song reminds me of the first time we danced together. Do you remember that?"
He was still lost in his own little world. "Or we could just lock her in her room. If we do that I'll go buy her a TV…"
"Then we danced on the beach, do you remember? That first Valentine's day we spent together? The night we first made love?" She snuggled closer and willed him to pay attention to her.
Rafe was silent. He needed to think of a reasonable plan. Locking Ella up wasn't at all practical but it'd certainly get the job done.
Alison wasn't about to give up. "Or remember that dream we both had, after you had to leave me? Before you came back? You danced with me then too."
She stopped swaying and gazed into Rafe's eyes, gently taking his chin in her hand and finally making him focus. "Dance with me Rafe…" She said softly as she began to do just that.
Rafe curled his arm around Alison's waist and held her tight, turning her in an easy circle. "She's talking about getting married, Alison. She wants to marry Ty."
"She's eight years old and she has a crush." Alison laughed at him. "And she could do far worse than Tyler. You should count your blessings."
"I do." Rafe replied with a nod as he bent his head and pressed his lips to hers in a slow, lingering kiss. As he pulled away Alison shook her head to clear it. How does he do that? She couldn't remember their conversation. She was lucky that Rafe reminded her with his next sentence.
"Grant better have a boy." Rafe sighed, knowing if his son's first child was a girl he'd be helpless to resist her.
"Maybe he will, maybe he won't." Alison said softly as she swayed in Rafe's arms. "He'll be a wonderful father though. I know that for sure."
Rafe agreed but wondered why she sounded so certain. He was just about to ask Alison how she knew when he heard her add. "He learned from you."