Epilogue

Samantha Ely rushed to the crib in the next room, her arms went around one of the babies in the crib she bounced him on her hip. He calmed slightly but his brother and sister were still crying, she grabbed Tanya and bounced her in sync with her younger brother.

Quinn's wife Jilly scuttled in and picked up Sam's youngest son John, she followed Sam into the crowded kitchen where Maxine, Mia, Wendy and Sonya were baking. Making went to Sam to take Tommy.

'I'm going to geld Jake the next time I see him for getting me pregnant with triplets' Sam vowed, her two year old daughters wrapped themselves around her legs, Moira one the left one and Darby on the right, her other three son's where outside with Jake, their uncles and the other Ely children.

The women in the kitchen laughed, they all knew Sam loved her kids but when she already had five kids and then got pregnant again with triplets it was hard to manage.

'I was so relieved when Adam agreed to cut the cord' Mia sighed, she had four daughters and a son Jamie. When she was giving birth to Jamie something went wrong inside of her and his twin was stillborn Colin Ely never got the chance to live and was remembered dearly by everyone, Mia was heartbroken at the lost of one of her children she loved children and helped Sam and the other wives out whenever she could but it still didn't fill the hole in her heart that was owned by her lost son.

They all stood remembering the months when Mia was pregnant with Jamie and Colin how happy she was and then the aftermath. Sam walked to Mia and hugged the girl who was almost a sister to her and helped her get over Jen's death five years ago.

'Five minute warning everyone!' Wendy said, the Ely wives cleared the kitchen and hid everything they had just baked lying cookies on the table, the first scrape of boots was heard. In came Adam, Nate, Bryan, Quinn, Jake and the 32 children, the quiet kitchen was soon a hive of noise screaming babies yelling infants quarrelling siblings it was mayhem but they all loved it.

'Everyone grab a cookie and out!' Maxine yelled, they all grabbed a cookie and went back outside again.

'I can hear again' Sonya joked, they all started laughing.

'Nate, Adam, Jake come grab one of the triplets!' Sam called into the yard that was a hive of activity; the three Ely's she had called came to her and took the three triplets to see the horses.

The Ely women slowly brought out the food to the hungry troops, it was only going slow because Quinn was cooking and spending more time talking than cooking after ten minutes with no stake. Adam gave Tommy to Bryan and shoved Quinn away from the barbeque.

'I was cooking the food Adam' Quinn complained, he tried to swipe the tongs off Adam but didn't succeed. 'That's it. ADAM FOOTBALL MATCH NOW!' Quinn shouted.

Luke groaned from the porch swing he slowly and stiffly walked over to Quinn and Adam and took the tongs. 'I will cook the food, now you two go to the pasture and sort out your differences with a football' Luke ordered. Adam and Quinn headed towards the pasture; Bryan, Nate and Jake gave Sam, Mia and Maxine the triplets and followed their brothers.

'Jackson go help your father beat uncle Quinn' Wendy said as Jackson walked past Sam, Maxine, Mia and his mother.

'Mom, do I have to?' he whined, he was into books not football he knew how to use his fists as an Ely but he knew using your fists doesn't solve a fight but the other Ely's in school still used them.

Wendy was about to say something when she noticed Carrie was in the pasture with her father she was centre but the still didn't calm her fears for her eldest daughter, Carrie was wild and an Ely alright she had gotten into fights already and was riding dangerously all the time. Carrie had already broken her arm, two ribs, her collar bone and her ankle all to do with either horses or cattle.

'Carrie be careful' Maxine warned, the game was brutal but no one was hurt except Quinn whose ego was severely bruised, Carrie played centre as much as the brothers could convince her to but that wasn't often she had inherited Wendy's temper and that led to many bad things.

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The next day drew bright and sunny too sunny for the Ely's, something was going to happen today they could all feel it. Sam walked down towards the main house, she went inside the radio wasn't on and the coffee machine hadn't been used. Sam felt sick she slowly walked towards the master bedroom; she opened the door slightly and screamed.

Jake was outside with his brother's avoiding the morning madness when he heard Sam scream, his blood ran cold he dropped the bucket in his hand and ran to Sam who was continually screaming. The Ely's ran into the house Jake was with Sam first, she cried into Jake's chest. Maxine and Luke where lying on the bed peacefully, Jake couldn't see why this would upset his wife that his parents were sleeping.

He stilled, they would've woken up hearing Sam's screams. His brothers all stoped beside him taking in the image in front of them, Nate was the first to re act he grabbed a sheet from the cupboard in their parents bathroom. He carefully laid it over his parents his hand brushed his mothers head slightly, he had tears in his eyes. He slowly backed out of the room and left calling an ambulance.

Bryan followed Nate but went into the kitchen, the wives had gathered in the kitchen for the morning gossip section waiting for Maxine. All of them had been two engrossed in the morning motherhood chores they hadn't heard Sam scream.

'What's wrong Bry?' Sonya asked; concern in her voice. Mia, Wendy and Jilly stilled and looked at Bryan.

'Mom, dad' he started crying the full shock of having no parents dawned on him, Sonya sat him down and hugged him. Sam came into the kitchen; her eyes were red from crying she looked at her sister-in-laws she could tell they still didn't know what happened.

'Maxine and Luke passed away last night' Sam said steadily she was about to cry again she could feel it, she could feel the tears coming. The kitchen was quiet no longer would the kitchen be remembered as a happy loving place it would be remembered as the place where everyone found out that Maxine and Luke had passed away during the worst drought in history.

Wendy knew how bad things were with the drought at Harmony Ranch but she didn't know how bad things were here, Wendy brought all the brothers out of their parent's room. They silently waited till an ambulance got there, Wendy tempted them with coffee and hot scones with butter and jam made from her own recipe but they all said no. The wives could see how bad their husbands were going to be affected by their parents death, just the shock of finding them like they were sent chills down their spines. It would be a long time before the Ely family turned back to normal.

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It had been three years since Maxine and Luke Ely had passed away, and major changes were undertaken.

Jake got control of the daily running of the ranch, not surprising really since Luke's mining accident and he had taken over.

Sam took over Maxine's position on the Darton Social Committee.

Quinn inherited the other half of Luke's share in the mine he worked at which surprised everyone.

Jilly took Maxine's place as a Darton High History teacher.

Bryan and Sonya moved into the main house a year after Maxine and Luke's death as was stated in Maxine and Luke's will and the little house was too small for Bryan and Sonya with their six children.

Nate took command of the Three Ponies fire crew and was the captain of the Fire brigade in Darton.

Wendy inherited 100 acres to use for her wildlife rescue foundation in memory of the Ely's.

Adam inherited a half share of Luke's share in the mine he worked at.

Mia took over Maxine's place on the Darton County Children's hospital board.

Kit moved back from Hawaii to help Jake and start Kate store.

Kate franchised her store in Hawaii to Darton with Money in Maxine's willed left to her.

Sam sat on the swing in front of the main house; the swing always reminded her of good memories. Like when Jake had tried hiding under the house but she saw his shirt under the house and found him, a smile twitched at her lips Maxine had gotten mad at Jake and made him change clothes and slapped him lightly across his head for doing something so stupid.

The Ely broad was getting bigger and bigger the more the family grew up, six new additions came into the family not long after Maxine and Luke's death. Mia's sister died and she got her sister daughter Ashley to look after, she was happy but sad; she lost a sister but gained a child.

Wendy gave birth to a healthy set of twins, a girl they called Natalie and a boy called Robert. It was the last edition to Nate and Wendy's family, the wanted to try for another child but Wendy was injured while training a horse and her insides were pretty messed up if she ever did conceive again they were sure that Wendy would die.

Wendy was shattered and so was Nate, they soon got over it when Wendy's sister was killed in a car crash and her daughters was sent to live with Wendy they were two spoilt brats, they soon got their act together and are great friends with the huge family they were brought into.

Quinn and Jilly gave birth to a healthy boy they named Carl Lucas Ely, they stopped with Carl.

Sam watched the tumbleweed being blowed across the Three Ponies yard and went back inside to help cook the huge dinner for that night. Everyone could feel the presence of Luke and Maxine that day, and everyone knew why, Maxine and Luke were saying there final goodbyes to Three Ponies and passing over to join Mac.

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Life is finally finished, writing this chapter was hard for me. Writing deaths is something that doesn't appeal to me because I feel like a part of me has ended. I'm currently working on two Phantom Stallion fan fictions and those of you who have read Days Of Old you will be happy to know I am currently writing a sequel.

Please Read and Review. Flames accepted, raves are loved and cherished.

ParkerGirl

-Jess-