Chapter 7: Epilogue

"Go on," Michaela urged. "Go on, Katie." Katie peeked uncertainly around the corner. "Go get Daddy!" Katie grinned from ear to ear, and she tiptoed, just as her mommy had shown her, and she made her way over to the bed, climbing up using the stepping stool Michaela had placed there just minutes ago. Katie looked back uncertainly at her mother, but when Michaela nodded, smiling, she covered her mouth, giggling, and she hopped up onto the bed, jumping right onto Sully.

"Daddyyyyyy!" she screeched, her blonde pigtails flopping wildly, as she shook him. Sully shot up right in bed, taking hold of his daughter, tickling her into a fit of giggles.

"Oh you think that's funny, huh?" he asked, "huh? I'll show you!" He blew raspberries on her belly, causing her to screech.

"Daddy! Stoooooop!" she whined, giggling still. Michaela grinned, hurrying into the room, holding her year-old daughter's hand. She scooped her up and deposited her onto the bed with her sister and daddy.

"Good morning," Michaela said with a grin, hopping in and crawling under the covers with the rest of her family.

"Good mornin'," Sully said with a yawn, leaning over to kiss her, tasting the mint freshness of her breath. "Mmm…mint. My favorite." She winked at him, and pulled Elizabeth into her lap.

"What do you say, Miss Lizzie? Are you excited to go see Grandma and Grandpa tomorrow?" Elizabeth grinned, clapping happily.

"Papaw!" she said excitedly.

"Oh, uh-oh," Sully said, "what about Mammaw? I thought we talked about this, little miss? She's gonna wanna hear you say her name too!"

"Mammaw…" Elizabeth said with a grin.

"That's better," Michaela laughed. "You are named after her, already. Though this of course means the next one must be a boy, and he must be named after your grandpa." Sully laughed.

"One kid at a time, one at a time." He reached over and rubbed her belly. "Our little girl might hear you sayin' she should be a boy." Michaela placed her hand over Sully's on her belly.

"Oh no. I couldn't be happier we're having another little girl, but I did promise Father that if we ever have a son, Josef would be somewhere in the name. Though he did try very hard to get us to name her Josephine." She giggled, as Sully snickered.

"Well, we know where you get your persistence, huh?" Sully leaned in again, brushing his lips against Michaela's. "I'm sure ya didn't hurt his feelings any when ya told him we're namin' her Laura."

"Oh, I think he understands." She smiled.

"What'd Laura say when ya told her?"

"She got very excited," she laughed. "You know, she's going off to college this fall." She smiled a little.

"Can't believe it's goin' on two years since…" His voice trailed off. He knew Michaela didn't like to mention it when things were going this well, but it was something they both had to talk about, just so they could continue to deal with everything.

It had been just over a year and a half since Michaela's abduction, and things seemed to be back to normal. She still had bad dreams once in a while, but Sully always pulled her in his arms and held her until she went back to sleep.

Elizabeth and Josef had stayed for a few weeks to help out while Michaela recovered from her minor injuries. Sully had managed to be granted his request that most of the construction work he did be around Colorado Springs. From time to time, he still had to go off and spend a night or two away, but everyone was happier now. Michaela was glowing, just entering her fifth month of pregnancy with baby #3. Sully was already planning to add on to the house, but for now, they were comfortable and had no worries except bringing this new life into the world.

"I'm going to go ahead and give the girls their breakfast," Michaela said with a smile.

"Alright. I'm gonna go get in the shower." Michaela smiled, kissing him softly before gathering up the girls and heading out of the room.

"Bye Daddy!" Katie exclaimed.

"Bye Daaaa," Elizabeth grinned, waving a chubby arm in her daddy's direction. He waved back, as his three favorite girls disappeared down the hall.

Sully walked into the bedroom, where Michaela was standing in front of the full-length mirror, her shirt raised just above her belly. Her hands were placed there, and she seemed lost in contemplation. He smiled, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her, placing his hands on her belly, just next to hers.

"What're you thinkin' about?" She sighed softly and shook her head. "Michaela, if it's about what happened…you know it's better to talk about it." Michaela nodded.

"I know. I guess, I'm just thinking about how grateful I am that I got out alive. He wanted me dead, Sully. I could hear it in his voice. I knew he wanted me dead."

"He ain't never gonna hurt ya again. Neither one of 'em. They're both in prison for the rest of their lives."

"I know," she whispered, "but what scares me is that there are more people like them out there. I don't want our girls to ever go through what I went through. Nobody should ever go through that." She looked down, and she rubbed her belly thoughtfully.

"You and Laura…you made it through that. You're strong women, you know? Our girls are gonna be just as strong." She smiled, turning in his arms.

"You know just the right things to say just when I need to hear them." Sully pulled her close, feeling her bare belly press against his stomach. He rubbed her back, and she closed her eyes, tilting her head back. "I love you so much." He smiled, hugging her, burying his face in her shoulder, kissing her there. Pulling back, he caressed the side of her face and smiled.

"Me too. I love you more than anything."

The End

Feedback would be great! Thanks for reading! Look for the sequel...soon! I'm already several chapters in and hope to finish it sometime in the next week!