EPILOGUE

Cole sat next to Genny on the roof of the house and put his arm around her, taking a moment to forget their fears and watch the sun rise.

"Are you sure?" he asked her.

She nodded, but was clearly as uncertain and frightened as he was. However, there was the spark of adventure as she handed him the matches. In hindsight, they probably should have done this a little farther from the house, but Genny said they should take advantage of the rooftop and Cole liked the poetry of the notion. He lit the fuse to launch the firecracker, and it whistled as it flew high into the sky. The firecracker exploded like thunder, raining sparkles over the house, signaling the release of joy, and Cole ran to the edge of the roof and shouted.

"I'm gonna be a dad!" It was so liberating to scream at the top of his voice and let the world know what he'd been celebrating in his heart from the moment he learned it. He shouted over and over, going to each corner of the roof top. The neighbors were drawn from their houses by the noise and most of his family ran out with guns drawn.

"We're having a baby!" Cole cried and they responded with whoops and hollers of their own. He crouched instinctively when he heard a whistle behind him, and when he looked back, Genny just smiled at him, and got out of the way of the next firecracker before it launched.

She ran to his side, smiled only at him and whispered, "We're having a baby!"

Cole picked her up and spun a little, before realizing the roof was too steep for that. She jumped on his back and they looked down at their gathered family, shouting together.

"We're having a baby!"

The group on the lawn broke into applause, and gasped collectively as Cole stumbled on the steep edge. He caught himself and Genny, and lowered her gently to the rooftop, tripping and landing nearly prostrate over her. It had been so long since he'd seen her smile so freely or seen joy that lasted more than a few moments. He kissed her hard and didn't stop until he heard a gentle harrumph.

"Y'all trying for twins?" Jayne asked, and they laughed sheepishly. Jayne went to the edge of the roof and told everyone down below that no one was hurt. Then he turned back and handed them a post-card, much like what he'd given them on their honeymoon – stick figure drawings in various X-rated positions, though one of the stick figures had a rounded belly. Cole showed Genny and she laughed so hard she cried.

"It's more for the later months," Jayne said with a wink. Then he went to their stash of fireworks and prepared to light another. They were stepping into a new day and their lives would never be the same.

*~*