AN: Of course, I still don't own Twilight…wouldn't it be awesome if I did though?

I cannot say thank you enough to my beta, Ninadoll! More than a year ago, she gave me the confidence to start this story and has been patient and support all through it. I'm so happy to be able to write in her universe! Nina is an absolutely amazingly awesome beta, friend, and author. Please check out her storiesHow the Might Fall, The Rest of Forever, andHow Wonderful Life Is, Now You're In The World! Thank you, Nina for everything!

Thank you as well to my friend, shojioxlow, for being so awesome! I stole the title of this chapter from a sign hanging in her kitchen. The last time I was there, the moment I read it, I knew it was the perfect name for the epilogue.

As always, thank you to each and everyone of you that reads and reviews! You are very much appreciated! Enjoy! Don't forget to check out my homepage at liljenrocks{dot}web{dot}com.



"Don't go too close to the water, Liam!" I yelled as my oldest son ran along the beach in La Push, giggling like mad as my husband chased him. "Seth, don't let him get wet please!"

Liam started to inch closer to the waterline just in time for Seth to scoop him up and spin him around. "Lee, we gotta keep you dry," Seth said over Liam's joyful squeals.

It was days like this I wondered what I had done in this life or another to deserve what I had. Whenever I watched Liam running around the house, being chased by his father and aunt, or looked into the eyes of my youngest child, I couldn't help but feel my breath catch. I never let the thoughts develop too much, I didn't want to jinx myself afterall. I just knew that someone, somewhere had to be looking out for me. Because, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was exactly where I belonged, with the people I belonged with. I was happier than I could have ever imagined being.

My eyes slid to Ashley beside me, busily working on a sandcastle for the past two hours. I think, no I believe Ashley was happy too. She was always smiling, more than normal. My little sister had grown into a wonderful, responsible, loving pre-teen. While she made a lot of friends at the reservation school, Sydney was her closest, second only of course to Sadie, who lay in the cool sand on the beach next to her.

It was the end of August and Second Beach was relatively empty. The occasional family or the lovestruck teenagers would walk by, on the way to the make-out rock. But for the most part, the beach belonged to my family. I sat on a blanket, Cullen, now two years old, sitting next to Ashley, sand in a bucket, thinking very deeply about his next move. Watching my family like this, it was pretty much what I was sure Heaven was like. Quiet, peaceful, surrounded by the people I love.

I was missing two of the most important people I love though. Scar and Ava were busy and it made me a bit sad. I don't know if it was because now that they were officially a couple, I wanted them here with us more now. Alas, I knew they were both doing what they dreamed of doing and I couldn't stop them from that.

"Momma! Daddy got me!" Liam laughed as Seth brought him over to the blanket, setting him down gently.

"Did he get my baby?" I asked, trying to pull Liam to me with my empty arms.

"Momma, I'm not a baby. Clen's a baby, I'm a big boy," he grinned at me with a smile that matched his father's. I knew he was definitely going to be the spitting image of Seth when he got older. It made me worry about what would happen with him and girls but I guess only time would tell.

"Sorry, Liam, sometimes I think you're still my baby," I told him faking a frown.

"Silly, Momma," he said. He climbed into my lap and wrapped his little arms around my neck, then pressed his lips on my cheek to give me a very sloppy kiss. "Love you, Mommy!"

I smiled and held him close to me. If I never did anything else in my life, I knew that I had given the world Liam Clearwater and because of that, the world would be a better place. Even apart from his appearance, my little boy was so much like his father. He had the same pleasant disposition as Seth, always had a smile on his face, and he always made sure to share his toys. I could tell that my son was going to be destined for some career or life helping others.
"I love you so much, my Liam," I said to him. It was a preciously sweet moment and I decided to liven things up a little bit by creeping my finger tips closer to his ribs. "Who's the tickle monster?"

Liam started to chuckle and squeal. "No, don't tickle me!" He exclaimed.

"I'm the tickle monster!" I laughed as I started tickling him. He laughed so hard that before I knew it, Seth, Ashley, and myself were all three breathless from laughter.

Liam calmed in my arms as I stopped tickling him and placed a kiss on his forehead. He sat up and looked around until he found Seth, who was now holding Cullen and chuckling. "Daddy, Mommy is the tickle monster! She got me!"

Seth laughed. "She is the tickle monster!" I smiled and leaned towards him to take Cullen. "I kinda like it when you tickle me though," he whispered in my ear and very gently kissed my neck causing me to blush profusely.

"How come you're so red?" Ashley asked with one hand on her hip. She shook her head at me, then pulled her cell phone out of her pocket, texting someone quickly, then closing it and putting it into her pocket .

"Who are you texting?" I asked.

"Mac," she answered with a blush. Seth responded with a soft growl, which caused her eyes to widen. It was funny to think of Seth as being so protective. "Grown ups are so weird," she mumbled before running down the beach a little. "Bet ya can't get me, Liam!"

Liam picked himself up off the blanket and chased after his aunt. I glanced at my watch and sighed. "We probably need to start packing up," I said.

"Okay, I'll round up the heathens," Seth said, handing me Cullen and running after Ashley and Liam.

"We go now?" Cullen asked as I sat him down on his feet and nodded. "Castle stay?"

"Yes, sir. Do you want me to take a picture?" I asked, knowing he would almost certainly want me to take a picture of his most recent sandcastle. Every time we came to the beach, he and Ashley would build a sandcastle. She suggested we take pictures and put them in an album for him, for when he got older. I agreed and started taking pictures from the first times we came to the beach, when he was just a wee baby, until now. I pulled my camera from my pocket and clicked the picture.

"I see?" Cullen asked. I leaned down and showed him the picture on the camera's digital screen. "Ooh, pretty."

I felt my heart swell at the wonder in my little boy's eyes. "How did I get so lucky, Cullen? Hmm?" I asked, nuzzling my nose to his like an Eskimo kiss. How did I get so lucky?

Ashley made her way to me. "You know, technically, if you're talking about marrying Seth and having the babies and that making you lucky, you should thank Sadie," Ashley said with her beach bucket in her hand. "She's the one that got you and Seth together, you know?" She leaned down to her sand castle and I took my camera from my pocket and snapped a picture of her as she poured a little water from her bucket into the moat she had dug around the sandy building. She was right and almost as if on cue, Sadie barked and ran towards us, Liam hot on her heels and Seth behind him. Liam was laughing as he chased her and I brought my camera out, barely having time to frame up the shot before he was right in front of me, but I clicked the picture just in time. As I checked the display, my heart sank a little. My baby really wasn't a baby anymore. He was a boy and before long he would be a teenager, then he would be driving, and moving away to college. Then he would be getting married and having a family of his own. I wasn't ready for that. I wasn't ready to let him go.

I didn't say anything as we walked to the car. Ashley helped Liam into his car seat while I put Cullen in his. After I was sure the toddler's seat was nice and secure, I double checked Liam's seat, much to Ashley's chagrin. "I told you I made sure it was tight. I'm not a little kid anymore, Abby," Ashley almost growled at me. I had to hide my face to keep her from seeing my giggle. She was determined lately to take more responsibility at home but I didn't want her to lose her kid-years, no matter that she wanted to be treated more grownup. I wanted her to be able to feel like a kid, a pre-teen, I didn't want her to be in therapy when she was 25, discussing how her older sister had made her grow up too quickly. She deserved to be happy.

"Sorry, Ash. It's habit, I do it even when Seth straps him in," I said. That was actually true. Call it my overprotective nature, I tried to trust others but I felt the Momma Wolf in me need to make sure my pups were safe.

As I finished up with the kids, Seth opened the back hatch and put our basket in, shutting it just as his phone rang. "Yo, yo," Seth joked as he answered the call. His voice was muffled as he talked but as soon as he got into the car, he put the call on speakerphone. I listened as Ava talked, trying not to look too sad about that fact that all the children in my family were going to be leaving me soon.

"Ave! Is Scar with you?" Liam yelled from the backseat. I couldn't help but laugh as Seth let out a quiet growl. He didn't want to admit it but he was a little jealous of Scar. He knew that as much as Liam loved him as his Daddy, Scar was probably his "bestest big bud," with the younger wolf pack kids being his best friends. I listened as Scar and Liam talked about the day and Liam told them how excited he was to start kindergarten.

I looked in the backseat to see that Cullen was already sleeping. It shouldn't have come as a surprise, since, I was convinced, he could sleep through a foghorn. When he was first born, I was worried that maybe he had hearing problems, but I had been assured by my husband, or better yet, Dr. Clearwater, that he was just fine and that he had it on good authority that Quil slept through a car running through his house as a kid. I wasn't sure if that was supposed to make me feel better, but oddly, it did.

"Yes! I'm very excited! I've already been practicing my letters and numbers! And Griffin and Hawk are going to be in my class! It's going to be a lot of fun!" Liam answered in his biggest big boy voice. That made me even more sad. I was excited for him to start school. Up until this point he had only gone to half-day preschool, and then spent the rest of the day with his Grandma Sue. And he was so excited, so I was excited. But I still wanted him to need me. I wanted to still be important to him.

I hadn't said anything to Seth about it, but I knew that he knew. I don't know if it was the imprint connection or if he was feeling the same thing, but he knew that I was hurting on the inside. He reached across the console in my Audi Q7, the car that replaced my Subaru, not much to my liking, after it went to Car Heaven shortly after Cullen was born. The Audi was nice, it was white and nice on the inside, but the Subaru had sentimental value. It was the car that my parents had bought me when I graduated from my undergrad, the car that I had driven cross country more than once, and the car that I met Seth with. I cried like a baby the day the tow truck came to take it from our driveway. The next day, Seth brought the Audi home, and while it was newer and had a lot more gadgets, it wasn't my Subaru. Even now, two years later, it's hard for me to think about.

Seth talked animatedly to Scar and Ava. For the past two years he tried hard to keep a good relationship with Scar and Ava. He told me often that he worried they might hold the way he had first reacted to their relationship against him and might pull away from the family. They hadn't though and Seth was grateful for that. I knew that while he still had a little fear of Scar imprinting, he was starting to understand our logic behind why he shouldn't worry about that so much.

As the call ended, we all seemed to say bye at once, mixed in with the "Love Yous." No one could ever say the O'Brien/Clearwater family never expressed their love for one another. We were a family that said it, hugged in public, and never went to bed angry with one another. That was a lesson we learned from my time away when I was pregnant with Liam. And while it may have been a little touchy-feely for some people, we never took for granted how important our family was to us. Seth and I had both seen loss and for as long as we lived, we would never let a single day pass without the ones we loved knowing how important they were to us.
I knew in the morning I would have to watch my little boy take his first steps away from me, and while I wasn't sure if I was ready for that, I knew that he was. He was his father's son, a kind soul. He would do great things, as would his aunt and brother. I would let him go, not because I wanted to, but because I needed to let him do the things he was destined to do. I might hurt a little but I knew that Seth and I had prepared him for his future. And that was all I could do.


Abby and I made our rounds together, tucking in the kiddos. This was our routine, except on nights when I patrolled. Those nights, Abby tucked them in and I checked on them when I got home. We always started with Cullen. He was much more vocal than his older brother and while he still made the same little kitten noises that Liam made, when he fussed or cried, he made sure he had your attention. For the first year of his life, Cullen wouldn't go to sleep unless he was in mine or Abby's arms or in his carseat. That changed when Jake and Nessie got him a stuffed wolf for his first birthday. Now all he needed was his stuffed wolf and a blanket and he could sleep anywhere and through anything.

Cullen yawned as I pulled the covers up. His bedroom hadn't changed much from when it was a nursery. The crib had been put in storage and replaced by a big boy bed with owl bedding. "Wof, Daddy," he put his hand out, asking for his stuffed wolf. "Here you go," I said, leaning down to kiss his nose. "Love you."

"Wuv you, Daddy," he answered, holding on tightly to his toy and rolling over onto his stomach to stick his butt in the air. It was exactly how Liam slept, and, according to my Mom, exactly how I slept as a baby.

"Love you, Cullen," Abby said as we both walked out and flipped the light off.
I watched him sleep for a bit then walked down the hall. Two lights were on, one in Ashley's room, the other in Liam's. I stopped at Ashley's first and saw her phone out…again. I wasn't going to say anything though. I wanted to, I didn't like that Ashley had suddenly discovered boys. It made the overprotective brother/father-figure in me roar.

"Be nice," Abby whispered next to me, like she could sense what I was feeling. She walked in first and Ashley put the phone on her nightstand, plugging it in to charge. I watched for a minute as my wife talked with her little sister. It was funny but I knew Abby and I both loved Ashley as if she were our own daughter. I was probably more protective of her than any father would be with a daughter.

Ashley would still look for new wolves and I knew that even though she never said anything about it, she knew she lived in a supernatural world and I wanted to make sure, if the day came that she ever found out about the people she loved, she wouldn't be frightened.
"Love you," she said with a big smile. "Forever, for always, no matter what." This was what Ashley had come up with for us. She started saying it about a year ago. Her parents always said 'love you for always" but she felt like we needed something that was just for our family. She seriously thought about it for about a week before she saw it in a children's book she had to read to Liam and Griffin. Honestly, it was pretty perfect for us.

I leaned down and kissed her forehead again. "Forever, for always, no matter what." I scratched behind Sadie's ears and patted her head. Abby sat back down on the bed to talk to Ashley for a minute but I decided to go ahead and check in on Liam.

As I rounded the corner to his room, I could hear Liam talking and slowly peeked in the room. Liam was kneeling beside his bed with his hands folded.

"And bless Clen and Mommy and Daddy and bless Ava and Scar and Auntie Ash," he took a deep breath and stopped for a minute. He got up and ran to the other side of the room, then came back, holding something in his hand. "And please tell Nana Maddie, Papa Patrick, and Grandpa Harry that I'm starting school tomorrow. I love them even though I never met them and I hope they will watch over me tomorrow. Thank you." I had never heard Liam mention his grandparents that had passed away. I knew he knew about them and that he kept a picture, the thing he was currently holding in his hands, of all three of them in his room. But somehow, hearing him say that he loved them and praying like that, made me start to choke up. He started to get up again but stopped himself. "Sorry, I forgot to say Amen. Amen." I smiled at him as he sighed again and stood up. "Daddy, why are you watching me?"

It brought me out of my thoughts and I faked a cough to hide the lump in my throat. "I just wanted to say good night and tuck you in but I didn't want to disturb you," I lied, walking towards him as he crawled into bed. He was still holding onto the picture. "You wanna put that on the table?"

He nodded and I took the picture, setting it on his bedside table. "Was Grandpa Harry nice?" Liam asked.

I smiled widely as I pulled the dinosaur quilt up. "He was the best Daddy in the world."
"Nuh-uh, you're the best Daddy in the world," Liam chuckled and I smiled, giving him a kiss on the forehead.

It was funny to hear him say that. Everything I knew about parenting, about being a father, I learned from my own father. If Liam thought I was a good Daddy, it was only because my own Daddy had been such a great example for me. "Thanks, Lee, but I think Grandpa Harry could probably beat me in that competition. He was smart and kind and he worked hard. More than anything though, he loved his family," I told him.

"Would he like me?" my son asked.

"No, Lee," I said, seeing his frown start. "He would love you, just like I do."

Liam's frown turned into a grin. "Good," he grinned up at me. "I love you too."

I heard my wife approach as I tucked the last part of the quilt around Liam. "What's going on in here?" Abby asked with a smile in her voice.

"We were just having a discussion," I said.

"Yeah, Momma, we were just having a disconcusion," Liam said.

"Well, I'm going to have to put a stop to the discussion and kiss my little boy good night," Abby came towards us. She leaned down and actually picked Liam up from his bed, holding onto him tightly.

"Momma, you're squishing me!" he chuckled. I could see the look in Abby's eyes though. She closed them very tightly. She nuzzled him and took a deep breath, and I found it ironic that she was doing exactly what a wolf would do to his imprint or family, or anyone that he was trying to memorize their scent. While I hardly worried about Liam starting school, Abby worried a lot and I knew she was trying to keep him as close as she could.

"I love you, my little one," she whispered.

Very gently, she loosened her grip on him and laid him in his bed. "I love you too, Momma." The way Liam put his hand on Abby's cheek, the way he placed a sloppy kiss on her cheek, that let me know that he was going to be perfectly okay at school. He knew that was exactly what his Mom needed and I knew that kind of insightfulness was something that made Liam so unique.
Abby gave him a final kiss on the forehead and then walked out of the room, giving me a watery smile. I knew there would be tears and I was ready to help sooth her. I walked to Liam's bed and smiled as I tucked the quilt around him again.

"Thanks for being my Daddy," Liam said, as he flipped onto his stomach.

"Thanks for being my little boy," I said. I knew he didn't like being called little but he didn't say anything as he closed his eyes. Watching him and thinking about my Dad made me wonder. I knew that one day Liam and Cullen might find their own imprints, and would have their own families. Would I have been the great influence on them as my Dad was on me? Would I give Liam and Cullen an example of what a good father should be? I couldn't say for sure, but I did know this. I would work hard to show my sons what makes a good father and husband, and I would be thinking of my Dad the whole time. As long as I did that, there was no doubt in my mind, the future was in great hands.

Second AN: Just a few more tiny details. The picture that Abby takes of Liam and Seth at the beach is based on an actual picture of Nathaniel Arcand (the person I see as Seth) and his son, who is ironically named Griffin. You will be able to see the picture on my blog and my web page. Thank you again so much for reading!