"Mommy, can I go play with Liz and Jack?" Alex asked me as I was harvesting my crops – tomatoes and corn.
"Yes – just be back before dinner," I replied, beginning to put the crops in the shipping box.
"Alex," I called to him as he started walking away.
He turned back to me, his face expectant. Alex was outgoing, open and talkative; everything Vaughn wasn't. As time when on, it became apparent that his personality mirrored mine to perfection; Alex was also fairly optimistic, witty and thoughtful.
His hair was the same shade of brown as mine, and his eyes were still the exact same as his father's.
"Would you take your sister with you? She'd like to see Julia's new baby," I said.
Alex made a face. "But Tessa doesn't play our games right," he sighed dramatically, "She always messes them up."
"Be nice," I scolded gently, "Go on and take her along."
He sighed again, but hurried back to the house, where Tessa was helping Vaughn make lunch. Tessa was born two years after Alex – she was five now, and the exact opposite of her brother and myself.
Instead, she was exactly like Vaughn; quiet, reserved and secretive. But she was also quite happy; she adored farming and all the animals we kept. Alex liked the ranch, too, but he was showing a lot of interest in carpeting and building, like Gannon.
Tessa's hair was sleek and silver and her eyes were a bright crystal blue, like mine. Through she was so young, her quietness and her hair made her look very smart. And indeed she was. Both of my children were.
Julia and Elliot had a baby not just a few seasons after Alex was born, and his name was Jack. Jack was very sweet and helpful; a little clumsy, but very reliable. He had light blonde hair and muddy hazel eyes, and he often helped Chen and Charlie with the shop.
Charlie and Eliza were both fifteen now, and they were 'dating'. Eliza often spoke about leaving the Island to put her beauty to better use, and Charlie insisted he would follow her anywhere, though it hurt Chen, knowing his son might not take over the shop. It was too soon to tell anyway.
Aside from Jack, Elliot and Julia just had another baby a few weeks ago, a boy they named Derek.
"I'm going to have a girl next time if it kills me," Julia had said to me after the birth; she wanted a daughter very much, and I couldn't blame her. I was fairly close with Tessa, and I couldn't imagine life without her.
Natalie and Pierre got married a year after Alex was born, and had a baby soon afterwards; her name was Liz. She was six years old now, with deep red hair and hazel eyes. She looked almost exactly like Natalie, and was a bit tomboyish as well. She shared her father's passion for cooking, and was always learning new trade secrets from Pierre; she helped him judge in the yearly Cooking Festival.
Lanna and Denny were the last to marry, two years after Alex's birth, and their little girl, Samantha, was only five. She could often be seen playing with Tessa at the beach. Her hair was dark and curly like Denny's, though she had Lanna's eyes and passion for singing. She liked to fish, too, but not as strongly as her parents.
And Sabrina . . . she had finally started something with Mark a few seasons after Vaughn and I got married. Regis disapproved at first, and he still does, but after a while he seemed to realize that his daughter wanted to marry for love and not anything else. Sabrina and Mark were semi-serious now, I though, so perhaps they too, would get engaged someday.
So much had changed in the past seven years, including myself. I was more mature in some respects, I thought. I should be, though, now that was closer to thirty than twenty.
Vaughn was thirty two now, and though the age annoyed him a bit, he looked and acted just the same as always. He came out of the house just then and gestured for me to come over.
When I reached him, he kissed me deeply and then said, "Lunch is ready."
"Alex left to find Liz and Jack," I murmured, "He'll probably eat with Elliot and Julia."
Tessa was sitting at the table when we came in, reading some sort of book about lions. She glanced up and smiled at me.
"Hi, Mommy," she said quietly.
I kissed her forehead. "Hi, Tessa."
She blushed slightly and continued to read. "I asked your brother to bring you along with him . . . Didn't you want to see Derek?" I asked.
Tessa shrugged. "Yeah, but I didn't feel like being around Liz and Jack today. They talk too much."
Alex came back during dinner that night, and I scolded him for being late.
"Sorry," my son said, "Liz was lecturing us on how to make some kind of dish involving chestnuts, and I couldn't get away." He sat down and began stuffing his face.
"The cooking festival is coming up soon. Are you going to enter, Mommy?" Tessa asked.
I made a face. "You know I can't cook. Maybe your father should attempt to win a festival this time," I said, raising at eyebrow at him.
Vaughn snorted, but didn't comment.
"C'mon, Daddy, your cooking isn't that bad," Tessa said, her voice encouraging. Tess truly adored her father, wanted nothing more than to be just like him.
"Have you seen what he makes? Half the time I'm afraid it's going to eat me," Alex laughed.
I rolled my eyes. "Well, whether or not we enter, we'll go for moral support."
"Liz says she's going to judge really harsh this year; she thinks Pierre picked a bad winner last year," Alex said fondly.
"Liz is too harsh," Tessa complained, "I made some sugar cookies a while ago and she did nothing but criticize when I offered to share them."
"Well, they were gross," Alex said, grimacing.
"Shut up," Tessa snapped.
"Hush now," I scolded.
The evening continued without much incident after that, and then we all went to sleep.
"When's it going to start?" Alex complained.
We stood in the Meadow with the other Islands, and a few tourists, who were also participating in the competition.
"I hope Julia wins best desert this year," Tessa said, putting absently on her silvery hair, "She was so close last time."
"Regis won best appetizer last year," Alex remembered, and then shuddered. He'd always been a little frightened of 'Dracula'.
"Attention, ladies and gentlemen, the competition is about to begin," Pierre called over the chatter of the crowd.
The competition proceeded as it normally did. A few of the tourists won, but Julia won best desert and Felicia won best main course dish.
After it was over, the tourists immediately dispersed, as they usually did, and the Islanders hung around to socialize and eat the dishes. The sun was shining brilliantly in the sky, and Vaughn and I didn't have any work to do until this evening, so we let Alex and Tessa go play with their friends.
Natalie walked up to us with a wide smile. "Didn't enter, Chelsea?"
"You know I would have lost," I said, smiling.
"Yeah – your cooking sucks," she agreed.
"And yours is so lovely," I snapped.
Natalie had to go then; Liz was picking up some kind of dead lizard thing.
"I would have entered an awesome dish involving fish, but I've been busy teaching Samantha with her fishing skills," Denny said when I approached him.
I rolled my eyes. "Of course. I'm sure that's the reason."
The fisherman made a face at me. "Where's your dish, oh-superior-one?"
"Don't have one," I said bluntly.
Denny snickered. "Didn't think so."
I continued like this, chatting with the other Islanders, until the sun started to go down.
Vaughn nudged me. "We've got to get back – the chickens are outside, and wild dogs like to roam around at night."
Tessa and Alex ran ahead of us as we walked back to our ranch, chasing each other. Absently, I grabbed Vaughn's hand. I began to reflect – again – on my life.
I often did this, because a lot of the time I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I had a successful career, a loving husband, and two wonderful children. The future looked pretty bright right about now.
A wide smile spread across my face.
He noticed. "Why are you so cheerful?" Vaughn teased.
"Lots of reasons. I love you. You love me. I love Alex and Tessa. I love my life. I am happy. Aren't you?"
He smiled at me gently. "Yes. I am very happy."
I smiled back and squeezed his hand, and then turned to watch the blazing sun move sink even lower in the sky, so content.
Not many people get everything they want in life, but I did. I truly had everything. This was my wonderful life.
It was great.
It was grand.
It was the beginning of forever.
A/N: There's my exceedingly short epilogue. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'd love to do another Vaughn/Chelsea fic, and I'm open for ideas. Thanks for reading!