ALWAYS & FOREVER- EPILOGUE
8 years later:
"The chicken cutlets are just about ready." Charlotte pulls a large pan out of the oven. Cooper looks over her shoulder. "Good, should I call the kids now?"
"Maybe we shouldn't tell them tonight, Coop. I mean we just got the results."
Cooper rubs her back. "The amniocentesis results were normal. This baby..." Cooper rubs her lower belly, "is perfectly healthy. We need to tell the kids before they figure it out on their own." Charlotte's wearing a loose shirt. "Besides, I'm excited. I want to tell the world." Cooper kisses Charlotte on the neck.
Charlotte hesitates. "Do you think it's a good idea to lay it all on them in one night?"
"It's going to be an exciting night around here. Andie! Chase! Noah! Dinner is ready!" Cooper shouts up the stairs. Twelve year old Andie comes bouncing down the stairs first with her iPod. Cooper pulls the headphones out from her ears. "Not during dinner." He tells her.
Andie throws her ipod on the table. "What are we having?"
"Again?" The redheaded twelve year old whines.
"What do you mean again? I thought you guys loved your momma's chicken cutlets?"
"Yeah, but not all the time." Andie sits down at the table and complains.
Chase runs into the kitchen. Chase still looks like a little clone of Cooper. "What are we having?" Chase asks.
"Chicken cutlets." Andie tells him.
"My favorite." Eleven year old Chase takes his seat next to his sister.
"Yeah, it's your favorite because you're the favorite child." Andie ribs chase.
"Hey!" Cooper corrects Andie as he sets out the plates. "We don't have any favorites."
Noah bursts in the back door from outside. "Is dinner ready, momma?" Nine year old Noah's the spitting image of Charlotte.
"Yes. It is."
"Good, cuz I'm starving." He runs to the table and hops in his seat.
"You need to take care of those hands first before I put any food on that plate of yours." Charlotte tells Noah.
"Yes, ma'am." Noah gets up to wash his hands.
"Don't forget to use soap this time!" Cooper calls out to him.
The family of five sit around the dinner table. "So, how was school today?" Cooper asks.
"It was okay." Andie says.
It's was fine." Chase says. "The chicken cutlets are delich momma."
"Thank you." Charlotte smiles at her eleven year old son with the brown hair and blue eyes that she imagines looks just like Cooper did at that age.
"How 'bout you Noah? How was your day?" Charlotte asks.
"Terrible." Noah stuffs his mouth.
"Why?" Cooper asks.
"Mrs. Hewitt gives us too much homework." Noah complains."I hardly have any time to play with my friends."
"Ha!" Andie tells him. "You're only in third grade, that's nothing. Wait until you get to sixth grade, like me, then you can complain about the homework."
"Yeah!" Chase agrees. "Third grade is easy stuff, like learning to add and subtract."
"Is not!" Noah tells them. "We're learning to multiply in math."
"Oh wow! Learning to multiply!" Andie laughs, sarcastically. "Like that's really hard? It's all memorization."
Chase teases his little brother. "It's only hard if you have a brain the size of a bird."
Andie, Chase, and even Cooper laugh.
"Hey!" Noah shouts.
"Leave your little brother alone." Charlotte scolds Andie and Chase. Charlotte shoots Cooper a glare for laughing. "You're supposed to help your little brother, not tease him."
Cooper grins. "Come on, Char. You mean to tell me you never teased your younger brothers when you were a kid?"
"Oh, I did a lot more than tease them. I got Duke and Landry good, when we were kids." Charlotte holds her fork up.
"What'd you do to them, momma?" Andie asks. Cooper's phone beeps with a text message. Cooper reads the message then looks up and tells the kids, "We have something important to tell you kids."
"What?" Andie tries to read the text message. Cooper slips his phone back in his pocket.
"We're going to have a new addition to the family." Cooper smiles.
The kids all get quiet and stare back and forth from Cooper and Charlotte until Andie breaks the silence. She looks at Charlotte. "Don't tell me you're having a baby?"
Charlotte swallows and looks at Cooper. Cooper twists his face a little then says, "hold on." He gets up and opens the back door to let Violet, Lucas and Lila in.
"A puppy!" Noah yells out and runs up to them. "You got us a new puppy!" Noah takes the dog out of Lucas's arms.
"It's our dog's puppy." Eight year old Lila with the long thick curly brown hair tells him.
"Yes." Violet nods her head. "Our dog Sasha had puppies and your dad claimed this one right after they were born."
"Cute." Chase gets up to pet the puppy.
"You're trying to replace Freggly?" Andie looks at Cooper with tears in her eyes.
"No one can replace Freggly" Cooper tells Andie. "We just thought this little girl could add some fun to the house."
"It's a girl dog?" Noah asks.
Lila points out. "You can tell by looking under the tail. She doesn't have any balls or a penis."
Violet rolls her eyes. "Lila, please?"
"That's what Lucas told me. He told me that's how you can tell the boy puppies apart from the girl puppies."
Violet looks at Lucas.
"Well, it's true, mom."
"What's her name?" Noah asks.
"Let's let Andie name her." Cooper suggests.
"That's not fair." Chase complains. "Why does Andie get to name her?"
"I don't care." Andie says, still sitting at the table. "You and Noah can name her."
Violet looks at Cooper and Charlotte. "Did you tell them your other news yet?"
"Not yet." Charlotte sighs and smacks her lips together tight.
"What other news?" Andie looks at Charlotte.
Charlotte takes a deep breath and lets it out. "Well…-"
Cooper interrupts. "You were right when you guessed before. We're going to have a new baby."
Andie grits her teeth and holds her lips tight together.
Chase turns his head to look at Cooper. "Aren't you guys too old?"
"Obviously not." Cooper responds.
"Wooohooo!" Noah exclaims. "That means I'm not going to be the youngest anymore."
"What do you think Andie?" Cooper asks. "Maybe you'll get a little sister this time."
"I don't want a little sister anymore. It's not like I can hang out with her." Andie folds her arms tight. "I'm not going near a bald head pooping machine."
"You were once a bald head pooping machine." Chase tells his sister.
"Was not!" Andie tells Chase. "Look at my baby pictures, I was born with a lot of hair."
"This baby might have hair too." Chase defends.
"This is so embarrassing!" Andie complains. "What are my friends going to think?"
"Why does that matter?" Cooper asks.
"They're all going to know that you and mom are still...-nevermind. It's too gross to think about."
Lucas laughs. "Everyone knows your parents are still banging it, Andie. Remember at Aunt Jolie's wedding? They were kissing and their hands were all over each other."
"That's enough, Lucas." Violet shoots him a look. "We better go. We have to deliver a puppy to Cole and Jolie and the kids."
"Bye, Vi and thank you." Cooper gives her a hug goodbye. Cooper pinches Lila's nose. "You be good. And you too." Cooper punches Lucas playfully in the arm.
The Wilder family hops in their car and heads off to visit Jolie and Cole.
Cooper gets the puppy supplies out of the closet for the new pup.
"You bought all that stuff already?" Andie asks Cooper.
"Yep. We had this all planned out." Cooper sets up the puppy crate.
"Is that why you put Freggly to sleep last month, because you wanted to replace him?" Andie has tears in her eyes.
Charlotte hugs Andie. "We put Freggly to sleep because he was suffering, Sweet Pea. He had cancer, you know that."
"I miss Freggly." Andie cries
Cooper looks up at her. "Dogs don't live as long as humans, Pumpkin. We've been through this."
"Why don't you take the new puppy outside to play with the boys?" Charlotte suggests as she wipes Andie's tears. "Think of a good name for her."
"K." Twelve year old Andie heads out the back door with Chase and Noah following, holding the new puppy.
"Maybe we shouldn't have gotten another dog so soon." Charlotte tells Cooper as she clears the dinner dishes off the table.
"It was good timing." Cooper answers. "Sasha had the puppies right before Freggly died. It's like it was fate."
Charlotte does the dishes.
Cooper continues. "Just like this new baby is fate."
"What do you mean?
Cooper explains."Three miscarriages later and eight years after we started trying, this baby comes along and it's healthy. It's like a miracle or fate." Cooper screws the crate together.
Charlotte sighs. "Andie's not too excited about the baby."
"Andie's twelve, Charlotte." Cooper gets up. "She'll be okay once the baby's born. I mean, who wouldn't like a cute innocent baby?" Cooper hugs Charlotte.
"I hope you're right."
Cooper looks out the window. "She seems to have warmed up to the new puppy already."
Charlotte stands next to him by the window and watches as the three kids run around the yard with the puppy. "We have an amazing family."
Cooper looks her in the eyes. "Yes, we do."
The three kids play for a while in the back yard until they hear a small voice call out to them. "Can I look at your puppy?" Eight year old Suzie sneaks over from next door. Her older brother, Nicky, comes running after her. Nicky's fifteen now and has grown into a good looking teen with dark hair and bright blue eyes.
"You guys got a new dog?" Nicky asks.
"Yep!" Noah smiles and picks the puppy up to show to Suzie.
"I'm sorry about Freggly." Nicky tells them. "Freggly was as awesomely cool dog."
Andie starts to cry.
"She misses Freggly a lot." Noah tells them.
Nicky rubs her shoulder. "It's okay, Belle. You're lucky you had Freggly. My parents would never let us have a dog."
"Why do you call her Belle?" Suzie asks her big brother. "Her name is Andie."
"Yeah, why?" Noah asks.
Andie wipes away a tear and sniffles. "Because, when I was in kindergarten the kids on the school bus used to tease me and call me pumpkin head because my hair was a reddish orange color back then. Nicky made them stop. He said I wasn't a pumpkin head. He told them I looked like Belle from Beauty and the Beast because I had a long yellow dress on that day. He said that I was pretty like Belle and they better leave me alone or else."
"Or else what?" Noah asks.
Nicky laughs, "I don't know. I just said what else, I didn't have a plan but it worked, they stopped teasing Andie."
"Some of them started calling me Belle." Andie smiles. "I liked that."
"Did you tell mom and dad?" Noah asks.
"No, I wasn't allowed to play with Nicky so I couldn't tell them that I sat with him on the bus everyday." Andie explains.
"Why weren't you allowed to play?" Suzie asks.
"Because our parents were fighting with each other." Chase tells them.
"That stinks." Suzie pets the new puppy.
"It does." Andie nods. "But, Nicky and I stayed friends on the bus and we'd see each other on the playground at school."
"Now I'm in high school." Nicky says proudly.
"And I'm in middle school so we can't hang out at school anymore." Andie sounds disappointed.
"We better get going." Nicky tells his younger sister "Before mom looks out the window and catches us here."
"I want to come back and play with the puppy." Suzie tells her brother.
"You can't." Nicky tells his sister.
"If you stand behind those trees." Noah points. "Your mom won't be able to see you in our yard. The trees will block you."
"What about your parents?" Suzy asks Noah. "They can still see me."
Chase tells her. "In a few months my parents will be too busy with their new baby to care. They've been trying to have a baby for a really long time and it finally happened."
"Your parents are having another baby?" Nicky asks Andie.
"Yep." She nods.
"Whoa." Nicky says.
"I know." Andie nods. "It's embarrassin'."
Nicky looks toward the street at a young teen walking toward his house. Suzie points "Look Nicky, there's your girlfriend."
"You have a girlfriend?" Andie asks.
"He's fifteen." Chase tells Andie. "He's allowed."
Nicky shrugs his shoulders. "She sings in my band, she's not my girlfriend." Nicky grabs his little sister's hand.
"Do you still play the electric guitar?" Andie asks.
"Yep, I'm doing the male vocals for the band." Nicky tells Andie."I'm the only guy in the band that can carry a tune."
"Can I watch you play?" Andie asks.
"We practice in my garage after school, if you want to come over one day and watch."
"My parents will both be at work tomorrow afternoon." Andie tells him. "I can sneak over after school for an hour."
"See ya then." Nicky takes his little sister by the hand and they walk home.
"Bye. Suzie!" Noah calls. "Remember come back over tomorrow. We can play with the puppy behind the trees."
"K," Suzie waves goodbye.
"We need to give this puppy a name." Noah tells them.
"I like Scout." Andie says.
"That's a boy dogs' name and she's a girl." Noah pets the puppy.
"I read momma's book 'To Kill A Mocking Bird', and the girl's name is Scout." Andie tells him.
"I like Scout." Chase nods his head. "Scout's an awesome name for a dog."
"You hear that?" Noah looks at the dog. "Your name is Scout."
Chase tells Andie. "You know momma and dad having a new baby isn't such a bad thing."
"Why?" Andie looks at Chase.
Chase answers. "They'll be so busy with their new little angel that they won't notice everything we do anymore."
"You really think so?" Andie asks Chase.
"Definitely. I could spend as much time as I want at Game Stop with Lucas and Tyler and you can do whatever you want."
"That would be good." Andie's wheels start to turn, thinking of all the things she could get away with if her parents are preoccupied with a new baby.
"You know how dad loves babies." Chase reminds Andie. "And momma's been trying to get pregnant as long as I can remember. They'll be so excited to have a baby in the house after all these years, they'll forget all about us." Chase smiles.
"Hmmm." Andie thinks. "Maybe this new baby won't be so bad after all."
Cooper and Charlotte finish cleaning up the dinner dishes. Charlotte looks out the window. "What do you s'pose those three are talkin' about out there?"
"I don't know." Cooper puts his arms around her waist. "Why don't we go see?" Cooper and Charlotte step outside the back door. "So how's the new puppy?" Cooper asks.
"We named her Scout!" Noah shouts out to them.
"Scout?" Charlotte smiles. "I like it."
"We knew you would." Chase answers.
Cooper asks. "Who wants to go out for ice cream to celebrate?"
"I'm in!" Charlotte says.
"I'm in" Chase smiles.
"Me too! I love ice cream!" Noah shouts.
"What about you? Are you in, Andie?" Charlotte asks.
"Yeah, I'm in."
"Great!" Cooper says with a big smile looking at Charlotte. "Let's all go for some ice cream."
The Freedman family, including Scout all hop into the car.
A/N- The sequel is coming very soon! Probably Tomorrow so be on the lookout!
I'll try to update the sequel as often as possible. I got a head start writing it a few weeks ago since I finished writing *Always and Forever* during the summer.
Thanks again for reading and a very special ~~*THANK~~ YOU*~~ to all of you that take the time to review. =) I really enjoyed writing this and I'm having fun writing the sequel now. I hope y'all will enjoy the sequel just as much!
The sequel will begin with Andie's *Sweet 16* party. All your favorite characters will be there along with their kids.