THREE AND A HALF WEEKS LATER...
THE MIDDLE OF THE TRIAL...

"The prosecution calls Annie Thelen to the stand." The prosecutor said standing up.

Annie walked up to the stand and swore to tell the truth, she looked at me as she sat down.

"Will you state your name for the record please?" The prosecuter asked. "Annie Thelen." Annie replied. "What is your relationship witht the defendant?" The prosecutor asked. "He is my boyfriend." Annie replied. "How long has he been your boyfriend?" The prosecutor asked. "Objection, what dose the relationship between my client and have to do with anything?" asked. "I'm about to prove that." The prosecutor said. "I'll allow it. Please answer the question." The judge said. "A little over two months." Annie replied. "Almost two months...so since you've been back in town? Is the father of your child?" The prosecutor asked. "Yes, Jack has been my boyfriend from about the time I returned to town and no he is not the father of my child." Annie replied. "Where were you before you returned?" The prosecutor asked. "I...I moved around." Annie admitted. "Why? Were you ashamed of having a child with no father?" The Prosecutor asked. "No, I was scared." Annie replied. "Of what?" The prosecutor asked. "That Trent Williams would hunt me down and kill me." Annie told the court. "Why would he do that?" The prosecutor asked. "Because he raped me and said if I told anyone, 'he would hunt me down and kill me.'" Annie replied. "Isn't this rape you made up so there would be no shame for you or your daughter?" The prosecutor asked. "No." Annie replied. "Isn't it convenient that you're naming Trent Williams as the father of you're child? Did you ask to kill him?" The prosecutor asked. "No, it was an accident." Said Annie. "So you're saying it was an 'accident' that shot and killed the man you say raped you?" The prosecutor asked. "Trent Williams did rape me and it was an accident he was shot." Annie said her voice growing a little louder. "Nothing further." The prosecution said sitting down.

", what happened the day Trent Williams was shot and killed?" asked. ", had kidnapped my daughter and I, he was going to kill us. Jack, showed up and I told him to leave. I was afraid Jack would get shot, but Jack refused to leave. threaten to shoot, Jack...they fought over the gun and was shot...he died later during surgery." Annie said finishing her story. " kidnapped you and your daughter? You and , did not plan this?" asked. "No, we did not plan any of it." Annie replied. "So you're telling us it was, in fact an accident?" asked. "Objection!" The prosecution yelled. "Withdrawn." said taking his place at the table beside me.

AFTER A FEW MORE WITNESS' AND TESTIMONIES...

"Have you reached a verdict?" The judge asked. "We have." Said the foreman of the jury. "How do you find?" The judge asked. "Not guilty." Said the foreman of the jury and a happy cheer went up. "So say you all as one?" The judge asked.

Every head in the jury nodded yes. I sat there unable to believe it, I was free to go. I slowly got up and walked through the gate.

Annie threw one arm around me, the other holding a now five and a half month old, Elena. I threw both my arms around her and she began to sob into my shoulder. My mom and Fi were also crying.

"Let's get out of here." I said as Annie pulled away from my shoulder and we walked out of the courthouse.

Soon we were all back at my mom's house celebrating. Fi and Carey planning their wedding, Elena asleep in her playpen. Annie and I were sitting on the porch swing.

"An...Annie?" I asked. "What? Is something wrong?" Annie asked. "I was...willyoumarryme?" I asked as the last words came out in a jumble. "What?" Annie asked looking confused. "Will you marry me?" I asked again and she looked at me. "Did you just ask me to marry you?" Annie asked. "Yes, I want to marry you and be Elena's father." I said and she just looked at me. Then...

She kissed me, pulling away after a minute and when we looked around everyone was staring at us.

"Yes." Was all Annie said, as everyone looked at us confused. "Okay, what is going on?" My mom asked and I knew that she knew. "Annie and I are getting married." I replied. "Well it's about time." Fi said and we all looked at her. "What do you mean by that?" Annie asked. "I've seen this coming since you came back to town." Fi told her. "No double wedding." I said. "Why not?" Fi asked as she and Annie laughed. "I agree." Carey said. "What would be so bad about a double wedding?" Annie asked. "Nothing, I just don't want to share an anniversary with someone in my family." I said. "All right." Fi and Annie agreed.

ONE YEAR LATER...

"...you Jack Phillips take Annie Thelen to be your wife? To have and to hold, in sickness and in health? Until death do you part?" I was asked. "I do." I said looking into Annie's eyes. "Do you Annie Thelen take Jack Phillips to be your husband? To have and to hold, in sickness and in health? Until death do you part?" The preacher asked Annie. "I do." Annie said looking at me, tears in her eyes. "I now prounce you man and wife, you may kiss the bride. I now give you Mr. and Mrs. Jack Phillips." The preacher said and everyone cheered.

After about a minute Annie and I broke apart. Fi handed Elena (who was now almost two) to Annie.

"Jack?" Annie asked. "Huh, what?" I asked, coming out of my thoughts. "Where were you? You seemed to be a million miles away." Annie said taking my hand. "Just thinking about all we've been throuugh. I can't believe we finally made it here." I said giving her hand a gentle squeeze and another kiss on the lips.

THE RECEPTION...

"...is time for the first dance of the newlyweds." Came an announcement. "Ready?" I asked as Annie handed Elena to her mother and I took her hand.

The music began...

I see the questions in your eyes
I know what's weighing on your mind
But you can be sure I know my part
I'll stand beside you through the years
You'll only cry those happy tears
And though I'll make misteaks, I'll never break your heart

CHORUS:

I swear, by the moon and the stars of the sky
I'll be there
I swear, like the shadows by your side
I'll be there
For better or worse, 'til death do us part
I'll love you with every beat of my heart
I swear

I'll give you everything I can
I'll build your dreams with these two hands
And we'll hang some memories on the wall
And when there's sliver in your hair
You won't have to ask if I still care
'Cause as time turns the page my love won't age at all

CHORUS:

I swear, by the moon and the stars of the sky
I'll be there
I swear, like the shadows by your side
I'll be there
For better or worse, 'til death do us part
I'll love you with every beat of my heart
I swear

I finished singing along with the song and Annie's father came to ask for the next dance. I went over to where my mom and were talking.

"Hi, honey..." My mom said as I walked up. "Hey..." I said as Fi walked over and handed Elena to me. "Wh..." I started to ask. "Just thought I would bring you your daughter." Fi said. "Hey, Elena...how about a dance?" I asked as I took her in my arms and headed to the dance floor.

The song ended Annie came up and the three of us headed to the table for dinner. As we sat down, Clu stood up...

"I would like to make a toast to Jack and Annie. I recently found out about their attraction to each other as teenagers and was surprised as I'm sure many of you were when you found out. Since Annie's return they had what started as a hard time, but now I wish them a long and happy life together." Clu said, sitting down and everyone began to clap.

Soon the reception ended and it was time for Annie and I to go on our honeymoon, but...

"...sing to her to get her to go to bed and..." Annie said having a hard time leaving Elena with her parents. "Honey, we'll take good care of her. Don't worry, nothing is going to happen." Annie's mother told her. "Bye, mom. Bye, Fi." I said giving my mom a hug. "See you soon." Fi said from beside mom.

I finally pried Annie away from her parents and a crying Elena. We got into the car and Annie watched out the back window as we pulled away. When I looked over to Annie, she was crying.

"I've never been away from her since she was b...born." Annie told me. "It's going to be all right. She is with your parents and we'll be back soon." I said taking her hand in mine "I know." Annie said giving my hand a squeeze and turned to face front.

A FEW WEEKS LATER...

"...can't wait to see her and hold her." Annie said as we pulled into the driveway.

As soon as the car stopped, Annie got out and ran to the door. Where Annie's parents stood with Elena in front of them. Seeing Annie Elena ran into her arms. Annie scooped her up and spun her around.

"I've missed you." Annie said and hugged her close. "Mama." Was all Elena said and Annie smiled.

As I walked up to stand beside Annie and Elena. Everyone began to spill onto the porch...

My grandparents, my mom, Fi, Carey, Ned, Irene and Clu. Then we all headed to the backyard. Fi and Carey had got married a couple of months ago.

Fi whispered something to Annie and they squealed. When I looked at Annie she smiled and gave Elena another hug. The party began and the grill was fired up. Finally after a while Annie came over to me with a sleeping, Elena.

"What was the squealing about earlier?" I asked. "Fi's pregnant." Annie told me. "Fi's what?" I asked, unsure if I had heard right. "Pregnant...going to have a baby." Annie told me. "Wow I'm...I'm going to be an uncle." I said in aw. "Yes and I'm going to be an aunt." Annie said. "Annie..." I began. "Jack...there's something I have to tell you." Annie said and seemed nervous. "What is it?" I asked. "There were complications when Elena was born and I can't have anymore children." Annie said looking away. "What? Wh...why didn't you tell me sooner?" I asked. "Because I was afraid you wouldn't want look at me the same way or want to marry me." Annie told me. "Annie, I love you no matter what, but I wish you would have trusted me enough to tell me sooner." I said. "I know and I'm sorry. Dose this change anything?" Annie asked. "Not how I feel about you, it just hurts you felt that you couldn't trust me." I said. "I know, can you forgive me?" Annie asked, taking my hand in hers. "Not right now, but maybe in time." I said taking my hand out of her and looked up to see tears in her eyes.

I reached over and wiped them away. For a while we just sat there in silence, then after eating we headed home. When we got home we put Elena in her bed and then together we headed to our room.

THE END