A/N: Hey guys! So I decided to write the epilogue, set slightly into the future, just to show how they're all living now. I'm really sad to be finishing the story, so I'm not ruling out writing a sequel or something, because I love writing these characters. Anyway, thank you for sticking around for the story and thank you for all the reviews, I really appreciate it!
Chapter Twenty Five - Epilogue
"Did you pick up the cake?"
"It's in the fridge."
"And the streamers?"
"They're in the cupboard in the living room."
"What about the balloons?"
"They're on the kitchen counter."
"And did you get the..."
"Madeline, relax, I got everything on the list. You just need to look for them." Stella laughed, interrupting her daughter. "Listen, I'm going to go get Isla from day care, and then I'm taking her out for a little while. We won't be gone long. Love you."
"Thanks mum, love you too." Madeline replied, hanging up the phone.
Stella dropped the phone into her jacket pocket and unlocked her car. It was the day before Isla's 2nd birthday and Madeline was tearing her hair out trying to make sure that everything was perfect. Stella had volunteered to pick Isla up from day care so Madeline had a chance to decorate the apartment and wrap the last presents.
The two years had flown by. Stella could hardly believe that her granddaughter was about to turn two. Isla was already walking around, starting to talk and getting into everything. Stella loved work, but she couldn't wait to get home and see her girls.
Madeline had really turned things around. She did decide to go back to the counsellor a few times and now she felt confident enough to accept the fact that she could be a good mother. For a while, Stella was anxious about leaving Madeline and Isla at home, but after a few months she could see how comfortable Madeline was to do it all by herself.
She pulled her car up outside of the day care and walked quickly into the building. When she got inside one of the workers brought Isla down to the front desk. As soon as she laid eyes on Stella, Isla's eyes widened and a huge smile spread across her face. She held her little arms out in Stella's direction.
Stella strapped Isla into her car seat and covered her rosy cheeks in kisses. Within 30 minutes they were sitting outside a little coffee shop, in the sun. Stella took a sip of her cappuccino and broke off a chunk of blueberry muffin and handed it to Isla.
"Is that good Isla?" She asked laughing.
Isla looked up at her and giggled, crumbs were all over her face. She licked her lips and held out her hand for more cake. Stella shook her head and grinned, handing her another small piece. They sat quietly for a while, enjoying the sun, coffee and cake.
"We better get you cleaned up, Mac will be here soon and we can't have him seeing you like that, baby." She laughed at Isla's grubby face.
She lifted Isla out of the high chair and sat her on her knee. Stella pulled a damp wash cloth out of the diaper bag and brought it up to Isla's face. Isla squirmed and tried to wriggle out of Stella's lap. She used her little hands to try and push the cloth away.
"Stay still missy. We need to clean you." Stella insisted, holding on tight to Isla. "Hey, c;mon, Mac won't give you cuddles if you have muffin all over your face!"
At the mention of Mac's name and the threat of no cuddles, Isla froze. She let Stella wipe her face and hands. Stella dropped the wash cloth back into a plastic bag and put it into one of the diaper bag's pockets.
"See, much better." Stella smiled, planting a kiss on Isla's cheek. "Oh and just in time, look who's here." She whispered into Isla's ear.
Stella readjusted Isla's position on her lap so that she could see who was coming towards them. A smiled spread across Isla's face and she reached out both of her arms as Mac walked towards them.
Mac leant down and kissed Stella, stroking the side of her face. He picked Isla up and held her high in the air before bring her down and kissing the top of her head.
"We're missing one?" He stated, sitting himself down on one of the chairs next to Stella.
"She's at home, decorating the apartment. I figured it would be best to keep Isla out the way. When I tried to decorate for Madeline's birthday, she managed to tear up half the banners." Stella smiled, tapping Isla on the nose.
"Is that right?" Mac laughed. He stood Isla up on his lap.
Stella finished up her coffee and wiped Isla's face with a napkin. She put on her jacket and picked up the diaper bag, Mac carried Isla and together they left the café.
"So, what's the plan for tonight? Yours or mine?" Stella asked.
"Neither." Mac said bluntly. Stella took a step back, shocked.
"That was fun." He whispered in Isla's ear. Isla laughed and threw her hands over her mouth. "What I meant was, neither, because I'm taking you out for dinner instead."
Stella shook her head and playfully punched Mac on the shoulder. Isla reached her arms out in Stella's direction. Stella took her off Mac and hugged her tightly. They all walked up to Stella's car.
"Sit still sweetie, let me buckle you in." Stella sighed as she tried to wrestle Isla into the car seat.
"I'll pick you up at 8 then?" Mac said, leaning on the car door.
"That would be perfect." She smiled coyly.
Mac lifted his arm up and brushed the curls out of her face, his fingers lingering on her cheek. Her cheeks flushed pink and she looked at the floor. He kissed her gently and opened the car door for her.
"I'll, um, see you tonight then." Stella blushed again and got into her car.
Stella barely gave herself time to think, she just buckled up and drove off. It still wasn't an official relationship; nobody knew about it, but it was new and exciting. She actually got butterflies whenever she saw him. Soon enough, Stella pulled the car into the parking spot and cut the engine. She laughed quietly to herself as she looked into the backseat, only to find Isla fast asleep.
"It's a tough life." She sighed, carefully opening the car door on Isla's side.
She gingerly unclipped the car seat belt and lifted Isla out; doing everything she could not to wake the sleeping child. She rested Isla's head on her left shoulder and slung the bag over her right. Isla moved slightly, her thumb dropped from her mouth. Stella shook her head and carried Isla up into the apartment building.
"Ta da!" Madeline called out as she saw Stella walk in.
"Shh, just a second." Stella gestured towards Isla.
She dumped the bags on the floor and carried Isla into the bedroom. Stella kissed her carefully laid her down in her crib. Isla shifted as she was out of Stella's arms. Stella tip-toed out of the room and closed the door behind her.
"Wow! This looks great Madeline! You found everything then?" She asked, dropping herself on to the couch.
"Yep, I'm pretty proud of it." She grinned, sitting down next to Stella. She swung her legs up on to Stella's lap and closing her eyes.
"You should be, you done a great job. Did you get all the presents wrapped?" Stella pulled at the loose threads surrounding the holes in Madeline's jeans.
"They're in the wardrobe." Madeline nodded. "Do you want me to start making dinner?"
"Uh, no actually, I'm going out for dinner tonight." Stella smiled, butterflies filling her stomach again.
Madeline opened an eyelid and studied Stella's face. Her cheeks were pink, she had a huge smile on her face and her eyes were completely lit up.
"No prizes for guessing who with." Madeline smirked, closing her eyes again.
"Shut up." She laughed, leaning her head against the back of the sofa.
"I'm happy for you, mum." Madeline moved her hand so she was holding on to Stella's.
"Really?" Stella asked, turning her head.
"Yeah, really, I like Mac. It's about time you two got together."
"What?" Stella raised an eyebrow, shocked.
"C'mon, you can't tell me you've seriously never considered it before?" Madeline opened up her eyes.
"Considered what?" Stella poked Madeline's leg.
Madeline took a moment to answer. She shrugged her shoulders and closed her eyes again.
"Sleeping with Mac." Madeline laughed.
"Madeline! I cannot believe you just said that!" Stella sat there completely dumbstruck, and for once in her life, completely speechless.
"I'm going to go start dinner." Madeline laughed lifting her legs off of Stella. "You should go get ready for your hot date."
Madeline walked off into the kitchen, kissing Stella's cheek before she left and laughing at her own joke. Stella got up off the couch and went into the bathroom. She switched on the taps and drizzled in some Mango-scented bubble bath.
"Don't forget to shave your legs!" Madeline called out from the kitchen. Stella could practically hear the smile on Madeline's face.
The bath was run in quick enough time and Stella lit the candles sat around the edge of it. She slipped out of her work clothes and climbed into the tub. The hot water surrounded her and she closed her eyes. With all the hurt she saw at work every day, she knew that life wasn't always easy and it wasn't always perfect, but right now, with her daughter happily making dinner and her granddaughter peacefully sleeping, she knew that this was pretty damn close.