The Epilogue

Five years later…

"Mom! Mom? Are you in here?" Evan tromped into the house, dropping his backpack by the door.

"In the kitchen, sweetheart. Did you have a good day at school?"

"Yeah, it was okay." The young man took a seat at the kitchen table and grabbed a cookie off of a plate sitting there.

His mother noticed and shot him a disproving look. "Hey, you! I meant to save those for after dinner."

Evan gave her a lopsided grin that made him look just like his father. "Well, they were just sitting here. How was I supposed to know?"

Lyla couldn't repress a smile, and turned back to the stove shaking her head. Just like his dad. Thinking about Louis brought a slow flush to her cheeks and a grin to her face. They had been married five years now, and every day was a new experience. She absolutely loved it.

Her son broke into her thoughts. "So, where's Tommy?"

"Downstairs in the family room, I think. He was very much enjoying his—" She was interrupted sharply by the door leading downstairs bursting open and a little boy, about four years old, making his entrance.

"Mommy! Look it! Look! I builded it!" he squealed, proudly displaying his tower, or whatever it was, crafted out of Lego's.

Lyla chuckled. "Congratulations, honey! Good job!"

Tommy beamed, then spun to show it to his older brother, too. "Look it!"

"Yeah, good job, buddy!" Evan laughed.

In the abruptness that characterizes all small children, Tommy promptly seized his brother by the hand and began dragging him downstairs to play, too.

Evan laughed again. "Okay, okay. I'm coming, I'm coming." He followed the little boy down with a delighted grin on his face.

Their mother watched them, smiling. Ah, the joys of being a mother. It was different having a sixteen-year-old and a rambunctious four-year-old tearing the house down around her and Louis, but she thrilled to it. With Tommy, she had had the privilege of seeing every "first," and she loved it even more. My life is so full, she mused. I don't think it could get any better.

All of a sudden, she heard the front door open. Louis was home. Her eyes sparkled with suppressed happiness, and she turned the corner slowly, a small smile on her face. His back was to her as he set his briefcase down, but as soon as he turned, his whole face softened.

"Lyla…" he breathed, and she was swept up into his arms. "It's always so good to see you after a long day. Definitely a sight for sore eyes."

She laughed out loud, throwing her head back. "Oh, I love you. Hard day at the office?" Louis had gone back into working for an accountant to make ends meet after their wedding, but still played with the Connelly Brothers on occasion.

He made a face. "No more than usual." They walked arm-in-arm into the kitchen. "What are you cooking in here? Smells like heaven."

A playful smirk touched her lips. "Wouldn't you like to know?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I would. I'm famished!"

"Hmm. Yes, I'm sure." Her eyes twinkled as she teased him. "Well, you're in luck. It's just about ready. Would you call the boys to wash up? They're downstairs playing Lego's."

Louis grinned. "Which I'm sure was at the top of Evan's to-do list for tonight."

She gave him a delighted smile in return. "You never know."

He made her laugh with a silly face. "With our boys… Yeah, ya just never know." Walking to the top of the stairs, he called down to them. "Evan, Tommy! Time for dinner!"

A collective cheer went up from the family room, followed by a loud scramble up to the kitchen.

Lyla shook her head. Boys were so noisy sometimes. Scratch that. Boys were noisy just about all the time. It was when they weren't noisy that you should probably check on them, especially when playing.

After much hustle and bustle, the whole family managed to be seated at the table at all the same time, where Lyla promptly served up dinner: spaghetti.

"Oooh! S'ketti!" Tommy approved immediately.

"Mmm, looks delicious, my love." Louis ladled a large portion onto his plate.

"Yeah! My favorite!" With all the gusto of a growing boy, Evan took a generous portion as well, along with snagging two pieces of garlic bread.

They paused a moment as Louis blessed the food, then dug in.

Lyla was the first to break the silence. "Evan. Tell me about school today."

The boy scrunched his nose up at the mention of school, then summed up his entire day in a great sigh. "I suppose it wasn't too bad. My Algebra teacher thinks that I should come in for tutoring to bring up my grade, but…" He trailed off and made another face.

Louis broke in. "Well, why not? Algebra really will help you in the long run, you know."

Evan laughed. "You're an accountant, Dad. Of course you're going to say that it will help me. But I have no plans on the horizon for any job involving math." He turned bright eyes back to Lyla. "I got first chair in the violin section in orchestra. Mr. Rondy says he's going to give me a solo in our upcoming concert."

His mother grinned. Of course he would get first chair. The boy was a genius when it came to any instrument; even difficult ones, such as the violin, he seemed to have no trouble picking up on at all. Every music or band instructor was amazed at the boy's talent, but nothing surprised Lyla anymore. Not after that miraculous night five years ago, where all of them were reunited once more. "That's wonderful! I knew you could do it."

Evan beamed. "Thanks, Mom." He paused to grab another big bite of spaghetti, then pointed at his father. "Your turn."

Lyla couldn't help but roll her eyes. "Evan, don't talk with your mouth full. It's not at all becoming." She turned to Louis, also. "He's right, though. How was your day?"

The Irishman gave her a half-smile. "Oh, it was alright. Same old, same old. Ray Monroe got us a big break with a prominent law firm, though. I suppose that's exciting." His eyes twinkled.

"You suppose? Why, honey, that's wonderful!" Lyla practically jumped out of her seat. "Now, what exactly does that mean for the company?"

Her husband laughed at her eagerness and enthusiasm. "Well, not much will change, I'm afraid. We might get a few more big wigs who want our financial assistance, but that's about it."

She made a small face, which elicited a chuckle both from the handsome man sitting next to her and his spitting image seated across the table. "Hey, don't laugh at me," she murmured, taking the moment to enjoy a mouthful of dinner. That, of course, make both young men laugh harder.

"Oh, Mom. You know it's just because we love you." He was rewarded with a look that spoke volumes about her exact thoughts at the moment, and he giggled some more.

"That's quite enough out of you," Lyla spoke up, attempting to sound stern and failing.

Tommy interrupted at this point, a little annoyed that he wasn't the center of attention any more. "Mommy!" he shrieked. "My day?"

At this, all three other family members burst out laughing, unable to hold it in any more. It was a comfortable laugh, very much enjoyed even though they weren't even laughing at anything in particular. Tommy, although completely lost by now, joined in the giggles, too.

Finally, Lyla caught her breath enough to answer her son's question. "Yes, sweetheart, of course. Tell us about your day at kindergarten."

The little boy grinned. "I color a picture of a al'gator with a puwple cwayon. He was a big, ugwy al'gator. But he looked good in puwple."

Evan snickered, but was quieted by a swift look from his mom. "I'm sure there are plenty of pictures that I could unearth where you did the same thing," she muttered to him from the corner of her mouth. The young man rolled his eyes but didn't say anything.

Out loud, Lyla replied, "Oh, that's great, sweetie! Did you bring it home to show Mommy?"

Tommy nodded his head violently, then tried to get out of his booster seat to go get it. He was promptly stopped by a hand on his shoulder from his dad. "Why don't you show it to us after dinner is over, buddy?"

The boy nodded again, gracing everyone with a big grin, his front tooth missing. "Okay."

They finished their meal in casual conversation, the usual teasing and mock arguments making everyone laugh again and again.

After dinner and cleanup was over, they excused themselves one by one: Evan to go do homework, Louis to work on a project that was due soon, and Tommy to return downstairs to his Lego's. Lyla was left alone at the table, where she sat for a moment, relishing the relative quiet and the peace that settled over the house. She reflected back on some of her myriads of good memories that she and Louis had shared since they were married, and couldn't help but grin. Her life was definitely full. Very, very full, and she wouldn't trade it for the world.

Louis and Lyla enjoyed many more years together, joined by the bonds of love that no one could ever break. The couple was blessed with one more child, a daughter, born shortly after Tommy turned six. Evan attended Julliard School of the Arts again after he graduated high school, and grew to be a famous composer, thrilling the world with his symphonies and rhapsodies. Tommy, like his father, chose to blaze his path in the business world, eventually becoming an architectural engineer. And, like the storybooks say, they all lived happily ever after.

Well, mostly, of course.