A/N: Here's the epilogue, people! I'm going to keep this AN short and let you read. I hope you like it.
Emily said her first word at ten months. It wasn't Mama, like Rosie and Max were expecting and it wasn't Dada like Max hoped. Emily's first word was cat.
"She's clearly been spending too much time with your dad," Max had muttered, referring to the hours Danny had spent showing Emily different animals in books, in photos and telling her what type of animals her stuffed toys were.
Danny was over the moon, claiming that there would be another vet in the family, but by the time Emily's first birthday rolled around, it was obvious that perhaps her talents lay elsewhere. Emily loved to walk. She'd taken her first unassisted steps only a few weeks after her first word and since then had only become more confident, seeming to run about the house rather than walk, though of course she hadn't yet learned to run. And she could say much more than dog too, though despite how much he tried Danny couldn't get her to name any more animals. Emily could refer to Max and Rosie as Dada and Mama and was beginning to develop nicknames for the rest of the family. Alice was known as Ala and Charlotte had become Ott.
Proud of her, Rosie and Max were happier than ever. As she was getting older, Rosie started helping out with treating the animals again, sometimes taking Emily with her to see the less dangerous animals. Emily was fast becoming friends with one of the meerkats that had been abandoned at birth. And Max found himself reluctantly going to work and being so eager to come home at the end of the day, despite how much he loved his job, because he wanted to see what Emily had learnt. She was so bright.
The family planned something special for her birthday. Alice and Liv worked together to bake a birthday cake and even travelled into the city to buy candles. Caroline and Dup decorated the house and bought ordered a tricycle for her over the internet. Danny cleared his schedule for the day and rooted through some of the things he'd brought over from England to find a record of children's songs to play on Dup's old record player, moving the machine from the study to the living room.
Rosie and Max followed Emily into the living room as she ran to sit on her play mat and play with the bus that moved. Caroline and Dup looked on, finding her behaviour endearing. Robert was already on the living room floor with a car and the two children began a game together with Max and Rosie sat behind their daughter on the sofa.
"Happy Birthday to you," Danny started singing, bringing in the cake with one lit candle on top. Alice, Charlotte and Olivia walked behind and joined in the singing.
"Emily, look," Rosie said, pointing at the doorway and the cake.
The infant swivelled to look and clapped her hands. After the vow renewal ceremony, she had been allowed a mouthful of cake and appeared to enjoy the sugary food.
Rosie and Max moved down to sit on either side of Emily, taking the cake from Danny and holding it in front of her at a safe distance.
"Blow out the candle, Emily," Max said, showing her how to blow.
Confused, Emily looked from him to the cake before trying to blow out the candle. The flame flickered but stayed little. The next time Emily tried to blow it out, Rosie and Max joined her and the three of them extinguished the flame.
Everyone clapped and laughed and Dup reached behind his chair to bring out the first of Emily's presents, one from Danny and Alice. Rosie took it from him and put it down in front of Emily. Emily stared at the wrapping paper and ran her hands over it, gripping the box's corners but not quite knowing what to do with it. Max smiled and lifted Emily onto his lap and, looking over the top of her head, began to unwrap it. Emily soon joined in though she wasn't very good a ripping off the paper.
Rosie took the lid of the box and put a few building blocks in front of Emily, who picked them up and tried to put them together, clearly curious about them.
Danny stood and started the record, playing Nelly the Elephant. Dup picked up a second present which, when unwrapped, turned out to be a collection of picture books sent over from England by Evan. Olivia and Fatani, who was stuck at work, gave Emily a toy garage with toy cars to play with. Rosie and Max had bought Emily a new, bigger bumper cot but didn't take Emily to see it as Max had yet to assemble it. They did give her a set of crayons and a colouring book though.
Dup heaved the box containing Emily's tricycle up and put it down on the floor in front of her. Emily stared at its size – it was the biggest present yet. Rosie and Dup opened it, practically demolishing the box as there was so much cellotape on it. Finally seeing the trike, Emily smiled and pointed at it, obviously wanting a ride on it.
Max lifted her onto the plastic seat, attached the handle for parents onto the back and began to push her around.
Rosie smiled as her daughter laughed with joy. Watching Max and Emily having so much fun made her think that things couldn't be any more perfect and she could hardly believe that only about two years ago things had been so different. She hadn't had Emily and she hadn't had Max either.
Max was a natural father to Emily, enjoying playing with her because she was having such fun.
"Mama," Emily said, gesturing for Rosie to join in.
Laughing, Rosie stood and joined her husband and daughter in travelling through the house.
A/N: I hope you guys have enjoyed this story. It's been a pleasure to write it and I've loved every moment of it. Thanks go to everyone who reviewed this story. As always I would love to know what you thought of this epilogue so leave a review if you've got time. Thanks so much for reading.
Much love, SabreDae