A/N: Guys, we've reached the end of the road for the Grey family, at least in this story. It's been wonderful writing about them overcoming obstacles and finding happiness. That being said, although this story is over, more is on the way in the sequeal More Loss and Love. The first chapter should be up next week. If you follow me, you'll get the notification when it goes up. I'd like to thank all of you who have given me the strength and courage to continue to pursuit my writing which is a great way to cope with the craziness of real life. I've met so many wonderful readers and authors through this. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
A week had passed since the arrest and resulting confession from Bill Quinlan to the murders of Neil and Paulina Lawson. He revealed to the police that he had comforted Paulina Lawson one evening following a volatile argument with her husband. The two shared a small kiss which Paulina said was a mistake, but Quinlan refused to believe her. He then began a pursuit of her that escalated with a confrontation with Neil. One afternoon when Neil was gone, Quinlan snuck into the Lawson home where he tried one last time to convince Paulina that he was the man for her. He claimed that he accidentally killed her when he caused her to fall and hit her head. Panicked, he placed her body in the trunk of her car which he hid in the garage of a rental property he owned. He then wrote a Dear Jane letter to Neil, making him think that she had left him. Two weeks later, Neil confronted Quinlan about his suspicion that he had killed Paulina. Quinlan pulled out a gun and shot his neighbor in the head before placing his body in the driver's seat of Paulina's car in an attempt to frame Neil.
"I still can't believe Quinlan's lawyer asked for a deal.", Christian told Carrick while they set up the tables for the yard sale which Carrick and Grace were having that day. It was only six on a Saturday morning, but the two men had been working for almost an hour since many people got started early.
"I suppose he thought it was worth a try.", Carrick replied. He had been keeping Christian up to date with the case. "Nevertheless, he was basically wasting his time. Neil Lawson's manuscript holds key details to the case. Is Ana doing better now that Quinlan is behind bars?"
"Yeah. She's relieved the ordeal is over and that justice is being served for the Lawsons. Even though I told her to stay home and not worry about helping us with the yard sale, she insisted that she come over later with the kids. Landon asked if he could buy something."
"Does he know that most of the things are old clothes and household items?" They started unpacking the boxes and setting the contents on the tables.
"I told him. I also told him that there were some old toys that Elliot and I used to play with when we were younger. That of course is got him even more excited."
"When Elliot gets here, he'll probably refuse to sell some things.", Carrick laughed. "He considered getting here early, but he wanted to be there to help with the twins so Kate could get some rest."
"Thankfully Layken's on a schedule now.", Christian sighed.
"But all bets will be off when the new baby gets here."
The two began working steadily on setting up the garage sale items and signs. Carrick hung streamers between two of the trees while Christian blew up balloons to tie on to the tables. They were so occupied with their work that they didn't see or hear Grace come out of the house with two cups of coffee.
"I still think you're crazy for being up this early on a Saturday.", she told them, handing each of them a cup. "Here's some coffee to help cope with what lies ahead."
"Mom, like anything, the early bird catches the worm. Yard salers want to get there and get the best bargains. Isn't that how you are when you find a sale?, Christian asked.
"I like sales but refuse to get up at the crack of dawn for them. Your sister used to beg me to go with her for the after Thanksgiving sales, and I refused. There's especially nothing I need that's going to make me camp outside in the cold."
"Oh, my line is drawn there."
Graced looked in one of the boxes and pulled out a small doll which had a white and blue striped dress and pigtails. She smiled as she held the doll up to Christian who immediately returned her smile.
"You gave this to Mia when she turned seven.", Grace said fondly. "She had opened up every gift except for one box that was beside the piano. I started to pick it up, but you ran and grabbed it so you could hand it to her.
"I had seen her looking at the doll a few weeks before. I took some money from my bank and asked Grandpa to take me to get it because I didn't even want you and Dad to know."
"She carried that doll around everywhere for the longest.", Carrick grinned.
"I don't think we should put it in the sale."
"Good idea. We'll give it to her." A few moments later, a red Camry turned into the driveway. "Looks like we have out first customer."
"What's this?", Landon asked. He was pointing at a Nintendo game console that was on the table in front of him.
"A Nintendo.", Christian replied. "Your Uncle Elliot used to play this all the time." He picked up the Super Mario game next to the console. "This is a Mario game."
"Like the one I have at home?"
"Almost but not really. Does that make sense?"
"Nope. Can I have this?" Christian turned to look at Elliot who was busy talking to a guy about a set of old golf clubs.
"I'm sure your Uncle Elliot wouldn't mind if you had it, but I'm going to give Grandpa some money for it. Grandpa marked it for ten dollars. I think that's a fair price, don't you?"
"Why do I think half of this stuff is going to end up at our house?", Ana asked as she joined Christian and Landon. Layken's hands were reaching for a stuffed pony that had belonged to Mia. "Are you wanting that baby girl? Ok, Mommy will buy it for you."
"Take good care of it.", Mia giggled. Layken grinned at her aunt who took her and the stuffed bunny in her arms. "How about we go and see how Uncle Ethan's coming along with the lemonade stand?" Ethan was in the middle of setting up the impromptu lemonade stand that Landon had suggested.
"Ana, what time are Ray and Carla to be here?", Grace asked.
"Around noon. They said they might drop by here on the way to our house."
"Excuse me. How much for this He-man lunch box?", a woman in her mid-thirties asked Elliot.
"Oh, um, I'm sorry but there's been a mistake. This isn't for sale. I have no idea how this ended up here."
"I put it there.", Carrick told him as the woman handed the lunchbox back to Elliot. "It's been in a box in the attic for ages. What's the point of keeping it?"
"Dad, you know how much I loved He-man. I had the shirts, the posters, everything. Hey Landon, what would you do if your dad decided to put your Spiderman things in a yard sale?"
"I'd be sad, but my dad would give me ice cream to make me feel better. He's also buy me new Spiderman things."
"You're not helping kid. I'm going to take my lunch box into the house and call Kate to check on the twins."
"Are you finding anything that you want to keep.", Ana asked Christian. He shook his head and continued sorting through the box of vinyl records that had belonged to Grace. "You're going to stand here and tell me that you haven't found one thing that you want to keep?"
"I've seen a lot that I'd like to keep, but I'm not to going to freak out like Elliot just did.", Christian said with a shrug. "Mom and Dad are going to have more room in the house while the money made is being donated to charity. It's the perfect scenario." As he spoke, Ana noticed his eyes fell on a plastic blue slinky. She picked up the toy and began moving it back and forth between her hands. "I used to love this."
"Here." Ana grabbed and opened his hand where she placed the slinky. "You should keep it."
"Mom and Dad bought me a lot of toys when I was younger, but this was what stood out. I would play with it for hours. I'd put it on the top of the stairs and watch it go down. Then I'd pick it up and start over. Elliot once took it and hid it from me. I was so mad at him. He finally gave it back. I know it's silly."
"Not in the least. I had a pink cassette radio that also had a small microphone. I would sit in my room and sing while recording myself. I thought I was the next big thing. Of course I would lock my door during my recording sessions so no one would come in and interrupt me."
"Didn't they still hear you?"
"I would go into the closet. It was my recording booth. One day, I forgot to lock the door. I was in the middle of singing the Amy Grant song "Baby, Baby." My mom loved that song and got me hooked. There I was belting it out when I turned and saw Matt standing in the middle of my room with the biggest grin on his face. I was mortified. I was also worried that he would somehow use it to embarrass me."
"What did he say or do?"
"He told me that he wouldn't tell anyone, and then he left me alone."
"He was the best.", Christian said while Ana wiped her tears. "I could always count on him."
"Grandpa Ray and Grandma Carla are here.", Landon announced, breaking up the somber moment. "Why are you crying?"
"I'm just thinking about a good time in the past.", Ana replied. Ray and Carla emerged from their car and started walking towards the family. "You're early."
"We were so enthused to see you all that we left the house a little earlier than planned. It's ok, isn't it?", Carla asked.
"Mom, you know it's ok."
"Hi Grandma and Grandpa.", Landon greeted his grandparents who hugged him.
"Look who's here Layken.", Mia cooed as she placed Layken in Ray's arms.
"You're getting so big. Both of you are."
"We can't stop growing.", Landon told them.
"True. Have you been helping with the yard sale?", Carla asked.
"Yep. I told Aunt Mia and Uncle Ethan that we needed a lemonade stand. People get thirsty when they shop. So Aunt Mia made some lemonade for us to sale. It's only fifty cents a cup. Would you like some?"
"I'd love some. Your Grandpa Ray would like some too."
"Be right back." Landon ran to Ethan who began filling two plastic cups with lemonade. Moments later, Landon slowly walked back with the beverages. "Here you go." Carla smiled and took a long sip as Ray followed suit. "How is it?"
"It's delicious and perfect for a hot summer day. Here you go.", Ray said as he handed Landon a five dollar bill. "It's so good that I'm going to pay extra for it. You can keep the other four dollars."
"I'll add it to the yard sale money that's going to charity."
"You've got a good heart Landon.", Carla told him. "Ana, how are you feeling?"
"I'm feeling great. Being out here with everyone certainly plays a part in it. We've been through a lot, but we always get back on our feet."
"It's all because of love.", Christian added.
"Love will get you through anything."