Epilogue

"May I have this dance Mrs Neil?" Jack held his hand out to his wife.

Samantha smiled as she stood and took the hand of the man she loved. "That's Professor Neil to you." She laughed.

Jack sobered at the thought of her new teaching and research position at UCCS. "Are you really sure that's what you want? You can still take one of the other offers."

Samantha lifted a finger to his lips to stop him saying anything else. "It is what I really want. Our family is here, our life is here and they are more important to me than a job. Besides I am really looking forward to being able to teach and do research."

Samantha rested her head against the firm shoulder of her husband as they swayed to the music and thought about all the changes in their lives in the last five years...

….

Samantha was excited, it was the first time she had had all her family together at the cabin for four years. She smiled ruefully remembering the first time they had taken Emily to the cabin and how much preparation she thought that had taken. In hindsight that was easy compared to taking a seven year old and twin three year olds, not to mention their father and Mac.

Mac's health had started to decline two years ago and was eventually faced with needing someone out at the farm with him full time or having to sell up and move to somewhere in town. Jack and Samantha had talked about it and decided the only option was for them to move their family out to the farm. It had been hard to leave their house and at first it had been very cramped with the six of them in Mac's house. Eventually they had all agreed that it would be best for them to build their own home at the farm, they had moved in six months later and were more than happy. They were close enough to Mac if he ever needed them but were far enough away that he was still able to be independent.

Annie had ended up spending two years travelling and when she came home moved into Jack and Samantha's recently vacated house while she looked for work. In the end it was actually Jack who offered her her dream job. Jack's 'Youth in Crisis' Program had been a huge success, way beyond anything he had ever imagined and had grown to the point where he needed a full time counsellor, Annie's chosen field. She had jumped at the chance to work for Jack.

"What time is Oliver arriving?" Jack asked as he wrapped his arms around his wife as she looked out over the lake contemplating the last few years.

Samantha smiled as she felt those familiar arms snake around her waist. "Annie is picking him up from the airport and they are driving straight up so they should be here around 8 tonight."

"And Oliver is going to stay with Bob and Ellen?"

Samantha nodded. "And Annie will come straight here after dropping him off." She moved so she could wrap her arms around him. Just as she did she heard little feet, obviously having woken up from a nap, headed their way. She looked down and saw her blonde haired, blue eyed daughter rubbing her eyes.

"Up." Louise demanded. Samantha smiled, the twins may look just like her but Louise had her father's ability to command. Jennifer was more like her, quiet and inquisitive.

Jack picked up his daughter and positioned her so she was cuddled between the two of them.

"I've been thinking, I've never been a fan of odd numbers." Samantha said quietly as she snuggled with her daughter.

Jack was silent for a while, having learnt that his wife's brain worked slightly differently from the rest of the world but he could usually work out what she was thinking, not this time though.

"Ooookkkkaaay" He drawled.

"I was thinking we might try for that son I know you want."

Jack looked at her in shock. After the twins were born Samantha had decided that the three kids were enough and while he would have been happy to have a whole hockey team of kids, the three girls he had were more of a blessing than he had ever hoped for.

"You serious?"

"Yeah I think I am. Lately, I don't know, I have just had this feeling that I'd like another baby."

"It would mean putting off finishing your doctorate again." Jack pointed out reasonably.

"I think it would be a fair trade." She smiled.

Jack grinned. "Well how soon can we get started!"

The next day they were all congregated around the Cavendish's table for Thanksgiving lunch. Their numbers had grown considerably over the years and they now had a second table butted up against the main one so they could all fit. Jack and Samantha observed their family. They may not be related by blood but they were family nevertheless.

Samantha observed Annie and Drew. They hadn't seen each other since they broke up four years ago. She knew they had exchanged emails and the odd phone call but after Annie had left to trave,l Drew had found a job in Phoenix and had moved away. He had told them all over dinner that he was planning to move back to Colorado next month as he had found a job in Denver. Ellen had been incredibly happy to hear her son had been moving back and Samantha had caught the smile on Annie's face and realised that the feelings the two of them had for each other as teenagers might still be there.

Jack continued to move around the dance floor with his wife in his arms, enjoying the rare moment of togetherness. Four children kept them incredibly busy but he wouldn't have it any other way, he had been over the moon last year when Samantha had presented him with a son, not that he didn't adore the three girls, because he did, it was more a case of he and Mac needing to try and balance things out because when all his girls decided to gang up on him he didn't stand a chance.

He looked over at the woman he considered his fifth child, being lead around the dance floor by her new husband and he smiled.

"We did good."

Samantha followed his line of vision to the bride and groom and nodded. "We did. I hope Annie and Drew are as happy as we are."