The epilogue is finally up!
Longer A.N. at the end :D
"Mommy!" Layla shouted, running into the kitchen on her chubby little legs. Her black hair was already almost halfway down her back nearly at age two, and she was so energetic; always running around and laughing and screaming happily.
Kaden, on the other hand, was quieter and more innocent. He didn't talk quite as much as his sister, but he charmed everyone with his cute little smile and big brown eyes.
Izzy backed away from the kitchen counter when her daughter ran into her legs.
"Layla! What happened to your pants?" She laughed, seeing her bare legs and diaper under her blue shirt.
"Daddy!" Layla shouted happily.
Izzy bent down and picked her up, holding a spoon to mix pasta with her other hand.
"Did Daddy take them off?"
"Yes because she went stomping through the flower bed and they got completely soiled." Simon came into the kitchen with Kaden on his shoulders. He had dirt all over his t-shirt, and Kaden had dirt on his cheeks, and in his hands was a pretty purple flower.
Simon set Kaden on the floor and pointed towards Izzy. "Go give Mommy the flower!" He chimed eagerly.
Kaden ran on wobbly legs over to her and held the flower up, his eyes sparkling brightly as he smiled. "Flower."
Izzy kneeled in front of him and took the flower. "Is this for me?" She asked, gesturing to herself.
He smiled wider and clapped his hands.
"Oh, thank you, Baby! Should I put it in my hair? Or your sister's?"
Kaden's brows bunched together and he frowned, shaking his head. "No, no." He took the flower from Izzy and pulled one of the petals out, then laughed manically.
"Okay then..." Simon said, looking strangely at his child. "I thought you were going to be a gentleman, Kade?"
Layla took the flower from her brother, ran up to Simon, and held it up for him. "Daddy!"
Kaden pouted and started crying when Simon took the flower.
Izzy felt her heart melt as his cries filled the room, and she picked him up, kissing his cheek as she whispered softly in his ear. "Don't cry, it's okay."
Layla looked up curiously at her brother and frowned. "Kay?" She asked, pointing to him.
Kaden had stopped crying, but had his head resting on Izzy's shoulder and was looking tiredly at the boiling past on the stovetop.
"Yeah, you made your brother cry, Lay." Simon said, faking a serious tone. "That's not okay."
Layla put a finger in her mouth, but Simon pulled it right back out and handed her a towel. "Wipe your hands first, child."
"Can you put Kaden down for a nap while I finish dinner?" Izzy asked while brushing Kaden's dark hair out of his eyes.
Layla grabbed Simon's jeans and started talking in baby gibberish.
"Are you going to apologize to your brother?" He asked.
Layla shook her head and Izzy could barely stifle her laugh.
"She's being such a mean sister today!" She gasped. "First, this morning, she knocked over her own milk and then took his. Later, when he's climbing on you, she starts screaming at him." Izzy looked at Kaden again. "Poor baby is probably tired of his diva sister. Oh, speaking of Layla, can you please put her pants back on?"
Simon held the leggings up, revealing the dirt and grass stains all over the dark fabric. "Do you really want me to?"
Izzy shook her head. "Just take her upstairs and get her new ones."
Kaden picked his head up from his mom's shoulder and reached his arms out for Simon. "I want up!"
"Oh, you want to go upstairs too?" He asked, already starting to urge Layla down the hallway.
Kaden nodded and as soon as Izzy put him down, he ran after them, shouting: "Beau! Beau!"
"Yeah, Beau is upstairs!" She heard Simon say, his voice getting fainter as they dispersed from the kitchen.
"I knew Kaden wasn't going to wake up in time for dinner." said Izzy when Simon came into the dining room with only Layla. She was wearing her zebra print pajamas and she had the messiest bun on the top of her head.
"Mommy!" She shouted and ran over to hug Izzy.
"What did you do to her hair?" Isabelle laughed upon seeing the dark locks in the messy updo.
Simon chuckled a bit. "She kept trying to push it out of her eyes when I was reading her a book and eventually, she just got frustrated and started crying. Obviously, I didn't want her to wake up Kaden, so that's the new style. It's called 'DQ Toddler'."
Izzy laughed again. "And don't tell me that we need to cut her hair because that's not happening."
Layla tried to climb into one of the chairs, realized she was too short to swing her leg over, and started whining and hitting the seat of the chair.
"Honey, you don't sit in those chairs." Simon said, amused by his daughter's ambition. "If you say 'please', I'll help you into your high chair."
Izzy watched as Layla backed away from the bigger chair and began to impatiently tap Simon's legs. "Please?" She asked.
"Good girl." He picked her up and placed her in the high chair. "Can I have a kiss?"
Layla smiled, showing only her front teeth and shook her head.
Simon's jaw dropped and he looked at Izzy, who only laughed and encouraged her daughter. "Yes, Layla; deprive him!"
Layla giggled and clapped her hands.
Simon took advantage of this moment and placed a kiss on her cheek, which made her squeal loudly.
"You're such a cutie bear, Layla." Izzy said softly.
Simon put a small bowl of pasta in front of Layla and handed her a small spoon. "Can you do it yourself or do you need Mommy to help you?"
Layla picked up the spoon and dipped it in the pasta, pulling out one arm of macaroni at a time and then putting them in her mouth with her fingers, getting cheese all over her face.
"She's growing up too fast!" Izzy said sadly. "I remember when she was still breastfeeding and now she's feeding herself." Her lips pulled into a frown as she watched Layla.
"Kay-dan?" Layla asked, looking up from her food.
"Kaden's sleeping." Izzy answered.
Simon sat down on the other side of Layla and took pieces of pasta from her when she offered them up. He noticed that Izzy wasn't eating anything except for what Layla gave her and he quirked an eyebrow at her.
"You're not hungry?"
"No, I can't eat when I'm as tired as I am right now." She replied.
"You can go to bed early and I'll watch Layla." Simon offered, handing a carrot back to Layla. She threw it on the table and then laughed as she ate her pasta, which obviously, was the much more loved food.
"Hey!" Izzy said sharply to get her attention. "Stop giving Daddy food and eat your vegetables."
Layla held a handful of carrots towards her mom with a questioning look in her bright eyes. "No?"
"Daddy can't have that; you eat it." Izzy gently pushed Layla's hand back and sighed when she accidentally dropped the carrots on the floor.
"Actually, Si, I will take you up on your offer."
Simon nodded as Izzy stood up and walked over to kiss him.
"Don't worry about Kaden if he wakes up; I'll get him." She looked at Layla, who was wiping a hand layered with cheese all over her tray. "Don't make too big of a mess, Baby." Izzy said, coming up to roll up Layla's pajama sleeves. "You're going to have to have a second bath tonight." She muttered under her breath.
Layla smiled, her eyes squinting as her chubby cheeks squished and showed her adorable dimples.
"By the Angel, you are so cute." Izzy exclaimed, probably for the 14 billionth time in her life. She wrapped her arms around the toddler and kissed her temple, making her squeal and wriggle in her grasp.
"Layla." said Simon, and the little girl turned away from Izzy to look at him. "Can you say 'good night' to Mommy?"
Layla started waving her hand at Izzy, still smiling. "Good night!" She leaned in with her lips puckered, and Isabelle bent forward so that Layla could reach her cheek without too much effort.
"I love you." Izzy said softly.
Layla only waved again. "Bye bye!"
Simon was having trouble getting Layla out of her chair. Every time he would try to lift her out of the seat, she would scream and kick her legs wildly, laughing when Simon sat back down, defeated.
"You're going to wake up your mother and your brother." He said haughtily. "And then we'll have two grumpy people to deal with. Is that what you want?"
Layla pointed at her sippy cup on the table that was out of her reach and started whining.
"Your cup is empty, Lay." said Simon, shaking it in front or her.
She grabbed the cup from him and tried to drink from it, but realized that it was empty and started slamming it on her high chair tray.
Simon groaned and stood up, raking his fingers through his hair as he went. "Layla, stop it." He said, starting to get irritated.
Layla cried at his harsh tone, but stopped banging her cup around.
"If you say please, I'll get you something to drink."
"Please?" She sniffed, blinking between tears rapidly.
"Such a DQ." Simon muttered as he left the dining room and entered the kitchen.
When he returned, the sippy cup was filled with blood; dark, red, and sloshing around on the inside.
"Is this what you wanted?" Simon asked, holding it up.
Layla nodded and held her hand out for the cup, only completely settling down when he gave it to her.
To Simon's surprise, she drank slowly and one handed; her free hand was twisting in a loose lock of her dark hair.
"Can we please go upstairs now?"
Layla nodded her response, and finally let Simon lift her out of the chair. She hooked one arm around his neck and nestled her head on his shoulder as she continued to drink and was carried upstairs.
Simon could never stay frustrated with either of his children for very long, especially if he was having some one on one time with them.
"Daddy?" Layla asked when he finally arrived at the nursery.
"Done." She held the empty cup towards Simon and he took it, setting her down on the floor. Instead of walking over to her crib like she was supposed to, Layla plopped right down on the white carpet and laid there with her eyes closed, and breathing heavily and dramatically. Before Simon could properly react to her state, she shot up and stumbled over to Kaden's crib, which was empty.
"Kay-dan?" Layla asked, pointing between the bars.
"Kaden's probably with Mommy." Simon replied, not entirely sure of his answer. He took Layla's hand and led her to the bathroom, where she surprisingly did not fight him even when he wiped her face and hands. Although, she did keep mentioning Izzy and Kaden, so Simon knew he had to take her to see them before she went to bed.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of helping Layla brush her teeth, Simon made sure she was entirely ready for bed before he took her over to his and Izzy's room.
Sure enough, Izzy was sitting on top of the bed with Kaden in her lap, reading him a book.
"Hey." She said, looking up with Kaden.
"Kay!" Layla screamed. She went running up to the edge of the bed, but started crying when she realized it was too high for her to climb up on.
"Shhh." Izzy said, reaching over Kaden to pull Layla onto the bed next to her. She patted her other side for Simon, and he came over, sighing with pleasure as the comfort from the bed set in, making him even more tired.
"Layla, say 'thank you'." Izzy instructed.
Layla stood up on the bed, wobbling a bit on the uneven surface. "Dank you."
Izzy held her hand out for Layla to high five it, and she did, squealing and bouncing with so much excitement, she nearly fell over onto Kaden.
"Simon, what did you give her? She's so hyper and it's almost ten o'clock." Isabelle asked, trying to protect Kaden from his rowdy sister.
"She had some blood besides what you made for dinner, but that's it." Simon was about to tickled Layla, but just as he was reaching for her, she stopped jumping a yanked the ponytail holder from her hair.
"Uh oh." She said with a guilty look on her face.
Izzy looked horrified. "Yes, 'uh oh'; you accidentally took some of your hair out, Baby!"
Layla dropped the tie on top of the blankets and sank into Simon's lap wearing a pained expression. "Owie." She cried, rubbing her head.
Simon rolled his eyes and smiled at her. "Layla, I know you're tougher than that." He softly pinched her waist and stomach area, tickling her and causing a huge smile to spread across her face. "See, you're not hurt."
Kaden touched the book in Izzy's hand and looked hopefully up at her.
"What do you say?" She asked, placing her hand on his head and smoothing down the soft brown strands.
"Please?" He asked.
Izzy looked at Layla and pointed at the book. "Layla, do you want to hear the story?" She asked.
Layla nodded but fought when Simon tried to put her next to Kaden on Izzy's lap.
She shook her head and held on to him saying, "No no, Daddy!"
"Okay, okay. You can stay here and love me."
Layla crawled out of his lap and touched the book when Izzy opened it and showed a picture of a brown dog. "Beau!" She said gleefully.
"Yeah, that's a dog." Izzy nodded. "Kaden, can you say 'dog'?"
He pointed to his pajama top, which had a big blue dog on it. "Blue doggy!"
"Good job, Kade." Simon held his fist up, "Pound it."
Kaden made explosion sounds, but didn't actually touch Simon's hand with his own.
"The boom comes after the bump, Bud." Both Simon and Izzy laughed as Kaden repeatedly whispered 'boom' under his breath.
Layla lost interest in the book as soon as her parents started focusing on her brother, and she laid back against the pillows, finally as an act of utter exhaustion. Kaden touched her knee and looked questioningly up at Simon and Izzy, but before they could answer, Layla shook him off of her and turned over.
"Stop!" She yelled angrily.
"Woah." Izzy was holding back a fit of laughter for fear of encouraging her daughter, but Simon only frowned disapprovingly.
"That's not okay, Lay." He said sharply. "You can ask nicely."
Layla sat up with her arms crossed over her chest and glared defiantly at her brother. "Bad boy."
Isabelle dropped her head into her hands and she started laughing.
Kaden looked confused for a moment but then joined in.
Layla, frustrated as she was, grabbed a small throw pillow and threw it towards the end of the bed as a loud scream escaped her mouth.
"Oh, Hell no." When it came to his children's tantrums, Simon would not tolerate them. It was straight to the timeout they went, no matter how loud the screaming, or how hard the kicking and fighting. Luckily, it didn't happen often.
He picked up Layla, who was now starting to cry and carried her off to the nursery. She didn't struggle too much, mostly just cried into his shoulder, which admittedly, did break his still heart, but he walked her over to her crib and held her until she quieted down.
"Hey..." Simon whispered and kissed her cheek. "What's wrong? Are you jealous Mommy and I were paying more attention to your brother?"
Layla just shoved her thumb into her mouth and glared behind him. "Kay." She mumbled.
Simon chuckled. "You hate your brother today, don't you?"
"Kaden, it's time for bed." Izzy said tiredly. "Aren't you getting sleepy?"
Kaden sighed and crawled into her lap and touched her chest. "Milk." He asked, still touching her bone.
She shook her head and pulled his hand away, speaking in a soft voice. "You don't drink my milk anymore, Baby."
"Milk!" Kaden whined impatiently.
Izzy picked him up and carried him away from the bed. "Do you want milk? I'll make you a bottle." She compromised when he started to cry.
"Milk!" Kaden screamed through his tears.
"Okay," Izzy breathed. "If you scream, you're not getting anything."
Kaden cried all the way to the nursery, where Simon was having trouble getting Layla to sleep.
"What's up with Kaden?" He asked.
Layla seemed to be having a meltdown; not screaming, but crying, and not about to stop.
"He wants milk." Izzy sighed and put Kaden in his crib.
He stood up and reached his arms out for her. "Mama!"
"I'll be right back, Baby. I'm going to get your bottle." She promised.
However, Kaden wouldn't have it. He continued to cry until Izzy finally gave in and took him downstairs with her.
Meanwhile, Simon was still trying to get Layla to stop crying and go to sleep. He offered her pacifiers and stuffed animals, but nothing seemed to please her. Eventually, she began to ask for Izzy, and Simon was about to go downstairs for her when she came up the stairs with a now content Kaden.
"Is she okay?" Izzy asked, somewhat breathlessly. Kaden was standing next to her with a bottle of warm milk to his mouth, tear stains on his cheeks.
Simon looked at Layla, who was starting to reach for her mother. "She wants you." He stated plainly, trying not to sound too hurt.
Izzy took Layla from Simon and kissed her forehead. "What's wrong? Are you tired?"
Layla nodded and rested her head on Izzy's chest, her cries finally stopped.
"Si, will you take Kaden to bed?"
"Do you want to sleep with Daddy and Me?" Izzy asked Layla as they crawled under the covers.
Layla nodded sleepily and rested her head on Izzy's shoulder.
"Daddy?" She asked quietly.
"He's tucking Kaden in, but he'll be here in a second."
Simon walked in and was about to ask how it went when she saw Kaden trailing behind him.
"Would he not go down?" She asked Simon.
He shook his head and led the little boy over to the bed. "He's jealous of Layla."
Izzy smirked. "Of course, he is."
Kaden tried to climb under the covers between Layla and Izzy, but Layla pushed him away irritably, which resulted in a scolding from both of her parents.
"Layla, go over by Daddy." Izzy urged her towards Simon, and she went happily over to him, resting her head on his chest with closed eyes. "See, now everybody's happy."
Kaden had his head in the crook of Izzy's arm and his cheek was resting on her shoulder.
"Iz." Came Simon's tired mumble from the other side of the bed.
"Yes." She replied, just as tired.
"I've been thinking...soon, do you want to take the twins on our honeymoon trip?"
"But then it's not really a honeymoon for us. It's more of a family trip."
"Exactly. The twins have never been out of New York-"
"We took them to Idris just after their first birthday." Izzy countered.
Simon chuckled softly. "I know, but I think that maybe we should bring them to more of a vacation spot that is more 'child friendly' and since we never used our honeymoon reservations...what do you think?"
Izzy sighed, clearly spent from running around with the twins all day, and taking care of the house. "I think that we should wait until they turn two, which is only about two months away, but then it's going to be December, so it'll be too cold to go to the beach..." This time when she sighed, it ending in a yawn. "How about we talk about this at a more decent time?"
Simon nodded. "Sounds okay to me. Oh, and, Iz?"
"I would kiss you goodnight, but I've got a DQ toddler resting on me and I don't want to wake her up."
Izzy giggled and swiftly entwined her fingers with his. "Who would have thought?"
Layla shifted a little bit so that her and Simon were eye to eye.
Her blue eyes sparkled as she looked at him and placed her hands on his cheeks. "Daddy?"
"Yeah, Baby?" Simon answered, resisting the huge urge to kiss her chubby cheeks and squeeze her in a tight hug.
Layla pointed at her eyes, then her heart, then back at Simon.
"You love me?" He asked, eyes widening at the fact that she knew how to do what she just did.
Layla nodded and reached in to wrap her arms around his neck and kiss his cheek.
Simon breathed in, even though he really didn't need to. She was so much like Izzy, and he didn't know what he would do if he lost either of them or Kaden. The three of them were some of the most important people in his life. And he couldn't be any happier with how things had turned out.
I know it's been a while, but I promise you it won't happen again. I have been INSANELY busy, and because we're nearing summer, I will have a lot of final assessments going on soon, and then a week after summer starts (June 7th) I am going away for SIX WEEKS, so unfortunately, I will not be posting the sequel until around late July...
On the bright side, by then, I will have TONS more ideas for fanfiction, and I will have read City of Heavenly Fire (OMG, right?!), so things will be so much more exciting!
It's the end of Everything Has Changed! I'm so happy to have shared this with everyone who read it, and thank you all sooooo much for reading it. You have no idea what it's like to read all your nice comments every time I post a chapter, and it means so much to me that you love my story!
I can't wait to write again, but tell me what you thought about this epilogue! (Crappy closure, I know, but things will be much more explained and detailed in the sequel :)