New Orleans, 4 July 1876
“Will Papa be home soon?” chorused two small voices. “When will we have the party?”
Meg Benoit laughed. “Jules and David, your Papa will be home when he is done at the office, and the party will happen when he gets here. But if you don’t stop bouncing around so much, you’ll wake Antoinette from her nap and then she’ll be crying and no one will have fun. Shoo, go play out back with Robert and Daniel, and let Aunt Josie and I finish the preparations.”
“All right, Mama,” the twins sighed, heading back outside with the Tanner boys.
Meg and Josie smiled at each other as they hung the decorative banner over the doorway and put out the cake. It had been a little over five years since their arrival in the United States, and Erik and David were being sworn in as naturalized citizens, just in time for the Centennial Celebrations happening all over the country.
Since the events of October of 1871, the lives of both families settled into easy prosperity. David and Josie Tanner bought a house in the same neighborhood as Meg and Erik. In February of 1872, Meg gave birth to twin boys, Jules and David, and then followed them with daughter Antoinette in May of 1874. Josie had Robert in January of 1872, and Daniel arrived in October of 1873.
Eventually the men arrived home and the rest of the neighbors arrived to celebrate the new citizenships. As the afternoon faded into evening, Erik picked up little Antoinette and slid his arm around Meg’s waist, while the twins chased each other around them. “Thank you for the five happiest years and the four greatest treasures of my life,” he murmured as the city’s grand fireworks display started exploding overhead. “I love you, Meg, and I always will.”
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