Epilogue: 15 Years Later
"Leah! Jason! Come on guys we are going to be late." I called up the stairs.
I smiled down at five year old Tyler and brushed his shaggy blonde hair out of his big blue eyes. The child was a carbon copy of his father.
I straightened the clip bow on his black tux.
"You look so handsome baby." I smiled again brushing his hair back.
"Thank you mommy, but I'm a big boy now." Tyler said pushing my hand away.
"You'll always be my baby." I grinned down at him.
"Mom, Jason came into my room again without knocking." Fourteen year old, Leah appeared at the top of the stairs.
She crossed her arms tightly over her chest, frowning in the way that made her look very much like me. Aside from her blonde hair she was my copy, sharing all my facial features and my bright green eyes.
Wearing a light blue, spaghetti strapped, knee length dress, as well as wedge heeled sandals that slapped her feet with each step, she looked older than she actually was.
Her long naturally curly hair was flipped into an upside-down ponytail. The effect looked like waves of gold that rippled everytime she moved.
"Jason," I called out with annoyance clear in my tone. "How many times do we have to talk about this? Stay out of Leah's room."
"Sorry mom." Jason's voice called back.
Leah grinned, her chin rising slightly as she turned to face down the hall.
"Watch the attitude Leah." I said quieter as she started down the stairs.
Jason suddenly appeared dashing past Leah and jumping over the last two steps.
He had his father's build and square jaw, but his auburn hair bounced as he came to a stop a foot in front of me. His green eyes glimmered victoriously.
"Ha, beat you." The twelve year old smirked up at Leah who rolled her eyes and groaned loudly.
"Come on you two, not tonight please." I pleaded, reaching out to straighten his suit jacket
"Are you guys giving your mother a hard time?" Liam's voice, even all these years later, still made my heart flutter.
I spun just in time to see him walk into the room. His own black tux jacket still hung open as he fought with his tie. The white under shirt hugged tightly to his well toned abs making me shiver with anticipation.
"No." They chorused before sneering at each other
"Behave." Liam commanded looking up from the tie one eyebrow raised.
I chuckle, "Here let me."
I walked to him and reached out effortlessly making the knot.
"You spoil me. I used to be able to dress myself before you came along." He teased tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear.
I felt blood pool into my cheeks, I would never get used to how gentle his strong hands could be.
"You look stunning." He said, shooting me my favorite crooked grin.
I beamed up at him. Even in my black silhouettes he towered over me. I tugged at my floor length red strapless gown.
"You sure?" I asked, thinking about the scars on my back that would be barely visible poking out from under the fabric.
His smile faltered for a split second telling me he knew what I was thinking.
"I'm positive." He smiled before bending down to place his lips gently on mine for a split second before pulling back..
"Ugh, gross dad." Jason groaned, making a fake gagging noise.
"I think it's sweet." Leah smiled, cocking her head to the side.
"That just because you're taking notes for when Dylan finally gets the balls to kiss you." Jason snapped.
"For the millionth time we are just friends." Leah groaned.
"Don't be rude Jason." Liam muttered reaching down to scoop up Tyler who squealed with joy.
Then he forced a grin and turned to Leah.
"Are we picking up Dylan on the way?" He was being as cordial as possible but I knew the idea of his daughter spending so much time with a boy bugged him.
"Yeah." Leah responded sticking her chin in the air again and throwing her shoulders back, despite the bright red that spread across her cheeks.
Yeah, Leah was so my daughter.
Liam chuckled, clearly thinking the same thing.
"Okay then we need to take off." He grinned at me.
"Okay, out out out. Get into the car, let's go." I said herding my family out the door
"Can't I ride with Aunt Natalie? I want to talk to Bethany." Jason asked, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Who needs kissing tips now." Leah scoffed.
Jason for once had no quick come back instead blushing deep red and turning away.
Leah grinned smugly. Liam shot her a look and she turned away suddenly abashed.
"They already left Jace. You can see her at the wedding." Liam said helping Tyler get buckled as the rest of us slid in.
When he slid behind the wheel I smiled over at him. "I still find it hard to believe Ian finally found someone he was willing to settle down for."
He laughed, "She is just as crazy as he is. I don't think either of them will ever settle down."
I laughed too knowing that he was probably right.
"Will Ash be there today?" I asked.
Asher, even after marrying Natalie, still avoided any big events.
"Oh I made sure he would be there." Liam smirked.
"What did you do?" I asked exasperated, I knew that tone and I wasn't going to like this.
"Adam helped me. We made a bet on whether Ian will follow thru, and convinced Ash to join. Thing is he has to be there to claim his winnings. Not that he's going to win." He chuckled.
I rolled my eyes with a sigh. "You guys are so mean to Ian, he's harmless."
"You didn't always think so." He said quietly.
I stuck my chin up and glared at him. He knew better than to bring up my dark past around the kids. They didn't know, or need to know any of it.
"Just saying." He shrugged off my glare.
I rolled my eyes, we would talk about it later.
At the reception hall Scarlet and Adam sat in one row with five seats saved mixed in. Leah and Dylan went to sit on the end next to Anna.
The thirteen year old had Adams tan skin and black hair, as well as Scarlet's blue eyes. A striking combination that turned heads everywhere she went.
Tyler slid between Adam and six year old Blake who was the spitting image of his father.
Jason snuck up one row to sit by Bethany with Natalie and Asher.
I sat next to Scarlet peeking over to see five week old baby Chloe nestled in her mother's arms. Liam sat next to me draping his hand over the back of my chair.
"Make you want another one?" Liam asked with a whisper in my ear.
"Maybe..." I admitted as his tone made my inside erupt with longing.
"We can try for four when we get home." He grinned down at me.
"Really? You would be okay with that?" I asked, surprised.
"Thrilled." He muttered then kissed my neck sending a shutter down my back.
He chuckled pulling back and facing forward as the service began.
After service a watched Aviana croon at baby Chloe as Adam and Scarlet spun on the dance floor. I knew we would go for another.
I shook my head chuckling. There was a point in my life, before her, that I couldn't have imagined having one child. Hell, even when I had found out we were pregnant with Leah I had been scared shitless.
Back then I hadn't been sure I could do anything. Protect my friends and family, run the business, take my fathers place. It was Aviana who had taught me how to be brave, and shown me that I was capable of anything.
Aviana looked up at me with a questioning gaze.
"What?" She asked.
"I love you." I smiled at her.
She stared at me for a moment before turning to Leah.
"Sweetheart can you hold Chloe for a minute?" Aviana asked.
Leah beamed, "Of course!"
She loved holding the infant and had already done it more than I had.
With her arms now free Aviana grabbed my hand and drug me into the dance floor. She wrapped her arms around my neck as I held her waist. I lifted her up placing her on my feet, she was such a klutz. This movement never shocked her anymore.
"Do you want another one right now?" I asked, kissing her neck.
I loved the way she shuttered in my embrace. It always took her a beat too long to respond when I did that.
"Why the rush." She exhaled, pulling me closer as if suddenly afraid I would vanish. "We have time right?"
I chuckled and spun her through the air. "Only forever my love."
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