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Emeraldax

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Reply with quote  #51 

I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the lovely reviews and encouragement!  I love writing this story, and I am so glad others enjoy reading it.

 

Chapters 38 and 39 are up.


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Windy

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Reply with quote  #52 

How does one get down a mountain without being seen?  

 

Love the new chapter as usual.   You make Zach and Kendall so real.  I wish the writers that get paid could do as well.

Emeraldax

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Reply with quote  #53 
Hahahaha - I don't think he was concerned about being seen.  He was just going to hitch a ride.
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tkaddicted

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Reply with quote  #54 

I wish I'd been on the road that day.  I'd have given him a ride!  I'm loving the story and looking for more!


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Windy

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Reply with quote  #55 

Em,

You have done it again.  Great chapter.  I must say Ryan does have the nerve.   Not only having a meeting when Zach is out of the country but in Zach's office.    I do hope Zach has his office cameras turned on.   I want Zach to nail his back end to the ceiling. 

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Reply with quote  #56 

Em, I was so happy to find a new chapter tonight.  It's always a difficult day when there's no Zach--and yes, Kendall in an episode.  You've made my day.  Thanks!


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Windy

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Reply with quote  #57 

WOW  Chapter 41 left me breathless just like the show did.  I hate that Kendall is not sure she can trust Zach or is it she is not sure who is listening.  Now Zach is so confused about what he knows about Kendall and what she says.

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Reply with quote  #58 

It gets better and better!  Thanks.


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Emeraldax

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Reply with quote  #59 
Chapter 42 is up. How do you spell relief?  B-i-a-n-c-a
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Windy

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Reply with quote  #60 

Em,

I am so glad Bianca came to find Zach.  That man has tortured himself enough over Kendall pregnancy announcement.  The actor playing Justin did just a great job during all of this everyone hated him. 

 

Thank you for your time and talent you share with all of us.

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Reply with quote  #61 

Thanks, the story is progressing wonderfully.  I'll be leaving the country for two weeks tomorrow, but I'll be checking every chance I have to get more of your story.  It's great.  I'm a happy girl with my going away gift.  Thanks again.


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Emeraldax

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Reply with quote  #62 
Chapters 43 and 44 up in one night!
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Ann

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Reply with quote  #63 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emeraldax
Chapters 43 and 44 up in one night!

44 is up also?????????

OMG I think I love you..........................nah! I KNOW I love you.


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Windy

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Reply with quote  #64 

Help!!   I  read Chapter 43 then went to 44.  I was going back to 43 to check the date to see the time line.  I was told the url was out of date and when I went out and came back in chapter 42 was the latest update.    Am I in the Twilight Zone?

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Reply with quote  #65 

Em,

I finally got back in and read both chapters.   They were great.   Why am I worried about Bianca?   Who was that caller?

Emeraldax

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Reply with quote  #66 

I didn't really mean to make it so mysterious, but I was keeping it authentic to the story - Bianca's friend never identified herself when she made the phone calls.  It was Babe - the beginning of their friendship.


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Windy

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Reply with quote  #67 

Em,

Thanks I had remembered the gas leak but had forgotten Babe's timeline.

Emeraldax

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Reply with quote  #68 

Haha, I didn't remember any of it till I was researching past transcripts and recaps.  I routinely suffer from CRS disease.


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Reply with quote  #69 

Em,

When I'm feeling like crap, I can always count on your story to make me smile. Chapters 43 and 44 were awesome friend! Give me more

 

 

-Crystal

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Reply with quote  #70 

Em,

You just got me into trouble.  I am supposed to be getting ready for my Friday night date with my husband but instead I had to read the new chapter.  I thought I would just check to see if there would be something for me after I got home but I had to read it.

I loved it as always.   I was wondering when the bedroom redo would come into play.  I also enjoyed Binks sharing little one with both Zach and Kendall at the same time.

 

 

Windy

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Reply with quote  #71 

Loved the new chapter.  Not only was Juan Pablo good looking he knew how to take care of business.   You got to love a man like that.   So glad someone knew how to put Ryan in his place which was away from real people.

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Reply with quote  #72 
Chapters 46 and 47 are up, the first half of a FOUR parter (wow, gee, oh my).  48 and 49 will go up tomorrow and the next day.
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Reply with quote  #73 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emeraldax
Chapters 46 and 47 are up, the first half of a FOUR parter (wow, gee, oh my).  48 and 49 will go up tomorrow and the next day.

 

SQUUUUUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEE----Yeah--Em---Ty ty ty ty.

 

Mhuaaaaaaaah

 

Fil


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Reply with quote  #74 

And you leave us with Zach shot with Maria  and Kendall  fighting over him.  I will try and be a good girl and wait for tomorrow's chapter.

 

Thanks Em.

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Reply with quote  #75 

Thanks for the new chapter (48).  Enjoyed the library scene.  Zach hearing Kendall say she loved him was wonderful since that gives him another reason (better reason) to fight for his life.

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Reply with quote  #76 

Emmmmmmmmmmmmm--how could you leave us hanging like that??????

 

We can't get enough of this story.

More more more please.

 

Love Fil


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Ann

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Reply with quote  #77 

*Putting on pouty face.........turning back on Em*

ROFLMFAO

*Holding breath for next chapter*


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Reply with quote  #78 

Em,

 

Not stalking or anything, but ::whispers::  it's the "next day" already.  Where's the chapter? Hey, it's not like I've checked for an update this morning or anything, I swear it!

 

 

Love ya,

Crystal

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Reply with quote  #79 
Wow!  That was great Em!  Can't wait for the next chapter.
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Reply with quote  #80 

Em,

You have done it again.   What a chapter.  Now how is Kendall going to stay away from him to keep him safe and be with him to keep him in bed?  And if he is in bed to keep him still and not all over her or her all over him?   So many questions.  I will try to be patient and wait for the answers.  More questions---when is Kendall's trail to begin?

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Reply with quote  #81 

I'll tell you this much - on the show, the trial began on Jan 20th, with the selection of the jury.


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Reply with quote  #82 

Em,

Thank you , thank you, thank you for not making us wait too long for Chapter 50.    Mighty strange about Victor.  Me thinks I smell something fishy in the mix.  Loved Bonnie, what a hoot she is.  At least she speaks Kendall's language, blunt and to the point.

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Reply with quote  #83 

Em, I'd been gone and finally got caught up.  I check every day to see if you've added anything.  I love this story.


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Emeraldax

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Reply with quote  #84 

Hey peeps.  I just put up ch. 65. 


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Ann

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Reply with quote  #85 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emeraldax

Hey peeps.  I just put up ch. 65. 

And I just read it.....you're killing me girl.  LOL 


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chris

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Reply with quote  #86 

Em, I just love this story.  It's everything that a romance novel should be!  You are also showing how TFIC could have made the viewers fall in love with AMC over these last two years. 

 

I'm completely amazed at how you're following certain events that happened on the show, right down to the date, but making the story so much more enjoyable!  Thank you for ridding the world of the baby switch storyline!  I bow to your writing prowess. 

 

 

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Reply with quote  #87 

Chapter 69 is up.  It is a two-parter and 70 will be up tomorrow.

 

FYI- As it stands now, this story will end at chapter 75, plus an epilogue. 


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Reply with quote  #88 

Em, I logged onto ff.net this morning and I was so excited to see that you had added Ch 71....then I tried to get to it, and it won't let me go past 70!  It's like torture!  Wondering if it's me and my crusty, old computer (plus the fact that I have no computer skills), or if others have had the same problem.  Thanks!

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Reply with quote  #89 

Apparently others are having the same problem. 

 

Try the link below, and if it doesnt work try hitting F5.

 

Chapter 71


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Reply with quote  #90 
Thanks so much, Em, it worked!  You're awesome! 
tkaddicted

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Reply with quote  #91 

Em, it's great to have your story to read when things are so sad on AMC.  I can hardly wait for 74 and 75, but I know at the end of 75 I'm going to be wishing for more.  I love your story and your writing!


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Reply with quote  #92 

I'm having problems posting chapter 75 to fanfiction.net so I am posting it here in the meantime:

 

Author’s note:  The poem excerpt is from The Lay of the Last Minstrel by Sir Walter Scott.

 

Chapter 75

 

May 22, 2004Grand Cayman Islands

 

Kendall snuck out of the hotel suite and slipped down to the beach to take a walk.  She was amazed she made it out of there without waking Zach.  He was a light sleeper and always on high alert.  Maybe their gymnastics the night before wore him out.

 

Kendall walked along the shore.  In just a few hours they would be getting married.  Zach arranged everything, and refused to let her in on his plans.  He said that since she set the date and the location, he was in charge of everything else.  She let him have his fun.  It was a good distraction for him after he received the DNA results two days ago.

 

Ethan was not Zach’s son.  Though the earlier report showed a familial relationship between them, the more in-depth analysis confirmed that Zach was not his father.  Ethan asked that his DNA be compared against Michael’s DNA, which was currently on file at the police department.  He said, bitterly, that he wanted to be absolutely sure that Michael was his father, just in case Alexander also “had a go” at his mother. 

 

Zach shared with Kendall his mixed feelings regarding the news.  During the past few months he had gotten used to the idea of having a son.  He had thought of Ethan as being part of himself, his responsibility.  On the other hand, it absolved him of the guilt he’d been feeling for missing out on raising his son because he had escaped his father twenty years ago.  Zach looked forward to getting to know his nephew without the added emotional baggage of having been his absentee father.

 

Zach was still shell-shocked about Michael.  He had never gotten over learning that Michael raped Bianca.  To find out that the brother who had worshipped him as a boy had turned into a monster was a bitter pill to swallow.  To find out that his brother had never worshipped him at all, that his sweetness had been a clever facade, was truly chilling.  For months Zach had blamed himself for the way Michael turned out, because he left home when he did.  It was a burden he no longer had to carry.  On the other hand, he believed that if he had stayed, Michael wouldn’t have dared go after Hannah.  Kendall tried to convince him otherwise, but he said that the sadness he had seen in Hannah’s pictures would haunt him for the rest of his life.

 

Yesterday morning, before joining Kendall for their flight to the Caymans, Zach went to the Pine Valley landfill one last time.  He carried a piece of paper with an excerpt of a poem written on it.  He was startled to discover Ethan there, contemplating the sea of refuse.  A look of understanding passed between them, and Zach read the poem aloud.

 

High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self, 
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

 

When he was finished, Zach put the poem in a small bowl and handed it to Ethan.  Zach lit a match and burned the piece of paper.  When it was reduced to ashes, Ethan set the bowl on the ground, and the two men left the landfill.

 

Kendall found a dry spot in the sand and sat down to contemplate the ocean.  It was going to be a beautiful day.  She wondered whether the ceremony would be indoors or outdoors. 

 

A hibiscus suddenly appeared in front of her nose.  Startled, she looked up to see Zach coming around from behind her.  She took the flower, a slow smile spreading across her face.  She attempted a stern expression.  “You know its bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.”

 

Zach sat down on the sand next to her.  “True, but the odds are always with the house.”  A slight breeze whipped a strand of her hair in front of her face, and Zach tucked it back behind her ear.  “The preparations are complete.  All we have to do is show up.”

 

Kendall smiled.  “When?”

 

Zach cocked his head.  “Whenever you want.”

 

Kendall looked out at the ocean.  “As soon as possible.”  She took a deep breath and exhaled.  “Do you ever wonder, Zach, what might have happened if you hadn’t come to Pine Valley?  A year ago I was such a mess.  I was desperate for love, and humiliated myself to Erica, to my sister, to Michael…begging for scraps.    If you hadn’t come along…would I still be begging for love?  Making a fool out of myself for some guy?”

 

Zach put his arm around her and ran his hand up and down her arm.  “Now, why would you have had to make a fool of yourself?  If I hadn’t been around to snatch the prize, you and Ryan might have picked up where you left off.”

 

“Interesting you should say that.  Ryan said something along those lines a couple of weeks ago.  He said it would have been an even bigger disaster if we had gotten back together.  I think he was right.”

 

Zach scoffed.  “Mess up a second chance with you?  I don’t know if I want to work with someone that stupid.”

 

“Yeah, well you’re stuck with him for awhile.”

 

“Just like you’re stuck with Greenlee at Fusion.”

 

She rolled her eyes.  “Sneaky bitch.  I can’t believe she eloped with Ryan to that…that mansion so that they could be married before us.”

 

“I believe it was a castle.”

 

Kendall glared at him.  “No royalty ever lived there, so it was not a castle.”

 

Zach chuckled.  Kendall, do you want to get married in a castle, too?”

 

She elbowed him.  “I’m not the one seething with jealousy – that’s Greenlee’s role.  She’s aptly named.  She was already filled with envy when she saw my engagement ring.  Telling her that we were getting married in the Caymans sent her over the edge.” 

 

Zach grinned.  “I’m betting the bridal shops in Pine Valley are outraged that they missed out on two lucrative customers.”

 

Kendall shrugged.  “My mom will more than make up for it when she finally marries Jackson.  Her eyes are already gleaming with the prospect of a big, fancy wedding.  It will take so long to plan that Miranda’s going to be old enough to be a flower girl.”   Kendall grimaced.  “She would have been adorable as a flower baby for us.  No…no, I said I wanted it to be just the two of us, and I meant it.”

 

Zach hugged her to him.  “She can be a flower baby at the reception we’re planning.  She’ll completely steal our thunder.”

 

Kendall laughed.  “She’s welcome to the spotlight, she deserves it.  I’m so happy that things worked out for Bianca.  She’s sad right now because she and Lena are apart, but it won’t be for long.  That was so sweet of you to find a companion for Mrs. Kundera.”  Lena’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, and had begged Lena to come back to Poland with her so that she could be cared for in her home land.

 

Zach shrugged.  “I don’t want Cambias to lose its brightest executive.  The sooner Lena’s mother bonds with her new caretaker, the sooner Lena can come home and make lots of money for the company.”

 

Kendall slapped Zach on the shoulder.  “Don’t even try to pretend you have mercenary motives.  You’ve always had a soft spot for Bianca and Lena.  You’re nothing but a…a big marshmallow.”

 

Zach winced.  “A marshmallow?  I can hear Cambias stock plummeting to the ground when the business world hears that.”

 

Kendall’s arms encircled his neck.  “Fine with me.  If we go broke, we can live on love.”

 

Zach kissed her.  “Considering how little I lived on as a young man, I’ll feel as rich as a king.  And you will be my queen.”

 

Kendall smiled.  “The king and queen of love.  How corny.”  The smile faded and, without warning, tears spilled over onto her cheeks. 

 

Zach wiped at the tears with his thumb.  “If it’s that corny, why are you crying?”

 

The tears flowed freely.  “I don’t know.  I’ve been marveling that it’s only been twelve months since you came into my life.  It feels like it took much longer for us to get to this place.  It seems like years.”

 

Zach held her in his arms.  “It has been years, Kendall.  Years that we both spent trying to survive.  I used to look back at the emptiness that consumed my life and it seemed to stretch out endlessly in both directions – the future a bleak reflection of my past,” He gestured out to the ocean, “like the sky reflecting on water.  When I look back now, the past doesn’t seem as significant.  Just minutes and hours that never really meant anything.  My life started when I found you, and when I started loving you.”

 

Kendall wiped futilely at the tears on her cheeks.  “I’ve spent all my life yearning for love, recognition, a sense of belonging.  I’ve fought and kicked and clawed my way, forcing myself into people’s lives, demanding acceptance.  Every time, I’d get slapped down.  But now I’ve won.  I hit the jackpot.  I have my family.  I have a career I can be proud of.  I have friends, such as they are.  And I have you, Zach.  I never expected you, never even dreamed that I could want you.  So, of course you became the most important element of all.”

 

Zach kissed away the tears.  “I never expected you, either.  I thought I had everything figured out.  I spent years trying to be master of my own fate, and I was finally at a point where I felt like I had control over my environment.  When Michael’s behavior started to unravel, so did my security.  Meeting you and falling in love with you broke me completely.  I think that was why my father ultimately shunned my mother.  He couldn’t love her and keep control at the same time, so he opted for control.  I was faced with the same decision, and I might have made the same choice if you hadn’t been so determined.  You saved me, Kendall.”  His own tears started to well in his eyes.  “Without you I might have become like my father after all.”  He swallowed hard.

 

Kendall buried her face in his shoulder.  “You saved me, too, Zach.  I keep having this awful feeling that if you hadn’t come when you did, I might even now be facing the darkest moments of my life.”

 

Zach stroked her hair.  “Possibly.  But you would have survived.”

 

“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, eh?  Well, being a survivor might be worth a pat on the back, but it sure sucks as a way of life.”

 

Zach laughed.  “Yeah, I think I prefer Browning to Nietzsche any old day.”

 

Kendall gazed at him.  “You were right earlier.  It has been years.  I’ve waited for you all my life and I don’t want to wait a moment longer.  Let’s go get married!”  She stood up and ran along the beach towards their hotel.  Zach jumped up and ran after her, laughing.


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Reply with quote  #93 

They showered and changed.  Zach wore a loose-fitting cream-colored linen shirt and dark slacks.  Kendall wore a sleeveless cream-colored dress with a scoop neck and empire waist.  Zach gazed at her when she entered the living room of their suite.  She looked like a Greek goddess.  Zach plucked a blossom from a nearby flower arrangement and tucked it behind her ear.  “Perfect.”

 

He offered her his arm and escorted her out of the suite and down the elevator.  A hotel car whisked them to a private marina where several large yachts were docked.  Zach led her to the largest yacht on the far end of the dock.  Kendall’s eyes fell on the name of the yacht.   She gave Zach a quizzical look.  “Jax of All Trades?”  Zach stepped onto the yacht and then held out his hand to help Kendall.  “The man who owns this yacht is nick-named Jax.  Jasper Jacks.  I met him almost six years ago when I had just opened my casino in Monte Carlo.  I was hosting a high stakes baccarat tournament to draw wealthy customers.  Jax came intending to regain his lost fortune – a long story.  He succeeded in getting his money back – fortunately it was at the expense of the other high rollers, not the house.  Ever since, he’s been a loyal customer at all of my casinos.  He mentioned to me one time that he had a yacht moored in the Caymans.  I asked if I could borrow it.”

 

Zach signaled to the captain that they were ready to take off.  Kendall looked around.  “It’s beautiful.  So we’re getting married at sea?”

 

Zach kissed her lightly on the lips.  “I thought it would be symbolic.  The vastness and depth of the ocean…and my love for you.”

 

Kendall smiled widely.  “There’s that marshmallow, again.”

 

He rolled his eyes.  “I really need to do something about this image you have of me.  Maybe I should growl more.”

 

A gleam entered her eyes.  “Definitely.  I love it when you growl.”

 

He rested his forehead against hers.  “Mmmm, we’ll have to save the growling for later.  We have company.”

 

Kendall raised an eyebrow.  Zach escorted her into the main cabin.  Sitting on the sofa, chatting, were Bianca and Myrtle.  Bianca held a sleeping Miranda in her arms.  Kendall gasped.  Bianca broke off what she was saying and looked over.  She smiled with delight.  “Oh Kendall, you look exquisite!”  She gently placed Miranda in a carrying basket, and came over to hug her sister.  Kendall’s face crumpled and Bianca shook her head sternly.  “No crying, you’ll mess up your face.”

 

Kendall’s smile was wobbly.  “Its okay, this Fusion waterproof mascara really holds up well.” 

 

Bianca chuckled.  “Yeah, well I’m not wearing Fusion.  So if you cry, I’ll start to cry and then I’ll be the one with the messed-up face.”

 

Myrtle came over and Zach gave her a kiss on the cheek.  “I’m so glad that you two could make it.  How did the flight go with Miranda?”

 

Myrtle patted his hand.  “Like a dream.  Now I know that traveling by corporate jet is the only way to go.”

 

Bianca hugged Zach.  Lena really wanted to come, but her mother had a bad chemo session.”  Zach nodded in understanding.

 

Kendall gazed at Zach.  “I can’t believe you did this for me.  This is incredible.”

 

Zach put his arm around her.  “Well, what wedding is complete without a maid of honor?  And I needed a best man.”

 

Myrtle nodded.  “Since the best man for the job is usually a woman, naturally he asked me.”

 

Kendall went over to the carrying basket and gazed at Miranda, who was wearing an adorable cream-colored dress and headband with flowers on it.  “And don’t forget the flower baby.  Aww, sleeping flower baby.”

 

Bianca smiled.  “She was awake earlier, but the lapping of the waves knocked her right out.”

 

They chatted while the yacht took them out to sea a ways.  Eventually, the captain came into the cabin.  “Are you ready?”  Zach nodded. 

 

Bianca handed Kendall a small, simple bouquet.  They all went out onto the deck and took their respective places.  The captain looked at Zach and Kendall inquiringly.  “Did you want to say your own vows?”

 

Kendall gazed at Zach.  “We said a lot of things earlier on the beach.  We spoke from our hearts.  I do have one thing I want to add.  Zach, there was a time when I didn’t know if I was capable of feeling so deeply.  Everyone kept telling me I was shallow and heartless, and I believed them.  In the past year, I’ve done so many crazy things, and yet…through it all you never looked inside my heart and saw anything dark or scary.  You loved me.  You showed me that I could love.  You did that for me.  And so I pledge my heart to you, Zach.”

 

Zach touched her face.  “Kendall, you already knew how to love.  It was why I fell in love with you.  There was never anything shallow or dark in your heart.  It was filled with the pure light of love for your sister.  You did do some pretty crazy things and I found myself yearning for you to turn some of that crazy love towards me.  And you did.”  He grinned.  Kendall laughed.  Zach rested his hand on Kendall’s heart.  “You gave your heart to me as completely as you did for your sister, and I am in awe of it.  It'll take a lifetime to know that heart.  But I want that lifetime. I want to love you.  You're strong and resilient and fragile and more forgiving than I deserve.”

 

Myrtle handed Kendall’s ring to Zach.  “With this ring, I thee wed.”

 

Bianca gave Zach’s ring to Kendall.  “With this ring, I thee wed.”

 

The captain solemnly announced, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

 

Zach’s joy was complete as he gathered Kendall into his arms and kissed her. 

 

As the wedding party ate brunch, the yacht meandered back to shore.  They rode in a limousine back to the hotel, and Zach and Kendall said their goodbyes to Bianca, Myrtle and Miranda.

 

Back in their suite, the same suite where they made love for the first time last July, Zach touched the delicate curve of Kendall’s neck.  “My wife.”  He lowered his head and brushed his lips against hers.  She melted against him as he tasted her lower lip.

 

Zach slowly unzipped her dress and removed it from her body.  He laid her on the bed and then removed his own clothes.  Zach explored every inch of her skin, marveling that he was getting this second chance with her.  Just a week ago he was on the verge of moving to Las Vegas in an attempt to erase her from his life completely.  He had come that close to blowing it, to spending the rest of his days in self-imposed exile.  He wondered how he could have been so stupid.

 

Kendall gasped when Zach, who had been playfully examining the curve of her hip, came up suddenly to cover her body with his own.  Seeing the urgent need in his eyes, she opened up to him and he slid swiftly inside her.  Once he was fully in her, he whispered hoarsely in her ear.  “I don’t deserve you, Kendall, but you gave yourself to me anyway.  You’re my wife now, and I am never letting you go.”

 

She clung to him as he moved back and forth, taking his words to heart.  Zach always followed through on what he said he would do, no matter how much it cost him.  This time he was promising her that they would always be together.  She was amazed at how implicitly she believed and trusted in his words.  No twinges of fear or doubt in him or in herself.  They both had walked a hard road trying to find a place to call home within and without.  In finding each other they had finally found peace. 

 

Author’s note:  And so ends the one year arc of this story.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. 

 

I will be posting one more chapter, an Epilogue, in a few days. 

 


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Reply with quote  #94 

This has been my favorite part of my week.  Every chapter you have left me wanting more.  It's a beautiful story.

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Thanks, Em.  It really was a beautiful story.  I've checked every day this week for this last chapter and was so excited when I found it  here.  I really did hate to see this wonderful love story end, but I guess their love story will go on and on, it's just your fan fiction that had to end.  Thanks again!


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Posting the Epilogue here because blah blah frickin fanfiction.net blah:

 

Author’s note:  This last chapter is dedicated to Heidi.  She’s the one who gave me the idea for it.

 

Epilogue

 

May 31, 2006 – a tiny village in Northern Italy

 

Everyone at the table laughed in delight as Miranda slurped her noodles.  Lena shook her head.  “I swear that Miranda has a hollow leg sometimes.  I don’t know where she puts it all.”

 

Bianca laughed.  “And other times I can barely get her to eat two bites.  Well, I’m glad she has a good appetite now.  I’d have hated it if we came all the way here for her to have pasta, and she turned her nose up at it.”

 

Zach smiled triumphantly.  “I knew she wouldn’t refuse it.  I told her when she was still inside of you that this was the best pasta in the world.”

 

Kendall pushed away her plate.  “As usual, Zach is right.  This food is fantastic.  I would love to eat more, but I know if I do I’ll regret it.”

 

Zach gestured towards her plate.   “Go ahead and eat, we have a bottle of antacids back in the room.”

 

She groaned and rubbed her swollen abdomen.  “No, I really can’t eat another bite.  My stomach seems to have the capacity of a thimble, along with my bladder.  Miss Thing has made sure that there’s no room in there for pesky organs.  It’s all about her.”  Kendall’s smile faded, her eyes growing wide in alarm.

 

Zach grabbed her hand.  “What is it, honey; did she kick you in the ribs again?”

 

Kendall shook her head, her cheeks turning red.  “No, no, I just..I just think I need to head off to the ladies room.  Quickly.” 

 

Zach stood and helped Kendall to her feet.  She grimaced and then looked over at Bianca.  Her sister leapt to her feet.  “I think I should go too, while Miranda’s preoccupied with her noodles.”

 

When they got to the bathroom, Kendall clutched Bianca’s arm.  “Binks, I don’t know what’s happening.  When we were sitting at the table, it seemed like I had an accident, but I didn’t feel the urge to go.  When I stood up, more came out.” 

 

Bianca frowned.  “More what came out?  Kendall, what’s wrong?” 

 

Kendall gasped as more liquid trickled down her leg.  “Oh God, this is awful.  Why can’t I stop it?  This can’t be what I think it is…it just can’t be.  It’s my bladder, that’s all it is.  It didn’t like the thimble comment.”

 

Bianca’s eyes widened.  “Wait a minute, you’re leaking and you say you can’t stop the flow?  Oh my God.  Your water’s breaking!”

 

Kendall shook her head, her expression defiant.  No, I’m not due for another two weeks.  When the doctor examined me two days ago, she predicted that I would either be on time or late.  That’s why I wanted to come to Italy now, before it was too late and I wouldn’t be able to take the trip.”  Another dribble of water came out, and she realized that she couldn’t deny it to herself anymore.  She wasn’t losing control of her bladder.  “Oh God, oh God!  My water’s breaking.  That means that the baby has to be out in 24 hours.  Oh God!”

 

There was a knock at the door.  “Kendall, are you alright?”  It was Zach.  Bianca went to the door and opened it.  Zach saw his wife standing there clutching at her belly.  Then he saw the growing wet spot at her feet.  “Kendall, please tell me you didn’t make it to the bathroom on time…”

 

She attempted a smile.  “It’s funny when you think about it.  All the baby books say to be prepared.  I made sure to pack a suitcase like they recommended.  It’s all ready to go, sitting in the trunk of the Jag...at home in Pine Valley.” 

 

Zach came into the bathroom and scooped Kendall up into his arms.  “I don’t believe this.  I knew we shouldn’t have taken this trip.   We’re hours away from the nearest hospital.  I don’t even know if this village has a doctor.”

 

Bianca clasped her hands together.  “I’m sure they have a midwife.  I’ll go ask someone.”  She left to go find the manager.

 

Zach carried Kendall to the inn right next door to the tiny restaurant.  He took her upstairs to their room and laid her on the bed.  He pulled out his cell and called Kendall’s obstetrician in Pine Valley.  Her answering service promised to page her. 

 

Bianca came in.  “Lena’s talking to the manager.”  She sat on the bed next to Kendall.  “Are you having contractions?”

 

Kendall frowned.  “No…not really.  I have been having more back pain than usual, but I figured it was from last night.”

 

Bianca raised her eyebrows.  “Last night?”

 

Kendall glanced at Zach.  “Well, we hadn’t seen each other in a week, so…we got carried away.”  Zach flew in directly from Zurich, where he had been on Cambias business.

 

Zach caressed Kendall’s face.  “What my wife is trying to say is that it’s my fault she’s having our baby early.  My enthusiasm must have triggered the process.”

 

Bianca held up her hands.  “I think I get the idea.  Okay, well, there is such a thing as contractions manifesting themselves as back pain.  I think you are officially in labor, Kendall.”

 

Lena came in, holding Miranda’s hand.  “The manager has gone to find the midwife.  If you need me, I’ll be with Miranda in our room.”  Bianca went over and kissed Miranda goodbye.

 

Kendall looked pale.  Zach took her hand.  “How are you doing, honey?”

 

She shook her head.  “The back pain is getting worse, and it seems to be spreading.”  She winced.

 

Zach stroked her hand.  “Breathe, Kendall.  Take deep breaths, like you learned in class.”

 

Bianca came back over to the bed.  “Let’s see what we can do to make Kendall more comfortable.”  She had Kendall lean forward, and she piled a bunch of pillows behind her.  Kendall settled back on the pillows and squeezed her eyes shut, inhaling sharply. 

 

Zach ran his fingers through his hair.  “Do you want some water?  No, no, I mean ice chips?  I don’t know if they have ice chips here.  Dammit.”  He saw sweat break out on her brow, and he went to get a washcloth and soaked it with cold water.  He pressed the washcloth to her forehead.  “Where’s the midwife?  This village isn’t even a quarter of a mile in length.  It shouldn’t be taking her this long to get here!”

 

Bianca raised an eyebrow.  “The restaurant manager might be able to answer that question.  Why don’t you go find him?”

 

Kendall let out a low keening noise.  Zach grimaced.  “Okay, okay, I’ll go do that right now.  Get me immediately if anything happens.”  He kissed Kendall’s hand, then went out the door.

 

Kendall took deep breaths.  “He’s going to lose his mind before this is all over.”

 

Bianca laughed.  “You’re taking this calmly.  I expected you to start screaming the house down.”

 

“Well, so far it isn’t that bad.  And I’m too afraid to start ranting.  What if something goes wrong, Binks?  I was expecting to give birth in a hospital where they’re ready for any contingency.  So many unexpected things can happen.”

 

Bianca squeezed her hand.  “You’ve been reading too many horror stories in the baby books.”

 

Kendall glared at her.  “Excuse me, but I don’t need to read about horror stories in baby books.  You gave birth in a damn cabin and almost bled to death.”

 

Bianca looked sheepish.  “Okay, so my own experience was a bit difficult.  But I made it through.  And it was isolated where I was.  This village may be small, but lots of babies have been born here.  I’m sure they’ll have what we need.”

 

Kendall continued to breathe deeply.  “God, Binks, the baby’s coming today.  Am I ready for this?  Am I ready to be a mother?”

 

Bianca put her hand on Kendall’s shoulder.  “Kendall, you’ve been quite sure for the past nine months that you want to be a mother.  Now’s not exactly the time for doubts.”

 

Kendall glared at her.  “I can have doubts any time I feel like it!”

 

Bianca smiled.  “Now there’s the snark I’ve been expecting.  Kendall, you’re just having last minute jitters.  It’s perfectly natural.”

 

Kendall winced.  “But Greenlee kept telling me that I only got pregnant because she was going to have one.  Maybe subconsciously I did want to compete with her.  Oh God, I can’t believe this.  I’m going to be a horrible mother!”

 

Zach came back into the room.  He looked grim.  “The restaurant manager said that the midwife is 50 miles away on a farm delivering another baby.  She has no intention of coming until the other baby is born.  The manager and the innkeeper are trying to find some experienced mothers who can help you through this.”

 

Kendall looked at him in horror.  “What the hell…are you kidding me?  What are the odds that another woman would go into labor at the same time as me?  And don’t spout any casino jargon at me or I’ll rip your head off and shove it down your neck.”

 

Zach raised his eyebrows.  “Contractions have gotten worse, I see.”  He came over to her and took her hand.  “Breathe, Kendall.  Try to concentrate on the positive.  Our beautiful little girl is about to be born.”

 

Kendall burst into tears.  “I don’t want her to be born.  What will I do with her then?  I was doing just fine as a mother when all I had to do was eat right and visit the doctor and not fall down any flights of stairs.  It’s going to be a lot more work when she’s born.  Oh God…”  She lowered her face into her hands.

 

Zach climbed onto the bed and gathered her into his arms.  “Kendall, you are going to do just fine.  I know it’s scary, you think I’m not completely freaked out?  But we’ll be surrounded by people who love us and will help us, I promise.  Fuck!”  He pried her nails out of his hand and shifted her grip so that she could hold onto him without drawing blood.  The contractions were apparently getting even stronger.  “Breathe, Kendall.”

 

Bianca stood up.  “I’m going to go get some boiling water and towels.”

 

Zach eased off the bed and came over to her.  “I always hear about that in the movies, but what the heck do you use them for?”

 

Bianca glanced at Kendall.  In a low voice, she said, “If you press towels soaked with hot water against the birth canal, it softens the opening and lessens the chance of…tearing.”

 

“Tearing?”  Kendall screamed.  “Did you just say ‘tearing?’  That’s what happened to you isn’t it?  I think I’m going to be sick.”  Bianca gave her an apologetic look and beat a hasty retreat out of the room.

 

Zach came back to the bed and wiped her forehead with the wet cloth.  She really did look nauseous.  “I remember in the class we took, they said that women often throw up right before the baby is ready to be born.  You can’t possibly be at that point, yet.  Are you?”

 

Kendall groaned.  “I don’t know, Zach.  If we were in a hospital, I’d have the doctor sticking his hand up me to see how far I’ve dilated.  Maybe…maybe you should…?”

 

Zach gestured helplessly.  “You want me to…to…put my hand in there?” 

 

Kendall glared at him.  “It wasn’t a problem for you last night!”

 

Zach burst out laughing.  “Uh, yeah, but I didn’t have it in there up to my elbow.”

 

She grabbed a handful of his shirt.  “And that’s the last fucking brood mare joke you’re going to make.  Now you had plenty of fun making this baby.  It’s time to pay the piper!”

 


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There was a knock at the door.  Gratefully, Zach went to open it.  The innkeeper was there with an older gentleman.  The innkeeper introduced him as Paulo, and said that he has assisted in many births.  Dizzy with relief, Zach escorted him into the room.  “Kendall, this is Paulo.  He’s experienced in helping women give birth.”

 

The innkeeper shook his head.  “No, no.  Not women.  Horses and cows.”

 

Kendall screamed in fury.  She grabbed a porcelain figurine on the bedside table and hurled it in their direction.  Paulo and the innkeeper fled the room.  Zach couldn’t help it, he burst out laughing again.  When Kendall started to groan as another contraction ripped through her, he sobered up and went to her side.  “Kendall, I think maybe you should walk around some.  I remember that was one of the things they told us in the class.”

 

She whimpered.  “Okay.”  He helped her off the bed and they walked around the room a little.  “Goddamn Greenlee, why didn’t she tell me how bad it was?  When we went to see them in the hospital she didn’t say a peep, just stared adoringly at her little boy.”

 

Zach smiled.  “I think it was one of those things where the mother immediately forgets how bad the labor was because she is so in love with her child.”

 

Kendall glared at him.  “What a load.  No one could forget pain this awful.  Didn’t Ryan say anything to you at all about his experience in the delivery room?”

 

Zach cleared his throat.  “I think he’s too afraid to speak of it, lest it bring on the nightmares again.”  Actually, Ryan had shared the horrors of Greenlee’s labor with him.  He said he owed it to Zach to prepare him for what was to come.  Zach was the one who had helped him deal with his family demons after Ryan’s brother took Greenlee, Kendall and Lily hostage and Ryan had been forced to kill him.  Ryan came close to getting a vasectomy because he didn’t think he deserved to have children.  Zach reminded him that he himself had almost thrown away a lifetime of love and happiness because he had been afraid of what lurked in his DNA.  Zach pointed out that, just like Kendall, Greenlee was too strong to let the demons take over.   

 

Kendall grimaced.  “I think I better get back in bed.  This stuff keeps trickling down my leg and it’s gross.  I thought when the water breaks it all comes out in one big goosh and that’s it.  This is like Chinese water torture.”  She shuffled back to the bed and Zach helped her get comfortable.  He brought some towels from the bathroom and helped her clean up. 

 

Kendall moaned loudly when another contraction hit.  Tears ran down her face.  “God, how long does it take a farmer’s wife to give birth, anyway?  Don’t they shoot them out one after another?  She probably already has five kids, why does she even need a midwife?”

 

Zach fished in his jacket pocket.  “I have an idea.  Maybe you should talk to your mother.  She might be able to help ease some of your fears.”

 

Kendall gave him a startled look.  “Did I just hear you right?  Did my husband just suggest my mother as a source of comfort?”

 

Zach grinned as he produced his cell phone and dialed Erica’s number.  “Your mother may be annoying, but even I can’t deny how persuasive she can be.”  He handed the phone to Kendall.

 

“Mother?  Mother, its Kendall.  Well, there’s a reason I sound out of breath.  I’m in labor.  No, it’s not a false alarm.  My water broke.”  Kendall held the phone away from her ear and Zach could hear Erica’s loud voice.  “Uh, we’re still in Italy.  No…not Rome.  Still in Northern Italy.  We were in the middle of our pasta dinner when it happened.”  She held the phone away again.  “Mother, it’s not Zach’s fault.  I was the one who insisted we take this trip now.”  The trip was supposed to have happened in March, after Miranda and Adam’s birthday party, but Ethan had a setback and Zach didn’t want to leave him.

 

For almost two months Ethan was in the hospital, fighting for his life after being crushed in an explosion during a fundraising gala.  After getting Kendall to safety, Zach had tirelessly searched until he reached his nephew and Simone trapped in the rubble.  The doctors said Zach found him just in time - he had been near death.  Ethan recovered, but it was a slow and painful process.  Simone was so freaked out by almost losing him that she chucked all her fairy princess wedding plans and arranged for them to get married in Ethan’s hospital room. 

 

Zach and Kendall quietly celebrated their anniversary and then he jetted off to Zurich to take care of some urgent business that had been delayed because Ryan was on paternity leave and Zach wanted to make sure Ethan was finally out of the woods.  Kendall unilaterally decided that Miranda’s birthday trip had been put off long enough, and purchased the airline tickets to Italy over Zach’s strenuous objections.

 

Kendall winced as another contraction hit.  “Aaaaugh, Mother!  Quit lecturing me!  I called you because I needed to hear soothing words, not poisoned barbs directed towards my husband.”  She breathed deeply several times.  “Mother, I’m so scared.  The midwife’s not here yet, and I keep thinking of when Bianca gave birth.  I don’t want to bleed.”  More tears sprang to her eyes. 

 

Zach watched as Kendall listened to Erica for a long time.  Eventually, she started to look more relaxed.  “Okay…okay, I will.  Thank you.  Will you do me a favor?  When you come…bring the quilt.”  She groaned again as another contraction hit.  “I don’t…I don’t think I can talk anymore.”  She gave the phone to Zach.

 

He pressed the cell to his ear.  “Whatever you said to her worked.  She’s calmer now.  Thanks.”

 

“Zach, I need to book a flight to Rome, but it will be a long time before I can get there.  Help her through this.  Lie to her if you have to.  Just keep her calm and don’t let her dwell on anything negative.  I know you can do it.  It was only because she has felt so happy and loved by you that she was confident enough to take this huge step in the first place.  She never wanted anything to do with children before you two got married.”

 

Zach was a bit stunned by her words of encouragement.  “Thank you, Erica.  I’ll do what I can.”

 

“I better go book that flight.  My daughter needs me.”  They said their goodbyes and hung up.

 

Zach tucked the cell phone back in his pocket and climbed onto the bed.  “Well, this will be a great belated anniversary present.”

 

Kendall groaned.  “I think I preferred how we spent our first anniversary.”

 

Zach smiled.  “The grand opening of the casino in Seoul.  You were exquisite in that green dress.”

 

Kendall gave a shaky smile.  “I had to do justice to those gorgeous jade earrings and necklace you gave me as an anniversary gift.”

 

Zach caressed her cheek with his finger.  “No, the jade had to try and do justice to your eyes.  It failed.”  He kissed her forehead.  “I hope she has your eyes.”

 

“I hope she has your chin dimple.”

 

He raised his eyebrows.  “Now why would you want to saddle her with something this ridiculous?”

 

Kendall glared at him.  “I happen to adore it!”

 

His eyes gleamed.  “So I’ve noticed when we’re making love.”

 

“Okay, don’t even talk about sex right now.  It was sex that got me pregnant and sex that started the labor.  I don’t want to be cliché and say that this is all your fault, but well…”

 

“Mmm hmm.  Yes dear and…I’m sorry.”  She rolled her eyes at his favorite joke.

 

Zach finally got a call back from Kendall’s obstetrician.  She walked him through various techniques to make Kendall comfortable and prepare her for birth.  Bianca came back with the hot water and towels, and they ministered to Kendall for the next couple of hours.  The innkeeper arrived again, this time with an elderly little woman.  He explained that she had been the previous midwife until she retired ten years ago due to infirmity. 

 

The midwife only spoke Italian, so the innkeeper reluctantly stayed to translate.  The midwife examined Kendall and let loose a torrent of Italian.  The innkeeper said, “She is surprised that this is your first pregnancy.  You have reached the birthing point very quickly.  She said it is time.”

 

Kendall moaned.  “Does this mean I can push now?  I really want to push.”

 

The innkeeper translated to the midwife.  She grinned toothlessly and nodded her head.  Zach was holding Kendall’s hand and stroking her hair.  The midwife gestured to him and indicated that he should come over.  The innkeeper, who was staring earnestly at the wall opposite from the bed, said, “She says you do not look like the typical weakling male who would faint at the sight of a birth.  She needs your help since her eyesight is dim and her hands are no longer steady.”

 

Bianca stayed by Kendall’s side to encourage her in her pushing.  The innkeeper fetched and carried when ordered and translated the old midwife’s instructions to Zach.  After what seemed like an eternity, Zach welcomed his daughter into the world.  Gently, he laid her on Kendall’s abdomen and Bianca helped to clean her off while Zach cut the cord.  At this point, the current midwife finally arrived, and she took over the afterbirth process.  Zach moved around to Kendall’s side and joined her in gazing at the wailing baby. 

 

The old midwife gestured to Kendall and said something in Italian.  The innkeeper, who had accidentally caught a glimpse of the placenta, was in the bathroom throwing up.  Zach looked at the midwife in concern.  “What do you think she wants?”

 

Kendall smiled.  “She’s telling me that I need to feed my baby.”

 

Zach frowned.  “How do you know?”

 

Bianca chuckled.  “Because she’s a mother, now.  She knows.”

 

Kendall guided the baby to her breast and helped her to latch on.

 

Bianca handed Zach a handkerchief as tears started to run down his cheeks.  “So does the newest Kane woman have a name yet?”

 

Zach touched his daughter’s forehead.  “Samantha Hart Slater.  She’s named after my great-grandmother, the one who made the baby quilt.” 

 

Kendall gazed down at her daughter.  “Bongiorno, Samantha.”

 

The two midwives, having finished their tasks, left with the still green-colored innkeeper.  Bianca kissed Kendall, Zach and Samantha, and quietly left the room so that the Slater family could have some time alone together. 


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Reply with quote  #98 

Sheree---hon----you had me in stitches and then in tears at the end.

 

Very very well done---I am sorry to see this story end.

 

Brava my dear.

 

 

 

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Reply with quote  #99 

Even though I never wanted to see the end of this story, what a great ending.  Very touching, funny, sweet and good grief Erica was nice to Zach.  Miracle of miracles.   So glad that Lena was the one to be with Bianca.   Your version of history is so much better that the paid storytellers.  I do believe you gave this story more time and energy that they ever thought of giving to the Slaters.   Thank you for sharing your talent us all of us.

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Thanks Em. It was a wonderful story and the ending was perfect.
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