Epilogue: For the Better
I place a hand over my swollen stomach as another kick flutters across its surface.
“He’s getting restless,” I say, smiling up at my husband. “He’s ready to meet us.”
For a brief second I’m back at our wedding, saying my vows.
“Do you, Riley Jane Noble, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband? Will you love him, comfort and keep him, forsake all others and remain true to him as long as you both shall live?”
I didn’t want to be the cliché bride, giggling like a maniac on her wedding day, but I couldn’t stop the happy sound from bubbling from my lips. “I will.”
“Then, by the power vested in me by the state of Florida, I do pronounce you both man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
That had been the happiest moment of my life, and I was about to experience the next: the birth of our first child.
“Well, I’m ready to meet him,” Aiden says, planting a kiss on the top of my head. “I’ve waited 38 weeks to meet Anthony, and I’m getting impatient.”
“Calm down, Aiden,” Amber scolds, her own pregnant stomach bulging from beneath her maternity clothes. She’s 29 weeks along, and couldn’t be happier. “The boy will come when he’s ready.”
Her own husband stands behind her, tall, dark, and handsome. They had met in college, fallen in love, and married two years later.
How Aiden and I managed to survive our last year of high-school and all four years of college I will never know. We attended different high-schools, but applied to the same colleges. We had our little spats along the way, as all couples do, but somehow we managed to stay firm through it. If anything, or fights made us stronger, as sappy and cliché as that sounds.
He proposed to me in front of the building we had first met at.
“Riley?” He asked, and I turned to face him.
Suddenly, my legs were flying out from under me, and I was falling. I landed in strong arms.
“Now, that I’ve finally learned to catch you…” Aiden set me securely back on my feet and knelt on one knee.
My eyes widened and my heart started beating fast—too fast it almost seemed.
“Will you do me the honor of being my wife?”
Obviously, I said yes.
The Dating Department didn’t last any longer than that summer, but that didn’t matter to any of us, I don’t think. A few months after I chose Aiden, Roy asked out a girl at his college, they’re now married and raising two children just as beautiful as their parents.
Danny and Dominique broke up after highschool, as of now, Danny is still a single 20 year old, working in college to get her degree in nursing. I think she’s happy.
Levi? Well, we tried friendship, and it worked better than expected. He attended an out of state college, but we still manage to keep in touch. He’s coming out in a few weeks with his fiancé, a beautiful young woman named Megan Holmes--soon to be Megan Evans-- to get married here in Florida and meet Anthony, who is to be their god-son.
Paul eventually got the nerve up to ask Delaney out. She immediately accepted. Though at first her parents didn’t approve, the relationship worked out. They are currently honeymooning in Waikiki.
“What are you thinking about, babe?” Aiden asks, breaking me out of my reverie.
I shrug, “Nothing much.”
“You’re still a horrible liar,” he laughs, wheeling me along the hospital corridors to one of the birthing rooms, nurses and doctor leading the way.
“I was thinking about how that one summer changed everything,” I admit, and he smiles at me.
“For better or for worse?”
I sigh and hoist myself up onto the bed, sinking back onto the pillows before the real work begins. I look at my handsome husband and the answer is clear. Gently, I place a hand on my pregnant tummy and smile, “For the better. Definitely for the better.”