Writing her Own Happy Ending – Extended Epilogue

Linda herded everyone toward the van. It was a sunny day, perfect for the occasion. It was everything that they had all hoped for. 

Today was the day Kyle graduated from high school. He had become like a little brother to Linda in the past two years. Sometimes she laughed when she thought of the first time he had eaten a meal with them. She never would have guessed how important he would become to their family. Then again, there were so many things that she never would have guessed about her life back then. 

“Are we ready to go? I don’t want to be late.” Shawn was practically running out of the house with Nataly holding his hand. Nataly had just turned nine last week and was growing like a weed. She and her brother Chris had come to live with Linda and Shawn almost a year ago. 

They hadn’t waited long to start Shawn’s project and had immediately gotten their licenses to become foster parents. Even though they had been working in Anna and Kyle’s life in their own ways, Chris and Nataly were their first real foster children. 

Linda loved the two children like they were her own. 

“I’m ready, do you think Kyle is going to like the gift that I got for him?” Anna asked. 

She was sixteen and was becoming a lovely young woman. Linda often worried about what sort of attention she would attract. She knew her little sister was getting older and soon she would probably have young men interested in her. Shawn reassured Linda that he would ward off any unwanted attention, and Linda believed him. Shawn was so protective of Anna that anyone would think he was her older brother or her father. He had taken to being a parental figure to Anna like a fish to water. 

“He’s going to love the gift you got for him. If he doesn’t like it, you just tell me and I’ll knock some sense into him.” Shawn tousled Anna’s hair. It was something that he had started doing a few months after he and Linda had gotten married and still hadn’t stopped, much to Anna’s annoyance. This time, she just smiled as she climbed into the back of the van. 

“Hey, don’t forget me!” Shawn’s dad was hurrying from the house, barely using his cane as he rushed to the vehicle. 

Linda smiled as she waited for him to climb into the van before closing the door. She loved Shawn’s father like he was her own. He loved having children around the farm and always said how blessed he was to have a growing family. 

The drive to the local high school didn’t take too long. When they got there, they found their seats quickly. Kyle was sitting on the slightly raised stage beside the other eight students in his class who were graduating. He waved at them enthusiastically. 

Linda looked around and felt a pang of sadness when she saw no sign of Kyle’s mother. Kyle loved his mother, despite her absence in his life, but Linda tried to make up for that absence. She hoped that between all of the friends Kyle had supporting him now, he wouldn’t feel his mother’s absence quite as much. 

Linda looked over to see Ella and Chester sitting further down the row with the twins. The twins were growing so fast, Linda swore they were a few inches taller every single time she saw them. 

She traded places with Shawn so she could sit beside Ella.

“I’m so glad you could make it,” Linda said, leaning closer to her friend. The graduation ceremony hadn’t quite started, so they had a few minutes to talk. 

“Me too. The farm has kept us all so busy, but we didn’t want to miss Kyle’s graduation. You know how important he has come to all of us.” Ella glanced up at Kyle, fondness in her gaze. 

“I know. He’s eighteen already, a young man who has changed so much.” Linda gave him a quick glance. He had matured in more ways than one. Due to several square meals a day over at their farm, he had grown into his size. He no longer looked like he was a few years younger than his actual age. 

“So, how is it going with the renovations on the house?” Ella asked. 

“They’re going well. Shawn and I have been talking about growing our family. We don’t know if it will be through more foster kids or if we will try for a baby. I don’t know. The thought is exciting but also terrifies me.” 

Ella laughed. “It’s not that bad. Look how fast they grow.” Ella touched the head of one of the twins. “You barely feel it.” 

“I know what you mean. In two short years, Anna is going to graduate. It feels like just yesterday she was the nine-year-old sweetheart that would crawl into bed with me when there were bad thunderstorms.” 

“She’s still that same girl, she’s just grown a bit.” Ella was staring at Anna and Linda followed her gaze. 

Anna didn’t even notice them. She was too busy staring at Kyle on stage. Her cheeks were flushed and there was an intrigued or infatuated expression on her face—which, Linda couldn’t be sure. 

“She likes Kyle.” Linda wasn’t sure how she hadn’t seen it before. Kyle had been Anna’s first friend in her new school. He had spent a lot of time over at her and Shawn’s house. To Linda’s surprise, she didn’t mind as much as she thought she would have. 

“Shh, it’s starting.” Ella directed her boys to look forward at the stage. 

The principal went to the podium at the front and started calling up students one by one, handing them their diplomas. 

Kyle’s name was called last. He stood proudly and smiled out at Linda, Shawn, Ella, Chester, and the rest of the people who had come to support him. Linda stood with the rest of her family and they all clapped and hollered as loud as they could. They were there for Kyle. They would always try their best to be there for those who had no one, at least whenever they could. 

When Kyle had received his diploma, he came off of the stage and came down the side, headed toward them. 

Linda followed Shawn and the others out of the audience and they swarmed Kyle with hugs and words of congratulations. In all of her travels to the city and her book tours and her times of success, Linda had never felt as accomplished and happy as she did at that moment. 

She knew she and her family had something to do with how Kyle had found his courage and strength to keep going. That was something she would never forget. The smile on his face was worth it all. She loved the work Shawn had decided to do, loved bringing blessings to other’s lives. 

She knew each of the children that they had in their lives would grow up and leave them eventually. Even Anna would move on and have her own family one day. Linda knew that when that happened, it would all be okay because she had Shawn. She didn’t know if she deserved Shawn or if she ever would, but she knew he was a blessing that she would always love and cherish with all of her heart.

—*—

Shawn could tell Kyle was nervous. He kept wiping his palms on the front of his pants. 

“What is it, Kyle? I know you want to ask me something,” Shawn said. He had been able to tell from the moment Kyle walked off the stage. 

“I don’t know if you’re going to get mad.” Kyle shoved his hand through his short black hair. 

“There isn’t much you could say that would make me mad.” Shawn chuckled. “We are all proud of what you have done with yourself, Kyle. Do you know what you’re doing after this?”

“I already sent in my application to the community college and I also plan to keep my job at the car shop. I want to save up some money while I get my degree. I can hopefully open up my own car shop in a few years, or maybe I’ll have a farm like you.” Kyle grinned and for a moment, his nervousness vanished. 

“That sounds great, Kyle. You are truly turning into a very honorable and respectable young man. I certainly admire you and I want you to go ahead and ask me whatever it is that you wanted to when you pulled me aside.” 

“Okay, okay. You probably know this, but Anna’s seventeenth birthday is in two weeks.” 

“Of course I know that. You’re invited to the little party we are throwing for her. I hope you’ll be there.” 

“I will be. It’s just… well, I wanted to ask if you and Linda would maybe let me take Anna out on a date. I know you might not be comfortable with it, and if you’re not, I’ll wait until you are. I really care for Anna. I think she is someone very special and I would love the opportunity to get to know her better.” 

“So, you’re asking me for my blessing to take her out on a date?” Shawn crossed his arms. He wasn’t sure how he felt about Anna going on a date.

“Yes. I don’t want you to be mad, I just want to do things right.” 

“I appreciate that, and I know how close you and Anna have gotten over the past two years. This is what I’m going to do. You can take her out on a date, but you have to bring her back at a respectable hour, and you had better take her to a public place. A movie, or maybe dinner. There is no permission for long romantic walks or lonely little getaways, do you understand me?”

“I do, sir.” Kyle looked positively scared. It almost made Shawn laugh and if they hadn’t been talking about Anna, he probably would have.

“You don’t have to call me ‘sir’ after we are done with this conversation. I see Anna as a daughter. I don’t want to hear about you breaking her heart or disrespecting her or I will have to come and find you. Do you know what I mean?”

“I do.” Kyle smiled hesitatingly. “Thank you for your permission, it means a lot.” 

“No problem, Kyle. Now, I think Linda has a surprise dinner planned to celebrate your graduation. I’m just telling you because I know you hate to be surprised. Make sure you act like you did not know, or I will be in trouble.” 

“Thank you for telling me, Shawn.” Kyle leaned in and gave him a hug. The gesture was unexpected but appreciated. 

Shawn tried to hide his emotions as best he could. He cared for Kyle like a brother or a son. It was something he couldn’t describe. If Anna had to fall in love with someone, he was pretty happy about it being Kyle. Still, he wasn’t about to tell Kyle that. 

Shawn watched as Kyle headed across the field to where Anna was waiting for him. He saw the way that Anna’s face lit up when he talked to her. Anna pulled out the little box where she had packed and wrapped the watch she’d purchased with her own money, earned from babysitting. She handed it to Kyle and watched him with excited eyes as he opened it. Kyle leaned in and gave her a chaste hug before putting the watch on his wrist. 

Shawn grinned. He’d done the right thing by giving Kyle permission to take Anna on a date. Now he just had to run it by Linda. Shawn knew if Kyle thought Linda was against the idea in any way, he would not take Anna out. He had approached him because of the working relationship they’d had since they met. Shawn appreciated that and felt like now he had to put in a good word for Kyle with Linda. 

“There you are, where have you been? We need to get back to the house and get ready for Kyle’s surprise party.” Linda had Nataly’s sweater draped over her arm. “Do you know where the kids are? They ran off with some of their friends, but they have to be in this crowd somewhere.” 

“Linda, you know how Kyle hates surprises.” Shawn shook his head. He’d told Linda a couple of times that a surprise party was a bad idea but she was insistent. 

“I know, but I think he is going to change his mind if he just gives it a chance. He just hates surprises because he hasn’t had many.” 

“Okay fine, but there’s actually something that Kyle just talked to me about.” 

“You didn’t tell him about the surprise, did you?”

“It wasn’t about that.” Shawn avoided the question. “He wanted to ask my permission to take Anna out on a date. He wants to ask her out on her birthday, and I told him that he had my permission. I laid down a few rules, of course.” 

“Really? Do you think she’s old enough to date?” Linda’s features became worried. 

“I think she is. She’s almost seventeen, Linda. There are two years between her and Kyle and they are good friends. I think they will make a good pair. I know Kyle and he’s a really good kid. He will be respectful of what we want for her and take good care of her.” 

“You’re probably right. It’s just so hard to see Anna growing up. I don’t want to see her hurt.” 

Shawn shook his head. “If Kyle hurts her…” 

“Come on now, you can’t threaten him. Sometimes heartbreak happens.” 

“I know, but not to Anna, by a young man who asked for my permission.” 

Linda giggled. “Come on, let’s find the kids and get back home. Kyle and everyone is going to get there in a few hours and I want everything to be nice.” 

Shawn nodded, not bothering to tell Linda he’d spoiled the surprise. He knew Kyle would love the dinner she had planned, even if he did know it was going to happen. He looked over to where Kyle and Anna were still talking and hoped he was making the right decisions for the small family he was guiding. 

He was so lucky to have each and every one of them in his life, he didn’t want to let any of them down. He was going to make sure he was the best husband, father, friend, brother, and mentor he could be to every single person God gave him the blessing of having in his circle. 

—*—

“I can’t believe you actually invited me to your house for once. It’s been so long,” Hiram said, drinking a glass of lemonade. 

Shawn shrugged. “My wife wanted to make a big deal out of this dinner and I figured why not? It’s not like we don’t see each other every single day at the precinct.” 

“I know, but it’s not the same as downtime.” Hiram grinned. “I can’t believe everything you did with that young man. Now, everyone in town knows who he is and that he is headed places.” Hiram was watching Kyle from across the room. 

“I know. I am really proud of him.” 

Chester walked up and joined them just as Hiram was about to say something else. 

“Hiram, you know Chester, Chester, Hiram, my partner.” Shawn did quick introductions, just in case the two had forgotten each other. Even though Shawn loved his work as a police officer and his work farming with his family, he often kept the two worlds separate. 

“I do remember you.” Chester shook Hiram’s hand. “This is a nice dinner, Shawn.” 

“It really is, but I can’t take any of the credit for it. Linda did it all on her own. How have things been over on the farm?”

“Great.” Chester smiled. He looked happier than Shawn had seen him in a long time. “We just got a few new cows and I signed a new contract with one of the local grocers—they will be carrying milk from our farm.” 

“That’s great! I’m so glad it’s taking off for you.” Shawn was glad his friends were making a living with their farm. He had been worried about whether they would be able to break into the market. He was pleased to see Chester and Ella having success. 

Linda came over with a pitcher of lemonade. “Would anyone like more lemonade?” she asked. 

“No thanks, I’m full.” Shawn wrapped his arm around her waist. “You really outdid yourself tonight.” 

“Not really, I was just trying to show Kyle that we care about him and that he has a community of people around him. Look at them.” Linda motioned to where Kyle, Chris, Nataly, and Anna were all playing table games. “They all get along so well.” 

“I’m proud of them.” Shawn pressed a kiss to the top of Linda’s head. “I’m also proud of you.” 

Linda smiled up at him. “You know, it doesn’t matter how many books I write or how many I sell, this is the part of my life I love.” 

Shawn chuckled. “I love you, you know that?”

“I do.” Linda leaned her head against his shoulder and Shawn felt a rush of contentment. He had everything he could have ever asked for in his life. He was certain it couldn’t possibly get any better.

THE END


39 thoughts on “Writing her Own Happy Ending – Extended Epilogue”

    1. How good it is to read a story about helping youth to overcome disadvantages in their lives, making a living in a rural setting and loving supportive family.
      Thankyou Leslie.

    2. So many times miscommunication has a way of almost ruining a good relationship. This was true for Shawn and Linda in this book. But love somehow conquers all and everything works out well. Great read!

    3. I so enjoyed your dealing with present problems in our society where more caring people would make a big difference. I also applaud your not using the f words to get a reader’s attention.

    4. I loved the book and the extended epilogue. I especially liked how you keep their faith so alive in your stories!

    5. I really enjoyed this book. I like your style of writing and the values you create in your characters. I truly appreciate that this was a clean, meaningful story of caring for the lives of others. I look forward to more of the same. God bless you!

    6. I COULD NOT STOP READING YOUR BOOK !!!! IT WAS SAD AND HAPPY IN EVERY WAY. I HOPE THIS HELPS PEOPLE TO HELP THE CHILDREN IN THEIR COMMUNITY IN ANY WAY THEY CAN. THE YOUNGER GENERATION COULD BE OUR FUTURE LEADERS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS BOOK. I LOOK FORWARD TO READING MORE OF YOUR BOOKS !!!!!!!!

  1. Great story. Loved how they met bringing it full circle and reminding people to be aware at all times when driving. To becoming foster parents. A.very meaningful story

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, Melony. I truly appreciate it!

      Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Thank you again and have a lovely day!

  2. This was a great story. For me it showed how despite heartbreak and troubles God works things out to the good.. Keep up the good work.

  3. Thus is a good story It is a story of love and hearbreak friendship and second chances Very well written

  4. Wonderful book! There is an emphasis on family and caring for others and taking an interest in helping those who are not as blessed as we are. So many people just need someone to point them in the right direction and to be there for them to depend on. Thank you for helping us to remember that God has a plan for each life and that He will direct us if we just let Him. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

    1. I’m humbled, my dear Jill! I’m really grateful for your support and kind feedback! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Have a lovely day 🙂

  5. Heartbreak from a relationship is bad enough, but losing your parents was almost too much for the teenager. Now, she had to step up and love, guide and nurture her sister through the tough teenage years. Taking a leap of faith to move from the big city to a small town, comes with new opportunities and challenges. This is an inspiring story for the reader.

  6. I love having such clean books to read. I am 89 yrs old and living in a retirement home. I read books all the time and yours are really interesting.

    Thank you,
    Vena

  7. Leslie, this story was great from beginning to the end! You have a remarkable way of putting into words the very thoughts and emotions of the characters in your stories. I read it in one setting, not really wanting to stop to eat! (Smile). I’ll be looking for more of your stories.

  8. Really enjoyed the story and it was nice to read about the police man helping a youth that was on the road to begin a bad person. With help and encouragement he bettered himself and he graduated from college and he had a future to look forward to. Hope Linda and Shawn manage to have a family of their own as well as fostering. Could not put it down so keep up the good work.

  9. A very happy double ending and many great life lessons along the way. My first book from this author but I certainly look forward to many more!

  10. Loved this book from the beginning to the extended ending. It was wonderful. Liked all the characters and how they were all brought together. I truthfully didn’t want the story to end. I highly recommend this story to anyone.

  11. Leslie I enjoyed your book. I loved the characters. I especially Liked how Kyle was treated after his vandalism charge. Wish there were more people like Shawn in the world who would help the underprivileged young people there are so many in the world now who need help like that.. Thank you for writing this special story.

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