For Keeps Bonus Epilogue

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Lily stared at herself in the mirror, unable to quite believe the person—the bride—staring back at her was her.

Her wedding gown was a vintage confection of ivory raw silk and just a touch of blush lace along the sweet-heart neckline. It had been her grandmother’s wedding dress from the 1950’s and she felt so special, being able to wear it. She even had the Juliet cap veil that was tipped in the same blush lace as the dress. Her Grandmother and then her mother had kept it tucked away for years, just in case. And now, just in case was here.

She knew a tea-length dress was a little unusual, but she and Wes were having their wedding in her family’s backyard. This was perfect for their small, intimate, family wedding.

There was a light knock on the door, and Wes’s mother and her own peeked their heads in. Lily smiled when she saw them—the two women had bonded quickly and were thick as thieves now. Her mom had taken to being a Grandmother like a fish to water. Dawn was so doted on by all of them, it did Lily’s heart good.

“You look so beautiful,” her mother said.

“That dress is like it was made for you,” Monica said. “Your Grandmother had exquisite taste.”

Lily smiled, smoothing a hand across her skirt. “I wish she was here.”

“Oh honey, she is,” Monica assured her. “In spirit.”

“She is looking down on us right now,” her mother added. “Laughing at Dawn’s funny faces. Gossiping with her friends up there about how handsome her granddaughter’s husband-to-be is.”

Lily smiled, charmed by this thought. “Speaking of Dawn, is she ready?”

Monica looked out the door and into the hall. “Jen’s bringing her right now,” she said.
Jen, who had become a good friend and one of her bridesmaids, came into the room with Dawn in her arms, beaming.

“Oh my gosh,” Lily said. “Look at her!”

Lily had found a seamstress who specialized in vintage reproductions make a child’s version of her wedding dress for Dawn. It was perfect. She even had a little Juliet cap (minus the veil) with embroidered flowers on.

“She is the cutest,” Jen said, as Dawn’s eyes settled on Lily and got really big as she realized they were dressed the same. Dawn reached out impatiently, wriggling in Jen’s arms.


Lily’s jaw dropped, happy shock filling her.

“Did she just…” she asked, not daring to believe it.

“Oh my gosh, she did!” her mother said.

“Is that her first word?” Jen asked.

“Mama!” Dawn said again, her eyebrows scrunching together in frustration, clearly annoyed Jen wasn’t handing her over.

Lily took her from Jen, holding her tight, her heart feeling so big she could barely stand it. “I have to tell Wes!” she said.

Before anyone could stop her, she hurried out of her parents room she was getting ready in, hurrying down the stairs to the library, where she knew Wes was. She cooed at Dawn, who seemed fascinated by her veil, as she knocked lightly on the door.

“It’s me,” she called through the door.

“Babe?” she heard his voice ask, then footsteps. “Should I open the door? I thought I wasn’t supposed to see you before the ceremony,” he said through the door.

“I know, I know,” Lily said, though that seemed almost silly now. “Don’t open the door. I just…Dawn said Mama, Wes!”

“What? Seriously? That’s amazing!”

“She saw me in my dress and said it!”

“That must be some dress,” he said and she laughed, loving him so much, wishing she could just yank the door open and kiss him.

She looked down at Dawn, love filling her.

Why couldn’t she? She didn’t believe in the bad luck thing.

She had had nothing but good luck since Wes and Dawn had come into her life.

She grinned at their daughter, and her fingers curled around the knob of the door, opening it.

And there he was, in his charcoal gray suit and dark blue tie, looking so handsome.
Looking like her husband.

“Lily,” he said, his voice breaking as he took her in as she stood there in her wedding dress, holding their daughter, who had just said her first word, who had just declared what Lily had known since the start: that Dawn was hers. Theirs. That this was the greatest adventure they could ever embark on: loving each other, loving Dawn, and loving whatever their lives would become together.

Tears filled Wes’s eyes as they stood there, staring at each other. It was like he couldn’t move. Like he didn’t know how, he was so struck by his beautiful girls.

She smiled, closing the space between him and tilting up, pressing a quick kiss to his lips.

“See you out there, handsome,” she whispered.

“I’ll be the one waiting for you at the end of the aisle,” he said.

Fifteen minutes later, he was. They exchanged their vows under the oak tree she used to climb as a child and Dawn was in Wes’s arms the entire time, as they sealed their lives together and promised forever.

It was as close to perfect as a girl could get.


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