Soulmates Marked by Love – Extended Epilogue

Lindsey wrinkled her nose as she stepped out into the cool, misty morning. She loved mornings like this. The fog fell from the sky and hovered over the trees that surrounded the cabin she called home.

They hadn’t added many buildings in the past three years, though they did have a small chicken house, a stable for a couple of horses with a small corral attached to it, and a spring house.

Lindsey loved the little piece of land they lived on. It was cozy and private, and it was also close to Sheila’s home, which she shared with Bob and their growing family. She could visit her best friend whenever she wanted to.

She made her way over to the little lean-to where they were keeping their one cow until they could build a barn.

Ted was kneeling down beside the cow, milking her. Lindsey leaned against the support of the lean-to and watched him work.

“Good morning,” he said with a smile. His eyes fell to her middle, where her stomach was growing more and more noticeable. In three months, they would have their second child.

“Good morning.” Lindsey watched as long streams of white, frothy milk fell into the bucket, slowly filling it up. “Are you almost finished? Breakfast is ready.”

“Is Elizabeth up yet?”

As if she’d heard her father calling her name, a little figure burst from the house and ran toward them. Her golden curls bounced as she ran. She’d inherited Lindsey’s blonde hair and Ted’s hazel eyes. When she approached, Ted stood up and scooped her wriggling, laughing body up in the air.

“How is my beautiful daughter?” he asked as he swung her playfully around.

Lindsey had to move in to get the bucket out of the way so the milk wouldn’t be spilled. He set Elizabeth down after kissing her on the forehead and gave Lindsey a hug.

“And how is my beautiful wife?”

Lindsey still blushed when Ted spoke to her that way. It made her feel as if she didn’t deserve his kindness, or as if he was greatly exaggerating. She didn’t consider herself to be extraordinarily beautiful. In fact, she considered herself to be a little less than average in the beauty department.

She looked over at Elizabeth’s flawless face. If she was honest, she’d always worried about one of their children receiving a birthmark from her when they were born. It hadn’t happened with Elizabeth, but that didn’t mean it might not happen to the new baby.

It wasn’t that she thought there was anything wrong with having a birthmark. She just worried that if one of her children had one, they might struggle with some of the same things she did. It was never easy to go through things like that, she knew.

“Mama, I’m hungry.” Elizabeth looked up at her with pleading eyes.

“I’m coming, darling. Aunt Sheila and Uncle Bob are coming, too. Have you seen them yet?” Lindsey had invited them to come and share a meal. They did things like that periodically, taking turns eating at each other’s homes.

“I think they’re coming now—and look, there’s Jonny!” Elizabeth hopped up and down as she spotted Bob, Sheila, and their son, Jonny, coming their way. Lindsey and Sheila had been pregnant around the same time with Jonny and Elizabeth. They were both around two years old and loved spending time together.

Lindsey had instructed Elizabeth to call Sheila her aunt since she was like a sister to Lindsey. It worked well, and sometimes, it really did feel like they were siblings and not best friends.

“Why don’t you go ahead and take them to the house, and Bob and I will meet you there in a second?” Ted kissed her forehead and ran his hand over her growing belly. Sometimes it was a bit overwhelming to think that soon it would be four of them in their tiny family.

“All right.” Lindsey kissed Ted back, something she would have been mortified to do when they’d first married, but after three years of practice, she’d gotten used to it.

She took Elizabeth by the hand and went to meet Jonny and Sheila.

“Good morning, Lindsey,” Bob greeted her politely as she passed, and she gave him a friendly nod.

She hugged Sheila when she got close enough. “Good morning.”

“It’s good to see you, too. Feels like forever.” Sheila laughed at her own joke. They’d seen each other just the day before.

Lindsey knelt down to Jonny’s level. “You just keep on growing, don’t you? I feel like just yesterday you and Elizabeth were tiny little babies.”

“I’m big!” Jonny threw his arms up in the air and Lindsey laughed. She loved the sweet little things that Elizabeth and Jonny said. They had a way of brightening up any room they walked into.

“He’s always growing. Sometimes I look at him and I try to remember the exact moment in which he changed, or grew, but I can’t place it. Every day, he looks a little more like Bob. Elizabeth, too—she reminds me of you when you were younger.”

They walked up toward the house as they talked, the two little ones chatting between them.

“Sometimes she reminds me of me, too.” Lindsey giggled. “She loves Sky. I think the horse forgot that she was mine to begin with. It’s all right; I still have Lightning, and he likes me the best.”

She had enjoyed a good few years with the horse her parents had arranged to be delivered to her. When she’d seen Sky again after leaving her in New York, she’d cried from happiness.

“I love the way that she loves horses. Jonny is a bit more interested in wagons and cows.” Sheila laughed. “I suppose he’s going after his father’s heart.”

They had reached the house, where they settled in the kitchen to wait for the men. While they waited, they heated the food Lindsey had already prepared that morning and began serving the plates.

After what seemed like forever, Bob and Ted came into the house, stomping their boots and taking off their coats.

“I smell something delicious.” By the time Bob and Ted came in, breakfast was dished up and on the table.

“Come and eat. It’s all ready.” Lindsey motioned for everyone to sit. She took Elizabeth and washed her hands, then set her down beside Jonny.

“Let’s say grace.” Ted bowed his head, and everyone followed suit. He said grace and Lindsey thanked God, too, for the blessings he continued to pour on their family.

During the last three years, they had had their moments of stress and had struggled a lot at times, but those moments were past and she still had her family and her children.

Lindsey looked around the table. Sheila exchanged glances with Bob and the two smiled in a strange, excited way.

“What’s going on?” Lindsey knew her best friend better than to let that slide.

Bob stood up as if he’d been waiting for an invitation to tell everyone what was going on.

“We have an announcement to make. We didn’t want to say anything before we were sure, but… we’re expecting another baby.”

Lindsey’s jaw dropped. How hadn’t she noticed it before? Now that she looked closer, Sheila’s stomach did look a little larger than normal.

“You mean… I can’t believe it!” Lindsey couldn’t hide her excitement. It wasn’t as close as the last time, but it was close enough, and it elated her.

She couldn’t wait to share all of the memories, and the moments of growth with Sheila. The two of them were going to grow closer than ever with this new adventure they would face together.

“I know. I can hardly believe it either.” Sheila shook her head.

“Well, this certainly constitutes a celebration breakfast. Let’s dig in.”

Lindsey followed everyone else’s example and they all started eating, a happy buzz filling the room. Soon, there would be two newcomers to the ranch.

—*—

Lindsey sat down at the little nighttime table that Ted had made her when they’d first married. She’d sat there every night for most of the three years since her wedding. She would sometimes write in a journal for herself or her children in the future, but oftentimes, she would pen a letter back home to her parents.

They’d stayed for a few months when she’d gotten married, and then they’d gone back to New York. They’d talked about moving west in five years, once they had finished things up in the city. They planned to sell everything, then come to live near Ted and Lindsey.

Lindsey often dreamed of that day. Everything that had once burdened her about her parents had changed. As she’d slowly learned more about herself and her relationships, Lindsey started to be more open to the bonds with her family. She missed them immensely. Through her healing, it seemed they too had grown more comfortable with who she was, her birthmark, and the choices she made.

She pulled out a paper and pencil and began to write them a letter about Sheila’s news. When they came, they would have two grandchildren, plus Sheila’s children to see as grandchildren, perhaps. Sheila’s parents had already moved nearby, and Lindsey enjoyed having the cook who had kept her company as a child and taught her so much back in her life.

She could also see how absolutely thrilled Sheila was to have her mother be a part of her children’s lives and if Lindsey was honest, she couldn’t wait to have the same. One day, she would.

—*—

Ted hoisted himself up on the pasture fence. He looked out over the field, where the sun would be setting soon. It had been a few days since he’d found out about Bob’s news, and they had been so busy that he hadn’t had much of a chance to talk to Bob about it.

“How have things been?” Ted asked, trying to break the silence. Bob had come over to help him prepare one of the side fields for more cattle, which they would be bringing in within a couple of months.

“Everything is great. It’s been strange seeing that Sheila is pregnant again. I don’t think I could ever get used to that.”

Ted chuckled. “I feel the same way, though the pregnancy goes by so fast, and then you have a new little human, running around and enjoying life.”

Bob nodded. “You’re right. I’ve always wanted a big family. Perhaps eight or even ten kids. Who knows? Maybe make it a dozen. But I suppose I never really considered the toll it can take on a woman, and I worry about Sheila. What if I lose her because of my desire for a big family?”

“Whoa, where is this coming from?” Ted hadn’t heard Bob talk this way before.

“I don’t know. I guess that now she’s pregnant a second time, I’ve started thinking about the risks, and wondering if it’s such a good idea to have lots of children.”

Ted could understand that feeling but he also knew things weren’t that easy to control or predict.

“I felt that way once, about falling in love again, remember? You told me there was nothing I could control about the past or the future, just that I could have a chance at love in the now.”

“That is different.” Bob looked away.

“How is that different? I fell in love with Lindsey, and then the worst happened and she almost got taken away from me—but then she didn’t, and here we are. I’m not saying you shouldn’t worry about those things—perhaps you’d be happy with six children instead of a dozen—but don’t forget that you could be risking the future because you’re worrying about now.”

“You’re right. You really are. When did you get so wise?”

Ted threw his head back and laughed. “I’m not wise. I’m young and don’t know much, really, if I’m honest.”

Bob shook his head. “On the bright side, Yuri and Ben Blackwell are still in jail for what they did. I have a friend in New York, he wrote me just the other day saying that he was around there for something else and checked.”

Ted was relieved to hear that. There were some days when he wondered if he would ever be able to stop worrying about someone coming up and kidnapping Lindsey again because they weren’t happy with how things had worked out.

“That is really good to know. Make sure and tell me if that ever changes. I think they should stay there for a good long time, if not forever.” Ted still remembered the terrifying feeling of not knowing whether he’d ever see Lindsey again.

“I doubt they’ll be getting out any time soon, and even if they did, I have to believe they would know better than to come after Lindsey again.”

Ted nodded. He wasn’t sure if what Bob was saying was the case or not, but he liked to think it was true. It would certainly help him sleep at night.

“I should go. Sheila wants my help with Jonny this afternoon. I’ll see you soon?”

“Sure thing.” Ted stayed on the pasture fence after Bob hopped down and walked away. He took a few extra moments to soak in the silence. He enjoyed these little peaceful moments sometimes, though they were always better with Lindsey beside him.

—*—

Ted hopped up the porch steps two at a time, then walked into the cabin. He’d just finished with the milking for the evening after supper, and it would be dark soon.

He stopped at the entrance to the parlor.

Lindsey was sitting in one of the parlor chairs, leaning back with her feet propped up. She had Elizabeth on her lap and was holding a book in front of them, reading softly. Elizabeth had fallen asleep. Her delicate eyelashes had lowered, and her chest rose and fell softly.

Ted watched the picture of serenity in front of the crackling of the fire in the fireplace.

“She’s asleep,” he whispered after a few moments.

Lindsey looked up at him and smiled. “I know. I just… well, I was just enjoying the moment. She’s growing so big. Soon, I won’t be able to pick her up anymore. I mean, maybe a few more years are left, but how did this happen? I remember when she was just a tiny little thing. Now we’re about to have another baby.” Lindsey paused a moment. “I suppose it makes me sad, thinking about how she won’t be the little one anymore. I wonder if she’ll feel hurt by that.”

Ted walked over to them and sat down on the edge of the chair. He put his arm around Lindsey’s shoulders and kissed her forehead.

“Please don’t worry about that. Elizabeth knows we love her very much, and she’s very happy about having a new baby in the home. You don’t have to worry about her being upset.”

Lindsey took a deep breath. Ted had heard that women were sometimes a bit more emotional during pregnancy, but that hadn’t been the case for the most part with Lindsey.

“I know I’m just overthinking. I just… worry about her. We’re going to be fine, right?”

“Of course we are. We’re all in this together, and soon, we’re going to be four.” Ted kissed Lindsey’s head one more time, then knelt down and scooped Elizabeth into his arms. “Let me carry her to bed.”

Lindsey nodded, closed her book, and set it down on the table nearby. Her eyes were still looking down, and her shoulders had a tiny bit of a sag, but she looked a little happier than a few moments earlier. Ted pressed his cheek to his daughter’s as he carried her down the hall.

Lindsey was right. She was growing so fast, and soon, she would no longer be the tiny little thing they had welcomed into the world. She would be a woman, getting married and having children of her own. He could already imagine it happening, and he couldn’t wait to see it.

He stepped into their room, and Lindsey pulled out the trundle bed where Elizabeth slept. She turned down the blankets, and he laid their daughter down. He tucked the blankets around her and kissed her cheek softly. She stirred in her sleep, a content expression on her little face. Her button nose wrinkled and she itched it, then turned over and settled back to stillness.

“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Lindsey asked, standing beside him and staring down at the little girl they’d created. Ted put his arm around her waist and pulled her close.

“Of course she is. She looks just like you.”

Ted closed his eyes, savoring the closeness he felt with those he loved. He was still a young man, and yet he had already lived so many experiences and felt so much. He felt as if he were an old man, trapped in a young man’s body. It was a surreal feeling and one that prompted him to think that much more about the blessings God had bestowed upon him.

There were many in the world who were not as lucky as him, but here he was with the love of his life, a child who was safe, happy, and healthy, and another baby on the way. Life was good, his family was just what he’d always wanted, and he was content.

THE END


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20 thoughts on “Soulmates Marked by Love – Extended Epilogue”

    1. Thank you Ellen for the extended version. You made me so happy today. Looking forward to reading your next book.
      Marie

    2. Loved this book lots of excitement going on hard to put down. The ending was happy I’m glad Lindsay and Ted found each other two lost souls drawn to each other n found love . ♥️

    3. I enjoyed your book very much. It was nice to see good things come for Lindsey and Ted. I liked how all the families came together in the extended episode.

  1. An interesting story with fun and interesting characters. It was a good story about how to deal with things outside the norm that impact our lives.
    It also shows how best friends can be as close as sisters.

  2. Thanks for the extended epilogue, it brought the story to a final ending for me. It was a good love story and the characters were very interesting.

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