Will stood across the street from the Wellington print shop. He could hardly believe it. It had been five years since he had last stood on this street! And now he was back.
When Will and his two friends had arrived at the Kennedy farm, they'd been shocked to find it completely empty. The house had been turned topsy-turvy and there was not a soul in sight. Not knowing what else to do, the three men had decided to make their way to the nearest town and stay there for the night, and then they would find out all they could about where their loved ones had gone.
Upon arriving at the town, Larry had caught sight of Lucy playing with a two-year-old boy out in the grass in front of one of the houses. She had screamed when she'd seen them and they had been warmly welcomed into a house belonging to an Irish family by the name of McIntire. Will had gone so far only to learn that his wife and son were in Boston with Elizabeth's parents. The one to inform him was the eldest son- a sandy-haired young man named Richard. Will had tried to befriend him, but for some strange reason he got the impression that Richard didn't like him very much.
Will had left the next day for Boston, and now here he stood. It hardly seemed real, standing on this street. The shop still looked the same. The blue paint was still peeling on the sign and the golden letters were still slowly fading. People still walked passed it carelessly, hardly paying it a second glance.
Will inhaled deeply before marching across the street. That magical bell that hung above the door chimed its familiar jingle. The smell of ink and paper filled Will's nostrils, bringing with it memories that were irreplaceable. Looking around as he closed the door behind him, Will saw that no one was inside. He walked slowly over to the printing press and ran his hand over it gently, remembering a time when he would sit at it for hours and practice sliding the word stamps into it. A smile appeared on his face when he remembered one time in particular. He had called Elizabeth a noisy bird and she had thrown a small rock at his head before running from the shop. Oh, what happy times those had been!
The door to Mr. Wellington's office, at the back of the shop, caught Will's eye and he made his way to it. The golden letters on it read "Samuel T. Wellington", just as they always had. He pressed his ear to the door and grinned as he heard the faint sound of snoring. "Good old Papa," he said softly.
Now it was time to turn to the door in the front, right-hand corner of the shop. Will just stood in front of it, preparing himself by taking deep breaths, before he put his hand on the handle and pushed the heavy door open.
There it was. The only real home Will had ever had. Mildred must have been baking bread, because its appetizing scent filled the air. Off to the right stood the parlor with the striped sofas and grand piano. And directly in front was that long, spiral staircase that led to the bedrooms above.
Will let his sack slide off of his shoulder and closed the door behind him.
Elizabeth tucked Joshua in soundly. He had not put up a fight this time when she'd put him down for a nap. He'd played hard all day and now the sun would be setting soon. She stepped back from his bed to look at him, all comfortable and nestled up in the blankets. His dark curls, so much like his mother's went into his eyes and lay messily on his pillow. At that moment he looked so much like his father. His little, two-year-old fist rested under his chubby cheek and his lips were parted in sleep. The dark eyelashes he had inherited from his mother lay against his cheekbone sweetly and Elizabeth smiled. Oh, how she loved her little boy.
She heard the door down in the entryway open and close. Papa must have finally woken up, she thought. She bent down and blew out the candle on Joshua's bedside table before going out the door.
Will smiled at the familiar surroundings. But the thought that his beautiful Elizabeth might be just up those stairs filled him with emotion. He swallowed and then called out, "I'm home." He had meant for it to sound casual, careless. But instead it had come out weak.
For a moment, there was nothing, and then Elizabeth came rushing down the stairs. She froze at the bottom at the sight of him. Neither said anything. They just stared at each other. It didn't feel real. They had neither seen, nor heard from one another in a year. And now here they were, standing only a few yards away. Elizabeth swallowed back her tears and cleared her throat. "You're late," she said.
Will smiled, his eyes shining with tears that he refused to let escape. His eyes glanced at the clock. "You're right," he said, "the war ended a week ago. Forgive me for the delay."
Elizabeth made a sound somewhere between a laugh and a sob. She struggled not to let her tears flow. "I'll forgive you…… as long as you plan to stay for dinner."
Will shook his head. He couldn't smile anymore. "If it's alright, Mrs. Ingals, I'd rather stay forever this time."
Elizabeth's tears burst forth as she laughed and ran into her husband's arms. They held each other tightly, laughing and crying harder than ever. They did not even kiss, not wanting to pull apart from each other enough to do it. They just clung to one another. Were there any words in the human tongue that could describe such joy, I would use them. But then how could the happiness of a husband and wife who have been so long separated ever properly be described?
"Promise me," Elizabeth said through her tears, "promise me that you will never leave me again."
"Never," Will promised. "I'll never leave you." He pulled back and looked into her eyes, caressing her cheek with his thumb. "I missed you, Elsie," he whispered.
Elizabeth smiled warmly. "I missed you too." She went up on tiptoes and kissed him.
After that day, Will remained with his family. After forgiving him for the pain he had caused them, Beth and Samuel Wellington welcomed their son-in-law into their family with great love.
Will had grieved with his wife when he heard of the miscarriage and he apologized repeatedly for not being there with Elizabeth when she had needed him.
Alice married Larry, despite his useless legs, and even carried him over the threshold on their wedding day. They could never have any children, but in the years following their marriage they adopted two little girls and a boy from an orphanage in Britain. Larry's legs proved not to be totally worthless. Every year after the war he could feel them more and more, until one day he walked right up to Alice and kissed her on the cheek.
Richard McIntire got over his infatuation with Elizabeth and found love with Lucy Tremain, whom he married and had ten children with.
Ben and Anna moved to a small town in Pennsylvania, where Anna gave birth to a second boy, whom they named Joseph, after the elderly Joseph Kennedy who had shown so much kindness to Anna and Elizabeth. After Joseph was born, they built a farm just out side of the Pennsylvania town and there they lived for the rest of their days.
Will and Elizabeth moved to a quaint town in Delaware, where Will started a freight, shipping business on the docks. Only a year after the Tremain's little Jacob was born, Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter. The labor was hard, as it had been with Joshua. And because the doctors informed Elizabeth that she would not be able to have more children, the baby girl, Lydia Ivy, was called their Miracle Child.
The Tremains and the Ingals kept in contact with each other, visiting once a year in the Summertime. In years to come, when Will's children would ask him about the war, he would only smile and say, "well, the good side won. That's because I was on their side, and I never lose a fight."
(A/N. What did you think? Dumb ending? Good ending? Needs-work ending?
To all of my reviewers- THANK YOU!!!!!! I hope to see you again reviewing my next story! I don't know what the title will be yet, but I should have the first chapter up in a few days. Thanks again! Xoxoxoxoxoxoxo!