Before you read the great wrap up, I want to thank everyone for all your contributions and opinions! Please just give me one more, do you think I can get this published?
Five years to the day that Carter and I got back together, I felt beautiful. This wasn't because I was beautiful, which everyone had to admit that I was. No, it was because of the way he was gazing at me. It was as if I were the only person in the room with him. In all truth, he was the only person I could see too. The smile on his lips warmed my heart. I knew that there was the same silly smile gracing my face too. As I walked closer and closer I could feel the stares of the other people on me. Sheryl's eyes were warm. I tore my eyes away from Carter's for a moment and fell on Sheryl. Her smile widened and she nodded happily. It was wonderful to see them all up there: Sheryl, Agnes, Brian, the hellions, and Carter. My father was firmly attached to my arm. His warmth at my side was absolutely perfect. I had imagined this day so many times in my lifetime, but I had never thought I would be this happy. In my dreams, my father had never been there. In my dreams, the star had not been Carter, and I had not been this much in love. It had been five years. Five years of pure bliss and happiness. Now, it would be a forever of happiness. We would be together for the rest of our lives. That thought made me smile. As we reached the end of the aisle, Dad turned to me and kissed my cheek.
"I love you, sweetheart."
"I love you too Dad." Then he gave me away to the one man I would love for the rest of my life.
One year after Carter and I were married he was trying to keep me from killing him. It wasn't that I actually wanted to murder my husband, but he was not helping. The doctor on my other side was telling me to push, and Carter was doing the same. The pain was intense, but all I could think about was that Carter had done this to me. I aimed a glare at him as another wave of pain came across me. Only this pain lasted longer and before I knew it I was holding our first child. Carter's eyes were bright with happiness as he leaned over and traced a finger down his son's face.
Six years after we were married, Carter moved us and our three children from northern California to Spokane, Washington. Edward, Cody and Katherine loved it there. They were the type of children that liked to play in the rain, to get muddy and come running into the clean house afterwards. It was always so hard to be angry with them. They had their father's smile, and when it was aimed at me I could never resist.
Eleven years into our marriage, I watched as Agnes took her turn down the aisle. Her groom, a delightful man named Jonathan Moseby, looked ecstatic to finally have her here. They had met only a year after Carter and I married, but Agnes hadn't wanted to be married. Now that she was walking down the aisle, she made a beautiful bride. Her eyes were bright with love and her smile seemed to shine off her face. My eyes trailed to Carter for just a moment. He was gazing at me with such warmth that I was overcome. How did I get so lucky to find him?
Twenty-two years after we were married, we had the house to ourselves again. Edward, our oldest, was in his fourth year of college at Harvard University. Cody had started his second year at Perperdine University and Katherine was attending Tulane in New Orleans. We finally had an empty house, but all we longed for was our children. When they came home for holidays, we couldn't get enough of them. They complained, but they always missed us too.
Twenty-eight years after I reconciled with my father, Carter stood next to me, holding me around my waist as my Dad was lowered into the ground. Alice stood next to my half-sister. Suzanne alternated between clutching her mother to her and crushing my hand to her chest. Dad and I had found our peace. Then it had been as if there had never been a break in our relationship. We were the closest father and daughter there could have ever been. I told him everything, from my daily accounts to the silly things the children did. My eyes strayed across the square hole in the ground to Sheryl and Brian. Her face was soft and covered in pain. She had never loved Dad, but in the years since Carter and I had been married, she had grown close to him. I was glad that Dad had had the chance to get to know Sheryl more, she was a lovely woman. It also warmed my heart that Dad had known my children. I was mostly happy that I had allowed him the chance.
Twenty-nine years after Carter and I married, we gazed down at our first grandchild. Carter's hair was laced with grey now and his face was wrinkled, but his smile was the same. He looked up at me over our granddaughter's head and his eyes were soft and happy. In all the years that we had been married, our love had grown stronger and deeper. As his warm eyes gazed at me over April's head, I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.
The Christmas of our forty-third year of marriage, I felt loved. Our entire family was gathered in our small home in Spokane. Edward had married a lovely woman, Elaine, and had two kids, April and Charles. Cody was married twice and had two children from each marriage. His first marriage ended in a life-long friendship. Both mothers of Cody's children were welcome in both our home and Cody's. Katherine didn't marry until later in her life, but she still had the time to have four children to capture our hearts. That Christmas we all gathered together and I loved the sound of a child's laughter in my home once again. As I watched them mill around, teasing and wrestling, my heart warmed. Carter was suddenly at my side. He wrapped an arm around my waist and pressed a kiss to my temple.
"I love you," he murmured. A shiver traveled up my spine and I sighed in happiness. After forty-three years of marriage, we were still in love, and I still wanted him.
"I love you too."
The day that Carter, my husband of sixty-three years, died, I started to write this memoir. Our love is not an epic tale of dragons and kings. No, it is the story of a lost girl, a loving man, and how they came together. How they learned to trust one another. It is the story of how a bond of love grew between us. Carter was my life, he still is. Although he has been gone for a time now, his love continues to live in me. His smile rests on the lips of our children and their children and our three great-grandchildren. The love that I worked so hard to find has never left me. I know that it never will.
Publisher's Note: My grandmother, Melanie Windrov Thomas, died at the age of ninety-four. In the five years that she lived without my grandfather, she never complained once. I heard her speak of Grandpa Nate every time that I saw her. When she spoke, there was such love in her eyes. I never doubted that she loved him. No one could have ever doubted that. The day before she died, she brought me this memoir and asked me to read it. When I finished, she was gone. She had finally joined her husband, who she loved more than life itself.
-April Thomas McKinley
Number One: I am NOT April McKinley...this is a fictional story...you'd be surprised at the amount of people who thought I was April the first time I put this up...
Number Two: YAY! All done! What did you think?
Number Three: Uh...no number three...
I have to tell you all, I love this story. It is often a dragging rendition of a damn slow idiot of a girl, but it is as close to reality as I can make it. Life takes time and so did Melanie. I hope that you all liked it! I worked hard to edit this and add more than I had the last time...some chapters were completely redone...but It is so much better.
Wait! A Number Three: Do you think that I have a chance of publishing this story? Please be honest and give me any tips that you can!
Fleeting Moment: I can't tell you how much I have appreciated your reviews, they were always awesome! Thanks!
Entice: I wanted to kill them both for a while there too...but now you have to love them, they were married for 63 years, what an accomplishment! Thank you so much!
Something between hi and...: Thank you for the review! I am glad you liked it!
Katherine Haynes: Thanks! I hope you like Making Him Believe, it is a much lighter book, not depressing in the slightest, as you must have noticed! Thanks again!
Classictwist: I love Carter. He is my vision of an almost perfect guy, you know with the basic flaw buried deep down there of wanting to make her absolutely happy...Thank you so much!
GreyEyesFrown: Why thank you! I hope you stick around for my others!
SuperCuteJensen: Thank you for the review!! I am glad you liked the story!
SoiinLove: Thank you! I am glad you liked it!
Den-KitStock: Thank you! You have no idea how it flatters me to know that you don't want it to end...I don't want it to either, but all good things must at some point come to an end in some way...except Mel and Carter, they never will end! Thanks again!
Rock 'n' Rose Bubbles: You are one of the best reviewers! Thank you for all the lovely things you have said! I can't thank you enough! You brightened my day too!
Hopelessly Cliche: You are one of my heroes too! You gave me such great reviews! Thank you for the support!
Lady R: How did the end satisfy you? Was it good enough? Did it convey the love that Mel felt for Carter...? I hope you enjoyed it, even though it was the last chapter! Thank you!
Chelsea: Thank you, blushes. You are a wonderful reviewer!! I hope you like Making Him Believe! It is turning out to interest me alot! Thanks again for the reviews!
Happy ever afterxx: Thank you!! Did you konw taht you can stlil raed tihs eevn tguohh it is seplt worng? I was bored, sorry...Thank you!
Izzey: You are my favorite tonight! Thank you for the lovely review. I'm glad you love my story, and I am glad to know it is realistic! I tried so hard to make it so. Thanks!
Lucy-the-bookworm: Love your name, btw. I am a big fan of the happy ending. I may drag my characters through the mud at times (or through the entire novel as in Promise) but I always give them the happiness at the end. What would life be worth if they fought that hard and I denied it to them? Thank you!!
Animefreakgirl: Thank you for the wonderful review! Yes they are finally together!! Thank you!
AND NOW I MUST URGE THE LOT OF YOU TO READ MY LOVELY STORY:
Making Him Believe
IT IS OFF TO A WONDERFUL START AND THE CHAPTER ARE LONGER THAN IN HERE...LOL...THE STORY IS ABOUT MEGAN AND DAVID AND THEIR LONG ROAD TO LOVE, IF THEY CAN FIND IT.
PLEASE READ IT!