Epilogue

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The sun hung high in the air, the sound of the scissors snipping next to Calla helped her mind be set at ease. It was like she was being lulled into comfort by a ticking clock. But it was just Charlie, pruning the garden while she laid out in the grass and warmed her bare arms by the light of the sun. She stretched out and turned over to see what Charlie was up to, he had nearly finished the lilies by the river's side. 

"A normal person would take another day of rest before going back to normal activities," she reminded him but he rolled his eyes and continued to snip the pieces of the stem he didn't want any more. "Have you not realized by now, that I am not a normal person? You of all people should know that," he reminded her this time and she just tsked at him before rolling back over to her back. 

"I was shot, I didn't die, and now all I want to do is garden and pass my classes," Charlie told her what he had to tell all the other brothers in the house when they worried about him too. "I know what you want to do Charlie, but I worry just like all the other people in this house. We were scared, scared that you weren't going to make it." He didn't want her to bring it up again, but he knew that pushing it away would only make things worse. "I know, just let me get better in my own way. Being in the garden is better than the walls of the hospital or my bedroom." 

"You and I both know you haven't been sleeping in your bedroom, you've been in the blanket fort with Duke and me." Charlie laughed and nearly snipped the wrong piece of the stem. She was right, he's been in the blanket fort for the last few nights, bunking down with Duke and Calla since she refused to sleep anywhere else until she knew he was better. 

"Hey, you two, lunch is ready!" Duke shouted from the top of the porch making both of them look at him from the garden. Charlie put up his gardening sheers and threw the bag of stuff over to Calla how caught it as she sat up. She put them under her arm and walked to the house with Charlie bringing up the rear. The moment they met Duke at the back door, Calla planted a quick kiss on his cheek before they walked into the house together. 

"Dad! I'm glad you made it!" Calla nearly shouted when the entered the kitchen and saw her father at the counter helping Danny with something in a large pot on the stove. "We've started dinner, I know it's only lunch, but we wanted to do a full sit down feast tonight. We have a lot to celebrate." She couldn't remember the last time she saw her father beaming like this, and even with her memories finally back from that night and even more, she couldn't remember her father being this happy. Not since her mother was alive. 

"So it's just sandwiches for lunch then? Saving it all up for dinner?" Joe asked them as he sat at the kitchen table. He had just finished his last final and since he, among others, hasn't eaten in nearly a day and wanted more than a sandwich. "Don't eat too much, the sandwichs will just hold you over until a few hours from now when this will be done," Danny told him when he saw the sour look on his face. 

"Do you think this table will fit all nine of us?" Calla asked the room while picking at a sandwich on her plate. Duke and Charlie sat on either side of her while Joe was across the small table. Jacob's sneezing and cough came from the hall before he made an appearance in the kitchen as well. "We have set up a table outside, amongst all the horrible grass and flowers. Not to mention the putrid river." Jacob complained and made at least three people roll their eyes and laugh. 

"You took your pills, right? The stronger ones?" Chester asked him with a pat on his hip when he came into the kitchen with the rest of them. It was getting more and more cramped in the small kitchen with almost all nine of them in there as it is. "Yes, and I think they're kicking in right now, the itching is dying down and my mind seems a little less crowded more focuses." He wiped his nose and pulled up a chair from the living room. 

"Ricky is getting the last leaf in the table outside, and he wants you to bring out the table cloth and stuff, Chester." Jacob sneezed a couple more times before he finished what he needed to tell them. "He needs the dinnerwear as well," Jacob finished and exited the kitchen while blowing his nose, for what everyone hoped, was the last time today. 

"So the sandwiches are just a pre-show, is that what you're saying?" Calla asked between bites and as she grabbed handfuls of chips from the bowl that sat in the middle of the table. "You seem to be taking to the sandwiches well enough, have you been eating normally?" Her father asked while he watched the three of them eat two sandwiches each and handfuls of chips as well. "We had finals, dad, we haven't had time for anything. Plus, I had to double my study time since I lost almost a month, I probably barely passed as it is." Calla tried not to think of the last two exams she took, they weren't going to be A's but they hopefully won't be F's. 

"The food is almost done, why do we all leave the kitchen and head outside?" Danny suggested and while most of them headed for the back door, Charlie hung back and snagged the bowl of chips just before leaving the house just like everyone else. Danny and Dr. Erwin stayed behind to finish the meal, both working over each other as the pots boiled and the oven chimed in. 

It didn't take long for the table to get set up when there were seven people walking and placing various things on it. Jacob walked out with the bowl of salad while Chester had the bread basket. The sun started to lower in the sky but it still had a few hours before it set. Their lunch and dinner were all mixed up but that didn't matter when a family would be sitting around the table. 

Once everyone, aside from Danny and Dr. Erwin, found a seat at the much longer table and started talking about everything from school to what they would be doing over the summer. When the main course came out with the last two of the group, everyone got quiet and waited for them to say what they needed to.

"I wanted to say something before we started to eat. I know I haven't been the best father over the last few years and that's going to change. Thanks to the seven men at this table, I have my daughter back and thanks to my daughter, my now ex-wife is locked away for a very long time, and her horrible brother is pushing up daisies." Dr. Erwin began to raise his mismatched cup along with everyone else. "Thank you, for everything and for opening my eyes to the world I was missing." He made a cheers motion with his cup and the rest followed. 

The sound of chatter and knives and forks clanking on plates and bowls could be heard all around the back yard. With their voices shouting around the garden and laughter that could probably be heard all the way up by the bridge. Whatever may happen next was a mystery to all of them, they, of course, hoped their tests went well and that their academic lives were set in stone to help create a better future for each of them. But they all secretly hoped that their separate futures would always have each other in it. Because a future without the eight people of Beta Theta Pi, was no future at all. 

The end.

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